Sunday, November 30, 2003

 

BLOG? WHAT BLOG?

I Know, I know.

Where did that obnoxious Theognome go? What happened?

Well, November, December and January are my busiest months. It seems that there are lots of folks out there that buy gifts during this time instead of paying their bills. What's a bill collector to do?

There's another problem- MSN's game zone. There's a game on there called, 'Bespelled'. The game is amusing enough, and quite easy. I tried it, and showed it to the Purdiestness, and then to Mama.

Mama is addicted. For hours and hours on end she's playing the game, and since there's only one computer in the house, it makes surfing, blogging and other such more difficult. Have you ever tried to pry a 200+ pound 71 year old fiesty woman from a computer? Trust me, it's no easy task.

In other news, I've been trying to get the CRE interested in planting a mission work in my home town. Now the CRE (Confederation of Reformed Evangelicals) does not plant churches as a denomination, but rather particularized churches within the denom. do that work. I'm hoping that there's a CRE out there that would be interested in getting a plant in Southron California. Any takers?

Thanksgiving was good, and it will be another week of workouts before the fat is burned off. Man, can my girls cook up a storm!

Well, that's all for now. I'll try to get back on a good posting schedule soon, provided that Mama finally gets bored with that stupid game.

Theognome

Thursday, November 06, 2003

 

TOLERANCE = UNIVERSALISM

With the cry of Tolerance being so loud these days, we often fail to see what the logical conclusions to Tolerance are. Frankly, I see Tolerance and Universalism to be synonymous. So, here's my take on the subject.

When it comes to Universalism, we can narrow down the issue to a question of Sola Fide. Also, I feel it important to address the crux of faith as it pertains to trust. I see Universalism as aberrant on the side of trust in God alone.

Universalism, at the roots, fears man over God. If I tell a Muslim, “You will do well to trust Allah, for it will make you a better person” and on the other hand tell a Baptist, “Christ alone is the truth, and trust in Him alone saves” then I must be a liar. Either I’m lying to the Muslim by not giving him the truth, or I’m lying to the Baptist by telling him what I don’t believe in my heart. Either way, I’m more afraid of what the Muslim or Baptist thinks than I am of God, for I’m unwilling to speak the truth to the world.

Peter had the same problem at Gethsemane. He denied Christ. Three times. But, that was also before Pentecost. Afterwards, he was refined, repented, and was himself crucified (tradition tells us upside down) for the faith. So it would appear that Peter did not hold to this error cradle to grave.

We know that those who deny sin, or who claim that sin need not be punished (or atoned by the blood of the Lamb) know not God. Amos 9:10 reads, “All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword, who say, ‘The calamity shall not overtake nor confront us.” Christ confirmed this further in Matthew 7:22-23: “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” In the case of Amos, we see the difference between persons who are ethnically Hebrew, claiming the blessings of God, and true Israel, those who truly know God and trust in Him alone. Christ in Matthew gives the same implication, since within the Church there are persons who claim to know, love and trust the Lord, and other persons that really do.

So, if we are to make any critical judgements concerning Universalism, we must first establish whether or not it is essential. Paul in Romans 14:1-3 tells us, “Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.” Paul tells us clearly not to make mountains out of molehills. If it’s not essential doctrine, don’t curse your brother over it. We would help, nurture and teach such a weak brother, but not condemn. So, can we question the salvation of an Universalist?

Galatians 2:20 reads, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Now, to live by that faith means to love, trust and know God. In John 1:12-13 we hear, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God.” So we see similar exclusions. Faith is of God, not man, nor of our own sacrifice. Therefore, there is no shame in the Gospel, or of its truth. Paul wrote to Timothy, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.” (2Tim 1:8-12). Admittedly, Paul was speaking to Timothy concerning ministry, but the principle applies to Christians in general, that being we have no shame of the truth. 2Peter 2:1-2 shows us application- “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.” Note the connection of truth.

One who fears the Lord trusts Him. Trusting in the Lord means obeying Him. See in 1Thess. 2:1-3 where Paul wrote, “For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain. But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict. For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit.” Paul spoke the truth of the gospel in spite of its consequence. Verse 13 of the same chapter shows the result of this trust in the one true gospel. Psalm 119 speaks repeatedly about loving the truth and fearing God. “Oh, that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed, When I look into all Your commandments. I will praise You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgements. I will keep your statutes; oh, do not forsake me utterly!” (Ps. 119:5-8)

So then, as long as there are other ways to be saved outside of faith in Christ, the Universalist does not blaspheme. We know, however, that Christ alone is the way to God. That is true. If we say otherwise, then we preach a different gospel, and forsake the truth. If we forsake the truth, we do not fear God. If we don’t fear God, we don’t trust Him. If someone falls into an Universalist doctrine, but then repents, great! The Holy Spirit cleans again! However, if cradle to grave, one holds to an Universalist doctrine, they have demonstrated that they do not fear the Lord, and therefore do not place their trust in Him. And, because of this, have not demonstrated saving faith. Their works and fruits may be many, but as Christ said in Matthew, “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”

Theognome

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