Tuesday, July 31, 2012

If we do not fight the culture...?

I have suspected for some time now that a day would come in the USA when we would see more than rhetorical attacks against Christianity and Biblical principles.  I suspected that these attacks would come in my life time.  I did not suspect that these attacks would come so soon.  But enter the Chick Fil-A saga.  And here we are.

When Dan Cathy acknowledged his beliefs about marriage he ignited a storm that has brought Americans to a crossroads.  As a citizen, Cathy simply simply stated that marriage should be between a man and women.  As a citizen he has every right to say what he believes.  But there are those in America who disagree with that right depending upon the content of what is said.

The crossroads is not tricky.  As a country we will either take a right hand turn and once again be a Republic of freedom and constitutional law or we will turn left, and lose our freedoms while traveling down a road mixed with tyranny and the absence of religious freedom.  Yes, the crossroads is now in front of us.  We are waiting for the moment.  The decisions of which way we turn are upon us.

Why now?

Over the past few years the fight for right and wrong has been hit with apathy and left leaning ideology.  The hits that came were NOT from those outside of Christianity.  Our attacks have come from within Christianity.  Gone are the leaders who rallied us in the past.  Their replacements have presented a different model.  A model that frowns on culture wars and embraces naively the idea that people will accept all the differences and NO one will be harmed.  We have been told by these few that discrimination will not occur.  For once we cease the war, our love will earn the respect of those different from us.

They have been and are WRONG!

We have paved the road that has brought us to this crossroads.  We ceased from fighting.  We compromised our beliefs.  We joined the culture.  And we are paying for all the above dearly.

Men and women died so you and I could be free.  No politician or elected official has the right to tell a business owner or church or group of Christians, what they can and cannot say.  NOT in America. 

Or can they?

This is the crossroads.  If Chick Fil-A is attacked for her owners remarks, then why not go ahead and attack churches of all types?  You think I am crazy?  Think about the following.  In Chicago where the mayor is a former presidential Chief of Staff (who claimed that chick Fil-A was NOT welcome in Chicago) their zoning laws are allowing a strip club to go up next to a catholic home for the elderly run by nuns.  Just a few years ago the outcry over this type of decision would have been more than vocal.  Today, there is silence.

There is something wrong here!  Terribly wrong!

Though I am Baptist, I praise the Catholic church for fighting against many of the provisions in the healthcare reform bill.  Many Baptist have been silent.  Are Catholics now going to be targeted in the manner of Chick Fil-A?  Ask the priests and Bishops of the Catholic churches what they teach about same sex marriage.  Are they no longer welcome in Chicago, Boston, or San Fran?  Are Baptists next?  We see defense of criminal non profit groups like Acorn and yet we see attacks on non profits who support values and Biblical principles. 

If we do not get back into the fight we will lose the right to do what we are doing now as ministers and churches.  If we do not get back into the fight our children will live in a country with freedom only as a history point (if they even mention it at all).  And if we do not get back into the fight, we will have NO ONE to blame but ourselves.  For the weapons used against us were NOT more mighty.  We just ceased from using our weapons and thus allowed strongholds to build up in our lives, communities, and culture.

It is true that Christianity has always been more productive when freedom was lacking.  I do not for one moment think that fighting the culture will solve all the problems.  But I do know that abandon the fight will bring about attacks on Christianity like we in America have never seen nor experienced.  We are forgetting the real issues at stake.  We are forgetting we are salt and light.  We are blowing that which was bought and paid for with blood and ultimate sacrifice.  How dare we.

We cannot afford to sit out the fight any longer!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Double Standards Multiplying

Life is getting more and more complicated.  Calls ring out for inclusion.  Pleas are made for love and mercy, acceptance and equal protection.  Standards once thought to be grounded in cement are now shown to sit atop sinking sand.  What is taking place in America and American Christianity?

The clear visual for us today is seen in the uprising over Chick Fil A.  The owner of the company, a private company, speaks his mind about what he believes to be true, and mainstream media outlets go ballistic.  People who practice the freedom of speech suddenly want to attack the owner of a successful business for doing the same.  A boycott is called for of the chicken serving establishments. City officials are pressured to rule these establishments as unwanted in their cities.

So what has happened to free speech?

I think this is an honest question.  America has been under attack for years from the homosexual community.  No doubt that much has been gained by there attacks.  But how can this community of people use the rail of free speech and equal protection while denying the same to people who speak opposite.  Important in the thought process is understanding that Chick Fil A has never NOT served a homosexual.  They have never been accused of showing bias on any level.

This double standard is the result of compromises made over the years to the homosexual community.  It is a price that we will now have to pay and somehow work through.  We allowed a small group to gain a foothold in our decision process.  Chaos is now an everyday norm.  And there is not found a visible end anywhere down the road.  Honesty is passing from the Christian community.  In some circles today, what was once called homosexual activity is now passed as only battles due to previous life events.  When Christians accept the double standard, the path to deliverance and true freedom are lost.  When we allow this double standard to exist, we join the attack on the Gospel of Jesus and His Word.

How do we move forward?

I serve in a community that has one of the highest homosexual populations in all of Tennessee.  Homosexuals attend our services weekly.  I do not soften the Word of God as to the sin of homosexuality nor do I compromise limits for their involvement.  Yes I have been questioned on this.  Yes I get an occasional letter or email.  Once I even got a visit to the office.  But never have I ever been called unloving or homophobic for my beliefs and how those beliefs are taught and lived out on a daily bases.

People talk of building bridges these days.  We must remember that we cannot build anything of substance on sand.  Sin will not uphold the truth of God's Word.  Sin allowed and justified cannot a bridge of biblical ministry support.  Teaching the truth in love will drive a wedge often between people.  The bible says of itself that the Gospel is an offense.  Rants are not needed.  But neither should compromise be found in this discussion.  Many have come out of the homosexual lifestyle because of the work of God in their lives.  And this will continue to be the case if we keep the Word of God out front in this discussion.  The "if" is the key. 

How long will Chick Fil A hold out?  Will they cave in to the pressure?  I pray NOT!  For more is at stake than one mans right to speak publicly about his beliefs.  The whole foundation of allowing the Word of God to speak and direct on this subject is on the line.  If we lose this fight, we lose the path of sharing the Gospel to the American community as a whole - we lose our own credibility.  And that my friends will be disastrous.

Double standards multiplying are more serious than many think!  And the homosexual community is NOT the only place that this is occurring.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ask, Don't Ask, Accept, Don't Accept, Repent or ?

If the title caught your attention then it will definitely confuse you as it is applied to varying ideas of how one enters into salvation with Jesus.  The increase in articles, books, and sermons covering the whole idea (good and bad) about how a person actually enters into a relationship with Jesus Christ can give one a migraine headache of epic size.

Does a person need to ask Jesus into their life and accept Him as Lord?

There is a big difference between the yes answer and the no answer.  Those who hold to the traditional view of salvation would answer yes.  They would acknowledge that a person must make the decision to turn from their sin (repent) and accept Jesus through faith.  The traditionalist people have believed this for years.  You will find this belief in most Evangelical churches and denominations/Associations/Conventions. 

I agree with this understanding of the Biblical teaching about salvation and hold that this is the Gospel.  I believe that God gives every person the opportunity to make the above choice/decision.  He knows that many will not.  He knows that many will.  My key reason for being convinced in my spirit and mind comes straight from the Word of God.

Notice how clearly salvation is explained in the "how" with the words of Paul in writing to Corinth:

2 Cor 7:10
10    For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

In this passage, Paul is discussing his letter written to them and how it affected them.  He chooses to use the analogy of their sorrow to highlight with the gift of salvation just how a person realizes they are a sinner against God, sees they cannot fix the effect of their sin, and through this Godly sorrow are brought into salvation via the act of repentance.  God's Holy Spirit calls, teaches, and convicts.  Each person must make a choice as to what they will do in response to God and His work offered as a gift.

This process should be taken very seriously.  In fact, the Bible is clear on this when when Paul writes to the people at Philipi and says:

Phil 2:12-13
12    Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
13    for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Clearly Paul acknowledges in this verse that salvation is God's gift.  It is God who works in the calling, conviction, and giving the ability to respond.  Yet Paul also acknowledges that each person must "work out" or make sure they have made the choice and live out the reality of that choice.  One does not realize that they are saved.  One is not born as a chosen one while others are born damned for Hell.  One must respond to the work of God and then allow God to work.  Salvation is all of and about the work of God in and through Jesus.  Yet God does not force Himself on anyone.  It is beyond religion and systems of thoughts.  It requires faith in the Grace of God.  It requires one to repent.  It is more than just a simple mental decision.

I am the first to admit that too many people in all walks of Christianity make salvation more about saying yes to heaven and no to hell.  They want to see their children and grandchildren baptized.  I have seen in over 23 years of ministry that repentance can be somewhat downplayed - which I think is totally wrong.  Without repentance, one cannot be saved.  Salvation is serious.  Salvation is the most important thing in life!  We cannot get this wrong!  Salvation does not precede repentance.  It is impossible with the above verse out of 2 Corinthians.  
And I do not think it is lowering or weakening the sovereignty of God to say and believe what I have written for the process is clearly described in God's Word.  

Have you accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life?  Did you repent and acknowledge that you needed the death of Christ as payment for your sins? 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Learned from my perspective and concerns w/New Calvinism!

Yesterday I wrote a post that was an attempt to get dialogue started on what it is that Calvinists and New Calvinists believe.  The result was much to my surprise.  The folks over at sbctoday.com carried the post and the comments can be viewed their also.  Add to the comments the phone calls of yesterday and today and boy did I learn a great deal.  I just finished a phone call with someone who, along with family, have come out of a Calvinist takeover church.  The story is the same and the 9Marks path of reforming a church is being followed to the letter (as with many, it hit major resistance and left a church totally splintered).  Here is more of what I learned from this part of the journey:

1.  The old form of Calvinism is still alive and well and as friendly and cooperative as ever.  I knew it was but was not seeing it much on the internet.  The Soteriology of the old form balances with the Traditional Statement where it counts the most. 

2.  The Founders version grouped with younger learning theologs are not the mainstream but they sure think they are!  I pray these guys learn quickly that God has not taught them so that can call out other Pastors based on their knowledge to enlighten them and clean up other churches.  They will one day soon learn that ministry; real ministry, is more than arguing some point and claiming superiority.

3.  The limit of blogging and the influence there of is growing weaker by the day.  I think I am thankful for this.  Social media may not be as strong as we think in ministry matters other than informing our people of events and ministry needs etc.  We need to acknowledge this and NOT over react.

4.  You can burn an afternoon quickly if one is not careful.  And when the burn is complete, thre is not much to show for it.

5.  I believe there is a way for cooperation in the SBC with the mainstream older Calvinists as there has been for years.  They are not fully aware of the New Calvinists and refute their assertions at every turn.  This is encouraging.  I am not sure how to cooperate with the New Calvinists.  I keep thinking that the way is out there, but I have yet to see it. 

6.  New Calvinism would make a great study of pollsters and PhD students.

7.  How quickly we forget or neglect some of the simple admonitions in scripture when we want to prove our point or set the world straight!

8.  Bearing False Witness is still a sin.  New Calvinists might need remedial training.

9.  I am more convinced than ever that the Calvinists need a mega meeting of their own to figure out how they will deal with this new breed.  Maybe we have approached this wrong.  The old Calvinists need to listen the New Calvinists and seek to learn what makes them tick.  From that learning it may be possible for them to lead them in today's ministry and churches. 

10.  If you do not live within the influence of certain geographic areas, you might not be aware of New Calvinism at all.

11.  I sure do miss Dr. Adrian Rogers.  I wonder if he would have blogged and tweeted?

12.  Leaders in the SBC have their hands full!  Dr. Page and his task force/committee will need our prayers.

13.  We need statesmen in a bad way these days!

14.  There sure seems to be a problem with taking people at their word! 

15.  The elephant in the room is whether or not Founders and New Calvinists will back off their goal of transforming the SBC?  This is the biggie!  I cannot get an answer from anyone on this one.  Why is that?

And there is much more!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My perspective on why todays Calvinism is a concern.

Comments for this post will be allowed @ sbctoday.com as they plan on posting it on their site with my permission.

I have debated writing this post for some time.  The reality that anything written can be misconstrued is enough by itself to cause hesitation.  The last thing I want to do is leave the wrong impression with anyone.  I love Calvinists and I love Traditionalists.  I work with both and even some in other groups.  So I write the following to voice concerns that I am seeing and hearing.  I write to add clarification as to why I signed the traditional statement.  I write to reveal why this issue is a growing problem.  And since I write best by making lists, I will list out my concerns while making it clear that NO priority is given other than the first one on the list.

The list will include specifics and generic issues tied to people and promotion.  Again, these are my concerns and are questions that I have yet to get consistent answers from (new)Calvinists of today.  The older SBC Calvinists that I have known and respected were totally different.

My Concerns:

1.  Ask 10 different Calvinists what they believe must occur for a person to be saved and you will get at least 5 different answers.

2.  Do Calvinists really believe that John 3:16 shows that only the elect are the ones God loves.

3.  Do Calvinists believe that some people are born with NO hope of salvation?

4.  At what point do Calvinist believe salvation occurs?

5.  How can Calvinists call Traditionalists divisive when it is the Calvinists that have web sites and blogs that specifically state their desire to change the SBC and beyond?

Here is an example from the Founders blog (knowing their website clearly states their desire to change the SBC):  "It is indisputable that we are in the midst of a reformation and recovery of the doctrines of grace, or what has historically been called, "Calvinism." Both statistical and anecdotal evidence of this fact continues to mount. I believe that this is a movement of God and that it is even more widespread than recent studies indicate. As is true with any of work of God, the devil always keeps pace and seeks to steal, kill and destroy. If he cannot keep us from truth then he will do what he can to cause us to hold the truth in imbalanced and ungodly ways."

6.  Young Pastors and staff members are speaking and writing articles that it is dangerous to lead a child to pray to accept Christ?  If this is true, what then should a child do and how should a child be lead by their parents and other influences?

7.   Why is Lifeway sponsoring The Gospel Coalition conferences?

8.  Why is Lifeway promoting more Calvinists and their material?

9.  Why are Calvinists leaders NOT doing more to instill that Pastors must be upfront with their Soteriology?  There are even manuals on how to transition a church from Traditional to Calvinist doctrine.  If there is no move to change the SBC, why are there manuals by 9Marks and others?

10.  Why the aggression from Calvinists because many in the SBC do NOT agree with them?

11.  If the BF&M is enough, why do we have two Seminaries requiring faculty to sign other statements that are Calvinists/Reformed documents?

12.  Since when did Baptist and Reform go together?  The day to day operations of the church do not even match!

13.  If there is no takeover plan, why was there a SBC Professor giving the benefits of the takover (even using a racial slur) at one of the meetings during the SBC?

14.  Why did Lifeway do a survey that gave the participants no option other than saying they were either Calvinists or Arminion?

15.  With the exception of Infant Baptism, since when were Baptist and Presbyterians so much alike?  Dr. James Kennedy was my kind of Presbyterian but today's New Calvinists are nothing close in belief and practice.  Just think back to Evangelism Explosion materials (I was certified as a trainer in an SBC church).  Today's New Calvinists would reject Dr. Kennedy's material.  How and why?

These are the questions I have.  They are simple and I think need to be answered.  We are told that we need to cooperate.  I am fine with that.  I am concerned though that the answers to the above may highlight the difficult journey that cooperation will reveal.  Some Traditionalists are even saying they will sit this discussion out.  I wonder if they would maintain that position when the real truth of the answers are shown. 

I find this issue extremely important simply by the answers to point number one.  If we cannot agree on that one, then we have two different Gospels.  Cooperation will not occur at that point.

And speaking of the Gospel, is it not odd that Calvinists/Reformed call their Soteriology the true Gospel and thus label much of their work and conferences with the word Gospel in it?

These are my concerns.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Parents - Beware!

The past few posts have dealt with an article written by Family Pastor Jarred Kennedy of Sojourn Church in Lousiville, KY.  This article highlights to me the pressing need for churches to make sure they are teaching the Gospel as the Bible teaches it in light of what I call the Gumbo of Theology that is coming out from all corners of theological life today.  Our younger couples in America do not have the background that I was blessed with - many do not come from families with steady spiritual emphasis in the younger years.  There lives have not been filled with Biblical teaching and preaching.  At best, we often see a mix of theological thought when we do see it.

The article appears at a time when several popular speakers and writers launched similar attacks on the "asking Jesus" or "praying the prayer" events that are found common in millions of Christians salvation experience over the years.  These attacks are rooted in the Calvinist approach to Theology and are Reformed in their nature.  They stem from a Protestant background with a disdain for the revival movements of years gone by.  They make huge generic assumptions which seemingly reinforce their idea of how salvation works and the method of.

Young couples void of much background are quick to grasp at this different approach for several reasons.  They have heard of abuse in the past when people were coerced into emotional responses to a sermon or event that said "if you want to go to heaven, do xyz".  I understand that past and have fought to change the damage that a few have done.  I also know first hand that this damage is NOT widespread.  Evangelists have been men of honor and servants of the Lord for years.  Though you can always find a bad one, the good ones far out number the bad!  I personally detest the lumping of all evangelists into a bad category and find the generalizations that do appalling and arrogant; and lacking in Biblical conduct.

Parents who God has blessed with children have a huge spiritual responsibility.  This begins with the sharing of God's plan for the world and the gift of Jesus.  Teaching the Biblical truths of sin and the effects of.  Clearly acknowledging that Hell is a real place and the place where sinners who have NOT experienced God's Salvation in Jesus spend eternity must be taught and reinforced.  In this, parents beg for God to save their children.  We pray and talk.  We place them in vibrant ministry environments so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is heard over and over again.  We desire with all our being for our children to experience salvation in Jesus Christ.  And this we should do!

Enter time warp to NOW.  Suddenly people in popular positions and influence are teaching that which is different than what we have been taught or are currently hearing.  We read articles such as this that without a deep background in the Word of God would make us cringe and fearful.  No where in the article is the "how to" told.  No where is hope given that Salvation will come.  I find this frightening.  With all the complaints of the past ideas and approaches, with all the glory of the so called re-captured Gospel, there is NO plan.  Tell the history.  Just tell the history.

The reason for this is that the author, and those who think like him, actually believe that you are either born being saved or you are born with NO hope of ever being saved.  No decision is required.  It is a settled thing with God and Jesus only died for the elect.  So you are either elect at birth or lost, damned to Hell for eternity.

Parents beware!  The Bible does NOT teach this. 

Jesus repeatedly offers salvation to all who will receive.  John 3:16 is right the way you have heard it; "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that who so ever believes on Him shall NOT perish, but have everlasting life!" The Bible goes on to say in Philippians 2:12;  that we should "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling". 

Salvation is too serious an issue to be tossed around with ideas that lead people down paths of NOT calling others to repentance; especially their own children.  I know without a doubt that God knows who will be saved and who will not.  He desires all.  Yet He knows some will NOT respond to His Holy Spirit and accept His gift.  But it is offered to ALL!

Our church has overhauled our ministry to children for this very reason.  We do not coerce children into emotional decisions.  We do however teach what the Bible says about sin, Hell, and Heaven.  We teach that without repentance, their is NO remission of sin.  That only Jesus can save you.  We teach that when the Holy Spirit convicts, one needs to respond.  We teach the Gospel from the Gospel perspective and NOT from a Reformed Protestant view.  We give children and all people Jesus and call them  to respond as God leads.  We have two and often three staff members deal with children to make sure to the best of our human ability that the child is responding to the call of God and NOT making a decision out of fear of Hell or "wanting" to go to Heaven.

I cannot imagine the idea of a parent doing anything but the above.  Nor can I grasp a church that would NOT do the same.  I respectfully and emphatically deny that the article critiqued has any validity and I firmly believe it leads parents down a dangerous path, thus their children.  

Parents beware!  Your children's eternal destination is at stake.  Don't put another stumbling block in front them.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Entering into a relationship with Jesus - Part 3

And so we continue:

The author states:

Point 6 - The phrase "ask Jesus into your heart" is neither commanded in scripture nor found as a description of conversion.

Question:  Is the author desiring/communicating that only an acknowledgement of the work is needed?

My thoughts:  This point gets to the core of a major issue with this line of reasoning.  I find it odd that no mention is made of the "what" that is to take place?  As with many today, it appears that the author is leading parents down a path that would have them lead their children to REALIZE they are in the elect.  And thus if no realization occurs, they were then NOT part of the elect.

Point 7 - God only saves those who repent of their sin and delight in His Son.

Question:  Does God save others who are NOT repentant and DO NOT delight in Jesus?

My thoughts:  This is were we see the breakdown in this theology.  The author opens the door for people being in God's family without repenting.  No where in the Bible is this allowed nor shown.  The author uses a verse out of Revelation and the Laodicia church to highlight this.  I honestly do NOT see the connection with the point and the reference.  He also makes a distinction between the church and people.  Yet we know that individuals make up the local churches and all saved are in the body of Christ.  

Point 8 - Leading a child in a "sinners prayer" may give the child false assurance.

Question:  Has anyone, anywhere, even hinted at this idea?

My thoughts:  Assurance only comes via the Spirit of God.  As the Spirit of God relates to the truth of God's Word lived out in our life, assurance flows.  Without the Truth of God's Word lived out in our life, the Spirit has nothing to assure us of.  The real need is for repentance which comes from Godly sorrow over our sin.  And in that sorrow, we call out to God accepting His gift of Jesus in payment for our sins and acknowledging Him as Lord of our life.  This may be the first time I have heard of "false assurance" from praying.  

Point 9 - This presentation robs God of His sovereignty.

Question:  How?

My thoughts:  In this final point we see the real goal motivating the article.  The author is convinced that some are born elect while others are born with NO hope of salvation.  Read that again.  This is what this article is all about.  And the article has as it's goal a two fold outcome:  teach this thought to parents and teach this thought to children.

One is left with a simple understanding from this article.  All we need to do is just realize that we are elect.  In this realization, repentance will come, and faith will be exercised.  But I will leave you with this thought and why this is an issue with me:

2 Cor 7:10
10    For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Entering into a relationship with Jesus - Part 2

As we continue this series on the "how" a person enters into a relationship with Jesus, we will pick up with the real reason this article was written and the 9 points the author of the article makes pertaining to sharing the Gospel with children and why another way is bad/wrong.

The author states:

I have come to believe that the phrase “ask Jesus into your heart” can be a dangerous way of calling someone to faith.

Point 1 - This type of figurative language is NOT appropriate for children.

Question:  Since when?  The Bible uses this same type of language.  Are we really at a point where we are going to question the very Words of Jesus?

My thoughts:  This is a straw man if ever there was one.  David Platt has made the same statement.  The real motivation of this statement is to attack the idea that the Gospel/Salvation is available for all/who so ever.  If a person is born elect and has no choice, then their will not be a decision nor a asking into the heart moment in their life.  There will be a moment of "realization".

Point 2 - Salvation does not come from our asking, but from what Jesus has done.

Question:  Do we have to accept it or is it automatic?

My thoughts:  I will add to what I stated above in Point 1 this:  The Reformed/Calvinist thought actually believes that the Gospel is limited and thus some people are born with NO hope of salvation.  People do not need to ask Jesus into their hearts for they were elect from the beginning.  They just need to realize it.  Those who do NOT realize, were not elect, and thus destined for hell with NO hope ever.

Point 3 - The gospel is NOT primarily about Jesus’ work in our hearts, but about Jesus’ work in history.

Question:  Does our heart matter?

My thoughts:  I fully grasp the statement if it were to stand alone, absent an agenda.  However, this statement is another way of restating Point 2.

Point 4 - The Gospel Appeals to more than emotion.

Question:  Who said that emotion is all that the Gospel appeals to?

My thoughts:  The attack here is on Revivalism.  Simply put, Reformed/Calvinist actually think that people over the years who accepted Christ during revival meetings or during an invitation call made a preacher to accept Christ, really did not have it right.  Again, the assumptions made are startling.  Yes there were those who used emotion to get people to walk the isles.  Yes it was wrong.  But the majority did not rely on emotions and to make such an implication is absurd.  The author then states in this point that accepting Christ is "finally resting in Christ".  Again, accept that it is a reality of the elect and NOT a decision that needs to be made.

Point 5 - Over emphasizing a change of heart can actually discourage a child.

Question:  Do you realize that this appears to negate the role of brokenness?

My thoughts:  A heart change is what is needed!  Brokenness allows one to see this need and leads to confession and repentance.  The thought expressed by the author is one derived from the secular counseling side of theological thought.  It is bad theology and the fear does not exist.  It preys on the parents sensitivity which when applied, would lead parents down a path of NOT calling their own children to repent.  This is SAD!

The next post will continue with points 6 - 9.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Entering into a relationship with Jesus - Part 1

While reading articles on ministry and practice in our current day, my Children's Pastor walked into my office and referred me to an article that dealt specifically with the subject of what NOT to do when sharing the Gospel with a child.  The article is written by a Family Pastor at a church that is quite large in attendance.  I was curious to see what his take was on just how a person "gets saved", or accepts Christ, or...?  The article had my blood boiling quickly.  The article highlighted the confusion being created by those of the Reformed ideas of Soteriology and the deep depths of their intentions to take this poor theological system to the world. 

In the beginning, The Editors of the site that published the article had the following disclaimer/embrace:

Sharing the gospel with our children is an extremely critical task and the language we us to communicate the good news to them is also vitally important. This article offers an alternative view to a very traditional method of evangelism.

From this beginning, it is clear that the information to be shared is against what the author and editors know to be "traditional" in relation to how one accepts Christ or becomes a Christian.  I admit that this statement alone had me boiling.  But the reality that someone has now figured out that we have been doing the command of disciple making wrong and that millions who have accepted Christ over the years have also done it wrong leaves one with no other alternative than to boil - a lot!  The arrogance of the mere thought is typical in the modern day Reformed movement known as New Calvinist.  It is this arrogance that is leading to charges of arrogance, and rightly so.

The author seems to somewhat flip/flop on the subject in his opening by stating:

Your child lies in her snugly, warm bed and says, “Yes, Daddy.  I want to ask Jesus into my heart.”  You lead her in “the prayer” and hope that it sticks.  You spend the next ten years questioning if she really, really meant it.  Puberty hits, and you only have more questions.  She turns away from faith.  You spend the next ten years praying that she will come to her senses.  What went wrong?

 And then the author says the following:

Of course, there is no way to guarantee that an early acceptance of the gospel will stick, and parents should not feel defeated when their adolescents question or even rebel against what they have been taught from a young age.  

Is the author saying that the child accepted Christ, became a child of God, and then lost Jesus or left Him?  True there is NO way as a human being to know for certain that anyone other than self has entered into a relationship with Jesus.  I do not question this at all.  What I do raise as a point of theological fact is that the Gospel is NOT a thing that sticks or does not.  Either a person accepts Christ and becomes a Christian, secured by Jesus for all eternity, or they do not, and remain lost needing to accept Christ.

As a parent of two teenage boys, I never once questioned my sons salvation.  I heard from them of their decision to accept Christ and witnessed the brokenness over sin and the effects of it, in their lives.  Maybe some parents do question this, but to present an article on a subject that is as important as salvation, presuming to know something that is NOT general in terms by any means, presents more of the arrogance of this movement and highlights a great problem - what is the Gospel and how does one enter into a relationship with Jesus and know that it is sealed for all eternity?

My next post will deal with the specifics of this article.  At the end of the review, I will share the article and author information.