Archive for the ‘Sanctification’ category

The Doctrine of Fear

July 19, 2012

This week I am going to share something that I have been struggling with for months now. I was always taught that it is a sin to worry about any situation in life and what a Christian must do is put all of their problems in God’s hands and He will take care of it. A book that lays this all out it in detail is The Faith-Rest Life by R.B. Thieme, Jr. which can be ordered for free. There is also a good online introduction to the topic provided by Katy Community Church at this link.

I believe the principles of faith rest to be true but I have began to wonder if I haven’t been misapplying them thereby giving me a false sense of security. What brought this on is when I listened to Robert Dean’s study of 3rd John a few months back. At one point Dr. Dean discussed persecution of the church and that we are to continue spreading the Gospel in spite of any resistance we receive. He used the old Soviet Union as an example by saying that Christians who were caught evangelizing there would be thrown in prison and possibly tortured. Then, referring to Philippians 4:7, he went on to say that even if we are being tortured in a Soviet prison we should still have a peace which “which surpasses all understanding.” I am not saying that Pastor Dean is wrong, in fact he is probably right, but I cannot reconcile being both tortured and at peace simultaneously.

Then a couple of months later I ordered DVDs for the Chafer Seminary 2012 Pastor’s Conference where the topic was the Christian’s responsibilities to government. Dr. George Meisinger gave a presentation (here is a link to the accompanying paper) that basically said we are to obey government authority, even when it is evil, with very few exceptions. And when those exceptions do occur we cannot depend on God to pull our fat out of the fire. Maybe God will rescue us and maybe He won’t, we have to be willing to accept the consequences of doing what is right even if it means death.

It is difficult for me to explain the deep uncertainty this has caused me. Here are some of the questions that I have been struggling with:

  1. Does God promise believers protection? By this I mean protection of our persons, our loved ones, and our possessions. I have always known that there are special circumstances, like what happened to Job where protection was withdrawn for a time, but by and large I have always expected to be protected even when the world around me is falling apart.
  2. Can I ever be certain that a particular promise applies to me at a particular time? How can I tell which promises I should be claiming? It is not as simple as pulling any promise from scripture and claiming it. If my house has been burned, my family has been murdered, and I am in prison awaiting execution how can I apply a promise like “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
  3. Does God protect people and possessions or does He protect our hearts and minds? Philippians 4:7 says “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” In this verse it is hearts and minds that are being protected and not anything physical.
  4. The verses that I see listed in the Doctrine of Fear that have the strongest application to personal protection were all given before Pentecost. Could things have changed with the inauguration of the church at Pentecost?
  5. Am I wrong to even be looking for some set of guidelines to tell me which promises to claim in every situation? This morning I read “God’s Power Appears out of Our Weakness” by Karen Hancock. In that post she mentions the truth that Christians are to “live by faith.” Maybe I need to relax and trust God to bring the right promises to mind at the right time. Maybe I am turning something simple into something complicated.

When I begin doubting if God has really placed a “hedge of protection” around me I find myself becoming very cynical. This is a cynicism that no Christian should have.

I have reproduced below Dr. Robert Dean’s Doctrine of Fear. This doctrine is closely related to the faith rest technique and is worth reading and thinking about.  This was taken from the written transcript for Dr. Dean’s Hebrews Lesson #41 or you can  watch the video of the sermon.

Doctrine of Fear



The Protocol Plan of God

June 25, 2010

I am putting off my last post on the Ten Commandments for at least another week. I am still trying to figure out what I want to post about once I am done with the Ten Commandments. One of my ideas has been to write some on the “Christian Way of Life” (this is also called experiential sanctification). This subject, at least as I was taught, is very heavy and I am not sure that I want to get into it. Of course those few who read my blog may find it useful. I am just not sure at this time.

I have posted some on the Christian Way of Life before when I wrote the post “The Edification Complex of the Soul” a while back. R. B. Thieme, Jr. had taught the edification complex of the soul for many years but moved away from it and began teaching the problem solving devices (Rick Hughes mentions the problem solving devices in the excerpt I am going to provide below). I really have mixed feelings about going down the path of the problem solving devices. It’s not that I don’t believe that God has provided us with problem solving devices but that I am not sure that the problem solving devices as taught by Colonel Thieme provide that much more truth in exchange for a very large increase in complexity.

I am on the verge of getting off on a tangent here so I am going to stop and refocus on the protocol plan of God. Because of the doctrinal teaching I grew up with I have a mental structure by which I evaluate situations, hopefully, in biblical terms. The protocol plan of God is a major part of that structure. Even to this day when I am faced with a tough decision I go back to the concept that God only wants me to “do the right thing in the right way.” No shades of gray, no situational ethics, and no “two wrongs make a right” type of garbage. What has horrified me at times is that many Christians cannot even understand what I am talking about when I say things like this. I mean, really, if God’s word doesn’t help me to consistently make good God pleasing decisions then what good is it?

At any rate, I have reproduced some of Rick Hughe’s writing on the protocol plan of God (I highly recommend visiting his site here) from his book “Practicing You Christianity.” His site has several publications you can download (all of them are very good) and a few more that you can request be shipped to you via snail mail.

If any readers like this please let me know. Now, here is the excerpt I promised:

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The Edification Complex of the Soul

November 29, 2009

Over the last few years I have found different Christian websites that I regularly scan for news, information, perspective and debates about different hot button topics in American Christianity. I find a lot of it to be interesting but a little light on solid spiritual food.

One of the topics that comes up regularly is what is the “Christian walk” in this world (often referred to as sanctification or, to be more precise, experiential sanctification). These discussions are usually a variation on a couple of themes. First is the “fruits of the spirit” theme where someone will choose a situation of interest and then tell how this situation should have been handled in the spirit of Galatians 5:22-23.

The other approach is to, once again, take a situation of interest and apply principles from the Mosaic Law (Christians usually only discuss the Ten Commandments and ignore the rest of The Law). Almost any situation in life can be framed so we believers can see how it violates at least one of the Ten Commandments (idolatry, covetousness, etc.). While true this approach always seems like it is missing something to me. (more…)

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