Friday, September 30, 2005

EWTN and Sola Fide: Who is the Blessed Man?

If I make an argument for a position and someone offers a critique, then I either show the critique is unfounded, or update my argument as to deal with the critique. I certainly don’t act like the opposition doesn’t exist. But that is exactly what you get with Roman Catholic Apologists.

I was simply amazed to watch EWTN and hear the same arguments that in a scholarly debate would never be used. If one text says you are righteous by faith alone, should we ignore it because another text speaks of works? Yet, the RC Apologist acted if Romans 4 didn’t exist. So I ask as so many down through the centuries have asked, “Who is the Blessed man?”

Let us suppose that the RC Apologist is right. That Romans 2 demands that we believe and have good works in order to be justified, what then? Funny how the text only spoke of people receiving eternal life or eternal wrath. Has any RC or Protestant or anyone else for that matter fulfilled Romans 2 from a works righteousness perspective? How many works does one have to do?

RCs often speak of purgatory. Where in the text does it mention that in Romans 2 or any other? If we approach the text from a perspective that says, the Bible agrees with my religion before we approach the text, now let’s see if it does, is to nullify God’s Word for the sake of Tradition.

RCs also speak of venial sins verses mortal sins. Yet we have no real definition of what that means. It is often portrayed that murder is a mortal sin and lesser sins are not. Yet Jesus mentions in Matthew 25 that simply not visiting someone in prison is enough to send someone to hell.

Truth is, the RC objections that were raised on EWTN have been answered numerous times since the reformation. Ignoring the Biblical answers in order to maintain a religious system of merits is the height of opposition against the Gospel. The Gospel is what saves sinners and Rome preaches a different Gospel.

So I ask again, “Who is the Blessed man?” of Romans 4? He is the man to whom the Lord does not impute sin. The Lord does not owe anyone anything. Salvation belongs to God and God alone. If He chooses to freely save a man, blessed is that man.

Soli Deo Gloria

The Purposeless Driven Life

In Dave Hunt's recent The Berean Call, he states:

Could someone who believes this false gospel of Calvinism be truly saved? Fortunately, many Calvinists (you among them) were saved before becoming Calvinists. They now malign God by saying that He is pleased to damn multitudes though He could save all—and that He predestines multitudes to the Lake of Fire before they are even born. But having believed the gospel before becoming Calvinists, they “shall not come into condemnation, but [have] passed from death unto life” (Jn 5:24). Those who only know the false gospel of Calvinism are not saved, while those who are saved and ought to know better but teach these heresies will be judged for doing so.

Now in Dave's anti-Calvinistic crusade (something he has yet to understand), he seems to not look in the mirror. He is all upset that God has "predestined" multitudes to hell according to the Calvinistic system. Now what "predestine" means in the Calvinistic system is totally ignored by Hunt, but let's ask a few questions of Hunt, assuming he is right.

Mr. Hunt, if God has foreknowledge of all future events and people and things, ect., why did God make man knowing that they would choose to go to hell? How does this help your position? Do you believe that God has just passively created man and sends him to hell with no real purpose?

Now Mr. Hunt would probably respond by saying that it was God's original intention for man to not sin. But this does not solve the problem because he believes God knows all things. Therefore God knew His will would be frustrated. Maybe Mr. Hunt should jump on the Open-Theism bandwagon and depart orthodox Christianity. That may solve his problem. Who needs a God that creates with a purpose?

Perhaps Mr. Hunt should have written the Purposeless Driven Life.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

EWTN And Sola Fide Part 2: Descriptive or Prescriptive?

Before I offer a critique of the RC apologist's argument, I first think it would be proper to present a positive view. It must be said at the outset that modern evanjellyism has come to ignore the role of works in salvation. There are almost no sermons that deal with the difficult passages that were raised by EWTN.

I fear that Dispensational theology has been in part to blame. The only sermons on the judgment of Christians seem to place Christians in some other galaxy where their works pass through a fire in order to determine what rewards they will get, and that's it. I believe most evanjellycals intuitively know that works must accompany salvation, but they simply do not even seem realize the weight of the problem.

The New Testament speaks of works being the basis of judgment as to determine whether one goes to heaven or hell so often, that I am amazed we miss it. Let me offer a couple of teachings by Christ. In Matthew 25, Jesus uses a parable that speaks of separating the sheep from the goats. The basis of their separation is works. Notice what He says, "And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'" Jesus refers to their actions as being the basis of their judgment.

Another text that is often overlooked is John chapter 5:25-29:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment."

Jesus actually says those who have done good will rise to life. Therefore works will be the basis on which a man rises to life or death. Does this mean what Rome or Utah or the miriads of other works oriented religions teach? I say no.

Notice even in John 5 Jesus speaks of His voice as raising the dead. He speaks of men having eternal life now in the present. This eternal life is the underlying cause of men "doing good". Jesus is speaking of kinds of men. These passages are able to be interpreted as being "descriptive" and not "prescriptive". Let me offer an example where Jesus teaches this belief.

In Matthew chapter 7 we are told that good trees bear good fruit. Please notice that the fruit only gives information as to the nature of the tree. The tree itself is good, therefore it produces good fruit. Bad trees do the opposite. Therefore on the day of judgment, the fruit will proclaim to all what the tree truly is...good or bad.

Therefore the works a Christian does does not save him, but declares to all that he is saved and will be judged as one of the righteous. So when the RC apologist reads a text like Romans 2 he must be asked, "Is Paul speaking 'prescriptively' or 'descriptively'?" If we do not allow an overriding authority to tell us the meaning of the Bible, but instead allow the Scripture tell us its meaning, we will find that works oriented passages and faith alone passages can be harmonized as Reformed Protestant teaching has demonstrated for centuries.

In conclusion, only those who are in Christ, know Christ, known by Christ, walk in the light as He is in the light, possess eternal life, coming ones, drinking ones, believing ones, sanctified ones, holy ones, those who walk by faith, justified, and obedient to the gospel and ect. will rise to life.

The opposite is also true in 1 Corinthians, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

With the proper interpretation of Scripture, we find that salvation, including our works, is all of God's Grace. For apart from Christ, we can do nothing and would still be by nature, children of wrath.

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, September 26, 2005

EWTN And Sola Fide Part 1

Last night I was watching yet more misrepresentations of Protestant theology on EWTN. There was an apologist showing that there is nothing in the Bible that contradicts Roman Catholic theology and vice versa. Therefore Roman Catholic beliefs are taught explicitly or implicitly in the Bible.

The problem quite often is that Protestants do open themselves up to criticism from RC apologists. When a Roman Catholic hears "Once Saved Always Saved", he immediately wonders where is the role of works in salvation. So the RC apologist (on EWTN) points to Romans chapter 2 which says:

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.
So how does the Protestant normally answer this. Well, he most certainly does not exegete this particular text, but instead runs off to other texts which plainly teach Sola Fide. This may be fine for the Protestant, but when a Protestant is dealing with someone who has an external authority overriding the text, he really must deal with the assumptions of the opposing apologist. But the RC apologist can simply fire back against the Protestant's Traditions and hence we have a theological tie.

I firmly believe that many Protestants need to reevaluate their beliefs in light of the Scriptures and challenge their Traditions. How many Protestants have we "lost" to RC apologists or Mormon apologists or Jehovah's Witnesses or ect..., simply because we were not being consistent in our view of Scripture.

If we want to be able to answer the RC apologist or the Mormon apologist who will discuss these texts and the role of works in salvation, then we need to be consistent in our approach to Scripture and not run from what God's Word has to say, even if we have to challenge our beliefs.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!!!

"Surprise, surprise, surprise" Private Pyle used to say. Well, we had a surprise visit from pastor J.W. Glidewell and his beautiful wife this evening. They had been attending an area meeting in Dighton KS 25 miles east of Scott City and decided to drop in on their way home.

It is amazing how fast a living room full of toys can be picked up. Pastor Glidewell called from the gas station which gave approximately 30 seconds. I don't know who that feminine Superhero was, but she was quick. ;-)

Pastor Glidewell is mentoring me through my course on Preachers and Preaching. He has been a pastor of a Southern Baptist church for quite some time in St. Francis just within a couple of hours north of Scott City. So for him to stop by during his busy schedule was quite a blessing.

We had a great time discussing things from the course to the Doctrines of Grace to John Piper's preaching. Pastor Glidewell invited us to attend a Reformation Weekend conference that will be taking place at his church. Dr. Phil Newton will be speaking for five sessions at the conference. Dr. Newton is one of the members of Board of Directors of the Founders Ministries (the organization I am taking the Preachers class with).

So those of you pastors who read this in Scott City take the hint that this is a promotion of that conference. If I go, perhaps you should too. The date of the conference is October 28-30.

Thanks for the visit Pastor Glidewell. My wife and I were blessed and encouraged.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Blessed Is the Nation Whose God Is the Lord

The ACLU has been very successful at removing the Ten Commandments from public buildings. The argument they use is that the First Amendment says that states may not promote one religion over another. Since many conservatives accept that the First Amendment applies to the states, they are hard pressed to win in court.

An interesting story has appeared on WND. An "Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians" have voted to post the Ten Commandments where their governments meet. Although this is quite refeshing to see a government acknowledge God, some of their reasoning is a bit flawed.

They state:

"There is no First Amendment issue involved, and even if the American Civil Liberties Union wanted to make one, it can't. The U.S. Constitution does not apply to Cherokee, nor to any other Native American tribe for that matter..."

Well, I'd like to inform the Cherokee Indians as well as most conservatives in this country, there is no correct way to apply the First Amendment to states either. Therefore the ACLU can make up any argument they want.

The First Amendment was written to restrict the Federal government, not the states. The state of Massachusetts had a state church well into the 1830s. Therfore if the state of Utah decided to make the Church of Jesus Christ, Latter Day Saints, the state church, Constitutionally, they may do so.

Although I commend these Cherokees to do what they are doing, they need to be consistent. The Councilwoman Angela Kephart said:

"We aren't saying you have to abide by the Ten Commandments," Kephart said, according to the Smoky Mountain News. "We are simply displaying God's Ten Commandments. That's what He expects from each and every individual. If you break that, it is between you and God. It is not between you and the tribal council; it is between you and God."

Although the above sounds nice. It is self contradictory and not the intention of the Ten Commandments. The ten commandments are to be the basis of Law. Therefore, to say that they are not saying people have to abide by the Ten Commandments, and then say that the Ten Commandments are between individuals and God, is to say that I can committ murder and it is just between me and God. How absurd is that thinking?

The Ten Commandments are meant for society and the basis for the laws of governments everywhere. Without acknowledging the Creator and His Laws, we only invite chaos. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, including the Nation of Cherokee Indians.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Solid Ground Books

Solid Ground Books (online book store) is now selling books from the Reformed Baptist Academic Press. There is some great reading from Solid Ground Books. For those of you needing some "meat" in your studies, you will not be disappointed.

With some of the major shortfalls of Dispensationalism, Covenant Theology seems to be making a comeback. The recent Reformed Baptist Theological Reviews have dealt heavily with the New Covenant verses the Old and also dealing with believers baptism verses paedo-baptism.

Check them out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

You're Offended, I'm Offended

A few weeks ago I preached a sermon on the sufficiency of Scripture. During the sermon, I explained that certain religious groups deny this. I said nothing that could be construed to be a lie. Yet I offended some people.

Why is stating certain facts offensive, I am not sure. It is true that Mormonism denies that the Bible is sufficient. They will even have the Book of Mormon in their hands to show that they have more than the Bible. The Jehovah's Witnesses have more literature thrown at them from week to week than anyone I know. This is all true. But God forbid I mention Roman Catholicism.

Why is it offensive to mention that many Roman Catholics deny the sufficiency of Scripture and believe that Traditions are equal to Scripture? Isn't that what many believe? Yet several people are offended that I mention these facts.

Nobody seems to mind that I might be offended. I might be offended that most Protestants have no idea what the issues of the gospel are. I might be offended that the groups above deny the Gospel according to the Scripture. I might be offended that Protestants are denying the imputation of Christ's righteousness. I might be offended that many Protestants are compromising the Gospel to make peace with a church (Rome) that can not by Biblical definition ever come to repentance without denying its own authority. It seems to me, nobody cares that I might be offended.

Truth is, I am offended when I see a false Gospel preached. I am offended when Scripture is blasphemed. I am offended when a brother mocks the Name of Christ while wanting to be granted assurance of his salvation. I am offended when the power of the Gospel is denied while Protestant evangelists manipulate people to say the sinners prayer and say, "You're saved, now never question salvation again."

So why are so many Protestants wanting to defend Roman Catholicism as if it were just another Protestant denomination? Truth is most Protestants don't know the issues. It is time for the Shepherds of God's flock to call the sheep out of this world while they remain in it.

I won't sweat it though. In the end, I have been following John Quincy Adam's advise. "Duty is mine, results are God's."

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

One Nation Under...Who?

I just love this Michael Newdow guy. An atheist who is trying for a second time to have "one Nation under God" removed from the pledge of allegiance. The reason why I love this guy is because he has revealed something about the rest of the nation. Most people have no idea why the Pledge is the way it is (read Steve Camp's blog for some great info), but even more importantly, most Christians have no idea how defend the phrase being in the pledge.

In God's Sovereignty and will, Christians have encountered false teachers from both within the church and outside the church. I believe one of the reasons why God has called us to struggle in the faith is that we may grow. For example, an early controversy within the church was whether or not Jesus is God. It was precisely because of false teachers that Christians were forced to think about the issues of life and be found whether or not they would take a stand for truth.

So as Mr. Newdow once again takes his case and attempts to head for the Supreme Court, America in general and Christians in particular will have to think through the issues. For most Americans, this is a no brainer. Michael is right. But for those of us who take God's Word seriously, for those of us who understand how the Law is to function in God's world, for those of us who recognize God is the Creator and we are His creatures, for those of us who desire to be consistent, we will need to be prepared as to why the Bible should be the Foundation for Law.

So who is the Foundation going to be? God or man?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Calvin And Who?

I got to meet the new Mormon missionaries yesterday. Nice couple of guys that work hard at trying to get a good home cooked meal. Hopefully they will be eating some of my wife's good cooking before they go in a couple of weeks.

I know, you're thinking, "Why?" Well, I try to witness to anyone and everyone, that includes Mormon missionaries too. I recognize the fact that they are steeped in Mormon theology, and it would take years to make any real progress. But in the short time that the Good Lord gives to me, I will do what John Quincy Adams said, "Duty is mine, results belong to God."

I have been noticing something more troubling over the last couple of years. Since I am not a scholar I don't know if my observations are correct, but it seems to me that Evanjellycals are on the road back to Rome. I don't mean that we are all becoming Roman Catholics. But we seem to be going back to the view of man that Rome believes.

Notice who is in this picture.

Joseph Smith is on the left, T.D. Jakes in the middle and John Calvin on the right. Now what do the first two have to do with John Calvin? You guessed it. Nothing! Yet they are together in a picture coming out in the next CRI Journal. The first two are false teachers. Calvin is one of the greatest theologians of the Reformation.

So when these three are put together it sure makes one wonder what in the world CRI is doing. Joseph Smith's view of man is that he just needs some direction. TD Jakes is a Oneness Pentecostal. His view of man isn't much different from Mormons.

The Reformation hinged on the belief that men are dead in sins and trespasses. Calvin most certainly believed this. Calvin did not believe that men just needed a little help from above. Calvin believed that if God did not choose to save us and raise us from spiritual death to spiritual life, we would never desire the true God.

Notice what Smith taught. That God was once a man who was exalted to Godhood. In other words, God is just one of a myriad of gods. Poly-Theism. This leads to the idea that men just need to be pointed in the right direction. The atoning work of Christ doesn't actually save anyone unless that man chooses to obey God's commands perfectly.

Jakes believes that God is one person who disguises himself as Father in creation, Son in redemption and Spirit in regeneration (Modalism). So that when Jesus is praying to the Father, He is actually praying to Himself. And again, the atoning work of Christ does what? Make salvation possible?

John Calvin believed in the Trinity and in the Biblical doctrine of election. He believed that Jesus actually died to save sinners. That Jesus' death, burial and Resurrection actually accomplished this. The reason being, man is dead. Man does not need a guy to show the way. Man needs salvation from his evil deeds and desires.

It is commendable that CRI has taken a firm stand against Open-Theism, Mormonism and Oneness Pentecostalism, but their reasoning is inconsistent and is leading them to take a harder position against reformed theology. Over the years, I have let my subscription drop. Although I am not sure what the particular article is about, I just can't understand why CRI is wanting to undermine the foundation laid so long ago.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Irony of Ironies

It is extremely amusing to hear liberals and leftists, such as Scott City's local New York Times Editorial page all the way up to Senator Kennedy, say that conservative judges are activists. If anyone listened to Judge Robert's opening statements, and if he truly meant what he said, there is simply no way he could be a judicial activist.

While Senator Kennedy and Biden do their best to make Roberts look bad, they only show more of their true colors. But then the irony of ironies happened this afternoon during the hearings. The U.S. 9th Circus Court of Appeals said it is unConstitutional to have children say "one Nation under God" during the pledge of allegiance.

I am curious as to what Biden and Kennedy will do now? Will they ask Roberts if he is going to "roll the clock back on freedom" and rights that are gained through the court system? What I really want is my local New York Times Editor to comment on this. I am sure if he has any brains at all, he'll do what he always does. He'll blame it on Bush.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Nero Rules

In a day of Political Correctness, free speech is often touted at the expense of free speech. Read this story that is going right next door. With the secularization of Europe, it was only a matter of time before their ideas spilled over to this continent.

What I have really noticed is that the Rush Limbaughs have no answer to these groups and liberal scholarship. Sure, Rush can pacify homosexuals on his show by showing most conservative Americans don't want to even deal with the issue in the public sphere. The problem is that certain homosexual groups are not content to remain silent. They desire to have everyone accept their view and even have it promoted to our children.

So a pastor in Canada will now possibly lose everything attempting to defend free speech. What will be the basis of his arguments? Obviously since the Bible is not accepted as foundational to law, since absolute truth is rejected absolutely, since God is not the Creator, this pastor will be thrown to the wolves.

How does one convince Emperor Nero he is wrong?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Judging God

Some time ago I visited Plymouth Plantation. A place where the people who are working (the Separtists) "live" in the year 1621. They speak the accent of Old English and know the history (for them it is current history) very well. More importantly, they know their religious beliefs.

While I was visiting with one of the Pilgrims another visitor asked him, "Why do you believe in a God who allowed half of your people to die in that first winter?" His response was most clear and to the point, and I will never forget it. "Who are we to judge God?"

Most people think of themselves as some kind of morally neutral agent who may look at the evidence for God's existence or some other Biblical claim and remain objective in the judgment of God. Over many years of evangelizing, I have come to this conclusion, there is no morally neutral being, including God Himself.

What I mean is this. God is the only truly objective being with the sense He knows all things. He judges all things not by some imaginary neutrality though, but by His own righteousness and holiness. We only know what is right and wrong simply because God is God and there is no other.

For us then to judge God during events like Katrina is to say to God, "I am morally neutral and objective, so let's see if this Katrina devastation could have been allowed or decreed by a Creator, and then we will see if that God is good or right." This is absurd on its face. For we now have the pots and clay saying to the Potter, "Why have you made me like this?"

Man is sinful, therefore man is biased against God from the beginning and does everything he can to surpress the truth. To assume otherwise is to...(refer back to assume).

In application, we as mere creatures would do well to humble ourselves and recognize that God is the Creator, and we are His creatures. In doing this, perhaps we will recognize that God has spoken, and He has explained Himself to us through Christ. He also has told about who and what man is. Who would know man better than his Creator? Therefore, God is the One who judges, not man.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Campolo And The Results Of Open-Theism

I am ashamed to admit it, but Dr. Tony Campolo has written some more worldly answers in a time when solid Biblical teaching and preaching is needed. In an article titled, "Katrina: Not God's Wrath--or His Will
The Hebrew Bible doesn't say God is omnipotent. When disaster strikes, he cries with the rest of us."
--Need I say anything more. But some of you will ask, "What is the problem?"

The problem is this, God is Sovereign. All things happen because God has decreed it so. If this is not true, then how is God glorified in anything that ever happens? Was the cross just a lucky circumstance? Was Noah's Flood just an accident? Should we "weep" with those in Canaan or Sodom and Gomorrah?

Why is our God the God that should be worshiped? Because He is truly Sovereign. The Scriptures are replete with example after example. If Dr. Campolo desires to follow the "Open-Theist" crowd he may do so. I just wish he would take off his name tag before he does.

Let's take a look at some of his statements. In reference to evil events, Dr. Campolo stated, "Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad answers." He is right. There are a lot of bad answers. His is chief among them since he claims to be a Baptist Christian.

He says:

Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad answers...I don’t doubt that God can bring good out of tragedies, but the Bible is clear that God is not the author of evil! (James 1:15) Statements like that dishonor God, and are responsible for driving more people away from Christianity than all the arguments that atheistic philosophers could ever muster. When the floods swept into the Gulf Coast, God was the first one who wept.

So when God tells Moses the destruction he will bring on Pharoe, that is somehow outside of God's purpose since to do that would make God EVIL?!

Of course however, men will reject God. Jesus did this in John chapter 6. Whenever God's Sovereignty and Holiness are discussed in Scripture, men always abandon God. But to Campolo this is a bad thing? Should we keep offering a wimpy Jesus that can't really save anyone or have true power over nature, just because men will turn away? Truth hurts. The truth of Scripture must always e proclaimed even when natural man runs away or rebels against the truth.

So in reality, it is Dr. Campolo's theology that turns men away from the true God, since he is not declaring the truth of God's Word.

Again he states:

There are still other religionists who take the opportunity to tell us that God is punishing America for its many sins. Undoubtedly, there are some al-Qaeda fanatics who right now are saying that Katrina is the hand of God, striking America for what we have done to the people of Iraq and to the Palestinians. Furthermore, there are Christians who, in the weeks to come, can be counted on to thunder from their pulpits that Katrina is God’s wrath against the immorality of this nation, pointing out that New Orleans is the epitome of our national degradation and debauchery. To all of this I say, "Wrong."

So to say that Katrina is God's wrath may be wrong for some to say. For we do not have a prophet from God that is explaining to us these natural disasters. Campolo may be right in saying the above about Katrina. BUT HOW DOES HE KNOW? Does Campolo have a Bat-Phone link to God? What could be more obvious than Katrina is the means by which God's wrath is demonstrated? I think it would be a safer bet to go with the more wrathful picture than to just say, God has nothing to do with nature at all!

This just gets ridiculous:

The God revealed in Jesus did not come into the world "to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." (John 3:17) There can be no arguments over the claim that, for a variety of reasons, our nation deserves punishment. But when the Bible tells us about the grace of God, it is giving us the good news that our loving God does not give us what we truly deserve. Certainly, God would not create suffering for innocent people, who were--for the most part--Katrina’s victims.

I am sorry Dr. Campolo, but you need to stop developing your theology from liberal non-sense. Who in the world is innocent? Who does not deserve God's wrath? You might say that "there were Christians in that place". I say, "so what". The only difference between the Christian and those who perish eternally is that the Christian is JUSTIFIED.

Also, in quoting John 3:17, he actually denies the meaning of Jesus' finished work. It is true that Jesus did not come into the world to condemn it. But His is a perfect work already accomplished at the cross. Jesus has saved and will save those for whom He died. To make the atonement universal will mean that everyone goes to heaven, or Jesus fails miserably to save millions of people.

He says:

Instead of looking for God in the earthquake or the tsunami, in the roaring forest fires blazing in the western states, or in the mighty winds of Katrina, it would be best to seek out a quiet place and heed the promptings of God’s still small voice.

I am not sure of which God Campolo is refering to, but I'd sure like to introduce Him to a Perfect, Sovereign, ALMIGHTY Savior that he has not met yet.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

No Substitute

Well, I am attempting to finish week 2 of my class Preaching and Preachers. The reading has been tough to accomplish due to softball games I played this week. Our church team actually won the mini-tournament, but then again, there were only four teams.

Let me share with you a couple more quotes from John Stott's book Between Two Worlds.

He quotes Matthew Simpson on page 82:

His throne is the pulpit; he stands in Christ's stead; his message is the Word of God; around him are immortal souls; the Saviour, unseen, is beside him; the Holy Spirit broods over the congregation; angels gaze upon the scene, and heaven and hell await the issue. What associations, and what vast responsibilty!"

In an age where preaching seems less and less meaningful and farther apart from our worship, the church seems adrift in a culture that attacks Christians. Where are the shepherds of God that give the much needed food for their sheep? How often have Christians been caught as being "ashamed of the Gospel"?

Stott goes on to say on page 83:

Our worship is poor because our knowledge of God os poor, and our knowledge of God is poor because our preaching is poor. But when the Word of God is expounded in its fulness, and the congregation begin to glimpse the glory of the living God, they bow down in solemn awe and joyful wonder before His throne. It is preaching which accomplishes this, the proclamation of the Word of God in the power of the Spirit of God. That is why preaching is unique and irreplaceable.

We live in day that may seem new because of new technology or politics or philosophy or ethics. The problems of man, however, are not new. As Martin Lloyd-Jones says in his book, the form may be new, but the substance is quite old [my paraphrase]. Man has always been a rebel sinner. Man has always since the fall been dead in trespasses and sin. It has always been his need to hear the Gospel and given life by the Spirit of God in every era.

May we as God's people be faithful and not give in to the temptations to alter the Gospel in order to meet what man thinks he needs, but instead with boldness and conviction stand firm in the faith "once for all delivered unto the Saints."