Tim Keller: "God seems to use all these kinds of churches"

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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
For those who think I hate Calvinists and are wondering what's the scoop...

Here's the scoop:

I am ministering in a region where the reformed claimed the area but have not done anything about.

They claim that they are missions-minded (just like many on the PB claim) but they lack personnel and resources to disciple this area, and are not doing anything in the region - though they claim it.... and yet vigorously oppose evangelical groups (like the one I am working with, who have a history of largely being calvinisitic, congregational and baptistic) from entering.

Thus, these reformed folks, it appears would rather see these people truly not know who Jesus is rather than partner with someone that is not in their own tradition. They lack personnel because no one wants to go to these people and live long term. But the evangelicals - with which I am working - do, even without money or even mosquito nets (some have lost childen).


The reformed here in this broad region have not done much language work nor have they translated the Bible largely (only the catechism) and the local people are largely ignorant. So, what do I do in a case like that? Support the reformed group's contention that the land is theirs (even though it is remote and jungle) or help a very zealous group reach these people - even though they are "evangelical"?

This is real life...not some ideal where all the churches would become TR WCF following Presbyterians.

We plow with the oxen we got, not the ones we wish we had...


It is easy to call me someone who wants to dilute doctrine when your sitting behind a desk punching computer keys. I want the knowledge of Christ to go forward and I am willing to pour this wine through a dixie cup if a porcelein flask is not available. I am willing to work with these evangelicals (who really are not a bad group, baptistic and somewhat calvinistic) if the reformed are not doing anything.

Is it better to be an evangelical Christian or a lost person sitting and waiting for the reformed to do something?



I am plowing in a hard field with the oxen that I have (trying all the while to improve those oxens' plowing ability) and ironically, one of the chief obstacles in my way are reformed groups that want to stop the spread of basic teaching because it is not being done by them.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Finally;

5 times in the last month I have had people from the PB insinuate that I like to water down doctrine or that I do not care about the deep things of God. As if I am out skipping, holding hands with Mormons singing Koom-bye-ya or something.

I remind you that there is a difference in holding to precise and particular personal convictions and also being charitable and open to working with others who are advancing mostly the same distinctives.

For me as a calvinistic baptist who likes the 1689, and who is called in a particular role that is not a pastor of a local US church, I have preached in Pentecostal churches when invited (they invited me, why would I turn down an opportunity to give them the Word of God) and who works closely with many "broad evangelicals" for the sake of many tasks. I even work with an Mennonite pilot, presbyterian mechanics and reformed translators and Methodist school teachers. To partner closer with me in my particular region there would need to be closer agreement of course, but I am ready to work as broadly as possible if it helps my cause.


So, knock off the insinuations that I am sub-biblical, mushy-headed on doctrine or don't care about the Bible, just as long as we all get along and go to the world.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Finally;

5 times in the last month I have had people from the PB insinuate that I like to water down doctrine or that I do not care about the deep things of God. As if I am out skipping, holding hands with Mormons singing Koom-bye-ya or something.

I remind you that there is a difference in holding to precise and particular personal convictions and also being charitable and open to working with others who are advancing mostly the same distinctives.

For me as a calvinistic baptist who likes the 1689, and who is called in a particular role that is not a pastor of a local US church, I have preached in Pentecostal churches when invited (they invited me, why would I turn down an opportunity to give them the Word of God) and who works closely with many "broad evangelicals" for the sake of many tasks. I even work with an Mennonite pilot, presbyterian mechanics and reformed translators and Methodist school teachers. To partner closer with me in my particular region there would need to be closer agreement of course, but I am ready to work as broadly as possible if it helps my cause.


So, knock off the insinuations that I am sub-biblical, mushy-headed on doctrine or don't care about the Bible, just as long as we all get along and go to the world.

Thank you for your service to His kingdom, brother. May the Lord bless you and your family.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Oh, I thought your list above was meant to be some sort of Confession. I know some Roman Catholic Churches that preach the Gospel more clearly than some Pentecostal Churches. Would you support those on an exception basis?

Actually, the list was in response to SEAGOON'S own list and was not meant to be a confession. See the above posts.

I cannot give an answer to your question about gospel-preaching RC churches. It is purely a hypothetical in my mind because I have yet to encounter it. Do they preach the gospel of faith ... plus works? No only do they preach the gospel, but do they also believe it? Do they teach it? Do they recognize its centrality? Are they able to recognize it? If so, why are they associating with a church body that clearly denies the gospel?

The idea of a gospel-believing, teaching, preaching Roman Catholic church is mind-boggling. I don't think you can do this without compromising the gospel. Could you post a link to these gospel-centered RC churches?

A multitude of Pentecostal churches preach a gospel of faith plus works. In Louisiana, the term Pentecostal is synonymous with the United Pentecostal church. They are Oneness Pentecostals who deny the Trinity, who teach that one must speak in tongues and be immersed in the name of Jesus (only) to be saved. But many trinitarian pentecostal/charismatic churches essentially teach faith plus works as well, whether that is what they formally confess or not (and often they do formally confess it.) The works could be anything from speaking in tongues, not drinking, not smoking, etc., women not wearing makeup, pants, open toed shoes, etc. Perfectionistic views of sanctification are almost universally held by most pentecostals as well since most of the pentecostal churches came out of the Wesleyan/Holiness movement.

If what you have in mind by pentecostal is charismatic churches (the 2nd wave that started in the mid 20th century in mainline and Catholic churches) or Third Wave churches, then we may be talking past each other to a certain extent. Using the term pentecostal to refer to these groups is confusing because their beliefs are often different than the earlier groups (UPC, AOG, etc.) regarding whether someone must speak in tongues to be saved or everyone should seek the gift, etc. Many of those from the second or third wave don't necessarily hold to perfectionist views, legalism, a baptism of the Holy Spirit subsequent to conversion, etc. But I think you are too sanguine nonetheless by assuming that they typically clearly preach the gospel based on whatever churches you are personally familiar.
 
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biblicalthought

Puritan Board Freshman
It is a world of difference between saying that the Catholics are right about the IMPORTANCE of the church and that the Catholics are right about the church.

I wonder what he meant then. The interview just bugged me because it gave the imression that Catholics and Protestants are both part of this bigger thing called the "whole faith."

Sorry if I've misquoted. But when he says the "importance" of the church, is he referring to their societal role, the interpretation of Scripture, the authority, etc? And where would a reader go to find out what the Catholics view of the "importance" of the church is? Trent? Vatican II?
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
If someone believes it is a sin to baptize babies, how is supporting a paedobaptist church not a compromise? Likewise, how can someone who subscribes to the WCF which states that to neglect infant baptism is a sin help to plant baptist churches without compromising their view of the ordinances? How can one plant a congregational church if they are Presbyterian without compromising their polity? and vice versa, on and on.

Honestly, at this point I think I have more respect for the views of the Arminian (or "one pointer") Baptist dispensationalists who would rather chop off their right arm than plant a Presbyterian church than for the views of the broad evangelicals who somehow think it wouldn't be a compromise.

Interesting, Chris. Maybe I am simply betraying my "broad evangelical" upbringing, but do baptists really consider infant baptism a "sin"? More particularly, would a baptist of Reformed convictions characterize infant baptism as sin?

I don't think it would be hard to find a Baptist who would say sprinkling infants and calling it baptism is a sin. However, I didn't particularly have Reformed Baptists in view when I made that comment. But remember that there are some 5 pointers who essentially hold to either a Landmark or anabaptist view of church history as well and would not accept the label "Reformed."
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Finally;

5 times in the last month I have had people from the PB insinuate that I like to water down doctrine or that I do not care about the deep things of God. As if I am out skipping, holding hands with Mormons singing Koom-bye-ya or something.

I remind you that there is a difference in holding to precise and particular personal convictions and also being charitable and open to working with others who are advancing mostly the same distinctives.

For me as a calvinistic baptist who likes the 1689, and who is called in a particular role that is not a pastor of a local US church, I have preached in Pentecostal churches when invited (they invited me, why would I turn down an opportunity to give them the Word of God) and who works closely with many "broad evangelicals" for the sake of many tasks. I even work with an Mennonite pilot, presbyterian mechanics and reformed translators and Methodist school teachers. To partner closer with me in my particular region there would need to be closer agreement of course, but I am ready to work as broadly as possible if it helps my cause.


So, knock off the insinuations that I am sub-biblical, mushy-headed on doctrine or don't care about the Bible, just as long as we all get along and go to the world.

Maybe it will stop when you stop baiting Reformed believers on a Reformed board and then cutting and running when you either cannot or will not answer questions put to you after your criticisms of Reformed practice (which is not above criticism BTW). You often come on in an accusatory manner and then act surprised when someone questions you. Your misrepresentations of Reformed belief on this board are too numerous to count. You frequently ascribe the pet doctrines of micropresbyterianism to confessional Reformed churches generally, yet on the other hand post a credobaptist statement of faith as an example of a core set of doctrines to which all evangelicals can give assent to cooperate in evangelism.

As you have stated above, the broad approach does have its limits.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
The untenability of "let's all play nice and win the whole wide world for Jesus while we downplay our doctrinal distinctives" was demonstrated the other week when probably the most outspoken advocate of this view posted a statement of bare minimal evangelical doctrines as an example of a statement those with differing views could subscribe to in cooperating on the mission field. The statement asserted "believer's baptism" by immersion.


Dude, next time to misrepresent my words, at least let me know you are doing it.


Sorry, dude. I was mistaken. The statement does not call for immersion but it does assert "believer's baptism." Otherwise I stand by the post.
 
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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Pilgrim:

Yes, the broad approach does have it's limits.

And so does the other side...And the PB does have many people that push doctrines that are characteristic of the micro-presbyterians and many TRs do pass off their own doctrinal distinctions as being "the true reading" of the WCF, as if all others are sub-reformed and sub-biblical.

As far as "misrepresenting" the Reformed faith. Tell me what the reformed faith is. This issue is fought over much on this board and every side says that their view is Reformed. John Frame writes a book advocating contemporary music in worship as a reformed professor and people on this board post that he barely holds to the WCF or insinuate that he is sub-reformed. I hold to the 1689 and challenge a few sacred cows on here and get charged with not knowing doctrine or hating the reformed.

If the Reformed faith is the five points and the 5 solas, then I have not misrepresented anyone. One need not add on all the pet doctrines of the micropresbyterians to be reformed.


As far as who is "baiting" whom, take a look at your posts as well.... to use terms such as "baiting" "cutting and running" and first off, initially referring to that outspoken advocate over yonder that doesn't care about doctrine is what motivated me to post the above 3 or so posts anyhow. You insinuate that I do not care about doctrine. What I am advocating is broad cooperation. These are two different things. I have even given my situation at present, in which evangelism is actually being hindered by a reformed group.



Yes, I am for broad cooperation when the needs call for it.


Some questions for you:

Are you for or against working with the Wycliffe Bible Translators? Would you work alongside of them if you ministered in a foreign country that did not yet have the Scriptures?

Are you for or against helping out a Bible society publish the Scriptures if you worked in a foreign country, even if that Bible society was broadly evangelical?

Would you fly with a broadly evangelical mission aviation organization, even though they were credobaptist?
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
It is a world of difference between saying that the Catholics are right about the IMPORTANCE of the church and that the Catholics are right about the church.

I wonder what he meant then. The interview just bugged me because it gave the imression that Catholics and Protestants are both part of this bigger thing called the "whole faith."

Sorry if I've misquoted. But when he says the "importance" of the church, is he referring to their societal role, the interpretation of Scripture, the authority, etc? And where would a reader go to find out what the Catholics view of the "importance" of the church is? Trent? Vatican II?


I think Keller means that the Catholics consider the church very important. I mean the church becomes the dispensary of grace. He was not advocating Catholicism but noting how dearly the Catholics hold to the institutional church. If he praises the Catholics for this, he does not need to be praising Catholicism but he could be merely praising the fact that the Catholic church (to serious Catholics) is at the center of a serious catholic person's life.

I really do not see this as objectionable.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
As far as cooperating with Pentecostals, the PCA is an active member of the National Association of Evangelicals. L. Roy Taylor, the stated clerk of the PCA General Assembly, is the chairman of the Executive Board of the NAE. The greatest representation of any one denominational tradition in the NAE is Pentecostal. There are also Charismatics, Wesleyans, Mennonites, Lutherans, Congregationalists, Baptists, and many other denominations in the membership.

The NAE motto is "Cooperation without Compromise." What a concept!

And before the PCA gets accused of compromising, and how they should become a strict, fully WCF compliant, EP denomination ... the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, a strict, fully WCF compliant, EP denomination, is also a member of the NAE. The Reformed Episcopal Church is also a member.

Are we willing to call the denominational leadership of the PCA, RPCNA, and REC "naive" for cooperating with Pentecostals? I dare not.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
"Cooperation without Compromise" - Hmmmmm.

My "denomination" now that we left the mainline, is also affiliated with the NAE.
In my opinion there are levels of cooperation. If we are helping out with the aftermath of a disaster, Mormons and Roman Catholics are fine partners (cf. Sachaeffer's "co belligerent" notions). If we are part of an evangelical association (e.g., NAE), Pentecostals are also fine partners. If I am contributing to the establishment of a church, differences in polity and practice between an evangelical presbyterian (NOT the PCUSA) and an evangelical baptist would not trouble me. Even the PB accepts both credo-baptists and paedobaptists (evidently without thinking that the issue of sin is what divides us). If the issue is joining a church in an area without much choice, the best church that comes closest to my family's beliefs would be the basis of the selection. And, if I am going to become the pastor of a congregation, it would need to be one in which I could minister without "compromise" on matters of polity and baptism as well as the weightier issues of Christology.
 
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Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
As far as cooperating with Pentecostals, the PCA is an active member of the National Association of Evangelicals. L. Roy Taylor, the stated clerk of the PCA General Assembly, is the chairman of the Executive Board of the NAE. The greatest representation of any one denominational tradition in the NAE is Pentecostal. There are also Charismatics, Wesleyans, Mennonites, Lutherans, Congregationalists, Baptists, and many other denominations in the membership.

The NAE motto is "Cooperation without Compromise." What a concept!

And before the PCA gets accused of compromising, and how they should become a strict, fully WCF compliant, EP denomination ... the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, a strict, fully WCF compliant, EP denomination, is also a member of the NAE. The Reformed Episcopal Church is also a member.

Are we willing to call the denominational leadership of the PCA, RPCNA, and REC "naive" for cooperating with Pentecostals? I dare not.

Given the recent leftward tilt of the NAE on some issues there may indeed be some compromise involved. The fact that the denominations you named are part of it is indicative of the degree to which they have now or in the past been influenced by the neo-evangelicalism that also produced Christianity Today and Fuller seminary, both of which certainly have been guilty of compromise on any number of issues.

I would also think that those within the PCA who hold to the Spirituality of the Church aren't thrilled by its membership in the NAE. The PCA was formed in 1973 but only joined the NAE in 1986. This was a few years after absorbing the RPCES, which was a church characterized by looser subscription to the standards and was committed in some quarters at least to various forms of social action. I wouldn't be surprised if that had something to do with the decision to join. My understanding also is that the RPCNA by the mid 20th century was becoming influenced by neo-orthodoxy although they, like the ARP, have since returned to their biblical and confessional roots.

If you think it's great to be part of an organization that had Ted Haggard as its leader then what can I say? Yeah, it's better than the WCC or NCC, but what purpose does it really serve?
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
I would also think that those within the PCA who hold to the Spirituality of the Church aren't thrilled by its membership in the NAE. The PCA was formed in 1973 but only joined the NAE in 1986. This was a few years after absorbing the RPCES, which was a church characterized by looser subscription to the standards and was committed in some quarters at least to various forms of social action. I wouldn't be surprised if that had something to do with the decision to join. My understanding also is that the RPCNA by the mid 20th century was becoming influenced by neo-orthodoxy although they, like the ARP, have since returned to their biblical and confessional roots.

If you think it's great to be part of an organization that had Ted Haggard as its leader then what can I say? Yeah, it's better than the WCC or NCC, but what purpose does it really serve?

Every major church organization has leaders that have to resign because of an exposed gross sin. I know that this happens in Reformed churches as well. This is a very painful thing for any organization to go through. That this happens does not mean the organization or its goals are flawed, or that it supports that sin. All it means is that humanity sinful, and that leaders, with or without accountability, can still fall. I think NAE handled Haggard's sin and resignation very well.

What purpose does the NAE serve? It's really pretty simple. Cooperating with other organizations can accomplish things that smaller organizations cannot on their own. The RPCNA churches I know have very strong doctrinal convictions, but are extremely willing to work with other churches not in their denomination. I am personally thankful for many RPCNA members and pastors who have been extremely kind and generous towards me despite our doctrinal differences. I think it is because they realize that their denomination is so small that they only can do so much on their own.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Pilgrim:

Yes, the broad approach does have it's limits.

And so does the other side...And the PB does have many people that push doctrines that are characteristic of the micro-presbyterians and many TRs do pass off their own doctrinal distinctions as being "the true reading" of the WCF, as if all others are sub-reformed and sub-biblical.

Right or wrong (and I'm not prepared to argue it either way) advocates of EP, headcovering, etc are more disproportionately represented on the internet than in Reformed churches generally. We have seen the same dynamic with the FV as well.

As far as "misrepresenting" the Reformed faith. Tell me what the reformed faith is. This issue is fought over much on this board and every side says that their view is Reformed. John Frame writes a book advocating contemporary music in worship as a reformed professor and people on this board post that he barely holds to the WCF or insinuate that he is sub-reformed. I hold to the 1689 and challenge a few sacred cows on here and get charged with not knowing doctrine or hating the reformed.

If the Reformed faith is the five points and the 5 solas, then I have not misrepresented anyone. One need not add on all the pet doctrines of the micropresbyterians to be reformed.

I haven't read everything Frame has written. Clearly his idea of the RPW is different than the Westminster Assembly's or Presbyterian and Reformed churches generally. Although I tend to disagree with him on worship issues, disagreement with the standards isn't necessarily wrong in and of itself. The arguments I've seen from him so far basically seem to be an appeal to pragmatism, but I hope to soon read his worship books to get an idea of his whole argument, straight from the horse's mouth. Although apparently he doesn't agree totally with them, John Frame has also defended Norman Shepherd and doesn't think the FV should be an issue. These are other reasons besides worship why some may tend to see him as "sub-reformed" on some issues.

The Reformed faith is more than the five points and the 5 solas although those are certainly good places to start. The continental Reformed faith has been defined by the Three Forms of Unity, the British Reformed by the Westminster Standards and Particular or Reformed Baptists by the 2nd London Confession of 1689.

As far as who is "baiting" whom, take a look at your posts as well.... to use terms such as "baiting" "cutting and running" and first off, initially referring to that outspoken advocate over yonder that doesn't care about doctrine is what motivated me to post the above 3 or so posts anyhow. You insinuate that I do not care about doctrine. What I am advocating is broad cooperation. These are two different things. I have even given my situation at present, in which evangelism is actually being hindered by a reformed group.

I don't know enough about the situation to know whether the Reformed church there is liberal or not. Often in such situations that is the case. Regardless, if they are wrongly hindering evangelism by the Lord's servants then they are at fault.

I don't know that anyone has written that you don't care about doctrine. If you didn't care about it I doubt you'd be on this board. I think what was primarily at issue was the sense that confessions are good for you personally but that you wouldn't be in favor of confessionalism as a whole. Many of us here have tasted the bitter fruit of non-confessional churches and advocating that here is swimming upstream and going to receive a strong response every time.

Yes, I am for broad cooperation when the needs call for it.


Some questions for you:

Are you for or against working with the Wycliffe Bible Translators? Would you work alongside of them if you ministered in a foreign country that did not yet have the Scriptures?

Are you for or against helping out a Bible society publish the Scriptures if you worked in a foreign country, even if that Bible society was broadly evangelical?

Would you fly with a broadly evangelical mission aviation organization, even though they were credobaptist?

I have heard of Wycliffe for many years but don't know enough about them to make a definitive judgment. I understand that they favor dynamic equivalence and the Critical Text. I am leaning strongly toward the Byzantine Text if not the TR and would probably lean toward something like the efforts by the Trinitarian Bible Society. But even a bad translation is better than none at all unless it represents a distortion of the biblical teaching.

I think it is unfortunate that the Bible society has taken over a role that used to be fulfilled by the churches. (It often leads to things like the TNIV, although some churches would probably translate it that way as well. There are no doubt good and bad bible societies as there are good and bad churches) As with most parachurch orgs., no doubt they have done it because the churches were not doing it, but that doesn't absolve the church of its responsibility. Of course with the multitude of denominations, one could ask, which church?

I do think Reformed and evangelical reunion would be great if it was a unity based on truth and not compromise. But even Reformed union has proved very difficult in many cases. I do believe Frame has a few points about some of the objections to union being petty, but in some other cases seems to be somewhat ignorant of the facts, like saying the OPC should have joined some other church in 1936 instead of becoming another denomination. At that time no other church would accept the OPC.

I would probably fly with a credo aviation organization, but as you have noted earlier, when it gets down to the point of planting churches the doctrinal parameters necessarily have to narrow one way or another.

Are you familiar with Third millennium Ministries, with which John Frame, Richard Pratt and others, mainly from RTS in Orlando, are involved? Again, many here would differ with them on worship and some other issues. But I am interested to know what you think of their efforts in equipping pastors around the world who lack sufficient training.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
I would also think that those within the PCA who hold to the Spirituality of the Church aren't thrilled by its membership in the NAE. The PCA was formed in 1973 but only joined the NAE in 1986. This was a few years after absorbing the RPCES, which was a church characterized by looser subscription to the standards and was committed in some quarters at least to various forms of social action. I wouldn't be surprised if that had something to do with the decision to join. My understanding also is that the RPCNA by the mid 20th century was becoming influenced by neo-orthodoxy although they, like the ARP, have since returned to their biblical and confessional roots.

If you think it's great to be part of an organization that had Ted Haggard as its leader then what can I say? Yeah, it's better than the WCC or NCC, but what purpose does it really serve?

Every major church organization has leaders that have to resign because of an exposed gross sin. I know that this happens in Reformed churches as well. This is a very painful thing for any organization to go through. That this happens does not mean the organization or its goals are flawed, or that it supports that sin. All it means is that humanity sinful, and that leaders, with or without accountability, can still fall. I think NAE handled Haggard's sin and resignation very well.

What purpose does the NAE serve? It's really pretty simple. Cooperating with other organizations can accomplish things that smaller organizations cannot on their own. The RPCNA churches I know have very strong doctrinal convictions, but are extremely willing to work with other churches not in their denomination. I am personally thankful for many RPCNA members and pastors who have been extremely kind and generous towards me despite our doctrinal differences. I think it is because they realize that their denomination is so small that they only can do so much on their own.

I was referring more to everything he represented, not just his moral failure. Please forgive me if I have a hard time cooperating with 5 point Arminians who advocate the "Five Fold Ministry" and the prosperity gospel.

What is the purpose of the NAE besides getting a place at the table at places at the White House? Other than famous Reagan's "Evil Empire" speech at an NAE meeting in 1982, what has been accomplished under the auspices of the NAE? It is now advocating action on global warming, which has certainly been controversial.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
As far as cooperating with Pentecostals, the PCA is an active member of the National Association of Evangelicals. L. Roy Taylor, the stated clerk of the PCA General Assembly, is the chairman of the Executive Board of the NAE. The greatest representation of any one denominational tradition in the NAE is Pentecostal. There are also Charismatics, Wesleyans, Mennonites, Lutherans, Congregationalists, Baptists, and many other denominations in the membership.

The NAE motto is "Cooperation without Compromise." What a concept!

And before the PCA gets accused of compromising, and how they should become a strict, fully WCF compliant, EP denomination ... the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, a strict, fully WCF compliant, EP denomination, is also a member of the NAE. The Reformed Episcopal Church is also a member.

Are we willing to call the denominational leadership of the PCA, RPCNA, and REC "naive" for cooperating with Pentecostals? I dare not.

Do you know what the word "equivocate" means Don? You might want to look it up as I use it in a sentence:

Don equivocated on the use of the word cooperate in order to distract what the issue is:

Tim Keller said:
There are all kinds of people who’ll never be Presbyterians. It just doesn’t appeal to them. Some people are going to be Pentecostals, some people are going to be Catholics. I mean, I know that sounds—I’m not talking about that certain cultures reach certain people. It’s much more complicated than that. Even though there’s something to that. We all know that certain cultures seem to have more of an affinity toward a certain kind of Christian tradition than others, but I wouldn’t want to reduce it to that at all. I would just say that I only know that God seems to use all these kinds of churches to reach the whole breadth of humanity, and so that’s why we give money to start churches of other denominations, and give free training to it. And we’ve done about a hundred in the New York area, where we’ve helped people. It’s very important to us.

If a man has a dead vehicle, I will cooperate with a Pentecostal to help push the car out of the way.
If a Pentecostal is in my unit, I will cooperate with him to accomplish the mission.
If a Pentecostal is trying to get legislation passed to ban abortion, I will cooperate with him to see that law passed.
If a Pentectostal is trying to plant a new Church I will not cooperate with him in that venture.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
How does Tim Keller's ministry compare to that of Randy Pope, minister of Perimeter Church (PCA) in Atlanta? What are the differences and what are the similarities, etc?

There is an interview with Pope in the latest issue of Reformed Quarterly. He said that Perimeter Ministries International was aggressively planting churches but that they moved toward the partnering with other ministries now in an attempt to bring the gospel to bear on the whole city. He also says that Perimeter used to have four locations but it didn't work.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
Do you know what the word "equivocate" means Don? You might want to look it up as I use it in a sentence:

Rich, I don't know what you hope to accomplish by writing in such a condescending manner. It is insulting to me, and I would prefer that you not do so.

If a man has a dead vehicle, I will cooperate with a Pentecostal to help push the car out of the way.
If a Pentecostal is in my unit, I will cooperate with him to accomplish the mission.
If a Pentecostal is trying to get legislation passed to ban abortion, I will cooperate with him to see that law passed.
If a Pentectostal is trying to plant a new Church I will not cooperate with him in that venture.

We may have to agree to disagree on that.

Let me give some reasons why I think the Bible supports unity among churches in the spread of the gospel.

Paul speaks of unity in Christ and against division in 1 Cor. 1:9-17.

[BIBLE]1 Cor. 1:9-17[/BIBLE]

Christ's body is not divided, and Paul's emphasis is on Christ and the preaching of the gospel of Christ.

In Philippians, Paul gives thanks for even divisive teachers because they spread the gospel.

[BIBLE]Philippians 1:12-18[/BIBLE]

And yet when teachers to a perversion of the gospel of Christ, Paul condemns them in no uncertain terms.

[BIBLE]Galatians 1:6-10[/BIBLE]

The contrast between Philippians and Galatians is very stark. If the gospel is present, he is rejoicing, and if it is perverted, he is condemnatory.

Based on what I read in Scripture, I don't think unity in the gospel is central, and difference in church government should not prevent churches from helping each other. I believe Paul would rejoice to see Pentecostals planting churches to spread the gospel.

The churches that Paul was writing to had many major issues, likely more than Pentecostal churches have today, and yet Paul endured with them, loved them, and supported them.

You're probably going to call me naive, and say these verses don't prove anything. Maybe they don't prove it, but I think, in the absence of a clear prohibition, that supporting a Pentecostal church in an area lacking other gospel-centered churches being planted is in keeping with the general spirit of Paul's letters.

If you would like to share Scripture that prohibits cooperation in planting non-Reformed churches, please do so. I don't recall anything in the Bible advocating division or separation of churches on the basis of Presbyterian government or the WCF, but if you think you can make a better biblical case, I'd be open to hearing it.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Do you know what the word "equivocate" means Don? You might want to look it up as I use it in a sentence:

Rich, I don't know what you hope to accomplish by writing in such a condescending manner. It is insulting to me, and I would prefer that you not do so.

If a man has a dead vehicle, I will cooperate with a Pentecostal to help push the car out of the way.
If a Pentecostal is in my unit, I will cooperate with him to accomplish the mission.
If a Pentecostal is trying to get legislation passed to ban abortion, I will cooperate with him to see that law passed.
If a Pentectostal is trying to plant a new Church I will not cooperate with him in that venture.

We may have to agree to disagree on that.

Let me give some reasons why I think the Bible supports unity among churches in the spread of the gospel.

Paul speaks of unity in Christ and against division in 1 Cor. 1:9-17.

[BIBLE]1 Cor. 1:9-17[/BIBLE]

Christ's body is not divided, and Paul's emphasis is on Christ and the preaching of the gospel of Christ.

In Philippians, Paul gives thanks for even divisive teachers because they spread the gospel.

[BIBLE]Philippians 1:12-18[/BIBLE]

And yet when teachers to a perversion of the gospel of Christ, Paul condemns them in no uncertain terms.

[BIBLE]Galatians 1:6-10[/BIBLE]

The contrast between Philippians and Galatians is very stark. If the gospel is present, he is rejoicing, and if it is perverted, he is condemnatory.

Based on what I read in Scripture, I don't think unity in the gospel is central, and difference in church government should not prevent churches from helping each other. I believe Paul would rejoice to see Pentecostals planting churches to spread the gospel.

The churches that Paul was writing to had many major issues, likely more than Pentecostal churches have today, and yet Paul endured with them, loved them, and supported them.

You're probably going to call me naive, and say these verses don't prove anything. Maybe they don't prove it, but I think, in the absence of a clear prohibition, that supporting a Pentecostal church in an area lacking other gospel-centered churches being planted is in keeping with the general spirit of Paul's letters.

If you would like to share Scripture that prohibits cooperation in planting non-Reformed churches, please do so. I don't recall anything in the Bible advocating division or separation of churches on the basis of Presbyterian government or the WCF, but if you think you can make a better biblical case, I'd be open to hearing it.

You are assuming that Pentecostal churches don't pervert the gospel. I think everyone on this board will agree that some of them do and some would agree that some do not although we may strongly disagree with them on some issues. Is it your position that Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, etc. don't pervert the gospel? What do you mean by Pentecostal? Is it the above prosperity teachers, or Oneness Pentecostals (which is the connotation of the term in some areas) or the Assembly of God, or the Vineyard or is it Sam Storms or Sovereign Grace Ministries and C.J. Mahaney? Being more specific may help the conversation along.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
You are assuming that Pentecostal churches don't pervert the gospel. I think everyone on this board will agree that some of them do and some would agree that some do not although we may strongly disagree with them on some issues. Is it your position that Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, etc. don't pervert the gospel? What do you mean by Pentecostal? Is it the above prosperity teachers, or Oneness Pentecostals (which is the connotation of the term in some areas) or the Assembly of God, or the Vineyard or is it Sam Storms or Sovereign Grace Ministries and C.J. Mahaney? Being more specific may help the conversation along.

Good question, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify.

When I mean the gospel, I mean acknowledging that one is saved by faith in trusting in the blood of the Christ, and nothing else. And not only must the gospel be preached, but it must also be central. A Catholic may "preach the gospel," but he compromises it with his membership in a "church" that denies the gospel.

By Pentecostals I mean groups like Assemblies of God, Foursquare Gospel, and others like the ones in the NAE. I do not mean prosperity teachers and certainly not Oneness Pentecostals. I believe the identity of the person of Christ to be an essential part of the gospel.

Pentecostal churches, like Baptist churches and Congregational churches, are are usually autonomous, and there are some of each that pervert the gospel. I haven't encountered a Pentecostal church that perverts the gospel in the way some on this board have shared. I believe that teaching that tongues are necessary for salvation is a perversion of the gospel. I believe that teaching that baptism (either water or a subsequent "baptism of the spirit") is necessary for salvation is a perversion of the gospel.

I am aware that prosperity teaching has crept into Pentecostal churches, but people I know in them are just as angry at prosperity teaching as I am. I have not studied them in great detail, but my impression is that Benny Hinn is a false teacher, and I really don't know anything about Joyce Meyers other than the government is trying to audit her.

Vineyard, Storms, and Mahaney I would group as charismatics, not Pentecostals, Mahaney as 2nd wave, Vineyard as 3rd wave, and I don't know enough about Storms to classify him beyond that.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Do you know what the word "equivocate" means Don? You might want to look it up as I use it in a sentence:

Rich, I don't know what you hope to accomplish by writing in such a condescending manner. It is insulting to me, and I would prefer that you not do so.
I apologize for sounding condescending. I think you need to recognize there is more than a little disingenuity in your charge. The idea that people might cooperate on a broader basis outside of the Gospel does not follow that all cooperation is therefore the same. I was trying to get you to wake up to the fact that your line of argumentation is weak. You're trying so hard to be right that you're throwing any "Oh yeah, well what about you guys doing this..." sort of argument to be right. It failed miserably and you need to recognize the substantive difference.

Based on what I read in Scripture, I don't think unity in the gospel is central...
Ironically, this was likely a typo but I actually think there is more truth to this statement than not. The problem is that your very weak understanding that the Gospel can somehow compromise on the idea of being made complete in the flesh is the very thing I object to. You honestly do not understand how frail and how subtlely corrupted the Gospel becomes. Pentecostalism doesn't just draw close to the line, it walks right over it. You need to read Galatians more carefully. The Gospel is not merely about how we start but how we understand we finish. If we do not understand this then we don't understand the Gospel. You will try to convince me that Pentecostals do. I'm telling you that, based on what I'm reading you write and the texts you quote, I honestly don't believe you have a very firm grasp of it yourself.

The churches that Paul was writing to had many major issues, likely more than Pentecostal churches have today, and yet Paul endured with them, loved them, and supported them.
No. Less problems. Very easily the case that this can be demonstrated. I have been around Pentecostalism and it's effects long before you could pronounce it. The difference between you and me is not love for Pentecostals but your brand of love would leave them to perish in a Church that will leave them in the performance of the flesh. Do you know what the Filipinos in my Church tell me who came out of Pentecostalism and still had those ideas when they came here? They wish I would be talking to their brother who is a Pentecostal minister because they know how wrong he is now. A few weeks ago, my friend mentioned that, for the first time, his wife has heard about the initiating Love of God before we had done a single thing to deserve it. She sat with her mouth agape. She simply could not believe it because she had never heard it before in her life! That is love brother! Your version of love is to hope that message breaks through apart from the very institution that's supposed to be building her up weekly in that Truth.

You're probably going to call me naive, and say these verses don't prove anything.
On this we can agree. Naive about Pentecostalism and naive about the nature of what the Gospel joins a man to. There is such a thing as spreading seed on rocky ground.

Maybe they don't prove it, but I think, in the absence of a clear prohibition, that supporting a Pentecostal church in an area lacking other gospel-centered churches being planted is in keeping with the general spirit of Paul's letters.
Again, you are sadly mistaken here and I don't think you have much of an idea what the general spirit of Paul's letters are.

If you would like to share Scripture that prohibits cooperation in planting non-Reformed churches, please do so. I don't recall anything in the Bible advocating division or separation of churches on the basis of Presbyterian government or the WCF, but if you think you can make a better biblical case, I'd be open to hearing it.
Let me now use this word again because you just did it again. You are equivocating on the term cooperation again. YOU are defending the idea that PENTECOSTAL Churches should be supported by us because, apparently, you agree with Tim Keller that there are certain people that certain kinds of ministries just appeal to more.

Jesus, in John 6, sent away 5000 men one day and only a handful were left. But if there was a Pentecostal Church around they would have found a place to worship and, guess what, the minister would be talking about how much they loved that same Jesus.

Honestly Don, if you're offended by all of this then your issue, in my estimation, you need to be openly rebuked and wake up so I offer no apologies for warning you about the spirit you are of. Your ideas expressed in that last response are dangerous and un-Biblical. You need to study much more about not only what the Gospel is but the necessity of the nurture of Discipleship in the visible Church.

I've poured my heart and soul into a people who have been emaciated and malnourished and mostly left unconverted by a false Gospel that you rejoice is moving forward. What I weep over, you're throwing your support behind. You think a fast moving fire is something to celebrate while I see the destroyed landscape left in its wake. Real Christianity is loving such people enough to stand tall for the truth and to be seeking men and women who are willing to be within the Church and be trained in EVERYTHING that Christ has commanded them. You may find warrant to cherry pick in the Command of my Savior but this I refuse.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Pilgrim: If we wanted to say so, Presbyerians pervert the Gospel according to me and Baptists pervert the Gospel according to some - if we define the core of the Gospel broadly.

What is "The Gospel" - obviously it is narrower and simpler than the entire WCF, right?

Therefore, a broad evangelical and [gasp] maybe even a Penny-cossal lite church can preach Christ crucified for men's sin and be agents in spreading "the Gospel" - even without being an agent in spreadign reformed confessionalism.


When Tim Keller speaks of cooperating with other churches, I am sure he has this in mind. I have preached in Pentecostal churches myself.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Pilgrim: If we wanted to say so, Presbyerians pervert the Gospel according to me and Baptists pervert the Gospel according to some - if we define the core of the Gospel broadly.

What is "The Gospel" - obviously it is narrower and simpler than the entire WCF, right?

Therefore, a broad evangelical and [gasp] maybe even a Penny-cossal lite church can preach Christ crucified for men's sin and be agents in spreading "the Gospel" - even without being an agent in spreadign reformed confessionalism.


When Tim Keller speaks of cooperating with other churches, I am sure he has this in mind. I have preached in Pentecostal churches myself.

Did you read what he wrote in that paragraph Perg? He made it seem like "...well we have our brand of the Truth that works for us and they have their brand of Truth that works for them...." That's completely bogus. I'm sorry but, for all the talking about striving for the unity of the faith, some are willing to just say there isn't any. There is no style to the Truth. A surface reading (and wrong one at that) would conclude this is all about the externals. It is not.

Remember, nobody is asking people to say "I CONFESS THE WCF WITH NO EXCEPTIONS" and Ye shall be saved!

What you seem to be arguing for, however, is that the initiating Love of God to call and keep a man in the faith is somehow an unnecessary appendage. It is at the heart of the Gospel. I can think of hundreds of different subtle ways I've seen this undermined. It's not always what people say but what people sort of understand. The Gospel is not some thing that just goes out into a vacuum but calls men into a Church where that seed is nourished. If that seedbed is a rocky path then you see fruit but it dies off.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Back to the OP, let's flesh it out a bit mroe. Is God using these churches that employ these items?

36_1224.jpg


bonanza.jpg


aptaytb_2.jpg


godsexlove.jpg


clcfront.jpg


goth_2.jpg


biblesuperheroes_2.jpg


lactivist.jpeg


all from
A Little Leaven
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
Rich, your experience in Pentecostalism is completely different than mine, and I am sorry for bad experiences that are even on-going. I refuse, though, to write-off Pentecostalism on that basis.

My Pentecostal friends would be equally repulsed by the things you have shared, and probably even more so since it is done in the name of their tradition. I'm sure you feel the same way when people associate PCUSA liberalism with Presbyterianism.

I put forth a biblical argument for my understanding of Christian unity and cooperation, and I was hoping to get a biblical argument in return for division on matters in which we differ with Pentecostalism.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Pilgrim:

Yes, the broad approach does have it's limits.

And so does the other side...And the PB does have many people that push doctrines that are characteristic of the micro-presbyterians and many TRs do pass off their own doctrinal distinctions as being "the true reading" of the WCF, as if all others are sub-reformed and sub-biblical.

Right or wrong (and I'm not prepared to argue it either way) advocates of EP, headcovering, etc are more disproportionately represented on the internet than in Reformed churches generally. We have seen the same dynamic with the FV as well.

As far as "misrepresenting" the Reformed faith. Tell me what the reformed faith is. This issue is fought over much on this board and every side says that their view is Reformed. John Frame writes a book advocating contemporary music in worship as a reformed professor and people on this board post that he barely holds to the WCF or insinuate that he is sub-reformed. I hold to the 1689 and challenge a few sacred cows on here and get charged with not knowing doctrine or hating the reformed.

If the Reformed faith is the five points and the 5 solas, then I have not misrepresented anyone. One need not add on all the pet doctrines of the micropresbyterians to be reformed.

I haven't read everything Frame has written. Clearly his idea of the RPW is different than the Westminster Assembly's or Presbyterian and Reformed churches generally. Although I tend to disagree with him on worship issues, disagreement with the standards isn't necessarily wrong in and of itself. The arguments I've seen from him so far basically seem to be an appeal to pragmatism, but I hope to soon read his worship books to get an idea of his whole argument, straight from the horse's mouth. Although apparently he doesn't agree totally with them, John Frame has also defended Norman Shepherd and doesn't think the FV should be an issue. These are other reasons besides worship why some may tend to see him as "sub-reformed" on some issues.

The Reformed faith is more than the five points and the 5 solas although those are certainly good places to start. The continental Reformed faith has been defined by the Three Forms of Unity, the British Reformed by the Westminster Standards and Particular or Reformed Baptists by the 2nd London Confession of 1689.

As far as who is "baiting" whom, take a look at your posts as well.... to use terms such as "baiting" "cutting and running" and first off, initially referring to that outspoken advocate over yonder that doesn't care about doctrine is what motivated me to post the above 3 or so posts anyhow. You insinuate that I do not care about doctrine. What I am advocating is broad cooperation. These are two different things. I have even given my situation at present, in which evangelism is actually being hindered by a reformed group.

I don't know enough about the situation to know whether the Reformed church there is liberal or not. Often in such situations that is the case. Regardless, if they are wrongly hindering evangelism by the Lord's servants then they are at fault.

I don't know that anyone has written that you don't care about doctrine. If you didn't care about it I doubt you'd be on this board. I think what was primarily at issue was the sense that confessions are good for you personally but that you wouldn't be in favor of confessionalism as a whole. Many of us here have tasted the bitter fruit of non-confessional churches and advocating that here is swimming upstream and going to receive a strong response every time.

Yes, I am for broad cooperation when the needs call for it.


Some questions for you:

Are you for or against working with the Wycliffe Bible Translators? Would you work alongside of them if you ministered in a foreign country that did not yet have the Scriptures?

Are you for or against helping out a Bible society publish the Scriptures if you worked in a foreign country, even if that Bible society was broadly evangelical?

Would you fly with a broadly evangelical mission aviation organization, even though they were credobaptist?

I have heard of Wycliffe for many years but don't know enough about them to make a definitive judgment. I understand that they favor dynamic equivalence and the Critical Text. I am leaning strongly toward the Byzantine Text if not the TR and would probably lean toward something like the efforts by the Trinitarian Bible Society. But even a bad translation is better than none at all unless it represents a distortion of the biblical teaching.

I think it is unfortunate that the Bible society has taken over a role that used to be fulfilled by the churches. (It often leads to things like the TNIV, although some churches would probably translate it that way as well. There are no doubt good and bad bible societies as there are good and bad churches) As with most parachurch orgs., no doubt they have done it because the churches were not doing it, but that doesn't absolve the church of its responsibility. Of course with the multitude of denominations, one could ask, which church?

I do think Reformed and evangelical reunion would be great if it was a unity based on truth and not compromise. But even Reformed union has proved very difficult in many cases. I do believe Frame has a few points about some of the objections to union being petty, but in some other cases seems to be somewhat ignorant of the facts, like saying the OPC should have joined some other church in 1936 instead of becoming another denomination. At that time no other church would accept the OPC.

I would probably fly with a credo aviation organization, but as you have noted earlier, when it gets down to the point of planting churches the doctrinal parameters necessarily have to narrow one way or another.

Are you familiar with Third millennium Ministries, with which John Frame, Richard Pratt and others, mainly from RTS in Orlando, are involved? Again, many here would differ with them on worship and some other issues. But I am interested to know what you think of their efforts in equipping pastors around the world who lack sufficient training.

Good thoughts, brother.

Yes...why is it that the beliefs of the micro-presbyterians make such a strong showing on the net? That might be worthy of another thread. The over-representation of the TR folks on the net, when not a lot of them exist in person.

Also,
John Frame might be practical and pragmatic - as long as he is biblical. Does God give us an impractical faith? I hear this charge of pragmatism all the time, but it means nothing. The Bible is giving to us to affect our lives practically - it should be pragmatic. And John Frame merely applies Scripture to life more than many Calvinisits do, who tend to make many things academic and theoretical.


Yes, I like the confessions but I do not see the confessional churches as being any healthier than the non confessional ones as a whole. Whole confessional denominations go off the deep end after all, or it leads to the TR micro-presbyterianism. Plus, every church has a confession of faith and most have pretty detailed doctrinal statements. These are enough. I think it is a good thing for churches to make their own statements, even when holding to a confession, so that their is greater local ownership of those doctrines. I know several baptist churches that essentially hold to the 1689, but they recraft this in stress some things greater - i.e. they "own" the confession as their own. I hold to the 1689 and it is useful to me to point to what I believe, but when I describe what I believe to others, I would phrase many things differently (plus, it is not a given that the Pope is THE antichrist which some confessions add unwarrantedly).

Therefore, I see no need to push for confessionalism as the answer. I see a need to push for churches that engage the Word of God with the use of historic church documents....but the question for confessionalists is always, "what confession?"



About Third Mill: Yes, they are wonderful aren't they! I shout a hearty amen to all they are doing. I was educated through RTS. I wish more people did this approach.


About cooperation: There are different levels of intimacy with which we can cooperate with others. Obviosly we can cooperate with others who are "farther" away from us in issues farther away from church planting. But a great many missionary tasks are not involving direct church planting. Mercy ministries can be done by a great deal of denominations and I would be glad to help refugees in Africa alongside Pentecostals. Aviation, nursing and teaching are other areas where a "mere Christianity" approach is helpful. Church planting must have higher fences, and yet even then some events, and some endeavors may occurr jointly with others and must be looked at on a case to case basis.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Don,

We differ with Pentecostalism on the nature of the Gospel and Discipleship. As the Great Commission commands both, I think I have Biblical warrant to reject Pentecostalism on its face even though I'm willing to cooperate in other areas.

I'm sorry if I'm not going to be able to prooftext an answer for you but it would take a book to explain all the problems. Maybe some day but not right now.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Rich;

Why is it that you took leadership and cooperated with a baptist church during your time in Okinawa. An SBC non-confessional credobaptist church at that!

Do you need a public rebuke for your ignorance for this?

Or do we recognize that God places us in positions to work beside people even as we help guide them.


Why did you recruit a BAPTIST pastor and not try to convert the whole church to Presbyism before you left? You compromiser, you!

Maybe you want to dilute doctrine? Or is it because you see that a slow patience is sometimes needed, and that not every hill is worth dying on today and that battles must be won little by little.

Suppose you went overseas and the local jungle church was pentecostal. What to do? If they gave you a measure of respect due to your education, class, rank, etc, it would seem good to use it, cooperate with this local body - even though it is a "deviant" brand of Christianity and bless them as a Pentecostal church.

Suppose the church wanted to incorporate as pentecostal and while you had a measure of power to teach, you did not have the power to change their incorporation status - especially when your jungle area has been carved up by different denominations due to historic missionary comity agreements. Thus, you cannot change their form of church...what do you do? Refuse to cooperate, or try to bless them anyone?

This situations happens to me OFTEN!

This is why I am often "soft" on cooperation.. And this is what you essentially did in Okinawa.

If anyone needs rebuked for this, it would be both of us...and you especially for actualy taking applications of people on the PB to help another credobaptist pastor fill anothr credobaptist and non-confessional church.


You plowed with the oxen that you had instead of wishing for oxen that did not exist at the moment and you left the church in better shape than it was before.

Tim Keller is trying to do the same thing, I am sure, with any cooperation that he has with Pentecostals.


I myself have preached and taught in Pentecostal and "Full Gospel Rvival" churches. I attended one for a time to help them out. I did not have the power to change them, but I tried to bless them as much as I could.
 

Amazing Grace

Puritan Board Junior
One of the issues that strikes me in threads like this is that we seem, inadvertantly I pray, to take God out of the equation. remember one important factor, we evangelize the ELECT in any and all given areas on the world where Christ is preached. That's it. God will save out of every nation and tongue His elect. All this talk about denonminationalism is completely agains the biblical witness. We will neithe worship Him on this mountain or that mountain, in this denom or that denom, but in Spirit and Truth. We are not religionists, but the posts here sound like the woman at the well. God does not need our help per se to blanket the world so He comes again. I sense Pergy, only becasue he is in the trenches, portrays this thought too much. WHo can evangelize, how do we evangelize, what about women, what about kids, can a donkey preach the word, whats the difference between preaching and teaching or evangelizing, etc etc etc. Evangelism is not about denominationalism, it is ONLY, ONLY, ONLY about Christs substitutionary death for His sheep. That is it. That is the planting and watering, God will provide the increase. If God determines to scatter His elect in different church plants for a time, so be it. Yet, this by no means, equals the fact that God will allow His elect to remain in a Gospel compramising Church. That is why my only hope for the Lost is the Holy Spirit and not man. Yes man may be the instrument, but the Holy SPirit will lead one into the truth. I will never say that a Calvinist is the only true believer. I believe it is the best respresentation of the biblical revelation, but not the only one. This is why we should be less concerned about denoms and only focus on Christ alone. And stop thinking that the great commission needs us to assist God to the point of diminishing the mesage to the point where the Gospel is not even recognized. Scripture says God will save His sheep, not man. We water and plant, and THAT IS IT. Once we put too much of our own denominational water on we drown out the Gospel, and God will not use you anymore.
 
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