May 29, 2008

Adrian Rogers, Dysfunctional Trinitarian

Much of our American theological heritage has been under the influence of itinerant preachers. Christ himself was an itinerant preacher so there can't be a lot wrong with unschooled men studying the Bible for themselves and acquiring impressive knowledge of Scripture.

However in my early years, practically unschooled myself, I ran into theologies formed in the field of debate. Trinitarian Pentecostals who argue with "Jesus Only" people leaned toward Socinianist views of Christ, without knowing where they were headed. My first Church out of college was such a Church where I worked in an associate capacity. We sang heartily (loudly) "Standing on the promises of 'Christ' my savior" and I belted out "God my Savior"! Those around me heard me and later took me aside and told me that the pastor had changed the words 'God' to "Christ my Savior". When I preached I referred to God as Spirit and I was told that "God had a physical form and dwelt in heaven.

Many preachers got their theology free in the mail through "Plain truth" magazine. Much of their prophecy preaching was garnered from Herbert Armstrong as well as his Adventism and subsequent legalism. They studied Dake's Study Bible. They possessed Clarence Larkin's books and had a wire clothe line strung across the stage behind the pulpit to hang a Chronological chart of the dispensations, which amazed the attenders of the Church. That chart was equivalent to the undisputed Word Of God itself. This leads to dysfunctional trinitarians and it is rampant in small Fundamental independent, Pentecostal and Charismatic ministries today.

Adrian Rogers was also under the influence of this type thought. He leaned on Dr John R. Rice and his publication Sword of the Lord. His strong soul winning evangelism and anti-Calvinism was drawn from Rice as indicated from "Predestinated to Hell? Absolutely Not!"

The momentum in anti-Calvinist (Arminian) thought leads toward Socinianism. "They (Socinianism) believed that, if God knew every possible future, human free will was impossible; and as such rejected the "hard" view of omniscience." (Wikipedia) Anti-Calvinism has to compromise God's sovereignty in election. This rejection of sovereignty is a rational move that creates a dysfunctional Trinitarianism and ultimately leads to Unitarianism. Normally Christ's divinity is compromised and Christ becomes only a man. However in Rogers' thought the necessary compromise is with the Father in sovereignly electing and the Holy Spirit in accomplishing that sovereign selection. The Holy Spirit accomplishes the will of the Father in election. Christ's deity is intact fully (pre-incarnation, virgin birth and bodily resurrection) and his vicarious sacrifice for sins is complete and the inerrant Scripture is defended. Dr Rogers is thoroughly a Fundamentalist however his view of the trinity is dysfunctional by nature of his strong stand against Calvinism. It is not an issue of Arminianism and Calvinism but of the view of the Godhead (Father and Spirit)

My personal opinion is that there is no way to disturb one's view of the Godhead and not suffer the practical consequences. A bad tree produces bad fruit. To entertain any compromise of the sovereignty of God to any degree is a dangerous thing to do. God is sovereign or He is not! We can not approach Him and ask the King of Glory to surrender a little of His sovereignty for the benefit of a free offer of salvation to sinful mortal man. I can not fathom God cooperating with any such request. A man must of necessity make the false assumption that he has God's approval and then live with that assumption. I cannot live with that lie!

May 30 7:13 AM Jehovah Witnesses are dysfunctional trinitarians, actually Unitarians. 120 or more years ago Charles Russell was a trinitarian who evolved the trinity into a unity. Today it has the remains of trinity, The Father is Jehovah ruling from a physical heavenly realm with a physical form. He is not fully omni present only his realm is omni-present. He is not omni-potent, he shares his powers with created beings. He is powerful to the extent that he could rule supreme rather He sits in judgement of the affairs of mortal men to prove the inadequate rule of sinful man. He is not omniscient for he knows not all eventualities. The Father is eternal and uncreated. The Holy Spirit is only a force and influence. The Son is a created being who since 1914 has started his invisible kingly reign and will soon rule visibly as King of the earthly reign. (it has to be very, very soon) Michael the archangel is Christ! Get this, for them the Bible, New World Translation, is inerrant and directs perfectly the rule of the kingdom of Jehovah's witnesses. They believe that which is perfect has come in the form of the written Word of Jehovah.

In 2087 what will Adrian Rogers followers evolve into? For certain they will still hold to the inerrancy of Scripture. They will never loose that. Bank on it!

May 25, 2008

Adrian Rogers - Pseudo Trinitarian

While it may appear that I am making personal attacks at Adrian Rogers, I am not, I am attacking his theology. He was a prince among preachers and lived a life worthy of that title.

He professed a belief in trinitarianism but followed a continuing legacy of Arminianism that was rooted in the Pelagianism (semi-Pelagianism) of Charles Finney.

Pelagianism breeds Unitarianism simply because it doesn't need the persons of the trinity. The Jehovah Witnesses are Unitarian with a belief in Arianism. They focus on Jehovah as the uncreated entity of deity. Christ is a created spirit being subordinate to the Father.

United Pentecostalism is Unitarian focusing on Christ as the fullness of deity. The Father and Spirit are modes of God's manifestations. They are commonly referred to as "Jesus Only". The theological term for their belief system is called Modalistic Monarchianism.

Finney's Pelagianism continued in D.L. Moody and Billy Sunday's Semi-Pelagianism.
Billy Graham, Jimmy Swaggart, Keith Green and many para Church groups such as Youth With A Mission are products of Finney's legacy.

Semi-Pelagianism professes Trinitarianism but takes on a "functional Unitarianism". While they are not Unitarian they have characteristics of Modalistic Monarchianism. That is they exalt the second person of the Godhead at the expense of the other two. They are traditional Trinitarians
but not functional Trinitarians.

A scholarly Calvinist professes a strong belief in a trinitarian salvific formula. He believes that All three persons are equally involved in the plan of salvation from beginning to end. However experiential Calvinism is one who is possessed by a triune God and has familiarity with each person in personal faith, not Son only, not Father only nor Holy Spirit only but all three in one.

When Adrian Rogers stood before 5000 people he mastered the art of altar invitations and utilized practical time-tested methods of bringing folks forward. The hints of Modalistic Monarchianism were there in his well used phrase "come to Jesus". At his memorial service at Bellevue the uppermost phrase for his tribute was "come to Jesus".

At the conclusion of every sermon he would step from the pulpit and stage and stand at the front of the pulpit. "Come to Jesus" as though there was not a need of the Father to choose or elect and a Holy Spirit to move according to the will of the Father. It was just "come to Jesus". It seemed, if not so, that the draw of his charisma was sufficient to bring sinners forward. He was Father and Spirit saying "come to Jesus".

added May 27: Calvinistic teaching of limited/particular atonement has its roots in the desire to recognise salvation as a work of the whole Trinity acting in unity. Perhaps a reason that many anti-Calvinist, those who deny limited atonement and irresistible grace, gravitate toward a dysfunctional trinitarianism. Or else they gravitate in the broader historical sense from trinitarian orthodoxy to a dysfunctional salvific orthodoxy and if they remain so will eventually end at Unitarianism. They cannot hold a steady course between the two for long. American evangelicalism swings like a pendulum between Christian orthodoxy and Unitarianism.

May 19, 2008

Texas Pastor Caught In Sex Sting

Rev Joe Barron, 52, minister at Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas. Senior Pastor is Jack Graham. Is this just the tip of the iceberg or is it the last of the sexual predator ministers?

Read more here, especially the comments. Read here for Christa Brown's blog for more information and comments. (added May 24)

May 8, 2008

A Volatile Theological Cocktail - Paul Williams

Adrian Rogers mixed a potent drink at Bellevue Baptist. He served it proudly from his pulpit.

Here are the ingredients for this famous cocktail.
1) conditional election by the sinner's foreseen believer's faith.
2) fair offer to all atonement
3) outward non-effectual calling
4) believer's decision to stay saved for eternity
5) Mickey Finn -sinner's belief that he is not all bad (this ingredient has to be slipped in quickly)
Begin by filling your shaker two-thirds full of ice and add the ingredients of the shaken cocktail.

Paul Williams drank this solution for long enough to be the kind of person who did what he did to his own young son for 12-18 months about 1987. It led him into the only fear he had for himself, going to prison not hell.

May 7, 2008

"We Call Forced Love A Crime"

Here, here, here, here , here and here are criminal "forced love" crimes.

If you can handle the truth here are Statements of the court case which describe the kind of heinous crimes which Paul Williams committed against his own young son which are only "moral failures."

May 1, 2008

"We Call Forced Love A Crime" - Steve Gaines, Feb. 24, 2008

"A lot of people are teaching that stuff," Steve Gaines said with a snarled lip as theological refutation of Calvinistic irresistible grace. "God never coerces anyone to follow Him neither should we."

Then later he says: "Forced love is not love, we call forced love a crime." I beg to disagree, Steve, but you said the most heinous Church related sin to ever be committed this century by your associate staff member was a "moral failure," which seems to simply imply a disappointing shortcoming in ministerial duties requiring a removal from staff, stripped of credentials and escorted off campus.

Now to your credit you may have meant that if a sorry excuse for a man gets so drunk one night and sodomizes his own son down in the ghettos it is a crime for which he should be thrown in prison, I would understand. Throw the bum in prison and loose the key! But, no, Steve, you said a reputable minister who without intoxication repeatably for 12-18 months sodomized his own young son and sat beside your predecessor in staff meetings was a moral failure.

You have disarmed your pulpit of the seriousness of calling sin "sin." You can preach to the choir with your "how to live successful" in a post modern culture. However you should preach from a manuscript and carefully edit any references to sin and leave that to more qualified ministers. Please do not preach against the heinous sin of homosexuality and leave yourself exposed to the "Saturday Night Live" crowd who are experts at pointing out radical social contradictions for the pleasure of satire.