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Discussion Forum : Revivals And Church History : [revival] BRINGING BALANCE!!

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Joined: 2002/12/11
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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

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 [revival] BRINGING BALANCE!!


[b]BRINGING BALANCE!![/b]
[i]by Robert Wurtz[/i]

Hell-fire preaching is a means of bringing a person face to face with their estate; yet it is equally true that a revelation of the goodness of God, in light of what a person knows to be their own rebellion can have a powerful effect.

I think also that we are in danger at times of not rightly presenting the grace and mercy of God. Ministers present God at times almost as if He is standing with His hands on His hips looking down His nose at a sinner begrudging the mercy and forgiveness. This is not how God forgives. God shows mercy 'cheerfully' and welcomes sinners home with rejoicing.

One thing that I have realized is that folk will not long serve God out of intimidation. An ongoing questioning of their salvation is not healthy and I might argue it is demonic. Yes, let a man examine himself, but this is not the same as a perpetual tightrope walk that leads to joylessness and despair. It leads to hardness of heart.

A friend recently bought me a book of devotionals that were compiled from Wesley's writings. I must say, it is the most discouraging devotional I have ever held in my hands. Page after page of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (F.U.D) undertones the work. Monday, "Are you holy enough?" Tuesday, "Are you spotless in perfection?" and on and on and on. It is a constant ploy to lead a person into a relationship with God by intimidation. Constantly causing them to wonder if God really loves them or if they are holy enough to make heaven. Away with it all.

I believe teaching Christian perfection apart from true reformation justification is a most disastrous doctrine. Finney says it himself; "In order to rout sinners and backsliders from their self-justifying pleas and refuges, I have laid, and I doubt not that others also have laid, too much stress upon the natural ability of sinners, to the neglect of showing them the nature and extent of their dependence upon the grace of God and the influence of His Spirit."

I have seen it in my short life. Many people who sincerely want to serve the Lord live under a constant cloud of feeling they can't live it. I told the story once of an old holiness lady I once knew in a nursing home who did the "bun" hair-do and all. She said once to us, "I sure hope I make it (to heaven that is)." The woman lost her mind and as far as I know died in a caged hospital bed.

This is the finality of, "In order to rout sinners and backsliders from their self-justifying pleas and refuges, I have laid, and I doubt not that others also have laid, too much stress upon the natural ability of sinners, to the neglect of showing them the nature and extent of their dependence upon the grace of God and the influence of His Spirit." This is what happens when ministers feel the need to constantly cause people to feel on egg-shells in order to manipulate them and control them into living a life of perfection. It is a deadly doctrine and God will close doors to the preachers and withdraw the influence of His Spirit in the meetings. It is a misrepresentation of the Gospel and the grace of God and character of God. A healthy fear of the Lord is one thing, but a perpetual life of fear and intimidation through the doctrine of salvation by sanctification is totally unaccaptable. Folk need to serve God out of love.

"Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation" (Is 12:3).


_________________
SermonIndex.net Moderator - Greg Gordon

“If Christians around the world were to suddenly renounce their personal agendas, their life goals and their aspirations, and begin responding in radical obedience to everything God showed them. the world would be turned upside down. How do we know? Because that's what first century Christians did, and the world is still talking about it.” - Henry Blackaby

 2006/8/4 19:16Profile
ChrisJD
Member



Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2899
Philadelphia PA

 Re: [revival] BRINGING BALANCE!!

Hi everyone.

Quote:
Page after page of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (F.U.D) undertones the work.



Quote:
Monday, "Are you holy enough?" Tuesday, "Are you spotless in perfection?" and on and on and on.



Quote:
Constantly causing them to wonder if God really loves them or if they are holy enough to make heaven.



I was converted to Christ through reading the Bible and, I believe, the precious influences of the Holy Spirit. However, my initial background in the faith, around the time of my coversion, was with the Oneness Pentecostal movement, otherwise called [i]Apostolic[/i]. So when I read this

Quote:
...old holiness lady I once knew in a nursing home who did the "bun" hair-do and all. She said once to us, "I sure hope I make it (to heaven that is)." The woman lost her mind and as far as I know died in a caged hospital bed.



I had a pretty good idea of it.

Not only the bun hair, but long dresses, suits and ties and other things associated with outward 'holiness'. And I could understand why she would say such a thing about hoping to make it to Heaven.

I do not recall any teaching that an assurance of salvation was something you could have, not without exceptions and if's. I certainly do not remember anything being taught like the Biblical doctrine of the perserverance of the saints.

Other things that were stressed are: the nescessity of Jesus name baptisim for salvation, the baptisim of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tounges, demonstrative worship, miracles, and bringing people to Church.

Overall I do not think confidence in the Savior and His work of salvation in His people was something that was ultimately encouraged, that is not without being dilluted or utterly negated by other doctrines or points of emphasis.

Overtime I became very concerned by the effect I thought this was having on some of the believers I saw around me. It is very sad.

As for me, I renounce any trust in anything except the Lord Jesus Christ and His work alone.

Thou must save Lord Jesus, Thou and Thou alone.

Amen.


_________________
The life of man is warfare upon the Earth.





Love never fails.

 2006/8/4 21:03Profile
TaylorOtwell
Member



Joined: 2006/6/19
Posts: 926
Arkansas

 Re:

This is a good post. I struggle myself sometimes in my own thinking at bringing the balance this article talks about.


_________________
Taylor W. Otwell
Member, Fellowship Bible Church
Arkansas

 2006/8/4 23:35Profile
crsschk
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: [revival] BRINGING BALANCE!!

Quote:
...in order to manipulate them and control them into living a life of perfection.



Quote:
It is a deadly doctrine and God will close doors to the preachers and withdraw the influence of His Spirit in the meetings. It is a misrepresentation of the Gospel and the grace of God and character of God. A healthy fear of the Lord is one thing, but a perpetual life of fear and intimidation through the doctrine of salvation by sanctification is totally unaccaptable. Folk need to serve God out of love.



Well said Robert


_________________
Mike Balog

[i]Here I found the benefit of a principle which I invariably adopt, of never pressing upon any human being my sentiments or wishes, without an absolute necessity. If a friend be reduced to the necessity of refusing or complying, he will feel grieved: but if, though with pain to himself, he do anything without being importuned, he has a sweet feeling of love excited by that very act; or, it he refrain from doing what you wish, he feels a love to you for not pressing him against his will.[/i] ~ Charles Simeon

 2006/8/5 0:22Profile
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2730


 Re: Balance and context

I certainly agree with decrying the use of constant fear to preach the love of God. Yet, context of church tradition is important in this case.

I've never personally spent much time in the 'talibanesque hair-bun = holiness' churches described in this thread. Instead, the churches in my background hardly think twice about their salvation.(Sometimes not even once.)

I think this confession from Finney is useful...

Quote:
...too much stress upon the natural ability of sinners, to the neglect of showing them the nature and extent of their dependence upon the grace of God and the influence of His Spirit."



That's it in a nutshell for my part. Godliness is, of course, not the culprit here. The crime is preaching new behavior without the hope and grace of the New Birth. It is absurd and crushing to the heart. It is niether Arminian or Calvinistic in pursuasion, but Pelegian and humanistic, preaching the mission of the Christian with an omission of the Spirit.

Now it may be useful here to consider not all of us come from sour holiness traditions, which is the context of this article I presume. Some of us, like myself, came from more saccharine backgrounds.;-) For the longest time I was hard-pressed to admit that the power of Godliness could be so transformational to our nature. Grace was sweetly transcendental, never strong and mighty. Righteousness was visible in the pages of systematic theology, but never manifest enough to cast a shadow in this world.

Faith that there is such a Gospel that could produce a wholehearted Godliness requires more then contented confession...it require a wholehearted response. No wonder it doesn't fit with the merry boomer churches I attended. Their theology teaches that as Christians we must coolly accept we will always have two hearts never at peace with one another. They love happy songs, not so much to praise for victory as to forget their defeat. It is this double-heartedness, and not wholeheartedness that is the prelude to madness.

Quote:
The woman lost her mind and as far as I know died in a caged hospital bed.



I imagine Robert was talking about relentless fear and condemnation here. (Holiness preaching should be is a proclamation of hope from sin and death, not a heartless homeletical face-slapping.) Still, just to be clear, let's never say or imply that the desire to be Godly ever drove any one mad. Otherwise obedience to scriptures could cause emotional illness! God forbid we would imply this. A person who has been given a Godly heart and mind is the most emotionally and mentally integrated person there is. (Provided there are no physical, chemical, neurological ailments of course...we are fragile machines after all.)

To the contrary, it is trying to be godly without God's Spirit that can twist the human mind and heart. It is preaching condemnation and not faith. And it is living a lie, wherein the appearance of holiness doesn't match the inward reality that creates dispair, bitterness, and phsycological stress.

Truly the letter does kill...but the Spirit gives life! But many angry holiness preachers preach the start of the law which seems spiritual but is really fatal to the natural man. In the end these zealous men betray the scriptures as pitifuly as the cavalier preachers from my own traditions...both manipulate mens' souls instead of feeding them. They say they love God's law, but do not really preach the whole law includng the promise.

"I will put my Law in their inward parts, I will write it in their hearts."

This scripture defines the very soul of mental, emotional, and spiritual life for mankind. Growing in Godliness doesn't end in fear and madness, but in love.

Blessings all!

Mike C


_________________
Mike Compton
"The most tremendous judgment of God in this world is the hardening of the hearts of men." John Owen

 2006/8/5 1:08Profile
openarmsinc
Member



Joined: 2003/6/13
Posts: 210


 Re: [revival] BRINGING BALANCE!!

Quote:
A friend recently bought me a book of devotionals that were compiled from Wesley's writings. I must say, it is the most discouraging devotional I have ever held in my hands. Page after page of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (F.U.D) undertones the work. Monday, "Are you holy enough?" Tuesday, "Are you spotless in perfection?" and on and on and on. It is a constant ploy to lead a person into a relationship with God by intimidation. Constantly causing them to wonder if God really loves them or if they are holy enough to make heaven. Away with it all.



Don't want to get way off the path here, but had to comment on this when I read it.

In the past I have been greatly discouraged when I read about these men, like Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, etc. because it seems so often that they are presented and held up almost as demi-gods that once walked amongst us mere mortals. They had it all worked out.

Don't get me wrong. I do look to these men and their lives and writings (and so many others like them) because they were athirst for God and God used them mightily, as He saw fit and as they yielded to the Master's touch. But again, there was always an underlying thought being conveyed( and it might've been just me) that "They had it all figured out back then, and aren't you all jacked up today. You'll never hold a match to those men and women of the Faith".

Guess what? I wasn't meant to do the things Wesley did, or Finney, or Tozer, or Booth, or Moody, or Studd, or Ten Boom, or Nee, or Ravenhill, or Daniels, or Smith, or or or...

I think our minds, or maybe just mine, tends to paint these people as super-mortals, instead of men and women with like passions such as I have. And 'if I could only be like _______ in this area, or like ________ in that area...when maybe God created you to be someone completely different for a completely different purpose in this different time we find ourselves.
I read this yesterday in Ray Steadman's "Body Life".

"What does the Apostle say to the church in Ephesus in the face of desperate demands of human need? What is his answer to the cry for justice and relief arising from the lips of the oppressed citizens to whom he writes? Simply this: "Fulfill your calling! Don't deviate from the divine strategy. Obey your orders. Follow your Head!"

Obedience. Do what God has asked you to do. Period. Follow Jesus. That's it. Don't compare yourselves by yourselves, as Paul wrote on 2Corinthians 10:12, for those who do so are not wise.

I have recently found two books having to do with Wesley that are refreshing to say the least. He is human in these books. I can relate to him. They are:
John Wesley His life and theology by Robert G. Tuttle jr.
and
Wesley's Class Meetings by D. Michael Henderson

God bless and thanks for posting this article of Brother Robert's, Greg!


_________________
An Unprofitable Servant...

 2006/8/5 9:58Profile
Truthspeaker
Member



Joined: 2006/1/18
Posts: 24
The Netherlands

 Re:



Loving this thread.. full of wisdom and maturity. Keep it up and God bless you.


_________________
"Why did you repent? I’d like to see some people repent on biblical terms again. You see the difference? You see the difference? The difference is here’s somebody trembling because he’s gonna be hurt in hell. And he has no sense of the enormity of his guilt and no sense of the enormity of his crimes and no sense of his insult against Deity. He’s only trembling because his skin is about to be singed. And this is the difference between 20th century preaching and the preaching of John Wesley." - Paris Reidhead

 2006/8/5 12:05Profile
crsschk
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Training wheels of the soul

Quote:
I have recently found two books having to do with Wesley that are refreshing to say the least. He is human in these books. I can relate to him. They are:
John Wesley His life and theology by Robert G. Tuttle jr.
and
Wesley's Class Meetings by D. Michael Henderson



Glad for this exception mentioned here Josh. Wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments earlier. Would go as far as to say that these same men would be mightily disturbed to find others clamoring in a manner that you put forward here;

Quote:
Guess what? I wasn't meant to do the things Wesley did, or Finney, or Tozer, or Booth, or Moody, or Studd, or Ten Boom, or Nee, or Ravenhill, or Daniels, or Smith, or or or...

I think our minds, or maybe just mine, tends to paint these people as super-mortals, instead of men and women with like passions such as I have. And 'if I could only be like _______ in this area, or like ________ in that area...when maybe God created you to be someone completely different for a completely different purpose in this different time we find ourselves.



Mentioned this elsewhere but to take a snapshot as it were of these men or any mere men for that matter and make whole constructs out them is destructive. These 'great saints' had a [i]lot to say[/i] on a [i]lot of matters[/i]. Again, and as you well stated, Wesley it was pointed out by reference to one area also showed different sides from different angles at different times and not to forget, [i]the times[/i] that each of these lived in, the circumstances surrounding them, the spiritual atmosphere if that isn't to abstract.

Was musing on this earlier about even the apostles and how an easy ascription can be given or painted about them by certain preachers and saints as to their character ... Thomas as 'doubting', Peter as 'compulsive' on and on it goes. There is a whole life bound up in these men that we are not privy to. Hidden things and inward workings of the soul, things that are none of our business and things we will never know this side of eternity.

To these mentioned and the many made once again available here on SI, I am more than glad for them and it is due in such a large part to them I owe my gratitude to cause me to just think and think hard and profoundly, finding those same similarities and challenges they found and attempted to articulate.

But to 'be' them or 'be like' them ... forget it, it is hard enough just to come to grips with ones own peculiarity in truth and honesty.

Was thinking along these lines yesterday on the way home, flipped on the radio to hear some great preaching from J. Vernon McGee .. It's not some sort of dependence upon 'preachers', it's just how an inward, small, excitement can come about to just [i]hear[/i] the Word of God preached period. In fact, they had an out take from somewhere in the distant past of a preacher (whose name alludes me) talking about how excited he was while in China, having picked up a transistor radio and was able to get the Thru The Bible broadcast there and not just for his self but that the fact that was he was even hearing it there in the first place! More so, when he learned it had become translated into the Mandarin language... Sound preaching to be sure but his exuberance was to just hear the Word of God and that the Chinese were able to hear it as well.


_________________
Mike Balog

[i]Here I found the benefit of a principle which I invariably adopt, of never pressing upon any human being my sentiments or wishes, without an absolute necessity. If a friend be reduced to the necessity of refusing or complying, he will feel grieved: but if, though with pain to himself, he do anything without being importuned, he has a sweet feeling of love excited by that very act; or, it he refrain from doing what you wish, he feels a love to you for not pressing him against his will.[/i] ~ Charles Simeon

 2006/8/5 14:02Profile
openarmsinc
Member



Joined: 2003/6/13
Posts: 210


 Re:

My thoughts continue to turn to this article Greg posted from our brother, Robert. There is alot of wisdom to found as we meditate and chew on the Word of God that holds the answers and points the clear direction for each of us to walk in.

May God be glorified in our thoughts and lives.


_________________
An Unprofitable Servant...

 2006/8/6 13:31Profile





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