The Naked Gospel
Messages, Sermon Comments and Testimonials
Also James, you bring up, "what about the process of sanctification?" Well, you are assuming that the ''''process of sanctification'''' is solid unchanging theology, and judging what Farley is saying against that centuries held belief. But what Farley is saying is that if we understand the NT more correctly, then we will see that there is, in fact, no ''''process of sanctification'''' at all. So its a matter of which is more correct? Does it make logical sense, in light of what Farley says, to still hold to a ''''process of sanctification?'''' I agree with Farley that it does not make sense. That aspect of centuries old theology needs a massive overhaul, as does a lot of other theology. And thank God it''s coming.
And also Mark, the NT is clear that we actually are judged by no other standard than that we have faith, and in this regard, we are ''saved'' exactly as Abraham was. This was always God''s economy, in the OT as it is in the NT. That we embrace God''s plan for salvation. For Abe, it was the coming promise. For us, it''s that the promise has been fullfilled. Abe trusted God that it will be fullfilled, we trust God that it has been fullfilled. Same economy.
Mark, Farley never states that the law is abolished, be it ceremonially or morally. He is clear that the law still stands to bring people to Christ. All he is saying is that once people ARE brought to Christ, then the law is no longer used--it has no role, be it ceremonially or morally--in our Christian lives. Romans 7 is Paul''s struggle under the law, not under Christ. Paul lived totally identified with Christ--the very life of Christ lived in him and through him!! (Galatians 2:20). So if it is Christ living in and through him, as it should be with us (Galatians chapter 3), then what need is there any longer for a moral code, or law?? We have CHRIST! We have God himself! Are we really going to say that God (living in the spirit) is not sufficient for everything? May it never be.
I''m sorry James, but it seems you have missed the entire point of what Farely is saying. I know these ideas are hard for people to take, and all kinds of defenses come raging up in our minds because centuries old theological ''norms'' are being rethought and corrected. And this should be a good thing, something we embrace, not attack and destroy. Ask God if it is God who is brininging these ideas to the fore through servants of his such as Farley. After all, if it is of God, it will last. If it is of Farely, it will eventually fade away.
-----1. Is the preacher a Calvinist ("complete, unconditional forgiveness")? That would be consistent. Is the preacher not? Then there must be a condition, at least once in time, where people do something to take part in saving themselves, that is exactly what Arminianism must affirm. Then, why be offended at people who feel like confession multiple times has something to do with cleansing, when the preacher believes that belief/repentance/perhaps-confession one time helps allow the blood of Christ to be applied to the converting sinner? The issue of God''s grace vs. man''s potential to boast is not the reason to be offended, it must be something else. ------ 2. Why are "forgiveness" and "cleansing" made equivalent? What is the preacher''s support for this equivalence? Is it not possible that forgiveness is one thing and cleansing another? To wit: we are forgiven once and for all, but the ridding of our sins (say, going from sinning every minute to sinning every other minute and so on) in intention, act, and external consequence is obviously not complete! Cleansing is removing all aspects of sin, so that at the end, we don''t sin any more, and in the middle of the process, we probably sin less than at the beginning! Is this not what is meant commonly by "sanctification"? ------ 3. "Do you know any true believers today who say they?ve never sinned?" The apostle John wasn''t necessarily talking about believers who "said they never sinned". "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8) is exactly how the preacher quotes it. Believers have a tendency of believing things explicitly and officially while acting otherwise. Perhaps you act as though you do not sin by removing the speck from your brother''s eye while ignoring the log in your own. Confession reminds you, as you cast about your mind for sins, that you really do have logs! Very practical for the process of not sinning as much or as badly any more. I agree with the preacher with all or at least the better part of my heart that ruminating over lists of sins is bad -- when fruitless -- particularly in that it distracts the believer from enjoying God and enjoying being God''s child and servant. However, if ruminating leads to godly sorrow, the kind that produces repentance, the more the merrier! Literally, merrier, both on earth and in heaven, because repentance makes you happier. ------ 4. Finally, the attitude of this sermon bothered me. It''s very much "us vs. them". I don''t know the circumstances in which it was originally preached, but if you were to use this sermon, or looking in your own similar sermon, consider that the people you are complaining about, saying that they are "no better than Catholics" (whatever that is supposed to imply), *aren''t there to defend themselves*. I think, odds are, they will never get a fair chance to present their views before your congregation, simply because most of your congregation takes your word for it and doesn''t care enough to investigate on their own, and because dissenters from your views probably don''t go to your church or have a chance to talk. So by your tone you are building up prejudices within the church of Christ, feeding division. Forgive me if I misunderstand, perhaps this sermon was and will be given immediately before or after a contrasting one by someone representing a different point of view. If I sound upset, it is not at the theology of this sermon, but my perception that it will be used to reinforce "us"ness by putting down and writing off "them"ness.
Farley herein confuses the ceremonial law, that is eliminated, and the moral law, that is NOT eliminated. Jesus stated that he did not come to do away with the law but to fulfill it. Farley is correct that the law does not save and it never did. The law was given as our paidagogia (child tutor) to show us that God is HOLY and we are not. The law demanded perfection - it still does demand perfection. This perfection can never be achieved and shows us that we need Jesus. Farely''s heresy here is a denial of Jesus'' active obedience - his life that fulfilled all the demands of the law. Jesus'' death is his passive obedience wherein Jesus is both the covenantal sacrifice and the priest (and prophet and king). Jesus fulfilled the law for us so that we, who are unable to fulfill it, can still be justified by His imputed righteousness.
If Farley is correct that the law is eliminated, then we do not need Jesus because we are not being judged by any standard other than that we have faith (as per Abraham). Abraham DID have a law - not as codified as in Moses - and his faith was in the future and coming Messiah who would keep and fulfill the law perfectly.
Suggested reading: Herman Bavinck''s 4 volume set, Reformed Dogmatics. Note volume 3 that answers the heresy that Farley reintroduces here.