Musings 95

They love or hate God, just as He appears friendly or unfriendly to them. When He smiles upon them in His providence, and grants them the desires of their hearts, they are well pleased with Him. They rejoice that God is, that He governs the world, and that He fills the earth with His goodness. They have no consciousness of the least enmity against Him, but are disposed to speak well of Him, and give thanks at the remembrance of His mercies. This was the disposition of the Israelites at the side of the Red Sea . They could joyfully join in celebrating the praises of God, for their great and signal deliverance. They sang His praise with gladness of heart. And all other sinners would have done the same under the same circumstances. Their selfish hearts are always pleased with the favors God bestows upon them, and they love Him so long as they think He loves them. And they are no less pleased with spiritual, than temporal favors. When they imagine God is disposed to forgive their sins and admit them to heaven, they will sensibly rejoice in the hope of eternal life. In a word, they will always love God while they believe He loves them, and intends to do them good. But on the other hand, whenever He appears opposed to them, their hearts are opposed to Him. Their selfish hearts dispose them to hate God Himself, when He appears to stand in the way of their happiness. This was exemplified in the Israelites, who sang His praises, but soon forgot His works. As soon as they perceived that He was a holy, sin-hating and sin-revenging God, disposed to destroy them for their unholy, selfish affections, they turned against Him, murmured, complained, and expressed their bitter opposition to Him, by saying, He has brought us into the wilderness to destroy us. The selfish hearts of sinners always will dispose them to love or hate God, just as they view Him friendly or unfriendly to them. Nathaniel Emmons, 1745-1840

This statement by Emmons, if understood in its biblical background, destroys most of the modern versions of Christianity. The vast amount of preaching today, whether from Arminian or professing Reformed circles, is focused on getting a person to make a choice from the selfish hearts of men. All that a person will do or can do is to make a choice based on self-love and self-centeredness. We can plead with men and women until our faces are blue, but they will not love God based on who He is until God grants them a new heart which loves Him. The problem (or a main one and the problem in this context) with modern professing Christianity is that it moves and operates by appealing to the heart of man’s self-love. The “gospel” is said to be that God loves everybody and wished for all to be saved and as such it depends on whether man will believe that or not. Yet Scripture is so clear that even sinners love those who love them, so as long as a man believes that God loves him that man will love God. This means that if we tell the unregenerate man that loves himself as his chief and primary love that God loves him, that man will love the god that loves him and so think that he loves God.

As long as things go relatively well for a man who believes something of a god that loves him and is somewhat in control, that man will love the god of his own imagination and may even become quite religious. When one thinks about it, a person can be very fervent in religion to a god he loves because it is himself that he loves so fervently. In other words, a person can be fervent in religion out of a fervent self-love and all of his theology, Bible study, prayers, and so on be done with no love for the true God and be done out of nothing but a strong love for self.

We can see this over and over in Scripture and in those around us. Many people are apparently converted and have great joy and become fervent, but they begin to slip away as time goes on. Some people return to the world for the pleasures of it while others have hard things happen to them and they don’t have a root of Christ in them to weather the storm. This is much like the parable of the soils where the seed was planted but for various reasons many people drift away.

In our day the pulpits are filled with false prophets who breathe out religious words and get many to make a choice for and say a prayer to a false god. These people are told that God loves them and just wants them to make a choice or say a prayer, so they do and as such they are deceived into thinking that they are truly converted. Other false prophets get people to agree to a creed and to live externally moral lives while they trust in the sacraments, yet these people are really trusting in themselves and a god they think loves them as well. Until a person begins to understand something of the nature of his or he own sinfulness, that person will never know what it means to repent and never know what true conversion is. This great deception of the “god of love” in our day is such that it deceives many sinners into loving a god that they think loves them. There are many false prophets in our day with few who seem to understand that a person must be turned from a heart that loves self to a heart that truly loves the true God.

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2 Responses to “Musings 95”

  1. Chuck Says:

    Those who perpetuate the repeat the words of this prayer theology are indeed false prophets. They may seem to be very fine fellows; may seem to be zealous for the conversion of souls; may seem to believe and trust in the Bible, but they are deceivers of souls and their “converts” go to hell. You shall know them by their fruits. The fruits of these false prophets (who may seem very nice people) is a church filled with ignorant, self-absorbed people who use God for their own selfish purposes.

  2. Richard Smith Says:

    It would seem that you had read the article by Floyd (that is, your words sure seem to describe what he is commending) before I commented on it. I am sure he is a fine fellow and seems zealous for the conversion of souls, but the Bible speaks of a zeal without knowledge as well. Evangelism as Floyd describes it seems to be exactly what you term as “ignorant, self-absorbed people who use God for their own selfish purposes.” Let us pray that God will deliver us from that sort of evangelism which leads to dunking the unregenerate in water and declaring them to be eternally saved, though they will be counted as baptized in the numbers and pastors can go brag about how many people that they have baptized.

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