Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fire

Are you a Christian? Are you absolutely sure?

Listen to this 12-minute video. Please, don’t tune out the person speaking, but seriously consider what he’s saying. What he says is hard, and to our modern ears it sounds harsh, but I think he’s right on target.

Listen and ask yourself, “Am I really a Christian?”



HT: DD

2 comments:

dMsmith said...

Wyeth
Could you give your opinion as to the strength's and weaknesses of this man's judgment of the church.
You can email me if you want.
Appreciate it.
Love
Blessings
d

wwdunc said...

I think, unfortunately, the picture this speaker paints of the church--the visible church--is accurate. When you look at all of Catholicism and Protestantism (Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, Baptists, etc.), the vast majority of people appear to give no evidence of the new birth. And Scripture is clear: a good tree will bring forth good fruit. Where there is genuine faith, there will be evidence of a genuine love for Jesus, and a genuine love for Jesus is proven by obedience to God's word. Jesus said, "If you love me you will obey my commands."

So, yes, I think his assessment is accurate.

The question is, why is this the situation in the church at large? There are probably an innumerable multitude of reasons. Two possibilities, in particular, come to mind:

First, there is the failure of Catholicism and mainline (liberal) Protestantism to preach the gospel at all. Much of mainline Protestantism has given up faith in the Bible as the word of God. They don't believe that Jesus' death on the cross was a substitutionary sacrifice. They don't believe in His literal resurrection. Most Catholics that I've met, and many mainline Protestants, believe that merely being a good person (i.e., being better than the worst person you can think of) makes one a Christian. Others place their faith in the sacraments (Lord's Supper/Communion/Eucharist or Baptism/Christening), as if the sacraments had saving power in themselves (sacramentalism). Scripturally, the sacraments are signs & symbols of salvation, but they don't effect salvation. In other words, we partake of the sacraments BECAUSE we are saved, in obedience to the Lord's command. We are not saved by taking the sacraments.

Second is the evangelical practice of praying "the sinner's prayer". Many erroneously believe that repeating a prayer at an altar call makes one a Christian. That is not so. Prior to the 19th century, that practice was unknown. The sinner's prayer cannot be found in the Bible, nor do we find anyone being saved through such a method in the Bible. I don't think praying the sinner's prayer is "wrong" so much as I think many people are prone to get the mistaken notion that they were saved BECAUSE they prayed a prayer. And, once convinced that praying "the prayer" saved them, many of these people go away thinking they are saved, whether or not their life ever gives evidence that a real change took place.

Scripture makes clear that salvation is a sovereign and gracious (unearned or unmerited) work of God. We respond to God's sovereign work of grace, not the other way around. In other words, GOD ACTS FIRST: He sends forth his word (through a preacher, a faithful Christian witness, a printed booklet or tract, etc), God the Holy Spirit moves upon our heart (opening our eyes to see spiritual truth, bringing conviction of sin, convincing us of the saving value of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and creating faith), and WE RESPOND, confessing Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. The proof that God has acted in our life is a changed life--spiritual fruit. No change, no salvation.