25 November 2008

Sanctification challenge: find me the verse

by Dan Phillips

As a sort of capper to Thinking like a slave, and in my never-ending struggle (A) to make the simple and pointed still more simple and more pointed, and thus (B) better to serve those who serve the Body as pastors:
  • Find me the verse that says it's OK with God if Christians flat-out refuse to do as He tells them (e.g. Matthew 21:28-32 and Romans 6 would not make good examples).
  • Find me the verse where the Lord or His apostles address a command to the Holy Spirit, instead of to Christians (e.g. Romans 8:13; 12:9-21 would not make good examples).
  • Find me the verse that says that disobedience to God's Word is a sign of healthy faith and strong grace (e.g. 1 Peter 1:13-21 would not make good examples).
  • Find me the verse that says that God desires that we put off obedience born of faith until we feel like it (e.g. James 4:17 and 1 Peter 4:3 would not make good examples).
Dan Phillips's signature

132 comments:

Frank Turk said...

Well, every man did what was right in his own eyes in the book of Judges, and most of the kings of Israel did as his fathers did throughout Kings. Those passages say that men will do as they please.

Of course, God was not happy with that. I'm just sayin': it's in the Bible.

DJP said...

And completely non-responsive to the challenge as worded.

NEXT!

(c;

witness said...

There you go backing people into another corner formed by truth and Scripture.

The reality is God will never exalt the individual above Himself; which anyone who attempts to promote some verse that supports those things is attempting to do. Right?

DJP said...

Right: God won't. But a lot of evanjellybeans do.

DJP said...

Turk, you slay me.

Do you think maybe somewhere there's a "Days O' The Judges Worship Center"?

Maybe in Oklahoma? (No; prolly California. )c: )

Matt said...

Dan, this post is just plain mean. It's a conversation killer. It leaves no room for, say, a serpent to be authentic and ask the question "Did God actually say....?"

bootsandbibles said...

Oh, this is brilliant...

Thank you.

Frank Turk said...

You're saying those in Israel were not of Israel? I'm not seeing how noticing that some people who are God's people but disobedient (and noticing God's reaction to that) is not relevant.

I am honestly trying to stay on-topic here. Honestly.

DJP said...

OK Frank, I'll bite:

The challenge is to find verses asserting that these things are OK with God, that they please Him, that they're to be defended and encouraged, far too many try to do.

chrish said...

Who would have thought that being jabbed with a pointed stick would result in me being better served? Thanks, Dan!

Daryl said...

Thank you Dan, for reminding me that how I feel about things is irrelevant, and for pushing me on to remember how God thinks about things, and acting accordingly.

Funny how most of what we need to hear, we already know...

Doug Hibbard said...

I think to get there, you have to somehow find a way to make it sound like when the Lord Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2), that He actually wanted to go through being the sacrifice for our sins. Then, you spin that to be that, since He wanted to be the sacrifice for our sins, He wants us to sin, so He has something to forgive.

Which is, I think you'll find, adequate to fertilize crops. And having pastored in the Mississippi Delta, let me tell you this: Fertilizer may make the crops grow, but it will stink you straight out of the church.

So, if the Greek for 'endure' or 'despising the shame' has some hidden meaning not found in college or seminary level lexicons that can mean 'had a blast,' I don't think you will find these verses. It takes a cheapened look at the cost of our sin to think we have wiggle room.

Reminds me of some of the things we see every time there's an election: 'Elect Jesus President of Your Life.' Which there are problems with on many levels, but the pertinent one is this: He's not a president. He's the King. I can ignore a lot of things that President Bush or Obama says, their word is not law (in most cases). But for a king, his word is law. Without debate, discussion, appeal. That's who Jesus is, not a president, community organizer, great teacher, or religious leader. King of Kings, Lord of Lords.

Oh wait...you were looking for discussion, not agreement...sorry to be an added yes-man.

DJP said...

Daryl, responding in reverse order:

So true. And....

The very same thing of which I've constantly had to remind myself for 35 years and (by the grace of God) counting.

Mesa Mike said...

> Do you think maybe somewhere
> there's a "Days O' The Judges
> Worship Center"?

You mean, like, the California Supreme Court or the Ninth Circuit?

Strong Tower said...

Boy, this is gonna be a short comment thread.

And I suppose you meant to keep this within the NT? And if I do a word search, what would you suggest? Hehehehe....

Chad V. said...

Days of the Judges Worship Center....

There are hundreds of them in my area. I dare say there are tens of thousands all across the country.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Dan, what are you responding to? I'm interested in knowing where Christians are "defending" disobedience or saying God's OK with it. (This is not a challenge, BTW. I'm with you on this thread!)

And in the OT recalcitrant disobedience could get you cut off from your people.

Frank Turk said...

Ah. OK.

Sorry.

Really: I thought I was with you here through negative examples.

DJP said...

Ain't no thang, Frank. A meta without your unfailingly unique take is like chili without jalapenos.

(c:

Strong Tower said...

JD-

Those who believe in a form of antimonmianism (anomians) seem to think that somehow the righteous commands of the law have been done away with and that leads to what alternative? How does one put to death the deads of the flesh, and is that not a commandment? Sanctification is commanded. To mix some form of rewards mentality with the fact that we are servants in the Lord's house who are to do all and when it is completed to confess we are unworthy, just doesn't wash. The commandments are still binding and as they were for the Lord who obviously was rewarded but not because he overcame sin in his members, but for righteousness sake, still submitted himself to the commandments of his Father to learn obedience (not that he needed to). But so that righteousness is fulfilled, Jesus said to JtB, "permit it to be so for in this is righteousness fulfilled". This is your eternal reward, and the love of God, that you know him and Paul is not unclear in expectation that submission under the law was requisite. This is over against those who think that it is merely loving God, for the truth is that love is not without knowledge of the Son of God and his righteousness. The typical theme of the epistles is doctrine and behavior, reason and works. It is not that the positive command to Adam kind has been suspended, we are still to eat of all the righteous fruit. Now, if you don't eat, you will starve. There is a down side to our liberty and it is expressed in Hebrews 12. Scourgings are not because of our standing as regenerated holy men. The scourgings are to drive sin far from us as proverbs says, and a good father disciplines those who he loves. Punishments are indicated. What they are we often don't know. But, there is enough that we do know that we have done against the righteousness of God to inform us that our sin does indeed find us out. As a gracious heavenly Father, God disciplines us for our good. The interesting thing about the OT law is its back and foreshadowing of how God treats those he loves. This is the love of God that you keep his commandments, and you know what the law says, is not without this one thing (many things) you still lack. Sanctification is a beautiful expression of the Father's care of his Son, and it is to be reflected in us. What then is the lesson of the temptation in the wilderness? To learn the law and strive to perfect it in us so that, the end of the matter should be manifest in the Day, and having done all to stand to be able.

Grigs said...

Ray Comfort says its right therefore it is right (see tape: true and false conversion)

donsands said...

There is the truth that "the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish" (Gal. 5:17).

And Paul said he would do what he didn't want to do, and did not do what he wanted to do. He was a strong man of faith, and no one ever stronger I would think.

Of course there are those who interpret this passage as Saul the unbeliever, such as Douglas Moo.

I see this as an encouraging passage for the genuine born again believer, because we do struggle with sin, but always longing to be rid of the body of death.
The nominal Christian will simply not really care if he sins. And the self-righteous Christians will think he hardly ever sins, and lives a righteous life because he has great faith.

I believe the genuine child of God's heart will condemn him or her from time to time, but thank the Lord He is greater than our heart.
Thank God for Romans 8:1.

Good post as usual. You make us ponder the deep things of the Bible.

Daryl said...

Johnny Dialectic,

I've seen and heard many examples but I'll provide one.

Some time ago, whilst frequenting a different blog, one of the frequent commenters and I were often in a back and forth about the believer's duty to obey. He claimed that to say that was to slip "sliver handcuffs" onto the believer and nullify grace.
He almost sounded holy, almost.

Shortly thereafter an unmarried girl who was living with her boyfriend came calling looking for advice on how to proceed now that she was a believer. While most of us commenters encouraged her to talk with her pastor in order to seek support for the break that would inevitably need to be made, the aforementioned person (who claimed that requiring obedience was not biblical...) show his true colours by insisting that we were being unkind to the girl and that they were already married in the eyes of God and "what's a piece of paper anyways".

So, sadly yes, the argument Dan address is often and commonly used by believers and those claiming to be believers in order to avoid little things like morality.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Are those who are arguing in this way of the "free grace" / Zane Hodges school?

Phil said...

Dan,nobody thinks those things!What is the issue that people disagree over is this: does sanctification 'in the new way of the Spirit'over the 'old of the written code'progress by a perpetual sin-consciousness as we measure ourselves by the precept which we relate to in our consciences as demand, continually conscious of God's forebearance to consume us on law-terms?Or, by a consciousness of our righteousness in Christ,our perfection in him,'cleansed from an evil conscience',with sins 'remembered no more'in this sense?Heb10 presents a contrast between the two-the nature of the Old Covenant situation,the nature of the new. Galatians contrasts the two and says they won't marry. And says the end of the gospel command is...the fruit of the Spirit,against such there is no law! 2Cor3 contrasts letter and Spirit. One brings righteousness of life,one doesn't. It proves our inability to bring forth fruit apart from the life in the Vine. Rom7v1-6 speaks of the deliverance required so that we would be free FROM the works of the flesh and TO the righteous dynamic of the gospel. Jesus contrasts the two in Matt5-they are qualitatively antithetical. But no-one is saying that right and wrong are relativistic. Some people are saying-and in some form plenty of people have said something of it-Lloyd-Jones,it's in Spurgeon,Walter Marshall,John Reisinger...the thing is,law stirs up sin from the flesh-it doesn't bring life out of the new nature. We are to put to death the misdeeds of the flesh-but how?Some say club the sheep with the law!Others say are you crazy?If righteousness could come by the law,Christ died needlessly?Having begun in the Spirit,are we now made perfect by the flesh?I for one can't get the fruit of the Spirit from law. And frankly,it's very evident that neither can the law-preachers...despite some of them no doubt having the best of intentions...what I'm saying is certainly not Hodge school,from what I've heard...if someone can appropriate 'no condemation' and it doesn't lead him to righteous of living as a pattern-he's still dead in his sins. I gather 'free grace tends to have some different connotations from what it used to. For what it's worth...-Phil

DJP said...

Phil, you really need to learn some punctuation, if you want folks to read your comments.

Here is Phil's comment, with spaces and paragraph-breaks:

"Dan, nobody thinks those things!

"What is the issue that people disagree over is this: does sanctification 'in the new way of the Spirit' over the 'old of the written code' progress by a perpetual sin-consciousness as we measure ourselves by the precept which we relate to in our consciences as demand, continually conscious of God's forebearance to consume us on law-terms? Or, by a consciousness of our righteousness in Christ,our perfection in him, 'cleansed from an evil conscience', with sins 'remembered no more' in this sense?

"Heb 10 presents a contrast between the two-the nature of the Old Covenant situation,the nature of the new. Galatians contrasts the two and says they won't marry. And says the end of the gospel command is...the fruit of the Spirit, against such there is no law!

"2 Cor 3 contrasts letter and Spirit. One brings righteousness of life, one doesn't. It proves our inability to bring forth fruit apart from the life in the Vine. Rom 7 v1-6 speaks of the deliverance required so that we would be free FROM the works of the flesh and TO the righteous dynamic of the gospel. Jesus contrasts the two in Matt5 - they are qualitatively antithetical.

"But no-one is saying that right and wrong are relativistic. Some people are saying-and in some form plenty of people have said something of it - Lloyd-Jones,it's in Spurgeon, Walter Marshall, John Reisinger...

"[T]he thing is, law stirs up sin from the flesh - it doesn't bring life out of the new nature.

"We are to put to death the misdeeds of the flesh-but how? Some say club the sheep with the law! Others say are you crazy? If righteousness could come by the law, Christ died needlessly? Having begun in the Spirit, are we now made perfect by the flesh? I for one can't get the fruit of the Spirit from law. And frankly, it's very evident that neither can the law-preachers...despite some of them no doubt having the best of intentions...

"[W]hat I'm saying is certainly not Hodge school, from what I've heard...if someone can appropriate 'no condemation' and it doesn't lead him to righteous of living as a pattern-he's still dead in his sins.

"I gather 'free grace tends to have some different connotations from what it used to.

"For what it's worth...

"-Phil"

Please, in the future, use that space-bar and Enter key, Phil.

Strong Tower said...

"We are to put to death the misdeeds of the flesh-but how?"

By the Spirit- exactly, but how? The law does indeed stir up the deeds of the flesh, and more importantly for us, let's us know what has been lurking in the shadows. The commandment, speak the truth to one another is not without its antithesis, we are in our flesh prone to lie. The law says do not lie and our flesh is all too willing to accomodate. So, by the Spirit, what the flesh is unable to do, Christ did, and does. What that means is that by the law we are conscious that there is a big problem, which we are enjoined to stand against, to put it to death, clothed with Christ. This seems to be the part that you are missing. You think that by just walking away from the battle you have won it. That is the rejection of the call to sanctification, not the fulfillment of it.

DJP said...

Okay, Phil, so having forced myself to go through the whole plate of spaghetti, here's where we are: in the exact same place as before.

1. You have not adduced one verse that answers any of my challenges.

2. You make an appalling mish-mash-mess of the verses you do cite, none of which teaches what you assert. Mercy, I hope you're not a teacher in any church.

3. I am certain that, at least, Lloyd-Jones and Spurgeon would be horrified at your use of their name in this connection.

4. You represent exactly what I'm talking about. As I've already explained to you at length, your position is nothing like the teaching of Christ or the apostles. This is as simple as a glass of water. Yet, here it is one more time:

5. What you are "but-but-butting" is the very words of Christ and the apostles. There. Done. End of the argument. Your nightmare of a position leaves you unable simply to say "Amen" to the direct, in-context commands of the New Covenant. Therefore, the problem is your position.

atruefaith.com said...

Dan, I’ll put my pomo hat on for argument’s sake (hopefully, without tripping into open blasphemy for the sake of playing out your challenge) as long as it is first understood that I in no way hold or endorse the following argument:
[alter ego]

Relating to challenge #1.

14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. –Romans 7:14-20

See! Paul here clearly states that sin living within is understood and accepted by God as all being part of the human condition, therefore, it is okay that we sin because God dualistically indwells the regenerated heart along with the inherent sin nature. Even if they should flat out disobey God, it is merely the sin nature within a man rising up and overwhelming the good, Divine nature also within him. [/alter ego]

Dan, I’ll let you now drive a semi through the gaping theological hole in this argument and I’ll meet you on the other side.

DJP said...

Mostly, I'm trying to envision your PoMo hat.

donsands said...

"..the thing is,law stirs up sin from the flesh-it doesn't bring life out of the new nature." -Phil

But the new heart loves God law, and His law is not grievous.

"I rejoice at Your Word
As one who finds great treasure.
I hate and abhor lying,
But i love Your law." Psalm 119:162-163

You are correct that the law is the power of sin, but this is for the unbeliever, and so he works hard to keep the law, and so is proud and self-righteous, or he gives into his flesh, when the law says do not covet, and the flesh's great desire is to covet.
But in the believer we are simul iustus est et peccat.

Solameanie said...

Dan,

You missed your calling in life. You should have been a matador. And I think you'd have been a Bugs Bunny matador type. You wave the red flag at the bull, and then when the bull charges at the flag, he discovers a strategically placed anvil behind it.

Good post.

Strong Tower said...

From the sola mind vault.

Phil said...

Dan, apologies sir.I've typed on my mobile which is lacking the capacity for either. Don, of course the believer loves the very essence of the law. I agree with Terry Rayburn though that we are one nature,despite the remaining sin in our flesh. Dualism is a lie from the pit. Amen to the command in gospel context a thousand times. Strong Tower,I'm coming to believe that the root of the battle is in the rest of the gospel. At it's root,the flesh is about legal self-effort. Lloyd-Jones says some very similar things in his commentary on Rom7,regardless of the identity of the Rom7 man. I've seem some of the sovereign grace people say something of this,too.

atruefaith.com said...

"Mostly, I'm trying to envision your PoMo hat."

It's very colorful with lots of spikes!

http://www.littletrekkers.co.uk/shop/shop_image/product/89ee2fd28a7d0d68589eeaf54e8ed90e.jpg

Tom Chantry said...

Lloyd Jones, Spurgeon, and John Reisinger? Aaaauuugghhhh! It's too much! I can't participate seriously in this thread without loosing my mind.

Instead, let me try my hand at clarifying the "PoMo Hat."

The PoMo Hat is whatever you want it to be, and it looks like whatever you imagine it to be, or like nothing at all if you prefer. It's not even necessarily a hat, at least not in the outmoded conceptions of hats with which we have been oppressed for centuries. It may be a glove that you wear on your head (not that there's any rule that a PoMo hat must be worn on the head). Perhaps it is more like a salad bowl, or like a salad, or like a '57 Chevy convertible.

Does that help?

Strong Tower said...

Well then quote the rest of Romans 7: For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure....

...Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin...

Then Romans 8: There is therefore...

Why is the therefore there for? The answer... I myself serve the law of God...

You confuse the law of sin and death with the law of God, the curse with the blessing. Paul makes it clear that it is not the law that is the curse, it is the curse of sin, that is the curse and the therefore there is no condemnation is the result of the both the sanctification which is unto life and that according to the law (commandments). Rather than being a release from the requirements of the law it is a requirement to submission to it by the new and living way of the Spirit. To throw it out will simply lead to licentiousness, license to feel goodly about dragging the sin along with you. Instead Paul admonishes that we put to death the deads of the flesh by the Spirit. He does that by reiterating the law, for it is good. But, to evil men, nothing is good, even that which God gave us as the Way the Truth, and the Life. Take up and follow me, He said, and He followed the law.

Strong Tower said...

"It may be a glove that you wear on your head" lol

now dats funny...

Rachael Starke said...

You had me at the other post with John 14:15. Verse 31 is also pretty cut and dried - why do we want to even think about doing less than Jesus did with His Father??

donsands said...

"Dualism is a lie from the pit."

I thought it was a biblical interpretation of the original texts.

I agree with John Newton, who said: "My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things--that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour."

And if such a great man of the Lord, can only remember these two things at the end of his life, then this weak and feeble Christian would do good to do the same.

hammer185 said...

2nd challenge… - Find me the verse where the Lord or His apostles address a command to the Holy Spirit, instead of to Christians.

If I understand this challenge correctly, and I may not be, my statement to you would be grow up! The chapter which details this command is John 16.

The entirety of the New Testament hinges upon this command Jesus Christ and God the Father have given the Holy Spirit and it doesn’t have to be repeated on every page to be a force of stability to which the authority of the whole New Testament rests.

Jesus Christ along the God the Father have commanded the Holy Spirit to go and indwell the true believers guiding them into all truth. Furthermore the Holy Spirit is commanded what he is to speak and what his job is to be as directed towards the world. The fact that he does this willingly, concurs in entirety to what he is to do and say, and is fully part of the triune Godhead, does not negate the fact that the Holy Spirit’s ministry is a ministry of submission to a command of Jesus Christ.

witness said...

Solameanie, Dan may not be a matador, but he most certainly is a "metador"... ba da bump

Ha! My word verification was "delete"!

DJP said...

hammer185 — thanks, but it does appear you misunderstood.

I am saying a command addressed to the Holy Spirit, telling Him to do something in the stead and place of a Christian.

IOW, there is a command to me, "Flee fornication" (1 Corinthians 6).

Is there a similar command, "Holy Spirit, You flee fornication in the stead of Dan Phillips, while he stands there passive, unengaged, inactive, and unresponsive"?

MadTownGuy said...

Dan:

First of all, you started by asking a question that begs only one answer, based on a wrong assumption. The assumption is that Christians who don’t attend church are doing so in willful defiance and for no reason other than, perhaps, laziness. It’s really the same kind of question as ‘Does this make me look fat?” or “When did you stop beating your wife?”

It ignores one major cause of the problem, that being spiritual abuse. If a church engenders the need for multiple recovery groups, there might be a problem. and what you’ve done here is tantamount to chasing the lost sheep with a cattle prod! It also ignores other kinds of disobedience that are ‘safe’ sins such as gluttony (full disclosure: I‘m overweight), anything less than honesty in business dealings, speeding or fudging on income tax returns. I’m not trying to deflect criticism; since you brought up the question of whether living in disobedience is evidence of a godly life, let’s bring into the discussion all the various sins that can waylay us as believers.

Further, you’ve ignored the sins that have been perpetrated on congregations by leaders stepping outside of their Scripturally outlined boundaries as evidenced in;
- Matthew 23:8-11 “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant.”
- 2 Cor 1:24 “Not that we lord it over your faith, but are workers with you for your joy; for in your faith you are standing firm.”
- 2 Cor. 10:8 “For even if I boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame” (note especially that the context here is addressing disobedience in the local congregation)
- 1 Pet 5:2-3 “…shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.”
…and many other passages.

So now I’ll ask a question. Where in the Scriptures does it state that one Christian is accountable to another? There are plenty of places where it outlines that each of us shall give an account to God; I don’t see “accountability,” especially as you’ve posited for congregants to elders, in the Word. Don’t mischaracterize my statement. I’m not negating the authority of elders to exercise discipline when needed to ensure the spiritual health of the Body (see: Gary Ezzo); Neither am I saying that we shouldn't keep each other honest as we live in communion with one another as saints. What I am saying is that the aforesaid discipline and encouragement is not to exercised by means of authoritarian rule.

God’s kingdom is not a democracy; but its servants must not be despots.

Daryl said...

Phil,

As simple answer to your assertion might be this:

Can you, or anyone else, identify when a believer refuses to commit adultery by using "the flesh" or when he is doing it "by the Spirit"?

Of course you can't. Because there is no difference. Obedience must be played out in the physical realm, or it is not obedience.

The difference Paul was talking about in Galatians was the difference between obedience out of love and responsibility, and attempting to become fit to stand before God by that obedience.

The former is plainly required by Scripture, the latter is flatly rejected by Scripture as pure sin.

DJP said...

MadTownGuy — very simply answered.

1. By definition, in the other post I addressed only those who are not in church through willful disobedience.

2. However, you have described no one in that category, so for this discussion, it remains unpopulated.

3. All of your Bible verses have absolutely nothing to do with any of this. Or, IOW:

4. Does someone else's sin make my sin OK? (Hint: two-letter answer, one vowel, starts with an "N.")

5. The matter of whether a Christian must be personally involved in a local assembly, in submission to its leadership, was addressed and answered in this post. You are commenting on a different post.

Chad V. said...

Speaking of Days O' The Judges Worship Center;

Ed Young's recent antics just made the local talk radio station here in Milwaukee this morning complete with sound bites. They were just as outraged as the lady on CNN. The whole thing is truly shameful.

And Llyod-Jones and Spurgeon, with Reisnger???!!! Phil-not Johnson; I haven't been able to follow anything you've said.

Chris said...

(formerly Polycarp)
As a layman, I'll try to add what stands-out to me in this post, albeit without the theological depth of so many others here today:

To hold the view that directives by the Lord are not aimed at Christians, but rather to the Holy Spirit instead, grossly epitomizes the idea of "looking a gift-horse in the mouth." First, because of the very fact that in the Holy Spirit we as believers have a great and generous gift too wonderful for words (as if our salvation wasn't enough to try and comprehend for all eternity)...we were given a helper and comforter as we pursue obedience...the very one who fills every believer in order for such directives to be carried out successfully in sinful men and women. To attribute the directives that are aimed at us to the Holy Spirit seems blasphemous.

Solameanie said...

Strong Tower...

You nailed it. That's exactly the cartoon I remembered.

Witness,

"Metador." I like it. And as I've seen over the years with Dan, Frank and Phil, all three "metadors" have plenty of anvils for recreant bulls who come here and mount a charge.

DJP said...

Oh my. I just realized that something I wrote runs the risk of bringing out the truly hardcore Monty Python fans.

Chad V. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

and, at the far other end of the spectrum....it is lazy and/or slothful.

DJP said...

Yet, Chad, isn't that pretty much where the Higher Life, Exchanged Life, mystical "Christian" teaching takes us?

On that view, God does not regenerate, justify and adopt us, give us His Spirit, then give us His good word to obey by grace. No, it's much deeper and more complicated than that. We have to melt into Christ and become nothing, and let Him live His life through us, let the Holy Spirit operate us, let go and let God.

In which case, to whom are all those commands addressed? Since for me to do anything is (in this ruinous fantasy) to put myself under law and act in the flesh?

Hence my questions.

Chris said...

Dan,

So true. John MacArthur just addressed the "Let Go/Let God" fallacy on Sunday night...in discussing the spiritual armor we are directed to put on daily--an activity aimed at a day full of activity. Battle means battle, which, by its very nature, is the opposite of passive. Perhaps that passivity fallacy is what draws so many former hippies into the movements of the day?

DJP said...

Oh, well then. MacArthur said it, so... there y'go!

I do wish he'd stop taking my best stuff, though.

Chad V. said...

DJP

Indeed. It's just a disguised form of antinomianism and Christ said; "Depart from me all you who practice lawlessness.

Chad V. said...

WOOPS! Apologies, I had to delete my comment to Chris and repeat it down here. I accidentally typed "Christ" instead of "Chris". No Blasphemy intended. Sorry DJP, now our comments aren't in order.
Chris
To attribute the directives that are aimed at us to the Holy Spirit seems blasphemous.

Yes indeed, although it's not just blasphemous, it's truly heretical.

Doug Hibbard said...

MadTownGuy---I'm a pastor in the south, and 'spiritual abuse' has about worn out its welcome with me. It's not spiritual abuse that you were not put on the finance committee when you won't tithe. It's not spiritual abuse that the pastor told you to stop gossiping, or that you want it one way, and you can't have it.

Are there abusive leaders? Yes, but I doubt that is the 'major cause' of people not attending church. I've been on staff of a church with 800 members, and 150 attenders. The missing 650 weren't gone because of spiritual abuse.

I take that back. They were. And you're right, it is spiritual abuse, because denying church discipline and failing to uphold the holiness of God within our churches has abused people within church and our society as a whole.

Where are the verses that support the idea that the Christian life is based on God giving practical commands, not just fuzzy principles? Try the second half of Romans, 1 &2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and the entire book of Philemon, which is a politely worded direction from one Christian to another, but is a command.

Am I remembering wrongly, or was one of the streams of Gnosticism that all flesh was evil, so you couldn't obey God with your body, so don't try? That your spirit is above it all, and redeemed, so there is no need for earthly obedience?

And didn't the Holy Spirit inspire parts of the Word of God just to shut that down? (2 John)

And one last thing: 1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
There are commandments, plural. They are not burdensome, because they are fulfilled out of love. I do nice things for my wife, adjust my schedule for her, because she requests it, but these are not burdensome requests, because of the love. How much more should I obey the commands of the One who made and redeemed me?

Sorry...long comment.

DJP said...

Doug, next time -- don't hold back.

chrish said...

Doug,
I have to agree with DJP; it feels like you danced around a little too much. Try being more direct. :P

Phil said...

You chaps are largely very quick to speak...not so quick to be thoughtful and establish facts first/honestly interact over the meaning of Scripture. Strong Tower-general point:restating your positions such as adducing what you aim to from Rom7 may bolster your opinions and gain the kudos of your fellows,but you'll never interact with anyone you disagree with that way. Like Lloyd-Jones... The Law indeed was holy,just and good. It therefore perfectly served this purpose-not to impart sin;neither bring the sinner into a state of death-but to cause the offence to increase to manifest that state he was already in. But here's the thing I think you miss-the root of all sin is that which seeks God's love,favour and blessing by the performance of the precepts (e.g. Is58). God gave a law to reveal that by it multiplying the offence as the Law was used that way. Now,as Lloyd-Jones says-the Law related to that way in the believer does exactly the same thing in him! For the same reason... If you feel that you cannot treat Lloyd-Jones' view here with the same disdain as mine,because he is Lloyd-Jones,then I ask you,are you not 'respecting persons'? He speaks about this somewhat in 'Spiritual Depression,too... Daryl,I think determining the motive is easy on one objective ground-do we realize we can't earn his favour and blessing by our performance of the precept? It surely takes care of itself when the feet are right. Right believing leads to right practice...Of course the directives are not aimed at the Holy Spirit,but the fulfilling of them is to be done out of our union with Christ,who is our life(Gal2v20)...when I referred to dualism being evil,I was meaning just that gnostic-type idea perhaps referenced in 1Jn,that said because we are perfected in our spirits,but the flesh remains yet is not truly us,THEREFORE we can sin all we like(or make out the body is evil in an ascetic,Platonic Dualist fashion.

NoLongerBlind said...

DJP wrote:

4. Does someone else's sin make my sin OK? (Hint: two-letter answer, one vowel, starts with an "N.")

And now for something completely different....

is the answer you're expecting NI!!?

DJP said...

Phil, I'm going to ask you to stop two things:

1. Our readers aren't accustomed to reading ancient manuscripts with no spaces. Wait until you're at a keyboard with a space bar and an Enter key.

2. This will give you time to do something you haven't done yet: actually read all the posts, look at the Scriptures, and read the comments you're formally replying to. Stop repeating refuted concepts and aducing unrelated irrelevancies. I'm not going to let our readers keep pouring water into sand, here, Phil. So please: wait, read, think, deal, respond.

DJP said...

NLB — Exactly.

witness said...

Are you talking about the dead parrot sketch Dan? He was quite dead you know.

witness said...

I thought you were talking about this you said:

"unengaged, inactive, and unresponsive"?

NoLongerBlind said...

How about the "collecting the dead" skit.....

kinda sorta like calling for (dead)sinners to repent, and turn to Christ in faith, except, there's so many people who keep insisting, "I'm not dead yet"..... if only they knew..

DJP said...

Oh no no no, Witness. Nothing wrong with that parrot.

He's just pinin' for the Fjords.

Doug Hibbard said...

He's not dead...he's just sleeping. Beautiful plumage.

After reading all of this, I am reminded of the Cherry Orchard sketch: "My brain hurts."

Patrick Eaks said...

Ephesians 4:21-27 - 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil.

That sure sounds like something that I am called to do. (After I have been made a new creature in Christ Jesus)! The proof that we have been taught by Christ is that WE do all of those things that WE have been commanded to do.

Matthew 28:20 - Teaching THEM to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Daryl said...

Ahhh but Patrick, you must be sure that when you do it, you do it by the Spirit and not by the flesh...otherwise it doesn't count you know.

Patrick Eaks said...

Daryl,
I am not sure if your comment was "tongue in check" or not.

The flesh has not the power to obey the commands of Christ.

How can the flesh put on the new man? How can the flesh put off the old man? How can the flesh love the Lord our God with all our heart, all of our mind and all of our soul?

Strong Tower said...

"but to cause the offence to increase to manifest that state he was already in."

No, period. And though I may be the idiotes, my repeating myself is only the result of your consistent refusal to hear what is said and by your insistance in restating your postion without any Scriptural weight.

As to the above. The "orginal" intent of the law is life. But, since, apparently, you haven't read Genesis cf Romans 7, then you're sorely mal-formed, lacking the context within which the law was given. Perhaps you think that we have been freed from the law because Romans says: But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. Can that which came later annul that which was established by the former? Circumcision did not come through Moses but the patriarchs, law did not come through Moses at all, but from God and was established before it was written into codes. You conflate and confuse. The law was given in the Garden, eat, and do not eat. For eternity, it will remain true. It was sin, Romans says, the burden which could not stand under the law, from which we have been released, and that is the meaning of being released from the law, (its demands for justice) because if you read the entire context it is the curse of the law brought about by sin and not law from which we have been released. Having been sanctified we are being sanctified and it is our responsibility to be co-laborers. It is given that there is no condemnation, that has been secured in Christ, and it is secured that we will be perfected. Being perfected, we follow Christ, who fought against sin in the flesh. So what if it was without him, we have an enemy within, unless you deny Romans 7 and your own self awareness. And the weapons of our warfare are spiritual, but I think that is what Paul said about the law, isn't it? Being released from the condemnation that is due in our flesh, as Paul says, he is still subject to it, does not relieve us of the duty to the law of life. The law of life in Christ Jesus is that "good works prepared by the Father that we should walk in them" and by that promise we know that we will, even though we stumble seven times, as the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus will rise again. Resurrection is ours, and our battle ensues with Christ at our side upon that very fact that he is risen and has had all things put under his feet, though we do not behold that as having been done yet. So, he is before the Father, and we before him, pleading for mercy, which of course is granted, not do to our effort, but by the finished perfected work in Christ. We fight sin, because he did and does. To lay it off on a perfectionistic scheme that makes it a non-struggle goes against the NT and the admonitions to make your calling and election sure. The context is battle against sin, which the law, which was intended good and not to stir it up as to incite sin (sin being present was stirred up) but to shine the light upon it, tells us to circumcize it from us. Your contention is that there is no law? Prove it, prove as DJP has said, one place where we are told that we do not need to obey the law, and show that there are no commandments (laws) that we must obey. For sure, holiness is not attained by the letter, but the Spirit gave us the law before any one of the jots and tittles were written. The heathen have such a law written upon their hearts, it is spiritual, the recognition of which, you seem unaware.

Daryl said...

Patrick,

Firmly in cheek.

When I obey, I obey by the power of God, yet I must still do something otherwise nothing is done.

DJP said...

You know, ST... it wouldn't hurt you to be friendlier with your Enter key, neither.

DJP said...

(Just a short word from the Readability Police. As you were.)

KRG said...

1 Corinthians 6:12&10:23 - "All things are lawful..."
;)

Chris said...

Dan,

"I do wish he'd stop taking my best stuff, though"

Well, you know, until he writes a first book and gets his ministry off the ground, he just may need to continue borrowing stuff from others!

:D

DJP said...

True dat.

Strong Tower said...

Sorry,

Paragraph control is not my forte.

my verify code: poicel

close

Frank Turk said...

Pinin' for the fjords.

>snort<

witness said...

Pinin' for the fjords is what Norwegian Blues do!

witness said...

Especially the dead ones! Har!

Mesa Mike said...

I thought maybe it was the argument clinic sketch.

Because Dan is soliciting answers to unanswerable questions.

DJP said...

No I'm not.

Mesa Mike said...

Oh, OK.
I note (now) that your challenge wasn't presented in the form of questions anyway. My bad.

My honest response to each of your challenge points then is, "I can't."

Solameanie said...

So Dan does a Frank and derails a meta with Monty Python.

Say no more!

As to the topic at hand, I was just thinking that this would be a great expanded Sunday school series on the use and misuse of Scripture. You could probably get several weeks out of it.

DJP said...

Oh, MMike, MMike, MMike! You missed it!

:^D

Mesa Mike said...

That figures...

Mesa Mike said...

Perhaps this is the verse you're looking for?

Gen 3:4 -- But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die."

Tom Chantry said...

Boy this thread is getting long! I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition, you know!

Johnny Dialectic said...

I still can't figure out where this is coming from. Is this an "in house" Calvinist or Baptist deal? As a non-denom, I may be out in the cold.

Also, can you point out one verse in the Bible that commands us to cite Monty Python?

donsands said...

"How can the flesh love the Lord our God with all our heart, all of our mind and all of our soul?"

With all of it's strength.

Angie B. said...

Scripture to follow explanation:

Our salvation is not in our hands; neither is our sanctification.

Salvation is by grace, through faith. It's God's work. In sanctification, God produces the fruit of the Spirit in us when we walk by the Spirit. How do we walk by the Spirit? Through faith--faith in some powerful truths.

Faith that we have been buried with Christ, our old man crucified with Him and dead. Faith that we have been raised with Christ so we can walk in newness of life.

Sanctification is the process of making actual what God has declared us to be positionally.

The marks of sanctification are exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit, being an instrument of righteousness, overcoming attacks of Satan through the armor, perseverance in trials, doing good to all, etc.
(Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians)

There is no room in this position for saying that a Christian should be able to do whatever he or she wants to do. Where in "therefore, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me, and the life that I now life in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God" do you see an inducement to license?? How about "What then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid! How can he who is dead to sin live any longer in it?"

There is no quibble with the fact that Christians are to live a Christian life with requirements; rather, it is how they are to live out this resurrection life. And the "how" is by faith. Truth graciously given by God empowers and motivates the Christian to live the way he is supposed to live.

That is the position, and in no way does it entail waiting around to be animated by a bolt from the Spirit.

greglong said...

Dan said:

5. What you are "but-but-butting" is the very words of Christ and the apostles. There. Done. End of the argument.

Well, I was just getting interested.

Unless you're just arguing in your spare time...

greglong said...

By the way...

This isn't an argument. It's just contradiction. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition. An argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.

(This is directed to Phil...not Johnson, but the Phil-who-knows-no-punctuation.)

Dorian said...

Was this post inspired by Peter Rollins' new book, The Fidelity of Betrayal?

DJP said...

Johnny D — I can't take your question seriously. You've been answered, you've seen it in this thread, you've seen it here. So, I really don't know what the problem is.

Angie — so, the Lord commands a Christian to do something. Must he obey?

DorianWas this post inspired by Peter Rollins' new book, The Fidelity of Betrayal?

Never heard of him or it. Should it have been?

Greg — that's actually a surprisingly apt reply to Phil.

Chad V. said...

Thankfully, I still can't figure out exactly what Phil-not Johnson is supposed to be saying. Sounds like he's saying the law has no real use for a Christian. Not sure though.

Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. Rom 3:31

donsands said...

"And the "how" is by faith." -Angie

And I'll show my faith by my works.

CR said...

Frank: Well, every man did what was right in his own eyes in the book of Judges, and most of the kings of Israel did as his fathers did throughout Kings. Those passages say that men will do as they please.

That was a good one. :=)

Mesa Mike said...

"Ye shall be as Gods"
That's in the Bible.

And when I'm God, whatever I want to do is just fine by God (me, that is).

Honestly, I don't know what you're getting at, Dan. I'm pretty dense.
But this is an enjoyable thread, anyway.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Dan, honest, I've missed it. Look at my last question specifically and point me in the right direction--the comment I missed, etc. I'm NOT debating this, I'm truly flummoxed.

Angie B. said...

"Angie — so, the Lord commands a Christian to do something. Must he obey?"

Of course.

I was trying to articulate a viewpoint that is being caricatured in some of these comments. I think this view is poorly understood.

DJP said...

Great. Born-again Christians (a tautology) are obliged to seek God's grace to obey His commands. As the previous two posts argued from Scripture. Beauty!

Dorian said...

DJP - Peter Rollins is an emergent guy from Ireland who is, dare I say, farther left than McClaren. His first book was "How (Not)To Speak of God." The first Chapter of his new book is a parable of sorts about a guy forced to make a decision, and ends up going directly against the audible voice of God, which ends up pleasing God a lot. The back cover from his latest just speaks for itself:

"What if one of the core elements of a radical Christianity lay in a demand that we betray it, while the ultimate act of affirming God required the forsaking of God? And what if fidelity to the Judeo-Christian scriptures demanded their renunciation? In short, what if the only way of finding real faith involved betraying that faith with a kiss, like Judas did to Christ? The author of last year’s much-talked-about debut, How (Not) to Speak of God—is at it again.
Employing the insights of apophatic theology, Soren Kierkegaard, and deconstructive theory, The Fidelity of Betrayal seeks to explore the subversive and clandestine nature of a Christianity that dwells within religious institutions while simultaneously undermining them.

DJP said...

Thanks. Reminds me of the Un-man's argument in C. S. Lewis' Perelandra — trying to persuade that planet's Eve that Maleldil actually wanted her to disobey Him, so that she could grow and realize her full potential.

trogdor said...

I'm thinking how awesome it would be to have some o' these folk serve as marriage counselors. Oh, I know the Bible commands you to do this - but since your wife is deeply flawed, you don't really need to do what the Bible clearly commands. No, once your wife is ideal in every way (including her ability to perfectly forgive, since you will need it), then you can start fulfilling your role as husband. Yep, that'd fly.

It's sad that it's not surprising to see so much excuse-making on full display in these threads. Most aren't even trying to deny that the commands are clear, it's just been attempted justification for why people should be allowed to disobey a direct order from the sovereign creator and sustainer of the universe. Or maybe when God issued the command, he just didn't anticipate or understand your situation. Yeah, that's gotta be it. If only God, who calls the stars by name, could get his mind around how awful your pastor is, he would make an exception for you. Totally.

I am kind of disappointed at the lack of effort though. Nobody's even tried to distort passages like Micah 6:6-8 and Hosea 6:6 and Isaiah 1:10ff to support the "I don't have to obey until my heart is perfectly pure" nonsense. Come on, if you're going to spout inanities, at least try a little, ok?

Chad V. said...

trogdor

People who distort scripture like that usually don't read their bibles enough to get to passaged like Micah or Hosea.

Hey, maybe Peter Rollins should try to tell married couples to prove their love for each other by cheating on one another.

DJP said...

...or our love for his books by stealing them from stores? or plagiarizing them?

Chris said...

...or tell his emergent following to reject all of his own rubbish!

Mike Riccardi said...

I'd just like to ask Phil, straight-out, a few simple yes-or-no questions, if that's OK. It will help my own understanding of the matter.

1. Do you believe that the Bible teaches that all Christians must belong to a local church?

2. Is there ever any legitimate reason not to follow that command?

3. If so, is the reason because of the principle of Spirit-not-letter ministry that you've been kind-of talking about? And if yes, explain that.

Frank Turk said...

Dan -- 112 comments?

Wow. All by yourself even.

(C;<

MadTownGuy said...

Dan said:

MadTownGuy — very simply answered.

1. By definition, in the other post I addressed only those who are not in church through willful disobedience.

MTG’s riposte: You never said that. Not once. I checked. You did say "anyone and everyone" and so lumped all non-attenders/members/participants in one group. If there was a more detailed definition I didn’t see it.

2. However, you have described no one in that category, so for this discussion, it remains unpopulated.
MTG: Based on a careful reading of your post, the people I have described are in that category - unless you mean to say that people who leave church because of abuse, and then stay out of church, are not sinning, and I don't think that's what you meant.

3. All of your Bible verses have absolutely nothing to do with any of this. Or, IOW:
MTG sez: Not so. They have everything to do with the topic of spiritual abuse, which causes a subset of the larger problem that you described in posts leading up to this one. Please note that I’m not talking about people who perceive sound doctrine or righteous discipline as spiritual abuse. I’m talking about people abused by leaders who exercise undue control.

4. Does someone else's sin make my sin OK? (Hint: two-letter answer, one vowel, starts with an "N.")
MTG: This is a non sequitur, especially in view of your statement in #1. If you’re referring to the abused ones, then it would follow that their failure to join in fellowship at a healthy church is sin. (Which, by the way, I agree with - and I’ll thank you not to eisegete my posts.) And if you mean the ones who are staying away because church is inconvenient, or boring, or too convicting, they found their way out the door without any outside help and they haven’t been sinned against. Their neglect to join in fellowship is also sinful. So which did you mean? Unless you really did mean “Ni.”

5. The matter of whether a Christian must be personally involved in a local assembly, in submission to its leadership, was addressed and answered in this post. You are commenting on a different post.
MTG: This post is a continuation of the prior ones - you’ve linked them to each other - so the topic is fair game. Next!

MadTownGuy said...

@ Doug Hibbard:

MadTownGuy---I'm a pastor in the south, and 'spiritual abuse' has about worn out its welcome with me. It's not spiritual abuse that you were not put on the finance committee when you won't tithe. It's not spiritual abuse that the pastor told you to stop gossiping, or that you want it one way, and you can't have it.
MTG responds: straw man, and presumptuous. I said nothing of the sort. I’m talking about pastors and/or small group leaders who exercise excessive control over participants down to the minutiae of life so that they can’t make decisions without the approval of their ‘shepherd.’ That’s abuse.

Are there abusive leaders? Yes, but I doubt that is the 'major cause' of people not attending church. I've been on staff of a church with 800 members, and 150 attenders. The missing 650 weren't gone because of spiritual abuse.
Without knowing what went on at your church I won’t speculate, but it might not hurt to ask the missing members, if you can find them, why they left. Unless you do that you can’t presume to know the answer. I do know that numbers are not a measure of spiritual success. My guess is that if Spurgeon were preaching today it probably wouldn’t be at a mega church, though it would be a good one. In any case, as regards spiritual abuse as I mean it, there’s an excellent online book at Apologetics Index that will describe the kinds of things that are happening in churches today. It’s called Churches That Abuse by Ronald Enroth, and while my experiences with people so injured are anecdotal, he describes case after case of dysfunctional churches which tells me this is not an isolated - or minor - problem.

I take that back. They were. And you're right, it is spiritual abuse, because denying church discipline and failing to uphold the holiness of God within our churches has abused people within church and our society as a whole.
Another straw man. First of all, you’re presuming that the reason some of your members have left is because holy living and sound teaching were preached. It may well be, because that doesn’t sell quite as well as Your Best Life Now. And if your church was failing in its task to administer discipline to unrepentant members, said members would mostly have left anyway if discipline had been administered, though hopefully some of them at least would have gone through the restoration process as described in 2 Corinthians 2:1-11. But you’re presuming to know the reason and unless you’ve checked it out, you have no basis for such a statement.

Where are the verses that support the idea that the Christian life is based on God giving practical commands, not just fuzzy principles? Try the second half of Romans, 1 &2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and the entire book of Philemon, which is a politely worded direction from one Christian to another, but is a command.
I’m trying to figure out how you got that from my post. I said no such thing. Also, as a side note, the epistle to Philemon is an appeal, not a command, which I think supports Ray Stedman’s view of pastoral authority. But I never said anything about fuzzy principles.

Am I remembering wrongly, or was one of the streams of Gnosticism that all flesh was evil, so you couldn't obey God with your body, so don't try? That your spirit is above it all, and redeemed, so there is no need for earthly obedience?
Not in my post. I am not now suborning, nor have I ever suborned disobedience. In fact, I have stated that even those who have been abused should return to church - I just don’t happen to think we should hunt them down with a cattle prod.

And didn't the Holy Spirit inspire parts of the Word of God just to shut that down? (2 John)
Agreed. Gnosticism was a poisonous doctrine. Nowadays we have a whole lot more of those poisons to contend with, hence the need to be in fellowship with other Christians, in a healthy church environment. I’ve not stated otherwise in any of my posts.

And one last thing: 1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
There are commandments, plural. They are not burdensome, because they are fulfilled out of love. I do nice things for my wife, adjust my schedule for her, because she requests it, but these are not burdensome requests, because of the love. How much more should I obey the commands of the One who made and redeemed me?

Agreed. Galatians 5:6 tells us that “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love” -- which is also the theme of 1 Corinthians 13. If we’re motivated by love we will live righteously, with our main aim to please Him who loved us first.

Sorry...long comment.
No apology necessary. You had a lot to say; and I’m not known for short posts either.

hammer185 said...

Dan,

John 16:13 properly interpreted is still a legitimate rebuttal to and a fulfillment to your 'find me a verse challenge'.

Holy Spirit, You will guide every believer into all truth in the stead of them, despite them, even when their rebellion against me is characterized by but not limited to the following; just standing there passive, unengaged, inactive, and unresponsive.

I think that this is probably a fair partial commentary on what Jesus commanded the Holy Spirit in John 16:13. There were no caveats to when He could and could not guide them into all truth. It wasn’t stated only guide them into truth when they aren’t opposed to being guided into truth. It is only because of this command that the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints as mitigated through the Holy Spirit and Scripture can be understood. On a personal level, It is the pattern of my life to persevere and obey because He chastens, this despite the times when I am passive, unengaged, inactive, and unresponsive.

I think that the goal of this post is to make it clear that Sanctification is something the believer must be actively engaged in. I concur with further clarification as to what the means of this Sanctification is and what engages them. The fact that believers are actively engaged in their Sanctification does not mean that the primary prod for this engagement is sourced from themselves.

If one is trying to source this engagement by themselves and failing because God doesn't chasten them through the Holy Spirit, then that should question whether or not they have a genuine working faith. If they think they are saved because of the teachings of others they should legitimately consider that they have been deceived and humbly pray for a genuine repentance that leads to a genuine working faith.

A genuine working faith is not just a self-certification to the fact that one thinks they are obeying what Jesus has commanded them. When believers understand truth through Scripture and exercise that truth by means of a genuine working faith this is a result of the grace of God despite and opposed to them and their natural desire to ignore and/or pervert God's Word. When this happens their flesh mourns and starves and their spirit rejoices. They in fact are becoming what they are not. This is an action opposed to their will, despite their natural desire to rebel, through submission to the role of the Holy Spirit as commanded by Jesus Christ.

Doug Hibbard said...

MTG--- your statement: It ignores one major cause of the problem, that being spiritual abuse.

Given that people that have claimed 'spiritual abuse' and 'abusive authority' in my experience have been whining because the church and pastor had expectations(this is not just where I pastor, but in other churches, including members that want to church hop), this is not a straw man argument. You were making an excuse, that a major cause of people staying out of church was 'spiritual abuse' which is a broadly over applied term. Had you brought up people that suffered physical or sexual abuse, it would have been worth considering.

Fuzzy principles comment not direct specifically at you.

You're presuming that I would not have looked into the issue about why people had left that church. Attacking whether or not I would bother to find a basis for a statement is more of an ad hominem than a straw man,if you want to trade bad logic. Wouldn't have said it if there were no basis for it.

At what point did I recommend hunting down the truly abused with a cattle prod?

Some of the statements made were for the general flow of comments, not specifically at your comments.

Philemon is not an appeal--it's a politely worded command. I can't read that without seeing that Paul expected to be obeyed. Which is a command.

There is a need to be in fellowship with other Christians. Sometimes a 'healthy church environment' isn't available, but we still need the fellowship.

I actually don't think there are any more poisons now than there were then: Bad theology, bad leadership(Paul warned the Ephesians), disobedient believers (Ananias and Sapphira), and outside attacks. Of course, the oversimplification may be too much, but it really does come down to those roots.

DJP said...

MAdTownGuy — so, you feel I overestimate my readers' intelligence? I doubt that. But just in case: yes, if someone is in a coma, or held captive by terrorists, I think his not being in churchh at the moment is not a sin.

The rest of your stuff, then, was a complete time-waster. Spiritual abuse is a completely irrelevant red herring, since you agree that others' sin doesn't excuse mine, and all Christians must be involved in a local assembly. Which I'd said.

Well, Doug, there's a bit of our time we'll never have back.

DJP said...

Doug Hibbard and MTG — I'm calling "enough" on the spiritual abuse detour. Doug, you answered well and sufficiently; MTG has now admitted it had nothing to do with anything in either post, since he (now) admits it is no excuse for a Christian not finding and joining himself to a local church.

Move on.

Chad V. said...

hammer

That is so NOT what DJP is talking about. He means a verse that lets Christians just "let go and let God" because the Holy Spirit is commanded to do all the obeying for you in you.

He's raised challenges to all the silly objections that the previous posts have drawn from people who think that they don't have to go to church or obey God's commands if they don't feel like it.

DJP said...

hammer185

First, Chad's right.

Second, creative attempt, truly.

Third, it still fails. Here's why.

In the first, place, I disagree with your interpretation of the passage. I studied it and related passages in the Upper Room Discourse exhaustively, and became convinced that they apply to the apostles specifically, not to Christians at large. That is the only way to read it, without having to tone down the promises so radically as to make them meaningless.

In that case, it doesn't fit the scenario. Read Galatians, Romans, any letter. Though the apostles were led inerrantly in their writing, they were far from passive pens in a puppetmaster's hand. The Holy Spirit didn't write Scripture in their stead, disguising His voice like Jeff Dunham.

But even on your interpretation, it still fails. Believers are exhorted and commanded fully to engage in memorizing (Deuteronomy 6:5ff.), continuing in (John 8:31-32), thinking about (2 Timothy 2:7), and practicing (Matthew 28:18-20) Scripture.

In either case, there's a confluence that falls short of my requirements.

So - fail.

But good try.

Doug Hibbard said...

Okay, we have now mixed Biblical discussion with Monty Python AND Jeff Dunham....this is getting scary.

Sorry if my 2 Am response seemed a little testy...I was up with a sick kid.

Gilbert said...

1. There are none.
2. There are none.
3. There are none.
4. There are none, therefore

5. Deal with it.

We could have saved ourselves 110+ posts! :-)

Doug Hibbard said...

Gilbert---but we would have missed the happy references to Monty Python and Jeff Dunham....

And that would have been a shame.

Strong Tower said...

Boy, this is gonna be a short comment thread. Well...

O'coors, dat's figgering dat mose rreed (if you twist your mouth to one side and read that it really sounds back-woodsy): Therefore you have no excuse, O man...Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law.

Nowa dissen makins no zenz, iffin being zo smartsy you tink duh law issen only fo da Naboo.

Let me shake my head and say that again, this makes no sense if the law is only restricted to the written code and to those for whom it was written. The law is spiritual, though I am carnal, and even though I do not keep the outward ordinances, those things which the outward symbolize are real laws eternally in effect by which God governs his creation, to which by virtue of being a creature, am subject. To say that one is not obligated, is to say that one is an without law, anomos, and exalts himself against the knowledge of God.

I wonder how Jeff would handle the dreaded Sabre Tooth Rabbit?

Ryan said...

Ryan here, aka - hammer185

Dan,

Thank you for making it publicly clear that you do not believe it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth.

Do you have a statement, teaching, previous post, etc. for those of us who would be concerned about this as to what you believe the Holy Spirit's role is towards your understanding of truth.

Thank you for making it publicly clear that your claims to truth are instead from your long exhaustive study.

DJP said...

If you do that wretchedly with a mere mortal's statement of his belief, I hope you're in no position to teach anyone any part of the Bible.

What I've made clear is that I'm not an apostle. I am instead in the position God put me (and all Christians) in, where rather than being a conduit of revelation, I am a student of revelation. It is in that study that the Lord (Jesus) will give me understanding (2 Timothy 2:7).

Further, if you can bring yourself to listen to anyone other than your first impression, you'll find that this interpretation is hardly new, nor unique to me. Many others have been unwilling to empty Jesus' words of all meaning to accomodate their own notions of illumination. It just takes actually reading Jesus' words, and a few moments of reflection on what He actually said instead of what you always assumed He said.

Give it a try sometime. Very educational.

chrish said...

Ryan aka hammer185:

I do not defend DJP in this matter, as he is a grown man and better able to do so than I. I will, however, say that your understanding of the Holy Spirit's role in understanding truth seems to be far too narrow.

You suggest that the Holy Spirit has no part in revealing truth through study. I find that to be contrary to the Word of God, which regularly references itself (Jesus, Paul, Peter, etc). Further, God saw fit to bless people with brains and wisdom so that we may understand Him more.

I have not heard the audible word of God, but I have read it, and understood it. Without my study, I would never have received the gift of grace I did.

Please be more careful before you leap to such a conclusion as your last comment seems to.

Kevin Craig said...

Has "Thinking Like a Slave" been closed off to comments?

My interaction

hammer185 said...

The fact that some of the men in the Upper Room penned some of Scripture through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in guiding all Christians to all truth is a derailment from the issue at hand, the means of Sanctification, other than the fact that we know the cannon, which we test all truth with, is closed.

Furthermore any understanding of the New Testament clearly hinges upon Jesus Words and so any proper interpretation of the Holy Spirit's ministry must come back to something Jesus said and not just a mystery ministry of meeting believers half way when they obey.

He can't take a break in guiding all believers into all truth because they are tired, or lazy, or not going to church, or being deceived by the pastor of their current church, which knocks the wind out of them to use a colloquial term. The Holy Spirit must continue and faithfully obey the command of Christ despite whatever actions the deception brings to bear in the believer until Christ says stop.

Many people act as agents of deception in pro porting that the gift of the Holy Spirit towards those in the Upper Room is different than the gift Christians now receive. They do this by confusing a duty with the gift. The gift, amongst other things, is in guiding all believers into understanding what they already have, which is all truth. All truth = Jesus. I doubt many, if any, of us think our duty is that of an apostle as outlined by Scripture, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have the same gift.

The duty of some men who were in the Upper Room in response to this gift was to pen Scripture. The duty of some men who were not in the Upper Room in response to this same gift was to pen Scripture.

Lastly, a common misinterpretation of John 8:31 to be a command. I won't get into the misapplication of the command in 1 Corinthians to flee sexual immorality.

Here is the structure (note the plural, don’t let your flesh bring this back to a self centered application until you master the plural as delivered)

"if you all do "A" you will all be truly "B""

Therefore, no one can claim to be truly "B" unless they all do "A"

They either all continue in His Word and are therefore all truly His disciples, or (this is how conditional statements work) none of them can claim to be truly His disciple if any of them fail to continue in His Word.

Now, to take this passage and apply it on a personal level - I will not be a true disciple unless everyone else whom Jesus deems as having believed also continues in God’s Word.

My take, they all are truly his disciples and they all continue in His Word despite the fact that they leave this particular encounter enraged at His declaration of truth that they are son's of the devil and need to be set free.

Why? The ministry of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and afterwards, despite themselves.

Nonetheless, even if you think I'm wrong. John 8:31 - No imperative mood, no statement that this is a command. Sorry, this isn't a command without some exegetical gymnastics.

Daniel said...

We give up! What's the answer?

DJP said...

Daniel — in sum, there is no such verse. Not one.

Hammer — well, that's a lot of words. The dust clears, though, and the facts remain as already cited: it is the mark of a disciple that he memorize (Deuteronomy 6:5ff.), continue in (John 8:31-32), think about (2 Timothy 2:7), and practice (Matthew 28:18-20) Scripture. The Spirit does none of these things for him nor in his stead. Nor does the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body; it is we who do it, by His enabling (Romans 8:13).

You're welcome to water down Jesus' words in the Upper Room Discourse if you wish, and have a Spirit's leading all Christians into all truth. Then it will be your task to explain why this promise has never been fulfilled, in all the history of the church.

For my part, I'm content to let Jesus mean exactly what He told the apostles: they, the apostles, would be given supernatural knowledge and guidance into that perfect unity of revelation that we now possess in the NT. Promise fulfilled.

And even in that, they were not passive puppets. As Christians have long held, there was a confluence of the Spirit's inspiration and their activity, resulting in an inerrant revelation.

The count, then, still stands at zero.