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)
REJECTION IS NOT REFUTATION
Dr. Don Kistler - â€œPeople will often say â€œI donâ€™t agree with youâ€ but what does that prove? So what?â€
â€œLet 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 Iâ€™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, â€œhow would you respond to this question?â€ I realized, you donâ€™t ask him questions. He asks the questions.
Dr. Gerstner said, â€œLets suppose for the sake of the argument that you are a practicing Sabbath breaker and I am a practicing homosexual.â€ He says, â€œAre you going to heaven or to hell?â€
I said, â€œIâ€™m going to heaven.â€
He said, â€œAm I going to heaven or to hell?â€
I said, â€œYouâ€™re going to hell.â€
He said, â€œSo youâ€™re violating one of Godâ€™s commands and you get to go to heaven but I am violating one of Godâ€™s commands and I have to go to hell. What is it, did I pick the wrong command, Don?â€
â€œWell,â€ I said, â€œthe 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 abominationâ€¦ errr.. howâ€™s that?â€
Gerstner responded, â€œHowâ€™s that?... Howâ€™s what?â€
I said, â€œmy answer.â€
He said, â€œwhat 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?â€
Panting for breath I said, â€œwell, good and godly men have disagreed over the issue of the Sabbath, you know Calvin and Luther and your man Sproul.â€
He said, â€œok, 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 canâ€™t violate a command of God but I have to go to hell. What kind of a system are you running here?â€
Well I am really sweating bulletsâ€¦ and so we pull up to the place we are going and I ask, â€œwhatâ€™s the answer?â€
He said, â€œweâ€™ll talk about it on the way home.â€
â€œOn the way home? Thatâ€™s another hour!â€
Well he did this all the way home and when we got there I said, â€œnow tell me what the answer is.â€
He said, â€œweâ€™ll do it next month.â€
â€œNo, weâ€™re not doing it next month. I want to sleep between now and next month.â€
(I was ready to admit that practicing homosexuals could go to heaven)â€¦.
I said, â€œwhatâ€™s the answer?â€
He said, â€œyou gave me the answer the first time I asked you.â€
I said, â€œwhat?â€
â€œYeah, youâ€™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.â€
I said, â€œthen why did you do that to me?â€ (I was really mad)
And he said, â€œDon Kistler, you had the truth and you had Scripture behind you and you caved because somebody you admired didnâ€™t agree with you. Donâ€™t you ever in your life compromise the Scriptures because of some manâ€™s reputation in your mind. You stand uncompromising for the word of God no matter who says anything.â€
And then he said, â€œrejection is not refutation.â€