The Path of Truth cult has a list of "diabolical doctrines" that we'll be looking at the next few days. Now some of you may wonder why we'd bother with a pissant cult that grows vegetables and sells organic baby food; the answer -- besides the fact that, as usual, I'm feeling masochistic, and we've been asked to have a look -- is that these are the sort of claims we'll hear from other quarters, too, and if at some later date someone else falls down the beaten Path -- or a similar one -- this will be there for them.
And besides, it'll be fun to see if we can tick them off.
Each description the Path People offer for each doctrine is about 70% rant, so we'll just be quoting what's the bare bones.
1) Accept Jesus as your personal Saviour and you will be saved
OK, to be fair: The Path People have a point, but it's nothing John MacArthur hasn't said already, and far better. That said, the Path People are off anyway; "accepting Jesus" will get you saved (it's entrance into the covenant), but doing nothing else will get you used diapers (versus, works = rewards).
The Path People say it is "presumptuous" to suppose you can "accept" God because it is not as though " we, and not God, call the shots." Um, yeah...but what if God Himself said that the rules were, to be saved, you accept the terms of the covenant? Who called the shots then? They don't consider this, but they do yank the story of Paul's Damascus Road call into the mix, as though this proved some sort of point about salvation, to this effect: "... the primary aspect of man's relationship with God was one of submission to Him as Lord over him and to His will."
Uh...yeah, that's appropos, IF you're being called with a bop on the head for a special mission, like Paul is. The Path People do seem to have this idea that they're that important, but bottom line is, Paul's call is no model for each person's salvation process; never said to be, never meant to be, save in imagination.
The Path People, though, are caught in that maelstrom that MacArthur and Hodges were whirling years back, the one you can safely cross with a couple of words: "Semitic Totality." (Link below.) Without this, you inevitably in one of two directions: Either Hodges' over-libertaranism, or the Path People's angry legalism and veritable works-salvation.
The Path People can't get around this easily. The key question which sets the bar is, "What about a deathbed conversion? What about the thief on the cross?" The Path People offer examples that don't answer that question (eg, pre-NT persons like Namaan, and people who had yet to hear about Jesus at the time they choose for illustration, like Cornelius!), and they need to, for therein lies the answer of whether obedience is required for salvation, or whether it is the inevitable result of salvation. They say, "A true conversion is marked by a point in obedience." But what if you die before that point? The Path People do not answer that question; rather, they dodge it by dismissing such conversions as "almost all, if not all, spurious." That's a cheap and insulting way to get out of the dilemma -- or rather, NOT get out of it. OK, how about this: A guy converts, then gets hit by a bus. They can't use impending death as an excuse to say that one's spurious. Think they'll answer the question now?
Their second "diabolical doctrine" is said to be, "Conversion is full salvation," and in essence, it is just the first one put another way. The third is, "Gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for today," and here, I have said that I am open to the idea that these gifts do still exist, but you need to prove they're in effect. Go to a hospital and heal people. Have those tongues analyzed by a linguist to show they're a real language and not babble. Naturally I want to ask if the Path People are doing any of this, but while they babble on about "carnal minds" and Satan deceiving people, all we get is anecdotes on toast: "I have seen many healings, and have personally witnessed them with others. I have had many visions, as Joel said believers would have, most of which have been fulfilled. Several people I know have had dreams and visions, which came to pass. Prophecies, many of them, have been fulfilled, with more to come." Oh really? Documentation, please? And while they're at it, they need a prophecy to let them know that Mark 16:17-18 isn't original to Mark.
They demand an argument for the gifts passing away....I have that (below), but if they can collect a few verified healings or tongues, I'll be open to change my mind. I won't be holding my breath.
The fourth "diabolical doctrine" is, "There are no apostles and/or prophets today." Yeah, OK. Once again, Path People: If you've got prophets, show me they can do their stuff. They're all on about how prophets aren't "found within the confines of established religion," speak only when God says to, etc etc etc -- but where are they, and what are their credentials -- and are they willing to step up for a Deuteronomic test that means stones in your Fruit of the Looms if you fail?
That there might still be apostles is less questionable. As they say, an apostle is one sent, and theoretically that could be many people in many roles today. But this isn't as big a deal as claiming to be a prophet with an ear to God's mouth.
The last ones for today, Diabolical Doccy #5: "The Spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit are different or two entities," and #6, "God is three persons." I already noted in prior entries that the Path People know as much about hypostatic theologies as they do about Japanese recipes for escargot, so there's no need to say more on this one; the only ones "confused" here are the Path People.
In close, though, it's amusing to see what their ultimate authority amounts to: Please, I know your arguments and I tell you they are all products of brain-soiling and quite easily explained away with truth from Scripture. I hear the voice of God. As Jesus said, My sheep hear My voice..." Do I hear introductions like, "This is the Father" or "This time it's the Son" or "Yesterday you heard from the Son but today I, the Holy Spirit, am speaking?" Or do I sometimes or always hear a chorus of three voices? No, I hear one voice as did all the prophets of God. He is one, not three.
Okay, fair enough.
Hey, Path People...I'm a prophet, and God just told me: