Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Evangelicals (and Most Fundamentalists) Are Completely Messed Up About Christian Liberty and Then Mess Everyone Else Up By Pushing Their Perversion

If you read the epistle, 2 Peter, you find a tutorial on apostasy and it mainly relates to lust.  People want to do what they want to do, and so they've got to attack authority to allow for them to do what they want.  "Doing what you want" could be a definition of liberty or freedom.  I'm not saying it's a true definition, but it is common in people's minds.

The way the apostate or the potential apostate attacks authority, according to 2 Peter, in order to allow himself the freedom to do what he wants, what some might call license, is one of three ways. First, he attacks scripture, saying that it is in doubt in some way, not to be trusted.  Second, God isn't really intervening in the world, He's not that involved, so you don't have much to worry about with His doing anything anyway, if He even exists.  Third, Christ isn't coming back to judge, or He would have already.  You don't need to concern yourself with His judgment, so you're not going to get in trouble for breaking His so-called rules.

Peter calls these attacks on authority by the apostate or potential apostate, 'denying the Lord who bought them,' which is a denial of Lordship, meaning that they deny having a boss, who could tell them what to do instead of their doing what they want to do.  Later in chapter 2, this disposition manifests itself by 'speaking evil of dignities,' tearing down whatever authority so that they don't need to be bothered by whatever restrictions that authority might bring.

A good way for people, and specifically professing Christians, to be able to do more of what they want to do is to expand their liberties or increase their number of "Christian liberties."  However, if someone is given a liberty he doesn't have, that is, he is given liberty in an area that God restricts, that is just means by which he is in charge and not God.  He doesn't have the liberty, but he takes it anyway in defiance against God.

There is always going to be a tension or conflict for a professing Christian living in this world.  If he obeys God, he's going to clash with the world.  In order to have less conflict or tension, he could formulate a Christianity that bridges that gap between what is acceptable for a Christian and what is offered by the world.  That would create at least a more popular Christianity, and depending on how you define success, a more successful Christianity, because it will be bigger.  Very often today, a larger number of professing Christians is paralleled with success.  The success itself is another philosophy of the world, success as offered by the world.  Not only is this Christian now at less conflict with the world, conforms better to it, but he also gets the bonus of being a successful Christian.  This is a very alluring Christianity to a professing Christian leader or church.  People see the numbers and think something great must be happening, that God must be working in that place.

How does someone expand the list of Christian liberties?  I see two ways that evangelicals do that in contradiction to scripture and alleviating the tension or conflict with the world.  One, they take scriptural teaching where Christians have disagreement and say that it's now a questionable or doubtful area, because Christians are disagreeing.  There are non-scriptural issues where Christians have liberty and Paul gives examples of those.  Christians don't have liberty to disbelieve or disobey scripture just because Christians disagree on what scripture says.  Two, they turn application of scripture into an addition to scripture.  The Bible teaches not to add to or take away from anything in scripture.   A large portion of the teaching of scripture requires application, assuming it should be applied, and someone is not adding to scripture by applying those passages.

Here on my blog, I've said there is an attack on the authority of scripture in several ways:  whether we possess it, what it means, and how it applies.  If you can't apply scripture, then you have liberty to disobey most of it.  I've also written a lot about application, that understanding how to live most of scripture requires a minor premise.  I've illustrated it with "let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth."  There is no minor premise in the verse, but it is assumed that you know the minor premise, that is, you can know what corrupt communication is.  Living out God's Word requires this practice all over scripture.

Evangelicals in a very selective way turn application of scripture into a Christian liberty.  It isn't.  Not applying scripture is disobeying scripture.  We can judge what corrupt communication is, even though the Bible doesn't say what it is.  That is not adding to God's Word.

I say, "selective way," because evangelicals pick out what they want to apply.  This, you would understand, leaves them effectively as Lord.  They are the Lord of the Bible, where they decide what they will do and what they won't do, and I have noticed most of it is based upon societal norms.  They are relativists, what I have heard termed, selective relativists.  They say they believe in Lordship and even preach that sometimes as part of their gospel, but the Lord doesn't get to be in charge, because where He speaks, they change into a liberty.

I can't always explain why a particular application remains intact for an evangelical.  I was listening to a question and answer session of a prominent evangelical, and someone in the audience asked if it was a sin to gamble.  He said, yes.  Why?  "Gambling is a violation of 'Thou shalt not steal,'" and he used "Thou," by the way, even though the NASV, the Bible he uses in his church, says, "You shall not steal."  Where is the verse that says "gambling is stealing"?  You won't find it.  So is he adding to scripture.  He's dogmatic about this, but he would lock up and call many other areas, ones he does not select, to be adding to scripture -- not this one though.

At one time, evangelicals could apply many scriptures that now they call "adding to scripture" and a Christian liberty.  They have messed up the meaning of Christian liberty and now they push it on others, mainly because they don't want to be judged by others.  They only want to be judged by their own standards.

I was listening to a session on legalism by a conservative evangelical (from the same church as the above teacher against gambling) this week and he offered four types of legalism, three of which were not even scriptural.  Do you understand?  He taught about legalism in a legalistic way.  He was adding to scripture on legalism.  However, his fourth type of legalism, to which he devoted more than half his 55 minute session, was an "adding to scripture legalism."  Legalism itself is an extrascriptural term, which allows for much twisting and distortion by conflating one permitted belief and practice with something sinful and horrible.

The session on legalism gave a list of areas Christians have liberty.  He said that Christians have liberty to divorce if their spouses commit adultery.  He said those who prohibit divorce are legalists, because they are adding to scripture.  No, this is a disagreement about what scripture teaches on divorce.  Some people believe that "fornication" in the exception clause is actual fornication during a betrothal period, which is why it doesn't appear in Mark or Luke, not just a general word for sexual immorality.

This teacher said that standards of modesty are legalistic, because there isn't a verse that explains modesty.  He calls this adding to scripture.  He said, you might have a conviction that someone else doesn't have.  What is a conviction?  Should anyone have any conviction that is either adding or taking away from scripture?  If scripture doesn't tell us what modesty is, how do we obey that?  Scripture actually does teach on modesty and it isn't even silent about its application. There is an objective standard given, so since it is taught in scripture, it should be obeyed.  Evangelicals ignore the objective standard, I've noticed, and then say that you're adding to scripture.

Just for a moment, what is nakedness or nudity in scripture, if we can't judge modesty?  This is where evangelicals leave us.  What does a woman need to cover to be modest?  I think this is where evangelicals become selective.  Their standard of modesty becomes more and more selective, all depending on a societal norm.  A string bikini is fine on the beach, shorts, as long as they are not too short, if you know what they mean, are fine for church.  They mess people up with this kind of teaching and turn the Bible into a list of suggestions, which you are fine to do how you want.

The evangelical teacher said that it was permissible to smoke, to drink alcohol, to dance, to kiss your girlfriend, to get a tattoo, and all of those among several others were Christian liberties.  He parked so long on this, because he saw as the greatest problem in the matter of Christian liberty was people adding to scripture, where scripture was silent.

A tremendous amount of confusion and distortion, so much faithlessness and disobedience, comes from evangelicalism and now fundamentalism about Christian liberty.  Its proponents might teach the Lordship of Christ, but they effectively take that away by giving liberty to Christians to sin, to serve their own desires instead of Jesus Christ.  They turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, which is characteristic of an apostate.  I'm not saying they're all unsaved, but I fear for their future on earth and eternity.

Next week, Lord-willing, or at least in the near future, I'll write on Christian liberty, so that I explain what it really is.

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