Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Big, Unresolved Question

I have a question.

I have not found anyone (so far) who is willing to answer it.

Some have started a discussion with me about it in the past, but often the discussion turns into one where we both end up with the old "we just have to agree to disagree". That is logically, emotionally, intellectually, and ESPECIALLY spiritually unsatisfying to me. It is the relativistic answer to anything and everything when one does not want to face the ultimate truth. Borrowing the subtitle phrase from Francis Beckwith's book called "Relativism," it's like having your "feet planted in mid-air."

Why do I say this?

Because I think that the answer to the question is crucially important to knowing whether or not a person could be a "false convert" (as Ray Comfort points out in his book, "The Way of the Master" abbreviated hereafter TWOTM) or a genuine born-again, saved follower of Jesus Christ. The eternal soul of every person is at stake. As the body (church)of Jesus Christ we need to know the answer to that question.

Please note that I said "COULD BE" a false convert. I am NOT placing anyone into a "box" here.

Comfort's TWOTM book revealed that term "false convert" to me and it made a lot of sense as I looked at the wrong direction that some churches are going in today.

Many churches like to preach the Good News of the Gospel without first showing the need for sinners to be called to repentance. The goodness, mercy and grace of Christ is shared without the need for admittance of guilt through sin and how we all have been guilty of breaking God's Law as shown through the Ten Commandments of God. This is dangerous theology. In fact, we are warned about such heresy and apostasy in the book of Jude.

I think that my question is an extremely important issue; especially at such a time as this where it is currently being agonized over and heatedly debated in many Christian denominations as we speak.

I do believe that even if I am wrong about my side of this particular issue, then there would be no harm done because no one would be destined for eternal separation from God. However, if I am correct, then the other side is guilty of leading their flock into eternal damnation.

I have written some of this before in a comment thread at this blog. I just wanted to share it again here for anyone who might come along and desire to answer the question.

When people are coming from the opposite sides of the religious, political, ideological, and moral spectrum, it is difficult to do anything more than to "agree to disagree" because, logically, both cannot possibly be correct.

Relativism (especially moral relativism) flourishes today because it allows for religious pluralism which, in turn, then allows for people to choose "what is right in their own eyes" rather than what God's Word would have us do.

So, the questions still remain.

1. Is there such a thing as moral absolutes?

2. Is there such a thing as absolute truth?

3. If so, then how do we determine this?

4. What criteria must we use?

These are deep philosophical, moral and spiritual questions. How one answers them determines what one believes and, more importantly, in Whom one believes.

The individual, eternal, destiny of every person depends on how one answers such questions.

One example of the battle involves the following point.

I see the liberal left churches falling into the trap of 'gay theology' deception. I know that some visiting this blog will vehemently disagree with what I just wrote. But that leads us to the big unresolved question:

"I truly wonder how such a bitter conflict between the liberal church ideologies and the bible-based born-again evangelical church views can ever be solved?"

Some liberal-left comments (names omitted) and previous reactions to that question have included:

1. Your question is too "loaded" for me to answer. It amounts to what lawyers joke is the leading question on the witness stand, "when did you stop beating your wife?"

2. I will say this: does it matter if it is ever resolved? It's like asking if the Christians and Muslims might ever agree on issues of faith and belief?

My two short answers?

1. To loaded? Or, to difficult to face?

2. Does it matter? Most certainly it matters!

I will share more later, but I would like to get some responses first.

Yes. This question is geared more towards Christians, however, anyone can participate if they have something to say.

I also think that the four questions that I listed above (in bold) can be used as vehicles to discuss the question as well as the timeless authority to find out the answer.

Ultimately, where should we go whenever we have a question about anything?

Jesus Christ and His Word, the Bible.





4 comments:

Thomas said...

1. Is there such a thing as moral absolutes?

Probably. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Promote the greatest happiness of the greatest number. Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it would become a universal law. Respect the autonomy of your fellow human beings. These have all been suggested in the past.

2. Is there such a thing as absolute truth?

Sure. 2+2=4. The sum of the squares of the legs of a right triangle are equal to the square of the hypotenuse. Life on earth has evolved by a 4 billion year process of mutation and natural selection.

3. If so, then how do we determine this?

In mathematics, we ask for proof; in science: evidence; in ethics: compassion.

4. What criteria must we use?

In all things we must use our sense of reason, our aesthetic longings, and our moral empathies as our guides.

I am no wishy-washy relativist, my dear. I am quite sure that you are wrong. I'll wager my eternal fortunes on that proposition.

Susan Smith said...

Hi Christine:

"False convert" is a strange term. Similar to "false pregnancy"... a woman is either pregnant or she is not. One is either born again or they are not.

Perhaps one can believe a lie, be deceived and THINK they are "converted", but this brings in the concept of 'time'. God is not bound by time.

I do not know when I was "converted", saved or born again. I was saved yesterday, I am being saved today and I will be saved tomorrow. God chose me before the foundation of the earth! Praise His Name. The new birth brings into being a new creation that must grow just as babies do. I continue to GROW spiritually. I have not "arrived" yet. I still have sin in my life. This is why I so desperately need a savior.

Love from East Talpiot in the City of God. (ss)

Christinewjc said...

Hmmmm.....

I went to the blog where I had a very detailed exchange with someone my 'big' question and found the entire thing deleted!

What a shame. I wanted to use some of the post from there in my answer here.

Ah well. I've now learned that I should save my replies when posted elsewhere on the blogosphere because obviously some people believe in deleting rather than dialoguing in the world of ideas.

Christinewjc said...

Hi Susan,

I ran across this article that describes the "false convert" concept as "cheap grace".

In 'Cheap Grace'Is No Grace At All, Rev. Creech states:

"In previous studies, Barna research demonstrated how a biblical worldview radically alters a person's lifestyle choices, causing them to reject matters like cohabitation, drunkenness, gay sex, profanity, pornography, adultery, gambling and abortion.

Nevertheless, Barna says despite all the debate in recent years about various moral issues and the effort of thousands of churches to strengthen people's moral convictions, "only 5% of adults have a biblical worldview. The percentage varies among faith groups. About half of all evangelicals have such a perspective. Overall, 8% of Protestants possess that view, compared to less than one half of one percent of Catholics." Furthermore, the vast majority of people without a biblical worldview, 88% to be exact, feel they are "accepted by God."

These amazing statistics remind me of a phrase Dietrich Bonhoeffer coined to address the self-delusion of Lutheran Church members in Germany in his day. In The Cost of Discipleship, Bonohoeffer spoke of those who had only experienced "cheap grace." He defined cheap grace as "the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."

(end of quote)
*******

Another term used to describe those who are not obedient and do not hold to Christ's authority is "nominal Christians". I have heard of that term before. Note the following quote from the article:

"Well-known biblical commentator Arthur W. Pink once mused: "Never were there so many millions of nominal Christians on earth as there are today, and never was there such a small percentage of real ones .... We seriously doubt whether there has ever been a time in the history of this Christian era when there were such multitudes of deceived souls within the churches, who verily believe that all is well with their souls when in fact the wrath of God abideth on them."

(end of quote)
*******

Now we know why the Bible tells us that "narrow is the way which leadeth unto life".

Matthew 7:14 - Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.