Archive for the ‘modernism’ Category

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Of this I am certain (An ongoing conversation)

January 7, 2010
Is certainty the enemy of faith? Does being certain mean that mystery is no longer allowed? I run into those who seem to teach that we must be certain in all things of faith yet I just don’t see how that can be. I see that living in doubt leads one to fear, yet faith leads us to certainty and courage… so how does this all fit? I see this as a bit of a false dilemma made by those who cling to certainty and do not allow awe and mystery… or see that someone that simply trusts in God and does not need to know with certainty the answers… but knows that God IS the ANSWER.
Just on a personal level I have not issue with certainty… yet to me that does not mean all knowledgeable. The issue that I see is that many base their certainty as the basis of their fiath. Yet, Jesus stated, “Even more blessed are those that believe and have not seen.”
So I am certain that the bible is authoritative, not because I can prove it is infallible or inerrant, but that Jesus stated it was authoritative. Modernism seems to gut faith out of the bible and bring all of Heaven into the realm of man’s logic and reason. God is so far beyond us that to do so is to declare God is made in our image and results in God becoming vain human imagination.
So certainty can have mystery in it as we grow. One can be certain as to what God has taught them, and yet acknowledge there is so much more (an infinite amount of knowledge) to learn. This take humility which some lack as they make human logic and reason their certainty and believe they have arrived. They reduce faith in Jesus to believes and base salvation not on Grace or that the “Just shall live by faith” to salvation by believes and living by logic and reason.
To me I am certain in many things God has taught me… yet I am open to being wrong. Yet, often I confess God must bang my head against the wall to change my mind… but usually God hits my heart and then m mind follows. Then again, I may be wrong…

Peace.
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Great Quotes (kind of): Steve Camp

November 12, 2007
“When a pastor continually makes light of the character of our Lord by speaking in scatological tones about the Son of Man’s bodily functions in incarnation or wearing T-Shirts that rather mock the King of Righteousness rather than glorify Him, then something is terribly awry.” ~ Steve Camp on Mark Driscoll in comments.
Then he holds up Martin Luther with great reverence… promoting this “Great Reformer”.


Yet, here is the real Martin Luther… btw there is a warning that this site is very crude… as these are real Martin Luther quotes and anti Semitic statements.

(A bit of a disclaimer about the link here… the quotes are accurate and Luther seemed to also like to say the “s” word… yep that “scatological tone” was not just a tone as with Driscoll… the man had no qualms using it as one of his favorite cuss words… But the guy at this site made me laugh as he uses some bizarre reasoning to say Luther was not even saved! LOL!… Then basically states what Luther based his whole life on as the only way to salvation…. “saved by grace through faith”! LOL! So, I do not endorse the site but found it entertaining in his circular reasoning… again the quotes are pure Luther.)

Now, I am not a fan of Mark Driscoll… and I admit I may have gone a bit overboard at the link above were Camp is quoted. Yet, this continual double standard that comes from Steve Camp is at best embarrassing and at worse a sore blind spot he has yet to acknowledge in himself before he attacks others.

Also, I am not against Martin Luther. I just think that candy-coating him or any of the “great reformers” is dishonest. They were all frail men with huge flaws just like myself.

I point to Steve Camp only to show that some who cast stones and hold a righteousness of themselves over others, fail to see that no one is righteous… and all have sinned. To attack Driscoll as Camp is doing then hold up a foul mouthed reformer… is very hypocritical.

Now, before you state I am doing the same thing, this is the huge difference. I have an open door to reconciliation… and as you may have read, Steve is attacking Driscoll over a supposedly offended brother, (which we have no idea if he was actually offended) and not giving Driscoll any grace over his confession in lacking humility… in fact as you read the “MacArthurite” comments even his confession is held suspect. That is not only sad, but sick. I hold that Steve is already forgiven, but will be held in bondage by his own legalistic standard… and not truly experience the Grace of God in all fullness unless he can see his own double standards and turn to God. I hope to only warn Steve in the Love of Jesus… and not attacking him personally.

Oh if you think I am being unkind to Steve Camp… here are some other quotes by him concerning Mark…

Carla:
“Very good post–thank you.
Mark is a marketeer and that’s what all this is about. He has some books coming out first quarter next year; he wants to stir some additional attention to himself; so he promotes in acerbic tones this ridiculous campaign that some people think is a serious theological venture; he snarkastically mocks those who post serious biblical questions (see last Sunday’s message); he’s again relishing in all the attention.
For some zealous bloggers who are enamored with Mark to suggest that he’s the next Billy Graham is beyond funny. In fact I was laughing so hard when reading that, that some reformed brothers I was with thought I had experienced the Toronto Blessing.
Mark hasn’t done anything for biblical evangelism to date. His church grows primarily through attrition; not first time conversions. (*Note: Lordship Salvation offers no assurance, but makes one constantly look at their own fruit to make sure they are still elect! It is a performance based theology based on works. Also, I am not sure Steve knows what attrition means as how can a church grow bigger and smaller at the same time? If he means that it grew out of the other churches in the area losing members, then he need look at how John MacArthur’s church grew out of the population of Roman Catholics who left that church in the early days and joined Macarthur’s… ) I was at Mark’sHill about a month ago and attended a service there. A few observations: there was no public reading of God’s Word; there was no corporate worship taking place; there was no time of corporate prayer; there was no biblical instruction before the entire church took communion; there was no sense of community or connectedness whatsoever; it was not a worship service, it was a very well produced performance. There was event security everywhere just hanging out with black t-shirts on that you would find at any professional wrestling event. It’s all part of the image.On the positive side: the technology out there is second to none; very organized – really great. It’s obvious that’s where the money goes. And I have to say, that the coffee in the coffee bar afterwards was really fantastic!
Mark’s not an expositor, he’s a performer. The sermon was lightweight in terms of biblical content and doctrine. In fact, he missed the text that day (Phil.1:1) – but hey, what does it matter, the videos, computer graphics and lights were amazing. If he spent as much time on the text as he did on the technology it might be different. And then there is the music. Oh my. Poorly executed, very trendy, alternative, garage band tunes. I don’t know who was up there leading that particular service, but the guy couldn’t sing–I mean it was painful – dogs and cats screaming! (*Note: I might mention the first time I heard Steve he sounded very forced and marginal at best, but I loved his early stuff as he had a very strong evangelistic spirit about his music.)
What’s all this mean? It means that Mark is young, inexperienced as a Bible teacher, and needs time to mature in the faith. It means that he is more promoter than pastor. Is he the next Billy Graham? – not unless you do ministry by comic books. Will he do more for Christian evangelism since Billy Graham by just answering nine questions on a blog turned book? Not a chance; it will have the same impact as Kathy Lee Gifford singing “You Light Up My Life” on The View.
Mark’sHill Church is really just a giant youth group meeting; and if it took place on a Friday night at a large pragmatic, seeker friendly church say in the Chicago area, it would fit in quite nicely. This is not serious, deep, biblical theology being presented. In Seattle language, it is a nonfat, caffeine free latte, with a shot of air. Mostly foam, little bean. (* Like songs about foul mouthed Martin Luther and the Wittenburg door? Just asking…)
Ask-anything-Mark? Why… he has little to say. If you want your questions answered just read your Bibles and study with great men like MacArthur, Sproul, Edwards, Owens, Watson, Pink, Calvin and Spurgeon–you won’t be disappointed.
That’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.
Keep on Carla – this was a really good article. Steve 2 Cor. 4:5-7 SJ Camp”

Really nice stuff there huh? Lot’s of name calling and very little Grace to Mark.
Now remember Steve Camp goes to John MacArthur’s (Grace to you) church (thus the name drop in the midst of some truly great bible teachers) and was introduced as “Keith Green with theology.” Personally, I would rather be introduced as one who truly loves Jesus and not that I am “theological”… but all this points to the type of arrogance that is produced by the theology at “Grace to you”… as it all points to Steve being more right(ous) than Mark and Steve putting Mark down as a fraud out to sell books and not truly having a confessional faith in Jesus Christ… He shows the lack of true faith and grace that comes with knowing Jesus in a personal way and that is why I call out that Steve return to his first love Jesus and forsake mental assent in a belief in God through doctrines. Note, I am in no way stating Steve is not saved… I believe him to be a sincere believer… but under some very bad doctrine.
All that said, I really commend Carla for this comment to Frank Turk of Team Pyro fame…

“Frank: I have deleted your second comment here simply because I cannot tolerate that sort of insulting tone here at this blog. Just FYI. Carla Rolfe”

So even some of the reformed fans are also getting a bit irritated with these guys!

Be blessed,
iggy

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Great Quotes (kind of): Steve Camp

November 12, 2007
“When a pastor continually makes light of the character of our Lord by speaking in scatological tones about the Son of Man’s bodily functions in incarnation or wearing T-Shirts that rather mock the King of Righteousness rather than glorify Him, then something is terribly awry.” ~ Steve Camp on Mark Driscoll in comments.
Then he holds up Martin Luther with great reverence… promoting this “Great Reformer”.


Yet, here is the real Martin Luther… btw there is a warning that this site is very crude… as these are real Martin Luther quotes and anti Semitic statements.

(A bit of a disclaimer about the link here… the quotes are accurate and Luther seemed to also like to say the “s” word… yep that “scatological tone” was not just a tone as with Driscoll… the man had no qualms using it as one of his favorite cuss words… But the guy at this site made me laugh as he uses some bizarre reasoning to say Luther was not even saved! LOL!… Then basically states what Luther based his whole life on as the only way to salvation…. “saved by grace through faith”! LOL! So, I do not endorse the site but found it entertaining in his circular reasoning… again the quotes are pure Luther.)

Now, I am not a fan of Mark Driscoll… and I admit I may have gone a bit overboard at the link above were Camp is quoted. Yet, this continual double standard that comes from Steve Camp is at best embarrassing and at worse a sore blind spot he has yet to acknowledge in himself before he attacks others.

Also, I am not against Martin Luther. I just think that candy-coating him or any of the “great reformers” is dishonest. They were all frail men with huge flaws just like myself.

I point to Steve Camp only to show that some who cast stones and hold a righteousness of themselves over others, fail to see that no one is righteous… and all have sinned. To attack Driscoll as Camp is doing then hold up a foul mouthed reformer… is very hypocritical.

Now, before you state I am doing the same thing, this is the huge difference. I have an open door to reconciliation… and as you may have read, Steve is attacking Driscoll over a supposedly offended brother, (which we have no idea if he was actually offended) and not giving Driscoll any grace over his confession in lacking humility… in fact as you read the “MacArthurite” comments even his confession is held suspect. That is not only sad, but sick. I hold that Steve is already forgiven, but will be held in bondage by his own legalistic standard… and not truly experience the Grace of God in all fullness unless he can see his own double standards and turn to God. I hope to only warn Steve in the Love of Jesus… and not attacking him personally.

Oh if you think I am being unkind to Steve Camp… here are some other quotes by him concerning Mark…

Carla:
“Very good post–thank you.
Mark is a marketeer and that’s what all this is about. He has some books coming out first quarter next year; he wants to stir some additional attention to himself; so he promotes in acerbic tones this ridiculous campaign that some people think is a serious theological venture; he snarkastically mocks those who post serious biblical questions (see last Sunday’s message); he’s again relishing in all the attention.
For some zealous bloggers who are enamored with Mark to suggest that he’s the next Billy Graham is beyond funny. In fact I was laughing so hard when reading that, that some reformed brothers I was with thought I had experienced the Toronto Blessing.
Mark hasn’t done anything for biblical evangelism to date. His church grows primarily through attrition; not first time conversions. (*Note: Lordship Salvation offers no assurance, but makes one constantly look at their own fruit to make sure they are still elect! It is a performance based theology based on works. Also, I am not sure Steve knows what attrition means as how can a church grow bigger and smaller at the same time? If he means that it grew out of the other churches in the area losing members, then he need look at how John MacArthur’s church grew out of the population of Roman Catholics who left that church in the early days and joined Macarthur’s… ) I was at Mark’sHill about a month ago and attended a service there. A few observations: there was no public reading of God’s Word; there was no corporate worship taking place; there was no time of corporate prayer; there was no biblical instruction before the entire church took communion; there was no sense of community or connectedness whatsoever; it was not a worship service, it was a very well produced performance. There was event security everywhere just hanging out with black t-shirts on that you would find at any professional wrestling event. It’s all part of the image.On the positive side: the technology out there is second to none; very organized – really great. It’s obvious that’s where the money goes. And I have to say, that the coffee in the coffee bar afterwards was really fantastic!
Mark’s not an expositor, he’s a performer. The sermon was lightweight in terms of biblical content and doctrine. In fact, he missed the text that day (Phil.1:1) – but hey, what does it matter, the videos, computer graphics and lights were amazing. If he spent as much time on the text as he did on the technology it might be different. And then there is the music. Oh my. Poorly executed, very trendy, alternative, garage band tunes. I don’t know who was up there leading that particular service, but the guy couldn’t sing–I mean it was painful – dogs and cats screaming! (*Note: I might mention the first time I heard Steve he sounded very forced and marginal at best, but I loved his early stuff as he had a very strong evangelistic spirit about his music.)
What’s all this mean? It means that Mark is young, inexperienced as a Bible teacher, and needs time to mature in the faith. It means that he is more promoter than pastor. Is he the next Billy Graham? – not unless you do ministry by comic books. Will he do more for Christian evangelism since Billy Graham by just answering nine questions on a blog turned book? Not a chance; it will have the same impact as Kathy Lee Gifford singing “You Light Up My Life” on The View.
Mark’sHill Church is really just a giant youth group meeting; and if it took place on a Friday night at a large pragmatic, seeker friendly church say in the Chicago area, it would fit in quite nicely. This is not serious, deep, biblical theology being presented. In Seattle language, it is a nonfat, caffeine free latte, with a shot of air. Mostly foam, little bean. (* Like songs about foul mouthed Martin Luther and the Wittenburg door? Just asking…)
Ask-anything-Mark? Why… he has little to say. If you want your questions answered just read your Bibles and study with great men like MacArthur, Sproul, Edwards, Owens, Watson, Pink, Calvin and Spurgeon–you won’t be disappointed.
That’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.
Keep on Carla – this was a really good article. Steve 2 Cor. 4:5-7 SJ Camp”

Really nice stuff there huh? Lot’s of name calling and very little Grace to Mark.
Now remember Steve Camp goes to John MacArthur’s (Grace to you) church (thus the name drop in the midst of some truly great bible teachers) and was introduced as “Keith Green with theology.” Personally, I would rather be introduced as one who truly loves Jesus and not that I am “theological”… but all this points to the type of arrogance that is produced by the theology at “Grace to you”… as it all points to Steve being more right(ous) than Mark and Steve putting Mark down as a fraud out to sell books and not truly having a confessional faith in Jesus Christ… He shows the lack of true faith and grace that comes with knowing Jesus in a personal way and that is why I call out that Steve return to his first love Jesus and forsake mental assent in a belief in God through doctrines. Note, I am in no way stating Steve is not saved… I believe him to be a sincere believer… but under some very bad doctrine.
All that said, I really commend Carla for this comment to Frank Turk of Team Pyro fame…

“Frank: I have deleted your second comment here simply because I cannot tolerate that sort of insulting tone here at this blog. Just FYI. Carla Rolfe”

So even some of the reformed fans are also getting a bit irritated with these guys!

Be blessed,
iggy

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Great Quotes: N.T.Wright

November 11, 2007
What does the church do when faced with this huge swirling set of cultural movements and tensions? Most of us learned our trade, learned Christianity, and learned to preach and live the gospel within the resolutely modernist and industrial world. Some branches of Christianity, it is true, have managed to hold onto a premodern way of thinking and even of living, holding the modern world, let alone the postmodern world, at arm’s length. But most of us traditionally have articulated the gospel to people who thought and felt as modern people, particularly as “progress” people—people who thought that if they worked a little harder and pulled their weight a bit more strongly, everything would pan out. That modernist dream, translated into theology, sustains a sort of Pelagianism: pull yourself up by your moral bootstraps, save yourself by your own efforts. And since that was what Martin Luther attacked with his doctrine of justification by faith, we have preached a message, of grace and faith to a world of eager Pelagians. We have announced a pure spiritual message, uncorrupted by political and social reflection.
That looks fine to begin with. If you meet a Pelagian coming down the street, give him Augustine or Luther. But there are two problems with this procedure. First, of course, it is not what Saint Paul himself meant by justification by faith, but that is another subject for another day. Second, with the move to postmodernity, most of our contemporaries already, and all of them soon, will not be Pelagians any longer. Those who have abandoned the smokestack economy for the microchip, those who have denied all objective knowledge in favor of a world of feelings and impulses, those who have abandoned the arrogant Enlightenment “I” for the deconstmcted mass of signifiers, those who have torn down the great metanarrative and now play with different interchangeable stories as they come along—those who live in this world, which is increasingly our world, are not trying to pull themselves up by their moral bootstraps. Where would they pull themselves up to? Why would they bother? Who are “they,” anyway? Goal, motive, identity—all of these have been undermined by the shifting sands of postmodernity.
Faced with this situation, many have tried—some are still trying—to deny the presence of postmodernity, to retain the modern world in which we felt so comfortable and in which (whether we realize it or not) we preached a modernist gospel. Many want to turn the clock back, culturally and theologically.

It cannot be done.

My proposal to you is that we should not be frightened of the postmodern critique. It had to come. It is, I believe, a necessary judgment on the arrogance of modernity, and it is essentially a judgment from within. Our task is to reflect on this moment of despair within our culture and, reflecting biblically and Christianly, to see our way through the moment of despair and out the other side. ~ N.T.Wright The Resurrection and the Postmodern Dilemma
(Originally published in Sewanee Theological Review 41.2, 1998. Reproduced by permission of the author.)

Read the whole article here.

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Great Quotes: N.T.Wright

November 11, 2007
What does the church do when faced with this huge swirling set of cultural movements and tensions? Most of us learned our trade, learned Christianity, and learned to preach and live the gospel within the resolutely modernist and industrial world. Some branches of Christianity, it is true, have managed to hold onto a premodern way of thinking and even of living, holding the modern world, let alone the postmodern world, at arm’s length. But most of us traditionally have articulated the gospel to people who thought and felt as modern people, particularly as “progress” people—people who thought that if they worked a little harder and pulled their weight a bit more strongly, everything would pan out. That modernist dream, translated into theology, sustains a sort of Pelagianism: pull yourself up by your moral bootstraps, save yourself by your own efforts. And since that was what Martin Luther attacked with his doctrine of justification by faith, we have preached a message, of grace and faith to a world of eager Pelagians. We have announced a pure spiritual message, uncorrupted by political and social reflection.
That looks fine to begin with. If you meet a Pelagian coming down the street, give him Augustine or Luther. But there are two problems with this procedure. First, of course, it is not what Saint Paul himself meant by justification by faith, but that is another subject for another day. Second, with the move to postmodernity, most of our contemporaries already, and all of them soon, will not be Pelagians any longer. Those who have abandoned the smokestack economy for the microchip, those who have denied all objective knowledge in favor of a world of feelings and impulses, those who have abandoned the arrogant Enlightenment “I” for the deconstmcted mass of signifiers, those who have torn down the great metanarrative and now play with different interchangeable stories as they come along—those who live in this world, which is increasingly our world, are not trying to pull themselves up by their moral bootstraps. Where would they pull themselves up to? Why would they bother? Who are “they,” anyway? Goal, motive, identity—all of these have been undermined by the shifting sands of postmodernity.
Faced with this situation, many have tried—some are still trying—to deny the presence of postmodernity, to retain the modern world in which we felt so comfortable and in which (whether we realize it or not) we preached a modernist gospel. Many want to turn the clock back, culturally and theologically.

It cannot be done.

My proposal to you is that we should not be frightened of the postmodern critique. It had to come. It is, I believe, a necessary judgment on the arrogance of modernity, and it is essentially a judgment from within. Our task is to reflect on this moment of despair within our culture and, reflecting biblically and Christianly, to see our way through the moment of despair and out the other side. ~ N.T.Wright The Resurrection and the Postmodern Dilemma
(Originally published in Sewanee Theological Review 41.2, 1998. Reproduced by permission of the author.)

Read the whole article here.

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Are we really called to "defend" truth?

October 11, 2007
I find it interesting that people teach that we are to defend truth… or defend The Truth. Did you know there is not one verse that states that or teaches that?
Here is a short list of who and what we are to defend:
  • The Gospel (I know that the Gospel is truth… and I will get back to this)
  • The Weak
  • The afflicted among the people.
  • The cause of the weak and fatherless.
Now, there is much more and I challenge one to do a study on “defending”.
Still not one verse that states to defend the truth… and some base their whole ministry on this idea.
Now.. we are to defend the Gospel… and the Gospel is truth. Now that is as close as one can get to this idea. Yet, the Gospel is this… for there is only One Gospel that was in Christ and taught by Christ and handed down to the Apostles… Jesus tells us this Gospel in Matthew 24:14
“…gospel of the kingdom…” it is not just about the death burial and resurrection though that is a major part of it… it is and was always and will always be about God’s Kingdom.
Some teach that it is yet to come… but here in Matthew and elsewhere Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom and no other Gospel.
How sad that some seek to defend Truth… For if they realized that Jesus is The Truth and God’s Word does not return void to Him, they would see that Truth defends itself! It does not need man to defend it… or rather let me state it this way… Jesus does not need man to defend Him! He is our defender.
Now there is a verse that is used as a hammer to batter other brother and sisters in Christ with. And the sad thing is it is one of the most powerful verses in the bible… in it is a warning and an eternal truth that those who teach man must defend Truth miss…
Jude 1: 3-5
“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. “
Now the focus is on “I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”
Many read this without a thought that “contend” means to defend… rather it means to strive for… A quick look at the verses that use contend will show this true.
Now, in boxing a contender is not the champion who holds the title… it is the one who is striving toward the goal to win the title. What some have done with this verse is turn the contender into the defender and that is wrong.
We are to earnestly contend for the faith. We are to strive and seek after it. Paul used the idea of running the race… that we are to persevere and endure whatever comes at us and to strive toward the goal which is Jesus and His great salvation.
I see that this basic misunderstanding has caused much division out there. In our futile attempt to defend Truth, we miss that Jesus being truth and by His truth defends us as we trust Him at His word. To take that from Jesus is stating that we really do not trust Jesus defence of us or Himself and that we can do it better than Jesus can. It is arrogance to thing we can defend Truth better than God Himself…
We are to stand on the truth… as Moses was instructed “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.” (Exodus 33:21) we also are to stand on the Rock which is Jesus Christ and not depend on our own works to defend that Rock… that Rock is our defense!
It is by Grace we can even stand… Romans 5:1-2
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”
As we stand in His grace by faith we are earnestly contending for the faith.
We may debate and instruct as to God’s word… we may rebuke and be rebuked by God’s word and fall into conviction of the Holy Spirit… yet this is not defending… if one turns it into that it is no longer in love as it is then confrontation in the sense that one person is greater than the other. We are to esteem others greater than ourselves… and in love contend for the faith and while we do that encourage others to contend with us.
Now if someone is tries to state I am against truth… you really need to re-read this post again… I think that if I place my trust in Jesus who is Truth incarnate… that I place a high value on truth.
Be Blessed,
iggy
h1

Are we really called to "defend" truth?

October 11, 2007
I find it interesting that people teach that we are to defend truth… or defend The Truth. Did you know there is not one verse that states that or teaches that?
Here is a short list of who and what we are to defend:
  • The Gospel (I know that the Gospel is truth… and I will get back to this)
  • The Weak
  • The afflicted among the people.
  • The cause of the weak and fatherless.
Now, there is much more and I challenge one to do a study on “defending”.
Still not one verse that states to defend the truth… and some base their whole ministry on this idea.
Now.. we are to defend the Gospel… and the Gospel is truth. Now that is as close as one can get to this idea. Yet, the Gospel is this… for there is only One Gospel that was in Christ and taught by Christ and handed down to the Apostles… Jesus tells us this Gospel in Matthew 24:14
“…gospel of the kingdom…” it is not just about the death burial and resurrection though that is a major part of it… it is and was always and will always be about God’s Kingdom.
Some teach that it is yet to come… but here in Matthew and elsewhere Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom and no other Gospel.
How sad that some seek to defend Truth… For if they realized that Jesus is The Truth and God’s Word does not return void to Him, they would see that Truth defends itself! It does not need man to defend it… or rather let me state it this way… Jesus does not need man to defend Him! He is our defender.
Now there is a verse that is used as a hammer to batter other brother and sisters in Christ with. And the sad thing is it is one of the most powerful verses in the bible… in it is a warning and an eternal truth that those who teach man must defend Truth miss…
Jude 1: 3-5
“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. “
Now the focus is on “I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”
Many read this without a thought that “contend” means to defend… rather it means to strive for… A quick look at the verses that use contend will show this true.
Now, in boxing a contender is not the champion who holds the title… it is the one who is striving toward the goal to win the title. What some have done with this verse is turn the contender into the defender and that is wrong.
We are to earnestly contend for the faith. We are to strive and seek after it. Paul used the idea of running the race… that we are to persevere and endure whatever comes at us and to strive toward the goal which is Jesus and His great salvation.
I see that this basic misunderstanding has caused much division out there. In our futile attempt to defend Truth, we miss that Jesus being truth and by His truth defends us as we trust Him at His word. To take that from Jesus is stating that we really do not trust Jesus defence of us or Himself and that we can do it better than Jesus can. It is arrogance to thing we can defend Truth better than God Himself…
We are to stand on the truth… as Moses was instructed “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.” (Exodus 33:21) we also are to stand on the Rock which is Jesus Christ and not depend on our own works to defend that Rock… that Rock is our defense!
It is by Grace we can even stand… Romans 5:1-2
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”
As we stand in His grace by faith we are earnestly contending for the faith.
We may debate and instruct as to God’s word… we may rebuke and be rebuked by God’s word and fall into conviction of the Holy Spirit… yet this is not defending… if one turns it into that it is no longer in love as it is then confrontation in the sense that one person is greater than the other. We are to esteem others greater than ourselves… and in love contend for the faith and while we do that encourage others to contend with us.
Now if someone is tries to state I am against truth… you really need to re-read this post again… I think that if I place my trust in Jesus who is Truth incarnate… that I place a high value on truth.
Be Blessed,
iggy