Generally speaking, the number of “divisive” issues among professing Christians, are really just too numerable to count. Typically, I fall in line with the idea that “denominational boundaries” are mostly in fact, “doctrinal boundaries.” That’s why I can’t just “tear down the walls;” I didn’t build them. As I have said here before, I am a Christian by new birth, a Baptist by belief, and a Missionary Baptist by conviction. I do recognize the fact that God has people, and uses people beyond the associated work of the group of churches that we fellowship with. Southern Baptists who know their history will recognize our group, The American Baptist Association, as the “Landmark Baptists” that formed the General Association of Baptist Churches in 1925. Not all “Landmark Baptist” churches left the Southern Baptist Convention, while in fact, there are those still within the Convention that seem to be holding very well to the “Landmark Doctrines” of the Baptist Faith. The truth is, that until 1963, the Baptist Faith and Message was practically entirely Landmark in Doctrine.
Now I said all of that to say this. I’ve never thought about “filtering” in to other non-Baptist groups with the doctrine that the Bible teaches. He will take care of that with them. However, the reality is that false ideas from somewhere keep filtering in to Baptist groups and growing like kudzu. Three of those bad beliefs that keep sticking their head up here, there, and yonder are 1.) A Post Tribulation Rapture theology; 2.) That Tithing is Evil; and 3.) Full Blown, Five Point, industrial strength, Calvinism.
Of course there are other “little sparks” that try to light big fires, but never seem to gain ground in the souls with settled doctrinal truth. I have noticed that Baptist debates and divisions appear, to me at least, to have skyrocketed since the days of Havner, Criswell, Lindsey, and Rogers. I’m probably wrong, it just seems to me that some of these issues were not issues when these men were at the forefront of the charge. Were they hear to speak, they no doubt would tell a different story.
Without hesitation, two of the aforementioned issues, I believe have dire consequences, and do violence to the Word of God and injustice to the people of earth. As I’ve said before, The Post Tribulation Rapture theology is perhaps one of the most dangerous theologies that anyone could preach, because it in essence teaches, “My Lord delayeth is coming.” That’s not what this article is about.
The second/close first/ most dangerous doctrine is the foolish doctrine of the “limited atonement.” The teaching, or idea that Christ only died for the elect. Were this true, no man, could ever look any man in the eye, and tell him that “Jesus died for you.” The whole concept of the Limited Atonement undercuts the gospel message, denies the full work of Jesus, has categorically no foundation in scripture, and misrepresents the God of the Bible.
While the Bible is full of the truth that Christ died for the sins of every man, and there are many passages of scripture that say so, one thing that is worth pointing out is the fact that the Apostle Paul was no “limited atonement Calvinist.”
Preaching to the Athenians at Mars Hill, in his unique Pauline way, began his message with their overreligious zeal, idolatry, and ignorance, and took them to the place in which he could declare to them that the God who made heaven and earth, “now commandeth all men, every where to repent.” Which followed with the promise the Jesus that was raised from the dead, was the assurance to all men that there was a day of judgment to come. All men are commanded to repent, but all men cannot be saved? The German word for that is Baloney.
Furthermore, John declared in 1st John 2:2, that “He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins ofthe whole world.” How that can be explained away by anyone goes beyond me. True, pure, historical exegesis of that text will bring you to the place that “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
It is a plain and simple heresy, (error or schism) to continue to proclaim that the atoning work of Christ was not for the sins of everyone on planet earth, from time immemorial to time yet future.
I praise God that Christ died for me, and atoned for my sins. The message that I preach and will continue to preach is that Christ died for “you” too. There is not a man woman boy or girl on planet earth that Jesus did not go to the cross for on their behalf. Would to God that all preachers would preach this. It was the preaching of Jesus, the preaching of Paul, the preaching of the Apostles, and it should be the preaching of every modern day man of God who stands to preach the Word of God. Based on the things I’m hearing from those with deformed theology, it would be a much welcomed change worth making.