Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Good News and Bad News

Bad News First. Eddie Exposito is a channel regular (that I hang out in on mIRC) and a pastor of Sovereign Grace Fellowship in New Orleans. Their church is probably under water. A Paypal fund has been set up for this church. I am sure there are plenty of ways to help the people of God in the area Katrina hit. This is just one of them if God leads you to give in such a fashion.

Now for the Good News. I am getting great reports that the formal debate between Dr. James White (Christian apologist) and Dr. Dominic Crossan (head guy of Jesus Seminar as seen on Peter Jennings) went extremely well. For those who love God's Word and trust in the Reliability of the Gospels, the video of this debate will be a must own when it comes out.

Also, the informal debate that took place on the cruise to Alaska between Dr. White and Dr. James Renihan (academic dean and Associate Professor of Historical Theology at the Institute for Reformed Baptist Studies) verses Dr. Crossan and Dr. Marcus Borg of the Jesus Seminar was also video taped. The event originally was not to be taped. Somehow AOMinistries managed to get them to allow taping.

They discussed whether or not Jesus was raised from the dead. Click here to get an update from Dr. White himself.

This information will be most useful for Sunday School classes and such. I am looking forward to the final DVD products.

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Repent or Perish?

After looking at this satellite shot of the U.S., I am very thankful that in God's Providence Kansas is to the left of all that misery. I have even said (tongue and cheek) "Better them than me." This storm however affects us all.

Already though, the atheistic worldview which so many of us have been raised with, has begun to replace God's power over nature with man's ability to destroy or save the planet. Men are actually thinking we are the direct cause of this hurricane. Never mind that the earth and nature herself are so awesome, we cannot even begin to conceive of how small we really are.

In Romans chapter 1, Paul speaking by the Spirit says, "God's wrath is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness." We are constantly reminded by God that we are by nature creatures of wrath storing up for ourselves wrath against that Great Day of Wrath. Yet we ignore and remain ignorant of the power of God and His daily reminders that His mercy and grace will only last so long. There will be a day when this current world will pass away and the creation will be liberated from the curse.

Man is not his own savior. He needs desperately, the One who has power over heaven and earth. As Jesus said in Matthew 24, Heaven and Earth will pass away, but My Words will never pass away." It is to this One who has true power that we must turn to.

Jesus said in Luke 13:

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."
Watch CNN's report of a video of a man losing his wife when his house splits in half.

What will you do today?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Speaking At The Other True Church

Yesterday, I had the priviledge and the honor to speak to God's people at the "other One True church", the fellowship at the First Christian church. Even though I was their guest speaker, their service was quite a blessing to me. Their music is quite good, probably due to Mrs. Geist on that piano, but also to the fact that the people are moved to praise God with their singing.

What I truly appreciated was that in spite of all of the exciting parts of the service, their desire to hear the Word of God preached and expounded was noticeably encouraging. Having to listen to me work through an overview 2 Timothy 3 on the Sufficiency of Scripture might be a little tough for some, who may have never heard a sermon presented the way I preach. Even though their pastor had to move on to another church, the Elders of that church are clearly looking out for their local fellowship. I see that preaching the Word of God is something that will continue in spite of my having been there. ;-)

Soli Deo Gloria

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Found An Interesting Quote

"Many megachurches have grown not by making new converts to Christianity but at the expense of small congregations, doing to small churches what Wal-Mart does to small businesses. But in congregations that are so big the pastor does not know his own members and the members do not know each other, it is difficult to give people the pastoral care-and the discipline-that they often need to be spiritually "full." ~ Gene Edward Veith

Friday, August 26, 2005

Timely Quote For Me

A big kuddos for my wife. She e-mailed me the John Piper quote of the day.

"Preaching that does not have the aroma of God's greatness may entertain for a season, but it will not touch the hidden cry of the soul: 'Show me thy glory!'"

(The Supremacy of God in Preaching, pg. 9)

Now that I feel puny, perhaps God will be faithful and use me anyway this Sunday. After reading some more of my text books, I realize with ever more clarity that I am standing on the shoulders of giants. The Kingdom of God must be proclaimed by preachers of the Word. What a truly weighty and awesome responsiblity this truly is.

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, August 22, 2005

What Are the Biblical Means?

It has been a long time since I took internet classes from SWBTS. I felt the leading of the Spirit in a different direction. So now I am taking classes from Founders, a ministry within the SBC.

There were four classes being offered. One of them being Preaching and Preachers. I quickly signed up for that one. I am very glad I did. I have finished the first chapter of the text book Preaching and Preachers by Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones moments ago, and I just had to share a couple of quotations and thoughts.

"What is the cause of the present reaction against preaching? Why has preaching fallen from the position it once occupied in the life of the church and in the esteem of the people? You cannot read the history of the church, even in a cursory manner, without seeing that preaching has always occupied a central and a predominating position in the life of the church, particularly in Protestantism."

He goes on to make some interesting observations as to why preaching has declined. First is that there is "the loss of belief in the authority of the Scriptures, and a diminution of the truth." Second is that "Pulpiteering" has dominated congregations with elements of showmanship and entertainment (much like modern TBN and Osteenism).

Although Martin wrote his book in 1971, he seems to be writing to us today even more so. Many would rather blend into the world around us rather than preach. Many leaders today believe we just need to engage the culture in new ways. Page 19 states:

"If only these men who have been set aside as preachers, and others who are prominent in the church, were to go out and take part in politics and in social activities and philanthropic works they would do much more good than by standing in pulpits and preaching according to the traditional manner."

I have been struggling with this very issue. I have noticed this problem for quite some time even before reading this chapter. If we just give things to people as some kind of welfare state, maybe they'll come to our churches. If we are just clever enough with our rhetoric, maybe they will come into our churches. If we just play more music, maybe they'll come into our churches. If we just give more entertainment, maybe they'll come into our churches. If we do anything but preach, maybe they'll come into our churches.

Is this the model of the New Testament church every denomination loves to pretend they are imitating? Sometimes I wonder if we truly believe that it is the power of the gospel that saves. I am not saying that we should cease doing the above, but it is painfully obvious to me that we do the above at the cost of the Gospel.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

God In Vacation

What a great week! Horn Creek was simply great. We caught up with family and friends. We did the water slide, bowling, walleyball, horseback riding, four wheeling and one of my favorites, Horn Creek aerobics (napping in the afternoon).

I must however give a two thumbs up to Norm Wakefield of Spirit of Elijah Ministries. He was our guest speaker for the week. He was by far the best speaker I have heard in the four years we have attended Horn Creek. His messages were simple and yet very expository and exegetically based. He was a breath of fresh air.

We studied passages such as the Sower of Matthew 13, and we learned about God's love verses Idolatry. We learned how to apply the truths of Scripture in our lives. Doctrine and life most certainly go hand in hand. Thanks Norm!

I'll try to put up some pictures this week.

Friday, August 12, 2005

I Have Been Anathematized

Steve Camp's blog reminded me of something I had forgotten to mention on my little series on the Apocrypha. Here is a portion of his Blog on the Council of Trent:

"If anyone does not accept as sacred and canonical the aforesaid books in their entirety and with all their parts [the 66 books of the Bible plus 12 apocryphal books, being two of Paralipomenon, two of Esdras, Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Sophonias, two of Macabees], as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church and as they are contained in the old Latin Vulgate Edition, and knowingly and deliberately rejects the aforesaid traditions, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA."

Roman Catholics are always quick to point out to me that I am condemning them for preaching a false gospel, and they are just so loving. Ahhhhh...did anyone read that "LET HIM BE ANATHEMA" part? How quickly history seems to be forgotten.

So I will say along with Martin Luther:

"Unless I am convicted by scripture and plain reason - I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other - my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen."

Horn Creek

Tomorrow we leave for Horn Creek Colorado. Time to get away and visit family and play hard with the kids. We'll be taking our digital camera and should have plenty of pictures when we get back. It will also be a time of study. I have enrolled with Founders and am starting a class on "Preachers and Preaching".

A quick note as well, the Chronicles of Narnia are being made into film. If you love C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, you may want to Go here to see a preview, Lord of the Rings style. Lewis was an atheist who was converted not by science, but by his own stories (among other things). This story shows the power of God in redemption and His saving work in His people and creation.

For those of you who think John's Gospel was written so long ago that it cannot possibly be historical, click here for a story on the Pool of Siloam that was recently discovered. In time truth always prevails over error. Sometimes I wonder why God allows evil and lies to run its course. But then again, isn't that what the Chronicles of Narnia remind us in story form?

God Bless

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Apocrypha Not God-Breathed

Time to wrap it up. Although this is meant to be short and brief, I would encourage all of you to start reading books that teach accurately the Doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Hopefully, you will begin to do that.

There is a good site that gives some brief explanations about the Apocrypha and why it is not inspired by God at The Lazy Boy's Rest Stop.

William Whittacker in his classic, Disputations On Holy Scripture, made one argument that struck me the most and has stuck with me is that the Apocrypha claims that it is not inspired. Could you imagine a writer of the New Testament saying something to the effect of, "Well, what I am writing to you may or may not be from God."? Of course not, but this is exactly what we have in one of the books of the Apocrypha.

Here is what one website says:

Finally, it must be observed that the apocryphal books, unlike the canonical books of the Old Testament, make no direct claims of being inspired of God. Not once is there a, “thus says the Lord,” or language like, “the word of the Lord came unto me, saying.” In fact, some of the documents actually confess non-inspiration! In the Prologue of Ecclesiasticus, the writer states:

“Ye are intreated therefore to read with favour and attention, and to pardon us, if in any parts of what we have laboured to interpret, we may seem to fail in some of the phrases” (The Apocrypha, New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1894).

"Seemed to fail" pretty much says it for me. I don't want a God that is not sure of Himself. I don't want a God that I have to correct. I need correction, and that is what the God-Breathed Scriptures do for me.

Are you willing to listen to the God-Breathed Scriptures too?