Dr. Brown shares his latest thoughts and insights on the Scriptures, the Church, and the world, also giving a preview of his upcoming debate this Thursday on Israel, the Word of God, and the Palestinians. Dr. Brown will also take your calls on a wide range of subjects. Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.
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Hello Dr. Brown, thank you for answering my questions about the tetragrammaton. I forgot to stay on the line to talk to someone about getting your resource (vol. 2). However, I’ll probably just order it from Amazon (2 day shipping). Thanks again!
In your life, you were able to lay aside your addictions and live a changed life by the power of God. But this is not always the case. Some time ago, I had someone from Teen Challenge knock on my door looking for donations. During our conversation he told me how right now, he just wanted to go out and do some more drugs. Some time later another Teen Challenge member came to my door and told how Jesus had broken his addiction to heroin. Question: Why does God empower some to walk away from their besetting sins and others to struggle endlessly?
In your book “Go and Sin No More” you listed various reasons not to sin. By showing people the ramifications of sin, this seems to be a sort of intellectually based behavioral modification approach. That is, if you are cognizant of the trap, you will not want to step into it. You also spoke of grace as empowering not to sin, although it was a bit fuzzy as to how to acquire that empowerment from the Spirit. According to John MacArthur the Spirit filled life is found by ” being saturated with the things of Christ—with His Word, His person” (Found: God’s Will). He suggests becoming saturated in the Word of God so as to lead a Spirit filled life. That seems to be a recurrent theme I hear; if you stay in the Word you will stay away from sin. Those that keep falling into besetting sin, must just not be drawing close enough to Jesus and His word. It’s just that simple! Or is it?
For now we hear of yet another Pastor who has fallen into sexual sin. Surely the Pastor must have been in the Word, for he taught it every week. So the problem could not lie in the fact that he was not in the Word enough. Yet he did not live in victory. One can only imagine the ongoing battle in his head trying to overcome his sin. Surely he must have gone before The Lord and asked for the Spiritual power to overcome his addiction. Yet freedom did not come! The life altering power of the Spirit that changed your life, did not fall upon him. The question of course is why? The Calvinist might reply that he simply is not one of the elect. But that leads to the morally repugnant idea of an all loving God, Who only loves some! Surely then that is not the solution.
Over and over again we are told that we in our own power cannot overcome our sin. Our victory over sin can only come through the power of the Spirit. Yet the world is replete with those who follow The Lord and yet feel they are locked in a mortal combat of sorts with this sin or that sin, that keeps pulling them down. Where is the power of God in these lives? In your own experience, many examples are seen in the gay community where people earnestly went to The Lord asking to have same sex desires changed and yet walked away feeling defeated. Their personal battles go on and on and on.
You speak so often about the life changing power of Jesus. And there are many that testify to this truth. But what does it mean when many others do not find their lives changed? How do you explain this. Why are some empowered and others not? And as we see from the list of fallen Pastors, this is not just a secular problem. Men who have given their lives to follow The Lord and teach His word also are not experiencing the power of God in their lives. How can this be? What do you say to men who seek The Lord in prayer and fasting and weeping and yet do not find freedom? Do we sweep them under the rug and only look at those whose lives have been changed and keep declaring victory? If those who claim to belong to The Lord are falling, can we confidently tell the world their is freedom not only for the penalty of sin but from the bondage of sin in Jesus? Can a Pastor teach the sanctifying power of the Spirit and yet not experience it himself? Does this not give merit to asking of the authenticity of the Christian life to the world at large?
Thanks for these important questions. I can only reply in brief to one point, and that is that I or any other leader “fall” into serious sin it is because of sinful choices we made along the way, failing to heed the guidelines and warnings of Scripture and failing to live in consistent intimacy with God. It cannot happen any other way.
With all due respect, that doesn’t answer the greater question. “Failing to head guidelines” speaks to human effort. The very fact that such guidelines exist makes us want to challenge them. I simply cannot imagine a pastor caught up in pornography to the point of addiction not crying out to The Lord for freedom. A Pastor I know, told me he had become an accountability partner for other Pastors who had online addictions. But these are human empowered endeavors to overcome sin. They are techniques if you will. They are ways of blocking provision for sin. The fact that such Pastors sought help from another Pastor, shows how serious they are about the problem. Surely, they must have gone to The Lord. So why the “techniques”, why not the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome?
Paul teaches us in Romans that we were buried with Christ, our old nature is dead. Then why doesn’t it stay in the ground?Why does it rise up so frequently in the church?
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