“Descent Into Error” Part 2

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Continued from “Descent Into Error” Part 1

Mottos to live by?

If you listen to enough preachers or read enough eventually you will adopt some of their catch-phrases.  Things like “The Word of God is like a lion.  Let it out of its cage and it will take care of itself” or “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies” by Charles Spurgeon or some quote from John MacArthur or Paul Washer.

Phrases like these and others were used in our witnessing group from time to time to teach others some ideas about evangelism.  At the time I didn’t think much of it, but later when I discovered what Calvinism really teaches these phrases took on a whole new meaning.  Charles Spurgeon is a Calvinist and he believes God passes over the unelect because God doesn’t eternally love them.  So when I read “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies” is an absurd statement for him to make.  In his view, God doesn’t love people who go to hell, Christ didn’t die for them and salvation is not for them!

Does Charles Spurgeon love everyone more than the God who “is love?”

I used to be impressed with their seeming dedication to biblical discernment.  However when I discovered what these preachers really believe and how they are willing to embrace contradictory doctrines as truth they no longer impressed me.  Preachers who I thought were Godly men who preach the truth are now confused about who God is and what He wants.

They don’t know why God chooses some and not others for salvation.  They don’t know how people are accountable to God and at the same time God is sovereign.  Any contradictions in their belief system are brushed aside with the words “mystery” and they teach both sides of an idea even if they are not compatible with each other.  They then pat themselves on the back for being “humble like Job” by believing in contradictory doctrines and everything is “ok.”

Ignoring biblical truth is not ok.  Ignoring contradictions in your interpretations is not ok.  Teaching these ideas to others causing confusion is not ok.  Suggesting God, who IS LOVE, doesn’t eternally love most of mankind is not ok.

Doesn’t the bible say we should have the “mind of Christ?”  Doesn’t it say if we know God we will know what the master is doing because we are His “friends?”

John 15:15 NKJV
No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

I thought the word of God is supposed to be occupying my mind, not catch-phrases from preachers.  I thought I am supposed to meditate on His Word and not on the words of men?

Responsibility in Evangelism

I was told by one person that Calvinism freed him from being responsible about how he preaches the gospel because God is “sovereign.”  Sometimes he would walk away from a witnessing encounter frustrated that he may not have presented the gospel clearly or failed to adequently answer a sinners questions.  He told me since he embraced calvinism he doesn’t worry about that anymore because “God does it all.”

These same people also say there is a “right way” and a “wrong way” to preach the gospel.  Hang on a minute.  I thought you told me you don’t need to worry about what you say because “God does it all” and now you tell me there is a “correct” way of preaching the gospel?  It seems to me you are confused and you are willing to let others be confused with you.

The team loved watching videos of witnessing so they could mimic what others were doing.  Its always easier to simply repeat words to sinners and not actually have a conversation with them.  Tony Miano, a Calvinist, was one of these evangelists on video we watched.  One time I saw Tony Miano in a video preaching to a sinner.  A Christian named Marco walked up to Tony and said he was being too hard and needed to teach more on God’s love.  Tony then berated him and said, “So if me in my flesh can push people away from God then you believe in a weak God.” Tony then accused this Christian of “blaspheming God” because “Marcos, you think the gospel needs our help…You don’t believe the gospel is sufficient, Marco.”

Later in the video Tony explained the “correct” gospel to Marco by witnessing to Marco!

Tony…why are you showing Marco the “correct” way when you just finshed telling him “you think the gospel needs our help?”  Apparently your god is “weak” too because god needs YOUR HELP Tony!  God needs Tony to tell Marco the “correct” way of preaching the gospel.

In the history of mankind no one has ever been saved by telling people of God’s love?  Thats ridiculous.  I’ve heard many testimonies of people saying “Gods love on the cross led them to repent and believe.”  But this is not something Calvinists would preach since you have no idea if God eternally loves a sinner or not.  There is such a thing as “Grace to the humble” isn’t there?  Wouldn’t you preach God’s grace to someone who is already humbled?  Law to the proud, Grace to the humble right?

Tony accused Marco of “blaspheming God” because Marco did not have enough faith the gospel is sufficient.  It may surprise Calvinists to know the gospel is only as effective as God decides it will be.  A sinner can hear the gospel 1000 times and it won’t matter until God decides the sinner will believe it, isn’t that what Calvinists teach?  In addition the gospel is about God’s love AND justice to undeserving sinners.  Perhaps the god that Tony Miano serves thinks its “blasphemy” since his god must prove he is the boss in everything he does.  My God already knows He is in charge.   I would rather focus on the lost and pull them out of the fire instead of berating other Christians for speaking about God’s love to sinners.

Tony’s attitude is exactly the attitude I was seeing in our witnessing group.  Making judgements on others that are contradictory and divisive to the body of Christ all because Calvinists must make sure God is in charge.  Why would I want to witness with people who are so double-minded about what they believe?  If the gospel “doesn’t need our help” why do they tell others there is a right way and a wrong way of presenting it?

These are examples of how Calvinism can turn normally smart people into dumb people who do not think about what they say before they say it.  They simply repeat what they have been told and do not put further thought into it.

Hard Preaching and the Calvinists Sin

This is where I will tread softly.  I do not know for sure if what I am about to say is 100% true since I do not know the hearts of the people.  But I do know the conversations the group had about sin and I do know what the bible teaches about it, so here goes.

In our group it seemed the harder the preacher the better.  Paul Washer was a favorite of the group.  At the time I liked his preaching too.

There is an aspect of hard preaching that we as a group didn’t discuss…hard preaching implies the preacher is a “Godly” man.  Yelling or stern preaching on sin makes one appear to have authority.  After all, some preachers seem more passionate about the subject matter so that MUST MEAN ITS ALL TRUE.  Its almost a guarantee that when someone preaches hard on sin they will be accepted by people who are ….sinning themselves.

The bible teaches the concept of judging others righteously and unrighteously.  Unrighteous sinning is judging by appearance and also because you have a “log in your own eye.”  Or in other words, you are judging others by appearance and you are doing it because you are… sinning yourself.  It makes one feel better to point the finger at others.  I know, I have done it before.  The Lord later told me why I did it.  Its because I was sinning.

While it is true Christians should examine their sins and repent before the Lord there was way more focus on sin in our witnessing group then there should be.   I am not the only one from the group to make this observation, others have as well.

I also noticed they became very vocal about their displeasure and anger towards the sins of non-believers.  This wasn’t the case at first but developed later as the roots of TULIP took hold of their minds.  I thought this was a bit strange since, according to the Calvinist doctrine, unbelievers cannot do anything but sin.  Its like getting angry at a lion for eating meat, or getting angry at an orange for tasting like an orange.  What did they expect?  Did they expect a sinner to not sin anymore?

Don’t get me wrong, Christians should oppose sin in the world.  What I am saying is the group seemed obsessed with the sins of false teachers, unbelievers or false religions because they talked about the sins of others constantly.  Calvinism teaches sinners cannot do anything good and can do nothing but sin, so why is the group talking about it so much?  Are they trying to divert attention away from their own sins?  Are they trying to make themselves look better in their own eyes?  Can we talk about something else instead, like the joy in the Lord or something?

Its always easier to point the finger at someone else’s sin when you have a “log in your own eye.”

Personal Testimonies Changed

Some people in the group starting changing their testimony stories when the doctrines of Calvin started to seep in.

A friend of mine on the witnessing team who recently embraced Calvinism told me he “preferred” Calvinism because he didn’t want to take credit for his salvation.  After he said that I thought “Are you trying to take credit for your salvation?”  There is something wrong here.  Are you embracing it because its true or because it makes you feel better about your own doubts?

A testimony like this was common before Calvinism, “I was on drugs, or in this sin or that one and I was MISERABLE.  I partied a lot.  I was looking for SATISFACTION in life with drugs or money or women.  Then I was witnessed to and given a bible.  Later on when reading the bible I was convicted and believed.”

However later this changed to, “I was CONTENT in my sin and God regenerated me and saved me.”

Notice that at first he was “miserable” in his sin and then later he was “content.”  Obviously something was changing in his belief systems.

The bible doesn’t teach all sinners are content in their sins.  It teaches sin is “pleasurable” for a “season.”  This is not the same as being content forever as Calvinists teach about the totally depraved.  Solomon can attest to the fact that sin does not satisfy the needs of the human heart, and makes people miserable in the end.  Only God satisfies the true needs of the human heart.

Sin goes against the natural order of the way God intended life to be.  If sin makes people “content” then what do you need God for?  God will make you “more” content?  Yes there are sinners who seem happy …for the moment…but not forever.  The bible doesn’t teach sin is pleasurable forever, but only for a season.

Drug addicts are slaves to their drugs, and they are also miserable.  Are slaves to sin content?  Ultimately no, they are not.

The bible says the gospel is for the “broken-hearted”, “afflicted” and “oppressed.”  This doesn’t sound like sinners are content, happy and fulfilled in sin permanently.  Sinners who love their sin 100% of the time all the time as Calvinists say should not be broken-hearted, afflicted or oppressed by their sin.  They should be happy, fulfilled and content.

When I tried to explain these ideas to them they simply ignored it by repeating how God had regenerated them.  They seemed to enjoy the idea that God regenerated them for no reason at all.  Perhaps because it makes them “special” to be one of the few, the proud, the “elect.”

“Descent Into Error” Part 3 – Judgement Without Discernment

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