Yours Mine, and The Truth
NO EXCUSES, PLEASE
A professing Christian who tried to explain away his responsibility for breaking the law received double punishment. He said to the judge, "Your Honor, as a believer in Christ I am a 'new man,' but I still have an old nature, and it was the old man' that committed the crime." The judge's reply to his plea was: "Since it was the 'old man' that broke the law, we'll sentence him to 30 days in jail. And since the 'new man' was an accomplice in the wrong, we'll give him 30 days also. I therefore sentence you to jail for 60 days!
Experience in its proper place is beneficial, but we should not seek to make the Scripture fit our experience, rather we should seek to make our experience conform to the scripture. It is interesting that Hank condemns the laughing movement for trying to proof-text their experiences. He accuses them of prostituting the Bible for endorsing strange behaviour; all the while he prostitutes the Bible by saying we have to engage in sinful behaviour. He accuses them of making their theology fit their experience, yet turns around and does the same thing himself. I called Hanegraaff early in my quest(1) in order to discuss Scripture, yet he wouldn't let me finish my first point, nor would he respond to it. Instead he said lets get to the bottom line what's your experience? "Are you perfect?" He usually feels free to accuse others of being subjective, yet his first two arguments were experience based. It is sad that the one who is called "The Bible Answer Man" would want to evaluate experience first, and call it "the bottom line." (Real Player, Windows Media)
|"The only way to get rid of temptation is to
yield to it. . . . I can resist anything but temptation."
If you use your experience as a guide, you can come up with ridiculous conclusions. Hank quoted Proverbs 3:27 to me, assuming that it would be outrageous for anyone to think they could obey it fully. The passage along with the audio is more fully discussed in my chapter on sin, but my point is that Hank's "proof" in support of the belief that it is impossible to obey was an appeal to experience. "We all fail to do for others what is in our power to do." I pray that Hank would take some of his own advice and stop using his experience as a basis for interpreting Scripture.
"Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbour ' come back later- I'll give it tomorrow' when you now have it with you."
Hank's criticisms of the laughing revival are widely known; yet I wonder-if the Bible said it was a sin to partake in it, would Hank say we had to do it? Excuse my sarcasm, but it seems strange to me that he would have such zeal in debunking a strange activity that's "not normative in Scripture" and then turn around and criticize me for saying we should obey what is plainly taught in Scripture. When Rodney Howard Brown stands in front of a church giggling and saying "Ho Ho!" he considers it peer pressure, auto suggestions and breaking the fourth wall: Frankly, I agree. But I must say what Hank is doing is worse, since he's gone beyond peer pressure and autosuggestion. Hank tells people they have to sin, making it a doctrine. Could the devil ask a minister to say more!? (Real Player, Windows Media)
|"There's only one thing more painful then learning from experience, and
that is not learning from experience."
If we do learn anything about sin from experience it should be
that that the consequences are to be feared.
"I have cut off nations; their strongholds are demolished. I have left their streets deserted, with no one passing through. Their cities are destroyed; no one will be left no one at all. I said to the city, `Surely you will fear me and accept correction!' Then her dwelling would not be cut off, nor all my punishments come upon her. But they were still eager to act corruptly in all they did." Zeph 3:6-7
The problem we have with any attempt at reasoning is that most often, once someone has made up their mind, all further information is molded to fit the position already held. I view the main, hindrance to holiness as experience. I know the battle in my own heart to put God's word into consistent practice, but I refuse to conform the Scriptures to my own experience. They must remain an objective standard. Even if I would arbitrarily change my views, I might fool others but I can't fool God.
The following is an excerpt from a letter I received, again focussing on experience:
|>"I automatically assume that
you and every Christian who hold's to this view have not sinned even once
since you became Christians?"
> "If your answer is no, than I think in practice you confirm the view for which you are seeking to correct Hank for."
>"I believe this is very important to
clarify because on one hand you try to show that Hank's view promotes
weakness and causes one to sin, which if preached w\o clarity can be
misunderstood and of course lead to weakness and sin, on the other hand your
view if not clarified promotes hypocrisy, because I do not believe you can
honestly reply to me that, you and those who hold that view have not sinned
since you became Christians . . ."
Those who conform the scripture to their sinful experience are following a trend that is alive and well in the world, as elaborated in the following by Dean Harvey:
The Myth of Moral Relativity. It seems that our society is trying to eliminate personal responsibility from our lives. Not only our society, but the church. We preach holiness and righteousness, but we build that teaching on a rotten foundation, and one of the worst parts of that teaching is that we cannot keep the Ten Commandments. In a recent book, the author said that it is hard to explain to people why God gave people a law they cannot keep. How terrible! This teaching makes God a liar, so that we can have a good excuse to continue in sin, and be deceived into thinking that we are Christians. I ask people, which of the commandments can you not keep. And I ask you, can you obey God's commandments for 5 minutes? For 10 minutes? For an hour? If you can, you can obey for a day or a week, or a year, or a lifetime. Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments!" Let us preach abstinence from sin, for a change!
There are many possible reasons for your present lack of holiness:
1) If you accept and believe the fallacy that you have to sin, it's no wonder that you do! Just remember, in so doing, you are accusing Almighty God of lying, since He plainly said:
"Sin shall not be your master, because you are not under Law, but under Grace."
2) You are bound to sin when you refuse to believe God's Word, which clearly states that: "You have been set free from sin." What is this, then, but pure unbelief decorated and paraded as a gospel truth! Read the Bible! Call out for reformation! Call out for revival!
1. Hank Hanegraaff, Live program, (San Juan Capistrano, CA: The Bible Answer man Broadcast), 1 March 95.
2. Dean Harvey A VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS, 17 September, 1999 .