Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Christian Prayer Without Jesus?

I take no pleasure in a post like this. I do it because it causes us to think and consider how easily even a solid christian leader like Dr. Ravi Zacharias can buckle to the "politically correct" pressures of our day.

In hindsight he should have declined the offer to chair the National Day of Prayer if it meant he would have had to have agreed to excluding the name of Jesus from the official event prayer, which is what he did, unfortunately.

13 Comments:

Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Kenny,
Don't be ashamed to do what you've done. That fact is that such a man isn't a solid Christian at all, but probably unsaved. Harsh? Read Hebrews 10:32-39, Rev. 2-3, Deut. 12-13, Romans 10.

When I was a kid I was taught that to deny Christ was evidence of not being His. Evidence of being hell bound. That is the point of Jesus identifying only those who endure the wrath of the world for our testimony as the only ones to be saved in Rev. every time He addressed any of the churches.

He wasn't kidding.

IN Christ,
Phil Perkins

9:30 PM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Thanks Phil,

I believe Ravi Zacharias is truly a christian. I just think he has allowed himself to be in a position where it became convenient and expedient to leave out the name of Jesus Christ. He may have been trying to "reach" the lost by going along with a secularly initiated event and during the process, after already having gone to certain lengths to appease, found himself at this point of excluding Jesus' name.

I think if a christian really thinks about what he is actually doing, deliberately leaving out the Savior's name, he will at some point be appalled at making this poor decision and bad move. At least I hope this is the case. Everything I have read of his and heard from him seems solid in its theology etc. but it is my hope he has just slipped in this instance, like Peter did. I think this is a result of compromise in order to "win" some to the faith.

Bottom line it is NOT trusting in the Holy Spirit to do the calling of the lost but it is trusting in man's methods which is always going to lead to compromise and confusion. It's a sad thing to witness.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Dear Brother Kenny,
This is why I ask for a reformation, not a revival and what you have done here is at the heart of one of the main ways in which we Christians fail to think christianly (biblically). And I know I'm speaking to a godly man who wants to get it right.

Failure to confess Christ is not a small thing or as you have said "poor judgment". Jesus said it's such a filthy sin that it marks one as almost certainly not regenerated. He said that if we fail to confess Him, He'd not confess us before the Father. And remember, this was said by the Lord at a time and in a place where "Christ is Lord" was truly a confession that would bring a death sentence in many instances.

How is it that RZ can do this and it's not seen as perverse? God calls it spiritual whoredom. We are ordered by God Himself not to sell our spiritual allegiance for our very lives, to say nothing of selling it for the approval of those putting on a polytheistic religious service for the nation.

Until we hate false religion with a godly hatred and refuse to allow it in our circles we are apostate. Rev. 2 and 3. The Evangelical church will not repudiate him until he repents and that proves it's no better than the Corinthians who tolerated physical adultery without any objection and no better than the church of Pergamum who allowed those who held to apostate doctrines (spiritual adultery). Christ promised Pergamum judgment. Was that for poor judgment or was it for perverse behavior in spiritual affairs?

When we call ourselves Christians and fail to accept even the smallest of persecutions (as RZ has refused to be scorned by religionists who hate Christ) we show that we are of the family of Satan.

Doubt me? Read this: Hebrews 10:32-39---But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach (exactly what RZ refused to do) and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,

"Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him."

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

Of which kind did RZ demonstrate himself to be? Of which kind do we want to be? I know of which kind I want to be. I will (by God's grace) show up at His precious feet with the scars He has honored me to receive! DRINK THE CUP GOD HAS GIVEN! Our Lord did. Peter did. Paul did. Those sawn in two did. Stephen did. Are we better than our Master? How arrogant to think such a thing! How cowardly we are in this putrified sewer we call "church"!

Again, remember Peter when he failed to confess? He wept and repented. Was that for poor judgment or was it for severe iniquity?

Please think this over.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Hank said...

I have heard many a sermon of Ravi Zacharias. His passion for Christ as mans' only remedy is unmistakable. I am saddened that he has chosen to pray as he has but to judge his salvation makes me incredibly uneasy. Romans 8:33 'Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.' I wonder Phil how you feel justified when you say, "That fact is that such a man isn't a solid Christian at all, but probably unsaved." I want to be careful not to judge your heart, but it is clear you are judging his. I have heard many a prayer by men who I believe have trusted Christ for their salvation, ending with, 'In You Name.' I have not felt comfortable hearing that, but I will not judge a man's heart. His actions speak loud. I am curious how much you know about Mr. Zacharias. At times confrontation in love is necessary but I am not certain I that I read this in your words. Christ said we can know His disciples by the love they have for one another. My prayer is that you look a little deeper before you make statements like this. You may be close to being judged by a far higher standard than yours or mine.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Simple, Hank. He failed to confess. I wonder, Hank, how you can feel comfortable calling Jesus a fool or a liar. After all, He's the One Who said if RZ fails to confess, He'll not confess RZ in front of God the Father. So don't blame me for that standard. It's all over the Scripture. If not, why don't you deal with the Scriptures I've provided? The historical understanding of the church of these passages is in line with what I've laid out here. You can easily document that be reading something as commonly known as Fox's Book of Martyrs and read the thoughts of our predecessors. But perhaps they weren't loving, huh?

Love is never in opposition to God's word. How unloving is Jesus in your opinion? He's the One I've quoted. From the gospels and from Revelation.

Was Jesus mistaken? Did He exaggerate? Did He lie? If it's rude to call RZ's spiritual state into question, it is okay to doubt Jesus' wisdom or honesty into question?

RZ or Jesus. Pick one.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins. PS--Again, deal with the passages. They are much more severe than I have been here. Perhaps they mean what they say.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Hank said...

I am astounded that you are saying I am calling Jesus a fool and a liar. Perhaps before we dig into your verses, read Matthew 5:22 and report your findings. I would also reiterate my question in other words; how much do you really know of Ravi Zacharias?

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phil,

It makes me very uncomfortable to hear someone judge so strongly someone else's salvation, especially on the basis of one incident. I would ask you, how would you handle the apostle Peter's denial of Christ? I would also say that under your criteria I am not a believer, because, I confess, there have been many times in my life that I had opportunities to confess Jesus Christ as King, and I failed to do so. How many times have I had a chance to share the Gospel and failed to do so? Too many times. Is this sin, absolutely, I make no pretenses about it. Was Ravi Zacharias' decision sinful, perhaps, I will refrain from making that judgment since I don't know his heart or motivations. As far as your scriptural basis, I think you using them out of context. Christ words were words of warning and a call to repentance, not words condemning the churches to eternal damnation. And again in Romans, I would ask you, how many times have you had an opportunity to confess Jesus as Lord and proclaim the gospel and failed to do so because of fear, or inconvenience? I confess to you that I am guilty of that offense, and yes it is sin. I think you are applying Paul's words is in a way they were not meant to be understood. And how many times have you heard Mr. Zacharias confess with his mouth that Jesus is Lord, proclaiming the wondrous gospel of our Christ our King? From what I know of Mr. Zacharias I truly believe that he is a brother in Christ. Perhaps we should be praying for our brother rather than calling down judgment and condemnation. It is incredibly easy for me to become obsessed with the specks in my brother's eyes and ignore the plank in my own. I would caution you to be careful before making such a serious judgment based on one instance. Paul asked the Ephesian church to pray that he would be given the words to proclaim the gospel boldly as he ought to speak it (Eph. 6:19-20). Perhaps that should be our prayer about Mr. Zacharias. I look forward to reading your response. A brother in Christ,

EK

11:50 PM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Hank,
That's the simple logic. Jesus said that if one is ashamed of Him and His words, He'd be ashamed of him before the Father.Thus we know that, in this instance at least, RZ is an embarrassment to Christ. Now that's a simple truth claim. All truth claims have 3 possibilities. They are true. They are mistakes. Or they are lies. So, since Jesus set out this as the standard He was either wrong, lying, or mistaken. You have no other possibilities at all.

I used to listen RZ regularly. But that's a moot point. If I'd never heard of him, he still wimped out according to your report and Jesus still set the standard in Scripture.

As to Mt. 5:22, two things. First, if your implication is that I'm wrong to be angry at RZ, aren't you angry at me? There is good, justifiable anger in Scripture. And I have not called him a fool. Nor have I falsely accused him in any way since it's your report I cite and Jesus' evaluation of his kind of behavior I've referenced.

Secondly, and more importantly, the context is sinful anger and this passage doesn't in any way negate the passages where the same Lord warned of the sin of wimping out in our testimony--all passages with which you, so far, have steadfastly refused to deal.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

12:59 AM  
Blogger Hank said...

First, I am not angry with you. (I do feel some irritation.) I am concerned you are in danger of having what I believe may be a Pharisaical attitude. If I not only profess Christ, but seek to do His will, I have an obligation to warn you of that, if indeed you are His child. I believe Jesus had more patience with the prostitute and 'sinners' than the Pharisee. I have seen your comments in this blog often and although I see you as reactionary, I have not doubted your faith in Christ. I was floored by your statement that I, 'can feel comfortable calling Jesus a fool or a liar.' I can not express the depths of that wound as I have no peace but in Christ. I have forgiveness in Him alone; and not because of my profession of Him, but His love for me. I can not see the suffering of the cross and not marvel at both His mercy and my sin. And sadly, I still sin. If I am angry with you without cause; that is sin. To equate 'comfort?' (my statement;I am saddened that he has chosen to pray as he has but to judge his salvation makes me incredibly uneasy.) with Mr. Zacharias' statement, to my refusal to proclaim him a heretic and then to insist that this is tantamount to calling Christ a fool, well I am left speechless at my lack of ability to follow the logic that leads you to that statement. I am curious if you would be willing to address the concerns of EK. I think he has expressed his concerns very well and I am in agreement with his assessment.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Hank,
Angry, irritated. Tomayto, tomahto.
I didn't say what you have done is tantamount to calling Christ a fool. I said it actually IS calling Christ either a liar or veryl mistaken. What Kenny claimed and you are defeding is that RZ dsimply did made a poor decision. In this you disagree with Christ who calls failure to confess Him a grave sin. The logic is simple. If Christ's wrong He either didn't know the truth or knew the truth and lied.

Jesus said what He said. It's sin.

I don't disrespect Kenny. I've read this blog for a long time because his stuff is almost always informative and orthodox, calling the church back to the Bible. I just asked him to consider the biblical position, which is that disowning Christ to save ourselves from any form of scorn or outright persecution, even for an instant, is a grievous sin.

This is part of the change in doctrine Evangelicals must go through if they are to become godly again. We must stop excusing capitulation to the world and call it sin again as our Lord did, as our forefathers did, as God will at the judgment, and just as all those passages to which you seem allergic do.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins

10:08 PM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

EK,
Read your Bible. It's full of tests that indicate salvation or damnation. Deut. 13, Matthew 7, John 10, all of I John, to name just a few. So if you're mad at me, you should really hate God, Jesus, Paul, and John, the apostle of love. And Christ Himself told us to judge men--especially religious leaders--with regard to their fruit in order to determine the state of their souls and their teachings.

As to Peter's failure, if you would reread, I already dealt with it and it proves the point. Peter dealt with it as a sin, not a poor decision. Which is my claim: it isn't a bad decision, it's very grave iniquity.

I can debate this all day because it's all over Scripture. You need to be better students. Also, you don't practice the sufficiency of the Scripture, or sola scripture. And you prove it by constantly referring to your inner thoughts, trying to prove a point by simply saying how aghast you are about something I've said. Yet if you knew your Bibles, you'd know better. You can't deal with the Scriptures. And I've only mentioned about a dozen passages or less. We could get into Kings, Samuel, Chronicles, Exodus, Judges, and Joshua. How about Jude? Or the last of Revelation?

In fact, I'll just tell you this: The worst thing in this discussion isn't the doctrinal error in and of itself, though it's pretty bad. The worst thing is the lack of basic biblical knowledge among the best of His children. It indicates a coldness to God, a lack of love for Him. I travel when I work. When I get home you have no trouble guessing that I love Diana, my wife. We run together, we hug, we kiss, we talk, and we listen. And when I can't get home a fleeting glance at our phone bill will tell you how much I love--I call her all the time. You have zeal for God and doctrine, but you spend very little time listening to Him by reading His word. Love Him more. Then you will read His word more. Then it will come full circle and you will love Him more still. Take this reproof for what it is--a request to brothers.

Please think it over,
Phil Perkins.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Hank said...

"I didn't say what you have done is tantamount to calling Christ a fool. I said it actually IS calling Christ either a liar or very mistaken. What Kenny claimed and you are defending is that RZ simply did made a poor decision. In this you disagree with Christ who calls failure to confess Him a grave sin. The logic is simple. If Christ's wrong He either didn't know the truth or knew the truth and lied. Jesus said what He said. It's sin."
I have quoted you Phil, because you misrepresent the facts. The issue was not whether RZ was mistaken or sinning: My statement was, "I am saddened that he has chosen to pray as he has but to judge his salvation makes me incredibly uneasy." I have not in any of this discussion excused Mr. Zacharias. Yet you continue to say I have by your implications. It is your attitude that is in question here and if you think God has called you to judge a mans salvation; I want to know how that is true. II Timothy 2:12 says, "If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself." You are saying Mr. Zacharias by not praying his prayer in the name of Jesus was denying Christ, yet you pontificate on a blog rather than deal with him as a brother. Galatians 6:1 says, "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted." Note the Scripture (God breathed) says, 'you who are spiritual' Galatians 5 defines spiritual, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." The fruit of the flesh, "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,
idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, I have not sensed too much of the first definition in your words but two of the second jump off the page. You have not answered the question as given to you. You point at my sin, Ken's sin and RZ's sin but there has not been a hint that you have any of your own. I looked at one of your blogs and you make a statement, "You will be censored for two reasons. 1. If you insult gratuitously or cuss. Call me stupid, crazy, or a heretic if you have a cogent argument. BUT, if you don't have an argument, you'll be censored. 2. If you are purposefully deceptive, such as changing definitions in the middle of a discussion, or outright lying." Your treatment of this discussion indicates you do not live by your own rules. Two verses come to mind, Romans 2:21 You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? And; Matthew 23:2 "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. "Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do." You corrected EK because he expressed his opinion and yet your opinion is never interpretive it is 'fact'. Your statement, 'This is part of the change in doctrine Evangelicals must go through if they are to become godly again. We must stop excusing capitulation to the world and call it sin again as our Lord did, as our forefathers did, as God will at the judgment, and just as all those passages to which you seem allergic do.' You judge us as having called Christ a liar because we do not endorse your claim private interpretive inerrancy. You decry the emergent church because they do not obey the scriptures, as you should, but the Scriptures never give us the place only Christ has of judging the heart and yet you judge hearts, but not your own. I see not a hint of humility in your words. James is clear, for all of us who call ourselves teachers, we will incur a greater judgment. Not just the one who has a radio show or who stands at a pulpit, but also the one who writes a blog. You are not the final Word of God. Without humility I doubt you can even get close. Micah 6:8 says, "He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? I live in a day where because I profess Christ as man's only hope, I am cursed by men. Am I cursed by you? You undoubtedly will say it is the Word that does that but it is you. All believers are righteous because of Christ's work and not our own. Truly we are called to good works but it is the new creation in Christ that wars against the old man in us. I thank God for a Ken Oliver who desires the sanctity of the Word of God but who also understands his own condition in the fall. DO YOU?

2:31 PM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Hank,
Actually, if you reread Kenny's first comment, he called what RZ did a "poor decision." That is the thing to which I responded in my second comment, to which you took exception. Going back to my first comment you will see I was encouraging Kenny and have been so since. He was, however, in error in that he called it a poor decision, instead of the iniquity it is named as in Scripture.

And please don't paint this up as me hating or being angry with Kenny. During this exchange or at the fist of it I left a very complimentary comment on another post. I simply pointed to KO the Scriptural teaching on denying Christ or failing to confess Him when it may cost us something. And I recommend his site on mine as a link to someone I find like-minded.

As to the constant complaint about pointing out that there is a good chance that such a man isn't saved, I reject your complaint on the simple grounds that Jesus made the claim repeatedly, as did Paul in your quote. So yes, God has called all of us to judge teachers, ourselves, and fellow believers, just you have judged me and my heart. I simply am telling you that you ought to read your Bibles so that you can do so biblically.

Start with Matthew 7. In it you will read Jesus' instructions on how this is to be done.

I have judged that reaching RZ with any meaningful communication is impossible for me. And I suspect you've not attempted anything like that either--so let's be honest, shall we?

I will end this with the same exhortation as before: Please read your Bibles. Here are some more passages on judging others who call themselves brothers: Lev. 19:17, I Cor. 5:9 and following, Jude, II John 10-11, John 10 (this one is good for evaluating oneself as well as others), Mark 8, Luke 9, and Romans 10:9 (often used in evangelism, but look also for the consequences of confessing Christ).

As to the "fact" accusation, we aren't to deal with opinions in the first place. We are to deal in Scripture. There we find the facts. If all opinions merit the same respect, for what reason do you oppose what I have said? I speak clearly and confidently because all I have done here is quote the Scripture--always a factually safe thing to do.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

10:06 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home