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Hey Chris, I'm still digesting the piece so I'll get back to you on it but I have a question. Didn't Lewis believe in annihilation as opposed to a literal hell?

John R.

{If you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth. - only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end despair.}

Excellent reminder of this quote. I'm going to share it with my church.

Another confirmation on why I appreciate Lewis while disagreeing with him in several areas...

John R.


While C.S. Lewis is a great Christian writer and thinker, he was not a theologian and had no formal training as such. Also, Luther and Lewis, while great men, are also sinners and there will be things that both men said and did that we may not agree with.

Larry - KY

I agree, with Luther and Lewis, but not so much with MacArthur nor would Luther agree with MacArthur if they conversed at length – in fact Luther would have not given him the hand of fellowship as he didn’t with Zwingli. MacArthur is guilty of taking away with his left hand what he gives with his right. He doesn’t do it with malice, but in ignorance.

Few preach that kind of Law at all, that is THE REAL LAW. Even the more “hell fire and damnation” types preach an attainable law not the Law utterly violated, but a “try harder” than these ‘cheap grace’ type’s type of law/grace mélange. And I’ve found this to be true in “conservative” circles and some so called reformed circles in which Puritanism perverted is somewhat reviving. In my journey I’ve discovered today that there are two kinds of false law being preached and hence false gospels that necessarily follow must arise:

One is the more liberal cotton candy law that you typically find in say a Rick Warren or a Joel Olstean. It’s a kind of “cheer leader” law, a ‘common guys we can do this’ law. It’s like the 60s hippy generation law of “lets get busy and change the world for the better together” kind of law. The kind of law you’d see in the old “We are the World” type of moments and other ‘positive motivation’ types of law. A very teary eyed, emotional and heart string appeal to do law. I call this “The Law You Can Do For $0.01 to $0.50 Worth Of Works” or alternately since its confused, “The Grace You ‘Have’ For $0.01 to $0.50 Worth Of Works”. I have a muslem friend/co-worker that I’ve spoken to much about the Law and the Gospel, we remain friends but he doesn’t like it. The other day I over heard him discussing Warren’s book, PDL, and he liked it. He found nothing offensive in it that his variety of Islam could disagree with. I found that a stunning testimony of Warren’s false gospel, I didn’t even set it up, it just happened.

BUT, and I must say BUT here, in reaction to that I’ve seen the more conservative types, pseudo reformed and strong conservative Baptist types address this, thinking they might preach real “Law” to move people by just raising the price tag a bit on the grace side of the equation. These are the more “fiery” preachers and would find friends among Rome and the Pharisees, because they don’t have a “cheap grace” but a “costly grace”, that is a grace that is more correctly heard and termed as law that you must really work for. They raise the law to a more pricey level and change the label to “grace”. These I’ve seen in such conservative preaching circles as say some of John MacArthur’s dismal materials (The Gospel According To Jesus, more appropriately titled “Yet Another False Law and False Gospel In Reaction To An Already False Law and False Gospel” or even better “A Pelagian’s gospel Reaction To A Semi-Pelagian’s gospel) , not all of his materials are bad but some are down right wretched. These are those who preach say the “Rich Young Ruler” as the Gospel. This law is not the saccharine law of the Warren’s of the world but a much more brutal yet false law but NOT the Hammer of God that breaks the rock into pieces. It’s the law of the Rich Young Ruler Challenge by Jesus as the way to salvation. A, “You don’t get to heaven with your cheap grace law, but you must ‘sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, or at least be willing to (I wonder what Luther’s Bondage of the Will has to say about that), then follow me law or expensive grace law’. It’s a kind of law the dictates that you must repent this elusive amount of repentance or faith or be willing to dye for the faith exerted on your part in order to rest assured that you are “really and truly born again” or “truly elect”. It’s a law I call “The Law You Can Do For $100,000.00+ Of Works” or again alternatively “The Grace You Can ‘Have’ For $100,000.00+ Of Works, Except We Won’t Call It ‘Works’ Since We Allegedly Affirm Justification By Faith Alone”. I’ve also labeled this the “Fine Print Of The So Called Gospel” (here I mean ‘false gospel’ in reality).

Both of these types are false through and through, I’m not siding with either, nor are these the only choices we are forced and reduced to accept, Warren on one side and a MacArthur on the other. I believe Luther weaved the true Law and Gospel on the narrow path rather than the “clean and dirty side of the broad road to hell”. At the end of the day both of these others appeal to the will of man, I don’t care how pseudo Calvinistic one pretends to be, it’s just a matter of magnitude and neither give the Law’s crushing blow. Because Warren blatantly appeals to the will of man like a lollypop but so do the others. Especially those whose understanding of the RYR is stated, “you must at least be WILLING”, what else is that but an explicit admitting to an appeal to the will of man via works and law. It misses the thrust of the RYR in that Jesus is saying, “I’m showing you, the very FACT that you ARE NOT WILLING”, the very HEART of the Holy Law.

One law is the so called “cheap grace” and the other is the reaction to “cheap grace” that just raises the price tag for “grace” we might term “expensive grace” and both yield a “doeable law”. Here the adjectives “cheap” and “expensive” are on the part of the receiver not Jesus, because that’s how the ‘fire breathers’ use the term “cheap grace”. But Paul could not be more clear, grace as to our cost and effort is 0, if of works then it cannot be of grace. In fact you can have it no other way, but on Jesus part its cost was infinite. The reaction of the expensive gracers to the cheap gracers is to just raise the price of grace in law dollars, but the point that is never lost is that YOU ARE BUYING GRACE WITH LAW WORKS, it’s just a matter of price tag between the two. Thus, fundamentally and on the essential level BOTH are preaching a false law and false gospel blended in a blender together at this point. One almost recalls Luther’s sarcastic account of this in terms of pelagianism in his commentary on Galatians or Bondage of the Will (I forget presently) in which he said that at least the Pelagians required more of the human will than do the semi-pelagians. His point was not to give credence to either but a sarcasm directed toward both with the edge toward semi-pelagians. You’ll get just as much booing from expense gracers if you preach free grace as you would from cheap gracers if you preach killing law. The trick is to finger what law each of them think they are doing to assure that they have grace, then strike it with the thunder of the REAL LAW and heal it with the REAL Gospel. More often than not the cheap gracer’s purchase of grace was a “decision or praying a prayer” (like the article suggests). But the expensive gracer’s works, law he is doing, is likely more in the realm of ‘willingness’ to do or even that they have the fleshly fortitude toward certain natural bravados, like Peter saying he’d never abandon Jesus even if all others did. The real Law would come in here and say, “your praying your prayer affords you nothing but hell” and “your willingness to sell all that you have…affords you nothing but hell”. Then watch them gnash their teeth at you and you will discover just what they really trusted into and it was not Jesus for them. The real Law crushes the rock into pieces and exposes both open sinners and false saints. It doesn’t pit open sinners on one side and false saints on the other side.

If you REALLY want to expose them, throw infant baptism at them, that will do it and it gets to the point. For it is VERY NOTABLE that this phenomena exists mostly within “believers only baptism” circles, because at the base of their error is their error on the sacraments, hence the forever price tag on grace, just a matter of ‘pricing’, one’s Walmart law/grace the other is Macy’s law/grace. Because in both the paradigm on the sacraments lends to the same error and there’s still something to “be done” to “get” grace, that’s why they in FACT hold up adults as the exemplars, confound Law and Gospel all over the place, and that adults are the basis for those “of the kingdom” in baptism. While Jesus holds up infants as not only the exemplars “of the kingdom” but unless you be likewise you can in no way enter. It is NOT incidental at all that this cheap grace/expense grace error exists among “adult baptizers only”, because both have to find a way for someone to DO something. This is why I think Luther really saw well that if you cease to baptize infants it looses its Gospel witness. And this links to them saying, “who can and cannot be a Christian”, that’s the dilemma they are both trying to solve and they solve it by ‘working your way to heaven’ in the essence of what they teach no matter HOW they use the same “grace” language.

Because if they understood why infants were upheld by Jesus and are baptized, then they’d understand REAL GRACE and REAL LAW. REAL Law is to be preached not so that you will assess yourself at just your “negative sins”, and not even primarily those, but your “positive goodness” will become the greater sin to you. Your terror, if it be the real Law, will be rooted in your self inwardness not just in the negative sins but in your positive perceived righteousness. The real terror of the Law strikes at the selfishness or self love you have and your utter wanting of any real love that is utterly altruistic toward God or neighbor. This and this alone is the heart of the REAL LAW and it KILLS, thus making you like infants and Lazarus, only able to RECEIVE FREELY, because as long as you TRY to GET grace, you will never ever have it. Preachers who see, for example, the Rich Young Ruler as a form of grace or doable thing don’t really HEAR the real Law and thus to no surprise what-so-ever cannot preach it, neither Law nor Gospel. They don’t understand how Jesus was using the Law there, to get to the RYR’s heart, not a path of salvation or definition of grace.

So, in today’s climate I’m very careful about siding with every Tom, Dick and Harry preacher out there opposed to Warren. Make no mistake, Warren is utterly deluded and deceiving many for sure. But I’m not so sure every opponent of his is much better.


Larry - KY


In Luther's great work "The Bondage of the Will", he makes a great comment to Erasumus

"I certainity admit that there are giddy preachers, who, from no religious or godly motive, but because they want applause, or hanker after novelty, or just cannot keep their mouths shut, talk the most frivolous nonsense; but such please neither God nor men, even by affirming that God is in the heaven of heavens! Where, however, preachers are serious and godly, teaching in sober, pure, sound words, they refer to this sort of thing without risk of harm, and, indeed, to much profit."

The profit that Luther is referring to is the salvation of mens souls.

Lito Cruz


As for MacArthur - well, like Swindoll he misses Law and Gospel too. I agree.

Since MacArthur is a re-baptizer, the anathema of Luther has already been made and yes of course, Luther would not offer the right hand of fellowship.


Thanks for these quotes from Lewis and Luther. They prove again that they were wise people we can take time to learn from what they said

Steven G.

Here is a quote from C.F.W. Walther (For those who don't know who Walther is, he was the first president of the LCMS.) along that echoes Luther's and Lewis' sentiments:

Now, there is no doubt that these men wish to convert people by using such false terms. They believe that they can convert men by concealing things from them or by presenting matters in a manner that is pleasing to men as they are by nature. They are like sorry physicians who do not like to prescribe a bitter medicine to delicate patients, or if they do prescribe it, they add so much sugar to it that the patient does not taste the bitter medicine, with the result that the effect is spoiled. Accordingly, preachers who do not clearly and plainly proclaim the Gospel, which is offensive to the world, are not faithful in the discharge of their ministry and inflict great injury on men’s souls. Instead of advancing Christians in the knowledge of the pure doctrine, they allow them to grope in the dark, nurse false imaginations in them, and speed them on in their false and dangerous path.


The following is my opinion only, so please remember this if/when you reply.

Most churches like Saddleback and the seeker churches are not really even churches at all. They "cater", they do not preach the truth that was once delivered to the saints per Saint Jude.

Unfortunately, people are not interested in what they need to hear most: namely why Jesus Christ died. To take away our sins. People want to hear feel good, "little engine that could" theology. 99.99% of all theology taught in churches these days is heavy on pop psychology, not law and gospel.

I could probably safely state that the vast majority of churches out there, denomination s aside, are not "true" churches. The measure of a true church is very simple: the Word and Sacraments are rightly administered. There is no way that any seeker/mega-church is a true church. Their takes on who Jesus is are wrong. They see Jesus as a power source or spiritual battery, not the one and only way to heaven. These so-called churches also do not teach the Athanasian view of the Holy Trinity. Most people could not explain the one true Triune God to you if their souls depended on it (and they do).
There is no proper sacraments administered in these "churches". In other words, communion/eucharist. Most American "Christians" think of communion as only a symbol. This is exceedingly dangerous and false. Saint Paul warns against this over and over again in his letters and epistles to various people.
Saint Paul warns against looking at communion as merely a "symbol" in 1 Corinthians 11:23-29.

Look at it this way. If I was to take a picture of one of your family members and tear it up, am I profaning them? No, I'm not, because it's only a symbol, a picture of that person. You cannot profane a symbol.

1 Corinthians 11:27-29: Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

I long for a return to orthodoxy. I long for music in the church that was actually written by theologians like Luther. Nothing in this world is as beautiful as "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" sung by a choir in the loft.

All of these people who attend these so-called churches are exactly what they are called: seekers. They are really seeking the truth that was once delivered to the saints, but they will never find it where they are looking. Orthodoxy is beautiful, and once you have experienced it, nothing else holds a candle to it.

I implore you seekers: find a true, confessional church that seeks to actually glorify the one true God in worshipful music and praise, not this dance hall tripe.

In closing, remember this: true worship of God is never focused on the layperson, it's focused on God and Him alone. This dancing and singing of theologically bankrupt songs like Our God is an awesome God, and Shine, Jesus, Shine, do not constitute true worship. It designed to get people all pumped up, not to think about what God has done and is doing for believers.

Go back to orthodoxy before it's too late.



Wow! I think your missing it. Its a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, meaning each one of us is going to experience Him in a different way. I have experienced Orthodoxy and it didn't work for me. Remember, the only thing we know for sure is how we are going to get to Heaven and that's by accepting Christ as our personal saviour.



You did not accept Christ, Christ chose you.

All you could do is to reject God's gift of Grace through Faith in Christ. Even your faith is a gift.



Of course! I am getting so frustrated by the semantics. Do I have to give a dissertation. To say one has accepted Christ is just common diction when speaking about ones relationship. I never hear someone say, "Christ chose me and I chose to not deny His Grace." Common!


Explain to me St. Paul? Christ chose him and he didn't deny God's grace. Christ told his diciples that he chose them, they didn't chose him. If you really believe the doctrine of election, you must believe that it is God who elects us to salvation and we have no row in this.

We have no free will in the matter of our salvation: 100% God chosing us, 0% our decision. We cannot made a decision for Christ since we are spiritually dead to God. God must make us first alive in Christ before we can even acknowledge our salvation. The reality is that when one "makes a decision for Christ", Christ as already made that person a believer by giving them the gift of faith.



What do you say about Romans 10:13 "For whosever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." And how about Revelations 22:17 "And whosever will, let him take the water of life freely." I do believe that God clearly chooses, but man must also accept God's invitation to salvation.


In Romans 10:14, Paul clearly states that the Word of God must first be preached. It is the Word of God that gives the gift of faith. Are you really accepting God's gift on your own free will or are you accepting God's gift of grace because God has given you the gift of faith to believe? This is an important difference.

In Eph 2:1-10, Paul clearly teaches that we are dead to God. It is God is makes us alive by His grace through the gift of faith. Our ability to believe is due to God acting first and saving us. Our ability to accept God's gift only due to the fact that He has given us the ability to accept it. This acceptance is the natural consequence of the work of the Holy Spirit in the individual.


I do believe that God gives us the faith and God also chooses but I also believe that we are sinful by nature and that even though we are still chosen and given the faith we must make a decision to follow or not. To make the leap that because we have the faith means that we will accept God's grace is wrong. Do you believe that everyone chosen by God has accepted His gift?


The answer to your question Craig, Do you believe that everyone chosen by God has accepted His gift? is yes.

John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away

John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.

John 6:39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.


The answer to your question Craig, Do you believe that everyone chosen by God has accepted His gift? is yes.

John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away

John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.

John 6:39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.

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