GOSPEL CONFUSION (1)

PMW 2017-104 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Despite confused objections to postmillennialism by many, especially dispensationalists, the postmillennial hope is not rooted in politics. Rather it is rooted in the gospel, which we believe very deeply to be “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). A leading deficiency of the church in modern America is due to its commitment to method over message. And to make matters worse, it does not even understand the message properly. Before we can correct the method, we must understand the message.

The presentation of Christ in modern evangelism leaves much to be desired. Because of this Christian leaders are too often mired down with fruitless, professing Christians. And very often these merely professing Christians end up in leadership positions in the church. Were this not the case, Non-Lordship advocates would not have to respond to Lordship arguments with a pitiful “where is there room for carnal Christians.” [1] As MacArthur complains: “the cheap grace and easy faith of a distorted gospel are ruining the purity of the church. The softening of the New Testament message has brought with it a putrefying inclusivism that in effect sees almost any kind of positive response to Jesus as tantamount to saving faith.” [2]

The problem of insufficient understanding of the gospel message has been a long-time coming. In the 1900s the decline in true gospel preaching was spread far and wide, as we can see from the following samples.

Evangelism Deficiencies

If the glory of God were the motivating force in soul-winning, Christians would not have to be taught to be hypocritical in their witnessing. One evangelism training manual instructs the witness: “Every time you go in a home, brag on something. We live in a selfish world. It is good to say, ‘You sure have a nice suit,’ or ‘Isn’t that a precious child?’ Make it a habit. Develop it inwardly.” [3]
Getting the Message


Getting the Message
(by Daniel Doriani)
Presents solid principles and clear examples of biblical interpretation.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


If modern evangelism had more confidence in the work of the Holy Spirit, it would be more faithful to content than to form. It is said of Dwight L. Moody, an early developer of modern evangelism methodology, that he “completed the reduction of evangelism to a matter of technique and personality.” [4] A more recent evangelist encourages the use of the piano over the organ in evangelistic meetings because the organ “is not a percussion instrument. The air blowing into one giant tube and then another does not make the instant staccato beginning of a note as does the piano,” thus losing the urgency of the message. [5] All of this is important because “evangelism is an atmosphere. Music can help create this atmosphere.” [6]

If the hateful offensiveness of sin before God were more carefully preached, and repentance from that sinful state consistently urged, there would be fewer “carnal” Christians with which to deal. It actually seems as if sin among some (not all) of the Non-Lordship men is of very little consequence. R. B. Thieme is one who seems incognizant of the true offensiveness of sin. He teaches what he terms the “rebound technique” of confession of sin. Before each Bible study he conducts, he instructs his followers to “confess” their sins by simply naming them and forgetting them:

In the preparation for our study of the Word of God this evening the next few minutes are devoted to silent prayer. Our objective is to prepare ourselves in the usual manner. . . . The usual manner being the only way, is the “rebound technique.” A totally non-meritorious function on our part. The only thing we do is the sinning. The naming of the sin is totally without any human merit whatever. How you feel about it is not of any consequence to God; just simply name your sin and you are forgiven and at the same time you are filled with the Spirit. [7]

Lordship advocates teach that believing in Christ and obeying Him are not two acts but one. When Christ is preached, He should be presented in His whole Person — as Lord and Savior. The resulting life of obedience to Christ is the true test of the validity of the initial act of faith. Non-Lordship doctrine boldly claims that conversion to Christ in salvation involves “no spiritual commitment whatsoever.” [8] Many “Christians” today sadly fail the test, for they have simply not counted the cost. They have instead attempted to place one hand in Christ’s in hope of eternal glory, while reserving the other for self in anticipation of carnal pleasure.


Lord of the SavedLord of the Saved
(by Ken Gentry)

A critique of easy believism and affirmation of Lordship salvation. Shows the necessity of true, repentant faith to salvation.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


Lordship Basics
The Lordship presentation of Christ is grounded on four basic truths:

First, true faith in Christ inseparably binds one to the Person of Christ. This spiritual binding must be understood as real, vital, and effective, not as a simply apprehension of facts about Christ. It involves a determined commitment of oneself to Him.

Second, repentance is not an out-dated message for another dispensation. The resolve to forsake sin in turning to Christ is essential today. Christ does not save a man in his sins, but from them. The awfulness of sin is impressed upon the person by the Holy Spirit, which results in this heartfelt change of mind about it. This results in a humble turning to Christ from sin and self.

Third, the Person of salvation is Jesus Christ the Lord. An essential attribute of His divine character is sovereignty. His position as Son of Man was appointed for Him by the Father in order ultimately to give Him power, dominion, and rule in the affairs of men. A person cannot truly turn to the Lord and continue blithely as before in the sin that separated him from God in the first place. The unregenerate sinner is lord of his own life; Christ is lord of the believer’s life.

Fourth, Jesus’ call to discipleship is an exhortation for men totally to trust Him as the only means of eternal life. Certainly no works are pre-requisite for salvation (2 Timothy 1:9; Ephesians 2:8-9), but neither is true salvation devoid of work (James 2). Men should not be urged into a hypothetical “armchair Christianity” for assurance of eternal bliss. Turning to the Lord in repentance and faith is costly and demanding, not cheap and easy.

To be continued.

Notes:
1. Charles C. Ryrie, Balancing the Christian Life (Chicago: Moody, 1969), p. 170.
2. John F. MacArthur, Jr., The Gospel According to Jesus (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988), p. 37.
3. Jack Hyles, Let’s Go Soul Winning (Murfreesboro, TN: Sword of the Lord, 1962), p. 22.
4. Cited in George Dollar, A History of Fundamentalism in America (Greenville, SC: Bob Jones, 1973), p. 78.
5. John R. Rice, Why Our Churches Do Not Win Souls (Murfreesboro, TN: Sword of the Lord, 1966), pp. 120-121.
6. Jack Hyles, The Hyles Church Manual (Murfreesboro, TN: Sword of the Lord, 1968), p. 190.
7. Zane Hodges, The Gospel Under Siege (Dallas: Redencion Viva, 1981), p. 14.

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