Excellent post dear brother, I am in full agreement.
_________________Paul Frederick West
at the end of the day it does not really matter if you hold to finney or calvin, what matters is not how much correct doctrine we have, but how much of Christ is produced in us. That is what we where predestined unto, so that is what matters, many have right doctrine and go to hell. Some have "faulty" views on some doctrines but have the living Christ in them and will be conformed into his image more and more. Not saying doctrine is unimportant, but it fades away in the shining light of the Life of Christ in us, we can stuff our heads with theology , systematic or not, but our hearts can be as hard as the sinner next door.I been very encuraged by the fact, anyone who says someone elses doctrine is not right or wrong better se to it his life way higher quality then the one he is claiming to be wrong, in love, in holiness, in fervency in prayer, in intamacy with the Lord, then you can start saying this and that is wrong.Yea i know apostle Paul did it alot pointing out error in doctrine and practices, but i dare to belive he was more holy then all of them, and he also said the only thing that really counts is a new creation, Christ in us, this is vital, doctrine is good, when accompanied by life. So let us focus rightly, maybe Calvin had a faulty doctrine? maybe right, but in the light of his life what does it tell us? Ravenhill may have had faulty doctrine, but in the light of his life what does it say?Many said Jesus had a wrong doctrine to, and he did according to those who had a right one in his day, the most knowledgeable and accurate theologians of the day dident even see the life itself when it was infront of them, often times i think we miss the life in finney due to we have our doctrine so thigh and so fool proof we miss Jesus in finney because we focus on the speck in the brothers eye, or his error in a doctrine. And the other way around, so many armnians can not pick up spurgeon and be blessed because he was had a faulty understanding about some things in doctrine.So my burden is so many miss Christ because they focus on the doctrine, he came to his own and his own received him not.... how many times do we not receive christ in people because they disagree on a small matter of doctrine....?
at the end of the day it does not really matter if you hold to finney or calvin, what matters is not how much correct doctrine we have, but how much of Christ is produced in us.
Hi openairboy...This is very interesting. When I met Brother Ravenhill in his home shortly before he died, he told me that he was going to tell me the most important thing that he thought that I needed to know as a young Christian. He told me to "test everything." He said that the reason that the Church is in the condition that it is in is because the Church continues to operate, teach and propogate as it has many centuries. He urged me to test everything (including what might be widely "accepted") and hold [u]only[/u] onto what is clearly "good." Since my meeting with Brother Ravenhill, I've thought long and hard about the various things that he told me during that time. Since I was a young shy teenager, I spent most of that time simply listening. However, I have often thought about the things that he did NOT tell me. He didn't cover issues like this (moral government). He didn't mention other divisive doctrines. It was as if those things just didn't matter to him...that they just weren't very important. I'm more of the "neither" position myself. Since there is just so much interpretation behind each of these type of doctrinal views, I find that it is better to NOT form an ultimate, concrete view on the matter. Instead, I believe in a "bottom line" [i]approach[/i] to this issue by merely standing firm to what is undeniable. Dpn't die in sin. Don't walk ahead of Christ. Don't depart the faith. Don't get distracted by the lusts of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Whether you are "predestined" or "never truly saved in the first place" doesn't really matter if "whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." I find it disappointing that so many people are certain that they know the ultimate extent to what God thinks about such matters...so much so that they create binding doctrines (either way) about such issues. Can we pretend to know the mind of God on every issue like this? I fear that many will stand before God like Job (found in Job chapters 38 through 42). Maybe we shouldn't take positions on things (at least, enough to propogate them as a binding doctrinal truths) if we are forced to "interpret" the Scriptures in order to try and find the answer. Perhaps it wasn't that Ravenhill was "all over the map" of "full of contradictions and incoherence," but just didn't think enough of either point to choose a binding position on the matter. Just a thought. *EDIT: Both Finney and Calvin were flawed men. They may have loved the Lord every bit as much as I do, but they were still confined to "seeing through a glass, darkly" and to "know in part" -- just like the rest of us (I Corinthians 13:12).
i did say doctrine is important, when accompanied with life. I am sad for you if you can not read finney and be blessed by his writings, and i agree some of it is to my understanding "wrong", but so is much of calvins and Spurgeons and to me have been refuted by scripture and countless times, And the gospel is greater then calvinism or reformed theology. Yes it is important, but orthodox theology goes further then augustine and the reformation, what the apostles preached was not calvinism or arminianism, both doctrinal camps can find verses to support and refute the other view.I just say what i say because i see people that claim they have right doctrine but still very unloving and very unchristlike in much conversation, i see many saying Ravenhill had a error in his understanding of scripture yet they can not weep for souls. I see many saying Spurgoen had a faulty understanding of the gospels yet they have not offered their life up for the Lord as he did when reading how he spent his time and life.To me it is the very essence of Pharisaical spirit and of satan himself. Satan has a much greater understanding of the atonement and salvation and scripture then all of us, yet he is going to hell.So you can understand the scripture perfectly, have all things right and yet go to hell, what good is that doctrine without life? without christ? in that sense, correct doctrine is rubbish, but when life is there, its not so important. I am not saying the doctrine of God, who he is, who Jesus is, doctrine on salvation on faith and other "cornerstones" of the christian faith is rubbish, they are vital, but other aspects are not so important.And yes Paul told them to cut of their lims from their body, but he said in the same letter also For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. (Gal 6:15 KJV)That is what matters, he said that to those that had a salvation by works theology, it is false i agree brother, but many calvinist claim all arminians believe this, and that is a very subtle and untrue claim, just as it is untrue to say all calvinist are hyper calvinists....anyway, i hope some misunderstand me rightly.I just fear many of us including myself have our head so deep in our theological box we cant see christ in finney or spurgeon or who ever, If you cant see in some of finneys writings somethings that will make Christ more dear to you, provoke you to good works, more love for the Lord, i petty you, and i petty all who can draw gold from Spurgeon.... all such people are in a very sad state and need refreshment from above.God help us all
I find it disappointing that so many people are certain that they know the ultimate extent to what God thinks about such matters...so much so that they create binding doctrines (either way) about such issues. Can we pretend to know the mind of God on every issue like this? I fear that many will stand before God like Job (found in Job chapters 38 through 42). Maybe we shouldn't take positions on things (at least, enough to propogate them as a binding doctrinal truths) if we are forced to "interpret" the Scriptures in order to try and find the answer.
This one thing has been a burden on my heart. Namely, there is a great deal of downplaying the importance of doctrine nowadays in the name of uniting all who we perceive to be "men of God" and embracing everyone from every different background. And what's the standard by which we judge these men to be men of God? Is it by their doctrine? Or is it by their practice? Biblically, it should be BOTH. A man of God has to pass BOTH tests. However, so many are getting into error because they see that someone seems to pass the test of "practice" and seems to have a lot of zeal and good works and so they accept them as being men of God. This is a tragedy! And it leads to all manner of deception!While I agree that you can have all the right doctrine and still be just as lost as the heathen next door who knows not God, the same truth applies on the other end, you can have all the right "good works" and still go to Hell for believing in doctrines of demons. We have to have both. Here's a shocking study for those of you caught up in the spirit of ecunemicalism, who claim that it doesn't really matter what doctrine we hold to. Read through the books of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus (the pastoral epistles) and note how many times the word doctrine comes up. I would suggest using a KJV or a NKJV before looking up different versions. The fact is, if you willfully embrace a preacher that is teaching contrary to sound doctrine on any important point of the Christian faith that is directly related to salvation, then you are in disobedience and sin according to God's word.And about Finney, reading his systematic theology will clearly reveal that he denied justification by faith in the fact that he denied imputed righteousness. He believed that justification was conditional upon perfect obedience to the moral LAW of God. That is heresy. It doesn't matter how many "revivals" he led, or how fervently he prayed. He preached "another gospel", adding works to the Gospel of grace (Gal 1). Just look at all the people today who embrace and follow Finney as if he was inspired like the Apostle Paul -they are ALL heretics of the most severe kind, many of them having a self-righteousness which would make the Pharisees themselves blush! Common now, brethren! Put your foot down, stand up with a zeal for the TRUTH of the Gospel that Christ shed His blood to purchase, and EXPEL the leaven from your midst! I've seen Finney's doctrine corrupt so many people, and thrust so many real brothers under clouds of satanic condemnation for a season. It's demonic. And I despise doctrines that make Christ's little ones to stumble! Need I quote Christ Himself to see what He says about those who make His precious sheep stumble?I'm not intending to debate about Finney here, but just illustrating that IT DOES MATTER WHAT WE BELEIVE. And you better believe that it matters what you believe! Faith and works go together, and works without faith (in solid truth and correct doctrine and the Person of Christ) is deception! It doesn't matter if "Mother Tesera" abolished world hunger, if she believed in salvation through eating the Body of Christ in a mass she was lost. Supposed "holiness" in character means nothing if it's not coupled with a firm belief in sound doctrine according to Scripture, and not vain philosophies of men. My words are hard, I know that. But my heart is soft and compassionate about the truth of God. Test what I say with Scripture. See how important doctrine is in Scripture. Then compare everything to the doctrine of the Word. I have not gone a centimeter beyond where Scripture goes in emphasizing the importance of sound doctrine. It MATTERS whether Christ's righteousness can be imputed to me as a free gift of grace. It MATTERS whether sanctification is based on my own state of sinless perfection or on my position in Christ and faith in Him. It MATTERS whether we're under the Law or under Grace. It MATTERS what the Bible teaches! Oh God, save us from the spirit of this age, and that satanic spirit of ecunumenicalism and destroying the precious truths of your Word! [b]To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:20).[/b]
He told me to "test everything."
I believe in a "bottom line" approach to this issue by merely standing firm to what is undeniable. Dpn't die in sin. Don't walk ahead of Christ. Don't depart the faith. Don't get distracted by the lusts of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Whether you are "predestined" or "never truly saved in the first place" doesn't really matter if "whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
And by what are we to "test everything"?
.....just responding to what you wrote here...So you believe in beholding yourself and the work you can do, instead of beholding Christ and the Work He has done. At the core of all doctrine is the interpretation of the Person and Work of Christ.That is why it is so important. If we get that wrong, we have nothing. We have no Gospel, no hope, and we are still dead in our sins.
I realize this thread was not intended to be a Moral Government argument, but just to make sure we are understanding the OP's concern:[b]Moral Government theology[/b] denies the imputation of Christ's righteousness, which Christ as the Second Adam attained through obedience to the Law, and legally bestows upon all who rest in His finished work. Rather, [b]Moral Government theology insists that our own personal, perfect obedience to the Law is necessary to our being finally and eternally saved.[/b]While I have no certainty about Ravenhill or Reidhead holding to these ideas, it seems very sensible that whoever does believe such extreme errors should not be recognized as a Christian, let alone as a teacher. Was it not for this issue that Paul wrote to the Galatians, and said, "I would that they [who teach such things] should be cut off!"?What a grief, when people strive for clear-cut distinctions about music, movies, head coverings, and beverages, but are willing to endorse the confessions and ministries of ones who replace the [b]gospel of imputed righteousness[/b] with the fatal cyanide of works-righteousness. Anathema marantha to such a false notion.Lord bless you all in the love of Christ's gospel, and fill you with grateful obedience and fresh consecration for both the greater and lesser concerns of Christ-likeness. To be conformed to Christ is to do as He did, and believe as He does.PS: Here are some of Finney's statements, taken from his Systematic:"The doctrine of imputed righteousness, or that Christs obedience to the law was accounted as our obedience, is founded on a most false and nonsensical assumption." After all, Christs righteousness "could do no more than justify himself. It can never be imputed to us ... it was naturally impossible, then, for him to obey in our behalf " This "representing of the atonement as the ground of the sinners justification has been a sad occasion of stumbling to many" (pp.320-2)."But for sinners to be forensically pronounced just, is impossible and absurd... As we shall see, there are many conditions, while there is but one ground, of the justification of sinners ... As has already been said, there can be no justification in a legal or forensic sense, but upon the ground of universal, perfect, and uninterrupted obedience to law. This is of course denied by those who hold that gospel justification, or the justification of penitent sinners, is of the nature of a forensic or judicial justification. They hold to the legal maxim that what a man does by another he does by himself, and therefore the law regards Christs obedience as ours, on the ground that he obeyed for us."And finally, to quote Dr. Michael Horton, who has studied Finney on an academic level, "Thus, in Finneys theology, God is not sovereign, man is not a sinner by nature, the atonement is not a true payment for sin, justification by imputation is insulting to reason and morality, the new birth is simply the effect of successful techniques, and revival is a natural result of clever campaigns. In his fresh introduction to the bicentennial edition of Finneys Systematic Theology, Harry Conn commends Finneys pragmatism: "Many servants of our Lord should be diligently searching for a gospel that works, and I am happy to state they can find it in this volume."