Monday, June 26, 2006

How do you define "A Christian"?

For all of those who have left comments regarding the question I raised about whether or not Tony Jones is even a christian in my previous post, I would recommend reviewing this list from Tim Challies newsletter. Like I said in one of the comments to Mark O. from Youth Specialties in the last post, I do not know if Tony Jones is a christian or not, I hope he is. I do not have a problem trying to determine whether someone is a christian or not. I think sometimes we need to do that. It is not a personal attack. It is an attempt to define truth and expose errors, especially from someone who is influencing youth. For all of you who have left comments saying you know Tony Jones personally I don't want to take anything away from that. I do not know what beliefs he holds to completely. I do not know him, I cannot say for sure one way or the other but I can bring into question someone's teachings which does reflect what they believe and if what they believe is biblically erroneous then it should be questioned and challenged in order to determine if a teacher is wheat or chaff. 1 Thess. 5:21. This way we know if we should be influenced by him or not.

By asking the question "is he even a christian" should cause us to look at what he teaches and stands for. This is the motive for the question being raised. This can be true for anybody. Please, make this true for me too.

What do we base our true faith on?

One thing I do not understand--how is it that men like Brian McLaren, Campolo, and Rob Bell can question orthodox creeds and foundational beliefs of our faith like the 5 Solas, the inherency and infallibility of scripture, or the things the Reformers stood for and are accepted with open arms and when someone like myself questions the salvation of one person, based on their teachings, people react with passionate fervor and get very upset? Where is the fervor in defending the Truth once delivered to the saints --Jude 1:3?

There must be a criterion which we can use to test teachings and teachers. I know this is very unpostmodern-like.

Truth is certain not ambiguous.

I think it is good to be reminded of what a christian believes every now and then. Apparently more often than we thought.

I love the clarity in this list of creeds. This is something more Emergents could do with although I know they get very uncomfortable with the idea of clarity and certitude. That's too bad because God is very clear, Satan is the author of confusion:

~~~

I believe in the Bible, that it is clear, complete, sufficient, true and without error. It says what it means. I do not demand that God speaks to me apart from it. I'm not waiting for still, small voices in my head or trying desperately to find God's will through random circumstances. I read, He speaks, I obey. Or I try anyways.

I believe in the God of the Bible. I believe in a God who is one, yet three. I believe in a God who is loving, holy, just, kind and good. I believe in a God who knows all and has foreordained all that has come to pass or will come to pass.

I believe that God, from nothing, made the world and everything in it in six days. Not six ages or six phases or six million years, but six days. 144 hours. That's what He said, so that's what He did. And it was good.

I believe in sin. I believe that Eve actually did converse with a talking snake and that her act of rebellion and the sin of her husband was as simple as taking a bite of a really delightful piece of fruit. This is not metaphor or fable. This is just what happened. Because of that sin, I believe you and I are both worthy of God's wrath. When Adam fell, we fell. And it was not good.

I believe that I am sinful. I delight in evil. I hate what is good. I am thoroughly, utterly depraved. Sin pervades every area of my life and turns me against my Creator. What is true of me is true of all men.

I believe in justice and in judgment. I believe that God, being just, demands just satisfaction for any all sinful deeds.

I believe in hell. A literal, tormentuous hell that is far worse than we can imagine. Nor should we want to imagine it. It is a place of justice. There are no devils with pitchforks and no sense of community where sinners sit around and discuss all the fun they had on earth. It is just the sinner and God, full of wrath, one-on-one forever. You don't want to experience that and neither do I, though I believe that we both deserve to go there.

I believe in grace, the unmerited favor that God chooses to extend to all in some ways and to only some in other ways. God grants grace to all men that they may live and laugh and love and enjoy this world. I believe that God grants special grace to some so that they may love and enjoy and serve Him forever. God shows His grace in providing us with a way out of the horrifying mess we've made.

I believe in Jesus. Born of a virgin, the perfect, Holy Son of God. The God-man. He died, literally, was buried, literally, and rose, literally.

I believe in the atonement. Jesus died on the cross in place of His people. He suffered in place of His people. And through this act, my sin was imputed to Him and His righteousness was imputed to me. This was the greatest act of grace and kindness the world has ever known or ever will know. Nothing that can, will, or could happen is greater than this.

I believe there is no salvation outside of Jesus. God will not waive the requirements of righteousness at the final judgment. Not for anyone and not for everyone. Not for those who have never heard of Him. Not for children. Not even not for those who love Him.

I believe in the gospel, the message of the good news of Jesus' perfect life, substitutionary death, and glorious resurrection.

I believe in repentance, for without turning away it is impossible to turn towards.

I believe that man's chief purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. To glorify God by enjoying Him forever. I don't need to undergo testing, fill out inventories or take a forty day journey to discover my gifting or purpose. Our purpose is as simple and as joyful as living to bring honor and joy and glory to God. Our purpose is a privilege.

I believe in the church - the true church - which is God's community of the elect, anxiously awaiting the sound of the trumpet, dedicating themselves to carrying out God's purposes while they wait. The church is the total number of God's people living when they are where they are. It is the church's honor and responsibility to take the good news to all the world.

I believe in families that honor God. I believe in families centered around marriage, an institution created by God and for God. Men are to lead their wives. Women are to submit to their husbands. Together, through their complementary roles, they are to provide a portrait of the love of God for His people.

I believe in perseverance; that God, by His grace, will never let go of those who have been saved.

I believe in heaven. A literal, beautiful, physical heaven that is far better than we can imagine. Heaven is the community of the redeemed together with God, full of love, all together for ever. It is a place of no pain, no sorrow. I long for this place. I hope I see it soon.

I believe in glorification; that someday God will return and will bring with him a new heaven and a new earth. Those who have been saved will live together forever, new body and perfected spirit united, in the presence of God. My heart aches for this day, for on this day I will believe perfectly and fully. And so will you.

20 Comments:

Blogger Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

A very good list. We are involved in a different kind of Spiritual war where the enemies don't always wear a "uniform", they sometimes embrace the beliefs on that list privately, and sometimes they have fellowships with Christian leaders that have obscured their Biblical standards. The sad part about that list is that it takes some time for new converts to learn some of those truths, but the average seeker/purpose church is content with dwelling in only a couple of those truths while "discipling" their members mostly in the doctrine of culture.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

Kenny, don't stop. It s good to confront the "feel good about myself and what I'm doing to earn my salvation" and " holier than thou" and " find a new way from another religion to find God" and " human wisdom " doctrines of the emergent church.
Man , it is amazing how the supporters of the emergent leaders come out to defend their boy. I guess that is a good trait , to be loyal ...
are any of them loyal to the Word ? or do they just question it ,then when they don't like what it says they change it or ignore it.
Why would God make Himself so mystical and hard to get to ? It is Christ crucified that is easy to understand for the ones who the Spirit of God pulls , that is the most hard to understand act of all mankind to the unbeliever or the non-elect. Why would Jesus then change and become the most diffullcult person to know the earth has ever seen... like doing all these copycat disciplines and rituals etc. from all these pagan religions . Jesus is there for the elect to know and experience thru Bible and the 3rd person of the Trinty . I believe some people don't like the simple discipline of denying yourself daily and take up your cross.. dying to your sin.
It is good to see someone who Christian enough to confront/question things and people that do not teach the truth.
Man always tries to change the Bible because he does not like what it says about him. Man loves himself , he thinks he's so smart .
There are 7 things the Lord hates and the 1st is a prideful heart.
It is good to know that all these new "christian leaders" have now found and are now exposing us to the REAL TRUTH of God . ..for so many centuries the church, our Fathers , elders etc.( they tried hard they just weren't educated in the world to know better ) had it all wrong.. now these emergents have the direct line to the Lord.. finally finally!
By the way I talked to a homeless man yesterday and tried to share with him about the Lord and I tried to see Jesus deep in his eyes... I really tried , he told me he knew God etc. , and all I saw was a man who wanted 5 bucks , I gave it to him anyway and then he said that he beleived in Jesus and he was a christian . I did not give him 5 bucks to practise a " christian discipline " I just thought the guy might need a helping hand and then I wanted to tell him about Christ because I might not see him ever again. All that guy wanted was my money. The church as a whole and the christian have been feeding the poor , taking care of the widows and orphans etc. ever since it has been in exsistence so why are these emergents so crazy about it . If someone needs help I know of many christians that would give almost anything to help. I have seen it for years, it is just someting you do but it should never take some high place as a HOLY virture and then in turn replace Christ cucified. This I beleive is happening.
It is good to see Ken Silva's thread ,he put it all together well. Thanks Kenny this site it really helps,

11:27 PM  
Blogger Peter Zefo said...

QUOTE:"I do not know if Tony Jones is a christian or not, I hope he is."

Maybe you should turn to the Gospel of John chapter 21. Peter asks a similar question concerning the Beloved Disciple. I think that Jesus' response is worthy of "contemplation" here.

Also, as a Calvinist, what do you do with the "remain" language in the Fourth Gospel?

2:58 AM  
Blogger Kevin Rector said...

So the question that has to be asked is if a person must agree with you on all of your beliefs to be a Christian? What is the baseline of belief necessary (as you see it) to being a Christian?

Does a person have to be a Calvinist to be a Christian? Do you think that John Wesley was a Christian?

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, the real question here is not about one's salvation but rather the teachings and statements of Tony Jones that cause us to question his salvation. Especially when they say things like:

"...having this sense of God's company doesn't necessarily translate to a meaningful spiritual life. I know this because despite my awareness of God's presence, I have spent most of my life trying to figure out what to do about it".

By his own words, Jones causes us to doubt his salvation. He's the one expressing the doubt, not us.

Or when Jones talks of: "different ancient ways of prayer and devotion" he has chosen to depart from the protestant christianity.

Many of those defending T. Jones in the fiends of emergent sphere have placed him in the position of their spiritual leader. So absolutely we must question the salvation of all leaders in obedience to the scripture as described in 1 Tim. 3.
Also, are we to think that these guys should NOT be subject to the same biblical standards as church leaders? They must be because these emergent people have made them their teachers, elders, oversees, pastors and deacons. You bet we're gonna examine and question them, their teachings and lifestyle! If we do not, we are in disobedience to God.

-KCO

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are a bitter man who, without intending to, is hurting the cause of Christ and the church.

I believe the Holy Spirit is grieved. Perhaps you should invest more time in sharing the gospel, in personal study, and in people.

Would you ask God to search your heart to see if there is any offensive way in you?

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Vee said...

Mat 24:10 And then shall many stumble, and shall deliver up one another, and shall hate one another.
Mat 24:11 And many false prophets shall arise, and shall lead many astray.
Mat 24:12 And because iniquity shall be multiplied, the love of the many shall wax cold.
Mat 24:13 But he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.

When men Like Jones and McLaren are endorsing mystical practices that are used by zennists and mystic monks, then the church is becoming unequelly yoked. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that these practices are leading people astray. It is placing so much emphasis on the experiential rather than the unchanging Word of God.

I mean, Brian Mclaren endorses a book that was written by Ken Wilber called "The Theory of Everything", which is a philosophy that includes everything in practice -- called integralism. Ken Wilber uses Hindu methods and his web-site has images of a Hindu god fornicating with a woman. McLaren endorses Wilbers writings !!! That my friends, is becoming unequally yoked.

When people are seeking something more than the Word of God because of their increasing dissatisfaction it's because they are un-nourished, it makes me wonder -- have ever been fed well in the first place? I think not.

Mat 4:4 But answering, He said, It has been written: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every Word going out of the mouth of God."

The Word of God is enough for us to live on according to Scripture, but scripture also says that there will be a famine in the last days, and not of bread but for the very Word of God.

Amo 8:11 Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord Jehovah, that I will send a famine into the land, not a famine for bread, nor a thirst for water, but rather a famine for hearing the Words of Jehovah.

If people are not being fed properly, then they will eat anything, including things that are unclean and that have no nutritional value at all, and that is exactly what we are seeing. We are indeed in the last days.

V

10:22 PM  
Anonymous djchuang said...

I did not realize that the 5 Solas and a detailed list of doctrinal beliefs are requirements for salvation. The question you're trying to raise about doctrinal distinctives and theological details should be more clearly and simply framed as such, and not alarmingly raised as issues of a person's salvation. I think the way the question could have been asked about a person's teaching, rather than a person's salvation.

While it is valuable (and safer) to have a tightly and consistently defined theology to uphold for a historic biblical Christianity, a person's salvation may not require having all their theology neatly lined up, and don't we all who profess to be Christian simply affirm the Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed? Doesn't that provide sufficient bounds for the diversity and freedom of the 3,000+ denominations and sects in the US and the 30,000+ denominations and sects in the world? Where do you want to draw the line among those thousands on who is saved and who is not? :)

11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Vee,

Wow! You have written solid words of truth. Thanks for the clarity and boldness!

-KCO

10:57 AM  
Anonymous chad said...

as someone who belongs to a denomination that does not have a doctrinal statement, i wonder if you would consider any of us Christians? it sounds as though you've put your salvation in intellecutal assent to bullet point beliefs. do you believe anyone who doesn't believe the Bible is inerrant can be saved?

it's interesting that Jones expresses his struggles in following Christ and you used that to question his faith; in the first belief there is a final statement, "or i try always." wait! you "try." are you wavering here? as far as listening to still small voices in your head, i suppose you'd put those crazy prophets in this camp as well. no way those guys were Christians. some of them even walked around cities naked!

what does it do to our faith if God didn't create the world in 6 literal days?

i'm very confused about the grace piece. God gives grace to everyone but "to only some in other ways." are you saying there are different types of graces? is that biblical?

is God's grace big enough to include children? i don't want to make God that small that He can't save children if he wanted.

you believe in families, good. do you believe in single people as well? or was Jesus not fully actualized as a single person?

the new heaven and new earth will be a redemption of the things that exist. the Bible says, "behold, i make all things new." your belief seems to suggest, "behold, i make all new things." can you tell me where in the Bible your description of heaven is located?

12:06 PM  
Blogger greggorant said...

To become a Christian, do you have to attest to the long belief list in your post?

12:48 PM  
Blogger greggorant said...

in order to become a christian, do you have to believe the long list in your post?

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Chad,

If you're still there, I have one question I'd like to ask you:

Will a Mormon go to heaven?

-KCO

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Vee said...

Thanks KCO...

I think we should speak with boldness just as Paul did:

Act 28:30 and Paul remained an entire two years in his own hired house , and was receiving all those coming in unto him,
Act 28:31 preaching the reign of God, and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness--unforbidden.

11:33 PM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Greggorant,

go to this website:

http://www.wayofthemaster.com/#

take the "Are you a good person" test at the bottom right corner of the site.

The "long list" that you refer to is a result of careful biblical study of the essential doctrines of true christian faith.

The way to become a christian is to understand your sin against a Holy God--read the 10 commandments and read Romans chapter 3.

God offers grace to us since atonement for our sin has been appeased through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. He took the punishment of our sin which we should have received but because of God's love He endured the punishment himself. There is nothing "good" within us yet while we were sinners Christ still died for us and offers his unmerited grace to us.

You must become converted.You must become born again to see the Kingdom of God--John 3:3

You must get a grasp of your need for the Savior- Jesus by understanding your violation to his holiness otherwise you will remain confused and unsaved destined to an eternal hell. God's standard is too high for us to attain but his grace is suffecient to save us anyway.

I love to tell this story

This is true love

7:55 AM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Greggorant,

go to this website:

http://www.wayofthemaster.com/#

take the "Are you a good person" test at the bottom right corner of the site.

The "long list" that you refer to is a result of careful biblical study of the essential doctrines of true christian faith.

The way to become a christian is to understand your sin against a Holy God--read the 10 commandments and read Romans chapter 3.

God offers grace to us since atonement for our sin has been appeased through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. He took the punishment of our sin which we should have received but because of God's love He endured the punishment himself. There is nothing "good" within us yet while we were sinners Christ still died for us and offers his unmerited grace to us.

You must become converted.You must become born again to see the Kingdom of God--John 3:3

You must get a grasp of your need for the Savior- Jesus by understanding your violation to his holiness otherwise you will remain confused and unsaved destined to an eternal hell. God's standard is too high for us to attain but his grace is suffecient to save us anyway.

I love to tell this story

This is true love

7:56 AM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Greggorant,

go to this website:

http://www.wayofthemaster.com/#

take the "Are you a good person" test at the bottom right corner of the site.

The "long list" that you refer to is a result of careful biblical study of the essential doctrines of true christian faith.

The way to become a christian is to understand your sin against a Holy God--read the 10 commandments and read Romans chapter 3.

God offers grace to us since atonement for our sin has been appeased through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. He took the punishment of our sin which we should have received but because of God's love He endured the punishment himself. There is nothing "good" within us yet while we were sinners Christ still died for us and offers his unmerited grace to us.

You must become converted.You must become born again to see the Kingdom of God--John 3:3

You must get a grasp of your need for the Savior- Jesus by understanding your violation to his holiness otherwise you will remain confused and unsaved destined to an eternal hell. God's standard is too high for us to attain but his grace is suffecient to save us anyway.

I love to tell this story

This is true love

7:56 AM  
Anonymous chad said...

will a Mormon go to heaven?

interesting question, not sure what it has to do with this post! anyway, here's my answer...are you ready? thankfully, i don't know. the power of sending people to heaven is not in my hands, and it's not in your hands. if i had to choose, i suppose everyone would go to heaven, i don't want anyone to experience separation from God. when did we start deciding for Christ, the Judge, who was going to get into heaven? is heaven even a place to "get into"?

Kennyo...
it's interesting to me that Jesus never provides a list. what is Jesus' list? there are the ancient creeds of the church that we must assent to if we are to be orthodox in thought, but no list.

the list provided here falls short, as all lists will. how can you describe the God of creation, of the Exodus, the Incarnation, the Crucifixion and Resurrection in a list? does intellectual assent to this list equal salvation? i ask again, where is this list in the Bible?

12:59 AM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Chad,

It would be foolish to believe anyone could be "saved" by adhering to a list. As the title of the post indicates this list defines what a true christian will hold to. A person is saved when the Holy Spirit makes him how was once spiritually dead, alive through the redemptive work of Christ. God makes us a new creature not a list or a creed, however in order to define our new-selves as christians, we had better understand what our positions are and WHAT we actually believe otherwise there is no difference between us and the Mormons or Jews or any other ideology.

There are HUGE differences between christians and the rest of the world, that is why the world does not like us and as clearly taught in the bible that is also why we must be seperate from the world and set apart unto God.

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chad, Chad, Chad,

The question about the mormon was raised to make a point.

A mormon, will not go the heaven (unless he repents from his belief in error). Mormons deny the diety of Christ, salvation in Christ's finished work alone on the cross and his bodily resurrection. Their Christ is not the Christ revealed in scripture.

What one believes determines who and what he puts his trust into, what boat he gets into.

If you cannot even see this difference in this then you are very confused. A mormon, unless he repents from his belief in falsehood, will NOT enter heaven through Jesus, the only way, truth and life (Jn. 14:6). It's okay to say that.

If you cannot take a clear stand on the difference between a mormon and an evangelical christian, then, with your lack of willingness to take a position will lead you into all forms of doctrinal error.

If I may say this to you personally in love; If you are a leader of people, then you will lead your followers down the road of confusion as well as yourself. That is dangerous.

Please Chad, I would ask that you consider these things seriously. Stand on the hard truths of scripture before you go into any ministry or doctrinal error could lead to departure from the faith.

-KCO

9:36 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home