Archive for July, 2012

Mark T. Barclay and Modalism: The Man outside Ecclesia by Ken Mattson

man-with-l-for-loser_1Those that permit the Holy Spirit to be their Father. Those who will allow the Holy Spirit, remember he’s not a third Person, he is God made up of three parts just like…my son Josh and his soul is not some body else and his spirit is not someone else, and so I got to decipher…….Now there’s not three people, it’s just one Josh three parts. There’s not three Gods, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, he’s just one. He’s just got three parts. So this great Holy Spirit wants to father you.”Jesus, the Command Giver – Mark T. Barclay

In one of my last posts I wrote, “one of the striking realities in both Barclay’s books, teachings and worship services is the lack of Trinitarianism and it’s easy to see why with such devastatingly definitions as we see above. In one single swoop Barclay dismantles biblical orthodoxy and the chain reaction to other biblical doctrines is cataclysmic.” [1]

After writing that I started wondering how cataclysmic this heresy was in the life of Mark T. Barclay’s church, because as we seen in other post the guy does not understand basic Christianity. So in this post I will look at the destructiveness of Barclay’s denial of the Christian orthodox teaching of the Trinity and how it affects worship in his services, but first I want to take a little time an talk about worship.

Christianity is a true religion and a revealed faith or in other words it is a religion of revelation. Our knowledge of God does not come through anything human made, but it comes because God reveals himself. The bible is a book of revelation and we see God’s self-revelation in the Trinitarian economy of Salvation.

The doctrine of the Trinity states that God is one, yet in some mysterious sense also three: Father, Son and Holy Spirit and the work of redemption is one in which all three act together, the Father purposing it, the Son securing it and the Spirit applying it.[2] Thus, against all heresies the Church has stated the Divine Trinity is the full revelation of God.

So what is the practical outworking of the doctrine of the Trinity? 1. That Christian worship first must be governed by God’s revelation of Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 2. True worship is grounded in that truth God is Triune and that true worship must be centered in the Trinity. This means that in a worship service, the contents of the service must be Trinitarian.

What I mean by the contents of the service is what is called liturgy. No church is without liturgy, even churches who say they have no liturgy do have liturgy and usually it is a bad liturgy born out of practices done over time. This is why the Church through out history has endeavored to be faithful to Trinitarian worship in its liturgy by singing the Doxology[3] which is a Trinitarian hymn and reciting the Apostle’s and the Nicene creeds which are Trinitarian confessions.[4]

The outworking of Trinitarian worship is accomplished by the liturgical practice of the administration of the Word and Sacraments or what are know as ‘means of grace’ in Protestantism. The Church is most truly the Church as it celebrates both Baptism and Holy Communion which is the Eucharist.[5] Thus, worship takes its sharpest focus in the Eucharistic celebration.

The Eucharist does this precisely, because when receiving the Church participates in the life of the Trinity. Believers are spiritually nourished feeding upon Christ crucified and all the benefits of his death are received by faith. The Second Person of the Trinity is truly spiritually present via God the Holy Spirit by faith to the believer in the Eucharist celebration. Moreover, the benefits of Christ’s redeeming work on the cross are given by the gracious work of the Spirit and received by faith alone. [6]

So how does this contrast with Barclay’s heretical teachings on the Divine Trinity? The contrast is so drastic that it brings devastation to biblical worship on a seismic scale. The flood of false teaching that sweeps through Barclay’s services as in his books can only be likened to the raging waves of a tsunami, pillaging Trinitarian worship wherever it goes.

Barclay’s entire liturgical focus in his service is the tithe and multiple offerings. His services do not culminate in the celebration of Christ’s life, vicarious death and resurrection celebrated in the Holy Eucharist. Worship though, culminates in heretical practices born out of the Prosperity Gospel on sowing and reaping of money, which takes center stage in Mark T. Barclay’s services.

The true New Testament Church is not a tithing Church, but it is a Eucharistic Church, worshiping one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. When Barclay teaches on the Trinity it is heresy by describing the Godhead as parts and not Persons and teaching their eternal names were changed.[7] His teachings on the Trinity are akin to Modalism and this has devastating repercussions both to the whole of Christian doctrine and to the life of the Church as we have seen above. This is because doctrine should never be seen as an abstraction to Christian life.

In the life of the Trinity, relational terms given in the bible are not accidental, but they are permanent features in the life of God. The Son is always the Son and the Father is always the Father and same with the Spirit. Simply put, the Triune Jehovah is eternal and as we are taught in scripture does not change. “Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is from eternity……..and everything to the contrary must be rejected as heretical.” Thomas Aquinas

Mark T. Barclay states that he is considered a leader among other leaders and even in one publication calls himself a global leader, which should be considered frightening. I think that the Antichrist will do the same thing, because he also will be a liar. When Barclay falsely teaches on the Trinity it is heresy and it is not by the Spirit of God, but it is by the spirit of error. Scripture is super clear where all false teaching comes from and Barclay like other heretics stands outside the Church.[8]

Lastly, I want to end with the Pentecostal view of the Eucharist, because I can most likely guess that Barclay is not teaching this, given that he has not studied Christian history.

I’ve always chuckled when I read about Pentecostal history and Barclay’s shaming discourse against Calvinism at Richard Jolliff’s church. I have ‘chuck’old, because it is like a satire. [9] Here the ‘theologian’ condemns Calvinism, yet John Calvin’s fingerprint can be seen in key doctrines in Pentecostalism, such as Ecclesiology, Sanctification and especially the Lord’s Supper. He not only condemns Calvinism by lies, but he also inadvertently speaks against his own tradition being a Pentecostal/charismatic.

P.S. Mark, the next time you salute, please make your hand into an ‘L’ shape on your forehead.

Pentecostal teaching of on the Eucharist

The book Foundations of Pentecostal Theology

The elements, when received by faith, mediate to the believer the spiritual benefits of Christ’s Death, held by Calvin and the majority of the reformers. The elements in themselves are only tokens, but when received by faith, real communion with the Lord is experienced and the benefits of that communion may be mediated. This seems to be the more scriptural view.” (See 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:27, 28, 29.) “Foundations of Pentecostal Theology” written by Foursquare stalwarts Nathaniel Van Cleave and Guy Duffield

The book Pentecostal Sacraments, 2010

A Pentecostal theology implies that the Spirit moves upon the sacramental elements which become a “means of grace” in the context of the worshipping church as a Trinitarian fellowship.”

Sacraments are charismatic by nature. Sacraments are spiritual graces and those who participate in faith encounter the “real presence” of Christ through the Holy Spirit.”

Wesley held to a Pneumatic view of the ‘real presence’ in Holy Communion, similar to John Calvin.”

Quotes taken from “Pentecostal Sacraments, Encountering God at the Alter.” Written by Daniel Tomberlin, 2010.

References

1. Mark T. Barclay and Modalism. https://thetheologyofmarktbarclay.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/mark-t-barclay-and-modalism/

2. Knowing God by J.I. Packer.

3. Doxology: Praise God from whom all blessings flow;Praise Him, all creatures here below;Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost;Amen

4. Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds, http://www.creeds.net/ Also, in faithfulness to the Trinity, the Church baptizes in the Trinitarian formula.

5. This is a beautiful passage, “We are one body because we partake of one loaf” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17). “The church can be found in all its fullness wherever the eucharist is being celebrated”. Eastern Orthodox John Zizioulas’s theology on the Being as Communion taken from Introduction to Ecclesiology by Pentecostal Theologian Veli Matti Karkkainen, page 101.

6. Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XXIX Of The Lord’s Supper. http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/  Also noted in the bloggers mind is Martin Luther’s Marks of the Church, which is also a Protestant view. 

7. “In heaven Jesus was not known as Jesus, he was known as the word. In Genesis Chapter 1 it defines the Trinity of God, the three parts of God. You are made by the way after his image, three parts. There was a Creator, he was later called Jehovah, there was his word, later on when he come here. God said you call this baby, not the Word, but Jesus which really means Yahshua…. which really means the savior….So this Word in heaven he was the Word and then of course the bible talks about the Spirit of God there hovering over the creation of God. So there was the Creator he spoke through the power of his word……now these aren’t three different people. We teach them sorta, kinda almost as three different people for the sake of teaching. Now that Creator, Word and Spirit for the sake of man understanding and relating was changed by God, you can read it in the Scriptures, I know you know this, forgive me this so elementary. But it was changed to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father, the Creator, the Son of God really the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us….and then the Spirit, the great Holy Spirit……So you are three parts right after the image of God.” Mark T. Barclay, Jesus, the command giver. http://www.cfaith.com

8. 1 John 4:1-6, also look at the warning to false teachers like Barclay. Notice it says falsehood. If there is any sin that is the king of falsehood it is heresy, because it’s the twisting of eternal truth. Rev 22:11 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

“In the Trinity, there are three distinct Persons in one being, and each one is fully God.  Yet there is only one God, not three Gods (that would be tri-theism, which is polytheism). The problem with the son/husband/father analogy is that you have only one person—a man. He’s one man playing three different roles. This isn’t the Trinity.  It’s an ancient heresy called modalism, which teaches that God simply exists in three different “modes.” That isn’t the orthodox, historic teaching of the church.” Christianity 101, Fred Sanders

NOTE: “The ancient church did in fact speak strongly on this issue, and decided that in fact the broad outlines of trintarian Christianity are among the things necessary for salvation.” Fred Sanders

“Whosoever will be saved,before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic [universal] faith; Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit…..So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;  And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.” 5th-century Athanasian Creed 

Partialism
…taught that Father, Son and Holy Spirit together are components of the one God. This led them to believe that each of the persons of the Trinity is only part God, only becoming fully God when they come together. http://www.monergism.com/Trinitarian%20Heresies.html

9. Barclay distorted Biblical Calvinism by calling it ‘once saved always saved’ and referred to Calvinism as damnable doctrines. Further, under Barclay’s leadership, Jolliff’s church has stated that the false teacher Pelagius was a saint. But this is in contrast to what the Church has stated that indeed Pelagius and his teachings(pelagianism and semi-pelagianism) were and are heresy and condemn Pelagius as a heretic. SEE Roger E. Olson, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2006, Page, 30.) Olson continues: “Today, semi-Pelagianism is the default theology of most American evangelical Christians. This is revealed in the popularity of clichés such as `If you’ll take one step toward God, he’ll come the rest of the way toward you,’ and `God votes for you, Satan votes against you, and you get the deciding vote,’ coupled with the almost total neglect of human depravity and helplessness in spiritual matters. Arminianism is almost totally unknown, let alone believed, in popular evangelical Christianity.”  Arminian scholar Roger Olson on Spiritual Abuse, “Pentecostalism, fundamentalism and the charismatic movement as those segments. What I am saying is not that these are bad movements; I am saying they tend to be breeding grounds where toxic faith and spiritual abuse can grow. Too often the leaders do not address the problem because the underlying ethos is authoritarian and the people engaging in spiritual abuse are powerful and influential……But most often, in my experience, there’s nothing anyone can really do (except run) because the spiritual abusers are autonomous; there is no one over them to hold them accountable. They are religious entrepreneurs who have a solid grip on their churches and organizations. In many cases they own them outright or have set them up so that nobody can challenge their leadership.”