In Non-Essentials, Unity?

July 16, 2020 at 5:12 PM 16 comments

There is a saying that you’ve no doubt heard, which goes like this:

In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things charity.

The statement is often credited to Augustine. However, Augustine, while credited with it, most likely did not originate it. One site states that the saying was “first stated by the 17th-century Lutheran Rupertus Meldenius (a.k.a. Peter Meiderlin).” [1] Another site states, “In 1999,  H. J. M. Nellen found the quote in a 17th Century writing from the Marco Antonio de Dominis (d. 1624). [2]

Regardless of who said it originally, it’s an interesting meme and one I’d like to take a look at to see if it passes the muster, with respect to Scripture.

If you stop to consider the statement, one thing noticed immediately is that it sounds loving and therefore, because of that, what could possibly be wrong with it? In fact, much of society today is based on “feelz” so that what people feel is what determines truth for them. This has fast become the norm.

Let’s look at the whole of it. Whoever originally said it may have meant that within Christendom and specifically with reference to the teachings of Scripture, in those areas considered “essential,” there should be absolute unity. Of course, the person who originated that particular saying has a lot to do with what was meant by it too.

But let’s distill the major beliefs of Christianity down into the five fundamentals of the faith:

  1. The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1; John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8-9).
  2. The Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27).
  3. The Blood Atonement (Acts 20:28; Romans 3:25, 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12-14).
  4. The Bodily Resurrection (Luke 24:36-46; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 15:14-15).
  5. The inerrancy of the scriptures themselves (Psalms 12:6-7; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20).

The inference of course, is that the above five fundamentals are fully essential and there is no “wiggle” room for the Christian to come to a different conclusion. Jesus is either God or He is not God. To deny Jesus is God is to deny God Himself and the truth of Scripture.

The same can be said for the other four points: the virgin birth, the blood atonement, the bodily resurrection and the inerrancy of Scriptures. These are non-negotiable beliefs for the Christian.

However, part of the problem with these so-called “five fundamentals” of Christianity is the implication that the rest of what Jesus and the apostles taught (not to mention writers and prophets of the Old Testament), can be classified as “non-essentials.” This leaves a very wide range of topics that are labeled “non-essentials.” Implicitly then, Christians can disagree over them and still worship together and strive to have some sense of “unity” even with differences.

We can have all sorts of disagreements over things like these examples:

  • style of music
  • length of hair on men
  • the sacraments themselves
  • which Greek text or which English version of the Bible used
  • the way people should dress in and outside of church
  • baptism

So for instance, most styles of music used in a variety of churches, it is argued, are fine as long as it brings the lost into church where the Gospel can be presented. Further, it is argued, if we do not redesign church services, making the unchurched feel more comfortable, how will they ever hear the Gospel? Changes should include adopting casual dress codes, including lively, upbeat worship music, with electric guitar, bass and drums, the pastor eliminating the pulpit and he (or she!) dressing far more casually, while sitting on a stool near a music stand, etc.

If a Christian man has long hair today, does the Bible have anything to say about that? Is that a “non-essential” topic? Did Paul teach on it? If he did, did he present it as a command or a “suggestion”?

Today, we have women in pulpits, women as “apostles,” and “prophets.” What does the Bible say about these things? Is that an “essential” or “non-essential” doctrine or subject? Was it culturally based as some think or is it based on God’s created order?

What about infant baptism vs infant dedication? Essential or non?

Without going into great detail and ending up beating this subject to death, I have to wonder if this belief – In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things charity – has given rise to modern heresies that might not have gained a foothold if more Christians were willing to always go back to Scripture?

For instance, because of the belief that “in non-essentials, liberty,” we have groups like the Promise Keepers who have whittled tenets of Christianity down to simply two or three “essentials,” not even the five fundamentals noted above.

The Promise Keepers Ambassador booklet listed the following as examples of issues that must be ignored for the sake of unity: Eternal security, the gifts of the Spirit, baptism, Pretribulation or post-tribulation prophecy, sacraments or ordinances. [3]

What? Eternal security is considered by Promise Keepers to be a “non-essential” where people can disagree and still worship and fellowship together. How can that be tolerated? Either salvation is eternal or it is not. Is there a way to know for certain? Yes, by studying the Scriptures!

Folks, I fully realize that there are many divergent opinions about what the Bible says and no one person is likely right about all of what Scripture teaches, but our job as Christians is to do everything we can (through our dependence upon God’s Spirit), to understand not what we think the Bible teaches, but what it actually teaches. After all, we are studying God’s eternal Word and because of that, we should always strive to know what He means by what is stated therein. That never ends in this life, though certainly, some believe they have “arrived.”

In essence, because of the broad acceptance of the maxim regarding essentials and non-essentials, we have come to divide biblical doctrine into “majors” and “minors,” haven’t we? Because of this, it is espoused that all “majors” should be believed and accepted by all within Christendom, while the “minors” can be disagreed over but still allow Christians to come together in fellowship.

Honestly, isn’t the Bible to be the Christian’s sole authority for faith and practice? Where in Scripture does it state or imply that non-essential liberty can allow for doctrinal differences, as long as they are non-essentials (or, not the “majors”), of the faith? Where does the Bible teach about “non-essential” truths in the New Testament or the Old, for that matter?

Consider Israel of the Old Testament. How many prophets did God send to warn and instruct the leaders of Israel? How many times did God hold back His anger over the fact that Israelites compromised with pagan nations and ultimately brought judgment on themselves because of it?

All we have to do is spend some time reading Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel and others to know how often Israel compromised with people who did not believe as they were taught to believe, originally by Moses. I cannot help but wonder if many within Christendom have found themselves in the same boat because of a willingness to compromise where “minor” doctrines of Scripture are set aside so that fellowship can exist and continue?

Is this just reserved for Israel and not the Church? Not according to the opening chapters of Revelation, it isn’t? John spends some time writing down the very words of Jesus regarding the seven churches in Asia Minor. There were a number of things that Jesus complained about regarding several churches. The main problem seemed to be their willingness to compromise their faith.

In 1 Corinthians 11:2, Paul states, “Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.” (ESV)

He also speaks of “traditions” when he wrote to the Thessalonians in 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17. He meant the same thing in both epistles. The word “traditions” is referring to “inspired instructions,” ultimately, God’s Word. As an apostle, Paul had the authority to teach and teach he did. Writing the majority of the New Testament under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Paul was privileged to even reveal “mysteries” to us that had never been revealed before.

In the Corinthians passage above, he commends them for remembering “everything” and to “maintain the traditions” as he had previously taught them. He had just been dealing with the length of hair and the Lord’s Supper, so it is clear that these two things are not “minors” but ones that were very important to Paul, enough so that he felt the need to tell them what they might have been doing wrong.

I agree with some who have said that when God’s Word speaks on a particular matter, our liberty ends. We do not have “wiggle” room to set things aside no matter how “major” or “minor” that directive may appear to be.

Let me apply this to an issue today. I live in a state where our governor has said that he does not want to issue a mandate forcing people to wear masks. In fact, he has issued an EO that forbids government leaders in cities throughout this state to issue EOs that force people to wear masks. Because of that, when I am out and about, I do not need to wear a mask.

However, Walmart, has made it mandatory that all customers coming into any Walmart must wear masks. Costco already does this. I’m hearing other corporations are moving to that as well.

What is a Christian to do? We have some Christians who argue that we should absolutely wear masks because this is showing our love for our fellow human beings. Others argue that forcing people to wear masks is unconstitutional and those mandates should be ignored.

A corporation like Walmart can make whatever policy they want to make, as a business. What they cannot do is make a policy that ignores one segment of society in favor of another. For instance, if Walmart said all MEN must wear masks beginning this Monday, while all WOMEN are exempt, that would be against the law because it unfairly singles out one gender from another. But Walmart has not done that. They’ve made it a mandate for ALL people.

As a Christian, I can either choose to not shop at Walmart or continue shopping there but if I choose the latter, I will need to mask up. I still have freedom to choose. If I choose to ignore Walmart’s new policy and go into the store without a mask, I’m in the wrong. While Walmart has the authority to make rules for their own stores, it’s a bit different when politicians issue executive orders that take on the force of law. So when a governor issues an EO that says everyone must wear a mask when out in public, this is a questionable and not necessarily legitimate order.

What about wearing masks all the time even when there is no “rule” about masks? For instance, our church does not have a mandatory mask policy. They’ve also made it very clear that if people want to wear masks, they should feel free to do so. No one is going to make them feel out of place because of it. In that case, do I need to wear a mask for the benefit of someone else? No, but I will respect the fact that some feel more comfortable wearing a mask.

Are we striving for “unity” solely to have unity with others with whom we disagree? Paul knew that unity comes from agreement. He called Peter out for Peter’s failure to create unity in Acts 9 (cf. also Galatians 2). Of course, Paul as an apostle, was dealing with another apostle. We need to be extremely careful so that we do not become puffed up and sin.

With respect to anything we might label “non-essentials” of the faith, do these really exist, especially if Jesus was so careful to fulfill all aspects of the Law? I’d encourage all to search the Scriptures. God’s Word is either the final authority for all things pertaining to life and godliness or it is not.

 

[1] https://www.wayoflife.org/reports/in_essentials_unity.html#:~:text=%20In%20Essentials%20Unity%20%201%20We%20must,%E2%80%9Cnon-essentials%E2%80%9D%20tends%20to%20grow%20as%20time…%20More%20

[2] https://douglasbeaumont.com/2013/06/18/the-origin-of-in-essentials-unity/

[3] https://www.wayoflife.org/reports/in_essentials_unity.html#:~:text=%20In%20Essentials%20Unity%20%201%20We%20must,%E2%80%9Cnon-essentials%E2%80%9D%20tends%20to%20grow%20as%20time…%20More%20

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Perilous Times are Here: Lovers of Self

16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Maranatha Today  |  July 23, 2020 at 11:57 AM

    Thanks for your excellent article. Someone recently quoted this to me, I immediately got a check in my Spirit. Your article confirmed what I thought about the quote.
    May we not be lax as we walk out our salvation….
    Blessings and Maranatha!🙏

    Reply
  • 3. Jen b  |  July 20, 2020 at 9:37 PM

    Thank you so much for your insightful reply. Random thoughts as I process and please no rush or pressure in response:

    I have been wondering lately if God in His sovereign power is using the events of the past 6 months to tear down many idols including, possibly the us constitution and Declaration of Independence. I am grateful to be an American, having said that it seems christian America is far more inclined to “fight for our rights” than we are for the truth of the Word. We know that God judged apostate Israel using pagan nations, does the apostate church get a pass with our idols? I’m starting to wonder if the constitution and the idea we are really free is an illusion anyway, meaning it is the Lord God almighty, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob Who has made us free and guards us, not a government document that faithless men will trample on. Can you imagine the apostle Paul pledging his allegiance to the Roman Empire? Just thinking on these things lately. I confess as a patriot I grieve and lament watching our country be dismantled but at the same time, is it possible there is idolatry going on? God certainly will judge America and it seems has already been doing so. America is not doing it God ‘s way at this point and that includes the Republican Party. Christians seem to have a lot invested in the political system and much less focus on the weapons of our warfare that can destroy and tear down strong holds.
    And to your well articulated point re small groups….have you heard of peter drucker? Apparently it is he who helped usher in the organized CEO based church and its hierarchical small group system. I have noticed when I was in one last in a small group, that the group almost becomes the new mediator between the saint and the Lord. You are to confess your sins and thoughts to the group leaders and they forgive, and counsel. It became more like a 12 step meeting and less spirit filled teaching and worship where the Word has authority. The use the Bible as kind of a pithy reciting of platitudes. Our last “small group leaders “ encouraged separate marital counseling between husbands and wives, kept notes and provided those notes to the church higher ups. Those notes were subsequently Used to keep members in line If they questioned doctrine from the pulpit, It seems divisive and worldly. And also to your point it seems that true believers will indeed be worshipping in homes and small gatherings as the church at large continues to decline.

    Amos. 8:11….
    “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD.

    Blessings to you and your wife in Christ Jesus.

    Reply
    • 4. modres  |  July 21, 2020 at 7:19 AM

      Interesting thoughts and I will respond later. Thx!

      Reply
    • 5. modres  |  July 22, 2020 at 8:37 AM

      “I have been wondering lately if God in His sovereign power is using the events of the past 6 months to tear down many idols including, possibly the us constitution and Declaration of Independence.”

      It’s possible. I think yes, it’s very possible that Christians place more faith in the Constitution than in God and His Word. I think as long as the Constitution exists it’s fine to look to it as the basis for the rule of law. In fact it’s helping now as churches are uniting to fight fascism of the state. There will likely come a day when it won’t have the power that it does now and the reaction by Christians to it will be interesting to see. When Christians can quote the Constitution but not God’s Word there is a problem. We should certainly be thankful for the Constitution but it is not an eternal document as is God’s Word. I think in many respects the Constitution is barely hanging on.

      Paul used his Roman citizenship on several occasions. He understood that privilege but he essentially used it to spread the Gospel and Christians can do the same as long as it exists.

      Regardless of anything we are watching the destruction of USA from within. That is tragic but yet how will we get to a point where a one-world govt exists if USA still maintains its sovereignty? Ultimately our country reaps what it sows. If God destroyed many ancient cities and empires due to their ongoing rebellion and sin how does USA escape?

      At the same time it is the job of each and every Christian to continue to preach and live the Gospel so that some might see the truth and be saved.

      Too many believe that as Christians work hard, ppl will be saved and then when enough are saved (the Kingdom will be built), and then Jesus will be “able” to return. This is garbage of course but so many believe it.

      Christians have one job: the Great Commission and preaching the Gospel is directly tied to living it. That is where the rubber meets the road and it is very difficult to do day to day.

      Peter Drucker and that whole church growth movement is based on lies. They try to take the Acts examples and turn it into a man-centered theology.

      The confess your sins is cultish activity. The only person I confess to is Jesus AND another person I may have actively sinned against. When David confessed his sin to God saying “You only have I sinned against,” it was because David was the king and answered to no one except God.

      The confessing to others only gives them power over ppl.

      Keep pressing on in dark days that will get darker. Pray for all Christians. Pray for the lost. Jesus continues building His Church. We have no idea when that last lost person will enter the Kingdom.

      Reply
  • 6. Donna Thomas  |  July 20, 2020 at 6:04 PM

    I agree with all that you have stated. I believe God’s Word is a Whole and that He gave all of it to us to study and to understand. I believe it all has a particular original meaning and was never meant to be left up to our subjective personal interpretations and opinions. God means for us to prayerfully and carefully study it until we truly understand it’s true interpretation. And we can come to understand that. The problem lies with Christians. There are many things that hinder our being in unity in the Word – lazy or non existent study habits, poor listening, unteachable or rebellious attitudes, bad understanding due to bad teachers, etc. I believe all Scripture is essential. God never meant for us to divide it up into negotiable and non negotiable.
    Thank you for another great article.

    Reply
    • 7. modres  |  July 20, 2020 at 7:25 PM

      Thank you, Donna. God bless.

      Reply
  • 8. Jen B  |  July 20, 2020 at 3:46 PM

    I got saved in 2005 and began to attend a historic church in Chicago. Sad to say that at the same time I began to attend marked the beginnings of the new age/emergent practices as well as the mega church movement as they had just accepted “spiritual formation” into their curriculum. This idea of unity in anything deemed “non essential” has done more to confuse me personally and I believe the church as a whole than anything Else in my walk. It’s fairly straightforward how we interact with those who don’t believe. With those who profess to do so and hold to much different interpretations of scriptures It is less clear. Sometimes it seems it is satan’s attempt to put the sheep in the pen with wolves and has led to nothing but compromise, confusion and the mixed multitude our churches tend to be.

    When I first was saved (reading a Bible alone in my living room, by the way, I think I said the “sinners prayer” about 10,000 times. that is another practice that doesn’t have a Biblical standing but I digress), I Soon met another christian who was raised in Assemblies of God/David Wilkerson followers. No one ever told me I was saved forever, I just KNEW this. I didn’t even have the scriptures yet but I just knew it. From day one, this woman insisted and tried to influence me towards the idea that salvation was dependent upon my remaining faithful (what they really mean is not sinning) and said OSAS as she called it was a heresy. This woman had so much right doctrine it was hard for me to consider she may not even be a believer. I accepted that It is not my job to figure that out, but I will say that it seems instead of labeling the doctrine “eternal security” we should just say whether or not one accepts our LORD’s very Words that He offers us ETERNAL LIFE. One either believes His record or not. I used to think fellowship was possible with someone who is Arminian but I do not believe it is because at the end of the day the Arminian doctrine holds when one stands before the LORD he/she will be admitted into heaven because of his/her own free will and determination to serve the LORD. This focus on man’s will and choices runs throughout everything in this belief system. It leaves out that only by the God Man’s imputed righteousness through our faith that any of us will be admitted into heaven. To believe it can be forfeited or unbelievable is to reject the new birth. I do not believe it stays true to the Gospel and yet many teachers I respect and love have had unity with Pentecostals who I presume hold to conditional salvation.

    The same holds true in eschatology. My husband and I are dispensational (NOT hyper) We are surrounded by mega churches and other “Bible churches” that are reformed, Kingdom now teaching. We attended a dinner where a very well known theologian who wrote a book on systematic theology that is probably the most widely referenced today, was speaking. he never once mentioned the apostasy or any issues within the church, he basically said how great the American church is and how we send out more missionaries than any other country. He also defined the Kingdom of God as the spiritual reign of Christ in our hearts. I understand He is very respected And I am a nobody but how do we have close fellowship with other believers who simply do not share the same hope we have? If they believe we are already in the Kingdom, how can they be watching and anticipating our LORD the way we are? If they believe their hope is to build the Kingdom of God on earth and to bring about kingdom conditions how do we relate? And finally, how can we have fellowship with believers who think that Israel has been replaced by the church?

    In terms of worship style, at the first church we attended which was a mega church there were tattoos, flip flops, rock music and the pastor rode a motorcycle. He has since been disgraced on a national scale. What a surprise. If I am legalistic to find these things are irrelevant and offensive than so be it. It just seems that some respect and somber approach is Biblical. So many churches want to offer “contemporary” worship style, I get it, but then again why does the church wasn’t the same music as the world has? We can get that from the world!

    Paul said somewhere that there must be factions among us so that those are true may be recognized. I have learned it is very lonely to stand for the truth And I try to do so with Grace but frankly I don’t know how that looks when we are dealing with areas that aren’t included in what is considered the essentials. For instance, The way I show grace to my emergent and NAR friends is to not argue with them and to not let them influence me. My first spiritual small group leader promotes Henri Nouwen, Eugene Peterson and that Bethel Church which barely even resembles biblical Christianity. How can we have Unity? Not possible. I don’t know how to be more loving. Some may label me a “legalistic” but I’ve tried to fellowship and maintain unity with those who are in real error and it just doesn’t work.

    I have rambled on, forgive me. Your post was very insightful and addressed a very relevant topic for us today.

    Would love one day to hear your thoughts on the modern “small group” system in the organized church. I have a notion what started as Biblical has morphed into a very unGodly system of control over the saints where the group has replaced the Holy Spirit.

    God help us stand for His Word in these days.
    Thanks so much for your continued articles. They are a great blessing in these days.

    Reply
    • 9. modres  |  July 20, 2020 at 4:57 PM

      Hi Jen,

      Thanks so much for writing and for sharing your experience and outlook. Anyone today who holds to a truly biblically sound view of Scripture will increasingly be seen as “legalistic” and “judgmental.” I believe this is why Jesus asked this question, When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8)

      Consider that Jesus asking that question (a rhetorical one since He as God knew the answer), is really issuing a warning to His followers that it will become very difficult to live a life of faith as things ramp up toward the Tribulation and during the Tribulation itself. He also noted in Matthew 24:12 that due to the severe increase in iniquity, the love of many will grow cold. Paul echoes this sentiment in 2 Thessalonians 2 when he discusses the “mystery of iniquity” that will ultimately usher in and find fulfillment in the man of sin, or the Antichrist.

      I fully believe that as the Tribulation approaches and certainly as the Tribulation takes hold of this world, living faith will become like a drought on the earth. Once the Church is raptured, the Holy Spirit will no longer have the Church to work in and through on this earth. Of course, He will still be here but in a different way of working. Many conservative scholars believe He will no longer indwell anyone who becomes saved during the Tribulation. In fact, it appears that things may well revert to Old Testament times when the Holy Spirit did not indwell, but simply came upon and would also leave when the job was done. Those who become believers during the Tribulation are not part of the Church since the Church is gone. They are a separate (but equal) group of believers in Jesus.

      As the intensity of the Tribulation heats up, it will become so severe that many may have an extremely difficult time exercising a living, consistent faith in Christ. Of course, this does NOT mean they will lose salvation. I fully agree with you that our salvation originates with God and He brings it to fruition. Our job is to receive or reject that salvation, but once received, it is 100% eternal. I understand how people arrive to their erroneous conclusions about possibly “losing” salvation, but they are in serious error and I believe that false doctrine attacks God and His sovereignty. To believe that salvation can be lost means that men/women have to do something to keep it, as you note. We receive it or not. If we choose to not live holy, faithful lives, that will be shown for what it is at the BEMA Seat of Christ where our life is judged, not to determine whether or not we have salvation, but to determine what (if any) our rewards might be (1 Corinthians 3:13-15).

      My wife and I talk about these things often and we have come to the conclusion that as the days progress toward the the start of the Tribulation, truly biblically-based churches will likely become smaller and smaller and many may end up becoming groups of people meeting in homes.

      Regarding the concept of “unity” today, it seems that too many Christians want “unity” over everything (including doctrine), because they believe that if we all just “get along,” it will prove to the world that we “love.” The problem of course is that truth – absolute truth – must be defended and in doing so, some Christians will require being corrected. I think it’s extremely important to be very careful about how this is done though.

      This, I believe, is part of the “social justice warrior” syndrome that has infected Christendom. Too many people go by “feelz” today instead of truth. Their “feelz” creates their truth and the goal is to be accepted by as many people as possible. This is why some Christians have even joined in supporting groups like BLM – a Marxist organization determined to destroy the USA. It’ll eventually happen, in my opinion.

      We have left numerous churches because we saw them moving toward becoming seeker-friendly (emergent church, etc.). They became far more concerned about how the unchurched saw that church than what Jesus might have to say about them. In essence, this is the issue with the churches that Jesus speaks of in the opening chapters of Revelation (literally, the “revealing”). The basic problem with most of those churches is due to their compromised position.

      Can you imagine a Christian married person being pushed to hang out with immoral single (or married people), so as not to appear “judgmental”? If they did, what would that married person really be saying about their alleged love for their spouse? Wouldn’t they be putting the felt needs or desires of others ahead of their own spouse?

      This, I believe, is what authentic Christians are up against today, especially with the Church Age drawing to a close. We are facing the peer pressure from so-called Christian leaders who have forsaken the cross and adopting worldly standards to “improve” church so that the unchurched will feel more “at home.”

      As far as small groups you mention, it CAN be a good thing, but all too often it is simply a gathering of people with no real direction. As I say, it may well be that more and more Christians will find it harder and harder to locate a Bible-believing, Bible-preaching, doctrinally sound church and will need to resort to small gatherings in homes. If they do, they will definitely need to find a qualified teacher to teach and lead them, one who is clearly devoted to the Lord.

      We’ve attended some of those small groups where the leader was simply a “nice, energetic” host, but had no real training in the Bible. Topics were often safe to discuss and any serious issues were eschewed. In fact, one small group at a church we used to attend years ago got into a bit of a serious discussion over whether Mormons were Christians. Half the group thought they were while the other half thought they were not. The pastor – if you can believe it – came down on the side that said we should be willing to worship with Mormons too.

      We’re going to see much more of this as time marches on. For us, we must draw close to Jesus and that is done by reading, memorizing, and contemplating His Word. Prayer should be something we enter into often throughout the day.

      Thanks for writing. Write any time!

      Reply
      • 10. Maranatha Today  |  July 23, 2020 at 12:19 PM

        “Anyone today who holds to a truly biblically sound view of Scripture will increasingly be seen as “legalistic” and “judgmental.” I believe this is why Jesus asked this question, When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8).

        Consider that Jesus asking that question (a rhetorical one since He as God knew the answer), is really issuing a warning to His followers that it will become very difficult to live a life of faith as things ramp up toward the Tribulation and during the Tribulation itself. He also noted in Matthew 24:12 that due to the severe increase in iniquity, the love of many will grow cold. Paul echoes this sentiment in 2 Thessalonians 2 when he discusses the “mystery of iniquity” that will ultimately usher in and find fulfillment in the man of sin, or the Antichrist.”

        Luke 18:1-8 New King James Version (NKJV)
        The Parable of the Persistent Widow
        18 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ” 6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

        Jesus asked this question, but he told a story before that. Imho it’s to do with “persistent prayer” to God as we head into these end times.

        The church is lacking in prayer for Him to come, crying out day and night for His Justice to be done etc. I believe the faith that’s lacking is persistent prayer. I would love your thoughts on this. Thanks Modres.

      • 11. modres  |  July 23, 2020 at 8:30 PM

        Yes, I think Jesus is emphasizing the reality and need for prayer by His children. Persistent, yes. Continual, yes because both of these give evidence of working faith.

        The sad part here is that I think what Jesus is saying is the period before His return will be marked by persecution, apostasy, and unbelief. In other words, real true faith will be rare much like the days of Noah and Lot. Tragic.

    • 12. Donna Thomas  |  July 20, 2020 at 6:48 PM

      I was very blessed by what you wrote because I have been going through the same thing for several years now.
      Where I live the Churches have either all been converted into condo buildings or have been taken over by the Gospel Coalition groups, (“Seeker Friendly”, Kingdom Now, Social Justice, Catholic mysticism, etc.). I have really done my homework and have searched for a Church that I can attend and cannot find one. They are all going the way of apostate teaching.
      I have been saved and been a faithful Church goer and active Church member since 1981, so this really was disturbing and heartbreaking to me. I prayed about all that I was seeing and God led me to wonderful believers online from all over the country (& world) who were going through the same thing as me. He connected me to great teachers and ministries that He has raised up in these last days as Watchmen to alert the Church to the soon return of Christ and to teach how prophecy is being fulfilled in our day. I can’t tell you what a blessing this has been to me.
      In line with what you said about feeling alone in standing for the truth, I can relate very well. I have shared the truth with some Christian friends and they don’t really want to hear it. God set me free from many false teachings that I was taught as a young Christian (Prosperity Gospel, Name It Claim It, “Concore the 7 Hills” Kingdom Now), but my friends seem to want to hang onto those beliefs and ignore eschatology and what God is revealing today because those (false) beliefs make their lives more comfortable in this world. I came across a saying that I believe God wanted me to think about..
      “All who began with you will not finish with you. Learn to walk alone.”
      I am not saying that God wants us to be alone, the opposite is true. We need fellowship with other like minded sincere believers. I just believe God was letting me know that there are times when we must choose to walk alone rather than walk with those who choose to compromise and not value God and His Word as they should.
      My best and sweetest fellowship will always be with the Lord. I love the fellowship that I have with the (few) Christian friends that I still have, but I will always cherish my fellowship with God first.
      Thank you for what you shared.

      Reply
      • 13. Jen b  |  July 20, 2020 at 8:42 PM

        Donna, praise God for your faithful witness. I too have experienced resistance to other Christians when I’ve tried to share the truth, and they resist in fact sometimes it seems the apostle church is more hostile to the Word than the unsaved world!
        God also has used technology to minister solid teaching and fellowship to us….including this blog, what a blessing. Amazing!
        1John 1:3-4….that which we have seen and heard we declare to you that you may have fellowship with us, and truly our fellowship is with the Father and His Son, Jesus the Messiah, and these things we write unto you that your joy May be full”.
        May our Lord continue to guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

      • 14. modres  |  July 20, 2020 at 9:00 PM

        Amen to both of you.

      • 15. Jen b  |  July 20, 2020 at 9:38 PM

        I meant “apostate” church. Sorry for the error.

      • 16. Donna Thomas  |  July 22, 2020 at 12:10 AM

        Jen, Thank you for your reply.
        I want to add that this blog is, for me, one of the ones I faithfully follow because I can always count on sound teaching. It really is a blessing.
        May God continue to bless and guide you.

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