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.


Kevl said...

Elephant in the room AND an Elephant Gun.

I'm not overly original...


Anonymous said...

So, I'm wondering, who are you? Who is standing with you? Who has opportunity to hold you accountable? I know the online world isn't the best place to parade out personal details, but you're putting forth yourself as a critic of one part of the body of Christ. Please don't misread this--I am not saying, who do you think you are... it's just you are setting yourself up as quite an authority on matters of eternal importance, and some may be following you, so that puts you, biblically, in a position of much responsibility.
I am one of those in the seats at Harvest London. I do read my Bible for myself. I am also aware of the structure of fellowship and correction and examination that Norm and all of us at Harvest London are part of.
So, who are you? And what benefit to the church of Christ do you perceive yourself to be offering? Because, biblically, there are all kinds of warnings and direction concerning what you are doing in this particular forum, that as possibly beneficial as technology can be, doesn't afford the kind of relationship that I think Jesus wants for his church.
You seem to represent some particular "schools" of doctrine, you seem to be somewhat arrogant toward other lines of thought and practice, and seem to have no regard for the real life, real people, real time context of what God is doing at Harvest London, one small part of the body of Christ, the church that he, Christ, is building.
No matter what your point of view or statement of faith, Kevin, your online "attitude" seems far more dangerous and unprofitable to the church than anything at which you are leveling your guns.
Might I humbly suggest that you, Kevin, like me, are not as smart as you think.
Is there some way you might like to connect without an audience?

Kevl said...

Good Day Anonymous,

Thanks for stopping in. I understand how upsetting it is to read your Pastor's words being challenged. He is in a position of power and trust. Pastor Millar in particular is also a very likeable guy.

Head's up - the type of language you employed in your comment is not the sort that encourages one to "connect without an audience" with you.

Please, point out publicly what about these articles make you feel I'm arrogant. If they are instances of arrogance then I will do my best to dial that back.

You said that I apear not to be concerned with the real life, real people at Harvest. Oh on the contrary!! What lovely people there are there, and God's beloved are sweet to me. I'm greatly concerned for them, and all of the Church which is experiencing the tragic results of the Lordship Salvation controversy.

I don't represent a "school" of doctrine at all... unless that school is simply to understand the Scriptures as they are written... which I understand is a common claim no mater what the person really practices. I do not represent a "free grace" position... or school. I represent what I believe the Scriptures truly say.

Please do offer Biblical correction, whether it is about the arguments in these articles... or if it is about challenging Pastor Millar.


Kevl said...

Anonymous & All,

Why blog about this stuff? It's a valid question. Yet, I'm sure that some people who object to this particular series of blog posts have read about people like Joel Osteen... Benny Hinn... Todd Bentley...

There are some people would object to any sort of posting no matter who it is abou. These people are at the very least consistent, and that is something to enjoy and honor about them.

However, with regard to me. I blog because it's a powerful way to learn. Because the conversations happen in slow time comments can be well researched and considered. There is also a record of previous conversations that can later be referenced.

I've been bloging about my walk with Christ and various things related to that walk for a bit over 5 years now. Before that I blogged (though it wasn't called that at the time) about computers and video games for several years.

Why do I blog? Because it is very helpful.

Of course people can abuse blogs... but they can, and often do, abuse the structure of the local Church as well.

The method or the means of discussion is not what is important. The character of that discussion is what is important.

Pastor Millar is a man who has at times given wise counsel for my life and ministry. I do not dislike the man. I honestly desire him to have a wonderful ministry that is wholly biblical and God honoring.

This blog is how I learn, and is about my walk. Pastor Millar has had a huge impact on my life through his teaching of Lordship Salvation principles. Since he has had impact, it is reasonable that I explore that impact.

All reading may challenge any point of doctrine in these or other articles. I'm probably not going to debate with you, but I will engage in conversation. If Pastor Millar is correct about a point of doctrine that will not disapoint me in the slightest. I'm encouraged by learning truth, and I hope you all are as well.


Anonymous said...

You still haven't spoken to the source of the "authority" you exercise. God holds us all responsible for our words, and more so those who are called to or accept a position of leadership. I think taking the position of author on something such as a blog or book, also means taking on the position of teacher, and all the responsibility before God and man that that entails.
So, I'll ask again, who stands with you? Who is holding you accountable? You are apparently very willing to exercise criticism, and there's nothing in my mind wrong with that. You suggest that others can be labelled, but deny labels for yourself. You are not being transparent. You are not disclosing your own bias. But you are taking the position of "virtual" pastor/teacher.
Forgive my language, Kevin, but until we can see in you a teachable, submissive attitude, your language is very deflective.
Job 11:2-6 might offer a point of meditation for you.

Anonymous said...

Let me put this simply: where is your picture? You're willing to post and repost Norm's pic. I'm sorry, Kevin, but you appear to be a man not "in the arena".
Until you hang yourself out there like you are willing to do with others, you can't expect any open dialogue.
Even secular bloggers understand that if they want to engage their audience, they need to take the first steps of disclosure and authenticity. That doesn't mean giving away info on home or family, only self.
Man up, brother. Our Savior demands it.

Kevl said...

Hello Again Anonymous,

Your demands are most amusing for someone who is posting as "anonymous." :)

You said You still haven't spoken to the source of the "authority" you exercise.

I've been quoting Scripture. That is my authority. I have not been using "my" authority to challenge Pastor Millar, only holding him to the standard that he explains is important for a Christian to be held to.

You said Forgive my language, Kevin, but until we can see in you a teachable, submissive attitude, your language is very deflective.

I'm sorry but you must have missed my last comment to you where I asked (in bold no less) that you PLEASE offer any Biblical correction that you might have.

I'm not sure how much more teachable I can appear to you.

You said Let me put this simply: where is your picture?

Where's yours?

Until you hang yourself out there like you are willing to do with others, you can't expect any open dialogue.

Dear Anonymous, no one is forcing you to post here.. or to read here. I don't "expect" a dialogue qith you, but if you are willing to offer something relevant to the article then I'm most interested in reading such.

Man up, brother. Our Savior demands it.

Book/Chapter/Verse please. And please while you're providing this also provide why this same doesn't apply to yourself.


Anonymous said...

I apologize for not being clear. I'm just a guy, so thankful for my hope in Christ. Although I continue in reading God's word, and trust in and appreciate the Holy Spirit's guidance and teaching, I'm not a graduate or accomplished teacher of any church or school. What I was looking to see in you was credibility. I get that you are doing your best to use and apply God's word in your criticism. But you don't seem to want to acknowledge being part of any local body, or your own call of God to do what you do. I like to know of whom I'm being "taught". When somebody like me, currently "anonymous", checks out a blog, we want some idea of where that author is coming from. You have set yourself up as an authority. But you are quite anonymous yourself. Fair or not, I say, you go first. Because I don't quote you chapter and verse, does that mean you don't accept Biblical principles of accountability and discipline, and indeed the authority of the local church? You have chosen not to respond to many of the specifics I mentioned. You can't hide behind the thought of God's word being your authority, when you are making so much interpretation, application and distinction. How can anyone care how well you are handling the word when you won't first step out from behind this media platform so we can consider your credibility. Norm I know. Where he came from, where he's going. Over time. You I don't know. Because you are hiding on a social media pedestal, doling out your judgements to us poor folk who know no better. Thanks, but no thanks.

Look up said...

I don’t always (hardly ever actually) agree with Kevin, and recognize that he does have an arrogant slant, BUT (that’s for you Kev) these things are not the issue. Neither is what authority he writes under, in fact your requirement for human authority (the elders of Israel demanded the same thing from Christ Matt 21:23) smacks of Protestant Popery.

What is at issue, is what exactly did Kevin write, and is it true. I don’t attend your church and know nothing of what is going on there, but perhaps you could enlighten us. Are the things Kevin is writing about true? Does your pastor say such and such a thing? Then, is such and such a thing biblical? These are to be the things that concern us. Asking for his authority or picture or some other such thing is just another goat trail, and these are to be reserved for goats. Christ’s sheep walk on His trail, it’s the sheep trail of the word of God that we are to be concerned about.

So, is what Kevin wrote true? Is his assessment biblical?

Kevl said...

Hello Anonymous,

You wrote But you don't seem to want to acknowledge being part of any local body, or your own call of God to do what you do.

I am walking in God's call on my life, and I am an active member of a local assembly which honors God faithfully.

These things which are apparently important to you, are not relevant to the discussion at hand. You are practicing the Ad Hominem logical fallacy.

You wrote You can't hide behind the thought of God's word being your authority, when you are making so much interpretation, application and distinction.

I'm not hiding.. what I say is here plainly written. Do you want to know about me? Buy my book, there is a lot about me, my walk, and my ministry in it. If you're looking for a personality to follow... sorry I'm not your guy.

Do you wish to show me where any interpretation, application and distinction is in error? It does not seem like the argument is important to you at all.

How can anyone care how well you are handling the word when you won't first step out from behind this media platform so we can consider your credibility.

I'm not trying to impress anyone.. I don't actually care if you care how well I'm handling the Text. If I'm in error you are perfectly free to call me on it.

Who wrote the book of Hebrews btw?

Norm I know. Where he came from, where he's going.

That's great. I know Pastor Millar as well. I know him well enough to know that he prefers to be called Norm. However, I will pay him proper respect for the sake of those who are reading, even if he would prefer that I just call him Norm.

You I don't know.

That's fine. Do you have to know me in order to determine if what I'm saying is true or not?

Because you are hiding on a social media pedestal, doling out your judgements to us poor folk who know no better. Thanks, but no thanks.

Again, no one is forcing you to post here. I'm hardly hiding...

Now finally, and let me be clear. I understand your frustration. It is obvious that you are not equipped to evaluate Pastor Norm's teaching, or mine. I understand that you love the man. He's a dear fellow, it is true.

However, that being said, if you are not able or willing to challenge the points that have been raised then you shouldn't resort to personal attacks. I have not treated you that way, and I have not treated Pastor Millar that way.

ALL READING, I ask you to give Anonymous a break. I just approved a post by Look Up. But I won't approve any more that address Anonymous. This person is ill advised, but he/she is just trying to protect their Pastor as best they know how. The same thing any member of an assembly might do.

In Christ,

Kevl said...

Look Up,

Very good post. I especially appreciate the "BUT" part. :)

I'm going to remember the "goat trail vs sheep trail" analogy. I'm sure it will be amusing and helpful in the future.

The arrogant part bothers me... I am not arrogant really... and I despise coming off that way. I am agressive... I'll give you that.


Kevl said...

I removed Pastor Millar's picture because it seemed to be causing Anonymous to stumble.

It is common practice to include a picture of the person you're responding to... but it is not material to discussion any more than a picture of myself would be.

I would prefer to keep the picture there because it's just good publishing practice for a lot of reasons... but if it causes a Brother to stumble then I must do what I can to avoid that.


Anonymous said...

My sincere apology for wandering around in conversation. A little diligence on my part gave me a good picture of who and sort of 'what' you are. Should have done my homework.
If I can leave you with anything, Kevin, it would be this--you've made all kinds of assumptions and judgements about me, as an anonymous poster. Don't worry about my feelings or whether or not I possess an appropriate IQ. What you seem to be (and I don't judge your heart or motives, of course) is just another arrogant fundamentalist. Perhaps you should restrict your focus to the life and people of your local church, submitting yourself to that Christ-ordained authority, and allow others the same. You might be in much danger of the pride that can overtake those who seek a wider following than God has called them to. It looks to me like you aren't handling the wordly freedom of social media very well. Brother, really, I implore you--humble yourself. You've done a pretty good job of attempting to humble me... perhaps some inward examination. I'll leave the specific chapter and verse that might convict you up to the Holy Spirit. May you have eyes to see, and a tender heart.

Jan said...


I don't know whether you would take this as being directed toward anonymous or not. It could be. But I am really wondering about this charge of arrogance. Can someone who sees it please provide some kind of example of it? I am kind of scratching my head over that one. Kev, I have seen you be, as you put it, aggressive (I would say opinionated) but "arrogant" hasn't come up on my radar.

I usually recognize arrogance when I see it because I can't stand it at all. I mean it really drives me crazy. I don't care if I agree with the arrogant person's position or not. If I don't, they are exasperating and infuriating. If I do, then they are also exasperating, but for different reasons. They are embarrassing and I am ashamed and grieved to have to be aligned with them. Either way I want to distance myself from them ASAP. I don't get any of that from you, though. If I did, I wouldn't post here, because no matter how much I might agree with you I wouldn't be able to stand you and wouldn't want to be identified with you.

(And, just for the record, I don't always see the LSers as arrogant pigs either. A lot of the time they aren't at all. Several of them have been very pleasant. Just in case anyone was wondering.)


Kevl said...

Hi Jan,

I'd like to see some examples as well. I did ask Anonymous to provide them. Other than his assertion that I am a "Fundamentalist" I see no offered evidence of his/her claims.

It really is nothing more than an Ad Hominem attack.. it really is OK. I think this speaks volumes about why fallacy can be preached at pulpits without it being checked.

The local assembly is ordained to do exactly what Pastor Millar expressed. However, we (I include my own assembly) are doing a TERRIBLE job of discipling people. Most people sitting in the seats at church couldn't recognize error, let alone answer it.

Preachers can say just about anything they want infront of a congregation and most of the people there will not dare question them... This of course is a matter of my opinion based on my interaction with many assemblies... but is surely not authoritative in any way.


Kevl said...

Oh and I don't see all LSers as arrogant either. I would not describe Pastor Norm in that way at all.


AnotherAnonymous said...

This conversation is simply distracting us from reaching the lost and fueling a long debate. The Lordship point could be argued (and has been on many other blogs) for an endless amount of time. I also sit in the seats each Sunday at Harvest London and appreciate Norm's sincerity and passion to teach God's Word faithfully. It seems odd to me why you would choose to point out Norm as your example when many other more well known Bible teachers also hold to this belief?

Kevl said...

Hello AnotherAnonymous,

I point out Pastor Millar in this series because his preaching has had a devastating effect on the ministry of people I know very well.

As for if LS theology can be successfully argued or not... well I haven't seen it done. I've seen people convinced but never because an argument from the Scriptures.

If you're feeling distracted by holding the preaching of the Word to unadulterated truth then you are in need of help.

You may be able to "reach the lost" with a false unsaving gospel message... but so can the Catholics, Mormons and all the other works based religions of the world.

If you desire to see people saved in Christ, then the first step is to know and preach truth without compromise.

I'm sorry if you think that is "arrogant"... but I believe the Bible is meant to be understood, and preached clearly.


Lou Martuneac said...


I read the first comment in this thread by an anonymous person. His reaction is so typical. He will not consider the possibility that his pastor is teaching an incorrect interpretation of the Gospel. Here you have laid out a reasonable argument, have quoted his pastor and shown the inconsistency of the pastor’s words with the Scriptures. My experience is that when an LS man’s teaching is put under legitimate scrutiny the followers of that pastor/teacher take that as a personal attack and question the motives and credentials of the one who raised the concerns. Anonymous has demonstrated this.


PS to Anonymous: I, for one, am standing with Kev.

Look up said...


You can delete this without posting, it is intended for personal edification only.

This comment you made is a good indication of an arrogant slant.

"If you're feeling distracted by holding the preaching of the Word to unadulterated truth then you are in need of help."

When it is recognized that a person is in need of help, an arrogant statement by one who thinks they are in the know is to say, "You are in need of help", whereas a servant in the matter will do what they can to offer it, without necessarily implying that the other person is not as far along as they are. It is the approach that comes across as arrogance.

Now there are times when we are in need of humbling a pharisaical type, which in some instances to match arrogance with arrogance is sometimes called for. It comes down to the right time and place.

In this thread, being emotionally detached from the issue, I can say harder things than you can, which is why I could post the way I did with less harm or foul. That way it frees you up to either agree or delete it if someone else says the hard thing.

Kevl said...

Hi Look Up,

While my arrogance (or lack of it) is not really the subject of discussion I did ask to be shown it.

I would have preferred to have something that would validate the previous accusations. Not a new instance. But a new instance is fine. Would be more meaningful if it showed a patter though.

I would whole heartedly agree with you if I actually thought AnotherAnonymous actually needed help - which I do not.

This conversation is simply distracting us from reaching the lost and fueling a long debate.

This is not a plea for help, or a flag showing their need of help with regard to distraction. This is just a spiritual sounding accusation. It is obvious beyond reasonable doubt that the person is not, nor is anyone else being, distracted from reaching the lost by this discussion.

It's a packaged response designed to reduce the credibility of an argument you do not wish to engage head on.

Is it arrogant to recognize this?


Kevl said...

BTW Look Up, you're right in this thread you do have more leeway than I do.

I recognize this.

What complicates things is that I am more invested, so it makes it harder for me not to respond full on.

It's an interesting interpersonal situation.


Kevl said...

Lou thanks.

It's always better to have someone else give witness than to claim a witness for one's own self.


Jan said...

Look up-

Thanks for giving an example of Kev being arrogant.

I think I see why you would say that, reading Kev's line all by itself. There are definitely circumstances under which that would be quite rude indeed.

But in the context of this conversation I think it is a bit different. I think here it falls under the humbling the pharisee type of statement.

Here is what I compare it to. Do you know the type of person who, when you don't know them very well you think they are just wonderful, but to those who know them well (family, say) there is a whole other set of factors? So you can't understand for the life of you why someone is seemingly treating his or her family member so badly at some point in time? The family member may seem to have done something totally innocent, or even positive and good, but in reality it was a manipulative tactic to get what they want and the people who have been manipulated by said person for time out of mind know this, so an outsider might completely misconstrue what looks to them like a rude retort (or worse) and it is really only self defense, or something similar. But the outsider does not have the whole story so they don't know how to interpret the circumstance properly.

I think that kind of thing is what we have here.

Kev knows some of these people. There is a lot under the surface that we are not privy to so some of his comments might seem strange to us. But they make perfect sense to him and those to whom they are directed.

I am sure that in this case at least that comment was not at all arrogant.

Really, Kev is being quite the gentleman in this comment thread.


Nolan said...

I listened to this sermon that you are trying to dismantle. You state this:

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

Well I listened to this sermon and at the 15 min,06 sec mark. The pastor mentions this verse. He DOES NOT make this statement you are suggesting. Maybe you are simply confused. I certainly hope that you are not misrepresenting him on purpose. Right? I think you need to rectify that in your post. So the exegesis you provide is truly un-called for. Maybe you should listen to this sermon again. Have you misrepresented other things in this sermon, possibly unknowingly?

Kevl said...

Hello Nolan, welcome to OMW.

NOTE on timings - if you download the file the times are different than if you stream it. Must be two different files...

Thank you! No examination of LS theology is complete without the cry of misrepresentation! I was beginning to think I was doing something wrong...

OK I hope you have a sense of humor about that. :)

Perhaps you can tell us all what Pastor Millar really meant by quoting this verse.

I have listened to this sermon at least 10 times now. I suppose I could listen again and count how many times the Pastor conditions Salvation on obedience... but maybe you will consider the word "many" sufficient.

If you listen to his preceding points, in the 14:00+ range you will see that he is conditioning salvation on obedience. 14:50+ "Now again not works based salvation but if you're really saved there'll be some keeping of His commandments. And then He says this..."

At 15:06 he quotes Acts 5:32saying that God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him.

What is the Pastor's context here? He's talking about how to know if you're saved or not. His context is salvation only happens to those who obey.

His whole message is about this....

So you can cry "misrepresentation!" but any can click the link and listen to the man's teaching. His message is entitled "knowing where you stand with Jesus" and he explains this is "How can you know you're saved?"

How can you know you're saved? If you obey Him. That's the Pastor's message. If you are saved there will be obedience, if there is no obedience you are not saved. Therefore God only saves those who obey Him.


Kevl said...


Part 4 is roughly written, but I have a lot of polish to do on it.

I hope to have it up tomorrow evening - Wednesday.

The comments have taken some time - but that's ok. It's valuable to see how people interact with teaching.


Nolan said...

I was making an observation of your accusation that he said something specific, that he did not say. Maybe in your zeal to argue against lordship your polemic has become tainted. We can at times see or hear things that are not there, when we offer up an apologia or polemic, due to strong convictions no matter if they are wrong or not(our convictions). I did not comment on what you thought he was saying, nor lordship or no lordship but what you said he said. That specific statement is just not there. So in the spirit of that sense, yes you did misrepresent him.


Kevl said...

Hello Nolan,

You said I was making an observation of your accusation that he said something specific, that he did not say.

If you look at the article above you will see that I did not represent those words as a direct quote. I described how he employed the passage, and what he infers it means.

I'm not sure I had to be that complicated in my wording... I could probably make a book out of answering each individual error in his sermon... if I were to ensure such specific language.

What you're doing here is representing my characterization of his words as in error because I did not directly quote him... though my representation of his words was accurate.

I did not represent his words specifically, so your complaint is answered by simply reading the article.

To be helpful, you will notice that his words are almost always quoted in block quotes, and are always in the color green (unless he is directly quoting Scripture, in which case they will be red).

This is pretty much my standard practice here. Hopefully that will help you in the future.


Kevl said...


You just submitted a comment with a link in it. I suspect you were intending it just for myself.

Just in case you meant it to be posted; I do not normally allow links to outside materials. Normally, I ask people to take whatever is relevant and post it here in the form of a comment.

The link is about obedience in the covenants. I'm aware of the covenants, and what they entailed.

I don't really want to get into discussion about how this relates to salvation - because this is not at all what the Pastor was preaching about, and what he was preaching about is the subject.

However, I may go to this topic in the future.

I will say that gaining Eternal Salvation in Christ is not a covenant. But that's all for now. I have not read the entire link - it is fairly lengthy. So I may be misinterpreting what you intended.

No need to clarify. I will read it as I'm able, and as I noted, the Pastor is not relating covenant theology to his usage of these verses.


Look up said...

Nearly every LS sermon I have ever heard (which is a very large number) all have the same theme, "are you doing enough to know that you are saved?" I can tell what they are all going to say just by the choice one of their top 100 favourite verses.

It is kind of like the JW's, they only know 6% of the Bible (their version), but that 6% they know by rote. Get them off the path of their favourite hobby horse and they don't know what to do. THEN you see them outside of their private circle and they are not at all what they tell each other they should be. That would be the same reason Norm doesn't want to have his works followed.


That is the definition of a hypocrite!

He would do better to cry out with the publican "God be merciful to me a sinner", the problem is that like all LS proponents he refuses to own all that that title means. Until he comes to know what manner of spirit he is, he will never know his need of a Saviour.

Kevl said...

Hi Look Up,

I did struggle with putting that in the article, and it will return in Part 4 because he brings it up again.

I ended up using it because it is a prefect example of the confusion in the theology. They use verses which speak clearly of perfection, as though they only mean a "direction." They define the need to look at our works for assurance by our clear and definite instructions to live holy, obedient, fruitful lives - but when they can't live up to the standard they lower it.

This will be a major theme of the next two articles, but there is just no room for half-way in the Scriptures. If you interpret these verses as being determinative of whether someone is saved or not, then they have to be perfect or they fail the test.

The obvious confusion between what the Text reads and the teacher's experience causes the teachers to use very complicated and confusing descriptions of their theology.

I don't think Pastor Millar is a hypocrite, I think he is victimized by his teachers. It is impossible for him to live up to the standard he's reading out of the Text, and he knows it. Imagine standing before 400 -800 people reading these verses and knowing that you yourself are far from perfect? yikes. What if someone out there DID see how your yesterday was going? uhoh!

The pressure the man must have been under would crush most people.

I don't mean to argue with you no matter what you say... though it may look like that. I just don't think hypocrisy is the issue. I think the confusion just follows naturally from trying to preach two conflicting messages at the same time - let alone trying to live them...


Look up said...

Another point

He states and even corrects himself the second time that we are saved “by faith, through grace”, when in reality it is “by grace through faith”. Though subtle, there is a world of difference there. “By faith” is how great works are done (Heb 11), “By grace” is where the power to do those works comes from. To say that one does something “by faith, through grace” is to put the human effort first, it makes faith the power and grace the channel of that power. This is backwards. Grace is the power, faith is the channel that grace is received ‘through’.

Kevl said...

Hi Look Up,

Wow we've found something we have no disagreement on! LOL I suppose it had to happen at some point. :)

However, I thought if one of us said the sky is blue the other would respond with "not quite."

I was going to mention this in his sermon - but I'm not convinced he was actually expressing a theological understanding. I suspect with so much to hold in his head that he just stumbled on his words.

I do that when I'm teaching something that I expect a particular group to have a hard time with. It's very hard to keep what you expect their problems in understanding are in your mind (so you can over come the problems for them) while you're teaching.

I hope this is the case here with Pastor Millar.

But your evaluation of what it would mean seems correct to me.


Kevl said...

I'm still working on Part 4. Right now it is truly MASSIVE..

Here's how one person who I am accountable to put it in an email to me.


I am finally enduring the torture of listening to Millar's sermon. I had to stop after 8 minutes. I already have 4 pages of notes.

I'll continue working but I do not expect to get this posted tonight. I truly underestimated the amount of information that would have to be covered about his last three arguments.

There are a number of other problems which are not directly related to his arguments... but are symptoms of his theology. Deciding how detailed I need to be with each of these is proving to be challenging.

I'm asking everyone reading to pray, and keep praying, for this man.