LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Friday, August 31, 2007

Witnessing

by Colin Maxwell

When I am witnessing, I try to simply relate the basic gospel story as it is revealed in the Bible. Christ, the Eternal Son of God becoming man - coming to save His people from their sins - sin being the transgression of God's Holy Law - Christ living for us, dying on our behalf as a Sacrifice for our sins - paying the full price, satisfying the Divine Justice - proved by His resurrection from the dead and He alone being the perfect Saviour, received by faith that is repentant in its nature.

I impress upon my hearer his immediate need to come to Christ to be saved, maybe adding a warning that it could be left too late. The standard approach of old time evangelism both Calvinistic and otherwise. Basically until the shadier elements of the FG movement turned up to tell us that we may well be making our converts two fold more the child of hell than ourselves. I am thus witnessing (say) to a Jehovah Witness. He keeps assuring me that he is trusting in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life. I raise the matter of the Watchtower, but this is easily dismissed because Watchtower is simply the faithful and discreet slave and the mouthpiece of Jehovah. I ask Him whether Christ is God and after we dispute a little over the difference between the mighty God and the Almighty God (both the same person BTW according to Psalm 50:1) he sticks to his red hot JW guns. Jesus is only a god. Michael the Archangel incarnated. The man Jesus is dead, forever dead. His dust still lies in some Palestinian tomb - the gas theory and all that. We are stuck! I offer to meet him again and desire to keep discussing the Bible because I hope/pray that some truth I bring forth in our discussions may actually set him free. Because even though he loudly professes to be going to some glorious afterlife on the basis of his JW faith alone in his JW Jesus Christ alone - He is a rank heretic peddling a damnable heresy.

Here's where I can see you (Free Grace proponent) giving me a response: There are fundamental doctrines that must be believed in order to be a Biblically accepted Christian. There are the details of those fundamental doctrines wherein we may disagree. The details of the Lord's return will broadly cover the Pre/Post/A Mill schools (BTW: I have no fixed position on prophetic details) but the fundamental fact is that He will physically return to earth and bring His people (both living and dead) to be with Himself. That is sufficient to know - the rest, although doubtless important - cannot be counted to be a fundamental of the faith. Anyone who knowingly denies this basic doctrine should not be recognised as a true Christian. It is true that the Lord knows such who are His, but we are not the Lord and we can only go on what is actually revealed to us in the Scripture. It may be that there is a later aligning up with the basic fundamental truth and we may be happy enough to suppose that the person is saved. I certainly wouldn't torture myself over dates etc., preferring to run with the fruit of the here and now, rather than a date written on some Bible.

You (Free Grace proponent) seem to run with the idea that the Muslim lustfest can be equated or at least put in the same league as the holy experience of Heaven. I find that thought utterly blasphemous, but I suppose that when we are rooted in this bare minimalist approach, then anything goes. I raised in my last post the idea that it is important to define the person of Jesus (lest we are really worshippers of Satan's spirit brother or the homosexual Jesus of the Sodomites) I also raised the matter that it is important that we assure Muslims that Eternal Life is not the name of the Best Little Whorehouse in Heaven. Now I raise another matter because it really is open season out there in the FG movement (from which I stand entirely apart): What constitutes faith? IF I mingle my faith in my wickedly defined Jesus with my idea of works, in order to go to my wickedly delightful Lustfest…on what consistent basis can you start insisting that I should refrain in order to keep within the Biblical parameters? Is the definition of faith now more important that the One to whom it is directed and the end it is brought forth for i.e. eternal life?

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9 Comments:

Blogger jazzycat said...

Good to hear Colin proclaim the truth. True faith contains some essential knowledge.

A free ticket to a ball game requires the knowledge of knowing the location of the stadium and what time the game starts.

August 31, 2007 8:16 AM

 
Blogger Baptist Girl said...

Great Post Mark!

Cristina

August 31, 2007 2:44 PM

 
Blogger Antonio said...

Colin writes:
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When I am witnessing, I try to simply relate the basic gospel story as it is revealed in the Bible. Christ, the Eternal Son of God becoming man - coming to save His people from their sins - sin being the transgression of God's Holy Law - Christ living for us, dying on our behalf as a Sacrifice for our sins - paying the full price, satisfying the Divine Justice - proved by His resurrection from the dead and He alone being the perfect Saviour
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I can’t say that I don’t do roughly the same thing. I like to speak about Jesus’ compassion and miracles as well. What I am trying to do is lift up Jesus so as to show Him qualified, able, authorizes, and willing to impart eternal life to all who simply believe in Him for it.

Colin continues:
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received by faith that is repentant is its nature
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I think that you mean “in its nature”. Why must we define faith as anything but believing? When you believe, lets say, that your son will be home on time, or you believe that you have enough money to pay the bills, or you believe that your wife’s birthday party will be a smash, is their an element of repentance when you exercise these beliefs, in other words, when you exercise faith in these things?

Colin continues:
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I impress upon my hearer his immediate need to come to Christ to be saved, maybe adding a warning that it could be left too late.
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What does it mean for you, when you write, “come to Christ to be saved”? What does come to Christ mean for you?

Colin continues:
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The standard approach of old time evangelism both Calvinistic and otherwise. Basically until the shadier elements of the FG movement turned up to tell us that we may well be making our converts two fold more the child of hell than ourselves.
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First off, if someone is told that they must repent in order to “come to Christ” (I am using your words), how is it in their minds that they do not see this as a requirement for whatever coming to Christ means? And if they see repentance as something they do, how is it they will not consider it their part of the salvific transaction? And if they consider is their part in the salvific transaction, how is it that they are not in some degree relying upon their repentance for the intented result, the ambiguous “coming to Christ to be saved”?

You may answer, well God will supply the repentance. Why preach it then when invariably the psychology of the hearer will consider repentance as indispensible for “coming to Christ for salvation”? He will consider it a condition to this salvation in addition to simple faith in Jesus. Therefore it takes at least two things for eternal life: #1 repentance and #2 faith in Jesus.

#1 is an action that one does
#2 is passive reliance upon Jesus

Therefore, psychologically, how is this person not relying both upon self and God for salvation, when he is being told that repentance is a condition for salvation?

Colin continues:
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I am thus witnessing (say) to a Jehovah Witness. He keeps assuring me that he is trusting in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life.
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I have talked to many JWs. God as my witness. I talk to them about salvation by grace through faith. They always assure me that they believe in salvation by grace through faith as well. This isn’t how they have always done it. A friend of mine, a former JW (who arose very high in the organization) who has written several books against JW doctrine, told me that this is a newer answer from JWs. They are trying to look more mainline Christian. You see, when probed further, they will have to admit that works are indispensible for salvation.

This is taken straight from the Watchtower materials. After talking about the JW’s responsiblities to do his sacrifices (such as going to all 5 meetings a week, going consistently door to door, etc.) the Watchtower writes:

“So, taking a comprehensive view of our sacrifices, we must admit that at meetings, when sharing the good news with others, and in attitude, word and action, yes, in all areas of life, we should be prepared to give our very best. We should not be half-hearted about such vital matters. Why? What is at stake is Jehovah’s approval and our being granted life

I can produce many other statements by JW’s to the same effect. They must work for eternal life. Their position is similar to the Mormons, where it says in 2 Nephi 25:23

“For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”

So Colin, my anwer here is that although JWs say superficially that they are trusting in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, they are, in essence, trusting significantly in their works. They have not and do not believe that they have eternal life simply and only by faith alone in Jesus. Therefore, they do not believe Jesus Christ in His promise, whereby He guarantees to immediately give the absolutely free gift of eternal life as a present possession to all who simply believe in Him for it.

I have spoken to many in the last few years. When I talk to them that eternal life has absolutely nothing to do with my works, whatsoever, they take great exception. They bring up 2 Thes 1:6-9 and James 2:14ff and many other passages. They believe that works are indispensible conditions for eternal life. They absolutely ARE NOT believing into Jesus for etenal life! So, this presentation, so far, in what it is supposed to be proving to me, is moot.

Colin continues:
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I raise the matter of the Watchtower, but this is easily dismissed because Watchtower is simply the faithful and discreet slave and the mouthpiece of Jehovah. I ask Him whether Christ is God and after we dispute a little over the difference between the mighty God and the Almighty God (both the same person BTW according to Psalm 50:1) he sticks to his red hot JW guns. Jesus is only a god. Michael the Archangel incarnated. The man Jesus is dead, forever dead. His dust still lies in some Palestinian tomb - the gas theory and all that. We are stuck!
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I don’t know why you go on to all these peripherals. Why don’t you take them into the gospel of John and discuss with them Jesus and His promises? Why don’t you show them Jesus’ words whereby He guarantees eternal life by simple faith in Him for it? Why not show him that Jesus only requires that you believe in Him for eternal life?

It seems that you require that they learn a theology book before they can be saved. An important thing that you must note is that prior to receiving the absolutely free gift of eternal life that comes by simple faith into Jesus for it, they do not have the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in them to lead and guide them into truth! They know enough about the Bible to be dangerous.

The issue, when they come before Jesus at the Great White Throne Judgement, isn’t going to be their conceptions about God or Jesus. Jesus is going to consult the Book of Life. And if their names are not found written there, they will forever be denied and excluded from God’s immediate presence. So the urgent issue, is not upon what are the orthodox conceptions of God. The issue is, does this JW have life?

I can take them in the Bible, which they read, to the gospel of John, and explain to them John 3:16; 5:24; 6:35-40, 47; 11:25-27. I can show them that Jesus Christ only requires that we believe Him in His promise in order to receive the gift of eternal life. If they are left unpersuaded, I will ask them what is preventing them from simply taking Jesus at His word. I will then attempt to answer any questions they may have that have prevented them from simple reliance upon Jesus in His promise for eternal life.

If they are persuaded that eternal life comes simply by trusting Jesus for it, which precludes any consideration of works, then the Holy Spirit has regenerated them. From this point I can disciple them, for they have the Holy Spirit of God resident in them. Sound teaching, the word of God, prayer, and the Holy Spirit of God can lead them from their doctrinal errors in time.

I should not expect them to drop all of their false beliefs about God and Jesus BEFORE they consider Jesus’ claims and promises concerning the one and only essential issue between God and man: eternal life through faith alone in Jesus alone. If and when a person believes Jesus’ words as expressed in the gospel of John, he is believing in the biblical Jesus, for the words expressed in the gospel of John are infallibly the words of Jesus Christ.

If they have some misconceptions about Him, it may preclude them from believing His words. But if they believe in Jesus through His words and promise as found in the authoratative, inerrant, and infallible Word of God, whereby they have entrusted their eternal well-being to Jesus Christ, relying only upon Him as their certain hope of eternal life, well-being, and felicity, why is it that you would invalidate this simple act of faith in Jesus, considering such a one lost?

Colin continues:
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… Because even though he loudly professes to be going to some glorious afterlife on the basis of his JW faith alone in his JW Jesus Christ alone - He is a rank heretic peddling a damnable heresy.
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You do misrepresent JW doctrine. They can never say that they will indeed be in the glorious afterlife. They can say that they are “saved up to this moment” based upon their endurance in their works and sacrifices. But they must endure to the end in order to make it to this afterlife. They must be faithful until death in their sacrficial works. So they will never say that they are going to be in “some glorious afterlife on the basis of [their] JW faith alone”. Furthermore, according to JW doctrine, they can be cast away during the afterlife if they are not faithful there!

You will not have me disagreeing that JW doctrine is “damnable heresy”. But I can find many parallels between JW doctrine and Lordship Salvation Calvinism. Both condition final salvation upon an endurance in faithfulness and works until the end of life.

Lordship Salvation and the Perseverance theology of Calvinism is rank and damnable heresy.

Colin continues:
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Here's where I can see you giving me a response: There are fundamental doctrines that must be believed in order to be a Biblically accepted Christian.
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Here it is: You have just given me the essential tenet of doctrinal legalism and Checklist Evangelism. Simple faith in Jesus for eternal life must be qualified by various and myriad doctrines. Possibly you ought to consider teaching theology classes to potential converts so that they can be prepared for salvation, and so there will be no false professors, who sincerely state that they believe is the Christ and gave them eternal life, based upon nothing but receiving it by faith, but disagree with one of your “essential” docrtines, which seems to include the second coming, the virgin birth, the sinlessness of Christ, etc., etc., etc.

What you do if a person you thought believed savingly suddenly indicates that they don’t believe one of the essentials you say they must believe? They still say they believe in the Jesus who said the words of John 3:16; 5:24; 6:35-40, 47; 11:25-27, etc., but that they disagree with some of the doctrines?

It is insane to me that you would invalidate the faith of anyone who does not conform to your doctrinal creed, even though they have entrusted their eternal destinies to the Jesus who spoke the words of John 3:16.

If we must clear up every possible confusion concerning the Person and Work of Christ, at least concerning His deity, His humanity, His substitutionary atonement, unlimited atonement, His sinlessness, His eternality, His omniscience, etc., then it seems to me that a clear presentation of the gospel would occur over the course of a semester of meetings. To evangelize someone would take 2 one-hour sessions a week for 15 weeks. But Jesus’ evangelism flies in the face of this type of doctrinal legalism and checklist evangelism. He points men and women to His unique claim to guarantee one’s eternal destiny through simple faith to do so. Jesus never has anyone jump though a bunch of theological hoops in order to be saved. He was simply soliciting faith into Him through His promise.

Colin continues:
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You seem to run with the idea that the Muslim lustfest can be equated or at least put in the same league as the holy experience of Heaven. I find that thought utterly blasphemous
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I believe that Muslims understanding of the afterlife is seriously mistaken. If such a discussion came up, I would express my strong disagreement with it. But it is not my duty to clear up every misconception possible concerning every essential doctrine. If a Muslim understands that there is judgment for those who do not possess life by simple faith in Jesus, but eternal well-being and felicity with God, it is sufficient.

Colin continues:
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I raised in my last post the idea that it is important to define the person of Jesus (lest we are really worshippers of Satan's spirit brother or the homosexual Jesus of the Sodomites)
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You did raise such an idea. But you have failed to answer my question in which answer would delineate for us the infallible, rock-solid, references to Christ which would guarantee we refer to the historical and biblical Jesus.

I want to put it to you this way. Eternal life is only received when one believes into the Biblical and historical Jesus for the purpose of receiving that life. Jesus asserts that anyone who believes in Him has eternal life. If we are believing Jesus as articulated in John 3:16; 5:24; 6:35-40, 47; 11:25-27, we are believing in the biblical and historical Jesus, for He is the one who said these things and these scriptures infallibly refer to Him as the one who said them. Misconceptions about people are not rare. It is not required either biblically or psychologically to clear up every misconception about Jesus before one can simply take Him at His word in His promise.

Colin concludes:
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What constitutes faith? IF I mingle my faith in my wickedly defined Jesus with my idea of works, in order to go to my wickedly delightful Lustfest…on what consistent basis can you start insisting that I should refrain in order to keep within the Biblical parameters? Is the definition of faith now more important that the One to whom it is directed and the end it is brought forth for i.e. eternal life?
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Let me put it to you this way:

1 – Men and women will not put their trust into Jesus for eternal life if they do not find Him qualified, worthy, able, and authoratative, for faith is nothing more than being persuaded/certainly convinced that something is true.
2 – Consideration of works precludes one from simply taking Jesus at His word in His promise to guarantee one’s eternal destiny through uncomplicated faith in Him for it.
3 – Jesus requires nothing but childlike faith/reliance into/upon Him for eternal life.

It is not required that I be corrected on every misconception I have about you, Colin, in order to take you up on a simple offer. Neither logic nor the Bible require such.

August 31, 2007 10:18 PM

 
Blogger Antonio said...

Jazzy,

John 3:16; 5:24; 6:35-40, 47; and 11:25-27 are the location.

And those locations just so happen to infalllibly refer to the biblical and historical Jesus.

August 31, 2007 10:19 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Antonio,
It is good that in your last comment you seem to have come around to affirming that only the Biblical and historical Jesus can save. A J.W. false Jesus or a Muslim false Jesus cannot save and I take your comment to agree with that position.

I sure hope that is your current position. If I am reading you wrong, you can let me know.

August 31, 2007 10:39 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Antonio, you say "John 3:16; 5:24; 6:35-40, 47; and 11:25-27 are the location." a number of times in your response. But as I look at John 20:31 - but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name... first off that very verse contains information that your system fails to produce to the lost, spiritually dead, rebellious, sin-loving God-hater, who is walking according to the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience, that slave to sin who is by nature a child of wrath, who walks according to the weather vain of this world. But that verse also points to the WHOLE gospel of John; which gospel begins in chapter 1 to present Him as God, the Perfect Representative of the Father; the One Who unfolds the Father as a scroll to a world that has not retained God in its knowledge. We are saved by being in Christ the Person. Coming to Christ means taking His yoke upon you and learning of Him. (Yep, I just appealed to Matthew 11:28-29, for, you see, I believe there are FOUR gospels, not just John).

Your system dichotomizes where the Bible does not authorize you. You have split faith and repentance which clearly belong together. In the Great Commission faith, (Mk.16:16) and repentance, (Lk.24:47) are to be preached together. If I believed the building i was standing were on fire I would seek the fast escape. So it is with those who are told that they are in rebellion against their Creator and His Christ. That person is commanded by scripture to repent and believe the gospel - iow, turn from following the spirt of this age, and take Christ's yoke upon you to learn of Him.

My wife is after me to turn the computer off now so that she can go to bed.

As long as you look only to John's gospel, and not the WHOLE Bible, we shall never see eye to eye.

August 31, 2007 11:07 PM

 
Blogger Antonio said...

Jazzy,

you write:
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It is good that in your last comment you seem to have come around to affirming that only the Biblical and historical Jesus can save
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This has ALWAYS been my position. As if I ever would have had anything different! It really discourages me to see that I have spent so much time presenting my positions but have been so thoroughly mischaraterized and misunderstood.

It really is discouraging to read all these straw men of my position.

September 01, 2007 1:34 AM

 
Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME said...

Antonio: I make reply to you on your own site:

http://unashamedofgrace.blogspot.com/2007/08/what-are-conditions-for-receiving.html

September 01, 2007 9:40 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Antonio,
You claim no position change, yet you are on record recently as affirming the following that I copied from my Bluecollar Aug 21 post on "Beware of another Jesus"

Still some, of the so-called free grace thinking, assert that the “other Jesus” as he is presented in the Koran is a saving Jesus as long as a person has faith in such a Jesus. It does not require too much logic to discern that a person that believes in Allah of the Koran and denies the trinity is placing faith in a Jesus that is false and what Paul calls another Jesus.

I have brought this up before and I have not seen you present any defense for this position. I was hoping you had changed your thinking, but now you say you haven't. How can you now assert that only belief in the Biblical and historical Jesus can save and still hold to this position of being saved by the Jesus of the false god Allah of the false book Koran?

Wayne

September 01, 2007 10:33 AM

 

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