Monday, June 23, 2008

The Way to Disagree in a God-glorifying Way

Janelle, Julie and I have been having a wonderful thought-provoking discussion provoked by my post; "Effects of Grace and Law!!" - where I bit the bullet and wondered whether accountability groups were a good way to promote sanctification and also whether C J Mahaney's famous statement; "I am the worst sinner I know" is actually very biblical. One of the reasons I have such respect for Janelle in particular is that she is outstandingly polite in her disagreement, unswerving in her stand on theology she believes in - and incredibly well-read! She'd make a wonderful theologian ... ;-)

So she has written a response and an excellent summary of what's been happening in the discussion here:

A Reply: Scripture and Bible Doctrine

Janelle pulls on John Piper and Wayne Grudem in her defence, and it has really made me think through the distinction evangelicals have made between justification and sanctification. I think Rob Rufus is trying in his preaching to bring the two closer together. As I said to Janelle - the wonderful SGM guys love the phrase "Never move past the Cross". Surely that is a similar concept? That at justification we had this glorious moment when God imputed to us the righteousness of Jesus Christ and we were indeed "clothed with His robe of righteousness". But then God doesn't leave us to struggle through alone - with every sin and failure blotting that wonderful robe of righteousness surely?

(By the way Julie has also written a thought-provoking post based around some of our discussions: The Hybrid 'Gospel' where she addresses the danger of mixing an Old Covenant gospel and a New Covenant gospel - something I totally 100% agree with)

If that were true, then indeed we surely must have to take drastic action to restore fellowship with a pure and holy God - post-conversion. "The blood availeth still!". "Christ ever lives to intercede for us". The question I am pondering right now with my second cup of coffee is this - does Christ's intercession for us REQUIRE our confession to ensure God's forgiveness for that post-conversion adulterous thought or proud moment or lie? Our confession wasn't required at that moment of justification! How could we confess? We were "dead in trespasses and sin". It wasn't required at Abraham's moment of calling! What singled him out in God's plans and purposes was that he was prepared to believe God wanted to bless him and make him a father of nations.

I must hold up my hands and admit I am not quite sure what Rob Rufus's thoughts are absolutely on the issue of sanctification - because I have heard him say before that one of the reasons he is so grateful for Ryan's presence in Hong Kong is that is something Ryan teaches very well - whereas Rob sees his gifting as more teaching on justification. So for my homework - I am going to go away and listen to Ryan's sermon and type it up:

"Sanctification By Grace - "The Trinity of Man - Part 1"

Surely this is something that deeply concerns us all. As I said over on Janelle's blog - despite our disagreements about the methods to get to the goal - we can I think all be convinced that we stand and run together on THE goal - and that is to become more and more like Jesus Christ our glorious and wonderful Bridegroom knowing that one day we will stand before Him with unveiled faces!!


07000intune said...

May this be a blog where we break the mould...and where if we dissect a subject in a left-brain kind of a step-by step manner of dissection.... we do it in the mutually respectful manner those three have been doing. In the case for faith by Lee Strobel, or one of the series anyway, he was told off by one of the eminent scholars for not being able to put a doctrine up on the wall for examination, without getting personally offended when someone sees it differently.English people are terrible in this respect. In Germany,it is so normal to bounce round intellectual ideas like a mutual wine tasting session, that they find us very immature in this respect.Prophets and artists in general find this hard,because they often feel that they have dug around for ages to get to the bottom of a truth..and they are then happy with it, so don't take kindly to intellectuals coming along and bandying around with something that they feel has simply been too costly learning to have it messed around with.
For some reason I never really completed 20th Century Pilgrim by Maurice Smith. 1982.Or perhaps I was too much in the middle of similar stuff to understand it at the time. But it is SO A PROPOS to what you are all chatting about...concerning how grace works in practice. Trouble is, you cannot reproduce someone's book without their permission.You could all probably get it on Allibris.See the earlier post for the ISBN number. Every chapter is currently totally relevant. Again, just as in the Bible, every single character goes through the same sort of spiritual encounters under the general heading of "The Way OF THE Lord" but every single one goes through in radically different it Moses or Job or David.So it is the same for us. I have been particularly struck by the Feasts. 3 of them. The tabernacle - the 3 places. The three stages of growth of 1John. But Maurice makes not a single mention of all this, but describes his story, in his terms with some similar scriptures to me, some totally different. It is his story. But as an English ministry, together with Peter Parris,also on Dans's recommendation list, they are ahead of the game..but as such, they have disappeared off the radar did Norman Grubb.

I'm beginning to feel that if a ministry is still on everyone's radar screen for too long there must be something wrong.

Dan Bowen said...


"May this be a blog where we break the mould...and where if we dissect a subject in a left-brain kind of a step-by step manner of dissection.... we do it in the mutually respectful manner those three have been doing".

ABSOLUTELY!! I really do value, welcome and like disagreement on this blog because my senior pastor in my first home church - Dr Stanley Jebb - had a phrase;

"Iron sharpens iron".

He taught me as well that if you hold to a particular theological position then read books that disagree with that position because if you are safe and secure in your beliefs then the books won't shake you and you may just learn something.

I value most people like Janelle who yes - we may differ on some things - but I know deep down we share a passion for the glory of God and to see Him come into our lives, our churches.

What I don't have time or patience for is anonymous individuals who think they can break into a conversation and utter proud, arrogant statements and become personally insulting and get upset if they are challenged. I don't mind that if it is directed towards me - I just ignore them. But I delete comments directed towards my friends and particularly towards my sisters in Christ - I am fiercly protective of them; Janelle, Lydia, Julie, Sheila, SGM pastors wife and so on.

Debate isn't a bad thing. We're all on a journey together and we can all learn and grow together! As you said - may this blog continue to be a forum where we discover new truths and revelations about our glorious and wonderful God together.

07000intune said...

OK, so here's some news. It might not be important to you guys.But for's like re-finding a goldmine. The whole reason I ever googled "Ern Baxter" about a year ago was to track down a very special message. Maybe Gerald Coates still has it somewhere too. And that's how I found this blog.
Well now....buried among some old tapes I found Part 2 of this message, which means I never returned it to my friend, but had both of them all the time!!! Now I've just got to find Part 1 !!!
What is it then???? It is a one-off message given by Ern on the subject of Covenant love, brilliantly expositing the story of Jonathan and David. It was given in May 1976 at Capel Bible Week. For me, it is probably up there with "Thy Kingdom Come" for the profound effect on my vision of the Body of Christ. The thing is....I am really excited....because in the 1st and 2nd levels it could never work. We know this from what Paul said about the Corinthians. This has caused many thousands of Christians to assume that Ern's message was nice in theory but ever so pie in the sky. Well, the fantastic news is....on the 3rd level it ain't !!!!!Because now we have some real tools to make it happen. Things like really knowing who we are in Christ. Things like being able to pray the glory down among us, cos it is not dependant on how good we are it is all based on Christ's righteousness.Things like knowing each one of us really is this glorious vessel of the Living Christ, yet in our particular form. You're not me. I don't have to be you. But put us all together and wow!! what an awesome manifestation of Agape Covenant love among us.
Anyone who has been around manifestations of Christ's Presence in churches , revivals,or conferences for any length of time will know...for brief instances...that this awesome Covenant Love which like amazing sweet syrup, falls from heaven occasionally...and you just feel in love with everyone.
We had a covenant meal together once a bunch of us, round a friend's farm. We ate a meal and we broke bread.We didn't all know one another that well. But the Presence of God was so beautiful, an ateist German who was staying with me was deeply touched and tears just fell down his face.
Beloved....this is Church. And this is where we are going!!!

07000intune said...

I never set out to do all this,but after last night's blog I watched 45mins of Florida when Todd was relating his 18month breakdown between2005 and 2007. Rick Joyner discerned it as about 40 years of dealings crushed into about an 18months time period through 4 major life tests simultaneously.
This is what 20th Century pilgrim describes. Maurice went into a 4 year melt-down. And nothing anyone can do around you helps. My one lasted from 1978 to 1987 during my time at Emsworth. This stuff is the reason why I went as a 15 year old to Germany to be with Mother Basilea Schlink, then later Ed Miller in Emsworth. I don't mean I went seeking to have a breakdown...I meant I discerned something in their lives that was Jesus Christ in their form.Something on the inside of me,almost despite myself, locked on these guys like a heat-seeking missile. I experienced it again when Richard Wurmbrandt taught at our Baptist Church(now Kings Church) in Amersham on Romans 8. There he was fresh out of Communist prison.We were all there expecting him to talk of his sufferings and he said "Now I'm not going to talk anymore about prison, I'm going to talk to you about Romans 8."
More than what Ern Baxter was saying to us all, this is also what you hear in the Spirit when Ern talks.You hear something that is roasted over a fire.
I just think it is amazing that Todd was speaking about all this whilst i am encouraging you all to read Maurice's book.