Andrew Strom and Baptism

Andrew Strom has recently posted articles on his Revival School site about the importance of baptism in relation to salvation. They have inspired an “interesting” series of comments disagreeing with his teaching.

http://www.revivalschool.com/the-baptism-controversy-andrew-strom-comments/

http://www.revivalschool.com/shocking-bible-study-the-lost-foundations-by-andrew-strom/

The main arguments against seem to be based on the absence of references to baptism in selected verses, while ignoring all of those parts of scripture that DO refer to baptism.

This stands as a prime example of why beliefs should not be based on texts taken in isolation. Every individual bible verse does not contain all truth. The whole picture is given across the breadth of scripture.

In addition to that selectively blinkered attitude to scripture, some very old arguments are also trotted out: the examples of the thief on the cross, deathbed conversions, or conversions in a waterless desert are cited to argue against the need for baptism.

I’m quite confident however, that those making the arguments are NOT hanging on a cross, are NOT on their deathbed, and are NOT miles from any water; so really their arguments have no practical validity and are offered merely as a way of excuse.

Others opposing Strom accuse him of promoting baptismal regeneration. That accusation not only misconstrues what Strom has said, it also shows up the accusers’ ignorance of what “baptismal regeneration” is about: that is the act of baptism itself is the sole means by which salvation is attained.
That false doctrine is the reason why infant baptism came to be practiced; ensuring babies are made acceptable to heaven as soon as possible in case they die in infancy. That is NOTHING like what Strom is teaching.

I think a major reason for the misunderstanding is the way people think of salvation. They see it as a matter of crossing a line from unsaved to “saved” – and if they’ve crossed the line then everything else (such as baptism) isn’t important.
I believe a more accurate view to take is that salvation is a life’s journey during which, through faith IN Him and obedience TO Him, we are equipped and strengthened for service and to remain steadfast as believers. It’s not starting the race that’s important; it’s whether we keep running until the finish line; and in that we need all the help we can get.

The real issue is not whether baptism is needed for salvation – but whether baptism equips us for ongoing effective lives of discipleship until our race has been run.
To illustrate: we don’t need to have eaten food to enter this world alive as a new born baby – but our ongoing survival and efficiency as a living person depends on our consumption of food after our birth.

POLITICS is RUINING CHRISTIANITY by Andrew Strom

Andrew Storm has recently posted an article: POLITICS is RUINING CHRISTIANITY

The article drew some very predictable responses that effectively show the validity of his main point, that an ugly hybrid, mixing the gospel with patriotism, has been created. Sadly that hybrid has become a significant expression of religion in America and is spreading around the “Western” world.

Clearly, living in this current world we can’t divorce ourselves entirely from the effects of national politics, but there’s a difference between our testimony having an effect on the political atmosphere around us and the growing reality that political dogma is becoming the testimony of so many Christians.

Any political attitudes and responses of Christians should be motivated by the truth of the gospel, however it is clear that the reverse is increasingly the case: that understanding of the gospel is becoming more and more influenced by the politics of the day.

See Andrew’s article here:
http://www.revivalschool.com/politics-is-ruining-christianity-by-andrew-strom/

More anti-Body, anti-leader accusations…

I am so disgusted with the unscriptural “anti-Body” and “anti-leader” diatribes on this thread that I am shutting it down.

Blessings to all.

Andrew Strom

That is the closing comment of a recent thread on Andrew Storms Revival School blog. See the opening article and the following 214 comments here:  http://www.revivalschool.com/weve-lost-christianity-by-andrew-strom/

One of Strom’s most common complaints over recent months (maybe a year or two) is that too many followers of his blog are “anti-Body” and “anti-leader”. If that is the case, then maybe Strom can’t avoid some of the blame, having exploited the so-called “Out of Church Movement” for a considerable time before turning against those who he had labelled as “Out of Church”.

Like so many times in his Christian life, Strom added another “why I left the …… movement” (fill in the blank with the movement of choice) to his CV. Hopping from one “move” to another, Strom has never really settled to demonstrate his own recognition of leadership or body life. He has never really answered that unspoken question about his own relationship to leadership and the Christian body. Does HE practice what he preaches in this regard?

I know from personal experience how Strom will cut off anyone who tries to question his views, whether in comments on his forum, his blog or through personal email. Several people I know have been banned from his sites for making relevant comments and raising very reasonable questions.

Is this reluctance to accept counsel from others the same reason he has been unable to settle into any regular and consistent face to face fellowship for more than a short time? Is this why it seems he has been unable to practice what he preaches regarding leadership and body life?

I’ve approached Strom personally about his own leadership/fellowship situation and whether it meets the same expectations that he requires of others. He replied asking  “Since you don’t live anywhere near me, how do you claim to know what I am ‘not’ doing?”

I can assess his situation by what is NOT being said on his blog and what he will not say in personal emails. Add to this his past record and the example he has shown on his various sites as well as the  correspondence I’ve had with others who know him and have dealt with him in the past.

Maybe it’s time to set a public example and TELL his blog readers how he is fulfilling those things that he claims others are rejecting regarding leadership and body life, and tell them how it’s all working out so well.

Just a suggestion

“Out of Church Christians”: a book by Andrew Strom.

Andrew Strom did a lot to promote the term “Out of Church Christians” and yet, taking a look at the majority of people he places under this label within this book, we can see how wrong the use of the term is.

Strom’s label is steeped in the idea that “church” is a type of organised institution with a particular structure, meeting regularly to be addressed by an appointed leader. The people described in this book don’t see themselves as “out of church” – they see themselves as a more authentic expression of what church IS. They have departed the traditional and routine organisations with their weekly passive meetings to seek genuine Christian relationships that last longer than an hour or two a week in meetings where most of the time the most they see of others is the back of their head.

With this book and with the first incarnation of his revival school forum, Strom brought together hundreds (maybe thousands) of hopeful believers who for various reasons had left traditional churches. His resources gave them links to others around the world in similar situations. It was an exciting time – until Strom withdrew his apparent support of this large group of people, a move that broke up and scattered them around various new internet forums.

Strom has since grown seemingly weary of those who were once his hopeful supporters and dismisses them as being “anti-leader”, “anti-body” lone rangers. Maybe it’s time he revisited his own book and renewed his acquaintance with those who helped to give him a brief time of recognition as the “leader” he wants to recognised as. Sadly he wasn’t content with the group he helped to bring together.

see

http://www.amazon.com/The-OUT-OF-CHURCH-CHRISTIANS-ebook/dp/B004WDZST4/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

or to read online:

http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~revival/00-Out-Of-Church.html

In, Out and Roundabout.

87-1249563570xI1JI see the same old arguments are being made on “Revival School” about the need to be “in church” and the same kind of admonishment is being given to those who are “out of church”.

I have also seen the term “lone ranger” being used a time or two in that interaction.

One person involved in the discussion has never answered the question I posed to him a while ago: “what is more dangerous, a “lone ranger” Christian, or a lone ranger Christian who starts and leads his own “church”.?”

I asked this at a time when I knew that he had tried and failed to fit into a couple of existing churches and was trying to establish his own (a little easier to do when you have a sizeable family).

Overall that never-ending discussion is based around a wrong understanding of what “church” is – many never move on from the idea of an organised meeting in a recognised building. Yet many that ARE part of that “acceptable” face of church membership never meet with other believers out side of those meetings.

Personally I’m happy enough with what Jesus said about the situation when two or three gather in His name, whenever or wherever that may be.

 

___________

photo from

<a href=”http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=3576&picture=church-entrance”>Church Entrance</a> by Vera Kratochvil

Israel Replaced?

Andrew Strom’s blog has an interesting discussion that was intended to look at the validity or otherwise of replacement theology. Reading the article and the comments that follow it, I see a lot of confused and contradictory ideas being expressed. The issue is certainly one driven by ignorance, but considering scripture isn’t confused and contradictory, the ignorance must have a different source.

To me scripture couldn’t be clearer when it comes to the relationship between God and Israel. It is only through leaning on men’s traditions instead of searching the scriptures that this issue has become a point of often heated disagreement. Like so many other contentious issues, the solution is found in accepting what scripture ACTUALLY says instead of reinterpreting parts of it to fit a predetermined theological stance.

http://www.revivalschool.com/replacement-israel-the-church-andrew-strom/

I note that in one sense Strom is opposed to “replacement theology” but overall his view seems confused, typified by statements like this: “it is the CHURCH that is the `apple of God´s eye´ in the New Covenant era – not Israel.” Reading the biblical reference to the “apple of God’s eye” in context surely shows the statement refers to Israel and only Israel. (see Deuteronomy 32:9-11 and Zechariah 2)