Here is the list of factually inaccurate statements in the second half ("Lenhart's Theology") of Tim Snell's refutation as they appeared on 4/13/08. These statements are presented with page references from the hard copy ("Original") of the refutation that Tim Snell mailed out prior to the internet version. There are some differences. Where there are differences, the statement as fact from the "Original" is presented immediately following the statement from the internet version. So far, I've found one statement that occurs in the internet that is not in the "Original". I've put the headings of the different sections from the refutation in parentheses in order to help you find these statements in the internet version.
The inaccuracies in this section come mainly from overlooking key passages in "Modeling God" and projecting a flawed perspective onto the statements that are made. Some of these statements are blatant misrepresentations EVEN THOUGH Tim Snell gives a reference page number! For instance, Tim Snell states:
"Lenhart then goes on and constructs a model in which grace is limited to God's "divine influence upon the heart," and influence we must pay for so as to not violate God's justice."
The reference number points to page 67 of "Modeling God". On page 67 of "Modeling God" this is what is stated:
"Grace: The divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life (Charis 5485)"
Notice, he misrepresents the definition AND NEVER mentions that it was obtained from Strong's Concordance...the Strong's reference number is even given! The blatant ignoring of key passages from "Modeling God" throughout this HALF of the refutation are the most troubling parts of the refutation and, when dealt with, will bring into question Tim Snell's ability to interpret a more complex book like the Bible.
I wrote Tim Snell and sent him all of this before he put the refutation on the internet. I SPECIFICALLY pointed out this mistake and put it separate from the rest of the list...and he didn't change it, but changed other stuff. I have to ask: Was sticking with a misrepresentation of my book intentional or due to incompetence? You decide...
Here are the factual statements made in the second half of the refutation that are incorrect:
"A Summary and Refutation of Lenhart's Theology"
1. I did that so we could see how Lenhart arrives at the "truths" he then feeds to his readers.
2. Lenhart's teachings are the natural result of his flawed process built on human deduction.
(Original #2: Lenhart's teachings are the natural result of his unbiblical process.)
"Lenhart's Teaching on Who God Is"
3. Listen to some of Lenhart's statements about God which either diminish or deny central aspects of God's being as revealed in scripture:
4. Depersonalize God
5. Reject God's absolute sovereignty
6. Reject God's omniscience (the idea that God can know everything - even the future)
7. In the end, such a god is significantly less than and other than the Biblical God.
(Original #7: In the end, such a God is significantly less than and other than the Biblical God.)
8. Yes, he still calls him God, but he is not the God of scripture.
9. Notice some of the these passages which contradict Lenhart's human deductions:
10. In the end, Lenhart's god is simply not the great I AM of scripture.
11. He is something less, far less.
12. He is a god who is more a set of characteristics than someone who has the dynamic essence of being which we understand is possessed by living spiritual beings.
(Original #12: He is a God who is more a set of characteristics than someone who has the dynamic essence of being which we understand is possessed by living spiritual beings.)
13. He is not sovereign.
14. He is not all-knowing.
15. Such a god is simply not the God of the Bible.
16. Yet this is the god Lenhart would lead us towards.
17. Lenhart can easily develop a theology of God that is unbiblical because, in the end, it isn't drawn from the Bible.
18. As we pointed out earlier, Lenhart is primarily using human deduction to reach his conclusions.
19. But in the end, it is also non-Biblical.
20. But they do disagree with the one source where there simply cannot be disagreement in Biblical theology: God's inspired Word.
"Lenhart's Teaching on Jesus' Nature"
21. What Lenhart has done here is deny that Jesus is fully God by nature.
22. Rather, he says, Jesus is only fully God because of how he chose to act while being man.
23. To accept what Lenhart says here is to fundamentally undermine the entire core of the Christian faith and the message of salvation through the cross of Christ.
24. You see, to follow Lenhart’s thinking, if Jesus is God – even in part – because of his choosing to embody certain principles (not because He is God by nature) then when Jesus left heaven to come to earth he lost part of his divinity.
(Original #24: You see, to follow Lenhart's thinking, if Jesus is God - even in part - because of his choosing to embody certain principles (not because He is God by nature) then Jesus is not fully God at his birth.)
(Original #25: "After all," Lenhart would say, "at his birth Jesus has expressed no will as a human being.")
This section has been significantly re-written and takes the mischaracterization further to make 11 additional incorrect statements:
#25a. That is what Lenhart’s assertion means.
#25b. He was fully God before…but not anymore.
#25c. By saying Jesus attains his status as fully God by perfectly embodying God’s righteousness and justice by choice as a human, what Lenhart does is create a threshold where Jesus has to express his will and attain perfection in a full and complete way.
#25d. Therefore, by Lenhart’s construct, Jesus would still not be fully God at His birth.
#25e. So that means (according to Lenhart) Jesus could not have been fully God on the cross.
#25f. That means (again according to Lenhart’s assertion) Jesus wouldn’t be fully God even after the resurrection.
#25g. “After all,” Lenhart would say, “Jesus is only half God by nature."
#25h. "The other half he gets by how he chooses to act as a human being."
#25i. "He has to perfectly embody righteousness and justice by choice in order to be fully divine."
#25j. "If he fails, he never gets that other half of his divinity."
#25k. "So, since he still has the ability to choose wrongly, he still wouldn’t have attained the other half of His divinity.”
#26. Since he could theoretically still choose to not follow God, his ability to fully be God would still not be at the point of completion.
(Original #26: Because Jesus' obedience would not yet be at the point of completion.)
#27a. Ultimately, because (by Lenhart’s assertion) Jesus has to perfectly embody righteousness and justice by choice as a human to attain Godhood, as long as Jesus would have opportunity to not choose those, his obedience would not have reached a point of perfection and completion.
(Original #27: By Lenhart's assertion, Jesus actually can never reach such a threshold.)
#27b. If we are to carefully think through Lenhart’s assertion, Jesus actually can never reach such a threshold, for Jesus can still choose to sin.
#28. Even to take Lenhart’s assertion on it’s face, without thinking it through, one is left with Jesus still – at best - being only half God in His very nature.
(Original #28: Even to follow Lenhart's illogical reasoning, one is left with Jesus still - at best - being only half God.)
29. If Lenhart is right, then what happened at the incarnation (when Jesus left heaven and took on flesh) is that Jesus (who prior to incarnation would have been divine) somehow lost his essential divine nature.
30. In the end, Lenhart has succeeded - through his flawed modeling process - to give us a non-omniscient, non-sovereign, impersonal deity...and a Jesus who is not fully God in the essence of his being.
31. He only becomes that by choice through his life and actions - which in reality creates a point of becoming God which Jesus could really never cross.
"Lenhart's Teaching on Sin"
32. What one finds is that for Lenhart, sin is never the violation of objective standard which God gives to us, but is entirely dependent upon the individual and their understanding.
33. Lenhart then goes and insists that because sin is individual, and not the breaking of a set standard, that we should never point out sin.
34. In doing so, he further ignores scripture about the hardness of people's heart by stating that guilt will always be felt if sin is truly present.
35. Despite Lenhart's claim that it can't mean "to miss the mark," (sic) indeed, this is what the term itself means.
36. What Lenhart has done is undercut the entire Biblical model of salvation involving the cross.
37. By making sin something other than a violation of God's very being and of His holy standard, he has reduced sin to something personal, and ultimately - relative.
38. Please be aware, by Lenhart's standard, no one should ever say to Adolf Hitler, "Killing the Jews is wrong."
39. This would violate the very construct that Lenhart has developed.
40. For one, Lenhart would say that such a thing might not be wrong for Hitler.
41. Secondly, he would say it is not our responsibility to point out other's sin.
42. As shocking as that is, this is exactly what Lenhart is teaching!
43. He ignores the scriptural reality of the depth of our sin, the consequences of our falleness, (sic) the reality and extent of the Enemy's work, and the resulting hardening and twisting of our hear and mind.
44. He gets here because his modeling process is flawed.
45. Ultimately, it is flawed because its foundation is Lenhart's deductive mind, not by the careful study of the inspired Word of God, relying on the Holy Spirit for illumination, and utilizing the disciplines involved in sound hermeneutics.
46. He simply doesn't go back to the Word of God and allow it to inform his theology; instead he demands that God's Word be molded to his flawed construct.
"Lenhart's Teaching on Grace"
47. As I have already pointed out, language doesn't work this way, and so his attempts almost universally end up some place other than the place given when one looks at the whole of God's Word.
48. In other words, Lenhart has turned grace on its head!
49. Lenhart then goes on and constructs a model in which grace is limited to God's "divine influence upon the heart," an influence we must pay for so as to not violate God's justice.
50. This influence, Lenhart says, leads to proper actions which are "righteous" and therefore must be rewarded by God on the basis of the principle of justice.
51. As we will see in a moment, this undercuts the entire Biblical message of salvation through faith in Christ's finished work on the cross!
52. First he goes wrong by trying to get a one-size-fits-all definition of grace which can then be applied in every use of the word in scripture.
53. As we have pointed out, such an attempt will ALWAYS result in either moving UP the ladder of abstraction, or it will result in a definition that only fits certain places.
54. He is not using etymology and other hermeneutical tools to understand each individual usage of the word within its given context.
55. Instead, he simply attempts to slap some upper rung definition on the word and force it to fit.
56. Ultimately Lenhart's contention is that grace is something we control, not God - and therefore it can NEVER mean "unmerited favor".
57. Secondly, Lenhart goes wrong because once again he is not relying on scripture to be his primary source, inputting God's revelation into the model...especially as it relates to salvation.
58. Instead, Lenhart is trying to rely almost entirely on deduction.
59. His appeal to scripture is essentially an effort to "proof-text" his position, rather than allowing a thorough and exhaustive study of scripture to inform and give him his position.
60. What Lenhart has done is constructed a model that says you earn your salvation.
61. Grace depends on you...not God.
62. Grace depends on you, not Jesus and His work on the cross.
63. Grace, in the context of how the scripture uses it in relationship to salvation, has been turned on its head.
64. The message of the cross has been set aside.
65. And the entire message of the gospel is compromised because of it.
"Lenhart's Teaching on Salvation"
66. Because he has skewed things so severly (sic) up to this point, it is no surprise that his conceptualization of salvation is also foreign to Biblical truth.
(Original #66: Because he has skewed things so badly up to this point, it is no surprise that his conceptualization of salvation is also foreign to Biblical truth.)
67. That there is NOT a salvation event where one receives Christ and is made a new creation.
68. That God's righteousness is NOT imputed to us and is not sufficient to save us.
69. That one's faith DOES NOT NEED to be placed in the person and work of Jesus to be saved.
70. That salvation entirely depends upon whether a person's ACTIONS are moving toward God or away from God at the moment of death, not their reception of Christ as Lord and Savior.
"Is there a Moment at Which We Are Saved?"
71. He denies what all evangelicals believe: that there is a moment where one passes from death to life and is saved - where saved is a completed action.
72. There is no exegetical work.
73. There are no word studies done so that scripture can inform his theology.
74. No, Lenhart merely deduces it based on his pre-arrived at definitions and constructs.
75. So let's do what Lenhart failed to do.
76. Lenhart has simply engaged in intellectual deduction and built his theology on his own flawed human wisdom.
77. Ultimately the reason he has done this, as we will see shortly - is because Lenhart doesn't believe you need to have faith in the person of Jesus.
78. He thinks there are multiple paths to heaven...all of which rely on human effort.
"Are We Saved by God's Righteousness or Ours?"
79. Lenhart further paints his picture of salvation in unbiblical terms by making it a matter of our righteousness being needed rather than God's righteousness being imputed to us on the basis of Christ's death and resurrection.
80. Note that he speaks to our actions producing righteousness, and this it is our effort at righteousness that then somehow requires God to give us "value" on the basis of Lenhart's definition of God's justice.
81. Beloved of God, this is salvation by works!
82. Notice his blatant denial of what God clearly teaches in His Word on this important subject.
83. What Lenhart has done is deny the very CORE of our entire hope and faith as believers: that IN CHRIST there is salvation based on HIM - not us.
"Do We Need to Trust In Jesus to Save Us?"
84. By minimizing Jesus and elevating the process, Lenhart has dethroned God and enthroned His own version of human dynamics which produce the result of salvation by having us correctly plug into his salvation formula.
85. However, the better problem is Lenhart again explicitly espouses a teaching that is not only unbiblical, it is anti-Biblical.
86. He claims there are multiple paths to God - apart from Jesus!!
87. In denying the centrality of Jesus in salvation, Lenhart has fundamentally denied the core of the gospel message.
88. He has begun to lay forth a false gospel.
89. Lenhart's teaching on this is so far off the mark, we can safely say: this denial of the person and the work of Jesus, this denial of the fundamentals of salvation by grace through faith IN Christ...is born - not of God - but was hatched in the pit of hell itself in order to keep lost people from knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior.
"So How Are We Saved According to Lenhart?"
90. According to Lenhart, one does not need to have faith in the person of Jesus for salvation.
91. Rather, one's salvation depends on their own personal righteousness rather than God's righteousness.
92. It is something they earn by "gaining value" from God so that God's justice is all equaled out.
93. According to Lenhart, someone who has faith in Christ and who has entered into a covenant relationship with Him - but at the moment of their death falls into some personal sin (they take a step in the wrong direction, moving away from God) - that person is lost.
94. According to Lenhart, that person is saved.
95. Because he made a decision to make "progress" toward God at the point of death.
96. He expressed a desire to be more "God-like" in some small way.
97. He "drove toward the party".
98. This is what salvation looks like in Lenhart's model.
99. Faith IN Christ and his work on the cross has been set aside, and a gospel absolutely foreign to the scripture has taken its place.
100. A decision to "make progress" toward God...even if it is apart from Christ, is not the mechanism of salvation.
101. According to Lenhart, Jesus has been replaced by a process.
102. Grace has been replaced by works.
103. The cross has been replaced by "progress".
104. It is the gospel of John G. Lenhart.
"Where Is the Cross?"
105. And yet Lenhart has simply given it away for a perspective of salvation that somehow depends on my "progress".
"A Summary of Lenhart's Basic Theology"
106. We are left with a non-omniscient, non-sovereign diety.
107. We are left with a Jesus who is not fully God in his fundamental essence and nature.
108. We are left with an unbiblical concept of sin which makes sin relative to the individual, not the violation of God's essential being and His holy and revealed standard.
109a. Salvation by grace has been turned on its head.
109b. It is now something that must be earned rather than given by God's undeserved favor towards us manifested in Christ's death on the cross.
(Original #109: Salvation by grace has been turned on its head and is now something that must be earned rather than given by God's undeserved favor towards us manifested in Christ's death on the cross.)
110. We are left with a theology of salvation that denies the necessity of a personal faith in a real and living Jesus.
111. He believes there are multiple ways of being saved, all of which depend on human behavior and intent.
112. We are left with a theology of salvation which significantly sidelines the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the core of our salvation.
113. We are left with a formula and a process which must be worked, rather than a living Savior in whom we can place our trust.
114. What Lenhart has articulated is a theology based on deduction, not the revealed Word of God.
115. It is a theology built from a flawed modeling process.
116. In the end, it is a gospel which is substantially different from the gospel presented in the scripture.
117. Lenhart's gospel: Has a different god than the Biblical God, Has a different Jesus than the Biblical Jesus, Has a different message of salvation than the one presented in the pages of scripture.
118. Because of the significant error in Lenhart's teaching, it is vital that we heed these words of warning from scripture:
119. We would also do well to remind ourselves that the gospel has never rested on human deduction or wisdom, as Lenhart has attempted to do.
120. Lenhart's gospel has a non-sovereign impersonal god, a non-divine Jesus, and an unbiblical view of both sin and God's grace.
121. It significantly marginalizes the cross to mean virtually nothing and almost completely excludes the work of the Holy Spirit.
122. Salvation does not require faith in Christ and must be paid for by gaining "value" from God.
123. In the end, this is something entirely different from the gospel laid out in the pages of scripture.
124. In contrast to Lenhart's gospel, the gospel of Scripture is focused on Christ and his (sic) work on the cross.
125. The victorious Christian life isn’t found through gaining “value” or living in your spiritual “ARE.”
(Original #125: The victorious Christian life isn't found through gaining "value" or living in your spiritual "ARE" but rather through abiding with and waling in step with the Holy Spirit of God as he applies Christ's finished work on the cross to our personal lives.)
126. Lenhart arrives at something far outside of this place.
127. It is a heretical teaching that is a violation of the central core tenants of the Christian faith.
128. As such, it must be rejected by all who profess Jesus as Lord.
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