Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Monday, September 18, 2006

"I Would Rather Cool Down a Zealot
than Heat Up a Corpse."

I know a lady who went to her a pastor for help. Her cousin was experiencing a conversion. He was reading the Bible, coming to church, and suddenly seeming very interested in Spiritual things. He was devouring TV and radio programs on the Bible. Whenever this woman would talk to him about the basic gospel ... that Jesus died in our place and that salvation is truly a gift, not to be earned, not to be lost ... he would not easily accept this. He kept repeating that he believed in Jesus for many years, but that as he had continued to live in sin, he couldn't have been saved. He insisted that he hadn't the Spirit of God at that time, but that now he did. She had known the cousin then and could see that yes, he did not seem to be at all serious about faith in Christ. She suggested that perhaps the gospel was not real to him at that time. He said that he absolutely believed, but was not born again. He then said that he felt his committing his life to Christ and being willing to lay down all disobedience and desires of the flesh was what clinched the deal for him and was a sign that he was chosen by God now, but not then.

The woman was very concerned. She did not want her cousin's new found zeal to be spent spreading an unclear gospel to the other members of the family. Besides that, she wanted him to clearly understand that salvation is all based on the work of Christ, not any of his own work, willingness to obey, or any of the like. She wanted him to be sure to see it ... that looking to Christ alone in faith is how the restfulness of salvation is brought. She just wanted him to get it right. She also found it offensive when he would talk about his many years of faith in the Lord, but faith not having been enough. She really felt that if he would think about it more, that he would come to the conclusion that he was not believing on the true gospel message then, it was not real to him, or that he was just remaining a baby for those years ... anything but to say that faith in Christ's finished work had not been enough!

She went to her pastor, as the cousin had been attending her church. She had heard that her pastor was a some kind of a Lordship Salvation (soft?) adherent, but he certainly was not incredibly vocal about it.

She explained her concerns.

Her pastor didn't seem to share the concern over the fundamental mis-statements or misunderstnding that this cousin seemed to have. He said of the cousin:

"I would rather cool down a zealot than heat up a corpse."

And so this woman left the pastor's office feeling very sad.

Is it OK to allow someone to miss the beauty of justification by faith because they have zeal and enthusiasm?

Is it OK to allow someone to mistake that they have committed themselves into God's favor by obedience and committing their life, rather than finding favor and life with God by simple faith in Christ's work? ... Christ's work!

"I would rather cool down a zealot than heat up a corpse."

It occurred to the lady then, that perhaps this was the point of Lordship Salvation teaching all along.


  • If a person has only ever believed a false gospel, she is dead in trespasses and sins.

    If a regenerate person comes to believe a false gospel, like the Galatians, it will wreck her spiritual life and bring her into bondage.

    More significantly, this person will share that false gospel with others.

    We must not take the Gospel lightly.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 9/18/2006 5:44 PM  

  • This is very sad. This story is really the face of a lot of (or way too much) Christianity. It turns God's elect into the few the proud the Marines. And however excellent the Marine philosophy is, it's horrendous to substitute it, or something similar, for God's open hearted offer of eternal life.

    I think the problem is that a lot of churches that have preached a grace gospel have really not followed it up with a serious rewards theology, as well and the law of reaping and sowing. Those are the real NT motivators.

    Excellent post, Rose. Very thought provoking.

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at 9/18/2006 9:23 PM  

  • Rose -

    Great post. It really cuts to the heart of the issue!

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at 9/19/2006 9:23 AM  

  • Hi Rose~
    I just read a simplified explanation of Lordship Salvation.

    COP: Commitment, Obedience, and Perseverance. The Gospel According to... a “Lordship Salvation” proponent is you must commit your life to Jesus, but that's not all! You must obey Jesus in every area of your life, but that's not all! You must persevere in your commitment and obedience until you die, and that's when you can know for sure you're saved.

    "I don't know were I'm going after I die and if I can have 10 minutes of your time I can show you how you can not know were you are going when you die"

    Now there's a gift that cost everything you have.

    What Good News!


    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 9/19/2006 9:50 AM  

  • When it comes to the Gospel, error is error regardless of which end of the spectrum it is on.

    I like the point H.K. made about rewards theology. We have either ignored it or skimmed over it to the point that people have no value for eternal rewards.

    By Blogger Gordon Cloud, at 9/19/2006 10:39 AM  

  • Hi DF,
    Yes, that is true, although I think it is easy to get it confused very quickly after conversion, or to start out with a confused message and then, as one studies the Bible, come to a true knowledge of the gospel. I think this has now happened to the cousin.

    I am glad my point was clear here to you. Using a misunderstanding of justification by faith to spur a new believer onto zeal, right living and good works is just plain wrong. It is the wrong motivation. Bbeing pleasing to his heavenly father, becoming closer to the Lord, and yes, rewards should be the motivation ... not a fear of "falling from garace" or "losing salvation" which was what the cousin's original thoughts had been. Thanks for visiting!

    Jon Lee,
    Thank you for your visit - I am pleased that you would read my post. May the Lord bless you and what I perceive to be a cute baby daughter that you have.

    Hi John,
    Yes, that was an interesting article. I honestly don't think that most of those who hold to LS really doubt their salvation a lot. However, their teaching could thwart the understanding of God's amazing grace by others ... and for that we are sad. I know your heart on this matter.

    Hello Gordon,
    You are right - error is error. Yes, we don't hear a lot about rewards in our churches, but it is definitely a teaching of the NT.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/19/2006 1:27 PM  

  • Rose,

    this story is about you and your brother, no?


    You have been reading the Newsletter of the Grace Evangelical Society I see.

    Zeal w/o knowledge can be plain bad for everyone involved.


    By Blogger Antonio, at 9/19/2006 4:47 PM  

  • Hi Rose,
    You may be right, but then again those in the LS camp also deny the biblical concept of "a carnal Christian" while admitting that Christians may still sin.

    I have an idea that the churches beholden to this teaching have a member or two that are carnal, and perhaps they have leaders that are leading in spite of their carnal pride.

    Yes, Brother Antonio, I most always do... along with a plethora of other articles.

    Biblical grace to you,

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 9/19/2006 6:25 PM  

  • Hi Rose, I didn't really see this as a LS thing. Your comment about how the cousin has come to a better knowledge after study seems appropriate.

    I don't know the details of the situation, or the context of the rest of the conversation, but the corpse/zealot quote could be simply the pastor wanting to be patient and measured in the teaching of this person, and not wanting to crush him unnecessarily in the process.

    A blazing hot follower of Christ, although in some error, may be more encouraging to a pastor (and viewed as more teachable) than a frozen and chosen corpse in the pew.

    Just my thoughts... see ya!

    By Blogger BugBlaster, at 9/20/2006 7:56 AM  

  • I like your profile pic, HK!

    By Blogger BugBlaster, at 9/20/2006 7:56 AM  

  • Antonio,
    Now why would you think this was about me and my brother? I said it was a lady I know and her cousin.
    Thanks for visiting, brother!

    Yes, I am sure the lady is glad that study of the Bible has corrected the false idea that one can fall out of the hand of God or lose their born-again life.
    I see what you are saying about how the pastor might have been dealing with it. I hadn't though about it from that angle. I do think there are certain areas where a pastor should set someone straight right away, though, if that one is having a fundamental misunderstanding of how salvation is found.
    Thanks for the visit! That profile pic of Jodie is really cool, isn't it?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 9/20/2006 9:13 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Well I guess Jesus had to cool down some zealots that had come alive when they met Him and left their nets and money and all. Yeah bugblaster that might be what he was thinking. It took some time before they realized just what this God man had done in their lives. I agree that we must indeed call men to rest in the finished work of Christ and call men to rest in the Son of God Himself and Him alone. No where else.

    I guess most people don't do any witnessing anymore and do not have hearts aflame and so perhaps in the Same way Aquilla and Priscilla had to show the way of God more clearly to Apollos so it is the way of God I believe.

    Folks come alive when they meet Jesus and we can do some wacky things...just thankful for a patient God. But I do think the Lord Himself extols an alive faith to be better than a dead corpse as He said let the dead bury the dead.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 9/20/2006 7:17 PM  

  • Jesus said that if we follow and learn from Him he will make us fishers of men. That is if we follow him.

    I think we can all agree though that this will never happen with a dead faith. It would be vain and useless to God. So I would think that calming down the fanatic is indeed a better option. He has to calm me down:-)

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 9/20/2006 7:40 PM  

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