Amen, Jim. Steps would be laying works for salvation. If Osteen has done this, he's adding to Christ's work. True conversion has no steps, only a broken heart made right with God at the moment of saving faith....and on that only.
Let faith do the work. True faith will reveal itself in a changed life and works of righteousness. Faith does not abolish the law, but fulfills it(Rom. 3:31). Many people today confuse faith with intellect and it's difficult to get them to believe truly on the Lord Jesus Christ instead of just believing in facts about him. They have self-righteousness but sooner or later (as happened to me this side of judgement thankfully) they will realize true depravity of intellect and what faith really is. Paul condemns self-righteousness while James show that true faith reveals itself in righteousness. I've read literature from those who like James', and they also have their own idea of works---hair length, dress code, etc. Where did that come from? Certainly not the Scriptures. It's man-made and it's a law by which such people attempt to justify or condemn themselves and others. Yet the Apostles testify "We maintain a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law." How much more so apart from man's laws and codes imposed on members. To know the freedom by faith. "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." Free to fulfill true righteousness by faith in the saving Gospel. "He shall save his people from their sins."
Abigail, It is to be admitted that antinomianism is polluting many. I am of the position that a saved person will obey the cleansing and prompting of the Holy Spirit and the admonition of scripture. True faith will show in works of righteousness and holiness and cruicifying the flesh as Paul says "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh." Do they crucify to get saved? No. They crucify because they are saved, because they are Christ's. Churches plagued by works-righteousness have it the wrong way...we crucify to get saved or become Christ's. That's a false gospel condemened without reservation by the Apostles "By grace are ye saved through faith..not of works...." but "unto good works." We are saved unto, not because. God also says "I will write my law on their hearts." This confounds the antinomians and those churches which have their own holiness codes.
You said 1 Cor. 12 - 14 was written for our instruction. Yep, I agree there. And when I read it, I am obliged to say the pentecostals severed themselves from correct doctrine about the manifestations and gifts of the Holy Ghost.
We have a more sure word of prophecy. The Holy Ghost has spoken to us by the prophets and the true church is "built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets," and on that I stand.
When one gets their understanding of faith and works straightened out, it all falls into place nicely, and namely this: We work because of faith not the other way around. The other way around will put the Gospel in the closet, needed on occasion or never.
Abigail, you are free to disagree, but I don't see the point, since I know of formalists and orthodox churches which do not oppose the Holy Ghost. Yes, one must have the Holy Ghost, but all too often you are associating manifestations with salvation. This cannot be. It isn't named among the Apostles. If so, faith isn't good enough and then the Gospel is hidden and diluted, leading people to think their place before God depends on this instead of faith. That's a very unstable foundation and many have started false gospels on this, leading people by heretical understandings of the Holy Ghost, putting works before faith instead of the other way around, inventing their own standards of holiness and righteousness and judging based on that. That's a man-made law without divine warrant.
Regarding this, I encourage you and all to read and discern: http://www.rickross.com/reference/upci/upci28.html
You stated "Great confusion has arisen because of the many churches in disagreement in doctrine and stating they are the only ones that are right."
But have you not claimed this for yourself? I feel you have. Many people claim conflicting messages and claim they are all following the Holy Ghost. Thus the supremacy of scripture over experience and ideas claimed to be divine.
Abigail, It's my conviction that the Apostle would not needed to have written what he did if the Corinthians had a clear understanding of the Holy Spirit's gifts and manifestations and that all was in order. He had to lay things in order by stating the gifts are given as He wills, "do all speak with tongues?", let your women be silent not to teach, etc.,let one speak then interpret and at the most that is three and if there is no interpreter then all shall be silent, "do things decently and in order," etc. Comparing this to mondernday pentecostal/charismatic doctrine, I refer you back to my words to JD below and my other posts where I have challenged the initial evidence doctrine. The doctrine creates confusion in identifying a true congregation from the false(Catholic vs. evangelical, mormon, etc.) and Paul says God is not the author of confusion. That Paul even wrote in this manner is proof he was not a pentecostal by today's understanding, especially saying to do things orderly, which to me is the antithesis of the pentecostal idea of worship or having church. Pentecostals imply or literally say "let the Spirit" control the worship and Paul says do things orderly? Is this not contrary? I think so. Who's right? The Apostle is. All for now. Good night.
I was just thinking: Imagine how much energy and enviromental resources we'd save without all the frenzy of "holy days." So many churches are catering to the environmental movement's strange ideas, yet have their backs turned to the Bible which does not condone the gospel of holy days of obligation(Yes, it is another gospel because the official Roman Catholic doctrine is if you don't observe these days, you've committed sin and must seek forgiveness). As crazy as it sounds, the church could make the environmentalists a lot happier by not adding obligations on which scripture is silent. There's your answer, Britain. Transfer all these extra days to the Lord's Day Sabbath and things will be much simplified and more efficient. The Apostle Paul on the matter of observances: "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are know of God, how turne ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain."(Gal. 4:9-11) "But though we or an angel from heaven preach any other unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed...let him be accursed."(Gal. 1:8&9)
JD wrote: There is no church functioning like the church at Corinth
JD, it's apparent that modern pentecostals and charismatics resemble much the abuse and erroneous doctrines about the Holy Spirit which were prevelent in the Corinthian church and which required correction from the Apostle Paul. In the pentecostal arena one's standing before God has been transferred from faith in the shed blood of Christ to speaking in tongues, whether this is intended or not(some make it intentional by linking new birth evidenced unequivocally by speaking tongues, and example being this: http://www.rickross.com/reference/upci/upci28.html), but such is the logical conclusion of their Initial Evidence by Tongues doctrine. We then see why ecumenism is then fueled by this doctrine. Yet the Apostles taught "We walk by faith, not by sight." We also know from Romans 10 one's salvation is evidenced by acknowledging the name of Jesus and faith that God raised him from the dead and so the Apostles confessed "We maintain a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law." If one is justified by faith apart from the works of divine laws, how much more so man's ideas and rules or regulations to produce apparent righteousness and holiness.
Osteen's doctrine hinges on that of a false gospel. There's little if any mention of sin and repentance, but lots about how good we are, but let me tell you, we are not good. "There is none that doeth good, no not one!" What? Is Osteen greater than his Creator? There is none that does right...not a one! Our own works are as filthy rags. Mr.Osteen tells viewers to say a short prayer of apology and all is well for them. This is not according to the Apostles who commanded repentance and crucifying the flesh.
Hi Seaton! Welcome back! And thanks for the invite to church. I'll be attending a local Reformed church to attend a Reformation conference. The topic will be Justification and I'm quite certain the truth will be preached.
Abigail, You mentioned healing. Concerning healing, it's interesting that it's spoken of by James also...that a sick one shall call upon the elders and that prayer and annointing of oil be done(James 5). Apparently this is to continue. I'd even go so far as to say that even if tongues have ceased, this prayer and annointing of the sick should not cease or be neglected.
Abigail, you may be right on some of that. There's so much abuse and misbehavior going on in the name of the Holy Spirit and very little discernment of all of it. A lot of folks just take a preacher's word at face value that God says do this, do that, etc. A lot of unbiblical stuff in the name of the Holy Spirit goes on today in the professing Church. It's as bad or worse than what was going on in Corinth. Paul had to tell them to settle down and give them the correct doctrine on the Holy Ghost. The same is on order for this day and age, but people find an excuse or new doctrine to avoid the Apostle's doctrine.
Wayne, this is something I'm still divided on--whether tongues and other revelatory gifts have ceased. I am aware that the New Testament is complete and teaches all that is needed for salvation and wisdom. My understanding has been that we can challenge any revelation with the Scriptures instead of forbidding them or saying they've all died out.
Abigail, I gave some mention of that in my post below to Wayne. I was pondering this more after my other post and remembered the other verses about Jesus' going away and the sending of the Holy Ghost. So there could be something prophetic in John 20 maybe, but I'll leave it at that. Thanks for bringing up the other verses also.
Wayne, you may have something there. We notice in Acts that in the cases where there is prayer or laying of hands to receive the Holy Ghost, not all record speaking in tongues. Acts 8 records this. Acts 16 records only baptism and believing the Gospel. No record of these believers being taught any doctrines about the manifestation of the Holy Ghost. Also John 20, Jesus breaths on the disciples and says "Receive....," why didn't he teach them the initial evidence of the reception of the Spirit? Again, we should see what the Apostle Paul teaches on the matter. He acknowledged not all speak in tongues and that the manifestations vary. Now I was thinking more about JD's words below and I remember Jesus did say the Spirit would not come unless he departed, so there could possibly be a slight prophetic tone to the John 20 passage. He said he'd send the promise. I was reading those passages in comparison to John 20. I'd say it's best to stick with the Apostle Paul's teaching on the Holy Spirit. He acknowledged not all spoke in tongues ("Do all speak with tongues?") and said that all should be done in order and says his orders are the Lord's(which sounds like Jesus' assurance "He who hears you, hears me.") so we should pay most attention to them over what others would say.
JD, I was reviewing your discourse on speaking in tongues in relation to Corinthians, Acts and John 20. I think you are correct. Jesus gave the Holy Ghost to the Apostles before pentecost. He gave them authority to declare remission of sins, confront the devil and heal before Pentecost and speaking in tongues. Some people say John 20:22 was prophetic, but there's nothing symbolic there or prophetic that I can see. They didn't go out symbolically preaching the Gospel and healing. Thus there was no speaking in tongues when the Apostles initially received the Holy Ghost and so we have divinely recorded truth that even those whom Christ physically chose did not initially speak with tongues when Christ gave them the Holy Ghost.
Good one, Dan, especially the word "pretense." It's all pretend if it's not in the Scriptures. Furthermore, they are using God's name in vain unless they are blessing in the name of some other deity, and you know, considering some of these how liberal they are may actually be doing that. Whether they are giving assurance in Jesus' name or another, it's false. They are flirting with a gospel built on lies.
Dan, I don't see how anybody could pray for such a blessing in Jesus' name or Father Son and Holy Spirit and keep a clear conscience, but then again, the Scriptures fortell of those who'd have a conscience that was scorched by a hot iron(1 Tim. 4:2) and thinking God's grace is a license to sin.