Saturday, January 05, 2013

...a sacred trust from Christ to His church

"I was born to fight devils and factions. It is my business to remove obstructions, to cut down thorns, to fill up quagmires, and to open and make straight paths. But if I must have some failing I would rather preach the truth with too great a severity than to ever once act the hypocrite and conceal the truth!" -Martin Luther (cf, 2 Timothy 1:6-18)

"The keys of the Kingdom are a sacred trust from Christ to His church. Those keys symbolize custody of the very entrance to the Kingdom. He has placed the church in the world and commanded us to preach the gospel so that we can stand as a beacon to point the way to that Kingdom. If we compromise His Word or camouflage the gospel, we cease to be that beacon, and we forfeit the only authority we have to use the keys of the Kingdom.

When the church is faithful to God and His word, however, we actually enact heaven's decisions here on earth. We can speak with authority to an unbelieving world. When heaven is in agreement with us, the issue is settled in accord with the highest possible authority. But if we compromise God's Word, we forfeit the very source of our authority. That is why it is so crucial for the church to deal seriously with God, to handle His Word with integrity, and to stand apart from the world. And that is what we mean when we pray, "Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10)."
-John MacArthur, "Ashamed of the Gospel" (cf, 2 Timothy 4:1-5)


ron said...

Part of preaching the truth?...

Luther and the Lord's Supper

Luther believed that through baptism one becomes a Christian. And, thus, it resulted in salvation on the basis of "faith alone." Communion was for maintenance. Luther taught that through communion, one received forgiveness of sins that threatened one's relationship with Christ and strength for Christian living:

"For here in the sacrament [Communion] you receive from Christ's lips the forgiveness of sins, which contains and conveys God's grace and Spirit with all his gifts, protection, defense, and power against death and the devil and all evils" (The Large Catechism -- p. 98).

Not Far Removed from Roman Catholicism

"Luther taught that the sacraments of baptism and Lord's Supper are vehicles that communicate the grace of God. ... Luther's concept of baptism did not differ markedly from the Roman Catholic view; he retained much of the Roman ceremony connected with the rite. Luther taught baptism is necessary to salvation and, in fact, produces regeneration in the person. ... Luther also upheld infant baptism, teaching that although infants are unable to exercise faith, God through His prevenient grace, works faith in the unconscious child. He based the baptism of infants on the command to baptize all nations (Mt. 28:19)" (Paul Enns in the Moody Handbook of Theology, pp. 452-453)

Don't get me wrong. I praise God for Luther. My point is I believe he got some things wrong, and he was not known to be the most gracious when challenged. Many who comment on this blog reflect what I would say are problems of that sort.

Adjutorium said...

My point is I believe he got some things wrong, and he was not known to be the most gracious when challenged. Many who comment on this blog reflect what I would say are problems of that sort.

Yikes, that bites.

Who are the many? Are YOU one of the many? ME? WHO? Name the MANY and list them upon the Internet, along with all their other sins.

Are three fingers pointing at you as you point the finger at others?

How often do you lift a finger to help others and point them in the right direction?

"Are you persuaded you see more clearly than me? It is not unlikely that you may. Then treat me as you would desire to be treated yourself upon a change of circumstances. Point me out a better way than I have yet known. Show me it is so, by plain proof of Scripture. And if I linger in the path I have been accustomed to tread, and am therefore unwilling to leave it, labour with me a little; take me by the hand, and lead me as I am able to bear. But be not displeased if I entreat you not to beat me down in order to quicken my pace: I can go but feebly and slowly at best; then, I should not be able to go at all. May I not request of you, further, not to give me hard names in order to bring me into the right way. Suppose I were ever so much in the wrong, I doubt this would not set me right. Rather, it would make me run so much the farther from you, and so get more and more out of the way."

Martin Luther

Martin Luther was born in 1483 into a strict German Catholic family. His parents intended him for a law career, but he became a monk and a theology professor instead. A sensitive soul, he struggled mightily with a guilty conscience and an intense fear of God and hell until he realized the doctrine of "justification by faith" while studying the book of Romans. This doctrine, his Augustinian understanding of the bondage of the will along with his conviction that the Bible should be the basis of religious life and available to all, became the theological foundation of Protestantism.

"As Luther grew in understanding, he had come to detest scholasticism as a betrayal of the biblical message. He violently opposed the way that the schoolmen had blended Christianity with the philosophy of Aristotle. He had also, by this time, rejected the neo-Pelagian teachings of William and Ockham and Gabriel Biel about salvation, and followed Staupitz in becoming a disciple of Augustine of Hippo; from now to the end of his life, Luther was to be a whole-hearted believer in Augustine's doctrine of the sovereign grace of God who chooses helpless sinners for salvation by His unmerited mercy. This was the first of Luther's two great spiritual breakthroughs, and it occurred around 1513 ...(what fully developed Protestant theology would call "regeneration" and "sanctification")...Luther's second great breakthrough was when he came to understand faith as essentially personal trust in Christ rather than assent to the Church's teachings, and the 'righteousness of God' as God's imputation of Christ's righteousness to the believer's account, changing the believer's legal status before God but not the believer's heart (justification in the sense in which Evangelical theology uses the term). This second breakthrough did not happen till much later, probably in the period 1518-19."
excerpt 2000 Years of Christ's Power Part Three: Renaissance and Reformation pg 70

Proverbs 18:10The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

ron said...

Douglas, my point is whether here or at Pyro, there is an attitude that is not one of humility. And you can point your finger at me. I can sense lack of humility because I suffer from it in the worst way.

The fact is I vehemently agree with you and others that Christ crucified and raised is non-negotiable as we witness.

I will use an example that one person I know experienced. It was a debate a number of years ago between Piper and Greg Boyd on Open Theism. Each one was armed to the hilt with scripture and had their case well laid out. My friend said in the end one of the most noticeable differences was Piper spoke to Boyd with much more grace than the other way around. He was clear and sober in his statements, but they weren't just a flurry of facts and scripture quotes. That affected him as much as the content. Interestingly, Piper to this day confesses to a difficult battle of fighting pride.

My point is, and maybe it's just more difficult in writing than when you actually speak to each other, that most of the writers commenting here honestly sound a bunch of people who like to tell each other how right they are instead of showing actual interest in communicating with the people who have upset you. If Pastor Chan read this stuff, and he decided to engage with it he would have to do it with immense grace because very little has been shown towards him.

If this blog really wanted to do something positive for the Kingdom, it would work to draft a letter (and not in an accusatory tone) to Pastor Chan and his church of the specific concerns and see what they say. Pastor Chan may rightly be too busy, but someone there of qualification should be able to answer.

In the end I may become just as upset as the others, and categorize him with Warren and Osteen as Bruess seems to do. Or we may all be pleasantly surprised.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Steve, for these two quotes by Luther and MacArthur. Good to always be reminded of the truth!

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ReformedBrewer said...

We gotta put this quote up on the wall in the room. Amazing!

Hayden said...

I know many guys that work with Francis Chan and I can tell you that few of them are concerned about what a blog may or may not say about them.

I also have gotten to know Steve over the last couple of years and I was floored by the change in his demeanor and tone the last time I talked to him. He has grown in humility in ways that I can only attribute to the Holy Spirit working in him. He is a really neat guy.

There has been a shift on this blog about a year ago. It has been much more gracious around here. (i.e Mark Driscoll) Some of the commenters may not always be gracious but we are all in process.

You are right, Luther is just a man, but one we can learn from. He was prone to the profane but also used by our mighty God to do great things. What an encouragement that should be to all of us!!!

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