Archive for December, 2006

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More on Lordship Salvation

December 30, 2006

More on Lordship Salvation

I want to make sure it is understood I am not out to “get” John MacArthur or to discredit him on a personal level. I do not know him so I cannot honestly say one way or the other that John is this or that…

I am critiquing his teaching of Lordship Salvation… Which to me seems to miss some basic teachings of scripture ever so subtly. I do think John is true believer and unlike many out of the “MacArthurite” camp I am not stating he is a heretic/false teacher/not saved or whatever else that is often thrown at the “emerging church/emerging conversation”.

Over all I see john as a faithful teacher who at times becomes over zealous and often overlooks that Grace and mercy mixed with humility, respect and gentleness will do more than hot rhetoric.. Alas I too often fail in that area and so must “administer” grace and mercy to John… I also see believe that one can critique another’s theology and ideas without malice and taking an active stance to discredit or harm that person.

One of the basic issues I see is that as someone recently railed against me about, “no true follower of John MacArthur would believe…” showed one of the first fatal mistakes we can do in general as Christians… and that is follow a man. Any man, not just John… but say Billy Graham, the Pope, the Bishop of Durham, and/or Brain McLaren… We are not called to follow a man, but we are called to follow Jesus. I suggest that if one is following a man, then you are not behind the One who can save you. This is one deception that can mess one’s spiritual life up badly.

In an article on Biblical Discernments Ministries which is pro MacArthur, the author of the article states:

“Those who reject lordship salvation (e.g., Ryrie), believe that someone may have genuine faith in Christ, but the fact that he continues in his sin demonstrates that he has not made Jesus his Lord, only his Savior. According to Ryrie, just because someone sins or acts in disobedience (even habitually) doesn’t mean he doesn’t have saving faith.

But the issue is not whether we sin or not; the issue is our attitude toward our sin. And this is where MacArthur is careful to point out that it is willful rejection of Christ’s Lordship that proves one’s confession of faith not valid.”

First off if one does not know as I did not, Ryrie is trying to refute LS, yet I do think in this attempt he misses the mark also. So I am not taking one side over the other. It is in the second paragraph that I see the issue I have with the view of Lordship Salvation.

What is the issue to me is that if one “willful rejection of Christ’s Lordship that proves one’s confession of faith not valid” then they simply are not a follower of Jesus and are not saved or at best a very immature believer who has not grown to their understanding, yet it is impossible for one to be saved and possess a faith in Christ… where Go does not grow them in their faith… (1 Corinthians 3:5-7) For it is God that makes things grow… this is not anything we produce ourselves.

We are saved by grace through faith and not of works… that is one of the foundations of the Christian faith. To accept Jesus as savior, in itself is a response to that Grace and in what faith is… a response. So in the end one is only saying that “believing” is not enough to save in itself (which JM whole heartily will agree and aggressively fight for as he should), yet the proof of accepting Jesus the Person is in the out flowing of His works that are done in and through us. The issue is outside of this, one may not be saved if they are trying to do the works to be a workman approved. They are being deceived into believing their works of righteousness are their own.

The very idea of “submissive obedience” run contrary to the scripture also as it implies one is the producer of the works… and we are not as I have already said.

Again from the same article:

“”The gospel Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in submissive obedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer. Jesus’ message liberated people from the bondage of their sin while it confronted and condemned hypocrisy. It was an offer of eternal life and forgiveness for repentant sinners, but at the same time it was a rebuke to outwardly religious people whose lives were devoid of true righteousness. It put sinners on notice that they must turn from sin and embrace God’s righteousness. It was in every sense good news, yet it was anything but easy-believism” (p. 21, GATJ).”

Jesus calls us to something deeper than what John is settling for here… Jesus is calling us into intimacy in Him… We are not just “submissive obedient” followers of Jesus but now are as he called us, His friends and even richer, His brothers! So as Jesus walked the earth in obedience we now walk in His obedience and not our own. (Roman 5:19)

We again deceive ourselves thinking we can now be as obedient as Jesus… and are denying Christ’s very righteousness in not walking in His obedience which is the only obedience that is acceptable to God.

The result of LS is that people become concerned with their “works” or “fruit” and live in fear of not being acceptable to God.

In an article by Frank Minirth, M.D., he goes into the damage LS can cause in a person’s life. Worse than this one of the effects that I have personally witnessed and been a victim of is that many become more concerned with other’s “works” and “fruit” and use their won as the standard to judge others. All one has to do is look at SOL and AM and see what I mean.

This also leads one to believe their “works” are scoring points with God. Or as one person expressed to me “You should come to Nashville and do ministry here” as he put down my ministry. While saying that he was directly implying that his “works” were greater than mine! Again, he was judging my by “his” works righteousness” and not realizing God is doing His works in and through me also. The standard was not the righteousness of Christ, but some standard he had imposed on himself and then was imposing on others.

The end result of Lordship Salvation is that it does not trust that the Holy Spirit is at work in the pre-believer as well as the believer. Instead of being a natural out flow of the Holy Spirit saving some one in His process, LS demands obedience to works… not Jesus and then offers them to God as some sort of sacrifice… the issue is the same as in Cain and Able. God does not care for “our works”, He desires His will and purpose to be done in and trough us.

A true believe will find that this is in no way “easy-believism”. It is THE NARROW PATH and can only be done as we totally depend on the Father through the Holy Spirit by the sacrifice and LIFE of Jesus.

My motto is this:

Let He Who gave His Life for you, give His LIFE to you, to LIVE HIS LIFE through you.

Blessings,
iggy


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Stephen Shields and Brian McLaren Absolute Truth and Absolute Certainty

December 28, 2006

This is a great post by Stephen Shields at emergesque.

In the ongoing debate about absolute truth, which seems some claim we do not believe I think this is very helpful in how we see it a bit different and maybe deeper as we seek a more intimate relationship with Jesus. I see that absolute certainty reflects a bit more as to how I see my walk. I am certain of the character of Jesus. I trust in Who He is and what He has and is doing. So even if my view of truth (in the general definition) wavers my certainty in THE TRUTH being Jesus does not.

So what are your thoughts?


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Stephen Shields and Brian McLaren Absolute Truth and Absolute Certainty

December 28, 2006

This is a great post by Stephen Shields at emergesque.

In the ongoing debate about absolute truth, which seems some claim we do not believe I think this is very helpful in how we see it a bit different and maybe deeper as we seek a more intimate relationship with Jesus. I see that absolute certainty reflects a bit more as to how I see my walk. I am certain of the character of Jesus. I trust in Who He is and what He has and is doing. So even if my view of truth (in the general definition) wavers my certainty in THE TRUTH being Jesus does not.

So what are your thoughts?


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How I Would Respond To John MacArthur

December 27, 2006

John,

I have looked over some of your writings and noticed that many have misrepresented your views at times… and really it surprises me that you have not taken from that and learned mercy and grace and extended that to someone like Brian McLaren… or myself as I am in the emerging conversation or as you call it the emerging church movement.

Interestingly to me is that you have softened a bit on some of your views (at least some of the charismatic movement) and though being one of that persuasion again, (notably many of my EC friends are Calvinistic in their view which I am not… though I believe in eternal security and free will) as least I see a sliver of hope that the Grace you preach will be extended and practiced.

What I see though is that even as you have been misrepresented at times, you still fall into the trap of labeling all in this so called movement (which in itself is still an in house debate as to if it is a movement) as heretics… The funny thing is I read your statement of faith from your own church website and agreed with most of it… outside of that I think the statement of justification could be fleshed out much more… though I understand that it is a statement of faith and not a doctorate thesis.

My concern in all this is that Jesus in John 17:17 called for unity in the faith… which I see and have experience by those in the EC, yet what I see and have experienced from those who follow you is slanderous accusation and lies as to my character and ministry. I am a heretic because I have a “link to Brian McLaren’s websites” is what one of your follower’s have said to me… and unlike your “zap” story (which was a bit funny as I have never heard that used in my 20 some years in the charismatic movement I had a good laugh over it as I do believe it plausible.) I will not assume all that follow your teachings act or behave or are reflecting how you act and behave. In fact I hope you find that many of us in the EC are working hard to address the issues of post-modernity and modernity and are seeking to give an answer in gentleness and respect… (I am sorry as I do not see this on display on your site). I see that you have some genuine concerns and I too seek that people find a biblical view of truth and one not based on humanist reasoning. I have been attacked by some who claim I do not believe in truth… in fact they believe and teach that we can come to a saving knowledge without a relationship with Christ Jesus… (This is a person who follows your teaching btw, again I do not assume you teach this… and view this person as aberrant, yet he is being heralded by some anti-emerging sites as an up and comer! I would hope you extend the same grace to the EC as I have to you here.)

I personally teach the “exchanged life” which is very close to your Lordship Salvation… (Yet I see it as deeper than mere “obedience” and is about walking in the “obedience of Christ” as taught in Rom 5:19) there are many of us who teach the “exchanged life”… or have been influenced by it. Yet again, by you and others I am called a heretic, as well as others even by association, without you even knowing me.

I hope you can see that while you may have inadvertently found some that have strayed off the path… the bulk have not. In fact I think you miss a very subtle nuance about Brian’s books and that he is not out to give an answer… to even tell one what to believe… but he desires to ask the question to send one back to the Bible and get the answer, from the Holy Spirit leading one in understanding what is written. This is subtle as I have said, and if one has not read books like “More Ready than you Realize” which is about evangelizing in the post-modern matrix one might not “get it”… also remember he is not writing for you or to you… you are saved already… Brian is addressing those entrenched in the post-modern world view. This is again often missed by his critics as they approach him from their modernistic/Platonist viewpoint (which is more akin to the heresy of Gnosticism than Christianity and has infected the church much more than post-modernism in it’s acceptance of dualist theology).

I also beseech you to beware that if you are wrong and have mischaracterized Brian in any way shape or form… that you are slanderingand slanderer’s do not inherit the Kingdom of God… and to continue in this sin (which it is)… without absolute certainty you are not wrong in any way shape or form is usurping Jesus as the TRUE JUDGE and placing yourself in HIS THRONE of Judgment… I hope that is not true for you. I find it a bit sad you feel it is your right to come and clean our house… when it seems you have an affiliation* with SBC in which the president Frank Page has considered the EC a good thing over all. I think more integrity would have been for you to clean your own house… or as the scripture teaches, remove the beam out of your own affiliation before you come outside to remove ours (be it beam or splinter).

So, please, consider what you are doing and saying… and I trust that you practice what you preach… and that is Grace to you… and to others.

Blessings,
iggy

*I meant to use the word “association”. But thanks to a kind and generous and gracious person they pointed out that I used the wrong word.


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How I Would Respond To John MacArthur

December 27, 2006

John,

I have looked over some of your writings and noticed that many have misrepresented your views at times… and really it surprises me that you have not taken from that and learned mercy and grace and extended that to someone like Brian McLaren… or myself as I am in the emerging conversation or as you call it the emerging church movement.

Interestingly to me is that you have softened a bit on some of your views (at least some of the charismatic movement) and though being one of that persuasion again, (notably many of my EC friends are Calvinistic in their view which I am not… though I believe in eternal security and free will) as least I see a sliver of hope that the Grace you preach will be extended and practiced.

What I see though is that even as you have been misrepresented at times, you still fall into the trap of labeling all in this so called movement (which in itself is still an in house debate as to if it is a movement) as heretics… The funny thing is I read your statement of faith from your own church website and agreed with most of it… outside of that I think the statement of justification could be fleshed out much more… though I understand that it is a statement of faith and not a doctorate thesis.

My concern in all this is that Jesus in John 17:17 called for unity in the faith… which I see and have experience by those in the EC, yet what I see and have experienced from those who follow you is slanderous accusation and lies as to my character and ministry. I am a heretic because I have a “link to Brian McLaren’s websites” is what one of your follower’s have said to me… and unlike your “zap” story (which was a bit funny as I have never heard that used in my 20 some years in the charismatic movement I had a good laugh over it as I do believe it plausible.) I will not assume all that follow your teachings act or behave or are reflecting how you act and behave. In fact I hope you find that many of us in the EC are working hard to address the issues of post-modernity and modernity and are seeking to give an answer in gentleness and respect… (I am sorry as I do not see this on display on your site). I see that you have some genuine concerns and I too seek that people find a biblical view of truth and one not based on humanist reasoning. I have been attacked by some who claim I do not believe in truth… in fact they believe and teach that we can come to a saving knowledge without a relationship with Christ Jesus… (This is a person who follows your teaching btw, again I do not assume you teach this… and view this person as aberrant, yet he is being heralded by some anti-emerging sites as an up and comer! I would hope you extend the same grace to the EC as I have to you here.)

I personally teach the “exchanged life” which is very close to your Lordship Salvation… (Yet I see it as deeper than mere “obedience” and is about walking in the “obedience of Christ” as taught in Rom 5:19) there are many of us who teach the “exchanged life”… or have been influenced by it. Yet again, by you and others I am called a heretic, as well as others even by association, without you even knowing me.

I hope you can see that while you may have inadvertently found some that have strayed off the path… the bulk have not. In fact I think you miss a very subtle nuance about Brian’s books and that he is not out to give an answer… to even tell one what to believe… but he desires to ask the question to send one back to the Bible and get the answer, from the Holy Spirit leading one in understanding what is written. This is subtle as I have said, and if one has not read books like “More Ready than you Realize” which is about evangelizing in the post-modern matrix one might not “get it”… also remember he is not writing for you or to you… you are saved already… Brian is addressing those entrenched in the post-modern world view. This is again often missed by his critics as they approach him from their modernistic/Platonist viewpoint (which is more akin to the heresy of Gnosticism than Christianity and has infected the church much more than post-modernism in it’s acceptance of dualist theology).

I also beseech you to beware that if you are wrong and have mischaracterized Brian in any way shape or form… that you are slanderingand slanderer’s do not inherit the Kingdom of God… and to continue in this sin (which it is)… without absolute certainty you are not wrong in any way shape or form is usurping Jesus as the TRUE JUDGE and placing yourself in HIS THRONE of Judgment… I hope that is not true for you. I find it a bit sad you feel it is your right to come and clean our house… when it seems you have an affiliation* with SBC in which the president Frank Page has considered the EC a good thing over all. I think more integrity would have been for you to clean your own house… or as the scripture teaches, remove the beam out of your own affiliation before you come outside to remove ours (be it beam or splinter).

So, please, consider what you are doing and saying… and I trust that you practice what you preach… and that is Grace to you… and to others.

Blessings,
iggy

*I meant to use the word “association”. But thanks to a kind and generous and gracious person they pointed out that I used the wrong word.


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The issue of Lordship Salvation.

December 26, 2006

The issue of Lordship Salvation.

(Update: In regards to Steve’s comment I did a bit more poking around about JM’s view on this issue. I am not intending to misrepresent his view, rather voice a concern where one can take the idea that one must “become a disciple” in order to be saved and make it about works. I do not think one has to have a full understanding of the Gospel to be saved. In one place John does acknowledge this also. I fully understand John’s concern over “cheap grace” yet; I think still that those who are Called will grow as God grows them… and in that they will become disciples. I do think he is not too far off the mark, yet it seems there is a need to clarify this position. Mostly in his recent critique of the emerging conversation John seems to accuse the EC of “cheap grace” and to my knowledge this is not so… in fact I see the opposite as many are moved by God’s grace and mercy to go and do the ministry and vocation that Jesus has passed on to us to do. I have read that John may have a different definition of Grace than some do; I have not found that to be true though I am looking deeper. I have found he has a broader definition of Grace meaning that it is fleshed out more than “unmerited favor” and in that I fully agree.)

It does not allow for salvation to be a process in a (pre Christian’s) person’s life.

I was thinking about that. John MacArthur wants someone to fully understand Who Jesus is before they believe in Him… That is a bit absurd as it then assumes that that we must know God and that saves us, but the Bible teachs that God knows us and in that we are saved! (Gal 4:9) John flips the Biblical understanding of salvation on its head. It seems to assume from the start that man is the initiator instead of the responder of God’s Grace. John asserts that one must do works to show they are saved… so he has added works to salvation. Though works are a result of our salvation it seems that John places equal for salvation, man’s works and God’s Grace… which without realizing it nullifies God’s Grace. Though John is trying to design a way for God’s process to flow… I personally think God already does a great job without John’s help!

Really this explains a lot as far as the perspective of John MacArthur. He seems to be in fear of God being in control and in a way has created a system to control God to assure one’s own salvation outside of or beside Grace alone. John seems to be well outside the great reformers.

In John’s world works assure salvation. In the Bible works are an outflow of Christ in us fulfilling His great will and purpose. (Philippians 2: 12- 13)

Let’s look at that verse a bit.

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”

First this verse is about believers… who have obey the words of Christ… and what were those words? John 6:28-29 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

The one thing that we are to do as believers is to believe in Jesus as the One God sent! In that come the whole package of High Priest/King/Brother/Friend… the whole kit and caboodle! One cannot accept Jesus the Person without accepting all He is… though one may not know all that He is… I am a husband/father/blogger, yet if you decided to be my friend and did not know one of these things about me you would still be my friend… nor will I reject you as my friend if you did not know I was a father…and that is where one must be in relationship with Jesus to get to know Jesusand in getting to know Jesus one begins to know the Father Who sent Him… Just as you would take time and by a process get to know me as a friend, Jesus desires that of us!

Now back to the verse a bit more. Once one obeys the words of Christ… to believe He is the One sent, one must realize it is not that we are one person at church or with our “churchy” friends and a different person away from them… we come to realize that Christ is in us always… He is not more present at a church building… though I may argue a bit about Jesus being more present in a corporal setting as we fellowship and worship with other believers… yet the fact remains, we are in Christ and He in us alone or with others.

Salvation is something we are working through… it is a troubling and fearful process… as one realizes not that one may lose salvation if one is lacking in the “disciplines” rather fearful that it is not we who are doing the works that come out of our salvation process… rather it is God working in us. In that we should tremble as the God of all creation chooses to use us to love others into the Kingdom of God! It is God Who is giving us the will to do His works and the power to DO those works. To think one has a hand even in God’s works loses sight of what God is truly doing… we are partakers of the Divine mission… but we are not the initiators of that mission… otherwise it is our works and not Gods. Then the process breaks down and Jesus is not doing the works… and worse, Jesus is then not Lord… of your life or that situation. (Jesus still is, but it then moves to the area of “discipline” and that is not of punishment rather it is of training the true believer to readjust their will and purpose to God’s calling on their life.)

1 Cor 6: 19 – 20 tells us: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

So many think it is that “we” do the works of Christ… and that is pure rubbish and a twisting of scripture to a man based faith. But yet it is taught throughout the churches. We are not our own… God owns us… whether we bent a knee or not… but it is the Christian that has come to realize this as their very Life. The Holy Spirit dwells in us as He did in the Tabernacle and the Temple of the Old Testament. And like that we walk in hole reverence of the fact we are set apart… on a personal level just like the Abraham was and the Hebrews were and Israel still is… for in fact we are the New Israel redeemed with our future secure, and borrowing as it were from that future glory to shine it’s very Light here now in this darkened world.

WE often forget that God has been at work all these 2000 years… even in the dark ages man has been having an encounter with the Living Risen Christ. Often we tend to brush of points of history and deny that. God was just as much at work in the people pre Martin Luther as He was after Martin Luther. God saved those people the same way as He does today… by Grace through faith… even if they did not fully grasp that! For to say otherwise denies Grace!

God is in the saving business and as history goes on, we are still building on the foundation that was laid and that being Christ Jesus Himself. We must remember that the future of salvations conclusion is rushing at us in the now… and even in the past this was still the case. N.T. Wright states it like two trains one moving toward the New Creation and one move from the New Creation to the present and in where they meet we have communion with God. This was in reference to the Eucharist, yet I see it fits also the case that many miss the point we are New Creators in Christ now doing HIS WORKS of salvation in and through us… In other words, works are not of us… anymore than Grace can be mustered out of sheer will power to save us.

John’s version misses that point and then builds something more horrific over that foundation… a gospel of works salvation based on human reasoning. John places man’s understanding as the way of salvation… this cuts across the very vein of scriptures teaching as Peter was told by Jesus that it was revealed to Peter by the Father that Jesus was the Messiah… (Matt 16: 16) for in the very next verse Jesus shows how salvation comes… not by human reasoning, or by even scripture… as I am sure Peter read the OT many times, for Jesus teaches this in verse 17:

“Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”

Who Jesus is revealed by the Father!

This is faith in action. Right there… with Peter “seeing” Jesus because the Father in Heaven revealed it to Peter. Peter in his heart… received the Seed of Christ at that moment and saw Who Jesus was. Yet, in the next few verses we see that Peter did not know what Jesus was going t have to do. In fact Peter tries to talk Jesus out of it!

It is a process… Peter was loved and was on the road to salvation even without knowing all there was to know about Jesus and all the mission Jesus had to do and held in store for Peter and the other disciples to do.

Lordship Salvation is a bit silly to me as in the end ALL WILL BEND A KNEE and confess JESUS CHRIST IS LORD! Yet, not all of those will go into the Kingdom… in fact many of those will be cast into the Lake of Fire. (Rom 14:11)

So build on the foundation of Jesus… and that be by letting Him be the Master Builder, let Jesus be the Author and Finisher of your faith! (Hebrews 12:2) To think you can finish by doing the works of Jesus yourself is only deceiving yourself. Especially if you think work are the way to prove you are saved… The proof is in Who knows you and Who is doing those great and wonderful works… John seems to think that God’s way is not good enough and that in some twisted version of “faith”, “grace” and “works”, we can “help” God! I will stay to what the Bible teaches…

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen

Blessings,
iggy


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The issue of Lordship Salvation.

December 26, 2006

The issue of Lordship Salvation.

(Update: In regards to Steve’s comment I did a bit more poking around about JM’s view on this issue. I am not intending to misrepresent his view, rather voice a concern where one can take the idea that one must “become a disciple” in order to be saved and make it about works. I do not think one has to have a full understanding of the Gospel to be saved. In one place John does acknowledge this also. I fully understand John’s concern over “cheap grace” yet; I think still that those who are Called will grow as God grows them… and in that they will become disciples. I do think he is not too far off the mark, yet it seems there is a need to clarify this position. Mostly in his recent critique of the emerging conversation John seems to accuse the EC of “cheap grace” and to my knowledge this is not so… in fact I see the opposite as many are moved by God’s grace and mercy to go and do the ministry and vocation that Jesus has passed on to us to do. I have read that John may have a different definition of Grace than some do; I have not found that to be true though I am looking deeper. I have found he has a broader definition of Grace meaning that it is fleshed out more than “unmerited favor” and in that I fully agree.)

It does not allow for salvation to be a process in a (pre Christian’s) person’s life.

I was thinking about that. John MacArthur wants someone to fully understand Who Jesus is before they believe in Him… That is a bit absurd as it then assumes that that we must know God and that saves us, but the Bible teachs that God knows us and in that we are saved! (Gal 4:9) John flips the Biblical understanding of salvation on its head. It seems to assume from the start that man is the initiator instead of the responder of God’s Grace. John asserts that one must do works to show they are saved… so he has added works to salvation. Though works are a result of our salvation it seems that John places equal for salvation, man’s works and God’s Grace… which without realizing it nullifies God’s Grace. Though John is trying to design a way for God’s process to flow… I personally think God already does a great job without John’s help!

Really this explains a lot as far as the perspective of John MacArthur. He seems to be in fear of God being in control and in a way has created a system to control God to assure one’s own salvation outside of or beside Grace alone. John seems to be well outside the great reformers.

In John’s world works assure salvation. In the Bible works are an outflow of Christ in us fulfilling His great will and purpose. (Philippians 2: 12- 13)

Let’s look at that verse a bit.

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”

First this verse is about believers… who have obey the words of Christ… and what were those words? John 6:28-29 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

The one thing that we are to do as believers is to believe in Jesus as the One God sent! In that come the whole package of High Priest/King/Brother/Friend… the whole kit and caboodle! One cannot accept Jesus the Person without accepting all He is… though one may not know all that He is… I am a husband/father/blogger, yet if you decided to be my friend and did not know one of these things about me you would still be my friend… nor will I reject you as my friend if you did not know I was a father…and that is where one must be in relationship with Jesus to get to know Jesusand in getting to know Jesus one begins to know the Father Who sent Him… Just as you would take time and by a process get to know me as a friend, Jesus desires that of us!

Now back to the verse a bit more. Once one obeys the words of Christ… to believe He is the One sent, one must realize it is not that we are one person at church or with our “churchy” friends and a different person away from them… we come to realize that Christ is in us always… He is not more present at a church building… though I may argue a bit about Jesus being more present in a corporal setting as we fellowship and worship with other believers… yet the fact remains, we are in Christ and He in us alone or with others.

Salvation is something we are working through… it is a troubling and fearful process… as one realizes not that one may lose salvation if one is lacking in the “disciplines” rather fearful that it is not we who are doing the works that come out of our salvation process… rather it is God working in us. In that we should tremble as the God of all creation chooses to use us to love others into the Kingdom of God! It is God Who is giving us the will to do His works and the power to DO those works. To think one has a hand even in God’s works loses sight of what God is truly doing… we are partakers of the Divine mission… but we are not the initiators of that mission… otherwise it is our works and not Gods. Then the process breaks down and Jesus is not doing the works… and worse, Jesus is then not Lord… of your life or that situation. (Jesus still is, but it then moves to the area of “discipline” and that is not of punishment rather it is of training the true believer to readjust their will and purpose to God’s calling on their life.)

1 Cor 6: 19 – 20 tells us: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

So many think it is that “we” do the works of Christ… and that is pure rubbish and a twisting of scripture to a man based faith. But yet it is taught throughout the churches. We are not our own… God owns us… whether we bent a knee or not… but it is the Christian that has come to realize this as their very Life. The Holy Spirit dwells in us as He did in the Tabernacle and the Temple of the Old Testament. And like that we walk in hole reverence of the fact we are set apart… on a personal level just like the Abraham was and the Hebrews were and Israel still is… for in fact we are the New Israel redeemed with our future secure, and borrowing as it were from that future glory to shine it’s very Light here now in this darkened world.

WE often forget that God has been at work all these 2000 years… even in the dark ages man has been having an encounter with the Living Risen Christ. Often we tend to brush of points of history and deny that. God was just as much at work in the people pre Martin Luther as He was after Martin Luther. God saved those people the same way as He does today… by Grace through faith… even if they did not fully grasp that! For to say otherwise denies Grace!

God is in the saving business and as history goes on, we are still building on the foundation that was laid and that being Christ Jesus Himself. We must remember that the future of salvations conclusion is rushing at us in the now… and even in the past this was still the case. N.T. Wright states it like two trains one moving toward the New Creation and one move from the New Creation to the present and in where they meet we have communion with God. This was in reference to the Eucharist, yet I see it fits also the case that many miss the point we are New Creators in Christ now doing HIS WORKS of salvation in and through us… In other words, works are not of us… anymore than Grace can be mustered out of sheer will power to save us.

John’s version misses that point and then builds something more horrific over that foundation… a gospel of works salvation based on human reasoning. John places man’s understanding as the way of salvation… this cuts across the very vein of scriptures teaching as Peter was told by Jesus that it was revealed to Peter by the Father that Jesus was the Messiah… (Matt 16: 16) for in the very next verse Jesus shows how salvation comes… not by human reasoning, or by even scripture… as I am sure Peter read the OT many times, for Jesus teaches this in verse 17:

“Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”

Who Jesus is revealed by the Father!

This is faith in action. Right there… with Peter “seeing” Jesus because the Father in Heaven revealed it to Peter. Peter in his heart… received the Seed of Christ at that moment and saw Who Jesus was. Yet, in the next few verses we see that Peter did not know what Jesus was going t have to do. In fact Peter tries to talk Jesus out of it!

It is a process… Peter was loved and was on the road to salvation even without knowing all there was to know about Jesus and all the mission Jesus had to do and held in store for Peter and the other disciples to do.

Lordship Salvation is a bit silly to me as in the end ALL WILL BEND A KNEE and confess JESUS CHRIST IS LORD! Yet, not all of those will go into the Kingdom… in fact many of those will be cast into the Lake of Fire. (Rom 14:11)

So build on the foundation of Jesus… and that be by letting Him be the Master Builder, let Jesus be the Author and Finisher of your faith! (Hebrews 12:2) To think you can finish by doing the works of Jesus yourself is only deceiving yourself. Especially if you think work are the way to prove you are saved… The proof is in Who knows you and Who is doing those great and wonderful works… John seems to think that God’s way is not good enough and that in some twisted version of “faith”, “grace” and “works”, we can “help” God! I will stay to what the Bible teaches…

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen

Blessings,
iggy


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