For those who don’t know, the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood recently put forth a statement on biblical marriage called the Nashville Statement. Many are treating this like an act of the church, on par with the Westminster Confession of Faith, or the Apostles’ Creed. But there are many problems with this. Tony Arsenal points out that the main problem is that CBMW is not the church, and does not have the authority to speak for the church.
Already, my mind is spinning. I got the idea to write this post because I was thinking how helpful it would be if each congregation had 25 songs that they knew so well, they could sing the songs a cappella if necessary. This would be truly helpful for smaller congregations, in the event that they lose their accompaniment. Larger churches could also do this and I imagine would greatly benefit from singing a few of these songs a cappella but alas, most larger churches have musicians itching to play as it is.
As I wrote on Christopher’s Facebook page, some things just need to be repeated. The following is one of those things.
From Christopher Neiswonger:
Be careful about someone creeping into the pulpit today and giving you a big, fat dose of moralism.
Morality is great. The law is good. You should check your behavior. But, it is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The preaching of the Gospel of Jesus is not an ethics class. It is not an estimation or analysis of your performance. It is not even an encouragement toward your better performance in the future.
It is grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
Grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
That is all the church really has for you.
That is all the Bible has for you.
That is all God has given you.
The question is, is it enough for you.
Or do you need something more; a righteousness of your own, a show of morality, a plague of external niceties?
An external holiness is a mask that anyone can wear. It is worn most effectively by the enemies of the Gospel. But hell will be densely populated with outwardly moral fellows with a light interest in Christ.
So instead of being good today, be crucified with Christ. Instead of looking down on your fellows, pray earnestly for their salvation. Instead of dressing the part of the Christian, cry out, and weep and wail.
And then be happy, and sing full of the joy of the Holy Spirit, because Jesus has overcome the world, even you, even your sins. Even your good works.
He has saved us, from ourselves, and we have not come to his aid in the slightest measure.
When contending for the faith, it is important to understand that there are various ways people interpret Scripture. The correct method, called the grammatical-historical approach, seeks to use the grammar of the text to indicate what the original author intended for us to know. In other words, the author used actual words with meaning to indicate a message to us. The authors didn’t write the words of Scripture simply to put ideas on paper, but they were trying to tell us about God.
I was sitting down to write and noticed the following comment in my “spam” section. The woman posted this on my “About” page so I’m assuming she is responding to the post, Abortion Is Murder. That post is more than 30 days old, therefore it will not take any more comments, so she posted on the only place she could find that would let her. Her comments didn’t make the cut, however, because she put her link in it, and it went to spam. I’m grateful for that. I would give you her link to her page, but I found it quite troubling. She is a member of the Worldwide Church of God, and one who espouses the only true Bible is the King James Version. So I’m not looking to dialogue with her, that would be unfruitful. I do like the challenge of answering her though, and do so on my terms. I hope you don’t think that is unjust or unfair, but save any judgment concerning this until after you have read the post.
It was pointed out to me that one of my posts, Ten Commandments Destroyed in Arkansas, was a bit on the self-righteous side. It is. Therefore, I have marked it private, along with the latest one.
I really don’t wish to ever come across as self-righteous, but do from time-to-time. Given that, a dear brother let me know, and I’m repenting of that attitude and hiding the posts. I think I tend to be a bit more self-righteous when I’m not at peace about things, and clearly, I’m not right now. So dear readers, please forgive me.
It has been some time since you released your song, O My God, on your album, Synchronicity. In fact, as I write this, it’s been 34 years. You are probably as shocked as I am at how time flies. But it does fly and I wanted to write to you a response to that particular song.
Please note that when you first released the album, I bought it on cassette tape and listened to it over and over on my Walkman, and eventually by Teac Cassette player, with Kenwood amp and Klipsch speakers. Synchronicity was one of my favorite albums and I believe, your Magnum Opus with the Police. So know that the words are burned into my conscious, which is frustrating on one level.
One of the reasons that so many in the church are having trouble with gay marriage, and the idea of a gay Christian, is because they have set their hearts on the idolatry of free will. Since they are the ones who made a decision for Christ, on their own terms, then how can they say that the gay man or woman who comes to Christ and yet remains gay despite this being contrary to the gospel, cannot come to the gospel on their own terms as well. In other words, the believer in free will is dictating the terms of the gospel. So too is the man or women trapped in the abominable sin of homosexuality. They are doing the same thing as those who declare it is their free will that led them to a decision in Christ.
Thankfully, there are those of us who clearly see that both positions are flawed. We don’t get to set the terms of our salvation. If we come to Christ, we must do so on His terms, not ours. That means we must be born again, made new creations in Christ, and have union with Him. This being the case, there is no room for holding onto any other identity. If a gay man or woman trusts in Christ, then they must die to the identity and that sin, just as the rest of us must die to our own identities and our sin. We are no longer of the flesh, but are called to walk in the Spirit and live in light of the new creations that we are in Christ.
All this to say, the free-will approach is now reaping what they have sown and this is why men like Andy Stanley in Atlanta are openly accepting gay marriage. The true believer, the new creation in Christ, sees this for what it is, a false conversion of someone who is no more a Christian than a Muslim.
From Michael Horton and the White Horse Inn, dealing with antinomianism:
The danger of legalism becomes apparent not only when we confuse law and gospel in justification, but when we imagine that even our new obedience can be powered by the law rather than the gospel. The law does what only the law can do: reveal God’s moral will. In doing so, it strips us of our righteousness and makes us aware of our helplessness apart from Christ and it also directs us in grateful obedience. No one who says this can be considered an antinomian. However, it’s not a matter of finding the right “balance” between law and gospel, but of recognizing that each does different work. We need imperatives—and Paul gives them. But he only does this later in the argument, after he has grounded sanctification in the gospel.
The ultimate antidote to antinomianism is not more imperatives, but the realization that the gospel swallows the tyranny as well as the guilt of sin. It is enough to save Christians even in their failure and not only brings them peace with God in justification, but the only liberation from the cruel oppression of sin. To be united to Christ through faith is to receive everything that we need not only to challenge legalism but antinomianism as well.
Life really is held by a thread. Not something we control, but something that is completely under the control of the Holy Spirit and God’s sovereign hand, but atlas, I repeat myself.
If we have good things, those good things are from the LORD. If calamity finds us, that is from His loving hand. If we find our way through that calamity, it is because He has directed our path. If we have avoided calamity, it is because He had decreed good things for us. We can claim nothing but His glory in all things. Both in riches and poverty, good things and bad, peace or chaos, it is all from His hand for His glory and our good.
Our job in the midst of it all, is to simply remain faithful and trust Him for the outcome, especially when that outcome is full of toil and trouble. We are to trust in Him, Jesus Christ our LORD, for all things. It is by faith. We walk by faith. We trust by faith. Knowing that He will work all these things together for good, to those who love Him.
And those who love Him? They are His children by faith. They are those who know they have nothing in themselves but sin to bring to God. They are those who are trusting in Him for reconciliation with the Father and deliverance from the power of sin and death. Those who trust in Him, ultimately, trust in little else.
It’s a simple thread. Trust in Him for all things.