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"...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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  • « Meditating on God's Mercy Toward Us | Main | Semi-Pelagianism and Faith as the Instrument of Existential-Mystical Union with Christ (5-Part Series) by R. Scott Clark »

    Preaching when unbelievers are present

    When it comes to how we preach when unbelievers are present to hear us (which I assume is any time we preach), there is a big difference between the approach of Ken Ham (of Answers in Genesis) and that of well known pastor, Andy Stanley (son of Charles Stanley). For the record, I am 100% with Ken Ham on this. - JS

    Ken Ham:

    Last week as I was giving a presentation I said, 'In 2 Corinthians 11:3, Paul said....". Then I stopped myself and said I wanted to reword this because of shocking trend I see in the church. I see more and more people looking on the Bible as just the word of humans--but it is not! As Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 2:13 "...you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe."

    So I reworded my statement to make the point this way--"God, through Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:3 instructed us that..."

    I had a few people comment to me about this because they are also noticing that increasing numbers of Christian academics/church leaders treat the Bible as if it is just the fallible words of men the somehow contain some 'truth' about God!

    When I read this Christian Post article I've linked to, this reinforced for me that this is a problem in the church. I always warn that news articles don't always give accurate accounts--though the Christian Post in the past has given quite accurate accounts of interviews with me etc.

    We are waiting on the videos to become available so we can watch this particularly presentation by Andy Stanley for ourselves. But the way it is written here makes me very concerned indeed.

    I am reminded of God's Word in Luke 16:31--“But he said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”

    And God's Word in Luke 24:27 concerning Jesus: "And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself."

    We also need to remember : “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

    And also: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

    I do give a talk that a Christian cannot give up our starting point of God's Word when witnessing to non-Christians. There are only two starting points--God's Word or Man's Word. (Light or Darkness; For or Against Christ). There is no neutral position. When one gives up God's Word as the starting point, then one has already lost the argument.

    And we also need to remember that the ONLY INFALLIBLE RELIABLE WITNESS WE CAN TRUST IS GOD! And yes--He was a witness to the creation of Adam and Eve!

    It is because increasing generations do not believe the history in Genesis concerning a literal Adam and Eve and a literal Fall that they do not understand what sin is, that they are sinners (as we are all descendants of Adam) and that is why God's Son stepped into history to become our relative to pay the penalty for our sin. The gospel message comes from God's Word and is rooted in the history concerning a literal first Adam and a literal "last Adam."

    Here's the newspaper account of Andy Stanley's message to pastors where he outlines his approach.

    Posted by John Samson on October 6, 2012 12:12 PM

    Comments

    Interesting...to be honest I see Stanley's point to a certain degree at least. The moment we begin dealing with a possible group of skeptics we have to a some point provide an apologetic as to why we believe that the person writing, wrote the word's of God. We can easily say "the bible says," in our preaching...and once the person believes the bible to be the word of God then we can get them to believe what we are quoting (provided we interpret the passage correctly). But when I say, "Paul wrote," or "Matthew says," something should click for me to say, "Here's why I believe what Matthew is saying." and give at least one reason which is directly related to the writing of the text.

    I see nothing wrong with beginning where people are and moving them to faith in God as the final authority.

    there is a principle in both arguments that I would uphold. When Peter speaks to the Jews, he busts out Joel and lays it on 'em: "Thus saith the LORD". If Paul had done the same thing in Athens, I'm sure the response would have been different.

    We most certainly live in a more "Athenian" society today.

    "The BIBLE says" is certainly fine for those whose worldview holds scripture in it's proper place.

    For today's unbelievers, many of whom are completely biblically illiterate, consideration needs to be given as to the nature of the LORD that is speaking for example.

    The message never changes. Ever. Hebrews 1, He speaks perfectly and finally through Jesus Christ. Yet we ought to be sensitive to our audience in order to speak the specific and timely truth about Christ that will grow them. What is the next brick to be laid in the building a true and biblical worldview? It is different for everyone.

    Or not? Any thoughts?

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