How serious about our doctrine should we be? Should we concede points to try to win souls to Christ so that the gospel can now be more palatable for them to consume? I think not for the reason because I do not-as others have stated-that God does not in any way bless falsehood even if that falsehood could lead a person to him. Charles Spurgeon says
”To try to win a soul to Christ by keeping that soul in ignorance of any truth,
is contrary to the mind of the Spirit; and to endeavor to save men by mere
claptrap, or excitement, or oratorical display, is as foolish as to hope to hold
an angel with bird-line, or lure a star with music. The best attraction is the
gospel in its purity.”
I believe fully what Spurgeon is saying is that to keeping a mind in a lack of knowledge of the gospel for the sake of conversion will always make a false conversion because what you in effect have done is convert the person to a false religion that will damn their soul. By providing a false witness and convincing a person by that false witness you have also damned yourself. So remember not to preach a watered down gospel to impress non-believers because you will not just lead them to a false representation of God but will also lead them blindly away from the full revelation that is Christ Jesus. We must be carful not to hold back precious truth when trying to introduce non-believers to the Word of God and therefore lead them into darkness and despair.
I come from yet another Supply Pastoring at a small Presbyterian USA church in the hinterlands. What do I find again? Another Church clinically depressed over its relationship with its Presbytery. This is starting to be a trend I do not like in the least. Redstone, West Virginia, and Upper Ohio Valley Presbyteries seem to not care about their less than profitable churches. The Clerk of Session at the Church I was fortunate enough to preach at today told me that she believes her Presbytery is purposefully trying to shutter her Church so they would no longer be burdenned by them. It really saddens me and infuriates my soul that Presbyteries would hope that Churches would “go away”. What can we do fellow Presbyterians? All talk of theological unity is lost-and pointless-if we cannot infuse the Presbyteries and local churches with competent leadership.
I attended a Funeral Practicum last night at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. It was by far the class where I have learned the most practical pastoral care lessons in my 18 months at Seminary. But it drove me to do some major studying on the concept we speak every Sunday during the Apostles Creed when we say”I Believe in the Resurrection of the Body”.
But do we truly understand what that means?
The Scriptures teach-I believe-that we will not only recognize each other in heaven but we will have the same body. Jesus’s own body was raised from the dead not just his spirit according to Scripture. It is important to remember after Jesus’s Resurrection and before the Assumption he still had the same marks on his body that he did prior to his death. Read Jesus’ words in John 5:28-29, 6:39-40, 11:25-26, and Luke 14:14. Also see Paul in 1 Cor 15:12. Paul says, “Now if Christ be preached, that he arose again from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” So according to Scripture, yes it will be the same-but glorified-body if you believe-as I do-in a literal translation of Resurrection of the Body as is said in the Apostles Creed and spoken by Jesus and Paul. Also of note I agree with N.T. Wright (and one of my professors) that there is no seperation between the body and the soul; that they are one entity and cannot be seperated. That an idea of a two-nature body is a remnant of neo-Platanism and is incongruent with the witness of Scripture.
Here is a factoid I discovered:
Most Conservative and Orthodox Jews do not even embalm the body for many reasons including the blood being the location of life ergo you must keep it with the body.