Thursday, March 16, 2006

What's Wrong with the Four Spiritual Laws?

In a comment on my previous post, p. softly asked, "What don't you like about the 4 spiritual laws, besides that they are not the whole story and are very individualistic?"

Fair enough.

Paul writes in his letter to the Phillipians, "What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice."

So, I'm on dangerous ground here. Apparently the Four Spiritual Laws "work" for a lot of people. They're certainly not as bad as some of the nonsense that goes on in the name of Christianity. But I take issue with them.

The statement of the laws below is from http://www.greatcom.org/laws/ and the emphasized words below are emphasized the same way there.

1. God LOVES you and offers a wonderful PLAN for your life.

This is probably the one I take the most issue with. The problem is that it really only makes any sense for people living in a nice, comfortable middle/upper class lifestyle, and even for them only when things are going relatively well.

Rabbi Irving Greenberg has proposed the following principle for God talk after the Holocaust: "No statement, theological or otherwise, should be made which would not be credible in the presence of burning children." Clearly, the "first spiritual law" fails this test.

This might seem like a pretty harsh standard to apply to people who are just trying to share the love of Christ with people they meet, and I wouldn't apply it if this statement were not so front and center in their evangelistic methodology. But as I indicated in my previous post, the issue is maintaining Chrisianity as a credible worldview. If "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life" is the foundation of "the Christian worldview" it will crumble when the rains fall, the floods come and the winds beat on the house of faith.

Half the people in the world live on less than two dollars a day. I'm not going to tell them that God has a wonderful plan for their life.

2. Man is SINFUL and SEPARATED from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God's love and plan for his life.

This is a carefully crafted statement which dances around the question of whether or not God actually does love and extend grace to the "sinful and separated" people. In clumsy hands it can (and does) easily become "You're a bad person, and that's why you don't know God."

3. Jesus Christ is God's ONLY provision for man's sin. Through Him you can know and experience God's love and plan for your life.

This is a nasty, backhanded presentation of the Gospel. It means to say that through Christ you can know God, but it actually begins by saying, if you aren't a Christian you're one of those bad people that God doesn't love.

Instead of saying, "The love of God is extended to all people in Christ," it says, "The love of God is ONLY extended to Christians."

4. We must individually RECEIVE Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God's love and plan for our lives.

I might have been wrong when I said that the first law is the one that I take most issue with. This is at least a close second.

The first thing I take issue with here is the word "individually." You're on your own. Nobody can do this for you. I've told you how to say the prayer, but now the ball's in your court.

But, Lutheran that I am, I don't believe the ball is ever out of God's court.

The thing that troubles me about this is that it presents a picture where God made salvation possible and then stepped back and waited to see who would take the offer. This is nothing less than a misrepresentation of God.

The God I worship is active in the world, constantly working in and through people's lives, whether they've received him or not, to accomplish the salvation, not just of individuals, but of the world. As the Orthodox say, no one is saved alone.

36 comments:

HereISit said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
P.S. (an after-thought) said...

Thanks for taking the time to answer. I haven't read the post yet; I am printing it. Bloglines informed me of your post, but then I couldn't get your blog to work for quite awhile. When I finally got it, I got it four times at once, maybe once for each spiritual law. ? I thought I'd better printi it before it goes into cyber never land again.

melissa said...

Thank you so much for a post like this. It makes me glad to be a Christian and glad to be a Lutheran! Well said.

P.S. (an after-thought) said...

I’m glad I asked the question, “What don’t you like about the 4 spiritual laws…?” As a Lutheran, the method/language is outside my usual domain, which doesn’t make it wrong, but I couldn’t really articulate what made me uncomfortable.

I feel as though I live in Luther-Land, yet our pastor stated that half the people in our county are unbaptized. This means that we aren’t doing our job. And if there are ways to express Christianity that can catch people’s initial interest, then we should look into using them. Any Lutheran church which is situated in an area where there are great numbers of unchurched people which doesn’t have at least some adult baptisms needs to take a second look at its mission statement, in my opinion. We’ve had a number of adult baptisms, but nowhere near what there could be, given the mission field right here.

1. God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.

Well, this is really true, if the word plan means salvation. And if the word wonderful pertains to heaven. Or take out the word wonderful; again, the statement is true. God does, at least, know our future, if that is what a plan means.

However, it is too easy to equate the words ‘wonderful plan’ with the health/wealth/success theology. Are we to assume that the drought in eastern Africa affects no Christians? Or the tsunami struck only non-Christian islands? Or that there were no Christians where Katrina came ashore? Perhaps there was reverse Rapture.

Three generations of our family use Psalm 145: 15 & 16 with the words changed from statements of fact to petitions, asking God to feed and satisfy.

Scripture indicates that we may be called upon to give up everything and follow. Maybe the plan for a certain person is to go and help and suffer with the people needing comfort in a home for people with AIDS in Nigeria. I know a Lutheran woman who is doing this. I correspond with a Christian young man in Uganda who has given up the usual dreams a young man might have because he founded a school for AIDS orphans.

I suppose this is too heavy to lay on a new Christian. But I agree with you. Let’s not sugarcoat the Gospel.

2. Well, yes. But if a Christian is not “knowing” i.e. “feeling” God’s love, then what?

3. Ditto. And I believe that God’s love IS shown around the world, yet men muck it up constantly.

4. The problem is that there are those people who look at their “membership” in a faith group as something they inherit, such as their ethnicity. Or baptism as fire insurance. Who is the actor when someone is “saved?” I believe it is God. But what about those people who have been surrounded with Christianity but have never bothered to even think about how it applies to them? I am satisfied to leave this up to God and to not condemn.

Yet some of what you and I don’t like about these statements is culture/language. I think of a person dear to me that was raised Lutheran and deliberately drifted away from faith, yet, as a thoughtful person, was eventually questioning, seeking. When he eventually had a “faith experience” which involved some prayer and some form of just letting God have God’s way, he said, “God gave me my faith back.” That is statement true to his Lutheran background. I think that someone from a different Christian tradition would have said that he asked Jesus to come into his heart and was saved. At least the words ‘was saved’ is in the passive voice.

Is there anything in Lutheranism that provides a concise exposition for a person new to the ideas of faith and the saving grace of Jesus? One of the reasons the new Walking the Midway Blog Carnival topic on Lutheran Spirituality intrigues me is that the expression of faith in the Lutheran church of my childhood and in a Lutheran college was pretty dry or even non-existent, unless we were reading something out loud out the hymnal. It was never an outward expression of faith experiences.

Andy said...

Hi Melissa. Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you liked it.

Andy said...

p,

Thanks for your thoughtful comments. It's good to have someone call me to reflect seriously on things like this and not just bash them.

I think you're right. Lutheranism could definitely benefit from a good, concise statement of the Gospel. One of the problems with that is that most of the good, concise language of the Bible has been co-opted by conservative Baptist types and now carries a lot of baggage in the culture that we wouldn't necessarily intend. Even so, that doesn't excuse us from doing better.

P.S. (an after-thought) said...

There is a children's song that goes "Hide it under a bushel, NO!. I'm going to let it shine..."

How do we shine? We, meaning me, you, singular. We, meaning Lutheran.

Speaking from my personal experience:

We've been a pretty closed mouth bunch, at least in some circles. And some of "us" get pretty defensive when somebody questions our "witnessing." Yes, actions do speak louder than words, but sometimes actions can lead to an opening, a time and a place to speak about what our motivation is for our good works. I Peter 3:15.

I have quite literally heard it said, "Well, there are some Christians in the Lutheran Church and the Catholic Church." My friend has heard this same statement made at a mixed age group couples Bible study she attends.

The speakers of these words attend a Baptist Church that is well known for visiting the sick, helping new mothers, seeing a spiritual need and starting a Bible study specifically for that need, etc.

We sometimes tell our children, do what I say, not as I do. These Baptist neighbors of ours could easily say, "do as I say, do as I do, just don't be as judgemental as I am."

Thomas Adams said...

I really enjoyed reading this post, as well as the ensuing discussion. Mel, I fully share your criticisms of "The Four Spiritual Laws". To my ears, they sound like a simplistic sales-pitch for faith - "Come on in, and we'll tell you about God's wonderful plan for your life. But first, you have to believe what we believe." This four-step scheme for salvation is certainly not the Gospel, as the use of the word "Laws" clearly indicates.

I’m also quite wary of the “purpose–driven” theology contained in Law #1, since it seems more geared towards human fulfillment than the ways of God. Christians should never claim that faith is “useful”, at least not in a direct sense. We affirm Christianity because we believe it to be the Truth, not because we think it will yield benefits for us in this life or the afterlife. Thus, as you nicely point-out at the end of your post, the best approach is to stress the objectivity of God’s actions, and not our subjective responses. As Lutherans, we need to find a way of proclaiming that “God has acted for your salvation, whether you recognize it or not. He’s not waiting on you; instead, he has already pronounced you righteous by his free grace.” I’m not sure if that message will bring in many adult converts, but it’s worth a try. I agree with p-softly that we Lutherans are far too “curved in on ourselves”, and we should become more aggressive in sharing our radical Gospel with the outside world.

Andy said...

Don't get me started on the whole "purpose driven" thing. I'll rant 'til I'm senseless.

Travis said...

So, do you believe everyone will be saved or something different? I wasn't quite clear from reading your post.

Andy said...

Hi Travis,

I hope that everyone will be saved, but I wouldn't go so far as to say I think so. I'm not even sure what it would mean to not be saved, except that it sounds like a very bad thing.

What I would say is that I don't focus much on who's "going to heaven" and who isn't. I don't think the Gospel is about how to get saved. It's much better new than that. The good news is that God is doing something about the mess the world is in.

Travis said...

Well, I certainly agree that God is doing something about the mess the world is in... but wouldn't you agree that what God is doing is carrying out His plan of redemption? Isn't that what the great commission was about when Jesus commanded the disciples to carry the message to the ends of the earth... so that sinners might be saved?

Andy said...

Yes, Travis, I agree that what God is doing is carrying out His plan of redemption. But I think you and I would fill that statement with different content.

You mentioned on the other thread that the Gospel, as you presented it there ("even though we are born dead in our sins, separated from God, and objects of His wrath... the good news is that God demonstrated His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us"), is so simple that children can understand and believe. I would raise an objection here. I don't think children can understand why they would be objects of God's wrath. I don't understand it.

And if you don't make room for a certain amount of mystery here ("strange is his deed! —— alien is his work!"), you get something really ugly.

I'm trying to point to the difference between God not exercising wrath on a number of sinners (but letting loose on everyone and everything else) and God redeeming the world. Do you understand what I mean?

Travis said...

No, not really.
And correct me if I'm wrong, but you don't understand why we are born objects of God's wrath?

Andy said...

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say I don't comprehend it. I can recite the logical argument for it, but I can't grasp it.

And I don't comprehend it precisely because "while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." If God is wrathful, even that is for our salvation.

But we've got a tradition in Lutheranism that advises us not to try to pry into the secret will of God. Instead, we focus on God clothed in his promises. The intentions of God for the world are revealed in the Crucified Christ.

What it comes down to is this: Who or what is God redeeming? It is in this regard that I cited Revelation 21:5, "See, I am making all things new."

LutheranChik said...

Mel, your post gave me very unpleasant flashbacks of my college-era encounters with aggressively proselytizing Navigators. (They never got me, a fact for which they should be profoundly greateful.)

I'm reading Marva Dawn's Unfettered Hope, where she talks about the diminishment of the stuff of life into device -- something you use to get something else -- and to me the "Four Spiritual Laws" are exactly that. For me Christianity is about, metaphorically speaking, taking off my shoes and falling on my face, because I've just entered onto holy ground and encountered the Holy Mystery. It's not about "Four easy steps to salvation!"

LutheranChik said...

Mel, in reference to your related question on my carnival blog -- since you're addressing an idea, not a particular church body or organization holding it, I'm going to make the executive decision that it's acceptable.

Andy said...

Oh good.

You have a great point, lc, about "device". Even if the 4SL were theologically sound, the way they're used, to what end, could be called into question.

anon said...

hi, ran across your blog after googling about antioch and got sidetracked with your other posts. interesting stuff.
wanted to leave some comments. to the point of creating a blog id after some self-debate.

i dont completely agree with 1st law either, but the part about a wonderful plan, you seem to read "offer" as "has."
i imagine the plan is wonderful from Gods point of view (this could make the phrasing a bit spurious though). i say this cause i think much of our societys broken philosophy about evil and suffering would be better answered by defining "good" (or wonderful) more adequately. as for credibility, i think many things that are theologically valid would not serve well in the presence of the suffering (children or otherwise). you mention rain storms and falling houses, but i think these so-called "laws" are better evangelistic discussion points than theological foundations. and meant to be merely that. i value (formal) theology, but i dont think it/s usually the best means to evangelize.
law #2 could indeed be misconstrued as "youre a bad person...", but then many valid statements could be and often are misconstrued. if youre looking for better wording, i think youre right about the carefully craftedness of it. perhaps to appease the calvinists and arminians.
i totally lost you on #3. nasty? i missed that. and didnt see a fair connection between "Jesus Christ is Gods only provision" and "you're one of those bad people..." (unless youre saying there are other roads to salvation; maybe i need to go back and read your other posts).
i see your issues with #4, though at this point you deliberately seem to be setting yourself up against these laws. then again, that/s not fair since i dont know youre theology.

sorry if this sounds critical. i enjoyed your post; i just took issue with some of your points. but then, that may just be a result of not knowing youre theology.

and sorry if anythings superfluous, i skimmed the comments. hope you dont mind the post

ps. im not baptist. but i find "language of the bible has been co-opted by conservative baptist types and now carries a lot of baggage" a little harsh.

Andy said...

anon,

I'm not sure how long ago you posted these comments as Blogger for reasons known only to them gives me times but no dates. As this is an old topic, my response may be long delayed.

First, you're absolutely right. I have always read "offer" as "has". I even had to go back and check to be convinced that it didn't say "has". Funny how the mind works. I'll have to think more about what the intended implications of the "offer" are. Initially, it still doesn't seem to take reality as seriously as I would like.

With regard to the third law, my reasoning is that if your presentation says "Jesus Christ is God's ONLY provision" and you make "ONLY" bold and all caps like that then it is the "ONLY" that is being emphasized, not Jesus Christ. And to those who are not Christians you are saying, God has made no other provisions for you. As you stand now, God is against you.

This is, of course, implied or stated outright by much Christian theology, but in my view it's complete nonsense. Was it while we were already Christians that Christ died for us? Clearly, God loves me whether I am a Christian or not.

Now my personal belief with regard to other religions is that they see God, even if through a darker glass than us, and receive God's grace. More particularly, and more to the point, I don't believe that any of us come to Christ apart from God's grace, which means that God's grace must be active in our life before we come to Christ. The "ONLY" from the third spiritual law would seem to deny this.

Finally, you're right that my comment regarding the Biblical language having been co-opted by Baptists was a little harsh. It implies more than I meant to. I don't think that the Baptists are trying to "steal" the Biblical language. What I meant was simply that when many people here phrases like "Christ died for our sins" they understand it to mean only what conservative evangelical Christians (not limited to Baptists) say it means, and I claim that the original language meant something other than that.

Tim said...

Do you know what i don't like about the 4 spiritual laws? There is not faith in this. Faith means not just receiving Him, what He said, and what He did, as TRUE, but also trusting Jesus, what He said, and what He did.

These laws as a whole does not mention or take into account the other side of the coin: the wrath of God upon sinners (Romans 11:22).

Besides, there is no Scripture verse or group of verses that states that these are the spiritual laws by which we must live, and through which we must evangelize.

Regarding the 4th "law", we are saved NOT by receiving Him as Lord and Savior (individually or not), but by REPENTANCE AND FAITH (Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21; Luke 13: 4,6; John 3:16).

This is what's wrong with the four spiritual laws, for me. I belong to a Reformed Baptist Church

Tim said...

It's Luke 13:3,5, not verses 4 & 6

David said...

Please read the Four Spiritual Laws booklet thoroughly. I am not a fan of it either, but I think many of the issues on this post come from reading only the 4 statements. Every "law" is explained and supported by Scriptures. Also, the 4 laws are only half of the booklet; the rest is as important.

Tim said...

1st spiritual [law]:
-it makes the reader think that God has a wonderful plan for EVERYBODY, when in fact, when you look at the context of the verse (Jer. 29:11), God speaks to the Israelites--His choses people--not all the earthlings. He has wonderful plans for HIS PEOPLE.

3rd spiritual [law]:
-what about God's mercy and grace? His Fatherly discipline, protection, and provision? Release from sin's power and bondage? What about the Holy Spirit's indwelling? This is lacking when you come to think of it. In Jesus Christ our Redeemer, at conversion by faith, we do not experience and suffer God's wrath anymore.

4th spiritual [law]:
-Is God idle? Is God just sitting on His throne waiting for His special creatures to savingly and rightfully respond to the Gospel call? When you read it thoroughly, this sounds like God is not in control of people's responses to the call, as if God has no control. God is SOVEREIGN. He planned everything from the beginning. So he's not waiting. He's working.
-Also, the right response to the Gospel is not to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior--individually or not. Not to ask Jesus to come into one's heart. Not easy-believism. These are not found anywhere in the written Word of God! NOWHERE! Jesus Christ says "Repent and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15). The apostles called us to repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). This is the only response.
After that, His chosen few can rightfully claim the promises and blessings of God in Jesus Christ through faith.

As I look at the 4 spiritual "laws" in general, none emphasize or give much weight to the wrath and holiness of God. There are two sides of the coin to God's dealings with men: His kindness and His severity (Romans 11:22). Only then can one man see his sinfulness, guilt, undeservingness, pride, his need for a Savior, and feel God's unfathomable love for sinners. Only then can he cry "Have mercy on me, the sinner".

People may not like this way of evangelism, but if people don't like and enjoy it, if they reject it continually, just as Christ was rejected, then you're doing the right thing.

Matthew 10:38: "And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me"

Matthew 16:24: Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me"

Andy said...

David,

In any doctrinal disagreement among Christians all sides are supported by Scripture. Many people have been taught to interpret Scripture in a way that is consistent with the four spiritual laws. I have been taught to interpret Scripture rather differently. It's not an easy task to sort out who is right, but I can tell you it can't be settled by tossing verses back and forth.

I understand that these "laws" aren't meant to stand on their own. What follows, the actual personal connection and fellowship with other Christians, is the thing that has made them a successful tool, to the extent that they have been successful. A gathering of Christians can overcome bad theology.

And, yes, I do think these "laws" represent bad theology. In fact, it's not so much the laws themselves as the theology they represent that I object to. It's full of triumphalism and exclusivism. That said, I have seen that Christ is present among those who gather behind this theology, just as he is present among Christian who hold alternative theologies.

Andy said...

Tim,

Wow, I'm not sure where to start. I kind of understand what you're saying, but I completely disagree with your assessment that more wrath is necessary or that being rejected is a sign of good evangelism.

It seems to me that the majority of people have enough experience of weeping and gnashing of teeth that we don't need to bring more into their lives to show them their need for Christ. If you have to sell people bad news before the Good News makes sense then something is wrong.

Philip Wong said...

A lot of people have already tried to challenge the four spiritual laws by their theological standards.In my opinion,it only gives others, from another theological camp,excuses to pretend they do not see the problems of the laws.

Why don't we see in this way? I think every true followers of Christ, no matter which camp which you from, must agree with no heretics can be saved.

One of the big problems of the laws is that, it never mentions
there is only one God.
But it quotes this Scripture.
"God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16 NIV).

How can people have not been in touched with the Christianity before would know the Trinity of God?

If people, after they read the 4 laws, thinking their are" 2 gods"
, one is "God", another one is "only Son". It basically saying that they believe in heretical teaching. There is no way a heretic can be saved.

They 4laws guarantees if someone who believe every teachings inside it. And after than pray a prayer to invite Jesus as their LORD and saviour, would definitely be saved, otherwise God is a liar.
(It is another problem, pray a prayer is not a must to receive Christ. Otherwise the apostles, especially Paul, can not be saved.)

If the writer(s) of the laws really had a clear mind to think of what he really try to present. He should know that God never guarantees heretics to be saved. And some heretic can believe all teachings of the laws and even pray the prayer.

I am not saying every time when we present the gospel, we have to present the Trinity. But since the 4 laws does not even talk of there is one God, would it be very possible that receivers would believe, according to their "logic", there are "2 gods"?

How can those "heretics" be saved?
and if the 4 laws cannot guarantee the receivers would not believe in the heretical teachings, how can it really guarantee someone is saved?

In fact, the orthodox Christianity (including Martin Luther's view)
would never guarantee someone really believe the gospel.Since you cannot really know what other people really believe, you cannot actually guarantee their salvations.

The way that we have to do is to tell others how to be saved. tell them if they really believe the gospel, they are saved.

But true Christianity does not guarantee you have already believed the gospel and saved.

16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16 NIV)


Jesus did not teach us to tell someone else is saved, but to tell them " If you really believe the gospel, you are saved."

Philip Wong said...

A lot of people have already tried to challenge the four spiritual laws by their theological standards.In my opinion,it only gives others, from another theological camp,excuses to pretend they do not see the problems of the laws.

Why don't we see in this way? I think every true followers of Christ, no matter which camp which you from, must agree with no heretics can be saved.

One of the big problems of the laws is that, it never mentions
there is only one God.
But it quotes this Scripture.
"God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16 NIV).

How can people have not been in touched with the Christianity before would know the Trinity of God?

If people, after they read the 4 laws, thinking their are" 2 gods"
, one is "God", another one is "only Son". It basically saying that they believe in heretical teaching. There is no way a heretic can be saved.

They 4laws guarantees if someone who believe every teachings inside it. And after than pray a prayer to invite Jesus as their LORD and saviour, would definitely be saved, otherwise God is a liar.
(It is another problem, pray a prayer is not a must to receive Christ. Otherwise the apostles, especially Paul, can not be saved.)

If the writer(s) of the laws really had a clear mind to think of what he really try to present. He should know that God never guarantees heretics to be saved. And some heretic can believe all teachings of the laws and even pray the prayer.

Philip Wong said...

(Sorry I have to cut my comment half, It's too long.)

I am not saying every time when we present the gospel, we have to present the Trinity. But since the 4 laws does not even talk of there is one God, would it be very possible that receivers would believe, according to their "logic", there are "2 gods"?

How can those "heretics" be saved?
and if the 4 laws cannot guarantee the receivers would not believe in the heretical teachings, how can it really guarantee someone is saved?

In fact, the orthodox Christianity (including Martin Luther's view)
would never guarantee someone really believe the gospel.Since you cannot really know what other people really believe, you cannot actually guarantee their salvations.

The way that we have to do is to tell others how to be saved. tell them if they really believe the gospel, they are saved.

But true Christianity does not guarantee you have already believed the gospel and saved.

16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16 NIV)


Jesus did not teach us to tell someone else is saved, but to tell them " If you really believe the gospel, you are saved."

The 4laws teaches us to tell others must be saved.

To those "4 spiritual laws" fans, can you actually see the difference here?
How can the "four spiritual laws" gives out false promise"? If someone is not saved, and you claim them saved.
You basically are doing this:

‘Peace, peace,’ they say,
when there is no peace.(Jeremiah 6:14)
The above problem is only one of the false teachings that the 4 laws presents and cause serious problem, and I guess no true believers of Christ can disagree about it. But the false teachings of the laws are much more than the shown above.

these are some points when I wrote my article in my blog, hope it helps to know what terrible results that the 4 laws can cause.
(sorry if my poor English troubles you)

timothy said...

Andy

Did Jesus ever speak good and pleasing-to-the-ears words to the Jews who did not believe Him? No. In fact, the Pharisees wanted Him dead because of them.

He even said that the way to Heaven is SO hard--and NOT EASY--(read Matthew 7:13-14). The easy way leads to HELL (destruction).

So when evangelizing, i believe one must tell the people about their state before God--HOPELESS AND HELPLESS SINNERS BOUND FOR HELL. Then tell them that because Christ came to die on our place, there is already hope. They should therefore believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16) and repent of their sins (Luke 13:3, 5).

timothy said...

Besides, there is no such thing as "Four spiritual laws" in the Bible. That's what's wrong.

Pigue aka "trukyeldarb" said...

Actually, I see nothing wrong with the four spiritual laws.

1. God LOVES you and offers a wonderful PLAN for your life.

This is correct. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

God does have a plan for each of us, a wonderful plan. The Bible has many examples of people whose lives look horrible from man's point of view, yet even in time of struggle and turmoil, people who are right with God feel His presence in their lives. They see as He sees, and they feel Him loving through their actions.

As Stephen was being stoned to death he was feeling God's immeasurable love as he asked the Father to forgive his enemies. It was a wonderful testament to the power of the Holy Spirit in giving us the ability to suffer in Christ's name. Would Stephen rather have been rich, powerful, or comfortable? That's not what he demonstrated; he demonstrated the Godly path he had chosen and what glory it brought to God! As he continues to live in eternity I am quite sure he is glad he chose to stand for Christ. His actions seemed even to have an impact on Saul, didn't they?

People like Georg Müller who lived in desperate times found joy as he revealed the glory of God. William Booth did much the same. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of godly men like these learned that God does indeed have a wonderful plan for our lives. The wonder does not come from the material things in life, nor from giddy feelings of happiness; rather it comes from experiencing the love of God and bringing glory to His name.

2. Man is SINFUL and SEPARATED from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God's love and plan for his life.

This is so simple that we miss it. It began with Adam and Eve. People would like to blame their sin on the devil, but clearly they fell into temptation. Had they chosen to follow God's path for their life and rejected the lies of the devil, they would not have fallen. Even though the devil whispered the lie, Adam and Eve both knew what God had expressed about the fruit of tree. They made the choice.

The devil tempts each of us with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. As we fall into these temptations, choosing our own path over God's, we find ourselves separated from His love. First separated by consequences of those poor decisions - negative results that by following His path would have been avoided. Second by hiding from Him.

You see, God went looking for Adam and Eve, but they hid from Him. Cain tried to hide his murderous crime from God, but his brother's blood cried out from the ground.

What would have happened if any had called out to God instead of running from Him? His word tells us that if we confess our sin He is faithful to forgive. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This second law in no way paints the sinner as "bad", it paints the sinner as separated from God. It is the sin that God cannot tolerate; how could He be just if He allowed sin to continue without penalty? Yet, God so loves us that He made a way to have the need to deal with sin meet the requirement of His holiness. Contrary to the notion that God hates sinners, this demonstrates that He love them very much.

Pigue aka "trukyeldarb" said...

Cont'd

3. Jesus Christ is God's ONLY provision for man's sin. Through Him you can know and experience God's love and plan for your life.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Another simple truth. There is nothing we can do to remove sin from our lives. We cannot be good enough, clean enough, holy enough, or perfect enough to be without sin. Anyone who says they do not sins lies.

This does not make us "bad" or cause God not to love us; it makes us separate from God. As this sin has to be dealt with, we have only two choices, pay for it ourselves leading to eternal separation from God, or accept Christ's free gift leading to eternal fellowship with God.

Think about this for a moment. The only problem with sin is that it separates us from God. God found this to be such a problem that He allowed His Son to pay our sin debt - not to keep us from hell or to make us feel better - He did it so that He could have fellowship with us and us with Him.

How sad that we continue to choose our own path, much as Adam and Eve did - we know better and yet reject God's perfect solution.

How can we not see that being separated from Him and His wonderful plan for our lives is folly? His wonderful plan for our lives allows us to be satisfied in any situation or circumstance because we know the plan is God's and He is in control. Our time here is short by comparison to eternity. What we may suffer here is merely a part of God's plan for eternity - not just the time we spend here. Those who choose to focus only on our temporal lives are missing the length of the plan.

4. We must individually RECEIVE Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God's love and plan for our lives.

Of course here we enter into an age old argument. What is intended by this final law is the fact that no other person can make this decision for us. It in no way says that we are on our own and that God steps away from us in this decision. On the contrary, God draws us to this decision, but it remains a decision we each must make on our own.

Grandmaw going to church and teaching us morals doesn't get it done. Having a priest pray over our body after we are dead doesn't get it done. Belonging to a church doesn't get it done. What gets it done is believing in Christ. Repenting of our sin, and trusting in Christ's blood sacrifice as our remedy from sin.

Coming to a point where we realize the nature of our sin debt, realizing that nothing we can do will solve it, and accepting God's solution *IS* a personal process between man and God.

Dee Dee said...

@Sinning Boldly,
I would love to have a chance to talk with you about your post. I am currently finishing up my last couple weeks of this semester so I am a bit busy but did want to quickly address your comments on the first law.
God does not bless everyone the same way, as with wealth, you are correct, but he does have his reasons for doing things the way he does. When I look back at all the things I've prayed for in my life, I am really glad that God didn't answer some of those prayers! However, one thing that he does bless us with that in my opinion is much better is the ability to be happy with what we have. So many people nowadays hop from job to job and marriage to marriage because they can't be happy with what they already have right in front of them. Sadly, these people are usually very unhappy and very lonely. I would rather be poor and happy than rich and miserable. God gives one man everything but not the ability to enjoy it and then gives another man nothing but yet gives him the ability to enjoy it. Being able to be happy with what we have been given by God is one of the most basic foundations to finding the key to true happiness.

I hope to have more time to talk soon, God Bless.

Dee Dee

Anonymous said...

None of your comments on each of the four laws are actually accurate. You just twist each of them to say something its not saying at all. Your blog is completely false. Even though you will delete this comment i think its important for you to hear that God cares about the things you post and share with His creation and when you twist His word and the things He sees as holy He certainly is not ok with that.

Timothy Gandionco said...

Actually, the 4 spiritual laws are just a twisting of Scriptures. God cares for all of us true, but not enough to die for all of us, and therefore save all of us.