Weapons in the hands of Watchdawggies are dangerous things!Those of you who know me, or are familiar with the Restoration Movement know that we are pretty adamant about eschewing systematic (read: man-made) theologies. I’m neither Calvinist, nor Arminian (nor the other paleo-’s, semi-’s, -ists, -ians, and other labels tossed about often by the folks who claim these systematic theologies.

Our (and by “our” I mean Slice 2.0’s) looney Dwayna has once again provided an object lesson on why this is so. In specific, she proves a point I made early this year on my own blog, about how election is an awful doctrine when it comes to orthopraxy, and that our concept of time and God’s are so vastly different, that our trying to explain may well be lethal to the unreached and unsaved. (Interestingly, Calvinist Frank Turk agreed that acting on the doctrine of election was impractical: “If anyone is trying to use this doctrine, for example, to determine how to do evangelism, or how to implement the ordinances/sacraments of the church, that person is tring to set drywall screws with a coffee cup”. Jim Bublitz, of OldTruth, on the other hand, demonstrated where the systems break down.)
In her article from CR?N today, she talks about “Total Depravity and the Doctrine of Election”. In this article, she makes some truly scary comments:

He will use me, or He will get another Christian to witness to the person—I am privileged to be used by God, but God does not need me in the work of salvation.

Furthermore, no one will end up in hell because of a lack of witnessing on my part. It would be arrogant of me to think that I had that much to do with anyone’s salvation!

This is the kind of thinking that gets people killed – forever.

  • Share/Bookmark
This entry was posted on Thursday, May 3rd, 2007 at 8:08 pm and is filed under Commentary, Dwayna, Misuse of Scripture, ODM Responses, ODM Writers, Original Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
+/- Collapse/Expand All

116 Comments(+Add)

1   Ken Silva    http://www.apprising.org
May 3rd, 2007 at 9:19 pm

Chris L.,

“looney Dwayna” Um, what was that you were blethering to me about? Oh yeah, God doesn’t send people to do His will in a sinful manner. So how are you somehow excused from referring this way to your sister in Christ?

2   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 3rd, 2007 at 9:21 pm

My apologies – you are correct, Ken. It is her ideas which have consistently been “looney” – not her.

Dwayna, if you’re reading this, you have my apologies, as well…

3   Ricky Rickard, Jr.    
May 3rd, 2007 at 9:30 pm

I am confused. What part of this is wrong? God does not need me or you to do anything, much less save us. He chooses to use the foolishness of preaching to accomplish this, but even Scripture gives us examples of people saved without anothers aid (see Paul). God will save who He wills. We need to evangelize, that is what we are called to do, but to think we play any part in someones salvation is prideful and wrong. God draws, the Spirit convicts, and Jesus saves. It is that simple. It is the person that thinks because God chooses we should not evangelize, that is the person who is in error. Not the one that evangelizes and believes in God’s election. I think Dwayna got it right.

In Christ,

Ricky Rickard, Jr.

4   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 3rd, 2007 at 9:42 pm

Ricky,

We are called to evangelize for a purpose, not as window dressing. God will save who He will, indeed, but a 3.5 dimensional understanding of predestination renders the gospel useless and Jesus’ sacrifice to play-acting.

Going back to the garden – did Adam have a choice, or was he “predestined” to sin? If he was “pre-destined”, then he had no choice in the matter, and he was a sucker set up by God. I do not believe this was the case – Adam had an actual choice, and God existed in both possible futures. God is soveriegn, and it is in his sovereignity that He relinquishes choices that fit within the bounds of His will.

Dwayna’s view of evangelism renders any urgency moot, because it doesn’t REALLY matter. I’ve seen too many Calvinist’s with this attitude, and what it results in is people dying without hearing about the gospel. Did God “predestine” (in the classic sense) that they would die without hearing it, or is that just one of the possible outcomes allowed by Him as a result? If you follow my linked article, I go into this in much more detail…

5   robbymac    http://www.robbymac.org
May 3rd, 2007 at 9:51 pm

I have often noticed the striking similarities between scientific determinism and hyper-Calvinism (the TR variety). In the end, it all comes out as fatalistic deism.

Most of the hyper-Calvinists that I personally know don’t believe that anyone can really know if they’re a Christian or not, until they die and discover where they’ve ended up for eternity.

6   Timothy Bell    
May 3rd, 2007 at 10:59 pm

I really don’t get what the problem you have with the idea (Biblical idea, IMO) that God gives the gift of faith to whom He has determined will receive it. Many verses point to the doctrine of predestination: Romans 9:11-13, 15, 21; Ephesians 1:4-5; Matthew 25:34…well, look, I can go all night but I don’t have all night.

From your article above, it seems that you reject the doctrine of Election (predestination) on the basis of some Calvinists being too lazy to evangelize because of this same doctrine. Well, I guess that proves that Calvinists are human too. But I rather that you present your position from the Bible itself rather than pointing to a strawman of lazy Calvinists. Besides, Dwayna herself is NOT a lazy Calvinist; she is out there evangelizing more than anyone I’m seeing here, myself included.

The whole notion of Emergent, Seeker-Sensitive, and Purpose-Driven programs is opposite of the doctrine of Election. The Church is turned upside-down in pursuit of getting the “unsaved” into the church so that they will eventually become Christians…the music is contemporized, everyone dresses down- pastors included, doctrine of any sort is de-emphasized or eliminated, man’s sinful condition is barely touched upon, communion is rushed through (at least in my former church)….well, look, I can go all night but I don’t have all night! Everything in church is changed so that it will have the least offensive impact in hopes that the unsaved will see God’s loving side and become Christians. But what kind of God are they “accepting” in this context? They won’t have the full appreciation of Jesus’ death on the cross without a good understanding of the wrath of God.

Being a true Christian isn’t an easy life. You have to die to self and some in the world are literally killed just because they are Christians. If some people go to a church just because they can wear jeans there, I hope their jeans can save them from hell.

7   centuri0n    http://centuri0n.blogspot.com
May 3rd, 2007 at 11:01 pm

You know, one of the salient features of election as described in the Bible is that it describes the reason we can trust what God does to be -salvation- rather than just a hollow or conditional promise. So one of the actions we -can- hang on election is joy toward a faithful God.

It’s hardly an impractical doctrine. It just doesn’t answer every theological question you might think up.

8   Timothy Bell    
May 3rd, 2007 at 11:01 pm

I forgot…..that link to “where the systems break down” just brings you to….right back here. That’s what I call circular reasoning!

9   Chris P.    
May 3rd, 2007 at 11:03 pm

Whether one is calvinist or arminian, or any of the wonderful grey areas in between, the method of evangelization is the same, preach the Word. Neither calvinist nor arminian have a clue who will be saved at any given time, so preach it and quit arguing. As for Dwayna’s first assertion she is spot on. The Lord does not need us to do anything for Him. John the Baptist said that God could make sons of Abraham out of the very stones. Jesus said that the same stones could cry out in praise if we do not. God’s sovereignty and completeness is a fact, that has fallen into total disrepute. Stupid doctrines such as God made us so He woudn’t feel alone, and other such rot are the “dogma du jour”. We exist for Him not vice versa. He is the creator, we are not, in spite of what the open theist heresy says.

As for two possible futures?????
Since omniscience, includes possessing complete prescience, else it is not omniscience,only one choice could be made,which is the one that was made. There are no contingency plans. All things happenj just as He has foreknown them to. If He allows things to happen, then we are to seek His already revealed will in the circumstances. He is a God of order. His Word is living and active, not culturally relevant Most free willers haven’t a clue what real free will is, and are close to preaching the gods of deism and/or pelagianism. Quit making golden calves.

10   centuri0n    http://centuri0n.blogspot.com
May 3rd, 2007 at 11:05 pm

I’m also a little puzzled by your “eschewing” systematic theology. Does that mean that you reject words like “trinity” because they don’t appear in the Bible?

11   Chris P.    
May 3rd, 2007 at 11:05 pm

Esther 4:
12And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. 13Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Sounds like a plan to me, and it does not stand or fall on Esther’saying yea or nay.

12   Soli Deo Gloria    http://graphe-theopneustos.blogspot.com/
May 3rd, 2007 at 11:09 pm

Im not even going to use my words…Spurgeon has already said what needs to be said on the matter of the means of salvation in relation to evangelizing and the doctrine of election…and YES IT IS DOCTRINE! READ EPHESIANS!!!! READ ROMANS!!!! READ YOUR BIBLE!!!!!!!!PLEASE–its a commandment!

“If God would have painted a yellow stripe on the backs of the elect I would go around lifting shirt tails. But since He didn’t I must preach `whosoever will’ and when `whosoever’ believes I know he is one of the elect.”

13   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 3rd, 2007 at 11:20 pm

Chris P,

The point is, that Esther had a choice… It wasn’t “predestined” what she would choose.

Soli,

I’ve read all of them – several times – Right now, we see through a mirror darkly. We don’t understand time the way God does – so our concept of “election” and “predestination” likely falls far short of reality. Election, itself, though, has no practical application to orthopraxy – that is my point (which you reaffirmed).

14   Ken Silva    http://www.apprising.org
May 3rd, 2007 at 11:21 pm

“also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11)

15   Ken Silva    http://www.apprising.org
May 3rd, 2007 at 11:24 pm

cent,

I wouldn’t be surprised if Chris L. does. “Trinity” isn’t an unregenrate rabbinical concept so he probably doesn’t like it.

16   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 3rd, 2007 at 11:24 pm

Timothy,

You wrote:

doctrine of any sort is de-emphasized or eliminated, man’s sinful condition is barely touched upon, communion is rushed through (at least in my former church)

As a member of a “megachurch” which does have contemporary music, and does reach out to “seekers” – the above characterization couldn’t be further from the truth. “Election” applied not only leads to laziness (in some cases), but callousness to actually BEING salt and light – fulfilling the -praxy part of Jesus’ message of the Kingdom of God.

17   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 3rd, 2007 at 11:26 pm

Frank,

Despite Ken’s snide comments, I find the Trinity to be a helpful concept – present in Genesis 1:1-3 – but not something that we have to (or really can) fully explain.

18   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 3rd, 2007 at 11:30 pm

Ken,

I can do a search for the word “predestined” in Biblegateway, as well. The problem with the word – in English and other languages – is that we are bound by three physical dimensions and only a half-dimension of time. God sits outside of the cosmos which, (if we are to believe the evindence in quantum physics and string theory) holds at least 11 (if not 13) dimensions, in which time has multiple dimensions. We do not possess language that understands how it works. The problem isn’t “predestination” – it is our incredibly limited understanding of what it actually means and how it applies…

19   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 3rd, 2007 at 11:35 pm

Chris P,

You wrote:

Since omniscience, includes possessing complete prescience, else it is not omniscience,only one choice could be made,which is the one that was made.

This is exactly the paradox I just described – “presience” is beyond our understanding once you get ourside our half-dimension of time.

20   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 3rd, 2007 at 11:36 pm

Timothy – not sure why that link won’t work correctly – I’ll work on it tomorrow…

21   Ken Silva    http://www.apprising.org
May 3rd, 2007 at 11:53 pm

Chris L.,

Seriously…please give up the Bell-isms about time dimensions and Quantum Physics and look at your arguments. Could you possibly try and quibble about words any more than you just did?

How much better we just let the Bible speak for itself. Despite your denigration of my knowledge of Holy Scripture, I sure didn’t have to search for “predestination.” But the point of that verse is that EVERYTHING works in accordance with the will of God.

Fallen man has freedom of the will – freedom to choose to sin. He is carnal and sold under sin. That is plain in Scripture, no alleged “string theory” will ever change that.

22   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 6:16 am

Ken,

You wrote:

Seriously…please give up the Bell-isms about time dimensions and Quantum Physics and look at your arguments. Could you possibly try and quibble about words any more than you just did?

It’s not a “Bell-ism” – he may have borrowed it for a lecture, but it isn’t his. God, in His very nature, is beyond our comprehension, and this is one aspect of WHY this is so.

This is not “quibbling” about words – it is observing why when we take certain concepts contained within scripture (election) and run off with them to create man-made systems which then lead us to act in a way not in accordance to scripture.

Everything DOES work in accordance with the will of God. The question is, how does He grant “free will” – the will to choose – and “predestine”? In our limited understanding of how time works, we make this an either-or proposition. I do not believe it to be such, because BOTH of these are contained within scripture.

You even touch on this paradox in saying “Fallen man has freedom of the will – freedom to choose to sin” – which in essence, is no choice. God allows us to choose to serve Him – He is sovereign, but we are given a choice to do what He has called us to do. He does not just give us “make work”. It is our job to witness for God, whether they choose to follow Him or not.

While I realize you sneer at anything Jewish, the Aleinu, which traditionally was proclaimed by Joshua after leading the children of Israel into Israel, upon the death of Moses, praises God for allowing the Jewish people to serve him, and expresses their hope that the whole world will recognize God and abandon idolatry.

When we use “seeker sensitive” methods to bring people into the church community – realizing that 90 minutes on Sunday morning is only a tiny fraction of the 24/7 nature of the church – it is our hope that the whole world will recognize God and abandon the idols of this world, and will serve Him – leaving “election” up to Him.

23   deborah    http://smallcorner.typepad.com
May 4th, 2007 at 6:28 am

Can someone explain to me how if Dwayna is correct, and Ken agrees with her, and God’s elect are already choosen and God doesn’t need specific people to “assist” (those God has choosen will be saved regardless of what people do), then what is the point of CRN.com’s ministry?

If God’s elect will be saved regardless, and those not elect will not be saved regardless, then why point out heresy, false teachers, etc? It is not like they are preventing anyone from being led astray, it has already been decided.

deborah

24   Todd    http://toddblog.net
May 4th, 2007 at 6:53 am

I understand the humility behind the thought that “God doesn’t need us,” but I don’t believe that’s true. When Jesus left this earth, He gave ultimate responsibility for the Church to His apostles – mere, sinful men. As well, Eph. 2:10 says we were “created to do good works, which prepared for us in advance to do.” I think the verse speaks less about whether or not we have a choice to do it and more about the fact that God uses us to carry out His will. Could He do it another way? I suppose, but that doesn’t really matter, does it? He has chosen us to bring His message into the world – not rocks.

As for predestination, I’m not sure it’s essential that we understand the nature of it. If we are or we aren’t predestined, it doesn’t change the work we have been given to do does it?

25   Matt    http://matbathome.blogspot.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 7:24 am

Mark Driscoll has said that he believes that the fast majority in Seattle are members of the elect. They just haven’t heard the gosepl yet. And that’s his goal, to tell them the gospel.

26   Timothy Bell    
May 4th, 2007 at 8:43 am

Chris L wrote:

doctrine of any sort is de-emphasized or eliminated, man’s sinful condition is barely touched upon, communion is rushed through (at least in my former church)

In regards to your church, well, good then that they still don’t back away from “offending” seekers with the whole truth….right?

Chris, I get the feeling that you picked a point in my first post that you could more or less prove “wrong” to dismiss the whole post. I expected that if your church was still teaching any doctrine of sorts then you, as an attendee of that church, would be putting up scriptures from the Bible to make your point that the doctrine of election is wrong. If I have a beam in my eye, then why did you only pick on a sliver?

Yes, the Bible teaches BOTH free will and election. But WHICH COMES FIRST???? Mankind cannot freely choose to follow God in his depraved state, for God said we are all born of the devil and just as the devil, we aren’t able to repent in and of ourselves. God had to choose which of us receives His gift of faith which enables us to freely choose to follow God. Both free will and election works hand in hand.

You seem to be able to accept that the Bible teaches free will but election is part of the Bible too. To me, you are saying that the doctrine of election is wrong because it makes for lazy Christians. Then God is/was wrong to put it in the Bible? No.

God commands us to preach the Word, to reach the world with the Gospel. But the pressure is off us in regards to the hearer’s response to the Gospel. We present the Gospel and God will be responsible for the results. Just the Word of God will speak to the heart of the sinner, not the music or the décor or the “receptiveness” of the church, among other things.

27   Shua    
May 4th, 2007 at 9:03 am

This is my first time commenting here, but I think it is important for people to realize that Chris L doesn’t seem to be attacking predestination as a doctrine, just saying that it is a terrible doctrine “for orthopraxy” i.e. – if we make it a basis for how we live, we won’t be living the way God would have us live.

28   Todd    http://toddblog.net
May 4th, 2007 at 9:17 am

“Mankind cannot freely choose to follow God in his depraved state, for God said we are all born of the devil and just as the devil, we aren’t able to repent in and of ourselves.”

Where does it say that?

29   Timothy Bell    
May 4th, 2007 at 9:52 am

John 8:42-47 and 1 John 3:8

30   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 9:56 am

Todd,

Interestingly the early church fathers… Iraenius in fact who was a direct disciple of Polycarp who was discipled by John the Apostle… (nice lineage is it not?) taught man to be a moral agent. that he can choose by free will to obey God or not… that God did not make some men evil or some men bad. that all are equal and can do good if they choose to…

The issue as you read on is that man does not have the “tools” to sustain his morality or goodness… that we all fall and fail and in that sin. We choose our own way.

In Romans it does not say man was born depraved, but that God give man over to his depraved mind as man chooses to not find God in creation… then in mans wrong choosing, he then worships created things instead to the Creator… in that man the highest of creation lowers himself below other created things in his worship of it.

Read Romans one carefully and one will see this… Man being depraved already can’t then be turn over to a depraved mind…that it nonsensical… in fact if one is totally depraved, there is no turn but from depravity to good… yet we see there in Romans man turning to depravity…

And in that all men are equally sinners in need of a Savior as without the Holy Spirit in us and being clothed in Christ we cannot sustain our own goodness and must walk in the goodness of Christ and in His obedience.

Blessings,
iggy

31   Todd    http://toddblog.net
May 4th, 2007 at 9:58 am

Um, I’m not sure either of those verses speak to OUR (humanity) being sons of the devil. Those are both directed to specific people:
John 8 – Pharisees
1 John 3 – Those who do what is evil

If you read on v. 9-10 say, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.”

By your using this verse as proof that we are literally children of the devil, if we ever sin, we aren’t children of God. I don’t believe that.

32   F. Turk (centuri0n)    http://centuri0n.blogspot.com
May 4th, 2007 at 9:59 am

Chris –

When you say the Trinity is “not something that we have to (or really can) fully explain,” how does anyone know whether or not The Watchtower prophets are doing God’s work or not? That is, is there any difference between their Jesus and the Jesus extolled at John Piper’s church?

33   Chris P.    http://jeremiahsquestion.blogspot.com
May 4th, 2007 at 9:59 am

I was not speaking of predestination. I was speaking of foreknowledge. God foreknows everything, and allows certain choices and events to stand. That in itself is a mode of predestination.
This is why the socianist/processtheology/open theism teachings are gaining ground. We have gone from Paul and Isaiah’s descriptions of men whining about why and how they are made, to men whining about God’s very nature and how He actually portrays Himself in His word. These teachings will eventually lead to a rejection of Emmanuel to a man made variant of the incarnation. We are already seeing this.
No wonder they would not camp near the awesome presence
of God at Sinai. The golden calf is mankind portraying a god made in their image and likeness.

Romans 3 quotes several scriptures which prove beyond doubt that men do not seek nor ever seek God of their own volition. (see the golden calf again) Men seek everything but God.
Jesus must be lifted up, i.e. I know only Jesus Christ and Him crucified, the essence of the Gospel message. Only those who have an ear hear, as men can only come to Him if the Father is doing the drawing.
The parable of the sower does not say that the sower made the good ground fallow. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. We can participate by interceding and asking for the ground to be tilled, but our job is to spread seed and water the good soil. One plants, one waters, but God brings the harvest/increase. So Acts tells us that God added daily all who were being saved.
The elect is Israel and I don’t mean just the jews. Eph 2 and Romans 9-10-11 explain that the fullness of the gentiles plus the remnant of the jews are elect Israel.

34   Ricky Rickard, Jr.    
May 4th, 2007 at 10:02 am

To claim that believing the doctrine of election creates a lack of urgency or laziness is really building a strawman. I believe these doctrines and know others that do that are neither lazy nor lack in urgency. Also, because it defies your understanding does not make it true. To question God for decisions He makes is rather prideful and foolish.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— Romans 9:19-23

If a person fails to evangelize, whether Calvinist, Arminian, or anything else, they are at fault for failing to heed the command of God. But to throw theology away based on faulty, man made arguments is foolish and dangerous. We need to be active, in evangelism, in good works, but also in the study of our God. To fail in any of those areas is again to fail to heed the command of our God.

35   Chris P.    http://jeremiahsquestion.blogspot.com
May 4th, 2007 at 10:06 am

2 Thess 2:
9The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

God sends the delusion that seals their fate as thy “chose” to not love the Truth. he makes sure they get exactly what they wanted.
Romans 1 tells us that He gives them over to their depravity
since they choose not to worship Him. He turns them over to what they choose. God is the one who seals their fate.
I am not a supporter of supralapsarian theology, but I do support the foreknown decisons and actions of a sovereign God.

36   F. Turk (centuri0n)    http://centuri0n.blogspot.com
May 4th, 2007 at 10:08 am

Ken –

I’d caution you as a brother that when you start going down the road that it is not a matter of obedience for a believer to also be an evangelist (to a greater or lesser degree), you are sliding off the page of Scripture. Election is certain, and the command to preach the Gospel to all, in season and out of season, to be all things to all people in order that some might be saved and we can share in the riches of the Gospel with them is required — not for compliance, but as fruit. A city on a hill; a light on a lampstand; a servant who hides his talent in a hole — these are all examples of what the life of the believer must be (or, in the last case, what he cannot be).

If this thread is about whether evangelism is necessary, it is necesary — but as a consequence and not as a duty or requirement. God does the saving, but even as Paul says, I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am -filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions- for the sake of his body, that is, the church. We bring Christ to people through the word and through our sufferings. That’s the method of delivery of the Gospel.

Praise God for it.

37   Chris P.    http://jeremiahsquestion.blogspot.com
May 4th, 2007 at 10:08 am

Ricky
Amen! If anything the times are more urgent then ever.

38   Matt    http://matbathome.blogspot.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 10:11 am

I vote for a change to this topic title.

How Systematic Theology Debates Kills CRNinfo.

I don’t care to get into these kinds of debates.

39   Todd    http://toddblog.net
May 4th, 2007 at 10:12 am

Ricky, you said “But to throw theology away based on faulty, man made arguments is foolish and dangerous.” I don’t disagree. I would also say that maintaining theology based on faulty, man made arguments is also foolish and dangerous.

If we take the scriptures as a whole – which we should – the idea of election is seen repeatedly as is the openness of God’s grace, available to all people, not just those He has fore-chosen. I believe that our interpretation of election/predestination is a flawed view, but I also recognize that whether or not I’m right or wrong about this issue matters very little.

40   Timothy Bell    
May 4th, 2007 at 10:19 am

Todd, John 8 may have been directed to the Pharisees but it applies to everyone. The Pharisees kept on insisting that they were justified by being sons of Abraham and by keeping of the Law. But the Jews and Gentiles alike all have Adam as the same father, all born into sin and therefore we were/are all of the devil. We all did evil.

Here’s Ephesians 2:8-9 (New King James Version): 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

The ONLY way we can be saved is through faith, not of ourselves in our orginal sin nature. We are not able to make the decision for Christ without this gift of faith that God selectively puts into us. We will be born of God (born again) when we believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

41   Todd    http://toddblog.net
May 4th, 2007 at 10:29 am

Timothy, the idea of God selectively putting faith into certain people isn’t something I subscribe to. I just don’t believe that’s what the Bible teaches. However, I recognize my limited knowledge in this area. Can you show me otherwise?

42   phil    
May 4th, 2007 at 10:34 am

Matt,
I’m with you, I don’t really like spending a whole lot of time debating this kind of stuff, as everyone has pretty much up their minds.

There is one thing I will comment on. I’ve noticed how a lot of people like to add on, “like Scripture says” to the end of their argument, as if that is the nail in the coffin, and everyone must accept their opinion as 100% correct, because that “what Scripture says”. Nevermind the fact that there have been true Christians on both sides of these types of issues for a long time and people have debated what exactly that scripture says for just as long.

I’m not saying the Scripture isn’t 100% clear on some fundamental issues – it definitely is. But on secondary issues, it is silly to me to just yell, “but Scripture says” and act like my own personal interpretation is the final word.

On another note, I’ve been reading Dallas Willard again recently, and I’m struck at how our theologies have failed us at the most basic level. Jesus told us to go make disciples, but we have somehow lost the meaning of that word. It really is all pointless if we aren’t really putting an effort into truly being disciples.

43   Matt    http://matbathome.blogspot.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 10:40 am

Hey Phil-

Shameless self promotion, but I’m blogging my way through Willard’s “The Spirit of the Disciplines.” Ch 1 is here:

http://matbathome.blogspot.com/2007/05/spirit-of-disciplines-chapter-1.html

44   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 10:59 am

Shua said:

This is my first time commenting here, but I think it is important for people to realize that Chris L doesn’t seem to be attacking predestination as a doctrine, just saying that it is a terrible doctrine “for orthopraxy” i.e. – if we make it a basis for how we live, we won’t be living the way God would have us live.

Yes, I agree. I think we read far too much into “predestination” as it relates to orthopraxy – often bringing in elements of 7th century fatalism – which would then lead us to act in a way not in accordance with God’s desire. Mordacai’s words to Esther were given as a warning – that God’s will would be done – that if she did not choose to act in accordance with God’s desire, that someone else would. However, as written by Dwayna, this same logical structure was no longer written as a warning. As such, it removed any sense of urgency (which I believe does exist).

Timothy,

I didn’t write any more last night and and pull out a detailed response, because my wife was turning off all the lights and going to bed. She generally likes it that I come to bed at the same time, rather than spend all night on the PC, even in theological debate…

I picked the “sliver”, because it is the heart of the lie told by many of the Calvinist persuasion about “seeker sensitive” churches in general. Yes, I can start pulling scriptures, given more than 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there, but I didn’t have that luxury of time (nor do I at the moment).

I have only a few moments, now, as well, as I wolf down my lunch, but just a few more observations.

Matt wrote:

How Systematic Theology Debates Kills CRNinfo.

I don’t care to get into these kinds of debates.

I really don’t want to get into a full-blown debate of Calvinism vs. Arminianism (or the other shades of it, either), as those have gone on for centuries, with most minds firmly made up. Systematic Theology, itself, I believe is worth discussing, though. While it does have some worth, the man-made “systems” are much like Newtonian Physics – they explain how a number of things work within a certain band of observation. However, like Newtonian Physics and other man-made ’systems’, when you get to the edges of the band (for instance, the nature of time, itself), these ’systems’ break down. Where this “breaking down” goes from becoming an esoteric issue to one of importance is when it impacts orthopraxy.

45   Brendt    http://csaproductions.com/blog/
May 4th, 2007 at 12:05 pm

Chris, I see where you’re coming from, but I think you’re laying a template over Dwayna’s quote here. Granted, it is based on a myriad of looney things that she’s written before, and maybe even your reading-between-the-lines is accurate for her, but in a more general sense, I think not.

Taken at face value, there’s nothing Calvinistic about Dwayna’s statements (at least what you quoted here). Now we know that she is more Calvinistic than Calvin was, and her statements may have been informed by that. But in and of themselves, the statements do not speak of or point to election / pre-destination.

If those beliefs lead to a practice of less urgency, then that is certainly wrong. But it’s also illogical — those statements do not produce bad orthopraxy in and of themselves.

God doesn’t need us for anything — Paul was very clear about that in Acts 17:25. Believing that doesn’t make you a Calvinist or an Arminian. All that means is that you disagree with Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu.

But to take that statement as an excuse to not do something (or do it less) that God has commanded us to do is wrong. Neither side of the A/C debate has a corner on dis/obedience.

46   Timothy Bell    
May 4th, 2007 at 12:33 pm

Well, Chris, if you are going to call Dwayna “looney” and/or the doctrine of Election “looney,” then it seems you are picking a fight. For I am a financial supporter of both Apprising Ministries (Ken Silva) and Lighting The Way Worldwide (Dwayna). Either put up with what you started or shut the website down.

47   Matt    http://matbathome.blogspot.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 12:38 pm

I think he apologized for callng Dwayna a looney.

The thing that’s good about this site is when they make a mistake, they leave it up there. They don’t mysteriously delete articles, like what happened when Ingrid had that meltdown with her friends.

48   Todd    http://toddblog.net
May 4th, 2007 at 12:40 pm

Timothy, I ask this in all sincerity, why do you financially support those two ministries? What compels you to do such? What need do they address?

49   amy    
May 4th, 2007 at 12:44 pm

Chris,
While we’re into the topic of apologizing, how about apologizing for “purveyors of Christian pornography?”

50   Jesse Gistand    http://grace-bible.com
May 4th, 2007 at 1:19 pm

Dwayna?

Did not say that God does not use means. She said that God does not have to. And more specifically, that God did not need her. That is obvious to any humble believer.

That God uses means, and has done so from creation is more than obvious.
To attempt to jump on the proposition that God is Sovereign, and can work another way, yet clearly and consistently works through means; His Word, His Spirit, His people,

Should and does not contradict His Soveriegnty, His Predestinating Purposes, which are replete in scripture;

Nor does it contradict, man’s limited freewill, which is bound by His fallen nature, so that He voluntarly wants to do evil, unless and until God changes His heart, in regeneration.

These things are clear! And the liberal theology being espoused hates a Sovereign God!

Nothing new. Gen 3:1-7

Only the elect, will be saved, and that through the preaching of the gospel, by the fervent, God inspired Church of Jesus Christ. Who are willing to lay down their lives, not because of their tauted freewills, but because Christ has appeared to their hearts, in the revelation of the gospel, and has moved them by His Spirit to this love, which He first demonstrated
for us!

History proves, that the true evangelist, believed these glorious doctrines, and it did not disturb, their praxy; at all!

” I do all things, sayeth the Apostle, for the electsake!

This is a mystery, which has been revealed!

By His Grace, alone!

51   Timothy Bell    
May 4th, 2007 at 1:29 pm

Todd, I support Lighting the Way because they do outright evangelism in Venice Beach, West Hollywood, Colorado, and soon to be in New York City itself. Dwayna has a very devoted heart for God and I agree with her on many issues.

I agree with Ken Silva about Purpose-Driven, Emergent, and Seeker-Sensitive. I believe the Bible is on his side. Simple as that. So I support him…financially and in blog-battles.

52   Mark    
May 4th, 2007 at 1:38 pm

Timothy Bell,
Are you related to Rob Bell?

53   Timothy Bell    
May 4th, 2007 at 1:52 pm

Yes, I’m related to Rob Bell. We both share ancestors named Adam and Eve. Though I lived for a time in West Michigan area, no, I’m not related to Rob Bell in any recent ancestral lines.

54   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 1:59 pm

Amy,

You said:

Chris,
While we’re into the topic of apologizing, how about apologizing for “purveyors of Christian pornography?”

I’m not sure an apology is necessary for this one. What is primarily published on CR?N/Slice 2.0 would fall under the heading of “Christian pornography” (i.e. “gossip/slander of Christian brothers and sisters, serving to fill prurient desires to see Christians who do not fit narrow human standards criticized and demonized; delighting as well in a sense of schadenfreude when said brothers and sisters fail”).

“Purveyors” is not a value judgement of an individual, nor an assessment of their motives, but a neutral occupation:

Purveyor

Pronunciation: (pur-vā’ur), [key]
—n.
1. a person who purveys, provides, or supplies: a purveyor of foods; a purveyor of lies.

So – “purveyors of Christian pornography” would still be condemning the content of CRN, not casting judgement on the motives/salvation/etc. of those who write said “pornography”.

55   Mark    
May 4th, 2007 at 2:12 pm

Sweet! Rock on Dude!

56   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Timothy,

Since Ken won’t answer these questions for us, perhaps you, his supporter, could:

1) What happened to the Connecticut River Baptist Church such that it went from a membership of 100 eight years ago to a small handful of people today?

2) Is a large church, by default, a sign of “selling-out” the gospel? If so, why doesn’t this apply to John McArthur’s church. If not, why, for Ken, does it seem to apply to every large church besides Johnny Mac’s?

There’s a whole bunch more, but those are just a couple of quickies off the top of my head…

57   amy    
May 4th, 2007 at 2:20 pm

“serving to fill prurient desires to see Christians who do not fit narrow human standards criticized and demonized;”

What desires are the criticisms toward CRN filling for those at CRN Info and Analysis?

How are CRN Info and Analysis views “broad and godly” in contrast to CRN’s “narrow and human” views?”

58   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 2:35 pm

Amy,

CRN/Slice 2.0 gives the appearance of glee in pointing out all that is wrong with Christianity, shooting a whole lot of “friendlies” along the way. It offers no commentary, and its predecessor – even worse – offered semi-scripted commentary. It is basically a Christian version of the National Enquirer.

At CRN.Info, we don’t always get it right, and we try to a) apologize when we’re wrong; b) leave room for the possibility of our error.

God desires justice and mercy, and He expects us to care for “the least of these”. As such, our desire is to protect and defend “the least of these” within the body of Christ who are savagely set upon by rabid watchdogs, like CRN, who attack both friend and foe.

As apologies go, one that I’ve offered to my co-writers today is in my “taking the bait” with Ken’s goading yesterday. From this point on, if/when he starts doing this, we will just add him back to the “moderation” list – to slow down and pre-read (but not edit/delete) his posts, and to determine if further action need be taken.

I played into his hands in the sparring, when I should just have let it drop.

ALL readers have my apologies for this.

59   Jim W    
May 4th, 2007 at 3:12 pm

“At CRN.Info, we don’t always get it right, and we try to a) apologize when we’re wrong; b) leave room for the possibility of our error.”
“My apologies – you are correct, Ken. It is her ideas which have consistently been “looney” – not her.”

That doesn’t sound like much of an apology to me. Saying that someone’s ideas are loonie but not the person doesn’t separate the two. It actually emphasizes the overall impression that you believe that someone is in fact a loonie. If you believe someone’s ideas are loonie, it sure seems that it would follow that you believe they themselves are loonie.
Maybe you anti-slicers are loonie, wait, I mean your ideas are loonie, not you.

60   bob    
May 4th, 2007 at 3:34 pm

My 2¢ (not that anyone asked:)- I think looking at theology from a number of different perspectives, including systematic and biblical (that is, author by author) is helpful.
I think too much emphasis gets placed on the systematic aspects and theologies get raised to the level of Scripture itself… which is why I like the idea of biblical theology as a counter-weight to the more proof-text-liable systematic…

But overall, I think your main premise might be a bit overstated. Maybe what you really want to say is that Calvinism kills people dead? (Something else I tend to disagree with, but…)

61   amy    
May 4th, 2007 at 4:26 pm

Chris,
I just read the dialogue from yesterday. So glad I missed participating in it.

You said, “As such, our desire is to protect and defend “the least of these” within the body of Christ who are savagely set upon by rabid watchdogs, like CRN, who attack both friend and foe.” I don’t see how some of your articles, such as this one, for example, are protecting anyone from anything.

If Dwayna was saying, “God knows who the elect are, therefore I’m sitting around and doing nothing,” then I wouldn’t have had a problem with you addressing the issue. But she’s out there.

Where was the danger in what she said?

62   Timothy Bell    
May 4th, 2007 at 5:09 pm

Chris L said:

Since Ken won’t answer these questions for us, perhaps you, his supporter, could:

1) What happened to the Connecticut River Baptist Church such that it went from a membership of 100 eight years ago to a small handful of people today?

I do not know anything about CRBC until I googled it and yep, that is Ken Silva’s church. I still do not know the details of that church and the people and why it went down in size (if indeed that is what happened.) Maybe Pastor Ken taught the reality of living the Christian life and many of those people didn’t like it and quit that church? A smaller church isn’t necessarily bad.

2) Is a large church, by default, a sign of “selling-out” the gospel? If so, why doesn’t this apply to John McArthur’s church. If not, why, for Ken, does it seem to apply to every large church besides Johnny Mac’s?

Peronally, I don’t think the size of the church BY ITSELF means anything….unless it gets so large that laypersons and pastors can live sinful lives due to lack of sufficient accountability. Also, large churches COULD indicate an empire-building mindset of the leader and the leadership of the church and trying to make a name for themselves. Are you saying that Ken believes big churches are sinful?

63   Ken Silva    http://www.apprising.org
May 4th, 2007 at 6:01 pm

Tim,

I appreciate what you have said here. It’s not really nice for Chris to put you in the middle like this.

1) He knows nothing of my views regarding the size of a church. The megachurches I criticize are new evangelical seeker sensitive churches (apples) and Dr. John MacArthur’s church preaches Biblical Reformed doctrine (oranges) and is against the Church Growth Movement. No comparison.

2) The fact is that CRBC had split twice long before they called me as pastor, which Chris apparently didn’t know, and they were already down to 13-16 by the time I became their pastor.

64   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 6:07 pm

Timothy,

You asked:

Are you saying that Ken believes big churches are sinful?

He has implied that on multiple occasions (including yesterday), and outright on some others – which was where I first came into contact with him last year, in a discussion on Verum Serum. His basic premise was driven by a twisted interpretation of the latter part of John 6, coupled with Jesus’ comments on the way being narrow. That was also where we only tangentially ran into the demise of his own flock, though the story was never told.

Bob and amy,

I’ve reread Dwayna’s entire article, and maybe I’m reading tone in where it doesn’t belong, but the implication seems to be that there is no real urgency to evangelism due to the doctrine of election.

I do believe that there are people who will not be reached if we do not do so (in direct contradiction to her second statement above), and that the failure to do so is not on the part of God, but on our part. While Chris P mirrored her comments with the story of Esther, the key difference is that the message to Esther was a warning, yet it seems like an aside in Dwayna’s column. That “sense of urgency” may seem like a small thing, I suppose, but it is that underlying urgency (or lack, thereof) which often drives decision making when the chips are down.

I may be making a mountain out of a molehill, though.

65   Ken Silva    http://www.apprising.org
May 4th, 2007 at 6:15 pm

” the demise of his own flock”

I think that’s a bit of wishful thinking. You might want to see above.

66   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 6:26 pm

Jim W,

In general, we try to separate the idea from the individual when making values statements – unless a clear, overarching pattern is established. For instance, I would wager that everyone reading these words has lied about something, even something “small”, in the past month. While that would make every one of us a “liar”, to label them as such implies that this is that person’s “brand”. It is this technique that Ken, Ingrid and other “watchdawggies” use to tar and feather, and then play GBA down the line.

So, while there have been a number of articles that Dwayna has posted with truly “loony” premises/interpretations of scripture, I doubt that those who actually know her and see the other 99% of what she says and does would see the same thing, and that to call HER “loony” is far too sweeping a judgement, based upon the data avilable. Even the most dispicable of men were made in God’s image, and for me to denigrate who they are on the inside (or to judge their final destination) would be arrogant. It is a line I have crossed before, and which I regret.

This is why there is a HUGE difference between calling HER “loony” and calling some of her ideas such. I was completely in the wrong in that assessment. Even in my criticisms of Ken, I have tried to stick to his lies, half-truths and slander (which are things he has said and done) rather than guessing his motives or final destination. In an earlier article I made a value statement about his motives, for which I apologized when it was pointed out to me. For some, it may be easy, but for a large number of Christian bloggers, it is a hard line to walk.

67   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 6:29 pm

Ken,

Were you a part of CRBC before either split? Were you involved in the cause of either split? During the discussion on VS last year, you seemed to indicate you had some sort of a hand in “winnowing” the flock…

Normally, I wouldn’t ask these kinds of questions, but your probing of a handful of folks who have criticized Mosaic after leaving it brings your own credibility in judging such matters into question.

68   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 6:31 pm

Jim W, Ken and all that support Dwayna Litz…

Do you then support her position that Mike Warnke and Lauren Stratford are not frauds. Ms. Litz has spoken out against Jon Trott that he is a fraud over the expose’ on these two… in fact Ms. Litz had a “friend” who was “heal” by Laura Stratford.

Do you then support Mike Warnke and Laura Stratford… and if so do you have proof they did not lie… other that the assertion from Ms Litz that “Laura Stratford is a nice person”…. as most con men are…

Blessings,
iggy

69   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 6:32 pm

My reference is this btw…

http://bluechristian.blogspot.com/2006/07/discernment-ministry-dwayna-litz.html

70   amy    
May 4th, 2007 at 7:07 pm

Chris,
Quite simply, I didn’t separate the words from the author, who appears to be involved in quite a lot of evangelistic outreach.

71   Ken Silva    http://www.apprising.org
May 4th, 2007 at 7:31 pm

Chris,

“Were you a part of CRBC before either split? Were you involved in the cause of either split?”

Nope; and nope. I was living at least 2,000 miles away and had never even heard of CRBC. I’m sorry if this disappoints you.

72   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 7:37 pm

Ken once again dodges the question or shifts the topic so he does not have to answer… or be accountable…

But,

If one who openly supports some that have been proven frauds and insists that those who did the research are “a satanic front” seems to me that there is a loony fringe going on and really lowers the credibility of CRN… if that be more possible…

Blessings,
iggy

73   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 8:16 pm

Ken,

Not disappointed in the least. Your “winnowing” comments were in the same thread as discussion on CRBC, and it would be easy to infer the two were connected – thus the question.

74   Ken Silva    http://www.apprising.org
May 4th, 2007 at 8:30 pm

Chris L.,

No problem. Could you do me a favor and have iggy stay on point. I didn’t dodge anything re. the CRBC question and I didn’t shift any topic.

75   plainjane    
May 4th, 2007 at 8:33 pm

all this dialogue that i’ve read about theologies and dogmas and who is more right with their interpretation has made me downright scared. What are we discussing here? Is this dialogue even meaningful? Isn’t the truth of the saving grace of our Lord supposed to be simple enough for even uneducated non-theologans (i.e. me)? All of you have truly confused me… I hope that you don’t confuse any other non-believers. It doesn’t matter if some were ‘predestined’ or not; like someone here said earlier, it doesn’t change our work or job to spread the gospel so let’s put our energy to where it counts; to the lost.

76   CMoore    
May 4th, 2007 at 9:39 pm

This entire doctrine – Calvinist vs. Arminian is driving me to distraction. Verses that say “elect” allow satan to get a foothold in my faith and make me wonder if I am one of the “elect”. I cling to the verses that use the word “ALL”. But, regardless, I say as Job did (and as we should all say if we truly are not humanists and really want to serve Him), “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”

77   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 9:58 pm

Iggy,

Just to give credit where it is due, Ken has answered the questions I asked about the CRBC.

78   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 10:01 pm

plainjane and CMoore,

I agree with your sentiments, which go to my point of how – when you boil it down – the doctrine of “election” does not help us understand or follow God’s Word any better, and – IMHO – where I’ve seen it acted upon, it has been to the detriment of the Kingdom.

79   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 10:17 pm

Ken,

I ask you questions all the time you NEVER answer… in fact instead you just say i am ignorant and infer I am stupid… so I stand my my statement as it is true that you have not answered my questions ever…

The only mistake that i made on not being on topic is that this is not the Dywana Litz thread… so I will ask it again… there… and expect no answer there as well…

Blessings,
iggy

80   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
May 4th, 2007 at 10:20 pm

Oh wait… it IS THE DYWANA LITZ THREAD….

I knew that… yet it seems that Ken is wrong again and still dodging the questions…

So here they are again…

Jim W, Ken and all that support Dwayna Litz…

Do you then support her position that Mike Warnke and Lauren Stratford are not frauds. Ms. Litz has spoken out against Jon Trott that he is a fraud over the expose’ on these two… in fact Ms. Litz had a “friend” who was “heal” by Laura Stratford.

Do you then support Mike Warnke and Laura Stratford… and if so do you have proof they did not lie… other that the assertion from Ms Litz that “Laura Stratford is a nice person”…. as most con men are…

My reference is this btw…

http://bluechristian.blogspot.com/2006/07/discernment-ministry-dwayna-litz.html

Now, Ken can YOU stay on topic… do you think Warnke and Stratford to be legit? If not… how do you let someone write for CRN who supports know frauds?

Blessings,
iggy

81   Timothy Bell    
May 4th, 2007 at 11:33 pm

This is the difference between believing in election and otherwise:

When you witness to an unsaved person, you show him/her the scriptures that reveal mankind’s sinfulness and Jesus’ death and resurrection to redeem our souls. Believing in election, you just let the scriptures, which are God’s Word, do the convicting of that person’s heart. If he/she has the gift of faith, they eventually come to Jesus. If not, then what you presented will look like foolishness to them (for they do not have the faith.)

If you do not believe in election, or didn’t know what it was, as I did when I grew up in an Independent Baptist church, you may feel pressure to try to convince the person that Jesus is the right way. I felt a lot of anxiety that the person’s eternal destiny was in my hands if I don’t ‘evangelize him right.’

In the election mindset, God prompts the people to come to church, to the evangelistic table set up in the park, to come up to you personally, among other ways. You don’t need an elephant, donkey, or whathaveyou to attract people to you and/or your church. You don’t need to change your worship music to SonicFlood songs or strive so hard to be ‘relevant’ in so many other ways.

Churches that do not believe in election tend to do a lot of activity to attract people to the church and/or to make Christianity ‘attractive.’ This can include changing the worship music to a more contemporary style, make casual dress code a selling point, tell more jokes from the (now non-existent) pulpit, make references to current music-movies-celebrity in services, install a great light-show setup, plan many ‘fun’ activities during the week, etc. All of this for the purpose of indirectly prodding, attracting, nudge people to Christ. That is a lot of work whereas merely presenting the Gospel from the Bible itself is all that is needed to bring people to Christ. A person who becomes a Christian because he/she is presented with a Christianity that is ‘cool and hip’ or ‘relevant to my needs’ is like a plant among the rocks…it’s roots don’t go deep and it withers and dies.

82   Timothy Bell    
May 5th, 2007 at 12:49 am

Iggy, if Dwayna is/was wrong about Mike Warnke and Laura Stratford, so what? Is that suppose to invalidate all of her other thousands of posts, comments, and articles? Ken or anyone else doesn’t have to agree on *everything* a writer of CRN believes, especially on minor issues such as the Warnke/ Stratford thing.

83   robbymac    http://www.robbymac.org
May 5th, 2007 at 12:37 pm

Timothy Bell,

No, it shouldn’t AUTOMATICALLY invalidate everything else she has written. However, it SHOULD cause people to think twice about her credibility in research, and particularly her claim to “discernment” when she apparently has been easily duped by Stratford and Warnke.

Interesting: CRI (Christian Research Institute) was started by Walter Martins, and is itself a “watchdog” on cults and isms, and it was CRI (through Cornerstone & JPUSA) that exposed Stratford as a fraud.

84   Julie    http://www.loneprairie.net/lp_blog/blog.htm
May 5th, 2007 at 12:43 pm

Iggy, if Dwayna is/was wrong about Mike Warnke and Laura Stratford, so what? Is that suppose to invalidate all of her other thousands of posts, comments, and articles?

…and there’s a point that covers a lot of ground in general terms. Does one “wrong” opinion invalidate all the rest? For a number of discernment arguments, the “purveyors of Christian pornography” seem to say that yes, yes it does.

I purposefully left the last half of Timothy’s comment out of the quote because that’s just too easy.

85   Todd    http://toddblog.net
May 5th, 2007 at 1:59 pm

“Churches that do not believe in election tend to do a lot of activity to attract people to the church and/or to make Christianity ‘attractive.’ This can include changing the worship music to a more contemporary style, make casual dress code a selling point, tell more jokes from the (now non-existent) pulpit, make references to current music-movies-celebrity in services, install a great light-show setup, plan many ‘fun’ activities during the week, etc. All of this for the purpose of indirectly prodding, attracting, nudge people to Christ. That is a lot of work whereas merely presenting the Gospel from the Bible itself is all that is needed to bring people to Christ. A person who becomes a Christian because he/she is presented with a Christianity that is ‘cool and hip’ or ‘relevant to my needs’ is like a plant among the rocks…it’s roots don’t go deep and it withers and dies.”

This entire paragraph is a broad brush, biased view of anti-election churches. I for one know that my church of Christ does absolutely none of those things.

Anyway, none of things you mentioned are wrong. And just because someone encounters the message of Jesus in that way doesn’t guarantee their faith will be weak.

86   Ken Silva    http://www.apprising.org
May 5th, 2007 at 2:16 pm

This entire paragraph is a broad brush, biased view of anti-election churches. I for one know that my church of Christ does absolutely none of those things.

Ditto for those of us lumped under the label “Calvinist” meant in derision. I for one know that my church does absolutely none of the things broad brushed by many from those “anti-election church.”

Anyway, none of things you mentioned are wrong. And just because someone encounters the message of Jesus in that way doesn’t guarantee their faith will be weak.

They are not necessarily right either, often a judgment call by semi-pelagian new evangelicals. And just because someone encounters the message of “a” Jesus in that way also doesn’t guarantee their faith will be strong…

87   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 5th, 2007 at 2:44 pm

Timothy wrote:

Believing in election, you just let the scriptures, which are God’s Word, do the convicting of that person’s heart. If he/she has the gift of faith, they eventually come to Jesus. If not, then what you presented will look like foolishness to them (for they do not have the faith.)

If you do not believe in election, or didn’t know what it was, as I did when I grew up in an Independent Baptist church, you may feel pressure to try to convince the person that Jesus is the right way. I felt a lot of anxiety that the person’s eternal destiny was in my hands if I don’t ‘evangelize him right.’

Or, there is a third way, which is to “live the gospel”, following the example given by Peter:

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

“sharing the gospel” happens the moment an unsaved person first observes you. It is then, when God stirs their heart, that you give them the gospel message, which should be right in line with the way you live. It is giving the message of both the individual gospel and the gospel of the Kingdom of God – the “whole gospel” – with the prompting of God in their hearts that will put them on the road to eternal life…

88   phil    
May 5th, 2007 at 2:57 pm

Timothy,
I don’t see how the things you say of churches that you accuse of not believing in election are anything but cultural elements of a worship service anyway. Really, are there pulpits mentioned in the Bible? Did Jesus say it was wrong to use jokes or cultural references when speaking to people about the Kindgom. Hardly, because He did that all the time. I don’t see how these things point a non-belief in election anyway. One could very well say that a church has these events because they believe God is leading them to and the members believe God will bring prompt those He wants to attend to attend.

It brings me back to what I’ve thought for a long time. The belief in Election really seems like something that should make little difference in all practicality. If anything, I think it has produced the opposite effect where there are some Christians in churches who feel no responsibilty to share the Gospel or live Godly live because everything is in God’s hands anyways.

God doesn’t want us to be racked with guilt about who and how to witness to people, He just wants us to be obedient. As far as different churches holding events, there have been things I have seen churches do that were really dumb. To me, they seem like bait-and-switch techniques more than anything. It is not up to me, though, to judge whether all of those people were being obedient or disobedient to God.

Through it all, I know that God wants to work through His people, and a lot times He works even in spite of our efforts.

89   Ricky Rickard    
May 5th, 2007 at 3:35 pm

It seems that there are some different issues here that need to be addressed.

1. Should we evangelize? Absolutely. Jesus said we were to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. How do we do this? One to One witnessing, open air preaching, tracts, and by simply living our lives as godly people. It should not matter if you are Calvinist, Arminian, Reformed or Emergent, this should be a matter of significant importance and urgency to us.

2. Is theology bad? No. We are to study to show ourselves approved. To simply cast off things the Bible says as too hard or makes me doubt is simply a cover for laziness. I was considered Arminian for 20 years before I was challenged with the claims of Reformed theology. I could have ignored the challenge and hoped it went away, but I didn’t. Neither should any of you. Instead of forcing your preset notion of what you think God is like, actually open the Bible and study it as a whole. I promise you this. You will not regret it, and it will flip your world upside down.

3. Should election be taught, or simply ignored? It should be taught to Christians, not to the lost. If I tell a lost person of election, I will get most of the responses that I see here. Well, if God wants me saved, he’ll save me no matter what. If your church teaches election, it should be taught to show Christians not to doubt their salvation, and completely put their faith and trust in Christ alone.

4. Does the doctrine of election cause laziness? No. I feel more urgency and see more urgency to evangelize from those that hold this doctrine as opposed to those that don’t. I see this argument as a strawmen to go against a preconcieved notion that doctrine, and particularily the doctrine of election, as wrong. I will say again, laziness in evangelism crosses all theologies and denominations, and is wrong in every case.

In closing, I would just say this. Evangelize as God gives opprotunity, study your Bible as it is, not as you want it to be, and be thankful to Christ that He has saved you, and not the preacher down the street.

In Christ,

Ricky Rickard, Jr.

90   another nathan    http://www.perlaetus.blogspot.com
May 5th, 2007 at 3:39 pm

How nice.
This thread has recapitulated one of the dominant theological impasses in the history of christian thought.

A: “You can’t prove I’m wrong.”
B: “You can’t prove you’re right.”

A: “You can’t prove YOU’RE right neither!”
B: “You can’t prove my position is wrong!”

A: “Hyper-Calvinist!”
B: “Denier of doctrine!”

Oy.

round and round and round.

91   chris o    
May 5th, 2007 at 4:11 pm

“If he/she has the gift of faith, they eventually come to Jesus. If not, then what you presented will look like foolishness to them (for they do not have the faith.)”

I was raised with Arminian theology, so even though I went to a Baptist high school, I’m still a little Calvinism impaired. So, my question is how is this statment not fatalism? Just wonderin…

92   Timothy Bell    
May 5th, 2007 at 5:13 pm

Chris L wrote:

Or, there is a third way, which is to “live the gospel”, following the example given by Peter…

Agree with you here.

Phil wrote:

Timothy, I don’t see how the things you say of churches that you accuse of not believing in election are anything but cultural elements of a worship service anyway.

I wouldn’t dismiss the importance of these “cultural elements” if they are included in the church service.

Phil continues:

Really, are there pulpits mentioned in the Bible?

I didn’t mean to imply that. Is removing the pulpit a sin in itself? No, but it is the *reason* behind removing it that I believe reveals a man-centered attempt to placate non-Christian sensitivities, which I believe Purpose-Driven, Emergent, and Seeker-Sensitive churches do, intentional or not.

Did Jesus say it was wrong to use jokes or cultural references when speaking to people about the Kindgom. Hardly, because He did that all the time.

I know that Jesus used verbal illustrations and irony to make a point, but jokes like a stand-up comedian? I don’t think so. What were the jokes Jesus told?

I don’t see how these things point a non-belief in election anyway.

Each one by themselves do not betray a non-belief in election. But wholesale changes in many areas of how a church conducted their services in response to the Purpose-Driven book or Emergent philosophies or Seeker “felt needs” betray that they believe that Scripture itself is insufficient to bring a person to Christ.

One could very well say that a church has these events because they believe God is leading them to and the members believe God will bring prompt those He wants to attend to attend.

I guess I can grant a benefit of a doubt on that. I just hope that they reconsider their efforts if it doesn’t pan out the way they thought it should.

It brings me back to what I’ve thought for a long time. The belief in Election really seems like something that should make little difference in all practicality. If anything, I think it has produced the opposite effect where there are some Christians in churches who feel no responsibilty to share the Gospel or live Godly live because everything is in God’s hands anyways.

If a church that believes in Election has this attitude of doing no evangelism at all “because God does everything anyway,” I’d say they are just as wrong too. God commands ALL Christians to be witnesses and salt unto the world.

God doesn’t want us to be racked with guilt about who and how to witness to people, He just wants us to be obedient.

Right, my contention is that election allows us to realize that God is the one doing the convicting of the person’s heart and mind, so we are free to let Him do the work as we share the Gospel. There is no need for lights, cool video blurbs to impress the person into heaven, or soft contemporary music to tug the person’s heart to Christ, etc. By the way, even traditional churches are guilty of doing the soft music approach at the end of their services, i.e. “Just As I Am” and others.

As far as different churches holding events, there have been things I have seen churches do that were really dumb. To me, they seem like bait-and-switch techniques more than anything.

I certainly agree with you here. Long before Purpose-Driven, Emergent, and Seeker-Sensitive came around was the Charles Finney approach to church and boy, there were dum, D-U-M, dum [spelling intentional] things done. Pastors delivering the sermon from the rooftop! Oh boy! Haunted houses with the Gospel message at the end. Watch the pastor swallow a live goldfish! Reenactments of various biblical scenes which detract from the sermon’s point.

It is not up to me, though, to judge whether all of those people were being obedient or disobedient to God.

I do judge people’s beliefs but I don’t judge whether they are going to heaven or not. That’s in God’s hands. My own beloved mother, who passed away four months ago, loved the Purpose-Driven Life book. She even went as far as trying to set up a “Bible study” group to discuss the book. I know she is in heaven for she was a very faithful Christian but I know that in THIS particular aspect, she was wrong. I’ve told her so, gently. I can’t judge individuals in a Seeker-Sensitive, Purpose-Driven, or Emergent church on whether they are true Christians or not, for I don’t and can’t know everyone. The same for Calvinist, Reformed, charismatic, or those type of churches. One has to look at their fruit or lack thereof they produce in their lives.

Through it all, I know that God wants to work through His people, and a lot times He works even in spite of our efforts.

Yes, He works through all in spite of ourselves more than we know.

93   Timothy Bell    
May 5th, 2007 at 5:39 pm

Chris O wrote: [just how many Chris'es we have here?]

Timothy Bell wrote:

“If he/she has the gift of faith, they eventually come to Jesus. If not, then what you presented will look like foolishness to them (for they do not have the faith.)”

I was raised with Arminian theology, so even though I went to a Baptist high school, I’m still a little Calvinism impaired. So, my question is how is this statment not fatalism? Just wonderin…

In the same manner of response of the GEICO caveman, “Uh…WHAT?”

Fatalism….had to look that up. Okay, I looked it up. Thanks to Wikipedia. I still don’t quite fully understand the concept but I’ll do my best.

The Bible clearly has both doctrines of free will and election. I don’t pretend to know how both exists at the same but it does according to God’s Word. Not everything is revealed to us here in this life. All I know is this (and I’m repeating it again): Man, in his sinful condition, cannot choose Christ unless he is given the gift of faith, which enables him to believe and understand the Gospel. This gift of faith, as I understand it, is given freely to those whom God elects. Perhaps this is where free will comes in, to those whom God elected to receive the gift of faith. I’ll have to search the scriptures to see if it is possible if some of those who received the gift of faith can reject it. I don’t know at this point.

94   Jim from OldTruth.com    http://www.oldtruth.com
May 5th, 2007 at 7:49 pm

Chris L:

Can you explain what you mean by “Jim Bublitz, of OldTruth, on the other hand, demonstrated where the systems break down”?

I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with anything specifically but just trying to understand what you meant. Thanks in advance.

–Jim

95   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
May 5th, 2007 at 10:18 pm

Timothy Bell,

“if Dwayna is/was wrong about Mike Warnke and Laura Stratford, so what? Is that suppose to invalidate all of her other thousands of posts, comments, and articles?”

I have found and documented many of her posts as poorly researched and/or just her opinion based on her opinion…

Like the post she did on Mosaic and their symbols matching the ‘earth’ symbols… which they did not… in fact in that post she is saying that Satan is in charge of those symbols… meaning and I quote her.

“5 Elements (pentagram)Earth, wind, fire, air, sky (or spirit)
Satan has (limited) power over the elements
Job 2:6-God gives Satan power (Job 1:6-8)
Job 1:16- Satan sends fire from heaven
Job 1:17- Satan has power over the nations
Job 2: 7- Satan has power over disease (limited)
Exodus 7:22- Satan duplicated miracles of Moses-power to work miracles
Revelation 21:1, 5 – God destroys the elements/ new heaven and new earth”

The Mosaic symbols are not based on the “Satanic pentagram” and notice all her references are OT? Has not Jesus been raised over all now and even holds the keys to death and hades?

This is then attributing these natural created things to Satan when Christ Jesus has dominion over all things… even in the face that God created them and they were “good”.

Yet, at Mosaic they say this:

WIND – Commission – Acts 2:2
Mission is why the Church exists.
WATER – Community – John 7:38
Love is the context for all mission.
WOOD – Connection – John 15:5
Structure must always submit to Spirit.
FIRE – Communion – Hebrews 12:29
Relevance to culture is not optional.
EARTH – Character – Genesis 2:7
Creativity is the natural result of spirituality

Do you want more?

This quote from CRN contributor states:

“Like the Unity Church, the Quakers don’t believe in Satan, and, as we were told by the Quaker feminist on the tour recently in Philadelphia, they dwell on the “good within everyone” and don’t mention “sin.””

Now, first off the Quakers are not at all like the Unity Church as i have relative who is a minister in that group and they are not a “Christian” group by any means… they have reinterpreted every aspect of the “Christian” faith and made man… divine. That is a far cry from the Quaker idea of the Divine Spark… I again will say I may not agree with their view on this.. but here is the real lie… Quakers do believe in Satan! Yep… they do not deny evil or Satan like the Unity Church does… so Dwayna Litz states this falsehood as a fact.

So now back to Mike Warnke…

If she supports them and they are really frauds and then attacks Jesus People USA calling them a “Satanic front”… and the people that “outed” Mike Warnke and Laura Stratford as liars and part of a coven… isn’t that then slanderous?

How about ther contiunous mocking about CRI? Should we not pray for them instead of mocking and cheering that they did something wrong? She seem gleeful that a great ministry struggled a bit on their ethic… I mean compared to the ethics of CRN… LOL!

If you want I can add more, but to say that it is just one thing is ridiculous as she seems t make things up right and left and is left unchallenged… because “she does so much good”…

????

Blessings,
iggy

96   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
May 5th, 2007 at 10:20 pm

Ken still give no answer…

iggy

97   Timothy Bell    
May 6th, 2007 at 1:36 am

Iggy, I agree with Dwayna that Mosaic’s use of ‘earth elements’ to describe the ‘core values’ is unfortunate …it does smack of wiccan or paganism.

Mosaic said that Jesus calls us to ‘whole earth evangelism’…..uh, what? Am I in an Edgar Cayce church or what?

So each Mosaic core value is paired with an “earth element” and a verse? Ok, let’s take “Fire” for example. “Fire” is mentioned in the verse given, Hebrews 12:29, “For our God is a consuming fire.” Ok, so far so good…”fire” is mentioned in the verse given. All right…the core value matched with this verse is “Relevance to culture is not optional.” ….uh….ummmm….what? I don’t see the relationship. Same for the other ‘elements’ in that the core values don’t seem to have anything to do with the verses given.

Why does Mosaic even bother with all this ‘whole earth’ and earth elements stuff? To make a Wiccan “seeker” feel at home at Mosaic?
———————
The Old Testament is just as important as the New Testament. They go hand in hand. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16
———————
From a Quaker himself:
“But who are we, given that none of us is perfect to say a person is evil? We would say the seeds are within all of us, and perhaps at certain times and places that power comes about. What we reject is this idea of Satan or predestination or original sin. I don’t think Quakers have got time for that.”
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/encounter/stories/2004/1183205.htm

Dwayna’s source for her information that the Quakers do not believe in Satan is from Quakers themselves….”Keep in mind the Quakers don’t believe in Satan; I know, because that fact is posted boldly and proudly in the Quaker meeting hall on the “tour” for visitors in PA which I took last December.”
——————————
I haven’t seen Dwayna herself say she thinks Warnke and/or Stratford are not fakes….she only linked to a Dr. Reid article about Satanic Ritual Abuse which had a paragraph in there basically saying that Cornerstone was wrong in bringing down Warnke and Stratford. Dr. Reid does have another webpage devoted to the Warnke and Stratford issue but I don’t believe Dwayna linked to that particular webpage. It should be noted that Dwayna, on her blog, has a disclaimer: “We partner with many of these ministries linked below in our LTW outreaches for resources to give to the lost. I am thankful for our partnership with all of these Christians. The links are provided for your growth. However, the listing of these sites does not mean that LTW would agree on every point. It should be noted that any site that links with others (like this one) will take you to sites that are not in complete agreement with the original….”
————————
I’m too tired to get into the CRI issue which I really don’t know much about and I couldn’t find “satanic front” in her blog nor a google search link to Dwayna saying or writing that Cornerstone/ Jesus People USA is a “satanic front.”
————————-
Dwayna isn’t a lone gal just doing her thing in her ministry. She has many people overseeing her work. so I don’t believe she goes unchallenged just because she does some good work for Christ. If there is something she says that I know isn’t true or questionable, I certainly would email her…..and be a gentleman about it. As she says on her blog, “Please let me know if anything [on her blog or in the suggested links] is doctrinally unsound. The purpose is to glorify the Lord as we all grow in Him and make Him known to others.”

98   Todd    http://toddblog.net
May 6th, 2007 at 6:16 am

“Mosaic said that Jesus calls us to ‘whole earth evangelism’…..uh, what? Am I in an Edgar Cayce church or what?”

Matt. 28:19

“I am thankful for our partnership with all of these Christians. The links are provided for your growth. However, the listing of these sites does not mean that LTW would agree on every point. It should be noted that any site that links with others (like this one) will take you to sites that are not in complete agreement with the original….”

This is frustrating for those who defend the victims of CRN.com’s attacks, as one of the most frequently used tactics by the authors there is guilt by association. There is a pretty obvious double standard when it comes to who CRN can quote and who emerging, Emergent, PD and “$evangelicals$” leaders can quote.

99   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
May 6th, 2007 at 10:06 am

Timothy Bell,

Have you not read in scripture…” Romans 8:19. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.
20. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope
21. that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
22. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

To say this creation is “evil” is Gnosticism… not creation. This creation is being redeemed… now it is veiled from what is and as we the Sons of God are revealed so the creation will be as it should be… To attribute the elements to Satan is blasphemy.

Mosaic are not using paganism nor wiccan… and if they are, it is to reach those people groups… are you opposed to them being reached with the Gospel?

It seems you want to support someone who uses dishonesty to promote Christ… if so, then do as you will, but it will only harm in the end…

Perhaps you did not read the link where Ms Litz states in her support for a one of the only websites that still supports Warnke and Stratford:

“Here is an article about the “Jesus People,” including information about one of their teachers at Cornerstone, Gretchen Passantino (CRI apologist) and her reported false teachings in a paramount arena. Her disregard for some very important, weighty facts has had a traumatic effect consequentially on people and hurt them. Please take a look at this article from my friend, Greg. It is telling. He asked me to forward this especially to pastors and youth pastors. Emails are sent to me daily with documentation about how the “Jesus People” have hurt people… “http://www.gregoryreid.com/id185.htm

And Dwayna quotes Reid directly regarding Stratford:

“The Cornerstone Offensive

It began around 1990 with an extensive article written by Bob & Gretchen Passantino and Jon Trott in Cornerstone Magazine, the official publication of Jesus People USA, or JPUSA. It was a full scale, devastating attack on the testimony, character and ministry of Lauren Stratford, author of SATAN’S UNDERGROUND. The book was a detailed and deeply disturbing account of victimization by organized satanists and child abusers. It was followed up by a wonderfully healing book, “I KNOW YOU’RE HURTING”. Then, Cornerstone dropped the bomb with their written attack on Lauren Stratford.”

BTW email are sent to me dialy on how CRN and other ministries have hurt people also…

As far as the Quakers… there are Baptist that don’t believe in hell and I have “talked to them also”…. that proves nothing. The official statement of the Quaker is that there is a Hell and there is a Devil… I can produce poeple to say anything… but to equate Quakers and Untiy is a farce… I am very aware of Unity and have relatives who are the head of the Quakers in Montana… so tell me whatever you want I think I have fairly good sources…

So again, how can one support someone who does not do proper research and then attacks legit ministries and deffend those that are proven to be frauds?

Blessings,
iggy

100   Timothy Bell    
May 6th, 2007 at 11:02 am

Iggy, I never said that creation or the ‘elements’ thereof is evil. But creation can be idolized and the ‘elements’ used for evil purposes. Iggy, I feel you are twisting my words here.

I am done here on this subject.

Tim

101   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
May 6th, 2007 at 1:44 pm

Tim,

that is a cowards retreat… you defended Ms Litz and now I give you the facts and you run…

I did not twist your words… I took what you said and then ran the argument to the logical end… maybe you just don’t like that your argument for Litz resolves in heresy?

Your defence and even your words above looked to me that you were backing Ms Litz’ take on the “elements” as she attributed them to Satan… and that these elements are still controlled by Satan… I only quoted Scripture that showed that this is a lie… or at best really really bad theology as it cuts across scriptures teaching.

I never stated you believe that… in fact I never even quoted you…so how can I be “twisting your words”… again, you are not liking your own thoughts taken to scripture and found wanting… so I guess you are really running from the Scripture…
Blessings,
iggy

102   Ricky Rickard, Jr.    
May 6th, 2007 at 2:10 pm

I see several different issues that need to be addressed.

Is evangelism important? Absolutely. We are called to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. We accomplish this by open air preaching, one-on-one witnessing, tracts, and bringing people to church to hear the Gospel. We also do this by living godly lives in front of a lost and dying world. Whether you are Calvinist or Arminian, Reformed or Emergent, you should be faithful in evangelism and have an urgency in this present age. To be lazy in this area, or to flat out ignore it, is unbiblical and unChristian.

Is theology bad? No. We are also called to study to show ourselves approved. Just because something seems hard to understand or may fly in the face of everything you have been taught, does not mean that we should ignore it and hope it goes away. I was confronted with Reformed theology about 7 months ago. I could have ran, but I didn’t. I examed its claims, not by what I thought it should say, but what it actually said. To say words in the Bible make you doubt or you don’t like how it makes God look, is just a cover for laziness. We don’t get to determine what God’s character is, He has already revealed Himself to us in His Word. We cannot change or twist what He has revealed. To be lazy in this area, or to twist Scripture to fit our preconceived notions, is also unbiblical and unChristian.

Does the doctrine of election create lazy Christians? No. Any true Calvinist or Reformed person that says simply because God elects people we should not evangelize is wrong. I believe this is a strawman argument because the writer has a bias against theology in general, and particularly Calvinism. So he takes this incorrect assumption that Calvinist are fatalist, and uses it to smash an artical about God’s election and evangelism. I have yet to meet anyone that is Reformed or Calvanistic that is not also passionate for evangelism.

I would say two things in conclusion. Laziness for Christians is not an option, whether it is evangelism or theology. But also, just because the Bible says something you don’t agree with, doesn’t give you the right to dismiss it or twist it to fit an image of God you have.

In Christ,

Ricky Rickard, Jr.

103   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
May 6th, 2007 at 2:48 pm

Ricky,

I am not sure who “The writer has a bias against theology in general” is… Yet it seems you miss the biggest point…

There is some really really bad theology out there… and that is what the writer is writing against…. this does not mean that one who writes against “bad theology” is against all theology… that is a lazy man’s argument… it is like when I speak out against bad doctrine I am then painted as being against all doctrine… and that is simply a lie… but lazy people will run to the easiest point they see, right or wrong, and stick to it even if it is a lie against the other.

I see this all the time with the attack against the emerging church… and with it’s diversity, it is often that the critic would be like saying Jame White and the Pope teach the same thing… and then looking a one or two similar things to prove their point… yet I think there is much difference between James White and the Pope… as much as Brian McLaren and Dietrich Bonhoeffer… both are major influences on the emerging church…

So whoever you are referring to, again I am sure they are not against theology… not at all… just bad theology.

Blessings,
iggy

104   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
May 6th, 2007 at 2:57 pm

Tim,

Here one reference to the Quaker and Satan issue…

Notice this one?

“Concerning End Times: Christ will return in body to judge the world. On that day the dead will be resurrected and accordingly some will go to Eternal Salvation and some to Eternal Damnation with Satan (Acts 224:15).”

http://www.bible.ca/cr-quakers.htm

If since you claim they do not believe in Satan… then how do you explain this?

Blessings,
iggy

105   Ricky Rickard, Jr.    
May 6th, 2007 at 3:40 pm

Iggy,

The title of this entry is how systematic theology kills people forever. He then builds the strawman up by claiming that all systematic theology is man made. The straw man gets bigger when he starts to refer to alternate dimensions, things that are much more suited for the Sci-Fi Channel than a Christian blog. He further states he has bias against the doctrine of election. So I think it is a fair statement that he has a bias against theology, in particular Calvinist theology.

I am not denying there is bad theology, like Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, some Emergents (I did say some, not all), and even among some Protestant churches. But to knock all systematic theology as man made and state it is more likely to believe in alternate dimensions than God’s election, the writer shows his bias, not towards bad theology, but theology in general. I just looked and it is Chris L. that wrote this.

Iggy, I think you are missing the point. You take the step of equating Calvinism with bad theology. This is a lame leap. Just because you don’t like what the Bible says and teaches, doesn’t mean you get to call it bad theology. I hope this was not intentional on your part. I used to think the same way for over 20 years, so I know where you are coming from. But please, take the time and effort to actually study what the Bible says regarding Reformed theology. I promise it is worth the time and effort. Don’t get lazy.

In Christ,

Ricky Rickard, Jr.

106   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
May 6th, 2007 at 4:21 pm

Ricky,

There is a BIG different between “theology” and “systematic theology”. One comes directly from the Bible. The second one is a man-made “system” to explain how theology “works”. This article was not against the first, but only the latter – specifically when the latter either a) is elevated to the level of scripture (to which often, the INTERPRETATION of election is done) and/or b) when it leads to poor orthopraxy.

Is orthodoxy (theology, not systematic theology) unimportant? By no means. However, it is utterly useless without orthopraxy (and vice-versa). To paraphrase a Jewish view of this: Orthopraxy without orthodoxy is fanaticism. Orthodoxy without orthopraxy is irrelevant.

107   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
May 6th, 2007 at 4:49 pm

Ricky,
Could you please explain to me what you mean by Systematic Theology? How is it not man made? Also, I’m curious, you seem to say that only people who hold to a reformed theological viewpoint have done “serious” study and are not “lazy” theologians. Would you mind clarifying?
Thanks

108   Ricky Rickard, Jr.    
May 6th, 2007 at 7:50 pm

Chris,

So your main complaint is people that evelate their intrepretations to the level of Scripture, and when leads to poor orthopraxy? Couldn’t agree more. This simple was not made clear by you previously. My apologies for my misunderstanding of your writing. No man’s intrepretation should be held in the same high regard as Scripture, as Scripture is the ultimate authority. And theology without action is just a lot of noise which accomplishes nothing. I glad I now understand where you are coming from.

Joe,

I am not saying that only those with a reformed theological viewpoint have done serious study. By no means. I know plenty of people that have done hours upon hour of serious study and strongly disagree with me. It just seems the vast majority of people in this thread would rather hide in the sand or simply blast a certain theological viewpoint as opposed to actually examining it to see if it is Biblical. If that is your perspective, than yes, I would say that is laziness. Any doctrine, whether it be election, the resurrection, the virgin birth, or even salvation, should be examined as to whether it is Biblical, not whether I like it or not. Hope that clarifies.

In Christ,

Ricky Rickard, Jr.

109   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
May 6th, 2007 at 9:43 pm

Ricky…
Most Calvinist only read the first 18 verses of Romans 9 that “seems” to back their theology… but if one bothers to read it all in context coming out of chapter 8, one will find that it actually negates Calvinism… as the vessels of wrath are the Gentiles and Paul is saying they are included as vessels of mercy… while the vessels of mercy (the outward Jew) may actually be vessels of wrath.

Ever Calvinist teacher stops at verse 18… Piper and all… Spurgeon… and I ask why? Because of what I just stated… it does not back Calvinism…

This seems to be rampant in Calvinistic teachings as the Bible is literally interpreted to support Calvinism instead of letting it teach what it really states and means… in fact to equate Calvinism with the “Gospel” as many Calvinist do… and to see such disregard for the actual teachings of Scripture to support their doctrine leaves me to wonder if they are teaching another gospel…

Now, saying that I have some great and wonderful friends who are Calvinists… we talk and debate and I see them as brothers… yet, these hold loosely to Calvin and tightly to Jesus… .

The real nasty ones tend to hold tightly to Calvin and loosely to Jesus… in that they justify judging others and being able to hate those who are not elect… I know I have been a victim of this time and time again… in fact there are a couple of websites defaming me as I write this…. and they are Calvinist… so much for the Gospel of Love if you can have a gospel that lets you hate and be a real nasty person…

So I see the fruit coming from those who put Jesus first then their doctrine… be it Calvinism or whatever and a really bad smelling theology and doctrine from those who hold tightly to their doctrine to the detriment of Christ…

Blessings,
iggy

110   nathan    http://www.nathanneighbour.com
May 6th, 2007 at 10:09 pm

Wow… I missed a fun conversation here. I have been busy serving over 500 pastors at a conference this week. It was great! Anyhow… after reading this, I have really just one though. For a person, like Dwayna, who thinks that “God does not need me in the work of salvation” sure devotes a lot of time to making sure that people are not lead astray. I guess this is where CRN’s theology and orthopraxy clash. Reformed theology teaches that God will draw and keep every one of the elect to him. Yet, the writers devote their lives to writing about and creating a fear that this new “emerging church” will lead the elect astray or somehow confuse people.

So I guess I have to ask which one it is. Will God draw and keep the elect without any hindrance from us? Or is the emerging church hindering the elect from finding him, and causing the elect to be lead astray?

P.S. – Timothy, if you think Mosaic is creating idols out of wind, water, earth, fire and wood, then you obviously seriously misunderstand Mosaic.

111   Ricky Rickard, Jr.    
May 7th, 2007 at 2:31 am

Iggy,

If anything, Romans 8 and 9 definitively support Reformed theology.

Romans 8 speaks both of our total depravity and inability to do anything to regarding our salvation apart from the Spirit of God. It also speaks to the perserverance of the saints in that nothing can seperate the elect from the love of God.

Romans 9 1:18 show that he is no respecter of persons as He does not favor one race over another, and that before the foundation of the earth He had ordained a people on whom He would have mercy, and people by their unbelief on whom He would not have mercy.

Romans 9:19-24 speaks first of the irresistable grace ascribed to the elect. Then it speaks of God ultimately in control, choosing to endure the vessels destined for wrath so that he can be glorified by the vessels created for mercy. Paul then states the vessels of mercy are not only himself and some called of Israel, but of those called from the Gentiles.

Romans 9:25-29 shows God’s mercy to both to the Gentiles, by grafting them into the family of God, and to Israel by saving a remnant.

Romans 9:30-33 shows that the Gentiles were grafted in, not by works, but by faith.

I encourage you again to study these things. I am sorry that you have been hurt by “Calvinists”. I have heard this time and time again from people. I am truly sorry. But I would still encourage you to not let this hinder you from study and purely reject what Reformed theology teaches based on a few loud and obnoxious people. If I let that hinder me, I would never have stepped foot in a church after I was 8. Again, I am sorry that those that claim to be reformed have acted in a way that shows they are not. But I encourage you to stay strong in the Lord and study His Word dilegently.

In Christ,

Ricky Rickard, Jr.

112   Ricky Rickard, Jr.    
May 7th, 2007 at 2:33 am

Nathan,

Anyone that thinks the elect can be deceived and plucked out of God’s hands has obviously never really studied Scripture. In fact, Reformed theology teaches the exact opposite, that we can not be seperated from the love of God, nor deceived. Does this mean we should not speak out against what is perceived as false teaching? Absolutely not. We are to contend for the faith. I say again, laziness is not an option in any area for a Christian. Anyone that uses their theology to be lazy is acting in an unbiblical and unChristian way.

In Christ,

Ricky

113   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
May 7th, 2007 at 9:46 am

Ricky,

It is in the part that Jacob I loved Esau I hated that is so often misinterpreted which taints the rest of the passage. We agree on MOST of what you wrote, yet again and again I see the Calvinist stopping at verse 18…

In fact the idea of total depravity is not proven in these passages… that man is sinful

In Chapter 1 man is “turn over to a depraved mind”. To be turned over directly implies man is not born totally depraved.

In fact the early church father such as Iraenius wrote against the idea of total depravity as they taught that man was able to choose between good and evil… and if he chose good it would please God… yet man chooses evil…

To further this thought I think that man being a moral agent is just not equipped to sustain his moral choices… in that no one is righteous.

The idea of total depravity did not come about until Augustine who was very much influenced by Plato… who was Gnostic…

Gnosticism teaches flesh is evil; spirit is good… so Calvin through Augustine passes on this Gnostic view that man being flesh is totally depraved. Sin is not passed on genetically… when the bible states that sin came through Adam it is not talking through his “loins” it is saying through his disobedience. It is as Romans 1 states he chose to worship the creation over the Creator… meaning Adam chose his own way over waling with God.

Man was not made perfect but as Jesus being the second Adam was “perfect” Jesus was not “proven” in His perfect until He LEARNED obedience unto death. In that Adam was made perfect in that he was innocent, yet he was not perfect in all that he was to be. Had he not fallen Adam would have most likely learned obedience also and then would have proven his perfect by his obedience.

To say the reformed theology as Calvinism is the pinnacle of Christian theology seems a bit of a stretch… plus remember Arminius was also a “Reformed” theologian… so Reformed theology encompasses much more than just Calvinism…

Again, my theology is from reading the Bible… later I read others… and was amazed at what they taught… it seems they had never really just read the bible…

I see that God is bigger than a “system” and if God is sovereign then the system designed by man will be flawed… that is not about being “right” but about being humble. To say the system is perfect or is right, then demands that God must be subject to the system… then we only have a god under a sovereign system, ruled by that system. That is Calvinism in a nutshell… it is simply a way to control God… to me that is religion… and Jesus did not come to give us religion but Life.

Blessings,
iggy

114   nathan    http://www.nathanneighbour.com
May 7th, 2007 at 10:36 am

Ricky,

so basically God is having you work in vain? I mean the elect cannot be plucked from God’s hand, right? Then why would God have you speak out against those who will, in the end, have no effect on the chosen?

The biggest problem with reformed theology to me is that the theology and the practices don’t line up. If God will save who he wills, we don’t need to evangelize. If God will keep all he calls, there is no need for speaking out against false teachers. Two ultimately don’t match up. And, in the end you are really left with fatalism. We have no effect on the future, it all is already planned out.

This theological system would explain why must people writing for CRN have plenty of time to head hunt. No need to evangelize, no need to do the lord’s work. He has it all taken care of.

115   Jon Trott    http://bluechristian.com
May 7th, 2007 at 1:22 pm

Just a short note back to the voice that started all this. Namely, Dwayna Litz. I would only note that she says she is involved in a discernment ministry, that she has posted other interesting things, discernment-wise. For instance… a recent post on her site suggested the moon landing was a hoax — later she posted a few links to those skeptical of that claim, but the original post certainly opened up her credibility gap to new dimensions. “Discernment” is, alas, in the eye of the beholder. As someone she has called “a goddess worshipper” (due to my interest in egalitarian theology and praxis), a “shamanistic anamist” (!!??) due to my piercings, and a “cultist” due to my living in intentional community with the Jesus People USA folk in Chicago, I must admit I may not be objective on how discerning she is. Wink wink nudge nudge!

Back to your Calvinism discussion… I have two very dear relatives who are five-pointers, and I basically don’t discuss it with them anymore (causes a rise in our collective blood pressure). My short riff on the topic would begin with the biblical concept of “antinomy” — apparent contradiction — with which the Scripture is rife. Sovereignty vs. Free-Will…. maybe believing in both is part of the mystery of faith, sort of like trying to get one’s intellectual abstractions into neat order concerning the Trinity. Lots of great minds offer illumination, but no one (to my knowledg) exactly wraps it up with a bow on it. Antinomy. I think one often finds it around God, and around love.

Jon “goddess worshipping shamanistic animist… and a non-Calvinist to boot” Trott

116   robbymac    http://www.robbymac.org
May 8th, 2007 at 12:52 am

Jon,

As someone who loved and loves Rez, and actually visiting JPUSA a couple of times back in the decadent 80’s, good to see ya here! And I’m glad I found your blog through this whole exchange!