Sunday, April 24, 2016

What Has Happened that the Gospel Has Been So Messed Up by Professing Christians?

Last week I wrote two posts about so-called gospel declaration in independent Baptist churches (one and two).  The warped or corrupt or lacking presentation of Kurt Skelly just represents what's already all over.  It's bad that he and that whole direction of practice is so admired among independent Baptists or that even those not with him still think of him as successful.  Evangelicals as a whole are worse in general than these independent Baptists.  I don't think it's close on this, especially considering an article in Christianity Today last week, naming the most influential Christians in 2016, which included the pope and Hillary Clinton -- very sad.  What has happened?  Why did this happen?

Satan and the world system has already been at work through all history blinding men to the truth. Because of the nature of human fallenness, man in his lost condition tends toward what is really bad. We should be amazed anything good happens with this darkness in and all around.   There are always going to be multiple fronts of false teaching to deal with and if you take scripture literally, it's going to get worse before it's going to get better.  You can count on a lot of bad stuff, but knowing that, to have scriptural discernment, we need to look out for it, see it, and call it out when we do.  Let's say that you have known what I've written in this paragraph.  Now what are the specifics that explain what we see occurring today?

Lack of conversion leads to further lack of conversion.  Unsaved people can really twist the gospel and large numbers of them have done so through history since Christ.  This is not my saying that Kurt Skelly isn't saved, but false teachers almost as a definition are not saved people.  They aren't telling the truth, because they themselves haven't believed it.  They may have believed some truths, but not enough saving truth to be saved.  This doesn't explain how all this lack of conversion started, of course.  You can trace false teaching back to something from an unsaved person, a doctrine of demons (1 Tim 4:1), then passed along to unsuspecting, gullible believers.  True teaching doesn't often change in giant, radical shifts, but in incremental steps (the frog in the kettle).

James 3:1 says, "Be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation." Teachers have far more responsibility.  We need to be more serious about judgment of them, even doubting the salvations of those who won't stop teaching a false gospel.  We should at least regard ("let them be unto thee") them as unsaved, even if they are not (cf. Mt 18:17).  I see a sweeping disregard of required components of a true gospel among independent Baptists.

A false gospel can't then but produce false sanctification.  People aren't saved by a false gospel, so the production of change that comes only from a true gospel shouldn't be expected either.  Very often the Skelly type of "gospel" preaching doesn't expect the continuous obedience that marks the identity of a true believer.  The endurance in actual Christian living is the biblical assurance of salvation.  Their means of change will be similar to the false gospel, however, usually some kind of manipulation.  In many cases,  I've seen it to be one program, one human strategy, after another, that doesn't then bear biblical gospel preaching either. Carnality just begets more carnality.

The carnality that crafts external changes has resulted in numbers.  The numbers bring a sort of validation, justifying the methods before men.  They say it's spiritual because things happened that they made happen.  When things happen that they make happen, they testify that God did it.  If God did it, they must be right, because God isn't wrong.  However, God's Word sufficiently lays out the manifestations of true spirituality. God's Word is the confirmation of whether it is of God.  If you hear a false gospel, it's still wrong, because it isn't biblical -- the same with a false sanctification.

The numbers of people interested in false teaching don't make it true.  The effect of false teaching doesn't make it true.  Numbers are particularly convincing short term even to many true teachers. They want to see something work.  They are afraid to say something is wrong that seems to be working.  On the other hand, they don't want to say it isn't working, when it looks like it is working.  They do a very surface level, superficial, investigation, perhaps asking leading questions, softballs that allow for plausible deniability. They also might fear a charge of "sour grapes" or jealousy or bitterness.  They may think they are failures who don't deserve to criticize.  A lot of this relates to how we endure hardness and find joy in the Lord.  Men look to results for their happiness when their actual joy is in the immoveable. Don't forget this.

On a more short term consideration, I believe that the lack of biblical preaching, the deficiency of true, actual exposition of scripture has resulted in perverted doctrine.  The doctrine of salvation comes from exegesis of God's Word.  Men are crafting sermons, using the Bible, not preaching the Bible.  Apparently many think this is how to use the Bible, like some kind of divining rod that yields messages not necessarily found in the text itself.

On the other hand, some preachers just don't know what they're doing, which relates to their view of sanctification.  They judge on a mystical basis that they must be preachers, disconnected from the preparation and then actual objective proof that they rightly divide the Word of Truth.  Preaching is mostly a mystical event rather than God speaking through the plain meaning of the text.  The true meaning of the text exists separate from a subjective experience.

As a result of not knowing how to study the Bible, and, therefore, not actually studying the Bible, they don't have a solid doctrinal standing from the Word of God.  They are weak in their theology, because they don't know the Bible.  They don't have a grasp of doctrine as a basis of their practice and methodology. Further, their doctrine isn't historic.  They don't have beliefs rooted in historic Christian doctrine.  To relate to the mystical experience men have sought as validation, theology is said to be dead.  They wouldn't want to be caught being too theological, and, therefore, dead.

What's practical is the practice of scripture.  Much of the practice in churches comes from the silence of scripture.  It's right because the Bible doesn't say it's wrong.  Practice relates to what works rather than what God's Word says.  When something is practical, however, it explains the practice of scripture, not how you can succeed at implement methodology that will yield success.

In a broad category, false teachers have centered the gospel on man.  You see this corrupt tendency in two different directions in scripture, either legalistic or licentious.  Salvation is not by works, lest any man should boast, so it isn't legalistic.  When grace is an occasion to the flesh, that's also man-centered.  God's grace teaches to deny ungodliness and worldly lust.

Skelly purveys the latter of the previous paragraph.  The whole world has the same problem.  Skelly misidentifies his audience.  He sees them as consumers to whom he markets his message.  Instead, they are sinners, and sin isn't changed through sales type techniques.  The needs of sinners are the ones God Himself identifies.  We don't start with what sinners themselves feel or what they might feel.  We start with what God says.  When someone is so concerned with what his audience feels, he shapes his message to their feelings and that twists the gospel.  The foundation of this corruption is not starting with the Bible and the teaching it reveals.  This centers on man again.

Men do not by nature seek the gospel.  No one is a consumer of and for it.  It is not something to be sold on men's terms.  It is completely God's.  Man's disinterest should not shape the message.  We must depend on the message itself.  The message itself is the means.  Everything I'm writing here is theological, and it is theology that needed more consideration from the men who crafted these plans.

Wrong doctrines resulting in a wrong message from a wrong message exhibit faithlessness.  In Matthew 12:39, Jesus said, "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign."  The Charismatics have their signs.  Many independent Baptists seek for their own signs.  The Bible is true whether lots of people believe it or not.  If we believe it, then we like it. We love it.  We preach it.  We're not ashamed of it.  We preach it to people like it's the greatest thing, because we think it is.

The signs that people seek they often produce.  Then they say they must be right because they got a sign.  The sign was how many people prayed prayers or how many people gathered in their building in any one week.  They produce an environment in which people feel like something spiritual is taking place.  This is all faithlessness.

Signs were for unbelievers, because they didn't believe.  Believers don't need them, because they do believe.  Needing them is again faithlessness, not faith.  God is pleased by faith, not by mass producing experiences as a means of self-validation, which also relates this to pride.  Man is being pleased and he feels proud of what he sees.

Because men seek validation through these numbers, they also honor those who see the most.  Very often, bigger churches have the most influence, because it is assumed they most know what they are doing.  Years of succeeding provide a buffer against criticism.  The benefit of the doubt comes because of the report of mighty events occurring, not the account of faithful, obedient service.

More to Come.

25 comments:

Solus Christus said...

Hi I've read your blog before. You do some great stuff,but I take exception with a couple of things you said in this article. "Very often Skelly type of preaching doesn't expect the continuous obedience that marks the identity of a true believer.' I thought it was the imputed righteousness of Christ that marks the identity of a true believer? I also thought that the sheep of God had the perfect obedience of Christ? Your position here smells like works.

'The endurance of actual Christian living is the assurance of salvation." What? Where in the does it say that exactly? We don't look to our own lives we look to Christ life. The one who lived for us. Can you show me in the bible where it is says Jesus went to the cross and died and rose again on the 3rd day to show us how to live good? This also smells like works.

As far as assurance I only see faith itself as being presented as the evidence of salvation. Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,the evidence of things not seen. 1 John 5:9 If we receive the witness of men,the witness of God is greater:for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

I know the typical response to what I just presented is to simply state that if someone is truly saved they will have a changed life. The problem with that is there are 66 books in my bible and in those 66 books there is book called Judges. In that book there is a fella named Samson who did wicked things all of his life. Never even prayed for forgiveness for all the wicked things he did. He prayed one time in scripture and that was for vengeance. He never even said he was sorry.The author of Hebrews spoke fondly of Samson. Hebrews 11:31-33. If you can prove to me from scripture 1 of 3 things either Samson got his life together. Samson prayed for forgiveness or Samson went to hell. I will consider changing my position on this issue. Rather it's the old or New Testament Rahab is also called Rahab the harlot she ain't never called Rahab the reformed or Rahab who got her life together.

Honestly arguments that promote self righteous works assurance is something I would naturally except from those in the freewill camp not those that teach the doctrines of grace. However the reality is it's very prevalent among popular reformed theologians of the day.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Solus Christus,

The life of God produces a lifestyle of obedience. Jesus said in John 8:32, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed." John wrote the same in his epistles, a lifestyle of righteousness results from the life and light of God in someone -- it's how you know that you are saved. Imputed righteousness through justification produces works. Read the first chapter of 2 Peter. Titus 2:11-12, The grace of God that appears to all men teaches to deny ungodliness and worldly lust. Romans 6, through the grace of God, we are dead unto sin. Sin doesn't have dominion over you any more. Read all of 1 John. James. Hebrews 11 is proving that we're saved by faith, and the Author and Finisher of our faith endured the cross and despised the shame (Heb 12:1-2, then read the rest of Hebrews 12). I didn't say anything about self-righteousness.

Solus Christus said...


where Jesus says in John 8:31 'If ye continue in my word are ye my disciples indeed;

I don't take that to mean continue in good conduct and good behavior. I take it to simply mean they will stay in faith. To me that's clearly the context of that passage. John 8:30-31.

As far as first 1 John goes. 1 John " If we say have no sin,we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. Take note he didn't say you,but we speaking to an audience including himself in the conversation. Affirming that he sinned.

Same author same book in 1 John 3:8 he says he that committeth sin is of the devil;

In 1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him:and he cannot sin because he is born of God.

If you take this passage to mean when Christians sin they are of the devil. Then you would have to conclude the apostle John himself was saying he was of the devil. Which is why affirm the doctrine that says every Christian has 2 natures 1 hopelessly corrupt and 1 as pure as the God-man Jesus Christ and that nature cannot sin. I don't care that John MacArthur and others object to this doctrine. Others have claimed Scofield invented this doctrine. That claim is false. Spurgeon gave a sermon supporting this doctrine titled indwelling sin when Scofield was only like 9 years old. Besides that in John Gill's commentary after reading this passage he says right off the bat "in a spiritual sense"

Many modern translations alter this text read practicing sin. A strawman term which cannot be properly defined. I don't think it has any business in the text. There is no leeway to put sin in the seed of God. As far as I can tell this text was universally translated as cannot sin in all major English translations before John Darby's translation of 1890 even including early critical text versions like the RV and the 1901 American Standard that's a post Darby translation,but the point here is it's not even a difference of manuscripts here. Looks like the Textus Receptus and corrupted Alexandrian manuscripts are actually in agreement here. So the problem lies with the translators.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Solus,

You say "sole Christ," I guess, but that's not even the point here. What I'm writing is "sole Christ." The question is, "Who is Christ?" and "What is saving faith?" You seem to define it as mental assent, something short of saving in other words. If it's not mental assent, something volitional, you turn it into works, which is false. That misrepresents scripture.

"Continue in my word" means "stay in the faith"? Look at verse 34, where Jesus says, "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." "Committeth" is present tense. If you commit sin as a lifestyle, you are a servant of sin, or in other words, you are not continuing in His Word. If someone is set free by the truth, he is set free from the bondage of sin. He won't be sinning as a lifestyle anymore. This doesn't seem hard to understand. People who believe in Jesus Christ will keep following Him, and they can, because it is grace, not works. God's grace enables that. If someone doesn't continue, He hasn't been saved, because He can't continue. This is how it reads all through the NT.

I really don't know what you're talking about in the long paragraph. Man continues to have the flesh or indwelling sin. That's not the same thing as having two natures. I don't know what your point is. "Committeth" in 1 John 3:6-9 is a present tense verb, so it is talking about continuous sin, sin as a lifestyle, habitual sin. It's why John didn't use the aorist tense. Tense of verb in the Greek is about kind of action more than it is about time.

I don't know what your last paragraph is about either. You're right that it isn't a textual issue. The King James Translators did fine. They translated it as a present tense. "cannot sin" translates two Greek words: dunatai and hamartein, a present tense verb, is able, and a present infinitive "to sin." That is also saying cannot sin as a lifestyle. Those are the understanding of that tense of the verb.

On the one hand you are saying that a person cannot sin if he is a believer, but on the other hand, he has a carnal nature and can sin as a believer. What you are writing is confusing, so it's hard to answer. The idea that I'm teaching self righteousness is off though. It really is a matter of what God's grace does. God's grace saves someone from sin, so that he continues in righteousness.

Are you George?

KJB1611 said...

3:1 ¶ Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

Dear Solus,

Please note that this passage does not say "a nature that a person has does not sin while another nature does" but it says that "sons of God," "we," "every man," "him," "he," "whosoever is born of God," (not a nature, but a person) "children of God," do not continue in sin. The whole passage is talking about people, and it is not consistent to make it about a part of a person that is an allegedly sinless nature. You need 1 John 3:9 to read "in nature that one was born of God has does not commit sin, while another nature does" instead of "whosoever," a person.

Thanks.

By the way, there are no confessional documents in history that take your view for century after century.

Solus Christus said...

Being freed from sin does not mean God has gave us some magical ability put away our sins. It means we are saved from the eternal consequence of sin. Which is hell.

My position is it's all Christ and nothing but Christ. Christ not only went to the cross for us,but also lived the perfect obedient sinless life for us. So once someone is truly saved not only does the righteousness of Christ belongs to them,but so does his perfect obedience in the eyes of God. Once someone is truly saved they cannot lose their faith in God and die in a state of total unbelief although a Christian can suffer through periods of doubt,but because God is absolutely Sovereign he will not allow his sheep to go to the grave in a state of total unbelief. AS Peter said in 1 Peter 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God.

I'm not saying Christians should just go out and sin. If people are doing something wrong it would be wise to stop,because it is harmful not only to them,but often times to others.

As far as what living a lifestyle of sin. You cannot define what you mean by that. If your honest you know you sin either in thought or in deed everyday. So someone could say that constitutes a lifestyle of sin. You can also not define what habitual sin is because you have to put a number on what constitutes habitual sin and once you do you will probably be guilty of it. No bible doctrines teaches once that you put away a particular sin your doing even though you still have countless other sins your good to go. Thankfully the Lord Jesus Christ atoned for all the sins of his sheep.

Early you mention Romans 6. The book of Romans is one letter. I know Romans 6 is a favorite proof text employed for this type of disagreement,but Paul was dealing with an objection in the book of Romans. Paul says Romans 3:8 And not rather,( as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil,that good may come? whose damnation is just. Then Paul says this in Romans 5:20-21. Was important for Paul to clarify what he was saying that's why he said what he said in Romans 6:1-2. Paul was not going to refute the charge in Romans 3 and then turn around in the same letter and say let us do evil that good may come. He was saying don't go out and commit a deliberate act of sin with the mindset that it would gain you more favor with God and if you did that it would also be works by the way. Paul wasn't saying try really hard to put away your sins. That would be trying to keep the law. As sin is defined as transgression of the law in 1 John 3:4 Christ has already kept and fulfilled the law on our behave moral and legal.

Solus Christus said...


Sorry missed your question at the bottom,but no I'm not George. Don't even know George.
This is the first time I've ever interacted with you. Like I said I've read some of your stuff before. You do some great stuff,but this issue I disagree with you on.

KJB1611 said...

The phrase "in nature that one was born of God" above should have been "in a nature." I was using a dictation program, and it appears to not put in the missing word.

Also, Solus, I would encourage you to examine the study of the believe/faith word group in the New Testament, where every single instance is examined, here:

http://faithsaves.net/just-faith/

as you might just find out that your view is not exegetically justifiable.

Solus Christus said...


I've always never been sold when someone uses the proof text of Romans 6:1. Shall we continue in sin.To suggest Christians don't continue in sin. Only have to ask one question here. Have you stopped sinning? If your answer is no then logically you are continuing in sin. If you say yes than that's just heresy. As far as confessional documents go. I'm not a confessionalist. I only agree with mans religious confessions when they agree with scripture. I don't believe in taking confessional documents laying them over the to top of scripture and making the word of God subservient to the wisdom of man.

AS far as that website goes I did read a little bit of it. I'll probably go back and read some more later it's pretty lengthy. One thing I did notice it presented progressive sanctification as a biblical fact. I don't believe it is. I believe the onus is on proponents of that doctrine to prove that it is with scripture. I don't see one place in scripture where sanctification is ever describe as a process in an individual believers life. In fact Hebrews 10:10 Says we are sanctified once for all. I used belief that doctrine back when I was a southern baptist not anymore.

KJB1611 said...

Here is a quote on Romans 6:1 from the study linked to above. Perhaps after reading it you will be a bit more impressed by the argument from Romans 6:1:

While a rhetorical oughtness should not be excluded from the questions in Romans 6:1, 15 (Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? e˙pimenouvmen thØv aJmarti÷aˆ, iºna hJ ca¿riß pleona¿shØ; Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? aJmarth/somen, o¢ti oujk e˙sme«n uJpo\ no/mon, aÓll∆ uJpo\ ca¿rin;), the questions are not simply ones of propriety, but ones of possibility—a possibility indubitably negated, Paul declares. That is, the “God forbid” (mh\ ge÷noito) that answers Paul’s questions does not just negate the propriety of continuing in sin, but the possibility of it. The fact that Romans 6:1ff. teaches that the believer is certain to not continue in sin is demonstrated by a number of exegetical considerations.
First, whenever Paul follows a “What shall we say” (ti÷ e˙rouvmen;) question in Romans with another question, what is negated is the possibility, not merely the propriety, of the action. Consider the examples outside of Romans 6:
A.) The answer to “What shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance?” (Romans 3:5, ti÷ e˙rouvmen; mh\ a‡dikoß oJ Qeo\ß oJ e˙pife÷rwn th\n ojrgh/n (kata» a‡nqrwpon le÷gw);—note that the “I speak as a man” is an appropriate addition to all of the following similar questions in Romans) is not, “God who takes vengeance ought not to be unrighteous, but perhaps He is unrighteous,” but “God who takes vengeance is certainly not unrighteous.”

B.) The answer to “What shall we say then? Is the law sin?” (Romans 7:7, Ti÷ ou™n e˙rouvmen; oJ no/moß aJmarti÷a;), is not “The law ought not to be sin, but perhaps it is sin,” but “The law certainly is not sin.”

C.) The answer to the question, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31, Ti÷ ou™n e˙rouvmen pro\ß tauvta; ei˙ oJ Qeo\ß uJpe«r hJmw◊n, ti÷ß kaq∆ hJmw◊n;), is not “No one ought to be effectually against us and defeat God’s purpose of grace, but it is possible that God will be defeated,” but “Certainly no one is effectually against us and can defeat God’s purpose of grace.”

KJB1611 said...

D.) The answer to the question, “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God?” (Romans 9:14, Ti÷ ou™n e˙rouvmen; mh\ aÓdiki÷a para» twˆ◊ Qewˆ◊;), is not, “There ought not to be unrighteousness with God, but perhaps there is,” but “There is certainly no unrighteousness with God.”
Certainty, not possibility, is not only under consideration in all the “What shall we say?” constructions in Romans followed by a question outside of chapter six, but also in view when a statement rather than a question follows (9:30). Consequently, the questions in Romans 6 are also answered by certainties, not mere potentialities or proprieties. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” (Romans 6:1, Ti÷ ou™n e˙rouvmen; e˙pimenouvmen thØv aJmarti÷aˆ, iºna hJ ca¿riß pleona¿shØ;) is not answered, “we ought not, but may, continue in sin,” but “we shall certainly not continue in sin.” “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:2, oiºtineß aÓpeqa¿nomen thØv aJmarti÷aˆ, pw◊ß e¶ti zh/somen e˙n aujthØv;) is not answered, “We that are dead ought not to be alive to and live in sin any longer, but we may,” but “We that are dead will not be alive to and live in sin any longer.” The question, “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?” (Romans 6:15, Ti÷ ou™n; aJmarth/somen, o¢ti oujk e˙sme«n uJpo\ no/mon, aÓll∆ uJpo\ ca¿rin;) is not answered, “We ought not to continue in sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace, but we might,” but “We will not continue in sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace.” Likewise, the condition in Romans 6:8 is not merely possible, but certain; those that are dead with Christ will certainly, rather than only potentially, live with Him—they are eternally secure and saved from sin’s penalty and power. The questions that parallel those of Romans 6:1, 15 demonstrate that the believer will certainly not continue in sin.

KJB1611 said...

Second, leaving aside the “What shall we say?” (Romans 3:5; 4:1; 6:1; 7:7; 8:31; 9:14, 30) use of e˙rouvmen, which does not, in any case, provide any contrary evidence, Paul always uses the first plural future active indicative (the Textus Receptus properly reads e˙pimenouvmen and aJmarth/somen in Romans 6:1, 15, while the minority text’s reading of e˙pime÷nwmen and aJmarth/swmen is corrupt) of a certainty, not a mere possibility. Believers are certain to judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3); it is certain that it is not a great thing to reap carnal things where spiritual things have been sown (1 Corinthians 9:11); it is certain that believers will bear the image of the heavenly second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:49); it is certain that believers who do not faint will reap (Galatians 6:9); it is certain that those who are dead with Christ will live with Him (2 Timothy 2:11); it is certain that those who suffer with Christ will reign with Him (2 Timothy 2:12); it is certain that the audience of Hebrews will go on, if God permit (Hebrews 6:3); it is certain that those who are in subjection to the Father of spirits shall live (Hebrews 12:9). Consequently, it is also certain that believers will not continue in sin (Romans 6:1, 15) and will not live in sin (Romans 6:2) but will live with Christ (Romans 6:8).
Third, in every instance where Paul negates an affirmation with “God forbid” (mh\ ge÷noito) in Romans, what is negated is not potentially possible, but certainly impossible. It is certain that the faithfulness of God is not of none effect (Romans 3:3-4). It is certain that God who takes vengence is not unrighteous (Romans 3:5-6). It is certain that the law is not sin (Romans 7:7). It is certain that God’s good law was not made death unto Paul (Romans 7:13). It is certain that there is no unrighteousness with God (Romans 9:14). It is certain that God has not cast away His people (Romans 11:1). It is certain that Israel has not stumbled so that the nation was cast off forever (Romans 11:11). Indeed, there is no clear evidence of any instance of “God forbid” in Paul’s writings that does not deal with a certainty (Romans 3:4, 6, 31; 6:2, 15; 7:7, 13; 9:14; 11:1, 11; 1 Corinthians 6:15 (cf. 6:9-11); Galatians 2:17; 3:21; 6:14). Consequently, it is a certainty that believers will not continue in sin (Romans 6:1-2, 15). God forbid—He will not allow it to be so. (Note that God is involved, and “God forbid” a proper translation, in the expression mh\ ge÷noito. See, on the Old Testament construction with lyIlDj, Commentary on the Old Testament, C. F. Keil & F. Delitzsch, on Joshua 22:29; also see 1 Samuel 24:6; 26:11; 1 Kings 21:3; Job 34:10; 1 Chronicles 11:19. The LXX renders the Old Testament lyIlDj phrase with mh\ ge÷noito at times (Genesis 44:7, 17; Joshua 22:29; 24:16). A. T. Robertson notes: “In modern Greek Dr. Rouse finds people saying not mh\ ge÷noito, but oJ qeo\ß na» fula¿xhØ” (pg. 940, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, A. T. Robertson. See also pg. 94, The Epistle to the Romans, John Murray).

KJB1611 said...

Fourth, the context of Romans 6 indicates that the believer is certain not to live in sin. His death to
sin and identification with Christ (6:1-4) make a walk in newness of life certain. He is certain to be in the holy likeness of Christ’s resurrection (6:5). Crucifixion with Christ is certain to bring freedom from sin’s domination (6:6-7); the believer’s new spiritual life is as certain as the resurrection of Christ to new life (6:8-10). The believer is to reckon himself dead to sin and alive to God (6:11-13), not because it is possible that true Christians can be dominated by sin, but because God’s promise is certain: “sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (6:14). While his new obedience is imperfect (6:19), nonetheless the time that believers were enslaved to sin is in the past—now all have become the servants of righteousness and are free from sin’s dominion (6:17-21). All believers have their fruit unto holiness, and their end everlasting life (6:22), while all those who still bring forth fruit unto sin receive spiritual death and eternal damnation (6:15-16, 21-23).
Sound exegesis makes it very clear that Romans 6:1 and 15 affirm that the believer not only ought not to, but certainly will not, live in sin as do the unregenerate.

Lance Ketchum said...

Good articles Brother Brandenburg!

Easy Believests do not like it when people use the First Epistle of God for the purpose it was written; i.e. providing empirical evidences for assurance of salvation. Eternal security is salvation from God's perspective. IF a person has been "born again," God knows it because He did it. That person is eternally secure. From the human perspective, we do not know with assurance that we have been "born again" because we did not do that. Assurance looks for the the empirical evidences that the new birth has taken place. The first evidence is that fellowship with God should be the regular and normal Christian experience according to the first chapter of first John. In exegeting the text of First John, the context and verbs tenses are critically important.

Anonymous said...

Forgive the intrusion, but I'm finding it hard to see how that answers Solus Christus problem. If I'm reading it correctly, he does not support progressive sanctification and the article section linked above does not seem to address it {progressive sanctification}. In fact, it seems to support his idea that sanctification is not progressive and that there is no such thing.

Paul, not Washer

Kent Brandenburg said...

Solus,

I don't know that I've ever read your overall position anywhere before. However, parts of what you are saying I've seen a version of, so I'm going to answer with that in mind.

What the Bible teaches on sanctification is consistent and clear everywhere. You are saying that we are saved only from the penalty of sin, not from the power of sin, like is taught by Jesus and almost every epistle of the NT. You are also saying that we get the righteousness Jesus lived, but we ourselves are not necessarily living it. Justification doesn't change us in a way where we are living it. Instead, we merely keep giving intellectual assent to the facts of the gospel, always continuing to understand Jesus did something for us positionally. Period. The NT doesn't read like that at all.

You can know what a lifestyle of sin or habitual sin or continuous sin is. A person changes dramatically (about face) in lifestyle and then keeps growing from there. You see fruits of righteousness as characteristic of the person, not disobedience as the norm any longer. This doesn't occur without conversion. Someone turns from idols to serve the living and true God. What I read from you is an argument from experience. Even though scripture says you change, you practice righteousness, you deny it because of experience. My experience is that lifestyles do change and people start practicing righteousness and do not continue sinning as a lifestyle. Once you have the Holy Spirit after regeneration, you manifest fruit of the Spirit and no longer are dominated by the sins of the flesh (Gal 5). I've witnessed all of this personally and by experience.

When believers do sin, they are chastised (Heb 12), yielding the peaceable fruit of righteousness. You would say, no, they don't yield that, because everyone knows they are still sinning. Then the Bible is false because your experience is true. I deny that. Not only is the Bible true, but I've also experienced its truth.

Your second comment dealt with sanctification as a process. This is seen in verses like those in 2 Peter 1, where someone adds to his faith, etc., and then grows in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is true that we are sanctified in Hebrews 10:10 positionally, perfect tense, but the message later in Hebrews 10:14 speaks of something a little different, "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." "Them that are sanctified" is a present passive participle. He has perfected them who are being continuously sanctified. God saves in a completed sense, but He keeps saving in a progressive sense. Why in John 17 did Jesus pray for His own, already saved people, to be sanctified by the truth? Why? It's because they can and will be sanctified by the truth. It's what you see in 2 Corinthians 3, where we progress from glory to glory through the Spirit of Christ. I could go on and on.

How do we know if someone has endured in the faith if they don't live righteously? The just shall live by faith. If there is no continued righteousness, then there is no continued faith. Saving faith, James, says, produces works. We know we can know this, because God says we can know it.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Lance Ketchum.

I agree. 1 John is a dividing line for the "free gracers."

KJB1611 said...

Dear Paul, not Washer,

Thanks for the comment. I have no idea how you can draw the conclusion that the article denies progressive sanctification, so I don't know how to respond, other than to say that it seems to involve either a very cursory analysis or a simple misreading of the study.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

KJB,

I only read the section you pasted in the comments, not the whole article. Cursory reading of the comment I could not pick up on progressive sanctification. Reading Solus I got the impression that was one of his big stumbling blocks, but it looks like Kent Brandenburg addressed it in his last comments.

Paul, not Washer

Jim Camp said...

Rom. 6:14 "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace."

This entire discussion leads to some practical, experiential questions. (And if you all would be kind enough to not answer my questions with questions. This is not always helpful, often just confusing) Also, I am not arguing for a position, just trying to learn.

First of all, at what point is a man under sin's dominion??? An addiction to cigarettes, refusal to repent of rock music, a permanently lost battle with cussing?

Secondly, Is there a difference between struggling with the sins of our past, & being under dominion to them? I will struggle with rock music to the grave, I fear (Walk in a convenience store fine, walk out fighting to get some heathen music out of my head - "but the evil which I would not, that I do"
Experience is not the authority (or any type of authority), but my experience is that the sins I was involved with prior to conversion are the same ones I battle now (put differently, I never used heroin, so I don't struggle at all, in any sense with a desire to shoot heroin; but everything else my past wicked life was involved with, my flesh seems to remember).

Thirdly, I know that most of the people here do not hold to a dual nature in the believer, but that seems to be the case in Rom. 7:14-25. Gill seems awful close to stating that this is about a dual nature
"[Paul] he divides himself as it were into two parts, the mind, by which he means his inward man, his renewed self; and "the flesh", by which he designs his carnal I, that was sold under sin: and hereby he accounts for his serving, at different times, two different laws; "the law of God", written on his mind, and in the service of which he delighted as a regenerate man; "and the law of sin", to which he was sometimes carried captive"
Vs. 25 certainly seems to state a divided service.

Very interested in your responses.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Bro Camp,

Thanks for the question. If the Scripture had to give every single situation where a person was under the dominion of sin vs. struggling with sin, we would not have the Bible, but the US tax code.

I would say that a permanently lost battle is definitely dominion.

John Owen has some valuable things to say in his works here:

http://faithsaves.net/soteriology/

on this topic.

In relation to whether Christians have one nature or two, it depends how the word "nature" is defined. The quote below may help:

the word nature conveys a different idea when one speaks of the Christian possessing human nature (cf. Galatians 2:15) and when the Christian is said to partake of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). In sanctification, believers do not become gods, nor are they added to the Trinity, nor do they gain incommunicable attributes of the Divine substance, such as omnipotence, omnipresence, or omniscience. Their human nature or substance is in that sense unchanged. However, they do participate in ethical renovation and participate in the Divine nature in that they grow to become holy, loving, truthful, faithful, and righteous. William G. T. Shedd, explaining the meaning of nature in language such as sin nature and new nature, aptly wrote:

When the term “nature” is applied to sin, it does not denote “nature” in the primary but the secondary sense. In the primary sense, “nature” denotes a substance, and one that is created by God. In this sense, Augustine denies that sin is “nature,” and asserts that it is “intentio.” . . . Howe (Oracles, II. xxiv.) remarks that “that evil heart, that nature, not as it is nature but as it is depraved nature, is now transmitted [from parents to children].” When “nature” signifies created substance, it is improper to call sin a nature. Aristotle (Politics, I. ii.) says: “What every being is in its perfect state, that certainly is the nature of that being, whether it be a man, a horse, or a house.” Sin is imperfection, and therefore not “nature” in this sense. But there is a secondary meaning of the word. In this use of it, “nature” denotes “natural inclination,” or “innate disposition.” In this sense, sin is a “nature,” and the adjective “natural” is applicable to the corruption of sin. In the same sense, holiness is called a nature in 2 Peter 1:4. Believers are “partakers of a divine nature,” by being regenerated and coming to possess a holy disposition or inclination. “It is true that sin is a nature, but then it is a second nature, a state of degeneration.” Nitzsch Christian Doctrine, § 107. . . . Since God is the author of nature, how comes it that no blame attaches to God if we are lost by nature? I answer, there is a twofold nature: The one [is] produced by God, and the other is [a] corruption of it. We are not born such as Adam was at first created. (pgs. 20-21, Chapter 5, “Original Sin,” inDogmatic Theology: Anthropology, William G. T. Shedd.)

KJB1611 said...


One could consider the distinction between the unchanging character of human nature and the progressive development of the divine nature in progressive sanctification as a difference between substance and properties—the human substance remains unchanged, while properties such as holiness and purity develop. “Substances have properties that are ‘in’ them; properties are had by substances that possess them. . . . A substance . . . is a deep unity of properties, parts, and capacities. . . . Properties adhere together in substances . . . because they all . . . inhere in . . . the same substance that stands under them. . . . A substance regularly loses old parts, properties and lower-order capacities and gains new ones. But the substance itself underlies this change and remains the same throughout it” (pgs. 215-217, Philosophical Foundations For A Christian Worldview, J. P. Moreland & William Lane Craig). (from http://faithsaves.net/sanctification-baptist-1/)

I would also encourage you to examine:

http://faithsaves.net/romans-714-25/

for an exegetical analysis of Romans 7:14-25 and its depiction of Christian progress in grace, although a progress not completed until the Rapture or death.

Thanks.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Jim,

If I don't see someone changing and growing and adding, essentially the right direction, then I don't see conversion. I could attach verses to this, but it is a basic answer.

In a very basic, practical way, it is how someone responds to church discipline. If someone sins and isn't repentant, he gets a one-on-one, and how does he respond to it? If he still is not repentant, then its two or three on one, and then what happens? It's very basic. When a church allows disobedience, it doesn't give the opportunity for this important check of salvation and really provision of assurance.

Tom Balzamo said...

I know that the nature of this series isn't great news for most independent Baptists these days because many are peddling the same false gospel you're describing from the video. So, in that sense, it's discouraging to see how common this is. However, I must say I'm encouraged very much by this series! Over the years I've come to these same conclusions made the same observation of the ministry climate out there and have often been discouraged by how pervasive this false gospel is.

Our little church celebrated it's first anniversary last Sunday, and we're not flooded with throngs of people. We're not seeing people make "decisions" every week. We've had to just put our heads down and work, and just regularly tell people from house to house and everywhere we go the true gospel. We've had to comfort ourselves in the knowledge that the Word promised us that in these days people won't endure sound doctrine. We've even had to design and write our own tracts because most of them just seem to be leaving out repentance and the authority of Jesus as Lord and Christ. I'll admit that with our positions on evangelism, the gospel, repentance, saving faith, discipleship, etc, we feel rather marginalized often, but what you wrote encouraged and galvanized me further. Thanks for that!

Jim Camp said...

Late in my response, but...

Thomas Ross said " If the Scripture had to give every single situation where a person was under the dominion of sin vs. struggling with sin, we would not have the Bible, but the US tax code."

Great response. HaHa

This makes me think that you just finished paying your taxes.