Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Do You Agree With Pierre

I have said many times that much of Evangelicalism is not able to do much apologetically in a consistent fashion. Churches are filled with people who are given a poor or shallow theology. In light of this they are susceptible to wolves dressed in sheep's clothing.

In a recent program of the Dividing Line James White critiques Chuck Smith's position against Reformed theology. In so doing, Dr. White demonstrates the inconsistency of Evangelicalism's apologetic or defense of the faith. This causes yet another call from Pierre.

Pierre is a frequent caller to the Dividing Line. Pierre is a Mormon. It is ironic that Chuck Smith's theology of God and his view of man was being defended by a Mormon. Although a Roman Catholic caller could have raised questions from a more "orthodox" position, Pierre's view of man is substantially the same as many today.

So I have uploaded an audio clip of the phone call. See where you might disagree with Pierre.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Reformed Satire

Having grown up in New England, I tend to enjoy good sarcastic humor. I have now discovered a Reformed Blog that speaks volumes. A youth minister sues parents. Enjoy.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Tradition Verses Exegesis

I was told that God is Love. Fair enough. I was told God loves fully and completely. I agree. God does not love me less today because I sinned in some area of my life. Agreed again. It also seemed to be said that God loves everyone equally and without distinction. This last assertion must be challenged.

Being pointed to 1 John 4:8, I am told again that "God is love". Therefore God must (notice “must”) act according to His nature to love everyone. I agree that God loves because it is His character to love. To argue from this text that He does so equally and without distinction is again a major Pulpit Crime. For where in the text is John arguing this? Simple exegesis is not only linking God’s love for “us” but that this love is directly tied to obeying His commandments. It is the law of God that is being fulfilled, hence God loves us and we are enabled by a new birth to obey Him.

Simply the fact that the Creator has created creatures, God bound Himself to us. His law holds us together. The creation is sustained and every modern Pharaoh or Hitler takes every breath due to his kindness and mercy and patience.

What troubles me is the fact that a major Tradition is read right into the text without anyone seeming to notice. This places Tradition on par with Scripture. Therefore, those who do not acknowledge their Traditions, because they do not believe they have any, actually equate their Traditions with the Word of God itself.

This is the thinking of a natural man. We take away from God to love His creatures as He freely chooses. I am told God must love everyone the same. This is simply not Biblical.

I asked my children at the dinner table after this morning’s sermon about God’s love. They agreed that God loves everyone equally. I then asked what do you think about Romans 9, “Jacob I loved, Esau I hated.” They were shocked. God hates someone? Yet that is exactly Paul’s point. We think backwards. The question should not be whether or not God hates someone, but whether God loves anyone redemptively.

I love my wife. I also love her sister. To love them both in the same way would be to violate God’s law. It is clear that there are distinctions in love. It is also clear there are distinctions in the love God freely exercises among men.

I write about this because this kind of theology will not be able to stand under Biblical scrutiny. Therefore a poor apologetic must be adopted to defend such a view. RC apologists and others have seen this weakness all too clearly.

God has chosen to freely display His attributes of wrath and mercy. He has chosen to contrast evil against the backdrop of His holiness. He has freely chosen IN Christ to make a new people to be contrasted with the ungodly. In the Day of Judgment, we will see the full expression of all of his attributes.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Conversion Is a Miracle

A pastor friend of mine said something truly great. While we were talking about "Decisionalism" in modern Evangelicalism, he pointed out that what we are really arguing over in Evangelicalism is the Gospel itself.

The Gospel is not about just getting someone to the point of saying a prayer or convincing him through manipulation, but about the Spirit of God working in the proclamation of the Word of God. He stated that when a person truly comes to Christ, the conversion of a sinner truly is a miracle of God.

I agree.

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Election and Children

What do we do with our children? The doctrine of election as taught by the Reformers and Reformed Baptists in particular have always caused much in house debate. The Reformers recognized that Baptism does not actually save anyone. Baptism is always tied to proclamation and belief in the Gospel that is proclaimed. Yet Lutherans and Presbyterians and Reformed Baptists have different ways of explaining how children are to be included in the fellowship of the local church.

I am a Baptist precisely because I believe in a believer’s baptism. There is much debate between Reformed Presbyterians and Reformed Baptists. Yet I am convinced the consistent Scriptural teaching is Believers Baptism. But what do we do with our children that the Lord has taken. What do we do with those who are not mentally able to hear the Gospel? These questions have even been raised in my local fellowship, and they are difficult ones.

Many in Evangelicalism believe in an age of accountability. This strikes me odd. This understanding of Scripture is formed by a belief of "fairness" and "love" that is not defined by Scripture but by culture. It is also a direct denial of original sin.

Some have cited David’s baby that died. David says he will go to him. What that means is not as clear as so many assume. We again simply read our Traditions into the text to make it side with our preconceived ideas about what God ought to do with our children. I simply believe this is more of a pastoral issue than a clear teaching of Scripture.

The LBCF states:

3. Elect Infants dying in infancy, are (k) regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and (l) how he pleaseth: so also are all other elect persons, who are uncapable of being outwardly called by the Ministry of the Word.

I truly believe this is really the most a Christian can say about the subject. We as Christians should constantly recognize the righteousness and mercy and sovereignty of God. We should be constantly humbled in God’s presence. Since Scripture is silent on the subject, this should cause us to trust the wisdom and love of God. He will do what is right.

I have never personally experienced the death of a child. I have had close family and friends who have. I will not however use manipulation or Traditions to offer human comfort. I will offer, through the Proclamation of the Gospel, a God who is righteous and will save His people perfectly. God is the God of all comfort.

2 Corinthians 1:3 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all mercies and God of all comfort. (NKJV)

My Sorta Two Cents

My brother Jim commented about the game on Sunday:

The Chargers were really a better team than both the Patriots and the Colts. They just made stupid mistakes and beat themselves. So I should be happy that we got to play one more playoff game, but I'm not. We should have lost to the Chargers, but should have beat the Colts.

I agree with Jim.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Insanely Stupid Stories has a breaking news story. In fact, it is such a breaking news story, it won't actually happen for another 5 Billion years. Wait a second. Is it really a news story to give news on something that won't happen for another 5 Billion years? Am I making myself clear? Did I mention the fact this will not even occur for another 5 Billion years? FIVE BILLION YEARS!

Am I alone in this? Are people really afraid of what will happen to them 5 BILLION YEARS FROM NOW? I actually have friends that were worried about the next ice age which won't occur several million years from now. But this just takes the cake!!!!!

I need to find my insanity meter. I think I am going to start a stupid story category.

Is Election Important?

Is the Reformed doctrine of Election really that important? After two different conversations this weekend, one with a Roman Catholic and the other with an Evangelical, I had my belief reinforced that the standard evangelical apologetic is not able to withstand Roman Catholicism.

It was interesting to hear the same exact response from both positions against the historic Reformed position as stated in the LBCF and Westminster. One question that came up was "Why evangelize if God already has a specific people chosen and that nothing will stop them from believing? They are going to be saved anyway, right?"

This question seems to be a logical conclusion to those who reject the Reformed understanding of John 6 and Ephesians 1 and Romans 9. Yet it is not a logical conclusion. So I'd like to take a moment and list some reasons why I do evangelism and believe the doctrine of Election is important.

First I do evangelize because I believe I do not have to save people from hell. In fact, I do not believe I can save anybody. I evangelize because God commands that I do. As a believer in Christ, to proclaim the Gospel is to bring Glory to God whether God chooses to do a miraculous work in the salvation of sinners or their condemnation in their rejection of it.

The doctrine of election gives the minister of God confidence that God will do the work necessary in bringing about the salvation of His people. We, who have proclaimed the gospel, recognize the means of preaching as bringing this about. We do not have to use tricks or music or gimmicks. How many ministers of the past labored and toiled for decades before seeing the fruits of their labors?

By today's standards, these ministers would be seen as unproductive. With marketing techniques of Willow Creek and Purpose Driven Drivel on Larry King Live, we have seen mega churches filled with unregenerated people deceived into thinking they are saved.

God is Sovereign in His grace. This seems to really be the rub. Many may dispute as to which doctrine men truly reject, either Total Depravity or Unconditional Election, but the idea that God chooses whether a man will have the ability to be released from his sin is completely foreign to many Evangelicals. In fact, I would suggest they are as repulsed by it as my RC friend (understandably so).

Jesus taught in John chapter 6 that all that the Father gives to the Son will come to the Son. They all will be perfectly saved and raised up on the last day. This doctrine of Election gives me confidence that I as a believer in Christ know that Christ will not fail to do a perfect work. He is the Author of my faith, and He will also finish it. As I grow in the assurance of my Savior, I am able to see that "salvation belongs to our God".

Soli Deo Gloria

Sunday, January 14, 2007

He Was Right

Dad, the whole game you were in such doubt. I am ashamed.

Simply because Brady threw a few interceptions and threw several horrible passes doesn't mean he won't throw that long pass at the end of the game, which will lead to a winning field goal.

Next time, don't doubt me.


Yes son. I promise.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Jacob Cheers For Patriots

"Dad, these Patriots are just so much fun to watch.

I can't imagine anyone cheering for anyone else."

"But Jacob, what about Uncle Chris' Chargers."

"Uncle Chris said what???!!! Somebody thinks they can beat this team of Red, White and Blue? What is the world coming to? He's probably a communist too."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bahnsen vs Stein For Theo

For Theo. If you would like to grasp a little bit of why I believe what I believe, I have uploaded a debate between an atheist, Stein and a Presbyterian, Greg Bahnsen. Bahnsen debates from a presuppositionalist viewpoint. I think if you will listen carefully, you will see my presuppositions a little clearer.

Here is the link.

God Bless

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Pulpit Crimes

Pulpit Crimes by Dr. James R. White. I have only read the Introduction and the first chapter (since I am in his channel, I have also read many excerpts while he was writing it), but I had to Blog about it. If the rest of this book follows the first chapter, then this is a must have book by anyone who desires to hear about the nature and scope of preaching. Not only is this book theologically driven and Biblically sound, it is very relevant for today.

I have personally experienced Pulpit crimes many times as we all probably have. The first chapter speaks about the nature of preaching the cross of Christ. On page 17 Dr. White writes about those who wish to hide the offensiveness of the Gospel:

“Or, I can distrust that very message, and likewise the Spirit that promises to make it come alive in the hearts of God’s elect. I can choose instead to add my ‘assistance’ through the use of speech marked by human wisdom and insight. I can protest loudly that I have the greatest motives in doing so. I can argue that ‘the old ways just won’t work anymore.’”
At a Deacon retreat that I attended, a woman pastor (yes I know, another pulpit crime) spoke to my church’s deaconate board and used key phrases from the Emergent Church movement. At one point she stated that Sunday school classes would have to change from a “teacher lecturing, to a group discussion…the old ways just won’t work anymore.” What I wanted to tell this female pastor was that my church already reduces Sunday school to group therapy time (for some classes that is).

Just as a side note, I asked a pointed question so that all of the pastors and Deacons would see that what was being promoted was Emergent church. Everyone in the room apparently missed the meaning of my question. The only one intelligent enough to see I was fully aware of the deception of the things being taught was the female speaker herself. Ironic isn’t it? (It was very clear to me she was not happy I asked the question.)

Dr. White finishes the chapter with a discussion on the meaning of a successful and blessed church. So many churches (including my own) see success in numbers. The idea of even thinking theologically and Biblically about the means of how we are to reach the lost seems distant to many a mind.

There are Pulpit crimes on both the theologically Liberal side as well as the conservative and fundamentalist side. My brother Blogged about a pulpit crime committed against him as a child in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church (read here).

The chapter’s emphasis is about whether God’s chosen pastors will preach the foolishness of the cross. That he will do so without cleverness of speech or manipulation. That he will proclaim the stumbling block to the Jews and the foolishness to the Gentiles and trust that God will do a mighty work as He sees fit, either in the condemnation of sinners or the great salvation of the Saints.

Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Music Isn't Entertainment, So I Am Told

I am not against music. I actually like Third Day and other groups. For Ergun Caner to say "Some of the most theologically sound worship is being written currently." is a bit of a stretch. Some music is good. Much of it is quite...ahhhh...I'll be nice and not say.

Music is a drawing point or perhaps it is more accurate to say, a "selling point". Nevertheless, people are being entertained, and that entertainment is called worship. After speaking at several youth events Ergun Caner wrote:

"Having done these types of events for some time, I can assure you, the students do not come to be “entertained.” They come expecting to be challenged. They leave, claiming their cities for Christ."

So if this is true, take away the music and see if they are truly on fire. See if they still come to hear the Word of God preached. Then again, if the Christmas sermon (ie: tell a lot of jokes) Ergun preached is preaching, then perhaps they will.