Saturday, June 28, 2014
I listened to a sermon, "Partners in God's Amazing Plan," by local Pastor Dave Bryan of Glad Tidings Church. It struck me that the sermon was highly antagonistic to an intellectually satisfying faith. Pastor Bryan rightly expressed the desire to fulfill the command, in 1 Peter 3:15-16; 2 Corinthians 5:11, to give an answer for our hope--to persuade men. But then leaves us with no hope of fulfilling this command. Pastor Bryan spends much time interpreting God's plan, as corporate election, justification, adoption, sanctification and glorification, in terms of Pastor Bryan's presuppositions. The sermon, simply, does not deal with scripture exegetically to be challenged and shaped by the Bible. Scripture (e.g. Romans 8 and 9) is to be read with proper hermeneutical principles to exegete, the text, to know God's revelation. Understanding God's revelation in Scripture cannot be treated as a trifling matter; it requires much study, prayer, and the Holy Spirit's illumination. Don't miss my point. I'm not saying one must be a Pastor or PhD candidate to understand God's Word, I am simply saying to understand the deep things of God requires more than a surface reading of the text.
The sermon seems to disparage logic. Or, at least, makes the Christian faith a choice between rationalism or fideism. But this is a false dilemma. There is another choice between the two options; there is divine revelation-- that integrates both together. We can have, a reasonable, intellectually satisfying, secure, faith based on God's revelation.
The sermon claims God's plan for mankind is to partake in God's glory. This is an ambiguous statement. It needs to be spelled out precisely, how Christians will take part in God's glory. Pastor Bryan goes so far as to assert Christians are to be both God and man as Christ is the God-Man. Such a teaching comes terribly close to the Word of Faith movement's little gods doctrine, perhaps a complete affirmation of it. It sounds like a call to retreat to the Eastern Orthodox's mystic tradition of theosis. At the end of the sermon there are hints at the logical impossibility of man being a god. Furthermore, the apostle Paul sharply argues against the "man to gods" doctrine in Romans with the creator/creature distinction. Likewise, in Acts 17, Paul tells us we are creatures under the control of God, the most perfect being. By Paul's very explanation, only God has the essential properties to be God. And these essential properties cannot be communicated to a mere man. There is no possible world, which a mere man can be a god. Since it is logically impossible for a mere man to be given properties only God can possess. In other words, if God would share his nature with other creatures, he would have to cease to be God. Let me explain. Think for a moment, can there exist more than one perfect being--God? The moment you say--yes, you are left in meaninglessness. For it is logically impossible for two perfect beings to exist, since one cancels the other out. If there were two beings in the world both could not have the essential properties of a perfect being, like all-power, self-sufficiency, independence, all-control, thus both could not be God. Yet we are told to believe God is going to make all Christians perfect beings? What text says this? Last time I checked, glorification does not equal deification.