Internet investigators, Conference fashionistas and Tattle-tale heroes

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Grant Swart

   

(1 Ti 4:16) “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine;    continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”

   

                     (2Ti 2:14-17) Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene.

       (Eph 4:29) Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

       (Eph 4:12-14) to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

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 PREACH WHAT GOD HAS TAUGHT YOU:

Make it your business to know the doctrine of the Holy Bible. Make it your business to proclaim the amazing grace of God, glorify God by speaking the Gospel of His Son, not by spending the majority of your time mentioning names of false and deceived men who are spreading their falsely charismatic messages based on demonic and secular motivation. Teach only simple, clear and considered Biblical Truth to those whom you wish to guide. You cannot expect the immature and the misguided to recognize falsehoods, which you think you have so cleverly have uncovered by your following the tabloids and the adverts stuck on the walls of foyers of worldly churches, unless they FIRST fully understand the Truth. The Truth is not based in our opinions, or in the opinion of the speakers we tend to idolize, but in Scripture.

In this regard, let your discussion, correspondence and intentions be centered around only the inspired doctrine of God. Don’t add to that the opinions of men. Let those who by the providence and Grace of God have excess time on their hands, expend their priceless excess energy and time on edifying and supporting other believers with absolute facts about our sin, God’s grace and Christ’s atonement. Be like the sheep who hear the voice of the Shepherd, the voice which speaks with perfect clarity from the Scriptures, don’t act like those who partake in riotous demonstrations on the street. Actions such as those, which are consistently on display on the “Christian” digital media and private internet pages are, by and large, unbiblical and frankly embarrassing to the Christian.

Pointless, fruitless arguments in the digital realm and in the church world, about which misguided preacher did what to whom, and predictions about where they are headed, resemble bare-knuckled bar fights in a seedy pub in some back street. It seems as if some kind of sick gratification is derived from proving another person wrong, rather than correcting and teaching with compassion.

True compassion can only be practiced when it is validated by Scripture and when it is prayerfully applied, and when the opinions of men are silent on the matter. If, after repeated warning the person won’t repent, turn your back and walk away, there are thousands of souls who need to hear the truth, don’t waste your time with controversies. Those who are taught by God’s Word and who come to know the Truth, will be able to recognize the deceivers by weighing their actions and words against God’s Word. We don’t need conferences or internet investigators to teach us the difference between what is acceptable before God and what is not.

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Do what God called His children to do, fulfill your commission of preaching only the Gospel, with shameless fervour. Redirect that enthusiasm, which most seem to have reserved for speculating, pointing fingers like kindergarten tell-tales and “exposing” the errors of other men, so often done under the guise of “contending for the faith” or “being discerning on behalf of the truth”. Rubbish, self-righteous and Pharisaical boredom on display, what a waste of God’s good time which we have been granted by His Grace! Yes, we are instructed to contend (Jude 1:3), and yes, spirit-led Christians should by nature be discerning (Php 1:9; Heb 5:14), but not like rumour mongers, sensation seekers and Christian fashionistas.

The fact is, we are all so far from the unadulterated truth, we are all so utterly filthy, that if we could see ourselves in the way God sees even our BEST deeds, we would certainly not express our little opinions so loudly from our virtual internet based castles. Most are guilty of that practice, some more than others. Consider what an illiterate Christian, who has no exposure to the world of the tabloid junkies, would think about our patting each other on the back because of the pride-filled noises we can make from our own little insignificant platforms!

Another great fact is that there are millions who have not heard the Gospel and who oppose God. Those clanging symbols (1 Cor 13:1) who like to spend their time rattling their empty cans about which preacher has recently done what, or which clown with a microphone, a mouse and a keyboard has emerged with some new fangled church doctrine, or which church has introduced Lectio Hinduvina, are wasting the precious time which should be freely spent on those who would be lost. Snatch them from the fire by giving them the Gospel, if it is so important to you that your presence be made known. tattle tale hero

Work at understanding the Gospel, rather than attending some pointless air-conditioned conference or debate where we can rub shoulders with the rich and (in)famous from all over the wealthy church world. The only question worthy of being posed to the men on those stages, is why they are preaching to the converted in the towns and cities where our churches are failing their truth-starved communities by preaching secular humanism and legalism, rather than taking the Gospel to those who have no means of accessing the truth.

The globe-trotting conference speakers and the digital discerners will soon find out that it is not as easy, as financially lucrative or as conveniently safe, to take the Gospel to the unconverted in the way that it is meant to be done. Conference goers and computer screens generally don’t throw stones at the speakers in the way those who are hostile to the Word of God do.

Leave your questions and your theories in your study and preach only that which God has taught you, only that of which you are personally and thoroughly convinced.

·      Preach to the hearts of men.

·      Preach that which is obvious.

·      Preach from experience.

·      Paint Biblical pictures with words to illustrate often.

·      Validate everything you say with Scripture.

Religious legalists, Pharisees, love to invent laws and try to enforce laws upon others. Laws which Jesus fulfilled, because we could not and cannot fulfill them and laws which bring death, not life. They love to sit in judgment over others and quickly make determinations as to whether a person is saved or lost, holy or unholy, sanctified or unsanctified based upon their observation of that person’s obedience or lack of obedience to their rules, laws, customs, traditions, and opinions. To all who love law and like to think yourselves holier than the rest of us, here’s a law for you to at least try to obey. — “Ye shall not rule over one another.” (Lev 25:46)  

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10 thoughts on “Internet investigators, Conference fashionistas and Tattle-tale heroes

  1. Interesting, this is all over the place and one cannot fully comprehend the thoughts of the writer. It seems that only the J. vernon Mcgee’s and Billy Graham’s of Christianity are the only ones that are capable in preaching the Gospel. Looks like someone who is against theological academia. Conferences are for lay people, seminary students… in order to equipped them. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with preaching the Word to unbelievers. Only my opinion and observation, this blog is a rant against theological studies, theologians, teachers… There will be controversies, debates, arguments… as always, as was from the beginning of the penning writings the Cannon, The Reformation, and our present day. We can’t get away from hermeneutics, apologetics… as they will ALWAYS bring divisions, arguments… in trying to understand the Word of God.

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    • Mike

      …one cannot fully comprehend the thoughts of the writer.

      It is not that “one” cannot comprehend what I wrote, it would be more accurate to say that you, yourself, cannot comprehend what I wrote. Many other people have clearly understood what I wrote. The writer is not responsible for what you understand, only for that what he has written.

      It seems that only the J. vernon Mcgee’s and Billy Graham’s of Christianity are the only ones that are capable in preaching the Gospel.

      You have chosen two unusual names to make your point, but that is a subject for a different discussion. It does not take a theologian, or even a literate person for that matter, to give the Gospel to others.

      Looks like someone who is against theological academia.

      From an academic and a theological point of view, your assumptions are completely unsubstantiated.

      Conferences are for lay people, seminary students… in order to equipped them. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with preaching the Word to unbelievers.

      My point, precisely. These conferences have absolutely NOTHING to do with preaching the Word to unbelievers, exactly as you say. There is therefore no Biblical mandate for their existence. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is simple, clear and uncompromisingly understood by the Grace of God. No number of conferences or debates can equip the lay person or the seminary student with that Truth. Unlike a legal or scientific degree, we cannot pay for an understanding of the Truth. We do not understand the Gospel through our own efforts, but by spiritual regeneration by grace through our faith in Christ. The most effective proponents of the Gospel throughout church history have been those who applied nothing but prayer and Scripture alone. Which conferences were it that Paul, Peter, John and James attended, it seems to have slipped my memory…

      …this blog is a rant against theological studies, theologians, teachers…

      You have quite obviously not read the article, because it specifically endorses theological studies, theologians and teaching the Word. It is a rant against the inappropriate use of those gifts and the unscrupulous games which are played with God’s Word by those who use Christianity to pose as intellectuals, on the internet, from pulpits and at ludicrous high-profile conferences which have no biblical raison d’etre.

      We can’t get away from hermeneutics, apologetics… as they will ALWAYS bring divisions, arguments… in trying to understand the Word of God.

      If the hermeneutics and apologetics which you apply cause division and arguments among true believers, then your hermeneutics and apologetics are incorrect. Correct hermeneutics and biblical apologetics are for the unification of believers. Neither can hermeneutics and apologetics bring an understanding of the Gospel outside of that which God imparts to the believer by His grace.

      Of course, it is a good thing to have a zeal and enthusiasm for Christ, but let us not forget that no conference, theological qualification or heated debate can glorify God. Nothing we can do can impress God. God sees only that which His Son has done in those whom He has saved. God does not regard sinful men as worthy of noticing, He notices only Jesus Christ, His perfect Son.

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  2. Could you please name some of these “pointless air conditioned conferences” ….. and
    “globe trotting conference speakers”?

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    • Patrick Driscoll
      The list would be far too long, and I wouldn’t want to let some of them feel left out, as they do attach enormous value and pride to their attendance and contributions to these shows. There are also some of these names you are interested in mentioned in numerous postings on this blog, if you really need to find out. Alternatively, it is really quite simple to “Google” any one of a huge number of these types of of conferences held around the world and you’ll find the names of the conference stars.

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  3. My pastor John MacArthur hosted our annual “Shepherds Conference” last week
    at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, California.
    Are we on your list?

    Like

    • Patrick Driscoll

      Very rarely, if ever, does brother John answer a question such as this without referring to the Scriptures. If there is a clear Biblical instruction calling for a Shepherd’s Conference, and that it should take precedence over other “duties” of a Christian for the while, then it is necessary and obedient to have such a conference. Again you ask for a list. A list of this sort would be pointless and perpetually changing. You can decide yourself whether your conference was in compliance with Biblical instruction, or not.

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  4. A really helpful post/admonishment (love that word)…a timely reminder about where to keep our focus. I will therefore refrain from chiming in with my own tattle-tale list of conferences that may fit Grant’s description. (I may have slipped up in another post and mentioned two that are coming up on my home town…oops, sorry!!) I must say though, I really am concerned by the multitude of those conferences that don’t seem to have any purpose but to preach to the converted and charge them money for the privilege. (And pardon my ignorance, but why do Christians pay big money to go to ‘worship’ conferences? My church has free ones every Sunday at 8am, 10am, 4pm & 6pm. All welcome!!)

    I do agree that we need to then be careful when talking to others, to ensure we focus on the Word of God, not other people’s error…I too need regular reminding of this! However, I am amazed at how little people know about what is happening in the Christian Church. I am glad to have the knowledge I have gained as I have recently been able to steer some friends away from some really spiritually dangerous teachings. I find it necessary to go carefully and as you point out, be sensitive to where a person is at in their faith and knowledge. We definitely need to pray for the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and guidance before certain conversations with people!

    ‘Lectio hinduvina’? I burst out laughing when I read this. I cannot truly express how beautifully that sums up my recent research. (Richard Rohr comes to mind…just finished his ‘heresy on every page’ turner called ‘Falling Upward’).

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  5. Pingback: Why Discernment Ministries Fail (and Succeed) (2) | For the Love of His Truth

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