Unquestionable Authority

I have spent much of my time this afternoon participating in a “discussion” on another forum replying to and questioning Richard Abanes about his defense of Rick Warren and the Purpose Driven Church model, et cetera. Well guess what? Nothing has changed. The defense has not changed its focus one iota. No matter how many times we point out the unbiblical aspects of the Purpose Driven Church model or the missing pieces of the Purpose Driven version of the gospel, the answer is always the same, “So What? That is just your opinion! You are trying to define the gospel differently than Rick understands it. So what if Rick leaves out the details of the gospel, it is still the gospel.” I could go on.

The gist of this discussion centered on authority even though no one used that word. It boiled down to the “fact” that Rick Warren says what he says, teaches what he teaches, preaches what he preaches, hangs out with who he hangs out with, twists scripture, and justifies creating his own version of the gospel because he does not recognize the authority of scripture, and therefore, the authority of God to define the boundaries and content of the Good News. Rick Warren believes that it is okay to redefine Christianity according to his own model because he is his own authority. This is no different than a pagan writer for Newsweek magazine writing a story that says the Bible doesn’t have a problem with gay “marriage.” Well folks, I have some bad news for those of you who think that there is such a thing as Christianity ala carte

Carefully read the follow article by Burk Parsons of Tabletalk magazine. 

by Burk Parsons

I am terribly vexed. I have just finished reading an article from the notoriously left-wing magazine Newsweek. In the cover story, “The Religious Case for Gay Marriage,” author Lisa Miller argues the case for gay “marriage” using the Bible as her authority. Miller opens with this line: “Let’s try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does.” She later asserts, “The Bible gives us no good reason to oppose gay marriage.” 

It takes no brains but a lot of guts to try to make a case for gay “marriage” (of course, the phrase itself is a contradiction in terms). But it’s just downright crazy to try to make a case for the legitimacy of gay “marriage” using the Bible. 

I was recently at an event with Mike Huckabee as the keynote speaker, and I was delighted when the former governor quoted from the book of Judges: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 17:6). This recurring assessment from Judges is certainly applicable to our own day. While the Lord has shown that He will raise up and sustain a faithful remnant of His people in every generation, in His providence He has also shown the chaotic and noetic effects of the fall in every generation. And if you haven’t yet realized it, I’ll let you in on something — we are among the faithful remnant in this generation.

With the Bible as our only infallible authority for every aspect of faith and life, we must stand on the truth and for the truth with uncompromising commitment to the truth and unwavering compassion for those who hate the truth, deny the truth, and use the only infallible authority for truth to defend their lies. By God’s grace, we have been called out of darkness in order to stand in His marvelous light so that we might boldly go into the darkness of this world as a light to the world, proclaiming the way, the truth, and the life before the face of God, coram Deo, and before the faces of our enemies. But in doing so, we must not in practice deny our allegiance to the authority of the Word of God by saying we believe it while continuing to live according to what is right in our own eyes.

Burk Parsons is editor of Tabletalk magazine and minister of congregational life at Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Florida, and is editor of the book John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, & Doxology.

© Tabletalk magazine

From Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul. © Tabletalk magazine.
Website: www.ligonier.org/tabletalk. Email: tabletalk@ligonier.org. Toll free: 1-800-435-4343.

39 thoughts on “Unquestionable Authority

  1. Pingback: Unquestionable Authority - Reformata

  2. Oddly enough Mike, while men like Richard Abanes are so cavalier concerning the Gospel, the Biblical witness is quite the opposite.

    Look at Acts 15:1-2 – “1 Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue.

    So why do we say nothing at all when men are adding their traditions, which take away from the glory of God?

    Like

  3. Ken,

    I believe that many are silent about these things because they have fallen under the false teaching that it is wrong to judge those who teach what is false. Satan uses this to paralyze many and these same will accuse those of us who do stand firm and rebuke the false teachers because they misinterpret Jesus’ command, “Judge Not lest ye be judged!” However, we must stand firm and tell the truth to all who will hear.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

    Like

  4. When we contend with false converts, we cannot compromise. Jesus was not a pushover who always avoided the conflict. It is good to see brothers and sisters like you, Ken, and Ingrid who run into the conflict instead of shrinking away. If the Lord stiffens our foreheads against ungodliness, that firm stance can make a big difference in someone’s life. Yea, they may label us arrogant, cut and dry, bigots, or what have you, but the truth will be what is and remain absolute regardless of what kind of response the world dishes out. There is a verse which reminds us that compromising the truth is unacceptable.

    ” Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.” Proverb 25:26

    As fisherman for the Lord, we should leave our nets behind just like the disciples did when Jesus told them to come and follow him. By leaving their own nets behind, they abandoned human wisdom and effort combined with worldly thinking in order to forsake the world. Shouldn’t we be willing to do the same?

    Like

  5. I don’t understand why Mr. Abanes does not reprove Rick Warren for contradicting the basics about Christianity. The most common lie that Rick Warren implies and even says in his writings is that God already dwells in the unregenerate. (If you are reading this Mr. Abanes, then pay attention and learn about the mission of a watchman/ discernment ministry)
    Rick Warren tells folks on Fox News to give Jesus a try for 60 days. Doesn’t the Bible say not to tempt God? So that means Jesus is not a car that we can take for a test drive. He is not a piece of merchandise on a shelf or in a parking space waiting for us to kick the tires a bit. No. Not an idol Mr. Abanes. He is holy, incorruptible, and just. ….Not someone in a lamp who is waiting for us to come and release him because he is counting on us to permit him to do his will. That Mr. Abanes is pure blasphemy.

    Like

  6. Mike, I just want you to know how much we appreciate your stand for our sovereign Lord and Savior, Jesus. We appreciated you so much yesterday. Thank you, brother.

    Like

  7. You are very welcome Denise! I was amazed at how no matter how often or well we withstand Mr. Abanes and his “message,” he never changes. He does not listen.

    Like

  8. So what is Abanes offended about now? I commented on his blog (which had received no approved comments even five days after he posted his whine about the ‘cult’ of apologetics) that it sure seems he and Rick Warren pop up with this “oh don’t believe everything you read on the Web” line every time someone posts a very good article exposing them on the web.

    What a coincidence wow!

    Odd thing is, the entire argument “don’t believe everything you read” is a complete strawman. I don’t believe Abanes because what he posts online doesn’t add up with the facts. I don’t believe most of what I read online, and yet if I don’t agree with Abanes, well then I must be just swallowing everything blindly. What kind of argument is that? Someone buy him a copy of The Fallacy Detective PLEASE!

    Like

  9. Amen Paula. I believe he is working on a new book dealing with this cult of apologists stuff. He is unregenerate and his focus is just like that of Rick Warren. It is all focused on the person and never on God. I often wonder if they are also partaking of the Open Theism kool-aid.

    Like

  10. Mike, I appreciate all of the help that you gave us. Ours is a spiritual battle and the Holy Spirit has brought us together to serve Lord Jesus and the Word of Truth. May the Lord bless you and use you mightily for His purposes alone! There is no other way to be saved than God’s way. Man’s way leads to destruction.

    Like

  11. Well, I find the man highly pretentious and a liar. However, he lies in a very slick and creative way so that he makes people believe him when they should know better. He never really listens to me when I address him. He only looks for a way to try to make what I said look bad. He is accusing us of things that I am pretty sure I have never done and what is really aggravating is that he is judging our motives. I can’t answer for anyone else, but my motives for doing what I do is simply to bring glory to God in my obedience to His command to contend for the faith and defend His truth.

    Like

  12. Just so we’re clear.

    When Mike says that Abanes is unregenerate, that’s OK.

    But when Abanes questions the salvation of others, it’s not OK.

    Do I have that right?

    Like

  13. No brendt, you do not have it right. We are told to judge others by their fruit in our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount. What is this fruit? Isn’t it what is taught? This man has accused many of us who are teaching directly from God’s Word that we are unregenerate for teaching what he doesn’t like. On the other hand, I have not called him that. I have said that he has exhibited unregenerate behavior by him not listening to nor obeying what God’s Word says. Does it make more sense now?

    Like

  14. Mike Ratliff Says: March 9, 2009 at 8:39 am

    [Abanes] is unregenerate…

    Mike Ratliff Says: March 10, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I have not called him [unregenerate].

    Guess maybe you’d better lock down your blog until you figure out who was commenting in your name yesterday morning.

    Like

  15. Hmmmm Brendt,

    Are you referring to this comment:

    Mike Ratliff Says:
    March 9, 2009 at 8:39 am edit
    Amen Paula. I believe he is working on a new book dealing with this cult of apologists stuff. He is displaying unregenerate behavior and his focus is just like that of Rick Warren. It is all focused on the person and never on God. I often wonder if they are also partaking of the Open Theism kool-aid.

    So, you are talking about this COMMENT to a friend when compared to RA’s public post in which he says that any of us who stand up to him is unregenerate? Is that what you mean? Help me out here will you.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

    Like

  16. Ah, now it makes sense. So let me re-phrase my original question.

    Just so we’re clear.

    When Mike says that Abanes is unregenerate in a comment in a public forum, that’s OK.

    But when Abanes questions the salvation of others in the main post of a public forum, it’s not OK.

    Do I have that right?

    Like

  17. Hello Mike,
    You said:

    So, you are talking about this COMMENT to a friend when compared to RA’s public post in which he says that any of us who stand up to him is unregenerate? Is that what you mean? Help me out here will you.

    This blog of your’s is public is it not? So are the comments on this blog. You made a public statement here even if it was in the form of a comment to a friend. Now if you wanted to say that he was displaying unregenerate behaviour you should perhaps apologise for your public statement that he IS unregenerate?

    May you find God’s grace sufficient today
    Eugene

    Like

  18. Brendt, forum as little to do with it. It is the criteria used to make the statement that determines it. What criteria does RA use? He uses the fact that we refuse to allow him to elevate the watered-down, Christless “gospel” to the level of the genuine Gospel. We withstand this and he says we are unloving and mean, etc. Why? We refuse to compromise. I make comments like that referring to his acceptance of the non-gospel as the real deal and how he twists the truth in order to make points in his rebuttals and the fact that the focus of his religious paradigm is all MAN-Focused religiosity which is not genuine Christianity at all. That is how I deal with this and I will never compromise the truth from God’s word for the sake of a false peace with a false teacher and his apologist. Am I clear now…brother?

    Like

  19. Mike

    This man has accused many of us who are teaching directly from God’s Word that we are unregenerate for teaching what he doesn’t like.

    Is it possible that you can give a reference of where Richard Abanez has called any of you unregenerate? When someone says something like this (someone is unregenerate) in a public forum it saddens me and I would like to speak to RA about it as well. If he said this it is unacceptable.

    I make comments like that referring to his acceptance of the non-gospel as the real deal and how he twists the truth in order to make points in his rebuttals and the fact that the focus of his religious paradigm is all MAN-Focused religiosity which is not genuine Christianity at all. That is how I deal with this and I will never compromise the truth from God’s word for the sake of a false peace with a false teacher and his apologist.

    I think there are better ways to stand for the truth than to question someone’s eternal destiny.

    Like

  20. Admittedly, I’m finding this a little hard to follow.

    First you say he’s unregenerate, then you say you’ve never said he’s unregenerate.

    Next, you raise the issue of the differences in the fora in which you say it and he says it. Then you say that “forum has little to do with it”.

    Am I tracking correctly so far?

    Regardless, it seems that your latest comment implies that you believe that there are circumstances — such as the examining of fruit — under which it is permissible for one man to question (or possibly even deny) the salvation of another man.

    Is that correct? And if so, how is my original question misrepresentative?

    Like

  21. Brendt,

    Ah, I see. You don’t get it. Sorry about that. You see, I am not defending an apostate Pastor or whatever Rick Warren is. No, I stand up for the truth, God’s Word and what it tells us is the Gospel. Got it? Now, Richard Abanes attacks me and others I know online who refuse to accept any version of the Gospel except this one. They want to include all sorts of false versions of it and say that everyone who makes a profession of faith is legit. Well, that isn’t what we read in the book of Galatians is it? Nope. We stand for the truth and when a person continually attacks that truth then we are going to stand against him and his friends. He will not take it and continues to attack this stance even calling many of us unregenerate because we will not compromise. Got it now. My comment was referring to the fact that anyone who stands on a false version of the gospel proclaiming that it is true is obviously a false teacher. This discussion is over. All you are trying to do is antagonize me with your deliberate obtuseness. Unless you can come up with a Biblical proof that what I have shared is not biblical then we are done.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

    Like

  22. Your blog. Your rules. If common sense isn’t good enough, I can proof-text from Scripture, too.

    Paul told Timothy (and, by extension us) that God has given us the “spirit of a sound mind”.

    You’re right. I don’t get it. I don’t get at all how it demonstrates such a spirit to state that someone is unregenerate and then say that you’ve never called that person unregenerate.

    This ceased being about RA at that very point. My questions are not about the fora or the motives or the reasoning. Any references that I made to those issues was because you raised them first.

    James warned us of the dangers of the tongue. While his main point in these verses was of a higher nature, one can also very easily draw the conclusion that he was stating that making two polar opposite statements is staggeringly illogical. “My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”

    Like

  23. Brendt,

    Nope, you are wrong. This is 100% about RA and your attempt to run interference for him. He is the one who called us that. You need to go to him and address these things with him. He is the one who called Ken and Ingrid and several of my other friends unregenerate. My comment was that this was unregenerate behavior and it is. Why? It is because he is attempting, as you are, to defend a biblically untenable position and you know it. I am willing to hear his apology though.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

    Like

  24. Mike, I’ve never read anything resembling you judging a person’s salvation. These posts show you talking about “behavior.”

    Don’t ever stop preaching the Word of God the way you do. Know that you are His servant, and that your ministry reaches many of us. We are encouraged, exhorted, trained….

    Naysayers and accusers will just grow in numbers as the Apostasy seeps ever more deeply in our churches.

    God bless.

    Heather

    Like

  25. Pingback: The Internet Front of the Truth War is an Ugly Place « Possessing the Treasure

  26. Mike,
    I could not find a direct statement by Richard Abanez that anyone specific was unregenerate so I asked him what he meant by referring to some people as “Christians”. This was his answer. I quote a small part:

    …. there is a point where, despite someone’s profession of faith, they are simply not saved — but I don’t know where that point is because: 1) I can’t see into their heart; and 2) All people are different w/ different external manifestations of sin.

    …. I’m actually just voicing a very common idea that is quite general in nature — i.e., some of these ODMs might not truly be saved. But when it comes to specifics, I really have no idea which ones are saved and which ones are not saved. This is a very dicey area:

    Both of you claim the other’s behaviour unchristian, he then stating that he cannot be sure of anyone’s salvation status. Well, this can go on for very long… I am very uncomfortable with anyone stating that another professing Christian is unregenerate. Only God is the judge of hearts and the One able to save. I therefore ask you to retract your statement that Richard Abanez is unregenerate here:

    Amen Paula. I believe he is working on a new book dealing with this cult of apologists stuff. He is unregenerate and his focus is just like that of Rick Warren. It is all focused on the person and never on God. I often wonder if they are also partaking of the Open Theism kool-aid.

    Thank you for allowing me to give my opinion on your blog.

    May you find God’s grace sufficient today and His mercies overflowing towards you.
    Eugene

    Like

Comments are closed.