Showing posts with label Apologetics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apologetics. Show all posts

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mourning the Loss of a Friend and Brother In Christ

Posted by Christine Pack

I am mourning the loss of a friend and comrade in arms, Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries. Ken was the pastor of Connecticut River Baptist Church, but he was more widely known as the creator of the Apprising Ministries website, a site devoted to exposing false teachings in today's church. Apprising was one of the first websites I found that was devoted to discernment and theological issues, a site which helped me begin to make sense of what I was seeing in the church.  My husband and I were both saved as adults in a seeker sensitive church (though we didn't know it was seeker sensitive at the time), a church that began to drift into emergent theology (i.e., yoga classes and mysticism), all of which was very confusing and upsetting for me especially: as a former mystic and New Ager, I KNEW that yoga and mysticism weren't biblical, and I couldn't comprehend why Christians were doing these things.  Ken's articles helped me understand why I was seeing these changes in the church. And so his site became an oasis for me.

At one point, I gathered the courage to email Ken with a question about one of his articles. It took courage, you see, because Ken's articles could be pretty tough and hard-hitting. But when I received Ken's response, I was immediately struck by how kind he was. From that point forward, I knew he was a safe haven for me to go to and ask questions, which I began to with regularity. Even though Ken's articles were hard hitting, there was one thing that you could count on with Ken: you knew his articles would be accurate and meticulously researched. He knew his stuff. And above all, he sought to exalt God and the truth of God's word.

One thing that people don't know about Ken just from reading his articles was how kind and selfless he was. Behind the scenes, he really had a shepherd's heart. I've lost count of the Christians who, upon hearing of Ken's death, have come forward and shared how Ken personally took time to talk with them via email or phone or Skype about this or that issue they were struggling with. Teaching fellow Christians how to rightly divide God's word, and rightly apply discernment, was extremely important to Ken, and not because he viewed discernment as an end in and of itself, but because he wanted more than anything to exalt Christ, and he wanted to see other Christians maturing spiritually and becoming more steady in their walks, and not be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.

Some of Ken's theological opponents have commented on the fact that Ken did not have a prominent media presence, other than the Apprising Ministries website. This was true. Ken did not seek prominence and media exposure for himself. The simple fact is that Ken didn't choose to make himself prominent because he wanted to make Christ prominent. Ken did make his contact information available, and for those who wanted to connect to Ken, he was freely available. All of the behind the scenes discipling he did was done "off the radar." As I said earlier, he had personally helped me, and I knew of a few others who had reached out to him for counsel. But I never knew the sheer scope of how many he had helped, until his death, and Christians began coming forward and sharing how he had helped them personally, patiently and quietly, sometimes spanning months and even years, and none of this in a way that was for public consumption. A true mark of a shepherd.

Ken helped me get my start in writing, and for that, I owe him a great debt. He pushed me to be buttoned up in my research, to document everything, and he often, as noted above, would very patiently work through complex issues with me.

Ken had a silly sense of humor. And nicknames, Ken had many nicknames! Being a former high school coach, one obvious nickname for him, and the one I addressed him by most, was “Coach.” It was a good nickname for him, because, like a good coach, he got the best out of those he was teaching. He was honest, patient, kind, committed, loyal and he also wasn't afraid to correct or rebuke if necessary, which he did with great kindness, as a good coach should. A few of Ken's other nicknames were Ninja Ken, Big K and UltraKen.  That last nickname, “UltraKen,” came about when a bunch of emergents, often the target of some of Ken's toughest articles, wrote up their own snarky article about a fictional discernment blogger named "UltraKen" that contained a grainy Japanese video of their nemesis UltraKen, a mysterious Super Hero who somehow cloned himself into an army and battled emergent and other theological foes, all while wearing silver tights and showing off some impressive dance moves. The nickname stuck. Occasionally after that, when Ken would cover an issue that he suspected might be a contentious one, he would joke that he was about to "go all Ultra" or "unleash his Ultra." I once earned from Ken the title "Ultra Sister" over an article I had written, something I considered a high honor.

Ken had been having significant health issues for several years. He always seemed to rally, and I guess I thought he always would, but this time he didn't. But at the same time, like all true believers, Ken knew that this world was not his home, and he looked forward to the day when he would see his Savior face to face. Thankfully, Ken's suffering has now ceased. And I also know that Ken was ushered into the presence of his Lord and Savior, undoubtedly with the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:23) ringing in his ears. Someday I will see Ken again, and when that day comes, there will be no more battles for truth: no more hostile attacks from without, and no more “friendly fire” from within. All will be known, and there will be perfect reconciliation and peace among all of us who are in glory together, as we worship our Savior. In the words of the old gospel hymn, “what a day of rejoicing that will be.”

Taps is usually reserved for military funerals, and even though Ken was not in the military, in my mind, he was a true warrior. He fought the good fight, and he sought to uphold the truth of God's word all the time that I knew him. He was my friend, and I will miss him greatly. See you one day in glory, Coach.
"When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?'" (1 Cor 15:54-55)
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.'" (Rev 21:3-4)

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Lordship Salvation Controversy

By Justin Edwards, airō blog, reprinted with permission

Lordship salvation continues to be a controversial topic in evangelicalism.  The battleground tends to take place mostly, it seems, in dispensational circles where easy-believism or “free grace” theology has firmly taken root.  Opponents range from those who believe the “sole requirement” for salvation is an intellectual assent to the facts about Jesus and His death, burial, and resurrection to those who might consider themselves to be in the middle between the “extreme” of lordship salvation and the extreme of easy-believism.  Such is the case for Caryl Matrisciana of Caryl Productions, a “middle ground” proponent who hates lordship salvation and hates the doctrines of grace, otherwise known as Calvinism.

In Caryl’s newsletter for September 11, 2011 titled Repentance and Lordship Salvation, Brenda Nickel exemplifies this “middle ground” camp with its strawmen of Calvinism and lordship salvation and its common inconsistencies, gross misconceptions, misrepresentations, and, quite frankly, ignorance.  As Nickel’s article is such a mess of absurdity, I’d like to stick to a few brief points about her words regarding lordship salvation before I issue you, the reader, a challenge.  She writes:
"While it is true that real faith fully turns to God and yearns to please Him by obeying, no one can make promises of obedience in exchange for salvation…"
Ms. Nickel, your statement above provides evidence you believe in lordship salvation because you have just agreed with proponents of lordship salvation, who teach nothing more or less than what you have stated.  The second part of your statement is irrelevant to reality – obedience is merely the necessary fruit of saving, repentant faith.

Nickel continues:
"According to the Bible, which Mark Cahill [insert - please see Mark Cahill - Sad and Shocking News] takes his teachings from, repentance is surrender to God and turning from sin1, “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost..… and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess 1:6,9). Repentance is a forsaking of sin to present the body, soul and spirit as a living sacrifice to Christ for the furtherance of His kingdom2 (Ro 12:1)…Fully surrendering to God and turning away from sin doesn’t guarantee a person won’t sin, but reveals a deep desire not to sin and to be united with the Lord (2 Cor 5:9)…"
Fully surrender? Forsaking sin? Turning away from idols to serve God? Ms. Nickel, you believe in lordship salvation.

Lastly, Ms. Nickel points out:
"Repentance is a full turning to God by faith that is willing to turn from sin, albeit imperfectly. Lordship salvation insinuates a person can’t know they’re saved until they provide a lifetime of proof through obedience."
Fully turning from sin to God, Ms. Nickel?  Here in these two sentences you show you believe in lordship salvation yet also show your ignorance of it.  I know full well that I am saved by the grace of God and I’d like to explain to you and every reader how this is the case, despite your gross misrepresentation of lordship salvation.

A few months ago I embarked on a short journey to refute many of Brenda Nickel’s familiar arguments against lordship salvation in a series titled, What Is Wrong with NON-Lordship Salvation?  As many of you follow the Bible Prophecy Blog, you may recognize the title as it was a rebuttal to Dr. Andy Woods’ article titled, What Is Wrong with Lordship Salvation?  Over the next week I will be posting each article here on the Christian Research Network as an effort to reach out to the many readers who have been caught in the crossfire of this controversy.  I am aware of much of your confusion as you may have submitted to supposed teachers who claim to own the market on truth from the “middle ground” island they have constructed in their minds.  I was once a part of this island until God showed me through His Word there is no middle ground, so I understand where you are.

The challenge is this:  let’s go through these issues in a calm, rational manner examining what the Lord Jesus Christ has revealed through the Word of God.  Perhaps you have not been able to ask questions in the environment in which you fellowship because of the extreme bias and hatred toward Calvinism and lordship salvation.  Perhaps you are only directed to other biased sources and have no opportunity to discuss material from proponents of lordship salvation due to risk of excommunication.

Whether you are opposed to lordship salvation, are confused on the matter, or quietly embrace it and desire to learn more about it, I invite you to a study and discussion in an open forum.  As each article is linked from CRN, just head over to airō to post your comments under the appropriate article.  Just be sure to leave the strawmen at the door (if you own any) and bring your Bible.  This is a time to learn, study, and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, doing so in humility and love for the brethren.

Here is the first article by way of introduction:  What Is Wrong with NON-Lordship Salvation – Part 1.
"These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." (Acts 17:11)