Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Gospel of Sola Fide and the seriousness it should be held

I have been engaging in some sparring over at Isaiah's blog on the topic of the Sabbath with various commenters who insist on seventh day Sabbatarianism and attempt to make that binding upon Christians. One in particular, a person with the nick of King's Kid, have managed to raise the ire of biblically-minded Christians by attacking the Gospel of free grace (calling it "blasphemy") and overall insulting those of us who see the Legalism hidden behind the spiritual-sounding words. He/She further refuses to be corrected by Scripture and refuses to read what others are saying, but continues to utilize a Judaist hermeneutical framework in subjugating Christians to the demands of the Law. Needless to say, the revival of the Judaizer party in our modern time did not go down too well both with New Covenantal believers and with Reformed Covenantal believers like my friend Vincent Chia and me. The Epistle of the Galatians is so clear in its proclamation of Christian liberty from the Old Covenant and its laws such that all orthodox Christians have recognize this fact be they Dispensational, New Covenantal, or Covenantal in their hermeneutical framework and metanarrative. The Neo-Ebionite or "New Jews" movement are thus outside the pale of orthodoxy, and preach a false gospel which the Scriptures anathemized and such teachers are damned to the pits of hellfire without any hope of redemption (Gal. 1:6-8-9).

That said, this is not the focus of this post, of which instead I would like to focus on the attitude of Christians towards this matter. I would post two comments made from the post as perfect examples to illustrate perfectly what I would be talking about.

First:

July 18, 2008 at 15:23

Isaiah

Folks, I’m going to call a time-out here, if you don’t mind. At the rate it’s going it’s going to degenerate into a mud-slinging fest and won’t be edifying to anyone.

Please exercise restraint and caution. Sure, there are two seemingly-irreconcilable opposing points of view here, but I pray that everyone remembers that we need to seek to counsel with love and in good faith.

Will mud-slinging one another with outright insults, insinuations of insults, and seemingly witty attacks achieve anything? No, and neither will strong condemnation — if you have a valid point with Scriptural basis make it, else I rather you hold your peace.

It makes me quite sorry to see this, frankly. While I appreciated the debate earlier, I don’t like the fact that my blog has degenerated into a muddy battleground of sorts.

Second:

July 18, 2008 at 20:35

S.J. Walker

Isaiah,

Thanks. Sometimes the best meant things go in one ear and out the other. I have done the same thing. Sometimes we try the “well, I just call ‘em like I see ‘em” defense, or the “this sounds like that, so you must worship fat” arguments. Bottom Line: Are we knew men or aren’t we? If we can still justify the type the of language displayed here then there is a good chance we are just really nice looking corpses. If even the mention of the fact that mud slinging has gone on causes us to stop, think, and repent, then perhaps we are alive and simply need to wash up so to speak.

Thanks Isaiah, God Bless

Isaiah desires 'peace' on his blog, and for that I will not trouble him on his post with this issue again. Yet, that does not mean that I will keep silent. The stakes here are too high to keep silent — the salvation of souls are at stake, and therefore I will continue here on my blog with regards to this issue.

As I read these two comments, I am simply appalled. This is more so with SJ Walker, since he claimed to believe in the truth. The latitudinarianism shown here is just plain disgusting. Both Isaiah and SJ Walker thinks this is a mud-slinging session. Perhaps it is, but that is only coming from one side — King's Kid who enacts all manner of strawmen, shamelessly ridicules his/her opponents and attacks the Gospel of Sola Fide. Do they know what is at stake here? Similar to Paul's epistle to the Galatians and his controversy with the Judaizers, THE GOSPEL is a stake here. Embrace the Judaist, Neo-Ebionite heresy, and you essentially deny Christ and cease to be a true Christian. THAT is the issue. To put it simply if you will, the choice is between salvation by faith alone versus salvation by faith PLUS obedience to the Law, and we know what the Scriptures say about THAT.

In other words, this is not just some disagreements among brethren over some 'minor' issue like eschatology or believer's baptism/infant baptism. NO, the controversy is over the Gospel itself. Affirm the Neo-Ebionite position of King' Kid, and you have embraced another 'gospel' — it's as simple as that.

My good friend Vincent has posted a very good comment on this turn of events, which I will repost here.

July 19, 2008 at 1:46

Vincent Chia

Re: Christian Sarcasm?

For those of us who have no time (or no interest) to read “A Serrated Edge: A Brief Defense of Biblical Satire and Trinitarian Skylarking,” here is a profitable article on satire and sarcasm within the Christian context:

Is It “un-Christian” to Engage in Satire?

http://www.tektonics.org/lp/madmad.html

Or even a note from Teampyro …

http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2007/08/yes-we-do-need-sarcasm.html

Why the sudden interest in “Christian satire/sarcasm?” No, I am not dying to be satirical or even sarcastic, but it behooves us to to realize that the biblical authors used satire and sarcasm too. And I am absolutely tired of hearing such remarks from false teachers, “You are not turning the other cheek by being sarcastic or satirical.” Is that not turning the other cheek? Please do your exegesis.

A false teacher IS a false teacher; an apostate IS an apostate. I’ll call a spade a spade. And I don’t and will not pretend to enjoy the heresies and falsehood of false teachers and heretics. If heretics are invited to dance in all their glory, then be prepared to be shot down HARD.

As the author at Tektonics had written, “As with the Apostles, so too with the Fathers. And today, may he who is able use the gifts of sarcasm and satire. To those whose feathers (among other things) are ruffled by the use of these, perhaps the only appropriate response is that which my niece says to her little sister, in a playful and spritely tone, when the latter is overcome with a case of the pouts - and so too I say it here in a playful and childish manner, for the situation doesn’t seem to warrant anything else - Cry, baby, cry!”

So Cry, Baby, Cry!

And this I fully agree. Somehow we are supposed to treat heretics with kids' gloves? THESE ARE THE WOLVES WHO COME IN TO DESTROY THE SALVATION OF SOULS! And we are to ... smile at them?! I doubt anyone here would smile at a person who is attempting to murder their wives/children/parents/any other loves one, yet it is perfectly alright and in fact the only loving action to do in smiling at spiritual murderers?!

So let's call this 'loving' and 'tolerant' action what it actually is. It is a betrayal of Christ and His Gospel, hatred of the flock, the delight of Satan and his demons and false prophets.

A false teacher IS a false teacher; an apostate IS an apostate. I’ll call a spade a spade. And I don’t and will not pretend to enjoy the heresies and falsehood of false teachers and heretics. If heretics are invited to dance in all their glory, then be prepared to be shot down HARD.

May God have mercy upon us all, and help us learn to love God and denounce the error of latitudinarianism.

17 comments:

Sicarii said...

Daniel,

I appreciate your consideration.

That said, notice that I said that "At the rate it’s going it’s going to degenerate", i.e. I have an inkling that it will become so in the near future. Moreover, I'd like to clear the air and say that it's not directed at either party but everyone in general.

No, I am not interested in defending my statement, anyone can read it anyway they like. However, I'll just like to point out that I've been in enough forums and discussions to notice how things are going and know they might lead.

That's what I wanted to prevent because I didn't think that it was going to be beneficial for either the participants in the debate nor anyone who happens to drop in and start reading.

Anyhow, I'm glad you'd like to continue debating this and I'll defer to your blog on the discussions, if any. I'm withholding my series of the Sabbath in light of this heated exchange until things have died down.

I know that Vincent and you probably have more knowledge and have read more works and I respect that.

Concluding, my position is this: I call a spade a spade when it comes to Roman Catholicism and false teachers; on issues I am unsure of, I don't make a statement until I am 100% sure.

If I sounded like a hypocrite back there, my apologies but I want to reiterate that that's not me which you'll realize when you get to know me better. And if it seemed like I was singling out both you and Vincent, I do apologize.

Shalom Aleichem, brother.

PuritanReformed said...

That's very fast.

Isaiah,

sure, I don't expect you to take a stand when you are unsure. And it is probably true that KK might very well self-destruct if you haven't stepped in.

That said, I hope you realize that for Vincent and me, we see this as a VERY serious thing, and I think it is inappropriate to say that our satirical comments are "mud-slinging". We are trying to get KK to wake his/her idea up, and his/her arrogance and unteacheability stinks big-time.

So this is the point I was making: Serious issues ought to be treated seriously, not reduced to mere "squabbling", "mud-slinging", "being nasty" or whatever have you. Vincent and me are not going to smile and laugh while heresy comes in in the form of obedience towards God. You or anyone else might disagree with our assessment of the situation, but please do not trivialize it to "mud-slinging". This is a hill that I will die on.

PuritanReformed said...

Isaiah:

Oh, btw, please do not feel as if I am targeting you. You are just used as the example here.

Sicarii said...

Daniel,

What do you expect? I was online! :-P

Jokes aside, I have no doubt that this is a serious issue, but as I said, either party could have gone off the tangent in anger and I saw signs of that.

Again, I reiterate that it was not directed at anyone in particular because I trust that as matured Christians all of us should know how to examine ourselves to see if we are the offensive party (unless someone is a blockhead, of course).

I don't think that I have trivialized your position or anyone's by calling a stop to it, but as a Christian brother, I apologize that I made you feel that way.

Neither do I think you're calling me out. I'm not that sensitive; as I said to someone once -- if I were I'd have committed suicide by now! :-)

Anyhow, I think it's pointless that we debate about this between ourselves (not the Sabbath issue, but this call to stop and the 'accusations') since the air's been cleared, and especially since I feel it will do our fellowship no good.

I respect both you and Vincent as brothers-in-Christ and value your fellowship, and I only hope that the respect and friendship are mutual.

vincit omnia veritas said...

Dear Isaiah,

Aha! Saw this post this morning ... and I figured I need to write a quick response ... :)

>"I know that Vincent and you probably have more knowledge and have read more works and I respect that."

I strongly disagree, at least for myself :P But all of us should have adequate knowledge with regard to the gospel. And I'm sure we all do.

>"Concluding, my position is this: I call a spade a spade when it comes to Roman Catholicism and false teachers; on issues I am unsure of, I don't make a statement until I am 100% sure."

Me too. Absolutely.

>"If I sounded like a hypocrite back there, my apologies but I want to reiterate that that's not me which you'll realize when you get to know me better. And if it seemed like I was singling out both you and Vincent, I do apologize."

I do not feel that you are picking on Daniel or myself ... I thought it was a general comment. I agree that too much heat was shed (not light).

My comment was also a general observation - really!

In forums, too many times critics of Christianity (including *GASP* heretics) like to point out that we Christians are being too "hard" on them with all the satire/ridicule etc. I wrote that comment (quoted by Daniel) to state that sometimes, the situation demands that we use satire/sarcasm - not so much to convert them - but for the sake of the other readers and their souls, to shut the heretics up.

That being said, we shouldn't be making a mockery of all our opponents in any debate. The link I posted is correct to state that, in debates involving heretics with doctrines that threaten the eternal soul, we should not be seen as "shaking hands" or "patting them on their backs."

Satire, at least in such situations, is absolutely timely.

All in all, we all did commit the fallacy of begging the question - Isaiah has yet to make up his mind on this :)

vincit omnia veritas said...

"Somehow we are supposed to treat heretics with kids' gloves? THESE ARE THE WOLVES WHO COME IN TO DESTROY THE SALVATION OF SOULS! And we are to ... smile at them?! I doubt anyone here would smile at a person who is attempting to murder their wives/children/parents/any other loves one, yet it is perfectly alright and in fact the only loving action to do in smiling at spiritual murderers?!

So let's call this 'loving' and 'tolerant' action what it actually is. It is a betrayal of Christ and His Gospel, hatred of the flock, the delight of Satan and his demons and false prophets."

Comments:

I agree with Daniel's observation. Too often we Christians try to be nice, but have we given this a thought: should we be nice to murderers of souls, to the extent that we withdraw from ugly conflicts and theological battles?

Isn't this the cause of the fall of many New Evangelical churches?

If only we have the courage to demonstrate - as in the case of the Psalmist - godly hatred (Ps 139: 21-22).

"21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies."

Are WE then grieved with those that rise up against the most High?

VC

PS: Daniel, my mother in law is hospitalized, so I can only return your call tomorrow.

PuritanReformed said...

Vincent:

I got your message. =) You know, you can always SMS...

PuritanReformed said...

Isaiah:

>Again, I reiterate that it was not directed at anyone in particular because I trust that as matured Christians all of us should know how to examine ourselves to see if we are the offensive party (unless someone is a blockhead, of course).
>
>I don't think that I have trivialized your position or anyone's by calling a stop to it, but as a Christian brother, I apologize that I made you feel that way.

No, I did not feel it was directed at anyone in particular, nor am I saying that you are trivializing anyone's position, let alone mine. Nevertheless, what I am saying is that the 'conflict' itself is not a trivial matter. It is not so much anyone's comments or anyone's feelings that is the problem. The matter I was trying to drive so hard at is that this issue is serious and should be treated seriously, not flippiantly. The people involved honestly are irrelevant to the entire focus of this post.

But of course, it is wrong to assume too much, and thanks for clarifying your position. Nevertheless, it is my hope that we should treat such issues with the seriousness that it warrents.

Anyway, hope you have recovered from your headache by now. =) God bless until we meet again.

Beng said...

I think Romans 14 kind of covers this, don't you, guys?

PuritanReformed said...

Beng:

Rom. 14? In what way? Please elucidate... =)

Beng said...

Is KK a deliberate heretic or simply one young and weak in the faith?

God knows I myself held many unbiblical beliefs as a young Christian. God, in His mercy, illuminates me bit by bit over the years.

The same guy who wrote Galatians also wrote Romans 14. Forbearance and love for the weak believer is as important as standing for the truth and correcting error. I encountered some virulent anti-Catholic types in my younger days who did more good at arousing my sympathy for the Catholic cause than they did at revealing its heresy.

Hope that clarifies what I mean.

PuritanReformed said...

Beng:

Good question. IMO, I suspect the former more than the latter. Or perhaps it would be better to say that I suspect KK is an ignorant heretic, but a heretic nonetheless.

First of all, we must always remember that the issue here is about the Gospel, which is the heart and center of the Christian faith, not some non-salvific doctrine. Therefore, this is the first doctrine that we must get it correct. Since it is through the Gospel that we are saved, a wrong Gospel would damn the person who believes it, regardless of the sincerity they hold to their heresy [In fact, I am currently preparing something on this at this very instance]

It is indeed true that Christians can have many false beliefs even after they are converted, yet they cannot have a false understanding of the Gospel because then they cannot even know the way of salvation to begin with. Such people may fall for certain nuanced distortions of the Gospel after they saved if they aren't properly grounded in the Truth, yet it is my opinion that the Holy Spirit would show to them that something is very wrong here and they would struggle with this strange doctrine, finally rejecting it as the Holy Spirit in His own time reveals the Truth to that person. After all, since a false gospel damns, and Jesus will not let His sheep to fall out of his hand (Jn. 6:39), God by His promise is duty-bound to "force" the believer out of the soul-damning heresy. In the midst of such struggle, the soul of the believer would be deeply troubled and God will not show His face to him, removing His fellowship from him to drive him away from that error.

Which brings us to the next reason why I think KK is a heretic. It is utterly inconceivable for a true believer who has been deluded and is thus 'tortored' in his conscience by the Holy Spirit, to then so arrogantly attack other Christians and call the true Gospel "blasphemy". Since the believer has been truly born-again, the regenerated spirit by the aid and power of the Holy Spirit would agree with the Truth of God and wage war against the intellect and emotions of such a person. A true believer trapped in soul-damning heresy is a very miserable creature until he breaks free from that heresy, not an arrogant and unteacheable person who openly attacked the Gospel.

So, it is with such an [Calvinist] understanding of regeneration and the role of the Holy Spirit in our santification that I reject the idea that KK is just "young and weak in the faith". Deluded believers will struggle with the Truth when presented to them, but never denouncing the Truth as heresy. In fact, I think such a denunciation is structurally very close to the unforgiveable sin against the Holy Spirit; in that both denounce the means of biblical salvation; the former by deouncing the Gospel (the message of salvation), and the latter by denouncing the Holy Spirit (the agent of salvation).

With regards to anti-Catholicism, that is a different issue altogether, because Romanism is one big system upon which many points may be critiqued. If one critiques RCism on certain issues, then the scenario you have described is understandable. However, if one criticizes RCism accurately on the topic of the Gospel, however harshly, will your reaction be different? [Note: The topic must be the Gospel, and that only]

Beng said...

Hmm.

I've just visited KK's blogs.

I'll have to agree with your assessment, based on his theological interests. ;)

But then again, the Bible gives us pretty good advice on what to do with the likes of him:

And I exhort you, brothers, to watch those making divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them. (Rom 16:17)

But the servant of the Lord must not strive, but to be gentle to all, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those who oppose, if perhaps God will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, and that they awake out of the snare of the Devil, having been taken captive by him, so as to do the will of that one.
(2Ti 2:24-26)

After the first and second warning, reject a man of heresy, knowing that he who is such has been perverted, and sins, being self-condemned.
(Tit 3:10-11)

PuritanReformed said...

Beng:

You had time to read? I have only glanced at his blogs, but that sufficed for me.

And yes, I agree with the verses you quoted. Yet I think when there are believers who may be probably swayed by KK's nonsense, it is hard. But yes, I think I should always reflect and evaluate whether I have managed the balance between loving the sinner (as a human being) and hating the sin (and the sinner when associated with the sin), and between unduly harsh on one side and too soft and timid on the other.

For this issue of the Gospel however, I rather err on the side of being harsh. I'd rather people get the Truth and hate me for it, than for people to continue in their error and delusion and "love" me because of my non-action.

King's Kid said...

Cooling off was the perfect prescription, even though my ire was extremely short lived.

Thank you Beng, for giving me the benefit of doubt and suggesting that I am young Christian and weak in the faith, but I am not.

I am not a heretic nrt a neo-Ebionite, I am a true follower of Christ Jesus, the God of Israel, the King of the Jews , the One to which the throne of David belongs.

This is your Blog and seeing as where my name is prominently dispersed throughout this post, I felt compelled to respond. In my response to S.J. Walker here. I listed some scripture references, which no one addressed or ever acknowledged, Isaiah 56: 1-8, Ezekiel 44:1-9, Ezekiel 20:11-13, 16, 19-20. I even referenced Leviticus 26:43
{For the land will be deserted by them and will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them. They will pay for their sins because they rejected my laws and abhorred my decrees.}, to show that the very same feelings are alive and well today, in hopes of you reading it for yourself and not becoming one of those who rejects and abhors the laws of God.

To these scripture references I would like to add:

1. Exodus 20:6
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments
2. Deuteronomy 5:10
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.

3. Deuteronomy 7:9
Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

4. Nehemiah 1:5
And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:

5. Daniel 9:4
And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;

6. John 14:15
If ye love me, keep my commandments.

7. John 14:21
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

If I am seen in your eyes as a heretic for loving the LORD Jesus as He said to, so be it. Selah. I live my life by this scripture: Psalms 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

No hard feelings,
Peace

PuritanReformed said...

KK:

Thanks for proving my point.

>If I am seen in your eyes as a heretic for loving the LORD Jesus as He said to, so be it.

Problem is, you don't love the LORD Jesus. You claim you do yet continually spit on His face by rejecting the Gospel of Salvation by Faith alone.

Selah!

Isaiah said...

Daniel:

Good then, we are clear on this at least.

Sorry I missed your phone calls, the migraine's gone now but not after a whole day resting. :)

Vincent:

Actually, I have a position, but I am going to withhold it at the moment in light of the recent heat and unhappiness. I hope that's fine with you.

God bless you, brothers.