The Highway

What is essential

Posted By: John_C

What is essential - Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:59 PM

Is it the 5 Solas, or the 5 points of the fundamentals of the faith declared back in the 1910's. Are there essentials that are underneath non-essentials to the above?

Why I'm thinking of this is that a forum friend on another board is encouraging his denomination, EFCA, to remove its standard regarding pre-millennial only. He thinks the denomination standard should include a-mil and post-mil. (I gather his denom lumps historical pre-mill and dispy pre-mill together). IOW, one's view on eschatology is really non-essential. I do think the 3 views except for dispy pre-mill are within orthodoxy, but is that where the essential vs non-essential argument flows? In my denomination there is a growing (still distinct minority) traction in regards to women deaconesses. The denom's standard on this seems essential when it comes to church polity, but non-essential when it comes to soteriology.

How best to view this essential vs non-essential elements.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: What is essential - Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:23 PM

Originally Posted by John_C
Is it the 5 Solas, or the 5 points of the fundamentals of the faith declared back in the 1910's. Are there essentials that are underneath non-essentials to the above?

First, I'm not 100% clear on what the following means: "Are there essentials that are underneath non-essentials to the above?", but I'll take a guess. grin

Second, for clarification of those who may not be familiar with the "Five Essentials of the Faith" of 1910:
  1. The inspiration of the Bible by the Holy Spirit and the inerrancy of Scripture as a result of this.
  2. The virgin birth of Christ.
  3. The belief that Christ's death was an atonement for sin.
  4. The bodily resurrection of Christ.
  5. The historical reality of Christ's miracles.

Third, I view those "Five Essentials" as being far too broad in scope because they would acknowledge Arminianism, semi-Pelagianism, Pelagianism, Roman Catholicism and most sects as being legitimately Christian, i.e., acceptably teaching biblical truth, especially in the matter of salvation, to which I would strongly disagree.

Fourth, so I obviously believe that there are far more "essentials" that need to be included than those listed in the "Five Essentials of the Faith" of 1910.
Posted By: li0scc0

Re: What is essential - Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:53 PM

Essential has to do with salvation.
Non-essential does not.

Thus in my opinion, eschatology is non-essential. So a Dispensational Preimillenialist believes in justification by grace through faith without salvific works. An amillenialist believes in justification by grace through faith without salvific works. Both agree on essential doctrine yet disagree on eschatology (and yes, I realize they would disagree on other things as well).
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: What is essential - Fri Apr 27, 2012 5:15 PM

Originally Posted By: li0scc0
Essential has to do with salvation.
Non-essential does not.

Thus in my opinion, eschatology is non-essential. So a Dispensational Preimillenialist believes in justification by grace through faith without salvific works. An amillenialist believes in justification by grace through faith without salvific works. Both agree on essential doctrine yet disagree on eschatology (and yes, I realize they would disagree on other things as well).

Most Dispensationalists (classic in particular) are semi-Pelagian and sometimes Arminian (classic) and thus although giving lip service to salvation by grace alone do in fact embrace a works (synergistic) salvation [their free-will exercising of their faith].

Secondly, classic Dispensationalists believe that OT saints were saved in a different manner than NT saints. Thus there is that crucial difference as well.

So, there is some truth to your response in that generally speaking, eschatology isn't necessarily an essential. grin
Posted By: John_C

Re: What is essential - Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:13 AM

That is where the argument takes us. Are only those parts of the Bible teaching about salvation to be consider essential? My thread question leads to that somewhat in that I asked if their are a subset of essentials underneath the the core tenets of the 5 solas and other vital truths.

Say for instance, is it not essential to adopt a non-ordination of women view based on Scripture. Sure, someone can be a 'invisible church' Christian in having that belief, but at the same time that particular belief is a man-made one, not from biblical teaching. So, is it essential for a church or denomination to restrict women from ordination?

Another point I would like to make is the use of non-essential. Let's take the women ordination question again. My bet is that the majority of those who agree with women ordination takes it not from the view that it is non-essential, but that it is essential to ordain women. They argue that it is non-essential when talking to those who disagree with women ordination, but argue that it is essential when talking to their like-minded friends.

In retrospect, non essentials really belong to the grey areas, which I would put some elements of eschatology in.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: What is essential - Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:28 PM

Originally Posted By: John_C
That is where the argument takes us. Are only those parts of the Bible teaching about salvation to be consider essential? My thread question leads to that somewhat in that I asked if their are a subset of essentials underneath the the core tenets of the 5 solas and other vital truths.

Again, my concerted opinion is "NO! The doctrine of salvation is certainly one of the "essentials", which obviously includes LOTS of other doctrines of which it is derived. But there are other doctrines which are not directly part of soteriology but are expressions of how a true Christian and particular the Church practice that salvation, e.g., ecclesiology; its worship, church government, and sacraments.

Originally Posted By: John_C
Say for instance, is it not essential to adopt a non-ordination of women view based on Scripture. Sure, someone can be a 'invisible church' Christian in having that belief, but at the same time that particular belief is a man-made one, not from biblical teaching. So, is it essential for a church or denomination to restrict women from ordination?

Yes, the doctrine of ordination of church officers is essential because it falls under ecclesiology, the doctrine of the Church of which the visible Church is to govern itself, wherein is the gathering of those who are saved. The argument that it is "man-made" is self-defeating. What doctrine isn't "man-made"? This is how God has intended that doctrine (biblical teaching) is to be established. When Christ ascended on high He gave good gifts to men that some should be "pastor/teachers" who would bring the will of God to His people. The Bible isn't an encyclopedia where one can simply look up Trinity and there is an article explaining it. And, the Bible itself provides the proper hermeneutical principles (method of interpretation) by which truth is found in Scripture.
Posted By: li0scc0

Re: What is essential - Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:24 PM

My Dispensational experience was for 2 years in a very solid 4 point Calvinist (Amyraldian) church. The Calvinist preaching and teaching there was, sadly, more solid than what I have seen in most alleged 5 point chuches. Most folks here would have been comfortable with all the teachings BUT those that were Dispensational in related. Especially solid were those teachings relating to Salvation, both Old and New Testament.
Honestly the reason I switched was because I am not a Zionist. But I would still characterize their teachings as solid and still remain in friendship with their pastors.
In the essentials, this was a very solid church.
Posted By: Robin

Re: What is essential - Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:53 PM

Raised "Dispie" and Charismatic, I always assumed that all Christians had the same eschatology and that it was essential. In college learning history, though, I found out how very wrong I had been, and how very amazingly Christ's Olivet prophecy was fulfilled in the next 40 years following His ascension!

My change of eschatology (from Dispie premill to Amil) forced a change from Pentecostalism to Puritanism as well.

And for a time, like all newly Reformed perhaps, eschatology remained essential in my eyes. It defines the role and duration of the Charismatic signs, but also the very nature of the Kingdom. While I can accept as brethren those who hold to some forms of historic premillennialism and postmillennialism, it seems to be that old-style Dispensationalists worship a different god! One whose plans failed and who had to come up with not one, but up to seven (depending on the "brand" of dispensationalism) new "plans of salvation" before he found one that works. Their god has two distinct "peoples of God," each with it's own separate plan of salvation! It's very hard to accept believers in that god as brethren who worship the Almighty God of the scriptures, Who has always had one single people with one single path of salvation - by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to His glory alone.
Posted By: Tom

Re: What is essential - Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:55 AM

My experience is much like Robins, yet I also know that there are Dispensationalists that do not believe the same way when it comes to issues such as what Robin brought up.

Right off the top of my head John MacArthur comes to mind.

Tom
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: What is essential - Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:53 AM

'Tis true, Tom, that there is a great variance of beliefs among Dispensationalists and thus it is near impossible to know what any particular Dispensationalist holds to be true doctrinally. But one thing is most always held in common among them and that is the fundamental importance of eschatology for it involves not just the rapture, Israel, the great tribulation, the millennium, etc., but how one actually interprets the Bible. To illustrate the importance they put on one holding to Dispensationalism, since you mentioned John MacArthur, here is a very salient and disturbing article: John MacArthur on Calvinism, Dispensationalism, Israel and Hermeneutics: A Few Comments. In short, MacArthur whose "Dispy Lite" eschatology, aka: Progressive Dispensationalism is perhaps furthest from Classic Dispensationalism comes close to making Dispensationalism an essential of the faith.
Posted By: Dennis

Re: What is essential - Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:13 AM

Originally Posted By: li0scc0
Essential has to do with salvation.
Non-essential does not.

Thus in my opinion, eschatology is non-essential.
Eschatology, I believe is essential in the way of harmony with all of God's word. When discussing eschatological issues with people throughout the years, I have notice in 99% of the cases Dispensationalists were Arminian, semi-Pelagian or Pelagian.

Most Post Mil's and A-Mils, were Reformed.

I personally cannot understand how someone who is reformed (5Point Calvinist)can be a Dispensationalist, it just does not harmonize. I and shocked John Macarthur is a Dispensationalist, I really am.
Posted By: Dennis

Re: What is essential - Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:23 AM

Originally Posted By: Pilgrim

Most Dispensationalists (classic in particular) are semi-Pelagian and sometimes Arminian (classic) and thus although giving lip service to salvation by grace alone do in fact embrace a works (synergistic) salvation [their free-will exercising of their faith].
I agree Pilgrim, in my experiences I have noticed the same.

Quote:
Secondly, classic Dispensationalists believe that OT saints were saved in a different manner than NT saints. Thus there is that crucial difference as well.
You do realize John MacArthur is a Dispensationalist?

Posted By: Dennis

Re: What is essential - Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:31 AM

I would like to mention something in regards to this issue.

My pastor is a Dispensationalist, but he is also a 5 point Calvinist. I cannot for the life of me understand why he is a Dispensationalist; the only think I can gather out of it is, he does not put much study into the end time issues, and therefore really does not have a solid foundation in these issues. However, I believe, if he does one day invest time, prayer and study into Eschatology, his stand will probably change.

The church I attend, I attend with a fried of mine, who used to be a full time pastor of a (Reformed) Congregational church, he also cannot understand it. Well he attends when he can, because the pastor is a 5 pointer; when not attending he is preaching at a Presbyterian church while their pastor is away.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: What is essential - Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:08 AM

Originally Posted By: Dennis
My pastor is a Dispensationalist, but he is also a 5 point Calvinist. I cannot for the life of me understand why he is a Dispensationalist;.... <cut>

1. There are 5-Point Calvinists and there are 5-Point Calvinists. wink
2. There are Dispensationalists and there are Dispensationalists. There are many "varieties" of Dispensationalism so it is important to know which "variety" someone embraces, from 'Acts 28' ultra-extremists, to the more docile and inconsistent "Progressive Dispensationalism" held by men like John MacArthur. Elsewhere I provided a link to an article by Kim Riddlebarger who took MacArthur to task for some very disparaging and foolish remarks he made in regard to Dispensationalism and Calvinism. At least MacArthur, albeit, on the other side of the proverbial fence, realizes there is a consistency and necessity of coherence in Reformed Theology. Of course, I believe he violates that coherence by embracing Dispensationalism. evilgrin
Posted By: Dennis

Re: What is essential - Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:40 AM

Originally Posted By: Pilgrim
Originally Posted By: Dennis
My pastor is a Dispensationalist, but he is also a 5 point Calvinist. I cannot for the life of me understand why he is a Dispensationalist;.... <cut>

1. There are 5-Point Calvinists and there are 5-Point Calvinists. wink
2. There are Dispensationalists and there are Dispensationalists. There are many "varieties" of Dispensationalism so it is important to know which "variety" someone embraces, from 'Acts 28' ultra-extremists, to the more docile and inconsistent "Progressive Dispensationalism" held by men like John MacArthur.
Yes sir, I agree.

Quote:

Elsewhere I provided a link to an article by Kim Riddlebarger who took MacArthur to task for some very disparaging and foolish remarks he made in regard to Dispensationalism and Calvinism. At least MacArthur, albeit, on the other side of the proverbial fence, realizes there is a consistency and necessity of coherence in Reformed Theology. Of course, I believe he violates that coherence by embracing Dispensationalism. evilgrin
Again, I agree. Thanks for the reply. smile
Posted By: Robin

Re: What is essential - Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:25 AM

I had come, for awhile, to dismiss eschatology as not only non-essential, but unimportant. Perhaps I was reacting more to the "scared saved" stuff of my childhood, where kids were told that "the Antichrist is comin' to get ya, but you can escape if you pray this prayer - quick before the Antichrist comes!"

We were taught to fear man's wrath rather than God's justice. We were told that we could be rescued by Jesus from the horrific wrath of the Antichrist - if we agreed to His terms.

So newly Reformed, I has delighted to learn that Dispensationalism is not only biblically false, but historically unsupported as well. It "wrongly divides the people of God." And once disproved, it also quashed my Charismatic questions and freed me from a lot of the superstition associated with it.

Eschatology is important because it describes the nature of the Kingdom. Is it of this world or the next? Is it Jewish or more universal? Is it physical / political / cultural or eternal and non-temporal? These are the questions that helped shape my understanding of eschatology, and I know longer consider eschatology to be "non-essential." I say that belief in the physical and temporal return of Jesus Christ is essential doctrine, and furthermore that any eschatology which redirects the sinner's terror from the wrath of God to the wrath of men is heretical and ought to be universally condemned by those who love the gospel.
Posted By: Dennis

Re: What is essential - Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Robin
I had come, for awhile, to dismiss eschatology as not only non-essential, but unimportant. Perhaps I was reacting more to the "scared saved" stuff of my childhood, where kids were told that "the Antichrist is comin' to get ya, but you can escape if you pray this prayer - quick before the Antichrist comes!"

We were taught to fear man's wrath rather than God's justice. We were told that we could be rescued by Jesus from the horrific wrath of the Antichrist - if we agreed to His terms.
Kinda the same with me. smile But I was raised Roman Catholic for the first 20 years of my life. So I was around 20-21 when I was introduced to Dispensationalism, I pretty much took it, hook, line and sinker. And like you said, it was pretty much a fear, control thing.

Quote:
So newly Reformed, I has delighted to learn that Dispensationalism is not only biblically false, but historically unsupported as well. It "wrongly divides the people of God." And once disproved, it also quashed my Charismatic questions and freed me from a lot of the superstition associated with it.
Amen bro!
I agree and praise God He cares for us and leads us into truth on many doctrines.

Quote:
Eschatology is important because it describes the nature of the Kingdom. Is it of this world or the next? Is it Jewish or more universal? Is it physical / political / cultural or eternal and non-temporal? These are the questions that helped shape my understanding of eschatology, and I know longer consider eschatology to be "non-essential." I say that belief in the physical and temporal return of Jesus Christ is essential doctrine, and furthermore that any eschatology which redirects the sinner's terror from the wrath of God to the wrath of men is heretical and ought to be universally condemned by those who love the gospel.

I just want to say, it has been a while since I have discussed these things with people and got such a reasonable, intelligent, knowledgeable discussion like I am having with you, I appreciate this.

This forum is like a breath of fresh air. Thanks you.

God bless.
Posted By: Lichawa Thole

Re: What is essential - Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:36 PM

Can someone please help me with info on how the terms "esential" and "non-essential" came into use from a historical standpoint with respect to christian doctrine?
I ask because reading the posts here, I get the impression that everything is essential.
For instance if the non-ordination of women to church office is essential to ecclesiology, then one might also argue that amillenialism is essential to eschatology with the end result that everything becomes essential
Yet we know that all terminology has a historical meaning attached to it. So for example, I cannot call myself a Presbyterian just because I believe in eldership rule as opposed to congregational rule because the historical meaning of Presbyterianism excludes Baptists who are without presbytery or synod.
So help me, what is the historical understanding of the terms "essential" and "non-essential?"
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: What is essential - Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:34 PM

Lichawa,

I think you will find that those terms vary greatly, although there has been historically a major consensus among Reformed denominations. You will always find extremes on both ends, but again there has been a major consensus on what is considered "essential" and "non-essential".

Further, the things included in those two groups vary according to the subject considered, e.g., historically, what is essential for salvation was nearly unanimously agreed upon among the Reformers and Puritans. Yet, on the subject of ecclesiology, there was a definite disagreement. On the matter of eschatology, the agreement was far greater than what might seem given the vast disparity of views we have today. In former years, e.g., previous to the 1800's there were only two received views; Amillennialism (the oldest although it was originally known as Postmillennialism) and the later Postmillennialism. They had their respective differences but they were both adamantly opposed to any and all forms of Chiliasm (Premillennialism).

So, how does one determine the historical understanding of what is essential and what is non-essential in regard to various subjects? I believe that is easily discerned by consulting the official Creeds, Confessions and Catechisms of the Church, beginning at the earliest days. On the matter of the nature of God, we have the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds. On the deity of Christ we have the Chalcedon Creed. On the matter of the Fall and its noetic effects, we have the Council of Orange. On a broader scale on the various Loci of Theology, we have the various Confessions of Faith; Waldensian, French, Helvetic, Belgic, Thirty-nine Articles, Westminster, London Baptist and Savoy Declaration. There is great unanimity between all those documents despite their minor differences on church polity.

What we are witnessing today, and this has been growing in intensity for the past 150+ years, is a tendency to minimize doctrine and life to the point of the absurd. We have today a "lowest common denominator" theology which has been used to develop a truncated and false gospel based upon Madison Avenue advertising philosophy and modern psychology's behavior modification. It has become so widespread that most people don't even realize what has been going on. In fact, whenever someone brings to the floor the "old gospel" of the Bible, which was preached and taught by the Reformers, Puritans and those who followed them through the centuries, it is looked upon as a very strange thing. It is criticized strongly as being 'narrow', 'divisive', 'too intellectual', 'oppressive' and many other pejorative slurs. I think we can give much credit to this falling away of sound doctrine and unanimity upon what is essential and non-essential to Charles Finney, a hero of such men as Billy Graham. His heresies have been a major influence upon most Evangelical denominations and churches. The "old paths" have been forsaken for "another way". (Isa 30:8-13; Jer 6:16,17; Hos 4:6)

Doubtless, MUCH more could be said on this subject, but hopefully, this brief synopsis will give you some food for thought. grin

And lastly, but certainly not least... Welcome to the Discussion Board!

In His grace,
Posted By: Wayne@purpose

Re: What is essential - Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:42 PM

After I read through past post on this subject, I was amazed that "love" was left out of everyone's essentials. It appears to me that the following is John's opinion of the essentials:

1 John 3:21-24
“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.”
NASU

Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: What is essential - Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:25 PM

Originally Posted By: Wayne@purpose
After I read through past post on this subject, I was amazed that "love" was left out of everyone's essentials. It appears to me that the following is John's opinion of the essentials:

1 John 3:21-24
“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.”
NASU

How about CONTEXT? For example...

1 John 3:18 (ASV) "[My] Little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth."

And, somehow you left out verse 24, even though the passage reference infers that it is included in your biblical quote?? Perhaps just a slip of the mouse? grin

1 John 3:21-24 (ASV) "Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, we have boldness toward God; and whatsoever we ask we receive of him, because we keep his commandments and do the things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, even as he gave us commandment. (24)And he that keepeth his commandments abideth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he gave us."

Let's not confuse the issue, please. The Lord Christ summed up, aka: summary statement, the whole law by "loving God" and "loving neighbor" (the two tablets of the Ten Commandments). But the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament epistles elaborate what that summary means in great detail... thus the principle of the "Analogy of Faith"; comparing Scripture with Scripture and not simply doing a search for one word in a concordance. wink Scripturally, love is a Christian's motive, which is and MUST BE expressed in definable ways, according to God's revealed will; profession of right doctrine (truth) and exhibition of right living (holiness). BigThumbUp
Posted By: Wayne@purpose

Re: What is essential - Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:35 AM

Sometimes your thoughts confuse me.

1.I do not see the point of your reference to 1 John 3:18. It does not take away the need to make love an essential. Do you want to clarify your intent?

2.Yes, verse 24 was a slip of the mouse.

3.I do not believe you know “what my issue is” and as a result, you believe I am confusing the issue. The issue I have is this: The obvious importance of love in the church is being neglected. Count the perdetage of times "the apostle who Jesus love" uses the word "love" in I John. Then compare that percentage of times with today's Christians literature. We have already seen it was left out of the who’s who list of essentials above. My study of the subject has show me that God “expects me” to see life through the lens of love 'all of the time'. Therefore “this is my story and this is my song” and I am not ashamed of it. Maybe, the short focus here will cause some to repent and begin to ask the important question: If God does His part, what part do I have to play to experience growth in love for God and man? There are good, better and best things that we can spend time on. When Martha complained to Jesus about good things that Mary was not doing, Jesus said “only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." I need to be like Mary!

4.I am confused by your question related to “Analogy of Faith". If your question is to say love is not an essential to salvation because it is not identical to faith, I believe John again can provide the proof in 1 John 3:14. It says, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.”
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: What is essential - Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:45 AM

Originally Posted By: Wayne@purpose
Sometimes your thoughts confuse me.

1.I do not see the point of your reference to 1 John 3:18. It does not take away the need to make love an essential. Do you want to clarify your intent?

Sorry if you are sometimes confused by my responses.

My point in referencing and including 1Jh 3:18 is because in it an inextricable part of the CONTEXT of that passage and without it, "love" can be easily and often is miscontrued to be something other than it is. In the world today and in the modern Church, love is defined as strictly an emotive experience. But in Scripture, as seen in the self-revelation of God and the teachings of Christ and the apostles, love is an action which may or may not be attached with an emotion. "[My] Little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth." Throughout the OT, this is how God is revealed, a God who moves among the inhabitants of the earth and demands righteousness, holiness and justice on penalty of death. Even God's love is holy, but it cannot be said that God's holiness is love. scratchchin

Originally Posted By: Wayne@purpose
3.I do not believe you know “what my issue is” and as a result, you believe I am confusing the issue. The issue I have is this: The obvious importance of love in the church is being neglected. Count the perdetage of times "the apostle who Jesus love" uses the word "love" in I John. Then compare that percentage of times with today's Christians literature. We have already seen it was left out of the who’s who list of essentials above. My study of the subject has show me that God “expects me” to see life through the lens of love 'all of the time'. Therefore “this is my story and this is my song” and I am not ashamed of it. Maybe, the short focus here will cause some to repent and begin to ask the important question: If God does His part, what part do I have to play to experience growth in love for God and man? There are good, better and best things that we can spend time on. When Martha complained to Jesus about good things that Mary was not doing, Jesus said “only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." I need to be like Mary!

Perhaps you should explain how your perception of the modern church has concluded that it lacks love? Even more helpful would be if you stated your definition of Biblical love. That would certainly go a long way to then considering your concern of the lack of love in the modern church.

Personally, what I see lacking in the modern church is 1) Truth and 2) Holiness. The modern church is fraught with all kinds of heretical teachers and doctrines. Even the Gospel itself has been radically changed so that it is now "another Gospel" (Gal 1:7,9). And secondly, the law of God has been relegated to ancient history and has no part in the church today. The first table of the law is everywhere being violated with worldliness being brought into the worship of God, idolatry is openly practiced and the 2nd Commandment rejected out of hand, God's name is blasphemed by word and deed among professing Christians and lastly, the Sabbath has not only been neglected, those who seek to keep it holy are ridiculed and labeled 'legalists'. True faith is rarely found among the members of the modern church; Assensus, Sandemanianism is what most possess along with a false sense of assurance of salvation. In short, what is sorely lacking is those who are like the man of Psalm 1:

"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked, Nor standeth in the way of sinners, Nor sitteth in the seat of scoffers:
But his delight is in the law of Jehovah; And on his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the streams of water, That bringeth forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also doth not wither; And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The wicked are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For Jehovah knoweth the way of the righteous; But the way of the wicked shall perish." Psalms 1:1-6 (ASV)

Originally Posted By: Wayne@purpose
4.I am confused by your question related to “Analogy of Faith". If your question is to say love is not an essential to salvation because it is not identical to faith, I believe John again can provide the proof in 1 John 3:14. It says, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.”

1. Analogy of Faith = comparing all that the Bible has to say about a particular subject.

2. The topic in this thread actually concerned what "doctrines" are to be considered essential of one's profession of faith. An example I might offer you is one may say they "love Christ" but deny His deity (JW, Mormon, etc.) One may say they love the brethren which can be seen in exemplary beneficence to the church and even extending to the poor, etc., but believe that salvation is merited through grace + 'good works'. True faith always expresses itself in adhering to and loving TRUTH and in HOLINESS. One is excommunicated from the assembly of the saints, the church, for being errant in doctrine and/or life. I have never read in any literature, going back as far as the Early Church Fathers, that one must confess "love" to become a member of the Church. Nor, have I ever read that someone was cast out of the Church because they did not have enough "love". So, "I" am confused why you want to make it an "essential" requirement. I am certainly not disputing the fact that a true Christian WILL love God and his neighbor as himself. What I'm saying is that this spirit-wrought love of a true Christian will be expressed outwardly in word, deed and truth. A true love of God, for example, will be expressed in biblical worship vs. 'worship' which is man-made and man-centered.

3. 1John 3:14 does not address the matter of "faith". The intent of the Spirit, speaking through John is in regard to "assurance" of salvation which can be discerned in part from one's love of the brethren.

Looking forward to your response(s) to #3 above. grin
Posted By: Wayne@purpose

Re: What is essential - Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:32 AM

Does the following answer your questions?

God is Essential, the Holy Spirit is God, God is Love, Love is the Holy Spirit, Love is Essential

1 Cor 13:1-13
• If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
• If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
• And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
• Love is patient,
• love is kind and is not jealous;
• love does not brag and is not arrogant,
• does not act unbecomingly;
• it does not seek its own, is not provoked,
• does not take into account a wrong suffered,
• does not rejoice in unrighteousness,
• but rejoices with the truth;
• bears all things,
• believes all things,
• hopes all things,
• endures all things.
• Love never fails;
• but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away;
• if there are tongues, they will cease;
• if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
• For we know in part and we prophesy in part;
• but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
• When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child;
• when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
• For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face;
• now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
• But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
NASU
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: What is essential - Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:55 AM

Originally Posted By: Wayne@purpose
Does the following answer your questions?

God is Essential, the Holy Spirit is God, God is Love, Love is the Holy Spirit, Love is Essential

No, that doesn't answer my question(s):

Originally Posted By: Pilgrim
Perhaps you should explain how your perception of the modern church has concluded that it lacks love? Even more helpful would be if you stated your definition of Biblical love. That would certainly go a long way to then considering your concern of the lack of love in the modern church.

1. Your syllogism is grossly fractured and illogical, unfortunately.
2. Your 4th statement is contradictory to your 2nd statement and it is seriously heretical: Love is the Holy Spirit.
3. Simply copy/pasting 1Cor 13 doesn't work. It also might reveal a serious problem with your functional hermeneutic. IF you believe that 1 Cor 13 is THE biblical definition of "love", then all and any other mention of love in the Bible MUST BE understood through the lens of 1 Cor 13. Is that really what you are suggesting?

On the contrary, I believe that each and every mention of love in the Bible must be understood according to the CONTEXT in which it is found. After considering ALL of the appearances, allusions and examples of love from Genesis to Revelation, only then can one arrive at a true definition of love. Perhaps it would help to remind you that no one can "love" someone or something that they do not know. Could your perception of a lack of love in the modern church be somehow related to this fact? scratchchin
Posted By: Wayne@purpose

Re: What is essential - Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:11 PM

I confess that the time I put into my last response was far less than what the subject deserved. I will do a better in my next reply.
Posted By: Wayne@purpose

Re: What is essential - Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:18 AM

You said:
Perhaps you should explain how your perception of the modern church has concluded that it lacks love?
I say:
My perceptions are limited to one man’s “part time” view of the subject and therefore not really important. God’s word on this subject is infinitely more accurate and important:
Matt 24:9-14 Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. "At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. "Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. "Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. "But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. NASU
Rev 2:2-5 'I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary. 'But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 'Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place — unless you repent. NASU
Rev 3:15-17 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. NASU


You said:
Even more helpful would be if you stated your definition of Biblical love. That would certainly go a long way to then considering your concern of the lack of love in the modern church.
I say:
I do not have “a definition” of Christian Love. I believe the Holy Spirit has helped me construct a summary. The summary was to be posted in this forum but it got posted in the open forum some time ago. The definitions that matter to this post are the definitions of love in the following verses:
1 John 4:8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. NASU
The Greek word for love that appears underlined in the above verse is the word agape (ag-ah'-pay). It is defined as “from NT:25; love, i.e. affection or benevolence; specially (plural) a love-feast;KJV - (feast of) charity ([-ably]), dear, love” in Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary.
1 John 3:14-15 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. NASU
The Greek word for love that appears underlined in the above verse is the word agapao (ag-ap-ah'-o) and is defined as “perhaps from agan (much) [or compare OT:5689]; to love (in a social or moral sense). KJV - (be-) love (-ed). Compare NT:5368.” in Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary
&#8195;

You said:
Your syllogism is grossly fractured and illogical, unfortunately. Your 4th statement is contradictory to your 2nd statement and it is seriously heretical: Love is the Holy Spirit.
1. God is Essential,
2. the Holy Spirit is God,
3. God is Love,
4. Love is the Holy Spirit,
5. Love is Essential
I say:
Hummm, I believe the thing you are missing is how the Holy Spirit works in the heart of the believer. When God’s love shines through us, it is the shinning of the Holy Spirit. In this sense, “love is the Holy Spirit” and in this sense “it is essential”.
Matt 5:16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. NASU

You said:
Simply copy/pasting 1Cor 13 doesn't work. It also might reveal a serious problem with your functional hermeneutic.
I say:
The copy/pasting of 1 Cor 13 was to give you examples the Holy Spirit shinning through the believe via love. Surely you don’t think all that is in 1 Cor 13 can be accomplished by man’s love do you?

You said:
I believe that each and every mention of love in the Bible must be understood according to the CONTEXT in which it is found. After considering ALL of the appearances, allusions and examples of love from Genesis to Revelation, only then can one arrive at a true definition of love.
I say:
I see the issue differently.
While being one of the most essential doctrines of the Bible, the doctrine of love is one of the simplest to understand and should be able to be understood by a child in my opinion.
Matt 18:1-4 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” NASU
I also say:
A doctrine of love should contain “God’s love for man” and “man’s love for God”. Can you see the ingredients for a doctrine of love in the following passages?
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” NASU
2 Cor 5:14-15 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. NASU
&#8195;
You said:
Perhaps it would help to remind you that no one can "love" someone or something that they do not know. Could your perception of a lack of love in the modern church be somehow related to this fact?
I say:
As I said above, my perception of the modern church does not matter. It is God’s perception of the modern Church that matters. With regard to ”the perception of the modern church”, I have a few questions:
Mark 12:28-34 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?" Jesus answered, "The foremost is, HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.' "The second is this, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these." The scribe said to Him, "Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that HE IS ONE, AND THERE IS NO ONE ELSE BESIDES HIM; AND TO LOVE HIM WITH ALL THE HEART AND WITH ALL THE UNDERSTANDING AND WITH ALL THE STRENGTH, AND TO LOVE ONE'S NEIGHBOR AS HIMSELF, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions. NASU
Mark 10:25-27 "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." They were even more astonished and said to Him, "Then who can be saved?" Looking at them, Jesus said, "With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God." NASU
• What perception does the modern church have of the passages above?
• Can they see that God has an “expectation” here? If so, what expectation do they see? Do they realize that it is essential to see this expectation “from God’s point of view” and not from a perspective based on their own personal experience with the commandment; to the point that they assume God does not really mean “all” when he says it?
• Do they really believe “all” things are possible with God and the “all” includes “all” in the passage above?
I also say:
Matt 22:34-40 But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' "This is the great and foremost commandment. "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." NASU
Rom 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. NASU
• Does the modern church know why Jesus said “on these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets”?
• Do they know why Paul said “love is the fulfillment of the law”?
• If the answer is no in both cases, that may be why they say “love not essential”











Prov 1:5 “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel” NASU
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: What is essential - Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:32 PM

Originally Posted By: Wayne@purpose
You said:
Perhaps you should explain how your perception of the modern church has concluded that it lacks love?
I say:
My perceptions are limited to one man’s “part time” view of the subject and therefore not really important. God’s word on this subject is infinitely more accurate and important:

But it is YOUR understanding and application of God's Word that is being discussed and questioned, and not God's infallible Word that is being questioned. wink

Originally Posted By: Wayne@purpose
You said:
Even more helpful would be if you stated your definition of Biblical love. That would certainly go a long way to then considering your concern of the lack of love in the modern church.
I say:
I do not have “a definition” of Christian Love. I believe the Holy Spirit has helped me construct a summary.

Ancillary to what you wrote above, you have gone even further and now apparently you are attempting to give serious weight to your view(s) by bringing in the "help" of the Holy Spirit. What it seems you are now stating is that God Himself, in the person of the Holy Spirit is behind what you are espousing. Thus, I nor anyone else should be too hasty to disagree with you. scratchchin

I could just as easily state that my disagreements with your view(s) aren't simply my own, but the Holy Spirit has helped me see their error(s) and/or inconsistencies with Scripture.

Originally Posted By: Wayne@purpose
You said:
Your syllogism is grossly fractured and illogical, unfortunately. Your 4th statement is contradictory to your 2nd statement and it is seriously heretical: Love is the Holy Spirit.
1. God is Essential,
2. the Holy Spirit is God,
3. God is Love,
4. Love is the Holy Spirit,
5. Love is Essential
I say:
Hummm, I believe the thing you are missing is how the Holy Spirit works in the heart of the believer. When God’s love shines through us, it is the shinning of the Holy Spirit. In this sense, “love is the Holy Spirit” and in this sense “it is essential”.

I must tell you that it grieves me to see you trying to defend a most serious heretical statement after it has been pointed out to you. Are you so obsessed with your thesis that you would deny the doctrine of the Trinity to promote it?

Once again, the statement, "love is the Holy Spirit" is heresy of the first order. And I'll try to explain this in very simple terms:

1. A "predicate nominative" in linguistics refers to a sentence where the subject and the predicate are one and the same. For example, "John is the President." is equivalent to "The President is John." We have a biblical example in John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." It would be and is 100% correct to then state that "God was the Word". In short, the PERSON named "the Word" IS the PERSON named "GOD".

2. In contrast, you have stated, "God is love, the Holy Spirit is God, love is the Holy Spirit". The error should be more than perspicuous at this point? "Love" is an attribute of God, Who is a being consisting of three PERSONS. The Holy Spirit, being one of those PERSONS, shares the ATTRIBUTE of love. But it is totally incorrect, therefore to conclude that the person IS the attribute. If "love" (an attribute) IS the Holy Spirit, then the Holy Spirit is not a PERSON, thus effectly denying the third person of the divine Trinity. Even more simply put, love and the Holy Spirit are not equivalent.

Originally Posted By: Wayne@purpose
You said:
Perhaps it would help to remind you that no one can "love" someone or something that they do not know. Could your perception of a lack of love in the modern church be somehow related to this fact?
I say:
As I said above, my perception of the modern church does not matter. It is God’s perception of the modern Church that matters.

My response would be the same as #1 and #2 above.

Proverbs 1:2-5 (ASV) "To know wisdom and instruction; To discern the words of understanding; To receive instruction in wise dealing, In righteousness and justice and equity; To give prudence to the simple, To the young man knowledge and discretion: That the wise man may hear, and increase in learning; And that the man of understanding may attain unto sound counsels:"
Posted By: Wayne@purpose

Re: What is essential - Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:50 PM

More scripture to support the conclusion that "love is essential"!

Luke 10:25-28

25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and made trial of him, saying, Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 And he said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. ASV
Posted By: Tom

Re: What is essential - Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:23 AM

Originally Posted By: Wayne@purpose
More scripture to support the conclusion that "love is essential"!

Luke 10:25-28

25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and made trial of him, saying, Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 And he said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. ASV


I probably shouldn't say anything, but I can't get past the feeling that you are totally misunderstanding what Pilgrim is saying.
I don't think anyone least of all Pilgrim would disagree with anything this passage is saying.
That has nothing to do with your assertion that the Holy Spirit is an attribute. Love is an attribute among many the Trinity possesses and I would state that God's holiness is probably the attribute that I believe stands out more than love itself.

I would ask that you deal directly with what Pilgrim said to you.

Tom
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: What is essential - Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:52 AM

-------------------------------------------------------
Howdy folks,

I've been reading along now, and I think I see the issue here; Tom gave me a jump start..

From what I have seen there are essentially TWO (2) issue we have been dealing with: no one is sure what the answer is to

1) What is essential, and why?
and
2) Why is/isn't love included in essentials?

And the thread was hijacked by Question 2, while in the process of explaining question one. So, let me see if I can help.

1) I actually think Pilgrim answered this question, but it wasn’t completely understood by everyone: you see, the point here is that when any doctrine that has been clearly agreed upon through history is rejected by our modern counterparts, we should be on the lookout. Not because it necessarily means they are heretics promoting a false God, but rather because often these “doctrinal differences” are indicative of a far deeper and much more serious doctrinal error. Ordaining women Pastors (which is clearly, and utterly forbidden, and should be as clear as day to anyone with eyes) can be evidences of apostasy or false Churches, simply because they are either

1) dismissive the Word (not believing it’s inspiration, and therefore its authority)
or
2) rejecting the Word, because “the times have changed.” Either way there tends to be a deeper problem at the heart of the matter that would cause us to examine whether they are truly in the faith.

Therefore, it is safe for us to really be a bit narrower in our understanding of what is “essential,” mostly because most doctrinal difference have, at their root, something more serious. Also, we want to be careful that “what is essential” is actually something that would SEPARATE us from the other Christians around us. I don’t mean that in the 1 Cor 3 way, that most espouse to Biblical separation; but rather that, as was said, must separate us from Pelagianism, Anti-Pelagianism, Arminianism, and the like bunch of damnable heresies. Pilgrim, you let me know immediately if I have misrepresented your apologetic on the matter in any way. This is meant to try and simply what was said.

2) The matter of “love as an essential.” I first want to point out that when you read the texts of “love” it is almost always attached to the idea of “truth,” or some sort of “obedience.”

John 5:42-45 reads this, but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. 43 "I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another shall come in his own name, you will receive him. 44 "How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another, and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?

It should be easy to ascertain that the meaning behind “loving God” was “seeking the glory that is from the one and only God.” So, how would we do this? Let me continue before I hit you with the big question… (maybe you’ll beat me to it).
Here’s some more text…

5 And now I ask you, lady, not as writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it. [2 John 1:5-6]

Here’s my point: no one disagree about love; the Scripture clearly teaches it.. the question however is (the big question!) how are YOU defining love? When you think of love are you running to 1 Cor 13 and placing all of that in? Ah, this is a picture of how love walks, but not a definition of what love is.

I want to ask another question… were the qualifications for God’s servants any different than us? Were they not required to walk in the same manner? I would think so, since God never changed, but rather gave us Christ to help us do what we could not do. So, the Old Testament picture of God and His prophets (who were given the Decalogue, upon which Christ said was summed up by loving God and loving others), was a picture of true love.

Let me tell you what IS essential: a right knowledge of God (Phil 1:9). THIS is the critical difference between a believer and the reprobate; THIS is the thing God gives His children specifically. This will do for now. I welcome a response if I have misrepresented anyone; or anyone finds a cause of error in my words. May God bless you as you walk with Him.

----------------------------------------------------------
"Exegesis": n. pl. critical explanation or interpretation of a text or portion of a text, especially of the Bible.
"Critical": adj. involving skillful judgment as to truth, merit, etc.

I hope that I have completed the above definition by God's power, and gifting.
Posted By: Wayne@purpose

Re: What is essential - Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:19 PM

This is in response to problems/questions that Pilgrim found in my post to this subject.

Pilgrim: Perhaps you should explain how your perception of the modern church has concluded that it lacks love? …it is YOUR understanding and application of God's Word that is being discussed and questioned, and not God's infallible Word that is being questioned.

Wayne: My perception is the modern church lacks a complete understanding of God’s expectation in Luke 10:25-28. In this passage I see God expecting all to love Him with all one’s heart, with all one’s mind and with all one’s soul. With man this is impossible but with God, all things are possible including meeting this expectation.

Pilgrim: Ancillary to what you wrote above, you have gone even further and now apparently you are attempting to give serious weight to your view(s) by bringing in the "help" of the Holy Spirit. What it seems you are now stating is that God Himself, in the person of the Holy Spirit is behind what you are espousing. Thus, I nor anyone else should be too hasty to disagree with you.

Wayne: This is what I said above: “I do not have “a definition” of Christian Love. I believe the Holy Spirit has helped me construct a summary. The summary was to be posted in this forum but it got posted in the open forum some time ago.” I spent a lot of time seeking God’s perspective on that summary. As a result, I believe the Holy Spirit helped me develop it. The posts that I have been making on this site have not been subject to the same amount of prayerful consideration. This was sin on my part and I ask forgiveness from all who may have been offended by it.

Pilgrim: I could just as easily state that my disagreements with your view(s) aren't simply my own, but the Holy Spirit has helped me see their error(s) and/or inconsistencies with Scripture.

Wayne: From what I have see, I am sure you are prayerfully seeking God’s perspectives and He is helping you construct your replies.

Pilgrim: I must tell you that it grieves me to see you trying to defend a most serious heretical statement after it has been pointed out to you. Are you so obsessed with your thesis that you would deny the doctrine of the Trinity to promote it?

Wayne: Looking back at my words and attitudes at the time, I believe I was a bit obsessed. I did not see it that way at the time. It is clear to me now, that was sin and I ask forgiveness from all who may have been offended by it.

Pilgrim: Once again, the statement, "love is the Holy Spirit" is heresy of the first order. And I'll try to explain this in very simple terms:
1. A "predicate nominative" in linguistics refers to a sentence where the subject and the predicate are one and the same. For example, "John is the President." is equivalent to "The President is John." We have a biblical example in John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." It would be and is 100% correct to then state that "God was the Word". In short, the PERSON named "the Word" IS the PERSON named "GOD".
2. In contrast, you have stated, "God is love, the Holy Spirit is God, love is the Holy Spirit". The error should be more than perspicuous at this point? "Love" is an attribute of God, Who is a being consisting of three PERSONS. The Holy Spirit, being one of those PERSONS, shares the ATTRIBUTE of love. But it is totally incorrect, therefore to conclude that the person IS the attribute. If "love" (an attribute) IS the Holy Spirit, then the Holy Spirit is not a PERSON, thus effectly denying the third person of the divine Trinity. Even more simply put, love and the Holy Spirit are not equivalent.

Wayne: I appreciate your patience and the extra effort you have made to help me understand the problem you have with “love is the Holy Spirit”. After reflecting on your description of the problem, I agree I did not have a basis for saying that. That was sin and I ask forgiveness from all who may have been offended by it.

Thanks,
Eccl 4:9-10 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. NASU
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: What is essential - Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Wayne@purpose
Wayne: My perception is the modern church lacks a complete understanding of God’s expectation in Luke 10:25-28. In this passage I see God expecting all to love Him with all one’s heart, with all one’s mind and with all one’s soul. With man this is impossible but with God, all things are possible including meeting this expectation.

QUESTION: Is it your opinion that a true Christian has the ability, in this life here on earth, to love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love his neighbor as [he loves] himself? And, by doing this he will inherit eternal life... according to the words of the Lord Christ in Luke 10:25-28?

Originally Posted By: Wayne@purpose
Wayne: This is what I said above: “I do not have “a definition” of Christian Love. I believe the Holy Spirit has helped me construct a summary. The summary was to be posted in this forum but it got posted in the open forum some time ago.” I spent a lot of time seeking God’s perspective on that summary. As a result, I believe the Holy Spirit helped me develop it. The posts that I have been making on this site have not been subject to the same amount of prayerful consideration. This was sin on my part and I ask forgiveness from all who may have been offended by it.

Pilgrim: I could just as easily state that my disagreements with your view(s) aren't simply my own, but the Holy Spirit has helped me see their error(s) and/or inconsistencies with Scripture.

Wayne: From what I have see, I am sure you are prayerfully seeking God’s perspectives and He is helping you construct your replies.

The problem I am having with the above remains, despite your sincere effort to explain yourself. Why? Because IF you have sought God and the Holy Spirit has "helped you develop it", and likewise, I have prayerfully sought God's infallible Word for a true understanding of what the Holy Spirit wrote through the instrumentality of holy men of old, but I have come to an understanding that is contrary to yours, what conclusion do you think one must make? scratchchin

Originally Posted By: Wayne@purpose
Wayne: I appreciate your patience and the extra effort you have made to help me understand the problem you have with “love is the Holy Spirit”. After reflecting on your description of the problem, I agree I did not have a basis for saying that. That was sin and I ask forgiveness from all who may have been offended by it.

I am thankful, as I am quite sure most everyone else is too, that you have now realized the grievous error in stating that "love is the Holy Spirit". However, it is not my/our forgiveness that you should be seeking but rather God's forgiveness in Christ. As I have tried on several occasions to express my deepest concern for the modern church over its woeful lack of sound doctrinal teaching and its practice, you have unconsiously helped to illustrate my concern most vividly. And, as I have also tried to convey to you that although I would never deny that "love" is an essential quality of the renewed heart, that love cannot exist without proper expression. Love's expression is defined and directed by one knowing and then doing all the preceptive will of God as found in Holy Scripture. One cannot possibly love God rightly without a proper knowledge and understanding of God himself. (Col 1:9,10, et al) The more one increases in a true knowledge of God, the more one will love Him. Doubtless, there are those who have a vast intellectual knowledge of God but whose hearts are far from Him, for they are yet spiritually dead (Jh 4:22-24; Acts 17:23-31). Such is the current state of the modern church... there are those who are full of intellectual knowledge, both true and false, who are teaching these things to the masses who without little question receive this false preaching/teaching and both clergy and laity assure themselves that they "love" God, yet they lack what is most necessary; to be born anew from above by the Holy Spirit.

Romans 1:16-17 (ASV) "For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith: as it is written, But the righteous shall live by faith."
Posted By: Wayne@purpose

Re: What is essential - Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:21 PM

This is in response to problems/questions that Pilgrim found in my last post to this subject.

Pilgrim: Is it your opinion that a true Christian has the ability, in this life here on earth, to love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love his neighbor as [he loves] himself? And, by doing this he will inherit eternal life... according to the words of the Lord Christ in Luke 10:25-28?
Wayne: Love comes from God (1 John 4:7 and 1 John 4:19). I believe a true Christian, needs to be empower by the Holy Spirit to love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love his neighbor as [he loves] himself. In other words, the ability depends on God not on the true Christian. In Luke 10:25-28, Jesus may have been acknowledging that this amount of love is a just and right requirement of the Law. In any case, I believe Jesus alone fully met this requirement and His work is the only basis of inheriting eternal life (Heb 9:15).

Pilgrim: The problem I am having with the above remains, despite your sincere effort to explain yourself. Why? Because IF you have sought God and the Holy Spirit has "helped you develop it", and likewise, I have prayerfully sought God's infallible Word for a true understanding of what the Holy Spirit wrote through the instrumentality of holy men of old, but I have come to an understanding that is contrary to yours, what conclusion do you think one must make?
Wayne: I look forward to a resolution of the problem you are referring to. Before I can suggest a path forward, I must understand your concern better. I believe you are saying you see a misunderstanding in that summary that I said I believe the Holy Spirit helped me with. Could you be specific in identifying “the misunderstanding” and “scripture that shows it is a misunderstanding”? Here is that summary:

Observations:
1. Love is a one word commandment that fulfills God's Law
(Matt 22:37-40 also see Rom 13:8, 10)
2. Love is a motivating force that drives us to act a certain way
(Luke 10:39, also see 2 Cor 5:14 & John 15:13)
3. Perfect obedient comes out of perfect Love
(John 14:15, 21, 23, 24 also see 1John 2: 5 & 1 John 4:12, 2 John 1:6
4. Obedience is easy and enjoyable when it is motivated by Love.
(Matt 11:29-30 also see 1 John 5:3)
5. The divine purpose of Love is to produce Christ-like obedience (see 2 Cor 5:14), which results in us bringing glory to God. (Matt 5:48, Rom 12:2, Phil 3:15, Rom 4:20 also see Matt 5:16)

Applications:
1. The Gospel:
Christianity is the only religion that was intended to be totally dependent on Love as a motivating force. (2 Cor 5:14-15). As a result, it is the only religion that can produce perfect obedience, Godliness and Christ likeness. (2 Pet 1:3, 4)
2. Strategy of our enemy:
Satan wants Christians to focus on symptoms of disobedience instead of the root cause of disobedience. The symptoms of disobedience are the rules that we continually break. Rules that we know God wants us to follow. As we pour more time into treating the symptoms (this sin over here and that sin over there) we have less time to address the root cause of disobedience which is the condition of our heart. (Matt 23:23-26 & John 5:42)
3. Loving God:
We Love Him because he first Loved us (1 John 4:19). Lord, help me to be drawn closer to you as I set aside time to get to know you better and get to know your love for me better.
4. Loving Others:
We avoid Love because we know it will lead to sacrifice. Our old man wants to avoid sacrifice. We need faith in order to sacrifice. Lord, help me to have faith to see others as you see them so I can love them more.

Illumination:
“Love sets Christianity apart from all other belief systems. Before we can love God (to the degree that he wants) we must understand fully what he has done “in space and time” to demonstrate his love for us. The Bible says God demonstrated his love to us when he sent his only son to die for us. The more we understand his sacrifice and love for us, the more we will love him and love to do his will. This love will take us where man alone could never go!”

Illustration:
“Man has designed cars to run on gasoline. God has designed the Christian life to run on Love. Without gasoline, a car can go only as fast as man can push it. Without love, our good deeds are nothing.” (See 1 Cor 13:2)

Transformation:
“It does not matter what happens to me. What matters is how I react to the things that happen to me because this is who I am.” (See Proverbs 27:19)

Pilgrim: Love's expression is defined and directed by one knowing and then doing all the preceptive will of God as found in Holy Scripture.
Wayne: I believe “the love of Christ” is expressed perfectly and purposefully n 2 Cor 5:14-15:
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that one died for all, therefore all died; and he died for all, that they that live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again.” ASV
“For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that [if] One died for all, then all died; And He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake. AMP

Additional NT expressions of love per the ASV:
1 Cor 16:14 Let all that ye do be done in love.
Gal 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith working through love.
Gal 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, (even) in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.
Eph 3:17-19 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strong to apprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled unto all the fulness of God.
Eph 4:15-16 but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, (even) Christ; from whom all the body fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in (due) measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love.
Eph 6:23-24 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ with (a love) incorruptible.
Col 3:14 and above all these things (put on) love, which is the bond of perfectness.
1 Thess 4:9 But concerning love of the brethren ye have no need that one write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another;
2 Thess 3:3-5 But the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and guard you from the evil (one). And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command. And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patience of Christ.
1 Tim 1:5 But the end of the charge is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned:
2 Tim 1:7 For god gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline.
2 Tim 1:13 Hold the pattern of sound words which thou hast heard from me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently:
1 Peter 4:8 above all things being fervent in your love among yourselves; for love covereth a multitude of sins:
1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not abideth in death.
1 John 3:18, 23 (My) Little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth.
1 John 4:7-12 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. Herein was the love of God manifested in us, that God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son (to be) the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No man hath beheld God at any time: if we love one another, God abideth in us, and his love is perfected in us:
1 John 4:16-5:3 And we know and have believed the love which God hath in us. God is love; and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God abideth in him. Herein is love made perfect with us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, even so are we in this world. There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath punishment; and he that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, cannot love God whom he hath not seen. And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God: and whosoever loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. Hereby we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and do his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: What is essential - Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:06 PM

Originally Posted By: Wayne@purpose
This is in response to problems/questions that Pilgrim found in my last post to this subject.

Pilgrim: Is it your opinion that a true Christian has the ability, in this life here on earth, to love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love his neighbor as [he loves] himself? And, by doing this he will inherit eternal life... according to the words of the Lord Christ in Luke 10:25-28?
Wayne: Love comes from God (1 John 4:7 and 1 John 4:19). I believe a true Christian, needs to be empower by the Holy Spirit to love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love his neighbor as [he loves] himself. In other words, the ability depends on God not on the true Christian. In Luke 10:25-28, Jesus may have been acknowledging that this amount of love is a just and right requirement of the Law. In any case, I believe Jesus alone fully met this requirement and His work is the only basis of inheriting eternal life (Heb 9:15).

1. A "true Christian" IS empowered by the Holy Spirit because the Spirit dwells within a true Christian. Without this indwelling of the Spirit, one is not a "true Christian".
2. The "amount of love is a just and right requirement" is a rather ambiguous statement. For, the 'requirement' to love God with all one's heart, mind, soul and strength and to love one's neighbor as himself' is quantitatively and qualitatively infinite. In short, there is no "amount" to be considered. The Lord Christ's love for the Father is paradigmatic of what love is and how it is to be expressed. This loving of God is "required" because it is how everyone, without exception is to relate to God as Creator and particularly so as Redeemer. That relationship is maintained through the perfect keeping of God's most holy law as exemplified in Christ's perfect obedience (aka: active obedience). Thus even a redeemed, Spirit-indwelt sinner cannot meet the requirement in this life due to the sinner's remaining sin nature. A Christian is TOTALLY dependent upon Christ's righteousness alone for the initial reconciliation with God and the consequent sanctification which flows out of justification (Heb 12:14; cf. Ps 94:15; Isa 51:1; Rom 6:22, 8:29,30; Eph 1:4; 1:2Cor 6:17, 7:1; 1Pet 1:15; 2Pet 3:11; 3Jh 1:11).
3. In continuation...What Jesus answered to the lawyer came in the way of a summary of the law, not a replacement for the keeping of the law, nor a secondary means, love, by which to merit eternal life. As I have gone to great lengths to point out, love is the perfect keeping of the law of God. Neither faith nor love takes away but establishes the doctrine of the law. Love is ultimately and intimately expressed in perfect righteousness and total dependency upon God in Christ.

Originally Posted By: Wayne@purpose
Pilgrim: The problem I am having with the above remains, despite your sincere effort to explain yourself. Why? Because IF you have sought God and the Holy Spirit has "helped you develop it", and likewise, I have prayerfully sought God's infallible Word for a true understanding of what the Holy Spirit wrote through the instrumentality of holy men of old, but I have come to an understanding that is contrary to yours, what conclusion do you think one must make?
Wayne: I look forward to a resolution of the problem you are referring to. Before I can suggest a path forward, I must understand your concern better. I believe you are saying you see a misunderstanding in that summary that I said I believe the Holy Spirit helped me with. Could you be specific in identifying “the misunderstanding” and “scripture that shows it is a misunderstanding”? Here is that summary:

Observations:
1. Love is a one word commandment that fulfills God's Law
(Matt 22:37-40 also see Rom 13:8, 10) <cut>

My objections are with a) your understanding (definition) of love, b) how it is expressed, c) the possibility of some meritorious aspect of love, and some other issues. I have repeatedly stated, as in my response immediately above, that love is the motive of a regenerated sinner's heart which is and must be expressed outwardly in practical holiness, i.e., conforming oneself to God's law; aka: sanctification.

The immediate issue, however, is your professed confidence that your entire premise concerning "love" is essentially a 'divine' teaching which the Holy Spirit has given you to whatever degree (help). Thus, the inference is that it is to be received as "truth". Further, should someone such as myself take issue with your view(s), the implication is that a) that person is automatically in error, b) is potentially not under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, or c) taken to its logically conclusion, an antagonist is probably unregenerate. Since my view is essentially that of all the Reformers, Puritans and stands squarely upon the historic Confessions and Catechisms of all the Reformed Churches, one would have to conclude that all of these individuals and documents are in error at best and on the other end, at worst this great mass of men have not been 'taught' by the Holy Spirit and the documents which they brought forth and which have been adopted as being accurate summaries of biblical doctrine are solely of the flesh.

In very simple terms, since we stand opposed in our two respective views, one of us is in error. And even more serious is that the Holy Spirit has been referenced as being instrumental in revealing these views. I do hope you have now grasped the severity of the problem. scratchchin

Lastly, as I have stated on more than one occasion, no one would argue that "love" is an essential element of true Christianity. But since love encompasses the entirety of a Christian's life it is incontrovertibly essential that its expression be the focus of what is essential rather than suggesting that "love" in its broadest sense is sufficient in and of itself. Faith, holiness, doctrine and worship are, in my concerted opinion, those specific aspects of "love" which are essential.

I will sum up by using an anonymous quote: "God is in the details". To say that "love" is the most important essential basically says nothing and everything. A Muslim, Jehovah's Witness, Mormon or even a Buddhist can affirm, "I love God". However, upon further inquiry to who/what is God and what it means to love the answers will reveal stark differences.
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