Monday, July 23, 2012

Theological Synthesis

By Pastor Dr. Ronnie Wolfe – July 23, 2012

    I do not subscribe to Christianity Today, but a friend gives me his copy when he is finished with it.  I am not surprised any more when I read it to find that the writers apply the art of theological synthesis, that is, bringing together on an equal plane the doctrines of a conservative, literal faith in the Bible and the doctrines of those who take a less literal interpretation of the Bible, leaving its meaning basically to each individual believer, combining faith with science, denomination with denomination, religion with religion, and Christianity with cults.
    Revealing are the titles to several articles in the magazine along with an ad for the magazine itself.  The first article of this type is one called A Tale of Two Scientists, and the subtitle tells it all: “How two evangelicals–one a young-earth creationist, the other an evolutionary creationist–have lived out their faith and professions.”    The two scientists supposedly have the same strong faith in God, but one believes in a young and suddenly created earth, while the other believes in creation with a “gradual creation perspective.” 
    The article introduces a different way to read the Bible from its literal reading to one that would fit what he was learning as a scientist.  “Falk only knew how to read Genesis as six-day history, which he could not reconcile with what enthralled him in the laboratory. He had no one to help him rebuild his picture of God’s creation” (Page 26).  Falk wrote a book entitled “Coming To Peace With Science” in which his synthesis is apparent.  He says, “My prayer is that each person who reads it (the book) will respect that one should be able to be accepted as an equal partner in Christ’s body even if he or she believes that God created gradually.”  The capstone is a sentence at the end of the article: “Under Falk’s leadership, BioLogos has emerged as an important group of Christians advocating ‘evolutionary creation.’ Falk has held to his plea for Christians to love and respect each other while advocating different points of view.”
    Other article titles reveal this synthesis as well. One subtitle is “We haven’t always been deeply divided about origins.”  Others are “Marco Rubio’s Faith of Many Colors,” “Finding Jesus At Burning Man, How God made himself known at one of America’s most hedonistic gatherings.” “The Problem With Incarnational Ministry, What if our mission is not to ‘be Jesus’ to other cultures, but to join with the Holy Spirit?” and “Quick To Listen, Why Richard Mouw believes evangelicals should open their ears to Mormon believers.” The only thing to add to this is the ad for the magazine itself, which says, “I long for the church to become a place where everyone feels welcome. Where anyone can walk into a church or up to a Christian and find acceptance.”  This is the true nature of synthesis.  2 Cor. 6:17 says, on the other hand, Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

They That Trouble You

Galatians 5:12-15

Paul gives his personal preference here, not the perfect will of God as such.  He is simply saying that, as far as his own personal, human will is concerned, he would that the people who are troubling the Galatians were cut off (amputated) from them so that they could serve the Lord in truth without any mixture of error or any temptation to yield to those who are always pulling believers away from the truth into the old Judaism.

He mentions these people in Gal. 1:7 Which is not another (Gospel); but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  Wouldn't it be nice if everyone who troubles us in our work for the Lord were simply cut off so that they could not do their dirty work? We could simply have the liberty to live and preach what we believe the Bible says, and that would seem to be a wonderful existence.

We know that God will recompense, or repay, those who are pulling the churches away from the truth, 2 Thess 1:6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;  Good enough for them, right?  Well, I do not believe that God has planned or purposed that the world be separated from us just so that we can serve the Lord without any problems.  We might properly consider 1 Cor. 5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

Jesus said, in part, in John 16:33, In the world ye shall have tribulation . . .  It is his purpose that we have tribulation. One reason is that tribulation works patience in us (See Romans 5:3; James 1:3).  If Baptists need anything at all, they need patience, as do all believers in Christ.  So, it is not God's will, though it may be Paul's will, that God "cut off" those that trouble us.

Then Paul delivers a warning to these believers in this Galatian church.  He mentions their liberty in Christ, of which the Bible speaks much (Rom. 8:21; 1 Cor. 8:9; 10:9; 2 Cor. 3:17; Gal. 2:4; 2 Peter 2:16).  But he in this book, as well as in other books of his, warns them about this liberty.  They are not to use their liberty as an occasion to the flesh, to please the flesh, or to work, worship, or think in the flesh. God's liberty in salvation does not extend that far.  His liberty is liberty from the bonds of the law in order that we may be free to serve the Lord Christ (Col. 3:24).

Using this liberty for benefit of the flesh brings about strife and divisions. In these we "devour" one another and cause divisions in the Lord's churches.  But the admonition is to "love one another," which is the fulfilling of the law of Christ.  Those who "trouble" us will not be cut off while we are in this world. We are to do the work of Christ despite those who trouble us.  They will be here as long as we are, so we must work among them, preach the truth despite them, and love one another, using our liberty in the way God prescribes.