Wednesday, August 20, 2008

SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE

CORRECTING A BROTHER I LOVE
I'd like to start today's blog by pointing out that, in all my years blogging here I have never once taken the time to openly rebuke or correct another pastor, teacher or blogger. Today I make an exception because I can't allow this sort of teaching to go unchallenged.

My hope is to lovingly and soberly correct a misunderstanding and false teaching concerning forgiveness.

Earlier this week I read a post called "Messiah Complex" by blogger Darin Hufford.
The post in question is HERE

Essentially, Darin takes a difficult passage of Scripture and twists it to say something that is not supported by the rest of the New Testament, or the Apostles, or the practice of the Early Church.

The passage of scripture in question is John 20:21-23 where Jesus says
"Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

Darin believes that this passage in John 20 gives us, the followers of Christ, the power to forgive people their sins, even if they have not repented of their sins.

In an attempt to discover what Darin meant by this teaching, and to give him the benefit of the doubt, I started posting comments to his blog. You will notice that he has since deleted our entire conversation completely (there were at least 4 comments by me and at least as many by him, all deleted). You'll notice that he makes a comment addressed to "Keith" but this is the only hint that I ever made any comments at all. (Unless he deletes this post too).

So much for open dialog.

NO OTHER CHOICE
Because Darin has attempted to silence anyone who disagrees with him, and because he has more than a little leverage in the blogsphere regarding matters of theology, Christian thought and Church life, I find it necessary to call him out on this misunderstanding of Scripture.

Because he has deleted my comments on his blog and refused to allow another point of view to be heard or seen by his readers, I can only provide a response here on my own blog and reveal his attempt to cover up a fair and open dialog about this heretical doctrine.

Let me say off the bat, I do not hate Darin Hufford. I love him. He is my brother and I would love to have this conversation with him in private, or even on his blog, if we were open to such a dialog. Sadly, he is not. He is more interested in making sure people only hear one side of the argument and he is not interested in allowing anyone else to hear what other teachers have to say.

I've always said that the Truth is "Questionable". If Darin is teaching the truth he should not be afraid of questions. The truth is bullet-proof. It can certainly handle a few shots from me.

MISUNDERSTANDING JESUS IN JOHN 20:21
Darrin says in his article that, before he understood this controversial verse correctly he was of this opinion - "In other words, unless they come to Jesus, they cannot find forgiveness for their sins, so it's my job to get them to Christ."

However, now that's he's been enlightenend by John 20:21 he was discovered a remarkable concept: Forgiving people of their sins is now his job as a Christian. For example, when his unbelieving friend asked him if he thought God would ever forgive him of his sins, Darrin doesn't take the opportunity to say, "Yes, let's pray and ask Him to forgive you right now. I know He will. Would you like that?"

Darin says something very different to his friend who is inquiring about God's forgiveness for his sins:

"He asked me if I thought God would forgive him and I responded by saying "I forgive you for all your sins." I explained that the decision to forgive him was mine, and I decided YES."

Why didn't Darin lead his friend to Jesus so that Jesus could forgive his sins? In this example Darin seems determined to be the one who forgives the sins, even though Jesus was clearly a very viable option in this situation.

WHAT JESUS REALLY SAYS ABOUT FORGIVENESS
Did Jesus really teach us to go around forgiving people of their sins?
Well, yes and no. Jesus does instruct us to forgive others so that our sins will be forgiven.

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." - JESUS (Matthew 6:14-15)

However, this verse is telling us that we will receive forgiveness for our sins if we forgive others when they sin against us. I've written an entire article about this over at the [Subversive Underground] blog. (See May, 2007 - "Forgivness According to Jesus")


Jesus does not teach us that we have the power to forgive the sins of people who need God's forgiveness.

HOW WE SHOULD HANDLE DIFFICULT PASSAGES
In the passage from John 20:21, where Darin gets his doctrine from, the meaning of these words is difficult to understand. Whenever we have a passage in scripture that is difficult to understand we always balance it by looking at other verses of scripture on the same subject. We never, and I must stress the word "never", base any doctrine on the weight of just one single verse of scripture. Sadly, this is what my friend and brother Darin is doing here and out of this has spun a serious misunderstanding of the Atonement and the doctrine of Forgiveness.

I'm asking for verses in the New Testament where Paul or Peter or James or John instruct the early christians to forgive the sins of unbelievers.

Do they instruct us to forgive the sins of those who sin against us? Yes.
Do they instruct us to forgive one another? Absolutely.
Do they instruct us that we have the power to forgive the sins of everyone we meet? Clearly, no.

To determine the answer I am asking if
A) The Apostles taught/modelled/practiced this or
B) The early church practiced this.

I find no evidence that any early Christians (Apostles or otherwise) put this practice of forgiving people their sins into action.

Are we called to forgive people? Yes.
Is it important to forgive ourselves? Yes.
Are we called to forgive the sins of people who have not come to Christ or repented of their sin?
Clearly, no.

DELETED SCENES
One of the most troubling comments made by Darin in his reply to my first comment (since deleted) was that "the Apostles didn’t teach on 90% of what Jesus taught".

This statement alone says volumes about what Darin thinks of Jesus and the Apostles and how much he understands (or misunderstands) the New Testament.

I responded by asking Darin to please show me just 5 things that Jesus taught that the Apostles didn't teach and/or practice in the early church. Darin's response was to list the Beatitudes of Jesus.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit...blessed are those who mourn…blessed are the meek…blessed are the pure in heart...blessed are peacemakers."

Darin doesn't believe that the Apostles continued to teach or to practice the principles found in the Beatitudes of Christ on the Sermon on the Mount. I disagree.
I think the Apostles DID teach on these 5 things. The Sermon on the Mount was about life in the Kingdom of God (which is the Gospel that Jesus preached).

The Apostles DID preach the elements of life in the Kingdom, and my now invisible comments said as much:

#1Blessed are the poor in spirit corresponds to: "Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?" - James 2:5

#2 Blessed are those who mourn corresponds to:"Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn" - Romans 12:15

#3 Blessed are the meek corresponds to: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" - James 4:6

#4 Blessed are the pure in heart corresponds to: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to...keep oneself from being polluted by the world" - James 1:27

#5 Blessed are the peace makers corresponds to: "as long as it is possible...live at peace with all men" Romans 12:8

With more time and space I could expand on other verses from the New Testament where the Apostles encouraged other Christians to live out the Sermon on the Mount. But that's another post.

A FAIR QUESTION TO ASK
My point to Darin was, we don't find any verses where the Apostles taught or encouraged other Christians to forgive the sins of their unbelieving friends, etc.

I think it's a fair question to ask: "If Jesus really taught us to forgive the sins of unbelievers then why don't we see the early church engaged in this awesome practice?"

Answer: Because Jesus clearly did not teach this to his disciples, nor did they teach it or practice it.

Blessings to my friend and brother, Darin Hufford. I pray that this misrepresentation of the words of Jesus doesn’t lead anyone to stumble in their faith.

Peace,
-kg

28 comments:

Like a Mustard Seed said...

Dang...........

So, who is this guy? Never heard of him before, seems like he does have somewhat of a "following"? How sad and ironic that someone who seems to rightly recognize the harmful effects of clinging to man-made religiousity can then turn around and so casually teach something that undermines the very core of the gospel far more than any empty tradition ever could... I suppose "free believers network" really means "free to follow Darin network"...

Like a Mustard Seed said...

Okay, I feel prompted to apologize for my earlier comment and it's less than gracious tone... Especially since the title of the post is Speaking the truth in Love, and it seems like I'm really lacking in the "in-love" department today, while trying to wield a rocket-launcher of truth... I just get so riled up when I read somebody write stuff like that, and then not want to have a real open dialogue on the subject. I just wonder, what's to be afraid of? Like you said, the Truth can handle the scrutiny... Anyways, my apologies to Keith and anyone else who might have been offended by my caustic remarks. I shouldn't have gone and opened my mouth before checking my heart with God....
Daniel

Mark Main said...

Keith - You have made some really good points. I made a addition to my post about this article on my blog that you might be interested in seeing. I'll try to email you soon and let you know what I initially thought he was saying.

I must admit that I have been a little disappointed over the last few days as I realized what Darrin was really saying.

featuring chas pike said...

i think the initial quote of the Savior is the key to this verse.
"peace be with you". is this not the english translation of "shalom"?
do we not have to consider what the concept of shalom is?
at the end of this verse the disciples are given the breath of life, the same breath that adam was given. all things have been made new. shalom has been restored.
in the sermon on the mount the key word to forgiveness in the Lord's prayer is "as" and how it is used. it cannot be substituted with the word "like", or "in the same manner", it, rather, implies that your forgiveness is synchronized with your acts of forgiveness. it is self restorative. the process of shalom.

Sean Tarr said...

hey keith

i agree with what you are saying but what do you then think Jesus meant by what he said?

x

Keith Giles said...

I have sent this article and a link to Darin's article to several other pastors and men of God whom I respect and am accountable to in order to get their perspective, check my logic and make sure I'm not the one who is off-base or responding improperly.

The men I have asked for accountability in this issue are traditional pastors Chris Singer (St. John's Lutheran), Paul Martin (Soul Survivor Church); chaplain and former pastor Chuck Regeher; Newly-minted house church pastor and former traditional pastor Bill Faris (Crown Valley Vineyard); and speaker, author, songwriter David Ruis (Basilea Church, Vineyard).

So far (not all have responded) the consensus is that Darin's position over-steps the role of the believer and comes dangerously close to replacing the Holy Spirit in the process of redemption and salvation.

What does this verse really teach? I would say that Jesus intends to let His Church know that they have been deputized to participate in the work of the Holy Spirit regarding forgiveness, but not that we overtake or supplant the work of the Spirit.

When another brother or sister in Christ comes to you with a sin to confess, you and I have the authority (on loan from Jesus) to forgive them and release them of their guilt and burden as ambassadors of Christ.

He is not telling us that we alone hold this power, but that we cooperate with what the Holy Spirit is doing (the same Holy Spirit that, in this passage, Jesus has just "breathed on" them) in regards to forgiveness.

We are not called to take the place of Jesus, or of the Holy Spirit, but to cooperate with what the Father is doing, in the person's heart to lead them to repentence.

We should never say, "I am the one who forgives your sin" we should say, "The Lord forgives you". We are confirming God's desire and power to forgive and proclaiming it openly.

In the same way you and I should never say to a demon, "I rebuke you" but instead say (as Michael the Archangel said), "The LORD rebuke you!" - You and I do not have this authority to personally rebuke demons, even though the Scriptures tell us to cast out demons- We accomplish this as representatives of Christ's power, it is not our own.

Keith Giles said...

BTW- I forgot to add that Todd Hunter (ALPHA USA, "3 is Enough") was also one of the men I asked to provide feedback and accountability for me on with this issue.

Starr said...

Thanks for the reply keith. Makes sense to me what you are saying. I also believe the ultimate power to forgive sin is God and we should bring people to that realisation and not the realisation that we are on the same level as God.

I'm interested to hear the reponses of those fellows you sent the article to. ;)

x

featuring chas pike said...

some of my confusion over this:
we are told in mark that if we are standing in prayer and find our brother has something against us, to go and get right with him and then pray. in matthew we are told that if we are leaving our gift at the alter and find our brother has something against us, to go and make it right and then return to the alter.
the implications, as far as my uneducated noggin can figger, is that we are to go to others if we have wronged them, and seek restitution. however, it does not seem to tell us that others must come to us and repent in order for us to forgive them. the implication is that we are to forgive our brother regardless. in catholicism the priest has the power of absolution.
in a church of priests, then, do not all have the authority to forgive sins?
perhaps this i only involving direct personal sin, not sin in general. i am sure i am over simplifying.

Keith Giles said...

Chas,

the passages you're citing are about us forgiving others for the things they've done to us and in this case you're right- we are supposed to forgive as we have been forgiven...and so that we can also be forgiven.

Darin's blog is suggesting that when we interact with unbelievers we are empowered to say to them (and I quote him)- "The decision to forgive is mine and I say YES. You are forgiven of your sins."

That is not what we are to do. We are to send them to Jesus and assure them that Jesus will forgive them, not you and I.

The danger? That they will believe that their sins are forgiven without ever having come to Christ for that forgiveness.

If we took it to it's logical conclusion we could start selling our forgiveness services to unrepentant unbelievers and call it "Indulgences, Inc."

The Catholic priest do practice this absolution service, but it is not Biblical when they do it and so it's not a good idea for us to adopt their "priestly" example as members of the Priesthood of Christ.

featuring chas pike said...

thank keef,
this resolves a lot of this issue for me.

Lionel Woods said...

Hey Brother Kieth,

The post by Darin actually motivated me to write the "Redefintion of God's Love". I think the camp that those brothers are creating may tend to lead away from the true nature of who God really is and minimization of Christ's work on the cross. We can't talk about God's love without talking about the cross. Yes Jesus' earthly ministry is to be modeled but He deserves our worship, reverence, and devotion because of what He accomplished in His death and ressurection. I do understand the fact that the Grace of God is being redefined by those who have the "examine yourself" mentality; however, we must strive to strike a balance between the graciousness of God and the wrath displayed by Him crushing His innocent son in order that He may cover me with His love.

I appereciate your heart to refute this grave error brother. You don't know how happy that makes me.

Glenn said...

I am surprised that Darin would go so far out on a limb on this issue, when, as you point out, the early teaching on this seems so clear. I agree with Darin that we in our modern society and churches too often refuse to forgive people their sins. We "retain" them as if we should somehow use them to accuse that person later on. (And we all know who the real Accuser is, right?) I do believe that everyone who seeks forgiveness can find it in Christ. While any of us might say, "Your sins are forgiven," too often we leave off the coda, "through the Blood of Christ Jesus who loves you." Through the power of the Spirit we receive when we accept Christ, we are empowered to do more than Jesus did, to reach more people, to catch more "fish." But the power still always and ever comes from God, whose Holy Spirit indwells us. It really is not MINE to forgive, it is HIS to forgive. In our desire to reach the unsaved, we dare not forget that.

David Boss said...

Could someone please explain to me the “danger” in Mr. Hufford’s post? I just read it and truthfully I think you are making way to big of a deal over this. Mr. Hufford makes and excellent point. If we are now sons of God and brothers to Christ we should be able to do all the things Jesus did. Are we or are we not “one” with Him now? I just don’t think this is as heretical as you’re making it out to be. How is this dangerous? Are people going to be led astray and deceived into being more forgiving? Why else would the New Testament church “confess their sins, one to another” If we could not declare forgiveness on God’s behalf? I just think there are better things to spend our time writing about.

Keith Giles said...

David,

I think the "danger" in Darin's article is in the teaching that you and I can forgive someone of their sins of our own volition and pronounce them forgiven.

This is not the same as you and I being more forgiving as people, nor is it about forgiving those who sin against us.

Darin's article says that you and I can walk up to anyone we meet and say to them, "Your sins are forgiven" when the truth may be that they have not repented of their sins, nor do they have any intention of repenting. We don't have that kind of authority to forgive men their sins against God and pronounce them "forgiven".

It is a heretical concept and it's part of the reason we have the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther's treatise stated that only God could forgive men their sins and that Priests did not have the authority from God to pronounce men as forgiven their sins against Him.

The priests were selling these as "Indulgences" (which the Catholoic church still practices, apparently) and giving people the pronouncement of forgiveness for a price.

Darin is re-introducing indulgences but without the fee attached.

David Boss said...

If you read Darin's article he is clearly not saying that people MUST go through Christians in order to receive forgiveness for their sins. He makes a very clear cut difference between what you are accusing him of and what he is saying. Never once did he suggest that people couldn't go straight to God for forgiveness. That's the difference between Martin Luther's time and what he is saying. You can't honestly pin that charge on him if you read the entire article in context. To do so would be as non-observant of words and context as you have accused Mr. Hufford of being.

I still fail to see where the "danger" is in this. You say it's dangerous but I would like you to give an example of how this could actually hurt someone. It's not forgiveness of sins that brings salvation, so Mr. Hufford is not telling anyone that they have to go through another person. It's believing in the one He sent that saves us.

How is this dangerous to people? What will you have saved people from by making sure they don’t believe this?

Keith Giles said...

David,

If a friend of yours who was not a Christian (as in Darin's example) came to you and asked you, "Do you think God could forgive me of my sins?" and your answer was, "The decision to forgive is mine and I say, 'Yes, your sins are forgiven'" and then your friend went on with the rest of his life believing that he was, in fact, totally forgiven of his sins, then when he stood before the throne of God at the Judgement and discovered that, actually, his sins were NOT forgiven...because he had not come to Christ himself, had not repented of his own sins, and had not accepted Christ as his own personal Lord and Savior...wouldn't you call that "dangerous"?

I would.

David Boss said...

You are assuming that Mr. Hufford did not go on to tell this person about Jesus when if you read his post, he clearly did because the guy later came to Christ. Salvation is not because our sins are forgiven. It comes because we believe in God's one and only Son.

Mr. Hufford is no way says that we have the power to save people. Salvation comes by faith. Once again, you are reading into what he is saying.

Keith Giles said...

Let me paste a quote from my new hero, W. Carl Ketcherside on the subject of the verse in question:

"The statement of our Lord is plain, unequivocal and positive. It is undeniable that he gave the apostles the right, privilege or authority to forgive sins. But notice that he did not tell them at the same time how they were to do it. This does not mean we cannot know how they were to accomplish it, for our Lord told them they would receive the Holy Spirit who would guide them into all things. We need only consult the record of their acts thus to know how they were to forgive and retain sins.

"There are but three ways of forgiveness for sins mentioned in the New Testament, as follows: (1) Actual forgiveness; (2) Declared forgiveness; (3) Legislative forgiveness. If we can determine which of these the apostles taught and practiced, after having received the Holy Spirit which was to guide them into all truth, we shall know what our Lord meant when He said, "Whose sins you remit, they shall be remitted."

"Did the apostles claim to have the power to actually forgive sins? Instead of making such a claim, they taught the very opposite. When Simon attempted to purchase the gift of God with money, Peter said unto him, "Repent therefore of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you" (Acts 8:22). If Peter believed in the power of absolution as taught in the Romish "sacrament of penance" he could have demonstrated it here. Instead, he pointed to God as the only one who could actually forgive sins. John declared, "If any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1). This is far different than saying, "If any man sin we have the sacrament of penance." Rome says that a certain form of absolution is essential and must be pronounced, but nowhere do the apostles make any such allegation. They deny by their practice that Jesus conferred upon them the power to actually forgive sins. This belongs exclusively to God.

"Did the apostles exercise a declarative power of forgiveness? That our Lord possessed such power while on earth is quite easily demonstrated. When a certain paralytic was brought to him, he said to the cripple, "Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven" (Matt. 9:2). When the scribes who observed this act of mercy said among themselves that Christ was blaspheming, Jesus perceiving their thoughts said, "Which is easier to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins," he then said to the paralytic, "Rise, take up your bed and go home." When the crowds saw the man do this, they were afraid, and glorified God who had given such authority to men. Did the apostles have the same authority? Did the statement that they could remit sins, confer the ability to declare such sins remitted as was the case with Christ? If so, the New Testament is absolutely silent about it, and with no testimony on the matter, we can neither affirm nor believe it.

"Since there are but three methods of forgiveness revealed in the New Testament, and since the apostles did not employ either of the first two, it is a compelling conclusion that our Savior referred to legislative forgiveness in His statement to them. This means that the apostles were to reveal a law, by compliance with which, the guilty sinner would receive actual forgiveness from God for sins committed. The apostle Paul declares, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2). From this we learn that we are set free from sin by a law. "You who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness" (Rom. 6:17, 18). Freedom from sin is not obtained by an "absolve te" pronounced by a priest but by obedience to the standard of teaching.

"Rome has much to say about Peter. Let us notice the plan by which this apostle proposed remission of sins to the guilty ones on the day of Pentecost. When they demanded to know what to do, "Peter said to them, 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins'" (Acts 2:38). Here is the first announcement of the law by which forgiveness of sins may be secured. It is not by an exercise of sacerdotal authority, but by compliance with the terms specified by the apostle, speaking under the influence of the Spirit.

"The priestly advocate quotes 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, to make it appear that the ministry of reconciliation is manifest in a sacerdotal power to absolve, but a close examination of the previous chapter will disclose that the apostles "having this ministry by the grace of God...by the open statement of truth we would commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God" (2 Cor. 4:1-3). It is by a statement of the truth, by the proclamation of the glad tidings, and by an acceptance of the terms conveyed by heaven that the sins are remitted. No man possesses the authority to actually or declaratively forgive sins. The second pillar supporting the theory of a special priesthood is thus torn from its moorings. Surely that theory is built upon the sand. Now let us proceed to consideration of the third alleged support."

David Boss said...

I'm still not seeing where this is dangerous. Dangerous enough for you to attempt to discredit a brother in Christ publically. There are theologens in the past who will agree with you and there are theologens who will agree with Mr. Hufford. We could quote away for the next year, but it doesn't prove anything. My question is how is it dangerous????

Keith Giles said...

I have answered the "danger" question twice already. Please scan above and read my comments to this effect.

Lots of "danger" here.

David Boss said...

No, Keith you didn't answer the "danger" question. You accused Mr. Hufford of ressurecting a catholic teaching, which you yourself took out of context. Mr. Hufford in no way has suggested that people must come through us christians in order to find forgiveness as the catholics did. You keep saying this is "dangerous" but all I am asking is for you to give a scenerio in which this would be dangerous to anyone. the only thing you've given me clearly isn't true of what mr. Hufford is teaching. He never once said that we can "save" people and he never once said that people must come through us to find forgiveness. You accused him of saying that but he didn't. What "danger" is there in what Mr. Hufford is teaching??? If you stated it already can you please state it again because I can't find it.

Keith Giles said...

Dave,

The "dangerous" part of Darrin's post is mainly the paragraph where he says:

"I met a guy once who I could tell was miserable in his life. He was in bondage to about a thousand things and his spirit seemed to be hollow. His eyes conveyed an interest in knowing God like I did, but he told me that couldn't talk to God because his sins were too great. He was terrified of even approaching God. He asked me if I thought God would forgive him and I responded by saying "I forgive you." I explained that the decision to forgive him was also mine because I am now a son of God and a brother to Christ, and I decided YES. This guy's life was turned around and he eventually came to the Lord."

The above is cut and pasted directly from Darin's own article.

Darin says that when his friend, who is not a believer, asks him if God could forgive him, Darin responds "I forgive you".

The person has not sinned against Darin. This is clear. The man has sinned against God and Darin, instead of asking this friend to pray and ask God to forgive his sins, declares the person to have been forgiven.

If you don't see this as a danger I can't help you.

Also, I am very concerned that Darin made comments in his post to me (which have since been deleted) that the Apostles didn't teach on 99% of what Jesus taught.

Why did Darin say that? Why did Darin delete this later? Why did Darin delete my other questions and his responses but only leave behind the quotes that praise him?

-kg

Chris Pack said...

Keith,

I saw some comments of yours on one of Darin's other blogs, and decided to go looking for you on the web. Then, I found this other rebuke of Darin. I have some thoughts on the heart of Darin's post about forgiveness.

First, the man obviously saw Darin as a go-between with himself and God because he asked if Darin thought that God would forgive him. I'm not saying the man is correct, nor is Darin. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man.

Second, there is a way of looking at what Darin has explained that is less "dangerous", if you will. Darin's message is one of freedom. He is all about releasing people. He sees that this man is in bondage. This man sees him as a go-between with God, and Darin realizes that. So, Darin says in effect, "Well...I'm God's son and I forgive you." This simple statement frees the man to pursue a relationship with a God whose child has forgiven the man, and he ultimately finds salvation in Christ. Darin is no longer his go-between. Would the man have been able to approach God had Darin not done what he did? Not sure.

Let's say you had an older son who obviously knew you very well. Now, let's say that someone had wronged you, and the person had a relationship with your son and approached him and asked, "Do you think your dad will forgive me?" What impact do you think it would have on the person who wronged you if your son, who knows you intimately, were to say, "Well...I know my dad really well, and I forgive you"?

You seem to be suggesting that Darin respond by saying, "Well...let's ask Him if He'll forgive you." Not sure the effect would have been the same. Maybe it would have. Maybe it wouldn't have. Maybe the guy would have come to Christ immediately. Maybe he would have remained uncertain.

But, maybe approaching what Darin said in the manner I have suggested would alleviate the matter. Just an alternative perspective for you. Love believes the best about folks. I believe you mean well. I believe Darin means well. I give you both the benefit of the doubt.

Chris

Keith Giles said...

Chris,

Thanks for taking the time to respond to this.

While I hear what you're saying, I believe that if you read Darin's original post you'll see that what he's suggesting is that we, the followers of Jesus, should begin to adopt this practice of forgiving the sins of unbelievers.

If his article were about our need to forgive people who sin against us, I would have no problem. But his article gives us an example of where he forgave an unbeliever's sins directly (rather than pointing him to Jesus), and then suggests that we have this freedom to do the same. Very simply - We do NOT have this ability and to suggest that we do, and to provide an example of how to do it, is irresponsible and, I believe, dangerous.

Again, it was Darin's response to my initial questions that set me off. He deleted my questions (and they were not antagonistic or disrespectful) and he effectively erased any hint of disagreement from his post. That concerns me.

He also made further comments (since deleted) in his reponse to me that suggested that the Apostles didn't teach on 90% of what Jesus taught - Yet another red flag for me - and he erased this conversation where I refuted his erroneous claim.

In general, I have nothing against Darin personally, but I do have some serious concerns about the manner in which he teaches others and especially in the way he treats those who disagree with him.

Perhaps if he had been as gracious as you I wouldn't have felt compelled to do something I have NEVER done before and publicly write an article to point out a false teaching and publish a rebuke on my blog to warn people about the things he teaches and the way he silences any and all detractors.

Peace,
kg

Chris Pack said...

Keith,

Fair enough. I do not know Darin personally, and I do not know you personally. I believe I've grasped the heart of what he communicated, and that I also understand your position, so I'll gladly and peacefully agree to disagree with you on this subject now that I've appealed to you from a different perspective.

I see you are pursuing house church. I have been down that road and it was a less than enjoyable experience. I hope your experience is much better than mine. Blessings!

Chris

Dianna said...

Is it also true that Darin teaches that the Bible doesn't need to be followed since we have Christ? Diverting people away from the Bible....

1hiltonball said...

Dear all,

I have listened and read tons of Darin's teaching and I can honestly say I have not heard anything that is heretical.
I guess you either get the freedom message or you don't so there is no point in arguing the point unless all of us open our hearts to what is being said. My hope is the truth of the gospel will bring freedom.
No point in saying any more than that.

Greg Ball
Cambridge, UK.