Monday, August 14, 2006

Regarding my review of Ed Silvoso's sermon

I have received some feedback on my review of the Ed Silvoso's sermon and would just like to briefly comment on them.

The negative feedback regarding the review focuses mainly on my calling Silvoso a heretic and insinuating that he is possibly unsaved. I would like to show here why my doing so is justified.

First of all, I would like to just say that before writing my review of Ed Silvoso's sermon, I did a background study on him first. I try to see where he is coming from, what worldview does he holds to and so on so as to find out what he means by his words and thus what he actually believes. Although I do not have the time or opportunity to read his books, his website and affiliations prove invaluable in discerning his worldview. With much popularity comes much public scrutiny and more exposure of your views to the public, and thus from his website and other apologetic sites which research on him, I manage to discern his worldview and thus interpret what he says in light of his own worldview.

Therefore, regarding certain punchline sentences and phrases made by Silvoso such as "There are some cities where people will find it very hard to go to hell. They can go there if they want to, but they will have a heaven of a time to go there", they are not to be treated as hyberbole but as actual factual beliefs that Silvoso holds to. Since such is the case, Silvoso is a semi-Pelagian heretic. Ditto for his statements on his website which show his liberation thelogy leanings. For those who do not see his semi-Pelagianism, the question is asked why is he so confident that people will find it hard not to come to Christ when there are a lot of Christians evangelising. Let us ignore his false 'Christ-less gospel of miracles' for the moment and answer such a question. Why is Silvoso so confident that people will find it hard to reject Christ when there are a lot of Christians evangelising? It can only be due to two reasons: semi-Pelagians thinking on the partial depravity of Man, or presumption of God to act when we believe so (Word of Faith), which shows a person's occultic view of faith. Silvoso further adds that such a person is still able to go to hell, which shows his synergism, as despite all that God and believers do to try to win them for Christ, people are still able to reject God and go to hell. Therefore, Silvoso is a semi-Pelagian heretic and possibly also an Occultist.

Since Silvoso has been proven to be a heretic, I further add that he is most likely unsaved. This is an extension of the fact that Jesus said that he will preserve His flock (Jn. 6:39) and also the fact that heretics were said to be cut off from salvation (Gal. 1:8; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 Jn. 2:19-20), thus if one is truly a heretic, then one is not saved. These passages talk about people who are teaching heresies, thus teachers of heresies are not saved at all. Since the Lord preserve His flock, no true Christians would ever be allowed to teach heresy at all. This has nothing to do with judging hypocritically (cf. Mt. 7:1), but of judging rightly (Jn. 7:24)

In conclusion, I trust that some of the questions people may have had have been answered here. Anyone with more questions on the topic are welcomed to contact me here.


Evangelical books said...

I have read your document and emailed you before. Now with a further post, I thought we should try and discuss this in open. Hope that is OK?

“The negative feedback regarding the review focuses mainly on my calling Silvoso a heretic and insinuating that he is possibly unsaved.

We cannot discern the heart, God is the only one who can do so. So to declare him unsaved is neither our right nor our duty. We can (rightly) criticise his theology, his methodology, but concerning the soul, we must be very, very careful. He is not like one who has blasphemed or rejected God directly. Silvoso has not done so, but done the opposite (with much error, that we can safely say) – that does not make him unsaved.

“First of all, I would like to just say that before writing my review of Ed Silvoso's sermon, I did a background study on him first.”

No amount of research can tell you that he is unsaved. Again, it is an issue with the heart.

“Why is Silvoso so confident that people will easily come to Christ when there a lot of Christians evangelising?”

I do not know what Silvoso would say to this. I would say this:

1) People come to Christ for different reasons. The presence of Christians alone does make others wonder what Christianity is all about (think about our Great Singapore Sale). That is a normal reaction, which happened even in the day of Jesus. Sadly not all those who gathered were converted.

2) Pastors sometimes use that as a tool for evangelising those nearing death. It is no point telling a dying person why Christianity is a better religion than other religions. Sometimes, just using the mere fact that there are so many lives changed through Christianity is better. I’m no pastor, but was this taught to me by a retired pastor.

“…teachers of heresies are not saved at all.”

Again, we have to be careful in what we say about heretics and heresies. Not all teachers of heresy are unsaved. If that was the case, all Baptists would be unsaved (to the Paedobaptist) and vice versa. On a small point, I would only accept the Gal 1:8 in teaching that teachers of heresies are accursed. The other 2 citations are inaccurate.

“no true Christians would ever be allowed to teach heresy at all.”
Sadly, the history of the Church is full of such people. It is a good hope, not reality - I will reserve that for the other side of Jordan.

I heartily agree with everything else.

Daniel C said...

Hello Jensen,

of course it's ok, otherwise I wouldn't even post this.

Let's look:

>>Again, we have to be careful in what we say about heretics and heresies. Not all teachers of heresy are unsaved. If that was the case, all Baptists would be unsaved (to the Paedobaptist) and vice versa. On a small point, I would only accept the Gal 1:8 in teaching that teachers of heresies are accursed. The other 2 citations are inaccurate.

Perhaps it would help you to know that I classify errors as either serious errors (aka heresies) and less serious errors. Gal. 1:8, in which Paul anathematizes the Judaizers, was due to their adding of the Mosaic Law to faith for the salvation of men's souls. As such, it deals with the vital doctrine of salvation and thus the strong word of condemnation. The English word "accursed" is too soft to convey the severe tone inherent in the original Greek word αναθεμα (Anathema), which if said of a person, indicates a person doomed to destruction and the worst woes ever. This verse thus show that teachers of heresies go to hell, unless they repent of course.

Following on with my take on heresies and errors, I would regard people in error on less vital doctrines like the mode of baptism etc to be in error but not heretics.

As for some of the other points you bring up, I think I would address them in a seperate post, since it most likely is going to take up a lot of space.

Anonymous said...

Seems like you have a good mentor, Daniel. It is also good that you posted it. Maybe you should repent of your sins in those judgements... openly since you made those remarks openly. Hopeful you have the courage to do so and not fall into the same pride.

Daniel C said...

As I have said before, Anonymous,

First, identify yourself. Please show some moral fortitude in taking responsibility for the words you say. Secondly, you have no right to demand my repentance when you have yet to prove me wrong. Stop attacking people's character and engage the argument. Be a man and stop hiding behind your anonymity while taking potshots at your opponent. Unless you want to learn from Hizbollah, that is.

Affy said...

Hello all,

What i see is two brothers in the Lord lovingly seeking wisdom from the Lord as well as humbling learning from each other. Its really heartening to see this.

I look forward to your discourse but i hope that at the end of this, we'll all grow close to the Lord and hopefully, no bad feelings may arise, for i believe we all hold firmly to the Word of the LORD.

I agree with jen_est about that we cannot discern if he is saved or not unless there is blatant proof of his (ed silvoso's) rejection or blasphemy - but to say that we cannot research these 'currently assumed?' facts may be contradictory as we indeed can research if he is blaspheming or rejected God openly or otherwise. Surely the Lord will reveal to us if we dig deeply in the Lord for it is written 'to test the spirits', isn't it not?

So our mission may be to obtain concrete proof to refute or prove the claim(s).

I think from looking at your comments, the idea of 'being saved' differs between all three of you. Perhaps thats the reason for the confusion?

To me, it seems Ed Silvoso stops at 'being saved' as a churchgoer/ mouth-confessing christ?

As for the both of you guys, i'm not too clear yet.

That retired pastor might have made a mistake. We should neither compare religions nor say that Christianity changes other people's lives for the better to a DYING man. It makes no sense - the comparison is not the gospel (but a religious comparision) and the second, a man-centred gospel.

Both have little power to touch the soul. Neither are they part of the gospel message. While the end (i.e. saving the person) is important, we must never forget that God is sovereign and has complete control over the end. What we cannot compromise however, is the means to achieve them.

Anonymous, i think judgement is necessary in everything. We are commanded to make a value judgement in everything IN CHRIST. I do not think that Daniel has sinned in any way unless that maybe he did not get alot of concrete evidence.

While you are allowed to make a judgment, you do not make it biblical when you do not correcting him and in fact, you sin when you imply that he is wrong in making a (or any) judgement when he is not sinning at all in doing so. Because you are a hypocrite: you yourself are making a judgement when you say he is sinning.

Daniel is being faithful to his call as a watchman and is not doing so haphazardly.

Even nominal christians whom i've talked to told me that Ed preached rubbish that day in Singapore FOP2006.

Evangelical books said...

Hi Anonymous,

I don't get what you were saying, perhaps this is an ongoing issue you have with Daniel. I will stay out.

I hope we have all the same view of what it means to be "saved"...

Concerning your point about "That retired pastor might have made a mistake.". Perhaps I should be clearer.

When there are many Christians evangelising in an open visible way, this creates an "environment" whereby those who are not convinced will see the reality of Christianity (even if truth is mixed with error).

Pastors use this as an opportunity to reach those who wasting their time comparing religions, esp. when they are dying (who seems to be exceptionally keen on religion then). Pastors use the visible presence of all these "evangelists" to point out the reality of Christianity, in the sincere hope that their hearers will turn to the Lord.

If this sounds a-theological, all I can say is, that advice came through 30 years of pastoral ministry - no amount of studying can help us with that.

By the way, the retired pastor is my father-in-law.

Daniel C said...

Hello Jensen,

you just have to look at Anonymous's other comments in my previous posts (which were written concurrently and approved by me concurrently too) to see what is he/she implying. I do not know him and have nothing else regarding this person. I will get back to the issue you raise in another post, as I have said, but that would have to wait until I finish my Sola Scriptura series is done, unfortunately, since I am not up to the task of managing two series while also busy studying.

Affy said...

Hello jen_est,

I agree that providing a testimony about what the Lord has done in the lives of others is perfectly fine - as long as thats not the only thing said.

I hold onto the idea that it has to involve primarily the elements of the gospel that we are so familiar with. Secondary elements that illustrate the primary point is ok to me.

I guess our actions and testimony do provide a platform to see how God's glory/victory is displayed/manifested [pardon the terms - i'm not really good with theses terms] a tiny bit through our lives - and i guess that augments the gospel message but it's like ermm icing on the cake - the cake is still the main thing i.e. the gospel.

Otherwise, (assuming the testimonies/actions were not used to complement the original gospel message) there is indeed a danger where the actions/lives led become self-righteous or a 'maybe he is a by-nature-a-good-guy" kind of thing, which glorifies the man but not so his creator. No offence brother. I also like to clarify myself.

No personnal offence to your father-in-law, brother. Thanks for clarifying clearly and firmly. I appreciate that.

God Bless,

MC said...

Interesting points.. I feel that non-Christians are drawn by icing to the cake.. they will only know truly know the cake when they have eaten of it.

I think its cuz non-believers still have a veil over their hearts and many truths are still hidden from them. Thankfully the Holy Spirit reveals to them what is needed when it is needed.

On a personal level, I accepted Christ for very unconventional reasons.. its only later on that I could truly appreciate the gift.