Have you ever fallen for a feel-good gospel that ministers to your ache for feeling special, or longing for admiration from a god who dances over you and thinks you’re the apple of his eye? What about sermon messages or books that help you look deeply into your past pains, or prayers that ask God for visions of His dream for your future?
Unfortunately, many churches, conferences and Christian program materials are designed to meet the felt needs of the sheep, ultimately focusing on themselves rather than a risen Savior, or using Him as a means to an end. Today we feature our guest blogger Grace Scott, who has researched the dangers of a so-called Felt-Needs Gospel, which is really no gospel at all:
The “Felt Needs” Gospel Guest post by Grace Scott
We must be aware of men (and women) who are influencing the next generation to have a low view of sin. We as moms, dads, pastors, grandparents, and youth leaders, need to protect them from the subtle but false teaching that pervades much of American Christianity in the form of a “felt needs” Gospel. The premise is that ministering to “felt needs” will predispose seekers to the gospel message. However, having “felt” needs met promotes a low view of God, an erroneous view of sin, and can actually hinder understanding of the Gospel message.
Bill Johnson, Mike Bickle, Brian Houston, Joyce Meyer, and Christine Caine are very well-known and written about as examples of false teachers with a global platform.
There are also less well known teachers who also have a global influence. These are unqualified leaders, without any accountability, who teach our kids and then send them out as missionaries to the world with a false Gospel and false view of Christ.
Adventures in Missions is one such example. Seth Barnes is the founder of Adventures in Missions. He began The World Race in 1989 and has since sent 100,000 young men and women out with erroneous teaching. As he leads them astray, they go on to lead others from the truth. Claiming to have over 1,000 ministry partners in almost 80 countries, this organization is a prime example of a global influence that is going under the radar. There are many more. We must practice discernment and cannot assume that an organization with an “orthodox” statement of faith is one we can trust.
Seth Barnes is just one example of a teacher/leader who doesn’t know his Bible. He and many others often predetermine what they want to say and then pick verses (often out of context) to support their topic at hand. They allow their own experience and what they believe to be ongoing “revelation” from God to supersede Scripture. The result is a mishandling of God’s word and a fall into error.
Error can be subtle so we must be discerning. We can practice discernment using a recent blog post titled The Vulnerable Gospel. Seth writes,
“We know that we should share our faith, but many of us feel awkward doing so. Maybe it’s time we changed the way we shared the Gospel. Those of us who follow Jesus usually begin our presentation of the Gospel with an emphasis on sin and shame. And yes, that certainly is an important part of the Gospel. We are separated from God by sin and God’s provision for us is Jesus.
But, it’s not how Paul shared it (see Acts 26). Nor is it how Jesus shared it.”
Acts 26 needs to be explained as there was some subtle misleading by Seth. This is Paul’s defense before King Agrippa. It is not a sermon or street evangelism, rather he is in a courtroom defending himself against the charges of the Jews in the previous chapters. In the middle of his defense he tells that in his obedience to the vision of Christ on the road to Damascus he went out proclaiming to all people, “that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with repentance. For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.” (26:20-21) Seth is wrong. Sin and repentance is exactly what Paul preached and was arrested for. We must know the context to see the error.
The post continues,
“Jesus didn’t begin sharing his good news with the public until he’d gone to a vulnerable place. And maybe we should do the same. Luke 4 tells us that he went into the desert and fasted for 40 days. In that place of weakness, the enemy sought to exploit his vulnerability.”
Was Jesus’ experience in the wilderness to show us His vulnerability? Jesus was God Himself. (John 1:1), He was perfectly satisfied in God. He was not desperate or lacking in felt needs. True, He may have been physically hungry, but we cannot equate that with his being weak in power. Instead, Jesus showed Himself to be divine in His ability to resist temptation without sin. He showed us the power of Scripture to resist the devil. This proved He was the Messiah and the promised Redeemer. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Heb 4:15 Seth minimizes the holiness, power and other-ness of Jesus that is demonstrated again and again in the Gospels. Instead Jesus Christ is spoken of as a mere weak and vulnerable man, not the “Word became flesh” (John 1:14). Continuing he says,
“On the heels of that experience, Jesus tells us that the target of his ministry is going to be the vulnerable. He tells us why they are vulnerable in Luke 4:18-19:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
The poor are vulnerable because they have few resources. The others he lists – the prisoners, the blind, the oppressed, are all missing something that humans need for a full life.
The concept of vulnerability is not central to the Gospel message, nor is it used even once in this passage. This passage is not about “felt needs” related to physical or emotional poverty as if this were the entirety of the Gospel. This is Jesus fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah. He has just declared Himself to be the promised Messiah! The One who has come to set us free from the oppression of sin. Is Seth unaware of or ignoring the many instances of righteous men calling us to repent of sin without worry of physical need?
John the Baptist in Matt 3:7-8 “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance”
Jesus in Matt 19:16-22 “If you would enter life, keep the commandments…go, sell what you possess and give to the poor…” asking him to forsake his idol of wealth to follow Him
Jesus in John 6:26-27 rebuking the crowds for seeking miraculously produced bread but not Jesus Himself. “You are seeking Me not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.”
Jesus said to the Jews in John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.”
This doesn’t sound like they are fulfilling their empty feeling and catering to vulnerability.
The concept of a vulnerable Savior is not found in Scripture.
Seth changes the gospel and changes the Christ it speaks of when he says,
“…We don’t see him shaming people with a gospel of sin, but loving them by meeting their felt needs.”
Women are especially susceptible to this idea of meeting felt needs, but men are just as likely to want a “feel good” gospel. Seth depicts the true Gospel as unloving and unhelpful, and in a underhanded way criticizes those, such as Paul, John and even Jesus Himself for showing the true nature of our problem. A critical component of the Gospel is to bring the law to bear on the conscience resulting in a recognition of guilt. Jesus was gentle to those who were receptive to His message, but bold with those in danger of hell.
“And when in Matthew 5-7 he explains his ministry to his disciples on a mountain, again his target is those who are vulnerable. Look at how he again defines those he is targeting:
The poor in spirit – that is to say, those who are hopeless and even desperate. Those are the candidates to experience the kingdom of God
Those who are mourning – who have lost someone or something dear to them. They are feeling the gap that we feel down here on earth. God wants to touch them and comfort them.
The weak and vulnerable (the meek). God wants to give them an important stewardship – the earth itself. God wants to trust them with the earth’s bounty. [NOTE: Matt 5:4 does not use the terms weak and vulnerable. Meek is defined not as weakness, but supreme self-control empowered by the Spirit.]
Those who are feeling hungry to see God’s kingdom established, who dream about a world where the broken are healed and justice reigns. [NOTE: He “edited” this verse – Matt 5:6 says “those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” not those who are “feeling hungry”. The verse is about those hungry for God’s righteousness.]
Jesus has good news to share with the vulnerable and he begins by telling them why they are the target of his ministry. Their felt need is the starting place for his Gospel. It is the landing strip on which love can arrive in their lives.”
This is a tragic misrepresentation of this passage.
A friend and seminary student we spoke with has this to say in response to this teaching,
“Just because a term isn’t in the Bible doesn’t mean it’s wrong or unbiblical. But is the concept of vulnerability in the Bible, and is it central to the gospel message? Not the way this man seems to define it. He says that vulnerability is lacking resources, missing something, and having felt needs – needs that are primarily emotional and physical, rather than spiritual. He downplays and even criticizes trying to share with others about spiritual needs (like needing to be made right with God) in favor of directing people to see their felt needs being fulfilled by God. He also constructs a straw man out of the one who shares with others regarding sin and guilt – as if such a one were only looking for mental assent as part of a checklist. Such a characterization is unfairly used to dismiss a whole critical component of the gospel (which, though he says is important, he depicts as unhelpful and even unloving)…
All of this ignores the rest of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5; the same group of blessed ones are also called “merciful,” “pure in heart,” “peacemakers,” and “the ones persecuted for the sake of righteousness and for Jesus’ sake.” These latter verses have to inform our understanding of the earlier verses; it’s not as if Jesus was talking about two different groups.
Was Jesus really speaking earlier about those generally broken over life circumstances? Not all – rather those broken over their own sin, who recognize their spiritual poverty before God, who mourn their own and others’ sins, who are gentle because of God, and hunger and thirst not for a world free from pain, but for righteousness to be established in themselves and in the world.
Furthermore, Seth ignores the whole rest of the Sermon the Mount. Is Matthew 5-7 about being vulnerable and reaching out to felt needs? No indeed, it is contrast between true and false righteousness. Matthew 5:20 is key – “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Also Matthew 7:21-23: it is not those who call Jesus Lord who will be saved, but those who actually act on His words and obey His commands.” “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
The Gospel hasn’t changed and has no need for reinvention for it to be effective.
J.C. Ryle published Holiness in 1879 and writes,
“Let us not forget that ‘the law is good if one uses it properly’ and that ‘through the law we become conscious of our sin’ (1 Tim 1:8, Rom 3:20, see Rom 7:7) Let us bring the law to the front and press it on men’s attention. Let us expound and beat out the Ten Commandments and show the length and breadth and depth and height of their requirements. This is the way of our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount. We cannot do better than follow His plan. We may depend upon it, men will never come to Jesus, and stay with Jesus and live for Jesus unless they really know why they are to come, and what is their need. Those whom the Spirit draws are those whom the Spirit has convinced of sin. Without thorough conviction of sin, men may seem to come to Jesus and follow Him for a season, but they will soon fall away and return to the world.”
The MacArthur study Bible says of this passage, “This sermon is a masterful exposition of the law and a potent assault of Pharisaic legalism, closing with a call to true faith and salvation. Christ expounded the full law with respect to salvation; it closes off every possible avenue of human merit and leaves sinners dependent on nothing but divine grace for salvation.”
More from Seth,
“What if we changed the way we shared the Gospel to follow Jesus’ pattern? What if instead of presenting truth as a lawyer would present it – as a series of if/then propositions – we instead showed up with acts of love as Jesus did? What if we looked for the vulnerable and hopeless and began meeting their felt needs?
Based on all he has taught so far, misinterpreting Scripture to fit his “felt needs” gospel, should we be changing the Gospel??
Al Mohler writes, “In the first place, our “needs” are hopelessly confused – even hidden from us. As a matter of fact, the knowledge of our deepest needs is a secret even to ourselves until we receive that knowledge by the work of the Holy Spirit and the gift of Scripture. This is God’s mercy – that we should come to discover our most basic need…The sinner’s need for Christ is a need unlike all other needs – and the satisfaction of having other needs stroked and affirmed is often a hindrance to the sinner’s understanding of the Gospel.”
In contrast to Seth who continues,
“What if we led with our vulnerability as Jesus did? What if instead of the Four Spiritual Laws tract, we talked about why Jesus’ message was such good news to us in our place of vulnerability? What if we began by sharing our own story of weakness and then shared about a God who loves his kids and wants them to walk with him in a kingdom where love is the law of the land?
We’ve been given good news – news that we received when our hearts were open. Why not look for those who are postured that way and share with them from a place of vulnerability?”
Yet another post completely devoid of any praise for our dear Savior. Vulnerability has proven to be a buzzword for Seth related to the Gospel. He has written about it before and has a tag on his blog called, Vulnerability and Me. A quick google search shows that is a favorite term of all the Bethel church and IHOP teachers which is of course no coincidence!
9 Marks says in their article, “Is the Gospel about meeting our felt needs?“, “God is a good God who gives us the rest, purpose, comfort, and many other things that human beings long for. As Augustine says in the opening paragraph of his Confessions, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.” Yet he gives us these things in a place we weren’t looking—through submitting to Christ. When we believe the gospel our felt needs are reoriented so that our true needs become our felt needs. We increasingly feel conviction for sin and seek forgiveness and reconciliation in response to it. As we grow in our understanding of the gospel, we begin to develop a genuine, tangible sense that what we need most God provides in the gospel.”
However, Bill Johnson, Mike Bickle, Seth Barnes and others like them want to completely change the Gospel, using a reductionist take on the supreme sacrifice of our Savior that does not honor Him. The focus is on us, as opposed to a Holy God righteously angry at sin every day (Ps 7:11) and yet abundantly kind and merciful (Numb 14:18) in His offer of salvation. If His offer is taken hold of in faith it will one day more than satisfy every physical need we have in life eternal with Him.
These groups are “love-bombing” people! They love like nobody’s business, but they have no message! They are drawing kids in by the thousands because they want to belong and be loved. They have replaced faith with experience. The doubt over the true state of their soul is appeased by man-made emotional experiences that fade and need to be ever more created to keep the buzz of the “Holy Spirit” alive.
Christians, we must love people with compassion as our Savior did, but we are not really loving sinners by meeting only their felt needs.
We MUST help them recognize they are in danger of the very real judgment Jesus warned about. (Matt 25:31-46) It is not loving to save a girl from the slave trade or provide a hungry family food in the name of Christ if we do not proclaim Him as the only One that can solve their sin problem. Romans begins with our sin problem before it ever speaks of grace. Why? Unless we understand our due penalty and death Christ’s death in our place isn’t really good news. We can be physically protected, fed, and clothed but that fixes a temporary problem. Jesus came to save us from so much more.
This is one of many examples of the subtly of error that thousands of millennials are being taught before going to the world to supposedly fulfill the Great Commission. This is a very real and growing concern. We must start paying attention to who is training our kids and sending them out under the guise of Christian missions. For more information about the teachings of Adventures in Missions and the World Race visit Missions and Mysticism.
We are calling for discernment in our local churches and praying for you to be Bereans. (Acts 17:11) Fight the good fight of Faith and Study to Show yourself approved unto God as you rightly understand and interpret the Word of Truth! (2 Timothy 2:15)
“A low view of sin.”
That in a nutshell is what began the slide down the slippery slope in the “modern church.” When was the last time anyone here went to a Sunday sermon and the man behind the pulpit spoke about sin, repentance, consequences of sin and hell? Today Churchianity has embraced pop psychology, entertainment, culture, corporate planning and Hollywood to feed and spread it’s poison to the biblically unread. Books like The Shack and Jesus Calling speak volumes of how far Churchianity has replaced The Gospels with man-centered worldly philosophy wrapped in “Christian double-speak.” For those that belittle scripture and it’s authority, standards and wisdom here lies the reason ………. “A low view of sin.”
And so low in that many people do not even know what ‘sin’ is anymore. So when sharing the gospel we have to go way back and make sure we are all talking about/ understanding the same thing when we quote verses like – the wages of sin is death……
This is perhaps the best documentary on the “felt needs” church movement:
CHURCH OF TARES
It’s a bit long, it’s eye opening. If you haven’t seen it yet, please do, especially after reading this article.
Thank you for an excellent article. So true and fitting for our time. But there is hope! The Lord is able to awaken those that belong to Him and draw them to truth. The false will fail and doesn’t satisfy for long. I will add that it’s not easy. Once indoctrinated into the false it is very difficult to leave.
“It is not loving to save a girl from the slave trade or provide a hungry family food in the name of Christ if we do not proclaim Him as the only One that can solve their sin problem”
Thanks for admitting that you people are trying to take advantage of poor and vulernable people. The term is “soul vulture”
tatsuslava, I think it’s actually the opposite. What the article was saying was that the “social gospellers” are the ones who are exploiting the “poor and vulnerable.” They target the poor as a “mission field,” plotting how they will “befriend” them with “things” and “kindness.” Then, they make the poor dependent on them in an effort to gain their confidence and trust. Whether or not these “social gospellers” eventually get around to preaching the Gospel varies from person to person, but the method is wrong.
There is no reason to feed the poor or give to the needy or rescue people from slavery before we preach the Gospel to them. “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation.” We love God and we love people. That’s why we preach the Gospel that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised from the dead three days later in a flesh and bones body.
What’s amazing with you people is the fact that you hate Rick Warren dispite the fact that he is a young earth creationist and is against gays and abortion. The amount of finecombing you go through is amazing .You heresy hunters are very strict indeed!
“In keeping with his unscriptural judge not philosophy, Warren uncritically quotes from a wide variety of theological heretics, especially Roman Catholics such as Mother Teresa, Henri Nouwen, Brother Lawrence (Carmelite monk), John Main (Benedictine monk who believes that Christ “is not limited to Jesus of Nazareth, but remains among us in the monastic leaders, the sick, the guest, the poor”), Madame Guyon (a Roman Catholic who taught that prayer is not from the mind does not involve thinking), John of the Cross (a pantheist who believed the mountains and forests are God). Warren does not warn his readers that these are dangerous false teachers who held to a false gospel and worshipped a false christ.
Mother Teresa and Henri Nouwen were universalists who believed that men can be saved apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ. When Mother Teresa died, her longtime friend and biographer Naveen Chawla said that he once asked her bluntly, “Do you convert?” She replied, “Of course I convert. I convert you to be a better Hindu or a better Muslim or a better Protestant. Once you’ve found God, it’s up to you to decide how to worship him” (“Mother Teresa Touched other Faiths,” Associated Press, Sept. 7, 1997). Henri Nouwen said, “Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God” (Henri Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey). Why does Rick Warren continually and non-critically promote heretics?” Read more at https://www.wayoflife.org/database/warrensecumenism.html
Let’s not forget this, “I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus, Jesus (hay-SOOS), who taught us to pray, Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. –Rick Warren, from inauguration prayer
“Today, in his Presidential Inauguration prayer, Rick Warren prayed in the name of `Yeshua, Isa, and Jesus.´ It seems the three names Warren used were to imply the three `Abrahamic Faiths´ (as they are so-called), Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. What´s significant is the name `Isa´ being prayed by the `evangelical´ Warren. `Isa´ is strictly Koranic and used by Arab Muslims. Even Arab Christians don´t refer to Isa,´ but to `Yesua.´ I´ve lived and studied Arabic in one of the same Muslim countries that Warren has visited, and I think he probably knows that the Arab Christian communities only refer to Jesus as `Yesua´ and not `Isa´ as the Muslims. `Isa´ was not Jewish, but Palestinian. `Isa´ did not die on the cross but instead had someone die in his place. `Isa´ is a Muslim prophet. `Isa´ is only found in the Koran. The name `Isa´ doesn´t have any Biblical support or any meaning found in Biblical scholarship. Yet, Rick prayed in the name of `Isa.´” from ‘unsettledchristianitydotcom’
The Isa/Jesus of the Muslim religion is NOT the Christ of the Bible, from their Koran – “O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity” : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. (4:171, Yusif Ali)
Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth! (5:575, Yusif Ali)
Warren is pushing ecumenism, he is being used by Satan to bring about the one world church. It would appear you’ve been sucked in by Warren Tatsuslava – may God have mercy on you and free you from deception.
Rick Warren tailors his messages, beliefs and or opinion based on who is the audience. His theology stems from Drucker, Schuller and company. He may well do something good, but all the goodness in the world is trash to God’s eyes. Social gospels don’t save.
… 15Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You traverse land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. 16Woe to you, blind guides
7But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith
[he is a young earth creationist and is against gays and abortion.]
tatsuslava, I know people who are not saved, who actually detest the Cross, but who are anti-homosexual and anti-abortion. Those moral stances do not equal Christianity. All Christians should take those stances, but not all who take those stances are Christians.
Amen B! Some of the most “moral” people I’ve met have been rabid atheists. One being my brother in law.
Yeah, it’s how I was raised. Definitely a non-Christian home! But we were the most proud moralists in town. LOL.
And you still are proud moralists
Huh? Sorry, but you don’t know me. You know nothing of my morals. The question is about the Gospel, the power of God unto salvation. If one does not believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved, then morals don’t matter at all.
It’s interesting how you were the one who brought up morals (anti-homosexual, anti-abortion) as indicative of salvation, but now you are mocking good morals??
I am showing that being a fan of a site that asserts dungeons and dragons and Warcraft glamourizes the occult is being a moralists. Seriously dungeons and dragons????? It’s like the 1980s were never over for these people.
Well the idea of young earth creationism can’t be divorced from certain forms of Christianity
Oh another thing, we don’t “hate” Warren, we want him to be saved, to stop spreading heresy, and to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Not the gospel of social justice! The Good News is not the world, the betterment of society, nor riches! The Good News is through Christ ALONE you may receive everlasting life! NOT CHRIST AND SOMETHING ELSE!
When he repents of what he is doing, turns away from a damning false theology then there might be hope for him, will he do this? Only God knows!
Your idea of false theology reminds me of the hyper Calvinists who believe only Calvinists go to heaven.
I don’t see how. Chrislam? Ever hear of it?
Because you go through everything with an absurdly fine tooth comb
Thank you, I do go over everything with a fine tooth comb! So did these folks, they even dared to question the great teacher Paul!
11Now the Bereans were more noble-minded than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if these teachings were true. 12As a result, many of them believed, along with quite a few prominent Greek women and men…….
They searched daily and eagerly to see if these teachings were true!
Paul did not rebuke them! On the contrary he underscored their willingness “to see if these teachings were true.”
Completely the opposite of today’s NAR/SEEKER “leaders” they bounce you out if you dare question their swill!
Well I guess you see no problems with the hyper Calvinists that assert only Calvinists go to heaven
Also if they did really go through scripture with a fine comb they would know the 10 commandments apply to the Jews only. Paul was a radical extremist for suggesting that it applied to gentiles
Although God gave the 10 Commandments to the Israelites, they do not apply to Jews alone. The 10 Commandments reflect God’s standard of holiness for everyone. Since God is the universal authority of moral conduct, all of humanity is subject to His standards. According to the Bible, no one is exempt from God’s Law.
Jesus Christ and He alone is the fulfillment of the law, He is the supreme sacrifice that met all the criteria required by a Holy God.
14Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the Law, do by nature what the Law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the Law, 15since they show that the work of the Law is written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts either accusing or defending them. 16This will come to pass on that day when God will judge men’s secrets through Christ Jesus, as proclaimed by my gospel.…
You ever hear of Chrislam?
“they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day ”
This clearly states thoughtful, careful, enthusiastic and precise methodology, they did it everyday, not casually and spuriously as you would suggest.
And why are you so fixated on hyper calvinism? To clue you in, since you don’t know me from Adam, and I’ve seen your “barbs” at other posters, I’m not a Calvanism nor an Arminian, I follow no man.
Well that is a novel interpretation and unheard of until Paul. There is literally no rabbi until Paul that asserted the 10 commandments apply to non Jews. I don’t know any actual Jewish rabbis that believe the 10 commandments are for goyim
I am talking about Hyper Calvinism because it’s the perfect example of an obsession with dogmatic purity to absurdity
Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein…
When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. John 12:3-6; Matthew 26:10-12
Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. John 6:26-27
It’s interesting that you frame being meek as having ‘supreme self-control empowered by the Spirit’ rather than humble or submissive. I have been a Christian for 30 years and have apparently never met anyone that met that qualification. In fact, it is one of the challenges of this article that you downplay the felt needs efforts of some ministries without having some alternative to offer. Is the alternative to showing people that we are the hands and feet of Christ simply telling people to repent? If so, where is the power in it? I have been in Baptist churches, Charismatic churches, dispensational churches and ‘full-gospel’ churches. I have prayed and fasted. I have been through deliverance. I have flung-out in faith a hundred times and never been let down by the Father. And yet, this supreme self-control empowered by the Spirit? Never seen it. Never experienced it. And yet, this is the message of the gospel that you are presenting. If you want to bring people to Christ without dealing with their felt needs, you need to have something more to offer than ‘Jesus gives you power over sin!” because that is not the normal person’s experience. Meaningful comments and prayers are welcomed.
AJ, you asked, [Is the alternative to showing people that we are the hands and feet of Christ simply telling people to repent? If so, where is the power in it?]
Neither social efforts, nor moral outreach, nor healing ministries, nor telling people to repent is the Gospel. None of those things has the power you are searching for. “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16-17). It is the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation, and this Gospel is that Christ died for sins, was buried, and rose from the dead three days later in a flesh and bones body (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). The power is in this good news message, not in benevolent works toward the lost.
Now, as to your lack of experiencing a Spirit-controlled life, the Christian must yield to the Spirit in all things. He wants you to be in the Word (I’m not saying you aren’t). And then believe what it says. The doctrines for the Christian are in Paul’s epistles, primarily — Romans through Philemon. Paul tells us that we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). If you are not experiencing a radically new life in Christ in which you are Spirit-controlled, only you know why. I don’t want to speculate.
We have to apprehend what Paul teaches us in Romans. “For since we became united with Him in the likeness of His death, so shall we be also in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:5). When Christ died unto sin, the believer died with Him. This is a fact to believe, no different than believing the fact that Christ died to pay the penalty for your sins.
“Coming to know this, that our old man [all that we were in Adam, as unregenerate] was crucified [not dead but judged] with Him, that the body of sin [the sinful flesh, not the physical body] might be done away [annulled, put out of business], that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin (Romans 6:6). This is another fact that must be believed, for Paul goes on to say, “For the death that He died, He died unto sin once; but the life that He lives, He lives unto God. Even so reckon also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:10-11). We must reckon it so. This is a by-faith revelation to us that must be fully grasped and believed. It is the key to victory over sin.
Because of these incredible facts, which are part and parcel of Paul’s Gospel, we are to then not let sin be reigning in our bodies (Romans 6:12). But how is this possible? It begins with faith: believe what Paul has already said. You have died unto sin, the thing itself. It has no dominion over you. Then, you recognize that although the old man is still alive, he has been judged (at the Cross) and you now walk by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:2-4). Walk by the Spirit and you will not fulfill the selfish desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
Do not seek to fight the flesh. You can’t win (which is what Paul tells us in Romans 7). Instead, walk in the Spirit, fill your mind with the things of Christ, dwell on Him and His glory, His love, His grace, everything about Him.
berlorac said it well.
I hear you with your journey. I’ve been through some of that. I’ve come to the conclusion… it really does start… and maintains… with obedience to God. That’s how we keep the Holy Spirit growing within the heart Jesus Christ gives—the heart of flesh of the New Covenant.
King Solomon expressed it. Through it all I’ve come to the same conclusion… Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13
Even Jesus Christ operates in the manner He expects us to (the oil of gladness represents the Holy Spirit)… O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Hebrews 1:8-9; Psalm 45:6-7
There’s coming a time when “all” will be shaken and burned up… even charitable works… maybe within our lifetime… maybe not… but, the odds seem to be increasing daily. What will not be burned up… the Holy Spirit will remain in the faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.
Acts of charity on their own merit do not indicate operating through the strength of the Holy Spirit… the Love of God in our hearts…
…if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing… Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails… now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13
It’s real hard for me to say… “I love someone by filling their belly… but, I refuse to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ helping them go to hell”. I’m sure glad those preaching to me… didn’t do that… they shared to cross… but, also the Lake of Fire.
There’s nothing wrong with… sharing the Gospel filling the belly… but the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the passion. What’s in our hearts… we’ll speak and do. Is it Jesus Christ or… just good works? Luke 6:44-46
Signs and wonders [follow] salvation… being in Christ… not the other way around. Mark 16:16-18
Remember, Pharaoh’s magicians copied Moses and Aaron’s miracles… but God’s power ultimately ate up the copycats. Exodus 7:10-12 When it all “shakes and rumbles”… God’s power (the Holy Spirit) will be the “last man standing”.
If it’s signs and wonders alone without Christ… they’re counterfeit… which is how Satan does… and will… deceive. Matthew 24:23-25; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10
The message of the Gospel is Good News, and is central to everything we believe. We are all made in the image of God, but we are nothing without Him. As fallen, sinful people we do not deserve His grace. Even at our best, there is nothing we can ever do to earn an eternity with God. But the Good News is that Jesus Christ paid the punishment for our sins, and when we believe and are convicted to repent, we are forgiven! He loves us unconditionally; His grace is everything, and it is a free gift.
“Beware of supposing that a teacher of religion is to be trusted, because although he holds some unsound views, he yet ‘teaches a great deal of truth.’ Such a teacher is precisely the man to do you harm: poison is always most dangerous when it is given in small doses and mixed with wholesome food. Beware of being taken in by the apparent earnestness of many of the teachers and upholders of false doctrine. Remember that zeal and sincerity and fervor are no proof whatever that a man is working for Christ, and ought to believed. Peter no doubt was in earnest when he bade our Lord spare Himself, and not go to the cross; yet our Lord said to him, ‘Get thee behind Me, Satan.’ Saul no doubt was in earnest when he went to and fro persecuting Christians; yet he did it ignorantly, and his zeal was not according to knowledge. The founders of the Spanish Inquisition no doubt were in earnest, and in burning God’s saints alive thought they were doing God service; yet they were actually persecuting Christ’s members and walking in the steps of Cain. – It is an awful fact that, ‘Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.’ (2 Corinthians 11:14) Of all the delusions prevalent in these latter days, there is none greater than the common notion that ‘if a man is in earnest about his religion he must be a good man!’ Beware of being carried away by this delusion; beware of being led astray by ‘earnest minded men!’ Earnestness is in itself an excellent thing; but it must be earnestness in behalf of Christ and His whole truth, or else it is worth nothing at all.” J.C. Ryle
“Was Jesus really speaking earlier about those generally broken over life circumstances?
Not all – rather those broken over their own sin, who recognize their spiritual poverty before God, who mourn their own and others’ sins, who are gentle because of God, and hunger and thirst not for a world free from pain, but for righteousness to be established in themselves and in the world.”
By the standards I have read proposed here you would most likely believe the following:
1) If you love God purely, you will not have any needs, nor feel any pain from any need you may have, for God would have provided relief for you.
2) Those who are broken by sin or life’s circumstances need only turn to God and feel their needs relieved through Christ’s teachings regardless of the need.
3) Those who are not relieved are unredeemable sinners. Their needs are insignificant and their pain is the fault of their own actions and not something Christians need to concern themselves with.
At least this is how you made me feel.
Well, so be it. My needs remain unfulfilled. I live unloved by most people and have only recently found a friend, after decades of being alone. Like me, he was a soldier. He has a wife and a home, children who love him. I am divorced after having suffered relationships where I was being used for other people’s agenda’s. My crushing life’s circumstance is that I have Asperger’s (High Functioning Autism) which makes life difficult, especially since I only found out in my late forties, now in my early fifties.
So I listen to songs that may give me a small amount of that warmth I cannot perceive in others, I attend a church that is more vibrant than others, where Christians go to feel alive and do more than live in hallowed walls. A place where a warm cup of tea means more than being slammed with my sins and made to feel like a maggot because I can NEVER DO ENOUGH for Christ and all He has done for me. Instead I am encouraged to do what I can, and do it well. While I may never have another chance at having a wife again, a family, or even a place to call home, I know I will have a place for a cup of tea and friends and a song.
I may never make it to your standard of Christianity. I doubt any of us will.
Not sure I would want to.