Saturday, October 29, 2005

Pastor Phil Newton Speaks On The Church

Phil Newton, author of Elders in Congregational Life: Rediscovering the Biblical Model for Church Leadership and a board member of The Founders Conference, spoke at First Baptist in St. Francis, KS. He was speaking for 5 sessions. My wife and I were blessed to hear two sermons today. It was a long drive but worth the trip.

Pastor Newton is a very personable man. I managed to have a time of conversation with him. He encouraged me greatly. There is coming a time in the life of my own church where some major changes will be taking place. To hear him preach on the church and Body of Christ was a blessing truly needed to be heard by us.

We should be getting the tapes of these sermons soon. I will put them up on the web site as soon as I get them. Major Kuddos to Pastor Glidewell for having this Reformation Weekend Conference.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Falwell Defines Me Out

For quite some time, I have noticed some of the bigger names who are associated with the Southern Baptist Convention preaching against Calvinism. Names like Adrienne Rogers, Johnny Hunt and now Jerry Falwell seem to be aiming their sites at those who would hold to the London Baptist Confession of 1689. I assume they especially despise the Founders Conference within their own denomination.

According to this 2 minute clip, Jerry Falwell is now defining what a true Baptist is. Now that is fine. He is a well known minister and has every right to speak his mind. But why should he be allowed to redefine historical terms without challenge. Simply because he is well known doesn't grant him immunity from remaining accurate to Biblical truth and theology.

He starts by defining a Baptist as someone who believes in the Infallibility of the Bible and then the Deity of Christ. Things all Baptists have agreed upon were stated. But then he said that to be a Baptist one must believe that Jesus died a Substitutionary death for every individual ever. This is nice. It is emotionally exciting. It is something we wish God would really do. Who wants to see anyone go to hell?

We must however define what Substitutionary Atonement means. I agree that Jesus' death is not restricted to some tiny "select" group of people. The Bible does tells us that Jesus dies for the Elect. Why? Before the foundation of the world, God has joined a people to Christ. They are in Union with Him. This is not some theoretical idea. It is a reality.

Can you imagine that a person in hell can truly say with the Apostle Paul, "I have died with Christ."? To make Jesus' work theoretical on the cross is to limit His work. When Jesus died, He actually took the sins of His people. To say otherwise is to believe in Universal Atonement or no one was saved at all.

Substitutionary Atonement has a historical meaning, and no one should be allowed to define opponents out of a debate by redefining terms. This is what the Cults do. I expect more from Falwell. But it seems a thoughtful debate on the subject (according to Falwell's own words these things are not debatable) is not forthcoming. Not if he has anything to do with it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Need A Heart Transplant

I hear it over and over again but in many different ways. Christianity is just one religion that helps people see what is good and helps them to achieve living that good life. Sometimes that seems to be the main theme in contemporary Christian books, even conservative ones. Quite often it is in liberal Christian and nonChristian works.

I was finishing the debate between Dr. White and Dr. Crossan of the Jesus seminar when the ultimate question was finally asked in the question and answer period by a regular guy in the audience (click here for 2 minute clip). He basically asked Dr. Crossan "why?". If this world is evil, there seems to be no coming judgment, no hell, no wrath against sin, no substitutionary atonement, no forgiveness of sin, no resurrection, then why not just "kill yourself"? In other words, why is his version of Christianity so needed?

The response was quite typical. It assumed what all of the religions of man believe. That men have a free-will. If we just point men in the right direction, they could become good. This was the message of Jesus. Jesus was simply trying to teach us that the Kingdom of God comes by doing good. So if we just do it, then....

The Bible actually says something quite different. Men are not simply creatures who have lost their way but could be good if someone just steered them in the right direction. Men are not free-will agents that somehow are able to sit in judgment of God and His Gospel and choose it if it pleases them.

Men are dead in sin. Men are slaves of their sin. Men need not resuscitation. We do not need to wake up from an afternoon nap. We need resurrection! We need the Spirit of God to give us spiritual life. We need to repent and believe in the Gospel.

But my position assumes something that Dr. White clearly states in less than one minute. I believe that it is the Gospel that is the power of God. I do not believe that power is shared by man in any way shape or form. Men need a heart transplant. This can only be done by God and the Gospel he has commanded Christians to proclaim.

It is the Gospel that saves. It is the Spirit that saves. It is the Son that saves. It is the Father that saves. It is the Trinity that saves.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Woodbine Willie

At times the Bible does seem to indicate that when in Rome, do as the Romans. But does Paul really mean that there are no limits? If my neighbor gets drunk, should I do it too? If my neighbor commits adultery, do I need to do that in order to better understand him? Should I allow my daughter to wear miniskirts so the boys will be attracted to her, and she'll get a better chance to share the Gospel? Should we speak and think like the world?

These questions seem for some people to be quite a challenge. I think the answer is quite simple. Be yourself. People loathe a person who tries to be something he is not. People can spot a fake a mile away. But it is even more than that.

Christians are to live a consistent godly life. There may be some Christians who enjoy a beer once in a blue moon. This does not mean however he should overly enjoy himself by "getting tanked" (as they used to say) just because it might give an opportunity for sharing the Gospel. In fact, I suggest it does the opposite.

The World is always testing Christians to see if we are different. They want to know if we will truly follow Christ. They want to know if we really believe in Him, or if it is just hype or mere zealous excitement. They want to see Christians go to their graves knowing they have followed Christ. Otherwise, they will always secretly hold against you that your religion is just one among many.

Dr. Lloyd-Jones speaks about a fad that occurred back in the First World War. Yes this fad is nothing new. Christian men in the past as well as the present have often thought they needed to be just like sinful men in order to get them to listen. Listen to a story about Woodbine Willie. A cigarette smoking, cursing preacher who believed that we have to be just like the World to get men to follow. But if we become so much like them, my question is, "Who is following who?"

Click here for a 3 minute audio of Jones' story. The recording isn't great. But it says a lot.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

What About God's View Major Owens?

Congressman Major Owens from New York made some comments from the floor of the House of Representatives that goes to show how even supposedly intelligent people don't think through what they are saying. He states:

"We've had massive removal of people and now, with the policies of this administration, suspending Davis-Bacon, suspending affirmative action, making clear that people are not welcome back, you will have permanent removal of a whole population. You'll have permanent removal of a whole population, unprecedented in the history of the nation."

Then he likens this massive removal to the Israelites by the Romans:

"You can imagine how the ancient Israelites felt when the Romans decided to do one of the most brutal and cruel things ever done, and that is, they took the whole nation. They took the whole nation and moved them out, spread them out over the world into the 12 tribes. They broke them up into 12 tribes and moved off their homeland, massive removal. Well, you have something similar to that taking place in New Orleans."

Now to be honest, I am not sure what he is talking about. Is he referring to the Diaspora that took place long before the Romans? He is talking about the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70? What twelve tribes were moved out? It is funny that he simply looks at this from a human point of view. It is true that the Assyrians displaced the Northern 10 Tribes of Israel. From a human point of view, the Assyrians were evil. But notice what God says in Isaiah chapter 10:6-7:

"Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger; the staff in their hands is my fury! Against a godless nation I send him, and against the people of my wrath I command him, to take spoil and seize plunder, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. But he does not so intend, and his heart does not so think; but it is in his heart to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few;"

So from God's point of view, He is the One who is behind this "massive removal". He is the One punishing the Israelites. So Owens better be careful and think through what he is saying. God removed the Israelites because of their wickedness. Is he comparing black Louisiana to wickedness? Just a thought.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Biblical Illiteracy

Albert Mohler's BLOG today speaks to a severe problem within the church today. Biblical illiteracy was rampant over a decade ago, but the problem seems far worse now. When I first started teaching Sunday school, I used a survey to test the literacy of the class. The statistics I had were worse than the nations average, and I would consider Scott City to be slightly more knowledgeable than the average bear. In fact, it was so bad. I wondered if I was in a Christian church.

Today, many people think Sodom and Gomorrah were a married couple, including Christians. Since these statistics came out years ago, you might think church leaders would have addressed this problem. Mohler states:

Christians who lack biblical knowledge are the products of churches that marginalize biblical knowledge. Bible teaching now often accounts for only a diminishing fraction of the local congregation's time and attention. The move to small group ministry has certainly increased opportunities for fellowship, but many of these groups never get beyond superficial Bible study.

I am afraid Mohler is right on here. How many Bible studies are actually about studying the Bible? Yes, we have bible studies on how to manage our money, our families, how to raise boys, how to have Biblical sex ect.. Although these are issues that certainly need to be studied, there are almost no Bible studies that actually teach how to interpret the Bible consistently and exegetically.

How many people have actually read John 6 and dealt with the weighty theological issues of the nature of man and sin and God's Sovereignty? How many people have actually read through the Sermon on the Mount? How many preachers have preached through the Sermon on the Mount verse by verse? I am beginning to wonder if the above average layman could even define or defend the teachings of the "Five Solas"?

The problem of Biblical knowledge becomes even worse when God's Law is discussed. I have personally read the Old Testament several times, and I must confess that I remain ignorant of it. The main reason is, we never discuss it or take the time to study it. If there is going to be a true revival, I sure hope the Spirit starts by getting His people back to studying His Word, since He wrote it `n all.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Carson & Lewis On Worship

I'd love to discuss Tom Ascol's Blog series on worship, but some things are better left to those who have greater insight than I do. So here is the link to his last Blog on the subject. I think you may find it challenging.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Robertson Is A Sign Of The End?

Pat Robertson is a top story on WND.

This weekend's catastrophic earthquake in South Asia in the wake of recent U.S. hurricanes and December's tsunami is catching the eye of televangelist Pat Robertson, who says we "might be" in the End Times described in the Bible.

"These things are starting to hit with amazing regularity," Robertson said on CNN's "Late Edition."
I wish these people would quit reading the Left Behind series as if they were Scripture. I have dealt with this before so I will link to an earlier BLOG. When will these people ever learn? I guess if you keep putting out sensational stuff, the money will keep rolling in.

Perhaps I have it all wrong. Maybe when we see lots of Christian leaders falling for all kinds of nonsense, The End really is near?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Growing Up In Rachel's World

Tonight while watching a good family movie with our 6-year old, Rachel's body decided it was time to lose a tooth. Yes, it was a milestone for Rachel. As you can see in the picture, she doesn't know whether to smile or freak out or cry. She sure was excited. Just thought you might like to share in our small world.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Dave Hunt and The Gospel

According to The Berean Call:

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.

So Calvinists like myself are lost or at least will be judged severely for teaching it. For those of you following the anti-Calvinism crusade of Hunt you might be wondering why he disdains it to the point of being irrational.

After listening to a debate between Dave Hunt and John Pipa, Dave clearly understands the logical necessity that if a person holds to one point of Calvinism, then he must hold to all 5 points. His complete misunderstanding of Calvinism (and of how God works in salvation in general) leads him to believe that God loves this few "select" people while trashing the rest of humanity that so desperately wants to be saved.

Although that is not Calvinism, he totally stumbles over the point (often known by the letter "L" in T.U.L.I.P.) of Limited Atonement. Since most people reject the idea off hand that the Atonement of Christ could be "Limited" in any way, it is the assumption that must be challenged. Limited Atonement simply means this. That Jesus died as a perfect substitute for those who are saved.

In order to get people to think consistently, I have to ask the question, “What does it mean for Jesus to be a substitute?” I have had so many of my fellow churchmen who say that Jesus died for every single person ever. Yet, when I ask “Did Jesus die for that man in hell?”, I often get the answer that “He did, but that person just did not accept the gift.”

So does Jesus die for millions of people, who sin, reject Christ, suppress truth, ignore God, rebel against the Laws of God and become rightly judged for their actions and intentions? Does Jesus take the sins of a man that is in hell, yet somehow that man’s unbelief could not be forgiven?

If we are going to be consistent, we must think through who God truly is, what man truly is, and think through the Work, Person and Nature of Christ. Perhaps when we do this, the church will stop manipulating people to say the “sinner’s prayer” and get back to the work of true evangelism.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Might Makes Right?

If I remember correctly, a Bill, from South Carolina, called Rush's show today and said that the Constitution cannot be interpreted with original intent anymore than the Bible. We have advanced too far in technology and our modern understanding of the world and nature to resort to some 18th century politicians or 2000-year-old book.

I would love to ask this person to give us a reason to really believe that man has evolved in such a fashion so as to avoid eternal truths. Did the Nazis really avoid human sinfulness when experimenting on pregnant women? Was that purely science? When men use advanced technology (such as a car) to rob a bank, are they really beyond the eternal "Thou shalt nots"?

It is ironic that the Framers of the Constitution never thought of the "Rule of Law" as evolving. They did, however, see that times change and how that eternal rule would be applied in specific cases. Hence, a Constitution brilliantly made in order to account for changes. The Framers even used the Bible as their guide in their making of the Constitution, so they did not see the problem of using documents that were thousands of years old.

But there is an underlying worldview that needs to be dealt with. We must ask the "Bills" of this life, "What determines law?" If nine men in black robes determine what the meaning of the Constitution is, what if they decide a case in the favor of a conservative? Will Liberals and Leftists magically bow to the High Court’s decision?

Liberals in this country need to start thinking through their inconsistent worldview and see that their position leads to “Might makes Right”. When they see that they have lost in court, they immediately appeal to a higher authority and thereby borrow from the Christian Biblical worldview. Therefore “Bill from Carolina” needs to hear and learn why evolution is not true, his worldview is inconsistent and false, and that he needs to embrace the very thing he is opposed to, BIBLICAL TRUTH.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Double Predestination?

Since so many have struggled with the idea that God is all knowing and sovereign and that everything that happens occurs due to a positive decree, I have decided to link to a conversation between myself and Dr. White that took place on his internet broadcast, The Dividing Line.

The idea of God ordaining all things and predestining a people in Christ is so offensive from the Dave Hunts to students in my high school class and everyone in between, I thought it would be beneficial to learn what Scripture says on this subject. God has elected a people in Christ. He is free to do so. But the question always arises, "What about....?"

Perhaps this little conversation may give some insight as to what the Bible teaches.

God Bless