I just came across this article on another forum. This is scary stuff being passed off as sound teaching. But I am not sure what issues to address. I have posted (there) reguarding the last parargraph but I thought I would place this here to get so different feed back.
Apologetics in Action This article has been reprinted by permission from the Winter, 2001 issue of Cutting Edge magazine. Cutting Edge is a Church Planting quarterly newsletter produced by the National Church Planting Task force of Vineyard USA. All issues are available on-line at the VineYardUSA web site.
We asked Dallas to role-play an evangelistic conversation with a 20 year old girl who grew up in a Christian home, but finds her worldview challenged when she goes to college. She decides to see her pastor and says, "I used to believe strongly in the Christian faith, but now I think that there are many ways to see the world, and that, just because they differ, doesn't mean they are right or wrong." How would you answer her? I would start by saying that whether someone is a Christian or not, they are going to live according to certain assumptions about what is real. They are very likely to accept the popular notion that they live in a world where there really is no God, and that right and wrong are determined by what you want, as long as it doesn't conflict with someone else's freedom. We have to start by helping people see that they cannot escape the fact that, no matter what they do, they are in fact choosing one version of what is real, true, and good. In that choice they need to be responsible. Not believing in something has exactly the same consequences as believing. So, this girl says: "OK, I understand: you are saying that I have to believe." I'm saying that she has a belief. This is absolutely crucial for her to understand. Otherwise she is under the illusion that she is in a safe place simply because she hasn't explicitly committed herself to something. She says: "OK, I want to believe. But I fear that in coming back to the church I would have to pretend that I am certain about some things that I feel like I can never be certain about again." This is a common case. This is why people prefer a non-committal position. People have been sold this idea that, whether in culture, politics or religion, in order to commit to an idea they have to be absolutely certain—and absolutely certain that everything else is wrong. That's where I would say to her: "No, you don't have to certain about anything you're not certain about. In fact, certainty is not something you can choose, anyway. Certainty and uncertainty are not things that are under the will." She says, "You are telling me I could be a Christian, and still have doubts?" That's right. It is possible to go to heaven with a lot of doubts, and it is possible to go to hell with a lot of certainty-people do it every day. But you cannot stay at such an abstract level for very long. You're going to have to bring it down to a practical level with questions like: what do you believe about Jesus? "Okay," she says, "I can acknowledge that. You know, I have read the gospels, and I think that Jesus was the greatest teacher there ever was. In fact, I'd like to live my life like him. But it feels like I have to 'buy' an awful lot more." What I would say is this: you don't have to buy anything you don't want. We have to help people understand that belief is something that comes along as you experience. You don't have to fake anything. The way faith works is this: you put into practice what you believe. If you're attracted to Jesus, what do you believe about him that you can act on? Experience shows again and again that when you allow people to act on the little that they do believe, the rest will follow. "But I still struggle with how I should view those who have other beliefs. I'm not sure I am ready to condemn them as wrong. I know some very good Buddhists. What is their destiny?" I would take her to Romans 2:6-10: "God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger." What Paul is clearly saying is that if anyone is worthy of being saved, they will be saved. At that point many Christians get very anxious, saying that absolutely no one is worthy of being saved. The implication of that is that a person can be almost totally good, but miss the message about Jesus, and be sent to hell. What kind of a God would do that? I am not going to stand in the way of anyone whom God wants to save. I am not going to say "he can't save them." I am happy for God to save anyone he wants in any way he can. It is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved. But anyone who is going to be saved is going to be saved by Jesus: "There is no other name given under heaven by which men can be saved." For reprint permission, contact [email]CuttingEdge@VineyardUSA.org.[/email]
<img src="/forum/images/graemlins/scratch1.gif" alt="" /> This post has been read by 40ish people and no one has chosen to say anything. I came here looking for people who might help me as I seek to know and defend the truth of the gospel. I am not finding that to be the case. Is no one concerned that this man writes books that people read and he claims that some may be saved without knowing Christ. This article appeared on an emergant type forum and the discussion there while intense has also been scary. Many really believe that God might actually allow for means other than grace and faith for salvation.
Hmmmm, I read the article or the portion of it you provided and to me it was so self-evident that it was unbiblical that I saw no need to comment. If you have a question about it, obviously I missed it. What kind of help are you wanting? It's not that no one is willing to help. Perhaps they, like myself, aren't sure what you are wanting help with? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/shrug.gif" alt="" />
FYI, Billy Graham holds to a similar view, so it isn't just the Emergent Church groups who are proposing such tripe. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
I quess what I am asking is how do you personally answer or talk with people who hold such views.
I have tried the logical approach. I asked if this is true then what is the point of the cross? That genreated some honest discussion but in the end many could not see the conflict of say that faith in Jesus saves me but who know how he might choose to save someone else.
In the end I felt like <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/Banghead.gif" alt="" />.
Is there any other conclusion to draw from this line of thinking but that in order to just God must save all people in the end?
<img src="/forum/images/graemlins/sorry.gif" alt="" />I did not mean to be accussing. I am sorry that I did not make myself clear. The dynamic of the other forum is much more dynamic. Opinions are offfered without much prompting. Things clearly move a little more slowly here and I will take that into account in the future. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/thewave.gif" alt="" />
The preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who have not been liberated by the new birth. I think it's easier to deal with questions about the authenicity and authority of the Bible first, before you "argue from Scripture" to support a doctrine (other than the inspiration and infallibility of Scripture).
It seems to me that a lot of the argument in the original post is simply unfruitful because both sides share a belief in the myth of so-called "free will." Ain't no such thing for unbelievers. They are slaves, bound to sin, held captive in its power and incapable of anything else. Only Christians have free will because we have been freed from the law of sin and death. The unregenerate rebel has "choice" only within his or her ability. The attempt at "apologetics" above proceeds from at least that one false assumption.
The origin of faith in the original post is another false assumption. Saving faith is not something that grows out of our own experience. According to Ephesians 2 it is the gift of God, not of works. The inward call and the new birth are acts of God upon individuals, not little enricements to get people to choose Christ.
The false assumptions and absurdities in this "argument," if accepted, might result in someone being persuaded to pray "the sinner's prayer" and fill out a card, but true conversion results not from the persuasive words of clever apologists, but from the demonstration of the God's power in and upon His chosen people.
I use to think that all that separated most 'christians' was minor differences about things like tongues or baptism. I am seeing more and more that not all that calls itself Christian is in fact faith. For years, at least in my learnign, the baad guys were the cults like JWs or Mormons. The thought that someone could hold a view so contray to the Word of God call themselves Christian neverr ocurred to me. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/stupidme.gif" alt="" /> This fact makes real dicussion of Bibical issues difficult. Many would rather just dismiss the importance of sound doctrine and instead talk about how something makes them feel about God or themselves. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/puke.gif" alt="" /> But I digress.
One one think that coming to Scripture would bring people to common ground. NO. Just like salvation has be co opted by human will so has the Word of God. Many that I talk with think that the Bible is not the word of God but rather Jesus is the word of God. They palce more faith in the personal experiences "with Jesus" than in the words He spoke. Nothing is certain in this view because everyone is subjective. So the Bible becomes so nice saying that might inspire and occaisionally correct but in the end the final authority is their experience. Although the argue that this is not the case. But I am hard pressed to be conviced.
I know exactly what you mean, just recently someone close to me said that Benny Hinn loves the Lord and that is all that matters. When I hear things like that it makes me sick. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/puke.gif" alt="" />
I think the articles Pilgrim provided are very appropriate.
You may want to read the books The Depravity of Man and the Sovereignty of God by A. W. Pink. They are available online on many web sites on the net. We need to see mans position before a sovereign God before we can see the true need of the new birth. The new birth being provided by the Sovereign God of all creation. He has provided and has performed the the salvation of His elect. Christ has done the work and it is finished. It doesn't matter what the unbelievers of the so called churches preach. If it doesn't lift Christ up as the serpent in the wilderness it is based on lies. We can see the false doctrines of men spread all over the world in the liberal churches of our days.