Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘False Religions

Where is the Discernment?

One of the things that troubles me about many Arminians is their utter lack of discernment.  This is true of course for all believers and not just Arminians but I want to speak to my camp here.  An upcoming event called “Together 2016” features many different people including Roman Catholics.  For the life of me,  I cannot understand how Protestants can join hands with Roman Catholics in any real sense until the Catholics renounce their Catholic beliefs.  The very gospel is at stake here.  This is not just about personal differences or traditions.  This is a gospel issue.

The Roman Catholic Church denies the gospel.  They deny justification by faith.  They deny the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  They teach a form of works righteousness.  They deny even declared righteousness imputed to the believer by God.  They deny sola scriptura.  They deny sola fide.  They deny sola gratia.  Everything that our Protestant forefathers did for the sake of the gospel, the blood shed in defense of the Bible and in defense of the gospel cannot be lost.

When you read the list of speakers for the “Together 2016” one not included (because he will not there in person) is the Pope.  Yes the Roman Catholic pontiff (whom Arminius called the antichrist) will address evangelicals.  Alongside the Pope will be men such as Lecrae (whom I have lost respect for), Dr. Tony Evans (whom I lost respect for sometime ago), and Dr. George Wood (the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God).  Before you think that only non-Calvinists are there, Calvinists such as Trip Lee and Francis Chan (who studied at the Master’s Seminary) will speak alongside the likes of Hillsong (who has wandered far away into something), Christine Cane, Lou Engle, and Mark Batterson.

What is disappointing about this is the lack of discernment.  Can you imagine Arminius speaking where he knew the Catholic pontiff would be welcomed?  Can you imagine the likes of a John Buynan or Charles Spurgeon preaching at this event?  Would John Wesley join hands with known mystics to promote this “unity?”  Would Leonard Ravenhill promote such an event?

I think the answer is clear.

Arminius wrote about the Roman Pontiff:

Since, therefore, the Roman Pontiff either attributes these most honourable titles of Christ to himself, or willingly suffers them to be ascribed to him; and since he evinces no horror at the blasphemy contained in these titles, and gives no tokens of his displeasure at this ascription of them; it follows, that he puts himself in the place of Christ, and is supremely opposed to Him. There is no excuse in the explanation which is given, that “the head and foundation is ministerial, and that he attributes all these things to himself under Christ, as having been elevated by the grace or favour of God and Christ to that dignity.” For the protestation is directly contrary to the fact; and he is so much the more the bitter enemy of God and Christ, as he the more confidently boasts of being defended by the authority of God and Christ. Such conduct is, in fact, under the semblance of friendship to exercise the deepest enmity, and, under the disguised pretext of a minister of light and of righteousness, to promote the interests of the kingdom of darkness and of unrighteousness. On this very account, therefore, we assert that the disparaging epithets which we laid down in our first Thesis, most justly belong to him; and this we now proceed to show by descending to particulars.

Arminius called the Pope the “pimp of the harlot Church.”  He further wrote:

Although the Roman pontiff calls himself “the servant of the servants of God,” yet we further assert that he is by way of eminence, That Wicked And Perverse Servant, who, when he saw that his Lord delayed his coming, “began to smite his fellow-servants.” (Matt. 24:48.) For the Roman pontiff has usurped domination and tyranny, not only over his fellow- servants, the bishops of the church of God, but likewise over emperors and kings themselves, whose authority and dignity he had himself previously acknowledged. To acquire this domination for himself, and still further to augment and establish it, he has employed all kinds of satanic instruments — sophistical hypocrisy, lies, equivocations, perfidy, perjury, violence, poison, and armed forces — so that he may most justly be said to have succeeded that formidable beast which “was like unto a leopard, a bear and a lion,” and by which the Roman empire was prefigured — and to have “had power to give life unto the image of the beast, and to cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast, should be killed.”

I call on Arminians to follow in the footsteps of Arminius and denounce the Roman Catholic Church.  I am not calling for hatred of Catholics themselves for they need the gospel.  I am calling for a hatred of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.  I am calling for biblical discernment (Jude 3-4).

We need to heed 1 Timothy 4:1-2.  We need to heed 2 Timothy 4:3-4.  We need to stand agains the Roman Catholic Church and preach against her false doctrines.  We need to call Catholics to repent and believe the gospel.

I pray that men such as Dr. George Wood would not only decline speaking at the “Together 2016” event but denounce it.  I pray that men and women of God would rise up and denounce the event altogether.  In our troubled world we need the true gospel and not a mixing of errors.  Now is not the time to lay down our swords in the midst of a sinful world.  What is going to slay the evils we see of racism, sexual immorality, abortion, homosexuality, wicked killings, etc. is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16-17).  We lose the gospel.  We lose the war.

Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

– Hebrews 12:2 (NASB)

One of the characteristics of cults is that they do not focus on Jesus Christ.  They may mention Him and use His name but often the focus is not on Jesus but upon either a man or a group such as a church.  Salvation is generally tied to Jesus (sometimes) but always somethings is added such as Jesus plus a church or Jesus plus a prophet or Jesus plus baptism into that church.  The focus is not on Jesus alone.

The message of cults is not on Jesus either.  It is usually on good works or keeping the commandments of the group (or church).  That list can be short or long depending on the group.  Most cults spend most of their time looking at themselves and what they do with just a casual glance at Jesus and what He has done.

Salvation, however, in the New Testament is focused on Jesus Christ and what He has done.  Hebrews 12:2 is clear that the disciple is not to be focused on the group, the church, their works, their repentance, their lack of sinning, their discipler but upon the Lord Jesus.  Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith.  Jesus is the One who sits at the right hand of God praying for the saints of God (Hebrews 7:25).  Jesus is the One who died for our sins and brought us peace with God (Ephesians 2:14-15).  Jesus is the only One who bore our sins on the cross (Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 2:24).  Jesus has sat down at God’s right hand until His enemies be made His footstool (Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:3, 13).

Adam Clarke writes about Hebrews 12:2 and Jesus as our example:

Looking off and on, or from and to; looking off or from the world and all secular concerns to Jesus and all the spiritual and heavenly things connected with him. This is still an allusion to the Grecian games: those who ran were to keep their eyes fixed on the mark of the prize; they must keep the goal in view. The exhortation implies, 1. That they should place all their hope and confidence in Christ, as their sole helper in this race of faith. 2. That they should consider him their leader in this contest and imitate his example.

Jesus is our focus for the redeemed.  Our focus is not on us.  Our focus is not on our church.  Our focus is not on our prayer life.  Our focus is not on our evangelism.  Our focus is not on what we have done but upon the Lord Jesus and what He has done.  Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith.  He has finished this work (John 19:30).  We cannot add to His work nor take away from His work.  Salvation is accomplished through Jesus alone (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).  Good works do not save (Ephesians 2:8-9).  A church or group does not save.  Jesus alone saves by His grace and for His glory.

If your salvation is dependent upon what you do or what a group does for you, repent!  Repent of your dead works (Hebrews 9:14).  Repent of seeking to save yourself when you cannot (Isaiah 64:6).  The only hope we have is Jesus.  He alone is the One who is able to deliver us from our sins (Matthew 1:21) and He alone is the One who is able to give us peace with a holy God (Romans 5:1).  Our faith must be in Him alone and not in us or our group.

If you are your group spends their time focusing on anything or anyone but Jesus Christ and His cross, I urge you repent or leave.  Flee idolatry (1 John 5:21).  Flee works salvation.  Flee from focusing on anything or anyone but the only One who can save us from us and the wrath of an Almighty God (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

11/13/2014 at 10:10 AM

The Resurrection Is The Key

Islam claims that the faithful Muslim is to not only study the Quran and the Hadith’s but they are to seek to copy the example of their prophet, Mohammed.  The difficulty, of course, is that Mohammed lived in the 7th century.  Yet faithful Muslims claim that we are still to copy his example and seek to be just like him in all that we do.

In Buddhism, the teachings of the Buddha are studied and the believer seeks to apply them to their lives.  Again, the example of the Buddha is to serve as an example and he is the truly enlightened one that we are seeking to be like.

In Hinduism, the vast amount of gods means that we are to be devoted to our god.  We are to fulfill our duty to our god.  It is our work that we must do.

A pattern exists when you study world religions and cults and that is works for salvation (if they believe in some sort of salvation) or we must copy the examples of the religious teachers.  We are to copy the examples of these prophets, teachers, leaders, apostles, etc.

This is not so with Christianity.  No doubt the Lord Jesus left us an example that we should follow (1 Peter 2:21-24) but His example is one that we realize we can never obtain in that Jesus was absolutely perfect and sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Even the Quran states that Jesus (though in Islam, He is just a prophet) was sinless.  But the more I study Jesus and His life, I realize that I can never obtain His perfection.  I am imperfect.  I am sinful by nature.  Jesus, on the other hand, left us a perfect example and one that we can seek to copy (1 John 2:6).

But the key to Christianity is not the teachings of Jesus.  It is not the example of Jesus.  It is the resurrection of Jesus that is the key.  Paul the Apostle makes this clear in 1 Corinthians 15.  The key to our saving faith is in the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 10:9-10).  It was the resurrection that caused the Apostles of Christ to go forth with His gospel (Matthew 28:16-20).  It is the resurrection of Christ that transforms the sinner into a saint of God (1 Peter 1:18-21).

While I agree with C.S. Lewis that grace is a fundamental difference between world religions and Christianity, grace is based on the resurrection.  Without the resurrection of Christ, there could be no grace (Romans 4:24-25).  Grace flows to us because Jesus is alive and because He sits at God’s right hand (Hebrews 7:25).

My prayer is that the Church would go forth in the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) preaching the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  To this day, faithful Muslims visit the tomb of Mohammad in the city of Medina.  Christians have no tomb of Christ to visit where His body lays.  We have an empty tomb because Jesus is risen from the dead.  He reigns now forevermore (Psalm 110:1).  Jesus empowers us now by His resurrection power to go forth and make disciples.  This is what will change our world.  This precious gospel, that Jesus shed His blood for our sins (Galatians 1:4), is what we will change our world (2 Corinthians 5:17).  I rejoice that Jesus is risen and I will see Him face to face (1 John 3:1-3).

It is only by His grace that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9).  May we settle that issue now and realize that nothing I can do can earn God’s salvation nor His favor.  My works are tainted by sin (Isaiah 64:6).  Yet Christ bore my sins on the cross and His blood washes away all my sins so that I now have peace with God through His finished work on the cross (Romans 5:1).  I am a child of God not by my works but because of His grace toward me in His holy Son (Titus 3:5-7).

The Freedom to Worship

I just read Dr. Michael Brown’s piece on Shall We Burn One Another at the Stake? in which Dr. Brown argues for peace among brothers and sisters.  He points out that Christians have often been hotly divided over theological issues to the point that they shed blood.  He pointed out that during the Reformation, the Anabaptists were heavily persecuted by the Reformers.  Arminius himself was asked by the Calvinists in Geneva to prepare a theological response to the Anabaptists.  The Calvinists considered the Anabaptists as heretics and worthy to be burned at the stake for their views.

Dr. Brown points out that Christianity has many such battles in her history.  This is not based at all on the teachings of the Lord Jesus (Matthew 5:43-48) or even His example (1 Peter 1:23).  We have nothing in the New Testament to suggest that disciples of Jesus should war toward others whether believers or not.  In fact, we have the opposite.  Disciples are to be peaceful (Titus 3:1-7).  Disciples are to to do good to all men especially those of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).  Paul wrote this in Romans 12:14-21:

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I strongly believe then that disciples of Jesus should uphold the freedom to worship.  I am not advocating that all religions are the same or that we all worship the same God nor am I advocating that the disciples of Jesus should not evangelize.  We have the command from Jesus Himself to evangelize the nations (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:47; John 20:21; Acts 1:8).  We are His ambassadors by virtue of being His children (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).  I am not advocating that we should just ignore religions and not seek to engage them with the gospel.

However, I do believe that we should allow all people to be free to worship God as they see fit unless that worship violates or hurts others (such as human sacrifices).  Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Catholics, Protestants, Mormons, etc. should be allowed the freedom to worship and to share their views openly without fear of physical attacks.  No disciple of Jesus should ever desire the death of their enemies.  We are commanded to pray for them and to preach the gospel to them but not to kill them.  Murder is a sin (Exodus 20:13) and murder in the heart is a sin as well (Matthew 5:21-26).

Our passion should be to preach Jesus and to glorify Him with our lives.  Our passion should never be violence in any way.  Jesus clear on this issue (Matthew 5:38-42).  Our lives are to be marked by holiness and peace (Hebrews 12:14-15).  Yes we must preach the gospel to the lost and none can be saved apart from the gospel (Romans 10:14-17) but let us preach the gospel not with anger or intimidation but the truth of the Lord Jesus.  Jesus alone saves (John 14:6) and our passion should be for all to be saved in Him (1 Timothy 2:3-6).  But this doesn’t happen by the works of the flesh nor by forcing people to repent.  Salvation is a work of God.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/26/2013 at 12:19 PM

There Is No Boasting of Salvation Before God

Romans 3:27-28 reads:

27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

There is no boasting before God of our salvation.  We are saved by God’s grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) in the finished work of the Lord Jesus (Hebrews 10:10) who died for our sins (1 Peter 3:18).  Jesus is the One who has purchased our salvation (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Revelation 1:5).  Our work is to place our total faith in the Lord Jesus and His blood to save us and keep us (John 6:29).

People despise this doctrine.  They want to believe that their works or their goodness or their disciplines all bring about God’s approval.  They fail to see that they have violated God’s law and thus are guilty of breaking all His law (James 2:10; 1 John 3:4).  Those who break the law must be punished or God is not holy and good.  If God is indeed holy and good then He must execute His justice against those who violate His law.  The Bible says that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18).  Our sins are bringing the just wrath of God otherwise He is not a good God because He ignores His own law.

People want to make God into their own images.  They want a user-friendly god who doesn’t burn with wrath against sin.  They want a god who is not holy and set apart.  They want a god who hears our prayers no matter what the conditions of our heart may be (Isaiah 59:2).  They want a god who never judges.  They want a loving god who is not pure and holy.  This is not the God of the Bible but our own gods that we have created and will perish with us.  The true God who created all things (and of whom our consciences bear witness) is a holy God.  He is a loving and good God but He is just.

Scripture is clear that God is just (see Exodus 34:6-7; Deuteronomy 32:4; 2 Chronicles 12:6; Nehemiah 9:33; Job 34:17-30; Psalm 33:5, 13-15; 36:6; 45:6; 58:11; 96:13; 97:2; 140:12; Isaiah 30:18; 61:8; Ezekiel 18:4; Zephaniah 3:5; Acts 17:31; Romans 3:25-26; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 John 1:9; Revelation 16:5-6).  Because God is just, He must punish sin.

God has punished sin in His Son (Isaiah 53:4-6).  The Lord Jesus and the Lord Jesus alone is our substitute for sin (Hebrews 9:22).  Either we are in the Son and have life or we have death upon us (John 3:18, 36; 5:24-25).  When we die, we will stand before a holy and just God who will judge us based upon His law.  All of us will be found guilty (Romans 3:23).  Yet those who have a mediator before God will be saved (1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 7:20-28; 9:11-28).  Jesus’ blood alone is able to wash away our sins before a holy God (Ephesians 1:7).  His death on the cross took our sins (Matthew 26:28) and His resurrection proves that God has accepted the perfect sacrifice of the Son (Romans 4:24-25).  Thus we must confess both His death and His resurrection for our salvation (Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

This work of Christ takes away our self-confidence and our prideful boasting that we see in religion.  The moral person will not get to heaven by their own morality.  The religious person will not get to heaven by their religious works.  The only way to heaven is through the Lord Jesus (John 14:6).  He alone is our Savior.  We have no salvation apart from Him (Romans 10:14-17).  This is why we disciples of Jesus labor to see the gospel go forth into all nations (Matthew 28:19-20).  We know that there is no salvation apart from faith in Christ and there is no hope apart from faith in Christ.  Because of the justice of God, none will escape God’s just wrath against sin apart from faith in Jesus (Romans 5:8-11).  Religion says “do this and you’ll be reconciled perhaps with God” but the Lord Jesus alone is the way to God.  Our faith is not in facts about Him nor in plans about Him but in Him, the Person of the Lord Jesus.  He is a risen and living Savior.  He is still able to save those who come to Him in true faith trusting in His grace alone to save them and for Him to be the mediator for them before God.  I pray that many will repent.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/20/2013 at 11:09 AM

Through Christ, Who Bore Our Sins, We Are Able To Pray

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

– Hebrews 4:16-18

Hebrews 4:16-18 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture when it comes to prayer.  I often quote this verse when I begin to pray because this verse helps me quickly to realize that the sole reason that I can approach the throne of God in prayer is because of the work of Christ.  I am not able to come into the holy presence of God Almighty because of anything I have done.  My works, says Isaiah 64:6, are like a polluted garment in His holy presence.  I have no righteousness but that which He has given to me in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Jesus is the sole reason I can pray!

Further, prayer does not involve me working up my emotions though chants or through saying words over and over again.  Jesus rebuked such methods in Matthew 6:7.  Elijah, in 1 Kings 18:25-29, pointed out the utter foolishness that the false prophets of the false god Baal in attempting to call out to their god in prayer.  Baal could not hear them because he was not there.  But Yahweh heard Elijah’s prayer (1 Kings 18:36-37) and Yahweh answered by fire (1 Kings 18:38).  The people saw this and worshiped the one true and living God (1 Kings 18:39).

Millions of false religions pray.  Muslims pray five times toward Mecca out of blind obedience to their false god.  Buddhists meditate hoping to find their inner self and seek a false god of their own making.  Cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses spends hours spreading their false gospel and seeking their false god.  Yet do you and I seek the living and true God?  The only God who exists?  We have the right through Christ to approach the true God.  We don’t come through our confessions or through our creeds or through our Arminianism but through Christ alone.  Jesus is the One who has shed His own blood to redeem us from sin and reconcile us to God (1 Peter 3:18).  Through Christ and His blood, we are able to approach our holy God.

Prayer should not then be viewed as a work we have to do (such as in Islam) but prayer is what we get to do through Christ.  Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that we can pray without ceasing.  Our Father always hears our cries (Psalm 65:2; Matthew 6:8).  Because of Jesus Christ, the disciple is able to ask anything in His name (John 14:13-14).  The delight of the disciple is to please the Lord and to exalt Him in all that we say or do (Colossians 3:17).  Thus our prayers are not focused on us getting stuff from God but instead our aim in prayer is to delight in the Lord our God and know Him (Philippians 3:10).  Our passion is to exalt the Lord Jesus and to see His kingdom come (Matthew 6:10) and to see His glory fill the earth (Philippians 1:20-21).  Our passion in prayer is not to name this or that or to pray for this or that but to exalt the Lord Jesus and bless Him for all that He has done in saving us by His own power (Revelation 5:8-14).  Prayer is not about “positive confessing” things and prayer is not focused on asking God for stuff but rather prayer involves seeking God for who He is and what He has already done in saving us by His grace.  This is why “the Lord’s prayer” begins in Matthew 6:9 with a focus on God and not on us.  In fact, our needs do not even appear in the Lord’s prayer until after our focus has been on God (Matthew 6:11).  Certainly we have the honor of being able to ask God for our daily bread but this should not be the focus for the true disciple.  Our passion is to exalt Christ Jesus in all that we do (1 Peter 1:15-16).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

01/25/2013 at 11:02 AM

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