Not-so-easy Believists

11/30/10

Not-so-easy Believists

 

I suppose that if Real Truth Matters had to pitch a tent in any particular theological direction, then the reformed camp would be comfortable for us. Like those who call themselves reformed, we want to see a return to true, Biblical Christianity in our modern churches. There is a danger, however, in becoming the very thing we fight against. 

Perhaps the worst problem that has come from modern evangelicalism is that of “easy-believism.” Easy-believism is a term we use to describe the systemizing of how a person is saved by God. It sucks out the miraculous nature of God’s work and makes the conversion of a man nothing more than a few steps he or she must follow.

The thrust of this process is agreeing with a list of facts. The facts usually include that one is a sinner; and that Jesus came, died on the cross, and rose again. If one agrees with these facts, then he or she is deemed a Christian once they acknowledge them in the sinner’s prayer.

While the reformed campers will not deny that those facts are indeed correct and essential, we say, “No! There is more to it! God comes and changes a man. He gives him a new heart. He causes that man to treasure Him above his sin and thus repent. Then, there are evidences of a man being saved. A Christian perseveres and pursues righteousness. He is sanctified by God.Without these things, the mental beliefs mentioned earlier are worthless.”

The problem is that many who ascribe to the full gospel have made it a list of facts that must be agreed with in order to prove one’s true Christianity. The confession of faith becomes a bullet point checklist. Now I don’t want to seem counter to the very mission of RTM. A return to New Testament Christianity involves refuting incorrect doctrines and a teaching of the true gospel. The gospel is not at odds with mental understanding. One must first encounter the gospel with their mental faculties. It is how we are designed. We do need to teach a right understanding of the gospel.

Yet we too can make lists of doctrine to be agreed with in order to deem someone saved. Our lists just may be more complete than those of the easy-believists. And speaking of complete, that is where many reformed folks are heading. Lists of agreement are now growing beyond the essential elements of the gospel. As much as we want to understand God, all that is to be known of Him, the mysteries of our salvation, and the exact details of the future are not given to us completely.

 

I have seen good Christian men throw other good Christian men under the bus when one party holds a view on a doubtful subject contrary to the other’s view. I am not talking about the essential elements of the gospel, but things that the Bible does not make clear.Now, I know there are those of you ready to throw me under the bus.To suggest that anything is a mystery or unclear when it pertains to the things of God seems nearly blasphemous. 

Thus enters our lists. We want to know all there is to know, and the best way to get it down is to map it out. We diagram God. It is true that God has placed within us a longing to know Him and enjoy Him. We spend our Christian lives (and will no doubt spend our eternities) learning and understanding more and more about who God is and what He has done for us. But in our effort to know Him, we come to some complex conclusions on a myriad of topics, and, anyone who doesn’t agree with our conclusions is deemed an outcast.

May being “reformed” not become a mere creed or checklist that is lifeless, cold, and devoid of the Spirit of God. We are not easy-believists, but we can become easy-but-not-too-easy-believists if we are not careful.

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