Truth Warrior

Sunday, November 05, 2006

And Even More So Today!

“The fundamental fault of the modern Church is that she is busily engaged in an absolutely impossible task--she is busily engaged in calling the righteous to repentance. Modern preachers are trying to bring men into the Church without requiring them to relinquish their pride; they are trying to help men avoid the conviction of sin. The preacher gets into the pulpit, opens the Bible, and addresses the congregation somewhat as follows: ‘You people are very good,’ he says; ‘you respond to every appeal that looks toward the welfare of the community. Now we have in the Bible--especially in the life of Jesus--something so good that we believe it is good enough even for you good people.’ Such is the modern preaching. It is heard every Sunday in thousands of pulpits. But it is entirely futile. Even our Lord did not call the righteous to repentance, and probably we shall be no more successful than He.”
J. Gresham Machen
Christianity and Liberalism
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), p. 68

[These remarks--which perfectly describe the modern “seeker-friendly” pattern widely adopted in evangelical and fundamental churches in the recent years, which down-plays, even omits, preaching on sin, guilt, judgment and condemnation, and omits any call to repentance--were published in 1923! Let it be known that the inevitable consequence of this omission of the Gospel’s clarion call for repentance from sin and guilt was general apostasy in short order in the denominations and churches which substituted the Biblical Gospel for the easy Gospel of smooth words and sin without consequences-- Doug Kutilek]

18 Comments:

  • Robert Schuler from the Crystal Cathedral epitomises this way of preaching I think. Billy Graham said that he was his dearest brother in the Lord. Oddly Schuler studied extensively in Covanental Theology and considers himself to be a Calvinist. Both he and Billy Graham believe in the wider gate theory that all give an account for whatever amount of light they receive and since the belief that regeneration precedes faith is part of the foundation of their upbringing they feel that folks among other religions may be believing in Christ and not know it yet. Billys Father in law was presbyterian as I remember.

    I am not trying to accuse anyone here I am just revealing what has led many men in their theology to accept a wider gate theory. I hope some will consider this without them thinking that I am meaning any ill toward them. I am just showing why I personally am concerned and have reason to be.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 5/11/06 1:22 PM  

  • Brian,
    J. Gresham Machen was a Presbyterian too! He was a contender for the faith! IOW there is a difference between Fundamental Covenantal Theologians and liberal Covenantal Theologians. The Main danger to me is the replacement theology and the damage done when good men will not recognize national Israel as God’s chosen people. This is among the problems I have with Covenant Theology, but I would not throw the baby out with the bath water.

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 5/11/06 2:10 PM  

  • I understand but in the process we do need to get the baby out of the bathwater and stop trying to clean up the bathwater and ignore the baby thinking that we are helping the baby by cleaning up the bathwater.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 5/11/06 3:08 PM  

  • The bottom line is indeed independence though...but you have to admit that mainline denomintations including the SBC and the PCA are speaking liberal and conservative with one voice so that the sound has amalgamated into something that we cannot discern or differentiate. Its all become one big melting pot and the old fundamentalism of old(yes both Presbyterians and Baptists) are an old dying dinosaur.

    Satan takes a certain truth and bends it in his direction. He can do that with any truth I guess, but the greatest point is that there is no clear voice anymore it seems. The water is muddy and its getting muddier. We need to get out of the waters.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 5/11/06 4:49 PM  

  • You should have heard Schuler interviewed by a real Calvinist. It was very funny -- if it weren't so sad. You might be able to hear it in the archives of the White Horse Inn (Google it) -- also some conservative Lutherans inteviewed Schuler and confronted him with the Gospel, that is found in the broadcast archives of Issues Etc).

    I wrote my take on why so many Reformed went apostate just a few minutes ago in the comments of John's previous blog entry (so much for me saying it was my last comment :o)).

    By Blogger Earl, at 5/11/06 5:37 PM  

  • Hi Earl,

    Love you brother. I am glad you guys are challenging falsehood and that is good, but I still believe reformation only continues to rebreed....you know kind of like pooring water on the gremlins.

    I believe quarantine and seperation is the only thing that is going to heal us...but still let it be know that I am glad that you contend for fundamental truth and are a firm believer.

    And about last coments?

    Never say never. Ive learned not to anyway:-)

    Both John and Rose can tell you that. They have been around the horse shed with me a few times.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 5/11/06 8:34 PM  

  • Brian,

    My comment about no more comments was only on the topic, I feared I had overstayed my welcome. But John and Rose are very gracious and kind to me in spite of the character I am.

    I think reform is possible -- in some cases. I think of two examples. The World Wide Church of God, which was an outright heretical cult. I don’t know what all their doctrine is, but from what I’ve heard, they moved away from that. Perhaps you have better information than me. Another is the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Now, I have serious reservations about some of the Lutheran doctrine, particularly I don’t understand their position on baptism, which sounds to regenerational baptism to my ears. But, in the 1970’s, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod had wide spread liberalism in it. By God’s grace, the Synod took a firm stance on inerrancy of Scripture and the denomination was transformed.

    However, that is not the general trend. It takes a very special calling to stand up against the heavy tide of apostasy in a denomination, and I think God calls some people to do that. I don’t think the Episcopal Church USA will go back to the gospel. However, from the work of individuals, such as Lee Buck, a layman in the ECUSA, God has brought many people from within that denomination to himself. Ultimately I think those people will form a gospel believing Episcopal denomination, made of churches like Church of the Apostles in Atlanta.

    God works in surprising ways.

    By Blogger Earl, at 5/11/06 9:01 PM  

  • yes God always does work in surprising ways brother and God brought water from the Rock even when Moses disobeyed and struck it. God honors his word. He always has and he always will. It is we humans that always seem to want to defy the laws of gravity and prove God wrong. God does not like to see his children fail and go through hardships in these trials in denominations...but ultimately both motivation and obediance will meet the fires at the Judgment Seat of Christ and God has commanded his people to come out. Ekklesia are the called out ones.

    May the Lord bless you tomorrow brother and may we endeavor to seek to build on the plumbline in the same way the men in Nehemiahs day did and refused the aid of those who said they wanted to help build the temple with them that were not of Israel.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 5/11/06 9:15 PM  

  • The quotation is very true.

    John, 'liberal covenant theologians?'

    I am not sure that it is helpful or appropriate to connect liberal and Covenant theology.

    Much as we diasgree with Covenant theology, that system is inherently conservative.

    Covenant theology is anathema to those who endorse modern critical views of Scripture.

    To believe Covenant theology one has to view the Bible as a unitary revelation. No Liberal could take such a position.

    Covenant theologians are not liberal and no liberals follow Covenant theology.

    Covenant theology is bad theology, but it is bad conservatism, not wicked liberalism.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 6/11/06 3:57 AM  

  • Thanks for reading all!

    Good discussion Brian and Earl. The SBC seems to make ground from time to time too, but Brian makes a good point about the filthy bath water. ;~)

    Matthew, unfortunately I know some liberals who claim CT for their own. You said, "Covenant theology is anathema to those who endorse modern critical views of Scripture."

    O.T. Allis (not on my list of favorite CT, but he) wrote a brilliant book defending the singularity authorship of Isaiah against those in the CT camp that hold to duel and multiple authorship of Isaiah. These are the same folks that spawned the J.E.D.P. theory. Are they not liberal? Are they not CT?

    Covenant theology is bad theology, but it is bad conservatism, not wicked liberalism.

    For the most part brother I agree, but there is also some good, deep, and rich theology there as well. How did I not communicate this?

    God bless,
    brother John

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 6/11/06 7:17 AM  

  • John, can you name any 'liberal Covenant theologians?'

    I do not understand how a person of liberal theology could endorse the system of Covenant theology.

    Covenant theology depends upon the inspiration and unity of the whole Bible.

    Liberal theologians do not believe the Bible and they do not think that it is a single book that is united in purpose and theme. They rather see it as a collection of books of varying moral worth with no overarching structure.

    I dare say there may be liberals who call themselves Covenant theologians, but that would not make them such and it would not establish any connection between those theological systems.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 6/11/06 2:07 PM  

  • I also do see National Israel as being seperate from the Church. There is no doubt this is true. Of course I also see the people of God as one. Noah was not a Jew and he was old Testament as was Job and many others. I do see God using the Nation Israel to show man that they cannot repent in their flesh and thus reveals the need for faith in God as seen in the fig tree cursed by Jesus.

    I do see some in Israel being the people of God. What is so hard for me John is seeing the reality that God from the begining of creation was forming a bride for himself in the same way he made one for Adam and thus revealed the Mystery of the Church.

    I guess what is so hard for me is dogmatically nailing this all down. There is so much in scripture that I struggle with; but make not mistake in that I believe the New Testement is like disecting it all and revealing what lies behind the veil and that is Faith alone in the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ being the only hope of our eternal salvation.

    I guess what I still need to do is study more before I really nail down where I stand on dispenstionalism is what I meant.

    As for Covanent Theology? I can actually see how it is helpful in bringing liberals and conservatives together.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 6/11/06 3:43 PM  

  • Hi Matthew,
    I think your analysis of CT is too strict, where my analysis may be looser. Please try to understand, I am NOT saying liberalism is a result of CT, anymore than I would say Neo-evangelicalism is a result of Fundamentalism. I am pointing out here that there are liberals who claim to be solidly the true CT camp.

    Let's ask,

    Where did Neo Orthodoxy begin?

    What about higher, or form criticism (ex. J. E. D. P.)?

    What theological system do you think those participants in the Jesus Seminar claim?

    Do you think Robert Schuler would say he is not in the CT camp?

    What do you make of
    Julius Wellhausen?

    Hermann Gunkel?

    Rudolf Bultmann?

    The one who I am closest with is Dr. David Cook Young, he and his wife are true friends of my parents. An endorsement of his can be viewed here with a few others that include those that claim to be solidly in the CT camp (don’t forget to visit the home page).

    I hope you don't get depressed after a scant look. I become deeply sadened by Libral teaching and feel the best thing I can do is pray.

    You are right, however, one would think these men and women would reject CT and the Bible, but they do not say they are rejecting either. It is a puzzle to me.

    Matthew the learners in our ABF know how to draw certain discussion points out of me, and may I say, you do a fine job too.

    This is where I get on all sorts of tangents

    Your brother in Christ,
    John

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 7/11/06 6:37 AM  

  • HI Brian,
    I do not really have a hobby horse or a whipping post.

    Harold Barry has the cults,
    Jack Chick has the RCI,
    James White has Arminians,
    Dave Hunt has Calvinists,
    John MacArthur has sloppy Christian living,
    and
    Zane Hodges has Lordship Salvation.

    If I had one and I don’t. I don’t for many reasons. If I did I would consider making Covenant Theology my hobby horse. Yet, I love the brethren, in all the various camps and I should try to find more to appreciate than to critique. I suppose these posts were a reaction to the bitter odium expressed in Blogdom toward other fundamentalists who happen to hold to Dispensational Theology.

    Brian, I need to fall back and regroup. Pray for me brother.

    In His fellowship,
    Brother John

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 7/11/06 6:57 AM  

  • J.N. Darby had anyone who disagreed with him on any point whatsoever.

    Matthew C has wearing shoes in homes.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 7/11/06 2:19 PM  

  • Youll be fine brother John. I find that through the thick of all this we tend to grow and strengthen our arms and legs.

    We also grow all the more wiser:-)

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 7/11/06 3:17 PM  

  • Gotta keep the supply line fresh too:-)

    Take a chill pill and let someone else out here take over and pay the bill.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 7/11/06 3:18 PM  

  • >J.N. Darby had anyone who disagreed with him on any point whatsoever<

    My brother Brad is the exact same way. He is a perfect piano player as well. He settles for nothing less than perfection in the field of skill. Dino was one of his favorite pianists.

    We must however remember though that a shepherd boy came with a sling and could not fit in anothers armour. Selah.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 7/11/06 3:23 PM  

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