deny the gospel by deeds

I mentioned earlier that I am listening to Kevin Bauder’s sessions at International Baptist College. I still recommend them to you in order to understand Bauder’s thinking. As I listen, I find myself mostly in agreement with his exegesis, but I do have significant differences with him on several non-exegetical points. I’ll talk more about that later.

Tonight, I’d like to comment on a point Bauder makes several times in the lectures, but doesn’t appear to elaborate on. (I am almost finished with lecture 8 of 10 lectures.)

The point is this: It is possible to deny the gospel by false doctrine and also by false practice. A few references in support of this teaching:

NAU Titus 1:16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

NAU 1 John 2:4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;

NAU 1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Clearly, Kevin Bauder is right in saying that one can deny the gospel by deeds. The Bible says it!

Recently, I have been complaining about the commendations (with disclaimers) that some want to offer for Mark Driscoll. In response, one commenter said:

From what I know of Driscoll (admittedly not a whole lot), he holds to the vital doctrines of orthodox Christianity (like those found in the BJU creed). His crass style is crass. I would warn against his style and sometimes outlandish remarks…

Perhaps Driscoll holds to the vital doctrines of orthodoxy and perhaps he doesn’t. In one of Bauder’s lectures, he makes the point that people are sometimes inconsistent with their own stated beliefs (I think this is in lecture 6 or 7). He was describing situations where someone might espouse a particular doctrine (even a false doctrine), yet in their lives act as if motivated by the opposite doctrine. In other words, human beings are often incredibly inconsistent. They can say they believe orthodox doctrines, but they can actually live as if they (in the deepest recesses of their hearts) deny them.

Even more than that, the Scriptures cited above tell us that men can actually deny the faith and deny Christ by their deeds, not just seem to.

What kinds of deeds deny the faith? What kinds of deeds deny Christ?

We might think that such deeds as adultery, sodomy, murder and such like are among the top ten in this hit parade. But what about the context of Titus 1.16, for example:

NAU Titus 1:12 One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.

Something as ‘small’ as gluttony is, perhaps, a deed that can evidence denial of the faith? Impurity denies the faith? (Like impure speech and jokes about Christ? Does it or doesn’t it?)

1 Tim 5.8 quoted above says that the sin of failing to provide for one’s family denies the faith.

Here’s Jude (not v. 3!):

NAU Jude 1:4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Those “creeps” turned the grace of God into what? Licentiousness. What is that? Here’s a little bit from Thayer:

unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence

Now consider this comment from the Steve Camp post and comment thread I referenced in my earlier posts.

I am a former Acts 29 church pastor which pulled our church out because of several things which gave me grave concern reagrding Driscoll and his group.

Forst [First] there is the “sensual” language–or language which is sexual or referring to sexaul things. This permeates his ministry even though Scriputre teaches this to be the fruit of the flesh (Gal 5:19) and that which makrks false teachers (2Pe 2:1-2, 18).

There is a ‘second’ and ‘third’ in this fellow’s comments, but I have no way of verifying the accuracy (this is the internet you know…) But we have ample evidence of the truth of this first point. Driscoll’s tendency to refer to sexuality and sensuality is well documented.

I presume that no fundamentalist would dare to invite Driscoll to speak at a conference (but John Piper does). I presume that no fundamentalist would dare to encourage his church people go hear Driscoll speak (or would they?).

But. Are today’s fundamentalists prepared to say that Driscoll’s stated creed notwithstanding, he is someone we should mark and avoid?

NAU Romans 16:17 ¶ Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.

KJV Romans 16:17 ¶ Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

And if we are willing to say that, what does marking and avoiding look like?



  1. I’m planning on listening to the Bauder sessions. I usually read his columns when they publish them. Based on the main points of his outline, I have read some of what he has written on this. He rightly makes definition of church a basis for separation, by dealing quite a few days with that.

    I listened to the first half of the first lecture, and one thing that bothers me with Bauder’s presentation, and now many others like him, is that he makes separation sound more difficult than it is—he wants us just to grapple with these concepts, essentially, consider doing some separation. It seems to target the young fundamentalists, who don’t like hearing anything dogmatic, so rather than giving specifics and even mentioning names, you offer concepts worth considering. With that level of confidence and conviction, I wouldn’t see separation as too much of a necessity, perhaps only a tertiary issue.

    On the practice/deeds part of your post, I see many fundamentalists as nullifying separation over behavior based on uncertainty of meaning that dovetails with postmodernism and the emergent church. They will gladly separate over certainty, KJVO/skirts on women, etc., but they embrace uncertainty. We’ve got to give Piper a pass because he just sees these practice issues differently than us and we’ve got to give him some latitude for application of these passages. “We’ve got to look past these secondary issues to the gospel content alone as the basis for unity.”

  2. You are right that Bauder makes it complicated. The first 5 and a half of the ten lectures are on “drawing the circle” as Bauder calls it. He doesn’t get to separation, really, until lecture 7. A minor touch in 6, near the end (as I recall), but he is building his case step by step.

    As I said, I agree in the main with his exegetical comments and doctrinally. But his presentation is tedious. Even he must have noticed eyes glazing over at one point, he mentions it several times.

    I wonder if this is on purpose, or just subliminal?

    Sometimes I think we get a real elitism among these guys, essentially instructing the people to “leave it to the priests”, its too complicated for the likes of you. Bauder appears to love using long words, Hebrew and Greek, etc. For what purpose? I used to get marked down by Mike Barrett in particular for using long words in a paper. He was after training preachers, not scholars. I think there is a difference.

    I’ll have more to come on this later. There are serious differences with some of Bauder’s assertions.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3