Doctrine


Over a hundred years ago I heard that Spurgeon said regarding the defense of Scripture, “You don’t defend a lion, you turn it loose!”

You don’t defend the doctrines of Scripture, passed down from God through angels and miracles and his Son, to men, you turn them loose.

The virgin birth is one of the clearest teachings in Scripture.  Listen to the words of God:
 

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

…In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy— the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:1-4,26-35

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
  “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Matthew 1:18-24

A few observations:

  • The angel of the Lord visited a virgin
  • Mary was assured she would conceive by the power of God
  • Joseph was not yet married to Mary
  • Joseph was ready to leave Mary because it appeared she was pregnant in the natural way.
  • Jesus, son of God, son of man, came to take away our sins!

You might have been expecting a posting on the noble Biblicist doctrine of Unconditional Election. Instead, I would like to take a look at another doctrine called unconditional love.
What brings me to mention this is that in my experience, the use of the word love has largely been misconstrued. What I see and hear, when mention is made of unconditional love, is more of something else, namely, unconditional acceptance. Unconditional love says that your love for a person is not motivated by their performance. Unconditional acceptance says that whatever you do, you must be embraced, greeted warmly, spoken well of, and anything short of that is not loving. Unconditional acceptance says that if someone reproves your behavior, exhorts you, or admonishes you, and that their doing so sits uncomfortably with you or is disagreeable to you, that they are not loving you and that they are judging you. In short, they are not obeying the words, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”
Now I oppose the doctrine of unconditional acceptance, but embrace that (or what I know of it) of unconditional love. Now, looking at Jesus, the one who loves, let me draw my examples. First, Jesus was not afraid to use abrasive language against the religious leaders and lawyers of his day. “You hypocrites…” He said also to send the message to the king, “You go and tell that fox…” John the Baptist warned some of those coming out to see him, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come.” Yet God tells us that no man born of a woman was greater than John the Baptist- certainly one like this would have love. Jesus certainly loved people, but one time when he was asked about blood being mingled with sacrifices, he bluntly stated, “Do you think those on whom the tower of Siloam fell were any worse offenders… No, but unless you repent, you will likewise perish.”
Why do I bring these verses and these points up. Part of love is NOT accepting everything that someone does. A friend who was rather cynical one night remarked to me seriously that he, “could just step out in front of a car, and if they hit [him], then [he] would go to heaven sooner.” I was told by one that he could be seeking “special” friends and a gay lifestyle, and could still worship God with a true (or was it pure?) heart and get to heaven. When, after numerous times, patience, examples from Scripture, he would not listen to Scripture, I told him I could not accept the lifestyle he was pursuing. He lamented that his other friends accepted it, and why couldn’t I. Later he accused me of not being a real friend. A girl once told me someone she knew could just kill themself and get to heaven faster. The words that come out of a person’s mouth reveal what is in their heart, and where the ship of their soul is sailing. The fruit of a person’s mouth is a pouring out of their soul- if it is good, it will be wholesome and pure; if it is bad, it will be corruption, rot, and filth.
So we get to love. Part of it is being honest- certain actions, desires, and followings are not an example of a heart that is seeking God. Certain behaviors, though present in the sinful flesh, are not to be tolerated in a regenerated person. A pastor or confessing follower of Jesus is not to be engaging in sex out of marriage, giving themselves to drunkness, stealing, or other forms of behavior. Christians should be cautious of those who confess to be Christians and are unrepentant in engaging in this lifestyle. To simply accept their actions and associate with them is weak, appeasing, and ultimately unloving. Warn them, show them, explain to them, love them, but if they will not listen, I would recommend not to associate with them.

I would like to come back to this and put in more Scripture references, flush out my thoughts more thoroughly, and accept my own reproof where words have been too harsh or inaccurate. If I knew now what was wrong I would changs it, but I end with the words of a hero of mine, “To confess that you were wrong yesterday is only to admit that you are wiser today.” -Charles Spurgeon

Learning to love,
Resolving to love,
Larry