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Has Sir Cliff lost the Christian plot?

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Dale Munday (24/02/2014 19:09)

Editor, I fully agree with your 9.30 posting today about the wheat and the tares and the widely held notion that this justifies describing a 'church' as an admixture of believers and non-believers. I would go a step further and say that this parable, for sound Scriptural reasons, cannot possibly refer to a 'church'. Jesus himself says in His explanation of the parable that 'the field is the world' - He does not say that it is the church! The true church consists only of a gathering of regenerate born again persons. Any unregenerate persons present in the assembly are of the world not of the church. Those who use this parable to justify describing a church as an admixture of believers and unbelievers are simply misinterpreting the words of Christ. The Westminster Confession is seriously flawed when it attempts to divide the church into two types - the visible and invisible church. In the sight of God there is only one church - a gathering of regenerate believers only.

Penny Lee (24/02/2014 20:09)

I absolutely agree with you Dale. We heard this very misinterpretation of that parable being used at our present minister's induction. I don't know why people feel relaxed about distorting scripture. Don't they fear coming under God's judgement for deceiving others? For them, the punishment will be far worse since they were in the position of instructing others on God's Word. It makes me wonder whether or not they ever read it for themselves, rather than just regurgitate stock sermons prepared by others.

Editor (25/02/2014 00:18)

"The Westminster Confession is seriously flawed when it attempts to divide the church into two types - the visible and invisible church."

And that statement, Dale, will not win you a huge number of friends. In fact I have had problems in the past with some who regard the document as sacrosant; on a par with Scripture. However I don't want to start all that off again, but merely to point out that the church is in a mess because we put tradition and worldly thinking above the Word of God.

Dale Munday (25/02/2014 16:17)

As Christians we are not called to say only what people will like, or to win friends and influence others. We have to believe what the Scriptures say and Scripture alone- not Scripture through the eyes of the WCoF. It is mainly because of the latter that I left the church I had been worshipping in for a number of years.

Colin Ford (05/03/2014 12:52)

Just clicked on to this thread again; I note some have an interest in my church hopping activities!
Penny, I originally started 'attending' church in 1997, as it seemed a nice family thing to do, because my wife joined a 'mother and babies' group there, because she met the pastor's wife and she told her that they were a 'friendly' and 'with it' church, not like all those stale, stuffy hell, fire and brimstone Reformed Calvinist churches... Not that I knew anything then about theology! Having a young baby, and not long after moving into the village, I would attend this Baptist Union church for the next four years. This was only very spasmodically. Then one day (to cut a long story short) in 2001 the Holy Spirit convicted me of the truth when I literally believed in Noah's flood (inadvertently watching Ken Ham on RTV)and that the world was about 6000 years old (without a gap!)
I told the Reverend about my revelation, and he said that evolution WAS a scientific fact! I also questioned him about the Revelation (because it taught how it would all end), and he said "you don't want to go there!"
Tell me then, WHAT was I supposed to do? Stay there and learn more 'truths'?? They promoted Rick Warren's books and Harry Potter! (I kid you not).
Then in 2001 we joined a Pentecostal Church, I was there for about two years (all nice and friendly..at first), some very disturbing things happened there, they were very much into Derek Prince and heavy shepherding, covering, healing, tongues, among much else.
Then I joined a Messianic outfit for about two years. These guys were into Judaizing big time, I joined because some that left the previous 'church' moved there. From about 2007 to the present moment we would meet with other believers in each others houses that had also left 'church'. Mostly, over time this degenerated into eating and drinking with very little Bible study.
We did make some friends in these places that we are still in contact with.
Briefly then, I have come to observe that where the truth is taught; (that law and grace are not mutually exlusive and cannot be separated etc) those in attendance are very, very small-this was in England. But up here in the Highlands and Islands there is often a very high attendance, in these churches that have historically taught what I believe is the Biblical truth, but there is much going through the motions, formalism, ritualism etc.

I looked on another thread this morning-So Jesus died for those perishing in hell? Very strange theology? They call it Arminianism, with that sort of unbiblical theology I could NEVER have assurance of my salvation.

Penny Lee (05/03/2014 15:31)

Colin - Thank you for the explanation. I agree with you that these churches do seem to have had problems, and definitely the first one!

I believe Jesus did die for all mankind. Those languishing in hell are there because they rejected His gift of salvation.

Mini (07/03/2014 19:32)

I’ve only just found this discussion and I’m pretty appalled really. To disagree or be offended by CRs opinions is one thing, but to suggest he isn’t a Christian and does not belong to Jesus is quite another. I don’t agree with him either but he is still my brother. Has anyone considered, with compassion, why he says he will commit suicide if he gets Alzheimers? (For that matter did anyone hear him say that?) Can you imagine the pain he must have gone through, watching his mother die from this evil disease? He is suffering from a failure of faith, because of this pain. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t love and know Jesus. Have none of you got areas of weak faith, where you find it very hard to trust our Heavenly Father? I have. He needs support, not condemnation and something far worse, which is to turn your back on a brother and say he is none of ours. Jesus said “You have heard that it was said….thou shalt not kill…but I say to you, that whosesoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother “Raca!” shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say Thou fool! shall be in danger of hell fire”. Matt 5:21. Basically, it’s Cain rising up to slay his brother Abel, all over again.
Billy Graham! He wasn’t content to be God’s instrument in saving who knows how many thousands of souls, but when Jim Bakker the notorious TV Evangelist landed in jail amidst the scorn and hatred of his fellow Christians, who went to visit him? Who restored him? Who believed in him and believed that he was still a brother who God loved? It was Billy Graham and his wife Ruth!
Where is the proof that someone is a true Christian? Is it in the ability to quote scripture – or is it in acts of compassion which are the true outworking of the Life and Word of Jesus? The devil quotes scripture after all. None of us can judge whether someone is a Christian or not – Jesus is the Judge of All the Earth and that will be His job. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways….” Jeremiah 17: 9. No one can know his own heart, never mind someone else’s. Unless God has revealed a sin in our hearts, we don’t know it’s there. We could be judging a brother for something far less than we ourselves are guilty of - but we may not even know it.
It is good to exercise our judgement by examining an opinion or an action, comparing it to the Bible and asking God for revelation, but that is not the same as judging the person. That is not good.
I will tell you something about myself, of which I am very ashamed. Twenty years ago, I thought I loved Jesus more than anyone else. I suffered from spiritual pride. I heard that someone who had been a Sunday School teacher at a church had fallen in love with a man who was married with several children. She became pregnant and he divorced his wife to marry her. I did not say anything to anyone, but in my heart I condemned her, because I felt she loved the man more than Jesus, and how could she do such a thing. Within a year, I fell into the same sin, but Jesus pulled me out of it – I’m not sure why He bothered, but He loves me. I now know that I don’t love Jesus more than anyone else – I wish I did. I believe that Jesus was deeply offended by my judgement of a sister who He loved deeply. Please learn from my mistakes!
There is another thing about friendships. Talking about sinners, gays included, St Paul says “you are not to judge them, and you are not to exclude them from your company”. Love and friendship does not mean having lots of acquaintances and being nice and civilised in your dealings with them. Jesus was Judas Iscariot’s friend – He committed Himself to him and served him, even though He knew it would break His heart. Why are so few people being saved in the UK? Because Christians have become totally incestuous. They live in their own little world, with their own little circle of friends and everyone else is outside in the cold.Penny Lee (07/03/2014 21:10) Mini,

I agree with some of what you say but you yourself have done the very same thing for which you criticise others - tarred all Christians with the same brush. Yes, there are some who are self-righteous, over-critical and unloving but that is also a judgement on them. What is the alternative? - let everyone within the church do as they please, including indulging in behaviour which is completely contrary to scripture? New Testament scripture describes how churches are to behave, so if these things occur within a church fellowship then they are to be addressed in a very specific manner. To turn a blind eye, or even openly condone them by stating that judgement belongs solely to God, then those doing so will be under God's judgement too.

There is a difference with the mistake you admit to - the fact is you recognised it was a mistake. When others within the church disobey God's Word, but won't accept they are in the wrong, then it is only right that other Christians distance themselves from such behaviour. Those outside of the church are indeed solely under God's judgement and I agree with you that it is not our place to judge them.

Mini (07/03/2014 23:38)

Penny, I said its good to judge actions and words but not the person. In Cliff's case, I'm not aware of his doing anything wrong, and there is some confusion over what he did actually say. St Paul says we have no right to judge the servant of another. And Cliff has serves Jesus better than most of us. We all have blockages to faith, and there is usually pain behind it. Whatever we do, love and compassion come first. I don't think you got my unfortunate piece of testimony. I believe I sinned before my adultery, and Jesus in His displeasure stood back, and did not stop me from that fall. I injured Jesus deeply with my harsh judgement. The young woman I condemned in my heart was a very loving and caring person who I had no right to judge. Argue the point about euthanasia, but leave Cliff alone. He needs support not condemnation

Penny Lee (08/03/2014 13:34)


I did get the point about your testimony. We've all had instances where we have said something out loud but felt something quite different in our hearts, and something which we are deeply ashamed of before God.

I think we need to separate what we are judging - is it personal or is it a matter of conduct within the church? If Cliff was not a professing Christian then we would have no right to judge him at all. However, he is part of a church fellowship and we know that scripture gives us instruction on how we are to deal with those within the church who behave in a way which is totally against God's laws. I absolutely agree with you that it should be done in a loving way and if we truly love others then we should be prepared to tell them the truth. How can we profess to love someone if we tell them it's okay to do something which God has condemned?

When someone sins in some way, and admits it was sin, of course we should support them lovingly and help them get back into fellowship. Neither should we ever launch into a vitriolic tirade against someone even if what they are doing is clearly wrong as that is sinful on our part. But we're not talking of instances like this - we are talking about those who perhaps once did walk in obedience to God but who have abandoned His laws and are now saying something quite different to what God's Word contains. Cliff once followed the Bible's teaching on homosexuality but has now openly said he doesn't see anything wrong with it. Why would your opinion change on this since it isn't our opinion which matters? - it's what God has to say on it and his opinion hasn't, and never will, change. Cliff will not only be judged (by God) on his personal stance over this issue but he will also be guilty of leading others astray by encouraging them to continue on in a lifestyle which God has forbidden. If Cliff has turned aside from what God's Word says, then he should be honest about it and say he is no longer a Christian. That would be more honourable than pretend to be saying these things with God's backing.

I'm not sure what you actually mean when you say it's good to judge actions and words but not the person. How can you judge purely the words or actions of a person without it coming across as a judgement on them? If you say you don't agree with Cliff's idea on euthanasia or homosexuality (which you would have to if you are staying true to the Bible) then you have automatically judged what he said or did to be wrong. ( Page 11 of 11. Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 )

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