Who’s Right???

I am repelled by “perfectionists” Christians (?) primarily because the way they approach salvation: it’s all about them. Are they sinless enough? Are they SURE? They are so busy worrying about their own salvation, obtained by their own meritorious righteousness (though they would deny that), that they haven’t the ability to seek the salvation of anyone else. Oh, they’ll pray for you, but they will avoid having too much contact with anyone not in the faith, lest they be stained and potentially damned through association.
Think I’m kidding? I’m not. This is the mindset of a person who believes they have to take care of  Number One’s salvation first and anyone else will have to wait for them to get “saved enough” to be confident in their righteousness.
Secondly, I am drawn to the Reformed crowd, though I detest the whole Calvin theology. I admire how they hold the Scriptures in very high esteem. They preach constantly against sin and depravity in our society, but teach a limited atonement and that God does everything for our salvation, so a lot of the motivation to clean up one’s life is somewhat quenched. Teaching Eternal Security lends to help them not worry so much if they are saved. But, they don’t seem to have the self-sacrificing love for others that I think true Christians should have.
They really bring to mind the words of Christ “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,” (John 5:39). In other words, I think they tend toward the letter more than the Spirit of the law of liberty. They are inclined toward paedo-baptism, yet are adamantly opposed to full immersion baptism being in any way part of obeying the gospel, saying it is salvation by works. As much as I respect their high moral outlook, I fear many of them miss the point of “mercy instead of sacrifice” Jesus spoke of in Matt 9:13.
Many Reformed people are liberal in their views about alcohol and I agree to some extent. When Jesus said “Neither is new wine put into old wine skins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wine skins, and so both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17) He was not talking about grape juice! Reformed folk are also a lot more lenient about smoking (cigars especially). I used to love cigars, but I know they are bad for me so I cannot justify them as a Christian.
Thirdly, I can only shake my head at the charismatics, who completely ignore these verses: 

A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah. And he left them, and departed. (Matthew 16:4)

And a great multitude followed him, because they beheld the signs which he did on them that were sick. (John 6:2)

Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw signs, but because ye ate of the loaves, and were filled. (John 6:26)
Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, by signs and wonders and mighty works. (2 Corinthians 12:12)

Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying (preaching) serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. (1 Corinthians 14:22)
The crazy stuff I see the charismatics doing (laughing, “drunk” in the spirit, “toking”  the spirit, and being “whacked out” on the spirit) is not edifying, but mesmerizingly strange. Hence Paul says: If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? (1 Corinthians 14:23)


Jesus therefore said unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will in no wise believe. (John 4:48) 


3 responses to this post.

  1. Can open, worms everywhere!

    Seriously, I agree that the Scriptures must be held in high esteem, but it should be all the Scriptures and not just the few that fit with any given set of beliefs. It seems today’s churches swing from one extreme to the other. It’s either all “feel good” religion or “get as many as possible to say the prayer” then forget teaching them.

    It’s not enough to provide “fire insurance”, and frankly, if one is truly saved the holy Spirit will do the work of changing one’s life.

  2. Posted by memnan on September 20, 2008 at 6:47 am

    I agree Shawn, the Holy Spirit started the work and will complete the work. I don’t remember much talk about “fire insurance” in the church where I met Jesus…it was more about loving Him because He first loved us…the goodness of God leads us to repentance…I still remember that day and the realization that I needed to be changed and that He loved me enough to want me with Him forever …Quite a romantic thought for a 14 year old… I’ve never stopped believing in forever love even these many years later. I want everyone to have forever love…not fire insurance, even though it is part of the blessing.

  3. Amen and Amen!

    Thanks Shawn and Nancy, for the comments!

    I truly hate to sound negative towards so many, but so many bring disgrace to the name of Christ.

    Nancy, your comment “the goodness of God leads us to repentance” is very scriptural.(Romans 2;4)

    I completely agree that we are to draw people to Christ through love and not condemnation. The condemnation and judgment belongs in the house of God where we hold each other accountable to scripture. “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17 ESV)

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