The Call | Part One

August 1, 2016

by Dr. William F. Harrell

*This post was taken from Dr. Harrell’s website and is used by permission

Recently, I was musing about the fact that one hardly ever hears a real sermon anymore. Too many are copying the popular figures who primarily tell people how to be successful. They deal more with pop psychology and its issues than they do with the spiritual realities at the core of our human problems. It is an effort to fix things from the outside rather than getting them fixed on the inside. My recent comment to an individual was: “I wish I could hear someone simply preach a good, well-grounded sermon that deals with the Bible and spiritual issues.” “Whatever happened to old fashioned preaching?” I have come to believe that many of our “preachers” today aren’t really “called” by the Lord to do what they are emulating. The Call is essential to one’s ability to preach with the power which is given by the Holy Spirit. It is a well proven case that a person can stand in a pulpit and spew forth platitudes which will be declared as “a wonderful sermon” by people who have, themselves, forgotten what real Bible centered preaching is all about. A subsistence diet of “sermonettes” filled with cute stories and platitudes has left our churches decimated as pertaining to doctrine and truly inspired preaching. Many of today are downloading their sermons from a vast internet library of notable authors and works. I believe that what God intends and what Paul refers to in Romans 10 is that the people of God need a message from the man of God which is inspired by God Himself. It must come from the preacher’s heart and soul. As he studies the Word, the Lord will point out what He wants preached. He will also inspire that preacher and give him a message for God’s people in a particular time and place. The preacher should study the passage and develop, under God’s guidance, a message that will come from his heart and soul. It will be inspired by God, developed under His guidance and delivered to God’s people from the inner being of that preacher. If we have that then we have the proper thing. Don’t worry about the “show” or about how eloquent one is. Be a humble deliverer of the message and let God determine all the rest. He made you as you are to use you as you are and in a particular way.

The problem we are facing in great part is due to the fact that what was considered absolutely essential in the past…the Call…is not as important to many as the urge to be notable and important in some way. The search for a good, clean occupation which doesn’t require too much hard physical work but yet yields respect and notoriety is one of the driving impulses behind many entering the ministry today. A few years ago, I was talking with a man who was the pastor of a church which is weaker today than it was when the conversation took place. He told me that he didn’t understand what men were talking about when they spoke of “the Call.” He said that he had never had such an experience that those men talked about. His statement to me was: “I don’t know what you are talking about when you say “God’s Call” upon your life. The way I got into the ministry was that one day I was working for a company that was digging ditches to lay cable. It was hot and dirty and I decided then that I wasn’t going to spend my life doing such a thing. I determined that I was going to become a preacher and pastor a church. It was honorable. It was clean. It was respected. It was educational and intellectual. So, I decided that day that I was going to quit digging ditches and become a preacher.” “That was the “call” to me. It was just plain common sense and a personal decision.” This man is a good person. He has always treated me very nicely. I have nothing against him but he is trying to do something for which he has not been equipped and it is evident in his ministry. Going to the seminary and getting an education for ministry is not what is necessary to be equipped. It will help one immensely but it does not impart the “spark” that the Holy Spirit gives when one is genuinely called to preach by the Lord. An uneducated mountain preacher, truly called by God and invested with the Holy Spirit, who has never been far from his hollow has more power in the pulpit than a person with a Doctor of Philosophy degree but who has no sense of a divine call to God’s Work. The mountain preacher referenced has the necessary ingredient for delivering a Word from the Lord to the people. What we need today is more heaven inspired sermons and fewer lectures. The Presbyterian influence on our Southern Baptist Zion is producing young men who value the intellectual to the point that they hinder the spiritual. Their sermons and delivery are stilted. Carefully worded and compacted thoughts that seek to sound both spiritual and intellectual are their fare. Too many are copying the Calvinistic preachers of a by gone era who worded their sermons in such a way that one has to read a paragraph several times to capture the central thought. It all gets lost in the beautiful and convoluted rhetoric. Instead of just stating something in a simple fashion they word it such that the power is gone and the effectiveness is stunted. People leave the service unable to state a single thing they learned. They remember a “good sermon” well read and delivered but they carry very little with them into life. This is exactly why our churches are so bereft of Biblical understanding and so doctrinally ignorant.

I am simply amazed at the lack of doctrinal understanding of so many of our SBC churches and I place the blame directly on preachers who are trying to accomplish something without the proper power being imparted to them. Coupled with that is the fact that many are simply too lazy to spend the necessary time on sermon development and presentation. They compensate for that by downloading someone else’s sermonic materials and attempt to make them their own. I simply isn’t a word from the preacher but from someone else in another place and time. Using thoughts or statements attributed to another author is not what I am talking about. There is much value in the wisdom of others. But making a habit of using another’s sermon almost verbatim is not good. I have heard too many sermons that left me wondering what in the world the preacher was trying to say. I don’t think they knew themselves. They presented a hodgepodge of statements which made no sense in the way they were tied together and presented. The seminaries cannot teach a man to preach. That is imparted in the “Call.” And, that is the only place that the power to perform this supernatural task is acquired.

Part Two Coming Soon!

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Will McRaney

Good word. Thanks for the reminders.

JIm Poulos

I would encourage you Dr. Harrell to write an article what you believe exactly is the Gospel. I believe this is a core challenge for you and most who think they know what the Gospel is.

Romans 1:16 is clear about where the Power you refer to resides.
When that true ‘Gospel’ is proclaim that release God’s Power for hearers to believe and for those who believe to live.

Just a quote of a verse here or there doesn’t do it. Whether Calvinists or non-calvinists, there is too much confusion about what is the Gospel.

The world and the Church is spinning in confusion. The Gospel of Christ is the only thing to bring order in this confusion.

    Robert

    Jim you have completely missed the boat here. The focus on the article is the CALL. The author believes that many are attempting to do pastoral ministry including preaching without ever having been called to be a pastor. THAT is the focus of the article, you are trying to take it off to a tangent, YOUR understanding of the gospel. That is a fine subject in another context, but not at all what the author is discussing.

    JIm Poulos

    Robert,

    I understand how you might feel like it is a tangent. I still don’t. The Gospel is so central to so much in Ministry. If that essential is unclear what can be said about that which flows out from it, like ministry.

    To your other point. Simply quoting a verse and claiming that as an adequate presentation of the Gospel: You be the judge.

    I am presenting what I see as a real problem which I feel needs a real solution. And I just don’t think it’s an easy one.

      Robert

      Jim, now you are being intentionally dense. Not only do you want to take the discussion off the subject (the call of God) to your pet topic (what you consider to be the nature of the gospel): you try to justify this with:

      “I understand how you might feel like it is a tangent. I still don’t.” “The Gospel is so central to so much in Ministry.”

      But that is not the topic of the article, the topic is about a possible problem (those NOT CALLED trying to do pastoral ministry). The nature of the gospel is not the issue here at all, the issue is whether some are trying to be pastors without having been called.
      Put another way you are trying to argue a different point and in doing so you ignore the intent of the author of this article. That is both rude and not right at all.

        Jim Poulos

        Robert,

        You’re unintentionally dense.

        JIm Poulos

        I take that back. That shouldn’t have been sent.
        Your free to have your opinion and I guess how you want to express it.

          Robert

          You ARE rude and wrong because you intentionally want to take the discussion to YOUR UNDERSTANDING of the gospel. Not the subject here at all.

          Jim Poulos

          Robert,
          You sure like to keep the discussion off the topic with your continuing notes.
          Maybe your the one whose rude and wrong?

Norm

1Cor 15
1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want you to remember the Good News I brought to you. You received this Good News and continue strong in it. 2 And you are being saved by it if you continue believing what I told you. If you do not, then you believed for nothing.
3 I passed on to you what I received, of which this was most important: that Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say; 4 that he was buried and was raised to life on the third day as the Scriptures say;

    Jim Poulos

    Norm,

    Your point leaves hanging questions like, what are sins, what does scripture say about who Christ is, why is resurrection significant…

    And on and on and on.

    My original point stands.

      Andy

      I think you may be asking for the impossible here: A COMPLETE description of the Gospel, that answers every possible question about every word in one’s definition…could go on forever, and may never be to your satisfaction.

      HOWEVER, barring the need for an exhaustive definition of the Gospel to be typed up in these comments…I AGREE that based on Romans 1, a better place to look for power in preaching is the Gospel message itself. I think that is much more clear in scripture than the idea of “the call”.

      In fact, I would say it CAN be unhealthy to base too much of one’s ministry on “the call” one received many years ago. I believe some men are called to be preachers for a season of life, and then could be called to some other primary profession…some are called to never be “full-time” ministers. Some are called to be welders for 40 years, then called to preach.

      Further, if a man finds his preaching passionless, I would say his greatest need is not to search his past life to determine if he was ever actually “called” to ministry, but rather to search the scriptures and his heart, sinking roots in the gospel message itself to renew his zeal, once again letting the love of Christ compel him.

      I do not reject the idea that God calls men to preach, but don’t believe every effectiveness or ineffectiveness can be traced to that. I believe even a truly called preacher can have seasons influenced by sinful patterns of selfishness, or man-pleasing, that will hinder or even wreck his ministry. The call of God to ministry does not automatically insulate one from the possibility of becoming side-tracked.

        JIm Poulos

        Andy,

        I appreciate your note. I see many who are ministers who are not clear nor confident about exactly what the Gospel is proclaiming. It is a message that should be continually effecting both the lost world and those who know God through Christ.

        It is not only about exhaustiveness, though that have its essential place.

        Those who proclaimed its message in Acts knew the exhaustiveness of its message but they adjusted it to each particular situations. Look at Peter, Paul, Stephen, Phillip, … in Acts. The message was adjusted to who the people they were speaking to whether is was Jews, proselytes, Romans, Greeks…

        Today, those who should know it should also now how to apply it in their particular situations. That’s ministry.
        My challenge is that they may not be able to because they don’t know exhaustively its core, this should be addressed, my challenge.

        But they who proclaimed it and those who heard in Acts understood what the Core was.

        It is this Core that’s foggy in many people’s thinking whether the Lost, the believers and the ministers.
        How can their be hope of unity when even the Church’s origins of its identity is not crystal clear?

        How can God’s Power be unleashed on foggy understandings?

      norm

      As does mine.

        Jim Poulos

        Quoting scripture is not making a point. It is just that, quoting scripture.

          norm

          Quoting scripture is pointless? Hmmm……

            Jim Poulos

            It can be quoted for the wrong motives and reasons making it worse than pointless.

              norm

              So are you accusing me of quoting scripture with wrong motives/reasons? It sure seems that you are.
              I will leave you now, Jim, to your contention.

                Jim Poulos

                It seems like you’re the one who wants to be contentious, Norm.

                Not the least hint to discuss. That’s your decision.

          Robert

          Norm quoted the most direct reference to the gospel in the NT. You want to discuss it more fully, but again that is not the subject of this thread at all.

      Dennis Lee Dabney

      PreachDrHarrellPreach!!!,

      The fruit of the labor of these men who just “went” as opposed to the “Call” is liberalism in all forms.

      Many outstanding bible believing local New Testament churches of yesterday are nothing more today than “program” central.

      A strong diet of the items Dr Harrell has set forth in this article has become what many now call “what the people need”.
      A belly full of felt needs and social ills and whatever else can fill up the time spot for preaching.

      Now the preacher is expected to out perform the side show in some churches. With time set aside for praise dancers, steppers and that Motley Crew referred to as the Band.

      Messages which will not hold up under pressure of this life nor the weight of His judgment.

      Preach!

        Robert

        Wow, finally a comment on the actual subject of this thread! :-)

Lee

If you are not hearing the law and the gospel from the pulpit every Sunday, then you may be in the wrong place.

norm

Dr. Harrell:

I am grateful for your observations and insights. As well, I find myself whole-heartedly agreeing with you regarding the necessary call of God upon the lives of those who would fill the NT role of pastor-teacher. No one would rebut that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Equally, however, no one should deny the necessary unction of God upon those who would deign to fill that NT role. I think we all could agree that one lost person could read a Gospel tract to another lost person, and both could come to salvation in Christ with neither person having the Lord’s call or unction upon them. That is the power of the Gospel. But your focus on the pastoral/preaching responsibility necessitates the call and unction of God if a man will be successful as God defines success. The biblical pattern of God’s call and unction (anointing) is clear, and I appreciate your underscoring these matters as they relate to what passes for biblical preaching, in some instances, today.

Lydia

“If you are not hearing the law and the gospel from the pulpit every Sunday, then you may be in the wrong place.”

This seems to be implying the Gentiles needed to hear the law before they could understand the Good News.

    Lee

    Hi Lydia. I am making no implications about the Gentiles. I am speaking about churches today. We must hear the commands of God and how they must be kept perfectly and we must hear the solution through the Good News of Jesus Christ in the gospel. If it is not being heard weekly from the pulpits so we are driven to repentance and the forgiveness through Christ, then you need to go somewhere where it will be preached.

Jeff

It’s interesting. The first half of this article was a well thought out and accurate description of what many non-denominational and Southern Baptist churches struggle with, which is a shallow version of Christianity influenced more by secular philosophy than the Word of God. (This is not an attack on those churches, there are several good SBC and non-denom churches). Then it attacks Presbyterian churches? That doesn’t follow from the beginning of the article. I attend a PCA church and our pastor works diligently to exegete scripture accurately and in a way that can be simply understood by the congregation.
What this is, though, is a back-handed way to put down Calvinist leaning pastors. the reason I left the SBC was b/c pop psychology was used more than a faithful handling of scripture. It’s odd that this piece is used to attack Calvinists, when they’re the ones attempting to faithfully exegete the scriptures, more often than not.

volfan007

I agree with you, Dr. Harrell. Men need to be called into the Pastoral ministry, which means that they will be gifted to be a Pastor/Teacher. But, we’ve got too many men preaching self help, psychological, I’m Ok, You’re Ok types of messages. Or else, they’re preaching 6 Steps to Happiness, or 5 Steps to Financial Freedom, followed by 3 Steps to be the Best You, EVER!
We need to preach the Gospel and teach the Word of God.
Also, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We need to preach in His power. I’m afraid that there are a lot of men, who are preaching, who would say with the people in Acts 19, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

There’s power in the Gospel. There’s power in the Word of God. And, we can be filled with the Spirit, and have His power to preach and teach. We must have His power.

David

    Dennis Lee Dabney

    Amen David,

    How shall they hear without a preacher?

    Preach!

Ken

My comment may not be specifically directed to “the call” subject of your article but I think it has a lot to do with the Calvinist-misguided-theory enveloped within the TULIP. It just seems to me that there is really no incentive for a Calvinist-leaning preacher to preach a sermon containing the Gospel message. And neither is there an incentive for any evangelist or missionary to wholeheartedly present the true Gospel to the lost. After all, the Calvinist belief system must render evangelical efforts fruitless, even useless, according to their philosophy.

Calvinist doxology concerning predestination reminds me of that old time song, “the old account was settled long ago.” So, Calvinists can(and, shockingly, do) quote John 3:16 until they are blue in the face, but common sense could only lead one to conclude that they do not honestly believe one iota of what that verse is actually saying, which is that every person has the God-given ability to profess Jesus as Savior and inherit eternal life, not just a pre-chosen group.

So, with an attitude like that of Calvinists, there is no secret why there is no urgency felt to preach the true Gospel.

    Jeff

    Based on what your saying, how do you explain Calvinists preaching the gospel? How do you explain the great awakening, a largely Calvinist evangelistic movement. It’s easy to make straw man arguments, but you would have to find Calvinists who support your argument. They don’t, of course.

      Ken

      Jeff:

      I wouldn’t expect any Calvinist to support my argument, After all, once a fool, always a fool.

        Jim Poulos

        Ken,
        For you to talk to anyone that way (to anyone) something is either terribly wrong with your theology or you just plain ignore it.

        Your comment is so egregious in a Christian discussion.

        andy

        Ken, what Jeff means is that you need to find the calvinists who are supposedly devoid of urgency in preaching the Gospel. Their existence would support your argument…but if instead we see things like the 1st great awakening, the modern missionary movement started by people like Andrew Fuller and William Carey, and the evangelistic zeal of Spurgeon, then that DOESN’T support your argument.

        Ken, you said, “with an attitude like that of Calvinists, there is no secret why there is no urgency felt to preach the true Gospel.”

        You may not understand WHY their evangelistic zeal is there, but saying it isn’t there doesn’t fit with observable facts from history and the present.

        There are zeal-ful (is that a word) Gospel preachers among both Calvinists and non calvinists.

          Lydia

          They have much zeal to spread Calvin as we see here from their favorite guru. Scroll down to watch the video.

          http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/after-darkness-light-video-from-geneva

            andy

            I will agree that in Piper’s later years, especially post-retirement, it seems he has taken what I would say is an un-healthy narrow focus on defending and promoting Calvinism that exceeds his earlier years.

            I will also say that I have heard many of his sermons over the years that ARE extremely helpful and challenging to go and share the gospel, and to let the Gospel affect my marriage, parenting, and ministry.

            Neither of those facts negates the other.

            No doubt we could find famous non-Calvinist preachers who get too caught up sometimes with non-gospel issues (eschatology, perhaps)…but it would not, in every case mean that the preacher did not preach the Gospel with passion.,…nor would it mean that ALL non-calvinists don’t preach the gospel.

            It just doesn’t fit the evidence from years an centuries.

              Lydia

              Piper was no different 17 years ago. How far back do I have to go? When his father was working for Bob Jones?

                Andy

                My point is, Piper talks about calvinism, yes. That surprises no one. He also preaches the Gospel.

                Further, the wider point is, LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of calvinists preach the Gospel…and most of them promote calvinism much LESS than Piper does. Piper is famous for being one of the strongest promotors of calvinism. Pointing to him does not negate fuller, carey, spurgeon, whitfield, etc, etc..etc…

                  Lydia

                  Andy, whether they spread their bait and switch God out of ignorance or on purpose is the question. Whitfield was a pro slaver, for example. It was part and parcel of who his God was. Spurgoen said Calvinism is the Gospel. And so on.
                  The point is they had a zeal to promote Calvinism not Jesus Christ. I get it that you think they were great men. But it does not follow that Calvin is the Good News.

                    andy

                    “The point is they had a zeal to promote Calvinism not Jesus Christ.”

                    –> The last 3 words of this sentence are demonstrably not true.

                    “I get it that you think they were great men.”

                    –> I think they were generally godly, albeit still fallen and sinful, men with zeal to preach the gospel, lift up Jesus, see people saved, and also help people in material ways. I would say the same about C.S. Lewis, AW tozer, Dr. Michael Brown, and the Wesley Brothers.
                    …If you are unwilling to admit that your Christian brothers and sisters who agree with calvinism can, have, and do preach the Gospel, many with great zeal, then that is truly sad, and it will continue to alienate you from them until you are all reunited in heaven to find out which side was more right, and then not care, as you accept each other as fellow redeemed sinners.

                    “But it does not follow that Calvin is the Good News.”

                    –> Neither I, nor anyone here has said that. So I’m not sure who you are arguing against.

              Les

              “No doubt we could find famous non-Calvinist preachers who get too caught up sometimes with non-gospel issues”

              Right. But let’s remember that preachers talking about Calvinism, like Piper, preach the gospel. It is not a mutually exclusive endeavor. Same for non-Calvinists (Trads) talking about, well, non-Calvinism (Traditionalism). Exhibit A: This site. They also preach the gospel.

              Talking about Calvinism or talking about Traditionalism is just talking about theology. It’s that simple.

              Thankfully Cal or non Cal both preach the gospel. Amen and amen!

            Les

            Andy, could it be argued that this website and the authors have an unhealthy zeal for promoting non Calvinism? How might the same metric you use to say that Piper may have an “unhealthy narrow focus on defending and promoting Calvinism” be applied here?

              andy

              1. Yes, that could be argued. Though I will not lump every contributer here together.

              2. My metric is anecdotal only, and I may be mistaken…but it seems since his retirement, When ever Piper makes the news or releases a book, He seems to talk MORE about Calvin and Calvinism than he used to. (which I realize to those who have known about piper for 30 years will sound impossible! :-)

              It’s purely a personal decision, I suppose, well within his liberty as a pastor and Christian…but I’m pretty sure that one of my main goals upon retirement will not be to write a book about the 5 points of Calvinism…but to each their own.

              Jeff

              Les,
              This site has an unhealthy amount of discussion about Calvinism. It’s talked more about by the contributors if this site than any site I’ve seen. It could be argued that the primary purpose of this site is to speak negatively about Calvinism. Case in point: 44 pages of articles discussing Calvinism in a negative light. Reformed sites do not talk about opposing views near as much (almost not at all.)

                Lydia

                Jeff, they should. It is very healthy and had it been “allowed” in Geneva it might not have made it too far past that point.

                I can imagine it is very uncomfortable for Calvinists. The attributes that they promote for God turn him into a tyrannical monster…much like Calvin, ironically.

                SBC churches need to be having these discussions in-depth as it goes to the very question of why we believe what we believe and God. Like Allah? Or, Jesus Christ?.

                  Jeff

                  Lydia,

                  What?

                  Your comment makes no sense. A website has been created where people who don’t believe in Calvinism tell other people who don’t believe in Calvinism how bad Calvinism is. The problem is Calvinism is rarely discussed. Instead, false arguments are made about what Calvinist believe. ‘Conversations’ don’t happen on this site. If you want that, go listen to debates by people who would give accurate arguments. If not, continue to read blogs from people who don’t seem to care if they intentionally misrepresent views of those they are opposing.

                    Paul N

                    Jeff,

                    What do Calvinists believe? And can you please point out the fakes arguments. I have read up on Calvinism a bit and I don’t see where people (as far as I know) are misrepresenting what Calvinists believe. Can you point out some of the wrong assertions made here. It would help me.

                    Thanks!

                    For me, I thank God for sites like this, as I was totally unaware that people believed Calvinism until not too long ago (well, I had no idea it existed) and how so many claimed that this was the only gospel.

                    Jim Poulos

                    Paul,

                    I’m going to interject. You and anyone else here are free to ignore my contribution, though some won’t. The issues of Reformed/Calvinism are complicated and the truth is are not going to be unravel by short discussions as here.

                    Many here, they’ve let identity as Christians to become simply anti-Calvinism/Reformed. Interestingly like a lot of reformed thinking became anti-Catholism in its identity toward Christianity.

                    Also, Reformed came out of a very collective and corporate view of Christianity which was very conditioned under Roman Catholicism. That mentality permeated much of their understanding of how believers should relate. On the other hand non-reformed like much of Baptist thinking here, particularly in the USA, have a much more individualistic approach to their faith. That is why the USA has so much contentions with most of the world about its emphasis own freedom. The world is very collective and corporate in its cultural thinking.

                    Yes, there are doctrine issues but in general those issues are secondary to the corporate emphasis that Reformed gravitate toward.

                    An added point. Many of the principles of the USA have been undergirded by non-reformed principles, particular Baptists who emphasized personal freedoms in a hostility to corporate/gov’t unity. This emphasis has helped the country to protect freedoms (many of those freedoms used as an excuse for sin) but have left Baptist as an association undermining their own need to unify. There are doctrine issues here to but this freedom element very dominates.

                    Lydia

                    Jeff, at least try to be a bit more original. Neo Cals have been telling me for 10 years I don’t understand it or I misrepresent Calvinism. Or anyone who disagrees is ignorant. Yep. Heard it all.

                    I dont think most Neo Cals understand it. It scares me to think what attracts them to it. Usually some guru.

                    I think most are impressed with the pseudo intellectualism of the ST. They rarely think it through to its logical conclusions. That is why historically it ebbs and flows to frozen chosen or social gospel. Resurges and so on. Tyrants and those who crave power and position love it.

                    My personal opinion is that it is part Greek Paganism with its dualism and angry big God punishing the lesser God for some he chose before he created humans but are unable to choose him because too depraved.

                    So yes, I know all about how Scripture showed you the great truths of the French lawyer, tyrant of Geneva who basically systemized Augustine.

                  Andy

                  Paul, the false argument specifically here is that Calvinists don’t have zeal to preach the gospel.

                  Les

                  Andy, the problem here about zeal or no zeal by Calvinists in preaching the gospel, may be the particular wording by Ken above 02-08-2016, 17:16.

                  “So, with an attitude like that of Calvinists, there is no secret why there is no urgency felt to preach the true Gospel.”

                  Notice that Ken says “TRUE gospel” at the end of his comments. My emphasis added. Ken can come on here and correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think he believes that Calvinists proclaim a TRUE gospel. So in his view, he would be correct that Calvinists have no urgency or zeal to preach the TRUE gospel, as defined by Ken. I think he thinks Calvinists proclaim a false gospel. Maybe others here believe that along with him.

                  So “fuller, carey, spurgeon, whitfield, etc, etc..etc…” as you said earlier, would have been preaching a false gospel according to Ken.

                  Les

                  Andy, the problem here about zeal or no zeal by Calvinists in preaching the gospel, may be the particular wording by Ken above 02-08-2016, 17:16.

                  “So, with an attitude like that of Calvinists, there is no secret why there is no urgency felt to preach the true Gospel.”

                  Les

                  Continued,

                  Notice that Ken says “TRUE gospel” at the end of his comments. My emphasis added. Ken can come on here and correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think he believes that Calvinists proclaim a TRUE gospel. So in his view, he would be correct that Calvinists have no urgency or zeal to preach the TRUE gospel, as defined by Ken. I think he thinks Calvinists proclaim a false gospel. Maybe others here believe that along with him.

                  So “fuller, carey, spurgeon, whitfield, etc, etc..etc…” as you said earlier, would have been preaching a false gospel according to Ken.

                    Robert

                    My experience is asymmetrical (i.e. I and my friends have not accused Calvinists of presenting a false gospel, we have however, on numerous occasions been accused by Calvinists of having a false gospel, especially when they claim they have the true gospel).

                    Be careful of folks who claim they have the true gospel and that you do not. The minute they claim they have the true gospel in contrast to you, the implication is that you don’t have the true gospel. If you did, why would they have to correct you?

                  Les

                  Robert,

                  I sincerely hope Ken heeds your words. I think he has in the past said that Calvinists preach a false or “another” gospel.

                    Robert

                    well if he has then he is just as wrong as the many Calvinists who have said they had the true gospel in contrast to me and other non-Calvinists.

                  Les

                  Calvinists who say that you non Cals preach another or different gospel are wrong to say that as well. I think it safe to say that we all here believe in salvation by grace alone thru faith alone in Christ alone.

                    Lydia

                    Now we see some Presbyterians questioning the ESS that is coming out of SBTS and Wayne Grudges as unorthodox. Interesting times. I am just glad they caught it.

          Les

          Andy, they can n-e-v-e-r admit they are wrong, as demonstrated by L’s comment/diversion.

            Andy

            Les, I’m not sure who exactly you are referring to as “they”. If you mean the very few number of people like you and me who comment on sites like this, who for some odd reason enjoy arguing these things, then I suspect you are right…none of us are eager to admit when we are wrong.

            If, however, you mean non-calvinists in general are MORE unwilling to admit their mistakes than Calvinists in general…I’d say that would be a baseless claim. :-)

            Les

            Andy, I was specifically referring to non Cals here. When facts are pointed out and theological positions are clarified, generally the non Cals here don’t own up to their mistakes. You pointed out Ken’s mistake here. L comes in with a baseless “zeal” claim without addressing the obvious truth that you pointed out. Classic.

            You’re right that “none of us are (sic) eager to admit when we are wrong.”

              Andrew Barker

              Facts??? Lol. People have been pointing out your unsubstantiated claims on this site and others for years now!! But I have seen people on this site accept they have been wrong and that is a fact … so your claim is just plain wrong! ?

              Les

              Andrew, not so much. And so you actually have seen some non cals here accept that they are wrong? I suppose that fits well with the word I used “generally.” “…generally the non Cals here don’t own up to their mistakes.” Did you get that Andrew? That little word allows that “some” have. Try to keep up my friend.

                andy

                LES: “generally the non Cals here don’t own up to their mistakes.”

                My response: “Generally the calvinists here don’t own up to their mistakes.”

                I simply think that were someone to waste a week of their lives culling the posts and comments here, we would find it about equal…with those of both persuasions normally not admitting defeat, but keeping arguing…while occasionally some of both persuasions DO admit mistakes…your sentence may as wall be, “Generally PEOPLE here don’t own up to their mistakes.” (I’ll include myself here as well!)

                Les

                Andy,

                You are correct. My mistake.

                  Andy

                  Score 1 for the calvinists!!! :-)

    Jim Poulos

    Here again, the issue of the Gospel won’t go away. Get ready to be criticized.

    And it is not why it is not preach, it is what is being preached?
    The what it is, is the core problem.

    So much hostility at reformed thinking without any appreciation that they were coming out of centuries, no, millennia, of confusion working to try to get back to the source.

    If the message of the Gospel is the ‘Power of God’ unto salvations isn’t that a reason to specialize in what it is?

    What the Gospel message is, is connected to what God is doing now and forever. It will always be relevant.

      Robert

      Jim continuing to try to bring up his hobby horse (i.e. HIS UNDERSTANDING OF THE GOSPEL as opposed to lesser understandings that he thinks others have).

      “Here again, the issue of the Gospel won’t go away. Get ready to be criticized.”

      Jim P. also writes:
      “So much hostility at reformed thinking without any appreciation that they were coming out of centuries, no, millennia, of confusion working to try to get back to the source.”

      If he knew church history he would know that there was no “reformed thinking” in the first four centuries of church history (nobody taught or espoused or presented or defended or promoted Calvinistic beliefs UNTIL Augustine came along and brought this into church history). “Reformed thinking” really only goes back to the Reformation era. So for centuries before the Reformers came along, before Augustine came along, the church was preaching the gospel without “Reformed thinking” and having no problem at all with the gospel.

      Calvinists in one sense are like the Mormons, the Mormons come along claiming the church got the gospel wrong and so of course THEY have to give the true gospel. Beware of groups like this that claim they have the true gospel implying others do not have the gospel at all. This exact same thinking is playing itself out in the SBC today with the Calvinists. According to THEM they have the true gospel which implies Traditionalists and other non-Calvinists do not have the true gospel. This is utterly false. We need to learn from church history and from movements like the Mormons who come along with their “so-called” true gospel.

      I used to work counter cult ministry with Walter Martin, it is sad seeing history repeat itself, but now it is not cultists claiming to have the “true gospel” it is Calvinists such as Jim P.

        Jim Poulos

        They accused Jesus was accused of being ‘beelzabub.’ What new?

        Jim Poulos

        Those who crucified Jesus accused Him of being Beelzebub. What’s new?

          Robert

          Jim P writes:

          “Those who crucified Jesus accused Him of being Beelzebub. What’s new?”

          Hmm, so now ACCORDING TO JIM P I am an unsaved person who believes Jesus is satanic and from the devil?

          How twisted does it get?

          I have some discernment, especially developed dealing with non-Christian cultists and false religions extensively in the past. That is why I was able to see Jim P. for what he is, one of those folks (like the Mormons) who thinks they alone have the “true gospel” and so they want to restore the true gospel that the rest of us have supposedly lost.

          We already have the true gospel and we certainly do not need Jim P to tell us about the true gospel.

          As a corollary it should be noted that those who claim to have the “true gospel” in contrast to others (folks like Jim P), always believe that those who challenge them or oppose them regarding their false claim that they have the true gospel as opposed to others, are both unsaved and satanic. So this is absolutely no surprise that Jim P. would react with exactly this response. I guess since he posted his response twice that must be for emphasis! ?

            Jim Poulos

            You have all the answers don’t you Robert? Just like those who crucified Jesus.

            Keep up your viciousness. You got a lot of company.

              Robert

              No, don’t have all the answers. Do have the discernment to figure you out though.

                Jim Poulos

                People who pat themselves on the back as much as you do have no discernment what so ever.

            Jim Poulos

            I say it again, You have the same discernment of those who discerned Jesus did His work by Beelzebub.
            All you’re able to do is accuse what you don’t know.

Andy

I suppose the good news is that in a few years, when government takes away housing allowances, non profit status, and all tax benefits, not to mention possible fines and/or other punitive actions against pastors and churches who will not support and perform homosexual marriages…..

….there will be a lot less men looking at pastoral ministry as an “easy respectable profession.”.

    Jim Poulos

    Andy,

    There was a story of a pastor, before all the gov’t benefits afforded him was asked, ‘why he was so skinny all the time?’
    He said, he used the pay his church gave him to feed his horse.

    Lydia

    “suppose the good news is that in a few years, when government takes away housing allowances, non profit status, and all tax benefits, not to mention possible fines and/or other punitive actions against pastors and churches who will not support and perform homosexual marriages…..”

    I agree with you but not for the same reason. I think those that have made merchandise of the Good News for so long are going to cause more people to question the perks from a civic point of view.. From the rise of Megas to the charlatans hawking their expertise like they are indulgences.

    And as is the usual all the decent low paid ministry people suffer. Best they speak up now and stop following the well-heeled gurus.

    Robert

    Andy is correct, and when that happens, then we will see who is truly called to ministry and who is merely doing it to have an “easy respectable profession.”

Paul N

Excellent!

I remember when I first learned about blacksermons.com. I could not believe that people borrowed sermons…still can’t.

If a man is called to Preach, God will direct that person in what His people need to hear. I cannot see it any other way.

And of course, for so many, it is more about self help and a great focus on God wanting to give you all things to your comfort in this life. Quite sad.

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