Saturday, August 3, 2013

Jesus Is Not a Brand

“Doth that man love his Lord who would be willing to see Jesus wearing a crown of thorns, while for himself he craves a chaplet of laurel? Shall Jesus ascend to his throne by the cross, and do we expect to be carried there on the shoulders of applauding crowds? Be not so vain in your imagination. Count you the cost, if you are not willing to bear Christ’s cross, go away to your farm and to your merchandise, and make the most of them; only let me whisper this in your ear, ‘What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?’” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Spurgeon preached those words more than 100 years ago as a warning to his Christian peers and their adoption of early modernism, which he rightly saw as a threat to biblical Christianity.

In 2013, no one disagrees that modernism has infected the church but just how far away have we moved from the historical positions of Christianity?

Last year the Wall Street Journal published an article about a bar in Brooklyn in which two worship services are held – reminders to tip the bartender are heard alongside entreaties to love thy neighbor and praise the Lord.

According to Jay Bakker, the son of televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, “The bar is common ground. People can come in and have a beer and have a drink, and I think for a lot of people that is comforting because church has been a painful place for them.”

“My whole life I have gone to Catholic church and hated it because it was boring and miserable,” said Will Zucconi, 27, who has been attending the services for a year. “I like to drink and I like to go to church, and if I can do both at the same time then that’s cool.”

As we make our way into the 21st century, there never has been a time in Christian history when the name of Jesus Christ so frequently is mentioned and the content of His life and teaching so frequently ignored.

The church by and large has become marketers of Jesus – trying to sell His message of love while omitting His call to sacrifice and obedience. After all, who does not want to serve a deity that loves them unconditionally and expects nothing in return?

If the gospel were proclaimed without compromise, the roster of card-carrying Christians in this country would shrink. It is no wonder that the most popular preacher today is televangelist Joel Osteen. He “pastors” the largest church in America, Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, which boasts an average weekend attendance of more than 43,000; almost double that of its nearest competitor.

Southern View Chapel offers its take on Osteen's ministry and message, “Osteen has no theological training and it is obvious from his books, sermons and interviews on television that he has little knowledge of the Scripture. Nevertheless, he has caught an unprecedented wave of popularity and could clearly claim the title as the most admired pastor in America. This popularity of course is due largely to his message. Eschewing anything controversial or negative (such as hell or judgment or even sin), Osteen proclaims a message of pure positivism. The title of his first book, “Your Best Life Now”, summarizes what Osteen has to offer his many audiences. If we will follow certain principles or steps (seven to be exact), so the storyline goes, our existence will be happy, healthy, and blessed with everything that would make this life wonderful.”

English Christian Evangelist Leonard Ravenhill once said, “Christianity is not measured in success but in sacrifice.” This truism is lost in today’s climate because the church no longer believes the gospel of Jesus Christ.

There is no clarion call to the body of Christ that we are crucified to the world and the world to us. Somewhere along the way, the church became marketers of Jesus Christ instead of imitators.

This should not surprise us. The Apostle Paul warned his protégée Timothy of this very thing, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

We need to come to the place where our lives mirror what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:10, “that I may know Him [Jesus] and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” This is our charter as believers. As followers of Jesus Christ, we need to be ready to obey Christ as unconditionally as the first disciples. That is our calling, not barroom worship services.


"If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself." - Apostle Paul (1 Timothy 6:3-5)


Steve Finnell said...


It is impossible to proclaim a belief in perseverance of the saints, also know as once saved always saved and eternal security, and at the same time declare you are not a Calvinist.

The Calvinistic T.U.L.I.P explained.

T-Total Depravity. Means that sin is in every part of one's being, including the mind and will of man. Therefore men are without free- will. Men are saved by grace alone.

U- Unconditional Election. God predetermines who will be saved and who will spend eternity in hell.

L-Limited Atonement. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was only for the predetermined elect.

I-Irresistible Grace. God selects men to be saved and then forces then to believe in Jesus.

P-Perseverance of the Saints. The people God has chosen for salvation cannot lose their salvation.

Perseverance of the saints is the culmination of the T.U.L.I.P.
Without the first four points of the Calvinistic T.U.L.I.P there cannot be a fifth point.

You either embrace all 5 points of the T.U.L.I.P or none of the points.

Yes, all five T.U.L.I.P points are contrary to Scripture.

T-Total Depravity.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.(NKJV)

All men who hear the gospel can choose to accept God's grace or reject it.

U-Unconditional Election.
Faith: John 3:16
Repentance: Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19
Confession: Romans 10:9
Water Baptism: Acts 2:38. Mark 16:16

There are conditions that need to be met in order to receive salvation.

L-Limited Atonement.
John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold ! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.(NKJV)

Jesus died for the sins of all men.

I-Irresistible Grace.
Acts 7:51 "You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.(NKJV)

Men did and still do resist the Holy Spirit. Grace is not irresistible.

P-Perseverance of the Saints.
Luke 8:13...who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.(NKJV)
1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrine of demons.(NKJV)

The Holy Spirit says men will fall away from the faith. Who do you believe the Holy Spirit or John Calvin?

It you believe in perseverance of the saints, once in grace always in grace, eternal security, then you are a Calvinist.

YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. Google search>>>>>>steve finnell a christian view

Anne Marie Donadio said...

Hi Steve,
Thanks for your comment. I think it is important to define perseverance of the saints and then examine it against Scripture.

The term “perseverance of the saints” means that every true “saint,” or in other words, all who have actually been “sanctified by the offering up of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10), will certainly persevere in faith until the end, and so be finally saved. The term does not mean that true Christians will never have seasons of doubt, nor ever fall into sin, but rather that God will always cause their faith to triumph at the last, and will never allow them to remain in gross sin indefinitely, but will continue the work that he first began in them, bringing it to perfection in the Day of Jesus Christ (see Philippians 1:6). Neither does the term mean that no one who makes a profession of faith will finally fall away: on the contrary, there are many false professions, and there are different kinds of false faiths that flourish for awhile but then wither away (e.g. Matthew 7:21-23; 13:1-23); but all who have been granted true faith, which God alone can give (e.g. Joh 3:27; Phi 1:29; 2Pe 1:1; Act 16:14; 18:27; Eph 2:8-10; Act 5:31; 11:18; 2Ti 2:25-26; 1Co 4:7), will continue in the faith until they reach their blessed end in heaven.

The scriptures clearly teach certain truths which, when conflated, definitely confirm the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. The bible teaches that, what God begins (especially concerning his work of grace in the hearts of the saints), he will certainly finish (Psa 138:8; Ecc 3:14; Isa 46:4; Jer 32:40; Rom 11:29; Phi 1:6; 2Ti 4:18); that of all whom he has called and brought to Christ, none will be lost (Joh 6:39-40; 10:27-29; Rom 8:28-31, 35-39; Heb 7:25; 10:14); and that, while his preservation of the saints is not irrespective of their continuance in faith and holiness (1Co 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:5; Heb 3:14; 6:4-6; 10:26-27; 12:14; Rev 21:7-8; 22:14-15), yet he himself is the one who sanctifies them, and causes them to persevere in true faith and godliness (Joh 15:16; 1Co 1:30-31; 6:11; 12:3; 15:10; Gal 3:1-6; Eph 2:10; Phi 2:12-13; 1Th 5:23-24; Heb 13:20-21; 1Jo 2:29; Jud 1:24-25).

A denial of the final perseverance of all true saints is a very serious error for a couple of reasons; first, it logically demands that we must continue by the works of the flesh what God has begun by his gift of the Spirit – a serious error Paul addresses in Galatians 3:1-6. If God saved us by his grace alone, which was given to us in Christ Jesus, then how can we say it is up to us to continue in the faith, or that his grace alone, which was sufficient to give us faith and the Spirit at the first, is not sufficient to keep us in the faith and preserve us by his Spirit? In other words, any position which denies that Christ will persevere Christians to the end is implicitly denying that Jesus' work on the cross is sufficient to save to the uttermost ... That we must somehow maintain our own just standing before God. No small error. And second, if the Holy Spirit does not preserve all whom the Father has elected and brought to Christ, then the persons of the Trinity are working in contradiction to each other, which is an impossibility given the precious unity of the Godhead.

Covnitkepr1 said...

Most churches are simply put..."social clubs." What you have written is well over due. Thanks for speaking the absolute truth.
I write a blog which I have entitled “Accordingtothebook” and I’d like to invite you to follow it. I’m your newest follower.

Anne Marie Donadio said...

Thank you for your encouraging response. I agree that many churches are social clubs. Most have forgotten that a church is only as effective as it is holy. All we really have to offer the world is the life that Christ empowers us to live through the cross and His indwelling Spirit.

Thank you for including your blog. I will check it out today.