Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Doctrine Is Not the Biggest Challenge to the Gospel in the Church Today

Evangelicalism as a whole does not separate over beliefs and especially practices, which has been a historically differentiating factor between evangelicalism and fundamentalism.  As I have been keeping track, I have begun to hear the separation engine sputter to a start after sitting on blocks in the back yard.  It’s a dry, lifeless cough, but the mechanic is still tinkering.  Those mentioning it, as I follow along, are seeing that they need separation.  They need it as an escape craft as everything collapses around them.  They see the threat of something near total apostasy in the United States, and they are dusting off some kind of separation as a desperate move to stop that from happening.

Separation is a very awkward presentation and conversation for evangelicals, because separation is essentially mutually exclusive of evangelicalism.  It’s hard to pull it out with any kind of credibility after all these years of disuse.  It’s also become more awkward as fundamentalists have followed evangelicalism down its rabbit hole.

As has become the norm now, all conversations about separation come with long discussions about where to draw the line, what is worthy of separation.  I’m going to write more about this in my next post, but for now, you often hear that only certain doctrinal issues are worth separation.  This is not a biblical concept and at best it will throw a speed bump on the runaway ramp.  I’m saying that it is an embarrassing half measure at best.

NOT JUST DOCTRINAL, NOT EVEN MAINLY DOCTRINAL

The point of this post, however, is to say that evangelicals and even most fundamentalists see a doctrinal issue as either the reason or sometimes the most important reason to separate, but that I see this as entirely not true.   They have that wrong.  What is the biggest problem for evangelicalism and fundamentalism might be the destruction of the gospel, but it isn’t and it won’t be and it has not been primarily through a change in doctrinal statement.

The Bible doesn’t say that only doctrinal, or even practical, issues are what are important or all that are important or vital to a person or a church.  That is a lie of or at best the deceiving vanity of evangelicals, now being borrowed by fundamentalism, as I see it.  Doctrine and practice cannot be and will not be separated from the imaginations and affections of an individual, so if the imagination and affections are spoiled, the former will go along with those.  Those, doctrine and practice, actually are accessed through the imagination and are influenced by the affections.   What I’m talking about here is the same truth that Jonathan Edwards wrote about in his Treatise on the Religious Affections.

IMAGINATIONS AND AFFECTIONS

What I’m saying is that total apostasy is less likely by far to come through the destruction of spoiling of doctrine, but through idolatrous and covetous imaginations and inordinate or misplaced affections.   I believe both the Old and New Testaments bear this out.  Old Testament Israel knew the right things, but they were drawn away by their lusts, and then they just adjusted their worship to fit with they liked.  They were what and how they worshiped.  While harping about fundamental doctrines and essentials and really mocking those who don’t take that same position (never proving almost anything about what they mock — mockery is their proof like the apostates of 2 Peter 3), evangelicals (and I'm using a broad brush) have themselves contributed to the corruption of imaginations and perversion of affections.

Don’t get me wrong.  Fundamentalists are guilty too of what I’m talking about here, just less than evangelicals.  They thought something bad was happening even if they weren't good at explaining why they were against it.  At some point fundamentalists became guilty of the same things as evangelicals, just in a different way.  Much of America for much of its history had the instinct against what evangelicals offer as worship and thus promote far worse in the private life.  Even the most conservative evangelicals still are the apologists for the apostasy about which I speak.

Among separatists, keeping the imaginations and affections pure, by which someone gets his doctrine and practice, has been often called “personal separation.”  Sure, many fundamentalists have abused this and replaced a biblical type of personal separation with a placebo.  I have heard evangelicals blame their problems on these fundamentalists, who have replaced real personal separation with their false front city.  They have all the props of personal separation without really believing it and practicing it.

For years, I have pounced all over fundamentalists for what they have done and do.  However, evangelicals should take responsibility for their own problems that they have uniquely caused for themselves, instead of putting the blame on others.  This kind of whining is common in evangelicalism, also a part of an widespread effeminate quality to the movement.  Who might be just masculine posers totally misdiagnose the effeminacy they recognize.  I'm sure most of them don't even see it anymore.  Fundamentalists have their own problems, but they are not the reason for the problems in evangelicalism.

For sure, not knowing who Jesus was and not keeping His commandments were serious misunderstandings or violations as seen in the gospels.  You can't think that He's only a prophet and be right. If you believed He was merely a Galilean, who grew up in Nazareth, that wrong view would leave you without light and life.  You have missed the doctrine with that assessment.  That isn't often what Jesus targeted. He zeroed in on their love, as did Paul.  You really didn't know God, know Jesus, unless you loved Him, and you don't love Him like your boyfriend or girlfriend.  That's not how someone loves God.  But people get messed about what love is in evangelicalism, because they have turned it into sentimentalism with their methods and techniques and dogged defense of their freedom.

AS SEEN IN THE BIBLE

The Bible talks a lot about loving God, not just being right about Who He is and then laying out all His rules and doing them.  No doubt you've got to do them if you love Him, but love is what He requires.  And if you don't love Jesus, you don't love God.  This was how Jesus presented it.  A barrier to love includes love for other things, which are fueled by lust.  A non stop diet for lust that is pushed by evangelicalism diminishes God to people.  They use the fleshly lust as a lure, as if they can use it to get people into church, where they'll then love God.

The apostle Paul said at the end of 1 Corinthians that you're cursed if you don't love Jesus, and love was the problem for Corinth.  At the beginning of the epistle, you see it start with how they got people.  The Greeks wanted wisdom and the Jews wanted signs.  God alone wasn't good enough. Evangelicals with this incredible genius know what Americans want.  They want rock music, so they take sacred lyrics and put it to the lustful tunes and rhythms, and then call it worship.  They do other things like this too, but it has been going on for awhile.  They bridged the gap between the sacred and the profane.  What Christians wouldn't do for entertainment and recreation are now permissible --- all of these things --- and 1 Corinthians 1 is violated.  The problem, of course, is that the attraction becomes something other than Jesus.

Evangelicals say they are about Jesus, but Jesus is understood through the imagination.  He has to be the actual Jesus, not the one people want to be their Jesus, someone who Jesus knows isn't Him. They gladly take him, the impostor.  He fits a particular doctrinal profile, but he doesn't have the sacredness, the holiness.  He's common and profane in fitting with the taste of each postmodern individual.  And you can't judge that, because if you do, you're judging a non-essential.   Their Jesus is the Jesus compatible with their lust, with their desires, where He really is diminished below what they really love, which is idolatry.  They have convinced themselves now that this is Jesus being Lord.  It isn't.

Much more in the New Testament declares what I'm writing about here, what evangelicalism does, including the conservatives, to warp Jesus and belief in Him, to change the gospel.  They say this is all non-essential or non-scriptural, like there is very little meaning to anything.  They mock it.  They say personal separation is really all about wearing wire rimmed glasses and whether you've got or not got pleats in your pants, because they really have nothing to say.  Christianity is going down the drain with them.  They gave up on this long ago to keep their numbers to look like God was working.  As the world moved and got worse, they went with it.

Peter had the same concern back in the first century when he wrote his first epistle (1:14): "As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance."  He saw people who were being fashioned, conformed, or formed by their former lusts.  The point of the Christian life isn't handing a tidy doctrinal statement, but it is to be holy as He is holy.  If you understand biblical holiness, then you know that it is a transcendent life, not a mundane one that looks like everyone else.  Later on in the next chapter, Peter writes, "abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."  If you were a Christian, you had different interests than a worldly person.

The evangelicals have designed much of their program around giving people things of the world, of course with the idea that Jesus and doctrine will get in there too.  Those things don't mix.  A different assessment of Jesus will occur.  He will be seen through this worldly prism, so it's no wonder they don't live holy.

I could go on here, making many other points, including about a false spirituality that comes from feelings choreographed by the evangelical presentation, but I think you get what I'm saying.  Doctrine is serious, so is practice, but the affections and imaginations are where people are getting another Jesus to believe in, and then belief isn't belief, because it is absent the ordinate affection for Him.  What they say is either a disputable or non-biblical or non-essential is actually where the challenge to the gospel is most.  If they want things to change, they need to start with more than the doctrine and practice themselves, and then separate over those things too, the things that they mock others for teaching, practicing, upholding, and separating over.

13 comments:

George Calvas said...

"I’m going to write more about this in my next post, but for now, you often hear that only certain doctrinal issues are worth separation."

The reason you fight over this amongst yourselves is your inability to comprehend the fact that you will not "fight the good fight of faith" against the world. The need to fight is apparent biblically (7-8 OT books prove that cf. "fight the good fight of faith" and "endure hardness as a good soldier"), but the fight is to be accomplished WITHOUT and not WITHIN. It happens within to a much greater extent when you quit fighting without. The only time the fight becomes real and apparent is when you get into tumults (read the book of Acts) preaching openly against sin, righteousness and judgment to come while telling them the only hope is the Lord Jesus Christ apart from your ungodliness or your self righteousness. Try that sometime in the open air and tell me if I am wrong.

Since you refuse to do that, all your churches, schools and generally everything else, even according to what you have written, is a FAILURE.

You must deal with those facts, repent, and change your mode of operation or continue to allow the apostasy to "eat as doth a canker" until all is lost.

George Calvas said...

Kent,

That was well written and spot on concerning the problem, but how do you begin to fix it?

I believe if you started with my previous comment, it is the foundation for the church loving God and setting their affections above. You get into all the messes you speak of when the church has lost its first love... their devotion and love for him compel them to preach the gospel, putting them in a position to then teach the truth and live like it. Read Revelation 2 about Ephesus and in v4 it says that they left their FIRST love. How did they do it if v2-v3 are true and v5 says repent and do the first works?

What are the first works? It is the first works the apostles were told to do... preach openly to the world the gospel and make disciples of men.

Other than that foundation, you have left your first love (Jesus Christ and his command to preach) and unless all churches begin with that, I believe you are wasting your time.

Kent Brandenburg said...

George,

Repentance is toward God, which means toward the actual God of the Bible, or someone hasn't repented. Everything you say here is colored by that. You talk about first love, but first love of Whom? Again, if you have the wrong view of the Trinity, you get every member of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit wrong.

You reduce it all down to street preaching. You street preach, that is yell at people on a microphone or megaphone, while they are walking downtown, and this is the true test of orthodoxy. The people yelling--good, the people who won't yell--bad. If I thought that were true, I'd have no problem yelling. But foundational or fundamental to that would be what you are yelling. If we stopped and talked, I'd find out that we don't have the same Jesus, so that your yelling wouldn't make me happy. I'd be thinking, just shut up, please sit down, please go away. You would interpret that as some womanly hatred of the difficult suffering you have to endure to do the most important and most vital aspect of work, that is, yelling, i.e. preaching, you see them as the same, at people while they walk down the street. Sure, you'd say it's the King Jacob's Bible (Jacob, because of the attack on James as a homosexual) you're screaming, which is akin to the Holy Spirit making utterances out of your mouth as you scream.

My evaluation after all I've read of you is that your strange views come out of the lifeless condition precipitated from your cultic view of God. You don't have the right view of God and that corrupts everything that comes from you.

George Calvas said...

Kent "Again, if you have the wrong view of the Trinity, you get every member of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit wrong."

"My evaluation after all I've read of you is that your strange views come out of the lifeless condition precipitated from your cultic view of God. You don't have the right view of God and that corrupts everything that comes from you."
---------
That is just a bunch of twisted and perverted lies based on the imagination of your own mind! That is your excuse, much like Thomas who started this because he read ONE sentence taken out of context. Seriously? Lifeless? Please spare me of your high view of yourself.

Who says I am wrong? I have written many times and have told you that there IS a Father and that there IS a Son and that there IS a Spirit. They are NOT "Jesus", yet at the same time they are ONE. They are NOT "the Father", yet at the same time they are ONE. They are NOT "the Holy Spirit", yet at the same time they are ONE. Please quit the "gnat straining" as though you think you have a corner on explaining the Godhead.


Kent "The people yelling--good, the people who won't yell--bad."
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No, as usual, you are wrong again. Quit twisting and putting words in my mouth that are not there! You refuse to preach openly- bad, yet you reason with people door to door- good.


Kent "If I thought that were true, I'd have no problem yelling."
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You have a problem with the bible and with God; manufacturing in your mind some preconceived notions that you only talk to people outside of a church.


Kent "If we stopped and talked, I'd find out that we don't have the same Jesus, so that your yelling wouldn't make me happy."
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Wrong once again. I know the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Son of man, born of a virgin, dying on the cross, buried, rose again the third day and by repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ you can have eternal life, become a new creature in Christ, born-again from above and given the earnest of the Spirit, the Holy Ghost, and we can know the Holy Father because of the Son. Did the Father do all this alone? Spare me.

Kent "You would interpret that as some womanly hatred of the difficult suffering you have to endure to do the most important and most vital aspect of work, that is, yelling, i.e. preaching, you see them as the same, at people while they walk down the street."
--------------
And what do you have to endure, eh? All that live godly shall SUFFER persecutions? I have to speak as a fool, since you glory in your flesh. Had any bottles, threats of jail or a beating, been thrown out of a city lately? Have you ever been stoned by Muslim's (Malakisi, Kenya)? All that has happened many times to me and I completely understand why I need the Comforter, and why the Lord said to his Father, "I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" and can understand the truth of Brother Paul who said "that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life".

Much more can be said, but why bother since you have no clue to any experience of that sort.

CONTINUED...

George Calvas said...

Kent "My evaluation after all I've read of you is that your strange views come out of the lifeless condition precipitated from your cultic view of God. You don't have the right view of God and that corrupts everything that comes from you."
---------------
Your evaluation of me does not mean anything concerning this matter. You are wrong in all aspects. I have more life of the Lord Jesus Christ than you want to admit because it troubles you at times that you know I am right, but are to proud to admit it. You have corrupted your own mind about me and you are not willing to repent and get right with your brother and I cannot do anything about it. Too bad, since this will eventually get settled in heaven.

Kent Brandenburg said...

George,

I would be glad, very glad, to admit in a very masculine way that I have been wrong, slightly wrong, very wrong, way wrong about anything concerning you. You are right about my being troubled, but it is just the opposite of what you are writing about my being troubled. I have not had the slightest bit of trouble about how right you are, not even in the slightest. Nothing you have written has caused a tremor of trouble from me for one moment, but I have been troubled, and I am glad to admit that, as I would be glad to admit I'm wrong about you. My trouble is with whether I should allow you to comment here. I have been troubled somewhat about whether I have been right at allowing you to be here. I want to explain that to readers.

Readers,

For instance, I write what I think is a helpful post and on comes you as what people term a blog troll, derailing the conversation. Others don't want to comment or talk possibly because on come you with your CAPITAL LETTERS, screaming in a comment section, and then questioning manhood, and other odd behavior. When I say, "odd," I don't mean peculiar, like peculiar people, zealous of good works, but just odd, eccentric, crazy.

I have allowed George, because I've thought where do I draw the line on people who disagree. We want people who disagree to be able to comment. I recently did not publish a comment by George, because he agreed with me. I don't mind as much when he disagrees, because that elevates the credibility of the post, but when he agrees, there's where I saw more damage to be done. I had banned him for awhile, but I thought it was hypocritical to ban him when I allowed others to comment who disagreed.

I thought by allowing George, people could see the difference between our position and Ruckmanites. That would be helpful.

I don't want to derail my own post, so let's try to do both. Reader, tell me whether it's appropriate to let George stay or why he should go. I would find it of interest, or maybe you just don't care.

However, I would like, as always, some commentary, yes or no, about posts I actually write.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thomas Ross,

Could you give a paragraph explaining the Trinitarian position of George versus biblical orthodoxy. I think you are most and best qualified. George is leaving some things out, and I don't want to ask him, so I'm asking you.

Jim Camp said...

My $.02,
I enjoy reading here & have been seriously challenged to make certain I am in true agreement with Scripture, both by the articles & the discussions after. That sadly ends with anything George writes.

At first, I felt Thomas was nitpicking concerning the modulism (did I spell this right? Working on a phone). I read the supposed Anabaptist doctrinal statement & felt like they were Trinitarians, just dabbling in Ruckman's stupidities. But somewhere in this, anyone concerned about presenting the truth would have removed statements about "Jesus being the Father" (not an exact quote. Again, a phone). The doctrine of the Trinity can be misstated or wrongly explained - later to need clarification. But rather than correcting a poorly worded statement, heels were dug in. This slowly lead to me wondering why would anyone not correct the wrong in the statement? Rather, demanding that his position is orthodox? I've come to think the George believes what they have written.

The second reason I generally skip anything written by George is exemplified by this statement
George stated...
"I have more life of the Lord Jesus Christ than you want to admit because it troubles you at times that you know I am right, but are to proud to admit it."
It is all here! The boasting of his own intense spirituality, coupled with judging in others what he cannot know - "it troubles you, to proud to admit it". The truth is that George cannot know if it troubles others. Nor would I trust his assessment of other people's pride condition, considering the constant boasting of street preaching & suffering persecution. Paul listed out the persecutions & trials of his life, but he also said he was speaking as a fool.

Again, my .02

KJB1611 said...

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

George believes in a weird form of modalism, affirming that Jesus is the Father. He also believes the bizarre weirdness that the Holy Spirit is like the spirit of a dead man. He even said believing that the Trinity is important instead of his false god is another gospel:

I will let the Lord Jesus Christ correct you when you ask him, "Where is the Father"?. . . . I on the other hand will look at him and call him FATHER . . . Therefore, I need to repent of nothing . . . Tying [salvation] to the deep things of God (the Godhead) as your basis for salvation, is ANTOHER [sic] GOSPEL.

http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/2014/02/learn-hebrew-online.html

He is associated with a cult that has the following in its doctrinal statement:


We believe that Jesus Christ is God the Father (John 10:30) manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16), and that Jesus Christ was and is the bodily manifestation of God Almighty.

However,Jesus Christ is not God the Father. That is idolatry.

The following statement about the Holy Spirit is just bizarre:

2.05 As a ghost is the spirit of a dead man (Luke 24:37/ Matthew 14:26), we believe that the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Jesus Christ which He gave up on Calvary when He died for our sins (John 19:30/ Matthew 27:50/ Mark 15:37/ Luke 23:46), and as the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:2-8) is the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:9/ Philippians 1:19). These Three being One God, each exists eternally as God, and as the manifestations of themselves in One as distinguished from the Other. God is a spirit, and that spirit is the Holy Spirit, who was the breath of life (Genesis 2:7) of Jesus Christ, who Himself was the bodily manifestation of God the Father with the Holy Spirit breathing within Him as the very Life of God. Though the Eternal God cannot die, God the Father sent His Son into the world to do just that, yielding up the ghost when He had finished His Father’s work; upon which the Holy Ghost of God became the working manifestation of God the Father in baptizing believers into the very body of God, Jesus Christ the Righteous (1 Corinthians 12:11-14/ Acts 1:5).

See http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/2013/10/lets-be-very-clear-not-all-king-james.html.

George will defend this vile, damnable idolatry to the hilt. See, for example:

http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-anabaptists-did-not-get-trinity.html

Sad--and wicked. Not what one would expect at all from a saved person, anymore than a saved person denying Jesus Christ is God.

Kent Brandenburg said...

With everything being said here by the folks so far, I am inclined not to publish any more of George's comments. This is for the record, so that we can always come back to this particular post to know why, so that George knows why.

Now on to actual comments on the post itself, if anyone has any.

KJB1611 said...

The web address for the page refuting modalism has changed (shortened) from what I mentioned in previous posts. It is now:

http://faithsaves.net/oneness-pentecostal/

and I hope George reads it and is quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.

Joe Cassada said...

As a reader of this blog, and an occasional commenter, I am certainly ready for the back-and-forth with George to be over. Whatever benefit that can be gleaned for allowing him to comment has long been exhausted.

He has made his point, and you have demonstrated patience. Moving on...

Bill Hardecker said...

Pastor Brandenburg and Tom treated George with a forbearance that unfortunately isn't given to them by others who are actual brethren in Christ.