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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Flirting With The World

“Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.” - C.H. Spurgeon

People can persuasively make things sound right and good that are neither right nor good.
You can see it with the Serpent in the Garden.  You can see it with people who told lies or gave false counsel to people (like to David) in Bible days.
The Judaizers probably sounded right in the days of the early church, but Paul, inspired by God, demonstrated that they weren't.
The purity of the Gospel, and all the doctrines of Scripture, are important.  Blood has been spilled for it, and many have suffered rather than to compromise it.

Today, I want to address a real concern for the mushiness and flirtation with the world that I see in professing Christians.  How much do I love the truth?  How much do you (if you do)?

Recently, I had an online conversation about Karen Swallow Prior, who teaches at Liberty University.  Yes, that's the university whose president endorsed Donald Trump (which is a symptom of the political Christianity that is based on pragmatism rather than Biblical convictions).

The following are my thoughts on articles by and about Karen.  The links to the articles are posted  in or below my comments about them.
This is an example of how compromise and error has infiltrated the church.

1.  Karen Swallow Prior has held paid positions at Catholic colleges and not just Christian.

For a Christian, I see this as wrong.   I believe the Reformers and those who followed would be very upset to see the state the "church" is in today.  J.C. Ryle later warned to beware of Romanism and what paves to it.

2.  Doubt is treated as positive in this article.

Doubt is something that needs to be addressed and not ignored, but it shouldn't be embraced by Christians.  Mercy can be shown to some who doubt (Jude 1:22), but  it shouldn't be encouraged or welcomed.   Children & college students need the Gospel, but I see dangerous assertions in the article by Karen.  Certainty is not the opposite of faith, as this article seems to be saying.   Kids need to be taught the truth with certainty.   Hebrews 11:1 ; James 1:6 ; Matthew 14:31

3.  If impressing doctrine by "indoctrination" on children is wrong, then Karen disagrees with Scripture  (Deuteronomy 11:18-20 ; Proverbs 6:20 ; Ephesians 6:1).  Indoctrination to the truth is good, so long as you also teach that external obedience isn't equivalent to saving faith.

Another thing I take issue with in the article is to talk about making your faith your own.  Probably many people mistakenly use this expression, but it's not Biblical.

You don't make your faith your own.  Faith is a gift from God.

Those are just some of my thoughts on this article from 2011.

Karen Swallow is or was on an interfaith advisory board for the Humane Society.

This is seriously wrong.

( Psalm 26:4-5; Psalm 1:1 ; 2 Corinthians 6:14 )

Humane Society Faith Advisory Board

Karen Swallow reportedly told a homosexual, "You're okay."
If  that is true, this is very un-Biblical.  If she just said, "I love you," that would be a problem as well.
Love for someone doesn't affirm the sin by just saying, "I love you" when someone has just confessed to you they are sinning.  Love addresses it.
If the person professes to be a Christian, they need to be counseled in the Scripture by someone, and to get help and accountability.
If they aren't a Christian, they need the Gospel.
Saying , "I love you" is not going to save them.  I hope that the person has heard the Gospel.

Karen went so far as to go to a LGBT film festival.

If you love people, you don't yoke yourself up with the unbeliever to "dialogue" with them.  They need to learn about the Law and the Gospel .  They don't need squishiness on sin to make them feel good.  That only makes an unholy alliance.

Friendship isn't evangelism, and we need to be careful not to treat it as though it is.
If you are going to model evangelism, you needn't appear to give approval to sin to do it:

Karen makes claims that  we should repent of injustices " we have perpetrated on LGBT people."   What???

This appears to be another attempt at mushiness and soft soap, or it's an insult to Christians who haven't done anything wrong.  I would assume this is said either to get in the good graces of people who need the Gospel to make them feel good, or it could be an attempt to blame the church.  Whatever it is, it would be better to simply address the difference between a profession and possession of faith in and of itself.

Additionally, natural law is mentioned in the article.
Christians don't hold to "natural law."  We hold to Biblical revelation.

We don't need to affirm the longing to belong (as the article mentions) of those who walk in disobedience.
We aren't called to make people feel good about themselves.  Christians are to call sinners to repentance.

I don't see anywhere in Scripture where people gave the sinners warm fuzzies.

Begging and pleading to be reconciled to God?  Yes.
Helping the needy, sick, orphans and widows?  Yes
Praying and doing good?  Yes.
Being ready to give a defense for the hope that is in you (sanctifying Christ as Lord in your hearts first)?  Yes.
Persuasiveness, humility, & truth in love?  Yes.
Warm fuzzies?   No.  If you've seen it, I'd like a chapter and verse in its proper context.

Though Karen believes abortion is murder (updating her article from what it had said), she believes it's wrong to use the word "murder" when talking to people who want to murder their babies.

I don't see this position as Scriptural in the least, and many lives have been rescued when people did not shy away from speaking the truth ...calling abortion murder.
Some of my friends are involved in going to these death houses, and the Gospel is foremost in their ministry at the murder mills.

Girls / women have a conscience, and Romans 1 lets us know that people are made aware of God by God Himself and through what He has made.
We should never soft soap the truth in our persuasion.

What people need is the Gospel...even the professing "Christians" who are murdering their babies (who are not likely Christians at all in most cases).
Christians are to love the lost (even enemies) by giving them the Gospel,  praying for and doing good to them, but we shouldn't minimize sin.

I believe it is those who profess faith that we must hold to the strictest standard...especially people in public roles and positions.

Karen has been addressed by a number of people (even once or twice by me on public media...namely Twitter),  but ecumenical endeavors and compromising of truth among a number of well-known and lesser known Christians is a danger in the modern church.  It's not just one person.

I can hope and pray that things will change on this.

Russell Moore is another compromising person willing to connect with Roman Catholics on social issues.   It is a systemic symptom within the professed Christian church, and any church that is truly Christian needs to discipline its own.
Discerning Correction

I address these issues publicly, because they have been publicly published.
This is very serious public error at the very least - that has entered into many churches in America.

When people flirt with sin and the world, those who align themselves with those who do, put themselves at risk of being influenced rather than influencing.  They also give the appearance of endorsing and approving, which can lead others to follow and to be influenced by the error.
Christians are responsible for each other in many ways.
In Philippians 2, I remember that I am to look out not merely for my own personal interests, but also for the interest of others.
Of course, in some cases, church discipline is necessary, or elders and pastors need to publicly confront things.

I also believe it is important for those who profess faith to examine ourselves to see if we possess the faith.
That examination comes through the Sword of the Spirit....the Word of God, and an inspection of fruit in our lives.

Correcting someone in error is good, but if someone's house is on fire you don't compliment the couch cushions.  You warn them about the fire.

Of course, in all cases, we should give people an opportunity to repent or recant their error or blatant sins when confronted, but do you really want to help propagate error and sin by open public "friendship" with professing Christians who continue to publicly compromise Biblical truth?

Wouldn't it be better friendship to just kindly point out the error rather than to pat them on the back with fluff as though all is well?    And elders / pastors are to protect the flock in their care from error.

Are we more worried about maintaining a friendship, or are we willing to consistently and relentlessly stand for Biblical convictions when love might mean sacrifice?

Please read this article published on the Grace To You blog:

Together Against Ecumenism by Jeremiah Johnson

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