Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Insufficiency of the Simplicity of the Gospel…

...or "When Did the Church Lose Faith in Grace?"

I've been amazed and saddened by the all out attack on the simplicity of the Eternal Gospel of Grace that's been launched over the past several days because one Ray Comfort, a well known, orthodox, and faithful bond servant of the Lord Jesus Christ has accepted an invitation again (and much to the chagrin of some) to preach the foolishness of the cross at an upcoming Word of Faith conference. Ray Comfort is an evangelist who, as far as I can tell, faithfully presents the uncompromised and eternal gospel of grace whereby God is pleased to supernaturally and miraculously convert deadened, hell bound sinners into lively stones fitly joined together.

Maybe I'm just terribly dense on this matter, and perhaps a loving brother or sister in the Lord out there can help me to understand, but I’m still looking for ONE scriptural precedent wherein ministers of the gospel EVER placed preconditions or caveats upon the faithful proclamation of the eternal gospel of grace under ANY circumstances; or perhaps for ONE scriptural case wherein any believer or group of believers are exhorted in the scriptures to place certain “in advance” demands or prerequisites upon another believer prior to his ministering of the gospel. It seems to me that something this important wouldn’t have been overlooked in the Bible say, for example, when the Lord Jesus Christ gave the Great Commission. Bravo to those who are willing and able to boldly stand on the infallible Word of God and faithfully proclaim His pure and eternal gospel of grace at every opportunity and especially in the face of opposition - whatever its source - for they are being faithful to King Jesus and His Great Commission to the praise of His glory alone forever and evermore. For men to add preconditions or caveats to another man's faithful presentation of the pure gospel is simply without biblical precedent.

I’m also still a bit confused as to why some sovereign grace Christians apparently seem to believe that the Lord God Omnipotent is so powerless and thoughtless that He would miraculously regenerate His elect through the faithful proclamation of His eternal gospel of grace and then simply abandon His child to “drink spiritual poison” allowing them to languish underneath false teaching thus becoming unfaithful to His promise to finish the good work that He has begun (Philippians 1:6). Can someone help me out here? What love is this? What happened to sovereign grace?

Why has the conception of the absolutely sovereign One True and Living God of the Holy Bible become so small as to think that the power of His eternal gospel of grace needs a little help from sinful men to REALLY get the point across because, well, you know, people are REALLY deceived by Satan?

When did the church begin believing the lie that Satan’s power of deception is greater than the One True and Living God’s gospel power of salvation? Our God is God. Our God reigns. He sits in the heavens and does as He pleases (Psalm 115:3). When did the church begin ascribing God’s attributes to the enemy?

The power of the eternal gospel of grace is more than sufficient to overcome all the wiles and deceits of the enemy by God’s power alone. Have faith! May those who are called by the name of the Lord of Glory never be found standing in opposition to the faithful proclamation of His Eternal Gospel of grace!

The eternal gospel of grace faithfully presented is more than sufficient and it is in fact God’s chosen means whereby sinners are supernaturally and miraculously converted to faith in Jesus Christ by grace through faith in Him alone. God’s power to save His elect from every kingdom, tribe, tongue and nation is omnipotent and is able to save His chosen to the uttermost.

It seems to me that if one wishes to quote Jude 3 (as some have) as a proof text against those who would boldly and faithfully proclaim the eternal gospel to ANYONE, ANYWHERE then let’s please continue to read on down through verses 21-23 and then let’s be obedient to the WHOLE COUNSEL of God. The same goes for 2 Cor. 6:14-18 – I think all discerning, orthodox, Bible-believing Christians would agree the WoF cultists aren’t in the church so in its proper context this application fails the "proof text test" as well as this text is clearly referring to brothers and sisters inside the church who are living in sinful immorality and does not refer to those outside the church – even if they claim to be “true Christians” (i.e. Mormons and JW’s). Lastly 2 John 10-11 has exactly nothing to do with the situation at hand because the admonishment herein is to not receive such people into the church (and at the time of writing most likely admonished against receiving such into the house churches in a spirit of Christian hospitality and fellowship which cannot be applied to unbelievers) which is the exact reverse of faithfully going out into the world and preaching the gospel unto unsaved false believers (such as WoF cultists) with a bold and unflinching faith that God will save those whom He has elected by His sovereign grace and power alone.

It has pleased the Lord to draw His children, whom He has foreknown from the foundations of the world, by the foolishness of the preaching of the cross.

The eternal gospel is the answer to the WoF heretics.

The eternal gospel is the solution to culture.

The eternal gospel is God’s chosen means whereby sinful, wretched, hopelessly lost sinners are miraculously and supernaturally converted into lively stones fitly joined together. This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes!

All the discernment in the world doesn’t matter a bit apart from the all-redeeming power of the glorious gospel of grace. Certainly the WoF’ers are ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing and ought to be soundly and roundly rebuked by true Bible believing, blood bought Christians everywhere - HOWEVER - when in our sincerest moments we should find that we begin to place preconditions on the PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL then we find ourselves in a spiritual no-man’s land. In fact if we are ever to be found in such a sorry estate then we will also be found to be standing over and against the Great Commission of our glorious Lord and Savior. May such a thing never be named among those who believe on Him and Him alone.

Did Paul “give credence” to the unbelieving Jews when he preached the gospel from synagogue to synagogue or when he earnestly contended for the faith during his Mars Hill Discourse with the Athenian philosophers? Did his preaching there place the Athenian philosopher’s beliefs “on equal footing” with the eternal gospel?

Or what about Peter; did he “give credence” to the unbelievers to whom he preached the very first Christian sermon on the Day of Pentecost? Did his preaching there place his hearer’s false beliefs “on equal footing” with the eternal gospel?

Or how about the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; when he accepted invitations and ate with harlots, sinners, and tax collectors (without preconditions); did He “give credence” to their debauched lifestyles or did He share the good news of the kingdom of God with them? Is the Lord Jesus Christ guilty of putting their sinful lifestyles “on equal footing” with His own eternal gospel?

Again could someone please share just ONE example from scriptures where it seemed good to the Holy Spirit to refuse the proclamation of the eternal gospel of grace to sinners?

As men's souls are enlightened by God alone through the hearing of the true and faithful proclamation of the eternal gospel of grace alone then God and God alone will ensure that He finishes the good work that He has begun in His elect. This is the very foundation of the doctrines of grace - that salvation is God wrought meaning that our salvation, sanctification, and ultimate glorification is ALL OF GRACE!

It isn't up to Ray Comfort to correct the erroneous beliefs to which the WoF adherents hold - this ought to be crystal clear because according to the scriptures unregenerate sinners have no spiritual discernment! This is the work of the Holy Spirit’s power of regeneration by grace through faith which comes by the hearing of the Word of God. And how will they believe without a preacher?

What possible good could a clever oratory on spiritual discernment and the manifold heresies of the WoF heretics do for their deceived adherents who probably haven't even heard a faithful proclamation of the eternal gospel of grace and thus are dead in their trespasses and sins and spiritually blinded? NONE! God bless Ray Comfort and may the Lord grant that he present a faithful proclamation of the true gospel of the REAL Jesus Christ to those WoF'ers and let us pray that it might please the Lord to save some of His elect who are in attendance there from their present miserable estate of bondage and oppression by His Gospel power alone!

Sadly it seems that this matter with Ray Comfort began - and evidently continues - because some people seem to think that the faithful preaching and presentation of the WHOLE GOSPEL OF GRACE is in some way insufficient.

In fact this position has been articulated to me in private and it is also available for public view as you can see here in this comment: "Ray, You Have To Warn, Not Just Preach the Gospel". (You'll need to click READ MORE FEEDBACK and scroll down to read this comment in its entirety.)

...not "just" preach the gospel?!?


This is the real touch point where this whole controversy started, that somehow the gospel itself, properly and faithfully presented is INSUFFICIENT in some way which is, of course, a lie from the pit of hell. In fact it's hard for me to imagine a more man-centered and anti-christian sentiment than to say “the gospel just isn't enough”.

No, it's MORE than enough since it's the very means whereby God in His sovereign wisdom and good pleasure has been chosen to supernaturally and miraculously enable unworthy, sinful men not only get to go to have their sins forgiven, not only to get to go to heaven, not only to enjoy eternal life, not only possess the treasure of eternal joy away from the presence of sorrow and sin, but to possess the TRUE treasure of eternal joy beholding the unveiled and unspeakably majestic glory of the One True and Living God in the face of Jesus Christ forever and evermore.

To think that a faithful presentation of the pure gospel needs "just a little help"; or just a little “something more” from Ray Comfort - or any other sinful man or woman for that matter - is shockingly unscriptural and in my mind represents a pathetically low and unbiblical view of the omnipotent, omniscient, absolutely holy, just, righteous, infinite, only wise One True and Living God of the Holy Bible.

He and His gospel are more than able.

He and His gospel are more than enough.

He and His gospel are more than sufficient.

And, as any true believer would agree, His chosen method of converting sinners is the faithful presentation of His gospel of grace.

With this in mind let's join together and pray for Ray Comfort and all those who are willing to go anywhere and preach to anyone about the wondrous good news of the kingdom of God in fulfillment of Christ's Great Commission regardless of their reputations or whether or not they "get invited back again". The measure is God's glory as His eternal gospel is faithfully proclaimed, not the results or responses or opinions of wicked, fallen men and women.

In closing there is, however, at least one viable argument that could be made if one were to consider the fact that 2 Cor is a FOLLOW UP to 1 Cor in which case we can look back and see another possibility (one which I think may be in play in this whole dust up) which is that Ray’s attendance at the conference is causing his brothers and sisters who are weaker in the faith to stumble (1 Cor 10:27-28). In this case Ray’s appearance definitely is given scriptural grounds for pause, but in all other complaints that I’ve seen lodged thus far the charges are simply out of context non-sequiturs and unbiblical straw man arguments.

It would seem, therefore, that if one actually wanted to make a compelling case as to why Ray shouldn’t preach the gospel (or “appear with” or “share the platform with” or whatever) at the upcoming WoF conference then someone should write to him and tell him that they’re weak in their faith and it will cause them to stumble if he does so.