Christ follower?

Posted: April 5, 2015 in religion


Christ follower.  It’s a good thing? Growing up I went to a Independent Fundamental Baptist camp during my summers while there I heard many excellent sermons and it was where God first called me to preach.  However, years later I reflected on the theology taught and found it not only lacking but legalistic.  Recently a gentleman and I were having a conversation and he used the phrase “Christ follower” and went on to describe what he believed that to be, which was saving the whole person.  Then he added it’s not enough for a person to “just believe”.  While I would agree that it is highly important for discipleship and we should want to walk alongside those who get saved and guide them.  This terminology is nothing new in fact you probably have read the phrase or theology behind it in books like Radical and/or Crazy Love.  In my opinion it is nothing more than repackaged Reformed theology for a new generation of readers.  The motto seemingly is ‘If it sounds right then it is right’.  These writers are well intentioned and believe in their hardest of hearts that what they are doing is correct, nevertheless it is still bad theology.  While I should be happy (I am) that above all else at least Christ is preached, I am concerned that the toleration of bad theology will do considerable harm to the next generation of believers.  It is something I like to call the Charles Finney effect.

Permit me to write that I am willingly to acknowledge that Charles Finney has done more for the Lord than I have or will.  Now that, that is stated his theology was amiss and had some dramatic consequences.  Charles Finney was an evangelist who lived in the 1800s.  For starters Finney taught a second work of grace apart from salvation (see Merrill Unger for more).  This second work of grace concept became the basis for the modern Pentecostal movement.  Finney affirmed that works were the evidence of faith, which one could consider the same as stating ‘We need to save the whole person and not just simply believe.’  My question is where is the justification by faith alone?  Today it seems it is a justification by faith alone but as long as you have the good works to back it up, but if you sin at some point then may be you were never really saved.  Finney was a charismatic preacher and he wrote a great deal, however, his theology is found wanting and destructive.

Save the whole person?  Of course I believe that Christians should walk next to new converts and help disciple them.  However, the question fails to allow for the concept Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 3:4-12, one person planted the seed and another waters.  Believe it or not God likes to use different people in all our lives to enable us to grow in grace.  God has use a great many different people in my life.  My brother told me about Jesus, but it was a pastor in SoCal, who discipled me years later.  ‘Save the whole person,’ is a clever way of getting people to think that they have to do something more than simply believe in Jesus Christ.  That my friend as the Fundamental Baptist Preachers used to say, ‘Is a lie straight out of the pit of Hell.’

Jesus said, ‘Believe in me for eternal life’ (John 6:47).  “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12.  Discipleship and Salvation are not one and the same.  Discipleship is a choice a believer makes to follow Christ, to take up his cross.  Salvation is a free gift with no strings attached that Jesus offers freely to all (Revelation 22:17).

  1. jeff from costa mesa says:

    Preach it Brother !!

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