Thursday, July 28, 2005

Just A Little Sin Please

I was recently asked why sin in the congregation should be dealt with. Is not God able to deal with a man's sin by the Person of the Holy Spirit? I would agree that the Spirit of God may deal personally with a man, but is this to the exclusion of all other means?

Do we believe as Christians that the Spirit of God uses us to proclaim the Gospel? Do we believe as Christians that God has given us Elders in the congregation to watch over the flock. If they do not say anything, what is their duty? Does the Elder/Pastor preach the Gospel on Sunday mornings in order to build up the church and call sinners to repentance and faith in Christ?

But why do we really need to deal with sin? In Joshua chapter 7 God tells Joshua that all of Israel had sinned. After some searching, Joshua finds out that Achan had sinned against the Lord. Please notice that only Achan is said to have done this, yet God considered all of Israel to have sinned! Now read what the punishment for Achan was:

Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, "Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today."
Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 26 Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor [i] ever since.
God commanded Achan and all of his family to be killed and his possesions burned up. The lesson we may learn from this is that God takes sin very seriously. If we think we may hide our sin, in time God will hand us over to our sin, and destruction will surely follow.

Therefore sin must be dealt with. We must constantly be vigilant with our lives. We serve a Holy God who has created a people and saved them for holiness. To hide and practice sin is to insult the work of Christ and allow God's enemies to curse the Name of Christ.

For the Christian man who loves his family, he must always keep in mind, that when he sins, he affects not just himself, but he injures his family and his church and ultimately, he blasphemes the Name of Christ.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

On A Personal Note

This past week has been a very busy one. Last week was the Scott County Fair and this week is Vacation Bible School at FBC. So I thought I'd upload a couple of pictures. The kids and I rode on top of the Fire Truck during the parade through town. They just love throwing candy at the kids.

Steven won Grand Champion in his class for Geology. He worked very hard (with his mom of course) at putting this box together. He went on several 4-H geology hunts this year finding all of these specimens.

Rachel was also able to enter her crafts into 4-H as well. She got some First Place ribbons too. Of course, with a face like that, is it any real surprise?

Bob (Associate Pastor) and I are doing a skit each night. I play Serrentgetti Eddie, who is a dim wit, so it isn't hard for me to act the part.

There is a lot of work that has been going into these events. A lot of people who work very hard at putting all of this stuff together. It is truly an experience for me when all I have to do is show up and play the part.

May God Bless all of you silent workers out there.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Supreme Court Moving Backwards?

Our local New York Times has yet printed another Left Wing editorial. I suppose we truly live in the postmodern era when words and labels have lost their meaning altogether. Did you know that Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are activists while Sandra Day O'Connor is a conservative?

In a recent public discussion, Antonin Scalia stated that it is wrong for the High Court to cite foreign law in order to interpret the Constitution. How is that being an activist? Sandra Day O'Connor says that Roe v. Wade is Constitutional when every first year law student knows that it is one of the poorest and easily assailable decisions in American Jurispridence. Hence, we now live in a time when things are backwards.

So let us back up and define words from a conservative viewpoint. A conservative defines a "judicial activist" as someone who interprets the Constitution with modern theories that reject any idea of original intent. In this way the Constitution can be turned into a ball of wax and made to mean anything the High Court desires.

An "originalist" is someone who interprets the Constitution from the viewpoint of original intent. In this method of interpretation, if the people (and not the courts) desire to change the law, it must be done via "the normal legislative means" and not by judicial fiat. The Left in this country hate the "normal legislative means" and therefore are "circling the wagons" around one of their last bastions of institutionalized Liberalism, the courts.

The Left seems to truly believe that conservatives are turning back the clock on certain liberties. If the Court may grant those liberties, why can they not take them back? In my opinion, granting man the power to give liberty is not advancing freedom, but instead giving to man what belongs to God. Is that not what man's religions do best? Did we not leave the King of England in order to advance Human rights as coming from God?

The Colonies recognized that true freedom is granted by God, and they "advanced" the evolution of Law and Liberty with their understanding of God's truth. My family celebrates the Fourth of July by repeating a phrase that was said througout the Colonies during the Revolution. "No King, But King Jesus!"

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Why The Courts Should Use The Bible

At two in the morning, I woke up with an interesting thought (to me anyway). There is one thing the U.S. Supreme Court is supposed to do. It is to judge the actions of men. There are two parts of this duty that we need to look at. The first is, the Court is judging history. If it is going to be consistent, it must start with a worldview that is consistent with an epistemology that says we can find out what historical events have occured. Otherwise, why sit in judgment of them?

Atheism and evolutionism and secular humanism have offered no real ability to do this. This why so often atheists among others have denied that the Bible can be historically reliable. In fact, their systems has become so pervasive, many deny George Washington was even very religious. Anybody ever see the famous painting of him praying?

Second, the courts are to sit in judgment. I have found this to be the most ironic and overlooked contradiction among liberals. How often are we told by the left it is wrong to judge other human beings. Yet, the moment I punch one in the face, they immediately recognize that societies must have some kind of law to prevent utter chaos.

The problem here is "why?" Why is chaos wrong? Was it not chaos that brought the universe to where it is now? The different man-made worldviews simply cannot account for this obvious problem. So they borrow from the Christian worldview of moral absolutes in order to make their system of moral relativism work. But they pick and choose how and when they will do this. I am convinced they often do not even realize they are.

Hence my conclusion is that the U.S. Supreme Court should go back to the Bible as the foundation for the "Rule of Law". It is the only book in the world that provides a consistent worldview to accomplish the very task they have set out to do.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Infallible Canon

So in a limited basis, we took a look at the issue of authority and how we might know the canon from Rome's perspective. The question still remains however, "How do we know what the canon of Scripture is?"

If we do not assume that we need an infallible authority (which only sets the problem in the back seat), then is it possible there are other ways of knowing. There are several great books that deal with the Canon of Scripture. William Whitacker's Disputations On Holy Scripture written in 1588, David King's and William Webster's three book series Holy Scripture, the Sola Scriptura book with contributing authors such as Michael Horton, R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur, and Scripture Alone by Dr. White are all excellent resources.

To summarize (my attempt anyway) the chapter in Dr. White's book (if I understood it properly), God has the ability to communicate to His sheep. He has the ability to bring His people as a whole to see what the Canon is. We have seen from Old Testament examples, that the Canon may come together over time. If we do not assume we need an infallible knowledge of the Canon, then it is reasonable to assume that over time, God would also bring the New Testament Canon into existence.

So the question really is, "Can God use certain means that are not infallible, other than Himself, to speak to God's people?" Can we as fallible sinful people truly hear from God.

Some may object and say Luther rejected the Book of James, therefore how can we be sure of what the Canon is? As William Whittacker has demonstrated, many men have disagreed over certain books as to their canonical authority. But as a whole God's people have been brought to see the Canon because it is God's purpose to equip His people. If we deny God's ability to do this, how can we grant that ability to a church?

Dr. White states in Scripture Alone, "...the divine impetus to preserve and make known the Scriptures is equal to the divine impetus in forming and building the church itself." He again states, " can confess the instrumental nature of the church in being used of God as the primary means of establishing [the] canon without violating Scripture's teaching by investing in the church some notion of infallibility."

In Jesus' day, the Old Testament Canon was known. There was never an argument by Jesus that someone with infallible authority pronounced the Canon. Why? It was God's purpose to equip God's people for every good work. God's people passively received the Canon over time as the Spirit did His work in writing the Scriptures and preserving them.

I was once asked, "What if we found the other two Epistles to the Corinthian church?" Again Dr. White answers, "The entire idea of 'Lost Scriptures' requires us to believe that God would go through the work of inspiring His Word so as to provide for His church guidance and instruction and encouragement; but then, having inspired His Word, be shown incapable of protecting and preserving it and leading His church to recognize it for what it is."

I think we can let God be God on this issue.

Next time we'll take a brief look at the Apocrypha.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Circular Or Spiral?

I must add to the discussion of how the Roman Catholic apologists argue for their church being the one true church. It was first posed to me years ago by an RC apologist that we know that the Roman Catholic church is the one true church by a reasoning method called "spiral reasoning". Let me explain.

I was led to Mathew's gospel where it say in chapter 16:16-19:

Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven."

I was told if we read this passage and then look for the church that fits this passage's description, then we would discover that the Roman Catholic church is the only church that fits. Since Rome is the only church that fits this passage, then we can know that her interpretation of the Bible is the only true interpretation. Therefore Rome is the true church.

Here is where you the reader must decide if the Roman Catholic apologist's interpretation in spiral or circular. When I asked how do we know Rome's interpretation of Matthew 16:18 is correct, I am simply refered to look at the Roman church and see how it fits their interpetation. When I asked if there were any other interpretations of Matt 16:18, I was told that all of the church fathers were in agreement with Rome's interpretation today. Sounds pretty good right?

Well, I don't accept their interpertation of Matt 16:18 and as it turns out, neither did ANY of the church fathers. In a book titled "The Matthew 16 Controversy", William Webster goes to all of the texts of the church fathers that interpret Matthew 16:18. None of them taught what Rome teaches today.

Hence, Rome expects their faithful followers to believe in her authority because she says so. Is this an epistemology that God calls us to accept. If God is truly speaking through Rome, then ought we not to follow? What about Utah or the Watch Tower or....

Thursday, July 14, 2005

If Apocrypha and Tradition, Then Why Not the Book of Mormon

Some time ago I had a discussion with a Roman Catholic who said the doctrine of Sola Scriptura contradicts Scripture. I was told that there is no verse in the Bible that tells us which books should be in the Bible, therefore we need the Roman Catholic Church to tell us infallibly which books should be in the Bible. I was also told that according to 2 Thessalonians 2:15, we have a body of Apostolic Tradition outside of Scripture that Christians must consider equal with the Bible.

There are two questions I have asked over the years to the above beliefs of the Roman Catholic. I assumed since Roman Catholics are in total unity (since the teaching of the Bible Alone has caused atlease 30,000 denominations and that Rome is soooo monolithic), that I would hear well defined answers and that Roman Catholics would be consistent in giving those answers. The first is "What are those Traditions?" and the second is "Did the Jews know what the Scriptures were before Jesus arrived on the scene?"

You might be quite surprised, but Roman Catholics are hardly united on their answer to the first question. The reason is simple. Which Traditions should we believe? Is there an infallible list of Traditions that Rome has provided? To my knowledge the answer has been "Nope."

What about the second question. Did the Jews know what the Bible was before Rome pronounced the Canon (which Rome did not do till the Council of Trent)? Why did Jesus argue from Scripture (an assumption He never proved and was accepted fully in His day) as the Sole God breathed authority and held men accountable to its teachings? Why did Jesus teach that ALL traditions must be tested by Scripture?

So if there is no infallible index to tell us what books should be in the Bible, how do we know what books should be in the Bible? We'll begin to look at that question next time. For now, I think it is safe to say that an epistemology that says "Believe Mother Church because our interpretation of the Bible and history must be true because we say so..." is circular and indefensible.

I once saw a Roman Catholic argue with two Mormon missionaries. Both were arguing from their ultimate authorities, their Mother churches. If Rome is right in her method of how we know truth, why not Utah?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

What About Those Guys?

I have had several conversations about whether or not people who have never heard of the gospel will get "a chance" to hear and choose. This question goes to show how so many have such an unBiblical view of man. The question assumes some kind of goodness in man that if he just had a chance, he might just choose God.

This kind of thinking is influencing how preach the gospel. I spoke with a college woman at K-State. She was quite excited at how she managed to lead a woman out of the lifestyle of lesbianism into the lifestyle of fornication (with many men). Now she sees the gospel as leading her to the next stage, which I assume to be fornicating with just one man or atleast not so many.

The truth is, this Christian woman doesn't really believe in the "power of the gospel". If she did, she would share the entire truth about the gospel and not simply say, "Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." She would share that mankind is under the wrath of God and have no strength to come to Christ. Nor do they want to come to Christ. As long as people share the gospel in this man-centered fashion, do not expect to see many real miraculous conversions.

Dr. White has done 2 sermons on how men know the gospel and respond to it from 1 Corinthians 1. It won't be a popular sermon to listen to, but it will be exegetically based. From the sermon you will learn what man truly is and how God's grace operates in the life of a man. Perhaps if the foundation is laid, then the question of "What about those who have never heard?" will make more sense.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Amy Grant Syndrome: Edited

Some years ago the Name of Christ "was blasphemed among the gentiles" (ie: pagans/unbelievers). Amy Grant, a popular Christian artist, had divorced her husband in order to marry a country singer. She actually claimed that God had released her from the covenant oath she took before God and men. Such a thing is not even believed among the pagans, and yet Christians accepted it.

It has been several years since Mrs. Grant did this, but her subjective reasoning is only a sympton of our post-evanjellycal era. God's law is rarely if ever taught. The New Testament is rarely, if ever exegeted. It is very clear that we live in a day of postmodernism where feelings and subjectivism rule the day and "the preaching of God's Word is substituted with relational anecdotal experience, personal happiness programs, and human potentiality makeovers" (Read Steve Camp's Blog for more on this).

This particular post was extremely misunderstood. So I had edited it. Having read Matt's response to my new edition, I must agree, simply because someone misunderstands what is said does not mean it should not be said. Dr. White gave me this same advise. So I will copy something that I have written in the posts:

A man is about to committ an action which will blaspheme the Name of Christ.

God's Law is being violated.

The power of the Gospel is being denied.

The work of Christ is being denied.

The Power of the Spirit is being denied.

God's grace is seen as insufficient.

The gift of Elders and Deacons to the church is being denied.

The gift of God of the local assembly is being denied.

Several of his brothers have attempted to correct him. This correction and rebuke has been offered over several months.

A wife is about to become divorced.

A son is about to have his parents become divorced.

So I pray that God would be merciful and grant this man repentance, lest he be rebuked and Christ's Name be Blasphemed.

Fighting Absurdity By Being Absurd

I think Rush is right. The best way to fight the absurdity of the U. S. Supreme Court and the wacko Left in this country is by being absolutely absurd. World Net Daily may have started something that could be the way to win the war against the recent Court decisions.

Click here to read what I mean.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Kelly Kitch Gets Married

I must say congradulations to Kelly Kitch. Mr. Kitch (strange to call him that) grew up at First Baptist Scott City and has moved to Manhattan KS. While living there he met a beautiful young lady named Stephanie (Aren't all Stephanies beautiful?), and this weekend he married her. It is wonderful to see those we have watched grow up fall in love and start their own families. Even if it makes me really old.

Pastor Bob Flack's message during the ceremony was exceptional. He may have been preaching to the crowd that had gathered to witness the wedding, but he made eye contact with Kelly the whole time. He most certainly put Mr. Kitch in charge of his new home.

I pray God's blessings on the new Kitch home.