Thursday, January 21, 2010

Open Air Preaching Video

Faith in Faith and Faith in Election

One of the greatest heresies in history is the belief that you can muster something from within yourself that will save you. Despite the heinousness of this belief, it is prominent in Christendom today; Paul Washer defines this heresy well when he says,

Well, was there ever a time in your life when you prayed and asked Jesus to come into your heart?

Well, yes.

Were you sincere?

Well, I don’t know, but I think so.

Well, you need to tell Satan to stop bothering you. Did you write it in the back of your book . . . the back of your Bible like the evangelist told you when you got saved, write down the date so that any time you doubted you could point him to the Bible?
Do you see something lacking in the object of the faith? It’s Jesus Christ. You are not saved by your faith, you are saved by the grace of God, and this is received through faith. If you have faith in a god, but the god you have faith in isn’t the God who sent his beloved Son to be the propitiation for your sins, then your faith is worthless and it will not save you. It doesn’t matter how perfect your faith is, if it’s not in the right God, it is unable to save. Check out Judges 10 if you want an explicit example of this.

It wearies me the number of people who wouldn’t know it was wrong if it were preached, “You are saved by faith through grace,” or worse, “You are saved by faith.”

This really jumped out at me recently when reading Ian Murray’s book, Spurgeon vs. Hyper-Calvinism. As a self-admitted fatalist (Ephesians 2:10, John 1:13, Proverbs 16:9, Matthew 10:29), I don’t shy away from the title of Hyper-Calvinist, and the Supralapsarian presupposition is definitely my evangelistic style (I’ve witnessed to ~30 people already this year, what about you?), so I’ve always been perplexed at why the Hyper-Calvinist title has been used so disparagingly. There are certainly the unsaved hypers, like Fred Phelps, but I always wondered how so many in the 18th and 19th centuries in England could be Hyper-Calvinists and still be in the wrong.

Then I read Spurgeon vs. Hyper-Calvinism. The major failing of James Wells and his ilk is not hyper-trust in God, but the same problem as the Pelagian heresy, it is a trust in something that isn’t God. The Hyper-Calvinism of Spurgeon’s day was faith in one’s election. The person under Wells or Banks’ preaching was told to discern their election and, then invariably through a lack of exhortation to trust in Christ (Their logic was that telling someone who hated Jesus Christ and couldn't muster their own faith to trust in him would be futile), their trust was placed in an imaginary feeling of election. It’s all rather mystical in its inward and subjective focus.

So all this to say, we “were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him…” If it were just preached that way, then it would be Hyper-Calvinist, but if you only preach the end, “…if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard…” then it would be Pelagian, which is why it is so important that we put the two together,
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven… - Colossians 1:21-23
Faith in faith is an anathema belief, faith in election is equally as damning, our faith must be in the Living Christ who for his church took on and defeated death. If you continue in this faith, then you know that you are reconciled with God and will be presented holy and blameless into Heaven, not because your faith has saved you, or because of your predestination, but because Jesus Christ is full of grace, mighty to save, and able to make intercession for his saints.

Faith misplaced in anything else is unable to save; faith in the Resurrected Christ and his unfailing grace is the only way to be redeemed from sin and condemnation.

Don’t trust in yourself, don't trust in your profession, don't trust in your faith, don’t trust in your status, don't trust in your election, don't trust in a funny feeling you have that you are elect:

Trust in the God who has bestowed upon you faith and election, and be saved.