A response regarding quoting scholars or ‘church fathers’

This response is from a reader from this site regarding my plea to a pastor not to quote scholars or church fathers without at least a warning.

Dennis is a dear brother in Christ who has since become a good friend and an encouragement to many of us on Redeeming Moments.  He had been introduced to the John MacArthur study Bible and was drinking it up.  He was immersed in Loadship teachings as well as Calvinism. He said he was praying quite often for God to save him. No longer. He says through some of the writings and Scriptures here (he looked them all up), and other grace writings he has seen the error in the reformed doctrines.

Praise God he has been set free from these oppressive teachings as many of us have.

By Dennis Monroe

This is my response to your article “A Plea about quoting scholars or ‘church fathers’.

I read your article, carefully, three times. I can say without question that I agree with and can relate to every single word you wrote. All you wrote squarely “hits the nail on the head.” I don’t know why, but I believe the Lord has given me discernment, at least to some degree. I can usually tell rather quickly what is sound doctrine versus things that are not (this was not always the case in my life). I would like to comment on some of the things in your article. Your writings are in bold.

I’d like to share some of the men my pastors shared. This list is not all inclusive. Spurgeon, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, A.W. Pink, John MacArthur, Brennan Manning, Rick Warren, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, James Dobson, Chuck Swindoll, Billy Graham, John Bunyan, Bonhoeffer etc.

I totally agree with this list. I do not refer to any of these men nor do I use any of their material. Most of this list I would class as heretical because of a false Gospel, Calvinism and Loadship. Ironically, in a way, I think much of Spurgeon in his early days was quite good. One of his earlier sermons, “Only Trust Him,” was instrumental in my return to Christ. However, Spurgeon went into full-on tulip and Calvinism as he progressed through his years. Because there is so much bad mixed with the good I won’t quote him or use his writings. It is the same with Luther, too much bad mixed with the good. All of these men are really the same. I despise anything written by Calvin. I think people get caught up in the very high level of intellectualism of Calvin. Obviously he was a brilliant man, but was he saved? Of course I can’t answer that but Calvin never did express a personal testimony of salvation based on the real Gospel as we know it. At least I know of no such testimony. I think much of what these men were (are) about is theological intellectualism. Many people are swayed and “bamboozled” by that. It hides the simplicity of the Gospel very well.

Your statements on Augustine and Calvin.

Total agreement from me.

Fortunately my husband had taught me of the unconditional love of Christ (seen in Eph 5), and I was able to seek His face again in trust by praying simply (and in great sorrow and exhaustion), “Lord help me”. Also, “Lord help me to want to even WANT to do the right thing”. I knew two things were needed, time with the Lord hearing His Word (Lk 10:38-42), so I determined to try (with His help) to pray for more things and read the Word each day even if just a little bit.

I have lived this out, nearly word for word, during the ordeal with my first wife being so ill and finally dying…but…she got saved before she died.

The Lord gave my husband 7 plus more years, and I feel like I got the other part of the Hezekiah years as I suffered in losing such a big part of me, I thought I would not be able to recover. By the time my husband went to be with the Lord, I had been revived and strengthened by His Word, because I had stopped reading the books, and started delving back into His Word again which heightened my appetite for truth. If we do not read His Word I believe we become like anorexics and have no appetite for it. We have to feed ourselves a little bit with the right attitude (with God’s approval in mind – 2 Tim 2:15), praying and asking for His help.

These words are screaming at me to listen and do it. I have been far too wrapped up in the books of men and not the Book of God. The books I read are good, mostly by men that lived a long time ago (1700, 1800’s) but they cannot replace the Bible. Oh, foolish me.

If we do not read His Word I believe we become like anorexics and have no appetite for it. We have to feed ourselves a little bit with the right attitude (with God’s approval in mind – 2 Tim 2:15), praying and asking for His help.

I have been down this road too, becoming like an anorexic because of ignoring the Word….but….He never left me.

I want to tell you of my deep wounding from these teachers, I don’t know how to express what loss it caused for me. I lost so many years out of fellowship with my Savior, my own gospel rendered ineffective.

I went through many years of this, bound up by Calvinism, loadship and never being able to be “good enough.” I ate up MacArthur, thinking he was great, mainly because so many people said he was, but he was not. It took me a long time to see the truth. I was guilty of following the “wiles of men” and not the Bible. I was unable to clearly tell the real Gospel to anyone else. I still fall into the pit of following men rather than Scripture now and then but not as bad as in the past.

I know I am no one, and definitely the least of many, but how can I bear with those who corrupt minds from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor 11:3-4)

This is why we have left several churches. Sometimes I knew exactly why we “had to leave.” Other times I was not sure of all the “whys,” but I knew things were very wrong and we could not be a part of it.

I don’t judge the salvation of these men, I do not know what they believed at one time. I don’t dare judge them to be unsaved, and I surely don’t dare judge them to BE saved, or call them brother, when I do not hear a clear gospel from them, but conversely a gospel of faith + works (even though they falsely claim faith alone). I do know that I might be making a young one stumble if I quote them, as I did. Mine was a big stumble into fear and doubt and great sorrow. I thank God when my feet were slipping, His mercy held me up.

I lived in fear and doubt and great sorrow with no assurance of my salvation for many years because of false teachings that ruined the simplicity of the Gospel and heaped upon one’s head works and more works that no one could ever do (John MacArthur).

Why did these men point me to these people by quoting them instead of warning me of some severe doctrinal error?

Because “these men” have not done their homework, have bought into the lies and have listened to the wiles of men and not the Word of God. They have “jumped on the bandwagon.” In their minds, men like MacArthur and Sproul (loved Augustine) are the learned gurus that can do no wrong. “Itching ears” comes to mind. Itching ears begets more of the same.

When I asked pastors and teachers….Sick at heart over all the responses from bad to apathetic.

They themselves have been led astray, their minds are made up and they have “their anointed.” You cannot touch their anointed.

So dear Pastor, please, don’t quote men like these without warning they are not men to read, adore or to follow their teaching. Please read Jeremiah 23 about even suggesting these men speak the oracles of God.

Many of these pastors are this:

Mat 13:14  And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

Mat 13:15  For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Thank you to my friend Dennis, and many of you who have written over the years, encouraging us in reverse. We love and appreciate you. We pray for you and look forward to the day we meet face to face.

For a complementary sermon, listen to Pastor Shane Robinson here:

Pleasant Words, Sweet to the Soul

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