I had lunch the other day with a good Christian friend. He brought up the issue of free will, a subject that had weighed heavily on his mind recently. He confided with me that he thought he heard the voice of God speak to him one day.
This is what the Lord supposedly told him.
“Free will is the greatest gift I have given to man.” – Or something close to that.
My friend did a remarkable thing after hearing the word of the Lord, something I see very few Christians do when they supposedly hear God speak to them.
He discerned the message.
He rightly divided the word of truth. He questioned the scriptural integrity of those words. He did as Spurgeon advised; judged the right from the almost right.
See, the words ‘free will is God’s greatest gift’ may sound good, right and true on the surface, especially in the midst of a doctrinally confused generation of semi-Pelagians dominating the face of evangelicalism.
But is the notion scriptural? Continue reading
When I hear the word piety I immediately conjure an image of a self-righteous religious pharisee type, praying long-winded prayers, fasting with hunger pangs etched on his face, looking down his nose at the unclean mass of humanity who are not worthy to look up and behold his blinding glory.
A pious person in the world today denotes a religious hypocrite, a sanctimonious spirit, concerned more for dotting his I’s and crossing his T’s rather than walking in love, mercy and compassion toward others. So, if someone ever calls you a pious churchgoer, don’t say ‘thank you’. You’ve just been backhanded!
This caricature has been manufactured by a contemporary evangelicalism that disdains ‘dead orthodoxy’ and ‘dry doctrine’. It is not an accurate depiction of true piety. It actually once had a very positive, biblical definition. Piety meant a deep reverence for God and a sacred obligation to religious duties. Piousness parallels holiness. But there have been some in church history who have taken true piety to unhealthy extremes, creating a man-made system of sanctification outside of God’s ordinary means of grace.
Pastor Bob DeWaay of Twin Cities Fellowship in Minneapolis has written a superb and eye opening article on a heretical movement that has infected the church for centuries. It has taken on various forms and has been called by many different names, but at its core is called ‘pietism’. It is not the same as practicing true piety, but bases its belief off of it.
I’ll let Pastor DeWaay define the term: Continue reading
World From Our Window has an interesting article examining the relationship between Arminian ‘free-will’ theology and the latest and greatest heresy sweeping the landscape – Open Theism. The author poses the question whether Arminian theology, if consistently applied, naturally leads to a belief in Open Theism.
Here’s an excerpt:
Over the past several months I have heard a couple of Calvinists make statements along the lines that “consistent Arminianism leads to Open Theism.” This is not to say that all Arminians are Open Theists (a heresy that the vast majority of Arminians repudiate), but that if Arminians were consistent they would be Open Theists. Therefore the only thing that keeps an Arminian from being an Open Theist is inconsistency.
Read the entire article here.
The article is Part 6 of a series called Contentiously Contending. I recommend reading them all. This one really spoke to me. These are wise words that I think we all must take to heart.
Ok, this is a quick post – a little bit of live-blogging if you will. I’m sitting here at home watching in disbelief as TD Jakes promotes his new book, Reposition Yourself – Living Life Without Limits on TBN. First of all, he has four mimes complete with white face make-up, acting out his sermon in the background as he talks about breaking free of the bonds of mediocrity.
Yikes! And I thought Powerpoint presentations had great potential to divert our attention away from the word, Oh my! Four clowns making wild hand gestures and overly dramatic physical contortions to the tune of a Christian message cancels out the effectiveness of Bishop Jake’s usually compelling delivery. Welcome to the brave new world of self-defeating ministry, folks.
He’s promoting this book pretty heavily. The sermon he’s preaching is lifted from the book and he interrupts himself every few minutes to run a mini-infomercial giving us an inside flap style synopsis of the book’s contents. He says it’s about personal fulfilment that can be achieved by making small adjustments to your life that, oh by the way, you can only discover if you buy his book. He made a remark that God had given him fresh new perspectives that he is unveiling to the world so we can live the abundant life. The hair on the back of my neck rises every time I hear preachers using words such as ‘fresh’ and ‘new’ in the same sentence with ‘God’ and the ‘bible’.
And in an ‘Oh my goodness, no he didn’t’ moment, he actually spouted the old worn cliche’ ‘God helps those who helps themselves’ in the midst of his message! He even quotes the ‘faith without works is dead’ scripture in support of it. Does he have any inkling of what the grace of God really is? Can man help himself in any way in regards to salvation? Does God expect us to work our way to glory in our own strength? It is utter foolishness at best and rank heresy at worst to make this unsubstantiated claim as if it had any basis in scripture.
I’ve had enough, time to change the channel. If you are a fan of TD Jakes, may I humbly suggest you do the same.
Dear Mr. Arminius,
I am truly sorry for your loss. Your reputation over the past century has been diminished at the hands of believers everywhere who hold to free-will and Calvinist theology. I, along with multitudes of others, have used your name in vain. We have ascribed the fruits of your theological studies to the works of another man, much more notorious than yourself. Many adherents to modern evangelicalism’s methods of bringing souls to Christ by a simple act of the will apart from a work of grace are lumped together in a category of aberrant theology we call Arminianism. I have realized, to my chagrin, this is giving them far more credit than they deserve. To call preachers who ask lost souls to recite a canned sinner’s prayer devoid of repentance an Arminian is an insult to your good name. Preachers who teach, either directly or indirectly, man’s innate ability to choose Christ contrary to his sinful nature, should not be labeled with your name but with the name of a heretic from ages ago; Pelagius. Continue reading
Just a few short years ago I had come to the end of my rope. I was ready to hang myself in despair. From the time God saved me in 1995 until 2000 when I finished up college, I had experienced marginal spiritual growth as a Christian. From mid-2000 to late 2005 my spiritual life collapsed.
So what happened to wreck my spiritual growth?
The simple answer lies in my efforts to establish my own righteousness after having received grace. I based my assurance on my spiritual performance. The cause of this faulty understanding had much to do with my limited exposure to teachers and preachers of God’s word. I swore allegiance to only 2 teachers and my pastor. Coming from a Pentecostal/Charismatic background I was taught early on to only listen to so-called ‘spirit-filled’ preachers, teachers and prophets.
Translation: I should only perk my ears toward pentecostal types who believed in tongues and spirit baptisms.
I could hardly tolerate any of the TBN preachers and teachers who fit this profile, although I would tune in to John Hagee and Hal Lindsey from time to time. I didn’t bother with the so-called ‘dried-up non-spirit-filled’ teachers, so my options were very limited. My pastor preached messages that were focused more on the happy life than on the scriptures so I wasn’t growing in the word much through him.
Note: Little did I know at the time my pastor was following the Church growth/Seeker-sensitive blueprint for manufacturing mega-churches. But that is another story… Continue reading