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Yesterday at 12:22 PM ACCC 2017 Resolution: 'Evangelicalism and Martin Luther King, Jr.' [by Pilgrim]
ACCC 2017 Resolution: 'Evangelicalism and Martin Luther King, Jr.'
From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase
Part 3 of a series. Read part 2.


Editor's Note: The 76th Annual Convention of the American Council of Christian Churches met in Greenville, South Carolina from October 24-26, 2017. The convention approved five resolutions on critical issues confronting Christians and the church in our time. In this series we present those resolutions for the edification and encouragement of God's people. - Dr. Paul Elliott [10]

Resolution on Evangelicalism and Martin Luther King, Jr.

While attending Crozer Theological Seminary in 1949, Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) detailed his beliefs on Christianity. He wrote: "doctrines such as a supernatural plan of salvation, the Trinity, the substitutionary theory of the atonement, and the second coming of Christ are all quite promin[e]nt in fundamentalist thinking. Such are the views of the fundamentalist[,] and they reveal that he is oppose[d] to theological adaptation to social and cultural change. He sees a progressive scientific age as a retrogressive spiritual age. Amid change all around he [is] willing to preserve certain ancient ideas even though they are contrary to science."[1]

MLK also stated that the doctrine of the resurrection, "upon which the Easter Faith rests, symbolizes the ultimate Christian conviction: that Christ conquered death. From a literary, historical, and philosophical point of view this doctrine raises many questions. In fact the external evidence for the authenticity of this doctrine is found wanting." Concerning the virgin birth of Christ, MLK furthermore wrote: "We must admit that the evidence for the tenability of this doctrine is to[o] shallow to convince the objective thinker."[2] In the early 1960s, MLK also said, "I do not believe in hell as a place of a literal burning fire."[3] These statements indisputably affirm that MLK was a theological liberal, opposed to the cardinal doctrines of the orthodox, Protestant faith.[4]

The apostle John declared in his Second Epistle that whoever denies these doctrines "hath not God" (v. 9). Therefore, God commanded orthodox believers to "mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 16:17-18).

Since the ecumenical evangelism of the 1950s, however, a number of professed evangelicals have disregarded God's commands to mark and avoid false teachers. Instead, they have embraced theological liberals like MLK, as if they were believers in Christ. During the 1957 Madison Square Garden crusade, Billy Graham had Rev. King offer a pastoral prayer, giving the impression that MLK was orthodox.[5] Within the last few years, prominent evangelicals affiliated with The Gospel Coalition (TGC) have downplayed MLK's unbelief while highlighting socially positive aspects of his legacy, implying that the gospel is not essential for life and godliness. John Piper particularly has written that people should "leave aside [MLK's] theology and moral flaws''[6] and "not belabor his sins. The point is to lift up some magnificent things he stood for and some necessary and amazing achievements."[7] In an early 2017 article titled, "What Martin Luther King's Legacy Means for the Church," TGC's Russell Moore cited MLK's religious speeches and declared that "perhaps there is something in our gospel preaching that needs to learn from Dr. King."[8] Commenting on an upcoming TGC event titled, "MLK50: Gospel Reflections from the Mountaintop," Moore also posited that "Dr. King appealed to [a gospel of reconciliation], and it is this gospel that belongs to the church as much right now as it ever has."[9] But in neither of Moore's statements did he explain that MLK's gospel was actually an unorthodox social gospel, which cannot reconcile any man to God (Eph. 2:13-17, 2 Cor. 5:18-21).

Therefore, the American Council of Christian Churches at its 76th annual convention, October 24-26, 2017, at Faith Free Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC, resolves to warn Christians, not only of the theological liberalism of MLK, but also of the unbiblical portrayal of him by evangelicals. Orthodox Protestants who commemorate King as a part of gospel ministry while ignoring, downplaying, or recasting his theological liberalism fail to pay heed to the apostle John's words in verses 10-11 of his Second Epistle: "If there come any unto you, and bring not [the] doctrine [of Christ], receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." In making disciples of Christ from all nations (Mark 16:15), ministers must not partner with a gospel-denier or invoke his legacy as if he were a true believer. His important contributions to American civil liberties notwithstanding, Rev. King's example cannot provide "gospel reflections from the mountaintop."

References:

1. Martin Luther King, Jr., "The Sources of Fundamentalism and Liberalism Considered Historically and Psychologically" (essay, Crozer Theological Seminary, 1949, in Stanford University's The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, https://kinginstitute.Stanford.edu/...d-liberalism-considered-historically-and).

2. King, "What Experiences of Christians Living in the Early Christian Century Led to the Christian Doctrines of the Divine Sonship of Jesus, the Virgin Birth, and the Bodily Resurrection," (essay, Crozer Theological Seminary, 1949, in Stanford University's The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/...ng-early-christian-century-led-christian).

3. "What Happened to Hell?" Ebony, January 1961, 52.

4. For a thorough examination of the key differences between orthodoxy and modernism, see J. Gresham Machen's Christianity and Liberalism (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2009, orig, 1923).

5. Graham's 1957 crusade also received sponsorship from other liberals, such as D. Ward Nichols, Henry P. Van Dusen, and Ralph Sockman.

6. John Piper, "Martin Luther King Changed My World, and I Am Thankful," Desiring God Blog (January 21, 2013): http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/martin-luther-king-changed-my-world-and-i-am-thankful.

7. Piper, "Don't Waste Martin Luther King Weekend," Desiring God Blog (January 19, 2008: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/dont-waste-martin-luther-king-weekend. See also Piper, "How I Process the Moral Failures of My Historical Heroes," The Gospel Coalition (June 13, 2017): https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/how-i-process-the-moral-failures-of-my-historical-heroes. Piper treated Mother Teresa the same way in 1981 when he ca11ed her a "servant of God." Piper, "The Spirit of Joy," Desiring God Blog (March 3, 1981): http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-spirit-of-joy. See also the 2016 ACCC "Resolution on New Calvinism."

8. Russell Moore, "What Martin Luther King's Legacy Means for the Church," Russell Moore Blog (January 16, 2017):
http://www.russellmoore.com/2017/01/16/martin-luther-kings-legacy-means-church.

9. Moore quoted in Elizabeth Bristow, "ERLC to host MLK50 event in Memphis on 50th anniversary of Martin Luther Kings Jr.'s assassination," The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (Apri1 4, 2017): http://erlc.com/resource-library/pr...f-martin-luther-king-jr-s-assassination. As the title of the article notes, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention is also co-hosting the event. Moore is the president of ERLC.

10. Dr. Elliott is a member of the ACCC's Executive Committee.

Next: Resolution on Same-Sex Attraction

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Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:28 PM What's new in our age? [by Rick]
What’s new in our age?
In our day, not similar to the church of the Reformation, or of the Puritans, we have music ministers, choirs, musical instruments, bands, solos, etc. We even find that national holidays have become part of the worship service. We see bands, concerts, special music, interpretive dance, skits and plays flooding the sanctuary. In the extreme, we find healing hours, prophetic ministries, prophesying rooms, barking in the Spirit, laughing in the Spirit, and the anti-Scriptural list goes on and on. In contrast to all this, from the time of the early church, to the recovery of the Gospel under the Reformation, to the second Reformation and the Puritan divines, even through to times surrounding Jonathan Edwards or the Princeton Theologians, there has been a general adherence to what the Bible taught concerning acceptable worship under the Regulative Principle (i.e. God alone determines the manner in which sinners are to approach Him). But what did they believe?
There is a growing need to study the doctrine of the church and the doctrine of worship. Ignorance on this subject is not bliss since God commands the gathering together of His people for the express purpose of worship (Heb. 10:25) according to His will. The Puritans knew the bible’s position on worship very well. Much of their writings were directed to this end. Worship should be reflected in the entire life of the believer as his manner of glorifying God. Without worship, men lose a sense of “Christian self.” That is why the unbeliever continues to to fill the void of his unregenerate heart with various worldly pursuits, activities, and bosom sins, because only true worship to the Creator of the Universe is meant to fill that void. They have a gnawing sense of emptiness when they neglect true worship, something God commands and requires they give, for God is the Sustainer of their being; every one of their sinful breathes testifies to God’s power in keeping them alive. Worship and the church, then, even on that base level alone, is one of the most important, if not the most important doctrine one could study.
The church is also having an identity crisis. Since they do not know their Bibles, they have lost a sense of who they are before God. See my good brother’s article on the Regulative Principle: Worship, Psalm Singing and Grape Juice here. Hopefully some, if not all of these articles, will help the church find her identity again, remembering the old paths that the church has always walked upon. Here, the people of God will remember again how to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
C. Matthew McMahon, Ph.D., Th.D.
March, 2002
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Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:03 PM The Depravity of man shows [by Rick]
What a debased creature must he be!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Treasury of David")

"O Lord, You preserve both man and animals!" Psalm 36:6

"He supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.
He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call." Psalm 147:8-9

"These all look to You to give them their food at the proper time.
When You give it to them, they gather it up;
when You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good things!" Psalm 104:27-28

All the myriads of creatures, rational and irrational, are fed by Jehovah's hand!
The countless animals,
the innumerable birds,
the inconceivable abundance of fish,
the all but infinite armies of insects--
all owe their continuance of life to God's unceasing care and provisions.

What an awesome view of God this presents to us!

What a debased creature must he be, who sees no trace of such a God, and feels no awe of Him!
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Sat Jan 18, 2020 4:20 PM Divorce [by Tom]
I have question related to a divorced pastor.
Doss a wife who divorces her husband who is a pastor, disqualify him from being a pastor?
Many people say that regardless of if the pastor is the innocent party and has been faithful to his wife, the divorce automatically disqualified him.

Tom
16 215 Read More
Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:16 AM Opinion Wanted [by Tom]
Recently a friend (more of an acquaintance) gave me a sermon he wants all Christians to listen to because, according to him, "it will change their lives."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k33...oENBS5_BsCNcHbQ-C1I6Ht9QVV909_-he-shGAq0

He even said the following concerning the person delivering the sermon.
Quote
I consider him to have more insight and accuracy than the fathers and the reformers.
and
Quote
The fathers and reformers got a lot wrong Tom. The evidence presented is incontestable. Why not give the book a listen then draw your conclusion? You will soon see how much they (and we) have departed from Scripture.


I had told him that although I plan to listen to the sermon, when I have time to actually listen to it without interruption. What you read above was his reply and to be quite frank, when I hear such claims it immediately makes me suspicious.

Am I wrong to feel that way?

Tom
3 278 Read More
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