Friday, January 30, 2009

It will go a long way

The more I interact with my Pentecostal friends, the more I am convinced in my evaluation that they have a blurred if not muddled view of what "justification" means.

A few months ago, I was talking to a young man who has been active in his church since he was a teenager. Even today, he is quite a hard working member of his Pentecostal church (Filipino). So I asked him if he understood what "justification" meant. "Oh, you mean being born again"? I said, "No, not exactly".

My thinking as to why "justification" is not understood, and why their knowledge of it is practically nil, is because there is this hurrying up the Christian to "do the Christian life", and that becomes the entire preoccupation. My suspicion is that it will go a long way in ushering true Gospel renewal amongst Pentecostals if they dig in and find out what Scripture says about "justification". Here the Lutherans can help. Because, right now, the Pentecostals are the source of many many weird and voodoo stuff happening in Evangelical Christianity.

On second thought, sometimes I also wonder if my fellow church goer sitting besides me during Divine Service is clear on this too. I have some doubts, I am not so sure either.


steve martin said...

Good thoughts, LPC.

You are right to wonder about Joe or Mary sitting in the pew next to you.

We ought not presume that they do know and take every opportunity to speak about our faith to them.

The first step in evangelism ought be those sitting right next to us.

At least they will be hearing a similar message from the pulpit (hopefully) and it may go along way towards their 'getting it'.

Steve Newell said...

Our church is spending a year going through the book of Romans in both the sermons and in adult bible study. When done properly, this type of study clearly lays out the justification and sanctification.

Please ask your friend on the last time he studied Paul's letter. The lack of in depth bible knowledge through study is one the great failures of the Church today.

L P Cruz said...

Steve X 2,

We could not really get enough of justification.

I think by the signs of the times, Romans and Galatians indeed should be on the regular table for study in our churches. That is a good point.

That way we get to catechize ourselves too, no?

I tried to recall the time when I was pastoring if I journeyed my people systematically through Romans, I could not come up with an answer. I preached on some parts here and there but to my shame, I have not.


Steve Newell said...

In addition to Romans and Galatians, I believe that Ephesians 2 is Paul's greatest summary of Law & Gospel.

Many "evanglicals" don't read Eph 2:1,they jump right to Eph. 2:8-9.

L P Cruz said...


Good point, I had a look again at that verse and you are right, it seems neglected.

I tell you what in my early days in evangelia, they used to quote Eph 2:8-9. But now, I do not even hear them quoting it at all!


steve martin said...


I'm sue you did a great job when you were pastoring.

Romans, Ephesians, Galatians...what exquisite jewels!

I can never get enough!!!

L P Cruz said...


I think I preached some pretty way off doctrines too; this blog is a shot of repentance against those things I taught not based on the Gospel.

My former members now say I have a 'relaxed' view of salvation.