Archive for the 'Misuse of Scripture' Category
Let me add an important point. The quote Ken uses is incomplete. This is the entire paragraph including the last phrase that Ken purposely left out:
“In their fleshly attempt to magnify the sovereignty of God they have changed His truth, formed them into doctrines, and now idolize them. Some of them anyway.”
In this drive by posting Ken Silva, after referring to me as a â€œwould be theologianâ€ and my view as a “straw filled rant”, says that no one can seek God and he uses a verse in RomansÂ which, in context, was used by Paul to teach that being a Jew was no better than a Gentile when it comes to sin and oneâ€™s standing before God. But instead of taking my entire article he takes issue with one comment and makes an incomplete Scriptural assessment. Of course this word â€œseekâ€ is eÎºÎ¶Î·Ï„eÏ‰ which is also used in Heb.11:6. The writer of Hebrews says that only faith pleases God, and that he that comes to God must first believe that He exists and that He rewards people who diligently seek Him. These are sinners who seek God and find the glorious reward of salvation by faith.
God has given the measure of faith to all people and only fools say there is no God, but sinners can seek God and by the power of the Holy Spirit come to Christ. God rewards seekers and especially diligent seekers. And many who get born again have come with a distorted or incomplete knowledge of who God truly is but the Holy Spirit teaches them. Even Paul told the Greeks that God (Acts17:27) has ordained that all men should seek Him. Many, many people have sought after God and some have found Christ and some have been deceived, but God has sent the Spirit(Jn.16) to draw all men unto Himself(Jn.12:32). His own creation draws men to seek Him.
I have a limited understanding of the original languages although I can use resources, I do not desire to be a theologian, and openly admit my utter dependence upon Godâ€™s grace for everything. But He has called me to speak His truth and with that I hope to please Him. I will continue to be open to a humble and complete dealing with Scriptural subjects such as this, but a one verse vs. one comment misrepresents my entire article which can be found on this blog and â€œFollowing Judahâ€™s Lionâ€ and after reading the post see if “straw filled rant” applies. We must construct our truths carefully and with respect for the entirety of Godâ€™s Word even when we strongly disagree. I do not defend myself, I humbly yet vigorouslyÂ defend what I believe to be the truth.Â
If we desire truth, then let us compare Scripture with Scripture and give complete exegesis to our views, not just a post which demeans someone and quotes one comment. That is not doctrinal exchange, that is Scriptural laziness.
The Scriptures, New and Old Testament alike, are replete with admonitions, commandments, exhortations, directions, requirements, laws, and dictates from God to man that openly and unquestionably reveal than man has a responsibility before God. Now everyone believes a saved man is responsible to God, the question is does a lost man have a responsibility toward God or does his sinful condition render him totally dead and unable to be accountable at all? Is the sin of Adam the only act a sinner must answer for or are there acts of his own volition for which he is responsible toward God?
Let me focus on one particular letter from the Apostle Paul, a piece of doctrinal literature that many feel is the single most complete theological treatise in all the New Testament. It is the book of Romans which is a masterpiece of doctrinal revelation especially concerning the lostness of man and the gospel itself. Let us begin with the first chapter in which God gives us a tiny but illuminating glimpse into Godâ€™s interaction between Himself and lost man.
At the very outset of this post I want to openly and before the â€œSanhedrinâ€ proclaim my belief in the importance of doctrine. Doctrine is just another way of saying truth and Paul tells us the Scriptures are profitable for doctrine so without doctrine we can get deceived quickly. Being grounded in the Word means not only quoting verses but comparing Scripture with Scripture and coming to a fuller and more complete knowledge of Godâ€™s truth. It takes perseverance and time to study to approve ourselves as workmen in Godâ€™s Word and it has a reward inherent in the pursuit itself. It is not enough to know the first principles of Christ, we must be diligent about learning the Word both by faithful teachers and in our personal study. It is part of the difference between being a babe in Christ and moving on to maturity.
Studying doctrine is not just for the preacher or Bible college students, it is for every and all believers. Sadly it is evident that many if not most believers do not take that admonition seriously and the result is a baby church that is tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. To be versed in the Scriptures and what they teach is what brings a believer into maturity and it protects us from deception. Studying and learning Godâ€™s truths is a wonderful journey of revelation and faith that feeds the spirit and opens passageways of glory that we could never know with the limited power of our own minds.
Just as a believer who is lazy in his Bible study is shallow and venerable to error, so is the believer who makes doctrine his place of devotion and becomes vulnerable to settling for a form of knowledge as worship. There is a wonderful mystery available for every believer where God can take the truths we have learned with our minds and infuse them into our spirits and hearts and incorporate them into our devotion to the Savior. Many people live their Christian life looking through the eyes of their particular doctrine or systematic theology and have been robbed of the blessing of a broken and contrite heart of worship before God. And many Christians are more interested in debating doctrine than sharing Jesus.
There is much talk today of false teachers and false prophets, and well there should be. The Scriptures warn us of these people especially in the last days. But when is a personâ€™s teaching become so offensive and unscriptural that he must be labeled a false teacher? For example, Rick Warren believes the correct gospel but has formulated its presentation in such a pragmatic fashion that many people believe he has taken the â€œmeatâ€ and effectiveness from the message. Additionally he joins hands with unsaved people including gays and mormons in humanitarian efforts. He could be called shallow, or a compromiser, or even a liberal, but should he be called a false teacher?
And then there are conservative men who teach salvation through baptism and other forms of ceremonial sacramentalism, are they who we mean by false teachers? Some teach that man has no free will while others teach the opposite, are either of these people false teachers? See, the waters get very murky and it is easy to just throw an indiscriminate blanket over groups of people without a careful and Biblical comparison. If we are not careful we make those words just colloquial invectives and remove the seriousness that should accompany their use.
And that is my question, what standard is Biblical in calling a person a false teacher? There are those who call almost everyone a false teacher who donâ€™t agree with them, but they are not serious contributors to this kind of discussion. And of course there are many who would never label anyone as a false teacher and they as well would not be productive in this discussion since they also are one sided. I grapple with this myself, not wanting to be hysterical and yet realizing there are false teachers today. It is an important issue because the sheep are being herded every which way in todayâ€™s doctrinal pastures and they must be warned and protected. Let us examine the major references to false teachers and prophets in the New Testament, there are others but these are the most descriptive and direct.
So, this would mean that laymen cannot disciple people. Women cannot disciple people. And, only those who are pastors can lead people in worship music. A pretty interesting requirement for disciple-making. So, then I thought I would check out the scriptures he used to back this statement. They are as follows
1(A) I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,(B) who is to judge the living and the dead, and by(C) his appearing and his kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season;(D) reprove, rebuke, and(E) exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
Is there anything there that would suggest Trained Pastors are the only ones who can teach others the word of God, or lead in songs that proclaim God’s word? I couldn’t see anything. The only requirement was to have faithful men who would be able to teach others.
I spent the day with Leonard Sweet yesterday. He said that one of the greatest contributions that the reformation gave us was the priesthood of the believer. Unfortunately, many of those who often protect the solas, reformers and the reformation more tham the scriptures have forgotten this. That we are called to disciple one another. We are not called to have high and exalted holy men that do discipleship to us. WE are a royal priesthood, called to make disciples.
Also, I am tired of these watchdoggies only looking at some aspects of purpose-driven/seeker/emerging churches. You see, the traditional form of discipleship was to sit in a room, and have a man dump a bunch of information on you. We have seen over and over that this doesn’t work. I have tons of friends who can quote scripture, give you theology and speak the christian lingo, but would hardly be considered followers of Christ. Today, discipleship is done in relationship with people. It is done in conversations at Starbucks or walks in the parks. it is done in the informal small groups in homes, or after-work dinner meetings. It is not a program that can be scheduled… but is being done like it was in the New Testament. Discipleship really has little to do with how much you know about the scriptures (although they are incredibly key), but about the transformation that CHRIST is making in your life. Sometimes I think we replace the authentic work of Christ in people in relationship with us for well-educated bible studies and sermons. Not that the latter is bad, but we don’t believe the former can actually happen.
In a bizarro-world sort of logic, CR?N has posted an article which seems to combine schadenfruede and misplaced belief in the ‘rightness’ of factions within the church.
Referenced is this article in which Frank Page, the head of the SBC, expressed concern over divisions within the denomination:
“There are forces at work today to try to divide and distract Baptists from our primary mission. We cannot allow methodological differences, generational gaps, or stylistic preferences to divide us,” said state convention president Willy Rice, according to Florida Baptist Witness. “We need each other and we truly are better when we are together.”
“There’s a lot of negativity out there toward religious groups, and certainly toward our group, because we’ve apparently come across as very legalistic and mean-spirited, and I think that’s sometimes accurate, because sometimes we’ve acted that way” [emphasis mine]
You will note that division over doctrinal differences is not what is being addressed, and that it is orthopraxy being self-criticized, not orthodoxy. [To be fair, I would hold some concerns about this particular convention, since Bill Clinton and Al Gore are invited, but that's a whole other topic...] The divisions being discussed are, to reiterate: a) differences in method; b) differences in generational expectations; c) stylistic preferences. Hmmmm… I don’t see ‘heretical doctrine’ in that list.
In addition, it appears that the mysterious “Editor” is using a different Bible than the rest of us.
â€¦for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. (1 Corinthians 11:20) [emphasis theirs]
When I look up 1 Corinthians 11:20 in my Bible, I get this:
When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat,
That’s odd. So I did a bit of searching for the passage that perhaps they meant to quote, starting with the query of ‘factions’. Perhaps they meant 2 Corinthians 12:20:
For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.
Well, the verse number is similar, but the message from Paul seems to be the opposite of what the CR?N writer wishes us to believe the Bible says, though the subject of its criticism fits right in line for that ODM’s like CR?N seem to be striving for.
Perhaps they meant Galatians 5:19-21:
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Well, no, that doesn’t work either, because it again suggests the very opposite of what the “Editor” was suggesting, but fits right in with the turf ODM’s like CR?N frequently inhabit. So perhaps they were using a different translation. So I checked the NASB and found that they were trying to cite 1 Corintians 11:19 (one verse off). Here it is in the NIV:
No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.
OK. So what’s Paul talking about here? Let’s check this out in context (1 Corinthians 11:17-22)
In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!
Hmmm. This doesn’t seem like a discussion on doctrinal differences at all, but rather a rebuke for piggish behavior when the body has come together for a feast in celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The verse in question (number 19) has been suggested by some commentators to be sarcasm, but most see it referring back to the situation Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 1:10-12, and not to division cause by false teaching:
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas[Peter]“; still another, “I follow Christ.”
Note what Paul says in verse 10 (emphasized above) – That he desires unity within the church! Well, I suppose I can understand why the “Editor” wishes to remain anonymous after seeing this attempted prooftexting of scripture to support something condemned by Paul.
One of our commenters recently noted that perhaps the only reason more than half of the articles/posters on CR?N hide behind the cloak of anonymity is because we have criticized it, pointing out its lack of accountability and observed abuse. If that is the case, it is just a micro-example of the marcro problem with CR?N and ODM’s like it: the desire to shove one’s thumb in the eye of a brother, when given the chance, outweighs the biblical morality of doing the right thing.
I never ceased to be amazed at the arrogance and denseness of the writing staff at Christian Research Network. I will say it, the cowardly and haughty anonymous editor there has written a piece that shows their own spiritual blindness, lack of compassion and severe misinterpretation and misuse of the scriptures. A recent news organization gave an article highlighting the African American religious community coming together over the increasing AIDS crisis in the black community.
over 150 African American leaders proposed the National HIV/AIDS Elimination Act, which they plan to introduce to Congress as early as January. The act calls on the federal government â€œto declare the HIV/AIDS Crisis in the African American community a â€˜public health emergencyâ€™” and urges â€œthe Secretary of Health and Human Services to use his emergency authority to redirect resources to address this emergency.”
CRN called this story â€œruefulâ€, implying that they were sad or apologetic over the fact that the religious community had come together to fight this disease. In 2005, 49% of the AIDS population was African-American. That sounds like an epidemic worth fighting for. However, the CRN popular whipping-boy, T.D. Jakes, was a part of this movement. The article said that Jakes
“acknowledged that while the group represented different theological viewpoints on homosexuality, he asserted that those differences should not distort the issue. â€˜Tomorrow we can save souls but today we must save lives,â€™ said Jakes.”
The editor said that Jakes was showing his spiritual denseness. He/she/it writes
This is indeed a shocking, heart-breaking and actually quite foolish statement by Jakes who is supposed to be a minister of the Gospel of Jesusâ€” Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forthâ€¦ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away (Proverbs 27:1; James 4:14).
Are you kidding me? They criticize him for wanting to save lives, and why â€” they say he is boasting of the future! In other words, Jakesâ€™ efforts to heal the sick are boasting about what is going to happen tomorrow. By applying this passage to this situation, they are implying that human life is but a vapor and therefore insignificant, not worth their time, and not worthy of saving. Heck, why attempt to do anything that will affect tomorrowâ€¦ evangelize, heal, loveâ€¦ itâ€™s all boastful if you tell someone you are going to do it, right?Â On top of all the scripture abuse, they add this verse to the opening of the article
Every manâ€™s way is right in his own eyes (Proverbs 21:2)
What?!?Â How on earth does this apply at all?Â Does it mean that because Jakes has actually read the scriptures and seen that we are to care for the sick, that he is right?Â This one easily falls into the â€œwhat can you sayâ€ category here at CRN.info.
10. Make sure everyone else does it exactly like you
9. Attack from a position of strength, remember, you are not learning – you know
8. Become obsessive with research, not about the Bible, but about people
7. Like an infomercial, gather a hand picked audience to over-approve your every word
6. Only speak of Jesus as a doctrinal object who is on your side
5. Never admit repentance yourself, you now have put away childish things
4. Search for personal sin and when you find it quickly expose it as proof of your view
3. When a devotion is necessary, copy it from someone else, it will save time
2. Do not let humility get in your way, it only dulls your Sword
1. Watch out for the verses about mercy, forbearance, grace, love, gentleness, patience, brotherhood, comfort, intercession, brokenness, weeping, unity, meekness, compassion, and Christlikeness, these are land mines that will keep you from your objective.
I have a lot of issues with Juanita Bynumâ€™s ministry.Â There is a lot to be said about her theology, teachings and even her current marital situation.Â Having that said, this attack at CRN is simply unfair.Â Bynum is divorcing her husband after he attacked her in a hotel parking lot.Â There was apparently a history of abuse.Â Now, if this was anyone else, the advise would be to get out as soon as possible before you are in serious danger.Â However, the ever so elusive â€œeditorâ€ at CRN slips this little jab into the beginning of the story
“I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel. (Malachi 2:16)
This is a classic case of using the scripture to passively and cruelly abuse people.Â Itâ€™s not that this scripture isnâ€™t true.Â But I wonder if
Ken the editor would barge into a battered womenâ€™s home and proclaim this over the bruised and battered women there.Â Itâ€™s sad when the ODMs have to make underhanded attacks for headlines.Â This one has nothing to do with the Word of Faith movement (as this article is categorized), but keeping their opinions about Bynum fresh.