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Christianlady

Thank you for this. I have been dealing with this in my church for a while. We left, and are talking with a pastor soon to share why we left. The pastors have been reading Willard. Steven Smith spoke at our church, and that was one of the early wake up calls (he follows Willard). Ortberg has spoken at our church. Our youth have been going to camps with emergent leadership. We are following the PEACE plan. Sad. It's going to be a hard thing to explain to the pastor, who thinks he's preaching expository from the text.

christianlady

Read also http://king.typepad.com/mike_king/2008/09/the-apostle-pau.html

This man is a youth camp leader using Michael Phelps in the same way...

EZEKIEL3622

It bothers me when a pastor, works his cliche words into his sermon. In this case the pastor keeps using the word "admire" to almost give his message a weightier value, almost like its backed up by the Bible or the words of Christ or the apostles.

I never understand how "man" can take a free gift, and boast over it or put conditions upon it. Putting us back under the law, back on the treadmill working ourselves to "death" trying to make Jesus think we are more special...

EZEKIEL3622

One more point, the reason that church has their bookstore full of "self help" books, is because when the preacher puts people under the law, the result is the flock gets "set up to fail", trying to rely on their own performance, rather than the perfect "finished" work of Jesus Christ on the cross. The subtraction of grace, and reliance on self, removes the "good news", joy & peace, and results in empty "starving for Christ" Christians. I have a video on my site that truly blessed me, that helped in getting me out from under the law, and into a life of grace. It's a great example of how Ortberg should of preached this message:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R92ulxb4tHc

Tim Kuehn

On the "boasting" part:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Eph 2:7). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

God does not share glory, it belongs to Him alone.

jude newman

I came from a catholic background, his talk is very much like their teachings. Jesus is never enough. They make burdens for people that they can never bear. How blasphemous that he feels that most Christians take the minimal way to heaven. Is there another way, except through Jesus.Did he even mention the cross and resurrection. Jesus said on the cross " It is finished." The veil was torn in two from top to bottom. Jesus did it all, for us.A complete finished work. We can not add or take away from this. He does not understand salvation at all. He lost me with 3 belief systems. Did Paul go from an admirer to disciple. He was an enemy of the cross till God intervened on the damascus road. To me the word christian has always meant In Christ. I am complete in Him.

Wes Bredenhof

I can certainly understand your frustration with what you heard. Ortberg is giving stones for bread. What a tragedy! This sounds like it's going in the direction of "God will not deny his grace to those who do what is in their power."

Daniel Chew

Chris:

while I think your podcast is good, I think you miss the point of John Ortberg's talk. While his teachings is eisegetical and borders on pietism, ISTM that he is reacting to the widespread antinomianism and decisional regeneration in Willow Creek type churches because of their focus on Church-ianity. So IMO he is addressing a true problem within the WC movement, but in doing so misdiagnosing the problem and thus giving the wrong solution.

Patrice Stanton

Chris:

Your comment at about 11 minutes, about one's inability to keep the Law perfectly leading to Despair...wow, talk about a light going on. I believe that [and a bit more - which will remain unmentioned] is why my husband and I left "religion" about 10 years ago.

We returned to "church going" but not Faith-in-Christ about 3 years ago, for our daughter's sake, and were brought to a saving faith in Jesus Christ through the KNOWLEDGE of the Law and our SINFULNESS when compared to its demands of perfection. Oddly enough this "knowledge" came from "The Way of the Master," not our church!

I've enjoyed your conference coverage. Keep up the good work.

Miriam J. Nard

Listen to yourselves!

The Christian right has done nothing but criticize seeker churches like Willow, and now that they are advocating Bible reading and prayer, you're accusing them of legalism?????

Incredible....

Bill

Myriam: "The Christian right has done nothing but criticize seeker churches like Willow, and now that they are advocating Bible reading and prayer, you're accusing them of legalism?????"

Bill: Although I agree with Chris on many things and I like his blog, we have to be very careful before we accuse Willow Creek of being legalistic. I agree with what Chris wrote in his live blogging about all the sentimentalism and "feel good" attitudes that Willow Creek advocates. Now this claim of legalism is something that I don't totally agree with Chris. David meditated on the Law of God day and night, and so should every christian. Suffice it to say that John Calvin wrote that the primary use of the Law is not knowledge of sin, but to guide christian believers in their lives. This is Calvin's third use of the law. The Book of Concord (Epitome of the Formula of Concord) affirms the third use of the Law and that the Law is to be preached to believers to urge them to do good works.

Those that disagree with the third use of the Law are called antinomians and are in apostacy of the faith. The apostle Paul used the Law, not just the gospel, many times in his letters to believers. Nobody is saved by the Law, but the role has an important role to play as far as guiding good conduct and urging the believer to obedience God. I'll post what the book of Concord has to say about this right after.

Bill

Myriam: "The Christian right has done nothing but criticize seeker churches like Willow, and now that they are advocating Bible reading and prayer, you're accusing them of legalism?????"

Bill: Although I agree with Chris on many things and I like his blog, we have to be very careful before we accuse Willow Creek of being legalistic. I agree with what Chris wrote in his live blogging about all the sentimentalism and "feel good" attitudes that Willow Creek advocates. Now this claim of legalism is something that I don't totally agree with Chris. David meditated on the Law of God day and night, and so should every christian. Suffice it to say that John Calvin wrote that the primary use of the Law is not knowledge of sin, but to guide christian believers in their lives. This is Calvin's third use of the law. The Book of Concord (Epitome of the Formula of Concord) affirms the third use of the Law and that the Law is to be preached to believers to urge them to do good works.

Those that disagree with the third use of the Law are called antinomians and are in apostacy of the faith. The apostle Paul used the Law, not just the gospel, many times in his letters to believers. Nobody is saved by the Law, but the role has an important role to play as far as guiding good conduct and urging the believer to obedience God. I'll post what the book of Concord has to say about this right after.

Bill

The Epitome of the Formula of Concord (Book of Concord - lutheran confessions)
VI. The Third Use of the Law.

STATUS CONTROVERSIAE.
The Principal Question In This Controversy.

1] Since the Law was given to men for three reasons: first, that thereby outward discipline might be maintained against wild, disobedient men [and that wild and intractable men might be restrained, as though by certain bars]; secondly, that men thereby may be led to the knowledge of their sins; thirdly, that after they are regenerate and [much of] the flesh notwithstanding cleaves to them, they might on this account have a fixed rule according to which they are to regulate and direct their whole life, a dissension has occurred between some few theologians concerning the third use of the Law, namely, whether it is to be urged or not upon regenerate Christians. The one side has said, Yea; the other, Nay.

Affirmative Theses.
The True Christian Doctrine concerning This Controversy.

2] 1. We believe, teach, and confess that, although men truly believing [in Christ] and truly converted to God have been freed and exempted from the curse and coercion of the Law, they nevertheless are not on this account without Law, but have been redeemed by the Son of God in order that they should exercise themselves in it day and night [that they should meditate upon God's Law day and night, and constantly exercise themselves in its observance, Ps. 1, 2], Ps. 119. For even our first parents before the Fall did not live without Law, who had the Law of God written also into their hearts, because they were created in the image of God, Gen. 1, 26f.; 2, 16ff; 3, 3.

3] 2. We believe, teach, and confess that the preaching of the Law is to be urged with diligence, not only upon the unbelieving and impenitent, but also upon true believers, who are truly converted, regenerate, and justified by faith.

4] 3. For although they are regenerate and renewed in the spirit of their mind, yet in the present life this regeneration and renewal is not complete, but only begun, and believers are, by the spirit of their mind, in a constant struggle against the flesh, that is, against the corrupt nature and disposition which cleaves to us unto death. On account of this old Adam, which still inheres in the understanding, the will, and all the powers of man, it is needful that the Law of the Lord always shine before them, in order that they may not from human devotion institute wanton and self-elected cults [that they may frame nothing in a matter of religion from the desire of private devotion, and may not choose divine services not instituted by God's Word]; likewise, that the old Adam also may not employ his own will, but may be subdued against his will, not only by the admonition and threatening of the Law, but also by punishments and blows, so that he may follow and surrender himself captive to the Spirit, 1 Cor. 9, 27; Rom. 6, 12, Gal. 6, 14; Ps. 119, 1ff ; Heb. 13, 21 (Heb. 12, 1).

5] 4. Now, as regards the distinction between the works of the Law and the fruits of the Spirit, we believe, teach, and confess that the works which are done according to the Law are and are called works of the Law as long as they are only extorted from man by urging the punishment and threatening of God's wrath.

6] 5. Fruits of the Spirit, however, are the works which the Spirit of God who dwells in believers works through the regenerate, and which are done by believers so far as they are regenerate [spontaneously and freely], as though they knew of no command, threat, or reward; for in this manner the children of God live in the Law and walk according to the Law of God, which [mode of living] St. Paul in his epistles calls the Law of Christ and the Law of the mind, Rom. 7, 25; 8, 7; Rom. 8, 2; Gal. 6, 2.

7] 6. Thus the Law is and remains both to the penitent and impenitent, both to regenerate and unregenerate men, one [and the same] Law, namely, the immutable will of God; and the difference, so far as concerns obedience, is alone in man, inasmuch as one who is not yet regenerate does for the Law out of constraint and unwillingly what it requires of him (as also the regenerate do according to the flesh); but the believer, so far as he is regenerate, does without constraint and with a willing spirit that which no threatenings [however severe] of the Law could ever extort from him.

Negative Theses.
False Contrary Doctrine.

8] Accordingly, we reject as a dogma and error injurious to, and conflicting with, Christian discipline and true godliness the teaching that the Law in the above-mentioned way and degree is not to be urged upon Christians and true believers, but only upon unbelievers, non-Christians, and the impenitent.

Bill

The Epitome of the formula of Concord goes even further by saying that there has to be balance in the preaching of Law and Gospel. both need to be preached equally. I'm very concerned about people (whether it is Chris and this blog or anybody else) condemning the preaching of the Law in churches, since it is a biblical command and it is also lutheran doctrine that the law ought to be preached to christian believers as much as the gospel.

Again to prove my point that what Chris teaches is contrary to lutheran doctrine, I'm quoting below the Lutheran confessions (The Epitome of the Formula of Concord):

"18] For especially in these last times it is no less needful to admonish men to Christian discipline [to the way of living aright and godly] and good works, and remind them how necessary it is that they exercise themselves in good works as a declaration of their faith and gratitude to God, than that the works be not mingled in the article of justification; because men may be damned by an Epicurean delusion concerning faith, as well as by papistic and Pharisaic confidence in their own works and merits.

19] 3. We also reject and condemn the dogma that faith and the indwelling of the Holy Ghost are not lost by wilful sin, but that the saints and elect retain the Holy Ghost even though they fall into adultery and other sins and persist therein."

akira Kurosawa

Chris, I think you missed Ortberg's point. I think his point was that some Christians are only worried about if they will get into heaven. Once they accept Christ, they are safe and so they have completed the "minimum entrance requirements for heaven". I think that attitude may also comes from the "once saved, always saved" idea that some denominations preach.

But there is so much more to Christianity than just getting into heaven, and that's the difference between a Christian and a Christ-Follower. Christians (in Ortberg's opionion) are focused on what Christ did for them, and nothing else. Christ followers are actually focused on the fact that Christ's gift to them was so incredible that their response is to surrender their entire life to Christ. They devote their life to discovering and following God's will for their life, building a relationship with Him, praying, meeting with other Christians and the studying of the Word.

I would have to say that I see some truth to his idea.

I was taught in church to focus on telling people about Jesus, to keep them from going to hell. I needed to go to church and read my Bible so that I could keep my faith so that I can go to heaven.

I think that we can both agree that those last two sentences have some problems, but the biggest problem is that they see salvation as a destination and not an ongoing relationship with God. A relationship that God wants to be deep and loving. The term follower, in my opinion, seems to be more of an active ongoing term, and that is where, I think, Ortberg was headed.

He is trying to convince Christians to develop a relationship with God constantly, not just show up on Sundays, to see if their faith is still good enough for heaven.

At least, that's what I got out of it.

jude newman

All of these men who watered down the gospel, to encourage seekers, have realised it doesn't work. They admitted they were wrong. Admitting you are wrong is still not repenting. But what was said is not biblical teaching. Now they have got all these people who probably aren't saved, and they still won't go back to the bible. Taking verses out and talking about admiring or what people thought is not biblical teaching. It is still seeker sensitive. I think some good preaching on the narrow way, are you really saved would have been more appropriate. It seems they are still trying to keep the people happy, so they won't preach the things that the people need.

Peter Hamm

I'd like to know how many (other than our original poster, Chris) actually heard what Ortberg said on Wednesday. He called us to deeper discipleship, to be disciples (learners and followers, according to my Greek Lexicon) rather than just the kind of person who says Jesus is a good person, or the person who attempts to "use" Jesus for their own purposes.

Some of you really seem to be straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. Sorry to put it that way, but it seems like that to me.

And, I'm sorry I'm tired of saying this to so many people, REVEAL did NOT say we were wrong, we did it wrong, we led people down the wrong path. Perhaps you should read the literature on it and find out what the study really said.

jude newman

All of these men who watered down the gospel, to encourage seekers, have realised it doesn't work. They admitted they were wrong. Admitting you are wrong is still not repenting. But what was said is not biblical teaching. Now they have got all these people who probably aren't saved, and they still won't go back to the bible. Taking verses out and talking about admiring or what people thought is not biblical teaching. It is still seeker sensitive. I think some good preaching on the narrow way, are you really saved would have been more appropriate. It seems they are still trying to keep the people happy, so they won't preach the things that the people need.

Diane R

One of my favorite posts (on my blog) is the one where I ask a very interesting question that I must admit I haven't heard anyone else ask a seeker-sensitie/emergent type. The question is this: let's pretend a Christ-follower, who has been in one of these emergent-type churches for about three years (these churches are really into helping the poor and the environment, and that seems to define them as "Christ-followers), goes to his pastor and says, "Pastor, I just don't want to help the poor anymore. Will I still go to heaven? Am I still considered a Christ-follower in good standing in our church?"

What would his pastor say I wonder.

Bill

Jude has a good point, what Ortberg said didn't sound biblical. If he was preaching Law or Gospel is irrelevant, these speakers usually can't speak to either of them appropriately. Like Christ pointed out to the Pharisees, they focused on the wrong areas of the law like the sabbath and tithing or washing the hands before eating, but forgot the more important areas of the law like love and justice.

That being said Chris makes a mistake as well, by criticizing Orteberg for preaching too much law. Right now there's not enough law being preached at Willow Creek, neither is enough gospel. As Jude pointed out, Willow Creek doesn't preach the bible, it just uses human wisdom, like talking about nonsense such as moving from an admirer to a disciple or Christ follower.

CS

Peter:

(I know--go figure that you'd find me here, too, in addition to MMI.)

I listened to what Ortberg said (it was handy that Chris played some of the same audio twice to listen to what he was saying). You're right, in that Ortberg did call people to deeper discipleship. However, the way in which he did that, and how he framed it, sounded definitely unlike what the Bible says.

I found that he took swipes at many Christians, used eisegetical understanding of Scripture, and made saving faith more about what you do than what Christ did. I see the same sort of separation that Chris noted in the differentiation between, "Christian," and, "Christ-follower," with different understandings and use of the Bible. Honestly, I feel the same way Chris does on this matter.

And I know that you have said over and over again, "Go read REVEAL to understand what it really said." Here's the problem; I listen directly to guys like Hybels speaking in their churches about what they learned via survey, and out of their own mouths they admit the same mistakes that people attribute to the Reveal survey. Some are happy with some of the findings (like Tim Stevens on the abysmal percentages at Granger), but if there was nothing wrong, nothing would have to be changed.

--
CS

Gary

Menlo Park Presbyterian Church's web site says that "we are a body of Christians who follow the examples and teachings of Jesus Christ". I guess that leaves me out. There is no way I can follow the "examples and teachings of Jesus Christ". Isn't this what He did for me on the cross and His perfect life?

Philip Walker

In fairness, Menlo Park is PCUSA, so it's hardly likely to be a hotbed of orthodoxy.

Peter Hamm

Do some of you see that you are straining to find fault?

Diane, if that person came to me, I'd wonder about their faith based on Matthew 25 and the book of James, especially 2:14. Somebody who wants to "follow Jesus", but not do anything for the poor... intentionally? I'd probe what they really believe and who they really trust. Seriously, if you "trust in Christ" but have no heart to serve or help anyone but yourself, you're just "using" Jesus, and I would actually wonder about the genuineness of your faith.

CS, hey buddy, good to talk to ya. Sorry, I didn't hear the kind of eisogesis you mention at all. You write "but if there was nothing wrong, nothing would have to be changed." But most of the people faulting REVEAL (many if not most of whom haven't read the literature) think that Willow said they did EVERYTHING wrong and admitted that. Not what REVEAL showed at all. Sorry, I didn't hear anything "unbibilical" in that sermon. I just don't get where the fault is being found. He did not preach legalism, but he did remind us that the kind of faith that is not shown by its actions is not saving faith, unable to save anyone... I think I read that somewhere...

Gary, Jesus asked the disciples (told them really) to follow Him both at the beginning, and in Peter's case at the end, of His time here. Jesus loved his neighbor, loved the poor, served His fellow man, surely we can follow those examples. Jesus preached the Beattitudes, Matthew 25, countless other life-lessons in how to live with your brother/neighbor. Surely we can "follow" that. Again... straining at a gnat...

Chris Rosebrough

Peter,

The issue here is an utter confusion of Law and Gospel. Christians are neither saved nor sanctified by the Law.

Going back to Matthew 25 and the sheep and the goats judgement, notice that the sheep and goats were sorted by what they were NOT by what they did.

Also, notice that when Christ praises the sheep for what they did they were SHOCKED and surprised. Verse 37 states, "Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?"

Peter..why do you think these righteous sheep were unaware of their good works? Christ put that small detail into this story for a reason.

Biblically, how does a pastor preach in such a way to produce good works?

Answer: Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God.

Good works NEVER precede faith. In fact, Good works flow from a faith that centers on and abides in Christ and the Gospel (forgiveness of sins through Christ's crucifixion and resurrection). If you want to produce good works in Christians (and notice that in Matt 25 the sheep did them and weren't even aware of it) then you preach God's law to expose and condemn sins and the gospel to comfort and offer forgiveness of sins. Then, God the Holy Spirit will work in the life of those listening and convict, comfort, and transform the live of His sheep.

Preaching 'applications' and 'life principles' is NOT Biblical preaching.

akira Kurosawa

Chris,

but what if after a year, two years, or even ten years, you see that the life of the sheep is unchanged. What if all they do is show up on Sundays for church or even drop down to showing up only at Christmas and Easter. Would you say that the Holy Spirit is just not transforming the life of that person?

Why, would he not transform someone?

Steve Newell

Akira,

How do you determine if a life is unchanged? Do you have the ability to see what the Holy Spirit is doing? If the person is a believer, the Holy Spirit will transform that person, but we may never see it play itself out in ways we can see.

Peter Hamm

Chris writes

[The issue here is an utter confusion of Law and Gospel. Christians are neither saved nor sanctified by the Law.] I don't really think Ortberg said that. I know he doesn't believe that.

[Preaching 'applications' and 'life principles' is NOT Biblical preaching.] So if I teach you what the Bible says about how you are to live your life that's not "biblical preaching"? I'll disagree on that one. Much of the Bible, especially the New Testament, is instruction on life application. It's not "merely" theology (thinking about God), but how that thinking manifests itself in our lives, as in James 2:14.

Also, you wrote [Good works flow from a faith that centers on and abides in Christ and the Gospel (forgiveness of sins through Christ's crucifixion and resurrection).] Sounds like something James would have said... Funny, I thought that's what Ortberg said in his talk myself. Obviously, you disagree. But I continue to wonder if perhaps you weren't already pre-disposed to find fault with his teaching regardless. I mean, you can nit-pick anything in the world if you do it just right.

Peter Hamm

Steve, good question. [How do you determine if a life is unchanged? Do you have the ability to see what the Holy Spirit is doing? If the person is a believer, the Holy Spirit will transform that person, but we may never see it play itself out in ways we can see.] Answer: James 2:14-25 (and the whole book of James, really... a right strawy book, but a vital part of Scripture nonetheless.

Steve Newell

Peter,

If a person has no visible good works are they saved? If good works required to validate our faith or do we need to produce good works to make our faith complete.

Since faith is a gift of God are not our good works also a gift of God was well? We are only able to do good works due to God making us alive.

On our own, we can do absolutely nothing that will please God. Our good works are just filthy rags to God. It is only through Christ can we do anything good.

akira Kurosawa

Steve, here is my answer.

James 2:14-26
"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead."

Now I am in no way advocating works based salvation, but those are some pretty strong words about faith and visible works being very closely linked. If after several years I did not see some outward sign of transformation, I think that I would seek that person out and see if something was wrong. Then an application of a little gospel or a little law might be in order, or not, but always from a perspective of Christian love.

Steve Newell

Akira,

I am confused. Do you believe that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone by Christ's merit alone?

So, if a person has no visible signs of change, would you say that the person is not a Christian since they have no faith?

Peter Hamm

Steve, I will answer your question with a question.

Is the book of James inspired or not when it says this? "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." My best answer to your question is James' words.

Steve Newell

Peter and Akria,

I read James entire letter as a comparison between true faith and false faith.

With true faith, there will be goods works and we will what to do those good works. False faith is one that results in words only. James is using a straw man agruement.

Again, it appears to me that you are saying that we are saved by faith AND works.

It appears to me that you are setting Paul against James. How do you understand James 2:14-20 with Ephesians 2:1-10?

akira Kurosawa

So could we say that John Ortberg was making the same argument as James?

Maybe his sermon was Biblically based after all...

Steve Newell

Akira,

Are you Catholic? You're making the same arguments about faith and works that Rome used against the Reformation in the Council of Trent.

How do you reconcile James and Paul?

Peter Hamm

Steve writes [Again, it appears to me that you are saying that we are saved by faith AND works.] Nope. I can't speak for my esteemed famous film director friend Akira, but I'm not saying that.

And...

[How do you reconcile James and Paul?] with very little difficulty, actually. I used to struggle with James, but I don't now.

Steve, are you arguing against James' letter? I mean, it is Scripture, isn't it? I'd say James and Paul (And Jude and Peter and whoever wrote Hebrews) complete each other.

Steve Newell

Peter,

I have no problems with James writes or the letter as being divisively inspired. James is not writing about salvation by true faith verses a false faith.

I have an issue with your interpretation of James. You are making faith dependent of good works.

Peter Hamm

Steve,

With all due respect...

You write... [You are making faith dependent of good works.]

I never said that. I don't believe that. I've basically said that I don't believe that above when I said "Nope. ...I'm not saying that.". Despite what I think is my very clear communication, you continue to infer something I didn't say, which explains to me how you could find such fault with Ortberg's talk that I don't (See, I don't think he said anything akin to that either). I hope that you don't just want to put words in my mouth so that you can feel better about me being wronger than you.

I guess I would have an issue with your interpretation if you are saying that faith can exist without deeds, which James (along with my personal experience, and Christ I would argue) contradicts. But I don't think you say that either, as you say above [With true faith, there will be goods works and we will what to do those good works.]

I have a feeling we agree on the whole faith/works thing actually, and are merely arguing over semantics and phrasing, which I think is also where people are finding fault with Ortberg's talk. Shame. Just because we use different words, we have to think the other is automatically wrong or heretical?

Blessings,
Peter

Diane R

Peter,

You are correct in saying we need to help the poor as it is an indication that we are truly saved. But sadly, to many seekers/emergents, it is the centrality. Our salvation doesn't hinge on helping the poor but on Christ's mediatorial and saving work on the cross. The problem with the seeker-sensitive/emergent churches that I've seen is they don't make that clear. As someone who was raised in liberal Protestantism, this is the very same thing I heard, but I never really heard the centrality of the gospel. In other words, I am saying, let's get the horse first and then the cart and have both, instead of having the horse (works leading) but not the cart (teaching about the cross and resurrection).

Miriam J. Nard

To put things in fresh perspective, REVEAL is not so much about how people are saved as it is about how people grow spiritually. An interpretation of John Ortberg's remarks in context yields a more truthful perception of what he was trying to say.

Since the vast majority of people on this discussion thread appear ignorant of the actual contents of REVEAL, here are a few key components of the findings to date:

The two most important spiritual growth catalysts [for the exploring segment] are beliefs: salvation by grace and the Trinity. (Follow Me, p.59)

This intermediate level [growing in Christ] of spiritual growth is characterized by an increasingly personal relationship with Jesus Christ. (Follow Me, p. 67)

The top catalysts that influence growth from close to Christ to Christ-centered are complete yieldedness to Christ and the absolute authority of His Word, coupled with diligent reading/study of the Bible. (Follow Me, p. 75)

Reflection on Scripture is the most powerful catalyst for spiritual growth. (Follow Me, p. 105)

We know God-and God alone-changes a human life. As we're taught in Philippians 2:13, "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose." (Reveal, p. 12)

If one thinks rationally about the major findings of REVEAL, what Willow is proposing to do about it, in the context of a profession of belief in Philippians 2:13, it is difficult to understand why anyone doubts the presence of the Holy Spirit at Willow.

BTW, John Ortberg was a teaching pastor at Willow for 9 years. :>

Peter Hamm

Diane writes [You are correct in saying we need to help the poor as it is an indication that we are truly saved. But sadly, to many seekers/emergents, it is the centrality.] You say these people believe that, but the emergents I've read (which I think is most of the prominent ones) have not said that and do not believe that as far as I know. I would probably categorize myself these days as emergent, and my church is seeker-sensitive, and Willow has been a big influence, and I certainly do not believe that, nor does my church.

jude newman

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=111079510. This is a sermon that would've achieved the desired effect. "I never knew you." I had a pastor who preached the same as John Ortberg did at the conference. After 4 years I desperately needed biblical teaching. I was starved for the Living Word. I need to be challenged, and so do these people in these ss churches. The saddest words ever spoken are. Depart from me I never knew you

jude newman

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=111079510. This is a sermon that would've achieved the desired effect. "I never knew you." I had a pastor who preached the same as John Ortberg did at the conference. After 4 years I desperately needed biblical teaching. I was starved for the Living Word. I need to be challenged, and so do these people in these ss churches. The saddest words ever spoken are. Depart from me I never knew you

Eugene Roberts

"Preaching 'applications' and 'life principles' is NOT Biblical preaching."

Are you serious Chris?

What would you call Jesus' sermon on the mount? Is that not application and life principles? Or how about Paul writing in 1 Corinthians 6 about how we should not take another Christian to court? Is that not an application of the Kingdom life principles of love and unity of the body of Christ?

I agree that none of these principles or application thereof can result in salvation but rather that these things must follow being born again. No one of the speakers at that conference would claim that these principles will lead to salvation and to twist their words or to put their words into a context to suggest that they preach that works must precede faith is not being truthful to what they said in my opinion. I get the idea that even if Bill Hybels become a confessional Lutheran you would find something to criticise him. This is only my opinion and I hope I am wrong in forming this idea about you.

Chris Rosebrough

Eugene,

I stand by what I said.

Here is the issue: Far too many of the SS pastors and American Evangelicals as a whole, skip over and ignore the theological portions of scripture and strip-mine the Bible for 'applications' and 'Biblical Principles'.

I am not saying that the Bible doesn't have applications. I am saying that preaching as if that is all that the Bible contains and ignoring all the other sections including the Gospel Narratives, the Historical Narratives, the major and minor prophets, the psalms and the theological portions of the epistles is a supreme error. If a Pastor is working his way through the scriptures, a gospel or an epistle AND that portion of scripture gives an application THEN the pastor should and must teach that application. But if there is no application then why should a pastor give one?

There's the rub, far too many pastors have bought the lie that the Bible is a handbook for living and their preaching and teaching is geared toward what people can do to apply the Bible to their life's problems and challenges. The Bible is NOT primarily helpful it is PRIMARILY true and therefore should be taught and proclaimed in ALL of its aspects not just its 'applications'.

It is supremely arrogant of a pastor to ONLY preach on the Bible passages that a person can apply to their lives today. That is NOT Biblical preaching!

Eugene Roberts

"It is supremely arrogant of a pastor to ONLY preach on the Bible passages that a person can apply to their lives today. That is NOT Biblical preaching!" - Thank you for clarifying Chris.

I have heard John Ortberg and Bill Hybels preach on the Gospel Narratives, the Historical Narratives, the major and minor prophets, the psalms and the theological portions of the epistles. To vilify them and say they ONLY preach certain passages and ignore others is not truthful. Of course they do draw application from the Gospel Narratives, the Historical Narratives, the major and minor prophets, the psalms and the theological portions of the epistles and I think that is a good thing.

"2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.(NKJV)"

One of the things they are trying to do through REVEAL and its spin-offs is to teach the already saved to study ALL of scripture and draw application from it.

Peter Hamm

Chris writes [There's the rub, far too many pastors have bought the lie that the Bible is a handbook for living and their preaching and teaching is geared toward what people can do to apply the Bible to their life's problems and challenges.] I agree, too many "Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth" sermons and such have been preached and taught throughout Evangelical history.

The other error I've seen is that far too many preachers and teachers have propagated the lie that theological knowledge alone is the key to spiritual growth, and that mental assent alone to the correct list of doctrinal distinctives defines one's state before God, and that knowledge of key theological concepts, terminology, and the like is the key to salvation. It turns Christianity into a purely intellectual exercise that fails to involve the heart, soul, and strength of a person, and engages only the mind. The Kingdom of God is much much richer and bigger than that.

Matt

Chris
wow! I am beginning to see a fuller picture here! I am sure you have been putting the puzzle together far longer than I have. Something struck me first with the Granger reveal results that I could not put my finger on. All the talk of "fully devoted follower" of Christ, and now the envelope is being pushed with trying to disassociate themselves with the term Christian at Willow Creek's reveal conference. Paul wrote to the church in Colosse about the gnostic teaching that was going on and beginning to invade the church and he warned them to hold fast to the GOSPEL! This Christ follower business is really about how our knowledge (can anyone say eastern mysticism) is going to increase until we understand how our life will be lived in order to reach God! This is the dawn of really opening the door to the contemplative garbage that is out there. This reveal conference was the first public decree of that behind a disguise thinly veiled as living a life that is apart from the world. Just my 2 pennies.
Hey Chris thanks for watching the flock brother!


Peter Hamm

Matt writes [This Christ follower business is really about how our knowledge (can anyone say eastern mysticism) is going to increase until we understand how our life will be lived in order to reach God!] Huh? Not in my "emergent Christ-following" circles. I think you're trying to put words in our mouths.

We are trying to hold even faster and even better to the Gospel that Paul referred to in Colossians, that is indeed what REVEAL is all about. (Have you read any of the REVEAL literature?)

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