Posts Tagged 'Tim Challies'

Is error in doctrine always sin?

This is how Tim Challies started a blog post a couple of months ago, and it captured my attention. 

When we first started attending our church, and first came to understand, and agree with Reformed teaching; I found myself to be a complete zealot.  I KNEW that what I believed was an absolute truth, and any wavering from that doctrine was false, and if it wasn’t sinful, it was definitely leading someone down the path.  I was constantly arguing with friends who believed a few things different from me.  I browbeat people with scripture and old Spurgeon and Luther quotes.  I think I actually enjoyed it.  It made me feel superior, it made me feel special, as if I had been revealed some secret knowledge that others weren’t privy to. 

Over the years, though, as I’ve matured in my faith, I’ve been able to have a much better understanding of God’s grace for his people.  Don’t get me wrong, I still believe all that Calvinist (“TULIP”) doctrine, I do believe it is correct theology.  But, I am also much more humble in that belief.  After all, as any good Calvinist would say, whatever grace God has lavished upon me, I have done absolutely nothing to deserve it, and in fact deserve eternal separation from him.  So, how can I be proud of that? 

Someone actually said to me recently, that I may be too lenient towards some in my acquaintance that believe some slightly different secondary doctrine.  How awesome is that?  Maybe I’m not so much of a jerk anymore…well, that might be going too far!  At the very least though, God has worked some subtle changes in my heart and for that I’m thankful. 

As for that Challies post, here’s some of his analysis:

Now it is obvious that there are times when differences in doctrine reflect sin. A person who preaches that Jesus Christ is something other than divine is teaching an awful and divisive heresy and that error is sinful, pure and simple. A person who teaches that homosexuality is a legitimate lifestyle that the Bible condones is likewise teaching grievous error and error that can be easily proven so from the Bible. But what happens when the error deals with issues of lesser consequence? What happens when one teacher preaches a sermon defending the baptism of believers while another preaches a sermon defending the baptism of children? Obviously one of the two men must be wrong. But is one of them being sinful in teaching what is wrong? Or think of an issue like eschatology where two very fine and godly men may have completely different understandings of the end times. When they teach their differing conclusions, is one of them actually being sinful?

He has identified three principles that he believes are useful when thinking about this subject.  Please click over to his site to check them out.  Maybe they’ll be helpful to you too.

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Effectual Calling

I read Tim Challies blog nearly every day.  I highly recommend it to you as well. Tim has been reading through a book called “Redemption Accomplished and Applied.”  I have not been reading it with him, simply reading his summaries of the chapters.  The following is a portion from his summary on the accomplishment of atonement and it may be quite convicting:

Murray wants to be sure that we properly understand the strength of the word “call.” It is a word that has more power in the Greek than in its English translation. “If we are to understand the strength of this word, as used in this connection, we must use the word ‘summons.’ The action by which God makes his people the partakers of redemption is that of summons. And since it is God’s summons it is efficacious summons.” We may be summoned to appear in court and, even with the authorities threatening punishment if we fail to appear, we can still ultimately decide not to. But when God summons we are unable and unwilling to resist. “The summons is invested with the efficacy by which we are delivered to the destination intended—we are effectively ushered into the fellowship of Christ.” Showing that this is calling into the kingdom of Christ and out of the kingdom of darkness, Murray offers this important warning: “If we find ourselves at home in the ungodliness, lust, and filth of this present world, it is because we have not been called effectually by God’s grace.

You can read the rest of his post over at his blog.


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