"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « How Do You Know if You are One of the Chosen? | Main | How Should We Respond to Unjust Laws? »

    You don't agree? So what?

    Dr. Don Kistler is the the founder and president of Don Kistler Ministries and the Northampton Press. He holds the M. Div. and D. Min. degrees. He is the author of A Spectacle Unto God: The Life and Death of Christopher Love, and Why Read the Puritans Today? Dr. Kistler lives in Orlando, Florida.

    (The following is a transcript I wrote, taken from Lecture 2 of a seminar on Jonathan Edwards by Dr. Don Kistler, at Saint Andrews Chapel, Sanford, Florida, September 2003. - JS)


    Dr. Don Kistler - “People will often say “I don’t agree with you” but what does that prove? So what?”

    “Let me tell you how this was driven home to me by the late Dr. John Gerstner. I was his pastor for four years (and you think you have pressure on the job). We used to drive to a Bible Study and I’d gotten a question in the mail from someone about Sabbath breaking (someone who was a very strict Sabbatarian) and they asked if anyone who did not keep a very strict Sabbath could REALLY be a Christian (that was the essence of the question).

    I always drove Dr. Gerstner in his car and so I asked him, “how would you respond to this question?” I realized, you don’t ask him questions. He asks the questions.

    Dr. Gerstner said, “Lets suppose for the sake of the argument that you are a practicing Sabbath breaker and I am a practicing homosexual.” He says, “Are you going to heaven or to hell?”

    I said, “I’m going to heaven.”

    He said, “Am I going to heaven or to hell?”

    I said, “You’re going to hell.”

    He said, “So you’re violating one of God’s commands and you get to go to heaven but I am violating one of God’s commands and I have to go to hell. What is it, did I pick the wrong command, Don?”

    “Well,” I said, “the scripture is not as emphatic about Sabbath breaking as it is about homosexuality. Paul calls that the lowest form of degradation that there is. The Bible never calls Sabbath breaking an abomination… errr.. how’s that?”

    Gerstner responded, “How’s that?... How’s what?”

    I said, “my answer.”

    He said, “what answer? You fumbled around and tried to throw a few verses at me. Did you think you were going to intimidate me with a couple of verses? Now do you have an answer to my question or not?”

    Panting for breath I said, “well, good and godly men have disagreed over the issue of the Sabbath, you know Calvin and Luther and your man Sproul.”

    He said, “ok, Calvin and Luther and Sproul and you and me will all be in hell together. Now what is your response to my question? Why is it YOU get to go to heaven and you can violate a command of God and I can’t violate a command of God but I have to go to hell. What kind of a system are you running here?”

    Well I am really sweating bullets… and so we pull up to the place we are going and I ask, “what’s the answer?”

    He said, “we’ll talk about it on the way home.”

    “On the way home? That’s another hour!”

    Well he did this all the way home and when we got there I said, “now tell me what the answer is.”

    He said, “we’ll do it next month.”

    “No, we’re not doing it next month. I want to sleep between now and next month.”

    (I was ready to admit that practicing homosexuals could go to heaven)….

    I said, “what’s the answer?”

    He said, “you gave me the answer the first time I asked you.”

    I said, “what?”

    “Yeah, you’re absolutely right. The Bible does not say that Sabbath breaking is an abomination and does not put it on the same level as homosexuality. Paul is very clear that those who practice homosexuality shall not inherit the kingdom of God. He does not say that about Sabbath breaking. You gave me the right answer.”

    I said, “then why did you do that to me?” (I was really mad)

    And he said, “Don Kistler, you had the truth and you had Scripture behind you and you caved because somebody you admired didn’t agree with you. Don’t you ever in your life compromise the Scriptures because of some man’s reputation in your mind. You stand uncompromising for the word of God no matter who says anything.”

    And then he said, “rejection is not refutation.”

    Posted by John Samson on July 26, 2011 02:55 PM


    Glory, that is an apropos principle for today!

    I've recently become the boyfriend of a really great and godly woman who happens to be coming from a reformed background.

    Her family seems to be very committed in many ways to this particular thread of belief, so naturally this has become a relevant issue in my life over the past year that we've been together.

    I would like to bring up some serious concerns that I've had concerning reformed theology. "Refutation is not Rejection", ok I can agree with that statement because at face value it logically makes sense.

    Not knowing how definitive this blog is and the accuracy of reformed doctrine being presented, I can only speak to what's being said and other phrases I've heard thrown around by my girlfriend's family.

    I've had numerous discussions with her and her father who is a pretty educated guy and is very passionate about this stuff and I've noticed a similar approach and/or tactic being employed by him as well as the late Dr. John Gerstner. Not knowing him I can't speak to his personal life or how he dealt with people, but from what you've related in your story here his attitude seems to be quite lofty.

    Every time in my life that I've noted a person who was above being questioned and who was overly confident about their theology and/or personal opinion there has always been some measure of pride.

    Obviously I'm not getting at any particular beliefs or points of doctrine, but rather the humility and meekness that's not being demonstrated by an otherwise "godly" man. I've noticed this in the academic world as well, the 'smarter' a person gets the more puffed up they get as well. I agree with his point that we should never cave or give into pressure from Anyone, point blank. It demonstrates a lack of character on our part and a true lack of trust in the Lord to deliver us even if everyone hated us on account of doing the right thing.

    In my opinion, the more spiritual we get and the closer we get to the Lord, the less we will give into the temptation to Lord our experience or knowledge over others but will rather choose to use it to build them up. Love casts out all fear right? If we love those even in authority over us and we know that they love us we won't be sweating bullets and have those kinds of anxious reactions.

    Religious people make others very uncomfortable because they are often not known for their gentleness, humility, kindness, meekness, etc..... and that their words and actions are not coated in love. It tends to be more about own personal or religiously fabricated agendas that we've been told to be issues by other people. Sorry this has become such a long post, but I think the character that is displayed is just as if not more important than the beliefs we are sharing about God.

    Q: Are there sins that you can practice and still be saved by His grace through faith?

    It seems like a silly question to ask but it was spurred by reading about a conversation between Dr. Kistler and Dr. Gestner. I know the point of the conversation wasn't about this question, but I was intriguied by the apparent answer of yes. So I'm curious if anyone knows of any full treament of the subject or what the community thinks the Bible says about the subject. I would have thought the answer to be no and that we are saved by grace through faith.

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