The ‘fruit’ of the “fruit inspectors”

I’ve been working on the NAMM (International Association of Music Merchants) trade show in Anaheim, CA for about a week now. I work this one show a year and I have a good time, for the most part, and I mMike the Fruit Inspector  ake a few dollars, which never hurts.  I also get to see a lot of old friends and (ex)co-workers.

Last evening  I’m talking to a couple of guys about Jesus and I quote Luther,  remember, I said, ” the good you do won’t save you, and the evil you do won’t condemn you.”

“Well, that’s not true”, says one of the guys, who is an Evangelical Christian. So I said, “well, I sure hope it is true… and you ought to have the same hope.”

Then he launched into “fake Christianity and “walking the walk”, etc.                           I asked him if someone were to follow him around for one week, taking notes on all he did, if  that person would consider him to be a Christian. Of course he answered yes and didn’t even hesitate.

This is what happens when you get preachers preaching right out of the bible, line by line, without doing theology, without placing the cross of Christ in the center of the biblical narrative.

You get little Pharisees. Not so cute, ‘I’m better than you are, because I accepted Jesus’  and ‘I’m getting “better” all the time’ and you aren’t even trying ‘, little Pharisees. All snuggled in to their self-righteousness, little Pharisees.

I reminded him that Jesus told us not to judge anyone’s salvation, to which he told me that “that is not true” and he will “bring me many bible passages to prove his point.”

I’m sure he will.

What about it?   Is there such a thing as Christians that are not really Christians and they are easy to spot because thet are not walking the walk?

About these ads

26 Responses

  1. St Stephen

    A sure sign of pietism is the desire and the thought that one can spot a sincere Christian from a false one. It is a real service to hit a person like that between the eyes with pure crushing law. If he or she is honest with him or herself the admission will be they do not have enough evidence to prove realness.

    If this exercise produces an admission of guilt then of course the Gospel is proper. If he or she is still insists that near perfection is thiers no Gospel for them. It is terrifying to see how many do not realize what is happening when self is looked at instead of Jesus.

    God’s peace my fellow redeemed in Jesus. †

  2. St. David,

    That is so true. Sad, but true.

    Pouring on the law, at that point is the only thing that can kill them off…if not right then, then hopefully sometime down the road. The law will win out, eventually. We just hope and pray that by God’s grace, they will hear (really hear) that saving Word, as well.

    The Peace of Christ be with you, David!

  3. Hey Steve,

    What David says too! He says it MUCH better than I do!

    I feel your pain on this one too. The one thing I hate and got so sick and tired of hearing from my days as a SB and still part of my family on one side is this kind of crap. Several things jump out, these are just some thoughts to take and leave as you please:

    First, all they are hearing are sermons that could be easily heard and would not offend a Muslim, Mormon, JW or atheist. If it doesn’t bring the offense of the Cross then it’s simply not Christian even if it quotes John 3:16 in support some how. There’s no “nice way” to state that – it’s simply not of Christ and if they say it is then we and they are talking about two different religions and worshipping two different gods. It’s really that simple. If they force the issue that it is “Christian”, my response is, “Well let me be plain, I don’t worship your god you call “jesus” but I worship the crucified God and confidently reject your god, we have no, zero, nada fellowship on this”. Really, because all they are fundamentally doing is trying to pull you (and whoever is listening) back over to paganism and fallen religion called “god”, “christ”, “jesus”, “bible”, “gospel” and etc….

    Just last night my wife was telling me about this atheist doctor she works with how he said he doesn’t have a problem with Christians who “walk the walk” of their faith, meaning the good moral aspects of it. That message was OK, fine and acceptable to a rank atheist. What he rejects is equal sinners justified, that doesn’t square with fallen human reason ever seeking to legally justify itself to God. Even an atheist who pretends there is no god but intuitively really does no matter what his/her mouth confesses. We don’t go around as “apixiest” because there really are not any pixies and thus nothing to suppress like the atheist do. I know I use to be one. I never attempted to suppress Santa Claus the way I did God.

    Second, their “fruit”: I’ll give you one better. I was talking a year ago with a friend SB pastor at lunch one day. We’d meet, him and a group of us, to discuss the faith every once in a while for lunch. We got on the whole rich young ruler passage and he swore it was gospel. Finally I got sick of it and said two things, because he knew me, I said, “Do you think your life is that much if any outwardly more pure than mine? I have some natural strengths myself that I had when I was an atheist too that has not changed, some greater than your own, but they are worthless.” Then I said, “You say the RYR passage is Gospel, the giving of all. Have YOU YOURSELF done that? Given all that way as Jesus commanded.” The shock I got was he answered, “Yes.” I was stunned and quipped, “I suppose I’ll have to buy your lunch and give you a ride home”. Because obviously he still had property and money. But it stunned me. Later to one of my closer friends that had been there with us I said, “Did you hear that? At least the RYR had the good sense to walk away despairing, which Jesus acted in love to push him too. This guy thinks he’s done what the RYR couldn’t do, he’s utterly and absolutely deluded and living a pure fantasy.”

    Third, give him this: The Law of God DEMANDS in order to actually be filled that it be done out of a pure heart that actually doesn’t have to hear the law of God say “do this”. Thus, as Luther says if you have to be told to do it, that is instructed in any form, you have already committed mortal sin even if you do it. That is the essence of the great commandment, spontaneous and unprompted love of God and spontaneous and unprompted – altruistic love of neighbor, and nothing less. If by the very fact he must go to church and the bible to find out what “he must be doing” he’s already committing mortal/damning sin.

    Fourth, it becomes painfully obvious that in their presentation of their fruit they are bearing witness to themselves, their real god they are calling ‘jesus’, ‘bible’, and ‘gospel’. Here they are just like the spiritual prostitute showing their legs to draw in men to their whoredom religion. Yes I realize how harsh that sounds but the OT says it all the time. To put it another way; if some guy or gal talked about themselves all the time, like a Hollywood star, even they would say, “That guy is full of himself”. “That guy is full of himself” = “my god is me and that is who I’m bearing witness to for you to see”.

    Fifth, the Cross attacks first and foremost our BEST religion…God dying in apparent impotence is such a fierce attack against the best of morals and the best of religion.

    Sixth, the Pharisees prayer opener “I thank you God” = “by post conversion grace I can do”. Both “tip” God like a bell hop for helping them out that they are not like “that gross sinner over there” whom Jesus says, “walks away JUSTIFIED”. That is the gross sinner speaks rightly, just as Job did in the end, of God and man.

    Seventh, his passage quoting, “cherry picking”. This is a HUGE problem with the over zealous “expository preaching” that ends up not doing the theology missing the forest for the trees. There is a key thing. Luther said the enthusiasts always level and normalize all scripture so that one thing is not higher or central to the rest. In this way the Cross’s offense is merely a doctrine among other doctrines and the Gospel comes to serve the Law, not vice versa as Paul CLEARLY points out. So they as Luther pushes to the extreme to make the “normalizing point” would make it a law that men bear children like women since nothing has hierarchy or centrality over another.

    Eighth, Luther’s first thesis in the HD stands and proves true, “The Law of God though a most salutary doctrine of life not only cannot help a man to life, but (in fact) hinders him”. It’s important to see not just that it cannot help a man “be saved”, which this evangelical would confess as true. But the offense of the Cross is hidden under the second part in silence when Luther says, “Not only can it not HELP you (which many confess), but it HINDERS you”. The Crosses first salvo in this thesis is utterly nuclear when that is stated. Man uses the Law in ALL its forms to withhold himself from God and the Cross, that is grace. Man cuts himself off entirely from Christ, that is God, in reality and not theory this way (Galatians). What he does not see is in “his seeking God” (from his perspective), he’s fleeing from God (the Cross’s perspective) and resisting the Holy Spirit, denying Christ altogether and thus “no man seeks after God, no not even one”. Or “you search the scriptures diligently and think that by them you have life, but it are these that (continually) bear witness of Me (JESUS and what HE DID)”.

    Just some thoughts. Easier to write down than to recall in a discussion, I do know that personally.

    Blessings,

    Larry

  4. Oh man! You and I are so much alike Steve. This is a thought of mine that I have been tossing around for years.

    Here is the important thing to remember on this one. The fruit inspectors are outside inners as they judge the world. God changes top-down/inside out. These fruit inspectors judge the externals and never the heart or person behind the fruit or sin.

    However, as we think about this are we, in turn, judging the fruit inspectors? Another example of this…. I have a what I call grace legalism. That is, at times, I have an unloving heart toward unloving pharisees. I have observed this behavior in me and tend to keep it intact more than before,,,, but I know its there.

    This is why I have a 90/10 principal that I try to keep in balance in my life. The rule stated is this: I try to see scripture 90% of the time as internal to me and 10% of it applicable to the world out there. Thereby, trying to not be a fruit judger. I also like to talk to Christians that seem to have this same rule. In other words I want to internalize scripture as much as I can. My fear is if I invert 90/10 to 10/90 then I will start labelling other Christians, place myself over them, and start developing a sense of superiority.

    http://spadinofamily.wordpress.com/2008/05/20/one-of-my-main-issues-the-9010-rule/

    I am thankful for Gods grace that He sent Jesus to die on the Cross for me. Praise God!!!!

  5. “This is what happens when you get preachers preaching right out of the bible, line by line, without doing theology, without placing the cross of Christ in the center of the biblical narrative. ”

    Someone on this BLOG got me using the term spot-on. You were spot-on Steve.

  6. “What about it? Is there such a thing as Christians that are not really Christians and they are easy to spot because thet are not walking the walk?” (Steve)

    I think it would be a stretch to say this doesn’t happen – if someone does not follow the teachings of Jesus yet claims to – should we still say they do?

    I can think of some fine examples of this premise:

    (a) People the blow up abortion clinics and kill doctors – are they following Jesus?

    (b) Fred Phelps and his crew of hatemongers – picketing funerals of people’s loved ones – is that person mimicking Jesus somehow?

    (c) Ministers that get rich from the preaching of the gospel – taking money from the poorest of the poor people while they buy mansions and cars – is this person being true to Christ?

    Sometimes I would have to say it does happen – you will know someone by their actions – and those 3 prior cases I fail to find justifiable actions by Jesus himself that could corroborate their points. If they are Christians (as in Jesus Christ is their teacher) – wow – are any of sure we want that God on our sides?

  7. Is there such a thing as Christians that are not really Christians and they are easy to spot because thet are not walking the walk?

    I think it is more complicated than that. Most Christians move their position and develop their theological understanding during their pilgrimage so It would be impossible to say with confidence who was genuine and who was not. The parable of the wheat and the tares warns us not to try.

    I agree that justification by faith is a key issue, but not understanding it would not of itself be an indication that someone is not saved.

  8. This is helpful:

    There’s a difference in judging “a heart” versus “discerning a doctrine”. One should not reject men’s hearts, all of us are Pharisees in the grand scheme of things. One should reject, in fact has the duty to do so a doctrine or presentation of that doctrine in life. E.g. the Judiazers didn’t outright reject Jesus, just added to Him. Paul called this cut off from Christ in fact not theory. Paul was not judging the hearts of men and certainly not according to the opinion of the “law”. He discerned the Gospel from another gospel. Huge difference.

    When an evangelical or me adds to Christ either in doctrinal speech or “by what I do/don’t do” (eat/drink don’t eat/drink XYZ), then it is encumbant upon the Christian to call that out as antichristic.

    E.g. displaying your/my “changed” life as if it is the Gospel is antiChristic, it doesn’t say, “Jesus did this for you” it says “be/do like me” to know you are saved, thus antichristic.

    There is a certain point in this though for the sake of the propigation of the Gospel. One cannot wait until one has a “perfect mind on this” because it simply will not happen to the simul justus et peccator one. This is why Luther told the naval gazing Phillip, “Sin boldly but believe all the more boldly”. You are never going to be able to ‘get rid’ of that Pharisee within, nor the other guy. The difference is not is “he” doing it as a Pharisee in part or “I” am doing it as a Pharisee in part; the certainty is this, “We both in some measure are.” The answer is “yes we both are”. IT IS THE MESSAGE that makes the difference. “Be like me/christ” saves or “Christ DID THIS for you”, both of us have a mix of Pharisee legalism when we fire these salvos. Thus, Luther could say, “Sin boldly but believe all the more boldly.” So, if one is accused thus, “You too are being a Pharisee in saying what (200 proof Gospel) you say correcting me.” The reply is, “Absolutely, that’s why I give you and me 200 proof Gospel and believe all the more in that which I relay to you with a mixture of Phariseeism within me”.

    Sin boldly but believe all the more boldly.

    Yours,

    Larry

  9. Col 4:5-6 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunities. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer everyone. Matt 10:16… be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Gal 5:14 For the whole law can be summed up in a single commandment, namely, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” These passages might be considered the fruit of the “fruit inspectors”. At least that’s what the Bible says.

  10. Larry Wrote:
    “The Law of God DEMANDS in order to actually be filled that it be done out of a pure heart that actually doesn’t have to hear the law of God say “do this”. Thus, as Luther says if you have to be told to do it, that is instructed in any form, you have already committed mortal sin even if you do it”.

    Just imagine if we began doing all our theology under the essential impact of this truth So much Christian teaching boils down to ‘o grady’ piety (do you know that term state side? – A game for kids… O grady says do this and you do it). We do because we told (taught) to, whilst the law is kept way out there on the periphery , no where near making the devastating impact craters it is meant to as its crashes into the human heart! How are we ever going to be those who RUN for mercy to Christ if we fail to see the total (Nuclear is right, Larry) of this? We are without shelter or refuge outside the singular sufficiency of His righteousness!

  11. Part of the “not recognizing” this is the combination of “once saved always saved” or “can’t fall away” mindset along with baptism being viewed as primarily that one time entrance point into the faith. Now while Rome says you can fall away and Baptist/evangelicals don’t where they are even more commonly linked on false doctrine is “getting out of your baptism” post event in contra distinction to Luther who says stay IN your baptism (according to the Gospel to separate even that from the Reformed who might parse that out agreeing ‘stay in your baptism’ but according to the opinion of the Law).

    That is HUGE to grasp because it affects the simul Justus et peccator understanding for Lutherans and non-lutherans would confess this simultaneous state. However, the Baptist and evangelical sees that “post conversion” once in post baptism state of simul Justus et peccator of mixed sin and good works much like a container of salt and pepper where the salt is a “good work” and the pepper is a sin. So that when you dispense the “good work”, the salt, pepper necessarily falls out with it. And that is their view of simul Justus et peccator. So they would confess, “of course we sin with our good works post conversion…we believe that too”. And so they pull out their ideas of “good works” mingled with sin that way.

    However, that is NOT AT ALL what Luther meant. One will find exactly what he meant in his HD thesis concerning mortal versus venial sin where he turned on its head Rome’s usage. Here the term “mortal” means “deadly” or that which in fact separates one from Christ versus “venial” meaning not deadly as such. Rome used it one way, Luther another. Rome said in essence a “mortal” sin is a sin of such quality or quantity that it separates one from Christ and as such salvation. Venial then becomes those that don’t due to quality or quantity. Luther turned that completely upside down according to Scripture and said a “mortal” sin is ANY sin or work you think is not a deadly sin or work that separates you from Christ (it’s merely an extension of Thesis 1 regarding the Law’s hindering one). And then a venial sin, a sin or work that doesn’t damn you is a sin or work you understand that can damn you. That is powerful Word and a theologian of glory cannot apprehend it, reason is utterly blind to it, only faith fixed passively on the Cross grasps it.

    So we see that Rome and Baptist and evangelicals have an exact same view of mortal versus venial sins, thought the later two don’t use the terms “mortal and venial” per se and hence an exact same view of the simultaneous state of just and sinner. Kind of that salt and pepper mix in the shaker view and when good works, salt are done (poured out), the pepper, sin, attends it.

    It’s tough to use Luther’s simul in the Baptist/evangelical can’t fall away paradigm because the two don’t fit. However, for Luther to take his mortal/venial Rome flip flop and put it against Baptist/evangelical thought it would state thus: The deadly sins that separate you from Christ in fact (show you are not a Christian in Baptist/reformed speech) are those sins and good works you don’t think are deadly sins, sins that show you are separated from Christ. Not due to their quality or quantity but the fact that you don’t confess even good works as sin. Again an extension of the first thesis on the law hindering one from God and Christ. And the truly venial sins, that which show you are not separated from Christ (Baptist/evangelical/reformed paradigm) are when you know everything you do is in fact deadly sin (that which separates you from Christ, especially the good works, that deter free grace due to their appearance).

    So for Luther the simul is not a “salt and pepper” simultaneous outpouring, the Baptist, evangelical and many Reformed’s view, but all is pepper, deadly sin, and because it is all pepper to you then it is salt “not deadly sin” via the Cross. The Cross turns the pepper, deadly sin and works into non-deadly sins and non-deadly works. Or the “pepper” in the Baptist/evangelical mixture is the venial sins, because they are seen as deadly sins; and the salt, good works or ‘not so bad’ sins (venial like Rome), are in fact deadly sins for real and separate you from Christ (show you are not of Christ in Baptist/evangelical/reformed paradigm).

    That’s why the simul Justus et peccator as understood by Baptist or Reformed for that matter is NOT AT ALL the same as the simul Justus et peccator of Luther. Luther’s HD thesis on mortal versus deadly sin is essential to understanding that.

    Blessings,

    Larry

  12. Larry, thanks for the insight on this. Its was nicely stated and a difficult subject matter withoout getting lost down various thought threads.

    It might be bit heady for some … but I loved it!!!!

    “Sin boldly but believe all the more boldly”.

    I have to believe Luther was a great theologian and centered on the right doctrine but also a bit “sassy” at the same time. His “sassiness” came out with his discussions with Erasmus. The book Bondage of the Will was a great read for me a few years back.

  13. Larry,

    You have a great point about how non Lutherans view the teaching of saint and sinner simultaneously. It appears that rather than an aknowledgement that by nature we are still enemies of God, who have received his grace, we just occasionally make errors in judgement.

    This plays itself out in the lamentable teaching that one is getting better and better each day. The only two possible results are one perhaps turns a blind eye on sin or lives in total frustration and terror at what appears as increasing guilt. A closer walk with our Holy Lord and Saviour will indeed show us more of how we fall so miserably short.

    God’s peace. †

  14. What the “fruit” inspectors do not undestand or see is that under the verneer of moralism and under the verneer of religion is self centeredness. The SAME self centeredness that drove the younger brother in the parable of the Prodigal son also exists in the elder brother.

    The difference is that the younger brother sees his deep sin and the elder brother does not. One sees his DEEP need for a savior and other persons sins require less of a savior.

    Its important to see sin as a “deep” problem. All of life repentance is something we need to do everyday and not something we did in our past in our past.

  15. Thanks David,

    Having come from SB through Reformed and now making the move to Lutheran I’ve had to ponder a lot on these differences. Not to mention how I myself experienced my “mixed” sin/saint status.

    Thanks much,

    Larry

  16. Spandino,

    What the “fruit” inspectors do not undestand or see is that under the verneer of moralism and under the verneer of religion is self centeredness. The SAME self centeredness that drove the younger brother in the parable of the Prodigal son also exists in the elder brother.

    THAT’S a great point. The elder brother just doesn’t see it. I love that parable it is so insightful. The fruit inspectors also don’t see that it is the older brother’s fruit inspecting that helps drive the younger away as he cannot live up to the elder brother’s religion. The younger brother is simply more “sin honest”.

    Good stuff…keep it coming brother.

    Larry

  17. Every time this subject comes up, I am reminded of the parable of the wheat and the tares. Assuming that we can identify the “false Christians” without error. What gives us the authority to think we are the ones that have to root them out? Matthew 13:28-29: “28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.”
    Match that to Romans 14:4, which is part of my sermon text for next Sunday, “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.”
    I am all for defending the truth and speaking against errors and heresy, but how can we say it is our job it rid the body of those we are “sure” are wrong?
    Jeff

  18. “I think it would be a stretch to say this doesn’t happen – if someone does not follow the teachings of Jesus yet claims to – should we still say they do?”(Societyvs)
    of course Society here doesn’t mean teachings, because he rejects the teachings of Jesus by his own admission. And for this reason I reject him as being sincere in his Christianity, a blasphemer, who routinely and unrepentantly breaks the second commandment besmirching the name of Christ and making him out to be nothing but another Moses, or Aristotle for that matter. Why do I say this? He rejects the teachings of those whom Jesus sent, and thinks he is secure in his self-righteous hypocrisy as long as he rejects all the New Testament but Matthew’s Gospel. He rejects the cross, original sin, and justification by faith alone.
    The teachings that Societyvs points out are the “rules” for living that Jesus could meet out mercilessly at times. But i imagine Societyvs has not practiced even what he thinks Jesus legitimately spoke, seeing as despite the Rich Young Ruler, Societyvs still has a computer with which to spread his vile opinions about Christ.

  19. Bror,

    “or this reason I reject him as being sincere in his Christianity, a blasphemer, who routinely and unrepentantly breaks the second commandment besmirching the name of Christ and making him out to be nothing but another Moses, or Aristotle for that matter” -End Quote

    That was great. That one clicked for me in a way I’d never seen before. Connecting the second commandment with making Christ out as another Moses or Aristotle.

    That was tasty brother! I can’t wait to tell my wife.

    Larry

  20. The problem with the religious fruit inspector, and the false gospel he/she brings, and language the put to work for them is that he/she always updates his/her fruit inspection list and the language thereof. When the scriptures give an indicative of the Christian faith, the inspector turns that language into imperative and starts a new “fruit list”. The telling sign of this is in fact “when a list is started”. It does not really matter what is on the list it matters as a matter of principle and essence that IT IS A LIST, can be enumerated, metered, measured, plumbed and so forth. That’s the telling sign of a reversal of the true faith in which faith becomes now a work, even IF confessed otherwise. For Rome that means faith = formed by love. And for protestants/Baptist (even some Lutherans sadly enough) true saving faith = very sincere and true faith. When faith has an adjective attached to it we can be absolutely certain of one thing, it’s false faith and the devil’s faith. Faith ALONE means just that faith ALONE, without the aid of works, production of them and so forth. Otherwise the whole Christian faith is over thrown and we are really talking about a fallen religion that only differs from the other named religions in outward monikers. This is why, Forde points out, that he believes, and I agree 100%, many evangelicals today are slowly heading toward the Law for “salvation”. Because at least with the Law one may narrow down the “do list” or the “proof I’ve been converted list” to a few items, as opposed to the nebulous “faith formed by love” (Roman religion) and “really truly sincere faith” (evangelical/Baptist religion).

    The pietist can always reform his/her list. They for example can read James, like the Mormons do, and distill from that a list where James speaks of caring for orphans and widows. Missing entirely what James is saying there. Those just become two more “to dos” on the list. The listing and numerating principle, again, as Nagel points out is always a sign of Law. James is adding these two items as the to dos nor the, if you do them by your own strength you’ll prove your faith. He’s simply saying what Luther later said too, true faith does a good work when it does nothing more than pick up a straw. It doesn’t seek glorious things to do, it simply fixes on Christ and all it does is a good work. When this happens it indicatively manifests itself and can be described like describing the nature of a fish or bird as fish and bird nature IS. The pietist, however, never tires of making a new list. So he’ll read James or distill some other scripture, even love itself (Rome) as the “new thing to do”. But even when something as great as altruistic love, love of neighbor, is turned into a new “thing to do” to “prove faith”, “improve sanctification”, “jimmy up assurance” or any such thing it becomes quite evil and self absorbed and not the very thing its trying to be. We protestants would do well and reread what Rome said so we might better see what we supposedly protested. Even though real faith exudes love NATURALLY as it is “faith ALONE, the “Faith formed by love” when done to do it, that way, is the devil’s faith and nothing less. “Really true sincere faith” is faith but when it is DONE to ‘make’ or ‘jimmy up faith’ is again the devil’s religion and faith.

    Luther wisely advises that we should ALWAYS remember and NEVER forget that when you hear the Scriptures tell you go do something, it paradoxically FORBIDS you do it yourself. That’s another one a theology of glory shakes its head at like a cow starring at a new gate, but FAITH from a theology of the Cross, from that vantage point; it makes perfect since. ToG calls good evil and evil good, ToC calls a thing what it is. Luther in Bondage of the Will had the harshest words for those moralist of his day within the church, because he recognized them for what they are, murderers of souls (even if they save billions of lives on earth).

    The devil is a PERFECT doppelganger, who has perfected his mirroring mockery so as to look like the white devil, the angel of light – though in reality pure distilled evil. It’s hard to peel this apart in language.

    So it’s not difficult to see how pietistic religion, fallen religion, continually adopts language to its use. When for example through Luther Christ and Him crucified was purely recaptured and reproclaimed from the damnable doctrines of the pope and the confessions formed afresh, its not long before the devil starts setting up synagogues using the same otherwise good confessions. Hell if the devil can twist the very pure word of God how little trouble he has with man’s reiterating the word of God.

    Blessings,

    Larry

  21. I am not sure if many people understand the theology of Glory (Calvinism) vs Theology of the Cross (Luther). Both are from the reformation period and have many similiarities when you look at distinct beliefs the theology of glory often, although not always, seems to miss the essence of the Gospel.

    I am thankful for people like Tim Keller bringing back a Lutheresque distinction to some branches of Christian theology to these 5 point, theology of Glory denominations. He really captures the essence of the Gospel.

    I highly recommend Tim Kellers book “The Prodigal God”.

    http://spadinofamily.wordpress.com/centrality-of-the-gospel-tim-keller-article/

    Well said Larry!

  22. I was reading up above again.

    Martin Luther once said the following: “The principal point of the law is to make men not better but worse, But by the knowledge of their sin they may be humbled, terrified, bruised, and broken … and by this means they may be driven by Grace so to come to Christ”.

    Scott Sauls (a Presbyteerian Pastor) after discussing Luther said in a sermon once “That we will never hunger for Christs beauty until we have seen the filth of our own vain efforts to make ourselves beautiful” .

    Both of these are great summary sentences cause by reflecting on scripture and validly good attempts to understand scripture through the eyes of Christ or as Larry stated it. They are a theology centered on the Cross.

  23. As I was thinking about this I decided to move something from an old BLOG of mine to wordpress that is related to all of this good stuff.

    http://spadinofamily.wordpress.com/2009/01/19/the-gospel-an-initimate-vulnerabilty-that-comes-from-a-deep-knowledge-of-our-sin/

  24. Spadinofamily,

    Thanks for the links. I’m going to read through these.

    Another point is that the whole “fruit inspection” premise and “fruit production” via the Law or law is faulty from the beginning. It assumes first and foremost that the problem is “too much grace”, that THAT is the source and power of sin. Of course Paul explicitly addresses this twice in Romans. It is shown in its most blasphemous way in that it fundamentally is blaming Christ and Him crucified for sin…”too much grace”. And thus reveals itself for what it is; namely the old Adam’s death rattle still holding out very surreptitiously wanting to “do” something. Forde gets it right when he says it is the answer from the Cross to the question “what must I do to be saved”, “Nothing”, “even if you are not getting better”, “God prevents a man from doing good works in order to at last save his soul”, he kills to make alive, condemns to hell to bring to heaven (as Luther put it), that is the very death knell to the old Adam. It scares us to death having no “if/then” conditions before or after coming to the faith. So the old Adam holds out for something he may do, a “if you really are the Son of God get us down here off of this cross”. Yet it is in fact the very essence, nature and being of salvation by Christ alone, election, grace alone and so forth. It scares old Adam to death, the doer, because its “death Word” is “nothing” or better “Yaweh saves” (Jesus/Joshua), “nothing to do” EVER = sola fide.

    The irony of fruit inspection is it begets more fruit inspection, we and they begin inspecting each other under the glass in defense mode, and as such the old Adam’s draw their swords, “My fruit”, “No my fruit”. Luther points this out as the lesson we never learn. It is the very thing James addresses in James and Paul addresses in 1 Cor. “You have your fruit list, I have my fruit list, I’m saved but your probably not or questionable at best…blah, blah, blah”. And we don’t see it for what it is, an aggrandizing of ourselves and glory to us we “tip” God with by saying “by God’s grace post conversion” or better “I thank you God…”. So we comfort ourselves that we are not the Pharisees because we slip a buck into “God’s shirt pocket” for His help.

    I’ve seen these church wars a hundred times when ‘fruit is foisted forth’ rather than the Cross at which we all must be humbled by.

    Blessings,

    Larry

  25. I am not staring at Steves fruit…. but good BLOG topic :).

  26. Jeff,
    “I am all for defending the truth and speaking against errors and heresy, but how can we say it is our job it rid the body of those we are “sure” are wrong?”
    the question you ask is a great one. It really is. One that we in the church must struggle with, for we live in a fallen world where not everything is as black and white as we would like it. On the one hand you have people that are quite liberal in the judgmentalism and would write you out of the book of life for using the lord’s name in vain after stubbing your toe. On the other hand you have people that refuse to take any stand whatsoever as to what the Bible says often quoting the “judge not lest ye be judged.” There are two sides of the horse from with to fall off of it. And I suspect that we all fall off the horse one way or the other. Sometimes we get back up only to fall off. However, Societyvs will laugh at me for saying it is part of my job to judge. Well it is. I can’t avoid that fact. It is not my primary duty but it does needs be done at times. I can’t judge a man’s heart, that is beyond me. I can judge a man’s actions, and confession of faith. This I must do. Jesus gives me this duty, It is a yoke, and at times a heavy burden. But It is there. John 7:24 (ESV)
    Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

    1 Cor. 5:12 (ESV)
    For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?

    1 Cor. 6:2-3 (ESV)
    Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? [3] Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!

    1 Cor. 10:15 (ESV)
    I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.

    1 Cor. 5:13 (ESV)
    God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

    Romans 16:17 (ESV)
    I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.

    the list of such verses and anecdotes can go on. However, we must always remember that in reality we are no better and only live by the forgiveness of sins in Christ. Therefore we must always be ready to forgive our brothers, when they repent. The idea of not judging is more or less not judging yourself to be a better person. We have to judge whether something is right or wrong, correct or false teaching. And if a pastor can’t judge he can’t preach the law, and if he can’t preach the law, then he can’t preach the gospel. Law and gospel. How do I tell someone to repent, how do I preach repentance if I do not first judge that the person is a sinner and show it to them? I hope that sheds some light on the conundrum.
    OF course there will always be tares in the wheat and it will be nearly impossible to tear them out. We need not go on witch hunts in the church. Our salvation is not dependent on the sinless life of our congregation,.but on the sinless life and death of Christ. So there is always room to forgive. But doctrine must be judged, Paul tells Timothy “1 Tim. 4:16 (ESV)
    Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. ”
    correct teaching saves, false teaching leads to false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. It is to be avoided, marked judged and condemned.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 70 other followers

%d bloggers like this: