This post is a text I received from our friend Christy. She lives in the “Bible belt” where everyone is a Christian, you know. She wrote this to me because she is seeing, correctly, that being a victim of domestic abuse does not mean the victim is a Christian. If any of us are going to hear Christ’s voice, the voice of the Good Shepherd (see John 10), then we must be born again. Here then is what Christy wrote in this regard:
So I grew up with that arminianism teaching. It was easy peasy Christianity. Most of my adult life was in the United Methodist Church in North Carolina. Went to the Billy Graham museum like everyone else and was in awe. So I probably was in church for 20 years and never heard the full counsel of God, never heard the depravity of man, the doctrines of grace, original sin, the Kingdom of God, etc.
In 2015, I escaped my abuser and found Christ Reformation Church. I started listening to your sermons and can’t stop! I’m finally understanding the effectual call to saving faith and repentance.
I went through so much anger with the church for not teaching what’s in the Bible. I had no clue. I was so ignorant. Here I was teaching 3rd grade SS, doing VBS, committees, all these dead works. At one point I was doing work for 5 different churches because I was afraid to say “no” to God. Everyone took advantage of me. Church was so much work, it was so hard. It wore me out.
Here I was, I had “accepted Jesus” and thought I was saved. What a crock!!! If God had not sent me a wicked evil “Christian” hiding in the church, to make me question everything, I would still be sitting there in that pew with a smile on the outside, but nothing but a miserable guilty sinner on the inside.
What REALLY got my attention, and this is my point- The teachings that I needed to hear were the foundational ones. The Genesis ones… Original Sin, Pollution, The Fall, The Consequences. I can’t tell you how SHOCKED I was when I first heard you and Martyn Lloyd-Jones tell me that I was born with a polluted evil nature. I wasn’t good. I was guilty and didn’t even have the ability to chose God. WHAT??? That was astounding to me.
I think that a lot (most UMC church for sure) don’t teach total depravity. They don’t lay a foundation of man’s original condition. I’m just wondering how many people out there think they have heard the full gospel, but really haven’t (like I was)? I think most churches think it’s too offensive to teach the Fall. This is soooooo vital. How can you become a new creation when you don’t even know what you changed from?
So my idea for your consideration would be to do a little bible study series that you can point people to (like you to with 1 John) that would be like MLJ “Great Biblical Doctrines”. Except you wouldn’t have to go though the whole bible like he did (he spent 3 years, hehe). Start at the beginning and really hammer the depravity. Go back and listen to how great MLJ teachings were. Funny when you first hear this stuff you are shocked. Then later on you love it so much and can’t get enough. We love hearing how wicked we were because God saved us from the wrath we deserved.–
And there it is. You must be born again. Apart from the new birth, you will not have faith to believe God’s promises. You will not be able to hear Christ’s voice. You will be without hope and without God.
Thank you so much for your teaching
I also can attest to listening to a lot of pastor Crippen’s sermons when I first discovered them. I think within the last couple of years I caught up on 17 sermon series. Thankfully I can work independently and can listen to whatever I want to while I work. So I crammed several years of teaching into 2. 😬😁
I also went back and started listening MLJ recently. I knew who he was before and read a couple of his books but haven’t heard his preaching before. Didn’t know they were available for free on podcasts and the MLJ Trust App. But it was so refreshing to listen to him because I was never triggered by him. I cannot listen anymore to most modern famous pastors even the ones who are Calvinistic . There’s something missing in their gospel sermons or whatever doctrine they want to teach. I can tell that they have a shallow understanding of evil and that shows in their shallow triggering teaching. You cannot get deep if you don’t understand evil.
Hi Christy. I’m sorry to hear you were mislead so deeply by a church in the south. I myself have a rich heritage through the Southern Baptist Church which I had attended for 30 years before coming back north to live. They certainly taught all of the doctrines your church seems to have neglected to teach. What a shame! Sin was never whitewashed in my church, but I hear so often that people often “Walk the Aisle” and then believe they are saved. I can’t speak for anyone else but myself, but that decision and “walk” was the very point at which I realized I needed the Savior. (I say decision because I was very well aware that I was making one. The Bible says, *Choose* this day whom you will serve.”) I believe you may have hit something though as look at the mafia families and how they were given a stamp of approval by the Catholic Church. I tend to think God thought God isn’t looking for a formula to gain His salvation, He does offer His Word which is sufficient to bring someone to that point. It is the Word itself that convinces of sin, righteousness and judgment. I think many people are saved “in spite” of organized religion, rather than because of it in many cases. The scripture says to “earnestly contend for the faith,” and there seems to be a lot of contending to be done…sadly, within the Church itself!