The Garage Reformers are no more. We are using our gifts from God to further his Glory by discipling others.
So yeah it has been a while since any of us have posted. Forgive us for that, we have been very busy with things in our lives.
More than ever I have started to realize that this reformation thing is going to take time. Really it is going to take time in two different senses, the first being, a reformation is not going to happen in six months to a year. Secondly a reformation is going to take a lot of hours of work.
At first I thought, okay we as a group of guys are going to meet in a garage, study the Bible, talk some theology, hold each other accountable and then go tell people about it and that is it. After that change should happen and we will have a reformation on our hands and it will be great. The reality, as I have come to find out, is that this reformation of Christianity that we want so bad is going to take a long time. It easily could be another 5-10 years before we start to see any fruit, any change, because what we are doing. Who knows how long it might be before we see the full out change that we all long for? So we are in this thing for the long haul, we are willing to be long suffering for this reformation. We want to see Grand Rapids be orthodox again and not this garbage of beliefs that it is now.
The second aspect is not totally independent of the first, yet it is slightly different. Here is the thing, there is going to have to be a lot of hours put forth in reformation. It is going to take a lot of time in prayer, reading the Bible, fasting, proclaiming the message of Jesus to those around us, getting other people involved in leading this change. Here is the thing we easily could put 10,000 hours of our time, each of us could put in that much time before this even starts to take hold. Reformations take much time and dedication. It would be a shame if we all put in another 8,000 hours, only to be short 2,000 hours from seeing change.
So while this may seem like a daunting task, we know that we don’t do this for ourselves, rather we do this for the glory of Jesus. That makes it possible for a group of 5 guys, to do something as crazy as meet in a garage that is not heated, even during the winter months in Michigan, and think that they can cause a reformation back to Jesus and what the Bible says about Him happen.
-M. Van Drie
Here’s the thing. There are a lot of people out there who will disagree with me on what I am about talk about and those people are not wrong in totality but merely wrong in part and that is the very thing that is dangerous. It’s the partialy right… but tragically wrong that is so common in theology these days. It’s exactly the tool that satan used with his first temptation in the Garden and the temptation of Jesus in the desert. It’s both a twisted and redacted version of God’s word that Satan uses to suit the sinful desire of the heart which he hopes will ultimately benefit his plan for this world of which he is given power for this time. Satan simply likes to give us what our sinful heart desires to achieve his end. And we often fall for it hand and foot.
But at the risk of debasing my point I will agree that I often fall for the tricks of the King of Lies. However, I feel that I have my eyes open in this circumstance and am able to see clearly the tactics of the evil one and his ultimate goal. I will also declare that I have been describe as a stubborn person and have at times participated in arguements that were for arguments sake and were not beneficial to the kingdom. I also assume the supremacy and inerrancy of scripture and the fact that scripture interprets scripture and that it is our only hope for knowing truth. I am also decidedly calvinist and have been known to say in the response to the question, “Are you Calvinist?”, “No, I’m Christian”. Hopefully this gives you some sense of my background for interpreting my opinions below.
Now, to point that is at hand: Should we speak harshly against those who are going against orthodox Christianity or should we instruct gently or not at all those who are heretics because to speak harshly may defame the Christian reputation or worse yet God Himself and perhaps lead astray those who are seekers.
A couple things are at play here and I will try to cover them systematically and in a brief yet comprehensive fashion.
Satan has a decided goal in mind: Chaos, destruction, and death. He seeks to destroy and impede the gospel at all costs. However, we must understand that the devil is not a God but a god. He is not omniscent or omnipresent. Is a created thing and therefore under God. He is an arch angel with 1/3 of the angels as his army, and he’s God’s most glorious creation and it was his glory which lead to his pride and eventually his fall. He is powerful but not all powerful and we have a sword that is more poweful than the king of lies, namely, God’s Word. And unless we use His word against his lies we will fall before the evil one because of the pride we showed in attempting to reason with the devil. Therefore we must approach everything with the Word of God in order to discover how to respond to any question. (I understand that this statement does not sit will with some people(I know because I experience this temptation also) because our heart wants to say and our mind reason that we can discover truth outside of scripture, however this is a huge discussion of its own that I do not have time to go into.) We are, however, able to know his tactics and therefore take defensive and offensive action against them. Go here for more discussion of this topic.
So knowing Satan’s goal and some of his tactics and who he is, how does this affect this discussion? The questions that I propose next are I feel appropriate. Does satan want to distract, discourage, destroy, create chaos about Christianity and Christ by tempting proclaimed Christians into verbal arguments with other proclaimed Christians regarding the truths of scripture and doctrine so as to put one against and one therefore defame Christ and Christianity by a show of disunity? Or Does satan want to distract, discourage, destory, and create chaos by tempting christians into passivity as to allow false doctrines to flourish and pluralism to take hold? For these, I believe, are the questions at hand.
If we hold that satan employs the first tactic then it is understood that he would never promote truth in it’s purest form but would always promote heresy or twisted and redacted scripture, for he loves to masquerade as an angel of light so as to promote a different gospel. So if that stands, it would be heresy against orthodoxy, because satans goal, lest we forget, would be for heresy to win out over orthodoxy so as to lead as many astray as possible with Satan only being on the side of heresy. But if Gods Word is more powerful than satans lies and is the only correct response to twisted scripture why would Satan ever choose a fight with orthodoxy for he would always lose. His best bet would be to convince those who are Christian that their fight with heresy is pointless and fruitless and would only lead to divide in the church or cause defamation and hence scare away seeking people consequently allowing the evil one an unchallenged environment to promote heresy. So I think it is fair to say that Satan would never start a battle with orthodoxy based off of the logic above and would only employ a tactic of seeking to convice orthodox christians into passivity.
However, now we’re left with how to approach the unorthdox proclaimed Christian who teaches heresy. Do we gently or harshly confront? My answer, NO MERCY!
Galatians 1:9, 5:8-12, 1 Timothy 4:15-16, 6:3-5, and the book of Jude.
How should we treat the searching Christian who doesn’t know yet but is desiring to know the truth but maybe confused about what to believe? Gently.
Romans 14:1, 1 Timothy 4:15-16, Jude 1:22
How do we know when to be gentle and when to be harsh? If the heretic we are speaking of or to has decided what they believe, are unteachable and claim to be Christians we should treat them harshly as both to seperate their belief from ours making sure to point out that they are not Christian but also hope that the Spirit would awaken them to their folly through the Jackhammer action of our words. However, they must not be given the opportunity to call themselves Chrisitan when their message is decidedly different from that of the gosple. On the other hand, if the person is questioning but has not decided what to believe we should instruct them gently and pray for their understanding.
The next question that is neccessarirly begged is, “What is orthodoxy?” Those who proclaim their false doctrines believe what they are preaching is orthodoxy and what we’re preaching is heresy. So we must have a way to know who is right. To which I reply. Is their message Jesus centered? Is it in any way more focused on some aspect more than Jesus? Does it minimize the work of Jesus in any way? To answer these questions we must know the scriptures well and the false doctrine in question well. In short it takes work through study and prayer and we should never go at it alone.
Lastly, what do we do with all those verses regarding divide in the church? What do they mean? What are they speaking to? In Short they are speaking to the people in the church who are argueing over secondary issues or basically things that detract from Jesus. (for is to possible to be an orthodox christians but fall into the temptation of putting secondary doctrines above Jesus) We shoud as a church (believers not seekers) seek to be united in our approach to the primary issues and let the secondary issues fall to the side and not let them defame the church or ultimately God and consequently divide us.
I hope this is helpful to all who fear speaking out against heresy, but most of all that it inspires all to educate themselves on the primary issues of the Bible and of God so as to form a solid biblically based orthdoxy.
SOLA DEO GLORIA!
“Seeing that a Pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwrecks, there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness”
So my friend Joel told me how depressed he used to be and how guilty he used to feel when he would do evangelism and his friends would not get saved…he felt personally responsible. It wasn’t until he came to believe the doctrines of Grace that he felt a freedom to preach (share) Jesus without feeling like it was he who was deciding the fate of his friends. This is why I love what I view as the central tenet of reformed theology (as viewed through the New England theology of Edward’s et al.) that point is that Jesus is the point. It really is all about his Glory. that is why we share him…we do not preach Jesus because people need him (though they do) or because he can change their life (though he will) We preach Jesus because he is due their worship and he deserves the glory and honor and praise. This to me brings a great deal of freedom and a better motivation (if people are the only motivation for evangelism then a whole lot of people will never hear because there are a lot of people I do not like 😦 ) But if Jesus is the point and his Glory is my central aim then I will tell everyone I meet not because they need it, but because Jesus deserves it. It is a lovely thing when the Glory of God is the point…
“let worship be the fuel of missions flame…”
2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry