Sean Scott's Blog

www.preachingjesuschrist.com

Archive for August 2011

Why I hate the doctrines of grace

with 22 comments

A very truthful and needed article, written by brother Jim, about the need for the true grace of God to be fully preached and practiced by those in the Reformed Camp. ( http://www.fleebabylon.wordpress.com )

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Why I hate the doctrines of grace

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13

My friends who know me to have a love and passion for the teachings of scripture often called “the doctrines of grace” may scratch their heads at such a title, but I assure you this article has nothing to do with sovereignty, election, or the truly unmerited grace of God.  Instead it has to do with the manner in which these truths have been presented to the Church since the reformation.  The doctrines of grace, as commonly taught, are actually only one half of the doctrines of grace taught in scripture, yet they are presented as a whole.  The other half have been lost in the pages of scripture since the time of the reformers, up through the puritans, and down to modern reformed and Calvinistic teachers.  In fact, I have found that the groups who most vocally teach the doctrines of grace during their weekly meeting are often the ones who exercise it the least.  Take a minute and read these scriptures before we go any further.  I have bolded some text to help detect the pattern laid out here concerning Gods grace.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: “ When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” Ephesians 4:4-8 

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12-3:8

The grace of God, as clearly show in the scriptures, is inseparable from the gifts given to the many membered body of Christ.  God’s grace is not relegated to five points of doctrine and it has to do with far more then the manner in which God elects men.  The true grace of God has as much to do with the gifts given to various members of the body as with the salvation given to the various members of the body.  This is so that the Church might truly function like a body, rather than a roman catholic modeled religious institution.

To put it another way, where one man stands and preaches every Sunday there is a lack of grace to some degree.  I know what I am writing applies to many well meaning Godly men, some even used mightily of the Lord despite their falling short in this area, but this does not make it any less true.  A local Church may make up for this lack by way of being strong in other areas, but there is a lack none the less.

Looking at the clear, living, and powerful word of God, we see that Christ has not only led captivity captive, but He also gave gifts to men.  These gifts do not only included teaching, but also prophesy, speaking in tongues, exhortation, giving, healing, evangelizing, and so forth.  This differs greatly from the reformed crowd that teaches that Christ has led captivity captive, but has only given a teaching gift – and that to the senior pastor.  What’s worse is when senior pastors come right out and say they believe the other gifts to the church have ceased.  So instead of the grace of God being manifest through the many membered body, the focus becomes on expository preaching, performed by a senior pastor that holds an unbiblical position.  How such a senior pastor can stand and teach that all other gifts have ceased besides his make believe super teaching one is beyond me.

The need of the Church is not expository preaching

The Church arguably needs expository teaching, with gifted elders who labor in the word, but not expository preaching.  Preaching in the New Testament is primarily for the open air and in church planting, not for the weekly meeting until the end of time. Yet one of the major focuses of those who promote the doctrines of grace is on the expository preaching of these doctrines to the church.  This is accomplished by standing at a pulpit and dominating the church meeting week after week with such. The thinking must go something like this “I will mature the body of Christ by preaching great truths, even at the expense of retarding the body of Christ by refusing the means of truth by which God has ordained to mature it”.  Read that last sentence again.

Rather than a clergy-laity religious system, the bible really does show the Church teaching and admonishing one another as the called out saints of a risen Christ.  This does not negate true eldership or the need for gifted teachers in the Church, rather this is the setting in which all gifts are used for edification.  Yet many true brethren think it better to stand at a pulpit and preach a mini package of Calvinistic truth week after week then to raise their churches to live out the truth of truly being the body of Christ.  I don’t want to sound too harsh coming against true teaching pastors that are off in this area, and purposely am not naming names.  I will even make a point to say that in certain times and places God has seen to richly bless and use these men.  I am thankful for them as brethren, respect them as elders, and yet in love and boldness must cry out against their empty traditions with the full authority of God’s word.

Imagine that I invited you to church and you came in to find one man standing a at a podium speaking in tongues for an hour every Sunday – you would know something was out of line (unless you were raised to know nothing but this tradition).  In the same way, having one man stand at a podium and “teaching” (really it is preaching, teaching is relational) week after week and calling it a church meeting is almost as out of line as the example I gave.  One man dominating the meeting with preaching week after week is in line with scripture only when planting a church as I stated earlier, until elders are raised and the body starts to function like a body.  Yet in most of the reformed crowd the body is never taught to function as a body, it is always being planted, but never growing into maturity.

The biblical method to mature the body in this generation has less to do with teaching the doctrines of grace then it does with simply not retarding the saints through an unbiblical puritanical or clergy-laity religious system. The call for the hour is not to teach the “doctrines of grace”, it is to teach the whole council of the word of God!  This includes laboring to build up the body of Christ through the manifold grace of God.  It is time to shun the thought that we can build up Gods church into maturity while spurning the clear means by which God ordained for it to be built up.  What an utter contradiction to reject and suppress the manifold grace of God and yet claim to be a teacher of God’s grace.  What can be said in its defense?

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. ~ Colossians 3:16

Written by Sean Scott

August 27, 2011 at 2:54 am

Posted in Uncategorized

The work of true missionaires, preachers, teachers, and pastors

with one comment

By William McDonald

“For the equipping of the saints for the work of service,” (Eph. 4:12, NASB)

A revolutionary insight! The gifts in Ephesians 4 are given to perfect the saints for the work of the ministry. As soon as the saints can carry on, the gift can move on.

This means that success in Christian work is working one’s self out of a job in the shortest possible time, then looking for new worlds to conquer.

This is what Paul did. He went to Thessalonica, for instance, preached to the Jews for three Sabbaths, and left behind a functioning assembly. No doubt that was an exception as far as speed in the establishing of a work was concerned. The longest Paul ever stayed in one place at a time was two years. That was at Ephesus.

God never intended that His saints should be perpetually dependent on any of the gifts mentioned. The gifts are expendable. If the saints remain professional sermon-tasters, never becoming involved in the work of service, they never develop spiritually the way they should and the world will never be evangelized the way God intended.

William Dillon said that a successful foreign missionary never has a foreign successor. That should be equally true of workers in the homeland—when the worker’s task is completed, the saints themselves should take over, not start looking for another pulpiteer.

Too often we preachers look at our position as a lifetime appointment. We reason that others couldn’t do the work as well. We excuse our permanence by the fact that the attendance would drop if we left. We complain that others can’t do things right and that they’re not dependable. But the fact is that they have to learn. And in order to learn they have to be given opportunities. There must be training, delegation of responsibilities, and evaluation of progress.

When the saints reach the point where they feel they can carry on without a particular preacher or teacher, that’s no reason for him to sulk or nurse wounded feelings. It’s cause for celebration. The worker is released to go where he’s more needed.

It’s a bad scene when the work of God is permanently build around a man, no matter how gifted he is.  His great aim should be to multiply his effectiveness by building up the saints to the point where they are no longer dependent on him.  In a world like ours, he never needs to be without work in other places.

Written by Sean Scott

August 19, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Offer Your Bodies A Living Sacrifice

with one comment

This is the featured sermon on Sermonindex.net.   I was greatly encouraged by it.  I highly recommend listening to it.

OFFER YOUR BODIES A LIVING SACRIFICE by Paul Washer

http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/visit.php?lid=22797

Written by Sean Scott

August 15, 2011 at 2:41 am

Posted in Uncategorized

The writing’s on the wall…can you see it?

with 3 comments

 

This video pretty much sums up the financial situation in the U.S.  It reminds me of the what the Lord spoke to Lisa and I before we came back from India.  He showed us that there would be two financial crashes.  The first crash would be minor and the country would recover.  The second crash would be much more devastating.  I don’t know when it will happen, but it will happen.

Written by Sean Scott

August 12, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tolerating Spiritual Leaven by Matt Slick

with 2 comments

Leaven is a common ingredient in things like bread and cake that produces fermentation and causes dough to expand and rise.  The idea of leaven is to make sure that it is in the entire batch you’re cooking.  The Biblementions leaven in different contexts.  In Exodus 12:15, regarding the Feast of Unleavened Bread, leaven was not permitted.  It was not permitted in the Passover meal (Deut. 16:3) and God forbade leaven to be used in grain offering (Lev. 2:11).  Why?  Because ultimately, leaven represents pride and false teaching.

Jesus said in Matt. 13:33, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three pecks of meal, until it was all leavened.”  He was signifying that the preaching of the gospel will be spread throughout the entire world.  But, and this relates to our article, Jesus also said in reference to the false teachings of thePharisees, “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees… 12 Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees,” (Matt. 16:11-12).  This is the leaven that we have to beware of — the leaven of false teachings that is becoming more prevalent in the church today.

1 Cor. 4:6 tells us that we are “not to exceed what is written,” and 2 Tim. 3:16 says the inspired Scriptures are for correction and teaching.  Therefore, the Scriptures are the final authority in everything they address, and we are not to teach as doctrinal truths anything that is not found in the Bible.  Now, that hasn’t stopped certain people from twisting the meaning of Scripture, imposing secular ideas upon the text, and forcing it to say what they want to suit their purposes. Unfortunately, there are things being taught in churches and on “religious” TV that are not biblical. In light of what 1 Cor. 4:6 says, let’s take a look at some of false teachings in the Christian church today.

We have televangelists who boldly proclaim to millions that we are little gods.  There is the name-it-and-claim it “prosperity” teachers who say that the crucifixion of Christ bought us health and wealth and we need to claim what is rightfully ours.  We are taught that churches must change their appearance and message in order to attract unbelievers — all the while compromising the gospel.  The error of universalism, that all people will be saved, is creeping in little by little and gaining converts.  The Scriptures are increasingly seen as a collection of good stories, suggestions by which we can gain wisdom rather than the inspired, authoritative word of God (2 Tim. 3:16).  Jesus is not uplifted as the only way to salvation (John 14:6Acts 4:12), but the “main way to God” and that, if you are sincere, do good things, and seek God in your own way you too can make it to heaven.  More and more churches are teaching that we maintain our salvation through doing good works (Isaiah 64:6).  Homosexuality is increasingly seen as an alternative lifestyle instead of the sin against God that it really is (Rom.1:26-27).  Some churches are advocating theistic evolution – the idea that God used evolution to get us here – thereby denying the reality of Adam and Eve and The Fall.  Much of the literature sold in Christian bookstores promotes man-centered theology while reducing the majesty of God, turning him into a cosmic “buddy” who is hip and cool, yet lacks the greatness of God’s Holy Character and sovereignty (i.e, The Shack).  Christians seem more interested in following the super gentle, easy-to-follow, blonde haired, blue eyed, Caucasian surfer Jesus instead of the one that beckons us to pick up our crosses, follow him, and seek the lost (Matt. 10:38).  And, women pastors and elders are becoming more common despite the clear biblical admonition to the contrary in 1 Tim. 2:12-13 and Titus 1:5-7.

Why are these things happening in the church?  Perhaps it is because the word of God is not considered to be true and absolute as it really is.  Paul’s words to Timothy are appropriate here:  “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,” (2 Tim. 4:3).

Yes, of course, there are many good pastors and churches out there that, by God’s grace, preach and teach the truth and the totality of Scripture.  They do not shy away from the harder things of truth and teach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27), including God’s predestination (Eph. 1:4Rom. 8:29) and election (Matt. 24:22;Rom. 8:332 Thess. 2:13).  They proclaim that unless you believe Jesus is the great I AM, you will die in your sins (John 8:24); that hell is a real place for those who do not receive Christ (Matt. 25:46Mark 3:29); that we are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3); that we are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8Rom. 4:1-55:1); that you cannot come to the Christ unless it is been granted to you from God the Father (John 6:65); that Jesus spoke in parables so that people would not be saved (Mark 4:10-12), and many more such biblical truths that are not popular to mention.  But such teachers are becoming fewer and fewer while the ear-ticklers who, like parasites, bury themselves deep within the comfort of Western Culture and preach to Christians me-centered messages aimed at appeasing the masses.

They are wolves in sheep’s clothing who use emotion with scripture-twisting and speak perverse things in order to draw disciples after them (Acts 20:29).  Sadly, most Christians are ill-equipped to discern what is good and bad because they are not studying.  Therefore, they cannot accurately handle the word of God (2 Tim. 2:15), nor can they give an answer to everyone who would ask (1 Pet. 3:15).  Instead, they gather teachers to themselves so they might hear what they want to hear (2 Tim. 4:3) — that which serves them instead of learning how they can serve God in truth.

To tolerate this spiritual leaven means to invite apostasy.  Like leaven, error gradually creeps into the church and spreads to all parts, causing the whole to elevate itself with pride and do what is right in one’s own eyes instead of that which is right in God’s.  2 Thess. 2:3 speaks about the great apostasy that is coming.  However, it cannot occur without a host of lesser apostasies within the Church that will ultimately deceive Christians and prepare the ground for the arrival of Antichrist.

As Christians, we are to take the logs out of our own eyes (Matt. 7:3-5), get ourselves right with God, dedicate ourselves to his word, and seek to follow him where he would lead us — whether it is comfortable or not.  God has stated that judgment will begin with the house of God which is the church (1 Pet. 4:17).  Let it begin with us and may we seek God’s holy truth and, if need be, die defending it.

Written by Sean Scott

August 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized