Saturday, January 31, 2009

New Book For Bible Study

I have finished Horton's book and have quickly jumped into Mark Dever's 9 Marks of a Healthy Church. I have just finished the Foreword and Introduction to the book. So far, if I didn't know better, I would say they complement each other. Joshua Harris writes in the foreword,
Mark isn't worried about being hip or trend-setting. He wants to be faithful to God's Word, and he's courageously committed to the Gospel. And it's precisely these qualities that today's church so desperately needs. In this book Mark shows us from Scripture the characteristics of a healthy church. He helps us see past the hype and fanfare of numbers, statistics, and the latest methodology. He guides us back to the old paths and the simple, world-changing beauty of God's plan for the local church." [emphasis mine]
For those of you praying for a reformed Baptist church plant in Garden City, this book may very well be the Bible study material we use. Stan Reeves has been very helpful in pointing me in this direction and also offering me some material that he has already worked on. Again, I covet prayers for this work. I need to have a grasp of all of the material that I have been studying. I do not know how or if the Lord will use us to do this work. I am simply following the motto, "Duty is mine. Results belong to God."

Friday, January 30, 2009

Obama Mama Abort Obama?

Here is a video that makes a great point.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Obama, Jesus and the Great Judgment

President Barack Obama has officially as President stood for abortion by signing an executive order allowing Federal Funding of abortion. He will now stand before Jesus Christ at the judgment having to give an account for the murder and slaughter (slaughter = the tearing apart of limb from limb and burnings and ect...) of millions of innocent girls and boys.

President Obama may have authority to do what he is doing now. He is obviously God's judgment upon a wicked generation. Nevertheless, he will have to give an account.

Watch John Piper's response to the President's recent statements on abortion.

Great Question

Rush has been asking the best question of all. Why does Obama want Republicans? Rush had Congressman Cantor on his program yesterday. Here is a portion of that exchange.
RUSH: We don't. See, that's the whole point. You know, it's great news, it is fascinating to learn all of these pork projects that are in this bill, and only 12%, if that, actually goes to stimulus. But that masks what this really is. This is a bill to grow government. This is a bill to grow the power of the Democrat Party. This is the New Deal 2. This is designed to create another 50 years of Democrat rule in perpetuity. This is not going to grow the economy. This isn't going to create any jobs. Congressman, he doesn't need any House Republicans. Correct me if I'm wrong. Every Republican could oppose this and it would still pass, correct?

CANTOR: That is absolutely right.

RUSH: All right. So here's my question, final question. If this bill is so magical, if this bill is going to accomplish everything in terms of stimulus and bring back prosperity and full employment, why doesn't he want it to be only a Democrat vote? He could ruin the Republican Party forever! If this bill actually works as he says and none of you vote for it, he can come back when it's in full-fledged success mode and say, "These guys opposed it. They didn't want this." They could destroy you guys, but yet he wants your cover on this.
Exactly! If this "stimulus package" is so wonderful, why do Democrats want Republicans to sign it? My personal opinion is that the Republican response is too little too late. Even if this fails, the Republicans have drifted so far from Conservative principles that a victory will only give us Liberalism Lite. Perhaps it is time to look into another party that actually will abide by the Constitution.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

More Insanity From the Wacko Left

Fox is reporting that the Democrats are now wanting to silence not only the Republican Party but Rush Limbaugh as well.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has launched an online petition for readers to express their outrage at Rush Limbaugh for saying he wanted President Obama to fail, reported.
This is just too much. I would laugh harder if I was certain the Stalinists...oooops...I am sorry...I mean the Democrats would not be taken seriously.

I would like a simple answer by these same Democrats to a few questions.

Did Democrats wish Bush to succeed or during a time of war attempt to subvert the President of the United States by supporting Terrorists?

Did the DNC ever express outrage when Left-Wing kooks made a Sarah Palin doll and hung it in effigy?

Or as the article implies, does Obama want Rush to fail?

For 8 years I have witnessed some of the most wicked behavior by Democrats. President Bush couldn't even leave the Inauguration without being booed (read here). Obama has been President for a week and already the Left is whining. It is not enough that Democrats defeated the Republicans during the elections. They are doing something that Bush didn't do. They are in the midst of destroying their political enemies forever.

Free speech? Why do Democrats want that? They are in power. They are good. Therefore anyone who would oppose them must by definition be evil...right?

Chuck Parses Rick

Chuck Norris has an interesting take on Rick Warren's Inaugural Prayer. Yes, I did write Chuck Norris. Read here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Quotes of the Day

Another couple of quotes from Horton's book.
"Calling us to accomplish great things for God is part of the hype that constantly burns out millions of professing Christians. Telling us about the great things God has accomplished--and, more than that, actually delivering his achievement to sinners--is the real mission of the church. And it might even put wind in the sails of those among us whom God has called to extraordinary achievements! But it will be enough if it puts wind in the sails of those whom God has called to ordinary and fruitful lives. On Monday, a congregation once again assured of God's amazing grace to sinners, will be scattered into the world as salt and light. If we think the main mission of the church is to improve the life in Adam and add a little moral strength to this fading evil age, we have not yet understood the radical condition for which Christ is such a radical solution."
And again,
"The church as an institution appointed by Christ has a narrow mandate with global significance. Individual Christians, however, have as many mandates as they do callings: as parents, children, extended relatives, neighbors, coworkers, and so on."
So what do we need?
"We do not need more Christian service organizations but more churches that serve the sheep and send them out to love and serve their neighbor alongside non-Christians as employees, employers, volunteers, friends, and family members."

Snow In the Desert Evidence For Warming

More evidence for man-made Global Warming. Yahoo News reports,
DUBAI (AFP) – A blanket of snow has covered a mountain in a part of the United Arab Emirates, a rare phenomenon for the desert Gulf country, according to local media report.
Now you might be wondering why I said more evidence for man-made Global Warming if it in fact, snowed in the desert. Well, the answer is simple. Global Warming Alarmists must make global warming not a scientific theory that may be tested and possibly disproved, but in stead a model by which all evidence the dogma. Why? So the governmental bureaucrats may tax you.

Here is evidence that the Leftist theory is dogma. The NYTimes reported,
Michael E. Schlesinger, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, said that any focus on the last few months or years as evidence undermining the established theory that accumulating greenhouse gases are making the world warmer was, at best, a waste of time and, at worst, a harmful distraction.
How do we know this? Because for many, this is not a theory.

There are several assumptions that are made by these who seek to save the planet. One strikes me as easily overlooked. Who is man to say that Global Warming is bad? Maybe life would be better on this blue ball if we produced more "pollution". Do we really have evidence to the contrary? Are we so arrogant as to think we know what will happen to life on Earth if it gets warmer?

To put it another way, if the Earth has been here for billions of years, and life has been evolving for that amount of time, then how do we really know what is good for it. We are dust just passing through.

Arrogant indeed!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

An Open Letter to CVCC

To the Church gathered at Central Valley Community Church, Hartford, South Dakota,

First, I deeply regret not being able to come to the ordination service of my long time and good friend Cory Kitch. Although lions and tigers and grizzly bears could not keep me away from being able to worship with you, the threat of snow has.

I pray for God's continued grace that is at work in your lives. Over the years, your Pastor, Chris Gorman, has been a blessing and encouragement to me. I have heard of the many trials and difficulties your church has had to endure to reach this point. Again, I pray for your continued growth and maturity in Christ.

This Sunday morning your church will be practicing a command given to the elders of the church nearly two thousand years ago. According to Titus 1:5, the Apostle Paul commanded Timothy to appoint elders to oversee the church. This duty of appointing elders is no small thing. For elders have a burden that no man endures in our secular vocations. He is to oversee the church of God. He is to be of sound doctrine. He is to be a man above reproach and of conduct that men may imitate. The men that your church are ordaining, in my opinion, more than qualify.

We live in a day when sound doctrine has given way to pragmatic teaching. Doctrines that were taken for granted only a generation ago, are now unknown in many churches. My friends, sound doctrine is a blessing to the church. For godliness is the fruit of it. After this Sunday, these pastors will have been solemnly charged before God and His people to be faithful in preaching and teaching as Paul solemnly charged Timothy to the same.

Please allow me to offer my own testimony to the life of Cory Kitch. When I first moved to Scott City First Baptist Church, I became the Jr. High School Sunday school teacher. On occasion I would also assist the Youth Pastor in teaching the Youth Group on Sunday afternoons. It was there that I met Cory. Cory was part of an exceptional group. It was very clear to me that Cory was a man with great ability. His level of understanding and willingness to learn was unparalleled in my experience as a Christian and remains the case to this day.

Over the years, I have watched Cory grow in the faith. I have watched him grow in his ability to teach and preach. I have had the pleasure of having theological conversations going into the late hours of the night. I watched him struggle at times after college as he waited upon the Lord for direction. It was at this point of his life I knew the Lord would use him greatly. For only through patience and endurance would a mature man in the faith be produced. This you now possess.

Cory Kitch has become a man who loves Christ, and therefore loves Christ's church. The Apostle Paul tells us,
"if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do."
Over the years I have seen young men use the text of 1 Timothy 4:12 to defend themselves from any criticism of their appointment as elders. Often this text is abused. For those of you that might think Cory is too young, please consider all of Paul's letters to Timothy and Titus.
1Ti 4:12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.
Pastor Gorman will be presenting to you a man worthy to be called an Elder. I pray that the congregation will recognize this calling. For the years to come, you will be working with your Elders to further the Gospel proclamation to all the world. I also pray that you would allow them to fulfill their calling with joy that they may present you before our Lord when He appears on the Last and Great Day with grateful hearts.

May God Bless your congregation for years to come.


Howard Fisher
Member of FBC
St. Francis, KS

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The End Is Near...Maybe...Well, I'm Not Sure...Any Minute Now, I Think

Yahoo News reported more end of the world stuff from the Left, and yes, it is your fault. (The video link has been lost. But the Washington Post has picked up on this nonsense.)

But we can save the world though. We just need you to willingly give up your freedoms and pay a whole lot more to the Government in taxes. And if you don't willingly do this...well...we have government bureaucrats that will fix your motivations.

Check here for some interesting science.

I say, let's all buy 2-stroke dirt bikes and help South Dakota warm up. I have to go there Friday (Lord willing), and it looks cold.


Turns out that the end of the world hasn't come soon enough. I decided opt out of the snow and sub-zero temperatures. Perhaps I'll just go out in my back yard and set fire to a few cans of oil and directly pollute the environment to spur on some warm weather.

Save Me From...

Greetings to all, FilmCritic here, contributor extraordinaire (you heard me-"extraordinaire") with a little something for your wandering eyes. Snuggle up with something warm and fuzzy now, cause I don’t have any thing in that category for you today. Now with your expectations thoroughly lowered, I can begin.
My church recently rewrote our statement of faith, not to change anything exactly, but rather to change the wording to reflect the growth and vocabulary of the pastoral staff. We felt the old wording, for instance, was a little too “Saddleback” for our current persuasion (our current persuasion being…you know…biblical).
In preparing to preach from our section on the church I decided I wanted to preach on the last sentence, which reads, “We believe that the church is called to be a faithful witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Since I began reading Christless Christianity (maybe some of you have heard of it) I’ve admittedly been a bit jacked up about the prospect of preaching with this sentence in mind. However, it wasn’t this book that gave me the desire to preach on it. It was primarily two things. First, in the past year a new and fresh appreciation has grown in me for Paul’s masterful summation of the gospel in I Corinthians 15. So much so, I wrote a series of church newsletter articles interpreting and explaining the passage one statement at a time, occasionally stopping to point out a few false modern gospels along the way. 15:1-5 reads as follows,
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve

The second thing that made me want to preach on this sentence was a book called, “Save Me From Myself.” It’s the memoir of Brian “Head” Welch, the former lead guitarist of Korn. It primarily tells the story of his addiction to meth and his eventual conversion to Christianity. It wasn’t what I was hoping it would be exactly. I think, all things considered, Welch presents, if not a false understanding of the gospel, certainly one that obscures the true nature of it according to I Corinthians 15. I want to tread carefully here because, for all I know, Welch could clarify himself if confronted and even retract certain things if compelled from Scripture. However, all I’ve got to work with is what he’s put in print.
The first example of the problem with Welch’s gospel is the title of the book itself. “Save Me From Myself.” What’s the problem? The problem is that the gospel doesn’t save us from ourselves. There are plenty of secular organizations and methods, not to mention religious movements that can provoke the change that Welch went through. Once again, I don’t want to down play the significance of Welch being freed from his addiction. I think we can all agree he’s better off and I’m thankful for that. However, plenty of people are freed from addictions that don’t give a rip about Jesus. Look at Robert Downey Jr. for instance. He’s been clean and sober for several years now and has even made something of a comeback for himself with Iron Man, Tropic Thunder and an upcoming inspirational tear jerker with Academy Award written all over it.
So, there’s nothing unique about the gospel if it’s about being saved from our selves. Actually, according to the gospel in I Corinthians, we could get “saved from our selves” and still be in a lot of trouble. Why? Because the gospel saves us from our sins! Much more than that, “for our sins, according to the Scriptures.” These are the same Scriptures that affirm mankind’s total depravity, the same ones that attest to the fact that all mankind stands condemned in our sin and needs to be saved, not from ourselves but from God’s justified wrath. Something outside of ourselves condemns us, and something outside of ourselves must justify us, make us right. According to the gospel, that’s Christ. The Son of God died for the ungodly, bearing the wrath of God, in our place, for our sin so that we might stand justified before our Great Judge and so that in his resurrection we might live with and enjoy him forever!
Many times Christianity is presented as the best solution for your personal problems, such as debt, obesity, or addiction. It’s designed to get you on a path to happiness and it’s still mistaken for Christianity because Jesus is the functional stepping stool to the coziest middle class life you can achieve.
So many times we confuse the symptoms with the disease. No one gets saved treating symptoms. Salvation is when God initiates, accomplishes, declares and applies something definitive in history. That’s what I Corinthians 15 is about.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No, It Is Not Just You

I know I could not have said it better. Gerald Warner has written "frank, even ungracious, words", but words "that, unlike almost everything else written today about Obama, they will not require to be eaten in the future." His Blog piece may be found in the Telegraph UK. Read here. Here is one paragraph that really pulls no punches.
To anyone who kept his head, the string of Christmas cracker mottoes booming through the public address system on Washington's National Mall can only excite scepticism. It is crucial to recall the reality that lies behind the rhetoric. Denouncing "those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents" comes ill from a man whose flagship legislation, the Freedom of Choice Act, will impose abortion, including partial-birth abortion, on every state in the Union. It seems the era of Hope is to be inaugurated with a slaughter of the innocents.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our Own Personal Jesus

On Sunday morning I was told that in order to be a growing and maturing disciple (as opposed to a baby Christian who is saved without needing to be a disciple) I needed to "be alone with Jesus". In other words, the pastor (if I may call him that) believes in the 80s debate of non-Lordship salvation. According to this view, we will only grow in our faith if we are willing to be "alone" with Jesus in order to see His majesty and truth.

For years I have interacted with Roman Catholics apologists, who mock the doctrine of Sola Scriptura due to their view of Protestantism, by making the charge that Protestants run to sit with Jesus under a tree all alone. This makes sense to me more now than in the past. When Protestants act as Gnostics in their search for truth (while decrying moral relativism), they feed our critics with much ammo. Of course RC apologists never apply the same standards to themselves (cafeteria catholics anyone?). Nevertheless, it can be easily seen why they would see things this way.

Somehow, Horton must have been sitting next to me in church Sunday. As I began reading the next chapter in his book, Horton explained much of American Evangelicalism's history while explaing to me what I heard Sunday morning. Here are some quotes from the chapter entitled, Your Own Personal Jesus.
"...Americans just want to be left alone to create their own private Idaho. While evangelicals talk a lot about truth, their witness, worship, and spirituality seem in many ways more like their Mormon, New Age, and Liberal nemeses than anything like historical Christianity."
Horton quotes Curtis White,
"We would prefer to be left alone, warmed by our beliefs-that-make-no-sense, whether they are the quotidian platitudes of ordinary Americans, the magical thinking of evangelicals, the mystical thinking of New Age Gnostics, the teary-eyed patriotism of social conservatives, or the perfervid loyalty of the rich to their free-market Mammon. We are thus the congregation of the Church of the Infinitely Fractured, splendidly alone together."
Horton interacts with Bloom,
"First of all, says Bloom, 'Freedom, in the context of the American religion, means being alone with God or with Jesus, the American God or the American Christ.'"
And gain,
"'The Christ of the twentieth century' is no longer really even a distinct historical person but 'has become a personal experience for the American Christian, quite clearly for the Evangelicals.' In this scheme, history is no longer the sphere of Christianity. The focus of faith and practice is not so much Christ's objective person and work for us, outside of us, as it is a personal relationship that is defined chiefly in terms of inner experience."
Horton writes,
"This intuitive, direct, and immediate knowledge is set over against the historically mediated forms of knowledge. What an American knows in his or her heart is more certain than the law of gravity.

So the deed, not creeds orientation of American revivalism is driven not only by a preference for works over faith (Pelagianism) but by the Gnostic preference for a private, mystical, and inward personal relationship with Jesus in opposition to everything public, doctrinal, and external to the individual soul. Religion is formal, ordered, corporate, and visible; spirituality is informal, spontaneous, individual, and invisible."
It is troubling to witness these very things that Horton talks about just hours earlier. The idea that a judgment passage from Isaiah (Mark 4:10-12) that Jesus quoted and applied to those around Him being turned into a passage on how God loves us and wants to have a personal relationship with us. This is of course not through the public means Scripture teaches (external preaching and the sacraments/ordinances and public prayer), but instead by privately "experiencing" Jesus in our Gnostic bedrooms to gain some higher knowledge of God.

Troubling indeed.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Barack All Image

For eight years I have been hearing about how dangerous President Bush is. How he is so arrogant. How he used tactics similar to Hitler and the Nazis. Barack is not even President yet and he is supposedly as great as Lincoln. Yahoo News reports:
Obama spoke in an interview last week about how his racial identity can unify and transform the United States, the newspaper said.
Now I have no doubt that having a Black President may change how we look at racism. But talk like this proves that racism will never end. The reason is simple. If we must use race to unite a people and not ideas that are consistent with our founding, then we will forever look at the color of a man's skin by which we judge instead of a man's character.

Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps Barack will be a President as great as Lincoln. For the moment I only see an image with no substance.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Brother Willie and the Market Crew

Last year I posted this video (below). I noticed today that there have been over 3,400 hits on this video. My wife's ability to Google has helped me in finding out who this group is. You may read the Native Journalist's link here. Somebody needs to get a recording of these guys on the web, other than the few videos on Youtube. Enjoy Brother Willie and the Market Crew.

HBO Presents Lord Barack Obama

When Dish Network sent me this e-mail, I had to wonder if Rush is right. HBO is presenting Barack Obama as the Messiah. Could you imagine if Bush did this? I feel like I ought to kneel before this almighty one.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Kerry Shook

I was flipping through the channels last night (as any good male human does), and I stopped to listen to Kerry Shook preach on some supposedly Christian network. Now I have no idea who this guy is but just listening to his sermon would be a great example of Horton's book, Christless Christianity. His sermon was therapy for men who have experienced "identity theft". Our true need is to choose Jesus so that we can be the best we can be (in Jesus of course).

If you read his site's statement on "What We Believe", you will find nothing heretical. In fact, it is quite good. But this is exactly Horton's argument throughout his book. Notice Shook's mission statement.
Our mission is to help people experience Christ – rather than man’s creation of religion – so they can take the Christ Experience back to the community and the world.

Our church is guided by The Great Commandment and The Great Commission. Our mission is biblically-based and relevant. Our mission is to reach people for Christ, grow them strong in Christ so they can go out and make a difference for Christ in the world.

Now on the face if this, who would disagree? Who doesn't want people to "experience" Christ? Yet is this man's true need? The substance of the sermon easily could have been preached by one of Oprah's guests or Dr. Phil or Dr. Laura.

Now of course the response would be that we need forgiveness in Jesus and that we need to be "in Christ" so that we could live our true identity. However, if you pay close attention, Shook, at least in the message I was listening to, wasn't preaching man's deadness in sin or Christ's righteous life or the holiness of God. Instead it was Christian therapy. Although Jesus' name was sprinkled throughout the message, the message was Christless.

In essence, the premise must be challenged. Is our mission truly to go and get people to experience Christ? Is that really what Apostolic preaching is in the Bible? Notice this portion of the website's statement.
"We believe in a great commitment to the great commission and the great commandment will grow a great church!"

The Great Commandment
"Jesus said, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart...soul...and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.' " Matthew 22:36-40

Again, I don't think guys like this are intentionally trying to distort the Gospel. I want to be clear. Shook is probably a good Christian man who loves Christ. He may really want to see men "experience" the Christian faith. But again, growing a great church through the "Great Commandment"? My friend, it is not more law or "law lite" that man needs. There is a wholesale confusion between the categories of law and Gospel among Evangelicals. We want more advice. We want more practical preaching. We have basically become at least semi-Pelagian if not Pelagian.

I think Romans 1:16 says it best.
The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe.
Instead, we believe in man's free-will and use every Finney-ite trick or moral therapeutic exhortations or music or whatever in place of the Gospel.

It really is that simple. Perhaps if we truly believed in the Gospel, we would actually preach it.

Horton's book may be the most important book I have read in years. It is an accurate description of the state of the American church. If you don't have a copy, go buy it now!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Coach Jesus

A couple of more quotes from Michael Horton.
Instead of reporting the news, we become the new. In fact, today we often hear Christians speak of "living the gospel", as if anything we do and are can be considered a supplement to God's victory in Christ Jesus. Instead of ambassadors, heralds, reporters, and witnesses, pastors become entrepreneurs, managers, coaches, therapists, marketing gurus, and communication specialists.
The shift from the stern conservatism of our parents' generation was not from guilt to grace or from law to gospel but from sticks to carrots, from ominous threats to a constant nagging to do better--always with a smile.
Because of the way Christianity is communicated Horton remarks why many (non-Christians and Christians of the more Liberal theological slant) get upset with Christians who say Jesus is the only way. Here are a couple of quotes.
It is no wonder that the average person today assumes that all religions basically say the same thing and that singling one out as the only truth is arrogant.
Reduce Christianity to good advice and it blends in perfectly with the culture of life coaching. It may seem relevant, but it is actually lost in the marketplace of moralistic therapies.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sex and the Church

I received a comment this morning on a previous post from someone who sees me as "discouraging" to women that desire to worship God and answer their calling to pastoral ministry. Although no reasons were given as to why I am wrong from the Scriptures, I am nevertheless ignorant and a sexist. Surprise. surprise. Simply disagreeing with modern philosophical fads by definition makes me ignorant and sexist. No justification is needed.

Just this morning Albert Mohler comments on a new report on the same issue. Here a portion of the post.
The report makes for riveting reading. Almost half of the schools queried indicated that worship experiences in chapel at least occasionally focused on gay, lesbian, or bisexual experiences. Seven of the 36 schools also offered worship focused on transgender issues.

Consider this section of the recommendations:

Seminaries also must assure a supportive environment for sexuality-related issues. Seminaries must have anti-discrimination, sexual harassment, and full inclusion policies that reflect sexual and gender diversities. It was a welcome surprise that almost 9 out of the 10 seminaries have anti-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation, and half have such policies for transgender students, staff, and faculty; other seminaries, unless prohibited by their faith traditions, should implement such policies. In addition, seminaries must provide opportunities for worship and advocacy that reflect the diversity of sexuality issues students will encounter in their ministry.

Now I must confess. I am ignorant as to how worship reflects homosexual worship or feminist worship. I have always been under the impression that the Scriptures define worship. I have been under the impression that the Bible is sufficient to tell mankind his true need and to direct Him to Christ and Christ alone.

Now I am well aware that worship will look differently in different cultures. I am just not certain what that has to do with calling men to repentance of their evil perversions and sin. Why do we want to incorporate our personal and subjective beliefs with God's truth? Christians are to be lovers of the truth, not flaunting their sin and idolatry before a holy God.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Quotes of the Day

A couple of more quote from Horton's interaction with Joel Osteen.
"Bad law-preaching levels some of us; Osteen's omission of the law levels none of us; biblical preaching of the law levels all of us."

"For Osteen, the good news is that on judgment day God will look at our heart. According to Scripture, that is actually the bad news. The good news is that for all who are in Christ, God looks on the heart, life, death, and resurrection of His Son and declares us righteous in Him."

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Lectures On Eschatology

For the two readers of this Blog this might be of interest to you. I have received an e-mail from Richard Barcellos at the Midwest Center for Theological Training. They are offering the ability to watch lectures on eschatology via the web. Here is a copy of the Email.

RBAP author, Dr. Sam Waldron, is lecturing this week at the Midwest Center for Theological Studies on the doctrine of last things. We are especially excited that Drs. Kim Riddlebarger, Richard B. Gaffin, Jr. and Vern Poythress will join Dr. Waldron via webconferencing technology on Saturday morning, January 10, from 10:00am to 12:00pm CST.

Please utilize (and feel free to share or post) the link below to join the live streaming of Dr. Waldron's lectures Thursday (1/8) & Friday (1/9) evenings at 4:00pm to 9:15pm CST and mark your calendars for the webconference on Saturday morning!
Body Content
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Another Quote

Here is a quote from the Spurgeon Newletter I receive.
"It is hard for people to admit that their hearts are not changed when they have changed their opinions on so many things and they have made many moral changes. The human heart is more deceitful than all things (Jeremiah 17:9) and it wants to deceive itself about its own salvation. When it has the support of others, it will leap at the opportunity to deceive itself."

Quotes for the Day

Commenting on Joel Osteen
"God is a buddy or partner who exists primarily to make sure we are happy. 'You do your part, and God will do His part.' 'Sure we have our faults,' he says, but 'the good news is, God loves us anyway.'"

"'If you simply obey His commands, He will change things in your favor.' That's all: simply obey His commands."

"It may be Law Lite, but make no mistake about it: behind a smiling Boomer evangelicalism that eschews any talk of God's wrath, there is a determination to assimilate the Gospel to law, an announcement of victory to a call to be victorious, indicatives to imperatives, Good News to good advice."
The last quote may be heard almost anywhere and to say so is to be "viewed as troublesome."

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Some More Quotes

Horton interacts with Marsha Witten's review of Baptist preaching. Here are some quotes.
"Of course no one has to explicitly deny any article of the Christian creed in order to shift the focus from the public truth content of Christianity to the subject, pragmatic, and therapeutic categories of 'how-to' religion. Christ may still be called Savior, but we really save ourselves by knowing and following the steps of the new birth and 'victorious living.'"

"As a result of these processes, says Witten, 'A religion's teachings no longer give meaning to their adherents' life in the world; their life in the world determines both the meanings and meaningfulness of their creed.'"

"Increasingly, Americans came to see church--with its appointed means of grace as secondary to 'Bible classes, prayer meetings, and benevolent groups--in other words, parachurch organizations.' Therefore, faith became increasingly privatized, with opportunities to express one's feelings, the language of faith 'frequently laced with sentimentality.'"

"The consistent message running throughout these sermons is, reach out to God; become vulnerable. But there is nothing here that would give a reason as to why 'receiving God into the heart' is ' the only possible recourse to realizing true selfhood.'"

Monday, January 05, 2009

Quotes of the Day

"Based on numerous studies conducted by his research group, George Barna concludes, 'To increasing millions of Americans, God--if we even believe in a supernatural deity--exists for the pleasure of humankind. He resides in the heavenly realm solely for our utility and benefit. Although we are too clever to voice it, we live by the notion that true power is accessed not by looking upward but by turning inward.'"
"As C. FitzSimons Allison has alleged, exchanging the biblical categories of sin and grace for such therapeutic categories as dysfunction and recovery represents 'pastoral cruelty.'"

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Thou Shalt Be Nice

"I realize that a lot of people who might gravitate toward a more therapeutic approach to life, including their faith, would balk at the accusation of works-righteousness. The key to my criticism, however, is that once you make your peace of mind rather than peace with God the main problem to be solved, the whole Gospel becomes radically redefined."

"One may feel guilty, but no one actually is guilty before God."

"Basically, the message [of the Bible] is that God is nice and we are nice, so we should all be nice."

Christless Christianity Quote of the Day

I received what I asked for Christmas this year. So I have paused reading The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses to start reading Michael Horton's Christless Christianity. The first chapter offers a summary critique of what he sees in American Christianity. I think what I will do over the course of my reading this book is provide some quotes I find interesting. So here is the quote for the day.

"Christ is a source of empowerment, but is He widely regarded among us today as the source of redemption for the powerless? He helps the morally sensitive to become better, but does he save the ungodly--including Christians? He heals broken lives, but does He raise those who are 'dead in trespasses and sins'? Does Christ come merely to improve our existence in Adam or to end it, sweeping us into His new creation? Is Christianity all about spiritual and moral makeovers or about death and resurrection--radical judgment and radical grace? Is the Word of God a resource for what we have already decided we want and need, or is it God's living and active criticism of our religion, morality, and pious experience? In other words, is the Bible God's story, centering on Christ's redeeming work, that rewrites our stories, or is it something that we use to make our stories a little more exciting and interesting?"

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Muslim Mind

Yesterday I was attempting to catch up on some Dividing Lines from September. Dr. White started off the 9/25 program with a clip he had from a debate with Osama Abdullah. Listen here. Here is a portion of what this Muslim's arguments against the Deity of Christ.
"He escaped to Egypt from King Herod. OK? He ran away to Egypt from King Herod because King Herod wanted to kill him. Now tell me. How can this God be God? Is your God this weak and this much of a..."
Now Dr. White admits that he was caught off guard a bit by this kind of thinking. Apparently in the Muslim mind, God can't possibly join the story He has ordained and written as a character that serves His purposes. Dr. White gave a few responses off the cuff. I would like to add a couple as well.

At the arrest of Jesus, Peter attempted to do battle with the guard. He even managed to cut off the ear of a slave. Here is a verse from John's account.
Joh 18:10 Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave's name was Malchus.
What is fascinating about this account is that Jesus never attempts to run. In fact Jesus says something that ought to cause us all to tremble.
Mat 26:52 Then Jesus *said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.
Mat 26:53 "Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?
Jesus claims to have been able to call upon twelve legions of Angels. To be honest, I have to wonder if the Muslim mind is able to grasp that Jesus had a purpose which required far more cunning and wisdom than man would ever conceive.

One other text from the events of that day. In a conversation with Pilate, Pilate claims absolute authority over Jesus' life.
Joh 19:10 So Pilate *said to Him, "You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?"
How does Jesus respond? Does He run? Is He unaware that He is about to be killed? Shouldn't He do something? Apparently, this Muslim thinks exactly like the unbelieving Jews who misunderstood how the Kingdom of God would come. Here is Jesus' response.
Joh 19:11 Jesus answered, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin."
Jesus tells Pilate plainly that his authority is given to him from a higher authority. Therefore, Pilate's authority over Jesus was according to a purpose and plan. Again, this ought to cause all of mankind to tremble at the God of the Christian Scriptures.

An early prayer of the church explains these events from the Book of Acts.
Act 4:24 And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, "O Lord, it is You who MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM, who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, 'WHY DID THE GENTILES RAGE, AND THE PEOPLES DEVISE FUTILE THINGS? 'THE KINGS OF THE EARTH TOOK THEIR STAND, AND THE RULERS WERE GATHERED TOGETHER AGAINST THE LORD AND AGAINST HIS CHRIST.' For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus."
Much more obviously could be and needs to be explained to the Muslim mind. As Christians we must constantly be reminded that it is God who opens the minds and hearts of those who do not recognize Jesus of Nazareth as the Eternal Son of God.