Opinions on faith and life

Whats Wrong With This Picture?

2006-06-01

We all have heard that a half-truth is often worse than a pure lie, and it’s no laughing matter when it comes to the Gospel. Many people think that if a message or statement of faith at least contains the gospel that it’s okay, but the Bible says otherwise. Let’s take a look.

Here is the statement of faith of the church at this link:

  1. We believe that the Bible is God’s Word. It is accurate, authoritative and applicable to our every day lives.
  2. We believe in one eternal God who is the Creator of all things. He exists in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. He is totally loving and completely holy.
  3. We believe that sin has separated each of us from God and His purpose for our lives.
  4. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ as both God and man is the only One who can reconcile us to God. He lived a sinless and exemplary life, died on the cross in our place, and rose again to prove His victory and empower us for life.
  5. We believe that in order to receive forgiveness and the ’new birth’ we must repent of our sins, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and submit to His will for our lives.
  6. We believe that in order to live the holy and fruitful lives that God intends for us, we need to be baptised in water and be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables us to use spiritual gifts, including speaking in tongues.
  7. We believe that God has individually equipped us so that we can successfully achieve His purpose for our lives which is to worship God, fulfil our role in the Church and serve the community in which we live.
  8. We believe that God wants to heal and transform us so that we can live healthy and prosperous lives in order to help others more effectively.
  9. We believe that our eternal destination of either Heaven or hell is determined by our response to the Lord Jesus Christ.
  10. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back again as He promised.
If they stopped at #4 they’d have the complete gospel. But they added to it, and what is added is a salvation by works.

5-- To repent is to change your mind and go the complete opposite way. It means to change from rejecting the gospel to accepting it. It does NOT mean to repent of specific sins, or we’d have to continually repent to be saved again and again, which is not what the Bible says at all. This is Lordship Salvation that places a burden on people the Bible says neither we nor our ancestors could bear. Submitting to God’s will is a matter of growth and maturity, of gradually conforming to the image of Jesus. It is what happens after salvation, not before it.

6-- Water baptism is optional and symbolic of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which happens to every believer at the moment of saving faith. This baptism of the Spirit is not necessarily externally obvious, but in most cases takes time to manifest itself in the believer’s life. Our power does come from the Spirit, but it is not required of the Spirit to always make a person speak gibberish or put their hands in the air or any other such outward expression of emotion.

7-- No problem here. The Spirit gives his gifts to whomever he chooses, whenever he chooses.

8-- God does want to transform us, but to be holy and mature in the faith, NOT necessarily to be healthy and prosperous. We can help others more when we identify with their suffering, poverty, and loneliness.

9-- No problem here.

10-- And no problem here.

So we’ve got works salvation sandwiched between the gospel and our future hope. It’s like taking two slices of organic whole wheat bread and putting Twinkies and Skittles inside. Yummy but deadly. This is a classic half-truth, a deadly deception. A gospel PLUS is as wrong as a gospel MINUS. Paul spent a lot of NT space trying to get the idea through people’s heads that salvation is a gift, freely received, eternal, and of God’s power. We cannot earn this gift, and we cannot lose it. We can only accept it. Man cannot say that a gift is a gift if there’s fine print about what YOU have to do after you get it.

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved! (Acts 16:31). Only this, and nothing more.