Thanksgiving In Perspective: Jesus Did Not Come To Feed The Poor Nor Bless America

Why do so many contemporary churches or best-selling Christian books focus almost exclusively on practical application rather than doctrinal truth? Why do most Christians prefer to talk about their own testimonies or changed lives, rather than arguing for the truth of the Christian faith? On this edition of White Horse Inn, the hosts take a look at the philosophy of pragmatism and its effects on contemporary Christian thought and practice (originally aired June 15, 2008).

via WHI-1076 | The Gospel of Pragmatism – White Horse Inn Blog.

A great God makes proud sinners uncomfortable, a diminished God less so. Given our sinful proclivity to exalt ourselves, the diminished God can easily become a means to an end. While such a God is still much bigger and more powerful than we are, nevertheless the smaller we make him, the greater the opportunity to manipulate his power to further our sinful ends. Unlike the God of the Bible, who has decreed whatsoever comes to pass (Eph. 1:11) and who does whatever pleases him (Ps. 115:3), the diminished God exists to do whatever pleases us. On call 24/7, he is there to attend to all our whims and respond to our constant whining. This God is not to be served and adored, rather, he is a means to an end. Like the genie freed from his bottle, this God is there to answer our prayers and give us what we wish.

Sometimes we use God quite intentionally; other times we do it without even knowing it. The bottom line is that we use God to suit our own ends because we live our lives through the distorted lens of human pride. Inevitably, we see our own interests and agendas as far more important than they really are. From this distorted perspective God exists to enable us to achieve that which we have decreed, that which pleases us-the complete reversal of the two biblical passages just cited. This, of course, is the height of human folly and the sad consequence of sinful pride.

Some of the ways in which we use God are much more obvious than others. Several instances of this sinful tendency can be found within the pages of the New Testament. In the opening chapters of Mark’s Gospel, Mark recounts for us the early days of Jesus’ messianic mission around Capernaum. When Jesus cast out demons and healed the sick, it was not long before word spread throughout Galilee that a healer/exorcist extraordinaire was in their midst. Soon, Jesus could not eat or rest because multitudes of sick and suffering people swarmed around him (Mark 3:8-10, 20), making his messianic mission nearly impossible to complete.

While Jesus demonstrated nearly unlimited compassion on those who were sick and suffering-he healed countless of them-these poor people serve as a sad example to us of people who see in God a means to an end without even knowing they are doing it. As the gospel narrative unfolds, we learn that Jesus did not come to heal the sick or cast out demons, but to deal with the root cause of all human suffering-the guilt and power of sin. Jesus’ messianic mission was not to serve as a walking emergency room or medical clinic. Instead his mission would take him to the cross, the very place the suffering crowds did not want to see him go. The multitudes who sought out Jesus didn’t care about the root cause of their suffering. They just wanted to be healed, right then and there. And they could not see, nor did they much care, how a crucified Jesus would save them from something much greater than sickness.

In this tragic set of circumstances, we see how the symptoms (sickness and demon possession) of the deeper human condition (the pride stemming from our fallen nature) blinded these people to the fact that in Jesus’ death and resurrection the human condition would find its ultimate and final cure. Desperate people do desperate things. Sufferers don’t want ultimate solutions as much as they want immediate relief. These crowds saw in Jesus a means to an end. In their eyes, it didn’t matter why Jesus came, it only mattered that he had the power to heal them. Because of human sin and pride, they saw in Jesus an opportunity to gain relief. They were using God without even knowing that they were doing so.

via Modern Reformation – Articles.

WHY The Man Series? Jeff Maness’ Element Church Cheyenne A Vision Of Human Potential

WHY The Man Series? « Element Church Insider.

Reflecting back on Maness previously teaching the occult practice of vision casting, here is an excellent look at that by examining another build the church though deception and false preaching preacher.

What’s Cheyenne’s Element Church Got To Do With Steve Furtick Hating Haters Hatefully?

Pyromaniacs: Open Letter to Steven Furtick (1 of 2).

Steve Furtick « Search Results « Element Church Insider.

If you’re interested in what else Element offers, check out this. The Daniel Diet is simply a repackaging of the prosperity gospel. It is a money-making scheme exploiting the gullible with promises by pandering to their self-centeredness. This is one of those things Element is involved in that I characterize as magic talisman Christianity. Manipulation of God through techniques is simply a form of the occult.

It wouldn’t hurt to read this, either.

Jeff Maness Actually Said That


It’s amazing. You preach on money and people still get saved. The power of the Gospel shines through EVERY aspect of Scripture, including how we manage our finances.

Maness claims to have preached out of Deuteronomy 15:4-15. It really has nothing to do with how we manage our money, today. And one should note the fruitlessness of the arrangement: “…there will be no poor …there will never cease to be poor in the land…” (a statement reiterated by Jesus in the NT which was actually a condemnation of those supposedly advocating the Law as a means to righteousness, some of whom not only missed the more important message, the Lord himself, but also wanted to destroy it). This portion of the Law enunciates well other portions of the Mosaic covenant arrangement. It is a conclusion preprogrammed into the covenant as it was given, that it would be violated, and that agreeing to it Israel brought the curses of the Law upon themselves. In other words, God made this covenant with Israel knowing that in their hearts they had no ability, nor any intention to keep it.

But there will be no poor among you; for the Lord will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess— if only you will strictly obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all this commandment that I command you today. For the Lord your God will bless you, as he promised you, and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow, and you shall rule over many nations, but they shall not rule over you.

If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and you be guilty of sin. You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you, he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. And when you let him go free from you, you shall not let him go empty-handed. You shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, out of your threshing floor, and out of your winepress. As the Lord your God has blessed you, you shall give to him. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today.

Can you see the impossibility of the situation, of the Law having any power to save? Of course they didn’t remember, not when they first came out, nor did they ever perform the commandments in the perfection that God demands without exception. They were grumblers in Egypt, in the desert, in the promised land, and the assembly of believers are grumblers in the pews, today. That is the impossible situation we have been placed in. Man, by his own will, being wholly corrupt, cannot accomplish anything that God should pay deference. Do you want to curse your life? Try keeping the law with the view that God will bless you if you do. Do you want a victorious life, victory over your finances? Well then, if anyone sins in any point of the law, he is guilt of the whole. You’ve failed, just as the children of Israel, before you have ever started. Which is why the Gospel is our vital link to the holy obedience which God demands when he commands us, “Be perfect.”

Take note of What Dr. Horton says the Gospel is not:

It is not the Law. The law cannot do anything but drive one to despair. It bears no fruit, it is not the Gospel. Being not the Gospel, then, no one will come to know the Lord by it, despite Maness’ claim that it did the trick.

More from Michael Horton on Maness’ alternative Gospel. (MP3)

God Heard His Prayers Because Of Fear Of Real Impending Suffering And Death

God Heard His Prayers Because… « Element Church Insider.

On Sunday, I was doing my normal quiet time with God before heading to church and I read a verse that I saw for the first time, or at least saw it in a new light.  I’m in Hebrews right now, which by the way is an INCREDIBLE book.  So rich and deep.  Anyway, I came across Hebrews 5:7 which says this 7 While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God.”

Now think about it.  Theologically, Jesus WAS God.  God incarnate.  God in the flesh.  THE God man.  So you might think that the verse should read “And God heard his prayers because HE WAS GOD”.  But NO!  It says God heard them, because of his “deep reverence for God.”  (We won’t get into the lengthy and unending discussion of “If He was God then why did he need to pray, and was he praying to Himself?”)  It just made me think.  If Jesus’ prayer was heard because of His deep reverence for God…what does that say about me?

I think sometimes when I pray I have a deep regret…or a desperate situation…or a deliberate request…or a demanding requirement…and there isn’t anything bad necessarily with any of those things.  The problem is, I often feel like God will hear me because I have the deep regret.  Or because my situation is desperate or my request is deliberate or I’m facing a requirement that’s demanding.  And I’m not saying that God doesn’t hear us, it just struck me that JESUS was heard because of His DEEP REVERENCE for God, not for ANY of those other things.  Not because of his pleadings, loud cries or tears…but His reverence.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be the kind of prayer that comes to God out of deep reverence for WHO He is, not WHAT He can give me.  I get the feeling from Hebrews 5:7 that that is why Jesus went to God in prayer.  And because of that, God heard Him.

Calvin gives us better insight about Christ’s prayers. As he rightly observes, the eulabeia, the gripping thought of anxiety, fear, what Jesus had rightly apprehended (for that is also the meaning of the Greek word) was the trials that he would undergo.

that no one might think that Christ had an iron heart which felt nothing; for we ought always to consider why a thing is said. Had Christ been touched by no sorrow, no consolation could arise to us from his sufferings; but when we hear that he also endured the bitterest agonies of mind, the likeness becomes then evident to us. Christ, he says, did not undergo death and other evils because he disregarded them or was pressed down by no feeling of distress, but he prayed with tears, by which he testified the extreme anguish of his soul.

Jesus prayed earnestly, in other words, for personal relief, quite contrary to Maness’s claim. He was heard, as Calvin notes, not in the removal of the impending suffering of scourging and crucifixion, but in God’s strengthening him. We most clearly see this in the Garden when Christ’s prayer’s produce sweat like drops of blood and then the remarkable change of scene:

And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”

He prays and an angel strengthens him and so he is in more agony and prays more earnestly? And there it is. That is the meaning of Hebrews’ writer. Note how the disciples fall asleep from sorrow where Christ’s sorrow is intensified as an answer to prayer. Really? How deep then was their sorrow? Well, then, how deep was their fear of falling into temptation? How well did they understand all that Christ had told them about what to expect? And is this not the case with us, the weariness of prayer even though we have been told to expect trials in this life? We have a dull sense of the moment, truly, a vaporous grasp of the will of God. For we like sheep are slaughtered all day long. We are told that in this life we will have trials. Yet we are to: “stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” The conflict is apparent. The disciples are not greater than their teacher and if all that was written befell him, what then should we expect?

The reality of what Christ was to face evoked prayer and God’s answer was to strengthen the desperation of the moment, creating a deep, stretching out for relief. There could not be a more personal, desperate reason for the prayer. It is most certain that Christ, the Son, had the utmost reverence for his Father, yet, the reasoning behind Christ’s plea is simple, “If there be any other way, let this cup fall from me.” It was the event, a thing prayed for, contrary to Maness, from which Jesus was asking relief. The answer though is not what we, as men would hope, for Christ’s trials are magnified and he strengthened so as to endure them to the utmost.

As we follow the momentum, Christ is being crucified and he again rejoins the prayer. If we follow the reasoning of Psalm 22, there can be no doubt that it is in the midst of suffering and dying that Christ’s cries are heard. The result is not that he is succored by angels coming down and removing him from the cross. To the contrary, he is fighting for every breath and preaching with every word and is being strengthened to do so. As Calvin says:

It is indeed certain that he was reduced to great straits; and being overwhelmed with real sorrows, he earnestly prayed his Father to bring him help.

And what is that conclusion to the Psalm. The Father did not turn his face away, he heard the cries of the afflicted and… Christ breathed his last and died. It thus was that Christ’s prayers were heard because of his cries. He prayed for relief and was given what he asked, the strength to die. That the will of the Lord should be fulfilled, is clearly marked out in Scripture. And so also is the meaning of eulabeia in Hebrews, for it refers to the cries, loud pleadings, and tears concerning the pains of scourging, crucifixion and death.

Here is in part what Maness gets right. Many believers believe that the reason for prayer is to get relief from the sorrows of life, to be relieved of burdens, to be “blessed” in this life. The opposite was true of Christ as John 17 demonstrates. His prayers we not that he be relieved, but rather that he be sanctified by what was going to happen. Rightly, he prays that he sanctifies himself. That is, he sets himself apart for the purposes that the Father before the foundations of the world had ordained.

So should our prayers be. God has ordained whatever circumstances we find ourselves in and in them we should be content Paul reminded us. Following Christ and Paul, we should pray whatever God’s will is that we be strengthened in it. Pray for relief. Pray the circumstance change, by all means. But pray, never the less, not my will but God’s be done.

Just so we might applaud Maness also for reminding us that it should be in reverence that we pray, let me remind the reader that disciple’s pray to the Father. The laud at the beginning and at the end of the Our Father should book-end our prayers. Let us also be reminded that it is not because of our reverence that we are heard, but because of Christ’s. Because of his purity, his work, because of his sufferings, we have boldness to enter the throne room of grace, and not because of what, or why, or how we pray, or who we are. We do not even know how we should pray, as Christ did. We ask because of Christ and according to his authority so that whatever we ask according to his will will be done… if we ask it in his name knowing what he has done to merit for us the grace of God we are assured that he hears us. We are utterly undeserving, demeritted it has been said. We receive despite us. As Christ reminds us, even though we do all that is required of us, we are unworthy servants, our best works are as filthy rags. Even our reverence.

No Need To Be Coy: The Curdling Effects Of Acculturizing The Gospel

A great post at Pyromaniacs on the curdling effects of ack-culturizing the Gospel.

To borrow a Centuri0n analogy, when you’re on the only bus escaping the pending doom you don’t change your clothes and get off the bus to help someone fix their car. Changing your clothes won’t make you a master mechanic if you’re not one already, even if you were, the car is broked, there ain’t no parts store open, there ain’t no fix, even if you could. Your only hope for a relationship is to try to compel the broke-down to abandon his possession get on the bus. Unless you just want to stick around and listen to his awesomely deafening sounds. That won’t get you, or him, down the road, though. Now, you know where you’re going and how. You know the person that you are speaking to can’t understand a word you’re saying if he hasn’t jumped on the bus already. The sounds of the world are so loud in his ears, unless you trash his player, he will never listen to you. That’s not gonna make you his friend.

Once you have told them you can’t fix their car, what’s next? You see, you know him better than he knows himself. You know he is a liar and any relationship will be built upon that. Beside, you were just like him. If you change your clothes and get under the hood with him, to what end? To establish a relationship? To be like him again? The bus is leaving, now! Do you really want to get down and dirty? You can bet your past that he’ll stick around long enough while you buddy-up. But you might as well build a bus stop while you do because you know there ain’t another one coming.

Then there is the phase fatality phenomenon that complicates relationships- the longer they go on, the harder it is for one party to say anything that will hurt the other’s feelings. And, since the cross, after all, is offensive, the relationship, if not grounded upon the Spirit, will give birth to death. The cross condemns before it reconciles. And that smarts… lots. Recognition of sin and repentance and cries for mercy precede its granting. We recall that, our flesh still recoils, and we remember the times that we turned down the ride out of our bitterness and resentment. I have seen it dozens of times, experienced it myself, seen my wife struggle with it in her passion for Christ that drives her to the compassion of soul she shows others. Especially, close relationships trouble us. We just don’t want them to end. We don’t want to hurt and possibly lose MOM. And we balk when there is no relationship, for the same reasons. We would rather a friend than an enemy.

But the bus driver is honking, you are only sure about this one time stop. There is no guarantee that this stranger to the Lord will find his way to tomorrow. In the end, be who you are, where you are, because it was you, weirdo in the eyes of the world as you are, disconnected and in the outgroup, the strange uncle, the odd brother. You might as well just proclaim Christ crucified and let the Spirit fall where he may. After all, if you’re saved, that is what worked for you.

Mike Reccardi adds a one-two punch at Pyro with:

The Christian’s “point of contact” with the unbeliever is not in any perceived commonality. That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. The point of contact lies, as Van Til says, in the actual state of affairs between men as the Bible tells us of it. Not in our musical preferences, wardrobe styles, socio-economic statuses, or ethnic backgrounds; but in the reality that — to be blunt — they’re dead in their trespasses and sins, hostile to the God who created them, and that we have a message of Life that offers forgiveness and reconciliation.

That doesn’t mean we can’t be friends with non-Christians. That’s just absurd. It just means that the basis of our friendship with non-Christians lies in the actual state of affairs, in reality.

Just for good measure, MLJ captures my thoughts well when he says:

“The glory of the gospel is that when the Church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it. It is then that the world is made to listen to her message, though it may hate it at first. That is how revival comes. That must also be true of us as individuals. It should not be our ambition to be as much like everybody else as we can, though we happen to be Christian, but rather to be as different from everybody who is not a Christian as we can possibly be. Our ambition should be to be like Christ, the more like Him the better, and the more like Him we become, the more we shall be unlike everybody who is not a Christian.”

Thanks Mike, with you around all I have to do is highlight and copy. :)

Keeping in step has never been so easy!

Rick Warren, LaVerne And Surely You Too Can Be The Me-Boss

The Word of God tells us in Proverbs that

“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. “ (16:1) and “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (16:9).

You may certainly buy the book and scheme and plan your “destiny” all you desire, but the sovereign ruler of the universe, who holds all things together will determine by His own free volition whether He gives to or takes from you.

Rick Warren, by writing the forward and lending his name to this man-centered garbage, is putting his stamp of approval on the doctrines taught within the book itself.

It is the doctrines Warren is lending credence to which I so strongly object. The potential influence of Warren’s stamp of approval on such mystical, anti-biblical, unchristian teachings is frightening and his involvement is shameful to say the least. It is worse, it is promoting idolatry.

So what’s it going to be readers? Will you take the leap of fate and buy into this man-centered gospel of lies or stick with the only sure guide for life and godliness, the Bible alone?


via Rick Warren Promoting More Me-Centered Mysticism « 5 Point Salt.

I have in the past blasted Jeff Maness and his occult techniques for getting God to do the will of man. (Jeff Maness runs and Emergent styled Wesleyan Holiness self-perfectionistic Methodist church thingy here in Cheyenne.) Rick Warren is no different.

As I have said before, it is the heart of Arminianism to manipulate spiritual things to get. Rick Warren and his yuppie liberal social gosplely sounding organization of compromise and political action, is famous for teaching that one has to reach down and grab the shoe strings of God, flip him on his back and drag him where you want him to go. So, I find this no new news, just another descent into the muck of self-centered Christless Christianity.

Mysticism and the magical art of manipulation of God is what separates the Arminian and Calvinist camps. One only needs to look at Liberty University’s founders and Jerry Falwell’s politicization of Christianity and its restorationist plank and its promise of how the U.S. can secure God’s blessing, or Elmer Towns’ self-help literature. In the SBC you only have to look to the Blackabyisms and the majoritarian faction of the SBC, or the Richard Lands, whose suggestion of quantum prayers is a matching pair to new age harmonic convergence, to figure out that the problem is endemic and a very pop-cult-ure, biting into every faddish movement disease. Trying so hard to be hip, to be relevant, has only served to enslave to self-effort, not to liberate by the Spirit as God has intended. It produces pop-figures, super-spiritualists, the likes of which we have as an example, Ergun Caner.

Who has bewitched the church? Typically, name a pop-you-can-do-it preacher, and you will have your answer. But, it is in reality the siren song of prosperity, the allurement of the world, that keeps it wandering in the wilderness seeking the next sign. When you look at it, it is sadly amusing that the majority of the SBC and those like it try so hard to distance themselves from the prosperity teachers and charismatic madness, when they are guilty of the same kind of manipulative magic in just another form.

When the emphasis is on what man can do to get from God, the leap off the edge into fate is already made. Try as man will, man cannot fly. And when he tries he simply falls further away. Only one has ascended. Christ alone. And when he did, he gave gifts. Gave, past tense. What he has done, and not as Warren and apparently Adams and the rest of the Arminian world of the Maness’s think they can do, is the Gospel.

We preach Christ and him crucified, and man as totally depraved and utterly unable to accomplish any thing of his own accord. As 5PS notes, it is God who determines man’s actions, every single one of them, every man’s lot is a decision from the Lord. Try as one may, each should say not that he will go here and do this or that and prosper, but instead, if the Lord wills. It is God alone who works in each the willingness to do and the doing of what pleases God. The direction that Adam’s book takes, takes man is away from dependence upon God and his Christ. Warren has been at it for a long time. But, what is not taken into consideration is that this manipulation of things spiritual has its roots in the man centered, do-it-yourself theology of Arminianism where it is man’s will that determines his future state.

Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d.
Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin’d.
Harpier cries:—’tis time! ’tis time!
Round about the caldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.—
Toad, that under cold stone,
Days and nights has thirty-one;
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot!
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Scale of dragon; tooth of wolf;
Witches’ mummy; maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark;
Root of hemlock digg’d i the dark;
Liver of blaspheming Jew;
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Sliver’d in the moon’s eclipse;
Nose of Turk, and Tartar’s lips;
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,—
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingrediants of our caldron.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

Unholy Stupidity Batman: Sermons Full of Bullet Points, Emphasis On The Bull

Madness

Maness is back at it. Oh that he would take another break!

Obedience becomes unstoppable when I respond to the voice of God. No, when you respond to God it is because he has made it unstoppable that you do.

When I obey it becomes unstoppable for I’m obeying the will of an unstoppable God. No, when you obey it is God’s will that you do.

Prayer is often delayed obedience, and delayed obedience is nothing but disobedience. Many are the plans of a man, but every decision is from the Lord. You might think you are delaying prayer, but indeed, God’s sovereignty extends from his decision to your plans. You don’t plan first, he decides first. Every word, every thought, every action, no matter how far you run, how deep you hide, every day of your life was written in his book before one of them came to be.

If our obedience is based off of God making sense, then 99% of the stories in Scripture would not be included. Listen, if it doesn’t make sense, it is senseless. Jesus countered this kind of foolhardiness with the parable of the wise builder.

God’s will for my life doesn’t go further than the next sound of His voice. Many of us want to know His will for our lives when we aren’t willing to do His will for our today! No, and double no, his voice has gone out throughout the world, it is called the Word of God. Maness should pick it up sometime and study it for what it says not for what he wants it to say or for what he has been told it says but doesn’t.

When God asks me to do something He’s not asking if I WANT to, He’s trying to position me for what He’s GOING to do. Wrong. God doesn’t ask, he commands. It is not the Ten Hey You Wannas, it is the Ten Commandments. God is the sovereign ruler of the universe he created and of all those vessels that he has crafted to carry out his will. Who does Maness think he is, a god equal with God?

Sometimes we don’t see God move because we don’t move when he tells us to. Again, false. God makes all the decisions and you obey whether you think you are doing so or not. See Job’s rebuke for further insight. He was one who thought God bowed down to man’s plans. How wrong he was, almost dead wrong.

The smallest act of obedience can lead to the greatest move of God. Ah, finally, a yes and amen. However what follows should, hopefully if Maness has not scrambled the readers faith beyond recognition, clear this point up.

Except for the small tidbit at the end, all Maness said is false. The truth is:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for

it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

In the Greek it says that it is God who is working both the willing and the doing of what he wants you to do.

And:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God

Nothing that you have received was because of what you have done. Even faith is a gift.

And:

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.

Faith, my friends, is a gift and that means that faithfulness is a gift, also. For any which is not of faith is sin. And faith is sure and certain. It is not guess work. It was by faith that Abel offered. It was not that he offered to show he had faith, but faith itself is what causes the acts of obedience. That is, faith showed him what was the proper offering. For the free gift that God gave Abel, Abel is commended- he was given the Lamb and that is what he offered. For the works of man’s hands, Cain’s offering was rejected.

Mr. Maness really needs to read The Preacher and find out what he says in truth. Or, perhaps turn to Job who thought that it was because of his obedience that he was blessed. God had to tear Job down to nothing to show him that he didn’t really even know the God he thought he served:

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you

A lot of people do not think God would be so cruel. But as we know, thanks to Elihu, it was God’s kindess that lead Job to repentance. Strange kindness. But it still makes sense, because as long as man thinks that it is he who can give to God, he who can be obedient without God’s intercession on his behalf, he remains in his sin.

Contrary to Maness the Scripture affirms that the blessing of God is the obedience of faith and it is a free gift. Maness teaches the lie that the blessing of God is gained by the sacrifice of obedience. But Scripture tells us:

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. or alternately For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Mercy is God’s desire, not merited favor. But, one has to know God to know that.

Jesus said go and learn what this saying means. Grace comes to us because of God’s great mercy shown to us while we were yet sinners. The Lord did not die upon Calvary because of our obedience. It was not we who first loved God, but he who first loved us. We love, that is, we show obedience because of the love of God shed abroad in our hearts as a free gift from God, not because we some how work up love of God from within us.

Woe to those who follow Maness’s perversion of Able’s sacrifice of the Lamb into Cain’s offering of his own works. How miserable it must be to never quite get it right when you are being told that you can and must.

Element Church Cheyenne And The Ronnies

Some major voices in the emergent church are saying they want a relationship with Jesus and not doctrines, but we must ask which Jesus do they want to have a relationship with? If words mean anything it appears they want a relationship with a moralistic Jesus of their own imagination. They want to believe that God is pleased with us because of what we do …

My fear, and I believe it is well founded, is that Emergent (and emerging) is just a newly cast form of the old Semi-Pelagian heresy of behavior modification, or to put it bluntly, moralism. The most tragic “either-or” category they have set up for themselves is this: faith in Christ as a Savior versus following Christ as an example. Many of its leading proponents assert that right living leads to right doctrine, thus reversing the Biblical priority of grace. But ethics are not what make Christianity to differ from other world religions. All world religions offer ethical programs that are remarkably similar to ours. But ethics/morals don’t bring us into relationship with God unless you can perfectly keep them (James 2:10, Gal 3:10-12). In that case, you might need a helper, but you certainly don’t need a Savior. What makes Christianity to differ is that it is the only way which acknowledges that its own adherents are rebels and without hope in themselves, that is, apart from the sovereign mercy of their Head, who procured salvation for them. All other religions rely on moral improvement and good works, but Christ has shown us that “there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” (Eccl 7:20) Trusting in Jesus as a moral example alone, trusting in our good works and the social justice we do, simply makes Jesus’ Person and work of no effect, for we are ascribing the power to do those things to ourselves apart from His redeeming us. Thus it would appear that both the emergent and seeker sensitive churches are cut from the same moralistic cloth. If you are a young person considering either of these, remember that seeing Christ as merely an example and seeing church as a place to hear stories about how we are to live, apart from the new birth, is a man-centered and not a Christ-centered message and should be steered clear of as you would a poisonous viper.

J.W. Hendryx