by Mike Ratliff
4 μοιχαλίδες, οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ἡ φιλία τοῦ κόσμου ἔχθρα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν; ὃς ἐὰν οὖν βουληθῇ φίλος εἶναι τοῦ κόσμου, ἐχθρὸς τοῦ θεοῦ καθίσταται. (James 4:4 NA27)
4 Adulteresses, do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever chooses to be a friend of the world, is made an enemy of God. (James 4:4 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)
The Seeker-Sensitive and Purpose-Driven paradigms are rooted in a form of Pelagianism. Of course, the theology I grew up with as a Southern Baptist in the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s, et cetera was somewhere between semi-Pelagianism and Arminianism. In each of these forms of theology, man is at the center. God has done all he can do to create the possibility of salvation, but it is up to man to exercise his autonomous free will in order to be saved. Even in this, after salvation there is a time of working to please God, to become perfected, to become moral, et cetera. Again, the focus is on man, not God. The reason I brought this up is to reflect on how far I have come in my understanding of these things since God revealed to me the veracity of His Sovereignty over all things. From that, I rapidly rebuilt my theological understanding of justification and sanctification. It was probably not as dramatic as Luther’s awakening when he discovered the doctrine of Justification by grace through faith, but, for me, it was. I was utterly amazed and spent days and hours in prayer of gratitude and praise before the throne of grace expressing it the best way I could of how utterly unworthy I was that I was totally justified before God with the Righteousness of Christ and His perfect obedience imputed to my account. My righteousness, in God’s eyes, actually did exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees!
All those years of struggling to please him and seeing how utterly helpless I was at being perfect and sinless no longer mattered at all. Yes, we are to seek to walk upright in the power of the Holy Spirit, but, in this, I am not climbing my way to heaven. My place is already set at the marriage supper of the lamb. Oh how I want to live holy and blameless before Him, but that is to bring him glory, not to somehow earn my salvation. It is as if a huge load has been taken away.
What has any of this to do with Ἰάκωβος 4:4? In our discernment group discussions over the last several days, it has been very interesting with what is going on with Perry Noble’s outlandish handling of his “church” and actually performing rock music and using a song by AC/DC named “Highway to Hell” on Easter Sunday on purpose in order to anger those whom he calls “religious Christians.” He did not use the term “anger.” Then James MacDonald of the Elephant Room and Mark Driscoll defended him in this. James MacDonald has also invited T.D. Jakes, a Oneness Pentecostal, to the Elephant Room, denying that Jakes is a heretic even though his theology denies the Orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. We have also looked at the continuing saga over at Elevation Church that is “pastored” by Steven Furtick. All in all, I have stayed quiet and let the others have their say.
In the marriage of these various, seemingly different, theologies we see that they get along just fine. Why? Relativism is of this world, those who adopt it in how they relate to others of obviously different doctrinal beliefs are doing so via compromise, and that is simply the application of relativism. Who is left out of their happy little group hug? That’s right, those who refuse to compromise. Those welcome in are those willing to compromise with the world and its ways. Those not welcome in are those who refuse to do so.
What is friendship with the world? It is doing whatever it takes to imitate worldly ways of thinking and worldly activities. This very thing, according to James 4:4 makes these people enemies of God. What is their motive for imitating the world and its ways? Rick Warren comes right out and says it. They do it to satisfy the expectations of unbelievers. They want unbelievers to feel comfortable in their church. They want their church to be church for the unchurched. Both Perry Noble and Steven Furtick use that model as well. However, when this is the goal, they can never change gears. Why? It will always be impossible to satisfy the expectations of unbelievers whose hearts are set on this world and at the same time please God. You cannot do both. Now they have the added influence of James MacDonald, Mark Driscoll, and T.D. Jakes. Sounds to me like the strange brew is just getting stranger and more deadly.
What are we to do? We must continue to stand firm in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must continue to stay in the Word of God, presenting our bodies as living, holy sacrifices, well pleasing to God, which is our spiritual service. And we must not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may discern the will of God, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect. If we will do these things, praying for discernment and wisdom and obey God in all things then the enemy will have absolutely no ability to deceive us into compromise on any of these things. Those who are in that darkness are so because they did none of this.
Soli Deo Gloria!