Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Six Objections to and Misconceptions about 'The Way of the Master' (Part 6)

Objection #6 -- Living Waters (WOTM) is just stuck in the Law and don't understand the teaching of Grace.

Objection #6 is an example of the logical fallacy known as the "Straw-Man Argument." According to Dr. Jason Lisle, with Answers in Genesis, "The straw-man fallacy is when a person misrepresents his opponent’s position and then proceeds to refute that misrepresentation."

Here, in Objection #6, the misrepresentation is that Living Waters focuses too heavily on the Law (Ten Commandments). Having set up the straw man, the objector then proceeds to knock it down by errantly concluding that those who serve in the ministry or subscribe to the principles taught by the ministry therefore do not understand the beautiful doctrine of God's amazing grace.

I find that those who are most offended by the use of the Law in evangelism are those who have never looked at themselves in the mirror of God's Law.

Now, we must be careful, here. We must be careful not to assume that all who bristle at the use of the Law in evangelism are, therefore, false converts. I believe there are genuine followers of Jesus Christ who--although the Lord brought them to the recognition of their sinfulness before a holy, righteous, and just God and their violation of His Law--because they have been poorly taught, have been led to believe that the same Law that convicted them should not be shared with others. I can make such an observation because I was once such a Christian; and so was just about every other Christian I know who now uses the Law in evangelism.

However, with the above qualifying statement in mind, I also believe that many professing Christians who bristle at the use of the Law in evangelism are false converts. They bristle because they've yet to be brought to true repentance, because no one has ever explained to them the sinfulness of their sin. Oh, they have no problem referring to themselves as "sinners." Sadly, we can thank modern evangelicalism for this. We can thank modern evangelicalism for making sin against God a small thing in the minds of unregenerate people.

How is this done? This is accomplished by pastors, teachers, and evangelists who try to take the edge off of God's just and holy wrath, who try to take the bite out God's righteous judgment, by telling the unsaved that God wants people "just the way they are;" by saying things like, "hey, we're all in the same boat--we're all sinners;" and by not making any mention of judgment, punishment, and Hell so as not to offend the sensitivities of listeners who already hate God.

I understand that there are "evangelists" (and I shudder to even use the term with people like this) out there who are truly "stuck in the Law." They are pharisees--unloving legalists who prop themselves up, by tearing other people down, by using the Law of God as a hammer instead of a mirror. But the objector who sees any use of the Law in evangelism as being "stuck in the Law" are, themselves, the one who is "stuck in the Law." And they are likely "stuck in the Law" because they have yet to come to terms with their own sinfulness before God Almighty. They see themselves as a good person--one who is worthy of God's forgiveness, mercy, and grace. It is this kind of objector who doesn't understand grace. They cannot understand grace because they've tainted and cheapened God's grace with their own self-righteousness.

No, the Christian who employs God's Law in evangelism in a loving and biblical way is probably more intimately aware of God's grace than most other Christians--certainly more aware than the false convert. For it was and is the Law of God that brings the Christian to his or her knees, leaving him or her with only one response--to look up from their lowly position--to look up and gaze upon the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. As they gaze upward, they see their crucified Savior shedding His innocent blood to make propitiation for their sins. They also see an empty cross--a cross where the most loving and sacrificial of all work was finished. The cross could not defeat Him and the grave could not hold Him. For He defeated sin and death by the power and majesty of His glorious resurrection.

And it is the Law of God that brings the unregenerate sinner to the understanding that it is a broken and contrite heart that God will not despise. It is the Law of God that God Himself uses to break the lost sinner's heart of stone so He can replace it, by His grace, with a new and Spirit-filled heart of flesh.

If you are reading this and you find your heart hardened toward the use of the Law in evangelism, it just may be that your heart is still made of stone. It may be that you have yet to receive a heart of flesh promised to those redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb. If this is the case, please repent. Repent and truly receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

To those who hold to one or more of the objections addressed in this series, please set these objections aside and join those engaged in biblical evangelism in the most loving work any Christian can do. Bring the Law to the proud and Grace to the humble, with love in your heart, love in your eyes, and love in your voice.