Saturday, December 01, 2007

Heaven, it's easy!

johnMark



Family Christian is selling this little number for $9.99. Isn't that great? I really hesitated to include the link, but I did least someone think I made this up. The marketing of Christianity is unbelievable today.

I told my wife and she was disgusted. She wondered how someone could say this and added that dying to self isn't easy. I agree with her, of course. I don't really even know what "Heaven is easy" actually means, but I do think it's the wrong message to send in such a simplistic manner.

How easy was Christ's death on the cross? Not very from what I can tell. And the cost was that God Himself died for sinners so it wasn't only not easy but not cheap. And to be a follower of Jesus will cost you your life, it's not easy.

Mark

20 comments:

Machaira said...

The add for this "button" reads:

Push this button and remember that "Heaven...it's easy"

It's too bad Jesus didn't have one of these gadgets when his torn and mangled body was hanging on the cross.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

And yet another example of Evangelicalism's crass imitation of American pop culture. Never mind the really bad theology constantly in evidence. Can anyone say "distasteful?"

L P Cruz said...

Makes the faith trite and trivial, but they are exporting this teaching in 3rd world countries too.

LPC

Carla Rolfe said...

I'm not sure how long I sat here and looked at this useless, pointless, trivial piece of plastic, wondering exactly what the purpose for such a ridiculous thing is, and worse, who in their right mind would buy such a thing.

If anything, it reminds me (as a designer and seller of Christian themed merchandise) why we as Christian artists/designers have the bad reputation we do, and to keep our standards well out of THIS particular category of useless Jesus-Junk.

James Swan said...

JM, It looks like the perfect Christmas gift to send to Frank Turk, but then again, he's probably selling them himself.

EgoMakarios said...

"I told my wife and she was disgusted. She wondered how someone could say this and added that dying to self isn't easy. I agree with her, of course."

Wait...hold up. Am I hearing this right? You beleive that God does absolutely 100% everything for you and that your actions are predetermined, yet you disagree with the phrase "Heaven...It's Easy"? Are you snorting crack? What could be easier than doing nothing? In saying that "dying to self isn't easy" you are admitting that man DOES have to DO something!!! Hallelujah! Praise Jehovah! Even the most depraved Calvinist deep down realizes that man does have something to do! Let the pigs go on and fly, because now I've seen it all!

Machaira said...

Even the most depraved Calvinist deep down realizes that man does have something to do! Let the pigs go on and fly, because now I've seen it all

Ego . . . may I call you Ego? It just seems so appropriate. In any case, once again, you're demonstrating your ignorance and/or building a strawman.

The Reformed make a clear distinction between justification and sanctification. I'll leave it for you to go learn what that means. Here's a hint: "Westminster Confession" for example.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

My Friends,

I would make a humble attempt to clear things up by elaborating a bit on what I find offensive in this advertisement.

First, the phrase "Heaven...it's Easy!" trivializes, in my view, the horrendous suffering of our Lord Christ as He, in obedience to His heavenly Father, "did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself..."

Second, the Christian life is not easy. The older I get, the more tempted I am to compromise spiritual principles and the gospel for the sake of comfort. Never mind that most of us (here in America) have no idea what real persecution is.

Third, the person who takes for granted his own salvation by not, in his heart, heeding the call of Christ to obedience and practicing those good works which were "prepared beforehand that we should walk in them," has no evidentiary basis for his hope in heaven in the life to come.

Machaira rightly points out the distinction between justification and sanctification in this regard. If we think we are saved but there is no fruit, then we are above all men most to be pitied.

Heaven? Easy? No true Calvinist/Reformed believer would characterise such important and fundamental spiritual truths in this way.

Blessings,

Pilgrimsarbour

L P Cruz said...

actually that advert "Heaven ...its easy", really is implying you can get to heaven by doing something...

I imagine that what it meant was that "all you have to DO IS believe in Jesus".

This means believing is something they CAN DO. And EgoMakarios believes that too. He believes he and others CAN believe anytime they want to.

LPC

EgoMakarios said...

"The Reformed make a clear distinction between justification and sanctification." (Machaira)

You think you sound really smart saying that, I'm sure, Machaira. However, the pin says "Heaven...it's Easy" not "Justification...it's Easy" so the distinction between justification and sanctification (if it is genuine) is irrelevant here. It remains quite ironic for people who say God does 100% everything for you and you don't do anything for your salvation to say that "Heaven...it's Easy" is an offensive statement.

EgoMakarios said...

"Second, the Christian life is not easy. The older I get, the more tempted I am to compromise spiritual principles and the gospel for the sake of comfort. Never mind that most of us (here in America) have no idea what real persecution is." (Pilgrimsarbour)

You don't beleive in your precious P from your putrid TULIP? What if you do fall to temptation? That's no big deal according to your false system, since it says that you are predestined to salvation and will end up coming back and finally make it in the end! In that you find this button so offensive, you show ironically that Calvinists know Calvinism is a lie. You show that you realize your actions are not really predetermined, and that in reality to be saved you must yourself persevere, and that God is not going to preserve you all of himself with no effort from you.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Egomakarios said...

What if you do fall to temptation? That's no big deal according to your false system, since it says that you are predestined to salvation and will end up coming back and finally make it in the end!

Sin is always a big deal. You would find that to be true amongst Reformed believers moreso than within Evangelicalism in general, in my opinion. Evangelicalism tends to swing toward legalism on the one hand, and antinomianism on the other. Only in Reformed theology (speaking within Protestantism in general) can the proper balance be found and maintained, in my opinion. If I use the occasion of God's promises to think that I am free to sin, then I do not have God's promises at all, and I am most condemned.

The fact that God preserves the sinner to the end does not mean that we as human believers are sinless. Sin is as much an offence to God when we are believers as it is when we were unbelievers. Only now we have an advocate. And if we love our Lord Christ, and are true believers, our sins will grieve us, apart from whatever assurance of salvation we may have. Personal sins bother Reformed people. We are commanded to confess our faults one to another, and to confess to the Father and pray that He would forgive us and grant us repentance unto newness of life.

In addition, our sins interfere with our assurance of God's preservation of us because our minds are frail. Our assurance is a matter of faith, and every believer has to deal with doubts at some time or times in his life. Sins not only grieve the Spirit, they grieve us and fill us with the torment of many doubts: "How can I be saved and act this way?"

The answer is this: I thank God daily for His Word. While I may fail constantly, I know His Word is truth and will never fail, no matter how I feel and no matter what my circumstances.

I hope this helps you to understand Reformed Theology a bit better.

Blessings,

Pilgrimsarbour

EgoMakarios said...

In other words, you realize that living right is necessary to salvation, and that you can't just go on a killing spree murdering everyone you see and be saved. You do have to repent and obey 'thou shalt not kill' to be saved, and thus you admit. Your Calvinism has evaporated for a brief moment as you admit that YOU have something to do with your own salvation.

Machaira said...

Your Calvinism has evaporated for a brief moment as you admit that YOU have something to do with your own salvation.

Ego,

You remind me of a child with his fingers in his ears singing, "La la la la I can't hear you!"

"Calvinism" has never taught "easy believism" and the reason you missed my last point to you is because you really do not understand Reformed theology. Under the doctrine of "sanctification" Calvinism has always taught that good works are the necessary consequence and fruit of faith. Since you refuse to do your homework, I'll do it for you. Read very carefully.

Westminster Confession

Of Sanctification


I. They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them: the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified; and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

II. This sanctification is throughout, in the whole man; yet imperfect in this life, there abiding still some remnants of corruption in every part; whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.

III. In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may much prevail; yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome; and so, the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Belgic Confession

Man's Sanctification & Good Works


We believe that this true faith, being wrought in man by the hearing of the Word of God and the operation of the Holy Spirit, sanctifies [1] him and makes him a new man, causing him to live a new life, and freeing him from the bondage of sin. Therefore it is so far from being true that this justifying faith makes men remiss in a pious and holy life, that on the contrary without it they would never do anything out of love to God, but only out of self-love or fear of damnation. Therefore it is impossible that this holy faith can be unfruitful in man; for we do not speak of a vain faith, but of such a faith which is called in Scripture a faith working through love, which excites man to the practice of those works which God has commanded in His Word.

These works, as they proceed from the good root of faith, are good and acceptable in the sight of God, forasmuch as they are all sanctified by His grace. Nevertheless they are of no account towards our justification, for it is by faith in Christ that we are justified, even before we do good works; otherwise they could not be good works, any more than the fruit of a tree can be good before the tree itself is good.

Therefore we do good works, but not to merit by them (for what can we merit?); nay, we are indebted to God for the good works we do, and not He to us, since it is He who worketh in us both to will and to work, for his good pleasure. Let us therefore attend to what is written: When ye shall have done all the things that are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which it was our duty to do. In the meantime we do not deny that God rewards good works, but it is through His grace that He crowns His gifts.

Moreover, though we do good works, we do not found our salvation upon them; for we can do no work but what is polluted by our flesh, and also punishable; and although we could perform such works, still the remembrance of one sin is sufficient to make God reject them. Thus, then, we would always be in doubt, tossed to and fro without any certainty, and our poor consciences would be continually vexed if they relied not on the merits of the suffering and death of our Savior.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

EgoMakarios said...

In other words, you realize that living right is necessary to salvation, and that you can't just go on a killing spree murdering everyone you see and be saved. You do have to repent and obey 'thou shalt not kill' to be saved, and thus you admit. Your Calvinism has evaporated for a brief moment as you admit that YOU have something to do with your own salvation.

"Living right," as you put it, is the necessary evidence that we have been born from above. If we persistently live our lives in such a way as to disdain our Lord Christ and His commandments, we have no basis for the hope that we will be with Him in eternity. If we love Him, it is because He loved us first. If we love Him, we will keep His commandments.

"Living right," however, does not merit salvation. There is no inconsistency in the gospel on this point. Reformed Theology has never advocated "sinning the more that grace may abound." This attitude, doubtless, may be found in certain individuals. In fact, I could name some "celebrities" (not of a Reformed persuasion) who evidence the false understanding that their bad behaviour is irrelevant to their salvation. They really do not understand the relationship between the law and the gospel because of their haphazard Evangelical upbringing.

Your comments indicate a poor understanding of "Calvinism" and Reformed Theology in general. I think that if you take some time to research what Reformed people actually believe, we could have a more productive and meaningful discussion. As it is, you have many misconceptions which are hampering your understanding.

I would suggest, as a starting point, a good overview of Reformed Theology for the layman by R.C. Sproul entitled Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology. Another couple of good books on the issue of the place of faith and works in salvation is John MacArthur's The Gospel According to Jesus and Faith Works: The Gospel According to the Apostles.

May God bless you as you continue to serve Him by trying to better understand the gospel and His Word.

Blessings,

Pilgrimsarbour

EgoMakarios said...

"Living right," as you put it, is the necessary evidence that we have been born from above. If we persistently live our lives in such a way as to disdain our Lord Christ and His commandments, we have no basis for the hope that we will be with Him in eternity.

Which is a veiled admission that you must continually repent and seek to obey as best you can to be saved and that God doesn't zap you with a magic want saying "I've done it all,now just sit on your easy chair and believe."

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Oh well. I think I'll end my participation in this discussion at this point lest I find myself guilty of Matthew 7:6. I recognise that I may be too late.

Machaira said...

. . . God doesn't zap you with a magic want saying "I've done it all,now just sit on your easy chair and believe."

Calvinism has never taught this either. Unplug your ears and read the quotes I provided in my last post. Otherwise, I'll have to follow Pilgrimarbour's example and make this my final response in this thread.

EgoMakarios said...

"Calvinism has never taught this either." (Machaira the Manichee)

Quit lying. You Manicheans believe in monergism, that you do nothing and God does everything. So, "Heaven...it's Easy" is your slogan, even though you are putting on this big front of denial.

Machaira said...

You Manicheans believe in monergism. . .

Regeneration and justification are monergistic. The progressive aspect of sanctification is synergistic. Again, read the 500 + year old reformed cofession quotes I provided.