Tuesday, April 11, 2006very, very bad man...
Well, it's been a few days now, and I'm still getting some comments and e-mails on my post which dealt with Puritan Belief. All seem to agree that PB is way off on his "oneness theology", but then I am told that I am also off in the way I have dealt with him. The point of contention, it would seem, is the following phrase:
"PB is not a Christian, and needs to come to the knowledge of the Truth; which, of course, includes the Doctrine of the Trinity (Matthew 3:16-17; John 14:26)."
The above quote made me an unloving, ungracious man. I am told, repeatedly, that I don't know PB well enough to make that kind of decision. I am told that while PB is incorrect in his view of God, he really is a Christian because "he is honestly seeking the Truth." I have been warned that my post would only further push PB away from the Truth, and that "I needed only to love PB and encourage him as a brother."
I am finding all of this very aggravating.
In my most recent post, I mentioned a couple of ladies who questioned my love for the lost because we preached in the open air about their need for repentance and faith in Christ Jesus for eternal life. You see the ladies in question didn't want to hear that message; they wanted to hear that everyone were "just fine in the sight of God", and "God was going to be loving and gracious to all." While I agree such a message would be quite a "sweetheart" message, there is a problem with it:
IT'S A LIE!
I could lie to make the Truth of the Gospel more appealing, but it would then be quite hypocritical of me to call what I am preaching, the Gospel. I am sure most of the people who have written to me over the last few days would completely agree with me in this, but where they jump off the band wagon is when it applies to someone they know, someone they love. Now, I see this all the time: Christians who can't bare the thought of a loved one being outside the Truth that is in Christ Jesus, that they convince themselves that their loved one is only "mistaken", and that this loved one's "honesty in seeking Truth" will somehow get him/her favour with God. They would never think this way for a stranger who behaved the exact same way, but their loved one? "No way, he has to be saved!"
This kind of hypocrisy really irks me. It irks me because what this produces is a deceived sinner (in this case, a man who rejects the Triunity of God is made to believe that this is no big deal, since he is still a Christian). And what about those who faithfully stand by the standard of Scripture? They are made to look like cold, unloving souls. And make no mistake, my standard is the standard of Scripture. Consider:
"And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity." (Acts 8:1-23)
Oh dear! Oh dear! how unloving! Did Peter not consider that perhaps Simon was just making an understandable error? I mean just days before the apostles' showed up, Simon was a sorcerer that wrought works for money. How many of you will say to me that Peter was in error in dealing so sternly with Simon in the above Bible passage?
"But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some." (2 Timothy 2:16-18)
How ungracious!!! I mean Hymenaeus and Philetus only erred in the timing of the Lord's return! Surely these men were still Christians, they only erred in their view of eschatology. Right?
Wrong. We even read in 1 Timothy that Paul had delivered Hymenaeus to Satan. How many of you would charge the apostle Paul with "being ungracious?" How many of you would charge him with "pushing Hymenaeus away from the Truth?" It would seem we have a double standard here.
Some may interject here: "these aren't good examples, because these men weren't honestly seeking Truth." My question here would be: "how do you know that?" How many false teachers do you know who actually believe they are preaching falsehood? How many false teachers do you think there are in the world that actually think to themselves: "I want to deceive as many souls as possible, so they could all wind up in Hell!" I don't think I've ever met such a false teacher.
The fact of the matter is false teachers are, for the most part, honestly deceived by their own false teachings; and that, whether the false teaching came from their heads, or whether it came from someone else's. The Bible even testifies to that fact:
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." (2 Timothy 3:13)
Applying all this to the PB situation which started all this:
"I don't really know PB?" Granted. I really don't know him that well, but that is completely irrelevant. If anything, my lack of knowledge of PB on a personal level helps me to be objective in my "judging his fruit" (Matthew 7:17). PB rejects the Truth of the Gospel by rejecting the Trinity. This is fact.
"And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:16-17)
Jesus, the Spirit of God and the Heavenly Father. The three Persons of the One God.
"... let God be true, but every man a liar..." (Romans 3:4a)