Thursday, March 8, 2012

An Important Distinction

If God isn’t chastising you for your sins, then He doesn’t love you and you’re not one of His Elect.

εἰ δὲ χωρίς ἐστε παιδείας ἡς μέτοχοι γεγόνασιν πάντες ἄρα νόθοι ἐστε καὶ οὐχ υἱοί.
Hebrews 12:8

Because I’m often in the car these days, I find myself listening to a lot of Christian radio; much more than I ever did back in NZ. And although Sandy maintains that I only listen in order to find fault with the presenters, preachers and personalities, I actually listen in order to compare and hone my theology against the various streams of mainline theology aired there. It’s not my fault if I end up always finding fault with the presenters, preachers and personalities.

It’s not surprising either, given that mainline Christian theology is so unscriptural, culture-bound and self-contradicting. Just like mainline Christian thinking with regards to the military that we explored in the last post, the handling of any subject on Christian radio is hamstrung by the unsoundness of the presenter’s basic Christian doctrine. In most cases, the Big Three Fallacies will be their undoing. These are:
1. God Loves Everyone
2. Believers Choose to Believe
3. The Great Commission
There are other fallacies (e.g. God Wants Us Healthy & Wealthy) but one or more of those three stumbling-blocks to doctrinal soundness will easily trip up 95% of the people on Christian radio 95% of the time.

A humorous example of this occurred just the other day. I was listening to a preacher railing against the things that make Christians turn away from God. One of these things, he said, was when God scourges us. His proof texts were Proverbs 3:12:
For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son [in whom] he delighteth.
...and Hebrews 12:6:
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
At one point in his sermon, he started asking the congregation questions to facilitate their acceptance of the idea that God does indeed scourge His children (Greek word μαστιγόω [mastagoö], meaning to whip with a scourge):

“Does he love you? Yes, you’re His children. He will scourge you!”

Then he unwittingly painted himself in a corner:

“Does he love unbelievers?”

Pause, two, three...I thought he was actually going to say, “Obviously not, because He doesn’t scourge them”; the natural implication from the distinction those two verses make.

“Of course, because He loves everyone.”

...and then he continued on with his sermon hurriedly, hoping to distance himself from the glaring contradiction between his fallacious belief that God loves everyone and the obvious conclusion from his sermon that He doesn’t.

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