Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Explaining Repentance to an Ignorant Lost Person

I've been preaching the gospel for decades in one of the most difficult places in the world.  I have been doing it a lot and with a lot of different types of people.  Obedience to the Great Commission does help one grow.  I have also preached through every book of the Bible verse by verse -- every one -- some in long expositional series.  So as I write this post, it comes out of all of that study and all of that experience.

When I preach the gospel to someone, when I'm done, he understands it.  He acknowledges it.  He knows it is true.  He understand it, he gets it, and he is ready either to believe or not believe it.  When I'm done, I know I preached the gospel.  I'm satisfied with that.  By the way, later today, I'm going out to explain this for two hours, door to door.  Today.

Last Friday, Thomas Ross posted a presentation of repentance for a Baptist church constitution or doctrinal statement.  One criticism was that it was too complicated or even messed up because it was too much.  The implication was that evangelists should leave it out, to keep the gospel simple, that is, the gospel isn't simple enough when repentance is included.  What I've heard in the past as a critique of repentance in the gospel is that it front loads works.  I'll explain how it doesn't in this post.  It's not that difficult to explain, or it's not complicated.  It's simple.

I'm going to write out what I say on repentance in a gospel presentation.  I'm talking to someone who doesn't understand it.  He's ignorant of it, so the poster person for 'let's not have it be too complicated.'  Every one of those, I've found, it isn't too complicated.  They may not like it, but they definitely understand it. I've never seen it where it is an intellectual issue.  It is always volitional. My opinion, and I say opinion, is that it is a volitional issue with the people criticizing the inclusion of repentance in the gospel too.  They don't want it because they want what they want, not what God wants.

I explain the gospel in four points as my base explanation, so I'm coming up to the fourth point, which is where I explain repentance.  Here's how it sounds.  I've done this thousands of times.

Just because Jesus died for everyone doesn't mean that everyone goes to heaven.  For what Jesus did to apply to someone, there is one response that is required to what He did.  He did everything that needed to be done, but there is a response that someone must make in order to be saved.  I call it a response, because it isn't a work.  Salvation isn't a work and doesn't come by works.  No amount of works can get rid of your sins.  The only way for your sins to be forgiven, removed, washed away is by means of one response to what Jesus did, and it isn't works.  [This is where I included works verses and their explanation.  I'm not going to do that in this post.]

OK, so salvation isn't by works.  The one response to what Jesus did through His death, burial, and resurrection is to believe in Jesus Christ.  The fourth thing that we need to know is 'believe in Jesus Christ.'  We know it is to believe in Jesus Christ, and I want to show you that, but an important question is, what does it mean to believe in Jesus Christ?  Many people say that they believe in Jesus Christ in this country, and they don't really believe in Him.  We know that.  So what does that mean, to believe in Jesus Christ?  First of all, however, we must believe in Jesus Christ, and I want to show you some verses on that.  [This is where I show verses on believing in Jesus Christ.  I show several and explain them, three of which are in John 3.]

OK, so we can see that if we believe in Jesus Christ, we have eternal life.  But again, what does it mean to believe in Jesus Christ.  Part of what it means to believe in Jesus Christ is to repent.  Let me explain.  In Luke 13:3 and 5, Jesus said the same thing twice.  He said, "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."  Twice, once in verse 3 and then in verse 5, Jesus said (quote the verse again).  So Jesus says, "If you don't repent, then you are going to perish."  In John 3, remember, He said, "If you believe, you won't perish."  If you don't repent, you will perish, but if you believe, you won't perish."  Repent and believe are two sides to the same coin.

Someone who does not repent, does not believe, and someone who does not believe, does not repent.  You can't repent without believing and you can't believe without repenting.  These people Jesus talked to thought that other people had perished because those people had done really bad things, that made them deserving of perishing.  Jesus is saying, no, unless you repent, you all deserve to perish.

To repent is to turn.  Let's say that this wall right here (or this railing or whatever you can use) is the end of my life and that is death, and so it is Hell, and this path to the wall is my life.  My life keeps going and going. One thing about life is that it doesn't stop, it just keeps going until you die.  So my life keeps going this direction and doesn't stop and it ends in Hell for me because of my sin.  I keep going my way and my way ends in death, in Hell.  I deserve it because of my sin.  Look at the wall.  If I don't want to run into this wall, and I can't stop, what can I do? (Wait for the person to answer.  Ask it again, picture it again, to help. Most people can't get this figured out, even though it is so simple.  If the person says, turn, then, yes, to turn, but they can't figure it out.  They see the only option as running into the wall.)

Alright, most people don't think of this, but if you don't want to run into the wall, and you can't stop, then all you can do is turn.  Turn.  (This is a "duh" moment.  It was too simple, it was so simple.  And they show that every time.)  If you don't want to run into the wall, you've got to turn.  If you don't want to go to Hell, you've got to turn.  Your life is a life of sin, it's your way.  The end of that is Hell.  If you don't want that, then you've got to turn from that, your way, your sin, the same thing, and what do you turn to?  You turn to Jesus Christ. (People know they can't keep going their way and be saved.  They instinctively know something is wrong or why would they need to be saved.? If everything is OK, then why does anyone need to turn?)

Jesus said in Luke 9:23, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."  Jesus was talking about salvation.  To come after Jesus, to follow Jesus, you can't keep going your way.  You've got to turn from your way, deny yourself, and follow Him.  If you keep going your way, you're not believing in Jesus Christ.  You're believing in yourself, trusting in yourself.  You say, if I don't want to go to Hell, I can't keep going my way, I've got to turn to follow Jesus Christ, believing in Him, and not myself.  That's it.

As you look further in Luke 9:24, the next verse, Jesus says, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."  After "follow me," this is the second most common or repeated thing that Jesus says in the gospel.  To save your life, you've got to lose your life. You can't hang on to your life and receive the life that Jesus wants to give you.  Giving up your life is to repent.  You are turning from your way to his way. The word "life" is the word psuche, which is elsewhere translated, "soul."  For the Lord to cleanse your soul, you must give up your soul.  If you give up your soul, he will restore it or convert your soul that has been ruined by sin.

You can't keep going your way, you've got to go His way, follow Him, giving up your life for His life. Jesus goes on to say in the next verse, see here, "For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?"  In another place, Jesus says, What does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but lose his own soul?"  Losing your soul is going to Hell.  In Hell, there is no more opportunity for your soul to be restored or cleansed of sin.  It's too late. (There are various components here.  Their sin, which condemns them, they must repent of that, which is their way.  Those are one in the same.  There is an authority issue here too.  They are rebellious, wanting to do what they want, and going their way.  They have to turn from that.  Those are all interrelated.)

Next I bring in Romans 10:9-10, 13, which brings in Lordship.  Lordship, repentance, and faith all go together, and it is very simple.  If you are lord of your own life, you keep going your own way, and you don't repent.  If you believe in Jesus, then you believe He is Lord or Christ, and you give up your own way for His way.  If you do, He will save you. Those are His terms.  This is consistent with every other place on salvation in the Bible.

For those reading with the "front loading" works criticism, it's simple.  Faith or repentance are not works.  If you think that repentance is a work, then why isn't "calling upon the name of the Lord" a work, or "praying a prayer," not a work?  It is silly, but eternally and damningly silly.  Scripture says faith is not a work, says that repentance is not a work, and that confessing Jesus as Lord is not a work.  All three of those are singled out as not a work.  Salvation is not by works, so this is consistent in scripture.  What I think it is for these where repentance is just too complicated is that they don't want to preach it, because it's the part of the gospel that men have the hardest time with, so they leave it out willfully.  I believe it is willful and perhaps out of a reprobate mind.  That would be consistent too.

I haven't told you everything I say when I preach the gospel, but this is a good example of what I do when I preach repentance.  It is not complicated.  Every.  Single.  Person.  Understands. It.  I've never had someone say, I don't get it.  They get it, crystal clear.  I've also found that many, many will understand that this is different than typical evangelicalism or so-called Christians.  They know this is true.  The Holy Spirit is illuminating that truth to them through scripture.

Monday, May 29, 2017

God Has To Be God, pt. 4

Part One     Part Two    Part Three

James 1:13-17 reveals a lot about the nature of the true God.  I want to print the verses.
13  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16 Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
This section of James is packed with teaching, but it is a huge revelation about God, specifically two attributes unique to Him, His immutability and impassibility.  God's immutability and impassibility are contrasted with man's mutability and passion.  Man's state is found in verses 13-15, separated by a metacomment in verse 16, and God's state is seen in verses 17 and 18.  There are some very clear grammatical markers that manifest this.

In 13-15 man functions according to outside stimuli.  He is tempted and drawn away of his lust, his passions.  God on the other hand cannot be tempted, because with Him is no variableness and He begat by his own will, not anyone else's.  Lust results in death.  God's gift results in life.  Because God is not afffected to change, we look to Him for wisdom (James 1:5), not the wisdom of this world, which is earthly, sensual, and devilish (James 3:16-18).  When we are tried, we depend on Someone Who does not change, not on man, who does.

What we see today are men conforming God to themselves in trials.  Rather than looking to God, Who is not tempted with evil, they are tempted and they turn to God with a purpose to adapt Him to their own desires.  When it comes to worship, God stays the same, but they imagine a god more to their liking, who conforms to their desires.  Rather than conform to God, they conform to the spirit of this age.

God doesn't change, but men's standards change, their worship changes, and false doctrines and practices are tolerated to maintain their coalitions, organizations, or movements.  God has to be God. Every sin is some departure from the nature of the one and true God.

A doctrinal statement might be identical to a hundred years ago, but the God in the statement is a vastly different God in the imagination.  The God in the imagination is the God who men worship. We know this occurs, that is, men change God into what they want Him to be (Romans 1).  This is why two churches with a nearly identical doctrinal statement can be very, very different.  These differences do matter.  God is communicated by more than the words on a sheet of paper.  He is communicated by the medium of worship men use and by the life that the worshipers live.  The words take on a different and either perverted or insufficient meaning when God is conformed to men.

Immutability is that God doesn't change.  Impassibility is a sub category of immutability in that God doesn't function according to passion.  He directs all His behavior.  He doesn't fly off the handle.  In part because of His impassibility, God is immutable.  Churches today have changed drastically in doctrine and practice.  Their worship has radically changed.  Worship has conformed to the passions of men and don't represent the true God.  They bring God to the level of man's lusts and profane Him.

I know a question, maybe the question, for those reading this series, are the people saved, really saved, who are so different than the God of historic Christianity.  Are they believing in the same God? I don't know.  I wouldn't want to be them.  Do they abide in the doctrine of Christ?  Do they have the same Jesus?  Just because they have the same Jesus on paper, it doesn't mean that they have the same Jesus.  I wouldn't want to be in their shoes.  God has to be God.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Repentance and the Baptist Church Constitution

Does your church constitution have a statement carefully defining repentance?  If your current church leadership went on to their eternal reward suddenly in an accident or other unplanned situation, would your church constitution be an effective guard against having a new pastor or pastors who teach a heretical gospel?  (Of course, not even the best constitutional statement is a substitute for a regenerate and spiritually mature church membership and church leadership that understand and regularly preach the gospel to the lost and agree wholeheartedly with the need to separate from even "Baptist" proponents of a false repentance-less "gospel.")

If your church does not currently have a statement on repentance, simply putting in one that is found in a classic Baptist confession, such as those discussed here, where one can also find sound exegesis on Biblical repentance, is a good start.  Perhaps the following suggested one would be a worthwhile addition to your church constitution and, consequently, something worth reviewing with all who seek to unite themselves to Christ's church in your area:

A Suggested Constitutional Statement on Repentance

Unfeigned repentance is an inward and true sorrow of heart for sin, with sincere confession of the same to God, especially that we have offended so gracious a God and so loving a Father, together with a settled purpose of heart and a careful endeavor to leave all our sins, and to live a more holy and sanctified life according to all God’s commands.[1] [Note: this is simply a quotation from a very widespread Baptist confession on repentance. Obviously, do not include this parenthetical statement.]  When the lost repent, they turn to God from their idols with the intention of serving the living and true God and waiting for His Son from heaven (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).  God commands: “Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin” (Ezekiel 18:30). “[T]urn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?” (Ezekiel 33:11).  John the Baptist preached to the lost that repentance results in bringing forth good fruit, and those who do not repent and as a result bring forth good fruit are cast into unquenchable fire (Matthew 3:7-11), while Jesus Christ preached the same message of repentance as the first Baptist (Matthew 3:2; 4:17) and commanded His church to continue to preach the same message (Luke 24:47).  The Lord Jesus warns that the unsaved who do not “repent of their deeds,” deeds such as “murders . . . sorceries . . . fornication . . . thefts . . . [and] worship [of] devils, and idols,” will not be saved but will miss the Rapture and enter the “great tribulation” (Revelation 2:22; 9:20-21; 16:9-11; Matthew 24:21).  Standard lexica correctly define “repentance” when they affirm the word means: “[A] complete change of thought and attitude with regard to sin and righteousness . . . [a] total change, both in thought and behavior, with respect to how one should both think and act. . . . [T]he focal semantic feature of these terms is clearly behavioral rather than [only] intellectual . . . [resulting in a] change [in] one’s way of life.”[2]  The conclusion is clear that “[i]n the New Testament, metanoeo and metanoia [the Greek words for “repentance”] . . . are never used to indicate merely intellectual action. . . . [T]hey are always used to express volitional action . . . the change of purpose . . . from evil to good. . . . [T]hey always express internal change . . . [and] they require change in the outward expression of life as a necessary consequent . . . [t]he fullest content [is] found in the . . . radical change in the primary choice by which the whole soul is turned away from evil to good.”[3]

Both the words for “faith” or “belief” and the words for “repentance” in describing the response of the lost sinner to the gospel involve receiving Jesus Christ Himself (John 1:12).  The lost recognize that Jesus is the Christ—the Messiah, the Ruler and Redeemer who is the only One who can save (John 20:31).  Since Jesus Christ is God (John 20:28), Lord (Philippians 2:11), King (John 12:13), and Savior (2 Peter 3:18), the lost receive Him as God, Lord, King, and Savior from both the penalty and power of their sin—they receive Him as both Ruler and Redeemer.  The lost cannot receive a divided “Christ” who is only a Savior from the penalty of sin while the sinner continues to reject, rebel against, and refuse the Messiah as God, Lord, and King.  When the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is received, the dominating power of indwelling sin is broken (Ephesians 2; Romans 6) and, while indwelling sin is still present (Galatians 5:17), the lost receive a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17) at the moment of their new birth (John 3), so that God’s holy laws are in their hearts and minds (Hebrews 8:10-12) and they become servants (Romans 1:1) of the King in the kingdom of God (John 3:3).

When the gospel is explained to the lost orally, the Biblical doctrine of repentance should be proclaimed, and when it is explained through written preaching, gospel literature that explains Biblical repentance should be employed.

The Bible warns that corruptions of the gospel are not to be tolerated, “no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue” (Galatians 2:5; 1:8-9), and Scripture is very clear on the necessity of practicing separation from those who corrupt the gospel and other Biblical teachings (1 Timothy 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 John 7-11).  Consequently, ----- Baptist Church will not allow anyone to preach from its pulpit, teach in its Sunday School classes, or preach and teach in any other of its ministries who cannot wholeheartedly and without mental reservation agree with the truths of Scripture summarized in the statement on repentance above.  Nor will ------ Baptist Church support financially any evangelist, missionary, or any other person or persons who do not both personally agree with, and whose sending churches also agree with, the statement on repentance above, wholeheartedly and without mental reservation.  Nor will ------ Baptist Church partner with any Bible college, seminary, institute, or other training institution, nor recommend its church members attend any Bible college, seminary, institute, or other training institution that does not wholeheartedly and without mental reservation agree with the Biblical teaching summarized above on repentance.

I believe that a statement of this sort  can help protect a Biblical Baptist church from the extremely dangerous heresy on that doctrine that has infected a frightening percentage of independent Baptist congregations today, and pass a pure and uncorrupted gospel on to future generations, so that they can both be saved themselves rather than not be saved but be hell-bound people who have just said the sinner’s prayer, and also so that our community and the lost world can continue to hear from independent Baptist churches the pure gospel as proclaimed by Christ, His Apostles, and the New Testament churches, instead of a watered-down corruption that will not save or that is less powerful to save because of crucial aspects that are left out.

[1]           The Orthodox Creed, Baptist, 1679.
[2]           Louw, J. P & E. A. Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament:  Based on Semantic Domains (New York:  United Bible Societies, 1996), 41:52.
[3]           Thompson, Effie Freeman, Metanoeo and metamelei in Greek Literature until 100 A. D., Including Discussion of Their Cognates and of their Hebrew Equivalents: Historical and Linguistic Studies in Literature Related to the New Testament Issued Under the Direction of the Department of Biblical and Patristic Greek, 2nd series, vol. 1 (Chicago, IL:  University of Chicago, 1908) 376-377.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

God Has To Be God, pt. 3

part one     part two

God wants to be believed, but it has to be belief in the actual one and true God to be belief in God.
Genesis 15:6, "And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness."
It is not an uncommon statement, "I believe in God," but if the god the person believes in isn't actually God, then he doesn't believe in God.  There is only one God, Who isn't a made-up one in a person's mind.  It's got to be Him, the actual, only God.  A way not to believe in God is to believe in another, more convenient god.

Perhaps you can relate to the following situation.  Two different people or two different groups both say they believe in God and even in the same God.  I'm talking about both believing in the God of Christianity.  Both worship the so-called same God, the one both say they believe in, and yet what they both call "worship" is exactly opposite of the other.  The same God could not approve of both. So do they both believe in the same God?

God doesn't get to be who we want Him to be.  He is Who He is.  He doesn't become what we want in our imaginations.  We should think rather that we get to be what He wants us to be.  With God there is "no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17).   We're the ones who conform to God, not He to us.  We get to conform to Him, if He allows us to.

People shape God to their imaginations with their worship.  They offer God what they want and the god of their imaginations accepts it.  It isn't God.  They believe in him and he isn't God.  He is the god of their imaginations, shaped by their offerings to him.  They give him what they want.  The children growing up in their churches also develop a wrong view of God.  It's no wonder that He also tolerates many various manners of lust from His so-called worshipers.  This is how various forms of Christianity exist.  When you judge one not to be true or orthodox or right, its adherents might show you a doctrinal statement, but they still have a different god in their imaginations, who isn't God.

Their god is the same god who allows for bikinis, short shorts, strapless dresses where the top comes right down to the top of their breasts, for their women.  Their god approves, applauds that.  He obviously isn't a holy God. They are very casual about their god and their god is casual with them.  In their minds, this god saves them and saves them by his grace, because that's what he does.  However, when they believe on this god, are they really believing in the true God?  I can't wish them into heaven by agreeing that he is God.  I don't think He is, because the God I worship and the one they do coudn't be so different.  Somebody's got to be wrong.  I know it's them.

God has to be God for you to believe in Him.  You are not believing in Him when He is who you want him to be.  How far does He need to dip below Who He is for Him not to be him any more?  Is that worth it?  Only Christianity plays this game, it plays this game with God.  Tiddly-winks isn't tackle football.  Madagascar isn't the United States of America.  The god of their imaginations isn't God.  He is a different god, more the god of their lust, and He doesn't save.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Andrew Murray, Mystical Quietist and Higher Life / Keswick Writer, part 4 of 7

Medieval Roman Catholic mysticism and quietism had a very influential and lifelong influence on Murray.  The devout Mary worshipper, receiver of allegedly inspired oracles,[1] and Roman Catholic monk “Bernard of Clairvaux,” who taught that “it is necessary for the seeker to lose himself in God and merge his own individuality in that of the Eternal One,” and who also gave “a mighty stimulus to asceticism,” was “a favourite historical character with Andrew Murray, who called his home at Wellington after the famous abbey which Bernard founded.”[2]  Throughout his life Murray was also greatly influenced by Madame Guyon.  While not endorsing every heresy of the Catholic mystic,[3] Murray stated:  “I approve of [the] books [of] . . .  Madame Guyon . . . and recommend them,” so that it was a great compliment for one in his family to recognize a fellow minister as “an exemplification of the doctrines of Quietism in action[.] . . . All those expressions of being dead to self and lost in God which one finds in Madame Guyon seem to be exemplified in his experience and life.”[4]  Murray rated “Madame Guyon” and the Catholic monk “Rysbroeck” as “among his chief friends,” while also admiring the Roman Catholics Catherine of Siena and Santa Teresa, with their false gospel, idolatrous worship—whether of images, allegedly transubstantiated bread, or Mary—and demonic visions, mysticism, and continuationism.[5]  It is perhaps not surprising that Murray’s “books of devotion . . . met with the highest commendation at the hands of the most High Church Anglican Bishops[.]”[6]
Murray was amenable to the Keswick continuationist theology because of “his inadequate theological training . . . [he was] a minister by the time he was twenty”[7] (cf. 1 Timothy 3:6), and the limited training he did receive was within a hotbed of rationalism and theological liberalism, under professors with strong antipathy to evangelical piety and among unconverted denominational fellow-students with “scandalous morals.”  Even the “orthodox and respectable” ones “profaned . . . the name of God,” and many were “intoxicated” on various occasions.[8]  “Conversion was an antiquated word.”[9]  It is perhaps not surprising that Murray’s view of conversion and advice to the unconverted contain serious confusion.  Denying total depravity for the doctrine that the lost can truly love Jesus Christ, Murray wrote to the unconverted:  I write to you as those of whom I hope that it is in truth their earnest desire to find the Saviour, and of whom I really trust that they have truly declared before the Lord:  Lord, Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee.”[10]  Those unconverted persons who somehow truly love Christ are not to consciously and instantly repent, believe the gospel, and be justified by repentant faith alone, but are to confess that they accept Christian doctrine, worship Christ, and so insensibly and gradually become believers.[11]  It is most unfortunate that Murray’s theologically liberal seminary education left him with such a confused view of evangelical conversion.
  Indeed, Murray confessed that his seminary education was essentially useless,[12] although his interaction with religious apostasy likely contributed to Murray’s ecumenicalism, his “broad . . . charity” and “generous welcome” to men such as the Keswick leader, international Keswick spokesman, and annihilationist George Grubb, and the Higher Life and ecumenical leader John R. Mott, who became “one of the principal architects of the World Council of Churches,” was that body’s “honorary president,” and who received “the Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to the ecumenical movement.”[13]  Murray was “among the first to bid them welcome, and to lend the weight of his influence and authority to their undertaking[s] . . . there can be no doubt that the sympathy [and] constant interest . . . of Mr. Murray formed . . . a large element in any success which may have attended their mission.”[14]
            Thankfully, despite his corrupt seminary education, Murray did not become a modernist.  He retained much of what was both good and bad from the conservative Dutch Reformed paedobaptist tradition in which he had been raised.  For example, his teaching about what the children of believers possess by virtue of their parentage evidences clear dependence upon the Reformed paedobaptist covenantalism:
The word holy is the promise of a divine life-power.  Let us beware of emptying the word holy of its divine truth and power.  If God calls our children holy, it is because they are born from a believing parent who is holy in Christ; therefore, they are holy, too.  The child of true believers inherits from his parents, not only the sinful nature, but habits and tendencies which the child of the unbeliever does not share.  These are the true seeds of holiness, the working of the Holy Spirit from the mother’s womb.  Even where it cannot be seen, there is a secret heritage of the seed of holiness implanted in the child of the believer.  There is secured to him the Holy Spirit in whom the holiness of God has reached its full manifestation. . . . In promising the Holy Spirit to His disciples, our Lord said He would be a river of living water flowing from them to others.  The believer has power to influence those with whom he comes in contact.  The child born of him inherits a blessing in the very life he receives from the parent who is sanctified by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  In the mother’s womb the child can receive the Holy Spirit.  Oh, let us be sure of it, when God gives our child the name holy, that is the beginning of the work of His own Holy Spirit.  Let nothing less than this be what our heart reads in God’s words:  your children are holy.[15]
Murray’s affirmations might find support in the Reformed paedobaptist tradition, but they certainly are not found in the Bible.  The book of Ephesians clearly states that Christian families with children present in the congregation (Ephesians 6:1).  Nevertheless, all who had been regenerated had first been spiritually dead, and were unholy children of wrath and of the devil without any inherent goodness in them, until they came to a point when, after some time living, having a walk, and fulfilling the lusts of the flesh and of the mind, they were consciously converted at the moment of saving faith (Ephesians 2:1-10).  The church of Ephesus, including the converted children of Christian parents in the congregation, would not have recognized Murray’s statements as Christian doctrine had Murray’s teaching, or the covenantal paedobaptism it is based upon, existed at the time.  Thus, Murray retained, both for better and for worse, much of the Reformed paedobaptist tradition in which he had been raised.
            Despite his lack of a genuinely Christian seminary education, Murray went on to influence many other important Keswick continuationist leaders, such as Jessie Penn-Lewis and Watchman Nee.  He corresponded with Mrs. Penn-Lewis, contributed to her Overcomer magazine, and commended her writings.  He even wrote an introduction to one of her works, which he was glad to have translated into Dutch, and he arranged to have it distributed to all the ministers and elders of his denomination in South Africa for free.[16]  “For twenty years he was president of the Holiness movement in South Africa,”[17] the country where he ministered.  Among other theological errors,[18] Murray taught the classic Keswick form of Quietism, affirming that the Christian “soul becomes utterly passive, looking and resting on what Christ is to do,”[19] yielding to be “a passive instrument possessed by God,”[20] for “Scripture . . . speaks of our being still and doing nothing . . . [the Christian] yields himself a truly passive instrument in the hand of God . . . [to] perfect passivity.”[21]  The believer is to be passive, rather than to actively use his mind or will, since these are functions of his allegedly unregenerate soul, rather than his regenerate spirit, and “[t]he greatest danger the religion of the Church or the individual has to dread is the inordinate activity of the soul, with its power of mind and will.”[22]  The “intellect . . . is . . . impotent and even dangerous” without a quietistic extra-Biblical and extra-mental revelation from God, a “wait[ing] for His teaching” within, “deeper than the soul, with all its life of feeling, and thought, and will.”[23]  Murray also altered the previous practice of his church to permit women to lead the congregation, including the men, in prayer.[24]  He further averred:  “Perfection . . . is a Bible truth . . . and Perfectionism . . . may . . . be . . . truth.”[25]  He “frequently deplored the fact that . . . Christians in general were ‘terribly afraid of perfectionism.’”[26]

See here for this entire study.

[1]           E. g., his false prophecy of the success of the Second Crusade; cf. pg. 315, Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, McClintock & Strong.
[2]           Pg. 451, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis. For Bernard, “conversion [was] enter[ing] the monastery,” and “uncoerced humility justifies and . . . merits the grace of God[.] . . . Bernard does not represent a purely forensic form of justification” (pgs. 41, 48, 58, Sweet Communion:  Trajectories of Spirituality from the Middle Ages through the Further Reformation, Arie de Reuver, trans. James De Jong).  “Bernard was not . . . a forerunner of the Reformation.  He was a devout child of the twelfth century, completely involved in the contemporary developments of the Roman papal establishment” (pg. 57, Ibid).
[3]           Murray affirmed:  “I cannot say that I agree in everything with . . . Madame Guyon,” since Mr. Murray was not a medieval Roman Catholic like Guyon.  Murray would nonetheless have done well to warn against Guyon instead of commending her very dangerous writings with a few words of warning.  See pgs. 237-239, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis. 
[4]           Pgs. 237-239, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.
[5]           Pgs. 480-481, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.
[6]           Pg. 511, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.
[7]           Pg. 113, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger.
[8]           Pgs. 60-63, 68-69, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.
[9]           Pg. 58, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.
[10]         Pg. 10, Why Do You Not Believe?: Words of Instruction and Encouragement for All Who Are Seeking the Lord,  Andrew Murray.  Chicago, IL:  Fleming H. Revell, 1894.
[11]         Murray wrote:
This at least you know that, although you cannot yet say, He is my Saviour, your whole soul believes that He was sent by God to be a Saviour, and that He has proved Himself to be a Saviour for others. Well, then, go with this confession to Jesus, utter it before Him in prayer, look to Him and adore Him as the Saviour of the world. Speak out what you do believe, and by this means will faith in your heart be confirmed and increased. Say: “Lord Jesus, how unbelieving I am; this, however, I do believe that Thou art the Saviour, full of love and grace, and mighty to redeem.” Forget yourselves and worship Jesus, although you dare not as yet say, that He is yours. In the midst of those exercises your faith will increase, and by and by you will insensibly come to the confidence that He is also yours. (pgs. 36-37, Why Do You Not Believe?  Words of Instruction and Encouragement for All Who Are Seeking the Lord)
[12]         Murray stated:  “[T]he lectures here [in seminary] are such that it is almost impossible to get any good from them.”  A fellow student averred:  “One learnt nothing from [the professors’] lectures” (pgs. 62, 67, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis); the sole exception was the lectures of “Opzoomer,” whose lectures bred “an enthusiasm which was wholly lacking in his older colleagues,” but this enthusiasm was for apostasy from Christianity, as he was “a rationalist . . . an empiricist . . . [and] one of the fathers of . . . Liberalism or Modernism . . . in Holland” (pg. 63, Ibid).  Because the seminary education he had received was useless, Murray wanted to go to Germany to get a real education, but his father told him to return to South Africa and begin his service as a minister instead, and he did so (pgs. 67ff., Ibid).
[13]         Pgs. 451-453, Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, ed. Larsen.  The Dictionary notes: “Mott’s appeal seemed to be ‘entirely to the moral nature and there is no theology in it’ (Hopkins, Mott, p. 385). His relative indifference to theology and broad ecumenical sympathies were characteristic of the holiness evangelicalism of the late nineteenth century.”
[14]         Pg. 440, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.  Of course, Murray also welcomed more orthodox men; he did not confine his welcome to the heterodox.
[15]         Pgs. 267-268, Raising Your Children for Christ, Andrew Murray.  New Kensington, PA:  Whitaker House, 1984.
[16]         Pg. 2, The Overcomer, January 1910.
[17]         Pg. 113, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger.
[18]         For example, in addition to paedobaptism and the confusion on conversion so closely associated with it, Murray believed that alcoholic “[w]ine is a good gift of God, to be received with gratitude and to be used to His glory,” so that he could not agree with those who argued that “the Bible not merely permits but enjoins abstinence from the use of wine,” although he was himself, commendably, a practitioner of total abstinence (cf. pgs. 361-365, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis; for a good presentation of the Biblical requirement, not option, of total abstinence, see The Use of Wine in the Old Testament, Robert Teachout).
[19]         Pg. 30, Abide in Christ:  Thoughts on the Blessed Life of Fellowship with the Son of God, Andrew Murray. Philadelphia, PA:  Henry Altemus, 1895.  Out of this utter passivity, Murray goes on to explain, activity flows—in the Keswick theology, quietism is not an end to itself, but leads to a sort of activity.
[20]         Pg. 7, Waiting on God! Daily Messages for a Month, Andrew Murray.  New York, NY:  Fleming H. Revell, 1896.  Murray is quoting a poem by Freda Hanbury.
[21]         Pgs. 136-137, Abide in Christ: Thoughts on the Blessed Life of Fellowship with the Son of God, Murray.  Here again, Murray goes on to explain that by means of “perfect passivity” one becomes the “active instrument” of God.
[22]         Pg. 335, The Spirit of Christ:  Thoughts on the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Believer and the Church, Andrew Murray. New York, NY: Anson D. F. Randolph & Company, 1888.
[23]         Pg. 338, The Spirit of Christ:  Thoughts on the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Believer and the Church, Andrew Murray.
[24]         Pgs. 194-199, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.
[25]         Pg. 311, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.  Murray also stated that some forms of perfectionism are “a human perversion of that truth” of “Perfection” and of true “Perfectionism.”
[26]         Pg. 313, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Trump Rumors

I'm actually on the road right now, and I've got a lot on the platter.  I'm writing this at an airport in the middle of the country.  This is easier to write, but I'm giving my take on latest about President Trump. I want to continue a couple of series I've started, but I don't have the time to put into them in order to finish, so here goes.

Very often today, the media is pushing the narrative that Donald Trump is on the road to impeachment.  You also hear from the same that Republicans are scared, troubled, and losing faith in Trump.  Here's what I think, and I've basically been right start to finish so far about Trump.  I think I'm right again, but here is what I think is really happening.

The media drives the Democrat Party.  Who feeds the media?  First, the media is an entity to itself and it feeds the Democrat Party.  Second, the media receives distracting talking points from leftover establishment and liberal types in the federal bureaucracy, including the intelligence gathering components domestic and foreign.  Third, a few very influential Democrats tied to the Clintons and the Obamas formulate stories for the media to tell.  Almost all of the stories, as I see it, are lies, at least lies in their basic premise.

We know from the account of the Clinton campaign, the book, Shattered, that as soon as Hillary lost, Podesta and crew came up with the Russian story as an excuse for losing.  The media has run with it.  There is very little, as is said, there, there.  If you scoured what every Trump associate or supporter did, you might find something inappropriate that might possibly be vaguely construed as violating some either law or ethic.  Mainly I'm talking about anyone who even talked to a Russian that could be used to place someone on the grassy knoll.

The greatest violations of law and national security and liberty have come from Democrats, primarily three:  illegal surveillance or eavesdropping on Republicans, including Trump team, for political purposes, the illegal and traitorous leaking to the media, and then the continued pile of evidence that the Clintons exposed tons of classified information, including that on the computer of Anthony Weiner, and profited from pay to play corruption in their foundation.  What I just stated is the real issue and the media is essentially covering it up, and establishment Republicans like John McCain are useful idiots to the media.

Every other story, that is a fake story, totally contrived, is the Russian collusion story.  It's just being used to hurt Trump, his leadership, his presidency, and agenda.  First, none of us has still received the evidence that the Russians affected the election.  People say it, but we don't know it.  We don't know that information wasn't leaked by Democrats themselves.  The media isn't taking that pathway because it conflicts with its agenda.  Second, we don't know what the worst possible of the Trump people has even done that is illegal.  Even if it is inappropriate, it pales next to Obama and Clinton in anything akin to it.  Flynn is already fired.  He can't be fired again.

I have seen no evidence of Russian collusion.  Some of the stories written are outright lies.  Those are the bigger concern.  Part of it now is this idea that Trump gave the Russians classified information hurtful to an American ally.  This is still unproven even if illegal.  McMaster is a favorite among even Democrats and establishment, and he is defending Trump.  Then there is Trump firing Comey to protect himself against an investigation, which continues unimpeded even by the testimony of the acting FBI chief.  I see Trump as firing Comey, because Comey is being too political, including in how he is treating this Russian situation, which is a nothing.  It seems to me that Comey has used it as leverage.  It obviously didn't work.

The last part of this is the new story that Trump asked Comey if he wouldn't investigate Flynn, because Flynn is a good man.  I think Trump believes Flynn is a good man, who has suffered more than what he should have.   He also wants this fake story to end, because it is a distraction to his administration.  Asking if the FBI would be lenient with Flynn isn't a crime.  They have spun it into obstruction of justice, and as impeachable.

The stuff against Trump is a fake story, fake news, a total house of cards.  That is my point of view.  We'll see how it comes out.

There is much more than this, but my flight just got called.