Together Against Extrabiblical Methods | Cameron Buettel & Jeremiah Johnson

from Grace to You

…(Charles) Finney’s fingerprints are all over modern seeker-sensitive strategies. Consider these words from Rick Warren, perhaps the world’s foremost purveyor of seeker-sensitive strategies: “It is my deep conviction that anybody can be won to Christ if you discover the key to his or her heart. . . . The most likely place to start is with the person’s felt needs.” [2]

Just like Finney, seeker-sensitive gurus are devoted to developing the latest and greatest formula for selling the gospel. Every aspect of the church experience, from the style of music and teaching to design aesthetics—even the kind of clothes the pastor wears—are carefully chosen to make the message as user-friendly and enticing as possible.

But marketing and manipulation don’t make the gospel any more plausible or potent. No scare tactics or sideshow techniques can secure salvation or transform the sinner’s heart. Even Finney acknowledged that the vast majority of his converts “would of course soon relapse into their former state.” [3]

The truth is that the gospel doesn’t need to be cleverly packaged—it simply needs to be preached.

Read the entire article….

Beware of False Prophets: The Case Against Charles G. Finney DVD

Order this tremendous DVD now at The NiceneCouncil.com

“The eighteenth-century lawyer-turned-preacher, Charles Finney, impacted American Christianity in ways that have yet to be fully measured. His legacy is still wielding significant influence over modern evangelicalism. This new documentary from Apologetics Group and NiceneCouncil.com examines Finney’s theology and sheds gospel light on some of the more damaging aspects of his teaching.” — Dr. Tom Ascol, Editor, The Founder’s Journal

For years Charles G. Finney has gotten a free ride from evangelical preachers and churches for various reasons, but mostly because few had ever taken the time to read his obtuse books or even try to understand his theology.  Many supposedly came to Christ under him, and that was enough to convince the multitudes that he must be sound and Biblical.

But now a number of writers and theologians are opening the door to his theology, and many are shocked to see what he truly believed – Charles G. Finney was clearly and undeniably a heretic—he did not preach nor teach the true gospel, as set forth in the Scriptures.  In fact it is not an exaggeration to say that he was one of the greatest heretic’s of church history! And this is why the current work by Jerry Johnson and ApologeticsGroup.com is so valuable—it exposes the reality of Finney’s false and damnable theology.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_RsHMN8gzE]

 

“My wish is that every church in America, which claims to be an evangelical church, which preaches the true gospel, would use this work to alert God’s people of the heresy of the past as well as of our day!  It is true that the shadow of Charles Finney’s false theology and gospel still haunts the churches of our day, and many are not even aware of it.” — Dr. Richard P. Belcher, author, A Journey in Grace

“If a seminary professor today were to deny total depravity and the necessity of grace for saving faith, and at the same time was fuzzy on the doctrine of justification by faith alone, he would hardly be considered a paragon of evangelical orthodoxy. Yet, such are some of the beliefs of Charles Finney, the man who is considered an expert on revival by far too many evangelicals. I am very thankful for this documentary from Jerry Johnson and ApologeticsGroup.com that throws light on the strange theology of Charles Finney and raises serious questions about his being a role model for evangelicals of our day.” — Dr. Michael Haykin, Professor of Church History, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“NiceneCouncil.com has done it again: exposing false teachers for the wolves they really are – all for the good of the flock of Christ, that can grow strong upon nothing but the unadulterated truth of the gospel. This is an accurate and much-needed exposé that I would recommend to anyone professing to be an Evangelical believer in modern America.” — Nathan Pitchford, author, What the Bible says about the Doctrines of Grace

What is an “Arminian”?

from the article, Evangelical Arminians

by Dr. Michael Horton, Modern Reformation magazine

James Arminius, one of Beza’s students, first raised the eyebrows of the Dutch Reformed Church by teaching that the person Paul describes in Romans chapter seven was unregenerate, whereas the Reformed had always interpreted it as a sad, but appropriate, picture of the Christian life (simultaneously justified and sinful). But there was more controversy beneath this: Arminius denied unconditional election, arguing that God made his eternal decision based on his foreknowledge of faith and obedience. With this the entire Reformed system was denied.

Upon his death, however, Arminius’s followers began to press the theologian’s claims even further. The "Remonstrants," as they were called, presented their claims in five points: election was conditional (i.e., determined by foreseen faith and obedience), the atonement was universal not only in sufficiency but in intention, depravity is only partial, grace can be resisted, and the regenerate can lose their salvation. Further, the Arminians denied the Reformation belief that faith was a gift and that justification was a purely forensic (legal) declaration. For them, it included a moral change in the believer’s life and faith itself, a work of humans, was the basis for God’s declaration. In 1618-19, the Synod of Dort, an international conference of Reformed churches, the Remonstrants ("Arminians") were judged heretical and the churches of the Reformation concurred, even those of non-Reformed persuasion (as, for instance, the Lutherans).

Arminianism came to the English-speaking world chiefly through the efforts of seventeenth-century Archbishop of Canterbury William Laud, Bishop Jeremy Taylor, and the great preacher, Lancelot Andrewes. The leading Puritans such as John Owen, Richard Sibbes and Thomas Goodwin opposed Arminianism as a Protestant form of "Romanism" in which the Christian faith degenerated into a moralism that confused the Law and the Gospel and withheld from God his rightful praise for the whole work of salvation. Eventually, the English "Arminian" element evolved into the High Church wing of the English Church, emphasizing the importance of ritual and the church hierarchy as well as the moralistic Deism which characterized the preaching of the eighteenth century.

Wherever Arminianism was adopted, Unitarianism followed, leading on to the bland liberalism of present mainline denominations. This can be discerned in the Netherlands, in Eastern Europe, in England, and in New England. In fact, in a very short period of time, the General (Arminian) Baptists of New England had become amalgamated into the Unitarian Church in the eighteenth century.

This is not simply an argument from the so-called "slippery slope": in other words, if we allow for x, soon we will be embracing y. History actually bears out the relationship between Arminianism and naturalism. One can readily see how a shift from a God-centered message of human sinfulness and divine grace to a human-centered message of human potential and relative divine impotence could create a more secularized outlook. If human beings are not so badly off, perhaps they do not need such a radical plan of salvation. Perhaps all they need is a pep talk, some inspiration at halftime, so they can get back into the game. Or perhaps they need an injection of grace, as a spiritual antibiotic, to counteract the sinful affections. But in Reformation theology, human beings do not need help. They need redemption. They do not merely need someone to show them the way out; they need someone to be their way out of spiritual death and darkness.

Thus, the evangelicals who faced this challenge of Arminianism universally regarded it as a heretical departure from the Christian faith. One simply could not deny total depravity, unconditional election, justification by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone, and continue to call himself or herself an evangelical. There were many Christians who were not evangelicals, but to be an evangelical meant that one adhered to these biblical convictions. While Calvinists and Lutherans would disagree over the scope of the atonement and the irresistibility of grace and perseverance, they were both strict monergists (from mono, meaning "one" and ergo, meaning "working"). That is, they believed that one person saved us (namely, God), while the Arminians were synergists, meaning that they believed that God and the believer cooperated in this matter of attaining salvation. It was this monergism which distinguished an evangelical from a non-evangelical since the Reformation.

 

This article originally appeared in the May/June 1992 edition of Modern Reformation and is reprinted with permission. For more information about Modern Reformation, visit www.modernreformation.org or call (800) 890-7556. All rights reserved.

Cancer and the Joy of Total Depravity

Jerry Sisto, Orthodox Presbyterian Church

How can the doctrine of being spiritually dead lead to joy? Our first friend, Mr. Arminius, hears that Jesus loves him and has a wonderful plan for his life. He will be happier, have new friends, better health, and more, more, more of everything. Please come to Jesus. Give him your life. He will take care of you. Make the decision, raise the hand, walk the aisle, say the prayer. That’s all it takes. Please come, and you will make God happy.

He then comes to Christ with the attitude that he and Jesus partner up to save him and deep in his heart he takes pride in the fact that he was indeed smart enough to come. Twenty years later he gets cancer. As he sits in the hospital suffering with the poison of chemotherapy, wondering if he will live or die, he may begin to think, "Why is God doing this to me?! Where is Jesus? This is not fair. I teach Sunday school, I am a deacon, I tithe! If Jesus loves me, why is this happening?" He is told that he must have done something wrong or he doesn’t have enough faith.

Our second friend, Mr. Calvin, hears and understands that he is totally dead in trespasses and sin, under the wrath of God, unable to come to Christ without the mercy and power of God to save him. He comes to Christ. As he reads his Bible and hears sound teaching, he understands that Jesus promises eternal life in heaven and resurrection on the last day and that in this world he will have tribulation and that it is appointed unto man once to die. He reads how sickness and death come to even the saints of Scripture. Twenty years later he is sitting in the same hospital having some of the same thoughts as Mr. Arminius, but he now recalls the fact that God caused him to be born again, that God resurrected his totally dead soul. He understands that death is necessary for the full promise of salvation to be complete. He even begins to thank God that soon he can rid himself of this body of flesh that continually commits the sin that his new heart hates. How can he be angry with the God who gave him new life? How can he fear death when he knows he was once really dead and now he is truly alive? Mr. Arminius is angry because he was promised joy in this world and feels that he has been let down. Mr. Calvin knows that all the promises of God are fulfilled in Christ in eternity.

Jerry Sisto is a cancer survivor and serves as an elder at Calvary OPC in Ringoes, New Jersey.

Archived Feature Articles

Beyond Five Points

from Desiring God Blog

Don’t limit your understanding of God’s absolute sovereignty to five points in a mnemonic device (TULIP). Do start there, or at least cover that terrain in due course, but know that there is so much more to the full biblical worldview sometimes called Calvinism.
In the introductory essay that I referred to yesterday, J. I. Packer says, “it would not be correct to simply equate Calvinism with the ‘five points.'” He continues, (paragraphing added)

“Calvinism is something much broader than the “five points” indicate.
Calvinism is a whole world-view, stemming from a clear vision of God as the whole world’s Maker and King.

Calvinism is the consistent endeavour to acknowledge the Creator as the Lord, working all things after the counsel of His will.

Calvinism is a theocentric way of thinking about all life under the direction and control of God’s own Word.

Calvinism, in other words, is the theology of the Bible viewed from the perspective of the Bible—the God-centred outlook which sees the Creator as the source, and means, and end, of everything that is, both in nature and in grace.

Calvinism is thus theism (belief in God as the ground of all things), religion (dependence on God as the giver of all things), and evangelicalism (trust in God through Christ for all things), all in their purest and most highly developed form.

And Calvinism is a unified philosophy of history which sees the whole diversity of processes and events that take place in God’s world as no more, and no less, than the outworking of His great preordained plan for His creatures and His church.

The five points assert no more than that God is sovereign in saving the individual, but Calvinism, as such, is concerned with the much broader assertion that He is sovereign everywhere.”

Read Packer’s full essay.