Marc wrote:

<<Most certainly an unbeliever can outwardly profess belief in the true gospel, explain the specifics of the true gospel, can tell himself and others that he believes the true gospel, and can even say that all who do not believe the true gospel are lost, and STILL be unregenerate! I think of Philippians 1:16 where Paul says that there are some who proclaim the TRUE GOSPEL out of pretence and not out of sincerity; these people are obviously unsaved, yet they preach the true gospel -- thus, they know enough of it to preach it. I think of Bill Parker as a contemporary example. He certainlycan articulate the true gospel and even says that all Arminians and tolerant Calvinists are lost, yet he doesn't live what he preaches.>>

Samuel wrote:

<<please give me more insight in this matter,I put before you this two quotes,how both can be use to discern the true saved person from unsaved?judge by confession of gospel plus life or only confession of gospel?I am not denying to live,pursue the holy life, the work of Holy Spirit,sanctified life of a believer! I hope you will get what I am asking!>>


Dear Samuel,

Great question!

Let's first go to the issue of Bill Parker, since this is what prompted your response. Bill Parker articulates the true gospel and even says that all Arminians and tolerant Calvinists are lost. Yet he speaks peace to people who deny the gospel! We know he speaks peace to Mark McCulley and to Henry Mahan. So even though he says the right things, his peace-speaking shows that he is unregenerate. So he claims to believe the true gospel, yet he is a hypocrite. This shows that he does not truly believe the true gospel. So we still judge Bill Parker to be lost based on the gospel.

Let's now go to the issue of a person who claims to believe the true gospel but who is an immoral person. I'll use the extreme example of a homosexual. Suppose a person answers all my questions correctly yet is a homosexual. Would you say he is saved? Of course not. Although he professes to believe the true gospel, his lifestyle shows that he does not believe the true gospel. This is what the Confession means when it says, "Some people may show by their lawless way of life that they do not believe the gospel."

Now let's go to the issue of a person to whom we have never spoken who is an immoral person. Again, I'll use the extreme example of a homosexual. Do I need to personally go to that person to see what gospel he confesses before I judge him lost? No. The fact that he is a homosexual is enough to judge him lost. Again, "Some people may show by their lawless way of life that they do not believe the gospel." This is a "short-cut," if you will, to judge that some people do not believe the gospel.

Notice in the last two paragraphs that I am still judging ultimately by the gospel -- the person's immoral lifestyle shows me that he does not believe the gospel. We must make judgments as to whether or not a person believes the gospel. When I see a homosexual, I make a judgment that he does not believe the gospel.

Now let's go to #4. We've already seen the first part of it. Let's look at it in its entirety:

"Some people may show by their lawless way of life that they do not believe the gospel, but no one can demonstrate by his law-keeping that he believes the gospel; for there are many whose lives appear to conform to the law of God who are yet unregenerate. Therefore, let no man be judged by his reputation, good works, sufferings, appearance, or any other standard but the gospel."

The first part shows that a lawless way of life is an indication of not believing the gospel. Thus, all immoral people are unregenerate. Yet the second part shows that, just because someone is a moral person, this does not necessarily mean that he is regenerate. Thus, not all moral people are regenerate. This is what the second part talks about. It is talking about judging moral people by their reputation, good works, sufferings, appearance, etc. We cannot judge a person to be a Christian just because he is moral. We need to find out what gospel he believes. In contrast with the homosexual (where we do not need to know what he confesses), in the case of the moral person, we do need to know what he confesses in order to make a judgment. Do you see the difference?

#5 states that those who refuse to judge by what this moral person confesses but instead judge by that person's outward appearance/morality or by a false gospel, show themselves to be unregenerate.

We are still judging by the standard of the gospel in all cases. But in certain cases, we need to know what the person confesses, while in other cases, we can tell by the person's lifestyle.

Here's something that I hope will simplify it:

All Christians are moral.

Not all who are moral are Christians.

All immoral people are not Christians.

Thus, since all Christians believe the gospel:

All who believe the gospel are moral.

Not all who are moral believe the gospel.

All immoral people do not believe the gospel.

So, when it comes to making judgments:

Among those who are moral, we need to know what gospel they believe by finding out what gospel they confess.

Among immoral people, we already know that they believe a false gospel.

And in the case of people like Bill Parker, we sometimes find out that those who are moral and profess to believe the true gospel can be hypocrites, speaking peace when there is no peace, contrary to what they profess.

I hope this makes things clear for you. Please feel free to ask more questions if you need to.

In Christ,

Marc


Home

E-mails, Forums, and Letters