As reflected in Paul’s inbox, it’s evident that the TANC conferences have played a pivotal role toward educating believers on the Platonic philosophy driving the Protestant bus. Therefore, PPT is introducing a weekly video segment called “Gnostic Watch Weekly” wherein Paul and Susan discuss and decipher readers’ contributions of the many examples plaguing Christianity of every denominational stripe. We welcome contributions from any denomination and all nationalities! Please send articles, posts, and sermon examples to email@example.com, then tune-in to “Gnostic Watch Weekly” every Friday at 7pm.
You can’t make this stuff up. RC Sproul’s Ligonier ministry is sponsoring a Caribbean study cruise and guess what the theme is?
Our theme will be “Christ’s call to endure persecution and suffering faithfully.”
That is, according to emails I have received, before Julie Anne Smith of Spiritual Sounding Board.com and others began mocking Sproul et al on Twitter. The post was then changed to…
Our theme will be “Persevering in the Christian Life,”
If one signs up for the cruise in which the depths of suffering will be plunged, admission to the 2015 Ligonier National Conference is free and features the usual who’s who of the Neo-Calvinist movement. The theme there is…
We live in a day of darkness, when the gospel and the church are under attack on every front.
I sent my own tweet to one of the speakers in regard to that theme.
And when are these guys ever home pasturing their own churches? Let me get this straight: you can pastor a church, be a conference superstar, and supply the spiritual needs of your own family as well? Wow, I guess that’s why they make the big bucks.
I can only compare the mass mindlessness that we are witnessing today to Germany during the rise of Adolf Hitler. It’s the same kind of mindless following on a mass scale.
Originally posted on Paul's Passing Thoughts:
New Calvinism will die again. For the fifth time in church history. There has been five resurgences and four deaths. That is why the primary agenda of TANC is to educate the church concerning every nuance. Lack of information is what enables this evil beast to come back into the church from time to time. The goal is to educate as many Christians as possible who will hopefully see this coming the next time. The following is an excerpt from the upcoming 2013 TANC Conference. In this first session, the five reasons New Calvinism will die are stated.
Perpetual Death and Resurgence of the Authentic Reformation Gospel
As we have noted, as the Reformation moved forward in history, many did not realize that it spoke from its own reality. As Christians read their Bibles from the normative reality, the true gist of the Reformation gospel is lost over time. The Reformers were mostly responsible for the printing…
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Words mean things. Christians should be careful that they know what words mean in the biblical sense. Protestants misunderstand the biblical definitions of many key words; really, almost all of them. This is because orthodoxy has redefined all of them. The more we see the proper definitions of key biblical words, the more we see a beautiful continuity in the truth that gives us life, and life more abundantly.
John 8:34-36 is part of what Jesus said in a debate with the religious leaders of that day, and is not only the crux of salvation, but Pauline soteriology to a “T.” Let’s look at it:
John 8:34 – Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (ESV).
Verse 34 is a theme that Jesus focuses on in the surrounding text. Nothing that we do can make us righteous, but what we do shows who we are. Why? Because we are new creatures; we are born from above. Jesus emphasizes fruits, but the apostle Paul articulates the doctrine in his letters. What Jesus states here, and what Paul states in his epistles, is exactly the same.
The key words we must understand are: sin; son; Son; slave, and free. The word “practice” in the ESV is a good translation because it denotes the idea of a life pattern. Perfection is not in mind here. The Principle is described by Paul in Romans:
Romans 6:20 – For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The new birth is a reversal of slavery and freedom leading to a different life direction. Though an unbeliever is free to righteousness, ultimately, he/she is indifferent to the freedom of God’s truth. Certainly, an unbeliever can do righteous works because the works of God’s law are written upon the heart (Rom 2:14).
I will also agree with the ESV differentiating between “son” in verse 35 and “Son” in verse 36 via capitalization. The son in verse 35 is not the same Son in verse 36. Verse 35 speaks of the sonship of a son to the master of the house. The slave (bond servant) is not part of the family and has an uncertain length of occupancy while the son of the master will always be the master’s son.
“Slave” has three meanings here: slave to a master; slave to a law, and a slave to death. Let’s look at the first one: it is a slave to a particular master; sin. Throughout the whole Bible, sin is defined as a master.
Romans 6:17 – But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,
Genesis 4:5 – So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”
Sin is an entity that desires to rule over humanity, and primarily utilizes desire to do so.
James 1:14 – But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Romans 6:12 – Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
The contrary master is righteousness, and this is to whom the son is enslaved. The Son has set the household slave free to be enslaved to righteousness as the son of the master.
Romans 6:18 – and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
This is also slavery to a law. Sin has its own law (Scripture). This is a law appointed to the Sin slave master by God. Only this law can define sin. No sin has been committed that is not imputed to this law and recorded as a violation against it. Sin designs its desires to refute the law. Sin uses the law of God to provoke people to sin through contrary desires.
Romans 7:5 – For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.
Romans 7:8 – But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness.
The Son came to die on the cross to make slaves into sons. He did this by ending the law and its condemnation. Sin can no longer condemn us.
1Corinthians 15:56 – The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
The Son came to end the law, that is, the law of sin and death (Rom 8:2), so that sin can no longer condemn us through the law.
Romans 10:4 – For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Romans 5:13 – for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.
Romans 7:8 – …For apart from the law, sin lies dead.
Therefore, those who sin are under the law (“everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin”), but Christ came to end the law, so a son cannot sin against the law. He is now under grace and NOT under law:
Romans 6:14 – For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
God lent His law to sin as a covenant that would imprison all sins committed therein. It’s like a will written to all unbelievers. All sins are imputed to it until faith comes, and the inheritance is eternal life.
Galatians 3:21 – Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.
Hebrews 9:15 – Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood.
This is where a slave becomes a son, in order to be set free from the master who has owned him since birth (Rom 7:14). Like Christ, a death must occur to free the son from the old covenant that imprisons sin, death, and condemnation.
Romans 7:1 – Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.
Romans 7:4 – Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
The son is now free without fear of condemnation to obey the law of the Spirit of life (Rom 8:2). Christ fulfilled the Old Covenant law of sin and death by paying the wages of sin—death, and was raised from the dead in order to conquer death as well. There is no law to condemn us, and no wage of sin to be paid. We have been bought with this price from the Sin master, and now belong to Master Righteousness.
1Corintians 6:20 – for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Being sons, purchased by the Son, and under grace, we are now free to fulfill the law of the Spirit of life by obeying Christ the righteous one:
Romans 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
“The application of the gospel in regard to the saints is clearly stated here. It is a ministry of reconciliation that we preach to the world, not to ourselves. We are already reconciled. This would seem evident.”
It was maybe a year ago in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I showed up for morning service to find a huge cross assembled at the altar with a couple of hundred white ribbons draped across the horizontals. At the beginning of the service, red ribbons were passed out to all those in attendance. The message was on Isaiah 1:18:
“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.”
As the pastor preached a gospel-centered message on “Though Your Sins are as Scarlet,” everyone was holding those red ribbons, a great reflective tool while listening to the message. At the end of the message, everyone went up front and exchanged their red ribbon for a white ribbon, laying their red ribbon on the cross and taking a white ribbon. The sight of hundreds of people doing that was very moving. As we then held our white ribbons, he closed.
Till this day, I still have that white ribbon in my Bible. Though I had already decided I was going to start visiting other churches, and I knew where the message was coming from in the whole scheme of that particular church’s doctrine (gospel sanctification), I was extremely glad for the message. Why? Because I love the gospel and grieve the fact that the mantle of its splendor often fades as I wade through the milieu of life.
How could I not be continually exhilarated by this unfathomable sacrifice? The message left me with an awesome feeling. I felt very close to the Lord and was full of joy. When I stopped for gas on the way home, did the clerk not see the very joy of the gospel on my face? In such a state is one not ready and willing to serve the Lord with joy and without a moment of hesitation? Who then would dare say that we should not continually dwell on the message of the gospel?!
Well, among many: Christ, the apostle Paul, the apostle Peter, and the Hebrew writer. I’m right there with you, having that experience makes you feel pretty darn spiritual. Who wouldn’t want that every day? That day I was glad for the reminder of what Christ had done for me, but the apostle’s question should always be before us: “What does the Scripture say?”
Hang on as you read the following run-on sentence, it’s a long one:
Of course to some the following argument is dead on arrival because every verse in the Bible is about the gospel and you have to see all Scripture through that prism and therefore everything must come out gospel and by the way that should be great news for me because if I find the gospel in every verse I can have the same experience I had that day in Fort Wayne and obey the Lord without effort and with joy so what’s my stinking problem and why am I writing this essay?
Does the “Gospel” Need the Truth?
…….because I love something more than my own experience; even the one of that day in regard to the gospel, the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10).
One day Peter experienced the glory of God through Christ and went on to say that we have a “more sure” testimony. Namely, the word of God (2 Peter 1:16-21). I must pause here to make a point before I move on to answer the primary question of the title and some closing comments about the gospel. All of the contemporary mantras speaking of worshiping Christ as a person with the gospel being synonymous with his personhood, rather than through objective truth, is an affront to our Holy God. Why? Because all knowledge of Him goes through what He says, period! To bypass what He says specifically and objectively for a subjective worship of his “personhood” via an eisegetical interpretation of the Scriptures, is grave error. Christ had a run-in with a person who should be the poster child for subjective worship. He threw a bucket of cold water on her worship of Him, right there in front of everybody:
“As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, ‘Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.’ He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it’” (Luke 11:27,28).
When it came to the worship of Christ as a person, He pointed the woman right back to what He says, and insisted that it be obeyed. That’s where the blessings are (“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it”). All roads go through what God says about Himself, and many in our day should take caution as to whether presuppositions of any sort have usurped that process. Besides, in obedience to His word is where blessings reside (James 1:25 also).
Does True Worship Need Instruction?
In Psalm 138:2, King David says the following:
“I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word” (emphasis mine).
God is well aware of how majestic He is and doesn’t need us to remind Him of it. Our worship of Him is in “spirit and truth” (John 4:23). All of the talk about “gazing” on His glory “through the gospel” is all well and good, but it had better be an objective gazing and studious thinking on His truth with application accordingly. So says God Himself. King David received good life lessons in regard to this as recorded in chapters 7-12 of 2 Samuel. David’s propensity for subjective worship caused him trouble more than once. As a matter of fact, many today would say that his desires were “properly oriented.” Nobody possessed a stronger desire to worship God than King David and this was often expressed through singing, dancing and exalted praise. But in chapter seven, David went to Nathan and complained that God lived in a tent while he lived in a cedar house. Basically, he was looking for Nathan’s approval and got it. Later in the same day, God came to Nathan and said the following:
“Go and tell my servant David, “This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’”
There is only one way God could ask such a rhetorical question of David using the history of Israel; He was referring to the written revelation available at that time. In essence, He was saying this: “David, where do you find it in Scripture that I want a house built for myself?”
In the following verses, we have God reminding David of where He brought him from and where he is going to take his descendants (also known as the Davidic Covenant), all without David’s help. David’s subjective love for God was steeped in arrogance. When it’s not based on truth, our own flesh will most certainly fill the void.
David gets the message and begins his responsive prayer with the following in 2 Samuel 7:18:
“Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?”
Subjective love usually leads to arrogance and sometimes worse. Let me share what God said was at the heart of David’s murderous adultery with Bathsheba:
“Why did you despise the word [emphasis mine] of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites” (2 Samuel 12:9).
God knew David did not despise Him personally, but a lack of attention to the word (what God says) led to sin against God Himself. The constant mantra we hear today, “Christ is a person and not a precept” (or the negative synonyms they choose to make a point: “rules, do’s and dont’s,” etc. etc.), is a subjective mentality that will lead to arrogance or worse.
Where would one even stop to comprehensively compile all there is in Scripture to further this point? In 1 Samuel, chapter 15, every indication points to the fact that King Saul’s attempt to worship God had good intentions except for one thing:
“But Samuel replied: ‘Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice [emphasis mine] of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams’”
Of course the Lord delights in our worship. But what did Samuel say God delights in more? It’s not His personhood, It’s the following of His voice: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
What is the Gospel, and Do We really live By It Every Day?
The word means “good news.” There is much talk concerning a definition of the gospel. Every time I turn around in Reformed circles you read or hear that question. My missionary son-in-law says it’s because Reformed theologians spend all their time torturing simplicity instead of sharing the gospel they are always researching and debating. He may have a point. However, the question itself has always confounded me because the good news seems to be expressed in a many faceted way (in the Bible) while being one central truth. Basically, my answer is the following: “The gospel is the good news concerning how God reconciled man to Himself.” How God did that and why He decided to is kind of a long story. Study all the various presentations of the gospel in the Bible; they are far from cookie cutter. I am going to use one biblical definition by the apostle Paul in regard to the gospel being called “reconciliation.” It is from 2 Corinthians 5:18-21;
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
The gospel’s relationship to the saints is clearly stated here. It is a ministry of reconciliation that we preach to the world, not to ourselves. Obviously, we are already reconciled. We are not ambassadors to our own country, but rather ambassadors to the world. This would seem evident. Also, “good news” implies something not heard before. You know, the “news” part. It seems somewhat oxymoronic for daily use in regard to Christians.
Was Christ and the Apostles Poor Communicators?
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’” (Matthew 28:19,20).
This is our Lord’s mandate to the church. Making disciples and baptizing them is the ministry of reconciliation. “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded” is obviously our role in the sanctification process. If living by the gospel every day is our paramount role in the sanctification process, how could this passage be constructed or worded in this way? Certainly, for Christ to instruct obedience to all that He commanded, implies a variety of information as opposed to the single good news of the gospel. Why would Christ not rather say, “Teaching them to observe the gospel”? If Christ wanted the gospel observed every day, why would He not simply state that accordingly? Also, if Christ “is the gospel” and the gospel is He, why did He command baptism in the name of all three? If all of Scripture is about Christ and His gospel, here is a grand opportunity to drive that point home. Furthermore, if we are to live by the gospel every day, why not baptize everyday as well? Why not? It’s a New Testament picture of the gospel. If all of Scripture is about the gospel, what verse would exclude this notion? (Mark my words, this will soon be coming to a church near you).
Furthermore, John chapter 13 (note verses 9 and 10 specifically) contains the account of Christ washing Peter’s feet. Peter at first declines until Jesus tells him to agree in order to have a relationship with Him. Peter then tells Christ to wash his whole body. In return, Christ tells Peter that he who has bathed, only needs to have his feet washed. All the major Bible commentators agree that this refers to the salvation / sanctification relationship in regard to forgiveness of sins. Why would Christ use that example if we need the full effect of the gospel every day?
Was Peter a Poor Communicator?
If we are to live by the gospel every day, Peter did not get the memo in the worst way. 2Peter 1: 3-17 encompasses a teaching Peter thought was most important before his departure from this world (see verses 14 and 15) and it wasn’t the gospel. What was that message? The message was a call to diligently add eight practices to the foundation of our faith (see verses 5-8). Peter then says adding these virtues to our faith results in assurance of salvation:
“Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall” (verse 10).
To the contrary, proponents of living by the gospel everyday teach that assurance comes from “preaching the gospel to ourselves every day.” That is clearly contrary to what Peter said.
In verse 3, Peter says that God’s power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. Why wouldn’t he rather say that God’s power has given us all things that pertain to the gospel? Or better yet, why would he not say that we have all things that we need for life and godliness through the gospel? In verses 12-15, Peter expresses his concern that they may forget to diligently add these qualities after he was gone. This is an unreasonable disconnect if in fact the paramount role of the believer is to live by the gospel every day. It just doesn’t make sense!
Was Paul a Poor Communicator?
In 1Corinthians 3:10-15, Paul says that we build upon the foundation of Christ. He even says that we will be judged by Christ according to how we build. Therefore, living by the gospel (and Christ being the gospel according to advocates of GS) daily would then be a rebuilding of the foundation every day. It turns Paul’s metaphor completely upside down.
Furthermore, in Romans 15:20, Paul makes it clear that the gospel is a “foundation,” and said he would not go where Christ had already been named because that would be building on the foundation of others.
Was the Hebrew Writer a Poor Communicator?
“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.” (Hebrews 5:11- 6:3).
The Hebrew writer says that spiritual immaturity is the result of not putting God’s word into practice, not a failure to live by the gospel every day. Again, somebody didn’t get the memo. Also, even though 6:2 most certainly refers to Old Testament practices, a reference to doctrines of Christ in 6:1 is irrefutable. Therefore, it seems to be in direct contradiction to a living daily by the gospel approach. An exclusive, daily focus on the glorious, but foundational gospel, is antithetical to what the Hebrew writer is prescribing.
I contend that I am in good company here. Jay Adams uses this same argument from Hebrews 5:11-6:2 (as I do) to refute Biblical Sonship (pages 38-41 “Biblical Sonship,” Timeless Texts 1999). Biblical Sonship, like gospel sanctification, advocates an everyday living by the gospel:
“Certainly all of us may frequently look back to the time when we became sons and rejoice in the fact, but there is no directive to do so for growth, or even of an example of this practice, in the New Testament. And surely there is nothing to support the ritual act of repeatedly doing so as a technique of growth! Something so prominent as the prime practice in the Sonship movement ought to have a corresponding prominent place in the Bible. The true reminder of the good news about Jesus’ death for our sins is the one that He left for us to observe, the Lord’s supper (‘Do this in remembrance of Me’).” ( Jay Adams, page 41, “Biblical Sonship,” Timeless Texts 1999).
Living By the Gospel.
We should most certainly live out the gospel each day by being faithful to our call as ministers to the “ministry of reconciliation.” However, we are ambassadors to the world, not ourselves. Sure, in some respects, we mirror the gospel with our lives every day. We should forgive like Christ forgave us. We should sacrifice self as Christ did, and daily. We also still repent and do so daily. But it is clear that we are to continue to build on our faith from the word of God. Gospel Sanctification is a nebulous concept that focuses on subjective worship and disregards the plain sense of biblical mandates.
At the beginning of this essay, I supplied a good look into the mentality of Gospel Sanctification; every sermon, every Bible lesson, and every daily reading of the Bible should focus on the gospel. In doing so, we are changed from glory to glory, supposedly. Experiential sermons like the one I attended in Fort Wayne sells the theory well, as does John Piper’s emphasis on “exultation” during his sermons. Basically, it makes everything about what God did, instead of what God says. Buyer beware, God has not only exalted His name above all, but His word as well (again, Psalms 138:2).
Go figure, another confusing controversial social issue is now upon us. Apparently, if you pay attention to sports, football players are particularly confused about this issue as well. What issue? In the heat of the moment, when a girl says “no,” does she really mean “no,” or is it just part of the foreplay? Does “no” really mean, “I know we shouldn’t, but I want to anyway.”
I’ll attempt to comment on the societal insanity trying to temper the controversies flowing from this issue; namely, rape scandals, because the girl really meant “no,” and the star quarterback didn’t think so, where even the master of words Rush Limbaugh has stepped in it, followed by an outcry that he be taken off the radio airwaves. His unpardonable sin? He did not affirm that “No ALWAYS means ‘no’”.
As a Christian, it would seem to be a mute issue to me because I believe Christians should not be in such situations to begin with, but yet, if we are children of the Creator who has wired mankind, we should be able and willing to offer wisdom regarding any life controversy. If we are children of the Creator, we should know what makes mankind tic. Besides, much of Christianity has bought into the idea that we have no real control over the reality that we find ourselves in, so indeed that breed of Christian may need this advice as well.
Apparently, Ohio State has created a heat of the moment student policy that attempts to guide students on this issue. Some portions of the policy even suggest that the absence of “no” doesn’t mean “yes.” The student, at least according to my understanding, is instructed to get step-by-step permission during the, uh, process (chuckle timeout).
Biblically speaking, what’s up with all of this? Let’s first look at the biblical understanding of how all people are wired concerning moral issues.
Romans 1:14 – For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.
All human beings are created with the law of right and wrong written on their hearts (minds). They are also created with a conscience which either excuses or accuses them according to their actions. I am not going to cite all of the various Scriptures, but the other dynamics are feelings and desires. The conscience doesn’t speak to us in a voice, but it uses feelings to either reward or condemn. Desires are totally different, though they use feelings as well. ALL human beings experience the inward tension between conscience and desires. For instance, a person may want something (desire), but doesn’t have the money to buy it. The law of right and wrong tells them that it would be wrong to steal it, so they don’t. But if they go against their conscience, the conscience will more than likely punish them with bad feelings.
Granted, there are a vast number of other metaphysical considerations here such as psychopaths etc.; that’s another post, but you get the general idea.
What is therefore going on in the heat of the moment situation? Not marriage, and there is a reason for that. When the wife or husband says “no,” there are no questions. So why all of the confusion in hanky-panky land? Because in many cases, the girl knows it is wrong, and the female is more sensitive to that because of that added societal caveat known grammatically as, “whore,” “slut,” etc. In most cases, “no” means, “My desires are saying yes, but my conscience is saying no.” As an aside, the world’s dictionary even has a word for those who cannot say no to their desires: hedonist.
When a girl listens to her desires as opposed to her conscience, the conscience, depending on her social conditioning, may punish her severely with bad feelings. This is where the rape charges come in: “I SAID NO! IT’S HIS FAULT THAT I FEEL THIS WAY!” And indeed she did say “no.” And indeed, desire is not the judge, the conscience is. Desires merely lead you places, but do not judge.
The fact that this subject is major in regard to the gospel and salvation aside, it is fundamentally unhealthy to violate your conscience whether you are a Christian or not. Hence, the Ohio State policy only needs the following words,
“’No’ always means ‘no’ because it’s the judge talking, and the ‘yes’ of desire does not speak for the conscience.”
Piper to Fallen R.W.Glenn Congregation: If You Don’t Embrace the Darkness, You are a Spiritual Loser; 3 minutes
Quotations from the foundational document of Reformed thought: The Heidelberg Disputation to the Augustinian Order by Martin Luther; 1518, about 6 months after he penned the 95 Thesis.
Theses 3: The thesis is proven in the following way: If the works of righteous men are sins, as Thesis 7 of this disputation states, this is much more the case concerning the works of those who are not righteous.
These 4: [Keep in mind he is talking about Christians here] This is understood to mean that the Lord humbles and frightens us by means of the law and the sight of our sins so that we seem in the eyes of men, as in our own, as nothing, foolish, and wicked, for we are in truth that. Insofar as we acknowledge and confess this, there is »no form or beauty« in us, but our life is hidden in God (i.e. in the bare confidence in his mercy), finding in ourselves nothing but sin, foolishness, death, and hell,…that is, he humbles us thoroughly, making us despair, so that he may exalt us in his mercy, giving us hope…Such a man therefore is displeased with all his works; he sees no beauty, but only his depravity.
Theses 6: however, some people say that the righteous man indeed sins, but not when he does good. They may be refuted in the following manner: If that is what this verse wants to say, why waste so many words? Or does the Holy Spirit like to indulge in loquacious and foolish babble?
Theses 7: But this is completely wrong, namely to please oneself, to enjoy oneself in one’s works, and to adore oneself as an idol. He who is self-confident and without fear of God, however, acts entirely in this manner. For if he had fear he would not be self-confident, and for this reason he would not be pleased with himself, but he would be pleased with God.
Theses 10: For the grammarians call a mortal work one which kills,…Second, the will must do something with respect to such a dead work, namely, either love or hate it. The will cannot hate a dead work since the will is evil. Consequently the will loves a dead work, and therefore it loves something dead. In that act itself it thus induces an evil work of the will against God whom it should love and honor in this and in every deed.
Theses 11: Arrogance cannot be avoided or true hope be present unless the judgment of condemnation is feared in every work…Since there is no person who has this pure hope, as we said above, and since we still place some confidence in the creature, it is clear that we must, because of impurity in all things, fear the judgment of God. Thus arrogance must be avoided, not only in the work, but in the inclination also, that is, it must displease us still to have confidence in the creature.
Theses 16: Now you ask: What then shall we do? Shall we go our way with indifference because we can do nothing but sin? I would reply: By no means. But, having heard this, fall down and pray for grace and place your hope in Christ in whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection. For this reason we are so instructed-for this reason the law makes us aware of sin so that, having recognized our sin, we may seek and receive grace.
Theses 17: [Again, keep in mind that Luther is talking about Christians] it is apparent that not despair, but rather hope, is preached when we are told that we are sinners. Such preaching concerning sin is a preparation for grace, or it is rather the recognition of sin and faith in such preaching. Yearning for grace wells up when recognition of sin has arisen. A sick person seeks the physician when he recognizes the seriousness of his illness. Therefore one does not give cause for despair or death by telling a sick person about the danger of his illness, but, in effect, one urges him to seek a medical cure. To say that we are nothing and constantly sin when we do the best we can does not mean that we cause people to despair (unless we are fools); rather, we make them concerned about the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
These 18: [Again, Luther is referring to Christian living] The law wills that man despair of his own ability, for it »leads him into hell« and »makes him a poor man« and shows him that he is a sinner in all his works, as the Apostle does in Rom. 2 and 3:9, where he says, »I have already charged that all men are under the power of sin.« However, he who acts simply in accordance with his ability and believes that he is thereby doing something good does not seem worthless to himself, nor does he despair of his own strength. Indeed, he is so presumptuous that he strives for grace in reliance on his own strength.
Theses 20: [Reality is interpreted through suffering] He deserves to be called a theologian, however, who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God seen through suffering and the cross…[All material reality is evil] The manifest and visible things of God are placed in opposition to the invisible, namely, his human nature, weakness, foolishness…Now it is not sufficient for anyone, and it does him no good to recognize God in his glory and majesty, unless he recognizes him in the humility and shame of the cross.
Theses 21: This is clear: He who does not know Christ does not know God hidden in suffering. Therefore he prefers ,works to suffering, glory to the cross, strength to weakness, wisdom to folly, and, in general, good to evil. These are the people whom the apostle calls »enemies of the cross of Christ…God can be found only in suffering and the cross, as has already been said Therefore the friends of the cross say that the cross is good and works are evil, for through the cross works are dethroned and the »old Adam«, who is especially edified by works, is crucified. It is impossible for a person not to be puffed up by his »good works« unless he has first been deflated and destroyed by suffering and evil until he knows that he is worthless and that his works are not his but God’s.
Theses 22: [It is evil to believe God can be understood by anything that is material] That wisdom which sees the invisible things of God in works as perceived by man is completely puffed up, blinded, and hardened…This has already been said. Because men do not know the cross and hate it, they necessarily love the opposite, namely, wisdom, glory, power, and so on. Therefore they become increasingly blinded and hardened by such love, for desire cannot be satisfied by the acquisition of those things which it desires. Just as the love of money grows in proportion to the increase of the money itself, so the dropsy of the soul becomes thirstier the more it drinks,…Thus also the desire for knowledge is not satisfied by the acquisition of wisdom but is stimulated that much more. Likewise the desire for glory is not satisfied by the acquisition of glory, nor is the desire to rule satisfied by power and authority, nor is the desire for praise satisfied by praise, and so on,
Theses 24: He, however, who has emptied himself (cf. Phil. 2:7) through suffering no longer does works but knows that God works and does all things in him. For this reason, whether God does works or not, it is all the same to him. He neither boasts if he does good works, nor is he disturbed if God does not do good works through him. He knows that it is sufficient if he suffers and is brought low by the cross in order to be annihilated all the more. It is this that Christ says in John 3:7, »You must be born anew.« To be born anew, one must consequently first die and then be raised up with the Son of Man. To die, I say, means to feel death at hand.
These 25: Therefore man knows that works which he does by such faith are not his but God’s. For this reason he does not seek to become justified or glorified through them, but seeks God. His justification by faith in Christ is sufficient to him. Christ is his wisdom, righteousness, etc., as 1 Cor 1:30 has it, that he himself may be Christ’s vessel and instrument (operatio seu instrumentum).
The False Reformation Gospel: 25 minutes
The Gospel and Eschatology: 10 minutes
Why New Calvinists Had to Neutralize Jay Adams: 10 minutes
John Piper’s False Gospel in 6 minutes
New Calvinism is Not the Gospel: 5 minutes
Seventh Day Adventists and Calvinism: 10 minutes
TANC 2012: Horton, Calvin, Progressive Justification: 12 minutes
I have been listening to frustrated saints asking that question since 1983, myself included. The following statement I recently observed on Facebook is an excellent sample:
Much of the American church is delusional, paralyzed, and perhaps even impotent. We are not prepared to receive those who desire truth nor do we even want them. If we did, things would be different. We have a religion of convenience, void of passion and sacrifice; we serve a God invented by our own devices and happy not to be disturbed.
The answer is simple: Protestantism is a false gospel, and its temple is the institutional church, its supported seminaries, and missionary networks. The above description just doesn’t happen on its own, something causes it; specifically, a false gospel.
Apparently, some are surprised that I haven’t written a post in response to mega-heretic David Platt being appointed to president of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. I did answer one email that questioned me about this, and I hereby copy and paste my answer to the question:
No, I do not plan on writing a response to the Platt appointment for the following reason: after eight years of researching Neo-Calvinism (four years full time), I am underwelmed by the news. What happens in the present-day Neo-Calvinist church culture is deemed as expected behavior by me. Neo-Calvinism is a return to the exact same Gnosticism that saturated first century culture and wreaked havoc on the apostolic church. Most evangelicals are outright Gnostics, or unwittingly function as Gnostics. Platt’s appointment is a mere appointment of a Gnostic priest to a Gnostic institution. I have also come to believe that “church” as an institution is a Gnostic concept. True revival will only take place if Christians return to the intended model of home fellowship networks.
~ Penned and researched by Brian Jonson, West Chester, Ohio
Heart Versus Flesh
There are hundreds of passages that use the term “heart” to describe the seat of human emotion, intelligence, morality, volition and religious life in general. However, most often, “heart” is used in Scripture as an idiom for the mind.
There is also present in scripture the heart of the unredeemed and the heart of the redeemed. Oftentimes the characteristics of the unredeemed heart are applied to the redeemed. I believe this is a critical error. The chart below shows the context of the unredeemed versus the redeemed and how the term “heart” is applied. It is by no means exhaustive, but certainly is representative of all passages. Notice, the application of the description of the unredeemed heart is never applied to the redeemed.
Characteristics of the Heart of the Saved and Lost
|Ge 6:5 – Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Ge 6:6 – The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
Ge 8:21 – The LORD smelled the soothing aroma ; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never * again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.
Ex 4:21- The LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.
De 5:29 – ‘Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always *, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!
De 8:14 – then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
1Sa 7:3 – Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the LORD with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your hearts to the LORD and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.”
2Ch 12:14 – He did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the LORD.
2Ch 25:2 – He did right in the sight of the LORD, yet not with a whole heart.
2Ch 26:16 – But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the LORD his God, for he entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.
Ps 73:1 – Surely God is good to Israel, To those who are pure in heart !
Ps 78:8 – And not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not prepare its heart And whose spirit was not faithful to God.
Jer 5:23 – ‘But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; They have turned aside and departed.
Jer 17:9 – “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?
Eze 14:4 – “Therefore speak to them and tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Any man of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, puts right before his face the stumbling block of his iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the LORD will be brought to give him an answer in the matter in view of the multitude of his idols,
Eze 20:16 – because they rejected My ordinances, and as for My statutes, they did not walk in them; they even profaned My sabbaths, for their heart continually went after their idols.
Mr 7:21 – “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries,
Lu 6:45 – “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.
Ac 8:21 – “You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.
Ro 1:21 – For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Ro 2:5 – But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
Eph 4:18 – being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;
|Ge 20:5 – “Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.”
Ge 20:6 – Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore * I did not let you touch her.
2Ch 16:9 – “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.”
Ps 7:10 – My shield is with God, Who saves the upright in heart.
Ps 66:18 – If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear;
Ps 73:1 – Surely God is good to Israel, To those who are pure in heart !
Ps 86:12 – I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And will glorify Your name forever.
Jer 24:7 – ‘I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people , and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.
Jer 31:33 – “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people .
Jer 32:39 – and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always *, for their own good and for the good of their children after them.
Eze 11:19 – “And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,
Eze 36:26 – “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Mt 5:8 – “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Mt 12:34 – “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good ? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.
Mt 15:18 – “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.
Lu 6:45 – “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.
Ro 2:29 – But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
Ro 6:17 – But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,
Heb 10:22 – let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
1Pe 1:22 – Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,
1Jo 3:21 – Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;
Romans 7:25 - Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Hebrews 10:22 – let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
As you look at the references above, you’ll easily see that the Bible never applies the ugly characteristics of an unregenerate heart to a redeemed person. Why then, should we? God has renewed the heart of a believer and it is unbiblical to accuse the Body of Christ of having hearts that are unregenerated.
Where then, is the battle? The Bible teaches that the battle against sin is in the flesh, NOT the heart. Notice, please:
Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Jesus is speaking to a redeemed person. He shows them that the danger is in the flesh, not the heart (perhaps synonymous with spirit in this passage).
For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.
Paul teaches here that our sinful passions are from the flesh.
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
A critical passage! We know the Bible teaches that our flesh was not redeemed at salvation and, in fact, awaits the glorification described so clearly in 1 Corinthians 15. Therefore, we have a “redeemed heart” incarcerated in “unredeemed flesh.” This is exactly why we struggle. Notice:
For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord ! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,
and those who are in the flesh cannot * please God.
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh –
for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
The heart is not mentioned anywhere in this key teaching. Romans 6 through 8 contain the key teaching on our struggle against sin. And, it is clear; the struggle is centered on the flesh, not the heart.
Further evidence of this:
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.
How do we cleanse ourselves and appear holy before the Lord?
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
One reason, among many, that I delight in not being a part of the institutional church is I am no longer a serf to American Christian academia. Did I really “tithe” to God in the past? No, I paid taxes to a multi-billion dollar corporation that is in the salvation by membership business. As an elder of a fairly large Evangelical church that was on the cutting edge of doctrinal conservatism, I created somewhat of a stir by recommending that the church start a benevolence fund. I found these types of confrontations surreal and confusing, until I grew up. But even before I grew up, I at least knew that recommending a widows list would be dead on arrival. What jumps out of the passages like an A-Bomb when you read the Bible for yourself is the fact that all giving is need-based, not institutional based.
Like government institutions, there is a separate standard for leaders and serfs. Christians often find themselves in double serfism accordingly, and this is completely unnecessary. Besides, it hinders real ministry. Like government—like church, and this week we have an excellent example accordingly.
The Obamas, for some time, have been attempting to legislate what Americans eat, for our own good of course. Specifically, the First Lady has been in charge of two programs that dictate what we are allowed to feed our children. However, TPNN reports that an upcoming White House dinner boasts a menu that has 1000 more calories than a meal one can order from an establishment of Big Fast Food which is among many capitalistic evils like Big Oil.
That’s the point: the standard is always double. You see, the enlightened can handle life-stuff like food and guns, but such things must be kept from the great unwashed masses because of our unrestrained appetites. This is a simple metaphysical construct that was up and running as soon as God blocked entry back into the garden with the baddest angel in the universe. This herd mentality eventually led to the flood. Even then, God had to later do the confusion of languages thing because men insist on letting others think for them and following bad ideas.
Like government—like church. What do we do when we want to “start a ministry”? We ask the elders for permission. While attending the aforementioned church, still as an elder, I was contacted by an inner city church that simply wanted us to come in and take them over. I thought it was an excellent opportunity for many in our church to serve God in the inner city. The opportunity met with stiff resistance. One man told me that he wouldn’t dream of participating in such a ministry without at least a Master’s degree. Others said that our church already supported a ministry that did the same kind of inner city work. By accepting the offer, we would have been usurping them in some way.
We don’t think of the institutional church as something that hinders ministry because of its huge programs and infrastructure, but let me remind you that those programs are limited to institutionally approved workers while the primary expectation of the Christian serf is to work a job, keep their mouth shut, and tithe at least 10%. In fact, many churches are disciplining members for not tithing. And why is there so much fear among Christians in regard to “church discipline”? Obviously, Christian serfs believe that the institutional church has the authority to declare them unbelievers. Scoff at membership by salvation if you must, but it is clearly how the institutional church functions.
And what is more obvious than the double standard? In the midst of the “church discipline” craze, where is 1Timothy 5:20?
But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning.
Members being disciplined/excommunicated is an epidemic while the former is rarer than fine gold; also, rampant fear of elders is ever so evident and can only be chalked up to the belief that salvation is found in the institutional church.
Christian serfism is a plague that can only be cured by a New Testament model of worship.
The Embarrassing, Bizarre Results of Calvinism: John Piper Suggests that the Holy Spirit Leads Us to Go to Bed Early
Sigh. My friends, when justification/salvation is not a finished work, when salvation is a “golden chain,” when we must figure out how to work by faith alone in our Christian life because “justification is running in the background,” the following video demonstrates the kind of confusion that follows.
Come now fellow Christians, let’s look in the mirror and be honest; we are a joke. Why? Because a third of us fawn over this utter silliness that would even make a child blush, and another third will not stand against it, and the remaining third do not know why it’s wrong even though it reeks of silliness.
God appointed these bozos to have authority over us? Really? God tells you in the last day, “Well done faithful servant” because the Holy Spirt went to bed early for you? Are you really going to continue to give these people your hard-earned money? Are you really going to continue to believe that these witless, false teachers have authority over you?
Please, just say “NO!”
Calvinists, Arminians, and Discernment Bloggers: Why They Will Not Accept the Truth About John Calvin
The Christian community continues to belabor the symptoms resulting from the false gospel of Calvinism. This is a doctrine that is no different from any other works salvation and should be categorized with Adventism, Mormonism, and all of the other isms. Election isn’t the issue; the 5 points are not the issue; at issue is another gospel. A couple of articles written this week are good examples. Dr. Jay Adams wrote a good article about the pervasive lack of practical application in contemporary preaching. But that is a symptom of the problem: Calvin believed that Christian living is the New Testament expression of the Old Testament Sabbath. Hence, to do works in the Christian life is the same as violating the Old Testament Sabbath by working. According to authentic Calvinism, we are saved by faith alone, but since salvation is not a finished work in the believer, we must continue to live by faith alone to keep ourselves saved. Therefore, authentic Calvinism expressed in New Calvinism is a complicated theology that enables us to live the Christian life by faith alone. This is nothing new. James had to refute it and it is why Martin Luther rejected the book of James.
That’s why there is no practical application in today’s preaching: it is deemed as works salvation. I have cited John MacArthur in previous articles who has repented of preaching practical application and has stated such plainly. He has stated that we do not apply Scripture to our lives—the Holy Spirit applies it and in most cases we do not even realize that we are obeying. Why? Because it is not us doing the work. He has plainly stated his belief on this. This is the mysticism of realm manifestation that is part and parcel with authentic Calvinism. It enables the living by faith alone in the Christian life by replacing our works with gospel manifestations of good works.
In another post this week, Joel Taylor of 5Point Salt suggested that Christians should show New Calvinist Mark Driscoll more mercy because we all “make mistakes.” Mistakes? Driscoll preaches another gospel. The apostle Paul proclaimed a curse on those who preach another gospel. Why is Christianity refusing to deal with this problem? The reasons follow: 1. Calvinists are in-between a rock and a hard place because the resurgence of authentic Calvinism in the form of New Calvinism has brought to light what Calvin really believed. They don’t want to look stupid because they have been calling themselves Calvinists all of these years and didn’t know what he really believed. 2. Arminians are in-between a rock and a hard place because they have been preaching for all of these years that the issue with Calvinism is the election issue. They, too, do not want to look stupid because the real issue all along has been a fundamentally false gospel. 3. Discernment bloggers want to deal with the behavior (the symptoms) and not the gospel because they are Protestants, and by design, they are theologically dumbed down. They are the least guilty of the three. They are attempting to do something about the problem via what they can understand: behavior, but in doing so, they are focusing on symptoms and not the disease. They need to get beyond Hospice care and find the cure. Unfortunately, and perhaps wisely, they treat the New Calvinists as misguided because they don’t have the theological wherewithal to make the case for a false gospel. But again, it is kinda not their fault as they have been deliberately dumbed down by Protestant ecclesia.
This has been a Reformed tradition for more than 500 years and is grounded in Augustinian Neo-Platonism. But, looking stupid shouldn’t be the issue; a love for the truth should be the issue; the eternal future of people should be the issue. What a difference it would make if notable Calvinists would admit that they missed it. What a difference it would make if Seminaries would preach the truth about New Calvinism.
For almost eight years I have been on this journey that led to the TANC research organization. I have been researching and exposing the truth about Calvinism for around four years now in a fulltime capacity, and never has there been a research gift given to me like the following video that will be the topic of tonight’s discussion.
Apparently, this video is viral among Christians in many nations as a positive depiction of the gospel…and that my friends, is stunning.
Also stunning: this video skit is popular among Calvinists and Arminians alike when in fact it represents Calvinist soteriology to a “T.” I have stated many times that there are two kinds of Christians in the institutional church: Calvinists and Arminians who function as Calvinists.
In her book, Quitting Church, Julia Duin states that she has sensed for years that something is seriously wrong with the American evangelical church. We at TANC would suggest that the problem is the false gospel of progressive justification. It was Calvin’s false gospel, but while the election debate rages, in reality, Arminians function by the same false gospel.
And I have never seen anything that illustrates that better than this precious video.
We will be joined in our discussion by teacher Andy Young. See you at 7! If you have streaming problems, the HD video will probably be posted by 8:30 pm. If you would like to ask questions or comment during the discussion, simply post your comments in the comment section of the post.
John Immel makes one particular statement at every TANC conference each year: Calvinism is the most disastrous body of doctrine ever perpetrated on mankind. He speaks primarily from a societal viewpoint, I speak primarily from a theological viewpoint, and Susan speaks primarily from a life experience viewpoint. That’s how our roles in the TANC endeavor operate. We now have Andy as well who represents a grammatical life application of the theological ramifications, and to a point, the societal implications as well. If you don’t attend the conferences—you are missing out.
But back to John. The yearly statement which is now a tradition is unlike many traditions, in that one’s understanding of the statement grows every year. So, when John makes that statement, there is a marked, deeper refection than the year prior.
When I initially received Christ, the music of the gospel made me cry. Then I became acquainted with the only thing one can be acquainted with in the institutional church: orthodoxy. When orthodoxy became synonymous with truth in my mind, that’s the day the music died. Think what you may of John Immel, but his first series of talks at TANC 2012 introduced me to a unique challenge: orthodoxy as intermediate truth, and church polity as a soft term for the fusion of faith and force. That challenge led me on a journey that has resulted in the enablement to hear the sweet music of the gospel once again.
A combination of circumstances, including my marriage to Susan, enabled me to say to God, “No more listening to men, help me to take these words in Romans at face value. You are not a God of confusion, what is Paul plainly saying?” Pray tell: how do we make two laws, plainly stated as such, two realms? Answer: orthodoxy.
The music is back. My sins are not merely covered, they are ended. My salvation has no judgment. There is no law to be found. There is no condemnation. All I can see now in regard to condemnation is our loving Lord hanging on that cross in unimaginable suffering saying, “It is finished.” We are untouchable. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Christ came to end the law of sin and death for those who believe, and set them free to obey the law of the Spirit of life without fear of condemnation.
When one stops listening to experts and really believes that God rewards those who seek Him, a particular God emerges from the truth: a God who predetermined a means for reconciliation, and pronounced it irrevocable, an irrevocable calling that will stand till all things are new. It’s called, “hope.” It is knowing that a good ending is predetermined. No one can take it from us. We also see a God that seeks man in his weakness and sin, shoving him to the precipice of His kingdom, but stopping short of making the decision for him. Certainly, when Adam sinned, he did not immediately seek God out for a solution—he hid. But God sought him out and reasoned with him, and so it goes in history.
God ordained the means of salvation; put His law on every man’s heart with an internal judge; sent His son to die, and thereby drawing all men to Him; sent the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin; imputes all sin to the law of sin and death that has already been ended and awaits those who want to be free of sin’s condemnation; and mandates His kingdom citizens to implore all to join God’s kingdom as well. “TURN AWAY! TURN AWAY! WHY WILL YOU DIE?” Moreover, Christ did not come to condemn the world, but to save it. Hell was not created for man, but for the kingdom of darkness. Consider…
And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
Note that an unregenerate person can have wisdom. Note that they are drawn to the kingdom’s door. The unregenerate can know truth. The unregenerate can be persuaded. They have the law written on their hearts. They have an internal convicter, an outside convicter, the love of a Savior, the witness of love among His followers, and the testimony of creation.
We are told that God does all of this, but is just sporting with man, for in the final analysis, it is His choice alone. God is within His right, because of His righteousness, to send all to hell. Yet, in contrast, the Bible states that His righteousness is manifested by supplying a way of salvation. Christ didn’t come to obey the law perfectly to display the righteousness of God. Men were declared righteous apart from the law well before the first coming of Christ. Supplying a way to be reconciled with man put His righteousness on display. Christ did not come to condemn, and God desires that all men would be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
At the 2008 T4G pastors’ conference, John MacArthur Jr. took opportunity to announce to the Reformed community that he was one of them in the truest sense. He asserted that total inability has always been the dominate teaching of the church from the very beginning. This, of course, is an outright, blatant lie and an attempt to rewrite church history. Free will was the position of many church fathers and theologians of the post apostolic church. But either orthodoxy can be bad and we need neither.
There will be weeping in eternal hell because they will know they had a choice; they “neglected the great salvation.” They said “no” in the face of a God who bankrupted heaven to call them. They will not be weeping because they had no choice. To believe that you have no choice is a choice.
The strongest indictment against predestination of individuals is the source itself, the Reformers…of the Catholic Church. Calvin, in league with the Eastern transcendental meditation that Reformed theology is predicated on, believed that there are three classes of elect: the non-elect; the partially elected; and those given the gift of perseverance. Yes, Calvin taught that some people are temporarily illumined, but God, apparently in conjunction with what He has predetermined, takes away their election and condemns them to a greater damnation. Only those “given the gift of perseverance” are the truly elected. This coincides with Eastern religion and the idea that some are hopelessly enslaved to the shadow material world (and enslaved to empirical reason) while some are partially able to see beyond the material. The third class is completely free from interpreting reality in the shadowy material world.
Because of the kinship that the Reformers had with Eastern mysticism, they were hard pressed to explain how Christ came to earth as a man in the flesh. I have received reports from some in Reformed churches that pastors are teaching the following: Christ did not have the same kind of flesh that we have. This should be of no surprise if you understand the true roots of the Reformation. Martin Luther taught that Christ came as a man to supply an epistemological gateway of understanding into the invisible. He equated ALL works with the material world, and insisted that Christ came to replace all works with suffering. Hence, Luther defined the essence of the Christian life as an endeavor to escape the material world through suffering and a deeper knowledge of Christ’s suffering in life and on the cross. The kinship to Eastern thought here is evident. This led to the cross being the paramount icon of Christianity.
The point here is that part and parcel with these ancient and Eastern ideas from the cradle of civilization is the concept of predeterminism. Predeterminism dominates Eastern thought and is very prevalent in Islam. Yet, in the same message at T4G 2008, MacArthur propagated the well-traveled idea among the Reformed that predetermism is unique to the Reformation. This is a blatant aberration from true history; to the contrary, predetermist ideology saturates human history and has been the fabric of the vast majority of religious and secular movements throughout history.
What has always been rare, and unique to the point of extinction is the idea that man is able. America is unique in history because it is founded on the insane idea that man is able to govern himself. This so grates against the mentality that has dominated world history that America is despised regardless of the steroidal goodness produced by her. In reality, the world lusts to see the American experiment fail, and this by no means excludes the present-day Neo-Calvinist movement. The Reformers, past and present, have sold their package well: the idea that freewill is the common mentality of humanity is perhaps the greatest myth that has ever been propagated upon mankind.
How can a loving God send people to an eternal hell? He doesn’t. They choose to go to a place that was never created for them, but rather for the Devil and his angels. They choose between two kingdoms.
Sin was “found” in Lucifer, either because God was complicit in the creation of sin, or because freewill is a righteous element of His creation power. But if freewill existed before man’s fall, and obviously it did, nothing in Scripture indicates that freewill no longer exists.
I understand that isolated Bible verses seem to propagate predeterminism, but that doesn’t equal plenary determinism, nor are ignorant Protestants qualified to draw conclusions from orthodoxy. The jury is still out because the fruits are from a poisonous tree. To what degree does God intervene and predetermine, and how much does the historic predeterminism running in the background reflect on certain statements in the Bible? For instance, God talking to the disciples in parables so that others could not understand…
“See, that’s because He didn’t elect the others that were listening.”
Then why any fear of them understanding something? Jesus was pushing back against the Gnosticism of that day which propagated the idea that religious leaders only had saving knowledge. He spoke in parables in front of them, and then reveled the meaning of the parables to His disciples later. This was a direct, in-your-face push-back to the Gnosticism of that day, and taught the disciples to stop taking the religious leaders of their day seriously. We would do well to follow that lesson in our own day.
But in the final analysis, this post points to our freedom in Christ. Christ died to purchase all men from the slavery of sin that rules the kingdom of darkness. They are under a law that condemns them, but also protects them in case one day they would follow Christ. The heavy load of law breaking on their shoulders is a law that has been ended if they would only believe in Christ. They are purchased slaves remaining under the dominion of their present master by their own choice. They are also written in a book of life from which God does not desire to blot them out.
If we are in Christ we are free indeed. We are free from condemnation. We must not only tell the world that they serve the master of sin, its king, and its kingdom, but that they have been purchased by the king of glory. They are slaves by choice. This is where Calvinism must claim limited atonement; the idea that Christ only purchased the chosen with His death. The idea that Christ purchased all men from the slavery of sin brings much question upon the idea of individual election. Yet,
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.
God prepared the means of salvation and predetermined that the application of it would be undeterred. Mankind is convicted in regard to sin and the judgment to come from within and without. Within by conscience, a judge that administers the law written on their hearts, and without by the Holy Spirit. Christ came to save the world, not condemn it, and to draw all men to Himself. He seeks after all men, initially writes them in the Book of Life, and has purchased them from the master of this world. Even the law that condemns them imprisons their sin until faith comes. It is a law that leads them to Christ, but will indeed condemn them if they do not repent. He also calls on His church to implore all men to be “reconciled to God.”
He does everything but make the choice for us. This is far more compelling than the worn-out un-novel idea of determinism used by every sect and band of religious gypsies that have ever come down the pike. It sets us free from confusion and compels us to glorify God by sharing our life of joy that is able to love God and please Him. It rejoices in the freedom of loving God by loving others without fear of condemnation.
Calvinists only rob us of our freedom in Christ to love by warning us that such zeal could be a mere attempt at self-righteousness. But we know that righteousness is a finished work, and we will not submit ourselves again to the fear of condemnation…
…for there is no fear in love.
Tuesday Night Bible Study
September 9, 2014
Study of the Book of Acts
|Tonight’s Text – Acts 13:48 – 14:7 Brief review
- The word was published
διαφερω – “dee-ah-fer-oh”
To carry through
- Acts 13:6-8
- Acts 6:9-12
- Matthew 27:16-20
- Paul and Barnabas expelled
– εχβαλλω – “ek-ball-oh” – to throw out
- A practice of devout Jews
- Symbolic gesture of derision towards Gentiles
- Used by Jesus to mock the religious elite
- Gesture of judgment upon the Jews
III. Spirit-filled disciples of Antioch
πληροω – “play-ro-oh” –
To make replete; to cram
- Imperfect tense indicates an ongoing occurrence.
- Compare with Galatians 5:13-16
- Bold speaking
- Signs and wonders
- Violent impulses
Used synonymously with “righteousness.” It is the declaration and imputation of righteousness to the believer. This is the very righteousness of God. This is also the salvation of the soul. God NEVER declares anyone righteous unless He makes them righteous. This is not a position only, the person is actually made righteous.
2. The New Birth
Normally, sanctification would be discussed next, but it is important to understand how we are truly righteous—yet we still fall short of God’s standards in this life. The new birth takes place in time when we believe, and is a spiritual reality which lacks the experiential evidence we would expect, yet the Bible is explicit about what takes place. Our old spiritual self dies a literal death “with Christ,” and we are born again with an incorruptible seed. This is pictured in water baptism. We are new creatures. We do NOT have two natures, we only have one nature.
It is the human body. It is not inherently evil, what God created that was good originally became weak in the fall, like creation, but is not inherently evil. This is why we are actually righteous, but fall short of God’s glory: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Sin was found in Lucifer, an angel created by God. It is described in the Bible as a master. Sin masters those who are not saved, but is hindered by the conscience God created in every being. God also wrote His character traits on the hearts of all people because we are born in His image. Unbelievers are not completely mastered by sin because they are born in God’s image. Unfortunately, unbelievers often confuse the image of God with their own righteousness.
When a believer sins, it is a violation of the Bible, but is considered to be sin against God and His family, directly or indirectly, by bringing shame on God’s name. For the unbeliever, violation of the law leads to eternal condemnation while sin for the believer can lead to chastisement and loss of reward.
It means to be set apart for God’s purposes. The gospel is really a call to kingdom living. Escape from eternal judgment is a positive by-product. See Andy Young’s TANC 2014 sessions on sanctification.
The earth is presently ruled by Satan. It is the kingdom of darkness. God’s kingdom is NOT on earth nor is the earth being gradually transformed from one kingdom realm to another via the collective Christocentric psyche of the church. We are ambassadors of God’s heavenly kingdom. Christ will return, destroy Satan’s kingdom, and set up His own. Christians are to make as many disciples as possible until that day. The church has no task in bringing forth God’s kingdom on earth. We display the will of the kingdom, and call people to it, but have NO task in bringing it to earth.
Hell was not created for man, but for Satan and the demons who were never offered salvation. A loving God sends no one to hell, people merely choose what kingdom they want to belong to. The gospel is a call to escape the earthly kingdom and its slavery to sin, and be transformed into God’s kingdom of light.
8. The Bible
“Law,” “scripture,” “holy writ,” “the law and the prophets,” “the word,” “the law,” etc., are all interchangeable terms for the closed canon of scripture. The Bible is God’s law and wisdom for life and godliness. It is also a full-orbed metaphysical treatise. It defines reality.
9. The Law of Sin and Death
It’s the Bible’s relationship to unbelievers. It describes how the unbeliever will be judged in the last day for every violation of conscience.
10. The Law of the Spirit of Life
It describes the believer’s relationship to the Bible. The transformed heart of the believer now desires to obey God, is no longer enslaved to sin, and cannot be condemned by the law. The Bible is a manual for our kingdom citizenship.
There are two: one of condemnation for those who chose the kingdom of darkness, known as the Great White Throne Judgment, and a separate one for eternal rewards known as the Bema Judgment.
This is the other salvation. It is the redemption of the body at resurrection. This salvation is often confused with justification, or the salvation of the soul.
Justice is of paramount importance to God and He is angered when it is not practiced by people whether lost or saved. Fairness matters to God.
The Christian life is NOT a rest. John Calvin believed sanctification is the New Testament version of the Old Testament Sabbath rest. Because Protestantism only sees ONE application of the law, to judge/condemn, Christians must supposedly rest while Jesus fulfills the law for us.
Unwittingly, this defines Christians as “under law.” Who keeps the law is irrelevant, it can’t give life, and it can’t justify. Protestants must wrongly assert this because they reject the two applications of the law and make it strictly for condemnation only. In contrast, Christians can use the law lawfully because it can no longer condemn them. In Protestantism, the condemnation of the law is not removed for the Christian.
I. God declares people righteous without making them righteous. “Sinner” is not past tense.
II. Perfection is defined as perfect law-keeping in this life.
III. The new birth is defined as a realm or ability to see/experience something that is not our own essence as believers.
IV. “Flesh” is inherently evil, not merely weak.
V. “Earth” is not merely weak, but inherently evil.
VI. “Sin” is the essence of the material world, and not a “master” separate from it.
VII. Sanctification (the Christian life) is a rest. John Calvin believed New Testament sanctification is the Old Testament Sabbath rest. It is the belief that the Christian life is a rest from works because all works are still under law.
VIII. God’s kingdom is presently on earth.
IX. Hell was also created for man.
X. Single relationship to the law for both believers and unbelievers.
XI. One judgment.
XII. Salvation of the soul and body happen at the same time.
Originally posted on Paul's Passing Thoughts:
I’m past it now. Most of my spiritual heroes have fallen. I am now ready for the rest of them to fall if they do— the few that are left, which include the dead. It’s a good test for one’s faith—do we follow men or Christ?
They cross my path now and then—those who are going through what I have gone through. Some are in the denial stage—others in the disillusionment stage that will draw them closer to Christ and give them more resolve for the truth. They will be ok; after all, every Christian is born again with a little bit of Noah in them.
Have you ever thought about what it must have been like for Noah? He was one of the few Christians left on the face of the Earth, and beyond him, only family members. Noah was a follower of God and didn’t follow the crowd…
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We now come to chapter four in our study of Romans. Thus far, Paul has emphasized that all men, whether Jew or Gentile, are saved by faith alone. This salvation is a revelation of God’s righteousness, and is imputed to us when we believe in Jesus Christ. We have learned that the gospel is the full counsel of God which of course includes the death burial, and resurrection of Christ. We have learned that Paul was very concerned with a spiritual caste system that would render the Gentiles as second-class citizens in the church. Though the church is uniquely Jewish, God shows no partiality in regard to race and gives the various gifts of salvation to all men freely.
What we have in the book of Romans is a radical dichotomy between justification and sanctification; or said another way, salvation and its imputed righteousness set against the Christian life as kingdom citizens living on earth as aliens and ambassadors. However, there is NO dichotomy between law and gospel. Why? Because both are the full counsel of God. In the Bible, “law,” “truth,” “gospel,” “Scriptures,” “holy writ,” “the law and the prophets,” and other terms are used interchangeably to speak of the closed canon of God’s full counsel for life and godliness. Christ as well as Paul made it absolutely clear: man lives by every word that proceeds from God and ALL Scripture is profitable to make the servant of God complete in every good work.
Now listen: though the life application of some Scripture changes with time and circumstances, it still remains that all Scripture informs us in regard to our walk with God in the way we pray, think, and act. We do not stone rebellious children in our day. Nay, when we have a rebellious teen in the church, we do not gather the congregation together and stone him/her to death. With that said, does the fact that God at one time instructed the Jews to do so inform us in regard to many applications for teen rebellion in our day? Absolutely. Oh my, the contemporary applications in our day are almost endless. Not only that, Old Testament ritual and symbolism offers a built-in protective hermeneutic for the Scriptures as a whole. What do I mean by that? Well, you can mess with words, but symbolism is very difficult to mess with. If it’s a lampstand, it’s hard to change that to a Honda Civic. Right?
Paul delves into a paramount truth for Christians in the book of Romans: The relationship of the law to the unsaved verses the saved. And here it is: the lost are UNDER the law, and the saved are UNDER grace, but informed by the law. Let me repeat that: the lost are UNDER the law, and the saved are UNDER grace, but informed by the law. And we can see this right in the same neighborhood of the text that we are in.
Romans 3:21—But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—
That verse pretty much says it all. We are justified apart from the law, and as we will see, Paul means totally apart from the law. But we are informed by it. Paul states in Romans 3:28:
For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
Now note what he states after a few verses following in Romans 4:3,
For what does the Scripture say?
Paul strives to make the point in this letter that law is not even on the radar screen in regard to justification. And this is extremely important to know in our day for many teach that law is on the justification radar screen and therefore Christ must keep the law for us in order to maintain our justification. Not so, there is no law to keep in regard to justification—a righteousness APART from the law, the very righteousness of God has been imputed to our account in full. Paul even writes (and this is very radical) that Christians are sinless in regard to justification because there is no law in justification to judge us:
Romans 7:1—Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives?
Romans 7:6—But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive….(v.8) Apart from the law, sin lies dead.
Now, the law can judge our sin in our Christian life, but that can’t touch the fact that we are “washed.” Therefore, in sanctification, we only need to wash our feet to maintain a healthy family relationship with our Father God and Brother, the Lord Jesus Christ. Turn with me and let’s look at this in John 13:1-11:
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
Clearly, “washing” refers to salvation, and differs from needing the lesser washing of the feet. The example is set against the unregenerate betrayer among them. Note that Jesus said that even though we needed to wash our feet, we are still “completely clean.” My, my, what a strong contrast to much of the teachings in our day; i.e., the idea of “deep repentance” that is the same repentance that saved us and keeps us saved—as long as we are in a Reformed church where such forgiveness is available. (more…)
The proof is in the contemplation:
I was born again in 1983, but being saved by God does not automatically fix stupid in the here and now. The first stupid thing I did was to join a Baptist church because, by golly, I was saved and I was going to do this Christian thing the right way. Though a selfish sinner ruled by lust, like all of humanity, I had some good God-given qualities; i.e., I took satisfaction in doing a quality job. I brought that quality with me into my Christian life.
To some degree I am not at fault. How was I to know that Baptists are Protestants? How was I to know that Baptists would teach me the ways of Protestant orthodoxy? How was I to know that the fathers of Protestantism despised reason?
Are Protestants stupid? Sure they are. What other breed of homosapien would invest thousands of dollars to learn extensive knowledge about a religion founded by men who believed mankind to be totally depraved and unable to properly understand reality? Stupid? Maybe “sane” is the better question; who endeavors to earn a PhD in total depravity? Moreover, consider the fact that men who earn these nomenclatures of knowledge that plunges the depths of man’s incompetence are themselves men of renown and respected as knowledgeable about knowing nothing.
Yes, supposedly, according to Calvin and Luther, when Paul told the Corinthians that he knew nothing but Christ and Him crucified, he wasn’t talking about knowledge of other gospels, he was talking about the “foolishness of the cross.” Hence, the world rejects the cross because they believe man can know something of value other than the salvific work of Christ. They therefore see the cross as “foolishness.” Calvin and Luther mocked the thinkers of their day and ridiculed those who proposed that the Earth was round and the solar system was in motion. Their serial killing children, the Puritans, attributed the exploits of Benjamin Franklin to demonic powers. Any knowledge other than the cross is not the “cross story,” it is the “glory story.” The glory of man rather than the glory of God.
The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. As a pastor, I saw no need whatsoever to learn any “vain philosophy,” and certainly didn’t learn any in high school or seminary. In both cases, Plato is a touchy subject. The Colonial Puritans were ridiculed for being Platonists by their Aristocratic detractors who were children of the same Enlightenment movement that clearly saved Europe from being a third world country shrouded in superstition. The Puritans founded our public school system. They also founded the Ivy League schools from which all of our seminaries came. These were prodigies of Socrates and Plato who defined true wisdom as knowing nothing.
From that gene pool came the Gnostics who defined the “secret knowledge” in the same way. Basically, they were peddlers of happiness in the midst of knowing nothing: “Eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” And if you messed up the unity and happiness of the communal group led by those with the gnosis, you died a lot sooner.
So, what in the world philosophy inspired this rant? Some time ago, it came to my attention that an atheist website reposted one of my articles in a favorable light. Even after being awakened to the importance of world philosophy and ideas by church historian John Immel, I was horrified. Certainly, I had to then consider that what Calvinists say about me may be true; am I really an “enemy of the cross”? Worse yet, this is a website that has a global rating of 609 with Alexa, that’s #609 worldwide (Google is #1). This multiplied the horror of my evil deed even more. Certainly, if these atheists liked what I wrote, it was pure evil!
Fearfully, I reread the post in order to come to grips with my horrific folly. Soon the fear turned to utter disbelief. The post pointed to the authoritative wisdom of God in the Scriptures. Huh? I reread it again; why would they promote these ideas on their blog? The post, at least in my estimation, assumed metaphysical interpretation via the Bible. So, I stuck around and read some other articles on the website. Clearly, I perceived more of a problem with stupidity than with God. In fact, I couldn’t find any article that had a problem with God in particular; the consistent theme seemed to be that Christians are anti-reason, and my friends, it is no less a fact that Luther called reason a filthy whore that should have dung rubbed in her face to make her ugly.
Now enter what I perceive going on among contemporary Christian youth in our day, especially after our mission to the Cross Conference in Louisville this past weekend. The youth that were attracted to that conference are thinkers. Granted, they are hindered by Churchianity, but the desire is to be thinkers well equipped for battle in the arena of ideas. That is what draws them to this vein of Calvinism from the T4G camp—it is perceived as being an intellectual Christianity. It’s bogus, but nevertheless, T4G does a good job of selling themselves that way, compliments of hard cash from the working class laity. Hence, this particular group of youth are ripe unto harvest if you make your case. My friends, this is good news.
Now consider the Passion variety of youth (Louie Giglio versus Al Mohler et al). They are where the Louisville group will eventually end up if something isn’t done. The Passion group is quintessential Gnosticism. Louisville really hatched a vision for us, but we are researching in order to ascertain whether or not the Passion crowd is too far gone at this point. Furthermore, the youth we encountered in Louisville are more likely to be heard by those beckoning for Christianity to show itself reasonable. By the way, John Piper is the bridge between the two movements. But with both movements, a transition from less teaching to more experience orientation can be clearly seen.
When it gets right down to it, Western religion and culture is predicated on the debate between Plato and Aristotle. How ironic that the contemporary Calvinists of our day maximize the use of the very technology that their mentors despised. Though they hate Aristotle and the children he bore like Ayn Rand, without them, Al Mohler would be just another Hindu priest adding to the pollution of the Ganges River with cremation grounds. In the same way that those priests proclaim that horribly polluted river a place of purifying, Al Mohler and company are living contradictions.
At any rate, ignorance of these matters has not served Christianity or our society well. Christians do error if they think that they do not have to choose the reality that they will function in. Until Christians can define their reality, they will look stupid and act stupid. The Neo-Calvinist leaders of our day do not want our youth to know that they must make that choice, for if they do not understand the reality that they live in and how it functions intellectually…complete control is imminent.
Our ignorance of these matters is evident because we don’t understand why 900 people would voluntarily stand in line before a giant vat full of flavored poison. This is not complicated: those who interpret realty for others dictate perception. Why was I so horrified that atheists posted my article? Why was I so horrified that they listened?
I still have a lot to learn about how the world works.
Sometime in the night while sleeping, I received an article via email written by the Queen of Anomia, Elyse Fitzpatrick. So as I sit here this morning not without coffee and reviewing emails, I have decided to use this specimen to make some points.
Per the usual, this New Calvinist diva arrogantly pontificates while the following fact runs in the background like Lou Priolo justification: the New Calvinists have been working on running the American church for 44 years now, and have dominated American evangelicalism for ten years; so, where’s the beef?
Second point: New Calvinism is a return to authentic Protestantism which is Gnostic at its core. Of course we can’t be saints in the flesh—flesh is of the material realm. Again, I beseech Christians everywhere to read the foundation of Protestant doctrine, the Heidelberg Disputation; it is expressly Gnostic. I might also add that the New Calvinist movement is a good thing because it is forcing God’s people to come to grips with our evil Protestant roots.
Third point: Queen Elyse, like the commentator “Lori,” states something we hear often that is a smoking gun…pointing out that we aren’t perfect—we don’t keep the law perfectly.
Stop right there. This simply means that they see Christians as still under the law whereof the standard is perfection. This is a twofold error: there is NO law in justification, and justification is a finished work and is no longer to be of concern to the Christian. The unjustified are “under law,” but the justified are justified “apart from the law.” Protestantism fuses justification with the law, and keeps Christians under the law. That’s the Pauline definition of the unregenerate.
Point A under point three: antithetical to Pauline soteriology, this posits the idea that there is life in the law because Jesus keeps it for us. Who keeps it isn’t the point—the point is that there is no life in the law.
Point B under point three: contrary to Pauline theology, if perfect law-keeping can bring life, there are TWO SEEDS and not ONE; Jesus and the law both. No! Jesus came to “end the law.” The Promise did not say that there are two seeds, but only one. The Promise is not of law.
Point C under point three: if law and justification are fused together, there is still condemnation for the believer. Our sins are only covered, not ended.
Point D under point three: if perfection is still the standard for Christians, there is no new birth because the old us who died with Christ is still under the law and not free to serve under the law of the Spirit. See Romans 7:1ff. By the way, this is not to be confused with the GOAL of perfection in sanctification.
Point E under point three: yes, in regard to justification, we are, in fact, perfect because there is no law to judge us. Protestantism therefore makes sin against a law justification (a metaphysical anomaly for the Christian) the same as sin in family relationship. Hence, they are saying we sin under the old seed that died. We are not truly brothers/sisters with Christ—we are not literally born of God.
Point four: This is why Protestantism is a vile and egregious false gospel that turns holy writ completely upside down from Genesis to Revelation.
Point five: almost everyone, Prince, MacArthur, Osteen, Driscoll, Jeremiah, Lawson, Wright, Mohler, Johnson, et al, either believe or unwittingly function according to this progressive justification. They are all theological thieves sitting at the poker table bickering at one another.
Point six: making the law of sin and death the same thing as the law of the Spirit of life is the essence and formal definition of antinomianism, the paramount religion of the last days according to Christ. The king of antinomianism will be the antichrist himself. We know who the queen is.
Point seven: not everyone is wrong; we have “Scott”:
Thanks for this, Elyse. I would like to suggest that in your desire to bring folks to reality, you miss a distinction that is too often overlooked by my reformed brothers and sisters. Paul does not describe us as, by NATURE, sinners. He says we are new creations in which old things have (past tense) passed away. He says we ‘became obedient from the heart’ in Romans 6:17. He commands us to ‘Let not sin reign…’ In Romans 6:12. And in Romans 8:9 he says, after telling us to now expect to see the law fulfilled as we walk according to the Spirit, that we are not even in the flesh anymore! ‘You are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit.’ (I’m not making this up.)
So what’s the catch? Certainly we should all agree with you that there is plenty of sin that flows in our marriage and that we are no longer under condemnation. So what’s the difference in what I am saying?
Here it is: Paul says that our problem is not that we are by nature sinners. He says that we are by nature saints. Yes he does, in each of his letters. But he also says that we live in unredeemed bodies where the power of sin still dwells, and he calls that the flesh. Nothing good dwells in my flesh! Nada. But I am no longer in the flesh. I’m in the Spirit, and that is not just “positional truth,” any more than Christ being in us by the Holy Spirit is just “positional truth.”
At this point most people will tune out and say “What’s the big deal? It’s just semantics.” Well, Paul spends two and a half chapters in Romans and many other key verses in Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians talking about those “semantics”.
But here’s the secret: If we remember a few key things in the gospel, we can accomplish what you desire in this article and a lot more.
First, remember that, as you kind of said, any emphasis on technique in marriage that takes our focus away from Christ and Christ in us is law!
Second, remember that if we never get it right, we are still justified and destined to reign with Christ forever!
Third, expect nothing good to come from your flesh. If Paul said nothing good dwells in His flesh, then we need to be comfortable with that! Don’t be shocked. Your flesh is capable of any sin you can imagine.
But fourth, know that you really are a brand new creature in Christ where old things have passed away and new things have come. Expect righteousness to flow as you learn to walk in the Spirit and not after the flesh! Expect Galatians 2:20 to become a reality as you recognize who you are in Christ and live by faith in the indwelling Christ.
If I am finding my joy and peace and identity in Christ rather than in my spouse, then I will, like you and your husband, be in it for the long haul because of the covenant we have made.
Point eight: I would only correct Scott on a few issues. First, you are wrong Scott. Queen Elyse does not have good intentions; she is a wicked false teacher. Secondly, yes, Paul said that there is no good thing in our flesh, but that is not to say that flesh (also “members”) cannot be used for good purposes as you pointed out. Flesh is not inherently evil in and of itself, that’s Gnosticism. It is the sin in the flesh that is inherently evil; the sin is the sin. “In the flesh” does not mean flesh is inherently evil; it refers to when the members are being used for evil purposes rather than holy purposes. Something that is inherently evil cannot be used for holy purposes or “holy sacrifice.” The flesh is “weak,” but not inherently evil. The earth is also weak, but not inherently evil, and groans with us for redemption. The earth also proclaims the glory of God and testifies to His glory.
Last point: Scott, you get it; come out from among them and be separate. Do not continue to touch the unclean thing.