(Continued from page 258)
You write: 'Have you taken the time to ask the Lord about what you have published, and what He feels about it?'
TCE: As we have made clear in considerable detail on our pages, and briefly in this reply, we are instructed by the Word of God to make righteous judgements and take Biblical action. Many who have criticised us for 'concentrating too much on prayer' take a very different attitude to yours, but another Biblical fact is that we are not to pray in disobedience to the clear instruction already given by God in His Word and to do so would amount to the sin of unbelief. This is Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones' view of your proposal:
'I am shut up to this Book; anything that I may say that I believe apart from the Bible will be sheer imagination. That is why this talk about going directly to Christ [without reference to the Scriptures] is, according to the New Testament, the most dangerous position we can be in'. (The Love of God, p123)
We have lost count of the claims by Christians that 'God told me ...' - and when the path they had supposedly received from 'God' proved to be their own 'vain imagination' (by its un-Scriptural nature and outcome - Gen 6:5; Jer 3:17; 7:24; 9:14; 11:8; 13:10; 16:12; 18:12; 23:17; Luke 1:51) - they then had another 'revelation of convenience'.
If you are so sure that our 'website ... serves to stir up ... divisions in the Church' in an un-Biblical manner the onus is on you to point out exactly what these are. We have already proven from Scripture that you have a false view of Biblical unity and that we are not 'to encourage believers to come together, despite their differences' by putting the Word of God to one side and creating a false unity, because this will not 'honour our Lord Jesus Christ' but, as the Roman Catholic church does abundantly, will actually dishonour His name! How on earth do you think you can justify unity with the Papal cult that has brought utter dishonour to His Name by, for example, its massive cover-up of the worldwide paedophile scandal committed by its false 'priesthood'. The world is horrified by this apparently 'Christian' behaviour since it has also fallen for the lie that Rome is a part of Christianity.
The modern evangelical philosophy is often stated by the dictum: 'In essentials unity; in non-essentials liberty; in all things charity.' This saying is commonly attributed to Augustine, but was actually first stated by the 17th-century Lutheran Rupertus Meldenius (aka Peter Meiderlin) and became the rallying cry of the Moravians who followed Scripture in a 'Reformationist' manner while retaining some Papal heresies, such as infant baptism, a 'priesthood,' and - surprise, surprise - promotion of unity above the absolute truth of God's Word.
As with so many errors that have continued to creep back into 'Reformationism' once the Fundamentalist movement of the first half of the 20th century adopted this dictum, focussing on unity around 'the fundamentals of the faith' while downplaying the 'minor issues,' further Romanist-pagan-occult influence grew. While claiming that such unity would create the largest possible united front against theological modernism the dictum has resulted in predictable weakening of the witness of Christianity and has become part of the integral philosophy of 'New Evangelicalism' and all those affiliated to the dreadfully apostate National Council of Churches and World Council of Churches.
There is absolutely no support in the Bible for the 'in essentials liberty' doctrine. The Lord Jesus Christ commanded His disciples to teach converts 'to observe ALL things whatsoever I have commanded you' (Matt. 28v20) and the Apostle Paul reminded the elders at Ephesus that the reason he was free from the blood of all men was that he had preached the WHOLE counsel of God (Acts 20v27). The more plainly you preach the whole counsel of God, the less likely it will be that you will join hands in ministry with those who hold different doctrine.
Paul instructed Timothy to keep the truth 'without SPOT, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ' (1 Timothy 6v14). A spot (Greek, aspilos, means unblemished - physically or morally; without spot, unspotted) is a small, seemingly insignificant thing - and 'unrebukeable' is from anepileptos, 'not arrested, i.e. (by implication) inculpable, blameless! Allowing the truth to be polluted with the errors of ecumenism has led to progressively faulty doctrine and behaviour. This epistle to Timothy contains commandments about such things as the woman's role in ministry, which would be considered a 'non-essential' in much of the company you keep - and which has led to obvious disunity in Anglicanism, etc., when the more Biblically correct faction separates from the heretical (but, typically, goes from Rowan's frying-pan into the Papist fire!). But Paul taught Timothy to have an entirely different approach toward such teachings.
In 1 Corinthians 11v2 Paul wrote to the church at Corinth: 'Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in ALL things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.' This passage deals with hair length and the Lord's Supper, which are also widely considered to be 'non-essentials' today, yet Paul praised the church for remembering ALL the teachings.
While not all doctrine has the same significance and weight, there is no indication in the New Testament that the teachings the inspired writers wrote down were 'non-essential' in any sense. The Scripture never encourages the believer to treat some doctrine as 'non-essential' or to 'stand for the cardinal truths and downplay the peripherals.'
Some try to use Romans 14 to support this philosophy, but the chapter does not say that some Bible doctrine is non-essential. It says that we are to allow one another liberty in matters in which the Bible is silent! The examples that Paul gave were eating meat and keeping of holy days, things that the New Testament is silent about. There is no doctrine of diet in the New Testament, so it is a matter of Christian liberty within the guidelines given (Romans 14; 1 Cor. 8v13).
So Scripture, and facts, show us that the only true 'non-essential' is a personal opinion not based solidly upon Scripture. Jude instructed every believer to 'earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints' (Jude 3) but if he didn't delineate what part of the faith is to be defended, the obvious meaning is that whatever aspect of the faith is under attack at a particular time, God's people should rally to its defense rather than pretend that it is a 'non-essential.'
Since the Bible doesn't identify a 'non-essential' doctrine, who is to say what this might be? The fact is that once a believer adopts the 'non-essentials' philosophy, his list of 'non-essentials' tends to grow as time passes and as his associations broaden. This is exactly what the historical record shows of the progress of 'ecumenism' in the last century. If you read Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones opinion of Roman Catholics, you find a very clear Biblical opinion, e.g.:
There are individual Roman Catholics who are undoubtedly Christian. (Knowing the Times, 306)
But he clarifies the view and makes it clear that genuine Christians would leave Rome!
From the standpoint of orthodoxy and doctrinal beliefs I find myself nearer to many a Roman Catholic than to many within the ranks of Protestantism but where I part company with them and must part company is that they add these pluses -- Christ, plus the Church, plus the Virgin Mary, plus the priests, plus the saints and so on. Christ alone is not enough and He does not stand in all His unique glory at the centre. (Spiritual Depression, 187)
Roman Catholics - dislike the doctrine of assurance of salvation, and denounce it. They do not want us to have personal certainty; our assurance must lie in the Church to which we commit ourselves. Not only so, but we have to go through purgatory they say, before we arrive at the promised rest. Everything is uncertain; and all depends upon the Church, and the prayers of the Church for us, and the lighting of candles and the payment of money for indulgences, and the work of supererogation of the saints. (God's Ultimate Purpose, 371)
I cannot see a modern Roman Catholic Church in the Scriptures. (Great Doctrines of the Bible (3), 19)
With the whole Roman system the Holy Spirit was ignored; the priesthood, the priests, the Church, Mary and the saints were put into the position of the Holy-Spirit. (Great Doctrines of the Bible (2), 5)
Can you not see that the very suggestion that we need to pray to Mary, that she may influence him is blasphemous? It is to derogate from his heart of love, from his sympathy, from his understanding, from his nearness to us. (Spiritual Blessing, 28)
If you could tell me about Roman Catholic bishops and cardinals who, as a result of the baptism of the Spirit, have tried to reform the Roman Catholic Church and have consequently been turned out or have decided to leave, then I would wholeheartedly accept the genuineness of their experience. (Christian Conduct, 247)
The Bible is complete -- Old Testament, New Testament -- given by God. And it is all: there is nothing further. Everything, therefore, that claims to be revelation must be tested by this. So we reject the doctrine of the immaculate conception; we reject the doctrine likewise of the assumption of the Virgin, and all these various other things for which the Roman Church claims divine and unique authority. It is a violation of the Scripture teaching about itself. (The Gospel of God, 91)
Regarding Roman Catholicism in Ireland, Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote:
'County Donegal ... at Rosapenna ... There is one thing however that I find depressing here and that is the extreme poverty of the people. They live in little hovels and eke out a bare existence on this rocky soil. I have never seen such a primitive type of life before. The contrast between it and the peasant life in Wales which I knew as a boy is striking. There is no sign of intelligence here or of any type of culture. It seems very sad to me. I have no doubt at all that it is entirely due to the domination of Roman Catholicism. It is a more powerful argument against that vicious system than anything I have ever read or even heard ... ' (The Fight of Faith 1939-1981, Iain Murray, p212)
You write: '... I feel you are in error, and I would urge you to consider exactly what effect your website is having upon the Church'.
It is entirely appropriate that you should write 'feel', since it is clear that your life is guided primarily by 'feelings' and not the Word of God, the Bible. No doubt you will claim that you have prayed about meeting with the Roman Catholic cult - and presumably you believe God told you it was alright to 'fellowship with unbelievers' (as defined Biblically) in contradiction of His Word! In which case the Word of God is of little use to a 'mature believer' such as yourself.
Your exhortation - 'for the sake of Christ and His Church' to 'look again at everything ... published on [the] website, and prayerfully consider each article, whether it is good for it to be there ... does [it] build up the Church, or serve to tear it apart' has long been adhered to while carefully studying His Word as Bereans (Acts 17v11). We have clearly received different direction from that received by you. Or some of the things you write about yourself are simply untrue? We must admit that, in all the years we have followed Christ, we have never met any renowned orthodox leader in the church who described themselves as anything but 'a sinner.' And that is, of course, what we all are.
In Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour