I visited a Pastor’s Blog in which he was lamenting the occurrence and a recent expose’ of pedophilia within his denomination’s ministerial staff. I agreed with him that this sin is criminal, abominable and should be taken care of. I responded to his post and tried to express to him a reason why some ministers might stray into this and other terrible sins.
The Pastor did not agree with my analysis or my suggestion for a possible solution. This post below is a revision of my comment to this blogging Pastor.
He answered my comment with this statement:
“Jack, I disagree with your thinking ….. and agree with the …. Faith & Mission [Statement].”
Could it be that a church’s Statement of Faith (SOF), would lead a Pastor into doubting or under-playing his mission, his Savior or his salvation? He might wonder “If I can’t do what I have promised (abide by the legalism and rules of the church’s SOF) then I might as well live it up and entertain my basest thoughts.”
This Pastor says he was born into and raised in a particular denomination. He attended a college of that denomination and was ordained as a minister in that same denomination. He is thoroughly familiar with the teachings of his denomination.
After carefully reading this denomination’s Statement of Beliefs, especially the section on Salvation, I noticed that there are two errors in the same paragraph, Repentance and Faith. I wondered if these errors have made null, dulled or taken away the wonderful amazing grace provided us by our loving Heavenly Father and so apparent in His Word..
The first sentence erroneously reads:
“Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God.”
This is subtle false doctrine. Repentance in salvation is simply a change of mind. When one repents, he changes his mind from his own works, or whatever he may be trusting to save him, to believing that Jesus Christ will save him. Repentance for salvation (New Testament) is NOT turning from sin since that would make salvation no longer God’s gift through faith but a reward or wages owed because of one’s works.
Here is the second sentence of this same paragraph on Salvation:
“Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.”
This likewise is false doctrine. but not so subtle. If this denomination’s SOF had simply stated “Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ…as Savior” that would be sufficiently Biblical.. but they proceeded to add a works message of “and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.” To be saved, one DOES NOT commit his “entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior.” One simply trusts, believes in Christ as his Savior. Period. Commitment is a work that may or may not come for a believer as he matures, but whether it comes later or not, it never alters one’s eternal salvation by God’s Grace through faith in Jesus Christ .
Any Pastor worth his salt, should realize he cannot possibly keep the rules of this denomination or one of its churches. He may very well try and fail and thus fall into despondency and be open and tempted by Satan for just about any kind of sin. This denomination does not fully understand God’s Grace or, if they do, they certainly don’t reflect a doctrine of Grace in these passages. In fact, those rules contradict God’s Amazing Grace for salvation.
Thankfully the Lord does not require either of these two rules or laws for salvation.
However, let’s be clear. Every one who has trusted Christ alone as Savior SHOULD, by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, turn from sin. Every believer SHOULD, by the power of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit, commit his entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour. But these decisions are for service and have absolutely nothing to do with accepting or keeping God’s free gift of salvation. (Ephesians 2:10)
However, as this Pastor implied, this is not just a problem for this one denomination . Any Pastor or believer who forgets, ignores or doesn’t know the Grace of God is susceptible.
Believer or Pastor — Never forget the magnificence and power of God’s Grace.
God’s Grace is absolutely Amazing — and all-encompassing. So what about God’s Grace?
God’s grace that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Titus 2:11
As every believer should know, God gives Grace through which we are saved. “For by grace are ye saved through faith;” Ephesians 2:8
As believers, we have received grace to enable our obedience to the Lord. “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith….” Romans 1:5
We have God’s Grace to help our behavior. “…not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation [manner of life] in the world,” 2 Corinthians 1:12b
God’s Grace will help us begin and finish as believers. “…. that as He had begun, so He would also finish in you the same grace also.” 2 Corinthians 8:6
God’s Grace is something in which we believers should abound to every good work with sufficiency in all things..”….. see that ye abound [have more abundance] in this grace also.” 2 Corinthians 8:7b. And then, “…God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: ” 2 Corinthians 9:8
Believers can gain strength in God’s Grace. “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:1
God gives His grace to help believers in time of need. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. ” Hebrews 4:16
Believers are justified by God’s Grace. Titus 3:7
Believers should never be satisfied but “…grow in grace, ….” 2 Peter 3:18
We are saved by God’s Grace so let us serve Him, not by legalism or church laws but by living in and sharing His powerful enabling Grace in Jesus Christ.
There are many denominations and churches who err in their statement of beliefs. Since this particular Pastor was speaking of his specific denomination, his Statement of Beliefs is the source of the erroneous quotes above.
The false doctrines above were copied from The Southern Baptist Convention Statement of Beliefs: http://www.sbc.net/bfm/bfm2000.asp
A message of salvation which incorporates grace plus works is NOT a message of God’s Grace. Romans 11:6
We are saved by God’s Grace, let’s live by God’s Grace. God’s Grace gives liberty in Christ but His liberty is never a license to sin.
Find the truth of the Scripture about Grace and Salvation: Our personal Gospel Web Site.