“I See That Hand!” Theology

Written by cycleguy on December 9th, 2010

While I was living  in Sandusky, OH (yeah…the home of Cedar Point), a young man and his fiance (soon to be his wife) began attending the church I pastored.  Matt was a school teacher but he had a real heart to preach.  Eventually, he decided to attend Gordon-Conwell in Massachusetts.  Before he left I spent the summer meeting with him once a week (usually over an extended lunch…of course) 🙂 discipling him as part of his pre-seminary work.  I had a fantastic time doing so and realized all over again why I like the one-on-one approach.  I also began receiving G-C’s magazine.  The most recent issue had an article about Pastor PoSan Ung- a native Cambodian, a survivor of the Cambodian holocaust,  a G-C graduate, and pastor of Living Fields Church in Lynn, MA, a largely Cambodian community where Buddhism is the faith of choice.   Pastor Ung and the Living Fields Church have done a phenomenal job of reaching out to the Cambodian community, as well as others.  I would like to share some of what he says:

Many times, we just leave it at people are saved.  They make a certain profession and they say ‘yes’ to a set of questions and that’s it.  I don’t think so.  God has given us a greater privilege to greater things.  And that is to witness transformation…to be disciple-makers through the power of God who works through the Word, works through the Church, sending us out….Speaking into people’s lives is not only sharing a prayer need, but saying, “how are you doing with that specific struggle, and what do the Scriptures say regarding it?”…Learning that takes a real understanding of the reality of mercy and righteousness.  God loved us and saved us in His mercy, but He saved us for His glory…He doesn’t merely save us from hell and leave us where we are.

There is more but that should say what needs to be said.  I think Pastor Ung is absolutely, 100% right!  There has  been talk on some blogs lately about the “easy-believism” (that is what John MacArthur called it) of “just say this prayer and you are saved.”   I gotta tell ya!  I am on that like white on rice.  IMHO any pastor worth his salt doesn’t really give a rip about how many hands went up or how many cards were signed (thus making the numbers look better).  What I believe God wants to see is obedience and  lifestyle changes brought about by the power of the Holy Spirit working in that believer’s life.  I am not knocking those who “accept Christ.”  I am all for that!  But I would much rather see people showing their conversion by living out their faith.   Signing a card is one thing;  serving is better.   Raising a hand is good; righteous living is better.

What are your thoughts on this?  It is sort of hard to disagree with what Pastor Ung said but was there anything that sort of stuck out to you?  I would like to hear from you.


24 Comments so far ↓

  1. jasonS says:

    Phew, and God has had to change me so that I would be able to speak into people’s lives. It’s really a matter of love. God brought them to this place so I have a responsibility to care for them and love them enough to speak. They then have the opportunity to embrace or reject that love, but that’s not my call (Sounds so easy written like this).

    All that to say, I’m with you, Bill! I want to see people’s entire lives transformed and reflecting the glory of God’s grace and love. Thank you for the encouragement today.

    • cycleguy says:

      Love your heart Jason. Love that you want to speak life into people. Reckon we can all stand to be changed. 🙂 I know I can. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Craig says:

    I’m with you Bill. It was the easy believing Gospel that led me to share “only pray the prayer” with so many.

    And now I know that even though we say “accept him as Saviour AND LORD” – we leave out the Lord part in our evangelism too often.


    Thank you Bill

    • cycleguy says:

      Craig; you got the point without question. There is more to being a Christian than saying a prayer or signing a card or raising a hand. thanks for your comment.

  3. Jason says:

    My thoughts on your post?

    “Boom goes the dynamite!”

  4. lindaM says:

    Hi Bill,
    What stands out to me is “He saved us for His glory” in Pastor PoSan Ung’s quote in your blog post today.

    It takes a stepping out by the believer to begin teaching ‘on the fly so to speak’ what God’s word says concerning how to live and for the believer to speak the wisdom that the word of God has for all people.

    Young people especially, have never really heard what the Bible says. They may have been getting a very different perspective from their friends or family.
    I saw today when I was researching the internet that there is a day designated for believers to ‘not be ashamed’ of our faith and belief in Jesus Christ. To be open about our Christian belief.

    These are bold steps that God asks of the believer. To witness and testify to his goodness and greatness.

    Any light that we have within us we need to start sharing and giving it out in as many places as we find ourselves.

    God’s word to the churches in the book of Revelation says this to those who overcome,

    ‘I will give to you the right to the tree of life’
    ‘You will not be hurt by the second death’
    ‘You will be given a white stone with a new name written on it’
    ‘you will receive authority over the nations’
    ‘I will never blot out your name from the book of life’
    ‘I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God’
    ‘I will give him the right to sit with me on my throne’

    Hallelujah! God is good, God is great. That’s the message that we have.

  5. Larry Hehn says:

    I appreciate the call to be disciple-makers. It’s not about getting someone to recite a prayer and them leaving them on their own. It’s about being one body of many parts, encouraging each other along the way.

    • cycleguy says:

      I agree wholeheartedly with you Larry. Gotta wonder what God thinks of our half-hearted attempts at what we call Christianity. Well, I guess I do know (Rev.2) Thanks for the comment 7 sorry it took so long to respond.

  6. Ike says:

    Zechariah 7:9 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, 10 do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” 11 But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. 12 They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the Lord of hosts.

    As you read the end of the Old Testament, watch for how often the Lord challenges His people to display justice in their dealings with each other. By this time in history, God’s people had become rascals. You can see in Zech. 7:9-10 that God expects His people to display a heart that has been radically transformed. Notice how much God cares for those we would call less fortunate. Verse 10 lists four social groups that had no rights and no real opportunity for success in society. God loved us enough that He changed us so we could love others. When Christ saved us, He saved us to be the kinds of people listed. Thankfully, He also gave us ears that could hear His instruction (cf. v. 12).

  7. Michael says:

    You are right. God wants people who live a lifestyle of obedience. He doesn’t want quasi-Christ followers. He wants people who are fully devoted and committed. Thanks for sharing that quote Bill.

  8. Jim F. says:

    I am with you – I would rather see someone live it out than raise a hand or sign a card any day!

    Good post!

  9. “We” talk about how Jesus changes lives, and we want to attract people to that by implying that 30 seconds at an “altar” will change their life 180 degrees.

    The CHANGE in our lives comes as we follow Jesus.

    There’s also a problem connected to this that I call “Paul Washer Syndrome”. We look to the 30 seconds at the altar for all our security, rather than looking to Jesus, and this causes us to never be satisfied that we “got it right”. Thus, you get people who have been Christians for years becoming convinced that they weren’t even saved because they didn’t “say the prayer” right. In my opinion, it’s more a matter of getting old deacons to follow Jesus TODAY than it is trying to “get them saved”.

    That’s a very shallow look at my very deep thoughts on all this, but my thoughts aren’t final or even necessarily convictions. Just thoughts.

    • cycleguy says:

      Bernard: I certainly agree with your assessment. So many take too much stock in the “conversion” i.e hands raised or cards filled out or how can their numbers look better that they forget the importance of daily living. Not sure who Paul is. I love you statement about the deacons. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  10. Paul Washer is a Reformed Baptist evangelist who seems to have made quite a ministry out of convincing church people that they are not truly saved. I believe he’s a good man and may have helped some folks find true salvation, but having been through the torture of that uncertain (not at his hand but of the same mentality) I’m not totally sure where I come down. He makes me very uncomfortable because I simply cannot abide the thought of living in that terrible uncertainty again. At the same time, I think he means well and there is truth to much of what he preaches, but there seems to be a large number of people “in his wake” that have said “I found out I was never really saved, even though I had been in church all my life!” That bothers me, because it smacks of victimization and fear mongering. Many consider him one of “the great preachers” but I personally am uncomfortable with what seems to be a trademark direction.

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks Bernard. I think one of my commenters likes him a lot. I find that the assurance of salvation is one of the cornerstones of my faith and what I preach. I prefer to preach and teach and believe in assurance. I didn’t quite have what you experience but I did have a pastor who was always pushing “rededication.” I cringe when I think of how I was duped into that and not told how to avoid feeling like I had to walk forward all the time. Thanks for the insight into what his ministry is.

  11. Ani says:

    Thank you, thank you , thank you.