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RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
Old Joe's: Likewise with Wesley in his pre-conversion state, as an enemy of God, his doctrine of perfection was brought forth as a means of self-preservation. His views on this changed as he matured in Christ, but like Luther held to the error of consubstantiation through his whole life, so Wesley was forced to deal with his error of Christian perfection for the rest of his life. Each of these are to teach us that the best of men are still men at best.



What are we to make of those that do not perceive Wesley's views of perfection as error? Do we speak of Wesley more in a relative sense so as to prod people towards a life of holiness or do men really still believe that Wesley's version of Christian Perfection is attainable in this life?


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Robert Wurtz II

 2009/1/11 23:31Profile









 Re:

Quote:

RobertW wrote:
Quote:
Old Joe's: Likewise with Wesley in his pre-conversion state, as an enemy of God, his doctrine of perfection was brought forth as a means of self-preservation. His views on this changed as he matured in Christ, but like Luther held to the error of consubstantiation through his whole life, so Wesley was forced to deal with his error of Christian perfection for the rest of his life. Each of these are to teach us that the best of men are still men at best.



What are we to make of those that do not perceive Wesley's views of perfection as error?


RobertW wrote:
We are to understand that they have only talked about this view of perfection but actually haven't tried to get there yet, for if they would have, they would have realized the limits of this flesh. All one needs to say to them is, "Don't tell us of this perfection, go on and show us. The sooner you realize you can not get there in this life, the better."

Because we are still in the flesh, no sooner were we to obtain something called perfection in this life, but it would go to our heads and the fall would be great. Finding out the impossibility of attaining perfection in this life is meant to be what continually throws one back on Christ. When the Bible says, "Be ye perfect" and "sin no more", this is what it is aiming at.

Quote:

RobertW wrote:
Do we speak of Wesley more in a relative sense so as to prod people towards a life of holiness or do men really still believe that Wesley's version of Christian Perfection is attainable in this life?


We are always to press on towards practical holiness in Christ, with the understanding that we never 'arrive' at this thing called perfection whether it be in word, deed or love.
Wesley had much good to say in the encouragement of direction to travel, but left an errant means and a false hope of the attainable destination.

The preacher is to exhort his hearers to head towards the x-intercept (from previous analogy) of [i]practical[/i] holiness, but in the meantime lets them know that they can not arrive there until glorification.


Old Joe

 2009/1/12 8:04
crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Exposure

Quote:
So I see a danger in all of this among those that seem to be leaders, etc. There needs to be an ongoing willingness to allow examination of our teachings and behavior with an added willingness to amend either our doctrine or behavior should revision be necessary. But there is a dreadful fear, almost greater than all fears; that I may have to admit I was wrong- which admission could diminish what I perceive to be my standing or responsibility in the eyes of the people.

I have often thought, and I know this is a little off subject, that revival was hindered by leaders unwillingness to allow themselves to be cast in a negative light though admission of wrong doctrine (beliefs) and admission of shortcomings. Fear of being perceived as we really are likely has hindered a great many repentances. But how can a person go forward that is bent on being right and appearing to be right at almost all costs?



You know brother, this has been one of those long standing curiosities ... It seems so misleading and counter ... intuitive for a Christian if we are supposed to, in effect [i]confess your sins to each other[/i], and I am even taking that as just simple admittance where and when we are wrong. But the real travesty is in overlooking just how opposite it usually is. To me it's quite disarming and produces the opposite effect that the one 'confessing' might anticipate. Do we not usually drop our guard when someone is being truly honest and forthcoming, transparent? Any little hedge or dodge, pragmatic extrapolation, blame seems to raise the guard right back up again, casting it all into suspicion. But when it's honest and heartfelt and maybe for those of us who have some experience, know that, and I'll say it, [i]depravity[/i] of our own hearts, know our [i]possibilities[/i] of stumbling, have learned that the least trustworthy man is our self ... Why, is it not a very sympathetic ear and a heart that can [i]weep with those who weep[/i]?

Of course what stops us is really just pride. We don't want to be humiliated nor embarrassed and yet our Lord was made a mockery for us - Stripped and cruelly nailed to a tree, spat on, despised, ridiculed. How incredible when he had done no wrong.

The smallest of matters, to me I find endearing and my heart cling to when we are just frank about ourselves, what we know, what we think we know. That Ravenhill-esque "[i]The longer I live, the longer I realize how little I do know.[/i]" Something as seemingly innocuous as a Paul Washer stating that "Calvinism" is not the issue when the possibility is that his own church, even his own self would learn in that direction. It's certainly 'risky' to put yourself in that kind of a position knowing the backlash and misconstruing. That is really a minor thing, I have heard him make many different assertions that are greatly disarming in similar fashion.


Old Joe. I must admit, I checked out of Algebra in High School, mentally that is ... But I have a lot of sympathy towards all this idea of 'perfection' - If it had more disclaimers, well, actually it does! I don't know, it seems to get really bogged down in words and definitions, all the redundant mentions earlier.

[i]IF[/i] it had only meant that which Wesley kept coming back to, that verse of "all" and maybe had the attachment of [i]that I am capable of in this frame[/i] ... Sigh, I can see myself getting into pickle here.

Seems to be two extremes. Either we see it as that which is impossible so why bother - or that it is possible and [i]must[/i] be hammered on continually, either by 'preaching' or by some very misguided and deceptive reasoning, that which convinces the man that he is going along now 'without sin' for however many days or years. I really do chuckle to hear certain expressions like that; "[i]I haven't sinned in 4 years now.[/i]" Oh, really?

It seems like uttering the statement;

"I am not proud."

Too late ...

;-)


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Mike Balog

 2009/1/12 9:28Profile
RobertW
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 Re: Exposure

Quote:
I really do chuckle to hear certain expressions like that; "I haven't sinned in 4 years now." Oh, really?



Yes. I have often wondered how long a person feels like they have lived sinlessly? I also understand that folk may go long periods of time with no 'conscious' sin. But I think there is an additional danger here. How would that person then admit they had stumbled and stood in need of prayer if they began to view themselves as the poster child for perfection? Like the Faith Healer that allegedly got sick and went to Mexico for treatment lest their doctrine of Divine Health be thwarted. Can a person survive such a claim as "being in perfection"?




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Robert Wurtz II

 2009/1/12 11:41Profile
boG
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 Re: Exposure

A. W. Tozer said to Leonard Ravenhill once: "Len, you know, we'll hardly get our feet out of time into eternity that we'll bow our heads in shame and humiliation. We'll gaze on eternity and say, 'Look at all the riches there were in Jesus Christ, and I've come to the Judgment Seat almost a pauper.'" For God had not only given us Jesus Christ - He has with Him freely given us all things (Rom. 8:32).

Similarly, he has also said, to the affect: I am not so concerned about being taken into account for the things I have done, but for the things I ought to have done.

Quote:
I really do chuckle to hear certain expressions like that; "I haven't sinned in 4 years now." Oh, really?


Such statements, if I may boldly claim, can only be confessed by the most ignorant souls, not even knowing their own hearts, who fear not God.


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Jordan

 2009/1/13 3:54Profile
RobertW
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Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Some Questions?

So the question becomes how can a Christian preach/teach Christian Perfection and remain honest with themselves and others about their true condition at the same time?

I believe in Christian Perfection with all of the footnotes. I do not believe in hugging our chains. I believe we, the regenerate, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit and that we are FREE from Sin, etc.; but how can I preach/teach such doctrine if it is not a near perfectly consistent reality in my own life? How do I bring myself to stay the course if I sin?

How do I avoid insulting God and man with silly meaningless confessions while hiding what God is [i]really[/i] putting His finger on?

How ought Christian Perfection be preached and taught?


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Robert Wurtz II

 2009/1/13 7:39Profile









 Re: Some Questions?

Quote:

RobertW wrote:

How ought Christian Perfection be preached and taught?



I recommend like this.
http://www.theinvisiblechurch.ca/sanctify/What_Kind_of_Perfection_is_Attainable.html

Or maybe like this.
http://www.theinvisiblechurch.ca/sanctify/A_Call_to_Holy_Living.html

http://www.theinvisiblechurch.ca/sanctify/Holiness.html

Old Joe

 2009/1/13 7:51









 Re:

Quote:

boG wrote:
A. W. Tozer said to Leonard Ravenhill once: "Len, you know, we'll hardly get our feet out of time into eternity that we'll bow our heads in shame and humiliation. We'll gaze on eternity and say, 'Look at all the riches there were in Jesus Christ, and I've come to the Judgment Seat almost a pauper.'" For God had not only given us Jesus Christ - He has with Him freely given us all things (Rom. 8:32).

Similarly, he has also said, to the affect: I am not so concerned about being taken into account for the things I have done, but for the things I ought to have done.

Quote:
I really do chuckle to hear certain expressions like that; "I haven't sinned in 4 years now." Oh, really?


Such statements, if I may boldly claim, can only be confessed by the most ignorant souls, not even knowing their own hearts, who fear not God.



And that is exactly why attaching the word 'perfection' to ANY of [i]our[/i] performances/thoughts/desires is such a red herring.

The whole issue goes back to how/why the Christian is both entirely godly and entirely ungodly at the same time.


Old Joe

 2009/1/13 8:12
crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re:

Quote:
Yes. I have often wondered how long a person feels like they have lived sinlessly? I also understand that folk may go long periods of time with no 'conscious' sin. But I think there is an additional danger here. How would that person then admit they had stumbled and stood in need of prayer if they began to view themselves as the poster child for perfection? Like the Faith Healer that allegedly got sick and went to Mexico for treatment lest their doctrine of Divine Health be thwarted. Can a person survive such a claim as "being in perfection"?



Yeah precisely, how does one live this dualistic lifestyle? And that [i]inwardly[/i]? One of the first implanted verses that ever got a hold of me was;

[i]Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.[/i] 1Co 10:12

And by the same token it took a very long time to get the gist of;

[i]If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.[/i] 1Jn 1:8

And yet we have those who will do just that - [u]say[/u] - I know this could be taken apart into semantics, what one 'has' and what one 'does' but to borrow boG's note,

Quote:
Such statements, if I may boldly claim, can only be confessed by the most ignorant souls, not even knowing their own hearts, who fear not God.



I am likely drawing off of it as something fairly current, hearing it from a certain open air preacher and it does come full circle back to the whole of the waring camps - These two traps that inform and predicates their thinking. You know, I want to almost say, poor John (Wesley), what a can of worms he opened, some of it seems certainly 'his own fault' and I have a hard time making that statement, who am I to say? Still, with all of the defining and redefining what generally strikes me is how the adherents just off and run with these things, not unlike and equivalently, the same with Calvinism - "Hyper" - Warp speed. Over done, overstated, over extrapolated.

I am surely being redundant here. Ultimately it does get down to proper definitions doesn't it? What [i]is[/i] "holiness", what is "perfection" - "righteousness"? I know coming into a real abiding faith I had so many notions and fears. Certainly a part of it was a reluctance to indeed part with my sin but at the same time it was a whole host of assumptions derived from ... go figure - Outward impressions of just what a "Christian" and Christianity was. I was under a fallacious impression, that it was an [i]impression[/i]. That I would have to trade in my blue jeans and t-shirt apparel for sweaters and slacks. That I would paradoxically have to [i]pretend[/i] to be something I was not. Speak a certain way with a certain vocabulary, punctuated with of course verses of scripture and therefore I had better start memorizing them. Go to church and be nice and pleasant [i]all the time[/i] regardless of how I felt, isn't that how everyone else was ... "nice" and of course far better at it than I, they were "Holy" and I was lowly and I would have to work my way up the ladder. All these things frankly frightened me ... I didn't want to become "weird" (How little did I know!)

This might stoke some sideways but a buddy of mine and myself were somewhere along the line of that "Almost Christian" when, according to our tastes and like at that time, Stryper, the Christian Heavy Metal band came into our view. We took a certain liking to them and were really excited when they finally came to town. So what did we do? Well, we dressed up in our "Sunday best" attire thinking this is what would be expected of us and ended up sticking out like two sore thumbs! And feeling really, really stupid over it all.

Certainly not expounding upon the merits or dermits of Christian rock music - But perspective and notions, definitions - Biblical definitions - Or better, [i]histories[/i] as Robert and Philologos have made mention of elsewhere.

What I think fascinated me was just how wrong headed it all was when I started to observe reading through the scriptures just how [i]dirty[/i] it all was. Don't run with that .. Dirty in conditions, under the feet and rightly or wrongly I don't envision paved roads and city structures like we have today. But dirty more so in guttural things. Raw exposure of the heart and the inward man, "dirty" - or as it is often put "earthy", of the earth. Martyrs, blood, persecution and death - Trouble on every side - despised- hated- maligned, wandering, chased, caught, put in prisons ... mob violence.

Not to make this all lopsided - Joy, contentment, hope, faith ... love, all mingled together, but still all rather dirty nonetheless. Where does asceticism and the shackles, leg irons of legalism, 'perfection' as it is mis-defined come into play? "Holiness" that peculiar word that also drums up so many notions - of monks in the desert - of a certain aloofness and higher plateau than the common man, the layman is ever thwarted to reach. Where is the flesh ripping, tendon exposing, blood spurting lashes of a Cat-o-Nine Tails? These 'stripes' whereby we are healed and those stripes that exposed the nerve endings to the raw air of stinging pain that Paul the apostle and others [i]felt[/i] and which by no one was healed?

These words that we can go so far into technical analysis over seem to collide with the raw dirt of reality. I think Wesley really had something there with [i]"an opinion contradistinguished from an essential doctrine,"[/i] - There's a word, [i]essential[/i]. At what level?

I don't know how much sense any of this makes. If I misspoke earlier about my sympathies towards this ideal of 'perfection' I meant towards that wrongheaded assumption, better -'definition'.

I think we are largely stating much of the same thing, jumping ahead now that I have gone on so long;

Quote:
And that is exactly why attaching the word 'perfection' to ANY of our performances/thoughts/desires is such a red herring.

The whole issue goes back to how/why the Christian is both entirely godly and entirely ungodly at the same time.



Paradox! But truth, wholeheartedly agree.

Quote:
How ought Christian Perfection be preached and taught?



... should it? Wondering out loud brother. I know it really and primarily centers around the verse, [i] Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.[/i] Why ... wouldn't we have to [i]become[/i] Jesus Himself to preform this? And if so, wouldn't that in a very strange sense actually de-throne Him?

I still have this want of deriving more from the raw edge and plugging it into all of this. Heart religion, somewhere in all of this is a certain perfection in there that has me drawing off verses left and right -

[i]For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.[/i] Heb 4:12

For all the imagery and in my estimation ... opinion regarding a certain pacifism- The [i]sword[/i] - another bloody instrument. It's not a culinary piece of equipment, meant for chopping up vegetables - But a destructive force, an instrument of death, how much the usage of this even from Jesus - ... not peace, but a [i]sword[/i]. Revelation. So many other places.

This must seem awfully strange that I am trying to bring these two seemingly opposites together and make some kind of case for 'perfect' between the two ... It's disjointed.

Mathew Henry on Mat 5:48-


[i]Lastly[/i], Our Saviour concludes this subject with this exhortation (Mat_5:48), [i]Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father which is in heaven is perfect[/i]. Which may be understood,

1. In general, including all those things wherein we must be [i]followers of God as dear children.[/i] Note, It is the duty of Christians to desire, and aim at, and press toward a perfection in grace and holiness, Phi_3:12-14. And therein we must study to conform ourselves to the example of our heavenly Father, 1Pe_1:15, 1Pe_1:16.

Or, 2. In this particular before mentioned, of [i]doing good to our enemies[/i]; see Luk_6:36. It is God's perfection to [i]forgive injuries[/i] and to [i]entertain strangers[/i], and to do good to the evil and unthankful, and it will be ours to be like him. We that owe [i]so much[/i], that owe [i]our all[/i], to the divine bounty, ought to copy it out as well as we can.

Interesting the refrains from Wesley, nevertheless Mathew Henry all of a sudden makes a case for shifting the emphasis off of performance and back to the context where the Lord spoke these things.


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Mike Balog

 2009/1/13 9:34Profile
RobertW
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 Re:

Quote:
For all the imagery and in my estimation ... opinion regarding a certain pacifism- The sword - another bloody instrument. It's not a culinary piece of equipment, meant for chopping up vegetables - But a destructive force, an instrument of death, how much the usage of this even from Jesus - ... not peace, but a sword. Revelation. So many other places.



This is very good. So often I have talked about the sword being used as a precision instrument. I need to rethink that. A sword is an instrument of death. There is no way around that. Ron (Philologos) brought that out recently in the other thread that in the Revelation Jesus carried a weapon used to dis-embowel (sp?). So much for all of our tidy, prim and proper concepts!

In my heart there is a longing for [i]honesty[/i] among believers. Dishonesty and pretense is the great barrier of fellowship. How can I fellowship with others if I am afraid to be real? (using myself as an example) How can I be taken seriously if all I ever admit as my faults is a lapse in my bible reading or some silly admission? I just can't fellowship with the person they are pretending to be, type thing. Make sense?






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Robert Wurtz II

 2009/1/13 10:06Profile





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