3/3/2014 4:43:00 PM Don't be led through false gate
Rev. Stephen Brown, Rice Lake
In the book "Pilgrim's Progress" the main character, Christian, became aware of sin in his life by reading the Holy Bible. The sin becomes a heavy weight on his back that he can't get rid of. His sin causes him great distress and fear and guilt, as he learns about God's great wrath and judgment that will be out poured on lost sinners. In desperation he tries to find a way to get rid of his sin. He meets Evangelist, who directs him to a path that leads to a narrow gate he must enter to find the cross of Jesus Christ. At the cross he will find forgiveness and salvation from sin. Christian obeys and finds the Narrow Gate, overcoming obstacles and bows at the foot of the cross. Christian cries out to the Lord and the burden of sin falls off and he find peace and salvation. The allegory illustrates Jesus teaching in Luke 13, and Matthew 7 to sinners to strive to enter the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many enter, but narrow is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life and few there be that find it. In order to be saved a sinner must find this narrow gate. Today many false preachers and the modern churches are pretending to have the narrow gate when they don't. They teach people that baby baptism or confirmation is the gate, or coming to an altar and saying the sinner's prayer is the gate, or adult baptism is the gate, or gurus like Joel Osteen teach the gate is found through positive self help formulas that cause salvation. Many churches teach through church membership and trusting church doctrine one will find the gate, or living a good religious life is the gate. All these so-called gates to salvation created by false prophets and the modern church are false. Only Jesus Christ has the knowledge and power to show us sinners the narrow gate. In fact he is the gate. In order to find this narrow gate you must seek to find the Lord Jesus through repentance and faith. As you seek Him for salvation He will help you find the gate and give you salvation and the new birth.
Posted: Saturday, March 8, 2014
Article comment by:
Randall R. Kniess
To the editor: you have my permission to print this in response to Rev. Stephen Brown. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I call this the 50/50 doctrine. Half of what is said is truth, half is not. You are absolutely right when you state, "Only Jesus Christ has the knowledge and power to show us sinners the narrow gate. In fact he is the gate." Where I disagree with your letter is with the tactic of attacking what you feel is false teaching. Do I agree with some of your conclusions? Yes. Do I agree with your generalizations of other denominations and their beliefs? No. Your attack on what others believe will not draw them to Jesus. I see no example of Christ doing this as He went about healing the sick or as He taught people. He did confront those of His Jewish faith for demanding strict compliance to the law of Moses, and yet who themselves were violating the tenets of what God desired of them. Do I doubt your salvation? No. But I do have my doubts on your success as a pastor. I see much in the way of personal opinion and criticism against others. If I go fishing, the object is to put fish in my creel. So if am to catch the fish, do I use bait that attracts fish, or do I troll the lake and drag that creel behind hoping I catch fish? I think the answer is obvious. I guess you could dynamite your favorite fishing hole, but what would that produce? A few dead fish, a lot of dead minnows, and a favorite fishing hole ruined. The Holy Spirit moves much like the wind. If He encounters a resistance, He will often just move around it, rather than being a bull in the china shop. In 1 Kings 19 God taught Elijah a lesson and that lesson was shared with us. God’s Revelation to Elijah "11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire and after the fire a still small voice." You sir, seem to think that your message is the ravaging wind, the shaking earthquake, or the fire that burns. All were destructive examples of nature, but not God's nature. He was found in the still small voice, that is how the Holy Spirit works. That is why so many small independent churches never grow and seem to have strong willed pastors who seem to live by the motto, "Us four and no more!" Then they beg for money, never grow as a body, and often claim to have been persecuted. As for your assertions against Joel Olsteen, I simply went to the Lakewood Church website to check out your accusations of him being "gurus like Joel Osteen teach the gate is found through positive self help formulas that cause salvation." Really sir? A man with a masters degree failing to do his homework? Did that degree come from a matchbook cover or was it from Cracker Jacks box? This is what I found in less than a minute. We Believe The Bible: We believe the entire Bible is inspired by God, without error and the authority on which we base our faith, conduct and doctrine.
The Trinity: We believe in one God who exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came to this earth as Savior of the world.
Salvation: We believe Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for our sins. We believe that salvation is found by placing our faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross. We believe Jesus rose from the dead and is coming again.
Water Baptism: We believe water baptism is a symbol of the cleansing power of the blood of Christ and a testimony to our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Communion: We believe in the regular taking of Communion as an act of remembering what the Lord Jesus did for us on the cross.
Growing Relationship: We believe every believer should be in a growing relationship with Jesus by obeying God's Word, yielding to the Holy Spirit and by being conformed to the image of Christ.
Now as Pilate said of Jesus, "I find no fault in Him." I hope you do the same. But I tend to believe that your arrogance and not a humble acknowledgement of being wrong will tempt you to follow the path of Pilate and then crucify those who you disagree with. Rather than take the path that Christ took when He stated, "Father forgive them, they know not what they do." I wonder if Christ will say to Joel Osteen pastor of the largest Protestant Church in America, over 47,000 attendees, "Well done my good and faithful servant." Or say that to a struggling, self aggrandizing, and failing pastor who has a record of dragging his creel, rather than baiting his hooks?