[Editor’s Note: For those myriad ostrich Christians who rarely pull their heads out of the sand for a quick gander at what’s going on in Christendom, and find themselves—miracle of all miracles—reading this article, nascent in this hour are several of what could be called “doctrine wars” going on in the Body of Christ. Our view is that such über-discussions, if you will, are a good thing, because for the most part, purporting Christians as a whole in these last days tend to be an apathetic, uninformed, and far from a studious lot, particularly when it comes to the study-requiring and tedious task of doctrine-formulation. As a whole, they seem to basically not much care about much of anything going on in the Church, the nation, or the entire world, for that matter, except maybe in the “Cliff Notes” version. Regrettably, statistics gathered by professional researchers have over and over proved this to be the case. One of these controversies between cessationists, primarily fundamentalist Baptists (albeit, certainly, other Evangelicals identify with that camp as well) who seemingly out of nowhere (though it does suspiciously coincide with reported precipitously declining Southern Baptist adherents) began an all-out assault against the continuationist camp, comprised chiefly by Pentecostals and Charismatics. The cessationist aggression has been spearheaded by prominent Baptist Pastor, John MacArthur, who authored a book, Strange Fire, and convened a mega-conference of the same name. Charismatic scholar, apologist, and author, Michael L. Brown, whose coming to prominence was augmented by his association with and contribution to the so-called, Brownsville Revival, that evolved primarily from his friendship with the now late evangelist, Steve Hill, with his book, Authentic Fire, along with the inveterate former pastor of Westminster Cathedral, R.T. Kendall, with his book, Holy Fire, are two at the top of the list of authors in terms of notoriety countering the unfounded claims of the cessation combatants. The other spiritual maelstrom is between an ever-increasing spate of recently emerging “hyper-grace” teacher-authors and a number of teacher-authors countering the hyper-grace theories with monographic treatises demonstrating the utter fallacy and falsity of the hyper-grace claims. With his book, Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message, Brown, perhaps, leads the latter cadre of apologists. At the core of the hyper-grace posits is the matter of the need for repentance that inures from what the Holy Spirit, in the Word of God, terms “conviction” and “godly sorrow.” Hyper-grace teachers adamantly assert there is no need for either, and that claims to the contrary are simply false and unbiblical. The following article, excerpted from a section of the same title of Brown’s book captures the essence of the counter-argument.]
Conviction vs. Condemnation
By Michael L. Brown, PhD
Unfortunately, some believers confuse conviction with condemnation, and the moment the Spirit speaks to them about something wrong in their lives, they feel hopeless and condemned, which only drives them further from the Lord. This is a lie from the enemy that must be exposed, and I stand with my colleagues in the hyper-grace camp when they seek to expose this destructive notion. Let the truth be shouted from the rooftops: the Holy Spirit never speaks condemnation to a son or daughter of God.
As I explained in my book Go and Sin No More, “If you are a born-again believer, a blood-washed child of God, you are not damned and doomed. God is not saying, ‘To hell with you! Depart from Me, you wicked one.’ Absolutely not! He is saying, ‘You are Mine! I accept you fully through My Son.’”
What then is the difference between conviction and condemnation? Conviction says to the believer, “You have sinned, so come to Me!” Condemnation says to the lost and damned sinner, “You are pronounced guilty. Away from Me!” Continue reading “Conviction Vs. Condemnation” »