King's Business - 1962-01

“ to give my life for MRA to save my country and the world.” Where is God in this transaction? No previous belief in God or faith in Christ seems necessary. One Group leader advised: “ Act as if there were a God and genuine belief in Him will follow.” But such “make- believe” is not Scriptural; the exact opposite is true, for we read in Hebrews 11:6: “ He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” To his “ Four Absolutes,” Frank Buchman, who was fond of alliteration, added ten “C’s,” five for sinners, five for “ life-changers.” Dr. H. A. Ironside has analyzed well these requirements in these words:* “ Dr. Buchman has set forth two sets of what he calls, ‘The Five Cs,’ which, if acted upon, will com­ pletely change the life. The first group is in regard to sinners: Conviction, Contrition, Confession, Conversion, Continuance. The other five are in regard to personal workers preparing to deal with others. They are: Confi­ dence, Confession, Conviction, Conversion, Continuance. “ In the first place, the conviction of which they speak is not the conviction on which the New Testament in­ sists. Their conviction is that of wrongfulness indulged in, the wrongfulness of sex sins, sins of pride, sins of jealousy, sins of hypocrisy, and dishonesty. The Word of God, when speaking of the coming of the Holy Spirit, has not a word to say about these sins, bad as they are, but the Lord Jesus says, When He is come, He shall convict of sin, and of what sin? Of sin, because they be­ lieve not on Me. My friend, you might confess all the vile, corrupt, filthy, wicked, abominable sins that your memory can bring to mind, and after you had confessed them all, you would not be one inch nearer salvation that before, because all of those sins were judged when Jesus died upon the tree, and the one great damning sin that will keep you out of heaven, if- it is not repented of, is the sin of rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ. I have never yet heard of that sin being confessed in a Buchman housegroup. It may have been; but over and over again I have asked people who have attended them the ques­ tion, Did you ever know of a man standing to his feet in one of these house - parties and saying, ‘I am here to confess that up to the present moment I have been a Christ-rejector?’ and they have always said, ‘No; that is never touched on.’ Not a word of the sin of rejecting Christ, not a word of the necessity of trusting Him alone for salvation, not a word about the importance of con­ fessing sin to God, not a word of turning to Him in re­ pentance, not one syllable about the precious blood that cleanses! “The second ‘C’ is Contrition. We need not think it is a special evidence of the grace of God working in the soul when a man is sorry for his sins. There are tens of thousands of men in penitentiaries who are sincerely sor­ ry. Unsaved men can be very contrite and yet never tum to Christ, never trust in Him and be washed from their sins in His BJood. “ The third ‘C’ is Confession. Men have been con­ fessing their sins all down through the centuries, con­ fessing to priests and to one another, but no priest, no human being, has the power to put away sin. There is only One who can do that. When David’s heart and mind were wracked with grief and sorrow because of his offence, he said, ‘I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin’ (Ps. 32:5). And we read in I John 1:9, ‘If we confess our sins, .He is faithful and just to ♦Used by permission of Loizeaux Bros., 19 West 21st St., New York. From "The Oxford Group Movement" by H. A. Ironside 1«

forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unright-, eousness.’ “ The fourth ‘C’ is Conversion, and immediately you will challenge me and say, ‘Surely there could be no conversion apart from the divine work of Christ in the soul.’ Yes; there has been many a conversion that was not a work of the Spirit. During forty-two years of de­ voting my life to the ministry of the Word of God, I have seen a great many people whose natural consciences have been aroused; they have been troubled about their bad behaviour. Some of them were bound by one or more sins, and I have seen them come to a mourners’ bench and weep and sob and ask for deliverance , there may be a conversion which is simply a natural thing, a great stirring of emotions, bringing a man to a psycholo­ gical crisis in his life where he makes up his mind he is not going to do that thing any more. That kind of con­ version is not the work of the Holy Spirit of God. Buchman adds a fifth ‘C’ which he calls Continu­ ance. I may say that our Lord Jesus Christ makes con­ tinuance an evidence of reality, and so I am glad to ac­ cept that Ijere. If there has been Holy Ghost conversion, definite repentance for sin, true faith in Christ, it will be manifested by continuance. But a man might continue in a mere outwardly changed life without ever having put his trust in the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The trouble with the whole system is that it has no doctrinal background. It results eventually in faith in yourself rather than faith in a Saviour who once hung on a cross of shame, crucified for our sins.” Such terms as these “ C’s” are only words unless they are given a Scriptural interpretation. Confession and Sharing Reference has been made to the public and private confession of sins which has been the most criticized tech­ nique of the Group. Sherwood Sunderland Day, an ar­ dent follower, explained it: “ Confession to God alone is often not good.enough in that it may cost nothing and may be merely the confession to a subjective picture of God which the person has built up for him or herself. In such a case, what actually happens is that the person does not confess at all — there is no real pain and repentance —it is an easy way of training to ease one’s conscience. Confessing to another person always costs and thus is a test of our honesty in hating sin.” * This is not Scriptural confession, for we read in I John 1:7, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” and in I John 1:9: “ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Confession must be made to God who is the only One who can forgive us. If we have wronged another person, and it is possible to acknowledge our sin to that one, such admission is in accordance with God’s Word. But we are not to rehearse our sins nor dwell upon what God has put away as far as east is from west, and buried in the depths of His forgetfulness. Russell said of confession: “ Ideally such confession. . . should be made direct to God without the need of human assistance. But in practical experience, and .just because we are not ideal, instance after instance could be quoted to show that there are very many who need the help of sharing with another, so that they may come directly face to face with God . . . For them Sharing is a practical necessity . . . From its earliest days the Christian church had been well aware of the value of such con­ fession.” What Russell failed to state was that such con­ fession to man led to the confessional box and a thous­ and other abuses that made the Reformation necessary. ♦From "The Principles of the Group” S. S. Day. THE KING'S BUSINESS

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