Monday, July 28, 2014

That Controversial Sermon

In my previous posting I mentioned my desire to transcribe "Rethinking My Position On Conditional Time Salvation", a sermon preached by Elder Thomas Mann in 2002. Someone kindly emailed and offered to do it in exchange for an audio copy. So it is with great delight that I will shortly do something I have wanted to do for the longest time, which is share a message that all "Primitive" Baptists of the Conditionalist faction need to read. Before I myself had ever listened to Mann's sermon the Lord had already opened my eyes to see the many errors of the time salvation heresy, yet it was through his message that I was further confirmed in what I had come to see.  I was given much comfort in knowing that I was not alone in my findings, having felt a little bit like Elijah up to that point.

However, I cannot possibly post this sermon without making an important preliminary comment.  It is my intention to review the sermon afterwards in a separate posting, yet I think I need to inform the reader at the outset of something extremely important to bear in mind. It is obvious to me that Mann is more opposed to the teaching, as he should be, than what he really seems to convey.  Throughout his message he intentionally used soft language, which is of course more apparent when the sermon is heard, and not simply read.  This showed good Christian love on his part, but was wise for another reason as well.  When you're dealing with people who are absolutely ingrained (trust me on this) in their way of thinking, it is better to proceed in such a manner. He also raised some very elementary points, pointing out some doctrinal facts that the Christian community answers with a collective “No duh!”.  This is because the heresy against which he is preaching attacks the very heart of the Christian life denying that God’s people will most assuredly come to know the God of the Bible and have faith in His Son. So do not be alarmed, reader, if you read something that you have never really questioned, for the people who Mann is addressing do question it.  If you are not familiar with this system you probably will be amazed, for instance, that Mann must pause to point out that idolatry is not an evidence of prior regeneration, for the time salvation paradigm doesn’t always necessarily agree! Mann wanted his hearers to understand that the very basic facts of being a Christian are attacked by this Christ dishonouring system.

Because Mann used such language I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in those few places where I do not totally agree with what he states.  I think it clear that he wanted to slowly lead his congregation into the subject.  To come right out and immediately bring the thunder might have done more harm than good. On top of that, he states toward the beginning of his message that he would like to continue this discussion over the next few weeks.  It is highly possible that he would elaborate or clear up some of those places which I thought were a little iffy based on this single sermon.  Maybe he didn’t wanna go too deep in his first message to the people.

It is tough for me to say how big of an impact Mann’s sermon had when it was delivered in 2002.  Living in northwest Florida, I had little contact with the so-called “liberal movement” (generally more north of me) so I know not how much of a catalyst it was in helping it along. I can only say that I heard his name occasionally mentioned in a negative way through idle conversation, and had even seen some of his quotations referenced in an article by Elder Michael Gowens addressing the matter of current tensions within the denomination. Nevertheless, Mann brings out some of the major points where conditional time salvation fails and is uprooted by a proper portrait of eternal salvation itself.  For that reason, it is a beneficial read for those who have been duped by this antinomian novelty.

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