Mysticism Versus “Grace to Know”.

Chapter 15 of One Commentary on Ephesians:  Contemplative Mysticism and Some Sounds of Sound Doctrine’s (ssosf) “Grace to Know”.

NOTE:  In Passion, in this Mysticism, as in the Bible of Ephesians the goal is knowledge of God and Jesus, they with secret contemplative knowledge, and the Bible by revelation of the wisdom and knowledge from God.

With the advent of social media, it is not necessary to wait for some professor of theology or American Thought to write a book, we can learn about Contemplative Mysticism and its sisters of paganism and Gnosticism, and even as Dr. Lee would say, other “isms” that ought to be “wasms”, but which are very active and alive today in for example the Passion Movement of Louie Giglio; and with selective social media we have more down to earth pastors and teachers of the conservative Christian faith out to do a defense of the Christian faith, as Jude recommended, “once for all delivered to the saints”  (yes through all this powerful spirits of seduction and doctrines of devils, and indifference we do have more today Christian saints, or at least the best we can do, for you know they even attack the purpose driven seekers like Rich Warren.

In fact to this writer, this “Contemplative Mysticism” first came to life in a Facebook Group as the subtitle of “Louie Giglio Exposed” {https://www.facebook.com/Louis-Giglio-Exposed-804881129555966/} , also another startling revelation from a man on the Board of Regents at Baylor, that got his start and fame when he left SWBTS to study at Baylor and organize Bible studies on Monday nights that reached 10% of the Baylor students; of course of Passion Conferences fame and a new Passion church in Atlanta, and his bestselling book, itself noting spiritualizing as David is identified as Jesus, Goliath Must Fall. Previously an insightful blog was found online by Kym Durante, once a member of Passion Church, objecting to his brand of Passion worship.   Little did we know that we are into something much bigger than Louie and ourselves with an underground movement now becoming more evident with Pastor Giglio institutionalizing himself with Dallas Theological Seminary in a Passion Seminary.

Another form of Mysticism just encountered today on Facebook by Shirley McMichael, a personally acknowledged witch and to whom paganism is a compliment, with evidently a growing movement in both Ireland and Scotland.  Shirley wrote in a post today, “A couple of people have asked about how to open a sacred space….a nice simple article. Paganus Vox.”  And some of the article reads about worshipping the divine gods in nature.

NOTE:  You will have to read it yourself if interested as they allowed no quoting or copying.  https://www.wishbonix.com/elements-and-directions-of-magic/?fbclid=IwAR3qFcCzg4N4_r441OcPKsYVHIs5AxyJDNI5aVdv6DZ_aGOZfyucV_8kvGc#.XEA8hdKSggA.facebookhttps://www.wishbonix.com/elements-and-directions-of-magic/?fbclid=IwAR3qFcCzg4N4_r441OcPKsYVHIs5AxyJDNI5aVdv6DZ_aGOZfyucV_8kvGc#.XEA8hdKSggA.facebook

This can be some shocks for you the Christian reader of sound doctrine, so we will strive to go slowly from Contemplative Mysticism to the paganism and Gnosticism of the New Age from Dr. Peter Jones.  First an introductory statement from this Princeton and Harvard graduate, a welcome Christian conservative witness out the mire of modern Theology, and in a blog,  you need to read entitled “The Paganization of Biblical Studies”:

“We are in the presence of a powerful pagan/Gnostic theological agenda, claiming to be spanking new, objective and scientific, but as old as the hills. It is my belief that this trend in biblical studies is part of the setting in place of a pagan reconstruction of human culture for the planetary era.” { http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/007/Jones-paganization.htm?fbclid=IwAR1MDxIZAsic1T00BRAzDkdxbSvnubhiwGTqAqQX8Z1gdTG0Ky1CE2VbPKo}

Dr. Jones believed it so strongly that after years of teaching at Westminster Seminary in California, he started and is director of Christian Witness to a Pagan Planet . From the causalities of high school friends that started off so well in the Christian faith, probably much like Andy Stanley, Charles Stanley, and Louie Giglio, were in the long run slaughtered by the extremes of paganism like homosexuality and other unsound doctrines.  (Read Romans 1 for a Bible description of paganism that ends in all kinds of unrighteousness.

15-1:  The best recommendation of Extreme Theology by Chris Rosenbrough comes from opposition to what The Encyclopedia of American loons, “Our new and exciting series presenting a representative sample of American loons from A-Z.writes in a 2014 blog on Google {http://americanloons.blogspot.com/2014/06/1085-chris-rosebrough.html }

Chris Rosebrough is a fundamentalist pastor and host of the Pirate Christian Radio and the radio show podcast Fighting For The Faith. Apparently, he’s something of a notorious figure among certain groups of fundies, though he hasn’t quite managed to make a big media impact beyond the inner rings of the Taliban. Still, he deserves a quick mention: Rosebrough’s anti-gay activities and positions are stock of the trade. More novel (well, reactionary) is his opposition to ordaining women priests. After all, the ministry is a boy’s club and has always been so (what about the famous female apostle Junia, mentioned in Romans 16:7? Ah, according to Rosebrough she was really a man as well; evidence? It sits better with his position). And as for science? “I see no evidence in scripture that humanity evolved from apes via random chance and ‘survival of the fittest’,” says Rosebrough, which is strictly speaking true but in the context suggests that he entertains a lot of other, radically idiotic beliefs.

Mildly interestingly, Rosebrough has been in some disputes with the notorious Rick Warren, in particular over the fact that Warren, who calls himself Rupert Murdoch’s pastor, has failed to call Murdoch out on the latter’s “owning, expanding and profiting from pornographic channels.” If that’s your main moral concern with Murdoch, you should reconsider your priorities.

15-2:  And that was written to present you some lead in to the Extreme Theology blog of Chris, in particular blogs that deal with the Mysticism of Warren and Beth Moore, answering the question why do they do it, and the answer is “marketing”, in other words to make money.  Perhaps you know it as the Gospel of Prosperity and that will be discussed in Chapter 16 of this book.

NOTE:  The blog’s author, Chris Rosebrough, has a degree in Religious Studies and Biblical Languages from Concordia University, Irvine and currently teaches at Capo Valley Church in San Juan Capistrano, California.

The blog is about The Brutal Truth About Lectio Divina which by the way was sort of a confession of faith or meditation that Beth Moore and Giglio led the our youth to recite during a recent Passion Conference, and that alone should be proof to you of the Mysticism of Passion and how that they must have crowds for marketing.

“Why are Rick Warren and a growing gaggle of Purpose-Driven and Seeker-Driven pastors embracing and promoting Roman Catholic Monastic Mysticism? In a previous post, I said that I would answer this question. It’s now time to do so.  There is one reason and one reason only why innovative market-driven pastors are promoting Roman Catholic Monastic Mysticism. The simple answer is MARKETING.  Since the mid-90’s market survey’s and data have been pointing market-driven pastors to the fact that the spiritual market in America was undergoing a change and would soon be embracing spirituality and expect mystical spiritual experiences from their church.  Therefore, the market-driven church in a pragmatic attempt to make the church more appealing to pagans, who expect to have spiritual experiences, have reached back in time to find some vaguely “Christian” form of spirituality that they could promote in order to meet the felt needs of pagans and thereby grow their churches. This is growth for growth’s sake with absolutely no concern for the truth and sound Biblical doctrine!”

15-3:  Connections of Charles Stanley and Andy Stanley to the mysticism of Passion also motivated by the marketing of getting rich and famous, you know the way of the savage wolves of Ephesus.

Unknow is how tight Charles Stanley, avid fan of Napoleon Hills book Think and Grow Rich, and Andy Stanley, recently coming out with Gnostic like belief in the 10 Commandments of the OT should be ignored, are even though Mr. Giglio was a pastor at Andy’s Northpoint church for 13 years, and Charles Stanley introduced the recent Passion Conference in Atlanta.  And did you know that the Passion Church of Atlanta was built with SBC money.  {There is even a chance that when Stanley was taking on Southwestern Seminary, Louis was a student there with Andy, and he went down to Baylor and the very liberal Truett Seminary to escape any counters.}  Based on his friendship with Charles and Andy, it would seem that Louie is more interested in marketing than in mysticism itself, it is only that they see mysticism as a crowd pleasure that is marketable, and the Passion Conferences, catered by professional groups for large conferences, do make a lot of money.

Charles Stanley tells the story of how a close relative gave him a copy of one of Hill’s books as he started the ministry, he read it each year as sort of a manual for church and personal growth, and readily admits it.  About Hill as a mystic and a marketer that wants to get rich, what do we know about him.

15-4:  We turn to Got Questions for the definition and answer to Contemplative Mysticism.  {https://www.gotquestions.org/contemplative-spirituality.html }

Question: “What is contemplative spirituality?”

Answer: Contemplative spirituality is an extremely dangerous practice for any person who desires to live a biblical, God-centered life. It is most commonly associated with the emerging church movement, which is riddled with false teachings. It is also used by many different groups that have little, if any, connection with Christianity.

In practice, contemplative spirituality is primarily centered on meditation, although not meditation with a biblical perspective. Passages such as Joshua 1:8 actually exhort us to meditate: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Notice what the focus of meditation should be—the Word of God. Contemplative spirituality-driven meditation focuses on nothing, literally. A practitioner is exhorted to completely empty his/her mind, to just “be.” Supposedly, this helps one to open up to a greater spiritual experience. However, we are exhorted in Scripture to transform our minds to that of Christ’s, to have His mind. Emptying our minds is contrary to such active, conscious transformation.

Contemplative spirituality also encourages the pursuit of a mystical experience with God. Mysticism is the belief that knowledge of God, spiritual truth, and ultimate reality can be gained through subjective experience. This emphasis on experiential knowledge erodes the authority of Scripture. We know God according to His Word. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God’s Word is complete. There is no reason to believe that God adds additional teachings or truths to His Word through mystical experiences. Instead, our faith and what we know about God is based on fact.

The website for the Center for Contemplative Spirituality sums it up well: “We come from a variety of secular and religious backgrounds and we each seek to enrich our journey through spiritual practice and study of the world’s great spiritual traditions. We desire to draw closer to the loving Spirit which pervades all creation and which inspires our compassion for all beings.” There is absolutely nothing biblical about such goals. Studying the world’s “spiritual traditions” is an exercise in futility because any spiritual tradition other than that which exalts Christ is falsehood. The only way to draw closer to God is through the path He has ordained—Jesus Christ and the Word.”

NOTE:  Does not that underlined statement of their contemplative mysticism faith sound so similar to the paganism of witchcraft?

15-5:  A quick look at  Center for Contemplative Spirituality.  (There are many such centers online so that we must strive to get the best, or worst.)

“WELCOME TO The Center for Christian Spirituality

The Center for Christian Spirituality companions with persons who desire a deepening connection with God that makes a difference in who they are with God, self, others, and the created world.”  {http://www.chapelwood.org/contemplative/ }

And with sounds of avowed paganism is a sub article on Create Space: “Creative Space is a nurturing, encouraging gathering of people who come together monthly to create art and spend time in personal reflection. It provides an opportunity to explore spirituality through creative expression, as well as to be creative in a setting that is intentionally designed to enhance the spiritual.  Creative Space is open and welcoming to all levels of creative art experience and all the necessary supplies are provided at each session. There is no cost for these gatherings. The supplies are set out for use from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Dress is comfortable casual. The space and opportunity are about the individual personal process not a final product and the setting is for post high school age.

Another site writes:  {    http://christianresearchnetwork.org/topic/contemplative-spirituality/ }

“Contemplative prayer (also referred to as centering prayer, breath prayer, meditation or listening prayer) is one of the most esteemed spiritual disciplines taught in spiritual formation. In both practice and purpose, contemplative prayer stands in contrast with what Scripture teaches about prayer. Practitioners believe that one must clear the mind of outside concerns so that God’s voice may more easily be heard and that one may be united with the “divine spark” within.

Advocates of contemplative prayer believe and teach that it is a necessary practice if one desires to become more like Christ. In claiming this, however, they often appeal to the practices of ancient Roman Catholic mystic monks rather than the Word of God.”

NOTE:  Yet to be dealt with is how the Passion Movement is also a movement to be leaders in ecumenicalism, hence you see a Bible Baptist denomination of the Dallas Theological Seminary joining with Louie to institutionalize a Passion Seminary.

15-6:  Enough this mysticism slop for now, we need to get into Some Sounds of Sound Faith and the “Grace to Know”.

Sound 1-1:    GRACE TO KNOW!

God through Christ gives us the grace to know sound doctrine and sound faith.  When I first mentioned THE SOUND OF A SOUND FAITH to people, the question was asked “What is sound faith?”  At that time, I could only reply “that is a good question”; for we all know the different sounds of faith, churches, denominations, and religions that clamor in the world for attention. {This is the age of a proliferation of the heaping up of teachers with itching ears as we will look at in the fourth chapter.}  The immediate answer is that God gives us through Christ the grace to know sound doctrine, and then the grace to have confidence in what we know!  “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of confidence, of love, and of a sound mind.”

15-7:  The sufficient answer which demands some additional explanation is that SOUND DOCTRINE (this, of course, includes sound faith) IS “EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD”, to borrow some words from Jesus as quoted from the Apostles and recorded in the Bible. 

Hardly anyone interested in the Bible as the Word of God would deny that sound doctrine is every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. However, it is much like the global statement that “Christ is the answer for all the problems of the world” which leaves unanswered many complementary questions such as which Christ:  the Christ of the Mormons, or the Christ of the Lutherans, the Christ of the Bible of most Christians, or the Christ of some television evangelist that are in Christ‛s work for the money?  (It should be obvious that there must be in the world today “wolves in sheep‛s clothing” that Paul told the Ephesian elders that would come immediately after his departure.  And when you also consider the danger of popularity in Christ faith [the difference between the majority of “many” and minority of “few” of Jesus‛ teachings, it seems most probable that the popular television evangelists are the “wolves in sheep‛s clothing”.}

Because of the many faiths in the world today, many religions, many interpretations of the Bible, we cannot back away from the simple conviction that came from the teachings of Jesus Himself who said,  If any man will do His (God‛s) will, he will know of the doctrine if it came of God.  It is important to get the exact wording as recorded in John 7:17  by the Apostle John (who, by the way heard it for himself from Jesus): “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.”  The bottom line of this very fundamental principle of Bible understanding {hermeneutics, to use the word of preachers and Bible scholars} is that understanding of the Bible is an individual matter that is largely determined by a person’s will to do what it teaches.  In other words, a good attitude promotes good understanding and a bad attitude promotes bad understanding.

Although we desire in our preaching and teaching of sound faith no to be brutal, there are some simple Bible facts that must be faced up to as we struggle with the problem of why so few people really understand the Bible: (1) God actually blinds the eyes of most people so that they cannot understand as for example most of the Jewish nation up to this present except for a chosen few like Paul and the other Apostles and the first churches; (2) As Romans 1 informs us God gives up most people and civilizations to a “reprobate mind” that cannot understand the things of God, do not care to understand, and in fact have a predisposed attitude to prevent an understanding of the Bible; (3) God plays with the wisdom of the world and of the university scholars as He chooses to save those through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe (“When in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save those that believe…”); (4) The wisdom of this world of the universities and books (except a select few) are foolishness with God, and not many mighty or noble or wise are called to a proper spiritual understanding; and (5) It is necessary to face up to the fact that true Bible faith in Christ is a minority endeavor as “many are called but few are chosen”, and “broad is the way that leads to destruction and many go that way” while “narrow is the way that leads to eternal life”  and few there are that take that way of life.  It is the simple difference between the majority and the minority that we are talking about.

This applies to the United States also.  You can hardly make a legitimate case that this majority and minority thing of the Bible applies to the whole world apart from the United States.  Even as it applied also to Israel, the originally chosen nation of God, in the days of Christ, it also applies to the currently chosen nation of God, the United States, during this age of the fullness of the Gentiles.  What we have in the United States, to use the words of some of the American Studies scholars, is an AMERICAN DEMOCRATIC FAITH.  It can be summarized as spoken by former Prime Minister of Israel Begin, “You Americans are born Christians just as Jews are born Jews.” Neither is true, but it takes a close study of that part of the Word of God called the book of Romans, by the Apostle Paul and the Spirit of God, to understand it.  That will be explained in the third chapter, “God‛s Watershed of History: Choice of a Beloved and Foolish Nation”.  Suffice it to say for now as Paul, “not every Jew is born of Israel”, nor is every child of God born of Israel, and there is a spiritual Israel.  In other words, until the fullness of the Gentiles age is complete, there will be more children of God from among the Gentiles, the United States leading the way, than from among the physical nation of Israel.  {Enjoy it while you can.}

Second to the proper attitude, it is necessary to work hard to understand the Bible.  Jesus uses the words “asking”, “seeking”, and “knocking”. Another way to say it is that those who search after the truth from the Bible are the ones most likely to find the truth.  One of the so-called “beatitudes” describes the way God will bless those who seek the truth of the Bible, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”  Many like to talk about this as happiness or the beatitudes. No, it is the blessings of God; and if God Himself blesses you beyond that of the sun and rain, beyond that of the majority on the earth, it is indeed a blessing.  God can and will bless you by understanding of every word that proceeds out of His mouth if you will develop the right attitude and put out effort in knowing the truth.  We live among many who desire the instant spiritual blessings of salvation and special insight; however, there is never and has never been a quick and easy way.  Many points to the salvation of Paul on the road to Damascus as an example of instantaneous salvation; but there would not have been a salvation experience of the road except for the extended time of that preceded it in which “he kicked against the pricks”.  And still his salvation was not complete as indicated by the physical blindness {a sign of incomplete spiritual insight}, until Ananias assisted him with more truth from the Ascended Christ.  Even so Paul was not yet ready to preach. He must spend time in the Arabian Desert with the Ascended Christ, and then go back to Tarsus to reread the Old Testament in the light of what Christ had taught him.

Paul teaches about the yearn in Hebrews for the sound doctrine of the Word of God as the equivalent motivation of a new born baby desiring to have milk.  All know of that yelling and screaming and crying of the baby for milk, and the person who yearns with that intensity after every word from the mouth of God as recorded in the Word of God will be rewarded in like manner as a mother cares for her child.  Someone besides Jacob must wrestle with the angel for a spiritual blessing, and that someone is the person, having established a proper attitude, who seeks to know the truth of God and Christ, the truth of the Word of God which is divine in origin, absolute in authority, sufficient in message, and high fidelity in communication.

15-8:  A Few Biblical Statements About What Sound Doctrine Is!

  1. What is Sound Doctrine? Since doctrine is another word for teachings, and of course for Bible believers the teachings of Jesus and of God, which are the same, then sound doctrine is also sound teachings from God Himself and from the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus made it clear often during

His three years ministry on earth that His teachings or doctrines were not His own but belonged to God His Father, and furthermore that whatever God taught Him to say is exactly what He taught on this earth.  Parenthetically, it should be stated at this point that sound faith is a subset of sound doctrine. Even as sound doctrine includes all that comes from God and Jesus and all that can be known as truth about God and Jesus and their teachings, even so sound faith is a subset in that it is both beliefs and a process of confidence in that sound doctrine.  {This will be discussed more thoroughly from the Bible in the chapter on FAITH.}

  1. What is Sound Doctrine? Sound doctrine is synonymous with “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (verse 3) of the book of Jude. It was delivered once for all by Jesus and the Apostles who recorded what He said in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; it was recorded once for all in the books written by the Apostles and Prophets; it has been sealed once for all in the history of the Christ faith in the book of 66 books, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament, by the assembly of the Firstborn and their leaders as they have crystallized as the Holy Bible this book.  You see right here at this point at least half of the confusion is eliminated as on how to distinguish between sound doctrine and all the beliefs that clamor for recognition.  At least half of all of the religions and denominations did not subscribe to the Bible as the Word of God, and therefore do not subscribe to this as the only sufficient source of sound doctrine.  Then you can eliminate another one-fourth of so-called Christian denominations and religions who do not believe as stated in Jude 3, that the sound faith and doctrine was once for all delivered to the saints.  They believe in the evolution of sound doctrine; they believe that they like the Prophets and Apostles of old are the recipients of special revelations from God.  At the extreme of this spectrum are the Mormons who have replaced the single Bible of the faith once delivered with four Bibles, and also subscribe to constant new revelation from the Heads of the LDS churches.  To express it in the words of the Doctrine and the Covenants any time the Head Prophet of the Mormon church speaks, it is Word of God.  {Later, I will discuss how this places two curses from the Holy Bible itself on the head of the Latter-Day Saints.}  And at the other end of the spectrum of the group who do not see sound doctrine and sound faith as “once for all delivered” are those people and groups who see knowledge of truth from God as sort of an evolution that comes as we learn more and as we acquire more scientific knowledge.  As an example, and this is very subtle, is the religious person who will take God‛s name in vain as excusable as if the words no longer apply, “the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” as taught by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.  Or the person that somehow sees God and His Word as outdated because this new generation is so much smarter than the last generation that lived.  B. Phillips expressed it years ago when he wrote the book, YOUR GOD IS TOO SMALL.  People did not believe that God understood radar or the modified Bohr Theory of the atom.  Today people do not believe that God understands computers and genetics and information technology.  You see we confuse some older Christ believers and what they understand with the God of this universe who understands and knows all things; and further who created the minds who can probe and invent these things and the fundamentals laws of the universe that make the understanding of these technical matters possible.
  2. What is Sound Doctrine? It is doctrine that comes from God through the work and will of the Holy Spirit of God.   Here, I must quote from the Word of God itself as found in II Timothy 3:16,17:

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…”  You see it came from God is a gift from God for the profit of humanity in order that humanity may come to know the way that God wants us to live {that is the instruction, another word for teachings, and “instruction in righteousness” another way to correct our behavior and beliefs.}  As far as Scripture coming more specifically from the work on earth of God the Holy Spirit, we turn to the teachings of Jesus as recorded in John 14-16 where Jesus taught saying, “…when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13)

  1. What is Sound Doctrine? It also helps to shift out the wheat from the chaff of sound doctrine to know not only the origin of sound doctrine as from God through the Spirit but that it must have come through an approved apostle or prophet.  How do we know who has been approved?  Once again it is from the Bible itself which tells of how Jesus chose both apostles and prophets.  If you believe about the Apostle Peter, then you believe that the Apostle Paul wrote Scriptures as much the Word of God as those of the Old Testament Prophets because Peter states that in his books, and so on epistle after epistle in the Bible the approximately 20 writing prophets of the Old Testament are confirmed and the approximately 7 writing Apostles of the New Testament confirm each other.
  2. What is Sound Doctrine? It is the doctrine or teachings, or faith taught by the Holy Spirit of God Himself.  Refer again to John 16:13 above, “the Spirit of truth…will guide you into all truth.”  Isn‛t just a little bit of conviction and certainty like this from the Bible, from the teachings of Jesus Himself, from the book written by the Apostle John, and that has come to be believed by the great cloud of witnesses of the Christ faith that have gone before {Hebrews 11 and 12} worth a lot more than the tendency to wallow in the mud puddle of uncertainly and doubt of looking at all the teachings and beliefs in the world.  (Underlying all sound doctrine and the efforts to know and do sound doctrine is the fundamental belief based on the teachings of Jesus that the majority are wrong, and the minority is right, and this applies in the United States as in all countries of the world.)
  3. What is Sound Doctrine? It is life related–cannot be learned apart from the way life is lived–in that it must proceed from a deep-seated yearning to know the truth, with the confidence that the truth is more likely to be learned when it is passionately sought; cannot be learned apart from a desire to know the will of God; and cannot be learned unless equal life priority is given to “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” to the life priority of making a living.

 

15-9:  What are Some Obstacles to Learning Sound Doctrine?

  1. Pastor James, the pastor of the first church ever, in Jerusalem immediately after the life of Christ, and the half-brother of Jesus, had a lot to say in the little book of James about truth, doctrine, and what causes obstacles to sound doctrines in churches. It is very practical because Pastor James is dealing with the problems in a very real church, the First.  First of all, the Apostle James says that the wars and battles over sound doctrine in local churches (and denominations) come from individual desires for pleasure and status.  Once again, I must quote from the Word of God:

“Where do wars and fights come from among you?  Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?  You lust (for control, for recognition, for power, etc.) and do not have.  You murder (that includes anger and fighting) and covet (desire to have and be what someone else in the church has and is) and cannot obtain.  You fight (in your home church) and war (in the denomination).  Yet you do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”  (James 4:1-3)

Wow!  It never can be said any better than that and never will be said any better than that.  Don‛t looks for some deep meaning that causes the splits in churches and the warfare in the Southern Baptist Convention, it comes out of wars and battles for pleasure.  Crude, but true!

  1. Another obstacle to sound doctrine in individual lives, in beliefs, and in the practices of churches is the lack of wisdom. Contrary to the old wives tale “that if the majority of the church votes to do something, it is right” is the teaching of Pastor James in the Word of God that where there is no real prayer there is no real wisdom from God and from above, and further where in any church there is “self-seeking” and “confusion” that is the sure sign that the wisdom from above has never come.
  2. Another obstacle to sound doctrine is the “doctrines of devils”. Do the devils, alias the fallen angels and Satan, really have doctrine?  Oh yes, and that doctrine is subtle and often so close to the truth of Jesus that it is difficult to shift out from the truth.  Recall the way Satan tempted Jesus Himself in order to divert Jesus from the real will of God.  First of all, he quoted Scripture.  Do not be deceived, every quoter of Scripture is not on the side of Jesus.  In fact, it is very possible that Satan–especially in this time of intolerance toward sound doctrine–has as many people who quote Scripture as Jesus: the big difference being in the way they implement and interpret and apply the Scripture.  For example, Satan tempted Jesus (Luke 4:1-13) on three fronts with unsound doctrine from Scripture: first, the temptation or obstacle from Satan was to live by bread instead of by the will of God; second, the obstacle from Satan was to worship Satan and to get the whole world rather than worship God; and third, the obstacle was to tempt God by leading Himself into futile tests of God Himself, a very common practice today in very popular churches.
  3. The obstacle of seducing spirits. Along with the warnings of the Bible about doctrines of devils is also the warning of seducing spirits.  Once again to quote from the Bible, the Word of God:  “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”  (I Timothy 4:1-3)

This was expressly told to Paul by the Holy Spirit of God.  It is an inevitable prediction, called a prophesy, of what will take place in history: in fact, is an accepted burden of proof of this book on THE SOUND OF A SOUND FAITH that has already happened, the time of intolerance toward sound doctrine.  It is generally referred to by Bible scholars as the Great Apostasy.  The only reason I do not like that phrase as it seems like something to happen way out in the future instead of now!

The short and simple of the meaning is: that are the doctrines of devils that come to you, and which must inevitable come as long as there is a Satan and other devils, if those doctrines of devils do not present obstacles to your sound faith and sound doctrine, then the seducing or deceiving spirts can get you.  The bad thing about a bad spirit is that it can be clothed in clothing that is very deceptive, say for example black clothing or sheep‛s clothing.

  1. The last obstacle to be mentioned to sound doctrine is the most serious obstacle to most Protestant, non-Mormon believers: it is the wall of intolerant doctrine built up in churches and denominations by itching ears teachers, preachers, and people that protects them from the sound of sound doctrine. When the Bible says in II Timothy 4:3,4, about the time of intolerance toward sound doctrine and mentions how those of itching ears will “HEAP” to themselves teachers of itching ears, the “heaping” has the implication of extensive effort to protect against sound doctrine.  For example, the effort that the divorced in churches go to, who have not confessed divorce as adultery when there is remarriage, the effort they go to protect themselves from hearing the true words of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus on the matter.  The “heaping” is like building up a vast wall of protection against sound doctrine.  It reminds of what some of the New Jersey ladies who lost husbands in 9/11 were quoted as saying about the Bush administration, “they have built up around the White House a wall of secrecy.”  Well, the wall of intolerance toward sound doctrine is a wall for comfort, a wall built by itching ears.

Please free download the small book of Some Sounds of Sound Faith (Doctrine) at

www.sungrist.org/ssosf.pdf  .

One thought on “Mysticism Versus “Grace to Know”.

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