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The Invincible Gospel and the Modern Evangelical Lie

The Invincible Gospel and the Modern Evangelical Lie

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Published by: None other Name on Jun 27, 2011
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05/22/2013

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The Invincible Gospel and the Modern Evangelical lie
By Richard M. BennettBy far the most dramatic episode in my life was the accident I had in 1972 in Port of Spain. I felldown the steps of the home of a family that I knew, and I fell in such a way as to damage my spine. I wasunconscious and close to death for three days in the hospital. When I did regain consciousness, I was ingreat pain. A neurologist explained the cause of the pain to me one month later while I was recuperating in anursing home. He told me that I had damaged some sections of my spine, thereby disturbing the whole me-tabolism of my nervous system. Three months later, I was released from the nursing home. It was at this point in my life that I began to really search in the Scriptures for the message of salvation.I boasted at the time that I was not conscious of any mortal sin in my life, yet, had I died on thateventful day, I did not have any assurance that I would have been with the Lord. While I had always beenquite devout in all my religious exercises, I had no distinct peace with God. The next fourteen years I spentsearching the Scriptures to understand how man is made right with God. I compared Catholic teaching to theScriptures and I listened to some famous Evangelists on both short-wave radio and medium wave radio sta-tions. I sent to England and the United States for some of tracts by Evangelists. This aspect of my searchwas quite frustrating. What I found in many radio messages and pamphlets was quite similar to what I al-ready knew in the Catholic Church. I read the Bible, however, in a personal way each day in search for ananswer to the question: how is one right before the all Holy God? I made some quite interesting discoveriesthat I want share with you. They came as a great surprise to me because what I found in the Scriptures, I nei-ther heard on the radio nor found in the Evangelistic tracts. The tracts, for the most part, told me the amountof dedication or commitment I needed in order to make a decision for Christ. In a similar way, the evangel-ists on the radio told me about dedication and “how to accept Jesus into my heart”.
Wrestling for the answer
After an agonizing search of many years, I discovered that the first thing that must be understood biblicallyabout the Gospel is that it is “
concerning Jesus Christ our Lord.
1
While the Gospel is proclaimed to all, itis not about us or about anything that happens in us. It concerns what Jesus Christ did and His death andresurrection.I found out also that the Gospel is an historic fact. Biblical faith is not concerned with recommendingtechniques, whether mystical or ethical. Rather, the Bible proclaims the fact that God has, in concrete his-torical fact, saved all His people from destruction. The Gospel “
by which ye are saved 
2
 
is regarding the fin-ished and complete work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The God before whom we are saved
What seemed to be totally missing from modern Evangelical circles was “the knowledge of the Holy”. TheBible defines knowledge as the awareness of AllHoly One, “
the fear of the Lord is the beginning of  wisdom:and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding.
3
“God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.
4
 How could I begin to see that I even needed to be put right with God until I asked the question,
“who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy.
5
 
I saw that unless one under- 
1
Romans 1:3
2
I Corinthians 15:1-4
3
Proverbs 9:10
4
I John 1:5
 
 
ness.
stands something of God’s holiness, there is no reason to desire the perfect righteousness of Christ in salva-tion. One verse in particular really challenged my heart to continue to seek, “
who is like untothee, O LORD,among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?
6
 
God can nomore stop being holy than He can cease to be! As His Word proclaims, “
the LORD is righteous in all hisways, and holy in all his works
7
and “
 Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne.
8
 
Con-sider for a moment this essential character of God—for unless we come to terms with God as holy, we cannever have any peace with Him, and our religion is meaningless.
The finale of my years of searching
After fourteen years of searching, I discovered that rightstanding is God’s gift to the believer, which is cred-ited to him based on Christ’s finished work on the Cross.
9
I saw that right standing is God’s righteous judg-ment of the believer, declaring him both guiltless in regard to sin, and righteous in regard to his moral stand-ing in Christ before the Holy God. This judgment by God is legally possible because of Christ’s vicarious perfect life and sacrifice. Right standing is first and foremost God’s legal judgment of the believer, in thewords of the Apostle,
therefore as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation;even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto right standing of life.
 
How I un-derstood this truth was especially in studying the chapter three of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans.
 
Right standing is in Christ’s faithfulness
The Apostle Paul loudly proclaims,
“but now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.
Righteousness of God
 
is that perfect faithfulness to the law of God in heart and life, which the holiness of God requires. This, the Apostle enthusiastically announces, isnow established—for 
Christ’s
faithfulness is revealed! Before God’s all holy nature, sin had to be punishedand true righteousness established. This has been accomplished in the faithful obedience of the Lord ChristJesus to live perfectly under the law, which includes His perfect sacrifice on the cross. The Apostle contin-ues, “
even the righteousness of God which is by [the] faith[fulness] Jesus Christ unto all and upon all themthat believe.
The great news is that this absolute faithfulness of Christ Jesus under the Law now restsupon the believer. He actually possesses it, wearing it as a robe, in the words of the Prophet Isaiah,
“I will  greatly rejoice in the LORD…for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me withthe robe of righteous
14
 
Authorized identification between Christ and His people
Romans 3:21-22 is showing in legal terms how exactly the true believer is identified with the Lord JesusChrist. God has provided Christ’s righteousness to sinners who believe. Thus, when one understands that
5
Revelation 15:4
6
Exodus 15:11
7
Psalm 145:17
8
Psalm 97:2
9
Romans 4:5-8, II Corinthians 5:19-21, Romans 3:21-28, Titus 3:5-7, Ephesians 1:7, I Corinthians 1:30-31, Romans 5:17-19
10
Romans 5:18
11
I spent much time also studying Ephesians, Philippians and Isaiah 53.
12
Romans 3:21
13
Romans 3:22 There are several passages in which faithfulness of the Lord is mentioned. In each case, the name of Jesus Christis in the genitive case indicating that faithfulness is a character quality that He possesses. Galatians 2:16 is an example of this us-age, “
 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith[fulness] of Jesus Christ 
.” Knowing that the lawmust be fulfilled for God to declare a person righteous, the faithfulness of Christ must be also understood as applying specificallyto this context.
14
Isaiah 61:10
24
 
 the faithfulness of Christ is vicariously applied to the sinner by a one time gracious act of God alone
, herealizes that Christ satisfied the law on his behalf. The Scriptures teach that Christ was, in a strict and exactsense, the
representative
Substitute for His people. By divine appointment and of His own free will, Christassumed all His peoples’ liabilities, and bestowed on them all of His perfection. In the wonderful words of the Apostle John, “
of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace
.”
 
The Basis for the Gospel
The huge difficulty for me, and for so many “good Catholics”, was to accept the premise that Paul had al-ready laid out—“
here is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understands, there is none that  seeks after God.
 
According to my human nature and all that I had been taught, I saw myself as a fairlygood person, and therefore a candidate for salvation. Paul, however, started with a totally different premise,as he made clear in his letter to the Ephesians, “
 you who were dead in trespasses and sins.
 Inthe present passage, he summarized it by saying, “
 for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
I struggledfor many years to reach the position whereby I could accept before the All Holy God that I was spirituallydead and capable of doing nothing to merit right standing. A big part of my difficulty was the teaching of Vatican Council II, which was popular at the same time that I was searching the Scriptures. The Counciltaught that man was simply incapacitated or wounded by sin, and that one could decide one’s own destiny inthe sight of God. Vatican Council II states,“. . . Nevertheless man has been
wounded by sin
. He finds by experience that his body is in revolt.His very dignity therefore requires that he should glorify God in his body, and not allow it to servethe evil inclinations of his heart. . . . When he is drawn to think about his real self he turns to thosedeep recesses of his being where God who pr obes the heart awaits him, and
where he himself de-cides his own destiny in the sight of God
.”
 The Council has here built upon the idea that there is within the human heart an essential goodness, which, inturn, gives one the capacity to make a dignified decision regarding one’s own destiny. This really appealedto me; but it also worried me that such teaching was quite like Hinduism. I had written a paper on Hinduismin my final year of philosophy, and knew what the Hindu pundits in Trinidad taught, (and what Hinduismstill teaches), “The intrinsic and real nature of all beings is their soul, which is goodness.All is in perfect balance. There are changes, and they may appear evil, but there is no intrinsic evil. Aum.”
I had come torealice that the Hindu idea of intrinsic ability within the human heart, like the traditional good works to makeourselves holy and righteous, leads only to more and more in personal pride. How could I break out of thedeadly goodness-pride circle? I fell back gain on the straight word of Scripture for my guide. By the graceof God, I saw that I was worse than “dead in the water”. I was, as the Apostle expressed it, “
dead in tres- passes and sins.
It was only from studying the Scripture that I could get past the false teaching of VaticanCouncil II and Hinduism. When by God’s grace I came to accept the truth of the Scripture—that there wasno essential goodness in me and therefore I could decide nothing regarding my own destiny—I was free frommy bondage to a lie, which in the beginning I had, as a sinner, loved. This is of utmost importance becauseGod only saves sinners!
15
Ephesians 2:8-9
16
John 1:16
17
Romans 3:10-11
18
Ephesians 2:1
19
Romans 3:23
20
Vatican II Documents No. 64,
Gaudium et Spes
, 7 Dec 1965 in
 Documents of Vatican II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Do-cuments
, Austin P. Flannery, Ed. New Revised Edition, 2 Vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1975,1984) Vol. I, Sec. 14, p. 915 All Vatican Council II documents are taken from this source unless otherwise stated.
21
www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/atma.htm 02/12/2
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