Monday, January 28, 2008

Football or Jesus? Can you feel the love?



I was about to drop a note for my beloved ones (you) on some more thoughts on justification when I encountered this from a cite I visit.

This is not salvation by faith in Christ's work, this is salvation by feeling love for Jesus. The reason why I need Jesus is precisely because I fail to love God, Jesus the Holy Spirit and my neighbor all at the same time.

Can you feel the love? Sometimes you do and sometimes you don't but we are not saved by what we feel, we are saved by what Jesus has done, paid for our debt of righteousness towards God.

I disagree with this, this is a feel religion not fact religion. It seems quasi-Christianity to me.

22 comments:

Past Elder said...

We're of one mind on this one, Brother Lito!

And as it relates to worship, this is why we worship around what Christ has done, Word and Sacrament, rather than how I feel, lots of stuff to make it feel like a rock concert.

Salvation by feeling love for Jesus -- excellent! In other words, my works, and not even the surety that the feeling really is love for Jesus!

L P Cruz said...

P.E.

This is so awful, you are sent again to what is inside you. Did not the Concordian Fathers speak of this stuff before?

This is cook up a feeling. It is terrible. I still can not believe he said this. It is by works again, absolutely!. Saved by what is inside you not by what is outside you?

For the life of me, I scratch my head, he wrote a book on justification though I have only browsed through it, my initial impression was it was ok. I need to go back, may be his book was not ok because there is this disconnect in his preaching.

He is saying to find out if you are saved, you look at what you feel.

Isaac did this, he went with his feelings, blessed Jacob instead of Esau and look at the mess the world is in.

LPC

Jeff Tan said...

Amen! I once heard I think Steve Ray comment on one caller to a radio show, who said that she had trouble liking her neighbors even though she should, since God likes everyone. Steve said "loves everyone, not necessarily liking everyone." Liking someone is almost arbitrary, it's emotional, and it's not deliberate. God loves us all and demonstrated this perfectly in his Son who died on the cross for love. I don't think that the Lord liked Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin very much then. Nor did he like the praetorian soldiers who flayed his back. Nor did he like the soldiers who nailed him to the cross and stole his clothes. I don't see how they could possibly elicit warm and fuzzy feelings then. But Christ loved them, and forgave them for their ignorance.

I don't deny feeling the love from time to time, and that's nice. But in the dark nights of the soul when I feel waspish at everyone and everything, God help me practice love anyway, for I would then be the least disposed to feel like it.

L P Cruz said...

Jeff,


It is a good thing to look outside you and to the Cross.

However Piper is being criticized in other blogs where I found this www.reformedcatholicism.com and linked from The Internet Monk as being Romanist.

You probably will find that odd, but what Piper is doing quite a Roman thing.

We are saved by simple trust on the finished work of Christ and none of ours in the equation, not a bit included. That is what sola fide means. Though works follow, they are never used for salvation but because they are right and our neighbor badly needs it. All of our works though prompted by the HS are good and pleasing to God but they are never seen by God as us meriting salvation because of them. That is what the Reformation doctrine teaches.

Jesus took care of what we owe God, now instead of us paying God, he wants us to use it for the neighbor.

Coram Deo is taken cared of by Jesus, Coram Mundum is what we are left to do when all the important things have been done.

LPC

Past Elder said...

We use this to teach our kids in Sunday School -- we do good works not to be saved, but because we are saved.

Sometimes I elaborate on this to my kids like this -- we all know we mess up, even when we try our best, but isn't it great to know we don't have to worry about that, even though we know ahead of time that it won't be good enough, we know we can do our best anyway because Jesus' work was good enough for us before God, and now we are free to do good works for each other.

L P Cruz said...

Amen P.E.

This freedom and joy... The Lord loves a cheerful giver.

LPC

David said...

Bro,

That quasi-Christianity makes me queezy.

It is true that we should be terrified that we do not love God with our whole heart. The response to that is to ask God for forgiveness because of Jesus' perfect life, death, burial and resurrection.

This guy would make a good papist throwing people back on themselves to transact change. What is more alarming is that after some self denial exercises, which is outward, a person will think they have arrived and become prideful. They would in their view be saved and knowing it by works. St Paul in Gal 5:4 warns us about looking to law for justification.

Remarkable to note how he moves justification to either a side issue or something in the past. I have several friends who look on this cat as a great teacher. Lord have mercy!

L P Cruz said...

This guy would make a good papist throwing people back on themselves to transact change.

Ain't that the truth bro!

I am still pinching myself I could not believe he said this stuff.

You hit it in head, justification is a side issue to Dr. Piper, it is just one topic in Christian faith, "just one", not the "main one", "just one of them".

Christ have mercy,

LPC

J. K. Jones said...

LP,

Okay, I give up. I want you to give me your doctrine of sanctification. Specifically:

What role do good works play in the Christian life?

What do they mean by “We are saved by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone?”

Is there a change in the heart and life of one who comes to Christ?

As for Piper’s book, you might find the one you are looking for for free here:
http://www.desiringgod.org/media/pdf/books_bcrc/bcrc_all.pdf

J. K.

L P Cruz said...

JK,

Bro, I wish Dr. Piper would not make those statements. If people are comfortable in their antinomianism, then they should be given the damning function of the Law, then given the Gospel so that faith in Christ might arise and thus produce Spirit led sanctification.

Justification leads to Sanctification. Meaning good works. Good works follow but this is not something quantifiable. All it know s is that it is doing some good for the good of the neighbor's state. Because the believer remains sinner and saint at the same time, he can not use his sanctification will not be spot on. I give you an example, when I got saved, the literal craving for smoke and drink went from my mouth. Almost 3 decades later I find that I have not really progressed since some mornings I am quite angry about something I do not know about. My thought life is not at times . I get into trials and I do not feel the love for Jesus or the Father, sometimes I have hard feelings for letting me go through some mess.

So if I look at Piper's sermon, God loves me only if I love him. The astounding thing is that God loves me even though I do not love him or fail to love him.

This is how I read 2 Cor 5:17. The new creation is the heart that believes that their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake. In effect, there is new creation because there is now faith that believes in the saving promises of God in Christ. It is not someone who has quantifiably sees holy changes in their life since they believed.

You see, bro the Mormons can testify of a changed life and behavior too.

It is faith in the Atonement that is the new creation that God creates in the unbeliever.

So we do not rest our assurance on our sanctification which Piper is suggesting.

We rest our assurance on Word and Sacrament - the promise is the ground for assurance, not anything happening inside us.

Also sanctification is directed to the neighbor not to God, since God has already received all the good works from man through Jesus.

Pipe's sanctification is directed towards God. For him a person who does not have assurance that can say "to me to live is Christ and to die is gain" must not be saved. There is no categorical statement to that -- at the point of weakness, the conscience may be terrified at the prospect of death. It needs to be calmed by making it look outside and not inside.

BTW, it was the Internet Monk, a Baptist himself! who first complained about this thing that Piper said...
http://www.boarsheadtavern.com/archives/2008/01/26/1058140.html

There is reference to sanctification in the 3rd Use of the Law in the Formula of Concorde should you have time to review it.

I know it might come as a shock bro that people are dubious about Piper but IMO they are not baseless.

LPC

J. K. Jones said...

LPC,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to me comment. I thinkm we agree, but I wish you would review this and comment:
http://jkjonesthinks.blogspot.com/2007/09/nine-reasons-why-christianity-is-only_11.html

I like much of what Piper says, but I have always had an uneasy feeling with respect to his teaching. He has helped me view missions more clearly, and I will refer technical questions about NT Greek and justification to his books. He gets it right sometimes. He is wrong other times. Aren’t we all like that?

I just struggle with how regeneration changes the heart of the believer. What does this change look like? Can a person look at his own heart and find evidence for his regeneration? I think he / she can (i. e. Paul's view of his changed heart in Romans 7:22).

Christ's Spirit makes a real difference in the life of a believer, just not the difference some expect.

J. K.

L P Cruz said...

Bro JK,

I will have a look and may I comment in your blog instead?

Yes indeed we are no different from Piper, he is a sinner/saint too and so like him, we do get it at times not as accurate as it should be. So we need the love of fellow Christians to humbly disagree with us to keep us sane.

Regeneration or renewal is there but we distinguish it from justification. Often I hear quote - God gives us a heart of flesh not a heart of stone, or changes that stone heart.

But what is his heart of flesh? This heart is the heart that believes the Gospel, it is no longer stony, not that it is no longer rough , but it now is repentant - it is sorry and broken for his sins, it is trusting - he no longer trusts in anything in him but rejoices that for Christ's sake God took his sin and the wrath for it away.

Many cults back in my home turn people around. I can tell you puzzling stories but for another time. They change for the better such that whole neighborhoods are converted to said cults because the members exhibit visible moral changes, for the good! But you do not need God to change you to be highly moral. I noticed that atheists are interacting with you in your blog -- I bet you they are more moral than us!

When a sinner admits he is undone, and that he longs for forgiveness solely on the basis of Christ's atonement, we have gotten a miracle. Faith and the HS go hand in hand.

So bro, in order to find out if we are a Christian, we do not look at our sanctification. Why, because we are liars and the heart is wicked who can know it. We look at the Word and the Sacrament - we look away from us.

When you look in your heart, you should come up with one conclusion -- it aint good --- even after being saved, but we are not saved because we have a good heart, we are saved because Jesus paid for us and we trust that promise.

So how do we know if someone is a Christian? I think we should do it the way the church did it of long ago. -- Are they baptized? Do they confess Jesus as the payer of their sins? -- then we have no way but to treat them as if they are Christians. This is because what we see is not reliable gauge. We can only observe unChristian or Christian like behavior but we can not observe the heart.

You will hear in our circles these phrase over and over again---"this we believe, teach and confess"

However, in the Lutheran Church, the Christian is continually given the Law (even though they heard the convicting power of it before) and then the Gospel (even though they heard it before)(oops I mean in some of our churches). Why? Because it is the one that produces sanctification, through justification. Besides we remain doubters and rebels, the inner brat does not want to repent, does not want to trust etc.


What is amiss with Dr. Piper is that propitiation, justification are silos of teaching and they are co-equal with other teachings. This is the reason why he is able to say things that make me want to cut my ears.

Rather as Christians we should air one theology....

The Cross if our Theology

---Bo Giertz

All other theological subjects must flow from there.

Bro. JK, IMO Christianity is the only true religion because it is the only one that teaches that we are saved by God himself freely. It is the only one that has forgiveness of sins without any works.

ALl the other religions have these but you have to work for them.

LPC

jim cronfel said...

Somewhere along the way, I came to the conclusion that the proposition that I have heard many times over in Calvinism:

That it is possible for someone to have all of the facts of the gospel and comprehend the essentials: Original Sin, Substitution, Justification--and yet not "love" Jesus because they have not made there calling sure (Piper says this in this video concerning football or porn).

Many times you also run into the same "evangelicals" or "protestants" and even "reformers" who imagine that there are Roman Catholics or those who are in very obvious contradictions with original sin, susbtitution, and justification---and yet....... "Love the Lord" and are "brothers in Christ" seemingly over football and porn.

I've run into these people that have drawn up diagrams of "tracts" with persons that have "holes" in there "hearts" that only "God" can fill--an that that is the gospel from start to finsh!

I believe that Dr. Piper himself has a saved understanding of original sin, substitution, and justification--but is confused with the proposition that growth is found in "Christian hedonism" or an "entranced vision" or even "desiring God".

I rather have come to the conclusion that both salvation and growth corespond to more to an understanding of SIN AND THE LAW AND FEAR.

NOT NECCESARILY MORE DOUBT OVER ONE'S STANDING BUT A GREATER DEPTH OF UNDERSTNADING TO IMPOSIBILTY OF FULFILLING THE LAW AND CONCORING SIN.

But Dr. Piper here seems to be moving in the opposite direction---to "love God" more and "desire God" more to conqer football and porn.


THE PROBLEM THERIN IS THAT LOVING AND DESIRING GOD MORE OVER FOOTBALL ANR PORN POINTS US TO "SANCTICFCATION" AND OUR OWN HEARTS AS OPPOSED TO THE CROSS OF CHRIST 2000 YEARS AGO.


TRUE SALVATION IS "DEVIOUS". AND THE MORE "DEVIOUS" ONE'S GOSPEL IS THE MORE ONE UNDERSTANDS THE IMPOSSIBILTY OF FIGHTING SIN---BUT ALSO THAT CHRIST TOOK IT UPON HIMSELF ON THE CROSS IN ITS TOTALITY.

IT REALLY DOES SEEM LIKE I AM AN "ANTINOMIAN" WHEN I SUGGEST THAT Dr. Piper is in error attempting to love God more than football and porn.

IT REALLY DOES SEEM LIKE I AM FUNDMEMTALLY AND FATALY FLAWED WHEN I SUGGEST THAT Dr. Piper IS ON AN "QUXOIC" --- ATTACKING WINDMILLS QUEST! IF NOT POSSESING A "PIPE DREAM" BY HIS INTERAL INWARD "MORAL ABILTITY" OR "GOD INSIDE OF HIS GOD SHAPED HEART" WILL OUT DO FOOTBALL OR PORN! IT SEEMS LIKE I AM THE ONE WHO IS AN ANTINOMIAN ANTICHRIST!


IT SEEMS LIKE MY CONFESSION OF JUSTIFICATION IS "CHEAP" OR--
TO OBVIOUS ACCUSATION---THAT I LOVE FOOTBALL AND PORN MORE THAN GOD WHEN I KEEP SUGESTING THAT THE QUEST ITSELF TO LOVE GOD MORE THAN FOOTBALL AND PORN IS INFINITELY FUTILE!

IT DOES NOT SEEM THAT WHAT LIES BENEATH MY REBELION OR RESIGN IS ACTUALLY A GREATER FEAR AND A GREATER LAW AND A GREATER CONVICTION AND A GREATER STANDING AND A GREATER DEFENSE----OF THE ATONEMENT.

THAT IT IS ACTUALY A GREATER "MATURITY" AND "RESOLVE" NOT REBELION AND RESIGN.

BUT TO MOST OF THE WORLD IT SEEMS LIKE Dr. Piper is more mature and resolved and I am rebelious and resigned.

--Jim

jim cronfel said...

I am afraid that 1 Corinthians 13:3

suggests that there were flase believers within the Church that not only desired GOd and loved God and had a God entranced vision over football and porn but were commanded by NERO THE ROMAN EMPORER TO REJECT CHRIST AND APOSTATE--and their inward false "love for God" even conqurered NERO as he tared and pitched them up and lit them up with fire to his dinner by---that are still burning in hades at this very moment.

Ultimatly they feared football and porn and Nero more than hades--and it was expressed as a heoric desire for God--even in thier own deluded minds.

L P Cruz said...

Jim,

BUT TO MOST OF THE WORLD IT SEEMS LIKE Dr. Piper is more mature and resolved and I am rebelious and resigned.


Not really Jim, here is a powerful scripture that denies the theory espoused by Dr. Piper...
5But to him that worketh not, but believeth in Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness,

Rom 4: 5But to him that worketh not, but believeth in Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness,

It has nothing to do of how we feel. Piper's injunction to look inside works because we are naturally navel gazers ourselves. IT only works for a while until people start waking up that it does not work and is not reliable.



LPC

jim cronfel said...

In about 1995 I began to run into Calvinists at Churches that were saying that Dr. Piper was the greatest Calvinist of all time: "on fire Calvinist". I immediatly called this crazed fan phenomonon into question. The phrase itself struck me as a contridiction in terms. It thought that "on fire Christian" was a distinctively Arminian phraeology!


Then I saw the book on
"Meditation" back in 1996 and at the time I was weaned on The White Horse Inn: The Law/Gospel Distinction; Guilt/
Grace/Gratitiude; Positional Righteousness.


I was at the bookstore looking at the book on the shelf by supoosedly the greatest Calvinist of our day about "Meditation". I shaking my head thinking "this is ritual and works!" What is so great about this guy when he contradicits everything I know about the gospel!

Finaly, it was 1996 and this guy at Church who was always in my face came up me for no reason and blurted out in my face "John Piper is an on fire Calvinist"---- My direct response without any explaination or qualification or previous discusion with him --but in consideration of the book on "Meditation" (without previously vocalising it or discusing it with him) to his rude froward antisocial pushiness and unsolicited endorsement of John Piper was:



"There is no such thing as responsibilty."




That was what I thought of Dr. Piper in 1996 in light of his book on "Mediation" in contrast to the contents of the White Horse Inn radio show.

David said...

The first time I heard Piper as an on fire Christian a friendship was damaged when I observed that fire would be a good place for his writings. It is horrible to see a respected teacher direct people away from the sure and blessed promises purchased for us by Jesus.

Christ have mercy. †

J. K. Jones said...

LP,

How is “…the damning function of the Law…” different than what Piper is teaching: a long, hard look at the motives of your heart.

“…then given the Gospel…” I find the gospel in many of Piper’s sermons and books. I also noted that the clip is an excerpt from Piper’s sermon. He may have shared the gospel after all.

“…God loves me only if I love him…” I just don’t get that from Piper. Maybe I am missing something. There is also a sense in which that is true: the regenerate heart does love God, even if it does so imperfectly. To even show concern for whether one loves God or not is to love God in a sense: why would you care how you stood in front of someone you hated? The issue is not that we love God perfectly, but that we love God at all.

“But what is his heart of flesh? This heart is the heart that believes the Gospel, it is no longer stony, not that it is no longer rough , but it now is repentant - it is sorry and broken for his sins, it is trusting - he no longer trusts in anything in him but rejoices that for Christ's sake God took his sin and the wrath for it away.”

Very well said. Piper says:

“It's free. This is what Christ came to do: fulfill a righteousness and die a death that would remove all your sins and become for you a perfect righteousness. He offers you this today as a gift. If you see him as true and precious, if you take the gift and trust in it, you will have a peace with God that passes all understanding…”

http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByTopic/51/1095_Faith_and_the_Imputation_of_Righteousness/

Or what Piper says here:

“Then to become righteous (to be sanctified) we must also turn from law-keeping, or as Paul says in Romans 7:4, we must die to the Law and be united with Christ so that we might bear fruit for God. So justification is by faith in union with Christ, and sanctification is by faith in union with Christ. And both involve turning away from the Law as the decisive means of getting right with God and becoming like God.” (See also a lengthy discussion of indwelling sin at that address.)

http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/2001/58_Who_is_This_Divided_Man_Part_2/


I wonder just how far apart you two are.

J. K.

L P Cruz said...

JK,

I reviewed again this video snippet. I guess where I differ with him is in the "testing yourself if you are in the faith".

The test he uses is "love", and "feel" over again he uses these words and told listeners that these things are to be present.

I guess I will test if I am in the faith if my trust is in the finished work of Christ alone. Hence, am I relying on the gift of atonement which Christ has accomplished without my help nor without a good disposition in my heart.

Feelings fluctuate and in the height of faith we may feel love for Jesus, other times when we are attacked by doubts/trials we feel the opposite. The feeling of abandonment in fact makes us very angry at God. But God did not send Jesus to die for us because he knew we will be nice, he knew instead that if he did not show mercy we will be toast.

If God should mark iniquity, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness that he might be feared.

And both involve turning away from the Law as the decisive means of getting right with God and becoming like God.

I think we should not put it like that, specially our sanctification. Since it is the fruit of justification. It does not involve both, all we need is justification, sanctification comes as a by-product. But here I notice then that there might be a separation of justification from sanctification.


Indeed we must distinguish, but not separate.So I think Piper in his mind are compartamentalized theologies that are like silos or slots that are not tied to a common point.

Classic Protestant theology uses the Cross to tie everything together. Or better yet, the Cross as the ground of all theologies.

I think this is where it is a subtle thing that we can miss in Piper. At first the silos make sense, but in the end they come unglued because there is no glue that tie them all together.

LPC

jim cronfel said...

Dr. Piper is a good leader in many ways and he does preach the essentails:

He has stood up against the Presbyterian New Persective On Paul.

He has rejected the Arminian separation between being saved without yet "making Jesus Lord of your life" (The Lordship controversy)

He does stauchly reject annihilationsm.

And since Lito and I accept the spiritual gifts I will add that Piper also rejects cessationsm.

Perhaps what my problem is that the fact that he is so gifted (and famous) makes it all the more disturbing to see him simulatianiously posses very frustrating flaws.

True faith is simply hearing Christ pronounce: "It is finished" and resting gratefully in that. But for some reason Dr. Piper finds the need to require the love of God as a human free will condtion and IN ADDITION to the atonement---not as Luther would teach is simply a passive effect or result of the atonment.
Luther teaches that the love of God and desire of God is the effect and result of Christ's work--it is the work and gift of God.

But Dr. Piper comes along and is insecure or unsatisfied or downright ungrateful and finds that after he hears "it is finished" he still must set out with his own human free will and ADD HIS OWN LOVE AND DESIRE AS
A CONDITION AFTER THE GOSPEL PRONOUNCEMENT.


Luther would say that the love and desire of God is passively recvied effect of the gospel and Holy Spirit working and witnessing the gospel in the heart.


Dr. Piper does have the gospel but why does he then set out to add his own desire and love to it as if it were not truly "finished"?

The other thing that I don't understand is that whereas all of the admiration of Augustine and Luther (and Calvin) revolve around thier debates and doctrines---but Piper's fan club seems to revolve entirely around his speaking enthusiam or style. Or else his fan club status revolves around agreement with his gnosticism/legalism.

But he is on a creative inward gnostic CONDITIONAL quest for sanctification to love God even after he hears that the blood was shed for the forgivness of his sins.

jim cronfel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
L P Cruz said...

Hi Bro JK,

I also reviewed his podcast on Imputation.

Many Biblical points there but the subjection of everything to God's glory making it the only interest of God or at least ultimate interest is rather propositional to me.

When he was discussing Bunyan's experience, he used the word 'Enthusiasm', a thing that Bunyan was getting into (i.e. mysticism).

He also know what that word means, and yet 'Enthusiasm" is actually what he is promoting in this video snippet. So a real puzzle why though he knows about this concept yet he falls into it or at least his teaching in this snippet falls into it.



LPC