Legalist Preacher

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Joined: 24 May 2004
Posts: 8
Location: Philippines

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 12:53 am    Post subject: Legalist Preacher Reply with quote

Hi Steve,

My questions revolve around a local preacher whose popularity has risen remakably over the years. He has a TV/radio program named "Ang Dating Daan" (ADD) or "The Old Path" based on Jer. 6:16. Most evangelical ministers tag his group as a cult. My brother joined his group recently and I'm a bit concerned so I am testing their doctrines.

1) He (the ADD preacher) argued that man still needs religion to get right with God, mentioning James 1:27 "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world". He is apparently refuting the famous evangelical line "Man does not need religion but a relationship with God".

I personally believe that faith in/love for God is the sole requisite and any religion prior to this will always be impure and defiled before God. The true religion of Jas 1:27 is an outcome (which God expects) from those who believe.

Appreciate your comment...

2) 1 Cor. 13:13 "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." He ususally equates love to charity (works) and in doing so he argues that charity is greater (weightier before God) than faith and hope and is therefore needed to be right with God.

What was Paul really saying here?

3) Does a person who truly loves God and believes in the death and resurrection of Christ for the forgiveness of sin, submits to the Lordship of Christ, but also to some extent, believes that his salvation is dependent on his obedience to God's commandments (do's and dont's), in danger of falling out of grace (Gal 5:4)? This is actually what I fear about my brother's joining the ADD group.

4) This ADD preacher calls many evangelical (although some are cultic themselves) ministers FOOLS, CRAZY, STUPID, etc.. on radio/TV. He justifies himself by quoting Jesus and Paul uttering the same words (Matt 23:17, Luk 11:40, 1 Cor 15:36, Gal 3:1, etc.) when referring to those disobedient to God..
Do you think he's justified?
How do you see Jesus and Paul's case in the light of Matt 5:22?

Side Note>> This ADD preacher has gained popularity by flaunting (on radio/TV) his mastery of the Bible (the letter but not necessarily the spirit). He even challenged his studio audience to turn off the lights and he will quote verbatim any part of the Bible that they choose. I've watched him debated many evangelical preachers who (to the mind of the impressed audience) were miserably defeated through his barrage of scriptures in favor of his view. Well, I know many evangelical ministers are dogmatic about many things that can be refuted using the scriptures anyway.

Rolling Eyes I'm playing on the idea that maybe someday you can debate him on many subjects. He: is into dress code & jewelry legalism, does not believe in the Godhead of the Holy Spirit, a millenialist and others (I'm still testing his doctrines). Just an idea.. I'll certainly need to raise money to host your visit. Wink
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Joined: 17 Feb 2004
Posts: 1178
Location: Santa Cruz, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2004 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Richard,
I am sorry to have taken so long in responding. I have been traveling almost the whole time since you posted this question. I would be delighted to debate this teacher, if my doing so would edify the Body of Christ and further the interests of the Kingdom of God. I will address your four point below:

1. I am not sure what this preacher means by "religion." The verse in James is actually saying that care for widows and orphans is what true religion amounts other words, as Paul said, "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal.6:2). This can be taken (by the individual) in a legalistic way, suggesting that a certain amount of this kind of good works is necessary to earn a place in heaven, or else it could be taken simply to mean that this kind of good works is the demonstration that a person is truly "religious" in the right sense, as opposed to that person who only practices religious rituals apart from love. If this preacher is only saying that you can measure the genuineness of your "religion" by the degree to which love and compassion are the rule of all your actions, then I would not disagree with this.

2. The word "love," in 1 Corinthians 13, was translated "charity" in the King James Version. In the Greek, it is "agape," which is better translated (as we use the terms today) as "love" than as "charity." Love is the disposition of heart that desires to treat others as we would wish to be treated, were we in their place. "Charity," at least as we use the word today, restricts the meaning to simply helping the poor. Genuine love does make us want to help the poor, of course. But every Christian can fulfill the duty to love (Rom.13:8), whereas some might be too poor to do much in the way of charity, if the latter is understood to mean "giving alms."

3. It is hard to answer this question. Good works and almsgiving, done through right motives, do indeed please God (Acts 10:2-4). However, every Christian needs to understand that it is by grace alone, through faith, that we are justified in the sight of God (Eph.2:8-9). Every Christian also needs to know that good works are what we were created in Christ Jesus for (Eph.2:10). These concepts become unbalanced in the thinking of many, so that some minimize the need to do good works, and others see good works as somehow contributing to their being in favor with God. The latter mistake can actually produce a works-righteousness attitude like that of the Judaizers, whose teaching is contrary to the Gospel. God wants His people to be zealous for good works (Titus 2:14; 3:1, 14). I think you can tell if someone has stepped over the line into harmful legalism by their attitude of condemnation toward other believers who do fewer, or a different kind, of good works than they define as essential.

4. When it comes to referring to someone as a fool, I believe it all comes down to the state of the heart of the speaker. In Matt. 5:22, Jesus seems to be condemning the attitude of hatred, anger and contempt toward another. In the places where Jesus and Paul actually referred to others as "foolish" or "fools," I believe that they were seeking to jolt their hearers/readers into seeing the foolishness of their damaging behaviors or opinions. This was not motivated by hatred or contempt, but by love and compassion. In the one case, "fool" means "worthless idiot," and in the other case it means "you are being irrational." One is an abusive term, the other is corrective.

I don't like some of what I am hearing about this preacher, though I don't know that he is wrong about all that you have mentioned. It depends on his actual attitude and teaching about some of these subjects. As for debating him, I am always up for a good debate. I am not intimidated by his ability to quote scripture. It counts for much less than the ability to understand the scripture.
In Jesus,
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Joined: 24 May 2004
Posts: 8
Location: Philippines

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your reply Steve.

Anyway, I found this in his website and I'm pretty convinced that this preacher considers formal membership in an organized church a requisite to salvation. He's obviously not buying the idea that genuine believers can co-exist in the catholic or protestant or charismatic camps. You may want to take a look.

About forging a debate between you and him.. Am still not sure how to go about this. But I've seen his program host several webcam debates which are televised for millions of his followers to watch. I'm sure exposing some of his errors in the concept of religion and salvation thru televised debate would benefit many. Here's a sample debate with an SDA (I'm somewhat on his side on this topic though). His english isn't that good but he gets his point across. = )
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