"Then He said to them, "But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one".... Luke 22:36
.So, our Holy scripture says it would better to be short of clothing than to lack a sword? What is going on here?
Here you are- filled with the Spirit and eager to serve the Lord. And you find that you not only have to fight occasional carnality within your own heart, but also fight the established carnal ways of the church itself!!!! If you try to fit in you lose. If you leave you lose. Alone.
Or if you are a young Bible school graduate with some Bible and church management courses under your belt, what happens?
You are filled with the Spirit and ready. You take up your first post only to find that if you try to rock the established carnal boat, the people will stop giving and you will be starved out. And even if you do not rock the boat you are expected to work miracles and not embezzle church funds on starvation wages!! Your wife understandably complains and after a while wishes you would get a "real job". Right.
You are surrounded by potential enemies on every side. Even your own heart yearns to betray you at times. So you grit your teeth and smile. You must pretend everything is going swimmingly, while everybody else can relax and rely on good old you to keep it all together. Sure.
What is going on here???? How did it get this way?
Well, the story is not pretty......................
Long ago in the 1500's under Luther "lawless believers arose fancying themselves the dear elect people of God, reasoning thus: "First, the earth belongs to the saints, and, secondly, we are the saints." All things were theirs. They were complete in Christ, and absolutely sure of salvation by reason of their standing in Him. They went about in religious mobs to deliver people from legal bondage, and bring them into Gospel liberty -- a liberty to despise all laws, Divine and human, and to do every one what was right in his own eyes. Luther was alarmed and shocked. He hastened from his concealment in the castle of the Wartburg, to check a movement that was disgracing the Reformation. But the mischief was already done: the thistle-seed had been broadcast over Germany."
They had introduced a new form of the ancient Gnostic deception of the early church. A long line of willing-to-be-famous theologians then went on to develop this crowd-pleasing theme of Gnostic "freedom". They became not only popular, but well-funded!! They had found the key to gospel success!!
In time, this created the gospel that all the Protestant churches (mostly the non-liturgical churches) now take for granted. Variations of this are now preached in every pulpit and taught in every seminary. You inhale whiffs of it every Sunday.
But it is not the Christian gospel. It is a modern and more sophisticated Gnosticism. These articles explore this shocking and perilous situation.
This is the disturbing story of John Darby and the Plymouth Brethren which he founded. ( Apparently the landslide of Gnostic enthusiasm from the Reformation was virtually halted for a couple of generations by the unanswerable arguments made by John Fletcher in his revolutionary "Checks to Antinomianism". This lengthy tome is comprised of a series of open letters between the saintly and sanctified Fletcher and various Antinomian champions. It is tremendously long (over 600 pages) but is an interesting read that can be found on the History page.)
John Darby single handedly set the deadly Gnostic enthusiasm going again -but on a different footing than before. It was much more subtle and veiled in its presentation so that the numerous and more discerning supporters of the legacy of Wesley and Fletcher would not realize what traps his preaching was leading them into. This cunning and inventive man hated all established religion and is at the root of most accepted common theology today. His influence is far more profound than earlier theologians such as Calvin.
The first two chapters, especially, Chapter 2 "Antinomianism -Historical Sketch" will floor you. Most of the rest of the book is a detailed account of the various outlandish beliefs that Steele found among them during his ten year face to face study of them. The beliefs, the contradictions within them, and how they subtly lead people towards being soft on sin. So began today's common religion, sometimes termed "The Sinning Religion". But these days, you would hardly detect any of these outlandish beliefs because the veiled Gnostic theology is so settled that it is often just kept on bookshelves and not preached. This makes it more dangerous because unspoken ideas cannot be refuted. Some of the early ideas were so toxic that all who followed them were lost to the church. 58 pages by Daniel Steele
(In reading the latter chapters of the above, I found myself worn and disgusted by all the graphic depictions of deception and the various sins it led to. The following much more recent book, "A Right Conception of Sin" by Taylor treats the same common deceptions in a more objective point by point manner that is much less disturbing. )
A Right Conception of Sin
"Sin, as one doctrine of the Christian system, is the common denominator of the other doctrines. The question of sin is so basically related to the nature of God and the plan of redemption, it is the one doctrine by which all others can be reduced to their simplest significance. Furthermore, it forms the surest and most logical measuring stick by which the accuracy of those doctrines can be detected.
The doctrines relating to sin form the center around which we build our entire theological system. And as Christians, if our conception of sin is faulty, our whole superstructure will be one error built on another, each one more absurd than the last, yet each one necessary if it is to fit in consistently with the whole erroneous scheme. If we are to end right we must begin right, and to begin right we must grapple with the question of sin in its doctrinal significance until we have grasped the scriptural facts relating to sin in all of its phases. We need to know exactly what sin is, of what kinds, how it acts, its effects, its relation to man, how it must be dealt with, and God's provision for it. When we arrive at a solemn appreciation of all this, from the standpoint of Scripture, we may proceed to build our system of theology with confidence, knowing that our conclusions will be based on correct premises.
Many, perhaps most, of the errors which have intruded themselves into Christian theology can be finally traced to a faulty conception of sin. Because someone's notions of sin were a bit off-color, his entire trend of reasoning can be misdirected".....
All the churches today are riddled with centuries-old misconceptions that interfere with obtaining a full experience of Him. Read this and you will see why our Protestant world is so ineffective -and what the remedy is. a 55 page PDF by R. S. Taylor a must read.
When you get down to it and discuss what a person actually believes, you will often find much of the above, but over time these ideas have become moderated because people do have common sense. Those few souls who are pure in heart do exist, both now and throughout history. The above mentioned "orthodox" beliefs make no room for them, and so are somewhat "out of touch" with objective spiritual reality.......
It is necessary to examine your gospel foundations from time to time....
Young, Restless, Reformed
And dumb. Apparently ignorance knows no bounds. There is a destructive revival of Calvinism going on!!!! See this smoothly articulated but sickening "Christianity Today" article. Coming soon!
Imputation or Union with Christ?
This is a contemporary scholarly work that continues to examine the above foundational issues:
"Recent days have seen the publication of a new study from Dr. John Piper, Counted Righteous in Christ: Should We Abandon the Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness? (Wheaton: Crossway, 2002). According to one reader, Dr. Piper’s book is “certainly the most solid defense of the imputed righteousness of Christ since the work of John Murray fifty years ago” (John Frame, from the back cover). This book emerges from vigorous contemporary debate over the cardinal issues of imputation, justification and righteousness, and represents a reaffirmation of the traditional Protestant position on these questions.
It must be clarified from the outset that this response to Piper’s book represents a kind of “mediating” position. Not that the purpose is to bridge a gap simply for the sake of being a “peacemaker,” but rather that the baby is not to be thrown out with the bath water.
That is to say, the intention of the doctrine of imputation is not to be disputed: our righteousness comes from Christ and is for that reason an “alien righteousness.” However, it is a question of modality. The prophets anticipate the day when the Lord himself will become our righteousness (Isaiah 61:10; Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16), corresponding to the time when none other than his Servant will make many righteous (Isaiah 53:11). But how precisely does this transpire? It is the contention of this paper that the free gift of righteousness comes our way by virtue of union with Christ, not imputation as classically defined." 38 pages by Don Garlington
Much exact in-depth information is provided by this church history textbook... An 18 page PDF made of topical excerpts compiled by Earnest Seeker
The Toronto Deception
Paul Gowdy was on staff there for years. Now he tells us how it was.....
My years of experience in various churches have been a mixed blessing. But what did I learn? That there is one thing that is the key to all the others -and that is a wholly pure and holy heart.
-When Pentecostal people talk to Holiness people, or the other way around, the results are predictable: confusion so corny (ie: silly) that it could be called "cornfusion", and yet the solution to this is simplicity itself. 10 pages by Earnest Seeker
The Central Idea of Christianity
Just to set things straight again.
Bishop Peck undertook a painstaking analysis of the flow of essential ideas in the Scripture, in order to see which was the central one. His results were very conclusive. by Bishop J. T. Peck an 11 page excerpt
Last, but not least, if you are a good leader and lead as you are expected to, you may be shooting yourself in the foot......
God’s Plan for Oversight in the Glorious Church
Virtually all of our churches cannot function as they were designed to function since one man takes the pre-eminence. This is totally unscriptural and a sure recipe for failure. This is about another relic from the past instead of Gnosticism. a "must read" for leaders 23 pages by David A. Huston and Jim McKinley
"Theological errors move in cycles, sometimes of very long periods. They resemble comets in this but they are not as harmless. Often they leave moral ruin in their track. Since all Christian truth is practical, and aims at the moral transformation of men, all negations of that truth are deleterious; they not only obscure the truth and obstruct its purifying effect, but they positively corrupt and destroy souls. This is especially true of errors that release men from obligation to the law of God. After St. Paul had demonstrated the impossibility of justification by works to compensate for sin, and had established the doctrine of justification through a faith in Christ which works by love and purifies the heart, there started up a class of teachers who drew from Paul's teachings the fallacious inference that the law of God is abolished in the case of the believer, who is henceforth delivered from its authority as the rule of life. Hence they became, what Luther first styled, Antinomians (Greek anti, against, and nomos, law). We infer from Rom. 3:8, 31; 6:1; Eph. 5:6; 2 Peter 2:18, 19, and James 2:17-26, in which warnings are given against a perversion of the truth as an excuse for licentiousness, that Antinomianism, in its grosser form, found place in the primitive church. All along the history of the Church, a revival of the cardinal doctrine of justification, by faith only, has been followed by a resurrection of Antinomianism, which Wesley defines as "the doctrine that makes void the law through faith." Those who aver that ultra-Calvinism is the invariable antecedent of Antinomianism, would be unwilling to accept the necessary inference that the apostle to the Gentiles was an ultra-Calvinist; yet it is true that the doctrines of Calvinism can be logically pushed to that conclusion. It is also true that other forms of doctrine that emphasize faith in Jesus Christ, as the sole ground of acceptance with God, are more or less liable to have the tares of Antinomianism spring up in their field.
The heretical Gnostic sects of the early Church were Antinomian on other grounds. They held that their spiritual natures could not contract moral pollution, whatever their moral conduct might be, sin inhering only in matter. As a piece of gold retains its purity while encompassed by the filth of the pigsty so the soul keeps pure amid the grossest sins." P. 10 "Antinomianism Revived"
Did you catch "as the sole ground of acceptance with God"? That means that they remove God the Father and His Law from the equation, saying "this is the age of grace". The Law was just for the ancient disobedient children of Israel.
Instead of undertaking the challenging understanding of how it all fits together, they just throw out the parts that do not fit. And then they just use large quantities of theological duct tape to make it all hang together. And then they are surprised when trouble comes along!!!
Jesus fulfilled the Law in His person, instead of making it obsolete. Should we do less?
But that takes a purified heart to accomplish.......
Holiness or Hell
The above Gnostic gospel sends untold millions of our unsuspecting friends to hell unnecessarily.
The long years pass, offenses come, and venial (petty) sins quietly surround. Starting well is excellent, but all that does not count if you finish your days in failure. Dryness and sleep silently rob too many of their reward.
The incompletely sanctified soul walks along the border between darkness and light, and one misstep can send him back across that fearful line.
Those in His Rest always abide in His beauty and are never dry. Their eternal home is virtually assured since they have already been made white. Blameless and without spot. 39 pages by W. B. Godby