Contend Earnestly: Responding to Admonishment

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Responding to Admonishment

Coming to the end of the refutation of Dr. Goetsch has really got me thinking. I have emailed Dr. Goetsch multiple times and I know, because of site meter, that he has visited the site, but has yet to respond. Honestly, I don’t know how I would respond if I were to receive emails, and the such, about something I wrote. But, it got me thinking, how should we respond to admonition?

I know that when I was younger I could tell you how I would respond: who are they to admonish me? But, this is far from how we should look to those who bring godly correction in our lives. We should thank God that He loves us so much that He would give us fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ that care enough about our sanctification to come to us, hopefully in love, to admonish us.

I have been corrected and admonished many times and my reactions to those have been all over the board. It wasn’t until recently, after I received a pretty public scorning by another, that I really learned what it means to correctly handle admonishment. I will say that the time that I just mentioned was not proper admonishment but was just a downright “angry correction” and should have been done in a more proper way. But, regardless, it made me sit down and really go through a process of understanding what this gentleman said, regardless of how he said it. So, here are the steps that I think should be taken by us after we are admonished.

First: Listen

Our first inclination as humans is to not listen when people are trying to correct us. Our first inclination is to think of a way of defending ourselves. James 1:19 tells us to be quick to hear and slow to speak and slow to anger. Sometimes when we don’t listen and are quick to speak, we see the natural outflow: anger. This is why James ties this into this verse in James 1:19. When someone approaches you in admonishment, listen fully to what they have to say so that you will know exactly where they believe you have sinned. I know we don’t know the full story of Paul opposing Peter (Galatians 2:14) but it seems as though Paul did all the talking and Peter listened. When we listen and take in the admonishment it will give us time to really think on the issue at hand instead of taking issue with the person bringing the admonishment.

Second, Pray over God’s word

After you have received the admonishment this is where the true work starts. We must take the “accusation” to the Lord in prayer over His word of truth. We must diligently seek God’s truth in understanding whether or not the accusation is truly a godsend. John 16:13 speaks of the Spirit of truth coming to guide us into all truth. I know this seems to be speaking of doctrine and specifically to the apostles, but this can also apply to us understanding our sin. Understanding our sin IS doctrine. Because everything opposite sin, is good, everything good, is from God (James 1:17). As you pray, ask God if the accusation is truly sin. Ask God to reveal to your heart on this matter and thank Him for the brother or sister that was sent to you about this issue. Because whether or not this truly was a sin, God has just shown you another who cares for you and one that you can grow closer to.

Thirdly, Repentance or Explanation

If you have sinned you must ask for God’s forgiveness. Notice that David, after sleeping with Bathsheba and killing Uriah, prays to God for forgiveness.

Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned, And done what is
evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge.
Psalm 51:1-4

Notice that David says that he has only sinned against God. God is holy and His judgments are perfect and when we sin, we sin against our perfect Creator, who is grieved (Eph 4:30) when His children fall into sin. We must repent and draw close to our God in these times. Not only must we repent to our Almighty but we must go to the person who admonished us. Matthew 18 shows that when that person has come to us about our sin that when they know of our repentance they “drop the matter” at hand. So we must go to them and acknowledge our sin. I would also offer that we must thank this brother or sister for following 1 Thess 5 command and also Matthew 18 on admonishment. By them doing this they are showing their fear before the Lord more than the fear of our reaction, for that they must be commended.

If you come through prayer and meditation and find no fault you need to address this with the admonisher. You must go to them to explain biblically why you feel that your action was not sin. No matter how they came to you, whether biblically or not, you must return the favor biblically and do so with meekness. Thank them and allow them to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Fourthly, pray again

Afterwards, go again in private, or even better with the admonisher, and pray to El Shaddai for unity to be restored. No matter if you have sinned or decided that it was not sin, we must pray for unity. Peter showed the human heart by asking the Christ, “How many times must I forgive my brother?” Almost showing that we as humans will fall impatient with those around us. The devil wants to use this “confrontation” for the glory of his will and the tearing down of the saints. As Satan roams around looking for someone to devour, no doubt he will try and use these times for his cause, we must not allow this. Jesus Christ in the great High Priestly Prayer, prayed for our unity.

The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.
John 17:22,23

You see the admonishment should bring about God’s glory and the unification of the saints, not the opposite. Admonishment is a good thing, it is a godly attribute of those who are truly saved.

I have always said to those closest to me and to those whom I preach to: Show me where I fault biblically, spiritually or physically and I will change immediately. This is not some haughty request of me believing that I am correct in all aspects, but is a truly humble request to let all know that I am not above admonishment from ANY brother or sister in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I want to end by saying that through this refutation it was not my intent to ever “tear” down Dr. Goetsch or any part of his ministry. My intent was to show a brother his misconceptions of Calvinism. I hope that he will see the errors that he made in his article and pray that he will recant those mistakes. I also pray for our unity in the Spirit on this issue. We must unify, if the unity of the Trinity is not enough of an example let some of the saints like Whitefield and Wesley be our example on this matter. Two men who greatly opposed each other’s doctrine of grace but still ministered together for years and in the end loved each other because of the undying love of Christ.

I hope this refutation has been a help and not a hindrance towards our unity of the body. May we all better understand each other’s views of Scripture and come to the Lord in prayer over these issues.

May we all seek the kingdom and keep our eyes on Christ and His glory alone.

Soli Deo Gloria!


Anonymous said...

Let me first say that I am a fundamental baptist and I have met Dr. Goetsch. I would not say that I know him but have had the pleasure of listening to him preach on a few occasions...hands down the best preacher I have ever heard. You may not agree with what he has to say but I can guarantee anyone reading this that he knows more about the Bible than most of could learn in a hundred lifetimes. He literally has a message that is about 30 min long that is nothing but scripture quoted from memory and it flows like a story. Its amazing.

Calvinists never cease to amaze me. I have many friends who are calvinists and I attend a college where many teachers and students are calvinists. Its actually a pretty easy belief to argue against in my opinion. We know from scripture that God is not a respecter of persons (which would make election to salvation rather difficult) and we know that Jesus died for everyone, not just the elect. Read the Bible, its everywhere. Over and over, it says Jesus died of all, or for the whole world. I John 2 says that he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but also for the sins of the whole world. Whosover will, may come. Peter and Timothy both state that God was not willing that any should perish but that ALL should come to repentance. By the way...that verse in I Peter says that God's WILL is that none should perish (or go to hell) but that all should come to repentance.

It would take entirely too long for me to refute the entire doctrine of Calvinism in one post but I've done it before and I would do it again. And I'm sorry if some of you feel offended that Dr. Goetsch made it sound like Calvinism is a disease but it sure seems like it is. It certainly is no where in the Bible and I have never had anyone prove otherwise. I read through all the refutations on this site and just shook my head and some of unbiblical views taken by Calvinism. By the way, I am an independent fundamental baptist and I go to movies....even R rated movies. In fact I prolly hit one a week on average. I also listen to rock and roll that Tom Petty. Its true many of the fundamental baptist have gone off the deep end but believe me, there are many of us who feel we are pretty level headed. I have given Calvinism its fair shake. I talk about it with friends and with teachers where I attend college. Never has one of them come close to giving me one biblical shred of evidence that Calvinism is is seriously one of the most easily refutable doctrines I have ever come across but it has a hold on so many. But we dont hate you guys who are calvinists, not one bit. Just disagree on what the belief system. Peace

Josh said...

Hey Anonymous,

It is proper blog etiquette to use your name or at least a handle that is relevant. I do have a few comments for you and I have never met your good Dr.

You said, “hands down the best preacher I have ever heard.” Now that is great, but if you are assuming that great preaching and bible memorization equal doctrinal correctness, you are sadly mistaken.

Charismatic personalities make great salesmen, but unless the salesman is selling something that is truly needed, then you are happily buying junk because you liked the guy pitching it.

You said, “Its actually a pretty easy belief to argue against in my opinion. We know from scripture that God is not a respecter of persons (which would make election to salvation rather difficult) and we know that Jesus died for everyone, not just the elect.

You really do not understand Calvinism. I have been such for the last 15 years, and I can say with the most complete confidence that we do not believe that Jesus did not die for everyone. Furthermore, you totally misquote that idea that God is not a respecter of persons.

You said, “that verse in I Peter says that God's WILL is that none should perish (or go to hell) but that all should come to repentance.”

My response is why are you not a Universaists than a Christian? Do you see a monogism in Gods will? Do you not want something that you could control but you do not ?

You said, “It would take entirely too long for me to refute the entire doctrine of Calvinism in one post but I've done it before and I would do it again.”

Then please do it, I for one (in 15 years) have never seen it done, what a treat that would be. Do your Christian duty and enlighten the blind.


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