Spiritual Warfare Prep

Spiritual Warfare Prep
We Are In The Lord's Army

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Problems With Pelagianism

The problem with what Pelagians believe is that it is too light on sin. What I mean is something different than what you are probably thinking. Pelagians believe that a person must stop sinning before they can come to God in repentance and faith. They must therefore believe that they have stopped sinning since coming to Christ. They would have to believe that they are no longer sinners, because they have chosen to not sin anymore. But that thinking leads to a lot of problems.

First, we are all blind to our own sin until we allow God to reveal our own hearts to ourselves. We don't see our sin, but we can see the sin in others. Think about how easy it is to spot pride in someone's life, yet, we, too easily have our own pride to deal with, yet, we overlook it because we either don't see it as really that bad or serious, or, we don't think we have pride, even though it is definitely there.

Secondly, Pelagians do not believe people are born with a sinful nature. They think Reformed people are causing people that hear the Gospel to be irresponsible if they were to teach that. In other words, the power of sin is totally under our control. We can choose to be sinners or not. But that is not what the Bible teaches.

In Genesis 3, we see the first human beings God created, turning from good to evil. They chose to do evil when they listened to the voice of the devil instead of God's voice. The world has been under a curse ever since that time. People would now be born into a spiritually dark world. They would be ensnared by sin. They will now become slaves to sin and be imprisoned by sin. Sin is no respecter of persons. Everyone has their fair share and then some. When we are born, we are already subject to the kingdom of Darkness. We don't choose to be in there. That is our default.

Third, Pelagians do not give room for spiritual growth or the process of sanctification. If the Pelagian doctrine is correct, then there is no sanctification process for we become perfected at salvation. But we have to be careful because we could lose this standing if we ever choose to sin. In fact, I am sure they would believe that if we choose to sin, then there is no more repentance available for that person. Once a true believer in Jesus Christ sins, it's over for him or her. (see Hebrews 6 and 10).

Finally, Pelagians do not appear to know anything about the love of God. They always focus on God's wrath and anger, and make it appear as if God is just waiting to destroy us. This passage from Isaiah shows something different though.

"Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him." Isaiah 30-18 ESV

Sadly, as I talk to many Christians or read their writings, I see Pelagianism in what they are trying to communicate. Pelagian evangelists will explain repentance as something equivalent to 'stop sinning'. Even Reformed believers can fall into this trap.

One time, a rich, young ruler came up to Jesus and asked Him, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?' to which Jesus replied 'You know the Commandments." Then Jesus named some of the Commandments. The rich, young ruler responded by saying that he had kept these Commandments from his youth. So, Jesus asked the rich young ruler to do something else. This revealed what was in his heart. Jesus asked him to sell everything he had and then give the money from that to the poor. The rich young ruler was not happy about this question and he went away very sad. What had happened was that this man thought he was a good person without sin. He thought that he kept the Commandments, until Jesus challenged him with a question. Then, when he realized he really was a sinner, he was sad. But his sadness was not over his sin. It was over the fact that he thought he was a good person, but now Jesus showed him that he really was not a good person.

I think this is how the Pelagians think about themselves. They really do think that they are not sinners. They may look at the sin in their past lives and believe that Jesus died for their sins, but now it is up to them to 'stop sinning' and if they don't, they will become toast.

How much 'Pelagianism' is in our own thinking? We need to pull it out if it is there. We also need to be patient with other believers, especially those who are weak. The doctrine of Pelagianism could destroy many. It could also be very discouraging and is certainly deceptive, for none of us can stand up against the power of sin in our own strength. It takes the power of God, and the blood of Christ to set us free from sin. No amount of human willpower will take away our sin, nor will it take the desire for sinning away. That can only come with a new heart.

When we come to Jesus in repentance and faith, we receive the forgiveness of sins. But there is so much more! We are also set free from sin. We can be delivered from sin and its snares. We have a new heart. Now we can obey God and grow in our love and affection for God and others. This is not something we can do on our own. Only God has the power to break sin in our lives. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

When "Your Truth" Hurts "My Truth" And Destroys My Dignity

If you have seen the news, you are aware that there were shootings near Paris that has hurt many and killed some people. Some are, at this moment, being held hostage. According to the NY Post, this is a Terrorist attack.

We live in a society where we value what we think is freedom. We certainly value, perhaps unknowingly, freedom from having to obey God. Many think that God has too many restrictions on our lives. So, we think we can do what we want and really be free. But are we really free to do what we want?

There is a group of people who have made up a logo that says, 'Coexist' meaning that we should all get together and work together in peace, no matter what religion we hold onto. But does that really work?

The Terrorists who killed dozens of people today are practicing their religion. They believe that the god they are trusting in has directed them to kill people who do not hold to their religious beliefs. How can we follow the belief system of those who hold to the slogan of 'Coexist' and practice a belief system that says to kill other people who don't believe in our religion?

This is the fallacy of those who believe that they can believe in whatever they think of as truth. What if you are a person who holds onto that belief system, and a Muslim comes to you to kill you because you will not submit to Allah? Will you submit in a superficial way just to save your neck, or will you stand up for what you actually believe in, or know is true? How do you feel about the Terrorist who wants to kill you, who believe that everyone should be practicing their own truth?

So, you who believe in my truth and your truth being what is prominent and what should be allowed to be practiced in everyone's life, how do you feel about Isis? Remember, your truth will end up backfiring on you when someone else's truth violates your truth.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

What Our World Looks Like Because We See Through a Glass Darkly

New insight into something I see in the body of Christ. I am on Facebook as well as on other social media and I continually see professing Christians tearing one another apart. There are even specialized groups with matching mottos that do this ('We Tear Wolves Up', etc.)

There are professing Christians who seem to rejoice when a famous Christian comes out of the closet, not because the person is trying to be restored to the church, but because now, the professing Christian is finally admitting to how evil he or she really is, which is what they want to emphasize. But even in other ways, Christians seem to delight in finding others who disagree with them doctrinally and call them 'heretics' as well.

Granted, we are not going to agree on everything. This is where we find confusion and arrogance. As one Christian pointed out, the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth, so when two Christians do not see something the same way, that means one of them is not following the Holy Spirit and is a heretic.

But is that true? Of course, the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. But this is a gradual process. It doesn't mean that we become perfect in knowledge when we come to Christ. The moment we get saved, that is the beginning point of learning to live a new life in a new way, not the final outcome of our lives!

Here is the crux of it all: We see through a glass darkly. When we use the spiritual gifts, we only use them in part. We do not come to Christ, receiving immediate perfection. We have to go through the process of sanctification and we will become mature.

So, when you see a 'fallen' Christian (see Galatians 6) or someone in the body of Christ who you disagree with, please be patient with him or her. They may be struggling in their walk with God. They don't need to be knocked down or unfairly criticized because of their difficulties. They need someone to pray for them so they can repent and get back into the battle again.

Something to keep in mind; the Pharisees were in total opposition to God. There was a time when they saw God for who He is. They chose not to respond to Him as God. Jesus dealt sternly with these people. There are other people who are just in sin, like prostitutes, thieves, liars, pornographers, etc. These people are not usually in a place of spiritual authority like the Pharisees were. When they hear the Gospel, many of them do repent and come to Christ. Sometimes, they struggle though in their walk with God. They need to have someone walk along their side while they struggle. These groups are two different groups. Both have rebelled against God, but the latter group is not after opposing God because God is a threat to their authority and ability to control others. That is why Jesus dealt with the Pharisees the way He did in comparison to the way He treated the tax collectors and prostitutes.

We have to be careful to not treat people who we disagree with in the same way Jesus treated the Pharisees. We will disagree as long as we are living on this planet. Even when we are more mature in the Lord, we will still disagree with others in the Lord. We all see through a glass darkly. We need to respect others who also see through the glass darkly.

And if you do enjoy finding out who the latest false teacher is so you can expose him or her, please check your heart and try to find the reason you enjoy this so much. This may be the first step that will have a major impact on your life.

"I might have all my spiritual theological ducks in a row, but if I don't have the love of God in my heart, I have missed God."

Saturday, November 7, 2015

They Will Know We Are Christians By Our .....Back Stabbing?

I am so full of blog ideas that I don't know where to begin right now. I have had very little time for the internet and blogging, but, I will pick an idea and see where that one goes.

One idea I have was already started in my mind, but it was formulated by an email I received this week. Unfortunately, the person who wrote it does not want the email shared at this time. It put into words, everything I am thinking on this subject, which I will tell you about in a minute.

Ever since I came to Christ as a teenager, I have seen something very distressful in the body of Christ. I was raised in a loving home with moral parents who taught me very well when it came to manners and how to treat other people. We did not go to a Bible believing church, nor had any of us heard the Gospel yet. In spite of that, we knew the difference between right and wrong, and love and hate. We knew that we needed to treat people with respect, no matter who they were.

Fast-forward to the time when I am 18, and newly married. I used to order tracts from different companies and I guess my name got on a mailing list. Somehow, somebody got my name and started sending me a weekly paper called, 'The Sword of the Lord'. Sounds exciting doesn't it? Well, it was disappointing because in it these 'men of God' were tearing down everyone who was a well known Christian who they considered to be a 'false teacher'. That is what the whole paper was about. It was like a gossip paper about the other Christians they didn't like. Both my husband and I knew something was wrong with this paper, but didn't quite know what it was. Were they really trying to help people to detect false teachers or were they having a heyday with opportunities they took advantage of when flaws came up in other people who were more well known than they were?

I honestly thought that with maturity, as people grow in humility and sanctification, this kind of thing would diminish over time. Well, sadly, it didn't.

Today, I have gotten involved in many ministries as well as listening to Bible teachers and listening to radio programs and watching videos. I am sad to say that today, as well as many years ago, this same spirit is in the church. I see the mocking of people who they don't agree with. I see the focus on what other Christians are doing or not doing, or doing wrong (in their eyes), yet, I do not see much in the way of focusing on the Lord and His majesty.

Doesn't the Bible say that we should not rejoice when a brother falls? Oh yeah, that's right. We've decided who is in and who isn't. We have decided who is truly saved and who isn't, and those who we've decided who aren't in, we have also assigned motives to them.

I think of the recent movie, The War Room, which has a small part where Beth Moore plays in. I can't tell you how many people were reluctant to go to this movie because they deem Beth Moore as a false teacher because she is supposedly into something called, 'Contemplative prayer'. Contemplative prayer is also tied in with meditation, and those are supposed to be practices from some of the Eastern religions. We know that using mantras that are useless (like 'Say over and over to yourself 'I am awesome') are dangerous. When we use those kinds of mantras to try to convince ourselves of something false or opposed to Scripture, that is dangerous. I have actually heard teachings like this in one of the businesses that I am in. I have to admit though, that, even though I do not know a ton of stuff about Beth Moore, I seriously doubt that she is into Transcendental Meditation or anything of that sort. Those who oppose her on the Internet never really give examples of what she is accused of doing. All they say is that she is a false teacher because she does contemplative praying.

Friends, when we accuse people of something and we really don't have the backing for what we say, we are seriously sinning against someone in the body of Christ. We are picking people apart because we basically are arrogant and don't see our own sin. We use the term, 'exposing false teaching' when all we are doing is finding someone we disagree with and calling him or her a false teacher. Do you realize what kind of damage this does to the body of Christ?

Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34, 35 ESV

Will others see God's love in us for them and for those in the body of Christ, or will they see a group of people who are filled with jealousy and rivalry, which is no different than what the world has to offer?

Why do we pick on immature Christians or those who have fallen? Shouldn't we be praying for them? Is the God we profess to believe in big enough to change these people? If you had a son or daughter who was a 'false teacher' would you boot him or her out of your life or would you be praying for your child to come to his or her senses? How much more should we love one another in the body of Christ, and how much more should we be serving one another in weakness and in strengths?

One last word about false teachers or converts: Yes, they will be there. They will be in pulpits around the world. They will be in our church buildings whenever they are open. When do we warn others about them? Let me give you 2 quick examples from our own experiences in church.

My husband and I were leading a home group in someone else's house, years ago. I was sitting next to a new lady who seemed nice to me. I suspected nothing. The next week, we were having home group at our house. I got a call from one of our pastors. He told me to watch out for this woman. He asked if she ever came to our home group. She was planning on coming to home group that night. Our pastor told us that she would go from home group to home group and slander people wherever she went. He told me to be careful around her.

Another time, there was a man in our area who was starting a home church and it was flourishing. Many from the church I am in started going to this man's house. Some even left our church and joined this man's home church or whatever it was. We were listening to the tapes of this man's messages. He basically was a universalist. He taught free grace and no repentance. Our pastors became alarmed, and rightly so. On one Sunday morning, our pastor addressed the church on this issue and told the people that this man was teaching false doctrine. This had to be done to protect the church, not because we didn't want to lose members, but because people were being swept into a false belief system that would ultimately end up destroying them if they continued on that path.

So, if you have to expose a false teacher or heretic, please, make it clear (and give examples) of what he or she is doing that is heretical. Don't try to make a case out of suspicious activity that you don't have enough information about. Please be careful how this is handled. The world is watching, and they will not see an attractive Gospel when we are stabbing one another in the back.