I recently corrected a facebook friend because she claims the name of Jesus, but says that people need to pay for their own sins. Her reaction to being given scripture stating we all need a savior? To ‘rebuke’ me for hiding behind scripture and that though I may need a savior, she doesn’t need saving. Wow.. Jesus said that not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” is his. I feel I did my duty in giving biblical correction in a loving way, and she didn’t listen at all, so I wipe the dust off my feet. It’s so sad to have her say she believes in Jesus but who actually doesn’t know him at all. For if she did know him, she would see her need of a savior. Instead, she says she’s “spiritual” and hates “the Apostate churches.”
“Whom say ye that I am?” is what Jesus asked Peter. Peter’s response? “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt 16:15-16). Peter recognized him as Christ, which is Messiah, or Savior! Peter knew he was a sinful man and needed a savior. Today, just as then, there are those who don’t know who Jesus truly is, for it has not been given them. It is a miracle that God chose to save any of us. Lord, please open the eyes of those who do not know who you truly are.
I love this Peanuts strip. Yes, I firmly believe in reformed soteriology, and I am a continualist (believes the gifts of the Spirit didn’t end) but I am not going to be so dogmatic in every point of doctrine that I can’t/won’t admit that I could be wrong. My experience with Reformed churches, but particularly Reformed Baptist churches is that they believe they have it all figured out in their confession of faith and won’t believe anything not outlined by that confession, which is one reason why there’s been such a rise in non-denominational churches.
The Reformed Baptist churches hold so strictly to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith that they can’t go beyond that in any point of doctrine, lest they not be “Reformed Baptist” any more. As an example, the only difference between the 1689 LBCF and the 1742 Philadelphia Confession of Faith is that the latter adds a section for their belief in the laying on of hands, from the NT book of James. If a Reformed Baptist Church subscribes to the 1742 PCF then as the best expression of what they believe instead of the 1689 LBCF, then they can’t be a member of the association. Additionally if a church believes in the gifts of the Spirit, then they can’t be a member, because the 1689/1742 confessions say specifically that the gifts ended. So I say all that to say that I find the confessions immensely useful, but not perfect, and I have a huge issue with a church not being able to go beyond the bounds of a man-made confession in what they believe.
As I listened to some hymns this morning, heard readings from the King James Bible, and then read my King James Bible, I was reminded how comforting it is to hear the words of hymns people have sung for generations, and the word read for generations. It’s brings me comfort and joy to be reading and hearing the same scriptures read that multiplied millions of Christians have also for 400 years. Today, we’re too quick to throw out our King James Bibles as outdated and not speaking to us today. What a fallacy that is! The King James Bible is treasured in my house as the word of God for English speaking people. We proudly hold it up as the book of the Lord and rejoice in it. Thank you God for giving us your preserved words that we can trust and believe, ever jot and tittle and letter of it.
I am a member of multiple facebook groups where there are Arminians, Calvinists, and people who don’t know that they’re one of either. I believe the doctrines of grace, and I will preach the doctrines of grace as they are what I see in the scriptures and bear out in experience. That being said, I don’t go around calling Arminians heretics. Do I believe that free will Arminianism is heresy? Yes! But I am not willing to call a committed believer who does not know the doctrines of grace a heretic. Too often I have seen on the reformed facebook groups that Arminians are being called heretics and some Calvinist believers have gone so far as to say they wouldn’t fellowship with an Arminian over their ‘heresy’. I see that as a horrible witness. No I don’t agree with their belief, but I do at least see how they could biblically come to that belief, and as the still believe in essential Christian doctrine, then why would God want me to break fellowship with them? What kind of witness is that to our Lord?
The same thing could be said for denominations. Baptist, Methodist, Church of Christ, Apostolic Faith, non-denominational, Church of the Nazarene, etc, etc. There are some real and important differences there, regarding beliefs in sin and salvation. We should always be willing to dialog and fellowship with each other and stop being so quick to call each other heretic.
Too often we get caught up in our ‘pet’ belief system and we don’t want to look at any other beliefs or test our own beliefs. We should stand for good doctrine, but we should also speak the truth in love, and we should not break fellowship with other believers when we all confess the same essential doctrines of the faith. The scripture speaks of having unity in the body, let’s see that in play.
God’s grace and mercy are wonderful things that I think are missing in the church today, by and large. If my own family’s experiences are any indicator, then this should be extremely troubling. We’ve left churches because we weren’t shown grace, and we’ve found a church where we can show grace. I’ve never been looking for the perfect church, because such a thing doesn’t exist. However, I believe that there should be an attitude from the leadership of grace. I am also not saying that sins should not be confronted, just that grace should be shown in that we’re all sinners and one of us has a heart that is perfect towards God. I am so happy for the grace shown to me and my family by our new church that it is worth the hour drive back to where I used to live to attend it.
Because of the grace shown to us in not forcing un-biblical reconciliation upon us with my mother in law, we were able to actually become part of the body, to contribute and uplifting to those around us. Even with my still suffering with cancer and excruciating pain, I was able to start the website for the church, to attend Sunday School, and to fellowship with members of the body. By showing grace to us in our situation with my mother in law and taking the time to actually understand it, the pastor has done such a great service to us that we can never repay. He is a true man of God that I have the utmost respect for and I cannot think of a better example of a Christian leader. The Lord has truly been gracious to me in leading me back to Trinity Apostolic Faith Church.
Sometimes you just need to be loved, as Christ loved.
If you read all of Chapter 53 (only 12 verses) you see that it’s clearly referencing Jesus being stricken and afflicted for our sins and not for physical healing. Hence, by his stripes we’re healed from being a slave to sin, and able to have a relationship with God the father. The Apostolic interpretation by Peter in 1 Peter 2:24 confirms this. Yes, Jesus does heal, however it’s not a normative event and it certainly isn’t guaranteed by the passage. Isaiah 53:5 cannot and should not be used as a proof text to justify physical healing by Jesus, and using it that way makes you guilty of misleading fellow believers and is a slap in the face to those have suffered physically for the cause of Christ or otherwise. I pray fervently for healing from my cancer, but I also realize that physical healing may not be God’s will for me, it certainly wasn’t for my Father in Law. He went to his death glorifying God and anticipating seeing his savior. His death touched many in a way that wouldn’t have happened if God had healed him. A full defense can be found at http://www.letusreason.org/wf10.htm
1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)