Sunday, October 31, 2010

'BUT' Theology - Part 3

Imaged removed
to spare those who may stumble.
This Part 3 of my response to the sermon preached by Pastor Norm Millar at Harvest Bible Chapel in London Ontario on 26 Sept 2010 entitled "Knowing Where You Stand With Jesus." If you have come directly to this post, please read Part 1 first because the context of Pastor Millar's sermon is fully explained there and mostly in his own words. Then read Part 2 which covers most of his strongest arguments.
Before I pick up with some more of the passages he cites, most of them very briefly, now is a good time to address the elephant in the room.

Pastor Millar is not young in the faith. He has earned at least one degree from The Master's Seminary, and fills the position of Senior Pastor & Elder of a large church in the very popular and well known "Harvest Bible Chapel" family of churches.  He's not a novice. In some cases the passages he cites have had a long history of debate about their meaning, in just a couple of these I can understand the debate to some extent. However, in the majority of cases, someone who is not a novice with the Scriptures ought to know better.  The Pastor obviously holds his position passionately. I cannot speak to his intentions but I can speak to the fact that it is not wise to base a position on the blatantly wrong interpretation of many passages, and the commonly held and debated interpretations of a couple of passages. Especially when it deals with a subject like the Gospel or Salvation. My purpose in writing this series of articles is not to disparage the man, but to reach any of those who follow him (and other like minded teachers) before they become unrecoverable.

There's still a lot of ground left to cover in his 43 minute sermon. It's much easier, and quicker, to cite a passage in error than it is to explain it properly. I know the length of these articles will limit the audience they reach. However, I'm writing for an audience of One, and any He draws.

After Pastor Millar discusses 1Jn 3:23-24 (were we left of last in Part 2) he moves on to a rapid fire session of citing passages with very little comment; having already laid a foundation of understanding in his audience guiding them to believe that belief is obedience, or at least includes obedience. I however cannot gloss over the passages he speeds through because I don't have his same luxuries.

Acts 5:32 he says means that God only saves those who obey God.

Acts 5 starts with the fearful recounting of what God did to Ananias and Sapphira when they lied to the Holy Spirit by making false statements to Peter. Next we learn that people laid the sick along the road where Peter would walk so that his shadow might fall on them so they would be healed. When more people heard about these things a great multitude gathered to be healed. When the Jewish High Priest found out what was going on he had Peter and companions put in jail. That night an angel came to Peter and said “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.” Acts 5:19-20

Peter was not only saved, he was "filled" with the Holy Spirit. Pastor Millar only quotes the end of what Peter says and also teaches on it out of context. This is the very definition of Proof-Texting.

The High Priest reminds Peter that he had explicitly commanded them NOT to preach about Jesus Christ in Acts 5:28. Peter's full response is found in Acts 5:29-32. Here we see that Peter is talking about his own obedience to God in preaching the Gospel, as the Angel commanded him to do, instead of staying quiet the way the High Priest had commanded him. Peter had such a powerful ministry, he was given or "filled with" the Holy Spirit because he obeyed God and not man.

Acts 5:32 is not at all expressing what Pastor Millar uses it for.

Next he says that there is a good example of his teaching in Rom 2:1-8. At first look I find the passage a strange one for him to quote because of the fact that he didn't want his congregation knowing what he had done all week... Verse 1 reads "Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things." But as I read it became clear why he quotes it. Rom 2:7-8 is his focus. Now I'd like to remind you that he claims not to be adding obedience to the Gospel, but here he is using this passage to say that God only gives eternal life to "those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality" Now if this is what you tell a sinner they must do to be saved, then that is most surely works based salvation, no matter how emphatically the Pastor claims otherwise. The word rendered as "immortality" in the NKJV is actually incorruptibility. Darby renders the verse this way "to them who, in patient continuance of good works, seek for glory and honour and incorruptibility, life eternal."

Why is this important? Back up to verse Rom 2:6 speaking about God in His judgment. That He renders to each according to their works. When is He going to do this? When we are in Heaven, that's when we will be given rewards based on the things we have done in the flesh - whether good or evil. Paul explains this to the Corinthians in 2Cor 5:9-10, and of the same function, with a slightly different context  we see the same sort of impartiality of judgment being taught by Paul in Rom 14:10-13 Of course here he's talking about Christians judging each other for how they serve God. We would do well to camp in this chapter for some time.

In short Romans 2 is not telling sinners that in order to be saved they must endure in good works. It's telling high minded Gentile sinners, and Jewish sinners alike that God will judge them with impartiality. That all will be "rewarded" at judgment for what we have done. Those of us who look forward to resurrection ( to incorruptibility in Heaven) will receive our rewards for our good works there, but those who do not have that hope will receive condemnation in the Lake of Fire.

That's a lot of explanation for a verse he only mentions in passing, I suggest you read the whole chapter of Romans yourself, and 1Peter 1:13-21 as well.

Next up is Romans 6:16 with which he equates obedience leading to righteousness as obedience leading to Eternal Salvation. Need I remind you once again that he claims over and over again to NOT be saying one obeys in order to become saved? It is clear from the passage, which is actually the chapter in full, that the people he's writing to have a choice about obedience. Again and again this is clear in the passage. In Rom 6:22 we find explicitly that these people have in fact been saved. They are not mere professors as Pastor Millar appears fond of accusing people of being, no not at all! Paul says of these people, in Rom 6:17-18 "But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness." What did they obey? The doctrine that had been delivered to them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 1Cor 15:3-4. Obeying the Gospel is believing it. Rom 10:16 and Isa 53:1. Not living a life of obedience.

Now is a good moment to bring up that the Pastor is employing what I call an "Elephant Gun Argument" in Fail-Safe For Fallacy.  In short, a teacher will wear down his audience with his double barrelled citing of a huge amount of verses with very little explanation. The listener is not able to challenge each verse and eventually most people listening to this kind of argument will just give in. The man must be right... look at how many verses support his view! This sort of teaching does great abuse to the weaker Brethren who trust their teachers.

Hebrews is a challenging book. It is especially hard to overcome the bad teaching so many of us have been exposed to.

Hebrews 5:9 he says explains that God only saves those who obey Him, and if you read only that verse it sure does sound like that. Sort of like if you only read Mark 16:16 you might think that you need to be baptized in order to gain Eternal Life.  Heb 5:9 says that God is the cause of salvation for all who obey Him, and interestingly enough this is the exact same statement as we saw in John 3:36. See this Bad Kool-Aid post for an explanation. He has been made the High Priest by God, which is the point of the passage, and when we obey Him we believe His testimony of Himself about Himself. Just the same as John 3 tells us. Also, look at Heb 4:9-11 that the obedience is for us to enter into rest. There can be no assurance if you base it on your performance. What's more, the focus Hebrews is not much getting saved but being sanctified. Read Heb 5:12-14 and the continued thought in Heb 6:1-3. The Writer of Hebrews is bringing believers to the topic of perfection in the faith, not teaching about how to get, be or know if you're saved.

Last on the menu for this part of the series; Pastor Millar brings up James 2:14-26 and claims that James the Brother of the Lord Jesus Christ says that true saving faith works. This is also a passage that has become exceedingly difficult to understand because of multitudes of teachers who inflict exactly the opposite of what James said on the Church. I have a detailed post entitled James 2 From The Text which ought to be helpful. James actually, factually, said that the one who says "show me your faith by your works" was being foolish! James himself never taught that concept as truth!

The Pastor quotes James 2:24 and notes that it says that a person is justified by works, not just by faith alone. Remember that the Pastor claims not to preach that salvation by works. However, he claims that James says that Eternal Salvation (Pastor's context, not James') is not by faith alone, but also by works. Confused? James is talking about justification before men, and the perfecting of a person's faith (not the proving of it, as the Pastor inserts into the Text here).

The perfecting of a person's faith is what James is teaching about. The animation of faith with works, so that it is profitable for others as well.

Pastor Millar applies James 2:26:
"He concludes in verse 26 for as the body apart from the spirit is dead so faith apart from works is dead. So how do you know you're a Christian? It's a crucial question, how do you know you have saving faith?"
It's another complicated problem with his presentation of the Text that can be hard to understand, so for a very clear and detailed examination I suggest that you read Dr. Fred Lybrand's Back to Faith. However, here's an exert from the book from pg 99-101.
The final interpretive issue is found in the analogy in James 2:26. The analogy involves the relationship between the body and the spirit, making the simple point that when a body does not have a spirit, the body is dead. Those who hold to the cliché tend to misunderstand this as a simple reiteration of dead faith, and while apparent, they miss the nature of the analogy. Again, the analogy is that when the spirit is removed from the body, then the body is dead. It shows an intimate relationship between the two. Those who hold to the cliché tend to speak in terms such that a moving and active body shows that there is a spirit within, the two are inseparable, as are faith and works.  In their understanding, they see the activity of the body as paralleling works, while the hidden nature of the spirit parallels faith. In offering the analogy this way, it seems to perfectly explain their concern, such that they insist “that faith proves itself by works” just as “the spirit proves itself by the body.”
The problem is that James’s example is the exact reversal of the way in which those who hold to the cliché understand it. James parallels the body with faith and the spirit with works. In other words, it is not that the spirit animates the body, and so faith animates works; rather it is that the works are that which animate, or give life, to the faith. Kierkegaard noticed this fact and has this view labeled as a “new interpretation,” Kierkegaard provides a new interpretation, based on the sola fide principle, for the epistle of St. James:
‘When James says: just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead (2,26) – one might rather reverse the order and say: so also works without faith are dead; for faith, apparently, corresponds rather to the spirit, and works rather to the body, than conversely.’ (X:1 A457).
It is noteworthy that Kierkegaard’s understanding of sola fide allowed him to see what has always been apparent in the text. Those who hold to the cliché need the verse to read conversely: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so works without faith are dead also.” In essence, James is not so much talking about sequence, if faith then works, but rather combination, faith plus works. The combination of faith plus works is not to secure salvation from hell to heaven, but to propel the spiritual growth of the already-saved by giving fullness to a faithful walk with God, and a warning for avoiding “death” through the failure to add works to one’s faith.
It is always more complicated to explain why something someone is teaching is wrong than it is to simply teach a point wrongly. We've made great progress though. There are only three more passages which the Pastor uses in his sermon. Mat 7, Col 1:22-23 and 1Jn 5:13.

We'll get to those passages, and deal with the 5 questions he tells his audience to use in evaluating whether they are saved or not. I'll be focusing on the special problem of why he back peddles at the end of his sermon to say that he's not saying they are not saved if they faith the test.

The finish line will come in Part 5 as I look at his proposed solution to those who will fail his test, and what I believe the Bible truly has to say about all of this.

Of course, my plans are most subject to the immutable will of God. So all my boasting aside this series will continue and finish as God allows.

Please find Part 4 here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Paul wasn't joking

Just to be clear. Paul was not being humorous in Galatians 1:6-9.  

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,  which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed

'BUT' Theology - Part 2

Imaged removed
to spare those who may stumble.
This is Part 2 of my response to the sermon preached by Pastor Norm Millar at Harvest Bible Chapel in London Ontario on 26 Sept 2010 entitled "Knowing Where You Stand With Jesus."  If you have come directly to this post, please read Part 1 first because the context of Pastor Millar's sermon is fully explained there and mostly in his own words.

Last time I went through the introduction to the sermon, and the context of what he was preaching about. I had to do a lot of quoting, and the article got long. This time I'm going to be dealing with his arguments.  I will quote him briefly and answer as explicitly as seems reasonable.

Pastor Millar's sermon is his application of John 14:15 and we previously left off with his shocking assertion of how we receive Eternal Salvation:
It's all of grace and it's all of faith. It's believing. We affirm that completely. BUT....."
To ensure all reading understand why putting the word "but" after such a statement is so shocking I have to remind everyone of the definition of the word.
Definition: "But"
On the contrary; yet: My brother went, but I did not.
So according to Pastor Millar, Salvation is all of Grace and all of Faith, but on the contrary.... He's about to disagree with his statement. And so he must, if his audience is to understand the upcoming quotes of passages the way he wants them to. He'll hide his disagreement by pretending he is amplifying the statement using the Biblical definition of belief. Perhaps "hide" and "pretend" are strong words, in some cases I can easily believe he has been led astray by his mentors. In other cases I cannot sympathise with his handling of the Text. It's our responsibility, mine, yours and his audience's, to determine if he does in fact offer a biblical definition or not. As he pointed out at the beginning of this sermon, and reminds his audience again at the end - calling someone to examine themselves is the right thing to do. I'm taking him at his word on this.

Pastor Millar says;
"we must be careful to define believing biblically - that's the key." 
He immediately explains that James 2:19 says that we can have a demonic like faith that does not save. It's a false belief. He asks with passion; "the demons aren't saved are they?" He'll return to James 2:14-26 later in the sermon and I'll respond more fully there.  The idea of a "Demonic Faith" is Bad Kool-Aid, and there is a very short answer to this abuse of Scripture.

Next up he discusses John 8:30-42 and says that in verse 30 we find Jews believing in/on Jesus but in verse 44 says they are of their father, Satan, and so obviously not saved.  When evaluating the truth of a doctrine it is very important that you believe the Bible, and hold to it unwaveringly. I admit that when I heard Pastor Millar explain this passage I was shocked. I thought to myself; "Wow... there's someone who believed in Jesus Christ but who was not saved... I can't believe it!" Why did I think this? Because I allowed Pastor Millar authority, so much as to even falsify part of Scripture, instead of letting Scripture have the authority. Shame on me!

Here's his explanation: In Jn 8:30 many Jews believe. In Jn 8:31 Jesus speaks directly to these Jews who believed in Him and tells them that if they abide in His word that they are His disciples indeed (which Pastor Millar equates with being truly saved) and in Jn 8:32 that they will know the truth and the truth will set them free. Then in Jn 8:33 they answer him saying they have never been enslaved. The Lord then engages them, and by Jn 8:44 He tells them that they are of their father, Satan, so they never truly believed in the first place. It was a false belief, or an unsaving belief. They were professors, not disciples.

Sounds convincing right? Do you remember (like I asked you to) the benefit of the doubt I gave Pastor Millar in Part 1? He was speaking to his whole congregation, and the untold numbers of people who will listen online, and said that they would probably be glad that he didn't follow them around to secretly watch everything they did. I wrote that he might be addressing part of his audience, those who could be false converts, because by his standard set out up to that point the true converts shouldn't have been fearful of such a thing.  Well, this is a similar situation here with Jesus and His audience.

Jesus was speaking to groups of Jews of various sects. The issue is who is the "they" in Jn 8:33. If it is the same Jews that John said believed, and then Jesus later says they didn't believe then we find a  contradiction in the Scriptures. For nothing is said here of the quality of belief, but simply that they believed. John says they did, rather God the Holy Spirit through John's pen says that they believed but God the Son would have said that they did not. Jn 8:45-46

So what's the truth? The entire incident is found in John 8:12-59. The Pharisees are challenging Him as He teaches the crowd. Many Jews in the crowd believe, but the Pharisees continue to challenge Him. Those who believed can not also have not believed. It is Pastor Millar's addition to the Text that says it was a false belief, this is not explained or implied in the Text at all. Adding such a view to the Text makes either God the Holy Spirit or God the Son a liar.

A fuller explanation of this can be found in Dr. Bing's Dissertation here, scroll down to just past half the page to the bolded title "John 8:30-31" and read from there.

Next up is John 2:23 and Pastor Millar explains that Jesus did not entrust Himself to them because He knew what was in man and that this means their belief was a false unsaving belief.  I have to wonder what this phrase "did not entrust Himself to them" actually means. Does God "entrust Himself" to people when He saves them? If this is what it means then I need to wonder at the Scriptures' explanation of why He choose not to entrust Himself to these particular people - "because He knew what was in man." Does He find something different, less offensive perhaps, in the people He chooses to save? Is not Salvation by grace or "unmerited favor"? NO this is not what the passage is about. The Lord Jesus Christ was performing signs as He was announcing Himself as Messiah the Prince, the King of the Jews. Not as the propitiation for our sins, the Lamb of God. These men would have sought to raise Him up as an earthly King. See John 6:15 That's what is in men.

Another helpful tidbit to help us understand the difference between Jesus announcing Himself as Messiah the Prince to Israel, and the Lamb of God to the whole world is found in Mat 16:13-20 and then the very famous Mat 16:21-23. Israel had finally fully rejected Messiah the Prince. The Lord asks His disciples "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" Then He tells them in Mat 16:20 not to tell anyone that He is the Christ, the Messiah.  From that time on, He BEGINS to tell them the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. News to which Peter famously reacts most strongly to. Mat 16:21-23

The men in John 2:23 did not demonstrate a false belief, they believed they could have their desire for a kingdom again met in this miracle working Man. This passage has nothing to do with Eternal Salvation, and should not have that topic forced on it by those who would seek to teach it.

The next verse he cites is John 3:36, he talks about the famous John 3:16 and then says that verse 36 is in the same context. He says;
"You must come to grips with this. There is a belief that does nothing....." "We're not adding works, but you've got to wrestle this through." 
He explains that this verse tells us only those who are obedient are saved. If you just read that verse alone I'm sure one could think this. However, such a statement is Bad Kool-Aid and a very simple an rebuttal of this fallacy is found here. The Pastor here does great violence to the context of the Text, so much so that those who know better ought to have rebuked the man to his face right then and there. Pastor Millar expressed in a comment under Part 1 that he doesn't like discussions and debates on blogs because God has ordered the local assemblies for that purpose. I actually have a lot of agreement with him on this. However, we read again and again in Paul's letters to the assemblies which we have preserved in the New Testament, that when an assembly fails to hold to truth that they get written to. I'm not raising my writing to that of Scripture - that's laughable... but I do say this. Had the godly men and women who know their Bibles in that assembly stood up and challenged their Pastor that day then I wouldn't be writing this blog article. 

Pastor Millar is seeking to explain the application of John 14:15 and quotes this passage over and over throughout the sermon. It serves as the emotional thrust for each of his arguments. He quotes the ESV, (not the NKJV that I link to most often) saying "If you love Me you will keep my commandments" over and over again.

At one point early in the sermon he wonders if his audience even knows what "commandments" the Lord is speaking about, but he fails to tell them at that point. Very near the end of his sermon he does get to 1Jn 3:23-24 but even then he doesn't make the connection for his audience. 1. Believe in the Name of Jesus Christ and 2. Love each other. What does the Pastor dwell on? What the commandments are? Sadly no. He dwells on "keeping commandments" speaking of obedience.
"Whoever keeps His commandments abides in God and God in them. Whoever keeps His commandments. Now again not Works Salvation don't keep His commandments to get saved but if you're really saved there'll be some keeping of His commandments."
This seems like as good a spot as any to stop for now. What we've seen so far is that it is easy to force your view on the Text, and that it takes careful examination of doctrine to determine if it is true or not. I believe this Pastor does want to see people saved and living holy lives for the Lord. Unfortunately his zeal for this combined with his training at The Master's Seminary and an on going association with Lordship Salvation proponents has resulted in his taking great, unwarranted, liberties with the Text.

Next time, in Part 3, I'll continue with his arguments in the Text; Acts 5:32, Rom 2:1-8, Rom 6:16, Heb 5:9 and James 2:14-26. Then, the Lord willing, I'll finish up the Textural arguments in Part 4. As I finish writing this part I it looks like this will be a 5 part series. God willing, the 5th part will be about his conclusion, and the solution he offers to those who "fail the test."

Please find Part 3 of this series here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

'BUT' Theology - Part 1

Imaged removed
to spare those who may stumble.
This multi-part series is a response to the sermon preached by Pastor Norm Millar at Harvest Bible Chapel in London Ontario on 26 Sept 2010 entitled "Knowing Where You Stand With Jesus." I could have chosen any Lordship Salvation proponent's message on 1st John to explain the same points, but he explores verses throughout the New Testament and what's more this man has a personal connection to The Cross Current (TCC) which I recently resigned from because they have departed from preaching the Gospel of Christ. Norm Millar is the teacher who the remaining members of TCC follow. As I have loved these men dearly, his teaching of them is of particular importance to me.

Also, earlier this month I received a letter from Norm Millar telling me that I have been missed at their church services, and asking me if there were any issues that have been keeping me away. Perhaps this article can explain the issues in some helpful way. Meeting directly with the Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel is somewhat difficult as the church assembles some 1,600KMs from my home. Not to mention that I have only attended that church two or three times in the last two years... only when I have traveled to London.

Do you ever find yourself making a bold statement and then having to qualify it with the word "but"? This article is one I resisted writing, because I was holding out hope for some deceived Brethren who would most likely be offended by it. However, there comes a time when you need to shine a light on false doctrine, even when it can be upsetting. Not for the purpose of upsetting people, but for the purpose of showing them they have believed a lie.
Definition: "But"
On the contrary; yet: My brother went, but I did not.
Warning: If you ever find yourself speaking about Salvation in Jesus Christ and you say something like Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, BUT.... You need to stop speaking, step away from the microphone and repent. James 3:1

On the resource page for the sermon, one solitary verse is cited for this message. John 14:15, The NKJV renders this "If you love Me, keep my commandments." though they link to the ESV rendering which says "If you love Me, you will keep my commandments." *UPDATE: I only point out the difference between the two translations because I normally link to NKJV, and Pastor Millar will be quoting the ESV. The difference between the two may appear to be significant in this verse but I actually do not think that it is. This translation rendering variation surely will not be part of my argument against his sermon.

I encourage you to check out his message, so you can see that I do not misrepresent the man who I have spoken with personally, and in person, several times.
“We’re in John chapter 14; a chapter on comfort, we’ve been learning how God through Jesus is bringing this comfort. It is a message of comfort to Disciples as He is about to leave them, and my plan was to go into this next portion verses 15 thru the end of the chapter as we see the Holy Spirit is coming and Jesus promises the Holy helper the Holy Comforter is coming, and that was my plan and yet this week in my study God really stopped me up short and I kinda had verse 15 as just a little introduction I was going to spend about 60 seconds on it and then move on to what I thought the thrust of it and God had other ideas and He, I believe this morning wants us to spend our time in verse 15, so let me read that for you. Then we’ll pray, listen to God’s Word Jesus says to His disciples and to us this morning ‘if.. you.. love.. me.. you.. will.. keep my commandments.’ Let us pray....”
I'm glad Pastor Millar speaks so passionately about this, and is so very clear in his words. For I believe he is correct! It is the most loving thing one can do to biblically exhort and correct a Brother in the Lord. If his passion is sincere, and I wouldn't suggest otherwise, I'm sure he and his disciples will appreciate my efforts here.

He continues;
“and here’s the thing, when you examine yourself don’t use what you think is the measure. Don’t use what you feel is the measure. Don’t even use what you perhaps have experienced in the past as the measure. Use the Word of God as the measure. And that’s very important that we do that.” 
Here again I find myself in complete agreement with the man. I will be challenging his fidelity to this exhortation as I make my way through his sermon. I trust that you who are reading will do the same for both he and I as we continue.

He sums up his introduction by saying that he thinks John 14:15 asks the following of people who think they are saved in Christ.
“Does your profession match up to your life?” He explains “Jesus puts a condition on it, you see, IF you love Me you will keep my commands. He puts it to them and I believe to us, so let me ask you straight up. Do you obey Him?”
After this introduction he sets out to silence obvious expected opposition in his audience. He will hit on this point over and over again throughout the sermon. However, he never quite answers the challenges that are rightly in the minds of those in his audience with their Bibles open. His answers to their (and my) concerns may be emphatic, but they are unconvincing and tend to waffle.
“Now you might right now be thinking ‘you’re talking works salvation.’ Works Salvation is that idea that I earn some right or some standing by something I do I earn a right position or right relationship with God. That’s works salvation and we reject that completely and totally as being completely unbiblical. There’s nothing you or I can do to earn anything with God, it’s impossible. Our sin leaves us in the state of being completely spiritual dead we’re unable, a dead person is unable to respond. We’re not, hear me please, we’re not talking about obedience in the sense of earning something with God. And we just need to keep that straight.
Jesus says ‘if you love me you will obey me. He doesn’t say if you love me that will get you into a right relationship with me.  The love of God comes first into your life, your love for Him responds at the Cross and then obedience follows, but obedience follows.
Question - He first says that love doesn't get you into a right relationship with God, and then in the next sentence says that it does. Why is that?
Jesus ties confession of our relationship to how we live. Our lifestyle our actions our words our attitudes our values our priorities how we spend our time our money what we do daily is tied to what you profess you believe. Listen I followed you around all week and you didn’t know it. Let’s say all week I was following you everywhere you went I was there. Every conversation you had I was there. Everything you did I saw it. Now aren’t you thankful that’s not true?
Question - if these are "true Christ Followers" and thus their "professions match up to their lives" why would they be ashamed of where they went and what they did? Perhaps he's not talking to everyone in the crowd now, but a select group of people? Those who agree with Pastor Millar ought to remember this objection they have right now for when we discuss John 8 later.

Unfortunately, while the idea that he is speaking to a select group of False Converts in his audience seems reasonable, and that it is reasonable will be most helpful to me later.... he proves that he was in fact speaking to the "true Christ Followers" in his audience by including himself. Unless of course you don't hold to his profession of faith, and think that neither does he. (Oh, you should remember how this language works too).
"I'm thankful you didn't follow me around all week either." 
Question - if he's a "true Christ Follower" then why would he be thankful his audience didn't witness how he lived through the last week? I'm asking these questions because I want my audience to see just how absurd this message is. Enjoy the absurdity now, because as this series progresses it will change from silliness to that which will outrage anyone who believes in Christ and holds His Word dear.

I don't want you to loose sight of what the Pastor is preaching here, and apparently neither does he because at this point he says;
“If I followed you around and saw everything you did would I know you loved Jesus?”
“Now listen’ folks how do you know whether you’re a Christian or not?”
Are you getting this? He is saying that our lives show whether we are saved or not, but that he's glad you didn't follow him around. He'll get more specific about this later in his message and we'll return to the thought there, because he's later going to admit that after making people endure about 30 minutes of "testing" which he obviously fails himself, that he's not willing to say that someone who fails the test is not a Christian.  He will also state that he isn't comfortable with saying that someone actually is a Christian, even in cases where there is a tone of evidence to convince him. I don't want to get too far ahead here because we have a long way to go. But isn't he teaching about assurance? Yet he, the guy teaching, can't be assured himself?
"Now listen folks you might be saying I prayed a prayer, I walked an isle, I stood in a service I invited Jesus into my life... you might know the exact date you did that. You perhaps wrote that into your Bible. Listen, nothing wrong with any of that. Don't hear me improperly on any of this, nothing wrong with any of that but is that how you know you're a Christian? The Bible never teaches that's how you know you're a Christian." 
OK, I feel the guy's pain... none of the things he listed as examples are how one becomes a Christian so most obviously the remembering of any of these cannot possibly give assurance of Salvation.  As much as I agree with him on this fact, and so does the Apostle Paul btw (1Cor 15:1-2 where he says that we are saved by receiving the Gospel, that he declares in 1Cor 15:3-4). But here's a question, and it's a serious question. Where in the Bible do we find a way to "know that you're a Christian"? It's actually not a topic the Bible touches on.

In many areas the Bible deals with those who have their doubts about if their sins have been forgiven, if there is in fact a future resurrection.. and so on. In each of these cases the writers give assurance by what Christ has done and the faithfulness of God. Never at all are we taught how to evaluate if we are in fact a Christian or not.  Oh we'll get to 1Jn later, but for now you can read this short article if you find you cannot wait.
"Now let me tie in another verse that is absolutely crucial that ties in with John 14:15 .... 2Cor 13:5 the Apostle Paul at the end of his letter to the Corinthian church, he's had to correct a whole bunch of things there's all sorts of stuff going on in the church, and listen at the end of that he calls them seriously calls those who profess to be believers and he says this verse 'examine yourselves' don't examine yourselves don't examine somebody else 'to see whether you are in the faith.' Whether you are a Christian or not! Examine this about yourselves, 'that Jesus Christ is in you unless indeed you fail to meet the test.' So I would call each one here this morning to do this, examine yourself right here, right now in this time to see if you are in the faith. If you say you are." 
When I have heard Pastor Millar preach in the past he has hammered that when you are reading or teaching Scripture there are three things you need to remember; context, context and context. He does not follow his own instruction in this sermon however. In Fail-Safe For Fallacy I discuss this error more completely in Appendix D, but I'll give you the short version here (Mostly because part 1 of this series is getting very long) and trust that you will be more encouraged and exhorted by the book that this blog post. Please read this last sentence again. Did you understand it?

The part where I say "(Mostly because part 1....)" is called a parenthetical thought. In Fail-Safe I define a parenthetical thought as "a side explanation of something that is not the main point of the current conversation." on Pg 163.

Pastor Millar indicates that because of all the bad stuff going on in the Corinth church Paul tells them to examine themselves to find out if they are really Christians or not.

It seems reasonable enough except for three problems. 1) It violates the context of what Paul is writing. 2) Paul doesn't ever, EVER, give them instruction on how to make such an examination, and what's more he says such blind judgment would be foolish anyway And, oh ya! 3) Paul explicitly states why, and it's not because of the bad stuff going on.

The context of what Paul writes is found by reading 2Cor 12:11thru 13:10. In this you'll find that the Corinthians were challenging Paul's apostleship. They were testing him.  Now here's the passage that Pastor Millar quotes some of, and interprets most heavily. See if you can spot where Paul tells us why these people to examine their own selves, and what his ultimate purpose was.

Check out the NKJV rendering of 2Cor 13:3-6 but in Fail-Safe I quoted Darby, and will do so here as well because of how clearly it shows the parenthetical thought.
Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, (who is not weak towards you, but is powerful among you, for if indeed he has been crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power; for indeed *we* are weak in him, but we shall live with him by God's power towards you,)  examine your own selves if ye be in the faith; prove your own selves: do ye not recognise yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless indeed ye be reprobates?
Now I hope that ye will know that *we* are not reprobates.
Why did Paul tell them to examine "their own selves"? Was it because of the lewd behaviour of the people in the Church? No. It was because these people were questioning Paul's Apostleship. Since you seek a proof in me, examine your own selves. This is a common theme in the letter. See 2Cor 3:1-3 for example. 2Cor 13:5 is NOT Paul telling "professing believers"to examine ourselves to determine if we are in the faith. He is shutting down the ridiculous arguments against him. Are you examining Paul to see if he's an Apostle?

At about 9:40 minutes into his message now he states this, and be sure that this is how fallacy is introduced to people in churches around the world.
"Now as we do this I want to affirm one thing that is very important to keep front and centre. Salvation is only by faith through grace alone. [sic] We're not adding anything to the Gospel we're not adding works in any way please hear me. Jesus doesn't do that and we're not doing that. It's by grace thru... it's by faith through grace alone a number of verses reiterate this Jn 1:12 "all those who believe..." how do you become a Christian? Believe in Jesus Christ. Not adding anything, not adding obedience to that. Not believe and obey and you'll become a Christian. Believe. Jn 5:24.... Jn 6:40... Acts 16:31.... listen you can't work for your Salvation and we don't add any human action or works. It's all of grace and it's all of faith. It's believing. We affirm that completely. BUT....." 
And that's where I got the title for this series 'BUT' Theology.  This sermon is also what gave me the idea of doing the "Bad Kool-Aid" series as well. That series will continue with short answers, but after receiving an email from an old friend which showed his great blindness I felt a detailed rebuttal of his teacher was in need.

Part 1 has been long on quotes because frankly I don't want to deal with anyone accusing me of "misrepresenting" the sermon. It's a typical sermon from a Lordship Salvation proponent, and it's from the Pastor of some people who have been long-term friends of mine. I find the sermon to be very upsetting. Not because it challenges me, but because I wonder why those listening are not reading their Bibles.  We'll see in the coming parts of this series how Pastor Millar explains his "but" and sadly we'll find that the practices he employs are many of which I wrote against in Fail-Safe For Fallacy such as; Proof-Texting and The Elephant Gun Argument which each had an entire chapter devoted to them.

In the next parts I promise to quote him less, and try to just answer his arguments. His tone, heart, and expressed intentions are made clear in this part so I trust you will remember these as we go forward.

You can read Part 2 right here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Coming Soon! - 'BUT' Theology!

Some people will preach great biblical truths with passion and conviction! Some people preach against great biblical truths with passion and conviction! Still other people will preach great biblical truths followed promptly by the word BUT, which is then explained with passion and conviction!

I'll get back to the Bad Kool-Aid series for sure, because it's fun and I think helpful. BUT this week I've felt compelled to go on the offensive against what I'm calling 'BUT' Theology. I'll be answering a popular preacher's message on comfort and assurance to see if he's really offering anything of the kind.

I hope to get this published in the next couple of days. Right now I'm making sure that my arguments are actually true before I post them. Something everyone should do... before they publish, and before they preach.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Calvinism's Scorched Earth Results?

In 2009 I did a series on TULIP called "Tripping TULIP." Though I have not yet found reason to doubt my findings, I have often admitted that it was hastily written and could have been much more thorough.

Recently Brother Stephen has become bold and is speaking out about what he calls his "de-calvinism." Discussion about Stephen's experience led Pastor Gary Small (of Liberty Fundamental Baptist Church) to link those reading to a series of sermons by Dr. Dan Sweatt from Berean Baptist Church which are an indictment of modern Calvinism as expressed by the acronym TULIP.

I listened to these four sermons last night, and at the beginning I wondered if the Pastor was going to be able to back up the things he was saying. I believe he mostly has, however there are some points that I am sure I can hear what the TULIP proponent will argue about.

I can't count how many times I've been told by those who believe in TULIP that the test of a true Christian is to look at their fruit. They'll say "You shall know them by their fruit!" Of course referring to Mat 7:16. The Lord is speaking of people claiming to be prophets here, not people claiming to be Christian. Read Mat 7:15-20 to see this. That being said the sermons speak of the fruit of Calvinist Prophets (or Preachers), and the things that are said are explosive! Here are just a few comments to whet your whistle.

"Since Calvinism has been out there, it has never survived a few charismatic leaders. In other words there are men who come up who believe in Calvinistic Doctrine who somehow are able to balance things out in their own ministry, and they do pretty well until they leave or they die. 
Let me ask you a question. 
Who was Charles Spurgeon's successor at Metropolitan Tabernacle? Charles Spurgeon preached for 40 years to 10,000 people per week. Who was his successor? You don't know do you. 
Who was John Knox' successor in Edinburgh? 
Who was Jonathan Edwards' successor in Massachusetts? 
Now let me show you, the deadest spiritual places in the world, outside of the Muslim countries. I'm talking about places where Christianity was the religion. Do you want to know where they are? England, New England and Scottland. 
This doctrine leaves a scorched earth. It does not; it will not; support missions and church planting and evangelism. It will not, and you'll see why when you understand what it says. Again there are a few who balance it out. Who are able to say 'I know what it says but I'm still going to do this that and the other.' But when you see it you will understand." 
Those are great questions, and harsh statements. As the preacher notes, there are some who balance the doctrine with obedience and do engage in evangelism. I know some who do this. Unfortunately, the doctrine mutes any pleading persuasion, and reasoning they ought to engage in. Instead they bring a dead message of no hope, no power, and no rest.

These are indictments of the system of Calvinism, but the series focuses on each of the points of TULIP. You cannot deny the result of Calvinism, scorched earth, and lack of assurance in those who ought to know that Christ died for their sins and so they are secure. But, what if the fruit we can see is only visible because of our poor vision.. selective vision... interpretation? Well we must test TULIP by the Scriptures, and that is what this preacher attempts to do.

He starts by introducing "The Eternal Decrees of God" and then defines each of the points of TULIP as the preachers of TULIP defines them.

Dr. Sweatt notes (as I have also often experienced) "When the tenants of Calvinism are confronted Calvinists in their own defence proclaim 'THIS IS NOT WHAT I BELIEVE!' I cannot tell you how many times I've heard that."  He then goes on to note how Mormons suffer the same issues. They don't know what the people they follow actually teach. You can quote their teachers and they will still deny that this is what Mormonism teaches... I tire of this problem with Calvinism, and to go beyond what Dr. Sweatt notes, I think it is more a case of Calvinists just don't like reading what they preach stated in plain English because it most obviously does not match Scripture when it is expressed plainly.

Here is where he lays down something I've never been quite brave enough to say. "The definitions given are exactly as the teachers and recognized spokesmen of Calvinism express them. If you don't believe these then you do not believe Calvinism." 

These are some thoughts from the beginning of the series. He's made some pretty big claims and as I listened to the messages I found he supported them. However, I am most interested in how Calvinists react to such sermons. If you can take it, I ask you to listen to these and then comment.  Does he accurately express Calvinism? Are his arguments sound?

You can find all the mp3s on this page with the titles "An Overview of TULIP" and then "What does a TULIP look like" Parts 2 - 4.

Because they are a bit hard to find on the page I'm going to link to them directly here.

An Overview of TULIP
What Does a TULIP Look Like? Part 2
What Does a TULIP Look Like? Part 3
What Does a TULIP Look Like? Part 4 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Social Networking Isn't Entirely Evil

Here's a message I just got this message today from someone I knew very well in High School.

Subject: kinda odd..especially since its coming from me..LOL
So I was wondering ... what made you turn to God? Guess I'm at a point right now where I'm searching and was just kinda wondering if you'd share some of your story with me...if you aren't comfortable with that, I understand.

Now tell me I'm not glad to have put up with all the other foolishness that goes along with these social networking websites.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bad Kool-Aid: Easy Turnism

If you don't know what I mean by "Bad Kool-Aid" please read the introduction to this series.

The Lordship Salvation preacher will tell you that you must "turn from your sins" or "forsake your sins" in order to be Eternally Saved.  It is claimed that repentance is defined as either turning from or forsaking one's sins. This understanding of repentance will be another Bad Kool-Aid topic, but it comes primarily from poor Bible study practices. In short, both the underlying Greek or Hebrew words which are translated as repentance in some translations of the Bible, and the context of the passages they are used in are ignored. A very detailed study of repentance can be found at BBNBI.

Claiming that one must "turn from" or "forsake" their sins in order to be saved is Bad Kool-Aid because it is not only false, it makes a hypocrite of the person preaching it. Very few Lordship Salvation proponents also preach that Christians attain "sinless perfection" which is the result of "turning from" or "forsaking" one's sins.  So the person who is preaching that the sinner must forsake their sins in order to be saved, must by their own ruling be exposed as unsaved themselves.

When challenged about this hypocrisy the Lordship Salvation proponent will most often explain that they don't mean one must ACTUALLY give up all their sins, they just need to be willing to.

This is mere mental assent to forsaking your sins. What's more, if you're willing to forsake your sins but you haven't yet then how can you be said to have submitted to the Lordship of Christ? Does He not command that all men everywhere repent? Acts 17:30-31 Also, did not the Apostle John write that Believers should "sin not"? 1Jn 2:1

Mere mental assent to turning from or forsaking your sins is the definition of Easy Turnism. The Lordship Salvation proponent needs to determine if the Scriptures demand that a sinner forsake their sins to be saved or not. For those who teach will be judged strictly. James 3:1 Perhaps one can be forgiven in this life for following a preacher, but when we stand before God He'll have a much higher Standard.

Link To This Answer! 

If you encounter someone spreading the Bad Kool-Aid of Easy Turnism please link them and their audience to this post. Here's a TinyURL you can use: 

Saturday, October 09, 2010

On My Walk With A New Layout

Welcome to the new layout of On My Walk (OMW). I've been toying with the idea of changing the look for some time. Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend a few hours just walking around some trails on the outskirts of my little city.  At one point I was up on a fairly high hill looking out over a forest with the sun shinning in a beautifully clear sky. I knew this would make a nice header pic for the blog. So I shot a few variations and with in a couple of hours OMW had a new layout.

The blog may look very different than it did last week, but it is still the same old place. I do have a new sense of purpose with the Bad Kool-Aid series though. I hope through reading you will be edified and enjoy your stay enough to come back again tomorrow.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Bad Kool-Aid: Love Like Hate

If you don't know what I mean by "Bad Kool-Aid" please visit the introduction for this series.

The Lordship Salvation preacher may condition the Eternal Salvation of his audience on whether they love Christ so much that it makes their love of their family look like hate. To give their claim authority they may quote Mat 10:37-39 and Lk 14:26.

This is Bad Kool-Aid because Christ was not conditioning a person's Eternal Salvation on them loving Him above all things, or hating anyone or anything else. He was explaining the cost of discipleship. He had many disciples, not all of which were saved. Most famously we have Judas Iscariot who was a disciple of Christ but not saved, but there were others such as those noted in Jn 6.

In John 21:15-19 we find the much beloved recounting of the restoration of Peter, after he had denied Christ three times.  In English the Lord asks three times if Peter loves Him, and three times Peter responds that the Lord knows that he loves Him.

In the Greek it is a very different story.

The first two times the Lord asks Peter if He "agape" Him, or loves Him unconditionally, ultimately with a love of self-sacrifice. The kind of love that God has for people.

Peter answers saying that the Lord knows Peter "phileo" Him or loves Him like a friend.

The third time the Lord asks Peter if he loves Him like a friend, and Peter answers that the Lord knows all things and knows that he loves Him like a friend.

Each time the Lord gives Peter the mission to serve the Church. Peter is restored and given a position in Church history that dwarfs all but Jesus Christ Himself, and perhaps Paul.

The Lord Jesus Christ does not require you to love Him more than everything else, or to hate anyone, or to love Him so much that your love for other things looks like hate in order for you to be saved. It does however take this to be a fully successful disciple. We read that Peter would eventually get to that point at the end of his restoration. The Lord tells Peter that he will one day be a faithful as he desires to be, and used to boast that he would be. This faithfulness, this love, this self-sacrifice was not a requirement for Peter's Eternal Salvation, it was to be the result of a life-time of Discipleship.

Link To This Answer! 

If you encounter someone spreading Bad Kool-Aid by claiming one must love Christ so much that it is like you hate everything else in order to be Eternally Saved, or to prove that you are Saved, then call foul! Tell them that they're spreading Bad Kool-Aid, then link them and their audience to this post. You can use this TinyURL:

Bad Kool-Aid: Jn 3:36 Only The Obedient Will Be Saved

If you don't know what "Bad Kool-Aid" means please visit the series introduction.

The Lordship Salvation preacher will say that he doesn't add obedience to the Gospel, but that the belief the Bible calls for includes an obedient life. He will then quote the single verse John 3:36 from the ESV or perhaps the NASB in order to assert that only those who are submitted to the mastery of Christ and so live out their obedience can be Eternally Saved.

From the ESV the verse starts with "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life;" The preacher may insert the word "but" at this point, or he may state that the verse then explains this kind of belief, or what falsifies a claim to this belief. He will then continue quoting the rest of the verse from the ESV "whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him." 

This is Bad Kool-Aid because the verse is not about an obedient life style but about refusing to believe the testimony of Christ.

Jn 3:36 is just part of John the Baptist's explanation to his disciples, and the Jews about believing the testimony of Christ. The full passage is Jn 3:22-36. Speaking about the things that Jesus is saying about Himself; what it means to not believe and to believe. As rendered in the NKJV,  John tells them "And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no on receives His testimony.  He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true." John tells them that to believe Christ is to certify that God is true. Believing Christ is believing God.  The NKJV renders the last of John's teaching as found in verse 36 as "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." Notice first that the NKJV says "who does not believe" instead of "who does not obey." Then notice that according to the context of what John is speaking those who do not believe Christ's testimony are certifying that God is not true, that God is a liar. Thus they have not "believed" the testimony of Christ.

They do not lack Eternal Life because they fail to live obedient lives, it's because they refuse to believe the testimony of Christ.

You can see the Greek behind the English of John 3:36 by clicking here.

The word which the ESV renders "does not obey" and the NKJV renders "does not believe" can actually be translated both ways. It is apeitheo, click here to see how Strongs defines it. The context of the disobedience is to refuse to believe. The ESV does not do great damage to the Text, because to "obey the Gospel" is to believe it. It is the preacher who changes the context of what John is teaching that does damage to the Scriptures.

Link To This Answer!

If you encounter someone spreading Bad Kool-Aid by claiming Jn 3:36 proves only those who live lives of obedience will be saved call them on it! Tell them it's Bad Kool-Aid and link them, and their audience to this post. Here's a TinyURL you can use:

Bad Kool-Aid: Demonic Faith

If you don't know what "Bad Kool-Aid" means please see the series introduction. 

As a challenge against the claim that all one must do is believe the Gospel (1Cor 15:1-11) to be Eternally Saved, Lordship Salvation proponents will claim that James (the brother of Christ) wrote in his epistle that “even the demons believe and tremble.” Jas 2:19 They then either directly state, or insinuate that “that kind of faith” does not save. Only a faith that works, a faith that includes submission to the lordship of Christ saves. A simple trust, they say, is a “demonic faith.” 

This is Bad Kool-Aid for two reasons. First, the "that kind" of faith which is often brought up because of how some translations of Scripture render James 2:14. Simply put, the words "that kind" are not in the Text. They are only in the theology of the men who added them to the Scriptures in their created translations. Translations such as the NIV, ESV insert these words. The NKJV, KJV, Darby and many others do not. Secondly, because James did not call simple belief in God a "demonic faith." It was in fact the a person whom James imagined (to make his point clear to his audience) objecting to his preaching. 

The conversation can be seen (in part) in James 2:18-20. It goes like this, words in italics I have added for the sake of clarity;
James illustrates: "But someone who objects will say;"
The Objector says: “You James have faith, and I the Objector have works. Show me your faith James without your works and I will show you my faith by my works. You James believe that there is one God. You do well! Even the demons believe and tremble!”  
James responds: "But do you who object want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?"  
Does James call the man on his Bad Kool-Aid? He sure does! He calls the man foolish. There is very little worse you can call a man according to the Bible.  So don't drink the Kool-Aid! When someone says to you that Salvation comes from more than believing the Gospel of the Christ because James says the demons believe and tremble - tell them they're spreading Bad Kool-Aid!

For more about what James and his objector said read the On My Walk article James 2 From The Text.

Link To This Answer!

If you see someone spreading the Bad Kool-Aid of "demonic faith" please link them, and their audience, to this post. Here's a TinyURL to use: 

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Bad Kool-Aid: Introduction

The purpose of these "Bad Kool-Aid" articles is to supply easily linkable, short and biblically accurate answers to commonly expressed errors. When you encounter an error that is covered you can simply say "That's Bad Kool-Aid Man!" and link them to the article that answers what they wrote. At the time of writing this introduction I have 27 answers to common errors planed.

Click here to find all "Bad Kool-Aid" articles.

In various popular level debates about politics, religion or science there is a common way to insult your opponent while helping to ensure other people will be resistant to adopting your opponent's views. Claim that the opponent has been drinking the kool-aid or is asking you to drink the kool-aid. If you really want to insult and marginalize your opponent's following, claim that they have been "drinking the kool-aid." This phrase comes from a tragic event, the Jonestown Massacre.

The popular description of the kind of "kool-aid" that someone might be asking you to drink is a "Truthy Meme." According to a Meme is an idea, value or pattern of behavior that is passed on from one person to another by imitation. I know a person who when he witnesses to non-believers and he pulls out a clever phrase or explanation he always sounds like the person he's copying. In fact, in these situations I tend to recognize the person he's imitating more than the man I'm listening too. The phrases he's using, and how he is using them are a "Meme."

Also according to a Truthy Meme "relies on deceptive tactics to represent misinformation as fact."

Truthy things can seem like truth, they are very similar to truth but they are not actually true. However, after a while so many people are imitating them that it becomes increasingly hard to convince less informed people that they are not true. One good example of a Truthy Meme is that "What's true for me may not be true for you." I have heard people explain this to me thousands of times, I'm not actually exaggerating here.  However, the Law of Non-Contradiction settles the fact that this Truthy Meme is actually just plain old fallacy.

This is the start of what I expect will be a very long series of hopefully very short posts answering Truthy Memes which are prevalent in Christendom, or held about Christendom by non-believers. Of course my main focus will be the Truthy Memes perpetrated by Lordship Salvation proponents.

Normally I'm guilty of posting very long articles, which will contain some helpful information, but a lot of background information. The Bad Kool-Aid series will have very little background information. I will expect readers to read this introduction post to understand what I'm talking about. There will be long gaps between installments of this series, and sometimes there will be a rash of them. I'm hoping this will be a fast way for me to capture small bits of disinformation and the corrections without having to build a long over arching argument.  The idea was inspired as I listened to a preacher speaking about assurance, from the Lordship Salvation point of view. There were many instances where the man talked about things that are absolutely true. However, at one point he drew his line in the sand between him and truth by using the word "but."  As I listened I realized I could pick the sermon appart line by line, but this would end up being abusive to the people who follow him. So why not try to be helpful instead?

Finally the accompanying picture is a parody of the Bad Robot logo for the film production company of the same name.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Salvation & Discipleship - By Rick Flanders

I'm working on some stuff that has me excited. A detailed article based on my studies in Mat 8, a response to a preacher describing what he thinks it means for a salvation message to be "works based" (which will include the ever popular usage of charts!! For those who don't know.. Dispensationalists are nearly addicted to charts) and a follow up to my previous work on assurance through 1st John.  

However, with my head going in several directions I'm not making fast progress on any one thing. SO, I'm glad that Lou has a pretty neat series of articles going on right now. He's reposting an old article by Rick Flanders about the relationship of Salvation & Discipleship.

This quote is what led me to link to them today. In part three Flanders quotes Dr. John R. Rice:
Living right is not an automatic result of being saved, although it is the duty of every saved person. 
Love it.

There is much challenging material in these articles. Not the least of which is how Flanders gives several examples of persons in the Bible who were "disciples" of Jesus, and of John the Baptist but who were not saved at the time, and who never did get saved. Sounds strange right? Check it out! There's much more than this but that's what sticks to my ribs, as it were.

Currently there are three parts on line at Lou's blog. Part One, Part Two and Part Three.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Devil's at the door.

A Mormon Bishop was invited to a youth event at my church last Friday. It became a matter of prayer at our Wednesday night prayer group. My Pastor hadn't known the man had been there. The Evangelist in me was delighted to hear that the man had come, and hopefully heard some truth. After-all, Mormon Bishop or murderer the man is no more or less lost than any other unsaved person.

My Pastor had a different view. What would your view be?

He was aghast at the idea of the man being invited. Of course I was initially confused, but then I realized Pastor wasn't being foolish at all. The man had been invited in to share in the fellowship - not to be corrected of his horrendous error and called to repent in order to be saved. My Pastor saw the Devil's servant welcomed in as a friend. A ravenous wolf who would seek to draw away disciples after himself.

We are called to keep our fellowship pure, not just keep the Lord's Table pure. There is surely room to bring sinners to hear the truth, but they can not be allowed to confuse themselves with being part of the family. They must know that they need to be born again in order to be part of the family.

Then on Thursday two Mormons knocked on my Pastor's door. He reasoned with them from the Scriptures but realized that these people have been systematically brain washed. Today, two Mormons knocked on my door. Previously I have listened to their reasoning and corrected them from the Scriptures. However today, I listened closely and they were itching for an argument with me as soon as they knew I am a Christian.  I asked them if Jesus Christ is God or not. I did not bite on their answers which were cleverly designed to make me ask more questions. I simply asked twice more if Jesus is God or not. Instead of answering they asked me the last time if I believe in the Trinity.  I knew they had been well trained to argue with ill-prepared people who have heard some Christian terminology (this includes weak Christians). So I shut them down. "If Jesus the Christ is not God then you are still in your sins and will surely spend eternity in the Lake of Fire." They were not interested in the Truth, they were interested in drawing disciples to themselves, and their Bishop.

My Pastor was right to be upset. The Mormon Bishop, from the temple just down the road from my house and our church building, had sent these young men into our neighbourhood. He hadn't attended the Friday service and been convicted. He was going to say, as the young men at my door today said also, that he too follows Jesus Christ. The problem is that he's talking about an entirely different person. He's doing all he can, and sending people out to do all they can to make sure that people are confused about Who Jesus Christ is.

I'm studying and praying in order to assist Pastor in his job of shepherding our assembly. He's asked for my counsel. So I'm asking for the thoughts, studious notes and prayers of you all who read On My Walk.

Right now I'm thinking of passages about those who seek to make disciples for themselves, and how people outside the Church were afraid to come in because of God's judgment in Acts. I'm thinking of how consistently Christians in the bible were told to GO to the lost and preach the Gospel, and how they actually went.  I do not know of a single passage in the Bible where someone was witnessed to by having them join the assembly of Believers.