Look For These Two Church Trends!

Calvinists are correct when they state that their theology has significant practical implications for life and living. [1] It is far more than just a set of theological beliefs revolving around the doctrine of salvation or delineating of the word “T-U-L-I-P.”

It has some significant and serious implications regarding pastoral counseling and care!

This is most apparent and pronounced when dealing with two groups of individuals within the local church — those who have been abused and those who are struggling with their assurance of salvation!

#1 – Those who have been abused physically, emotionally, psychologically, or sexually are all too often given a “theological schematic” to interpret what has happened to them. After experiencing a devastating emotional and psychological experience, he/she is told the Lord is in control of everything. Nothing crosses His desk that He has not stamped with His approval. He loves us, and He is sovereign in all the affairs of life!

“The Scriptures teach that ‘all things work together for good for those who love God.'” Therefore, this horrific experience will redound to your good after all is said and done! No matter how painful it may be, you are not to rely on our feelings and/or how it may seem to look, but you need to rest in Him.

The minimum outcome of such counseling is spiritual dissonance — trying to couple God’s love for us and the atrocious actions of others against our personhood. “Conflicted” is an understatement. The victim cannot understand such teaching and refuses to believe that it has come from a God who loves them.

Nevertheless, they now believe that they must always be joyous and thankful for what has happened since this is part of God’s plan for their life.  Sadly, this trend should be called what it is — Christian stoicism!

The shame and guilt that comes with not being able to thank, praise, acknowledge it as coming from His hand, and/or accept it as “good that is working together, only deepens the pain. Then some wonder why these people, and those who hear about such counseling, leave the church!

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#2 – “Coincidentally,” it also has some significant and serious implications regarding a believer’s assurance of salvation!

Those struggling with doubts and fears will find little to no comfort from those pastors and ministry leaders who traffic on the extremes of Calvinistic thinking (or even those far less than the extreme edges).

The lack of pastoral care in these situations is far removed from the words of Jesus to Peter, after his blatant denial of the Lord — Peter, who, after three years of personal ministry and contact with the Lord, who was warned that such a denial would happen, who adamantly denied the possibility of such a denial!

Nevertheless,
“But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee.”
and
“Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”

The first and natural impulse is to conclude that one is not a believer. Rather than seeking a sincere and meaningful discussion about what is causing such doubts and/or fears, far too often, the road taken is to readily confirm such doubts. The doctor’s first diagnosis, with little or no sincere inquiry, is a confirmation of the worst of all possible conclusions — he/she is a child of Hell!

That is followed by calling up passages that cause consternation for any and all believers. Who hasn’t read this-or-that passage and felt the weight of such words? [2] Nevertheless, the very fact that one is sincerely and meaningfully concerned about their soul and eternity is of little-to-no import to such “doctors.” He/she must not be a true believer!

Instead of recognizing that assurance is a privilege given to those living for Christ, the theological momentum is toward “lostness.” The tendency is to put more of a burden on the back of believers rather than inquire about one’s devotional life, spiritual activities, friendships, prayer life, interest in the things of God, reading, music, social media, amusements, etc.

The cause of one’s doubts may be poor decisions and choices. The Holy Spirit is a noisy resident, and it may well be his residency that is causing the doubts. It may be one’s dissatisfaction with one’s growth, stagnation, progress, or a life experience that is causing the doubts!

It is just another form of “theological abuse,” as is the theological-ideology that allows marital abuse!

The doctrinal fountainhead [3][4] of this pastoral-ministerial approach is the belief that one can lose their salvation, that one must persevere to be a true Christain, and/or a practical denial of progressive sanctification.  Some can affirm their belief in “eternal security,” while also repeatedly creating doubt as to whether one is a believer based on some behavioral failure.  The theological term is “doublespeak.”  [5]

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1 – If you believe that such teaching is but a strawman, then take time to read what Tom Hicks of “Founder Ministries (headed by its president, Tom Ascol) has to say about marital abuse.

“The Bible teaches that God works “all things after the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11) and “all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). People often feel anxious or fearful because they’re trying to control things that are outside of their control (Luke 12:25).

But Scripture teaches that God works all things for the good of His chosen people which means we have no reason to be anxious. We can know that everything which comes to pass is God’s love to us, no matter what we feel or how things seem. We, therefore, can quiet our fears because God governs all things for the good of His people . . . . But the Bible says that God controls everything, and that means He rules over all the results of our obedience. As we obey Him, He will certainly keep all His promises. While obedience will often bring suffering into our lives, that suffering cannot destroy us because God sovereignly guarantees that it will not. “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith” (1 John 5:4).”
https://founders.org/2017/05/11/some-practical-implications-of-calvinism/

Survivors also struggle deeply with God’s sovereign purpose in their lives. . . . Doctrinally, they often know the right answers to these questions, but emotionally and experientially, they struggle profoundly . . . . Christian spouses who are abused are suffering for Christ and are being persecuted for righteousness sake. God the Father spared not His only begotten Son to accomplish the redemption of poor sinners. And Christians who are abused share in His sufferings. Therefore, the church must be very tenderhearted and supportive toward abuse survivors. The Lord Jesus Christ does not crush the bruised reed or extinguish the smoldering flax.
https://founders.org/2019/04/24/how-your-church-can-serve-survivors-of-domestic-abuse/

2 – Before quoting Matthew 7 about “fruits,” check out its aim! It is about how to recognize false prophets who prophesied   (7:15, 22)!

While Christians should bear signs of being a believer, and there ought to be fruit that reflects what has happened in the heart, there is more to “fruit” than a definition that doesn’t touch one’s own life. Let’s talk about our prayer life, or who we have shared the Gospel with recently, our self-serving spirit, materialism, gluttony, pride, ego, etc.

3 -The practical fountainhead is a lack of self-awareness about one’s own sinfulness.

4 – Link To Lloyd-Jones’ Full Message

External Link To Lloyd-Jones Full Message

https://jameslau88.com/2020/05/10/the-doctrine-of-being-saved-eternally-by-martyn-lloyd-jones/

♦♦♦♦♦

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Eternal Security . . . .

“If this doctrine (Eternal Security) isn’t true, well then if you ever find yourself in glory, the glory will have to go to you for holding on.

The position would be this — that you like a number of other people, have been given the same gift of salvation and eternal life — They foolish didn’t hold on it, but that you did.  And therefore the glory goes to you for holding on.

But that’s a blank contradiction of the teaching of the Scriptures everywhere. . . . Man has nothing to boast of at all.  And when you and I arrive in heaven — my dear friends — we realize that we are there not because we held on while others gave up — but because He held on to us. . . . and we’ll give Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory.”     

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