Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Pyromaniacs: Phil Johnson's false dichotomy

Phil Johnson has created a false dichotomy over the faith/works issue... in his article Pyromaniacs: The Chicken or the Egg? Phil seems to think that there is a gulf in thought on Paul and James... and misses the purpose of works in his attempt to prove Rob Bell and the emerging church wrong.


Both are important... but if one has a wrong view and understanding of WHOSE fruit we bear... as you are suggesting we bear good fruit... which is a bit out of whack from the bible teachings...

We are bad trees that cannot bear good fruit... only good trees can do that. In that God is the Good Tree and as we are the branch and He is the Vine... we bear HIS FRUIT and not our own. It is all about Jesus and none of us.

Now, Paul is the front of the bridge that teaches faith... as we cross over the bridge we enter God's grace by faith and not of works... at that point we walk in Gods grace doing His good works in and through us. Or as I like to say... He Who gave His Life for us, to give His Life to us, now Live His Life through us.


So, to teach these works are ours is also the false dichotomy you created as it means that you are contrasting the idea that we enter by grace and are sustained by our works and the proof is the fruit WE BEAR... that is a man based theology!

We enter by Grace and are sustained by that same grace as Galatians 5 teaches... in that the proof of our walk is in what God does as HE BEARS HIS FRUIT in and through us... that is a God based theology.

Now, in a way Phil is right... both are important as we both stated... yet after one becomes a Christian it does matter how one lives... if one is still "living your life" then you are most probably not living the Life of Christ... if one is Living the Life of Christ in and through them, then they are fulfilling the doctrines already! The issue is not that one is greater than the other... but that one is known and knows Jesus... then as they walk in faith by the power of the Holy Spirit doctrine will become understood as it is used for the tasks given for us to do. If one thinks that they have to get all their doctrines in order to live... then they are living by their own understanding and are missing the very Life we share in Christ Jesus.

blessings,
iggy

4 comments:

Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

Usually what a person does it what he believes, everything else is religious talk. But the main purposeful fruit that substantiates a person conversion is witnessing, both verbally and lifestyle.

iggy said...

Rick,


Welcome my friend!

My issue is that on one hand Phil and others will agree that faith without works is dead, will then turn around and accuse others of being "too worldly" that they have forgotten "the message" which I have yet to see... it is always from the platform of the Gospel message many people start from and then build on. Phil and others miss that and assume that they are leaving that out... but WE are not.

In a way on one level we explain things in a way the the post modern mindset can accept. That is not embracing their ideology but speaking in their language to get them to the point of seeing that the gospel IS relevant. After that it is about building on that foundation with the point that if we do believe in this gospel... we should do what it tells us to do... putting faith into action and feet to our faith.

In that it is not witnessing in the sense of a "thing" we do, but as a life that is lived or rather witnessing to the Life of Christ alive in me... which I give away to others in hope they receive that same Life.

Blessings,
iggy

Mike Messerli said...

Iggy,

loved your comment- "Now, Paul is the front of the bridge that teaches faith... as we cross over the bridge we enter God's grace by faith and not of works... at that point we walk in Gods grace doing His good works in and through us. Or as I like to say... He Who gave His Life for us, to give His Life to us, now Live His Life through us."

I'm in the middle of a great work on this subject that I would recommend- "Absolutely Free" by Zane Hodges. Now I know that those in the lordship camp disdain Hodges, but the book is really well written, and does a great job of clarifying all of this faith and works stuff....

thanks for the post.

Mike

iggy said...

Mike,

Thanks for your encouragement.

I recently taught at our church here on James 2:12-25 I should have it on the blog in a few days... I expound on this a bit more.

I might have it sooner on my podcast for iggyROCKS!

Blessings,
iggy