Twenty One Problematic Theologies
( 2 Peter 2 )
Some of these 21 Theologies have caused much grief for individuals and nations as well - some of them simply need our understanding . Some of them relate mainly to Catholic and Orthodox churches, but most of the 21 Theologies relate to Protestant churches as well or exclusively and have been used to divert even true believers from following the Lord in the power of His Holy Spirit. Several of the Theologies are so dangerous that they can keep one from Saving Faith *** ( marked with three stars ) . Many of the others stunt the spread of the Gospel, missions and growth; Thereby becoming deadly for those whom we want to reach. Some of these Theologies play into the hands of the one world religion crowd, two are famous for giving Christ Followers the blame for the Holocaust and one was used by communists to further their revolution. It should be noted however, that even if a given local church has none of these doctrinal problems it can still be a church like the Ephesian church mentioned in Ephesus where first love or the love which they first had was gone. It should also be noted that like in the churches of Sardis and Thyatira, not all need to hold to doctrines that are prevalent in any given church. The basis for good Theology is the Holy Bible. It is the only book called God’s Word by all churches. It is the only book that contains the Law, the Prophets, the teachings of Jesus, the direct teachings of the Apostles He chose, also through writers like Mark and Luke who traveled with them in their lifetime and wrote down what they were told and witnessed in the presence of the Apostles. In the Bible we are warned by Jesus, the Apostles and the Prophets against false teachings ( any deviations from what they have given us ) and it is therein the Bible that we can see what in context is true. Many of these Theologies come from twisting or taking the Scriptures out of context. Always remember that the best commentary on the Bible is the Bible. Everyone can be a student of the Word of God. I look forward to comments to help me understand these issues better also. I certainly have not arrived and do not have full and perfect knowledge. Please forgive me if I have been offensive and let me know where I can improve. The order given here is not significant.
1. Hyper Calvinism - Here the good and valid doctrine of predestination becomes predetermination of all evil men do. God has indeed predetermined a WONDERFUL plan for those who belong to Him according to His foreknowledge, though the offer was made to all. According to the Hyper Calvinist however, God wants only to save a few. Words like 'all' do not mean all. Words like 'whosoever', 'foreknowledge' ( proginōskō ) and 'anyone' are ignored. The danger here is that the Gospel is not given out to all the lost. There is less concern for the lost and our mission to be like Christ in a world that is dying is changed. We become more like those Pharisees who were self-satisfied and who could walk around those in need or even kick them while they are down. Our major concerns then center around ourselves, and the mission sacrifices shown to us by the Lord and disciples are even ridiculed today - when seen in others. Hyper-calvinism is one of the reasons why the Welsh revival cannot be revived in Wales 101 years after the great revival. Today Wales has a weak evangelical presence. True predestination only applies to believers. His love ( God is love ) does not force others to love back. Predestination is more intricate, fantastic and awesome than we could ever imagine. God can always intervene when He wants to; And He has asked us to pray in this way, but He will not force anyone to love Him back. " God is truly amazing", is the understatement of all eternity. True predestination is God's way of ruling sovereignly over all in accordance with His holy and loving nature. It's His way of working out all things for good for those of us called according to His purpose. For those of us and only for those of us who have placed our faith and trust in Him alone. The destination of those who have rejected the Lord, either passively or actively is not what God desires - He has tried to stop this . He has intervened with history's greatest rescue effort and " all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved ". " God is not willing that any should perish and that all men should come to repentance " is what the Scriptures say. Amazingly, we are part of that plan to reach the lost. The elect are those who have been saved by grace through faith. The Bible always puts the onus on us to accept or reject Him. This is what Jonathan Edwards preached, contrary to what some say about him. Edwards also put the onus on man and was not a hyper-calvinist. The Hyper Calvinist in effect wishes that those going to Hell would simply go there more quietly. Read Rom. 8:28, 2 Pet.3:9, Rom. 10 & 1 Tim.2:4 ( Good reading on this subject is " Chosen but Free " by Norman Geisler and "What Love is This?" by Dave Hunt ) William Lane Craig expresses our thinking.
Dr. William Lane Craig: " ... with my children, it's my will and desire that my children should always obey me. But I also want them to have free will and so, unfortunately, by giving them or letting them have free will, I run the risk of them disobeying me. And I think that, well, God doesn't delight in the loss of any person; His desire is that all should be saved. But some people freely reject God and are lost. I had planned to read a passage of Scripture if I had time tonight. Let me just read this to you from Ezekiel. Listen to what God says about the lost. He says, in Ezekiel chapter 18:
Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die, says the Lord God, and not that he should turn from his ways and live? . . . As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die? (Ez. 18.23; 33.11)
Here God literally pleads with people to turn back from their self–destructive course of action and be saved. So I think that it is God's will and desire and His effort to save and draw every person to salvation. And the only reason that universal salvation is not true is because people have freedom to reject God's grace and to separate themselves from God forever. And that's a tragedy that God mourns.
"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that
is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely." (Revelation 22:17)
Faith is contrasted with works in Romans 9:31-33, so it is not a reason to boast. Faith in the Messiah Jesus was rejected by many in Israel, as the Lord claimed about chosen Jerusalem whom God was trying to get them to believe but they rejected Him and Jesus told them this, "you were unwilling". Mt.23:37 & Lk.13:34.
God desires all men to be saved 1 Tim.2:4; and that none should perish 2 Peter 3:9. The 'onus' or responsibility to respond is always placed on us. He desired all of Israel to believe, this was His will; but all did not believe of their own free volition. Responding in faith believing is not a "good work" , it is an admission of your total helplessness and acceptance of Gods way - His amazing grace. Faith in God's offer of salvation is admitting that you cannot save yourself and seeing by believing that God can and will save those who call on Him alone. Acts 17:30
If you do not ever respond in faith in God alone for your salvation, you will remain lost. It is even obvious that many place "their faith" in themselves, their own righteousness or in a religious system of rituals to outweigh any "faults" they may have. Jesus even warned of "many" who claimed His name would be forever lost because they came through the door of religious works in His name proclaiming what "they" did, instead of the door of trusting in His Mercy, Grace and being born again. Pick up your head and look, salvation is a gift paid in full by our Lord on the cross of Calvary. John 3:3-36; 10:1; Matthew 7:21-23
Of Course God is the initiator and our salvation begins and ends with Him alone, but your response to Him is your call. He is already reaching out to those who thirst and will listen ... John 7:37
2. Present Day Speaking in Tongues - Among some Protestants and even some Catholics this is a touchy subject. Nevertheless, it is an issue that must be addressed. The Bible talks about tongues in only two books, Acts and 1 Corinthians. Mark’s Gospel mentions it in passing in verses that may have been added later to the original manuscripts. In the book of Acts, the day of Pentecost is clearly recorded. The tongues of fire, strong wind sound and the actual languages spoken in prayers, declared the mighty works of God. The Bible tells us that they spoke in Parthian, Median, Elamitian, Cappadocian, Pontusian, Mesopotamian, Judean, Asian, Roman, Cretan, Egyptian, Pamphylian, Phrygian and Libyan. Jews from those areas who were visiting Jerusalem verified that this was an amazing supernatural event that no one ever before heard about, because these were Galileans who spoke Only Aramaic, Hebrew and perhaps some knew some Greek or Latin. These tongues given were a sign to the unbelievers that something truly miraculous was happening here that only God could do. Others from Galilee who didn’t understand those languages simply said the disciples were drunk. These true prayer languages remained with the early church and caused a problem in Corinth where they were being used in meetings without translation. A translator could verify the language and interpret the prayer. God could certainly duplicate this event at anytime, but no one I know has ever witnessed again what happened on the day of Pentecost as recorded in the Bible. God could certainly duplicate this and even make it more spectacular today, if He so chooses. If someone has this gift today it should be translated. Tongues are a sign for the unbeliever and not the believer as Paul states in 1 Cor. 14: 22. Many of us simply have many questions as we read the Scriptures and see the teaching that Tongues were a sign for the unbeliever - like in the book of Acts on the day of Pentecost. The rest of the New Testament, 25 books never mention this gift at all. Millions of born again Christians, nevertheless claim to have this gift and we wish to accept them fully as believers and only ask that they follow the guidelines for speaking in tongues as clearly stated in the Bible and that they fully accept others as believers who do not have this gift. Read Acts 2 & 1 Cor. 12, 13 & 14 Recommended Reading THE HOLY SPIRIT by Bill Bright puts the proper emphasis on Spirit Filled Living and his writings are loved by both charismatics and non-charismatics. We all believe in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
3. Cheap Grace *** - A phrase coined by D. Bonhoeffer during World War 2. As Bonhoeffer witnessed his own nation in hatred for others who needed Christ, he explained that their faith in Christ devaluated Grace by their actions. Germany was stacked to the gills with Theologians who devaluated the Bible. Both Bonhoeffer and the infamous theologian Bultman taught and lived in Wroclaw / Breslau. Cheap Grace in reality is another term for misplaced faith or a double minded faith - a faith which does not save. Many of Hitler's supporters attended Evangelical and Catholic churches. Good theologians lead us to God and His word. They believed more in their theologians than in the Lord; Or as in the case of the demons noted in James 2 who trusted more in their Lord Lucifer - Satan; They committed the greatest sin, by believing someone else besides God alone and completely. Yes, they believed in God. How could they not, but their faith was not in God alone. The love of Christ was not shed abroad in their hearts - they had no use for others living among them or next to them who were different than they were. Their faith was dead. Read Rom. 9 & 2 Tim. 2: 23-26 "Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession. … Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate." Dietrich Bonhoeffer
4. Legalism ***- A reduction of Christianity into rules and regulations, often including cultural likes and dislikes among certain groups of people; Limiting sinful lifestyles to certain taboos rather than to negative attitudes which can exist even in houses of prayer and while doing „ spiritual things ” . The legalist can condemn John the Baptist for his austere life style and at the same time condemn Jesus for eating and drinking. The alternative to legalism is the law of love which never negates the ten commandments and other clear teachings of the Scriptures. Read Col. 2, Rom. 14 & Galatians
5. Licensed to Sin *** - „ God Forbid that we should sin ” said the Apostle Paul. Sin is a repudiation of everything we believe, yet it is still the lingering lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life that we often battle with. License is freedom to do something. Those who come to Christ in this way, thinking that they can continue to live in sin, cannot be called true believers; Because they contradict the Cross of Christ which would have been unnecessary if we were free to sin. Some believers may fall into licentious attitudes in which they will always reap what they have sown in due time. True freedom is freedom to do good, because doing evil puts us back in chains. The old adage, " we don't break God's laws, they break us. " applies here. Believers in Christ are not in themselves better than others, they are better off because they have Christ’s Spirit living inside of them. Believers in Christ must often confess to sins and re-appropriate God's fullness by faith. Prayer is always present in the Christian life, you can't live as a Christian without it. Biblical repentance involves burning mental and inter-active bridges with sinful behavior we have experienced or imagined. As we learn to walk in faith we sin less. The Spirit-Filled life is the reality of every believer who confesses their sins and by faith / believing is filled with the Holy Spirit again. Those who continually walk in the flesh and not in faith subject themselves to the roaring lion who seeks to devour them in this life. The flaming missiles of Satan are harmless as long as we hold high the shield of Faith. The rewards for living for Christ in His power are greater than we can ever imagine. The losses for living in sin are greater than many of us believe. Though everyone truly born again will be saved; Those who have departed permanently after being among Christians have never really belonged to Christ. It's not enough to act a certain way or to say the right things. Christ must be born in your heart by your placing your trust in Him alone. The Holy Spirit - God Himself comes to reside inside of you as you truly place your faith in Him. He has promised to never ever leave you and you were sealed with His Holy Spirit as a guarantee. Read 1 John 2, Ephesians 2, Titus 3 and 1 Cor. 5