Some “off the cuff” responses on our Confession interspersed below:
Recently in our assembly’s Bible study, we went over the Christian Confession of Faith V.E.2. The verses that we read and the discussion that we had really stuck with me. The following are the verses that we read. I hope all of you will read carefully and meditate on these powerful verses.
Exodus 34:15-16 that you not cut a covenant with the people of the land, and they fornicate with their gods, and they call to you, and you eat from his sacrifice; (16) and you take from their daughters for your sons, and their daughters fornicate with their gods, and they lead your sons to fornicate with their gods.
Chris: Take this example: A person who professes belief in the true gospel and thus the true God says that at least some Open Theists are true Christians. One tenet of Open Theism is that God does not know the future (which is a denial of His omniscience). Reading Isaiah 40 to about 48 or so shows that a god who does not know the future is an idol. In this example, the one professing belief in the true God and the true gospel has “cut a covenant” with the Open Theists and has fornicated with the Open Theists’ god (i.e., idol). They are eating, they are partaking with the demonic sacrifice to demons. This professor of the true gospel is trying to partake of the Lord’s table of fellowship while at the same time is engaged in fellowship with demons. The Corinthians passage that I am referring to says that this is impossible; it cannot be done–not even by a “felicitous inconsistency.”
In distinction to the professing Christian, a professing Calvinist like Bruce Ware spoke peace to Open Theists in the preface of his book against Open TheISM entitled, “God’s Lesser Glory.”
Perhaps a Ware defender might say that Ware does NOT speak peace to Open Theists since he wrote a book against their “LESSER degree of accuracy” theology. Some seem to think that if one criticizes (even harshly) a person then they are not speaking peace to them, despite considering them true Christians of a LESSER faith. No doubt Ware would deny that he believes in the god of the Open Theists, much less would he believe that by his peace speaking to Open Theists he is fornicating with their god. But Scripture says otherwise (2 John 1:9-11).
The latter part of the Exodus passage speaks to the necessary implications of a professing Christian willfully, knowingly marrying an unbeliever–to do this is to fornicate with the unbelieving spouse’s god.
If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams rises among you, and gives you a sign or a wonder, (2) and the sign or the wonder which he spoke to you occurs, saying, Let us go after other gods which you have not known, and let us serve them, (3) you shall not listen to the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams. For Jehovah your God is testing you, to know if you love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Chris: Certain Calvinists would point to another passage for the false prophecies of one like Joseph Smith (the founding false prophet of Mormonism). But this passage above is about a prophecy which actually comes to pass. These same Calvinists think that it is absolutely ludicrous to apply this passage to Arminians as those who are telling us to go after and to serve other gods (or a god that is not the God of the Bible). I could argue about this with the Calvinist–whether or not the Arminian god is in fact an idol–but I could also point away from discussing Arminians and turn the conversation toward the Calvinist himself and say that he, by his doctrine is telling me to go after another god who is not the God of Scripture. Genuine historical Calvinism teaches that God is NOT sovereign by perniciously prating about God’s supposed “permissive” decrees.
Blessed is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, and has not stood in the way of sinners, and has not sat in the seat of scorners.
Chris: This is broad and all-encompassing. That is, counsel of the ungodly, the way of sinners, and the seat of scorners includes all kinds and varieties of people, from the irreligious and immoral perverts to the very religious and moral self-righteous religionists. We do not listen to their counsel or advice in spiritual matters. We can take their advice in things that are not major matters of truth if you know what I mean.
Consistency in our actions has application here. Peter’s hypocrisy in Galatians has caused multitudes of self-righteous religionists to twist the Scriptures to their own destruction by saying (whether implicitly or explicitly) that Peter fornicated with the god of the false gospelers by walking in their counsel.* Said false religionists slander Peter. Paul charges him with hypocrisy only, but the self-righteous religionists have an agenda and they have put peace-speaking words in the mouth of Peter when he spoke no such thing.
* Of course, a one time walk (or misstep) in the counsel of the ungodly is not indicative of lostness, but a life characterized by it is. And of course, a one time walk (or misstep) of speaking peace to one who brings a false gospel is indicative of lostness since it shows what “gospel” you really believe is the power of God unto salvation to everyone believing.
I have not sat with lying men; and I will not go in with hypocrites; (5) I have hated the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.
Chris: I’ll just comment on the “hypocrite” part. Many professing Christians who SAY they condemn violence and sexual perverseness are really commending it when they watch it on the television or movie screen. A true Christian should NOT watch such wickedness.
I will set no wicked thing before my eyes; I have hated the work of those who turn aside; it shall not fasten upon me. (4) A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know evil. (5) Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, I will cut him off; I will not endure him who has high eyes and a proud heart. (6) My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land, so that they may dwell with me; he who walks in a perfect way shall serve me. (7) He who works deceit shall not live inside my house; he who speaks lies shall not be established before my eyes. (8) In the mornings I will cut off all the wicked of the land, so that I may cut off all the evil workers from the city of Jehovah.
Chris: This is the key text against watching movies and T.V. that have sexual innuendo, violence, dirty joke telling, etc. Multitudes of professing Christians (even “conservative or Puritan-mind Calvinists”) do not differ from the irreligious immoral world in what they choose to set before their eyes.
Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not go in the way of evildoers. (15) Avoid it, do not pass by it; turn from it and pass on.
Chris: To quote a phrase of a co-worker of mine from a completely different context: “Don’t even go there!” And that is exactly what we are to do. We are to not even go there–we are to shun, eschew and go out of our way to avoid wickedness or the appearance of wickedness.
Forsake the foolish, and live, and go in the way of understanding.
Chris: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and only those who have this wisdom are going in the way of understanding–not perfectly but we press on….”Not that I already received or already have been perfected, but I press on, if I also may lay hold, inasmuch as I also was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not count myself to have laid hold, but one thing I do, forgetting the things behind, and stretching forward to those things before, I press on after a mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).
If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
Chris: A big reason the world hates us is that we refuse to hate them by speaking peace when there is no peace. Connected with this is our refusal to love them as our own by speaking peace to them on the only grounds that believer speaks peace to another believer–the work of Jesus Christ alone.
And brothers I exhort you to watch those making divisions and causes of stumbling contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and turn away from them. (18) For such ones do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth speaking and flattering they deceive the hearts of those without guile.
Chris: Of course we are called schismatic, divisive, and sectarian for obeying a passage such as this. But we who know the truth know that those who say this are the true schismatics, the true sectarians since they are the ones who are hypocritically separating from those whom they judge to be their spiritual brethren. They engage in schism because they are those who do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly.
1 Corinthians 5:11
But now I wrote to you not to associate intimately; if anyone is called a brother and is either a fornicator, or a covetous one, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a plunderer, with such a one not to eat.
Chris: We are not to associate with false Christians who make a practice or a trade of wickedness.
1 Corinthians 10:21
you cannot drink the cup of the Lord and a cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord, and a table of demons.
Chris: Those who speak peace to those who bring the false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner are partaking of the table of demons.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership does righteousness have with lawlessness? And what fellowship does light have with darkness? (15) And what agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? (16) And what agreement does a temple of God have with idols? For you are a temple of the living God, even as God said, I will dwell in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (17) Because of this, come out from among them and be separated, says the Lord, and do not touch the unclean thing, and I will receive you. (18) And I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons” and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.
Chris: There is not to be spiritual partnership and agreement with God-haters. This passage does not appear to say anything against a business partnership with an unbeliever. Although it would be extremely unwise to have a dishonest unbeliever for business partner. Much better to have an honest unbeliever for a business partner.
Then do not become partakers with them; (8) for you then were darkness, but are now light in the Lord; walk as children of light. (9) For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth, (10) proving what is pleasing to the Lord. (11) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them. (12) For it is shameful even to speak of the things being done by them in secret.
Chris: We do not partake or fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather we reprove or expose them. As Christians we not only edify each other and admonish and encourage each other directly, we also do this in an indirect sort of way by exposing the darkness of the lie by the light of Biblical truth.
1 Timothy 6:3-5
If anyone teaches differently, and does not consent to sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching according to godliness, (4) he has been puffed up, understanding nothing, but is sick concerning doubts and arguments, out of which comes envy, strife, evil-speakings, evil suspicions, (5) meddling, of men whose mind has been corrupted and deprived of the truth, supposing gain to be godliness. Withdraw from such persons.
Chris: “Gain to be godliness.” If this “gain” be financial gain think of the money that one can make from preaching the false gospel for a living. Granted, the outwardly immoral and wicked lifestyle of Hollywood celebrities bring in a much greater income than the most popular celebrity Calvinist out there. But the point is that, even if a person attempted to “get rich” and make a lot of money by teaching and preaching the true gospel for a living, he would not make enough to buy himself breakfast at McDonalds. Let’s say that God caused something crazy to happen and a real famous Calvinist like John Piper invited a true gospel preacher to preach at the next big conference–what a wonderful 2 minutes that would be.
2 Timothy 3:5 having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it; even turn away from these.
Chris: This verse reminds me of the whitened sepulchers (whitewashed tombs) Jesus spoke of. Those who had that outward veneer of religiosity, that mere outward profession of Christianity a life characterized by outward morality who denied the true gospel–which is the only place where true godliness (as opposed to just a form or semblance of it) is found.
1 John 2:15-16
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, (16) because all that which is in the world: the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Chris: If we love the world and what it stands for then we do not love God. Take a look at the irreligious and immoral world: the secular media, Hollywood, pop (popular) culture and that will give you a major idea of what the world loves, lusts after, and takes pride in. Of course, there is the outwardly moral and religious version as well. One that comes to mind is the professing Christian who takes Satanic pride in what God has enabled him to do in meeting conditions for his salvation. Jason Wallace (OP minister of Satan) took pride in his theological degrees over and against the poor, pitiful and “unlearned” “social worker” from the backwoods of Verrrrmont.
I suppose for many false religionists of the Calvinist stripe, lust after being recognized as credible by their peers or that their particular theological viewpoints have what some might call “historical underpinnings.” Being able to quote John Calvin or Charles Hodge is nice lest their view be judged as a theological novelty with no historical validation in all of “Church” history.
2 John 1:10-11
If anyone comes to you and does not bear this doctrine, do not receive him into the house, and do not speak a greeting to him. (11) For the one speaking a greeting shares in his evil works.
Chris: This is related to the Exodus passage above that spoke of those who fornicate with the gods of those they “cut a covenant with.” To “speak a greeting” in the 2 John 10-11 sense of spiritual fellowship, partnership, and agreement to one who brings a false gospel is to fornicate with their god. To speak peace is to share in his evil works. To share in his evil works is to commit spiritual whoredom with a God-hating idolater and so commit spiritual fornication with his god.
And I heard another voice out of Heaven saying, My people, come out of her, that you may not share in her sins, and that you may not receive of her plagues;
Chris: Paul in Galatians 1:8-9 calls down the curse of God on those who refuse to come out and be separate from her.