John Piper gesticulates wildly while making some fine points, and asking two good questions.
“Death (of a Church) occurs when unbelievers are allowed to take over ministries in the church. It happens when a church becomes more concerned with form and liturgy than it is with life on a spiritual level. Death occurs when a church becomes more concerned about welfare and social ills than it is about salvation. It happens when a church loves systems more than it loves Jesus Christ. And it happens when a church becomes more concerned with material things than spiritual reality. That’s how a church dies. It all is a result of sin.
Sin–in any form that the church tolerates, whether it is in the members or the leaders. Tolerance of sin begins the cycle; then comes the tolerance of unbelievers in the church until no one cares who is a believer or an unbeliever. The end comes when the man who runs the church isn’t a believer. Sins of commission and omission kill a church little by little. When that happens, Christians become carnal. Soon afterwards, unbelievers come into the church, and then a total tolerance for sin exists. The church begins to die, and the people who really love Jesus Christ leave only to be replaced by people who don’t know Him.”
Divisions and separations are most objectionable in religion. They weaken the cause of true Christianity…But before we blame people for them, we must be careful that we lay the blame where it is deserved. False doctrine and heresy are even worse than schism. If people separate themselves from teaching that is positively false and unscriptural, they ought to be praised rather than reproved. In such cases separation is a virtue and not a sin.
– JC Ryle
1816 – 1900
I read this article over at Pyromaniacs and decided to link it here for the edification of Absolute Dominion’s readership.
I was struck and my heart was pricked by the simple truth of the piece and I sadly realized that I too often stand guilty of the error pinpointed by the author, Dan Phillips. At this point it would be worth clarifying that I’m referring to the LATTER error mentioned, and not the FORMER – you’ll understand what I mean when you read the article.
Note: Don’t let the original article’s title deter you, the piece is 100% Team Pyro tested and approved and safe for viewing.
What did Jesus actually accomplish on the cross?
Who did He accomplish it for?
by John Samson
Who did Jesus die for? If we were to ask this question of Christians today, most would not hesitate for a moment to say, “everyone, of course!”
However, it may be something of a surprise to learn that this has not always been the majority view amongst Christians, and that the question actually needs a great deal of thought.
Let me start by saying that all Christians should rightfully affirm the infinite worth of Christ’s work on the cross. “The death of the Son of God is the only and most perfect sacrifice and satisfaction for sin, and is of infinite worth and value, abundantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world. This death is of such infinite value and dignity because the person who submitted to it was not only really man and perfectly holy, but also the only-begotten Son of God, of the same eternal and infinite essence with the Father and the Holy Spirit, which qualifications were necessary to constitute Him a Savior for us; and, moreover, because it was attended with a sense of the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin.” Canons of Dort – Second Head of Doctrine, Articles 3 and 4. The value of Christ’s death on the cross is infinite. That cannot be underlined enough!
Yet when we ask such questions as “what was God’s intention in sending His Son to die on the cross?” we have to think about what the cross actually does for people, and for what kind of people.
For example, when Jesus was dying on the cross, many people in human history had already died. In fact, not only had they died, but they were either in expectation of heavenly bliss (such as those in Abraham’s bosom – Luke 16:23) or the dreaded expectation of divine, eternal punishment for their sins. This being the case, we need to ask, “What would Jesus death actually achieve for people who were already lost, with no hope of eternal life?”
And, would Jesus actually be bearing the sins of all these people awaiting an eternity in hell, when He knew it would do them no good?
If He did bear the punishment for all the sins of all people, then why would those in hell be bearing the punishment for their sins? Surely punishment for sin should not be handed out twice – one time on the spotless Lamb of God, and a second time on the people in hell.