Friday, August 01, 2008

Another Biblical Inconsistency?

I met a local brother in Christ who I used to attend church with beside a lake along a highway, where he was camping with his family. I stopped there with my daughter and her friend for a side-trip after taking them along with me to shoe one horse today. He showed me that he was reading a book by John MacArthur and I responded saying that he was a good Christian author. He also remarked that he'd come across a new biblical concept never really given any more than lip service in our old church and that was sanctification. I responded with joy and mentioned the verse, "This is the will of God, your sanctification...and that you possess your own vessel in sanctification and honor."

I love that whole passage so I think I'll paste it right here:

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. 2 For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. 8 So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.

Sanctification is a good thing, in all of it's contexts.

I did mention to him that one thing I remember of John MacArthur is that he's fallen into an error of subscribing to the Reformed style of theology. The Reformed Theology is guilty of devising a man-made system of theology which speculates with regards to the nature of 'election' and its specifics. Christian brethren cannot just go about writing doctrine regarding things Christ has not made clear. That's when my friend explained to me that there are two doctrines of election in the Bible.

Bingo, another inconsistency in the Bible? It would have to be. I told him that the "them" he was referring to, the two different doctrines, were both wrong and that God did not give us a specific doctrine of election, but told us only that there is one, after a sort. I told him that there have been brilliant men debating over what exactly is said in the bible about how the dynamic of election is said to actually work, from the beginning of...well, whenever that rueful day was when men started debating over the meaning of clear and simple passages of scripture in the Bible, and that they would continue to not be able to get it sorted out until Christ returns. And that it was not to be known. He agreed that it was a mystery. I don't like to call it a mystery. I don't believe the Bible refers to it as one. I refer to it as a point of God's knowledge which He hasn't intended for us to know the details of, and which the discussion of, never fails to produce quarrels and factions which are warned against by Christ in scripture.

The discussions on the details of 'election' produce more division and alienation from each other than edification.

No inconsistencies in the Bible yet. I'm sure we all agree that the 'pure milk of the word' is all of what it claims to be.


Paul G said...

Hi Todd;
In that post you have a way to make us thirsty and when we desperately want a drink, then you turn off the tap.

I am not looking for the milk of the word but for the meat, the milk is for infants but solid food is for those who are the mature in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I would like to know more about the man-made system of theology; the two doctrines of election; God’s knowledge which He has not intended for us etc. etc.

Well Todd, don’t worry about the quarrels! That always will be.

Todd said...

I agree. But it's all there in the "pure milk of the word", drink it up. The meat will follow.

The milk vs. meat thing you mentioned...

My Assistant Pastor made a slip during Sunday School the other Sunday. The leader asked the question, "What's the difference between "milk" and "meat" with regards to the Word?" My A.P. said "Aren't they really just the same thing?" Not very eloquent. A smart guy becoming a victim of oversimplification? Because in one sense, 'it is all one, and you can't have one without the other', regardless of whether you are a so-called child in Christ or a mature believer you need both the milk and the meat of the word, they are merely different parts of the same thing. Not the same thing, but two indespensible parts of the same thing.

If the milk is the "elementary principles of the oracles of God", then you have to have those principles right and keep them right, while you go forward into stuff that's harder to chew. Some people go on to what they think is meat but doesn't come forth from the basics. they mess up the basics.

Peter tells us to long for the pure milk of the word. The writer of Hebrews tells us not to partake only of milk but also of meat.

You can't live on just the milk, or just the meat!

Heb 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

I think it's safe to say that a person can be mislead into building doctrine carelessly and messing up the elementary principles. In fact, isn't that pretty common in mainstream theology?

On quarrelsomeness...

Christian doctrine that produces a quarrel when tested by the plain rendering of scripture will always be around and always be in error.

2Ti 2:23 - Show Context
But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.

Jas 4:1
What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?

For "The man-made system of theology" see the Pharisees and anything since then that is not stated expressly in scripture. For the two doctrines of "election", see Calvinism or D.O.G. and any other of the several other doctrines of "election". And for "God's knowledge which He has not intended for us" see Paul's, "inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak" and his other references to mysteries other than Christ to the Gentiles.


Todd said...

And I appreciate you coming by and making me think Paul. I wish time wasn't so short these days. Be diligent. Todd

Paul G said...

I just had a funny thought!
Your AP came home from a hard days work, seeing his wife forcing a steak down the throat of his 6 month old infant child, saying that the steak is really the same thing as the milk.
And after serving her husband a glass of milk for dinner, saying that the milk is really the same thing as the steak.
I wonder whether your AP would still hang on to his theory after that.

Todd said...

True Paul. His later admitted his statement was flawed. But so was the one who said that we go on from the milk of the word, to the meat, and no longer need the milk.

I think one of the things many modern church leaders may do is carve up the meat into tiny pieces in order to get it down their listener's throats instead of also enlisting some milk.

Here's what scripture tells us for sure. Some who by this time ought to be teachers have come again to need milk and not solid food. I think to say that we cannot partake only of milk is also to say that we cannot partake only of meat either. This becomes an important lesson in the event of the doctrine free-for-all that has become the status quo in many post-apostolic congregations and denominations.

Peter says the milk is what makes us grow in respect to salvation. Paul was able to get peoples souls saved through the milk and then grow them up on it. The meat is not able to be processed without attaining a certain level of growth first on the elementary priciples of the Christ and then, according to Peter, can't sustain you by itself. I think there is meat that looks like the solid food of the Word but was not raised on milk.

I think men can start feeding each other meat that was not grown on milk but rather formula. Not the pure milk of the word but formula from perhaps Gerber. And some men come up with doctrine that disagrees with the pure milk of scripture because it's solid food not raised on the pure milk of the word.


I wish I had time to say it better.

Thanks Paul. Have a blessed one.

Todd said...

The question, "How can one be a good Christian author while holding to particular theological error?", has not slipped past me.

Maybe the submitting to God through obedience to Him through Christ, knowing and believing Christ, is altogether separate from everything else. It sure is easy for our minds to be quickly led astray by bright men from the "simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ". It seems like in this verse that Paul is actually prophesying that it "will" actually happen. Whew! PaulG, you're right again brother! I can't hardly take it.

Lou Martuneac said...


Just happned to drop by and saw this, "I did mention to him that one thing I remember of John MacArthur is that he's fallen into an error of subscribing to the Reformed style of theology. The Reformed Theology is guilty of devising a man-made system of theology which speculates with regards to the nature of 'election' and its specifics. Christian brethren cannot just go about writing doctrine regarding things Christ has not made clear."

I was glad to read how you gave a caution to that man about MacArthur. Lordship Salvation is a works based, man centered message that frustrates grace. MacArthur is the prime instigator of the Lordship interpretation of the Gospel.


PS: Have you seen the new (absurd) article by Zane Hodges? Go to my blog for details if interested.