Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lines In The Sand--Necessary Barriers and Where to Draw Them Part III

As I noted on Tuesday and Wednesday, we all have places in our lives where we might draw a “line in the sand” so to speak.  The problem comes, sometimes, in identifying where those lines need to be drawn.  Regarding theological matters, we need to be able to articulate those with whom we could cooperate with as Christians or at least affirm them as fellow believers and those who we would regard as being so out of bounds theologically that we could not affirm them as fellow believers.  For me, that decision comes down to three simple questions, or more particularly, how they answer those questions.  In order to affirm someone as a fellow believer, I would want them to answer “Who is God?”, “Who is Jesus?”, and “What is the Gospel?”

What is the Gospel?

Finally, because the gospel has been redefined by heretics who actually deny the gospel taught in the Bible (a la Rob Bell, those who preach a “social gospel”, etc), I would have to ask what that person believes the gospel is. For me to understand a person to be preaching the gospel that the apostles preached, they would have to recognize the complete holiness and perfection of God. Further, they would have to recognize mankind as sinful to the core and incapable of doing anything to justify themselves before a holy God. Mankind, then, stands before God justly condemned for their sins. God, out of His great love, chose to send Christ to die on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for sin, bearing God’s wrath on the cross. Therefore, any person who repents of their sin and trusts Christ to save them will be saved. They must consciously trust Christ—hence the urgency for those of us who believe to be about the task of proclaiming the gospel because people who worship other faiths (Muslim, Hindu, etc) are lost and bound for hell outside of a conscious faith in Christ Jesus in this lifetime. In other words, inclusivism is something that Paul referred to in Galatians as “another gospel” and those who preach it are accursed.

Well, there it is—quite short, simple, and to the point. Given these three questions we've considered, there is room for someone to be a paedobaptist or a credobaptist, charismatic or cessationist, young earth and old earth, Calvinist or non-Calvinist and still be a Christian as far as I'm concerned.  I mean, let's face it--no one with an ounce of sense would suggest, for instance, that Calvinists were false teachers.  That would be a statement only a moron would make.  Well, a moron or someone who quotes Wikipedia as an authoritative source.  Haa haa.  The same would be said for someone who would call a young earth creationist or old earth creationist a false teacher.  Those positions simply don't fall into the catagory of heresy.

I don't think I'm in anyway narrowminded. Now, I personally could not go church planting with a paedobaptist, but I can affirm them as Christians.  It is important, I think, to only draw "lines in the sand" in places where failure to do so would compromise the gospel because, as Paul says in Romans, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everybody who believes.

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