Christmas and the Christian

christmas tree 40

Grant Swart

As the years have passed, the “festive” or holiday season, which includes Christmas day, has become a commercialized farce, along with other similar secular celebrations such as Mothers Day and Valentines Day. The original meaning and “reason for the season” has been replaced with lavish parties, extreme festivities, entertainment and expensive gifts. While there is nothing wrong with any of those things, they certainly do not represent Christmas. No longer is it “the thought that counts”, rather the value of the gift which apparently demonstrates the level of affection one has for the recipient. Rarely is the birth of our Saviour brought into the picture on Christmas.

There is a war being waged on the traditional Christmas by the secular world, atheists, legalists and followers of false religions. “Merry Christmas” is being replaced with “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays”. This, of course, is being done in an attempt to promote a religiously tolerant society with the will, values and rights of man as the central focus. All the while, the battle for your bucks in the countdown of shopping days to Christmas rages on.

christmas dog 20

It was Santa Claus did it!

Back to the controversial issue among many Christians, which is the partaking or avoidance of Christmas celebrations. Continue reading

WILL WORSHIPPER

free choice

Grant Swart

Why this article?

“Will worship” and “will worshippers”. Terms I use on occasion when I write on certain aspects concerning the subject of the salvation of the sinner. It is imperative that followers of Jesus Christ understand Biblical teaching of how salvation of the sinner is accomplished, in order for them to impart the truth of the Gospel to all who would believe in Him and have everlasting life. It is our duty, and it is so because the Word of God instructs us in that matter.

Salvation can either be brought about by the effort of the sinner, or by means of a co-operation between the sinner and God, or it can be by the will and grace of God alone.

Eternal life, or eternal damnation. The biblical comprehension of this matter is ultimately important, because the means by which the sinner attains salvation (eternal life / spiritual life beyond physical death), could be determined either by a subservient God who is reliant upon the actions and decisions of the sinner, or by a sovereign God who acts independently from the eternally damned sinner whom He saves. Theological expressions for these two opposing viewpoints are “synergism” and “monergism”, but I will leave that to remain of academic interest for now, as there are other factors which would need to be included, were we to proceed along that route.

My employment of the terms “will worship” and “will worshipper”, is of course by no means unique to my writing, as there are other esteemed writers who made use of the same terms long before I did. I use the terms with specific intent, because they accurately describe the belief system of those who oppose the biblical doctrine of salvation by the grace of God alone, and who uphold the heresy that salvation is in part or in totality, reliant upon human will, works or values.

I use the terms to describe those who cling to and proclaim the pride-filled heretical and impossible notion, that salvation of the spiritually dead sinner is dependent upon a decision made by that same spiritually dead sinner, powered by his own over-valued understanding of free will and imaginary ability. Continue reading

A blasphemous church serves a generation of religious liars

upside-down-church 1

Grant Swart

We live in a generation which is certainly under God’s judgement, if you care to pause for a few moments and ponder the general state of the society in which we now live, I’m sure that much will become quite evident. Of course, those who are of the world, who are happy to be embroiled in pursuing wealth, health and prosperity and all kinds of ways to proving their own self-righteousness and personal value before God, will not recognize the fact that they are under that very same judgement.

Never before have materialism, humanism, pride and self-worth been so prominently at the forefront of man’s thinking and priorities. Almost every marketing strategy, campaign and advert appeals directly to the will, over-inflated importance and vain pride of man. No other singular concepts have ever been as sharply focused on, as human rights, vanity and the deceitful ideology of human democracy are, in our generation.

This same critique must be leveled at the marketing done by many “churches”, the bulk of which are at great pains to take their particular brand of will-worship or church tradition to the lost multitudes of the world. The grossly erroneous interpretation of true church growth, cleverly disguised as “spiritual revival”, is one which interprets that the greater the number of misguided people who respond to these highly effective sales ploys is, the greater the tacit approval of God must be for their brand of faith or for their particular efforts. It is God who adds to His church, not pastors, synods, committees, councils, conferences or the efforts of individuals or congregations. Continue reading

A CRITIQUE OF THE HIGHER LIFE MOVEMENT

Higher-Purpose

A CRITIQUE OF THE HIGHER LIFE MOVEMENT 

By Jay Wegter

INTRODUCTION

The concept of the higher Christian life arose in the nineteenth century in connection with the holiness tradition in America.  The movement grew in popularity and ultimately spread to England.  Keswick, England became the home of the higher life conventions.  In time, the movement returned to America with great momentum.  “The Higher Life movement has influenced the rise of other theologically conservative movements, the founding of a number of institutions, the growth of foreign missions, and the theological perspective of several denominations.”1

Description of the Movement

          The higher Christian life is an explanation of the means and methods involved in advancing the believer’s progressive sanctification.  The purpose of this paper is to identify the areas where the higher life model of sanctification differs from the scriptural doctrine of sanctification.

          Though not identical, three terms are used synonymously to refer to the movement; “The higher Christian life,” the “Victorious Christian Life,” and “Keswick Teaching.”  In this paper, any of the three terms may be used to refer to the whole body of higher life teaching.

HISTORIC BACKGROUND

          The inception of the higher life movement is often identified with the publication of William Edwin Boardman’s book, The Higher Christian Life (1858).  The book argued that Christ was to be received for sanctification sometime after justification. Continue reading

Christmas and the Christian

christmas tree 40

Grant Swart

As the years have passed, the “festive” or holiday season, which includes Christmas day, has become a commercialized farce, along with other similar secular celebrations such as Mothers Day and Valentines Day. The original meaning and “reason for the season” has been replaced with lavish parties, extreme festivities, entertainment and expensive gifts. While there is nothing wrong with any of those things, they certainly do not represent Christmas. No longer is it “the thought that counts”, rather the value of the gift which apparently demonstrates the level of affection one has for the recipient. Rarely is the birth of our Saviour brought into the picture on Christmas.

There is a war being waged on the traditional Christmas by the secular world, atheists, legalists and followers of false religions. “Merry Christmas” is being replaced with “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays”. This, of course, is being done in an attempt to promote a religiously tolerant society with the will, values and rights of man as the central focus. All the while, the battle for your bucks in the countdown of shopping days to Christmas rages on.

christmas dog 20

It was Santa Claus did it!

Back to the controversial issue among many Christians, which is the partaking or avoidance of Christmas celebrations. Continue reading

Lordship Salvation aka Progressive Sanctification? High fashion, yes, but not for Christians.

jesus is your sanctification

Grant Swart

I needed to jot down just a few more recent thoughts concerning the subject of (progressive) sanctification, as I have seen it gaining in popularity as a subject for discussion in certain circles, particularly I suppose, in the social media. This is additional to my most recent article on the subject at SANCTIFICATION: Why & how can God accept sinners into His Presence?

As a subject, I don’t believe that progressive sanctification should be handled with much kindness. It is a hideous and potentially fatal religious proposition. The highest possible price was paid for it, it belongs to God’s people exclusively, and it should not be allowed to become a plastic accessory to be worn by fashionistas of the commercial free-will religious order.

Free-will, works religion, also known as Arminianism or various forms of synergism, is the highly fashionable religion being practiced by great numbers of churchgoers in these times. Followers of this religious form of worship, under the guise of Christianity, now crowd the pews of the great majority of what were once, Biblical and God-fearing churches.

In these shiny new will-worshipping theatres are man-made pavilions with many steps leading upwards, each step representing a higher level of self-righteousness and perceived holiness on which proud men stand and display their shame before other men, as witness to them worshipping their own efforts and abilities (Col. 2:23).

In order to solicit more support, in the great eagerness of their own driven will, they have named this system of will worship. Some call it “Lordship Salvation”. Even more ostentatiously they might call it “progressive sanctification” and deluded men heap wondrous praise and elevated prestige onto those who put great effort into achieving improved righteousness. These great congregations, having placed themselves under the spiritual governance of the powerful hierarchies and church councils which they have elected for themselves to serve under, often find themselves becoming the victims of their own ill-begotten belief systems when the whip of contrived church discipline inevitably turns on them. Continue reading

Self-righteousness

image

“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)

Self-righteousness is the subject of the parable before us. I cannot imagine a subject more disgustingly repugnant, or more commonly and universally indulged. Luke gives us an inspired introduction to the parable in verse 9. —“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.” That which our Lord here denounces is self-righteousness. The purpose of our Lord in this parable is to show the folly and danger of self-righteousness. Continue reading