The Truthinator is beginning a series of interviews that will run throughout 2012. Every so often, we will post another interview with a person of depth & tenure. The goal is not to promote the person but to gain insight from the information they provide. The identities of the interviewees will remain secret so as not to distract from the information being shared.
If you are interested in being interviewed, please let us know via comment or email. All decisions made by the Truthinator’s Blog are final unless we change our minds… But seriously, please enjoy and learn from these. The truth is what we are interested in here.
So let’s begin. The opinions of the interviewees are not necessarily those of the Truthinator’s Blog or employees or volunteers of the same. Statements made are not to be considered as endorsements by Truthinator’s Blog. Thank you for your understanding.
First of all, thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to answer some questions. I hope the information you share will be valuable in helping others grow. I attract many believers with different perspectives and others who may not be believers but who respond because I have touched on a sensitive topic for them.
Truthinator: Please begin by giving us a few lines of biographical information.
Guest: Hold onto your socks. A little bit about me; I am thirty something and married with four lovely children. Yes, I am married to one beautiful wife. Am not American. Neither am I European. I grew up Anglican. Studied in a strict Roman Catholic High school. It was in this High school that I came to know the Lord. It was through a chance encounter with an evangelical Christian in this that the Holy Spirit convicted me of my lawless living. I had gone to church countless of times but for the first time I came to see the depravity of my soul, the sinfulness of my thoughts and the utter hopelessness of my situation before a Holy God. I heard the gospel of how God because of His great love for me sent Christ to die in my place and took my punishment on Himself on the cross. My hardened, stony heart broke and melted when I heard that only through repentance and faith in Christ I would have grace and forgiveness of my sin and Christ’s righteousness imputed on me. I thank God ever so much that He had mercy on me. I was a small twelve year old African lad in the heart of Africa and that message of “Grace to the humble” delighted my wretched soul. I am still a Christian years later and love the gospel of Jesus Christ, I affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five Solas, the Doctrines of Grace, Monergistic Regeneration, and the Redemptive Historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures. That is me in a nut shell and for the record I am not Emergent.
T: What do you think has changed most since you became a Christian? Why is this true?
G: The biggest change that occurred since I became a Christian was in me. And sure enough that change had nothing to do with me. God changed me. My priorities changed drastically. With God coming first, others second and me last. I guess this in turn influenced and formed the skeleton upon which my world view has been formed. When I catch myself being angry at some body, the question will then be am I glorifying God? Why am I angry at some one who was made in the image of God? Shouldn’t I treat them with grace and mercy when God showed mercy to me? The West Minster Shorter Catechism rightly asks the question ‘What is man’s primary purpose’? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. When at work, I try to work the best I can (as unto the Lord) so that my life, handiwork and practice glorify Him. No, I do not kneel (and Tebow) in the middle of the work place. Thanks for asking.
T. What do you think about the New Perspectives on Paul that is gaining popularity? Where will this type of thinking lead?
G: I think it is nonsense. Next question? Anything that tends to add to the gospel of grace takes us back to works righteousness and further away from God. However sincere the proponents are; they too can be sincerely wrong. Most of these “new interpretations” are just old heresies coming back in new garb. One word of advice is “flee”!!! The NPP may probably be more popular in the US than Europe and the rest of the world. America seems to be a fertile ground for anything aberrant (even prosperity gospel and Chrislam).
T: Do you think the evangelical church is in danger of reuniting with the Roman Catholic church?
G: Are they not already doing it? Well, in circles where there is a low view of the inspiration of scripture, there will always be a never ending appeal on the other side of the fence. Most evangelical churches no longer hold to the major tenants of the Christian faith any way. Justification by faith, the Trinity, Deity of Christ are not emphasised enough because most churches and mega churches feel these are issues that “divide”. An average Christian in many circles cannot even name the Ten Commandments and let alone most televangelists and pastors cannot explain what the differences are between Mormon, Jehovah’s witness and Christian faiths.
T: Do you see a selfishness in church people today that was not present 20 years ago? Christians often times engage in smear campaigns to defeat someone who disagrees with them instead of respectfully debating them. Why has this become the new normal?
G: This takes us back to the lack of interest in sound doctrine in many circles. Most Christians have a low view of God and his Word but a high view of man. It’s no wonder that it’s in the very same circles that churches keep “growing” by splitting up. Pragmatic unbiblical practices are employed and preferred to simple and faithful preaching of the Word. We see, in the past that the truth of the Gospel and sound doctrine was what was being fought for and defended. Most of the smear campaigns of our days are because of petty, divisive, selfish squabbles and by the time they bloom the rifts are public then usually the distinctions are irreparable and the damage to the name of Christ is shameful and repugnant.
I am amazed at people like George Whitefield and how he would challenge John Wesley theologically on doctrinal issues but still treat him respectfully. Or even Paul rebuking Peter for trying to treat the Jewish Christians differently from the Gentile believers. They showed it was about having a high view of God and low view of man. In that one sharpened another by pointing out any inherent dangers and misperceptions with love. This helps us remember that man can easily err and the one constant compass we have is Scripture to which we must often and always turn and from which we must build every root of doctrine.
T: What happened to Christians being different from the world? It seems today that statistically there is no difference between Christians and non Christians.
G: I didn’t know Christians should dress differently from pagans. Okay, I get what you mean. The behaviours of the visible church and invisible church are one concept I struggle to understand. In North Korea Christians live differently from Christians in Texas (the bible belt); in one place they may be invisible and in another they may be over shadowed by a supposedly Christian societal or corporate presence. It is sad that we have many false converts among true converts. I guess it would have been easier if we told God to separate the wheat from the tares (here and now) but in this life time the two groups will grow together until God’s appointed time when he separates them. One thing that Jesus said that is quite encouraging is that His sheep will always listen to His voice; “I know them, and they follow me” Genuine converts usually are called by Him, saved by God and kept by him until the end.
T: What is the greatest challenge facing the true Body of Christ?
G: I don’t think I can point to the greatest challenge. The Great Commission still stands before us. Lack of interest in evangelism could be one challenge. There was a time when people made definite efforts to go and spread the gospel by launching missions and sending missionaries and contributing money and resources to the cause. These days this has been replaced with a vague term called “being missional”. I still haven’t come across any one who can define the terminology. On the other hand, a big challenges for the body of Christ is the apparent “insufficiency of scripture” and our endless search for the “new authentic” experience. When people have a low view of scripture, they ultimately show they have a low view of the Author. It is no surprise that we have a spectrum of Post modern Christians (and Emergents) to whom truth is relative to Charismaniacs who keep “hearing new revelations” from behind every door post and yearning for a more electrifying zing other than studying the Word.
T: What percentage of people that you encounter are truly saved vs. the percentage that are deceived?
G: I may never know. I used to be surprised many times when a “very strong” brother who was demon chasing, fire spitting and spoke in tongues with a Phd (Pull the heavens down) kind of charisma turned left and became apostate. I have grown since then and I am mature enough to realise now that only those who persist to the end really had a genuine faith. Speaking of which, I really wish I knew those who are not genuinely saved. I would plead with them to cry to God for mercy while they still had time.
T: What is happening in America? Is the Emergent Church concept a good thing or a death knell?
G: To understand America one has to begin with the Puritans. I love the strong Reformed and conservative building blocks that the Puritans had. Though they had their flaws here and there too, they are very far removed from the liberal tendencies of the Emergents of our day. The good points to take from any aberrant group or teaching or heresy is that they always make genuine followers go back to examine the difference between Orthodoxy and the new trend. The Emergent streams are growing real fast and have a broad appeal to today’s post modern youth. I do not think they will be “the” death knell. They could just be harbingers of worse beliefs to come. Probably there will be another stage of rank Apostasy like we have never seen before. Nevertheless, do not cease to pray for those involved in the Emergent, Roman Catholic, Mormon, Jehovah’s witness, Charismatic and (yup, even) Reformed faith streams. As long as Christ has not come back yet, there is still hope that one more soul will come to repentance and faith in Christ by God’s grace. I thank God that in my lifetime I came to hear of the gospel of Christ. Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to the father. My prayer is that many more sinners will come to Christ and get forgiveness for their sins. Soli Deo Gloria.
T: I thank you for taking the time to share this information with us. Blessings.