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Love not the World? #43207
Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:53 AM
Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:53 AM
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Jacy Offline OP
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Jacy  Offline OP
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I've been thinking about this subject and would like your thoughts on it.

Do you know know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4

Do not love the world, nor the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. I John 2:15

What does it mean, specifically, to be a friend of the world? It seems very, very serious, as being such would make God my enemy. How would you know if you love the world? What is the definition of "worldly"? Is it more than accepting and embracing the world's philosphies that contradict scripture? Is it outward as well as inward?

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

heart

Re: Love not the World? [Re: Jacy] #43216
Sat Sep 05, 2009 1:27 PM
Sat Sep 05, 2009 1:27 PM
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Pilgrim Offline

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Originally Posted by Jacy
Do you know know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4

Actually, there is much benefit to quoting the near context, which would include that which precedes and that which follows what you have supplied:

Quote
James 4:3-5 (ASV) "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may spend [it] in your pleasures. Ye adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore would be a friend of the world maketh himself an enemy of God. Or think ye that the scripture speaketh in vain? Doth the spirit which he made to dwell in us long unto envying?

The focus of James isn't directly upon external things. In fact, many have erred in doing just this, e.g., modern Fundamentalists such as Bob Jones and evangelicalism in general. I'm sure you are familiar with this type of Pharisaism which says, "Thou shalt not: dance, play cards, watch TV or movies, go to plays, drink alcohol, use tobacco, etc., etc.," ad nauseam. This is indeed Pharisaism for it thinks by abstaining from specific "things" you are thus more holy.

Another extreme on the other hand is that of Monasticism. This is the view that one must escape the "world" by totally secluding oneself from it where one can spend all the day and night meditating on "spiritual things"; denying self of any and all so-called worldly influences and pleasures particularly.

But James, like his Master is focusing upon something far more fundamental; the affections. Thus, what the apostle is speaking of is where one's 'heart' is in regard to this world. A vivid example of one whose affections were set on this world, the philosophies of this world and the things of this world is Lot's wife. The particulars are spelled out for us to glean beginning in v. 3, where unanswered prayer is due to one asking "that ye may spend it in your pleasures", i.e., to satisfy oneself, aka: covetousness, hedonism, etc. To find one's fulfillment in this world, to be in agreement with the world's philosophy (of self gratification), and/or through the accumulation of having things, is thus to be an enemy of God. This enmity, James says, is to be an adulteress; not literally of course, referring to having an extra-marital affair with one's husband or wife. What this is referring to its predominant usage in the OT, i.e., to forsake God and set one's affections on another... anything other than God Who has betrothed Himself to you. In the NT we can say of professing Christians who find friendship with the world, they are guilty of being adulteresses of Christ, their Bridegroom.

Here's another passage which sheds the same light on this matter, written by Paul:

Quote
2 Corinthians 6:12-18 (ASV) "Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own affections. Now for a recompense in like kind (I speak as unto [my] children), be ye also enlarged. Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? or what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement hath a temple of God with idols? for we are a temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, And touch no unclean thing; And I will receive you, And will be to you a Father, And ye shall be to me sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."

There is much of the same taught throughout Scripture, e.g.,:2Co 6:14; Ex 34:16; Le 19:19; De 7:2; 22:9-11; Ezr 9:1-2,11; 10:19; Ne 13:1-3,23-26; Ps 106:35; Pr 22:24; Mal 2:11,15; 1Co 5:9; 7:39; 15:33; 1Sa 5:2-3; 1Ki 18:21; 2Ch 19:2; Ps 16:3; 26:4-5,9; 44:20-21; 101:3-5; 119:63; 139:21-22; Pr 29:27; Joh 7:7; 15:18-19; Ac 4:23; 1Co 10:21; Eph 5:6-11; 1Jo 3:12-14; Pr 8:18-19; Ro 13:12-14; Eph 4:17-20; 5:8-14; Php 2:15; 1Th 5:4-8; 1Pe 2:9; 4:2-4; 1Jo 1:5-7

The passage in 1John is obviously saying the same thing as James but in different words. Again, these texts do not prohibit living IN the world but rather the becoming OF the world.

Quote
John 17:15 (KJV) "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil [One]."

In His grace,


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Re: Love not the World? [Re: Pilgrim] #43220
Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:34 PM
Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:34 PM
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Jacy Offline OP
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Quote
To find one's fulfillment in this world, to be in agreement with the world's philosophy (of self gratification), and/or through the accumulation of having things, is thus to be an enemy of God.


Yes, I think this is a key statement you made here. Sometimes it is just difficult for me to know how to live "in" the world without being "of" the world, kwim?

Does anyone else have any thoughts?


heart

Re: Love not the World? [Re: Jacy] #43362
Sat Oct 03, 2009 10:03 PM
Sat Oct 03, 2009 10:03 PM
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Jacy Offline OP
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Ok, more questions about worldliness. Pilgrim posted a link (http://the-highway.com/articleOct09.html)to an article by Dr. Peter Masters who writes about a "new Calvinism" in which he describes a new movement amongst the reformed in doctrine who integrate "worldly" enticements.

Quote
The new Calvinism is not a resurgence but an entirely novel formula which strips the doctrine of its historic practice, and unites it with the world.


What,specifically, qualifies this movement to be worldly? I saw that he mentions:

music (ear splitting,thunderous,wordly, sensation stirring,high decible, rythmic, contemporary)
edgy language
gravely improper humour
preaching in a Jesus teeshirt
raised hands
Christian hip-hop and rap lyrics
replicated lighting and atmosphere

Do any one of these constitute worldliness? Or a combination of all? I think of rock or rap/hip-hop music as being worldly, and of course edgy language as well as improper humour. But what does lighting have to do with worldliness? Or raised hands? Or wearing a Jesus teeshirt? Is this judging by looking on the externals? The writer throws everything into the same lump and calls it all disobedience.

Quote
The present new, heady Calvinism, shorn of practical obedience will certainly prove to be ephemeral, leaving the cause compromised and scarred.


I also wondered about him saying this about some younger reformed pastors:

Quote
When you look at their ‘favourite films’, and ‘favourite music’ you find them unashamedly naming the leading groups, tracks and entertainment of debased culture, and it is clear that the world is still in their hearts. Years ago, such brethren would not have been baptised until they were clear of the world, but now you can go to seminary, no questions asked, and take up a pastorate, with unfought and unsurrendered idols in the throne room of your life. What hope is there for churches that have under-shepherds whose loyalties are so divided and distorted?


I don't know which films and music these people listed in their blogs, but I wondered which ones would qualify them as being "worldly". I like the film Pride and Prejudice. Does that make me worldly and disobedient? I love to listen to Il Divo, Pavarati, Andre Boccelli, and other classically trained tenors, as well as some country/western music. Does that make me worldly?

Do you see that I am confused even further on this topic after reading this article? I also find it troubling that he seemed to be condemning pastors/teachers such as John MacArthur in this disobedience:

Quote

C J Mahaney is a preacher highly applauded in this book. Charismatic in belief and practice, he appears to be wholly accepted by the other big names who feature at the ‘new Calvinist’ conferences, such as John Piper, John MacArthur, Mark Dever, and Al Mohler.


He says the proponents of this movement have 4 viewpoints that are anti-Calvinistic/Puritanical:

Quote
Most of the well-known preachers who promote and encourage this ‘revival’ of Calvinism have in common the following positions that contradict a genuine Calvinistic (or Puritan) outlook:

1)They have no problem with contemporary charismatic-ethos worship, including extreme, heavy-metal forms.

2)They are soft on separation from worldliness [see endnote 2].

3)They reject the concern for the personal guidance of God in the major decisions of Christians (true sovereignty), thereby striking a death-blow to wholehearted consecration.

4)They hold anti-fourth-commandment views, taking a low view of the Lord’s Day, and so inflicting another blow at a consecrated lifestyle.


I've read/listened to many of MacArthur's sermons, including one on proper music, and I can say definitively that he does NOT view heavy-metal, extreme forms of music as being correct. He is very thorough and firm about music that violates scriptural principles. I would also have to say that he is as far from any sort of charasmatic doctrine as anyone I can think of. In listening to his sermons, one would never come away with the idea that he is soft on separation from worldliness! And to say that he rejects the concern for personal guidance of God in the major decisions of Christians is a very striking misreprentation of what he preaches. In fact, I cannot see how anyone could ever make that statement about him? As far as #4 goes, I do know that he believes the scriptures do not teach Sabbatarianism. I think I have posted here in another thread portions of what he's said about that. He is holding to his exegesis of certain scriptures regarding the subject, which is what we all should do. I know there is a matter of disagreement on this one, in particular, but that does not mean that one who does not hold to Sabbatarianism is not a concecrated Christian.

Masters also mentions a conference called "Resolved":

Quote
Resolved is the brainchild of a member of Dr John MacArthur’s pastoral staff, gathering thousands of young people annually, and featuring the usual mix of Calvinism and extreme charismatic-style worship. Young people are encouraged to feel the very same sensational nervous impact of loud rhythmic music on the body that they would experience in a large, worldly pop concert, complete with replicated lighting and atmosphere. At the same time they reflect on predestination and election. Worldly culture provides the bodily, emotional feelings, into which Christian thoughts are infused and floated. Biblical sentiments are harnessed to carnal entertainment. (Pictures of this conference on their website betray the totally worldly, show business atmosphere created by the organisers.)



What is meant by the term "charismatic-style worship". What exactly does that mean? I also looked at their website's pictures of their conference to see what it was that made them totally worldly and failed to feel justified in labeling them. Where are they contradicting scripture? Of course I did not hear the music, but the author of this article seems to say that the pictures alone are proof of guilt.

So.......wow, this is a long post! Sorry, but I'm trying to make the pieces fit and I just can't. scratch1 Does there seem to be some legalism involved in this big sweeping judgement? How is this different from the "externals" being used as a matter of judgmentalism executed by those in the Bob Jones sort of camp? It makes my head hurt. hairout Will I ever see clearly on this sort of thing? sigh help Do I ask too many questions? Don't answer that one. rofl


Re: Love not the World? [Re: Jacy] #43363
Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:20 AM
Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:20 AM
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Robin Offline
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When such things as music and hair length etc become a "test of orthodoxy" rather than an appeal to love and edification, there is a danger of making law exceeding Scriptural boundaries. There is great value in what the Puritans, for example, have contributed to the Church; but there is also the danger that our own children may end up like theirs did.


Re: Love not the World? [Re: Robin] #43364
Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:07 PM
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Jacy Offline OP
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Robin,

Could you elaborate on what happened to the Puritan's children? Do you mean they forsook the teachings of their parents? If so, what is your opinion about why this happened?

Thanks for your reply and for bearing with me. I appreciate everyone's patience with me whilst I try to still the raging controversy in my head. stupidme I would like to hear from others also.

heart

Re: Love not the World? [Re: Jacy] #43365
Sun Oct 04, 2009 3:38 PM
Sun Oct 04, 2009 3:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Jacy
What,specifically, qualifies this movement to be worldly? I saw that he mentions:

music (ear splitting,thunderous,wordly, sensation stirring,high decible, rythmic, contemporary)
edgy language
gravely improper humour
preaching in a Jesus teeshirt
raised hands
Christian hip-hop and rap lyrics
replicated lighting and atmosphere

Do any one of these constitute worldliness? Or a combination of all?

I think an acceptable definition of "worldliness" is anything that is contrary to Scripture, i.e., not in conformity to the revealed will of God. This would be a very general definition to be sure but a firm starting place. So, with that in mind, let's take a look at the list of items and see how they fare:
  1. music: the type described is, or at least should be, obviously rejected by Scripture especially so in regard to formal worship. It is sensuous and thus contrary to that which emulates the being and nature of God; aka: God's glory. There are several excellent articles found here: Ecclesiology - The Doctrine of the Church, under the expected headings of "Worship" and "Music".
  2. edgy language: No comment necessary is there?
  3. gravely improper humour: Ditto for comments as above.
  4. preaching in a Jesus teeshirt: This rates at least a 3-fold indictment: 1) A direct violation of the Second Commandment, 2) A direct violation of the Third Commandment, and 3) It is antithetical to the biblical doctrine of worship, aka: Regulative Principle. Additionally, it betrays a very low (if even that) view of God and/or the Church.
  5. raised hands: In and of itself, the raising of hands is fine. But knowing what Dr. Masters is objecting to both in his article and from his other writings, e.g., Worship in the Melting Pot, he is referring specifically to the charismatic style of 'worship'.
  6. Christian hip-hop and rap lyrics: See #1 and once again a very low, unbiblical doctrine of the Church and worship.
  7. replicated lighting and atmosphere: Theatrics nor entertainment is to be part of the worship of God. Fleshly enticements are odious to God and to all who hold to a biblical doctrine of worship. (cf. Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?)

Originally Posted by Jacy
I don't know which films and music these people listed in their blogs, but I wondered which ones would qualify them as being "worldly".

I think he was clear in what he considered "worldly": "you find them unashamedly naming the leading groups, tracks and entertainment of debased culture." Does the music or film promote, glorify, condone, gloss over, etc., sinful behavior? That is one way to discern what is worldly and what isn't. I like the old saying too, "You don't have to jump into the sewer to know that it stinks!" wink

Originally Posted by Jacy
Questions re: MacArthur and "Resolved"

I too have enjoyed many of MacArthur's sermons and books. However, it seems that he has been more than supportive of these current "New Calvinism" movements. Surely he is privy to what "Resolve" is doing, eh? And if he is and opposed to it then why hasn't he distanced himself from it and/or removed those who are part of his organization? To be honest, I was very surprised to see MacArthur's name included. But Dr. Master's is not known for making such accusations without due cause.

Originally Posted by Jacy
What is meant by the term "charismatic-style worship". What exactly does that mean?

I'll simply refer you again to the articles here: Ecclesiology - The Doctrine of the Church. There are many excellent articles that deal with the issues of biblical worship, worship 'style', music, etc.

Hope your head stops spinning dizzy, which I believe it will in due course once to start to understand the chasm that divides the historic Reformed Church with its doctrines and all other forms of professed Christianity.

Hang in there..... it might take a little time. bigglasses

In His grace,


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simul iustus et peccator

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Re: Love not the World? [Re: Jacy] #43367
Sun Oct 04, 2009 5:59 PM
Sun Oct 04, 2009 5:59 PM
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Robin Offline
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Quote
Could you elaborate on what happened to the Puritan's children? Do you mean they forsook the teachings of their parents? If so, what is your opinion about why this happened?


Within a generation the Puritan churches were largely replaced with more liberal Enlightenment-inspired ones. The once Puritan Presbyterian colony towns quickly became bastions of Unitarian/Universalism. The children and grandchildren of the Puritans sought to distance themselves from the strict discipline of their parents, which was also associated with witch trials and Pharisaical rules and regulations designed with all good intentions but implemented as "the letter that kills" rather than as the liberating aids to Spirit-led obedience that they were meant to be.

We are all tempted sometimes to make a law out of something wonderful that has enriched us or edified us or enabled us to attain new heights of worship or holiness or passion for God. I've been guilty of this more than once! When I first came into the Charismatic experience, for example, I couldn't imagine how I had managed without it, and insisted, with obnoxious persistence I might add, that all my Christian friends should know what I knew and worship as I did, because I knew they'd never be the same again.

I was guilty of it again when I came out of "Charismania," and again when I embraced the doctrines of grace. And again when I experienced worship that was, for me, the loftiest and highest and most heavenly I had ever known; far more intimate than even the most ardent signs-and-wonders-filled Charismatic worship had been: Simple unaccompanied psalm singing. It was so pure and so glorious that everybody just had to be told, "this is the way to worship; nothing else can compare, anything else is less pure; anything else is false."

Every time I made a law out of a wonderful spiritual discovery or experience or teaching, I took it too far. My gaze fell from Christ to the trappings of worship or theology or evangelism or discipleship, and I tended to impose them others as laws. It is a weakness I must always remain on guard against.

I would speculate that the Puritan's noble quest for purity became twisted into that law-keeping model that I myself am so vulnerable to. And their progeny rejected Puritanism as fetters rather than using their teachings and writings as tools to greater holiness and deeper, more joyful communion with Christ and His people.

R

Re: Love not the World? [Re: Robin] #43388
Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:07 PM
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Hi Jacy,

I've been a member of a legalistic-type church amd I think you can drive yourself crazy if you get too hung up on externals. Pilgrim has helped me work through this and Robin made a good point of not allowing externals be the litmus test of your orthodoxy. I think as we grow in grace we will continue to naturally consider an activity as God-honoring or dishonoring. If we happen to find ourselves watching a movie that turns out to have content worse than we had expected, we will probably walk out or not watch it again in the future. I struggle with music, I love a band called Switchfoot, they are Christian in their message but the music works me up and has a similar effect as the more secular, God-dishonoring hard rock. So it's something I struggle with. But I realize the root of my conversion is true and that I will continue to wrestle with my choices but now I will not allow the wrestling to rob me of my steadfast convictions and trust of God's faithfullness. I think it's all part of sanctification and growing in grace. But it starts internally and will eventually effect the externals (not vice-versa - that's legalism)

I would say Jacy don't fall into the trap of legalism but continue to ask yourself what is God-honoring and what is not....pray on that, I don't think it's always so clear-cut. But the fact that you are conerned about your walk and your lifestyle is probably an indicator that you want to do what's pleasing in the eyes of the Lord...

AC


The mercy of God is necessary not only when a person repents, but even to lead him to repent, Augustine


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