Five Solas: the Significance of the word “ALONE”

I posted this on my FaceBook account:

THE FIVE SOLAS (we are justified)
by Holy Scripture alone
by faith alone
by grace alone
by Christ alone
Only to God’s glory alone

Each point emphasizes not only the necessity of the point but also its sufficiency:

Holy Scripture is not only necessary it is enough.

Faith is not only necessary it is enough.

Grace is not only necessary it is enough.

Christ is not only necessary He is enough .

God’s glory alone is necessary but His glory is enough.

This is a bare summary of evangelicalism, but there is much more in the Creeds, and especially the great doctrinal statements of the Reformation, such as the 39 Articles.

As Charles Spurgeon once said (paraphrase): “It is not the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ that does my soul good, it is Jesus who justifies my soul,” who is my anchor behind the veil. As important as doctrine is, it is not doctrine in the frontal lobe that saves me, abstractly considered, but the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. I REST IN HIM!

AFTER RECEIVING SOME CHALLENGING COMMENTS  on FaceBook from a former friend who left my denomination and went into Orthodoxy, Sam Seamans, I posted on FaceBook a long article in response to him. I guess it finally was posted, but it was long I got tired waiting for FaceBook to put it up, but here are my comments:

Sam, spoken like a true convert to Eastern Orthodoxy. The Greek word for “pillar” is a column that supports a superstructure, not a foundation. It is resting on a foundation (Louw-Nida lexicon; other lexicons). Jesus Christ is the foundation, the chief cornerstone, not us humans (Eph. 2:20). The church is built on Him, thus it is called the pillar, a column on a foundation. Irenaeus, (Against Heresies, 3.11.7-8) says from your passage (1 Tim. 3:15) that the “pillar and ground is the gospel”, which is what we hold. Moreover, the Greek word “ground” does not mean lying down on the floor with a superstructure, but church is here a solid defense against the confusion of myth” (TDNT).

To say “the CHURCH, NOT the Bible,” is the pillar and ground of truth,” are dangerous words. The holy scriptures AND the church complete one another; they are not in opposition as you suggest, though if they are in opposition, as in  the late Middle Ages, God sent a revival with the reformers to straighten up the mess with the Bible. Apparently you have not understood the five solas; they are not isolated but all hang together. Thus your comments assume that one can have faith or grace in isolation. Not so. If you knew the history of those points and what the reformers were saying, you would understand what we are saying. For example, the gospel was “according to the scriptures.” St. Paul explicitly states in 1 Cor. 15:3-4 that Christ died for our sins “according to the scriptures”, which at the time of his writing was the Old Testament. The New Testament built on that and so in both the OT and NT we could say the scriptures alone are sufficient. Other passages in Paul are 1 Cor. 10:1ff, 2 Tim. 3:16-17. It should be clear that at all times the Holy Scriptures were sufficient for salvation.

AS FOR THE FIVE SOLAS HANGING TOGETHER, it is from the Holy Scriptures that we are presented with the Christ, in whom we put our trust, relying on His grace, and seeking only His glory. These five points are like five links in a chain, not five isolated links scattered on the floor. As for NT coming before the church, there are several responses.

FIRST, the OT scriptures laid the foundation for the NT church, thus they already existed. Repeatedly, the Lord and the Apostles quoted the Old Testament, and through their preaching and writings, they brought the New Testament canon into existence, but always basing the New Testament on the OT. The Church did not invent the canonical books of the New Testament by some council, but as the books were written, the sheep recognized the voice of the Shepherd in those writings. Of course, the Church did formally recognize the canon, but only after they had been used for some time as scripture. So did the Church come before the New Testament books? Not really, as if it mattered, but they came together.

SECOND, unless you’re dispensational and make a bifurcation with two peoples of God, Israel then the Church, which I know you don’t, the NT people of God ARE the new Israel (Gal. 6:16; Eph. 2:11-22; etc), for the church, or the new Israel already existed.

I could add a THIRD reason: so what about the church allegedly coming first. Christ delivered the gospel to the apostles and expounded the OT scriptures to them to show that He was building on that foundation of the OT. (See Luke 24:44-48: “44 Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 46 Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Lk. 24:43 NKJ).)

The apostles wrote down what He had revealed, which was in solidarity with the OT. The apostles recognized their own writings as Scripture as Paul said his writings were the Lord’s commands (1 Cor. 14:37), and Peter referred to Paul letters as “scripture” (2 Peter 3:15-16). So what time lag are you referring to from the time of the writings of the NT to the apostles? There was very little gap. What holy tradition are you speaking of that the NT allegedly came from? As for the proclamation that the Eastern Church did not need reforming, I would say our conversation says otherwise. As for the “innovations of the medieval scholastic period,” that is why we had a reformation. The medieval church had gone awry. The Eastern Church murdered its only bishop who tried to bring reformation to it. I would say Orthodoxy has stagnated over the centuries, the Roman Catholic Church has innovated, and Protestantism has validated its truth with the early fathers and the Holy Scriptures, as did Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, and most commentaries today go back to the fathers with vigor. But then Orthodoxy does not write commentaries, as you admitted to me, so I guess they would not know.

AS FOR THE CHURCH being the “pillar and ground” of the Bible, the passage you alluded to does NOT say that (1 Tim. 3:15), but it says the “pillar and ground of TRUTH”. My question to you is which church? Was it the western church, the eastern church, Marcion who tried to destroy the Bible but those who had the scriptures knew he was wrong? Which church is the infallible one? Also, if the early fathers are our interpretive guide, which ones? Is it Irenaeus, Chrysostom, Origen, the Cappadocian fathers, Augustine, which you guy reject, and which ones in the middle ages do you rely on, and why those? You should know that I agree with you about a strong church. I would even say that the fathers are our guide, but the only infallible guide is the Holy Scriptures. What will you put in its place, your holy tradition? You said to me recently that the fathers had a much better grasp on the Bible than we do today, which was an excuse for Orthodoxy not writing commentaries, but how in the world would you know that? But which tradition, from what time period, and who will interpret that to you? If only the early (and some Medieval) fathers can interpret the New Testament to us, who interprets the fathers to us? You are thereby saying that the fathers are self-interpreting to us, but that the Bible is not self-interpreting. In other words, the words of man are clearer than the words of God. That is a tough pill to swallow. We Protestants have many interpretations of the Bible, but most are united on the Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. Even those Protestants who will not say these in worship nevertheless believe them as seen in their doctrinal statements. We are united on these creeds with the Roman Catholic Church, but you are not, why? You reject all three of these creeds, at the least the Western versions, especially hating the filioque clause. Who is right, your small group of a few million members, perhaps even 100 million, or the rest of the Christianity world with about two billion members? I can document that Rome and especially Protestantism have grown by about a billion souls in the last 100 years, but what about Orthodoxy? Very little.  Now there is a holy (Protestant) tradition if there ever was one. And which Orthodox group is right? Don’t you have 14 jurisdictions, or is it 18? Likewise Rome has its various groups internally.

AS FOR THE FIVE SOLAS BEING BIBLICAL, look at these: Bible is sufficient for salvation and living (2 Tim. 3:16-17), and a shorthand way to say that is scripture alone. Faith apart from all human merit is sufficient for salvation (Rom. 4:1-8; Eph. 2:8-9), and a shorthand way to say that is faith alone. Or as one confession so beautifully put it, “We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is not alone, but ever accompanied by good works” (WCF). We are saved only by grace and only to God’s glory (Eph. 2:8-10), and a shorthand way to say that is we are saved by grace alone to God’s glory alone. We are saved only by Jesus, and a shorthand way to say that is we are saved by the Son of God alone.

In other words, as J. I. PACKER SO BEAUTIFULLY PUT IT (not an exact quote), “What we mean is that JESUS saves sinners. Jesus saves, we don’t. The only thing we can contribute to our salvation is our sins. Next, we that Jesus SAVES sinners, not that He is their cheer leader, not that He does His part and we finish (Contra. Phil. 1:6) what He began, not that we cooperate to earn grace  . He saves SINNERS, not the self-righteous, not those who think they are basically ok.” That is what we’re are getting at.

SAM, I did not want to tangle with you regarding your recent move into Orthodoxy. That is one of the reasons I asked for a private conversation with you when I found out about your move into Orthodoxy. We hung up from that meeting on good terms.I can see the newfound zeal you have for your new faith, but in my opinion you made a move without understanding the issues. You knew we talked, and I gave you the right hand of fellowship; therefore, I was surprised to see you go after my statements that I thought I was just blessing people with on FaceBook, but you called my hand, so I’ve responded. I hope this is not offensive, but I could not let people think there are no good answers to your questions. I think, however, that even though we disagree on some of the terms, how used, and the significance of the Church, etc., we can still give one another the right hand of fellowship. Your brother in Him. AMEN.

Did Adam lose the world to the devil?

(c) Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D. 2016

Some misguided Christians today think that Satan is now the ruler of this world, and that it is not for Christians to have dominion on earth. Perhaps that could be possible when Jesus returns, but not now. They cite such passages as Satan is the “god of this world.” Yet the expression that Satan is the “god of this world” does not mean he is lord of lords, but that he is the god of this world in the sense that many worship him—not that he is almighty. His work is primarily in blinding the minds of people to the Gospel (2 Cor. 4:4; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Eph. 2:2; 1 John 5:19), but even that blindness is stripped away when the mighty grace of Jesus brings one to belief in Himself (Matt. 11:27; Acts 13:48; 16:14; Phil. 1:29).

Furthermore, that Satan is called by the Lord Jesus “the ruler of this world” (John 14:30) does not mean that there is not a Ruler above him, Who is Ruler of the universe and the Ruler of all rulers. Because there is a governor of Tennessee, do we conclude that there is not also a President of the United States who has greater authority than the governor? Besides, the Lord also stated: “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out” (John 12:31). What else does the expression “Lord of lords” mean except that Jesus is the ultimate Ruler and that NOW?

And was it not true that during the temptation when Jesus commanded Satan to leave Him in Matthew 4:10-11 that Satan did so immediately without a word? Did not the demons obey the Lord every time He commanded them and without hesitation? Where do the health and wealth people get the idea that Satan owns this world? Here is how Frederick K. C. Price reasons.[1] God gave Adam dominion over the earth. This dominion was a legal dominion, much like we would deed someone property. The earth was deeded to Adam by God; it was his [Adam’s] to do with as he pleased. This dominion included not only the animals but also the mineral rights so that he owned all the gold, silver, diamonds, oil, and so forth. When Adam sinned, he gave his property to Satan, and God no longer had a legal right to the earth. Now the planet is Satan’s, and even God must honor this agreement. Redeemed man can reclaim his original inheritance and be rich. Capps agrees: “It’s illegal for God to come to earth and destroy the work of the devil with His divine Godhead powers.”[2]

Yet the truth is that though Adam came under Satan’s dominion to some extent, primarily Adam was under God’s curse for sinning. God never indicated that the land or earth at that time was not His. Indeed, He cursed it to bring forth thorns, but he never gave it up. Kenneth Hagin says: “If God is running everything, He does have things in a mess.”[3] Fred Price is even more blatant:

“God can’t legally do anything in this earth realm except what we allow Him to do.” He also says, “God does not have physical possession of the earth, Satan does,” and “If God came here, He would be arrested as a trespasser.” Price goes on to condition his audience to accept these blasphemies with such statements as these:

“Evangelicals consider this heresy, and they would never say this.” “Tradition and theology reject this.” “I hope you don’t think God is running this world, evangelicals think that.” “If this is an example of how God runs things, I don’t want to go to heaven.” They distance themselves from the evangelical community with such statements (“we” versus the “evangelicals”), thereby separating themselves from the body of Christ, and establishing themselves as a cult.

Price uses two other passages to promote the idea that the world is Satan’s: Luke 4:1-8 and Matthew 9:35-38. The major passage for Price is: “And the devil said to Him, ‘All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish’” (Luke 4:6).

Our first response must be that Satan is a liar (John 8:44). Price says that Satan is telling the truth since Jesus did not rebuke him, which is also a common dispensational argument from this passage. But it is an argument from silence that leads Price to the deafening conclusion that Satan was for once telling the truth. But even if the Lord had not answered the devil, the inference is not valid. In the most elementary logic class one learns that he can conclude anything or nothing from what is not stated. But the Lord did answer Satan: “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve’” (v. 8). The Lord answered the real point behind Satan’s pseudo-offer: worship reveals Who the real God is, and we are to worship the Triune God only. If the Lord had said the kingdoms did not belong to Satan, He would not have been confronting the point of the offer, admitting perhaps he was right. Observe also that Satan instantly obeyed the Lord when He commanded him to leave, which showed Who was really in authority.

Secondly, God the Father made the same offer to Christ. Psalm 2 is a Messianic Psalm, using the name “Messiah” in verse two (sometimes translated “anointed”) and the word “Son” in verse twelve. In verse seven the Son quotes the Father:

“I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’”

This verse is quoted several times in the New Testament of the resurrection of Jesus. The Father raised Him from the dead, and, to the consternation of the nations (vv. 1-3), He made Jesus King of kings. In other words, even though the nations did not want Him ruling over them, and even though they sought to cast off His “bonds” (vv. 1-3; bonds=His law, see Jer. 2:20; 5:5), the Father laughed and made Him King over them anyway. In light of this, the Father says to His only Son: “Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession” (v. 8).

Now who has made the genuine offer of the world to Jesus, the Father or Satan? Who is the liar, God the Father or the devil? Who really owns the world and could offer it to Jesus, the Father or Satan? In the verses that follow the Father’s offer, it is obvious that the Son did ask and the Father gave Him the nations, for He shall rule them with a rod of iron (v. 9), and the rulers must repent (vv. 10, 11) or perish under the Son’s wrath (v. 12). The Lord Jesus emphatically stated that “all authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” at the resurrection (Matt. 28:18; see also Dan. 7:14).24 Of course, all these things are speaking of Christ in His Messianic office, not in His essence. In His essence as God, He has always had dominion over the earth (Ps. 24:1).

We Christians have already won, now let’s face down our ancient foe in the NAME of our eternal Savior who rules by omnipotent power not only inherent in Himself but also inherent in the words of the Gospel. AMEN.

[1] 04/27/92 broadcast, WPTY-TV Memphis, TN, 12 p. m.

[2] Charles Capps, God’s Image of You (Tulsa: Harrison House, 1985), p. 50.

[3] Kenneth E. Hagin, The Interceding Christian (Tulsa: Faith Publication Library, 1991), p. 13

Loving Darkness

((c) The Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.)

Two main truths are presented in the following quote: I. There is condemnation; II. Some people practice evil

I. And this is the condemnation,  [two reasons for condemnation] that

(1)        the light has come into the world,

(2) and men loved darkness rather than light,

because their deeds were evil. [reason they love darkness]

II. For everyone practicing evil

                            hates the                             light

and does not come to the   light,

lest his deeds should be exposed. [Reason ungodly hate Christians]

(John 3:19-20 NKJ)

The “light” above is God’s holiness and righteousness. Read also in John 1 John 1:5-2:2) for the same idea.

I heard this on radio recently:

  • In China you can criticize evolution but not the government while here in the USA you can criticize the government but not evolution.

I don’t know which is worse; they are both ungodly tyrannies. Both countries engage in thought control, just as George Orwell predicted of the USA in his prescient novel, 1984. He was only off by a couple of decades.

My two smaller grandkids spent the night last night. My daughter and her husband have turned off their TV at home so the kids wanted to watch cartoons. I thought I would see what they are like. One was all violence, anger, revenge, yelling, screaming, blowing things up. We changed channels, and immediately two teen age cartoon characters were talking about a very racy lesbian scene in a movie they had seen, which was “cool.” I changed channels again. People tell me the comedy shows are just as bad, if not worse so I avoided them.

Next I scanned the menu on my satellite TV, and one program was called “Dating Naked.” My grandson had stepped out of the room, but I thought this surely can’t mean what it says—but it did! I quickly changed channels again before he returned. Finally, we found a nature show, but then there was the ever present evolution, though in this case only mentioned slightly. Whatever happened to the days of good clean cowboy violence, like the Lone Ranger, or Ramar of the Jungle, Tarzan, etc. Those may be on oldie channels if you can find them.

So now back to the “real” world. Could it be any worse? I guess you’ve seen lately that Obama by executive order has mandated that all public schools must honor LGBT people or lose their federal funding. (When will morality become more important than money? At least there are eleven states who are standing up to Obama: UT, AZ, OK, TX, OK, WI, LA, TN, AL, GA, ME. At least five states are in the South.) Obama is bypassing Congress in making laws. More particularly if one “feels” like a girl one day (regardless of the biological plumbing), he is permitted to enter the girl’s restrooms and showers. It is not objective biology that determines one’s gender but how one “feels,” and no one must challenge that or he will be guilty of discrimination. If one does not bow to the golden calf of newspeak, then follow misdemeanors, felonies, or civil fines in the tens of thousands or combinations thereof. Parents will wonder what has happened to their children as they self-destruct against God’s law, and children will murder their parents when they don’t get their way. PARENTS: You must take your kids out of public school and put them in a good Christian school, no matter what the cost is. Their precious souls are at stake. Your children are more important than new homes, new cars, nice clothes.

Christians are being setup as the great scapegoats, those who allegedly hate others (newspeak for holding people to a moral standard). No amount of logic makes any difference when you’re dealing with “feelings,” hate for righteousness, love for sin. If anyone challenges their love for their gods, it is all out media war, throwing bottles of urine and excrement at Christians, wanting to crucify (!) us. BUT in the long run, we Christians win; Satan has never learned that the Church is a gas fire: stomp it and it spreads; leave it alone, and it burns out. We have been somewhat successful in applying the Holy Scriptures to this land, so that we have been left alone, by which I mean, we’ve had few challenges. Now we have sown the wind, we are reaping the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7), and challenges are abounding.

Those who love darkness are becoming increasing irrational, such as the following.

Antony Flew was the leading atheist scholar in England for 50 years against theism. He embraced theism or intelligent design a few years before he died because nothing else explains the design of the universe, the laws of nature, the origin of life itself, our intelligibility,[1] or the delicate balance of nature for us to live on earth. How could something come from nothing; how could life come from lifeless matter, such as molecules in motion; how could consciousness come from raw matter (non-consciousness); how could reason come from non-reason; how could self-conscious thought come from physical objects; how could the consistent laws of science come from random particles; how could persons come from non-persons? The atheist tries to argue that random chance begets intelligence, persons, balance of nature, order, and meaning. In short, chance or chaos gave rise to order. At every point, the atheist is irrational, contradictory, and functions by faith that is irrational, and make no mistake that “irrationality is the prelude to destruction.”[2] John Dryden, the seventeenth century English poet, said:

  • “For those whom God to ruin has design’d,
  • He fits for fate, and first destroys their mind.”

Today we might say it this way: “Those whom God would destroy, He first makes mad.”

We are mad, not legally insane, but mad with rebellion against the Triune God and His character as revealed in His holy law, such as the Ten Commandments. The USA is mad against the Incarnation of the Son of God, against His perfect obedience to His Father, against His death on the cross for our sins, against His bodily resurrection. If it is true that to whom much is given much is required (Luke 12:28), then the USA is in for horrendous judgment. Those prosperity preachers who tell us we can have all the goodies we want if we just magically say the right incantation into the air audibly, will have nothing to say when judgment falls (and it has begun). Make no mistake: turning to darkness or sin darkens one’s reasoning abilities. Reasoning is then only used to support one’s desires, not to determine those desires.

There is only one solution, which the world hates with an unholy passion: repentance from our sins and faith in the Lord Jesus for forgiveness of sins. Anything else is damnation forever. AMEN.

 

[1] See the excellent work by Antony Flew, the former atheist, There Is A God, published in 2007. Flew announced his change from atheism to theism in 2004, though sadly as far as I know he did not become a Christian before his death on April 8, 2010.

[2] Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983), p. 165.

A Man Rules

(© Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.)

I keep hearing liberal politicians complain that Christians want the USA to be a theocracy. Christians oblige them by denying such; we want our little turf inside our churches and Christian schools. You liberals can have the rest. It is always easy to answer when the mic is not in front of you, but here is what I would like to say.

We already have a theocracy, and it is ruled by one dictator, a Man, the King of kings. He will judge every action that He disapproves, especially those actions that are egregious against the Ten Commandments.

But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. (Matt. 12:36 NKJ)

From the Holy Scriptures we see that Jesus warned us of His coming judgment:

25 “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.” (Jn. 5:24 NKJ)

Rebelliously, too many Christians today think that the Lord Jesus’s Kingship will only come after His Second Coming; and though He will judge then, His sovereignty has always been in the sense of deity. But as a glorified Man, He is NOW ruling over the world. What do we make of Matthew 28:18-20:

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,

 

18 All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.      (statement)

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,                       (two commands: GO and MAKE DISCIPLES. Here is what they are to do: baptize and teach)

baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

      20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;

and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.   (statement)

 

This is Trinitarian theology in baptism and growing in grace by giving our the word.

This is another Joshua, for here as there, the LORD commissions His men to go in to conquer the land, except in Joshua the land was limited but here it includes “heaven and earth.” As in Genesis the Triune God created “the heavens and the earth” and gave man dominion over it. Now the new resurrected, ascended Lord, is over all things, and He has given charge to His people to take the “land.” This means not only is that Man over all things, but we, as His vice-regents, are also over all things. We conquer by the Gospel, by the two edge sword coming out of His mouth, and thus also coming out of ours.

Moreover, we see from this Matthew 28 passage that the Church is being built by making disciples, and baptizing and disciplining them. This Church is a kingdom now all over the world, literally in every country, and growing by the power of Jesus’ Gospel and the omnipotence of the Triune God.

What did Peter say in the first Christian sermon?

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36 NKJ)

Now we are to follow what the Lord God said to Abraham when He told him that everywhere he stepped, that property belonged to him and to his seed. As St. Paul said:

And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. AMEN.  (Rom. 16:20 NKJ)

 

If Satan is crushed under His feet, we, along with the Son of God, do the same:

And I will put enmity           between you and the woman,

And                                            between your seed and her Seed;

 

He shall                                   bruise your head,

And you shall                         bruise His heel.” (Gen. 3:15 NKJ)

 

If these things are true—and they are!—we have a theocracy under His Sovereign Majesty, the Man, King Jesus. Our weapons are the gospel and our lives spent in His service.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb

and by the word of their testimony,

and they did not love their lives to the death. (Rev. 12:11 NKJ)

AMEN.

 

Social Experiment: Redefinition of Marriage

(© 26 June 2015, Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.)

We in the USA have been involved in social experiments for a long time, almost 200 years. If we count the Puritans, it would be 300 years. Christians have been the holdup for negative social change, but that problem is solved: We are now completely irrelevant to the culture. The Supreme Court, yesterday and today, ruled against Christianity. Yesterday, the continued theft of taking from those who have to give to those who have not, was upheld in Obama Care. It did not matter that it passed under fraud: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” “If you like your insurance plan, you can keep it.” It did not matter that Jonathan Gruber apparently lied about how to promote it and said that the American People were stupid. It did not matter that Nancy Pelosi said to the House that they must pass the bill to see what was in it. Lying is the norm now. It did not matter that when Harry Reid, former Senate majority leader, was asked about his blatant lie to the Senate that Mitt Romney had not paid income tax for the past 12 years, and he responded, “Well, he didn’t win, did he?” Reid did not want Romney to win the 2012 Presidential election. In other words, lying is fine if you can get what you want.

Now, add in Roe v. Wade that was passed by an activist Supreme Court in 1973 (55 million babies slaughtered and counting, making Hitler look like a dress rehearsal), Obama Care also passed by an activist Supreme Court, and today, 26 June 2015, a hyper-activist Court passed the redefinition of marriage as any two people, and we have a country raising its fist with middle finger extended to Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It will be the miracle since creation if we can dig ourselves out of this moral hole with repentance, the likes of which has never been seen, and by “WE” I mean we Christians, the Church. We control the rheostat that controls the light. Once we turn the light on, the darkness vanishes; but we’ve been turning the light off for over 100 years, or more. We’ve been having too much fun breaking marriage vows, having sex outside marriage, teaching our kids about sports but not about the Triune God and His law, giving them cars, smart phones, and other toys and expecting them not to sin with those things, which are not wrong in themselves, buying all kinds of toys and that on credit. I’m about ready to join the Amish.

When I say “WE can dig,” I mean the Church, not the culture. The culture is doing what it does—sinning. The Church has not been the watchman on the wall (Ez. 33:1-11) to warn its people of God’s judgment. WE—pastors—have not given the warning to our people to repent of our worldliness, but we’ve wanted to entertain our parishioners about the rapture rupture. We scream about the antichrist, who he is, and when he is coming,  but give precious little about Christ. We have not cared much for young women exploited by abortion. We have not ministered to LGBT but just condemned them instead, though at times that is necessary in love. We have not visited those in prison. We have not helped the poor very much. Now, the Triune God is cramming our sins down our throats, and some have the audacity to think that the great Head of the Church, our Lord Jesus Christ, will rapture us out of this mess. That makes my blood boil. However He judges us, we deserve it.

The USA has been involved in social experiments for about 200 years. Robert Owen (1771-1858),[1] in the early 1800s bought property in Indiana and set up a colony (New Harmony) whereby he would create a perfect environment. Owen thought that if he eliminated three evils: traditional religion (attack against the Church), conventional marriage (attack against the family), and private property (attack against free citizenship)—especially private property—that man’s so-called sinful problems would disappear. (The Eighth Commandment gives us the right to own private property, the Seventh Commandment to have one wife, the First Commandment to worship the Triune God.) But as soon as the colony was established and a constitution was written, it fell apart. Owen thought that since man was allegedly born good, controlling the circumstances and educating him would lead to utopia. But he could not get the people to attend his schools without compulsion, which violated his view of the autonomous, good individual who would do right once he knew it. The colony self-destructed in no time, and he returned to his native Britain, having used up his considerable fortune trying to establish other colonies elsewhere with the same results, and died disillusioned and penniless. He discovered that man cannot be his own savior, a lesson that the president, Congress, and the Supreme Court need to learn, but one we Christians should know.

From the assumption that man is born good, modern day liberals, following Owen, believe that the problem is external, in the environment. Change that and man will be changed, saved from his own problems. Thus, the means to such change is education, for if man is good, he only needs to know the good to do, and he will choose it. Authority is basically not needed in education; each student, being good, is his own authority. The modern educational system, therefore, seeks to save us by getting rid of traditional religion with its parental authority, redefining marriage and sexuality, and promoting the idea that the government owns all things, which means no private property. Government and man are the only saviors, with the government claiming to be god. It is telling that virtually every man-made alternative to God’s salvation includes some form of sexual deviance from His norm as given in the Seventh Commandment: one man and one woman in marriage for life. Today the High Court has redefined of marriage. We will have the same result as Robert Owen, only it will take longer since we are not dealing with a small colony but a large nation. It was George Santayana (1863-1952) who said “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Here we go again.

Today the USA has joined Sodom and Gomorrah, officially. Here is the way godly authority should work. If a murderer is punished by the government, judgment stops with the murderer; but if government does not punish murderers, or just spanks them on the hand, that is an official challenge to God’s authority. The government, and the whole nation by extension, is challenging God’s authority. If the government punishes LGBT persons, those persons bear their own punishment; but if the government sides with wickedness, then the whole nation is guilty. This is precisely what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah.

These two systems (godless government and the Church) are mutually exclusive and are at war spiritually, and only one can be the final winner. We know that Christ is that winner, for Jesus is Lord of all!

(Go here for some booklets on these matters.)

(I can’t read the mind of God, and I can’t extend this blog much more, but I would strongly urge people to read my book, NOT Ten Suggestions, especially Part 3, where I discuss in some detail that God’s judgment on American is now, and increasing daily. I spell out some of the judgments. Chapter 20, God’s judgment on our families, is especially pertinent regarding today’s Supreme Court ruling. One I missed—and hope never comes—is one I’ve seen several high ranking military officers warn about on the news in the past few months, which is EMP, electro-magnetic pulse. A lone missile or plane could send a silent blast into our power grids, and we would virtually be history: people killing each other for food, water, medicine, etc. Too detailed to explain, but if you’re interested, send me an email (cicrenshaw@gmail.com), and I’ll send you some details. May take a few days to get it to you, and then only sent by email.)

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law (Prov. 29:18 ESV).

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Pro 14:34 NKJ).

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chron. 7:14 NKJ).

Lord in wrath, remember mercy (Hab. 3:2).

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. (Psalm 2:1-4 ESV, study the rest of this Psalm.)

AMEN.

[1] Alan Jacobs, Original Sin, pp. 173ff.

Why I Am No Longer Dispensational

© Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw 2001, 2010

(please do not sell)

(This is a personal letter to one of my past dispensational Bible College professors who wanted to know why I had left dispensationalism after I graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary.  I have rewritten some of the letter for broader distribution.  In particular, some of the harder hitting points, such as the section on repentance, were not in the original letter, though they were in the book (Dispensationalism Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow,) I wrote that I sent him.)

Also, the issue of repentance and Lordship I have addressed in my book, Lordship Salvation: The Only Kind There Is, available at www.footstoolpublications.com.  My other books may be found there also, though the site still needs a lot of work.).  The book on dispensationalism just mentioned is due out again soon in its fourth revision and seventh printing; please check the same site for it.

Dear Dr.  . . . ,

You asked me about my ecclesiology (doctrine of the Church); you have asked me about it previously.  I have deliberately not pursued it with you as I do not want that to come between us.  I did not want to debate you about it at lunch recently but to enjoy the fellowship in the Gospel.  Indeed, the ecclesiology issue is an “in house” debate among evangelicals.  The basic theology I learned at Mid-South Bible College (MSBC, was Crichton College and changed names again to Victory University) and from my mother and grandmother (2 Tim. 1:5 applies to me) I have never laid aside but adhere to it tenaciously.  The Trinity, hypostatic union, Virgin Birth (actually virgin conception, as Dr. Crichton rightly stated)—in short, the Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed, Chalcedon on the Person of Christ, are what the Church has defined as evangelical orthodoxy for centuries, with justification by faith alone in Christ alone added during the Reformation as a necessary implication of the Apostolic faith.  Cranmer quotes many early fathers who held to “faith alone,” even using those very words.  Our doctrinal statement here at Cranmer Theological House is the Thirty-Nine Articles, which you would find quite satisfying in most points.

But regarding my ecclesiology, I have enclosed my part of a book that Grover Gunn and I wrote in 1984, Dispensationalism Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow.  I graduated from DTS; and Gunn finished all the courses, but they would not allow him to graduate because of his change of theology, which seems to me both illegal and immoral.  Most of your questions regarding my ecclesiology will be answered in the pages from the book you now have.  But I shall give you my personal history.

When I went to Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) in 1972 (as the first MSBC student with an accredited degree), I was convinced of dispensationalism.  The first year there I had no doubts, but mid-way through the second year I was in rapid Greek reading when a professor (Dr. Ed. Blum) stated that there were two views of sanctification on campus.  (The question was raised from the passage we were “Greeking,” as we used to say.)  We were told that there was the Walvoord/Ryrie/Pentecost view, which was Arminian, carnal Christian, and higher life without perseverance, denying the lordship of Christ in salvation, and then there was the perseverance or Calvinistic view.  Naturally, I told myself that I was of the former view since I had been taught that at MSBC.  But the seed Blum planted stayed with me, causing me later to question my assumptions regarding grace and later the assumptions of dispensationalism itself. (For the 11 1/2 pages that go into theological reasons why I left dispensationalism, please click here.)