The KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
PURPOSE, PURITY, PROGRAM AND
THE DIVINE PRECEPTS
The Purpose-Driven, the Christ-Led and the Form-festered Life
News 360, The Australian October 13, 2005*2
This Chapter is set in the form of a letter, with some citations from a book, and exhorts to great care in facing modern additions to the inclusivist programs which continually increase, though they tend to keep to type.
I have heard with some concern of your conversation about the philosophic ideas of the ‘purpose-driven life’. I have long ago stressed the importance of purpose (cf. Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 3), but not OUTSIDE the strictly Biblical position, merely as one of the many attributes of living In and UNDER and THROUGH Jesus Christ.
Because of my concern for you, in the midst of my other writings), I have set down and given some time to this, so please read it carefully, as it has been written with a deep concern. Since I have heard that you have been exposed to “the purpose-driven life” idea, it is necessary to look at this kind of 'leaven'. That is what it is, a sort of approach, a type of 'rising' given to the dough of life, a controlling yeast.
A book review from Joseph Chambers has some good points within it, and excerpts of it are set out for you. Its main use here is to alert you by quotations from the purpose-driven book to more of what the idea in a common form is all about. How right the critique is on all points is not the point: it is simply to convey to you some further idea of what the purpose-driven life idea as it appears to be becoming popular, by direct references to one formulation. Meanwhile, here is a preliminary word on the topic in general.
It has long been obvious that the concept of “purpose” has been given short shrift in many humanities disciplines, and I have stressed this kind of thing often. It is usual to omit and distort things into spiritual absurdities, where men insist on avoiding God, indeed sometimes even using His very name as they do so (as in Isaiah 29:13ff. from which the quotation below comes – NKJV).
"Therefore the Lord said:
“Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
And honor Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,
And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,
"Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work
Among this people,
A marvelous work and a wonder;
For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.”
"Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the Lord,
And their works are in the dark;
They say, “Who sees us?” and, “Who knows us?”
"Surely you have things turned around!
Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay;
For shall the thing made say of him who made it,
“He did not make me”?
Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it,
“He has no understanding”?
from this (Matthew 15:8-9). Such abuse of His name and reality was common in
that time, and grows exceedingly so nowadays, as His return draws near: the
Jews back in
REFUGE IS BETTER
THAN FIGHTING THE FURORES
IN SOLITARY AND DELUSIONAL SPLENDOUR
These are part of a bevy of results which, overall, come and were predicted (in Matthew 24) to come for its meaningless hostility towards God and vanities of self-importance. It is time to “flee for refuge” to the Lord who made it and all of us, and not to truck with its bevy of impertinent and impenitent thoughts, which are ruining it, large as it is, very smartly now towards its end.
Read on this ‘fleeing for refuge” to Him, Hebrews 2:1-4 and -20. It is only wise to flee to GOD for refuge, when the ship of this world is on fire. It is not wise to participate in those who provide more fuel…
"Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast,
and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,
how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation,
which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord,
and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,
God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles,
and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will ?"
Here the writer is speaking to people drawn to the Lord, yet drawn back to their former ways, and inclined to waver, to need constant rehearsal (Hebrews 6:1-2), to taste rather than swallow the word of God (Hebrews 6:5), in a constant danger of resembling the unbelieving Israelites at the entrance to the Promised Land, which they foozled badly (I Corinthians 10:1ff.). In fact, many of them simply did not have faith in the Lord (Hebrews 4:1-3), and hence He was not at all well pleased with them; and to these those addressed in the book of Hebrews are exhorted to bear no resemblance.
Drawn continually backwards, their own progress is a constant source of concern. To some of them, the writer is speaking in hope of a full commitment, the removal of the defensive shield over their spirits of uncertain temper, that they might be led into a full assurance (Hebrews 10:10,14), and realise what was there to be inherited in Christ.
In many ways, though not entirely for the same reasons, many today are in churches which are ambivalent, do not hold to all the word of God, either as doctrine or as practical commandment, and have a tenuous relationship.
It is necessary at all times and in all ages to flee for refuge to the Lord, as shown by Noah and his ark, as shown by Israel out of Egypt, but not quite trusting in the Lord at the crucial ENTRANCE into the promised land, a symbol for us of the promised inheritance in Christ (Ephesians 1:11), which is utterly sure, but only to faith, as shown here in Hebrews, as shown in the warnings of John the Baptist (Matthew 3), in the words of Christ (Luke 13:1-3). While ALL Christians are known to God before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), and hence are in His predestinate and sure book of life, there are many who may be inscribed in the membership list of churches, right down to Judas types, betrayers under pressure, formalists whose hearts are still in confusion, who may be blotted out of such attestations, though all the bishops and assemblies on earth should assure them of their security.
ONLY GOD knows, but the Christian does know from Him as Romans 8:16 expressly tells us, and as in marriage, you DO know when it happens, or has happened; so too, when someone flees from the wolves to the door which is the Good Shepherd, to receive Him on His terms (Luke 14:27ff.), and ENTERS (as Israel at its opportunity under Moses, did NOT), then it is as sure as the word of the Lord, which is infinitely sure, that that person becomes one of His sheep, to whom He gives eternal life and who will never perish, no never even be snatched out of His hand (John 10:9,27-28).
Thus in Hebrews 6:17-20 has this:
"Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath,
that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie,
we might have strong consolation,
who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.
"This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast,
and which enters the Presence behind the veil,
where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus,
having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek."
SUBSERVIENCE TO THE SQUALOR OF PSEUDO-SIN
Where else should one flee ? and to whom else ? and how should one conduct oneself, in studied dignity, as a non-sinner, deserving non-judgment ? but Christ is quite clear, He did not even COME to save righteous people, pre-righteous, self-assured, but SINNERS! (Matthew 9:11-13).
"And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
"When Jesus heard that, He said to them,
"Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’
For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, says I John 1. Except you repent you will all perish, said Christ. ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, said Paul (Romans 3). How far and how much ? Enough to demand a propitiation through the blood of Christ (Romans 3:23ff.), so that the believer might thus be justified by His blood (3:26). Boasting is THEREFORE excluded, since there are no exceptions. A failure to realise the appalling reality of sin, as if you could qualify for the good pleasure of God without the sacrifice of Christ is thus to share with the Pharisees, and those going about to establish their own righteousness (Romans 10, Matthew 23), which excludes from the knowledge of God by pride.
Therefore, it is necessary to FLEE, as John the Baptist indicated, as Hebrews declares. John Bunyan, in his Pilgrim's Progress, shows this at the outset with the utmost clarity, and moreover, how many were only too willing to seek to restrain Christian from doing just that, leaving the moorings of his past attachments for the will and way of Christ without reservation, and without accruement of merit as supplement or ground.
And where except to Him whom He came, the Messiah sent, a matter foretold to the year of His death, and the manner of it, and the reason for it, quite clearly, centuries beforehand. Why ? It was not least so that all might have hope, and none be with any excuse, of those who do not use what God has thus provided, or indeed receive the Saviour given. On this, read Isaiah 55, Luke 13:1-3, John 8:24.
You know these things ? it is then a matter of doing what He instills, advises and … says, in the fear of the Lord and in His favour (cf. Psalm 111:7-10).
PHARISEES AND INQUISITORS HAVE ALL BEEN PURPOSEFUL,
OFTEN ASSURED OF GLORIFYING GOD IN THEIR GROTESQUERIES
Now it appears that this book on the Purpose-Driven Life, therefore, is not surprising in its TOPIC. Its author is bringing to the fore what has long been given too little emphasis, though people like Schopenhauer, centuries ago, stressed the WILL.
The book in this is not in the least original; it is just topical and timely when people want to summon their INNER RESOURCES, and have desire for some sort of personal centre for their lives in a maelstrom world.
It gives them a sense of lording it over their destiny, and doing something! As the quotations show from it in the Book Review given below, from Joseph Chambers, it does not appear a book to major on obedience to all that is written for us in the Bible, or on repentance, on the fear of the Lord which is clean, not the craven fear of judgment - which Christ dispels (Hebrews 2), but that delighted awe in the presence of His splendour (I Peter 2:17) which trembles at His word (Isaiah 66:2). For is it not one of the things in which the Lord takes pleasure, is it not to this one that He looks, as the prophet declares, to him who is "of a poor and a contrite spirit" : and who "trembles at My word"!
It does not appear a Christ is Lord sort of a book, though
it may mention such things; and both of these
things are crucial and needed categorically.
There can be little doubt that at least some of those who tortured Christians were so blind that they thought they were glorifying God in the Inquisition, and they did SAY so! This is not the same as the WORD of God WRITTEN, and to be held and applied. This is a spiritual nuance or flavour or savour, self-addressed, not critically examined in the light of what God has actually to say on any topic, whether for example career, or marriage. In the last, for example, it matters INTENSELY whom you marry, to the point that there is a total exclusion on marriage to an unbeliever or idolater (II Corinthians 6:14-20, I Corinthians 7:39), of which some 'churches' contain many in terms of their very constitutions, for so much varies from the Bible with such liberty, that a different religion is quickly formed.
There is nothing adequate in purpose, or in sentiment, or in normal formal subscription, or in confidence, or in self-esteem, or in saying your prayers nightly, or in looking beyond yourself to God and so on, to secure your salvation or to please God. God is a SPIRIT, and the worship which He requires is not pseudo-spiritual, to the exclusion of His word, or its soft-peddling, but spiritual to the zeal for His word as in I Peter 2:2 and James 1:21. Indeed, James excoriates the idea of looking (even that much is not so sure in the really zealous exponent of purpose as a control mechanism) at the word of God, without DOING IT. "IF anyone loves Me, said Christ, he will keep My words." Again, He declares (John 14:23ff.): "He who does not love Me, does not keep My words."
Instead, this new philosophy of purpose-driven life appears to exalt PURPOSE, just as some have exalted sex, sensuousness, liberty, romance, self-esteem, and various other concoctions, good or bad, in the flavour of the month club, vaunting some aspect, and capitalising on it, distorting it. God can fit in here and there as required.
You can use corrupted paraphrases of the Bible, need not worry, it appears: the accurate translation does not matter, the career, all this stuff, who knows, do this or that, it is not so very important, just get purpose! The quotations below seem close to such an approach.
So goes this drivel! It does indeed DRIVE, for the false shepherd drives; but Christ, HE LEADS! (John 10), as the Good Shepherd, who came to preclude the misuse of the flock, as well as to save them (cf. Ezekiel 34). W hen GOD is your Lord and Shepherd, then His tenderness, deft understanding, intimate presence, kindly concern, precise guidance, gracious self-manifestation (John 14:21ff.), as you keep to His words, His help to follow all His ways with care (Matthew 4:4), these things are as far from some purpose-driven spirituality as to make it seem like a dream, a rainbow asking you to go for a fling on it, a ride down its curves. Very nice, but quite inadequate!
SALVATION IS FREE, BUT NOT FOOLISH, FOR GOD IS IN IT
Salvation is free (Romans 3:23ff.), but not foolish. You are saved without works, but not without faith, and faith works. It works not to get into the kingdom, but because when you are in, the sort of heart and spirit, a new heart, God has given you finds this natural and proper before so wonderful a Shepherd, and love does not count cost too great, when Christ is the prize and motif! It is CHRIST, not purpose, which is central, and HIS WORD, not purpose which impels. Purpose is good, and kindness is good, and serviceability is good, and good-will is good, but Christ is ALL! His word is CRUCIAL, for to keep it, He died on the Cross (Matthew 26:53-54). To be sure, it was OUT OF love, and to SUBDUE our sins and bear them; but it was the counsel of God which prescribed it, and this HAD to be done at ALL costs.
The position is not different today. We do not die for the sins of others; but we follow the example of Christ, who did, and follow His word with the same zeal that He showed, if imperfectly, then certainly not so in principle, or by some philosophy!
Such concepts as this purpose-driven life are popular because the Lordship of Christ is then so readily short-circuited. Readily it can occur that your purpose becomes your substitute for spirituality, your translations of the Bible do not much matter, for it is all in the general purpose-driven structure of moving on and up with a good will. I, for my own part, would assuredly look for far more from any mechanic with my car - I would want meticulous scrutiny of every rule and consideration. The omission of one could lead to a break-down and extensive, expensive repairs. I should not want a doctor who would have the best of good will, but not exercise the cranium too much about fastidious little details in Gray's Anatomy, which could have led him, had he been conscientious, to find something hidden in good time, before it became a blight, and to remove it!
Just so was it in the recent melanoma which hid itself on the inside of my closely-pressed ear, which left little room for anything to be seen behind it. The dermatologist spotted it and had it out speedily! Attention to detail WITHOUT the right spirit is horrid; but concentrating on purpose without the right fear and care, is slack. Christ is not impressed, and says o. THIS, it is not love, He declares.
Yet, it appears from the statements made in this book, that in this specific aspect, what God ACTUALLY said is not so very important. Grab a version and read: fine! Don't be fastidious, for versions are all around you. Grab a scalpel: don't be fastidious for they are all around you ...
is important is YOU, that you be liberated into the new swinging, dinging music,
variable words of often atrocious translations which are not translations at
all, but intrusive paraphrase and get on with your overall general purpose,
knowing it covers all! This seems to be the new cop-out, if you like the modern
terminology, which I do not, but then, at least it is usable, where it fits.
The one reached, the addresse of the purpose-driven life, the spiritual or unspiritual, what of this one ? Just enjoy your heavy-beat music, obliterative of thought as it readily becomes, and so move into some vague God-is-in-everything approach, conceivably even towards pantheism (see below), and throw in a idolatrous substitute for knowing God in some psychic sense of His presence, not subject to what He actually says, and enjoy yourself, in fact BE yourself! You find you can do this better with PURPOSE. Be DRIVEN by it. This appears to be the idea. “God wants you to be yourself” is one cited statement.
Whatever the intention of this book, it is clear that such a mood and spirit is at times exceedingly close to it.
But how can you BE yourself, this precious, so central self, when you are crucified with Christ, and you take up your Cross and follow Christ, as the word of God directs! Indeed, if you fail to forsake all for HIM, and so follow, how can you be his disciple ? After all, HE says you CANNOT in that case (Luke 14:27ff.). It is not just an attitude, with ‘Brother Lawrence” and it is certainly not this rather than what you do, that matters, as is stated (see below). WHAT you do and HOW you do it are ALL important. James 1 declares:
"Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness,
and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
"For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer,
he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;
for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
"But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it,
and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
"If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this:
to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world."
Here is a very different emphasis, where the law of liberty is the way of your freedom, not something which does not unduly apply... In this James is like Isaiah 66:2, noted above.
A godly life is kindliness, and love, and fear of the Lord in the awesome sense, and regard for His word, and zeal for it, it is purity of heart and concern for fidelity to His will : it is all of these things and far more, and this streamlining of issues with gross and caricaturing result, is to this extent a fraud. Following Romanism here, in the matter of Brother Lawrence*1, is mere capitulation from the objectivity of all phases of the word of God, in favour of a new philosophic generalisation, which cuts the corners and catches people napping with the new found liberty, which in the end is merely a new-found bondage to someone’s ideas. There is simply no substitute for the word of God, all of it. Author of that idea ? Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:4 … by EVERY word…).
Is it really a matter, not of what you do, but of changing your attitude to it ? The attitude of torturers in their perverted passions in the Inquisition might have been so deluded that even that might have given them, as their words can attest, cause for self-congratulation ON their attitude! It is not nearly enough. The objective reality of what you do and how it relates to what you are commanded to do, does not alter its inseparable relationship of the latter, to your walk with the Lord.
Heightening some merely partial feature, as in the love-ins, which by focussing on a new definition of 'love' without too much concern, or a new place for it, or a new ATTITUDE to it, is always a scrambling, rambling site for sedition. In so concentrating on one thing, there is the certainty that it will, even in itself, as here, be distorted; for this is no element to replace the whole, or aspect to replace the Head; but of this more anon.
Indeed, this very restlessness, constant embarkation into
Neo-orthodoxy (q.v.); or
Neo-Evangelicalism (q.v.); into
with its debasement of divine to human help; or
Theology with its vocabulary to net the Gospel into the trap of racial
movements (as foreseen in II Peter 3:3-5),
obliteration in conjunction with such anti-creation movements,
purpose-driven life, or even
the sin-excluded theology, as in the trend of Schuller:
it is all part of the prediction of Paul in II Timothy 4:1-4.
It is parallel to the predictions in I Timothy 4, likewise, where the prediction is that there would be a notable departure from the Christian faith, as people would give heed to 'seducing spirits' and to 'doctrines of devils'. Not least of course is the one there specified, in terms of various prohibitions on marriage and on meat, which has one of the largest clienteles on earth, that of Romanism, which likewise had to lose its hold on the 'beast' or international consortium of power, which it has done (cf. SMR pp. 886ff., Three Anzas, One Answer Ch 5, His Wounds ... Ch. 3).
Nor is it alone, as sects multiply with the rapidity one associates with fungus, these tending to rely on the main trunk of Christ, about which they fester, parasitic by betraying the One on whom they rest, inventing new christs as foretold also (cf. Matthew 24:24, Jeremiah 23:19-20, Things Old and New Chs. 9,10 Epilogue, Appendix).
The entire spectrum of prediction is being fulfilled before our eyes, with all the zest and esprit of the re-settlement of Israel and the restoration of Jerusalem to the Jews, as likewise predicted (cf. Luke 21:24, It Bubbles ... Ch. 11, SMR Ch. 8).
Let us however return to II Timothy 4.
In the latter days, then what would come ?
This, that people would not be even able to ENDURE sound doctrine. It would become an incubus, an impossibility for the psyche, an onus for the enlivened, a burden for the belligerent, a brake for the amorous, an insult to the adventurous. With itching ears, said Paul of these last days, they would HEAP up to themselves teachers for the task of satisfying the urge, the lust, the desire, the sensational severance from the Bible, while having some kind of a formalistic connection with it.
How the word of God discerns, and knows all the heart of man! How readily the God of all wisdom can indicate even the most vexatious and polluted developments in advance, and prescribe the time of their flowering, blooms of evil! Man invents, and scents the new, the different, Gospel, Christ, another Spirit. To be sure, this was true even in Paul’s day (II Corinthians 11), but its harvest is NOW, and its day of acclaim is now. It is in this part of the Church Age that a vast ennui grips the formalistic, a huge dysfunction seizes on the dispirited and a huge acclaim to innovation is reaching its peak. It is as if disease is the new norm, and health is the statistical rarity!
So it was to be, so it is. But what of its wisdom ? and what of this purpose-driven variety in particular ? Is it really a matter not of what you do, then, but of your attitude ?
Is there any room for such latitude when the spirit strives against the flesh, and the flesh against the spirit (Galatians “and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things you wish”), and you have to walk in the Spirit, putting to death the flesh! Indeed, those who are Christ’s, Paul goes on to say in Galatians 4, “have crucified the flesh with its lusts and affections.” What sort of a glorious self is on the cross ? How much of it can you BE there ?
To be sure, the book on purpose-driven life tells you not to be obsessed with yourself, but also to be yourself, and that God wants you to be yourself, a most attractive message to rebels. In fact, God wants you to love Him with ALL your heart, not just your purpose-driven aspect, and ALL your mind, not some hypnotic part of it, and to STUDY His word to show yourself a workman who needs not to be ashamed (II Timothy 2:15), not a dilettante who KNOWS that translations are all numerous and in general okay, life is okay, being yourself is OK, getting along with idolatrous Romanism is OK, it is all OK. OK ? Far from it!*1 Idolatry is one secure exclusion warrant from the kingdom of heaven (I Corinthians 5:11, 6:9), and not only will those who practise it, on Paul's warrant, not enter the kingdom, but they are to be avoided in Christian fellowship, we here read: not congratulated!
There is a difference here from the word of God, which is that of darkness from light.
Where does God fit into this OK book, this be yourself look, for whatever may be its intention, we cannot escape finding here, in this defamation of sanctity and this corrosion of consecration, one more misguided exaggeration and minimisation - of one thing, affirmed, and of another, the word of God, de-emphasised.
God wants you to REPENT and be REGENERATED so that the works of the OLD person are dead, being crucified with Christ (Galatians 2, 5, Romans 8), not put into Jungian categories, psychological perspectives of the flesh (Jung blasphemed the trinity as few have ever done). as if man were god and God’s directives were to be consorting with those.
Spiritual things, says the word of God, are spiritually discerned, and NO ONE judges the spiritual person who is in Christ. My authority for this hiddenness ? The apostle Paul (I Corinthians ). The unspiritual simply does not understand spiritual things, and thus spiritual persons. The reason for this apostolic affirmation ? IF you are in CHRIST, since Christ is God, then the depth to which you have access, and which controls you, guides you, leads you (not 'drives' you), is that of deity, which being infinite, is not subject to estimation and oversight by man!
Opacity is the result of exclusion from this depth of the
Lod (Ephesians -19), so that in his Purpose-Driven Life,
COMMISSION FOR AVOIDANCE
This exaltation of purpose in some overview, beyond the particular, is just one more way of avoiding what God ACTUALLY says and requires, in favour of a philosophic piece of unspiritual pabulum, attractive because easy, synthetic, syncretic and sinful (cf. II Corinthians 6:14ff., Romans 16:17).
God ? He fits in with your glorious liberty to be yourself, following whatever goes, be idolater, be it ‘translations’ or transfusions of psychological from rank opponents of Christ, like Carl Jung, or movements in your own mind for guidance! Really … You do not need to worry about this or that choice in career and so on ? Really ? It is just a purpose which supervenes ? Wonderful. How delightfully easy!
The prophets could dispense with their calling, since after all, that is just career. There are “multiple choices” in this sort of stuff, we read. Indeed, it is true; but not with God as your Lord! We shall return to Jeremiah as an example shortly. God WORKS all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11), and one of the things He works in His people by His Spirit and His word, is guidance (Proverbs 3:4-6), which really, after all, being GOD’S own, is not at the same time, man’s own, for otherwise man would have to be God, which is infinitely far off the mark.
It will all work out, and God fits in. Purpose prevails, and it is attitude that counts. Such is the flavour one gains, the taste of this treat.
However God never 'fits in'. The Matron of a hospital does not FIT IN. Far from it. She runs the place. However gracious she may be, she has responsibility and power to do it; and if she lacks what is needed, that is the worse for it. With Christ, there is no lack. Indeed, as you see in Acts 8 and 16, the Spirit of God not merely can move people into HIS choice in career, but in careering about. Such is the example in Philip, ‘only’ a deacon, and in Paul. Nowhere in the Bible do we learn that the 'saints' being most special within the Christian body, are specially given this or that.
ALL are saints, and it is the failure to realise this which often results from just such slackness of scriptural regard as we find in these all but endless ends to conscientious concern for all the word of God, in some philosophic launching pad, to invade the heavens, which lacks alas the fuel of reality, and so fizzles. The saints are the Christians, and Christians who care not for the term, merely depart from the word of God and ITS IMPLICATIONS, most readily (cf. I Corinthians 1:2, which actually states that they are called saints, while in II Cor. 1, we find the addressess "the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Aachaia").
To be a saint is to be a Christian, in biblical terminology, for "those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its lusts and affections" (Galatians 5:24). It is not a question of perfection, but position, and position in Christ, and Christ in you, the hope of glory, as saviour from sin and Lord of life. It is the position, to use the metaphor, of the branch in the vine. If you are in, that is your mode of life, whether or not, from time to time, this or that plant virus has a go at your goings, and needs special remedies.
With Christ in fact, it is not a
question of mere dominance, but prominence, and someone who knows, having a
measure of responsibility to prevent mere mismanagement and peril in the
Hospital. The prominence is not a mere purpose, but the Prince of Peace who
lives and moves into every facet of your life, not under some heading, but as
Head (cf. Colossians , Luke ).
With God, there is no limit: He knows all. Hence it is necessary to repent of sin of ignoring or not obeying Him in ANY THING, for He does not speak to no purpose, or so that it may be subverted under the heading of some principle abstracted and virtually made lord. Likewise, one must repent of not giving Him His place, or failing to find Him in the place He has prepared – Jesus Christ the Lord as Saviour, living, loving, leading. It is true that HE can atone and overcome error, but this is a far cry from liberty in the continuation of the thing!
He is no Lord who is tacked on to some purpose in your life, and does not rule YOU, purpose or otherwise, integrated or disintegrated, filled with being yourself even perhaps to the point of virtual idolatry or seeking just to BE yourself in His presence, however much it may seem subjectively to be welcomed. DO NOT, says James 1, forget the perfect law of liberty, having looked at it. It is not all attitude, but action must arise; and worship which involves not only attitude but action of the spirit, embrace of the word of God by which we know Him, and of all His ways, desires and words.
The point of centring in a principle or being yourself is entirely anti-scriptural: mere folly in this approach.
Thus, when there is an operation, you do not have it in the toilet. You use the operating theatre. That is what it is for. Here it is CHRIST, the ETERNAL WORD and expression of God, who becoming man, for man has become accursed on the Cross, to square the sheets on justice, to let mercy with justice pardon, to bring man back, one by one, where he belongs. It is then that the belieer becomes the Christ-led sheep, not profoundly aware of many things, and legislating liberties that God does not endorse, but of Him whose mouth is not cut out.
The liberty in the Lord is IN the Lord, not in the principle of purpose. That is one chief reason why He was sent. That is where the operation is. Does it not say this:
“For whether we live, we live unto the Lord;
and whether we die, we die unto the Lord:
whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.
For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived,
that he might be Lord both of the dead and living’ (Romans 14:8-9).
It is good to have love; it is good to have purpose; it is good to have peace; it is good to have power; and it is good to have sense. It is better to have, and to be yielded to Christ, and to His word, all of it, and to live in, through, for and by Him, as a branch in a vine, not as a virtual branch in a purpose. God is practical, particular and vocal, and nothing in the least will ever substitute for that.
THE SORROW YOU CANNOT BORROW
(I Corinthians 7:10)
A sense of sorrow for sin is essential, as a realisation on the part of a patient that he or she is sick, is prelude to any operation freely undertaken. It is essential to have God, who gives to love its meaning, to purpose its place (to know and to serve Him, as in Him, and not merely in His presence as conceived in oneself), to power its responsibilities and to peace its depth. Without Him, man is indeed meaningless in his own terms, but the actual meaning is miscreant facing judgment! (cf. SMR Ch. 3).
This book on the purpose-driven life has one good feature. It helps people to realise more again, that there is such a thing as purpose, and that it is good to have one. WHAT that purpose is, however, in these ways, it grossly distorts, combining God in a way, with ideas and arrogances, which is not merely unscriptural, but absurd. You cannot dispose of God in this or that corner at will. It is worse by far than telling His Majesty, when you visit, that he can have the broom cupboard on Tuesdays, when you are not using it.
It is as Christ showed, hopeless: for except you forsake all you have, you CANNOT be His disciple, and He says so, also stating this, Why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and not do the things I say! (Luke 14, and Luke 6). So BEING yourself is forsaking all you have ? So infinity is zero. Is this magic that it so bewitches ?
This fact that Christ must be LORD of all seems odd to the unconverted at first, but when you think about it, you do not NECESSARILY regard a Matron in any hospital as a gross dictator and excrescence. You KNOW that some are good and useful and the idea has merit. Similarly, the idea (the very ideah!) of God being God is no more than acknowledging WHO HE IS, His place as it actually is, not in formal phrase merely, but in practical actuality.
If a ton of machinery falling on your foot is not a mere principle of physics, because of the laws bringing it about - if such a misfortune befell you, but an impactive fact on a physical body, how much more is the service of Christ not chiefly an attitude, though it includes this. It is far more, and chiefly the reality of the infinite God, vocal, affectionate, loving, chaste, good, kindly, lord, giver of guidance, receiver of worship, a matter of the whole holiness of God in your domain.
His words, witness, ways, Spirit, intimations, adoration, cleansing operations, rebukes, disciplines, faithfulness, sensitisation to His word, grooming by His Spirit, insistence on obedience to His word, and this as an expression of love: all this is involved.
He does not need to dictate: all is His anyway. He is giving us scope to serve Him freely, to love Him truly and to find from Him our disposition, perspectives and from Him our wealth of life (John 10:10), the fulfilment of His creation of it, naturally, in Him who made it.
Is that too hard ? But to take it from oneself, born today and gone tomorrow, your attitude and purpose, is absurd. One’s self or its adjuncts or this or that phase of it, is it this which drives ? Does this lead instead of God ? one’s principles, one’s psychiatrists, one ‘versions’, one ideas of liberty as Lord in music and so on. Rather, one’s own person is given purpose BY God FOR God and with humility and acceptance of His grand grace, clear words, and crucified Saviour: this is the way. Purpose without purity that seeks stringently to persevere with every aspect of His word, and the active Lordship in all things of the Prince of peace, is mere self-exaltation.
are some excerpts from the review noted. Sometimes bold print in it has been simply inset, but there has been no
change in the text, other than visual.
CITATIONS TO THE POINT
from "The Purpose Driven Life": A Modern Day "Golden Calf"
by Joseph Chambers
Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life books are nothing but Robert Schuller with a new face or Norman Vincent Peale with a good dose of emotions. It is clearly an effort to teach people how to be religious but utterly void of the great truth of a radical "New Birth" experience. Can you imagine telling Apostle Paul or Apostle Peter, "Tone it down boys," so you can make these sinners comfortable? Rick Warren or Bill Hybel would have said, "Come on, guys, don't you know that you are going to offend these religious Jews and pagan Gentiles, then you will never be able to reach them?"
The Author of Confusion: Many Translations
. Rick Warren brags about using fifteen different translations and paraphrases. One of the worst possible ways he does this is by actually calling the "Paraphrases" that he is using the "Word of God," when the truth is, they are only the paraphrasers' opinions. He never admits that these paraphrased renderings of Bible verses are totally someone's opinion. To call someone's paraphrased rendering "God's Word" without explanation cannot be considered anything but false. At best, a paraphrase has to be labeled as a commentary. We will deal with a number of faulty translations and paraphrases in this article.
Rick Warren has little respect for the King James Version of Holy Scripture. In his early book, entitled The Purpose Driven Church, he states the following.
"Read Scripture from a newer translation. With all the wonderful translations and paraphrases available today, there is no legitimate reason for complicating the Good News with four hundred-year-old English. Using the King James Version creates an unnecessary cultural barrier. Remember, when King James authorized the new translation it was because he wanted a contemporary version. I once saw an advertisement that claimed if King James were alive today, he'd be reading the New International Version! That's probably true. Charity is more important than poetry." (The Purpose Driven Church, by Rick Warren, p. 297.)
Reading a number of translations and paraphrases provides a "Who's Who" list of modern theological liberalism and Roman Catholic mysticism. Let's look at a few passages to see how misrepresentative of truth they are.
Another passage that shows how loose the author is with the Holy Bible is found in chapter eleven. He is dealing with an ambiguous title, "Becoming Best Friends With God." This chapter is filled with his mindset of mysticism. He quotes part of Ephesians 4:6 from the New Century Version, "He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything." (Ephesians 4:6, New Century Version. As printed in The Purpose-Driven Life, by Rick Warren, p. 88.) This quote fully supports "pantheism" or the New Age idea that God is within or is the substance of His creation. You could fully expect this quote in a New Age book, which was written by any one of their authors. The true rendering of this verse is, "One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Ephesians 4:6, King James Version.)
Learn Your Purpose, But Do Your Own Thing
The theme of this book is to discover the purpose of God, but the author quickly denounces the Lordship of Jesus Christ over your total lifestyle. It's absolutely normal for a "Seeker/Sinner-friendly" theology to break down at this point. No wonder the multitudes love it. Religion without Lordship surrender is the scourge of this generation. The whole book is a paradox, pitting truth against error with error winning. Listen to his words in the first chapter.
"You may choose your career, your spouse, your hobbies, and many other parts of your life, but you don't get to choose your purpose." (The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, p. 21.)
This is not even close to a born again experience. He is either Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.
This theme is repeated in the last chapter, as well as the first chapter. He clearly makes this idea a central point of his book. Notice how he emphasizes man's many options from which to choose.
"You may wonder, 'What about God's will for my job or marriage or where I'm supposed to live or go to school?' Honestly, these are secondary issues in your life, and there may be multiple possibilities that would all be in God's will for you. What matters most is that you fulfill God's eternal purposes regardless of where you live or work or whom you marry. Those decisions should support your purposes. The Bible says, 'Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.' (Proverbs 19:21, New International Version.) Focus on God's purposes for your life, not your plans, since that's what will last forever." (The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, p. 317.)
How do you decide God's purpose in such confusion? Please notice a proper rendering of the verse he quoted, "There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand." (Proverbs 19:21, King James Version.) There is no similarity in these two verses. His quote from the New International Version appears to support his remarks, but the Holy Spirit in the proper rendering shows the folly of following one's own plans and will.
Mystical Meditation: Practicing the Presence of God
This book by Rick Warren is a picture of Contemplative Religion, not "Experimental Christianity." There is a world of difference. The Roman Catholic Church theology is built up on contemplative religion. The movers and shakers of the Catholic Church have always followed this erroneous style of devotion. This is the primary divide between salvation by the transforming blood of Jesus Christ and this form of mental devotion that leaves the worshipper free to chart the rest of their own life. This is why pedophilia and many other vices are common fare in the Catholic ranks and in any religion that forsakes a "transformed life."
He promotes and quotes an ancient classic from a Catholic author, entitled Practicing the Presence of God. Here are his words;
"The classic book on learning how to develop a constant conversation with God is Practicing the Presence of God. It was written in the seventeenth century by Brother Lawrence, a humble cook in a French monastery. Brother Lawrence was able to turn even the most commonplace and menial tasks, like preparing meals and washing dishes, into acts of praise and communion with God. The key to friendship with God, he said, is not changing what you do, but changing your attitude toward what you do. What you normally do for yourself you begin doing for God, whether it is eating, bathing, working, relaxing, or taking out the trash. Today we often feel we must "get away" from our daily routine in order to worship God, but that is only because we haven't learned to practice his presence all the time. Brother Lawrence found it easy to worship God through the common tasks of life; he didn't have to go away for special spiritual retreats." (The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, pp. 88.)
This idea sounds wonderful until you learn that the person that has experienced the presence of God does not need to practice His presence. When you have to practice His presence, you are opening the door of your life to all kinds of ideas and spirits. Many people who try this idea will be totally unconverted and will be guided by their own Adamic nature.
The eleventh chapter should be in a Catholic book, not an evangelical one. He further states,
"Meditation is often misunderstood as some difficult, mysterious ritual practiced by isolated monks and mystics. But meditation is simply focused thinking - a skill anyone can learn and use anywhere." (The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, p. 90.)
This entire chapter is ecumenical and just another step by the "Catholic" and "Protestant" crowd to unite us together. He states, "Benedictine monks use the hourly chimes of a clock to remind them to pause and pray." (The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, p. 89.)
He glowingly quotes a New Age book by Gary Thomas, entitled Sacred Pathways. The subtitle is "Discover Your Soul's Path to God." There can be no acceptable excuse for the presence of this religious garbage. Look at this full two-paragraph quote from The Purpose Driven Life.
"In his book, Sacred Pathways, Gary identifies nine of the ways people draw near to God: Naturalists are most inspired to love God out-of-doors, in natural settings. Sensates love God with their senses and appreciate beautiful worship services that involve their sight, taste, smell, and touch, not just their ears. Traditionalists draw closer to God through rituals, liturgies, symbols, and unchanging structures. Ascetics prefer to love God in solitude and simplicity. Activists love God through confronting evil, battling injustice, and working to make the world a better place. Caregivers love God by loving others and meeting their needs. Enthusiasts love God through celebrations. Contemplatives love through adoration. Intellectuals love God by studying with their minds. (Sacred Pathways, by Gary Thomas, pp. 22-29.)
"There is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach to worship and friendship with God. One thing is certain: You don't bring glory to God by trying to be someone he never intended you to be. God wants you to be yourself. 'That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for; those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship.' (John 4:23, The Message.)" (The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, p. 103.)
Please note that second paragraph where Rick himself dares to suggest, "There is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach to worship and friendship with God." That's raw heresy. He further states, "God wants you to be yourself." Do you remember when Tammy Faye Bakker said, "I've got to be me!"? She is, but look at what the "me" is. This certainly fits the New Age psychological person and sells big time with the unregenerate masses. It will not end you anywhere but eternal hell. If the church world buys this, it are on its way to destruction in a hurry.
Gary Thomas freely establishes where the inspiration for his book was derived. It came from a "spirit guide" named Philemon that gave it to Carl Jung, a noted humanistic psychologist. Here is the quote from Gary's book,
"Carl Jung developed four profiles to describe human nature."
This proceeds into an extensive and profuse set of Jung's subjective thoughts about man. Chambers concludes, at length:
This kind of dark theological jargon is having an incredible impact upon once-great spiritual leaders and churches. The only way to God in salvation, worship, relationship or friendship is the Blood of Jesus Christ. No person can bring their sinful, unrepentant and self-guided self into the family of the born again.
Trashy Music in the
, his church is known as "the flock that likes to rock." He says in his book, Warren
"There is no such thing as 'Christian' music; there are only Christian lyrics. It is the words that make a song sacred, not the tune. There are no spiritual tunes." (The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, p. 66.) He further states, "God loves all kinds of music because he invented it all - fast and slow, loud and soft, old and new. You probably don't like it all, but God does! If it is offered to God in spirit and truth, it is an act of worship. Christians often disagree over the style of music used in worship, passionately defending their preferred style as the most biblical or God-honoring. But there is no biblical style!" (The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, p. 67.)
How can anyone claim that God invented all kinds of music? How do you prove that "God loves all kinds of music?" Do we have a Scripture verse showing God sitting on His throne while someone does a hard rock or a rap act with his or her music? Is Rick Warren so popular that he can make these kinds of claims without an ounce of proof to back it up? Something is profoundly wrong when we view much of today's music and then say, "God invented it, God loves it." We find incredible documentation of the multiple lives destroyed by today's music world. Something is horribly wrong with Rick Warren's methods for deciding truth.
His commitment to his form of music was not determined by Biblical standards and he proudly admits that he told an audience in one of his seminars how they came to their choice.
made it clear that loud, raucous music with a driving beat is the kind of music to which Saddleback residents listened, inside and outside of the church. He said, Warren
, we are unapologetically contemporary... I passed out a three-by-five card to everybody in the church, and I said, 'You write down the call letters of the radio station you listen to.' I wasn't even asking unbelievers. I was asking the people in the church, 'What kind of music do you listen to?' When I got it back, I didn't have one person who said, 'I listen to organ music.' Not one. I didn't have a single person who said, 'I listen to huge choirs on the radio.' Not one. In fact, it was 96-97% adult contemporary, middle-of-the-road pop. It wasn't heavy metal rock, but it was something with a beat like you hear most commercials have today on television. Saddleback Church
(Chambers provides a longer citation from Rick Warren, Speaking at a Purpose Driven Church Growth Strategy Seminar, January 1998.)
"You see folks, to insist that all good music came from
Europe200 years ago is thinly veiled racism, if you want to be truthful about it. It's cultural elitism saying that all the good music was written 200 years ago in Europe.... Now for 2,000 years, the Holy Spirit has used all kinds of music. And to insist that one particular style of music is more sacred than the other, there's a word for that. It's called idolatry. Idolatry." (Rick Warren, Speaking at a Purpose Driven Church Growth Strategy Seminar, January 1998.)
That's pretty strong when those that loved the great hymns of the church are called "idolaters." It appears that he is calling the great tunes, like "At the Cross" and "How Great Thou Art," the "golden oldies" or the "blasts from the past." That is his description of the great songs of the church.
Concerning being "Transformed by Trouble," he states these words in chapter twenty-five, "In fact, He depends more on circumstances to make us like Jesus than He depends on our reading the Bible." (The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, p. 193.)
END OF CITATIONS
CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE ?
Well, that statement cited in Excerpt Nine, about circumstances being ‘relied on’ by God, to make us Christ-like, more than reading the Bible is just one of the gross distortions, and arrogant pieces of presumption in the book. How on earth COULD he know that! But borne along on his philosophic premises, which when you consider it, are the guiding principles for this guru-work, it seems that to him, it is easy to spout such things.
Always remember, meanwhile, that my concern is not with this man, or what his purposes may or may not have been in writing this; instead, it is with the doctrines he is stating, and to compare this with the Bible, the true word of God.
In fact, in Psalm 119:17-20,72 as in I Peter, we find that the intense yearning for the ACTUAL word of God is like panting, for it is so pure, and it is longed for, worthy more than millions and so on. Circumstances do not have this quality …
In I Peter 1, we find that reading it is able to make you wise to salvation, so perhaps salvation does not matter too much in this wonderful Christ-likeness which does not fear to mix with idolatry, or with mishandling of the word of God in periphrastic abuses sometimes called ‘translations’, or with psychological management, almost as if this were in any way akin to the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of the Lord’s people.
His people, who is Prince of life ? repentant, redeemed, infilled, consecrated souls who know the Lord and need not guidance whether from chimes or ‘practices’ of this or that type, or heavy rock music to din the mind into servitude, or indifference about major parts of the work and responsibilities in the Lord, as if Jeremiah need not really have worried too much about being a prophet or not, this being a minor matter: it was just what he did!
The chief matter for him, for Jeremiah, then ? It was to be so sensitive to the PURPOSE of his life that what he DID was not really so important ? even though God had called him from the womb! (Jeremiah 1:5-10).
In fact, you simply cannot separate these things. ALL is to be done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians ), not that of some philosopher, psychologist or liberal who spouts out false versions of the word of God through casual renderings called ‘modern’. If you try to separate them, you end by compromsing one or the other, or both! When it comes to masters, there is ONE; when it comes to focus, there is, if you want one, this: the CROSS of the Lord Jesus Christ by which I am crucified to the world, and the world to me ... That however embraces in its coverage, the reason for sending, the One who sent, the program and the Prince, whose Cross it is, which is Jesus Christ, resurrected, ascended and soon to return for those who eagerly wait for Him (Hebrews 9:27-28).
This sort of separation of life things and purpose things, and talk of not mattering so much, when there is a whole resultant with fruit attached, for the one as for the other in differential: it is not so far from gibberish. It is not worth attention. It misleads with half-truths, untruths, unabashed carelessness, depreciation of the word of God, elevation of philosophic approaches, idolatrous approaches and a sort of slack sleazy, easy way of looking at things which tends, in practical terms, to disdain the realistic parts of every phase and aspect of your life, in terms of this nice illustrious purpose.
It is the nice illustrious word of God, carefully translated, however, which matters. “I meant well” says someone, in some setting and scenario, as he or she looks at the corpse resulting from not adding wisdom to meaning. Purpose is far too little, and a mere phase exalted to a crowning position, it simply lacks.
Indeed, the Christian is not DRIVEN but led in the whole domain of life; and hence is like a sheep with a shepherd.
It is in fact, not the purpose-driven life which is Christian, but the Christ-redeemed and Christ-led life which is Christian, because the centre is not your purpose, but your Lord.
As to Him, the centre is not being yourself, but being recipient of
His pardon, and of His Spirit so that you are not your own, not to be yourself
at all, but HIS, not even your own (cf. I Corinthians 6:14-20, cited below), His
? yes, His to be as He sends and intends and as He leads, a servant who
so far from being ‘himself’ or ‘herself’, sits down after service, an unworthy
servant, knowing something. And what is that ? It is that Christ is the point,
and not purpose, Christ is the passion, and not some kind of fulfilment, Christ is the Lord
and not one’s own callow or other little ideas; or those of
"And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.
"Do you not know
not that your bodies are the members of Christ?
"Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of a harlot?
What? do you not know that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, He says, shall be one flesh. But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is outside the body;
but he who commits fornication sins against his own body. \
What? do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you,
which you have from God, and you are not your own?
For ye are bought with a price:
therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s."
What is written is the moving power, the Spirit of God applying it (cf. I Peter 1:22-23, I Peter 2:2-3, John 17:17). Sanctify them THROUGH YOUR WORD, says Christ, and this, Your word is truth.
These two approaches, then, are wholly different.
There is no new way, only the old one; and the new ‘findings’ are mere miry rubbish, clogging the unspiritual feet which wallow in them. Avoid this, and you will do well. Follow the word of God with diligence to gain the original (on which see On Bible Translations – the KJV and the NKJV together do rather well, but check the site out, I suggest).
It is not so hard to do. Act then with scrupulous care, as with your own bones, and more even than this, with the word of God, and you will act wisely. Concentrate on the original Christ in the original records, not on the blasé psychological trickery which in some way or other appears in works such as this one.
Incidentally, try BORN CRUCIFIED (Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 3) which was written many years ago. It includes reference to an entire book written by a famed Canadian,years ago.
This Chapter 3 deals with Christ, and purpose amongst other things. It is CHRIST, not purpose which is the paramount feature; for with purpose, there is also passion, crucifixion of oneself, there is the specific resurrection power of the Lord (Ephesians 1:19) vitalising one’s thoughts, sensitising one’s conscience (Romans 14), enabling the growth in depth and profundity of one’s convictions (II Peter 3:18): there is the illumination of the Lord as we study His word (Ephesians 1:17), in the manner of Psalm 119, where ‘purpose’ not at all displaces the centrality of this revelation in the Bible itself, part by part and word by word.
To be sure,
understanding is crucial, but its main point is not to understand oneself, or
‘life’ in some sense, but what GOD has to say, who is the PRINCE of life, to
whom and to whose every word one owes allegiance. Lovers do not find this
difficult. Every little word of yours, darling, says he, matters to me! She at
least understands the situation… IF he does love her. God DOES love us, and
enough to sacrifice His only begotten Son. That is more, but not less, than
love’s visiting card, a red and sanguinary one!
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die;
yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.
"Much more then, having now been justified by His blood,
we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son,
much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
The importance of the precise accuracy of this word to anyone is only another way of saying that you believe that God knows what He is talking about, and you had BETTER know it! Indeed, you WANT to know it because you love Him and it is HIS!
It is all LOVE, say the love-in predecessors (and spiritual love is PRIMARY), all EXAMPLE, say the 19th century midgetries, it is all KINDNESS, says the next before being swallowed up into the social Gospel, it is all this or all that, and nothing else really matters. As to love, however, it “rejoices in the truth” (I Corinthians 13:6).
What I read in the Bible is that it ALL matters, every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God (and hence carefully translated) matters. More than this, not less, is the word of Christ: Man shall live by … LIVE BY every word which so proceeds.
The guidance of the Holy Spirit about career, or marriage, or spirituality in all things, including music, is important. To be sure, He may lead one church somewhat differently than another, if for example it has this or that background. It is not wrong to be different indeed; but what that difference is, this is a matter of spiritual discrimination, and what is indicative of a right step is neither popularity nor contemporaneity (think of the contemporary in Sodom before it disappeared, but don’t think too long about it!.
WORD which proceeds out of the mouth of God is to be marked and as relevant,
applied. Spiritual songs obviously have two criteria: the music and the words,
and over all of that, the resultant atmosphere, and indeed the extent to which
the music matches the words. You cannot just take the words, and ignore another
vital component as the citation from
is THIS, said Jesus Christ, that man lives by. It ALL matters, all of His word!
It is all money, power, or purpose, says another.
for me, I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded He is able to keep
what I have committed to Him against that day (II Timothy
). I trust no one worth hearing has a different answer that
what is written, all of it, and He of
whom it is written.
If indeed you did want something central, let one reiterate: try the cross; for after all THIS is what God’s own word declares, and this is not some phrase-book to be surpassed, or bypassed, in sanctifying power by circumstances. Quite to the contrary, it is this, this word, not in some general sense, but EVERY ONE OF THE WORDS OF GOD, that man is to LIVE BY: it is all the word, every last word of God, and it has a centre. That, it is what Christ told the devil, and therefore what one can tell anyone of other ideas, at any time. It is the example!
GOD FORBID, says Paul, that I should glory except in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world is crucified to me and I to the world – Galatians 6:14. This same Christ re-directs to the fountain of wisdom, His word (Matthew 7:15ff., 5:17ff.). HE is the action centre, and His word the guide post (cf. John -40).
Is it then that: the cross = purpose ?
I do not read it so, nor does commonsense equate these different ingredients. Some new thing is customarily the desire of those sick of the realities, and it is wise to avoid such things like the plague, and to return to the word of God as what sanctifies, as Christ declares, and to a full realisation of the power and presence of the Spirit of God in one’s life as a Christian, as there arise the desires of the flesh, whether for slack translations or musical impacts, or for purposive generalisations or other negative impacts on the precise directions of the word of God.
Philosophy and psychology change continually, for they are slack (cf. Colossians 2:8, I Corinthians 1:18ff., -16). To know the mind of Christ is radically different from knowing the mind of the populace, its popularities or desires (I John 2:15, James 4:4).
The word of God remains, and neither purpose, nor example, nor kindness nor any other thing, whether part of the requirements, or not, is any substitute; nor is anything in the least degree that man can make up, comparable with the Cross, which harrowing to the carnal man, with his ‘it doesn’t matter very much’ approach to much in life, as it may be, yet is dominant in theme and impact in EVERYTHING.
then the Christ-driven, the Cross-driven life, and since the Cross is
inseparably connected to the resurrection, try the resurrection-empowered life,
doing everything not in the name of idolatrous admixtures, but of the Lord
Jesus Christ, and you will do well! DO read, if you will,
Tender Times for Timely Truth
Tender Times for Timely TruthCh. 3. Better in vocabulary, try the Christ-led, Cross-riven life!
Well, is it not because of our concern and hope for you, that one writes ? Please take it then in the spirit in which it is written; and may the good Lord in His kindness and grace, truly bless you.
Meanwhile, let us get the sense of swing in the time to sing! and consider the offering there.
Similarly, there is room for rhythm, but the POINT of singing spiritual songs is the spiritual grace and place which they point to, and the thump-thump of heavy music has to be assessed, as does ANY music, for its relevance, adroit carrying power and ultimate effect, to draw to the world, to instinctive carnality, to create a spiritual milieu …or other.
If music is subordinate to spiritual grace, thought, understanding, feeling and living, to forbearance and to charity, to self-sacrifice and endurance in Christ, that is one thing. This may indeed occur through many musical means. But as in medical operations, or dinner parties, there are things which are dissonant, which disagree with the purpose, and things which do not.
The POPULARITY of
some forms of music is irrelevant, as in dinner music, UNLESS it FIRST meets
the ultimate purpose. People do not always WANT what is good – consult the book
on that! This tendency to take what is offering and what goes and is popular is
at the heart of the folly of this sort of approach which
There is no more mere liberty in this than in any matter of profound understanding and due discretion. Some music has in fact come from sexual advances, and explicitly was formed to forge such thoughts. It is necessary not to lose one’s head in liberty and carelessness and drifting. It is also necessary not to caricature the fittingness of some past forms of music, carefully appointed and spiritually blessed, just because you want to add to it. It is WHAT you add that matters; and WHAT you subtract and WHY, not some assault on spiritual things implicit in foolish and sweeping assertions.
Brother Lawrence was a French Carmelite monk, who lived 1611-1691, during some of the most outrageous phases of the Inquisition, in the midst of mass and idolatry. The irrelevance of piety in such a position is wholly contrary to the rash, brash inclusivistic thrust of the purpose-driven life, which does not trouble too much about little things like actualities of doctrine, when purpose drives.
This is merely one illustration of where you can get when the word of God is not the crux and criterion of doctrine, and as doctrine, of the roads and byways which may be chosen or avoided in life.
It is just like having operations - the esprit is the thing, it might be said - so that careful cleansing is not required in advance. That, some might opine, will take care of itself if the attitude, the purpose is right. No doubt many things would be assured in a perfect and sinless world; but in this one, the word of God to sinners is a sine qua non. Ignoring it is one of the first ways to rebellion, knowing it all without applying it is one of the prescribed ways to a fall.
On this particular case: see SMR pp.1032-1088H.
One of the best possible ways to ride for a fall, it is this: not to look where you are going, or not to use the reins to ensure you go where you are supposed to do. It is exhilarating ? yes, I myself once found, when flying through the air on leaving the saddle, to avoid a crash (under the horse ?), something of this kind. One would not however prescribe it. There is a certain ... preferability in keeping the saddle (even if it is the same old saddle), and to the back of the horse, and one's wits, and watching one's way. Then even speed can be successful, and even God, at His own will, can say that He will "hasten My word to perform it" (Jeremiah 1:12). True, it could be translated, "I will keep watch over My word to perform it!" but the meaning is clear. The almond tree which the prophet saw, is an early flowering tree, and the Lord was setting about DOING what He had said.
It is good for us to set about DOING what He has said, as His servants, neither guessing nor hoping merely, but first of all finding what He has said, and then seeking in the guidance promised, to apply it aright and to perform all His own good will for our individual lives (Psalm 138:8).
*2 This is reported in The Australian, October 13, 2005.