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 Keith Green on Maturity and not debating over words


We must learn to take the high road of faith and reject false teachings. Even when it's not popular, we must hold onto the truth. (If You Love The Lord, uncompromising devotions from the heart of Keith Green, copyright 2000, p. 17)

When I was a new Christian I spent many useless hours (weeks, even months!) wrangling over words. I'd argue over anything and everything: Can a Christian be possessed by demons? Do you have to be sprinkled or immersed to be truly baptized? Should you be baptized in the name of Jesus only or in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?

In some ways I set myself up for this. After concerts people came up to me and said, "You know, I don't agree with your position on this or that." I'd sit at the edge of the stage, a crowd would gather, and I'd throw out Scripture with the other person lobbing back different verses. We'd have a great time with our "flesh" exposed for all to see. I loved it!



You see, a contentious spirit is not true zeal for God. Immature Christians may think they know all the right answers and that everyone has to see things their way, but that's warped thinking, sinful, and even self-condemning.



Now, we do not think that we have a corner on the market of truth. God forbid. I don't want that corner, thank you. I just want to be a Christian. I don't wanna be a prophet. I don't want to be even an evangelist. I just wanna be a Christian. That's all I wanna be. (Audio #3079-4, side 1)

Nowadays it isn't Jesus Christ and Him crucified. It's Jesus Christ and what He can do for you. You cannot have more exact opposites than the Bible's Christ centered gospel and our modern crossless me centered gospel. Today, if anyone preaches self-denial as a condition for discipleship, you can hear the comments afterwards, "old fashioned," "harsh," "legalistic." I dare say that our Lord would have as much trouble finding acceptance among our preachers, as He had among the religious leaders of His own day." (cassette tape, What's Wrong With The Gospel?, Audio #3079-1, side 1)


---

There's a story of this preacher, he's a famous preacher in many circles today. I'm not guna mention his name or give ya any hints. And the guy has been recently preaching what's called "ultimate reconciliation." It's a heretical doctrine that teaches that eventually everyone will go to heaven. It's kind of like a Protestant purgatory. That at the judgment, people will go to heaven and people will go to hell, but hell will burn away their sins, purge and purge (sic) them away, and eventually (cause a loving God would never send people to hell forever, according to this series of doctrines) then they will go to heaven. OK. It is (sic) just come out in the past six months, and this guy has bothered alot of people. He's a loving living guy [italics hard to make out from tape], and he's bothered awful lot (sic) of people with this doctrine. What just came out (sic) that he's been having homosexual encounters with some of the young students that studies under him. For twenty years he's been having them. He's hated it. He's confessed it to his wife. He's, He's, He's, tried to repent and get over it, but he's still in conducting (sic) in it. He's just been asked to step down from the ministry.

Of course he believes in ultimate reconciliation! Of course he believes that hell wouldn't be forever, because he needed a hell like that, cause he was living in hell now! And he couldn't bear to believe in a hell that the Bible taught about that would last for eternity. So, he in his, in his sickness and his sin was turned over to a deceptive mind to believe deluding influences and wrong doctrine, and found a doctrine that would give him comfort in his sin . . . (cassette tape, What's Wrong With The Gospel?, Audio #3079-2, side 1)

---

But when I hear stuff like this, that, that Christians, believers, people that I know believe and love and know Jesus, present a gospel that's so close, that has alot of Scripture, but yet presents the exact opposite view that Jesus presents. That just burns me up, and I bet it breaks God's heart, and should break ours; and we shouldn't go and start picketing those ministries. We should just try ta be a good example and go forth. And I love these people. And I have some friends that that work within these ministries, and I pray for them and hope the best for them, and would pray that God would led them to make the changes.


But the church, which doesn't have a millionth of the compassion that God has, has turned around and created a God in its own image and likeness. (Audio #3079-1)




When I was a new Christian I opened up my Bible, then set myself up as judge. I'd go into ministries and get loud about their need for correction. Worse, within six months of my conversion, I was on-stage performing - and judging things publicly. Thousands of people came to hear me, and I really got into letting them know what I thought.

One day God grabbed me by the collar and showed me that judgment comes out of spiritual immaturity. (p. 95, bold added)




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 2010/12/10 22:35Profile
Areadymind
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 Re: Keith Green on Maturity and not debating over words

Quote:
One day God grabbed me by the collar and showed me that judgment comes out of spiritual immaturity.



I was so zealously reckless when I was a new believer. Just like this. I remember beating someone over the head with grace...of all things.

A year later a friend of mine gently told me that the guy I had been so impassioned towards because I thought he was so wrong in his understanding of God's grace, never went to church again...

I don't even remember what he looked like, but I will never forgot those words.


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Jeremiah Dusenberry

 2010/12/10 22:44Profile
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Amen dear brother. Thank you for sharing that precious testimony.


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 2010/12/11 0:05Profile









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These are just Excerpts/short quotes from Keith.

I was one of Keith's followers, during his very early days until his death. Receiving "The Last Days Newsletter" in which Leonard Ravenhill and David Wilkerson's articles appeared when David was still living in Texas - Pre-TSC days.

To say that Keith did not stick his neck out against heresies would be a wrong assumption.

He did the best critique out there, called "The Catholic Chronicles".

Back then, the worst heresies that they or we had to deal with were the Eccumenical movement and Hyper-faith - and the 'manifest sons of god' was just starting to come into the Church in the 70's and early 80's.
David W. did the best on divine healing in his pamphlet titled - "The Ultimate Healing".

No, Keith was faithful to pin down dangerous teachings in his time, through his Newsletters and other printed materials. So were the others - back then. Much like men such as Roger Oakland and the few others like him today.


Now though - most are more worried about keeping numbers.


As Ravenhill wrote: "Where are the prophets?"


 2010/12/11 10:40
Joyful_Heart
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I too had zeal without knowledge. Thank the Lord I have a tad more maturity today.

One day at Church a while back they were speaking on having the gifts. And get to know your gift. I was very distraut, I didn't know what mine was or if I even had one. I went home and still very upset I talked to the Lord and I asked Him do I have any gift, even a small gift? And if so, what is it?

The Lord so graciously said to me, My gift to you is to get to know Me. And the more you get to know me the more you will fall in love with me. Then He said, to go and share Me with others, My love, and bring many with you (to Heaven).

And at that moment I had joy unspeakable and full of glory. The burden had lifted. I didnt have to strive or be condemned any longer. The Lord had spoken and there was no turning back.

Of course I have not totally arrived but I am a tad closer to Him in maturity than before. And it's true, everyday still the things of this world that I have enjoyed are still dropping off and no longer a desire and some are just so evil to me. I am so grateful He hears our hearts cry and He is so faithful to give us the answers. All glory to You dearest faithful Lord.

I also love how simple the Lord makes things. I dont have to be weighted down with anything. My passion, goal in life is to spend time with Him, to not get to far from Him but run to His Presence in our quiet time. That is my goal in life, my number one priority. Glory and thanks be to our God. There is still so much of Him I am longing to learn. I have a long ways to go but I am on the road and daily my desire for Him grows stronger. Truly I can only give all Glory to my Lord - for I love Him because He first loved me.

 2010/12/11 10:54Profile
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Quote:
No, Keith was faithful to pin down dangerous teachings in his time, through his Newsletters and other printed materials. So were the others - back then. Much like men such as Roger Oakland and the few others like him today.


Keith Green cannot even begin to be compared with Roger Oakland. He did not say everything that was wrong, but for a season he fell into this trap as the quotations alude to and God had him repent from this.

I believe all true Christians who are following Christ will fall at times into the ditch of judgementalism, etc.


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 2010/12/11 12:51Profile









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Quote:
Keith Green cannot even begin to be compared with Roger Oakland. He did not say everything that was wrong ...



There is a balance Brother. How many times does Paul say this in his Epistles - such as, with the job of the overseers and so forth.

It would be judgmental and presumptious, now that Keith is gone, to say that, someone like Oakland or Anton Bosch, etc are saying "everything is wrong". That would be judgmental toward those who do watch over and feel called to watch over the flock as well - as Paul mentions in these verses - just for a very few of Paul's admonitions toward sound doctrine.

Act 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
Act 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Act 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Act 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Act 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.


I don't know who says "everything is wrong" - maybe there are those types around - yes, I've seen a few in cyberspace and these are seperating the sheep from the sheep - but there is also the call of GOD to protect the Church from dangerous movements or beliefs and none of us can say that anyone who comes against the things that the men I mentioned do, are 'wrong' or that they are saying that "everything is wrong".

Only GOD knows where Keith would be in opposing this total Apostacy from truth that we are in now, in these "Last Days", in his Last Days Ministry. Only GOD knows.

Every man has his own calling or gift - but every child of GOD needs some stable foundation in these days in order to not be deceived.

It saddens me that you would demean these other men and use this word, "judgmentalism".
Where do we draw the line between defense and protection of 'True Truth', as Schaeffer coined the phrase, and judgmentalism?

I suppose that's the only question that I can ask.


 2010/12/11 13:44









 Re:

Where I got some of my thoughts from initially.

From the Last Days Magazine - LD#18 -

UNITY...AT WHAT PRICE? by Keith Green

Today there is much talk among Christians about the need for unity. Wherever Christians gather you can hear someone saying, "If only all the believers could get together and agree, then the world would sit up and take notice! THEN the devil would be running scared! Then there would be real revival!!" The whole ecumenical movement is based on such a conclusion. I must admit the thought sounds wonderful - to have all those different denominations (and "non"-denominations) in love and fellowship with one another - that would be something, wouldn't it! Ah...but don't hold your breath...IT CAN'T HAPPEN. There'll always be a couple of real Christians around to spoil it! "What?!" You say, "How could REAL Christians spoil it? Wouldn't THEY be the very ones who would be the most loving and ready to unite?" Oh yes! True belivers are full of love - love for God, love for their brothers and sisters, love for souls - in fact, love would be the VERY THING that would make them oppose a mass move of unity. "What?!" You say again, "Why that's the most absurd thing I've ever heard! How could love keep them from wanting to get together with everyone else who cofesses to love God? You're not going to get me to believe that people with such deep love wouldn't just LOVE to see all the churches and professing Christians come together in unity? Why, what could they love more than that??" Well, they love THE TRUTH! Yep, they're pretty attached to it - those true believers can even seem right stubborn and ornery at times - the way they stick to the truth.

UNITY - MAN'S WAY

Some people have the craziest ideas! They want to try and do what only God can do. "Let's play Holy Spirit!" That's what they seem to be saying. They think that if they can just get everyone to quit arguing about their different doctrinal beliefs, then unity is right around the corner. "Let's just all try and fellowship and talk about those things in the Bible we all can agree on." There's only one problem with that kind of thinking...isn't the Bible ALL true? How can we just find the lowest common denominator to which all Christians can agree to, and label the rest of the Bible (God's Holy Word) "unessential for unity." In his book, Today's Gospel - Authentic or Synthetic?, Walter Chantry looks into the reasons for the failures of modern evangelism and foreign missions. In the introduction Mr. Chantry writes: "Having accepted the theory that unity is all-important for world evangelism, both the Church and the individual must lower their estimate of the value of truth. In a large congress on evanelism we could not insist on a truth of God's Word that would offend any brother evengelical. After all, unity (among Christians) is more essential than doctrinal preciseness. "It is for just this reason that the mission boards are hesitant to answer the question, 'What is the gospel?' Thoroughly to answer that would destroy the mission society, which is a federation of churches who have differing answers to that question. To adopt the position of one church would be to lose the support of five others. The whole system built on unity and generality would crumble."

UNITY - GOD'S WAY

(Jesus' prayer in John 17) Many base their quest for true godly unity on an important passage in the gospel of John. Here in chapter 17, Jesus is praying for His disciples "that they all may be one..." (v.21). This verse certainly shows that the Lord desires His followers to have unity and truly "be one". but in the very next verse (v.22), we see some key words "...that they may be one EVEN AS WE ARE ONE." How are the Father and Son one? In every way! They have no doctrinal disputes. They have no differing theologies. They do not argue over the rapture. They completely agree...on EVERYTHING! But you might ask, "How can every Christian agree on doctrine? If we wait for that, we'll NEVER have unity!" You're missing the point. It's not knowing "doctrine" that's important, it's knowing God. Only through entering into an intimate, personal relationship with the living God and leaving behind the doctrines and theologies created by men and church tradition, can we ever hope to find the unity Jesus prayed for: "I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one...Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory..." (John 17:23-24). What does the word "theology" mean anyway? It means "the study of God". Today, theological students do not study God, they study about God. At best, they study the writings of men who themselves have studied God. Why, they really ought to change the word theology to theology-ology or "the study of the study of God!"

TRUE AND FALSE DIVISION

How many times have you heard that somebody was "causing division in the church?" Well, maybe they were supposed to! After all, there are two things that cause division according to the Bible: truth and error. (I can just see now all the eyebrows raising.) Haven't you heard the scripture, "Do you suppose I cam to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, rather division!" That's right! Jesus said that "from now on five members in one household will be divided three against two, and two against three" (Luke 12:51-52). He said that whole families would be divided over Him. And there are many occasions in the New Testament when whole assemblies of people were divided because of Jesus (John 7:43, 9:16, 10:19, Acts 23:6-7). You must remember people who love the truth will divide from people who love lies. Now the Bible does warn us about those who would enter into our midst and cause divisions and factions (Matt. 12:25, Rom. 16:17, 1Tim. 6:3-5, 2Tim. 2:14, 2John 10). And yes, it has always been the devil's strategy to "divide and conquer." But these divisions are obviously based on error, lies, and usually come from bitter and evil motives (Titus 3:10). Division that comes from the proclaiming of the truth will usually include some intense reaction and opposition, but it will also produce good fruit and the advancement of God's kingdom (not to mention the conversion of souls.) What bible story is there, Old Testament or New, where the doing of righteousness or the preaching of the gospel does not divide men and separate them into two very distinct categories: those who are willing to turn and obey God, and those who actually turn on the messenger, because he violently disturbs their false (and usually religious) peace? And today, when there are so many who are professing religion, is it any wonder that some of the deepest truths in the Bible - repentance, faith, holiness, etc. - are also some of the greatest objects of debate in the Church. It must be said that those who truly want to know God's views on these great pillars of Christian doctrine, will appear to be divisive - and rightly so, in an age when the great gospel message of salvation can be reduced to such a sugar-coated, bakery-item as, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!"

WHAT THE SCRITPTURES SAY

Those who believe that Christians should stop bickering about their "pet doctrines" are right. Christians should not be argumentative, "...and the Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome..." (2Tim. 2:24). How many times have you heard stupid arguments about prophecy? "But I just KNOW the 10th head on the dragon in Revelation is Tahiti!" This kind of "division" is for the birds. Yet there ARE scriptural commands to defend the truth. "Study to show thyself approved.


End Article, listed under "Christian Issues" from LD Magazine, along with "Prosperity-The Hundredfold Return" and others.

 2010/12/11 15:53
Boutato
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 Re:

Very much i love his song, People need Lord, people need the lord, when will i forgot the rest of theis.

 2010/12/17 17:59Profile
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I enjoyed this quote that ties into the things Keith Green was saying in the first post:

"Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences." - John Wesley


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