Friday, October 22, 2010

"Lest You Also Uproot the Tares": Matthew 13 and the Evidence-of-Genuineness Proposal (Eternal Security and Its Implications For A Theology of History, Pt. XV)

This post will be sort of a “separate addendum” to the Eternal Security series I’ve been doing here at the blog. I thought the subject to be of such importance that I just had to make it the focus of an entire blog post.
In my last post, I addressed the Evidence-of-Genuineness Proposal as self-defeating (self-refuting) because the test itself can’t be proven to be genuine. How can we know that those who remain in the faith and stay with the church are genuine? Matthew 7 has been used to say that a person can be a fake believer; but eternal securitists hit rock bottom when they realize that one can look genuine to them (look as if they are enduring the race of life) and be artificial as well. Apostasy (the act of falling away or departing from the faith) is not the only venue of so-called artificial believers. Paul and other writers of Scripture often had to address the churches regarding false teachers and deceivers within the walls of the church who were leading others astray (see 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus regarding in-house church issues).
Simply put, if those who stay within the church can be as fake as those who leave the church, then how can anyone know with certainty that any one person within the church is genuinely saved? No one can know with infallible certainty. In every guess, there is at least a two-percent chance of error. As a result, the test itself cannot stand up to what it claims (to know with certainty the true from the false believers).
In this post, I desire to add to my last post...and provide further scriptural evidence regarding my evaluation of the Evidence-of-Genuineness Proposal: Matthew’s words in chapter 13 of his Gospel. Let me provide background: the chapter itself involves the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. The Parable centers around a master who plants good seed in his field to grow up to bountiful crops; but when his servants come to check on the field, they find weeds (tares) growing up along with the crop. They ask the master to allow them to destroy the tares, but the master refuses to permit it:
“No, lest while you gather up the tares YOU ALSO UPROOT THE WHEAT WITH THEM” (Matthew 13:29, NKJV).
This verse outright rejects the Evidence-of-Genuineness Proposal! Why? Because it shows that Christ’s concern was for the uprooting of the wheat, NOT the uprooting of the tares.
Isn’t it funny how many sermons in churches focus more on the “tares” (i.e., the fake believer) than they do the “wheat” (the true believer)? Some weeks ago, I heard a sermon preached on Matthew 13 (this text we are investigating)...and the preacher spent more time on the fake Christian than he did the true believer: “if you’re playing with God, it’s time to accept Him as your Lord and can be in the church, going through the motions, and yet, God knows if you’re sincere or not.” This advice is a wake-up call to the unbeliever; but what does it do for the genuine believer who is struggling with and battling sin every day, trying to overcome sin and conform more and more to the image of God’s Son? It may sound good to the preacher, but how much does it edify and build up God’s people? What does it do for the majority in the church who are genuinely trying to please God with their lives and need an encouraging word about the Lord’s persevering grace? It does nothing for the genuine believer...but why? Because sermons are not focused on the believer. Why not? Because preachers have this conviction that all of their members are “eternally secure,” so they don’t worry about it!
What is the church supposed to do, if not “edify” the believer? And how can the genuine believer persevere in the faith and endure the trials and tribulations of life if all he or she hears about at church is “the fake and disingenuous believer”? Why is it that the flock of God come to church “hungry and thirsty for righteousness,” but leave empty?
Many churches today are concerning themselves with the exact opposite of what Jesus concerned Himself with in the Parable: while many Christians today focus on the fake believer, Jesus (in the Parable) focused on the true believer. Why? Because false disciples will always be around. False disciples will always (as long as time remains) enter the church, corrupt the church, and wreak havoc on the people of God. False disciples will remain false, until the Lord’s return...but it is the true disciples that Christ will return for. “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still. And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:11-14, NKJV).

No comments: