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 Antinomianism - Ancient Heresy

[b]IN THE DAYS OF THE EARLY CHURCH:[/b]

[u]Albert Barnes[/u] said, "the sect of the Nicolaitanes, and to the views which they maintained, particularly that nothing was forbidden to the children of God under the gospel, and that in the freedom conferred on Christians they were at liberty to do what they pleased"

[b]IN CHURCH HISTORY:[/b]

[u]Charles Finney[/u] said, "There have been many, in modern times, called Perfectionists, who held that they were not under obligation to obey the law... Where the Bible says sin shall not have dominion over believers, these persons understand by it, that the same acts, which would be sin if done by an unconverted person, are not sin in them. The others, they say, are under the law, and so bound by its rules, but themselves are sanctified, and are in Christ, and if they break the law it is no sin."

[b]IN MODERN TIMES:[/b]

[u]A. W. Tozer[/u] said, "Fundamental Christianity in our times is deeply influenced by that ancient enemy of righteousness, Antinomianism. The creed of the Antinomian is easily stated: We are saved by faith alone; works have no place in salvation; conduct is works, and is therefore of no importance. What we do cannot matter as long as we believe rightly. The divorce between creed and conduct is absolute and final. The question of sin is settled by the Cross; conduct is outside the circle of faith and cannot come between the believer and God. Such in brief, is the teaching of the Antinomian. And so fully has it permeated the Fundamental element in modern Christianity that it is accepted by the religious masses as the very truth of God. Antinomianism is the doctrine of grace carried by uncorrected logic to the point of absurdity. It takes the teaching of justification by faith and twists it into deformity."

 2009/8/17 5:10









 Re: Antinomianism - Ancient Heresy

Please do not compare Charles Finney and A.W. Tozer. They are not saying the same thing.

Tozer understood and preached the Gospel, Finney did not.

 2009/8/17 10:43
hmmhmm
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Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991
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 Re: Antinomianism - Ancient Heresy

more from Tozer:

Somebody suggested that the cross of Christ should not inconvenience people. Well, it is the most inconvenient thing in the world, this cross of Christ! It took a man by the name of Jesus in the height of his healthy human life and took Him out on a hillside and killed Him there - now, that's an inconvenient thing for Him! And any cross is inconvenient; it's a most inconvenient thing, this accepting Christ, if we know what we mean by it. But the accepting Christ of popular theology has no inconvenience attached to it.

Now let's look at how it might have worked back in Old Testament times. Suppose that Moses had told Israel that awful, wonderful night, "Now, stay in your houses and kill the lamb and put the blood on the door post and stay right there and accept the fact that it's done - the great transaction's done! You are delivered by the Passover blood. Thank God and rejoice and establish a tabernacle and stay right where you are. And they would have stayed right there in Egypt with the blood on the door and God waiting to take them out but they stayed right where they were, they would have died in Egypt! They had to get up and get out of Egypt to prove they believed in the power of the passover blood!

That prodigal son, look at him. A certain man had two sons and one of them said unto his father, "Give me the goods that falleth to me and he divided unto them, the two of them, the boys, his living. And after a few days the boy left - the younger - and went into a far country and there he spent his substance in riotous living. And when he became hungry and had nothing to eat he went and attached himself to a swineherd and he fed swine. And he was there in the swine-pen and he got hungry because his wages wouldn't buy enough to eat. And it was a humbling thing for a Jew to feed swine. And one day a man appears - and here I depart from the Scriptures. One day a young man appears and this young man says to this boy who had gone away from home and was feeding swine - he had a bundle of tracts, this young feller, he was just out of Bible school - and he had been taught how to win souls in nine easy lessons.

And he goes up to this prodigal son lying among the swine and he says, "I have good news for you!" And he looks up and says, "Thank God, I need it. I need good news. What is it?" "Your father is ready to forgive you!" "Well," the boy says, "thank the Lord!" "Your father is ready to forgive you; do you believe it?" And the boy says, "Yes, I believe it." "All right now, thank God now, let's bow our heads and you thank the Lord you're saved. You believe the father forgives you. Yes, well, Amen! Now, we'll thank the dear Lord that you're saved. And now goodbye! Don't forget to witness, and sometime I'll be around again."

So this swineherd stays right there in the far country and he gets zealous and missionary and he goes out and he starts to make converts among the other swineherds and pretty soon he has them all believing that the father forgives, and they all do, and say, "I thank God the father forgives." Alright, and then they build a little tabernacle call it the First Tabernacle of the Converted Swineherds. And they all stay right there in the far country; nobody goes home. And that boy is still ragged and dirty and smelly and the people -- the respectable people of the neighborhood - when they pass by elevate their nose and hurry by. And they say, "So persecuted they the prophets which were before us. It is the result of our holy living that they are giving us the cold shoulder."

Then one day while they are singing choruses in this First Church of the Converted Swineherds in the far country a young fellow comes along and asks permission to speak and he rises and says to them, "Put away your sins, ye wicked! Put away your sins! Learn to do good; cease to do evil, be righteous and follow the Lord and do good and you'll be saved." And they pick him up and throw him out and say, "He's a legalist!" and that he 'doesn't believe in grace.' "Why, we're saved by accepting the doctrine." But this young fellow wanders off and time goes on and the fatted calf gets old and dies and the father passes away and the boy stays on in the far country.

Now that's evangelism as it is preached a good deal today in America! It is, "Believe on Christ. Accept Christ and stay where you are!" Now that is excused and explained by a hundred different learned ways but it leaves the sinner in his sins! And the man in his sins will be damned as certainly as the sun rises in the east and goes down in the west!

Now, our Lord Jesus Christ at one time passed by and He said if any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Those beautiful words of Jesus! "If any man will come after me...." Notice that He is interested and He is inviting; He is even urging but He is not begging! We have reversed things in these last days so that Jesus stands on trial and we sinners stand in the place of the judge! And if we should choose to quit our sins and follow Him we think we've done Him a service! And in the meantime He stands pensively waiting!

My friends I want you to note that He passes by and if any man will come he shall live eternally and he shall gain eternally but if any man will not he shall lose eternally but Jesus Christ will lose nothing! Remember that if a sinner comes to Jesus, Jesus gains nothing and if he refuses to come, Jesus loses nothing for Jesus Christ is God and God is self-contained and self-sufficient and He holdeth the world in His hand! And if I come to Him I do not enrich Him; if I stay away from Him I do not impoverish Him. It is the whole thing, my brethren and sisters: For me, I am the gainer and the loser: He is neither gainer nor loser. If I come He does not gain for the stars in their courses are His and the seraphim and the cherubim and the principalities and powers and mights and dominions and archangels and Heaven itself and the sea of glass, all are His! So that He cannot gain anything by my coming and He will not lose anything by my not coming: remember that! But if I come, He says, "Let Him deny himself." Now this is just what we daren't tell people these days! This is just what the evangelists of another day told people! But this is just what we're afraid to tell them now: "Let him deny himself."

And in the dim light of modern religious notions it's an odd thing that Christ should place such an obstacle before people and that He should lay down a condition for following Him; a condition that's exactly contrary to human nature. Nobody wants to deny himself; we want to preserve ourself and self-preservation is the first law of nature, according to everything that I've heard. And yet He lays down a condition for following Him that runs exactly contrary to human nature; runs counter to everything that's taught us in the schools; contradicts the instincts of self-preservation; arrays all the power of our natural self against Jesus Christ; cuts down on the number of those that will come.

Our Lord plainly, often, turned and cut down on the number of those that would come and in doing it He stepped up the quality of those who would come. But we step up the quantity and we don't care too much about the quality. If we can just get them to come! If we can just get them forward and say, "Two thousand nine hundred and twelve (or five hundred and six or whatever it is) came." Well, our Lord cared little about how many came! But He said if anybody will come, let him come - he's welcome to come. I came to die for him; I'm rising to plead for him and if he will come, let him come. But in coming let him deny himself. Let him do exactly contrary to that which is said by the world to be the natural thing to do.

Now I wonder if this Christ who laid down this obstacle -- who put this huge hurdle in front of the kingdom of God -- I wonder if that's the same Jesus, the same Christ that now we've got to excuse Him, and edit Him and amend Him, we have to coax and baby and plead to gain followers for Him; is this the same Jesus that gives everything and asks nothing? Is this the same Jesus that smiles and goes along with covetous business men and crooked politicians and carnal entertainers and half-saved cowboys? Is this the same Jesus? I don't think so at all! Paul talked about another Jesus and I think there's another Jesus loose among us and He's not the Jesus of the New Testament nor the Christ of God!

For the Christ of God is not begging business men; neither is He camping at the dirty door of some half-converted sex-dancer and begging her to come and putting up with anything and making any kind of an excuse for her if she'll only come! He simply says, "Come, if you want to. Come, if you will. Anybody that will, let him come. Come, come to me!" But He doesn't beg and He doesn't coax and He doesn't compromise and He doesn't in anywise change His terms. He makes the terms and you accept them.

A great many people come to the altar and howl and we say, "Well, he's really under conviction. He's having a wonderful time there." What he's doing is he's trying to get the Lord to meet his terms! Well, the Lord will never meet your terms, Mister! You'll die and go to hell before He'll ever meet your terms! He lays His terms down and you meet them! He is God, and you're a sinner! And you meet His terms! Young people meet His terms. Kids meet His terms. We all meet His terms and whether it be presidents or kings or queens, they'll all meet His terms - and they must! He positively never compromises! "Let him come unto Me, let him deny himself, let him take up his cross and follow Me." Now, that is to accept Christ!


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 2009/8/17 11:01Profile









 Re:

Mahoney, can you explain why Finney did not preach the Gospel? If u want you can just private message me so this dosen't turn into another "bash Finney /for Finney debate thread"

 2009/8/17 11:08









 Re:

Quote:
Please do not compare Charles Finney and A.W. Tozer. They are not saying the same thing.

Tozer understood and preached the Gospel, Finney did not.



Have you even read Finney's autobiography or sermons?

As much as I respect and admire Tozer, he did not have revivals or win as many souls as Finney did.

Finney taught that the atonement makes it possible for God to graciously and mercifully pardon all who repent of their sins and believe the Gospel. He taught that the atonement was vicarious suffering, that it was a substitute for our penalty so that our penalty could be remitted when we are coverted. That is what the Bible says, "Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins" Heb. 9:22. The atonement makes the remission of sins possible.

He didn't preach another gospel like limited atonement or unconditional salvation. And he certainly did not preach the heretical false gospel of antinomianism.

But let's not hijack this thread and take it off topic. This is supposed to be about the false gospel of antinomianism which says that sinners do not need to repent of their sins to be saved and Christians are not under obligation to the moral law but at free or at liberty to sin.

 2009/8/17 11:32
ceedub
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Joined: 2009/5/1
Posts: 215
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 Re:

Quote:
Have you even read Finney's autobiography or sermons?



Quote:
He taught that the atonement was vicarious suffering, that it was a substitute for our penalty so that our penalty could be remitted when we are coverted.



From Johnson's message, 'A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing' (http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/finney.htm)

Of course, Finney denied that Christ "obeyed for us," claiming that since Christ was Himself obligated to render full obedience to the law, His obedience could justify Himself alone. "It can never be imputed to us," Finney intoned [Systematic Theology, 362].
The clear implication of Finney's view is that justification ultimately hinges on the believer's own obedience, and God will not truly and finally pardon the repentant sinner until after that penitent one completes a lifetime of faithful obedience. Finney himself said as much, employing the undiluted language of perfectionism. He wrote,

By sanctification being a condition of justification, the following things are intended:
(1.) That present, full, and entire consecration of heart and life to God and His service, is an unalterable condition of present pardon of past sin, and of present acceptance with God. (2.) That the penitent soul remains justified no longer than this full-hearted consecration continues. If he falls from his first love into the spirit of self-pleasing, he falls again into bondage to sin and to the law, is condemned, and must repent and do his "first work," must turn to Christ, and renew his faith and love, as a condition of his salvation. . . .
Perseverance in faith and obedience, or in consecration to God, is also an unalterable condition of justification, or of pardon and acceptance with God. By this language in this connection, you will of course understand me to mean, that perseverance in faith and obedience is a condition, not of present, but of final or ultimate acceptance and salvation [Systematic Theology, 368-69].

Thus Finney insisted that justification ultimately hinges on the believer's own performance, not Christ's. Here Finney once more turns his guns against the doctrine of imputation:
Those who hold that justification by imputed righteousness is a forensic proceeding, take a view of final or ultimate justification, according with their view of the nature of the transaction. With them, faith receives an imputed righteousness, and a judicial justification. The first act of faith, according to them, introduces the sinner into this relation, and obtains for him a perpetual justification. They maintain that after this first act of faith it is impossible for the sinner to come into condemnation; [Systematic Theology, 369].

But isn't that precisely what Scripture teaches? John 3:18: "He that believeth on him is not condemned." John 5:24: "He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." Galatians 3:13: "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." It was immediately following his great discourse on justification by faith that the apostle Paul wrote, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1). But Charles Finney was unwilling to let Christians rest in the promise of "no condemnation," and he ridiculed the idea of security in Christ as a notion that would lead to licentious living. He continues, again caricaturing the position he opposes:
that, being once justified, he is always thereafter justified, whatever he may do; indeed that he is never justified by grace, as to sins that are past, upon condition that he ceases to sin; that Christ's righteousness is the ground, and that his own present obedience is not even a condition of his justification, so that, in fact, his own present or future obedience to the law of God is, in no case, and in no sense, a sine qua non of his justification, present or ultimate.
Now this is certainly another gospel from the one I am inculcating. It is not a difference merely upon some speculative or theoretic point. It is a point fundamental to the gospel and to salvation, if any one can be [Systematic Theology, 369.]
As the final paragraph of that excerpt makes clear, Finney himself clearly understood that what he proclaimed was a different gospel from that of historic Protestantism. By denying the forensic nature of justification, Finney was left with no option but to regard justification as a subjective thing grounded not in Christ's redemptive work but in the believer's own obedience—and therefore a matter of works, not faith alone.

Finney vs. Substitutionary Atonement
What seemed to chafe Finney most about evangelical Christianity was the belief that Christ's atonement is a penal satisfaction offered to God. Finney wrote, "I had read nothing on the subject [of the atonement] except my Bible, & what I had there found on the subject I had interpreted as I would have understood the same or like passages in a law book" [Memoirs, 42].
Thus applying nineteenth-century American legal standards to the biblical doctrine of atonement, he concluded that it would be legally unjust to impute the sinner's guilt to Christ or to impute Christ's righteousness to the sinner. As noted above, Finney labeled imputation a "theological fiction" [Memoirs, 58-61]. In essence, this was a denial of the core of evangelical theology, repudiating the heart of Paul's argument about justification by faith in Romans 3-5 (see especially Rom. 4:5)—in effect nullifying the whole gospel!
Further, by ruling out the imputation of guilt and righteousness, Finney was forced to argue that Christ's death should not be regarded as an actual atonement for others' sins. Finney replaced the doctrine of substitutionary atonement with a version of Grotius's "governmental theory" (the same view being revived by those today who tout "moral government theology").
The Grotian view of the atonement is laden with strong Pelagian tendencies. By cutting the sinner off from the imputation of Christ's righteousness, this view automatically requires sinners to attain a righteousness of their own (contra Rom. 10:3). When he embraced such a view of the atonement, Finney had no choice but to adopt a theology that magnifies human ability and minimizes God's role in changing human hearts. He wrote, for example,

There is nothing in religion beyond the ordinary powers of nature. A revival is not a miracle, nor dependent on a miracle, in any sense. It is a purely philosophical result of the right use of the constituted means—as much so as any other effect produced by the application of means. . . . A revival is as naturally a result of the use of means as a crop is of the use of its appropriate means" [Charles Finney, Lectures on Revivals of Religion (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, n.d.), 4-5].
Thus Finney constantly downplayed God's work in our salvation, understated the hopelessness of the sinner's condition, and overestimated the power of sinners to change their own hearts. When those errors are traced to their source, what we find is a deficient view of the atonement. Indeed, Finney's denial of vicarious atonement underlies and explains virtually all his theological aberrations.
The Fallout from Finney's Doctrines
Predictably, most of Finney's spiritual heirs lapsed into apostasy, Socinianism, mere moralism, cultlike perfectionism, and other related errors. In short, Finney's chief legacy was confusion and doctrinal compromise. Evangelical Christianity virtually disappeared from western New York in Finney's own lifetime. Despite Finney's accounts of glorious "revivals," most of the vast region of New England where he held his revival campaigns fell into a permanent spiritual coldness during Finney's lifetime and more than a hundred years later still has not emerged from that malaise. This is directly owing to the influence of Finney and others who were simultaneously promoting similar ideas.
The Western half of New York became known as "the burnt-over district," because of the negative effects of the revivalist movement that culminated in Finney's work there. These facts are often obscured in the popular lore about Finney. But even Finney himself spoke of "a burnt district" [Memoirs, 78], and he lamented the absence of any lasting fruit from his evangelistic efforts. He wrote,


I was often instrumental in bringing Christians under great conviction, and into a state of temporary repentance and faith . . . . [But] falling short of urging them up to a point, where they would become so acquainted with Christ as to abide in Him, they would of course soon relapse into their former state [cited in B. B. Warfield, Studies in Perfectionism, 2 vols. (New York: Oxford, 1932), 2:24].
One of Finney's contemporaries registered a similar assessment, but more bluntly:

During ten years, hundreds, and perhaps thousands, were annually reported to be converted on all hands; but now it is admitted, that real converts are comparatively few. It is declared, even by [Finney] himself, that "the great body of them are a disgrace to religion" [cited in Warfield, 2:23].
B. B. Warfield cited the testimony of Asa Mahan, one of Finney's close associates,
. . . who tells us—to put it briefly—that everyone who was concerned in these revivals suffered a sad subsequent lapse: the people were left like a dead coal which could not be reignited; the pastors were shorn of all their spiritual power; and the evangelists—"among them all," he says, "and I was personally acquainted with nearly every one of them—I cannot recall a single man, brother Finney and father Nash excepted, who did not after a few years lose his unction, and become equally disqualified for the office of evangelist and that of pastor."
Thus the great "Western Revivals" ran out into disaster. . . . Over and over again, when he proposed to revisit one of the churches, delegations were sent him or other means used, to prevent what was thought of as an affliction. . . . Even after a generation had passed by, these burnt children had no liking for the fire [Warfield, 2:26-28].
Finney grew discouraged with the revival campaigns and tried his hand at pastoring in New York City before accepting the presidency of Oberlin College. During those post-revivalist years, he turned his attention to devising a doctrine of Christian perfectionism. Perfectionist ideas, in vogue at the time, were a whole new playground for serious heresy on the fringes of evangelicalism—and Finney became one of the best-known advocates of perfectionism. The evil legacy of the perfectionism touted by Finney and friends in the mid-nineteenth century has been thoroughly critiqued by B. B. Warfield in his important work Studies in Perfectionism. Perfectionism was the logical consequence of Finney's Pelagianism, and its predictable result was spiritual disaster.


Quote:
He didn't preach another gospel like limited atonement or unconditional salvation.[/quote



You're right. He didn't preach what the great theologians have preached. The question is, 'who is preaching another gospel?'.

Is it Spurgeon, Henry, Lloyd-Jones, Owen, Hodge, Warfield, MacArthur, Piper etc., or is it Finney?

 2009/8/17 12:47Profile
hmmhmm
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Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991
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 Re:

Quote:
But let's not hijack this thread and take it off topic. This is supposed to be about the false gospel of antinomianism which says that sinners do not need to repent of their sins to be saved and Christians are not under obligation to the moral law but at free or at liberty to sin.



its to late, "Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather." and so it is with Finney, some find something rotten around his teachings, so they gather there to "feast" upon the mans faults and errors in doctrine, he wrote much that can be debated if its good or bad, some was no doubt excellent and could be encuragment to the young as to the mature beliver, but as with everything test it with the scripture, when we do that as a rule, all men fall short, Spurgeon, Finney, Calvin,Tozer, no one has the perfect flawless doctrine, do they preach the virgin birth? do they preach his death? his resurrection? do they preach salvation is through faith & repentance? they preach the gospel. How it all works out practical many can argue, but i wonder if we put as much effort into living it as we are to learn and talk about it, the revival would already had come years ago


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 2009/8/17 13:18Profile









 Re:

hmmhmm, very well said,. I hope the finney critics can come to the center on this a little, just enough to promote warm heart between us.

 2009/8/17 13:23
ceedub
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Joined: 2009/5/1
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 Re:

I'm not sure your criteria is all there is to the gospel. Paul had more than that in it's outline in Romans 1-11.

Quote:
How it all works out practical many can argue, but i wonder if we put as much effort into living it as we are to learn and talk about it, the revival would already had come years ago



Maybe you're right. But from what I've learned of Finney, if it was that kind of revival we missed, that could be a good thing.

Let's have the effort for both doctrinal purity as well as practice. It still matters to the Lord.

Isa 42:8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another...


 2009/8/17 13:27Profile
hmmhmm
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Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991
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 Re:

Quote:

ceedub wrote:
I'm not sure your criteria is all there is to the gospel. Paul had more than that in it's outline in Romans 1-11.

Quote:
How it all works out practical many can argue, but i wonder if we put as much effort into living it as we are to learn and talk about it, the revival would already had come years ago



Maybe you're right. But from what I've learned of Finney, if it was that kind of revival we missed, that could be a good thing.

Let's have the effort for both doctrinal purity as well as practice. It still matters to the Lord.

Isa 42:8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another...





yes of course you are right, the gospel is much more, much more then just the letter to the romans also, the clearest view of the gospel is not romans, but Jesus himself and his life found in the "gospels" , the gospel is a person, our Lord Jesus with all what that includes. i am just saying, no man have yet preached the gospel perfectly balanced in all areas, the main things all may agree on, even Finney did, I find many falsley misrepresent Finney just as many sometimes falsley misrepresent calvinist, or moderate such. Regardless right or wrong Finney wrote much good, did much good, and i have no doubt much of the revival in his days was God moving and using Finney, that irritates some people because some aspects of finneys writings dont line up with their doctrine, myself dont hold some of the reformed teachings very high, but i can still be blessed by some things luther wrote and many others holding reformed theology, but i can still appreciated what they did and what luther did, even tho he understood some aspects of scripture wrong. So we should be able to appreciated the good Finney did, they served the same God, it pleases God to use different vessels for different times, and since no vessel of a human are perfect they can misunderstand some aspects of scripture, apply it differently etc. Let us keep in mind these things,


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 2009/8/17 15:02Profile





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