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Posted By: DiscipleEddie How Broad is the Christian Faith Tent? - Fri Dec 10, 2021 7:29 PM
Often some Republican will speak of the party being a big tent where a broad range of views can fit in. What about such a perspective on the Christian faith?

"There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all." (Eph 4:4-6, ERV)

"Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation, I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints." (Jude 1:3, ERV)

"But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema." (Gal 1:8, ERV)

"What then? only that in every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and therein I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice." (Phil 1:18, ERV)

"For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for even Satan fashioneth himself into an angel of light. It is no great thing therefore if his ministers also fashion themselves as ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." (2Cor 11:13-15, ERV)

What doctrines are surely required to be believed to be within the one Christian faith? Considering there are degrees in error and heresies, at what point does error or heresy put one out of possibility of eternal life?
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: How Broad is the Christian Faith Tent? - Fri Dec 10, 2021 9:31 PM
Originally Posted by DiscipleEd
What doctrines are surely required to be believed to be within the one Christian faith? Considering there are degrees in error and heresies, at what point does error or heresy put one out of possibility of eternal life?
ANY deviation in the biblical Gospel is damnable heresy which would include classic Arminianism (cf. Synod of Dordt, semi-Pelagianism, sects and cults. That covers most of what is currently being taught and embraced by the majority of 'evanjellicalism'. A false gospel embraced cannot save!

What would be your answer to your own question? scratchchin
Posted By: DiscipleEddie Re: How Broad is the Christian Faith Tent? - Sun Dec 12, 2021 9:42 PM
Pilgrim, Tom, I was in high school in the 1950s and gone through quite a spiritual journey. Raised in fundamentalist, independent Baptist dispensationalism; I studied through several theological textbooks starting with A. H. Strong, The Hodges, Gill's Body of Divinity, J. L. Dagg, J. P. Boyce, R. L. Dabney and a couple others. I visited various churches and spent some time in several, even an Assemblies of God for a spell in my 20s. I've come to see I have a great generational gap with the churches of today and I presently do not attend any, period. We have our Bible studies and prayer, daily here at home.

I early came to believe that the true faith, the biblical doctrines would be as unchangeable as God's word is; so I expected to see the same teachings today as were taught 300-400 years ago. I also read various books on Covenant Theology and as it was touched upon by the Baptists in their writings. In my journey I attended both OPC and PCA churches but the Bible studies seemed to be more about young men competing with each other over who could get into the deepest areas of esoteric theology and discuss that and debate it, when it had very little meaning or importance to most believers in attendance.

The Calvinistic Baptists who had come out of fundamentalism were so busy focused on correcting all the errant Baptists and beating the drum on Calvinism so much things seemed to get side tracked away from the gospel. I've come to the conclusion that the members of the body of Christ may not all be attending any churches in this day. I see things began to fall apart in the following manner.

Along came Charles G. Finney the heretic, and his revivalism, feminism, abolitionism, 'new measures', etc. Humanism had started infecting the churches. Then came the War Between the States which is grandly represented by that heretical piece of garbage, the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" when the Union decided it was God's arm to set things right, free the slaves and be God's army. The seeds of humanistic, governmental post-millennialism had appeared. Next came the nutty idea of prohibition, women's suffrage, etc., just more humanism; along with the influence of Communism. Either the men of God in the latter 19th century were ignoramuses, or maybe women did indeed need to have equal say with the men who God had made the leaders. Back to abolitionists; I know J. L. Dagg and J. P. Boyce both either had slaves or saw nothing sinful about that fact in itself. So, I feel disgust when the likes of Albert Mohler condemns them when theologically Mohler can't come to close to their grasp of the Scriptures. I find it amazing how the churches of today have decided slavery in and of itself was sin when the Scriptures state no such thing and they fall all over themselves apologizing for the humanist determined sin.

Along with this was the higher criticism coming out of Germany and infecting the churches here in the USA. Then the 1946/1952 RSV came on the scene; supposedly translating the OT as they thought the Jews would have understood it, rather than from the Christian view; yet they ignored the LXX on Isaiah 7:14 which is how the Jews understood it. They were infected by the higher criticism believing men wrote what they thought of God, instead of what God inspired to write without error. They became very modern and even changed the translation in 1 Cor. 6:9 to blend two words into a modern sexual concept that was really odd and out of the historic line of more literal, word for word translations such as in the KJV & RV, ASV.

In reaction to the RSV along came the evangelical/fundamentalist translations that translated to support their right wing fundamentalist and social agenda. Ex. 21:22 suddenly became born prematurely so as to support the idea that a human being exists at conception, just one view of Christians historically. The NRSV modified the RSV translation of 1 Cor. 6:9, then the evangelicals went the other direction and read into the verse detailed ideas from modern gay rights type terminology.

In my home church when I was in high school, there was a married member who got into trouble in his queer nature; and it was then "queer". I heard gossip about one young man who worked in the hospital and supposedly he was queer, but the reactions then were more pity and curiosity about such things. It would have been as much a shock to hear of them getting legally married to another male as it would have been to hear them preached into hell because of their queerness. On miscarriage and abortions, that sort of thing was a private family matter, between husband and wife, or parents and daughter. Yet, having in my own family a situation of repeated miscarriages due to genetics, the sadness and hurt of such a thing caused great reflection about the matter. But, I do not recall the nasty hatefulness in that day as there is today on these complex and difficult matters.

I have no doubt that I was regenerate as a teenager in dispensationalist fundamentalism; but, I've wondered, did the Holy Spirit bring me out of that heresy because I was truly elect, born from above and indwelt by His Spirit? I just do not know how many attending the modern churches of today are regenerate, nor do I know if a Roman Catholic can be truly regenerate. But, when I witness so many people who seem to take such heretical trash as is on TBN and believe it; I really fear few are regenerate in this day.

I've had a busy couple of days and I admit I've been a bit 'wound up' of late, so I guess I've popped off on various things. Maybe I'm just a cranky, ill-tempered old man. But, I imagine today is similar to the days prior to the Protestant Reformation, so I'm not ready to set dates for the last day. ;-)
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: How Broad is the Christian Faith Tent? - Sun Dec 12, 2021 11:01 PM
Thanks for the bio. But I'm still wondering... sincerely, about my question back to you: "What would be your answer to your own question? scratchchin"

TIA for your answer. [Linked Image]
Posted By: DiscipleEddie Re: How Broad is the Christian Faith Tent? - Mon Dec 13, 2021 5:16 PM
I distinguish from the broad Christian tent, what I personally believe the faith once delivered to the New Covenant people of God exists in, which I find limited to that commanded by Jesus to be observed and that alone, therefore not going beyond the New Covenant teachings. For me it is the 1646 First London Confession of Faith with the addition of the "Principle of Regulative Worship", you don't add to or take away from the faith once delivered. So, I reject the idea that the faith once delivered includes musical instruments in the assembly, the Christian calendar with its Easter and Christmas Holidays, women speaking in the assembly or taking the rule over men in any realm of life, Sunday Schools, the office of evangelist, the idea of mission boards, the application of the so-called "Great Commission" to today, etc. But, I do not narrow my idea of the Christian tent to my beliefs.

I exclude from the Christian tent those who deny that God is one; and that this one God exists as three separate but equal Persons. Yet in the working out of redemption, there are offices or roles where there is an order: Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Any denial of this puts a religion outside the bounds of Christianity: thus Unitarians, Oneness Pentecostals(?), JWs, Mormons, etc are not Christians.

Even among those claiming the Ecumenical Creeds, there are those I consider outside the Christian tent, and I meant the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. They are both rank works salvationists placing man's traditions on equal footing with God's word, a spurious salvation. By their works you shall know them, and this history of one the Popes is an eye opener:

Pope Sixtus Quintus IV -
"Sixtus founded the Spanish Inquisition through the bull Exigit sincerae devotionis affectus (1478)...According to the later published chronicle of the Italian historian Stefano Infessura, Diary of the City of Rome, Sixtus was a "lover of boys and sodomites", awarding benefices and bishoprics in return for sexual favours and nominating a number of young men as cardinals, some of whom were celebrated for their good looks."

The SDA & Church of Christ (Campbellites) I place outside the Christian faith for their violation of salvation by grace alone and adding a law to the gospel of grace. The SDA with their Sabbath requirement and the "Investigative Judgment" which is a spurious law salvation. The Church of Christ claiming to be the one church outside of which there is no salvation, and in addition making baptism a law which one must obey for remission of sins, again a spurious salvation.

It becomes trickier for me when considering the Arminian oriented groups. I consider the older Methodist types, followers of John Wesley to be within the Christian tent based on John Wesley's commentary on Eph. 2:8-10 for one point, and I quote from Wesley:

Verse 8
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

By grace ye are saved through faith — Grace, without any respect to human worthiness, confers the glorious gift. Faith, with an empty hand, and without any pretence to personal desert, receives the heavenly blessing.

And this is not of yourselves — This refers to the whole preceding clause, That ye are saved through faith, is the gift of God.

Verse 9
Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Not by works — Neither this faith nor this salvation is owing to any works you ever did, will, or can do.

Verse 10
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

For we are his workmanship — Which proves both that salvation is by faith, and that faith is the gift of God.

Created unto good works — That afterwards we might give ourselves to them.

Which God had before preprepared — The occasions of them: so we must still ascribe the whole to God.

That we might walk in them — Though not be justified by them.

The Pentecostals and Charismatic teachers of today, claiming descent from Wesley, I put outside the Christian tent based on their obvious corruption similar to the old reprobate, Pope Sixtus Quintus IV listed above.

When it comes to Dispensationalists and Theonomists, I consider them borderline because each in their own way wish to return to the Law of Moses which I find heretical to the point of blasphemy!

Yet, I on the other hand consider the danger of being a Pharisee and thinking one group has a lock on the truth and all others are outside the faith. John told the Pharisees and Sadducees, "and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."

I worry about judging in the more questionable areas. I believe the Arminian, the Methodist Adam Clarke is within the Christian tent, but I find he often gets tangled up in faulty logic trying to keep man to our responsibility.

I believe those who reject the common salvation taught in the old confessions of the Reformed, the Lutherans, Anglicans, Baptists are outside the Christian tent.
Posted By: jta Re: How Broad is the Christian Faith Tent? - Thu Dec 16, 2021 5:52 PM
2 Tim. 2:19: "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."

My views are similar to what you've both indicated above. I would love to accept all who profess Christ, but we live in an era of such widespread apostasy, that even most professing Christians embrace doctrines that are unbiblical to a potentially damning degree. Their unbiblical doctrine engenders unbiblical practice, and casts doubt onto whether they possess the indwelling Holy Spirit, or, perhaps, quench His work through their false beliefs and actions.

I would differentiate between those who are new in the faith, and may be in the process of being taught by the Spirit to embrace doctrine which is sound and biblical, and to reject that which is not. Versus those who could and should know Scripture, and yet willfully deny important parts of it. Being a babe in the Faith is ok, but choosing to stay such is not.

I would try to differentiate as did Spurgeon, Sproul, etc., between inconsistent and/or confused Arminians who still hold to grace and to the sovereignty of God, even if they do not understand its ultimate implications, e.g., that if He is Sovereign, then we are not; versus full-blown Pelagians, those who insist even in the face of contrary Scripture that "God empowers all to believe; man makes the choice; all glory be to Man Almighty."

I believe that a Spirit-led person ought not embrace leftism, socialism, fascism, communism, Marxism, feminism, Caesaropapism, antinomianism or any other heresy, "critical race theory," "social justice," or any form of racism. Not because I reject these views but because they are absolutely contrary to Scripture. Each one can best be seen as a willful rejection of some or all of the holy commands of God, commands He has not rescinded but has fulfilled on behalf of His people. By saving them, not to sin, but FROM sin.

Certainly a professing Christian ought not to support abortion or any other kind of mass murder; that is a clear and complete denial of his or her profession.

Regarding those who might say, "Forget doctrine; it divides. Just give me Jesus." Their hearts might be in the right place. Might. But their brains are not, and remain in need of the sanctifying and teaching ministries of the Spirit. How do we know which of the many versions of "Jesus" we ought to know, love, follow, obey, and proclaim? Without sound doctrine, we can't. Without sound doctrine, we'll probably go with what is popular, and that is only rarely if ever what is biblical. Wide is the road that leads to destruction, and narrow the One that leads to life.

"No confession but the Bible, no creed but Christ?" Same. A Spirit-filled person who studies the Word breathed by that same Spirit will come to a like mind on at least all of the essentials of the Faith, but disagreements might still remain, over things like baptism, the Lord's Supper, or various other issues. It is important to the unity of the local Church that we be of one mind insofar as possible, and I've increasingly come to doubt whether that can be achieved absent some sort of creed. In addition, everyone has a creed. The question is whether it is shared with the other members of the local Church. If that Church subscribes to a confession of faith like the 1689 LBC, or Westminster, or the 4 forms of unity, etc., there is more likely to be true unity, which as I've painfully discovered is not a unity apart from truth but a unity in Truth (John 14:6).

I am not prepared to send to hell every person with which I disagree. Even in these areas I believe people can be inconsistent. And I do not know their hearts. God does, and as concerns their salvation, He will judge, not me nor any other person besides Himself. Further, it is my hope and desire that as many people would be saved as possible. I just don't think that happens without God changing them, and that change should be evident in their lives, especially in the fullness of time.

But I also am not prepared to accept a person's profession of Christ if, over time and fairly viewed, it is essentially contrary to what they believe or how they live. To do so, to give them false assurance based on their word alone and contrary to other evidence, would be unspeakably cruel. Instead I'd be more inclined to share with them the only Gospel that can save, not "God has a wonderful plan for your life," but rather "Christ died and rose again to save a people for Himself." They will respond to it now, or they will respond later, or they will not respond at all, and in the end that is up to the One who draws people, absolutely in spite of themselves, to repentance and faith in Him (John 6:44)
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