Mike Ratliff does a fourth part in his series of blogs called The Abomination of Easy-Believism. Here is his rebuttal to our earlier post.

My brethren, is this passage of the thief on the cross an example of what we are calling Easy-Believism? No, it isn’t All along we have been saying that God will save His people even when the one sharing the Gospel with them messes up. The tragedy of Easy-Believism is the validation to untold numbers of professing Christians that they are really saved even though they are not surrendered to the Lordship of Christ nor are they able to walk in repentance. Those who are doing this will have to answer to the Lord about this. Let us not make that mistake. [emphasis mine]

So this means that when Rick Warren “messes up” on his gospel presentation, God still saves people and they come to faith. Plus, Rick Warren does tell his congregation that Jesus needs to be Lord of their lives, we should assume that he has done all he can to help get people to the place of salvation. Just thought I would make that clear. And, since we cannot sort thru who is really saved and not in that moment, we should validate all of them are beleivers after they have made the commitment (i.e. acknowledging that 500 came to faith at Saddleback this weekend) and let the spiritual cards fall where they may. Glad we cleared all that up.

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27 Comments(+Add)

1   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 22nd, 2008 at 11:47 am

“The tragedy of Easy-Believism is the validation to untold numbers of professing Christians that they are really saved even though they are not surrendered to the Lordship of Christ nor are they able to walk in repentance.”

Since I have not commented on Mike’s blog about this, let me ask this. Who cares if the non elect are told they are saved? Let them walk with an imaginary Jesus in false joy and hope while on their way to hell. I have never understood the hyper-ventilation about false converts from a Calvinist perspective.

In the end, letting the non-elect enjoy some peace and comfort is like providing a death row inmate his last meal.

2   Nathan    
August 22nd, 2008 at 11:48 am

They show grace to fellow workers in the faith… as long as it isn’t one of their whipping boys

3   Kyle in WI    
August 22nd, 2008 at 11:53 am

Rick.

But we are called to preach the gospel and give hope, not false assurance. It is a sin not to teach/preach correctly. It is as much a sin as murder, fornication, ect…

Also we have no clue who will be saved, therefore it is our duty to preach the gospel to all, to sow and water and let God bring the growth.

Do you know who will respond to the gospel? Becasue I have no clue?? That is why the gospel is for all people, that we should preach reptenace and salvation that is in Christ to all peoples of all nations.

4   John Hughes    
August 22nd, 2008 at 11:59 am

Kyle,

These (false converts) are people who have heard the Gospel and have responded (although superficially and and not truely). But the fact remains they have heard the Gospel. At that point in time per Calvinist theology God is or is not going to save them (then or later) based on His sovereign election in eternity past. If they have heard the Gospel and God did not see fit to regenerate and save them then there is nothing they or anyone else can do to change this fact (according to TULIP). To examine yourself to make your election sure makes perfect sense in the non-Calvinist world view, but is nonsensical in the Calvinist’s as they could do absolutely NOTHING if they did find themselves unelect if indeed, they were not part of the Elect.

5   John Hughes    
August 22nd, 2008 at 12:04 pm

Then again, according to the Calvinis’t view of Total Depravity the unsaved are incapable of even seeking God before they are regenerated, so the fact you are urging false converts who are actively engaged in at least the superficial things of God with obviously at least SOME positive thoughts and aspirations regarding God totally negates the Calvinist’s teaching on total depravity. TULIP is obviously an artificial flower because you can remove and replace the petals as needed.

6   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 22nd, 2008 at 12:06 pm

“But we are called to preach the gospel and give hope, not false assurance.”

So do it. I cannot imagine how much time it takes away from what you suggest by researching, reading, listening, and being consumed with those who are not doing what you are saying. So we are supposed to have a ministry to convince the non elect they are not saved?

And with all the books, and all the discernemnt writings, and all the shepherds conferences, and all the CDs, and all the blogs, it hasn’t changed one thing. How will you answer Christ when he asks you why you spent so much time discerning at the expense of praying and preaching?

7   Kyle in WI    
August 22nd, 2008 at 12:06 pm

What are you talking about. Peter commands us to make sure of our calling and election. We have assurance of election if we exhibit the fruits of the Spirit, we trust in Christ, ect…

Did you respond the very first time you heard the gospel. That is a false presupposition. If you do not respond the first time then it is over. No God is long-suffering not wanting any to perish.

Again I can not see, nor can any man, the enternal decrees of God until they are work out in time and space. So just because one does not repent the first time does not mean that they will not later. God gives the growth and will do it at His appointed time, not mans. God is soverign in all things not man.

That is why we should preach Christ and Him crufiiced, becasue that is man’s only hope of salvation. Both straw men agruments are outrageous. At least try some what to reperesnt what you oppose with honesty. We should all seek to have an irenic theology even when we disagree on issues.

8   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 22nd, 2008 at 12:07 pm

“TULIP is obviously an artificial flower because you can remove and replace the petals as needed.”

OK John – these are the type of graet statements I have reserved for myself. Give it back!

Great one, my friend, I will steal it often!

9   Kyle in WI    
August 22nd, 2008 at 12:09 pm

I think the main difference is that some do not view it a sin to wrong proclaim what God has said. Discernment should be used, we live in an ever shrinking world and should be have a heart for all peoples even thoughs who claim Christ. We should always make sure of our calling and election, we should always srive for the prize, we should always be preaching the gospel to both heathen and christian for that is our only hope.

I do agree sometime it goes beyond love and concern and becomes a false god and is sinful, but that does not negate the fact that we should have discernment.

10   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 22nd, 2008 at 12:11 pm

I think most of you are missing the point here…

It is wholly possible that you can get “decisions for Christ” by using human wisdom and practices, psychology and everything else.

For example, Billy Graham had been known to plant people in the audience who, at the time of the altar call, would come forward, thereby prompting people who might not have come to feel it is OK and take the plunge.

Still – God can save.

But when you actually promote a false gospel that actually does nothing to draw you closer to God, to walk in His ways or drastically change your life, then this is sad indeed.

And this is the problem today. Christ has become an event on Sunday, rather than Lord (hence the need for false preachers to continually up the ante week after week with, “Wait till you see what we do on Sunday – you won’t believe it. I am so pumped – blah, blah, blah!”)

Surprisingly these antics don’t get tired and people, enthused for the upcoming show, continue to go. But is Christ being developed? Is discipleship being preached? Death to self? Endurance in the faith?

11   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 22nd, 2008 at 12:14 pm

Paul – I would suggest that the single greatest way to counteract the proclaimation of a false gospel is to preach the real one!

12   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 22nd, 2008 at 12:15 pm

2 situations of late:

1: yesterday we had a company softball tourney at the park nearby… One of the girls from work, who claims to be a Christian, came decked out in the tightest and shortest spandex pants I’ve seen and a top to match. On top of that, she was drunk by the end of the afternoon. The worst part about this, is that it doesn’t even enter her mind that what she’s doing is wrong – that’s because she is not being fed at the church she attends.

2: last weekend I met up with a friend who attends a mega-church (2,000 members) in Brampton, Ontario. He reminded me of a discussion he had with his pastor over lunch one day as they lamented the state of their own church. The pastor said, “Brother, if persecution or opposition ever arises, two-thirds of our church will disappear overnight.”

At least he’s aware of this, but it’s questionable as to what they’re doing and preaching to change it to the contrary (I’ve attended a service myself and it is “very light”).

13   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
August 22nd, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Paul – I would suggest that the single greatest way to counteract the proclaimation of a false gospel is to preach the real one!

Sure enough. But part of preaching the real gospel is refuting the false gospel (look how much time was spent by Paul, James, John, Peter and Jude on this).

In fact, Jude lamented that when he wanted to preach the gospel to them, it was more needful for them to be made aware of falsity that was creeping in among the ranks.

Remember, when Jesus sent letters to each of the churches of Asia Minor (Rev 2 & 3), the seat or synagogue of Satan was set up INSIDE of almost all the churches. How much more today, nearly 2000 removed?

14   chris    http://agendalesslove.wordpress.com
August 22nd, 2008 at 12:26 pm

1: yesterday we had a company softball tourney at the park nearby… One of the girls from work, who claims to be a Christian, came decked out in the tightest and shortest spandex pants I’ve seen and a top to match. On top of that, she was drunk by the end of the afternoon. The worst part about this, is that it doesn’t even enter her mind that what she’s doing is wrong – that’s because she is not being fed at the church she attends.

I guess the same could equally be said of those who wear denim skirts to the ankles and head coverings.

Prayer tassels and wide phylacteries don’t make followers of Christ.

15   John Hughes    
August 22nd, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Paul C,

I agree with you that these people need to be admonished and warned. But that is coming from an non-Calvinist world view. I happen to agree the Seeker Friendly model is fraught with problems. But that is coming from a non-Calvinist world view. Read any Calvinist teaching on total depravity and then run it out to its logical conclusion and such discussions on these types of admonishments are nonsensical from their perspective.

16   Kyle in WI    
August 22nd, 2008 at 12:30 pm

John

You are confusing Hyper Calvinsim with calvinism.

17   John Hughes    
August 22nd, 2008 at 12:32 pm

The John Hughes definition of modest apparel: (1) Clothing that does not call attendtion to itself to the point of being a distraction. (2) Clothing that does not provoke sensual arrousal within the context of the society in which it is worn. (c)

Feel free to use with written permission.

18   John Hughes    
August 22nd, 2008 at 12:34 pm

No, Kyle, I am not. Believe me I spent too much of my recent life studying this. Do you hold R.C Sproul for example to be a hyper calvinist, or James White or Jim B?

19   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 22nd, 2008 at 12:36 pm

Calvinism itself is hyper.

20   Kyle in WI    
August 22nd, 2008 at 12:37 pm

Nope.

Just becasue the flesh, man apart from Christ, can not submit to the Law does not negate the fact that we are to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. That all men are to repent, that we are to preach to everyone. I have no clue how TD leads to not preaching the gospel and righteousness. Please explain.

21   Kyle in WI    
August 22nd, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Rick I agreee!

hyper=extremely active

lol

22   John Hughes    
August 22nd, 2008 at 12:58 pm

Kyle: I have no clue how TD leads to not preaching the gospel and righteousness. Please explain.

I never said that. The Gospel is the means of salvation God has ordained in both the Calvinist and non-Calvinist world views. It is the commandment to examine one’s self to see if they are, indeed, elect that is so nonsensical in the Calvinist’s world view in light of their doctrine of Total Depravity, but is perfectly logical in the non-Calvinist’s world view. According to Total Depravity the un-saved could care less about God and are totally hostile to Him and UNABLE to respond to him (monergism you know) prior to regeneration.

23   Kyle in WI    
August 22nd, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Who is command to make sure if there calling and election is sure?? Christians i.e the church. Not heatheans. i think you are making Peters words apply to poeple who it is not for at the present time.

The bible says we can do nothing apart from Chrsit. That we can do no good, that we are emenies of God, taht the flesh profits nothing, that the flesh can not submit to the law of God.

I am really missing your point.

24   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
August 22nd, 2008 at 5:02 pm

My son who has ADD is hyper.

25   John Hughes    
August 25th, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Kyle: I am really missing your point.

Yes you are.

Who is command to make sure if there calling and election is sure?? Christians i.e the church. Not heatheans. i think you are making Peters words apply to poeple who it is not for at the present time.

I agree this is directed at Christians, but the point is this request is only logical from a non-Calvinistic world view. Someone who is non-Elect and not regenerated would not could not be concerned with such things because the Calvinist (even moderate Calvinists) translate total depravity to mean INABILITY. Further, if a person who thinks himself saved and examines himself and discovers he is not, in the Calvinistic world view what can he do? He is not, as far as he knows, one of the elect, but he has made a profession of faith and called upon the Lord. The non-Calvinist would say that profession was not sincere from the heart. The Calvinist cannot say that because with Total Depravity he cannot profess his faith until regenerated (prior to his faith) so it is a moot point. Admittedely, in both the Calvinistic and non-Calvinistic world view someone could make a false profession (moved by emotions, desireous of the benefits of fellowship with a local church body without a true commitment to Christ, etc.). But for the Calvinist a pretender would not even be concerned with such things as he would still be reprobate and even if he was concerned what could he do if he was NOT one of the elect? That is the rub. His profession was not sincere. OK. But it could NEVER be sincere if he was not elected because regeneration comes before faith in the Calvinistic world view. So the command to “test yourself” is non-sensical in the Calvinistic World View. The non-elect could care less and a self examination would be pointless unless he was Elect.

26   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 25th, 2008 at 5:40 pm

John – Good points. And why would God have to send strong delusion to make sinners believe a lie? They are dead and already believe a lie.

27   John Hughes    
August 25th, 2008 at 9:43 pm

Absolutely Rick! And in fact, Satan’s do’n all that deceivin’ for nutt’n. For example, in the parable of the sower Satan has snatched away some of the seed?

Mark 4:15 – “These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them.

But why bother? If grace is irresistible what could Satan do to thwart God’s election? How **could** he snatch the seed away? And why go about deceiving anyone if they won’t/can’t turn to God without being regenerated and once being regenerated find God’s call irresistible?

These are perfectly logical and reasonable warnings where a free will decision is involved, but totally nonsensical in a world view where irrestible grace is a key ingredient.