Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Thursday, April 24, 2008

    Chuck Norris is Skeptical of Oprah and Tolle

    Now, I am not endorsing everything Chuck Norris does or says, but I admire a principled Christian Skeptic:

    Still, they gotta be shakin' in their shoes! :)

    My battle is not with Oprah; she has her guru (Tolle), and I have mine (Jesus). The real war is between those who assert to be bearers of the truth, such as Tolle and Jesus. And the question is: With contradicting truths, will we believe a mere man or one who claimed to be so much more? As C.S. Lewis -- the great Oxford scholar and writer of "The Chronicles of Narnia," who was once an avid atheist -- wrote:

    "A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a good moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic -- on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg -- or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. …

    "You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great moral teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

    That might not be what Oprah, Tolle or others around the world want to hear on their webinar, but he is everything we all need to obtain peace with God and peace with one another.


    Way to go, Chuck!

    full article here

    21 comments:

    csp said...

    I think Chuck has been kicked in the head once too often.

    He criticizes Tolle for offering a "popular and easy" road. Uhmmm ... hasn't orthodox Christianity been offering that for hundreds of years? Christianity ruled all of Europe religiously and politically. It was (and is) both popular and easy and led to the Dark Ages, Crusades and Inquisition during the time of its peak popularity and status as state-religion. Chuck needs to reflect a tad more on his finger pointing and Church history.

    jazzycat said...

    csp,
    Chuck's point was well taken and in spite of your attempt at diversion, he has basically stated that a person should believe God’s (Jesus) truth over man's truth when it contradicts with Jesus (Tolle and Oprah). If getting kicked in the head brought him to that conclusion, I suggest that you give it a try. It’ll only hurt for a little while.

    csp said...

    The kick in the head was a joke (I'm a researcher in the field of traumatic brain injury), but the content of my post was in response to Chuck's "popular and easy" statement in regards to Tolle's teaching v. orthodox Christianity.

    swordbearer said...

    csp,

    No possibility you might be making the same mistake of those you condemn, is there?

    ... that is in confusing cultural Christianity, or "state-religion", or things done in the name of Christianity (either by those who aren't believers, or even by those who may be true believers, but lack sanctification in areas) and the fruits or effects cause by them ...with true, or what might be referred to as "orthodox" Christiianity? Surely, you are not prepared to present evidence that you believe the true gospel preaches these things? If so, then you are "no different" on one level than those you condemn.

    Never seeks to amaze me how those who oppose the gospel and condemn it, are often guilty of the very things they condemn others for.

    csp said...

    OK ... I'll try to be more clear if that is possible. Orthodox Christianity has been and is a very popular religion. It is also easy because 1) it is culturally acceptable (e.g. part of our basic societal fabric), 2) promotes acceptance of an outer, hierarchical authority (governments love this), and 3) minimizes self-responsibility (I believe in substitutionary or penal atonement so I'm saved). Thus, orthodox Christianity is both popular and easy. Tolle's "mindfulness" (one of the steps on Buddhas's Eightfold Path) and dissolution of the ego-mind is in actuality extremely difficult.

    swordbearer said...

    To Quote csp: "Orthodox Christianity has been and is a very popular religion."

    Response: True, but just as with Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8), what one sees on the surface may not always be the full truth.

    To Quote csp: "It is also easy because 1) it is culturally acceptable (e.g. part of our basic societal fabric),..."

    Response: Just because Christianity, while at times it may be "culturally" easy because it is "culturally" acceptable, does not mean that orthodox Christianity is easy. One must actually deal with God and sin, take up their cross, and oppose the world, self, and the devil.

    What Chuck is referring to is the ease of a different path due not only to specific aspects of its popularity (just follow the crowd, latest and greatest, join the latest movement, easier to look to something new than deal with the difficulties associated with the old, etc.), but due to the fact that Tolle's new path (either) denies (or fails to recognize the need to deal with) the presence and nature of sin (and this is just for starters).

    To Quote csp: Orthodox Christianity is popular and easy because it "promotes acceptance of an outer, hierarchical authority (governments love this),

    Response: While you're right in that Christianity recognizes the power of the state, ...Surely you are not suggesting that true (biblical) Christianity approves of government doing the things you condemn being previously done in the name of Christianity.

    To Quote csp: Orthodox Christianity is popular and easy because it "minimizes self-responsibility"

    Response: Really? I'd love to see you justify this. Provide us your rationale and/or evidence. I can't wait for this one. (Note: be careful you do not err by failing to distinguish true/orthodox Christianity from cultural Christianity).

    To Quote csp: I believe in substitutionary or penal atonement so I'm saved).

    Response: Is this a RECENT CHANGE? If so, I'm EXCITED to hear it! If so, seems to me you have to differ with Tolle who suggests Jesus only came to be a "way shower" instead of a penal substitute.

    To Quote csp: "Tolle's "mindfulness" (one of the steps on Buddhas's Eightfold Path) and dissolution of the ego-mind is in actuality extremely difficult."

    Response: Tolle's mindfulness (and Buddha's path) is nothing compared to Christian conversion, the former is within the power of man, the latter is impossible except that God provides and works in man!

    csp said...

    Being "culturally easy" is one of the aspects (among several) of orthodox Christianity that makes it easy.

    As for sin, Tolle has another definition for sin ... ignorance. So he doesn't deny it, but only understands it differently and sees it has an inherent characteristic of our ego.

    The Inquisition, Crusades, burning of witches, Nazi collaboration, widespread child abuse, etc. were all either direct actions by the orthodox Church or supported/allowed by it. To me the "divorcing" of the Church's institutional behavior from its leaders and followers is one of the great mysteries of orthodox Christians. It seems to me that it is another example of diminishing self-responsibility.

    Speaking of self-responsibility ... maybe I misunderstand orthodox Christianity and you can clear this up for me. A person is saved if they believe that Jesus died for their sins through an act of substitutionary or penal atonement. One's behaviors and/or intentions do not have a bearing on one's salvation. You are born into sin and will continue (to greater or lesser degree) to sin, so his atonement (and your belief in it) are the only way out. Is this correct?

    As for "mindfulness" it only helps opens the door to God, but does not explain or control how God works with or in man after that point.

    jazzycat said...

    csp,
    You seem to be viewing salvation as an intellectual decision by human being that results in only the change that the human being himself can bring about through self-effort. However, the Bible in many places speaks of salvation as being from God and applied to human beings in way that changes their very nature. 2 Cor. 5:17, John 3:3-8, Eph. 2:4-5, Romans 8, Romans 9, 2 Thess. 2:13, John 1:12-13 are just a few passages that indicate that salvation is applied by God and changes a person to a drastically new person with new desires and a new world-view. Such people are the only true Christians and many people who do all kinds of evil, while claiming to be Christians, are mere imposters who have never been born again. Such evil doers have never been touched by the Holy Spirit or indwelt by the Holy Spirit. In contrast, all true Christians are indwelt and led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8).

    csp said...

    No, I didn't say that salvation is an intellectual decision. I asked the question of where one's behavior and actions fit into the process of salvation, not that it is the only aspect of one's salvation. Do I understand the concept of atonement (substitutionary or penal) correctly and that it alone (and no aspect of behavior or action) is the way of salvation? I'm honestly waiting for answer to that question.

    I agree completely with your last statement. It is only when we have been infused with the Holy Spirit, experienced the Second Birth and developed a spirit-soul consciousness that we can call ourselves true Christians.

    swordbearer said...

    To Quote csp: "... I asked the question of where one's behavior and actions fit into the process of salvation, not that it is the only aspect of one's salvation. Do I understand the concept of atonement (substitutionary or penal) correctly and that it alone (and no aspect of behavior or action) is the way of salvation? I'm honestly waiting for answer to that question."

    Response: Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.

    For a clear and concise answer as to how "atonement" plays into this see: http://www.monergism.com/Packer%2C%20J.I.%20-%20Sacrifice.pdf

    swordbearer said...

    To Quote csp: "As for 'mindfulness'..."

    Response: I find Tolle and his followers put a great deal of emphasis on the mind (perhaps even to the point of overlooking or failing to recognize and address other issues..)

    Note J.C. Philpot's writing on Revelation 3:17-18.

    "You say, "I am rich—I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing." But you do not realize that you re wretched, pitful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me white garments, so you can cover your shameful nakedness."

    Philpot: "The only qualification is a deep feeling of our necessity, our nakedness and our shame—and a feeling that there
    is no other covering for a needy, naked, guilty soul—but the robe of the Redeemer's spotless righteousness.

    And when the soul is led to His divine feet—full of guilt,
    shame, and fear—abhorring, loathing, and mourning over
    itself—and comes in the actings of a living faith—in the
    sighs and cries of a broken heart—in hungerings, thirstings,
    and longings—desiring that the Lord would bestow upon
    him that rich robe—then the blessed exchange takes place
    —then there is a 'buying'—then the Lord brings out of His
    treasure-house, where it has been locked up—the best robe—puts it upon the prodigal, and clothes him from head to foot with it!

    Sweet buy!

    Blessed exchange!

    Our nakedness—for Christ's justifying robe!

    Our poverty—for Christ's riches!

    Our helplessness and insufficiency—for Christ's power, grace, and love!

    You say, "I am rich—I have acquired wealth and do
    not need a thing." But you do not realize that you are
    wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you
    to buy from Me white garments, so you can cover
    your shameful nakedness. Revelation 3:17-18

    csp said...

    Quote: Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.

    Response: Can you give me a translation?

    Thanks. CSP

    csp said...

    Quote: I find Tolle and his followers put a great deal of emphasis on the mind (perhaps even to the point of overlooking or failing to recognize and address other issues..

    Response:

    "Thou shall keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee." [Isa 26:3]

    "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." [Rom 12:2]

    “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:22-24)

    swordbearer said...

    Quote: Can you give me a translation?

    Response: The basis for appeasement, acceptance, right standing, innocense, and righteousness before God depends fully on the merit of Christ, and these are granted to believers freely (by means of grace) to those united to Christ by faith.

    "For it is by grace you have saved thru faith, and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast."

    swordbearer said...

    My Quote:I find Tolle and his followers put a great deal of emphasis on the mind (perhaps even to the point of overlooking or failing to recognize and address other issues..)


    csp's Quote:"Thou shall keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee." [Isa 26:3]

    "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." [Rom 12:2]

    “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:22-24)

    Response: Note, I didn't say issues of the mind are unimportant, but failing to address others are (Man's guilt, depravity, unrighteousness, powerlessness, etc.)

    Besides that, the passages you list refer to believers (those whose hope is in Christ not simply as a way-shower but as the Son of God and necessary propitiation and atonement for their sin).

    swordbearer said...

    csp Quote: I believe in substitutionary or penal atonement so I'm saved).

    My Quote: "Is this a RECENT CHANGE? If so, I'm EXCITED to hear it! If so, seems to me you have to differ with Tolle who suggests Jesus only came to be a "way shower" instead of a penal substitute."

    ******

    Response: csp, You didn't respond to this. I'd be interested in your response.

    csp said...

    I'll answer the last post before the others ...

    No, I haven't changed my position on substitutionary or penal atonement. It was a statement/question. Sorry. :-)

    swordbearer said...

    To Quote csp: "No, I haven't changed my position on substitutionary or penal atonement. It was a statement/question. Sorry. :-)

    Response: Thanks for answering.

    "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed."

    csp said...

    "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. [Matt 7:21]

    "God will give to each person according to what he has done." [Rom 2:6]

    "They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good." [Titus 1:16]

    swordbearer said...

    csp,

    Your quoting these verses reveals you fail to understand the means of salvation along with the requirements of God and the depravity of man.

    Salvation is by "grace" not by "works" (Eph 2:8-9). This grace espresses itself in the justification that comes as a result of Christ's sacrifice and atonement, not the works of man, for ALL of us have become like one who is unclean, and ALL our righteous acts are like filthy rags" before God.

    It appears you have neither heard nor understood the saying "We are saved BY FAITH, tho we will be judged BY WORKS". Only the works of those sanctified and empowered by Christ (i.e. those of believers, who have first been united to Christ by faith, and made acceptable to God through HIS blood) will be found acceptable to the Lord on the day of judgment. So YES, we will be judged based on our works, but it is only the works which result as the fruit of having been saved and sanctified by Christ that will be considered acceptable and then rewarded.

    You need to learn to discern between works "leading" to salvation ... and the works that "follow" or derive from salvation. This is the difference between Ephesians 2 vv. 8-9 which deals with the means of salvation and Ephesians 10 which goes on to speak of the works and purpose for which God has saved believers.

    Eph 2:8-9 "For it is BY GRACE that you have been saved, THROUGH FAITH [i.e., not by your own works], and this not from yourselve, it is the gift of God - NOT BY WORKS, so that no one can boast. (v. 10) For we [i.e. believers] are God's workmanship, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS TO DO GOOD WORKS, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

    Seems that while I would like to suggest to you to spend time reading sites dealing with the difference between salvation by grace and salvation by works, not only is the Scripture full of passages pointing to the necessity of Christ's atonement and it being the means by which God provides salvation to men, but these truths have continually been set before you which you continue to reject. It was no different with those who have gone before, to whom the Spirit spoke through the prophet Isaiah saing "Go to this people and say, 'YOu will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving' For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them."

    For this reason, I will turn my attention to others, for they will listen.

    csp said...

    I understand now what you are saying. That's the explanation I was waiting for and is much more clear. Not that I agree ... but I do understand what you are saying in terms of the sequence and rationale for your belief. Thanks. :-)