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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Help Wanted...

I do not want this to turn into an argument between calvinists and armenians.

But I continue to be perplexed; and risk opening the proverbial can of worms.

Some of you will know to whom I refer. I ask you NOT to mention his name on this public forum.

Decades ago I served with a young man who was a phenomenal preacher of the Word. Hundreds came to Christ under his include a staff member with whom I now serve. He officiated the wedding of another staff member.

Then he was caught in homosexual sin.

He disappeared.

Then he showed up pastoring a small church. A friend stumbled into this situation, and learned that the "pastor" had told the church that he was out of the ministry for a while because of his wife's death. He left.

Later he showed up at a Metropolitan Community "Church" in Kansas City and later "married" his long time partner.

Now he pastors an, according to their website, "open and affirming" "church" near Kansas City.

Question: How does (or does)  First John 2.19 apply? "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us."

Was he ever a Christian? Or did God simply bless the message rather than the messenger? If your theology allows, did he "lose" his salvation? Can he be a genuine Christian and live in ongoing sin as a lifestyle? Even if you believe "once saved always saved," is it possible for a genuine Christian to give up his salvation? ("No man can pluck them out of My hand" says Jesus, but can you jump?)

This individual serves as an example of all too many I've known over the years. Then, for those who remember, we have Ray Boltz and Jennifer Knapp.

As homosexual practice (as opposed to temptation) continued to become a huge focal point in the professing church, maybe I'm not the only one who is trying to biblically, and thus logically, work through this stuff?

What thinkest thou?


Daniel said...

Two things on the larger issue of how the church should interact with homosexuality, both along the lines of choosing celibacy:

1) Wesley Hill's book Washed & Waiting (worth reading / reviewing)

2) This article (I think the guy is Catholic, but he also talks about being "born again" as a young man):

Jonathan Kesler said...

At first with the fact that he is continuing in sin would make me believe that his either (a) he was never a believer or (b) he has stepped into a different faith. As is very widely accepted sadly in the church today of leaders who are OPENLY sinning in church. This is a very bad spot to be in for the leaders and I think the church as well. There is the verse I believe in John where it says that if anyone is teaching false teachings to children (I think we could also say members of the church who are still children in their faith) it would be better for them to have a stone tied to their feet and cast into the sea. This is a serious threat to whose to just think that they can preach "soft Bible" and that are just teaching what the people WANT to hear. Not what they NEED. This person who is the pastor is obviously too deep in this sin right now and should not be a pastor and the church leaders should be doing something about this. I believe that people can walk away from their faith but not their salvation. because how did we get salvation in the first place? By ACCEPTING it from God. We did nothing to gain it, therefore we can in no way lose something that we have no power to gain.

RightWingNut said...


I think you answered your own question quite nicely.

God can choose to use anyone, including hypocrites and sinners, because it is His Word, not the person, that carries the power (Phil 1:15-18).

Romans 8:38-39 makes it clear that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Since God elects us and calls us, it is all Him to get us into the Kingdom, and it is all Him to keep us there. Why would we be in a special category that isn't part of "nothing?" It would be odd to have a verse (to paraphrase) that says, "The Almighty God (who called us) will make sure that nothing (except us) will be able to wrest us away from His justification and sanctifying work." This verse in Romans follows 8:28-30; it is a sort of doxology in response to our security in Him. Why would He elect us and then un-elect us based on some unknowable threshold of sin? How do I find out what the threshold is? I think this would lead to major insecurity and anxiety on the part of any Christian, and God specifically commands us not to worry, based on his sovereign maintenance of our justification. For professing believers, then, there are really only two categories: genuine and maintained by God versus a fraud. Frauds work because sometimes they mouth truth to enable error. 1 John 2:19 does state that most often, their error or hidden sin is exposed, and they leave. True believers exhibit a life of decreasing sin patterns accompanied by repentance, not increasing patterns leading to outright open error. That's where James 2:18 comes in. We can't fully know men's hearts, only God can. All we can judge is the evidence of works in their life, because true conversion will lead to increasing works. We can in practice judge a person based on evidence because that is what we are instructed to do, even if there is a long shot that beneath all that sin there is a saved heart. So you are commanded (and commended) to treat your friend as a non-believer, and pray that God will justify them. Then it's God's job, as it always is.

- Tim from FLM days...

Anonymous said...

As someone who was a member of that small church this man pastored, I can attest to this being just the tip of the iceberg with this man. Ironically, I saw him at a huge public event here in town just yesterday. If he ever noticed me sitting there, he successfully ignored me. Which would be consistent with his previous practice.

That being said, does Scripture not tell us that the WORD of God does the work of God. While yes, this man had some grievous sin he was hiding, the WORD of GOD was proclaimed when he spoke. I know a lot of the kids whose lives were changed in his meetings who are continuing to live their lives in the Lord's service. I attribute that to the truth which was spoken -- be it this man or any other.