| The Real John Wesley|
I picked up this book [George Whitefield: God's Anointed Servant in the Great Revival of the Eighteenth Century, by Arnold A. Dallimore] a while ago and greatly recommend it. It's a biography about one of the greatest evangelists that has ever lived, George Whitefield. His life and achievements in the Lord, however, are little known, and are seemingly overshadowed by the reputation and accomplishments of John Wesley. But, as the author if this book clearly demonstrates, historians and biographers can be very selective and biased at times, favoring and focusing upon one individual of their liking, while completely ignoring another--and sometimes even going so far as to slander the reputation of the other with false information (whether this is intentional or not is for the Lord to judge). Such has been the case with the man of God, George Whitefield. Throughout the past two centuries or so, there have been myriads of John Wesley books published, mainly written by Arminian biographers. Some of these books extol Wesley to a very unhealthy degree (I even remember one that stated on the back cover that "God needed a man like Wesley"!!!). Their bias and favoritism is evident, especially with the secondary role they give to Whitefield in the 18th Century awakenings in England and America. Not so with this book, however. It reveals the documented truth about this forgotten hero of the faith, and in so doing unavoidably lifts the proverbial rug, exposing the many inconsistencies of his much revered friend, John Wesley--faults and failings often overlooked by many a biographer.
Hence, I have decided to post some excerpts of the book here to 1) bring a little balance to the spotless, golden image of Wesley that we're often presented with, and 2) to make known the true humility and servanthood of the man, George Whitefield, who by the grace of God alone "labored even more than all of them". May the Lord Jesus Christ receive glory through this.
Chapter 6: Doctrinal Differences and Sad Divisions(from George Whitefield: God's Anointed Servant in the Great Revival of the Eighteenth Century)
It has long been recognized that there were doctrinal differences between John Wesley and George Whitefield, and the point we have now reached in our narrative is that at which a separation came about between the two men. Since this affair played a highly important part in their lives, we have no choice but to look into it. It has, however, generally been reported in a manner strongly biased in Wesleys favor, and therefore we must attempt to rectify matters to some extent.
Wesley separated first from the Moravians. He was at the time in association with the Fetter Lane Religious Society, but this body, under the instruction of Peter Bohler, was fast becoming Moravian in doctrine and practice. Bohler, however, soon left for America, and Wesley was not chosen to succeed him.
Count Zindendorf, the gracious but lordly commander of Moravianism, sent instead a man from Germany, Philip Henry Molther. Molther assumed that most members of the Society were not truly converted and, stressing the Stillness Teaching, advocated waiting in quietness till God should plant faith within them. He suggested also that they refrain from partaking of the Sacrament of the Church of England lest they trust in it for salvation.
Some of the people, however, carried this teaching to an extreme. They refused to even attend the services of the Church of England, and a few went so far as to declare they no longer believed in doing good works, lest these also be depended upon to save them.
To Wesley this attitude was a denial of the function of the Church, and in the meetings of the Society he contended against it. In his striving he exaggerated these tendencies and charged that they characterized the entire Moravian movement. He finally led nineteen people out of the Fetter Lane hall and into a Society he had recently formed in a building he termed the Foundery. Thus he also removed himself from being subject to the superior rank of Count Zindendorf.
Wesley next separated from Whitefield. Upon leaving Bristol Whitefield had conjured him, said Wesley, to enter into no disputes, least of all concerning Predestination
(1) Predestination is a doctrine essential to Calvinism, a theological system he knew Whitefield favored. But Wesley had been taught, particularly by his mother, to believe the opposite system, known as Arminianism.
A recent development, however, made Whitefields counsel, enter into no disputes, difficult for Wesley to follow. Under Wesleys ministry people had begun to undergo convulsion-like attacks, causing them to lie on the ground writhing, and he reports instances in which four strong men could not hold one who was subject to this experience. Charles Wesley spoke of the experience as the fits, and Whitefield also expressed his dislike of it. These inexplicable events took place only under John Wesleys ministry, and he was certain that they were supernatural signs which God was effecting through him alone.
Thus far Wesleys position in the evangelistic work was secondary. Whitefield had the great congregations; he had begun the open-air ministry and had thrust Wesley into undertaking it too. But Wesley possessed inherited traits that made it natural for him to desire prime position, and it was this ability that God later used in making him the leader that he became. But as Robert Southey stated, If he was incapable of bearing with an equal, Wesley could as little brook a superior, (2) and it was not surprising that he would seek to make himself superior to Whitefield, as he had to Count Zindendorf and as he would later to Lady Huntington.
In the sermon, which he termed Free Grace, (3) Wesley began by defining predestination. He did not state some recognized definition, but gave it a meaning of his own, and then declared that all who hold the doctrine must hold it in the same extreme sense. He then went on to assert concerning predestination,
It is a doctrine full of blasphemy, of such blasphemy as I should dread to mention, but the honour of our gracious God and the cause of truth, will not suffer me to be silent
I will mention a few of the horrible blasphemies contained in this horrible doctrine.
This doctrine represents our blessed Lord, Jesus Christ the righteous as an hypocrite, a deceiver of the people, a man void of common sincerity.
This is the blasphemy clearly contained in the horrible decree of predestination! And here I fix my foot. On this I join issue with every assertor of it. You represent God as worse than the devil; more false, more cruel, more unjust
Having made these assertions, Wesley adopted for the sake of argument a position in which he supposed the doctrine of predestination to be true, and from that position he thus addressed the Devil:
Thou fool, why dost thou roar about any longer? Thy lying in wait for souls is as needles and useless as our preaching. Hearest thou not that God hath taken thy work out of thy hands; and that He doeth it more effectively? Thou, with all thy principalities and powers canst only assault that we may resist thee; but He can irresistibly destroy both body and soul in hell!
O how would the enemy of God and man rejoice to hear these things were so! How would he cry aloud and spare not! How would he lift up his voice and say, To your tents, O Israel! Flee from the face of this God, or ye shall utterly perish! But whither will ye flee? Into heaven? He is there. Down to hell? He is there also. Ye cannot flee from an omnipresent tyrant
We do Wesley no wrong in assessing his motives in separating from the Moravians and from Whitefield. He definitely believed the Moravians were at fault in their failure to use the Sacrament of the Church of England; and even though he had not correctly understood Calvinism, he was sincerely certain it was erroneous. But he also possessed a sense of his own superiority and a mighty ambition, and these tendencies were basic to his actions.
Wesley shortly went to London, and Whitefield had him preach immediately to a great audience. The Lord give him ten thousand times more success than He has given me, (4) he prayed, and he went on to have him preach also to his Moorfields and Kennington congregations.
Wesley returned to Bristol, but when Whitefield heard of his sermon he wrote to him saying, I hear, Honoured Sir, that you are about to print a sermon against predestination. It shocks me to think of it! What will be the consequences but controversy? ...Silence on both sides will be best. (5)
However, in his declaration, Here I fix my foot! On this I join issue with every assessor of it! Wesley had vowed contention. The lot had said, Preach and Print, and it would not be long before he sent this divisive sermon throughout the land.
Wesley now began also to declare a still more divisive doctrine, that which he named Christian Perfection. (6)
He did not, however, clearly define this teaching. Rather he left it in two forms, and they were contradictory. It could mean merely a high state of Christian maturity, and, of course, on this definition there was no difference of opinion. But it could also mean a state of entire sinlessness, and concerning this the strongest of differences existed. Yet it was this latter meaning that Wesley constantly presented, and this was the doctrines only raison dêtre.
Whitefield hard various of Wesleys followers claim that they were perfect, declaring that they had not sinned in so many weeks or months, and to him the assertion was both un-Scriptural and dangerous.
Personal holiness was an important element of Whitefields daily life. Statements to this effect abound in his letters and sermons, and he summed up his attitude in saying,
Every grace that is in the blessed Jesus is to be transplanted into our hearts; we are to be delivered from the power of sin but not from the indwelling and being of sin in this life. Hereafter we are to be preserved blameless, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing.
Howell Harris views in this matter agreed entirely with those of Whitefield, and during these days Harris exhorted a friend,
Rest not till you have the Spirit of God continually bearing witness with your spirit that you are born of God;
see that faith grows, and then Love, Meekness, Brokenness of heart, Godly sorrow, Resignation of will, Humility, Holy fear, watchfulness, tenderness of conscience, and all other graces will grow.
These doctrinal differences enabled Wesley to begin a cause of his ownhis own branch of Methodism. He erected a small building at Bristol, the New Room, and had Whitefield come and join together the two main Societies. Using it as his Bristol meeting-place, he termed his movement The United Societies. As we have seen, he also acquired a building in London, the Foundery, and this he made his headquarters. Though Charles opposed the convulsion experiences, he agreed to join John on other matters, and together they pursued their cause with unremitting zeal.
During these months Whitefield entered into a friendship with a young lady, Elizabeth Delamotte. Her father, Thomas Delamotte, was the master of a grand mansion, Blendon Hall, at Bexley, a few miles southeast of London. Thomas also operated a sugar-importing business in London, and while there he and members of his family attended the Fetter Lane Society. Elizabeth and her sister had professed conversion under the influence of Charles Wesley, and the home frequently resounded with the singing of hymns and the voice of prayer.
Whitefield was then expecting at any time to board the vessel that would carry him to America, and he needed to be near the downriver ports. Thus, at Thomas invitation he became a guest at Blendon Hall, but ranged out daily on his ministry. He had never allowed himself a close friendship with any member of the opposite sex, but now, although he fought against the tendency, he found an affection for Elizabeth forcing itself into his heart.
As the time of his departure drew near, knowing that he would be out of England for a year or more, Whitefield overlooked Wesleys divisive actions and informed his numerous followers in Bristol, Gloucester, and London that Wesley would lead them during his absence. Then, on Monday, August 13, 1739, he dined with the Delamottes, of whom he speaks as my dear weeping friends, and they accompanied him to Gravesend where his vessel was ready to sail.
Thus, with these two matters upon his mindhis dread of the division being caused by Wesley and his affection for Elizabeth DelamotteWhitefield set out on his second visit to America.
1. John Wesleys Letters, Volume 1, p. 302.
2. Robert Southey, Life of Wesley, Volume 2 (London: Longmans 1858), p. 208.
3. Sermon Free Grace, found in various editions of Wesleys Works, and in Sermons on Several Occasions by the Rev. John Wesley, M.A., Volume 3 (London: Mason,, 1847), p. 359; Whitefield: Life and Times, pp. 310-313.
4. Ibid., p.315.
6. Ibid., pp. 316, 317. Also John Wesley, A Plain Account of Christian Perfection (London: Epworth, n.d.) pp. 15, 16.
| 2010/9/20 17:47||Profile|
| Re: The Real John Wesley|
A man may be rightly judged by
the glory he brings to GOD in
serving the cause of the cross
and our Savior. Wesley's zeal
and passion for Christ are a
matter of record. He and
Whitefield were mightily used
of GOD to stir the sleeping
Church and bring revival!!
Martin G. Smith
| 2010/9/20 18:04||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
| Re: |
Wesley left the moravians but took much of moravianism with him. It touched him as it did wesley and gave both of them the foundations of their walk with Christ and the New Birth message.
Wesley organized what whitefield did not. God was working and both extreme views of theology sadly some did polorize to but the moravians where the ones that would not hold to either and rather did the work of God silently bringing glory to God.
Wesley though going to extemes on holiness did set a wonderful foundation in the church in england and america. Wesley did not seperate because he was a divider but rather he was a seeker of the truth and desired a true manifestation of the church.
He has the same burden that zinzendorf did was not to namely establish a "new" church but rather to minister to and organize the church "within the church". Wesley died with the methodist denomination not seperating from anglicanism it was a part of it till the end of his life. This shows his deep love for the "Church" and not to divide believers from it. He was more possibly reacting to the moravians extreme to have believers not associate at all with the church of england which in a sense was fine but to wesley that was something he did not want! Like Luther before him he wanted to reform the church system he was a part of.
All men are fallable but wesley you would have to look twice to first discern that. His life brought much glory to God.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2010/9/20 18:50||Profile|
| Re: The Real John Wesley|
Whatever people mean by "Sinless Perfection". If that doctrine teaches that it is impossible to sin, it obviously is not biblical, for the Bible teaches no such thing. But, on the other hand, if it teaches it is possible not to sin, then a simple reading in the Scriptures would prove it's truth. I believe that Wesley approved the latter.
In fact, we will not see revival before such teaching takes place again in the church.
All those whom God used in to bring revival such as, Jonathan Edwards, Goerge Whitefield, Wesley, Finney and others were poeple that held a high view of the Holiness of God and His demands for holiness in His people.
"Be ye holy even as I am holy." Saith the Lord.
| 2010/9/20 19:25||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
| Re: |
Amen. I agree fully. Oh how we need biblical new birth, holiness and The gospel that centers on the Person of Jesus Christ and the implications if His life and Death!
I am so tired of 2 camps of believers that polarize to one extreme or the other. The bible is in the middle and I am going to stay there also.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2010/9/20 19:36||Profile|
| Re: The Real John Wesley Part 2|
The Real John Wesley Part 2
On the last post about Wesley, we examined the life of this fallible, human preacher, and especially the details of his life pertaining to his separation from George Whitefield. A chapter from the book, George Whitefield: God's Anointed Servant in the Great Revival of the Eighteenth Century, revealed John Wesley's insistence on contention with Whitefield, his predisposition to, and desire for, the preeminent role among his brethren, his slight exaggerations in describing the actions and beliefs of those with whom he was in disagreement, his misunderstanding of the Calvinistic viewpoint of the doctrine of Predestination, and the propagation of his newly formed, and often inconsistent, doctrine of sinless perfection.
Again, the purpose of this series of posts is not to attack and defame, but to present a balanced image of the 18th Century preacher, and remove Wesley from the pedestal that we as human beings are so often prone to place godly men of the past on.
That being said, the following excerpt further reveals the grieving details of Wesley's division and contention with George Whitefield, and consequently also reveals the humility of Whitefield, and the great love and forgiveness that he had for his two dear friends, John and Charles Wesley.
Chapter 10: Whitefields Darkest Hour
We have seen that there already were doctrinal differences between Wesley and Whitefield. When Whitefield returned to England, these differences brought about a separation between them. The truth of this matter is often distorted, for although professed reports of it have frequently been published, almost all are so strongly biased in Wesleys favor that both his and Whitefields actions are very falsely presented.
Accordingly, as much as both writer and reader may find the subject distasteful, if we are not to let falsehoods continue to cloud a most noble portion of Whitefields life, we have no choice but to look into this matter. We do so, however, very briefly, noticing merely the chief facts.
One of Whitefields first activities after reaching London was meeting with his old friend, Charles Wesley. John was out of town at the time. Of course, the doctrinal differences were discussed, and the likelihood of schism was recognized. Whitefield stated, It would have melted any heart to have heard Mr. Charles Wesley and me weeping, after prayer, that if possible the breach might be averted. (1) But Charles was as strongly against the doctrine of election as Whitefield was for it, and as adamant in favor of sinless perfection as Whitefield was opposed to it. Charles refused to have any further cooperation with Whitefield, and accordingly they separated. But we shall rejoice when, ten years later, Charles doctrinal convictions changed to some extent and he came into a considerable measure of agreement with Whitefield. They then again enjoyed a rich friendship, and this continued until Whitefield was removed from him by death.
On Whitefields first Sunday in London, a burst of enthusiasm brought some thousands to hear him both at Moorfields and Kennington Common. But the enthusiasm quickly waned, and on the weekdays his congregations numbered merely two or three hundred. Moreover, he saw many of his former hearers rush by with their fingers in their ears, and several of them later informed him this had been Wesleys instruction to them to prevent them from hearing heretical doctrine.
The loss of Whitefields host of hearers not only curtailed his gospel ministry, but also robbed him of the opportunity to collect for the support of the orphans. Moreover, he had expected that a sum of money would be awaiting him from the sale of the volumes of his sermons, but he found that James Hutton, his publisher, had become a Moravian and refused to sell any literature that did not agree with Moravian teachings.
A particular sorrow arose from the fact that William Seward had died. Some few months earlier, in accompanying Howell Harris as he conducted an open-air meeting in Wales, Seward had suffered a severe physical injury at the hands of a mob. But he soon went out again to another meeting, and as the stones were hurled he shouted, Better endure this than hell! In a few days time his body weakened, and he entered his heavenly home. He has long been spoken of as The first Methodist martyr.
Seward, however, had recently undertaken another £350 debt in the name of the Orphan House, and not only was Whitefield responsible to pay it, but he was threatened with imprisonment if he failed to do so. His creditors gloated over the opportunity seemingly before them, and he was in constant danger of arrest till in a miraculous manner the money became available. Moreover, although Seward had made himself jointly responsible for the maintenance of Bethesda, he died without making a will, and the whole responsibility fell upon Whitefield.
Whitefields chief sorrow, however, arose from the opposition of John and Charles Wesley.
Many, very many of my spiritual children, he wrote, who at my last departure from England would have plucked out their own eyes to have given them to me, are so prejudiced by the dear Messrs. Ws dressing up the doctrine of election in such horrible colours, that they will neither hear, see, nor give me the least assistance: Yes, some of them send threatening letters that God will speedily destroy me. (2) Yet he still spoke of
my dear, dear old friends, Messrs. John and Charles Wesley, whom I still love as my own soul. (3)
Nevertheless, Whitefield was not without help. A company of friends began building a large wooden shed in the Moorfields district that would shield its hearers from rain and cold. Since the location was not far from Wesleys Foundery, Whitefield refused it. But being reminded that he had been first to preach at Moorfields, he came round to using it. Yet he thought of it as merely a temporary structure and therefore named it The Tabernacle.
Some friends had begun to publish a weekly paper. It carried news of the ministry of himself and of others of a Calvinistic mind on both sides of the Atlantic. He called it The Weekly History.
Whitefield also still faced the question as to whether he should publish in England his reply to Wesleys sermon Free Grace, or as Wesley termed it Against Predestination. For nineteen months Wesley had circulated this sermon, and both he and Charles had opposed Whitefields beliefs in their daily ministries. Numerous people had accepted their teachings, and Whitefield decided he had no choice but to print his reply.
He began by declaring his strong reluctance to publish anything critical of Wesley.
Jonah could not go with more reluctance against Nineveh, than I now take pen in hand to write against you. Was nature to speak, I had rather die than do it; and yet if I am faithful to God, and to my own and others' souls, I must not stand neutral any longer.
Numbers have been misled, whom God has been pleased to work upon by my ministry, and a greater number are still calling aloud upon me to show also my opinion. I must then show that I know no man after the flesh, and that I have no respect to persons, any further than is consistent with my duty to my Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. (4)
In his reply Whitefield makes his arguments clearly, and he is unmovable in his doctrinal convictions. But his attitude towards Wesley is characterized by the respect we have seen in his letters, and to him Wesley is ever My Honoured Friend and Honoured Sir. There is definiteness of statement, but never a harsh word.
One point, however, of Whitefields reply must have our attention. In publishing his sermon, Wesley inserted a brief introduction stating that he had been moved to preach the sermon by the strongest conviction, not only that what is here advanced is the truth as it is in Jesus, but also that I am indispensably obliged to declare this truth to all the world. (5) Numerous readers of the sermon would believe that since he had been indispensably obliged in the manner he surely had received some special commission from God, and that therefore the doctrine he declared must indeed be true. The little introduction was as valuable in enforcing Wesleys teaching as any of his arguments.
Yet the indispensible obligation was nothing more than the casting of a lot. That is, he had written out two or three possible courses of actions, each one on a separate slip of paper; he had picked up one, and it had read Preach and Print, and this was his authorization for thrusting such a divisive issue into the revival movement.
Accordingly, in his reply Whitefield pointed out that Wesleys indispensable obligation was merely a lot. The issue was a doctrinal matter, not a personal one, and to reveal the role of the casting of a lot was essential to removing the false impression Wesleys statement had made. Moreover, Whitefield stated that on a previous occasion Wesley had been mistaken by casting a lot and suggested that Wesley ought to have been more careful in using the practice.
Moreover, Wesley had seized as his own the New Room at Bristol and the School House at Kingswoodbuildings for which Whitefield and Seward had raised virtually all the money. Whitefield wrote to him about the matter, and Wesley replied in a long harsh letter. (6) He adopted an attitude that he had done nothing to provoke discord and that Whitefield had begun and continued the strife. This totally false attitude Wesley maintained throughout the rest of his life.
During these days, however, Whitefield was gradually winning back his congregations. Thus Wesley realized he was losing much of the fruit of nineteen months of opposition, and the loss provoked him. He made charges that were distorted and untrue, saying that Whitefield refused to offer him the hand of fellowship and that Whitefield asserted he would everywhere preach against him. We can only recognize Wesleys disappointment as the cause of his statements.
Some of Whitefields people were indignant that he had been so forgiving to Wesley and had not claimed a share in the New Room and the Kingswood School. But Whitefield replied,
My heart doth not reproach me for my kindness and friendship to those that differ from me
I cannot renounce those precious truths that I have felt the power of and which were taught me not of man, but of God. At the same time I would love all that love the Lord Jesus, though they differ with me in some points
I have not given way to the Moravian Brethren, or to Mr. Wesley, or to any whom I thought in error, no not for an hour. But I think it best not to dispute when there is no probability of convicting. (7)
Nevertheless, one cannot but feel sorry that Whitefield did not leave an account of his part in the controversy just as fully as Wesley did of his. But Whitefield left us very little and chose to allow Wesleys statements to remain unchallenged. Accordingly, a false concept of the separation and of the actions of its two chief participants has been passed down to mankind, and has become so fixed in the minds of men that any attempt to correct it will undoubtedly seem to many to be biased against Wesley and severely slanted in Whitefields favor.
Ten years later, however, having occasion then to recall the treatment he had experienced at the hands of the two Wesleys, in a letter to Lady Huntington Whitefield stated:
It is good for me that I have been supplanted, despised, censured, maligned, judged and separated from my nearest dearest friends. By this I have found the faithfulness of Him who is the friend of friends
and to be content that He to whom all hearts are open
the uprightness of my intentions to all mankind. (8)
During these days Whitefield was assisted by a young man, John Cennick. Cennick was a very gracious man, but a powerful preacher, and the anointing of God was upon him. From this time onward he played a very important part in Whitefields life.
Whitefield pressed on with his ministry, and by the time he had been in England four and a half months, his work had returned to so healthy a state that he felt able to leave it and respond to the many invitations he had received from Scotland.
1. Whitefield: Life and Times, Volume 2, p.45.
2. Ibid., p.46.
3. Ibid., p.44.
4. An Letter to the Rev. Mr. John Wesley in Answer to His Sermon Entitled Free Grace; Whitefield: Life and Times, Volume 2, p. 552.
5. Introduction to Sermon Free Grace, found in any issue of Wesleys Works; Whitefield: Life and Times, Volume 2, p. 56.
6. Ibid., pp. 71-73.
7. Ibid., pp. 76, 77.
8. Whitefields Works, Volume 2, p. 466; Whitefield: Life and Times, Volume 2, p. 77.
| 2010/9/20 21:02||Profile|
| Re: |
Greg, I praise and glorify the Lord for the way He used both Whitefield and Wesley in these awakenings. I too long for a revival of the Holy Spirit and the Truth of the Word of God.
And I too believe we need a biblical balance in our doctrine. But who decides what's an "extreme" point of view? After all, I can say my stance is balanced and that your position of being in the middle is "extreme".
My conscience is held captive to the Word of God. I personally hold to one of the positions that you deem to be extreme. And I didn't come to it because of the preaching of men. The Lord taught me these great and glorious doctrines by His Spirit through His Word. When I read the Bible I don't see how you can just stay "in the middle" with regards to salvation and still be theologically consistent; either man chooses God or God chooses man. Either man in heaven will say "I'm here solely because of the grace of God", or "I'm here by the grace of God, plus what I did." Pelagius and Augustine knew that. Ariminus understood that, and so did the Synod of Dort. Many of preachers you promote here understood and understand that as well.
Blessings to you. I will not be responding to any contentious replies from anyone, I'm not interested in a debate. The point of this whole thread is that Wesley was a mere man, as was Whitefield, and we all have our faults. None of us should be exalted above measure.
| 2010/9/20 21:36||Profile|
| Re: |
In regard to this always contentious debate, Tozer writes........
" I refuse to fight over theories, but I am looking for the fellowship of the burning heart. I am looking for men and women who are lost in worship, those who love God until He is the sweetheart of the soul."
" I thank God that I escaped from doctrinal hairsplitters and theological niceities. I thank God I was fanatical enough to shut my eyes and jump, and God took care of what is left."
Can I just add that a man is either saved or he is not, God knows. Everything else is pride, ego and sophistry and Satan has had much mileage out of this issue. I met with a brother two weeks ago for lunch, Edger Reich. He was a speaker at the New Jersey conference and we pray together every Tuesday night. For two hours we spoke passionatly about the one we love, the grand obsession of our lives, Jesus. When I walked away I my heart burned within me. I know nothing of what side of this particular issue he would come down on, but this I know, he loves Jesus and has been radicaly transformed by Him, a new creation..........brother Frank
| 2010/9/20 22:24|
| Re: |
Good word, Frank.
It helps me to think of this issue in terms of the cherubim. Ezekiel saw these awesome beings functioning in such fearful harmony that at times he spoke of them in the singular instead of the plural. Yet there were four of them.
And as he saw them moving he said, "Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not as they went; they went every one straight forward" (Ezek. 1.9).
Now, that is totally incomprehensible to the human mind. For they had four faces: "the face of a man, and the face of a lion on the right side: and they had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle" (vs. 10).
"And they went straight forward..." (vs. 12). Impossible. Totally impossible. How can all four faces be going "straight forward" at the same time? If the one goes forward, the other surely has to be going backward!
At least from the perspective of our own puny minds it seems so. Yet this is a glimpse into a very powerful spiritual reality. And it's given to cause us to fall on our face, not try to figure it out.
And so it is with this Cal/Am thing. Personally, I think Cal and Am... their "wings" are joined together; they are both going "straight forward." It's not a matter of if I embrace the one, I am in opposition to the other. No, there is beautiful truth, needed truth, on both sides. And I, for one, am content to leave it that way... and fall on my face and worship Him who is many-faceted Truth. In Him these seemingly irreconcilable things are reconciled.
Can we not let Him be God, and find our place at His feet in humble worship?
| 2010/9/20 23:35||Profile|
| Re: The measure of a man...|
nearthecross said, "The point of this whole thread is that Wesley was a mere man, as was Whitefield, and we all have our faults. None of us should be exalted above measure."
Consider this. The measure of a man is in accord to the degree which he measures up with the rule(measure)of Scripture.
God is Truth,Jesus is Truth,Spirit is Truth.
To suggest that a separation be made between a person's theology and his person, implies that it is permissible to judge his theology, but not his person. Such a separation is foreign to the Scriptures. The reason one is not to call a brother Raca or Fool is that his theology is basically correct: He is a brother and has been regenerated by God. His theology is his person; as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.
Not only are we not to make a separation between a persons theology and his person, we are commanded to judge another person by his theology. John, in 2 John, does not say that the theology of certain people is antichristian (though it is) nor does he say they speak lies (though they do). He calls the people antichrists and liars. He judges their persons by their theologies, and he commands the elect lady and her children to do the same.
"Those who truly love the Lord and manifest His love to others are specifically instructed to separate from false teachers and disobedient brethren. They are also instructed to exercise the Scriptural ministry of reproof and rebuke. Man may call this "negativism," but God calls it obedience! We should not forget that it is because of God's love that we have been commissioned as soldiers, watchmen and shepherds. God is concerned about the welfare of His own. Scriptural rebuke is not opposed to love - it is a manifestation of love. Whenever love is re-defined to preclude the ministry of reproof and rebuke, the devil rejoices, and the enemy is given a protected haven inside the camp. We must not allow this to happen." (M.H. Reynolds, Jr. (1919-1997) )
nearthecross says, "When I read the Bible I don't see how you can just stay "in the middle" with regards to salvation and still be theologically consistent; either man chooses God or God chooses man. Either man in heaven will say "I'm here solely because of the grace of God", or "I'm here by the grace of God, plus what I did.""
Amen and Amen nearthecross. Facts and truths are eternal principles. You cannot destroy a fact, neither can you destroy a truth. It may be possible for men, by their human reasoning and sophistry, to cover up and hide from the people the real truth, but this cannot erase it. It still remains the truth. It will stand forever. Again: Facts and truths never contradict. They never cross. A fact cannot contradict a fact. Truth CANNOT contradict a truth. All truth runs parallel. Any position or doctrine that is sustained by a single fact or truth is sustained by every other fact and truth, in the whole realm of fact and truth, that has any bearing on the subject. Any doctrine or position that is refuted or contradicted by a single fact or truth, is refuted and contradicted by every other fact and truth that relates to the subject.
A cry for balance on the part of many is merely a cloak for compromise with and tolerance for error.
"What is called the dogmatic spirit is not popular among men. It is characterized by an authoritative method of presenting truth; by an unwillingness to modify truth to fit it to current conceptions; by an insistence on what seem to many minor points; and above all by (what lies at the root of most of its other peculiarities) a habit of thinking in a system, and a consequent habit of estimating the relative importance of the separate items of truth by their logical relation to the body of truth, rather than by their apparent independent value. Such a habit of mind seems to be the only appropriate attitude toward a body of truth given by revelation, and committed to men only to embrace, cherish, preserve, and propagate. It seems to be, moreover, the attitude toward the body of revealed truth commended to those who were to be its "ministers" and not its masters, by the Lord and his apostles, when they placed it as a rich treasure in the keeping of stewards of the mysteries of God. But it is irritating to men. They would discuss rather than receive truth. And, if they must receive it, they would fain modify it here and there to fit preconceived opinions or permit cherished practices. Especially in a busy age in which Pilate's careless question, "what is truth?" represents the prevailing attitude of men's minds, the dogmatic habit is apt to fare somewhat badly...
Doubtless the preaching of the Judaizers appeared to the Galatians as but a slight modification of that of Paul--a modification which did not affect the essence of the gospel, and which presented many advantages. The Judaizers also preached Christ. They preached Christ as the promised Messiah of Israel, only through the acceptance of whom could entrance be had into the messianic salvation. To them, too, therefore, the promised redemption was unattainable save through the promised Messiah. But though they preached that only in his name could salvation be had, they denied that it could be had in his name alone. Something else was requisite. Men must accept the Messiah; but men must also be circumcised--men must keep the law-men must enter into life by the gate of Judaism. It was this teaching-not the proclamation of an entirely anti-Christian system-which Paul brands as a different kind of gospel or rather no gospel at all, but only a troubling of Zion by those who would pervert the gospel of Christ.
Was Paul narrow-minded and over-severe in this? Evidently there were many Galatians who thought so. Why harshly pronounce those "accursed" who taught fundamentally the same doctrine of the Messiah; and only differed in this, certainly very minor, point of whether the keeping of the law was not necessary too? How can the violence of asserting that if circumcision be received Christ will profit nothing, be possibly excused? Is not this the very embodiment of narrow-minded fanaticism yielding to the odium theologicum? There are apparently many today who would sympathize with the Galatians in so arguing. Paul, however, thought in a system; traced apparently small differences back to their principles; perceived clearly the issues to which they tended; and condemned according to fact and not according to appearance. He is the type of the dogmatic spirit. And we who would be followers of Paul, even as he was of Christ, may learn some very valuable lessons from him.
Primarily, we may learn this lesson: that it is not a matter of small importance whether we preserve the purity of the gospel. The chief dangers to Christianity do not come from the anti-Christian systems. Mohammedanism has never made inroads upon Christendom save by the sword. Nobody fears that Christianity will be swallowed up by Buddhism. It is corrupt forms of Christianity itself which menace from time to time the life of Christianity. Why make much of minor points of difference among those who serve the one Christ? Because a pure gospel is worth preserving; and is not only worth preserving, but is logically (and logic will always work itself ultimately out into history) the only saving gospel. Those who overlay the gospel with man-made additions, no less than those who subtract from it God-given elements, are not preaching "the gospel" in another form, but are offering a different kind of gospel, which is essentially no gospel at all. They are troublers of Israel, who are perverting the gospel of Christ." (B.B.W.)
appolus wrote, "In regard to this always contentious debate, Tozer writes........"
In regard to this always contentious debate, Scripture declares...
John 10:11 I am the Good Shepherd! The Good Shepherd lays down His life on behalf of the sheep.
John 10:15 Even as the Father knows Me, I also know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
John 10:26 But you do not believe for you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.
Matt. 26:28 for this is My blood of the new covenant, that is shed for many for the pardon of sins.
Mark 14:24 And He said to them, "This is My blood of the new covenant that is shed for many."
Acts 20:28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit placed you as overseers, to shepherd the church of the Lord, and of God, which He purchased with His own blood.
Eph. 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Heb. 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him he will appear the second time without sin to salvation.
Isa. 53:11,12 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide to him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul to death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
THE TRUTH that Messiah's blood-atoning death was for His sheep,flock,wife,church is irrefutable.
To attempt to use Scripture to contradict what is evidently revealed by Scripture is no less than devilish cunning craftiness. SEE THOU DO IT NOT!
Remember... Truth CANNOT contradict a truth. All truth runs parallel. Any position or doctrine that is sustained by a single fact or truth is sustained by every other fact and truth, in the whole realm of fact and truth, that has any bearing on the subject. Any doctrine or position that is refuted or contradicted by a single fact or truth, is refuted and contradicted by every other fact and truth that relates to the subject.
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