[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Confusing "Good News"

Has anyone ever seen this:
Two Ways to Live

It is an online evangelistic presentation. I was reading through it on Tuesday and I found myself nodding in agreement with much of it. Page five had this:

What’s more, when we are pardoned through Jesus’ death, we can be quite sure that when Jesus does return to judge, we will be acceptable to him. The risen Jesus will give us eternal life, not because we have earned it, but because he has died in our place.
I wondered if whoever put this together really meant to say "the Risen Jesus will give us eternal life." Do they think it is all future... or do they understand that at the time of the the new birth we actually begin eternal life? I was giving the benefit of the doubt and hoping that they viewed it the same way as I. Then I clicked onto page 6.

Box 6

What is this?
God's New Way:
1. Submit to Jesus as our ruler and
2. Rely on Jesus' death and ressurection

1. Forgiven by God
2. Given eternal life
Have I "submitted" to Jesus as my ruler? Wow - when I consider that as a condition for receiving eternal life, I find it very confusing and unbiblical. First of all, it is not a clearly defined thing. Now, we can argue about the content of saving faith all we want, but at the end of the day, all of we FGers would agree that it is faith - belief - trust - in Christ alone that saves. But... what part of faith does "submit" play? That to me is an action - a willingness to take action at the very least. So this is saying that unless I "submit"... I cannot receive this gift? I was thinking that if I were unsaved I would be very confused as to what has to happen for me to be alright with God. As a Christian of 21 years I also know the impracticality of this - I have not fully submitted to Christ - who has? I am trying to, but I have not arrived. So, according to this presentation, I cannot be sure to have the result promised - eternal life.

I saw that there was more to the presentation, so I continued, hoping that it would become clearer to the reader. It ended with 3 STEPS:

1. Talk to God

2. Submit to Jesus
You’ll need to get rid of old rebellious habits (like greed, anger, selfishness, and so on) and start some new ones that please God (like generosity, kindness, love and patience). This second step will go on for the rest of your life...

3. Keep trusting
The third thing you have to do is also ongoing.

So there you "have" it? (Or not.) These things spoken of are great instruction for a Christian, but it is never clear when one becomes a Christian through this presentation. There is a kind of "sinner's prayer" on step 1 under the 3 STEPS, but no clear indication that one can know one is right with God upon placing faith in Christ. There is no indication in this presentation when a person actually is saved. Is it after one has completed all three steps? From the verbiage, I would say that it clearly implies that one cannot know he is OK with the Lord until he has finished that which he must do which is ONGOING and FOR THE REST OF [HIS] LIFE...

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  • It looks utterly confused.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, February 21, 2008 8:10:00 AM  

  • I would say it is confusing news - as it hardly seems good.

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at Thursday, February 21, 2008 8:22:00 AM  

  • I think this message is flawed, but I also think it still saves. It just really hurts as you work your way to the truth that step two, although profitable, is not a condition of God's forgiveness. Until then, you won't really make it to step three and you spend much time worrying that each failure may mean death.

    I do clearly see a problem with the concept that God accepts Jesus' death in atonement for all sin... but not yet.


    By Blogger Another Voice, at Thursday, February 21, 2008 9:19:00 AM  

  • Phew.
    So it's not just me...

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, February 21, 2008 9:26:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I have just started to look at the original site which you link to. I cannot comment on it all now, but I did notice this and I think it puts one of your fears to bed:

    Page 5 actually says: As God’s ruler, Jesus has also been appointed God’s judge of the world. The Bible promises that one day, he will return to call all of us to account for our actions. In the meantime, Jesus offers us new life, both now and eternally. Now, our sins can be forgiven through Jesus’ death, and we can make a fresh start with God, no longer as rebels but as friends. I must say that I am seldom happy with quotes lifted from here and there in documents with little regard to the context, and never happy if the context clearly qualifies the contentious quote and says the opposite to what is being supposed.

    Regarding the future perception of the Risen Jesus who will give us life – the writing style of the author of the piece seems to be cast in the future. It is all what Jesus can do and the reason why it is future is, of course, that the benefits of salvation are conditional on the sinner believing – and by definition, this is something which the unsaved person has not yet done and needs to do. When he does (future) , then (future) the Lord will (future) indeed give eternal life. The advantage of such a style is that it is emphasising the responsibility of man – putting the onus on the sinner to respond positively to the gospel being presented. It is ever the hope of the Evangelist that the Lord will use such words to bring the sinner to Himself.

    This is not to say that I am happy with the overall wording, but I lack the time at present to scrutinise the entire presentation. However, (as said) I think we owe it to be fair to the folk in Australia to see where they are coming from, especially if an accurate and in context reading clears them (at least on these issues here raised) of any error.


    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Thursday, February 21, 2008 11:39:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose
    It smells of Calvinism to me! Of course I DO have one of those noses like yours, so I might be smelling myself. But if I am it would be my legalistic self. You know that Old man that want's to come out of the closet ever so often, more often then we want him to!

    If you knew the gift of God

    P/s It's Rose's fault she said Phew!

    By Blogger alvin, at Thursday, February 21, 2008 11:44:00 AM  

  • Well done, Colin.
    Actually, that wasn't my main point of confusion with the presentation. But well done for showing us the quotes that these chaps include about the "present" aspect of "new life." Although I must say, I find it contradictory as a whole with the other things in there, especially the three steps.

    What do you think about the 3 steps? It says at the end of the third step:

    If you know full well that you have *not yet taken these steps*, and that you are still an unforgiven rebel, then you need to do something about it.

    How does on know he has taken a step that is ongoing and lasts the rest of his life?

    Please tell me you see a problem with that.

    Thanks for your courteous visit.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, February 21, 2008 12:59:00 PM  

  • Hi Alvin!

    "Phew" was meant more like a sigh of relief not "pugh" like "something stinks."

    But I suppose that if you are rollerblading all day it could be "pughy!" :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, February 21, 2008 1:00:00 PM  

  • Hi Missy,
    It is so nice to see you here.

    Can you explain this:
    I do clearly see a problem with the concept that God accepts Jesus' death in atonement for all sin... but not yet.

    I am having a brain problem with getting my mind around that. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, February 21, 2008 1:02:00 PM  

  • Hi, Rose!

    I was pretty sure you would have a question about that. :)

    I am currently working through this concept, of which I think you have already come to a conclusion about. The study you linked to here is very similar to how I began in my faith, the studies I was led through. I am still working my way through what to keep and what to let go. One of the issues now is, if Christ atoned for ALL sin at the Cross, why is the sin of disbelief not included and atoned for? Unless that is not a sin - or if it is, maybe there is something more that qualifies me for eternal life? I know clearly it is not works, but...??

    What I am trying to say, is that I am not convinced of the logic that ALL sins are atoned for except this "one extra special sin" - OR ALL sins ARE atoned for but you have to wait until you (fill-in-the-blank). It seems more logical to me that sin is either fully atoned for at the Cross or it is not.

    Please keep in mind that I have an idea of what I think the answer is, but always testing - that's my way. Mom still says, "Girl, you're always testing me!" I have an idea you're like that, too. {c;

    By Blogger Another Voice, at Thursday, February 21, 2008 2:08:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    I am certainly not happy with the way of salvation set forth in the presentation. If it fell to me to write this section, I would urge my readers (as the NT does) to “Repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15) I would further define repentance and faith, so that there is no room either for deviation or ignorance. These are terms that need to be defined in any age and (it seems to us) particularly in this age. I would assure my reader that having repented and believed the gospel, (or to cast it into the future tense: when and if they repent and believe the gospel) they can enjoy assurance of eternal life here and now and entertain the hope (in the NT sense of the word i.e. assurance) that they have an inheritance in Heaven.

    In doing this, I would also insure that they knew what responsibilities accompanied the privilege of this salvation i.e. salvation both from sin’s guilt and power i.e. a new and Biblically disciplined life wherein they followed Christ as their Lord and Master. I suppose I could load the whole thing down with a thousand scenarios, but I certainly wouldn’t want them to even think that they could enjoy pardon for sin while they were determined to live a totally worldly life. I know we’ve been down this road in other posts, but I still can’t see where rebels, as still unrepentant rebels, enjoy any assurance of salvation in the NT. He is a complete Saviour and we should not set Him forth as anything less if we are purporting to show sinners the way of salvation.


    P/s Goodnight all. The sun has long set 3,000 miles east of the US west coast. Safe home.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Thursday, February 21, 2008 2:14:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    The thing I want to thank you for the most in this is that you labeled it "Commitment Salvation." I never call it "Lordship Salvation" because I know we all would be in absolute agreement that Christ's Lorship is all-important, not only in initial salvation but in all of the Christian life as well. But the thing that makes it unbiblical IMHO is that it calls for a commitment from us to be saved, & this makes it a works-salvation that actually will NOT save us (Ep.2:9) I love what Dr. David Breese, now with the Lord, & one of my all-time favorite Bible teachers, said so well. It makes Jesus more the helper than the Savior. Jesus IS Lord, & because of that He can save me when I simply trust Him to do it.
    I thank you Rose for bringing us together in unity over an issue that unites us rather than divides. (Ps.133:1)

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Thursday, February 21, 2008 6:10:00 PM  

  • Good morning, Rose!

    Last night I wrote: P/s Goodnight all. The sun has long set 3,000 miles east of the US west coast. Safe home.

    Ahem...I should have written 3,000 miles east of the US east coast:-) If the original comment was meant to convey the idea that Yours Truly was tired, then I think we have something bordering on proof.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Thursday, February 21, 2008 10:57:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger VA ~Susan, at Friday, February 22, 2008 2:56:00 PM  

  • Sorry, typo.

    "Confusing good news" a la postmodern.
    check this out.

    By Blogger VA ~Susan, at Friday, February 22, 2008 3:02:00 PM  

  • Susan,
    An interesting snippet.

    The chaplain:
    It's up to each on of us to interpret what God wants.

    Yeah, that was real good. I am glad that the producers of ER presented that man's frustration with such a "non-message" and such "non-answers."

    Thanks for the visit, Susna!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, February 23, 2008 4:44:00 AM  

  • I mean "Susan" ...sorry 'bout that.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, February 23, 2008 4:45:00 AM  

  • Goodnight,
    I hope you are feeling well rested today.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, February 23, 2008 4:45:00 AM  

  • David,
    Thank you for your thoughts! Yes, you are right, Jesus is LORD, whether someone recognizes this or "fully submits" to Him as such... or not.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, February 23, 2008 4:46:00 AM  

  • Right Rose! I appreciate this post of your more & more. God Bless!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Saturday, February 23, 2008 3:35:00 PM  

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