The secret teachings of Brian McLaren

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McLarens new book called “The Secret Message of Jesus”, has more unclear messages for us to chew on — either we swallow it eagerly because we are starving for food any food will do, or spit it out, knowing that it is less than nutritious, because you have had a decent meal, and know what is good and what is not. Have you ever watched survivor and been amazed at what people will eat if they are starving!! They will eat anything for the feeling of fullness. Much in the same way, if you have not been fed on good food, then you will be starving for any food.

McLaren has unlocked the secret messages of Jesus. Yes, that’s right the secret message of Jesus is now clarified all the more by McLaren, as it has always been a bit of a problem for the church over the past 2000 years or so to get a proper understanding of what Christ actually meant when he engaged the people in parables. Sounds like McLaren has a new revelation to tell, he even says he maybe classed as a gnostic by some. Here we are in the 21st century all upset about an ancient document called the gospel of Judas, and the role that Judas played in bringing Christ to the cross and the impact it will have on the Christians of today; now we also have McLaren to contend with and his views on what Jesus really meant.

Clearly, this gospel or account of Judas is going to be a problem for those who do not hold to sola-scripture; as will McLarens teachings. I however do hold to sola-scripture, and I make no defence but by the scriptures alone where Jesus says that not one word shall be added or taken away from the book — ‘I believe Him’.

Rev 22:18-20: “For I testify together with everyone hearing the Words of the prophecy of this Book, if anyone adds to these things, God will add upon him the plagues having been written in this Book. And if anyone takes away from the Words of the Book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and of the things having been written in this Book. The One testifying these things says, Yes, I am coming quickly. Amen. Yes, come, Lord Jesus!”

I personally trust that the Almighty God chose what books were to be included into His Word and what books were to be excluded. If you don’t trust that an Almighty God has the last Word about His Word and what that Word is going to be; well then you are open to all sorts of heresy, and so called revelations that are going to be coming in these days of liberal revisionism and liberal theology.

Anyway, I digress. I may blog about Judas at some later date, but for now I am going to concentrate on McLaren’s account of what the Lord is all about, and what his readers are beginning to understand about Jesus. First though, let McLaren speak:

A number of people have asked about the title. Some people are concerned that it has “Gnostic connotations.” Obviously, I was aware that some might draw this conclusion, but my main audience for the book (and really, for most of my books) is not members of the Christian subculture who would even know what “Gnostic” means. Instead, my primary audience is the “spiritual but not religious” people who are interested in what Jesus was about, but are generally turned off by the Religious Right, institutional religion, etc. I felt that the title would connect with this audience, and I was willing to risk being misunderstood for that purpose. Jesus, I think, took similar risks again and again.

As I worked on the book, I was repeatedly struck by how “strategically indirect” Jesus was – hiding his message in parable, sign, and wonder. I began to realize that this strategy of hiddenness was integral to Jesus’ whole message and ministry. I think people who read the book will be struck by this theme as well.

Well, let us hear from the people who have read his book and now have an understanding that is new and insightful. Amazon is an amazing site for feedback from where these quotes were taken from:

The title itself has to do with the idea that Jesus often concealed his message in parables and questions. Rarely does Jesus ever give a clear statement of what the gospel is all about. In fact, in Matthew 13:10-15 Jesus flat out admits that he is being deliberately unclear. Brian asks why would Jesus do such a thing? If doctrinal knowledge is so very important (at least according to evangelical theologies), then why couldn’t Jesus have just spoken more clearly and told us everything we needed to know. Why did he speak in parables rather than in doctrinal statements? (…) Instead maybe Christ’s goal was to effect spiritual transformation in the lives of his hearers by inviting his hearers into an interactive relationship with himself; and maybe this goal is best achieved by means of parables and other similarly evocative forms of communicating. But what is Jesus’ secret message then? According to Brian, it comes down to the idea of the kingdom of God as a present, political, social, and personal reality. In other words, he focuses on the fact that Jesus didn’t seem to talk about heaven as some place we go to after we die, but rather as a reality that we can begin to live in here and now (“the kingdom of God is among you!”). And perhaps by living in this reality (according to its ways and values) we can begin to transform the world in such a way as to bring a little bit more of heaven to earth.

Let’s look at Matthew 13, and see if the above is in accordance with scripture.

Mat 13:9-14 The one having ears to hear, let him hear. And coming near, the disciples said to Him, Why do You speak to them in parables? Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, And answering, He said to them, but it has not been given to those. For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have overabundance. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. Because of this, I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled on them, which says, “In hearing you will hear and in no way understand, and seeing you will see yet in no way perceive.

Ok, firstly the parables are not for them (the unsaved), but for us his disciples. So, the idea that the parables are unclear is true to a point; they are unclear for those who are not saved. The unsaved do not understand the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven…read again — ‘H-E-A-V-E-N’. He was not strategically indirect with us so to hide a secret message from us that had to be enlightened with some new revelation or some form of gnosticism. He was strategically indirect with them. Who are the ‘them‘? They are the unsaved, the ones who do not have their ears open, or their eyes open.

Now for the claim that Jesus did not talk about Heaven as a place to go, but rather a kingdom of God that is here and now. Well taken out of context this claim appears to be true. But Jesus said that His Kingdom is not of this world when questioned by Pilate. The kingdom of Heaven is not of this world, this world is fallen; no matter how in our humanity we try to make it better, it just isn’t going to get any better. This world has fallen under the curse of sin. Rom 8:22 “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now”. Peter also tells us that we are aliens and strangers of this world; that this is a carnal world, and is full of many temptations. We are told to seek first the kingdom, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew Henry on seeking the kingdom and His righteousness says:

First, The object of this seeking; The kingdom of God, and his righteousness; we must mind heaven as our end, and holiness as our way. “Seek the comforts of the kingdom of grace and glory as your felicity. Aim at the kingdom of heaven; press towards it; give diligence to make it sure; resolve not to take up short of it; seek for this glory, honour, and immortality; prefer heaven and heavenly blessings far before earth and earthly delights.”

Now, more from a reader of McLaren:

Brian puts it this way: “What if Jesus’ secret message reveals a secret plan? What if he didn’t come to start a new religion – but rather came to start a political, social, religious, artistic, economic, intellectual, and spiritual revolution that would give birth to a new world?” (p. 4)

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What is this New world that McLaren is talking about? It is the ever more popular ‘kingdom now’ theology, or ‘restorational eschatology’, an over realised theology that claims that the church has to bring in the kingdom before Christ comes.

Dominionism or Triumphalism is what McLaren is all about. It is nothing better than mans way of sorting the whole mess out before Christ comes again. Christ did not teach a social gospel, He came to save us from the clutches of this world, and He was interested in where we will spend eternity. Christian humanism has been born again, in fact in never really went away. But as Christians we really should recognise what is truth, and what appears to be truth. Please people fill your mind with His Word, and search to see if these things are so.

For more on McLaren see hereherehere

20 thoughts on “The secret teachings of Brian McLaren

  1. Pingback: Living Journey » Blog Archive » The Teachers Tongue will receive the heavier judgement.

  2. Thank you so much for your review …. i was going to buy this book cuz i really like Soren Kierkegaard (SK) … but like many authors it seem McLaren takes off from SK deep thinking and popularity as a vehicle to promote Kingdom now theology. Well i agree with you comments that Jesus never promoted a Kingdom of this world … in fact he turned down that satanic temptation so mayb we should also turn it down.
    Thank you again … blessings … Rob

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  3. I feel like this is maybe the most ridiculous thing I have ever read. Have you READ this book? Or McLaren’s site for that matter? Because your comments make it clear that you either A) have not read it B) did not understand it at all or C) read it for the express purpose of not liking it.
    Do you honestly think McLaren is ADDING to the message of Christ by asserting we should do things such as (gasp) Care for the poor? or (double gasp) Be socially active? or (nearly faints) Love eachother???

    McLaren says things in a different way because he is hoping to speak to the Postmodern generation in a postmodern way, in the same way that Jesus spoke to his audience in the common language, in the same way Paul continually used contemporary illustrations.

    I am a youth pastor- a seminary educated one at that- and I found this book to be elementary, saying nothing new at all. I think if you know your Bible, I mean really know it, and not just use it to guard a bunch of opinions you hold to tightly for fear of vulnerability, this book should strike you as nothing new at all.

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  4. Mclarens enjoys post-modernism and deconstructs everything including the truth. He never says anything for sure, and doesn't believe in propositional truth, therefore renders everything to subjective experience by which we should test things.

    Post-modernism by its very nature can not argue against anything because it denies knowing for certain that there is truth. If it denies that truth can be found in any absolute way, then a post-modernist has no right to any opinion of what is wrong or right or truth and untruth. In stating an opinion you are stating something that you believe to be true and that it should be given value, because you value your own opinion. It's like saying that every view point is valid… except the view that there is only one way in which we shall know the truth and that is through Jesus Christ. The sooner people wrap their head around the postmodern idea and understand that no-one can be certain of knowing that truth is knowable, then they will quickly understand that the postmodern ideology directly opposes the scriptures when Christ says that He is the Truth; the postmodern can therefore never know Christ in truth.

    I don't deny that there is truth, and because I do not I can say that. Mclaren by his own use of de-constructing the truth can't even tell me I am wrong. That's the problem with post-modernism.

    I am not the only one who shares concerns about the influence of this man and others like him are having on the Church. You just have to do a cursory google search to find people on both sides of the fence.

    The quotes above were found on his web-site that he had written about his book, and his fear that it would be found to be gnostic.  Well, he was right about his fear, because that is exactly where he is heading if he hasn't already done so.  The evangelical Church too – if embracing postmodernism as it appears to be doing- will become a New Age agglomerate of mans wisdom over Gods Truths'.

    And the other quote is from a reader who loved his book, and had learnt from it and that quote was found on amazon. That reader clearly understood that Mclaren was talking about a kingdom here on earth being built by a social gospel which believes in the church building a good world, and then once that has happened then Christ comes. It concentrates on mans efforts. And please do not confuse me with not thinking that helping the poor is a good thing. It is, but when your emphasise is on that rather than spreading the Word of God then that concerns me. Man cannot live by bread alone, but by the very word of God, comes to mind here.

    And quite frankly saying that because you are a youth pastor, and a seminary educated one at that, and questioning if I really know my bible… I don't care if you are Paul the apostle, I don't agree with you, and I am allowed to say that because I do believe in absolute truths and will not fall for the post-modern deconstruction of the truth .

    And as far as having a seminary education, I know of bible colleges that don't even teach genesis as an accurate historical account, and if you have any doubts as to the accuracy of the 6 day creation, perhaps you should go to this site, I am sure you will find it interesting, either way:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/

    Mclaren and his ilk are introducing mystic practices into the fold with the use of contemplative prayer, which is Transcendental Meditation posing as pseudo christian practices which zen buddhist monks and catholic monks used centuries ago, and the emergent movement is right into using labyrinths. This is New Age mysticism which has now swept into the Church.

    And it is because I have read the Bible cover to cover several times over and over… that I know that there will be in the end times wolves in sheeps clothing. And the things that I hold dear and feel are being undermined by the post-modern evangelical teachers is the truth.

    And I can say that, because I know that absolutes exist!

    V

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  5. Rob I agree with you completely that Jesus' Kingdom is not of this world.. and that kingdom now theology or Dominionism is helping to usher in satan's kingdom…

    We are told over and over again that we are strangers and pilgrims to this world.. and that our heart should not lie in earthly spoils. I think, as you can see, that people get confused about helping one another, which we should do, and equate this to trying to build and earthly kingdom and become so entrenched with this idea that they believe in a post-millennium.. which in clearly unscriptural

    Just as a side note look up social gospel in wikipedia, and you get the bigger picture of the dangers it proposes.

    The next kingdom to be built on this world is satan's, the book of Daniel testifies to that when Nebuchadnezzar has the dream of the huge statue which represents all the kingdoms of the world until… and I will say again until Christ comes again. He is the one that smashes the earthly kingdom to pieces. It clearly states that the statues toes are a mixture of iron and clay.

    I will quote it because I think it is important:

    Dan 2:41 And as to that you saw, the feet and the toes were partly of potters' clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided. But there shall be in it the strength of iron, because you saw the iron mixed with clay of the potter. Dan 2:42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. Dan 2:43 And as you saw the iron mixed with the clay of the clay, they shall be mixed with the seed of men. But they shall not adhere to one another, even as iron does not mix with clay.
    Dan 2:44 And in the days of these kings, the God of Heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed. And the kingdom shall not be left to other people. It shall break in pieces and destroy all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
    Dan 2:45 Because you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold in pieces.

    I find it interesting that it states that there is a weakness, and that it is partly strong and partly fragile… kind of like post-modernism, don't you think?

    And I find it absolutely pivotal that it says… that Gods kingdom was built without hands but; clearly meaning without mans effort. And it is very important that it is God kingdom that comes down from heaven. Not the other way around…. the kingdom being built here. There will be a Godly kingdom here but not until Christ comes will it be fully realised.

    The early kingdom that is being built now is nothing more that man espousing his traditions over the statutes of God, with contemplative prayer, labyrinth walking, and experiential subjectivity being the standard in which to test all things. It is all part of the ecumenical movement peace with mankind at any cost…even if it costs the truth being chewed up and spat out. Truth by its very nature divides.. Christ said it would when he said, and Paul when writing to the Hebrews say this of the truth:

    Mat 10:34 Think not that I came to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

    Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    Luk 12:51 Think ye that I am come to give peace in the earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:

    Luk 12:52 for there shall be from henceforth five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.

    Luk 12:53 They shall be divided, father against son, and son against father; mother against daughter, and daughter against her mother; mother in law against her daughter in law, and daughter in law against her mother in law.

    Of course there is going to be division it says it will happen… and I am afraid the sword of truth is becoming blunt and dull by those who do not keep it sharpened by failing to get it out and inspecting it regularly. Test everything because in the last days this will happen:

    Mat 15:9 But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men.

    I see it do you?
    V

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  6. Hi V,

    You know, I’ve heard about this book, haven’t read it though. I don’t think we always need to read a book to know what an author stands for. I’ve read and listened to enough Brian McLaren interviews to know where he is coming from, and that he is basically questioning God’s truth. The sad part is that pastors are actually spending time reading about this man’s doubts when they should be devoting themselves to the truth found in God’s Word.

    One of my favourtie preachers once said, “If anyone comes and puts a question mark after the Word of God, you can be sure He is doing the work of Satan!” From the very beginning it was he who slid into the garden hissing his crafty lie, “Hath God said?”

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  7. Here is a good review written by someone who stared out liking the book, but then was turned around by the appendix, I will quote:

    The only outright critique I make of the book is that McLaren describes something that has been proclaimed for 2,000 years as ‘secret;’ he paints the gospel as ‘hidden,’ even going so far as to imply in his Appendix I entitled Why Didn’t We Get It Sooner that the Church lost the message of Jesus sometime before the end of the second century and we have just regained the proper understanding of it in this most recent generation.

    I had the unfortunate timing to read this Appendix while I was about halfway through the book. I was immensely excited by the direction the book was taking and then, while perusing the endnotes, came across the Appendix. I did not know how to react. Anger, sorrow, disgust… The Appendix colored my reading of the rest of the book. In fact, I don’t know that I will be able to read McLaren again in the same light (without some sort of retraction)

    You can find that from here:

    http://damascus9.blogspot.com/2006/07/another-gnostic-gospel.html

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  8. You have stated the fundamentals well. Nikki’s response is a poignant example of the divide on this issue. She just can’t see your points. “The natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit.”

    I would suggest that it is time to go back and review the polemics of the apostles and fathers from Paul and John to Irenaeus and Justin Martyr. Gnosticism was defeated decisively long ago. We would do well to review the arguments that put them down the first time.

    Because postmodernists like McLaren don’t believe in inspriation and inerrancy (they won’t say it directly!) they feel free to use scripture out of context. “The kingdom of God is within you,” and “Judge not lest you be judged,” predominate without the slightest reference to other scriptures that put these statement in their proper context.

    That’s not important to McLaren who picks and chooses verses like strawberries from a breakfast buffet. He has no sense of the full meal. He can just take what he wants and ignore the rest. It’s not supposed to fit together; it’s man-made.

    Jesus commanded us to judge and told us that the kingdom was NOT of this world. Taken as a whole this all makes sense to us, but not to anyone devoid of the Spirit.

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  9. Thanks Paul for your support, I wonder how the current conflict in the middle east sits with those that think the world is just going to become better and better.

    In fact I bet things will get worse until there is oooooh …some kind of PEACE treaty signed by all the worlds nations and this treaty being ushered in by someone who the world thinks is just great and fantastic.

    Yet, those who are wise will count the number of this man to be 666.

    V

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  10. Paul… if you come back to comment I am just letting you know that on your blogger blog you have the setting for comments to allow only blogger users to be able to comment.

    I would like to have the opportunity to comment on your blog but cannot because of this setting.

    I like your idea of going back to the times when gnosticism was defeated the first time and to use those arguments…

    Have you got any iteresting web-sites that you would be interested in sharing with us?

    I hope to see you back Paul…

    V

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  11. Christ did not teach a social gospel, He came to save us from the clutches of this world, and He was interested in where we will spend eternity.

    While I’m no fan of McLaren’s theology, I’m also no fan of yours. The term “social gospel” is as loaded as the term “pacifist.” Say “pacifist” and we don’t think of Bonhoeffer or Tertullian or Jesus or Martin Luther King Jr but of Jane Fonda and Susan Sarandon. So the word carries baggage that infects it’s definition. So some now use the word “Christian non-violence.”

    When I hear “social gospel” – and you may have this reaction as well – I cringe because I don’t think of Wesley (who definitely argued for loving God by loving others by seeking to meet their emotional, physical and spiritual needs). No, I think of men and women throughout history in the West who discounted Heaven as a place to come and worked solely for it as a place here and now. So I don’t use the term though I believe it’s original meaning – that the good news, or gospel, is good news for all people and every situation in part because those who submit to the Author of the good news and are transformed by it and Him become His agents of mercy showing and peace making to all people – to the ends of the earth.

    Instead I’ve replaced “social gospel” with “discipleship” which Ii believe at it’s heart is Christ imitation. An excellent book I read recently on the subject is Dissident Discipleship by David Augsburger a professor at Fuller.

    Jesus’ “alter call” – not that he literally had one – was not concerned primarily or solely with the after life. You cannot produce one quote from Jesus saying essentially “I came ONLY to bring you into my future kingdom in the sky.” The kingdom – and I’ve really wrestled with this over the years and parsed and exegeted and prayed about this so please teach me if I’ve missed something valuable here, I want to learn – is talked about in two tenses. In the beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) for instance the kingdom is said to be present (theirs is) and future (they will).

    Matthew is the only writer to speak of the kingdom as “the kingdom of heaven” while the rest of scripture simply speaks of a kingdom (a word usually also used of earthly kingdoms that are tangible) or “the kingdom of God.” SO we can’t let the word “heaven” alone and our certainty that it is a place of the future and of another geography color determine by itself the meaning of every mention of the word “kingdom” in scripture.

    Furthermore, we cannot say, as you have that Jesus did not teach social implication of His coming. He asserted in the temple did He not that the reign of God had come to earth in Him and that this meant, in part, healing (spiritual and/or physically) of the blind and freedom for captives (again, physical and/or spiritual). We see by His example, which I believe we are to imitate and which the church in Acts imitated, God in the flesh healing the sick, feeding the hungry as well as freeing sinners from sin and themselves. He reigned in that sense right then and there when his will – perfection and glory to God as a result of it – peaked through in the present.

    His kingdom then, as I understand it, has come through Christ, is coming through His Church, but will not come fully until the new heaven and new earth arrive. It is our job to “aim for perfection” as Paul said it in our personal obedience to the model of Christ and the rule of the Father and the leading of the Spirit. In that sense, perfect is sought.

    At the same time, it is true, as you’ve pointed out, that we will always have the poor and imperfection. But Christ Himself taught about this paradox in the parable of the wheat and tares when He described the earth as a place inhabited by good (rooted in Him) and evil (rooted in Satan). He said BOTH kingdoms (of good and evil) will advance and grow. BOTH. And in the end He’ll separate the kingdoms forever. One will enter His perfect unfiltered presence in Heaven and the other will be separated from His presence forever in Hell.

    But until that day the kingdoms advance. When we engage in the work of Christ – feeding, clothing, preaching, etc – we love God. To claim a love for God without loving people makes us liars (1 John 3-4). The gospel then has a social consequence. It is not, however, socially terminated. It goes beyond the present social ramifications to eternal residence and reign.

    In short, you’re both wrong as I understand scripture. You wish to make salvation something about the individual only, bringing her/him into a future kingdom that has no social impact today. That is heretical.

    McLaren, as you say, I’ve not rad this book of his, is teaching a kingdom that is only present and open to all and does not one day result in eternal separation or union with the Father. That is also heretical.

    What seems to be true is a present and future kingdom. The Christian has the kingdom within her (as Christ Himself told the Pharisees – “The kingdom of God is within.”) and that kingdom or reign of or obedience to Christ changes the way we will and results in love of mankind and God’s creation. A love that is not tangible is not viable. BUT those who love and imitate CHrist are His true disciples who answer His invitation not to believe in Him but to believe and follow and THEY alone will inherit a future residence in the presence of God. It’s both and. Not either or.

    -Shaun

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  12. Shaun,

    You’re right about us being active and loving now, and in fact, the kingdom starting now, because when Jesus came, the kingdom came. But there’s a reason why we pray, “Thy kingdom come…” The primary hope for the kingdom is future.

    The gripe here is with those people who say this world is all the kingdom there is, that our primary hope is not heaven. And, as you know, the apostle Peter tells us to fix our hope completely on when Christ comes back to usher in His kingdom–both heavenly and earthly. Only He can make this earth a peaceful kingdom.

    Then again, this present earth is due to be melted, so let’s not become too attached to it.

    Hey, I saw one of your concerts a few years back. You’ve got some talent.

    Hey guys, I’m back. Thanks for the heads up on not having the blog open to anyone but “bloggers.” I’ll change it.

    The material I have on the fathers and their refutation of gnostics is primarily in print form, but I’ll see what I can find on the web and get back to you. Irenaeus really ran circles around those guys.

    Paul

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  13. “The gripe here is with those people who say this world is all the kingdom there is, that our primary hope is not heaven. And, as you know, the apostle Peter tells us to fix our hope completely on when Christ comes back to usher in His kingdom–both heavenly and earthly. Only He can make this earth a peaceful kingdom.”

    Here is the issue though, Brian McLaren most certainly does believe in the New Creation … which includes the New Heaven and New Earth…

    My issue with articles like this is it sounds like you are opposed to helping the poor feeding the hungry and truly come across as unloving.

    N.T. Wright is a big influence on McLaren and many of us… he is Reformed in theology contrary to what many say. Brian has mentioned NT Wright in many of his talks.

    N.T Wright also teaches about New Creation…

    So the real issue is you are taking McLaren out of the context he is speaking from and placing him into your own agenda to tear him down… which then makes you also a deconstructionist… yet with the fault of re defining the original context.

    Ponder that a bit.

    This is a very dishonest approach as far as presenting a fair review of any situation.

    I know very few “Gnostic” emerging churchers… In fact most “Gnostics” I have met that claim to be emerging see themselves still outside of emerging and hope though that they are adding to the understanding… yet most of us who are emerging still see Gnosticism as heresy… as Paul stated above with Irenaeus.

    Brian is not a Gnostic… nor is he claiming to be presenting anything new. He is showing that there is a social aspect that has been lost to many in the Gospel message.

    Your comment here is not correct also:

    “Ok, firstly the parables are not for them (the unsaved), but for us his disciples. So, the idea that the parables are unclear is true to a point; they are unclear for those who are not saved. ”

    If i recall Judas was also a disciple… yet was not saved. Also, it parables were to “those who had dears to hear”, yet the disciples themselves had to ask what they meant! You are implying that the disciple understood the parables yet if you actually read scripture they did not… until after the resurrection and Jesus explained all things to them.

    The parables were to hide the message first from those who claimed to understand the scripture, then to those who had ears to hear.

    I could go on and on as to other errors, yet I just feel they will not be heard…

    Blessings,
    iggy

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  14. I don’t believe anybody’s against feeding the hungry or helping the poor.

    The issue is whether or not this is the Gospel – or more of a consequence of the Gospel.

    The difference is huge.

    If these good things are in themselves the Gospel or are an integral part of the Gospel, then the “I really don’t like it being called the social gospel” complaint falls flat – it is a social gospel, no matter what other label you might like to apply to it to assuage hurt feelings over the implications thereof.

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  15. That is like asking if the consequence of the Gospel is the New Creation…

    You cannot separate the Gospel and it’s consequences.

    iggy

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  16. Sure you can.

    It’s simple epistemology. It’s like how you can separate the premises and conclusions of syllogisms.

    The consequences of the Gospel may or may not be necessary (I am using “necessary” in the sense of inevitability – and that in the sense of inferential logic – i.e., that the consequence of a thing invariably and necessarily flows from that thing as a subsequent corollary), but they flow from the antecedent cause (the actual Gospel), but are not in themselves definitional of that cause.

    I love my wife. As a necessary consequence of that love, I married her. However, the marriage is only a corollary of the love (the antecedent cause) – the love would continue to exist even in the absence of its subsequent consequence.

    The Gospel is the good news of salvation. Belief in the Gospel is a requirement for salvation. Good works of any stripe are a consequence of (and usually a necessary consequence of) belief in the Gospel – but are not in themselves that Gospel.

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  17. Mike,

    If you separate the Gospel and the consequences of New Creation… you gut the Gospel of the power of the Resurrection… in fact it becomes nothing less than the very denial of the Resurrection.

    In that I agree with Paul… “Without the resurrection we are the more to be pitied” (paraphrased)

    Belief in Jesus IS the Gospel… one must place their faith in the Person of Jesus and in that believe the Gospel…

    So many times I state this and then people state there is no difference… but there is a great one…

    If one accepts the Gospel… “I believe Jesus lived and died and lived again”… great! Ton’s of people do… but as the Scripture teaches…

    John states in his gospel 2nd chapter:

    “23. Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. 24. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. 25. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.”

    Here is the very thing you are saying and they are NOT saved… so it contradicts your teaching… In that I hope you agree with scripture over your view. All things hinge on the Person of Jesus Christ and whether we accept and receive His Love. Whether one accepts of rejects… all knees will bow an dall tongues confess, Jesus Christ is Lord!

    The people believed in Jesus… and where not saved!!!! The point is they did believe in Jesus but Jesus new their heart… so it is in how the person receives the Good News… in that being the person… Jesus. Yet, it is that Jesus knows us that matters not in that we know Him.

    This is in the story of the Sheep and Goats… and is also taught by John in 1 John 4:10. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” It is that we respond in action to the Love that God has given us.

    Your example of marriage was actually a perfect example of what I am stating. I loved my wife and she loved me in return… we then proposed marriage to consummate our marriage… in that we married and continue in the “love” that was started… and we continue to grow more in love every day! It is the continuous flow of the Gospel that keeps the connection and is why I say that the consequences cannot be separated.

    I did to stop loving my wife after we married… that would be the separation of the consequences… I did not go out after other women and “love” them as I did my wife as that would not be loving to my wife… There is a connection and not a separation between us. We are one… in that the consequences of the Gospel is either one rejects it and is connected to it in their rejection… the other is to accept and receive it and be connected to The Kingdom of God.

    Now, only a good tree bears good fruit… right? And only God is good… right? Jesus is the vine and we are the branches… Jesus bears His Fruit in and through us…

    If we think this is OUR fruit… then we are deceiving ourselves and have fallen into works. For, we are bad trees and can bear only bad fruit… this is often mitsuta. We bear only good fruit if God is doing HIS good and perfect will in and through us.

    So, as far as I can see you are at odds with much in scripture if you think you can disconnect the Gospel from its consequences.

    Blessing,
    iggy

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  18. LOL!

    I re-read this and found this phrase was not caught by my “spel chiker”.

    “this is often mitsuta.”

    Which of course should be “this is often MISUNDERSTOOD”

    Sorry… but it was funny…

    BTW Mitusta is a Japanese Dr. who had some great breakthroughs in antihistamines… or he was a dentist… = )

    Blessings,
    iggy

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