Phillip Garrido: Liar, adulterer, sex offender, kidnapper, pedophile, rapist, religion blogger.

Phillip Garrido

Phillip Garrido–the registered sex offender who kept Jaycee Lee Dugard at his compound for 18 years after kidnapping her in 1991 and fathering her two children–was apparently a religious man who wrote on his blog Voices Revealed:

. . . the Creator has given me the ability to speak in the tongue of angels in order to provide a wake-up call that will in time include the salvation of the entire world.

Now of course the Atheists are having a field day with this. “See,” they say, “all religion is bad and should be outlawed.” They use anomalies like this to indict all religions (and specifically Christianity) while ignoring the wholesale slaughter of millions of people under Atheist regimes like Lenin, Stalin, Zedong, etc. But this is nothing new, and this post is not about Atheists.

No, this post is a contemplation of the visible church of the West. Like those professing Christians that defend every lowbrow act, every worldly entanglement, and ever heresy found in American Churchianty with the proclamation, “Judge Not!” (brutally ripped from its Scriptural context of course), who then hold their tongues when faced with someone like Garrido (or even Fred Phelps) lest they be revealed as hypocrites for judging these men.

Then there are those who are willing to judge this man as a non-Christian, yet sadly they will be no better off than him on Judgment Day. Many of which will be absolutely appalled and aghast that I dared to say such a thing because they’re “good” churchgoing people who’ve asked Jesus into their hearts and have never kidnapped anyone, so surely they’re not going to end up in the same place as Mr. Garrido.

Yet the very reason this man stands condemned before God is the very same reason all mankind stands condemned before God (see John 3:18 and John 3:36). Those who have truly repented of their sins and put their trust in the living Savior (which is evidenced by a changed life) will find themselves receiving a gift they do not deserve from a God who they were once hostile to. Yet He loved us enough to crush His own Son and offer Him as a substitute for the wrath and judgment we justly deserve.

There are millions of people that think they’re going to Heaven because they haven’t killed anyone and because they’ve repeated the “sinner’s prayer,” while this man is going to Hell because he’s obviously a fraud who did a very bad thing. Those who think this way are in for a surprise because millions of people who attend church every Sunday will find themselves standing before Jesus Christ on that Last Day knowing immediately that something is not right. They will make their petitions but only hear “depart from Me, I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21-23). And Mr. Garrido will not be standing next to them for a comparison or for them to point their finger at and say, “See, I’m better than him.” You will stand alone, having to give an account for your life and all those sins you’ve committed, even the secret ones you think no one knows about.

Don’t be deceived: It was “only” one sin in the garden of Eden that was enough to cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden and usher in sin, death, and judgment upon all mankind, how much more wrath do you think you’re storing up for yourselves for the day of judgment with your daily sins?

Every one of us is born into sin and every one of us lives a life of sin. We have all sinned and all our hearts are desperately sick. We are all condemned from the start, deserving nothing but God’s righteous judgment. It is only by God’s grace–and His grace alone–that anyone is saved at all. And it’s only those who trust in His Son’s complete and finished sacrifice that will find themselves escaping the wrath to come.

Don’t think this is so much an indictment as it is a plea to examine yourselves to see if you’re truly in the faith because our Lord warned us to:

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Mr. Garrido is a sick, sick man.

Mr. Garrido is a sinner.

Mr Garrido claims to believe in God.

Mr Garrido is a religious fraud.

Mr. Garrido claims to have turned his life around but shows no evidence of it.

Mr. Garrido is biblically illiterate.

Mr. Garrido sounds like most people in church on any given Sunday.

Bible translation comparison chart.

The following is a chart comparing the different English translations of the Bible. I hope this helps you in selecting a translation.

It was another chart similar to this one that led me to purchasing (and later embracing) the New American Standard (NASB) as my preferred translation.

And don’t forget to click here to vote for your preferred translation.


A glimpse into the theology of the man Mark Driscoll calls “brother.”

Robert Schuller

The recent video released of Mark Driscoll preaching at Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral contained this exchange between the two:

SCHULLER: God loves you; so do I.

(Audience applause while Driscoll extends hand for handshake.)

DRISCOLL: I appreciate that, thank you brother.

So who is Robert Schuller, the man Mark Driscoll not only openly endorses but considers to be a brother in the Lord? He is none other than a long time rank heretic tied to the New Age movement as clearly noted in Warren Smith’s book Deceived on Purpose. In the book, former New Ager himself Smith, not only exposes Schuller as the disciple of Norman Vincent Peale, but Smith also details Schuller’s blatant New Age theology. Smith also reveals the little known fact that Rick Warren is a disciple of Robert Schuller; proof the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I digress.

For those not familiar with Robert Schuller, let’s take a moment to examine some of the teachings of the man that Mark Driscoll calls “brother.”

The following exchange took place during an interview on The White Horse Inn hosted by Michael Horton (you can read more from the interview here).

RS: I believe in heaven. I believe in hell. But I don’t know what happens there. I don’t take it literally that it’s a fire that never stops burning.
MH: As Jesus said it was?
RS: Jesus was not literal. See, now this is where you have differences of interpretation. I went to a different theological school than you did. And there are different denominations, like about four hundred in the United States of America, and we don’t belong to the same denomination. In my denomination, Jesus stood outside Gehenna, the city dump, and said that’s outside the walls, that’s hell. And in the dump there were always worms, and there were fires….

And here’s another exchange between Horton and Schuller:

MH: Dr. Schuller, how could the cross as you write, “sanctify the ego trip,” and make us proud, in the light of passages that say, “I hate pride and arrogance (Prov. 8:13), “Pride goes before destruction” (Prov. 16:18),”The Lord detests all the proud” (Prov. 16:5), “Do not be proud”(Rom. 12:16), “Love does not boast it is not proud” (1Cor 13:4). In fact Paul warns Timothy that in the last days men “will be lovers of themselves” (2Tim 3:2). Why should we as Christian ministers, myself included, why should we do anything to encourage people to become “lovers of themselves” if Paul in fact warned others that that would be the state of godlessness in the last days?
RS: I hope you don’t preach this, I hope you don’t preach this!
MH: What, the texts?
RS: No, what you just spoke into the microphone right now. I hope you don’t because you could do a lot of damage to a lot of beautiful people. But maybe if you preach it, maybe you will demonstrate your knowledge of human relationships and maybe you’ll demonstrate a sensitivity of caring about these pathetic, pathetic people that are so lost in pain and suffering because of their sinful condition, and I think you’d want to save them. I think you’d want to bring them to Jesus. And so if you preach that text, oh man, I sure hope you give it the kind of interpretation that I do or, I’ll tell you, you’ll drive them farther away and they’ll be madder than hell at you and they’ll turn the Bible off, and they’ll switch you off, and they’ll turn on the rock music and Madonna. Just because it’s in the Bible doesn’t mean you should preach it.

Can someone please explain to me how Mark Driscoll can not only preach in Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral (as he did five years earlier in 2004), but also how he can call the man “brother?”

DoctrineTomb

But wait, there’s more. The following quotes from Driscoll’s brother, Robert Schuller, are found in his book Self-Esteem: The New Reformation as cited in this article from RapidNet and this article from CrossRoad:

Christ is the Ideal One, for he was Self-Esteem Incarnate.

Every human being must be treated with respect; self-esteem is his sacred right.

Classical theology has erred in its insistence that theology be God-centered, not man-centered.

What we need is a theology of salvation that begins and ends with a recognition of every person’s hunger for glory.

The Cross sanctifies the ego trip. For the Cross protected our Lord’s perfect self-esteem from turning into sinful pride.

For once a person believes he is an “unworthy sinner,” it is doubtful if he can really honestly accept the saving grace God offers in Jesus Christ.

Classical theology defines sin as “rebellion against God.” The answer is not incorrect as much as it is shallow and insulting to the human being.

To be born again means that we must be changed from a negative to a positive self-image — from inferiority to self-esteem, from fear to love, from doubt to trust.

Jesus never called a person a sinner…. Rather he reserved his righteous rebuke for those who used their religious authority to generate guilt and caused people to lose their ability to taste and enjoy their right to dignity.

I found myself immediately attracted to Pope John Paul II when, upon his election to the Papacy, his published speeches invariably called attention to the need for recognizing the dignity of the human being as a child of God.

The core of original sin, then is LOT — Lack of Trust. Or, it could be considered an innate inability to adequately value ourselves. Label it a “negative self-image,” but do not say that the central core of the human soul is wickedness…. Positive Christianity does not hold to human depravity, but to human inability.

One classical role of the pulpit in Protestantism has been to “preach sermons” which imply indoctrination more than education. Within this from of communication, there is an inherent, intrinsic inclination to intimidate, manipulate, and, hence, offend the person’s most prized quality of humanness — his dignity.

“My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?” was Christ’s encounter with hell. In that ‘hellish’ death our Lord experienced the ultimate horror-humiliation, shame, and loss of pride as a human being. A person is in hell when he has lost his self-esteem. Can you imagine any condition more tragic than to live life and eternity in shame?

Driscoll and Schuller

When the news of Driscoll’s scheduled appearance at the Crystal Cathedral broke, and the question of why he would join ranks with a heretic was raised, the Driscollites quickly came out in force to defend their golden calf.

Defenders of Driscoll never once denied Schuller’s abhorrent theology, and some even admitted that Schuller was a heretic (something we could finally agree on). So what was their hastily devised defense for their man Driscoll? They claimed that Driscoll had to go to the Crystal Cathedral to preach the true gospel to those who have been deceived under Schuller’s ministry.

This would have been a noble endeavor had it been true. The only problem was that–although this was the Driscoll defenders’ reason for Driscoll going–they didn’t foresee that this was apparently not Driscoll’s reason for going (evidenced by him identifying Schuller as his brother).

So instead of going to the Crystal Cathedral to show the Schullerites that they’ve swallowed a false gospel–and in turn preach the true gospel–all Mark Driscoll did was validate and legitimize Schuller and his teachings, and preach about a Jesus Christ that the audience believes is the same Jesus Christ that Schuller’s been talking about for years because, after all, Driscoll identified Schuller as his brother in Christ.

In a NutshellSo here’s the big problem in a nutshell for Driscoll defenders:

If they concede that Schuller teaches heresy, then they must explain how Driscoll can call the man brother (for what does light have to do with darkness let alone call it brother?). But if they say that Schuller’s teachings are sound and are consistent with 2,000 years of historic Christianity, then they’ve just opened a whole new Pandora’s Box of problems for Mark Driscoll and those who sit under his teaching.

The size of the problem cannot be understated when one considers that it is Driscoll’s “orthodoxy” that his defenders consistently point to as their greatest defense to excuse his foul mouth, his blasphemies, and his irreverent depiction of the Savior.

Now we know the die-hard Driscoll fans will just come up with one more weak excuse to place atop their crumbling deck of cards, and it will be interesting to see the spin doctors in full swing with this conundrum. This fork-in-the-road moment has proven to be a monumental problem for the never-say-die Drisollites; a problem that–since the airing of the video–they have yet to address.

But what about you, the Driscoll fan who genuinely seeks after truth first and foremost? Where do you stand today? Either choice leaves you at a crossroads with a big decision to make. Do you finally acknowledge that Mark Driscoll is not all that he’s been purported to be, or do you continue to stick your head in the proverbial sand and ignore all that is before you? Your decision will reveal your loyalty either to the truth of the gospel or to the adoration of a man.

When Mark Driscoll calls Rick Warren a “brother in Christ,” calls Joel Osteen his “Christian brother,” and gleefully shakes the hand of Robert Schuller while calling him “brother” too, this all begs the question, “What version of ‘Christianity’ does Mark Driscoll identify with?”

When Driscoll’s faith includes (and is comfortable with) the likes of Warren, Osteen, and Schuller, one has to wonder who or what is actually excluded in Driscoll’s “Christianity” (besides those critical of him of course). With “brothers” like Warren, Osteen, and Schuller, who needs enemies of the cross?




Quotes (593)

Puritans They who design and endeavor to win others . . . must religiously avoid that which is the greatest obstruction of all, the profligate and atrocious lives of some that call themselves Christians. If men were prompted and employed by the devil himself, they could not be more effective in making the Gospel to be abhorred, than by living as some Christians do. How can it be expected, that the poor, ignorant heathen should have any reverence for the great and sacred name of God, when they hear those who pretend that they have a deep veneration for Him, reproach and blaspheme Him? . . . Can any man convince them, that the saints are such excellent creatures, when they see those who call themselves so, live like brutes or devils?

– George Hammond

Steven J. Lawson: “Called to Freedom” (Galatians 5:13-5:15)

Lawson new

Galatians 5:13-15 (NASB)13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

If we are saved, do we live like we used to? That is silly. If we are to be children of God, we should live as children of God, and obey those things our Father commands us to do. And we should love our brothers and sisters as ourselves. This is the point Paul is making in this passage.

Here is the seventeenth installment of this series going verse-by-verse through what Dr. Lawson calls “Paul’s Most Explosive Letter.” You can listen by left-clicking this link.

Quotes (592)

voddie-baucham Our children used to watch more television than we care to admit. Then we moved to England. TV in England was so bad that we got cable so we didn’t have to watch regular television at night. Eventually we just didn’t watch. We occasionally rented videos, but for the most part we became a family of readers. I can’t tell you the difference that made in our children’s lives. Now our children are limited to four hours per week—only on weekends—and to be honest, unless something special is on, they tend not to use all of that.

– Voddie Baucham

Quotes (591)

awpink.jpg There is a continual need to return to the great fundamental of the faith. As long as the age lasts the Gospel of God’s grace must be preached. The need arises out of the natural state of the human heart, which is essentially legalistic. The cardinal error against which the Gospel has to contend is the inveterate tendency of men to rely on their own performances. The great antagonist to the truth is the pride of man, which causes him to imagine that he can be, in part at least, his own Savior. This error is the prolific mother of a multitude of heresies. It is by this falsehood that the pure stream of God’s truth, passing through human channels, has been polluted.

– A.W. Pink

1886 – 1952

What exactly DOES 1st Corinthians 9:19-22 mean, anyway?

pretzel face

Ohhhhh, the ways this passage is twisted, and perverted, and turned on its head by the oh-so-hip, oh-so-cool, oh-so-relevant “pastors” of the many seeker-sensitive, non-offensive, cross-less “churches” that pepper the American religious community today. They take the words of the apostle Paul, and they use them as an excuse to perform all kinds of free-for-alls by inviting all kinds of filthy, heathen, Satanic methods into a place that is supposed to be sanctified, consecrated, and set apart for the worship of Almighty YHVH.

And what is their excuse? “See??? Paul said he was ‘all things to all men!’ So take that you Bible-thumping Pharisee!” And we who love the precious word of God and consider ourselves slaves to it, shake our heads and groan on the inside, knowing that one more person has just allowed themselves to be conformed to this evil world, whilst trying to hold on to Christ. So, for the sake of clarity, let us examine just exactly what the apostle meant. Here are his actual words:

1st Corinthians 9:19-22 (New King James Version)19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

But, let’s take the attitude of those who would say, Of course they played Marilyn Manson music in church this morning! They were reaching out and being relevant to Marilyn Manson fans! I mean, how else are they going to draw them?” And let’s draw it out to its inevitable conclusion. This is what they would have Paul say–

1st Corinthians 9:19-22 (New Seeker-Sensitive Version)For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I may win more; and to the murderers I became a murderer, so that I might win murderers; to the blasphemers, as a blasphemer, so that I might win the blasphemers; to the pornographers, as a pornographer, so that I might win pornographers. To the pagans and Wiccans and Druids, I became a pagan and Wiccan and Druid that I might win the pagans and Wiccans and Druids; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.

But is that what Paul was saying? If you think it is, then stop reading right now and go back to reading Rob Bell or Doug Paggitt. Because you will not like what I am about to say. Paul was not saying that he committed acts that were sinful, neither was he saying that he brought Satanic rituals into the church, nor is he saying that we should be conformed to this world so that we can be “all things to all men.”

Continue reading

Quotes (590)

Edward Payson In order to qualify yourselves for instructing and preparing your children for God’s service, you [must] diligently study His Word to ascertain what He requires of them and frequently pray for the assistance of His Spirit, both for them and yourselves. . . . You will carefully guard against saying or doing anything which may, either directly or indirectly, lead them to consider religion as an object of secondary importance. On the contrary, you will constantly labor to impress upon their minds a conviction that you consider religion as the great business of life, the favor of God as the only proper object of pursuit, and the enjoyment of Him hereafter as the only happiness, while everything else is comparatively of no consequence, however important it may be otherwise.

– Edward Payson

1783 – 1827

Rewriting Acts – A Relevant Perspective

In light of all the editions and revisions being made to the Word of God in recent years, we understand much of this has been done to suit the belief system of the editors. With that in mind as well as recent events such as Ravi at the Mormon Tabernacle and Driscoll at the Crystal Cathedral, we recommend the following changes. We are certain these will be much more in keeping with the issue of relevancy and contextualization. In addition, it will ensure that people like all those meanies, judgmental Pharisee-types here at DefCon will have to close shop for they will no longer have a Biblical leg to stand on.

In each example, we will start with the original and then put in the suggested revision to match what we are seeing and hearing today.

Let’s start with Acts 2:22, 23, 36, 37 – “22 Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know– 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?'”

REWRITE – “22 Hey dudes, listen up: Jesus of Nazareth, who claimed to be God did some really cool things that some people might call miracles and then told us that God did it through Him. Well, you guys are smart enough to figure out for yourselves whether that was the case or not. 23 At any rate, you guys have heard about Him before, if nothing else, you use His name all the time at the workplace. Well, the Romans put Him on a cross because He was like, well, um, you know, He was making the kind-hearted, very religious, good-upright Jews unhappy and He even tried to start a few riots. 36 Well, this same Man Who got crucified also claimed to be both Lord and the Christ. We want all you guys to follow Him because after all when you reach the end of your current journey, He will be there to greet all of us with open arms. 37 So when the multitude heard the nice things that the apostles said, they decided to invite them back again to the next Jerusalem conference knowing they could trust these men not to confuse the issues. They knew that these men were not going to rock the boat and demand they do nasty things like repentance. They knew they wouldn’t call them down for their sins but would instead seek to lift up their self-esteem. 42 Because of the really cool programs, and the worldly music they offered at the First Church of Jerusalem, and the contextualized messages that encouraged their depravity such as “Biblical Sex for 40 Days Except the Sabbath” the church grew exponentially and was featured on all the late-night talk shows from Jerusalem to Asia Minor.”

Example 2 – Acts 7:51-55, “51 You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, 53 who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.” 54 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”

REWRITE – Example 2 – Acts 7:51-55, “51 Listen up fellows. I am not here to offend you in anyway, but you know we have all done a few things we shouldn’t have done in our lives, and I’m sure there are times we all ignore what the Holy Spirit is trying to get us to do, but hey, after all, we are only human and God understands this. 52 There are some people who didn’t treat the old preachers very well, but I’m sure it wasn’t any of you guys or your ancestors. In fact, history tells us that some people just didn’t understand the prophets and tried to get rid of them, but some of the prophets just weren’t with the program anyway. Well, one or two of those old guys told us that Jesus was coming, and He came. He was a really good guy and hung out with really cool guys like our friend Peter. 53 Jesus told us that we have to just learn to love each other and don’t judge, so who am I to tell you what you need to do. 54 When the gathered nice group of people heard these wonderful things they invited Stephen to be the new president of the Jerusalem Ministerial Association. He was then able to go about preaching more of the great news that “Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” 55 When Stephen saw how much everybody liked him, he cut a lucrative book deal with Jerusalem Christian Bookpress entitled, “49 Days of Learning to Become a Better Religious You.” His ministry expanded to both Europe and Asia, and he was able to walk about with his head held high knowing that he was accepted in every major religious establishment.”

AUTHOR’S NOTE — Personally, I think it will be a best seller and rewriting church history will be the best thing that could happen for Western Christianity Religiosity. Sadly, there are a few downfalls. True Bible believing Christians will reject it as false, but they are in the minority and it won’t affect book sales as most who claim to be Christians are unlearned when it comes to true doctrine anyway. Secondly, this material probably won’t go over to well with the church members that are being persecuted for their faith. However, I’m sure somebody will find a way to make it culturally accepted and the church will probably expand and still be able to get along with the local governments when they stop being so particular about what they will preach. After all, no government could have an issue with Christians preaching the new message of “love yourself”, “build your self-esteem”, and “We never condemn anybody for God wants you just as you are and we don’t care if you stay that way because that is between you and God.”

PS – Not sure how we can rewrite the persecuting parts of Acts like Paul and Silas in prison, but I’m sure any number of modern preachers could help so that it makes us all look better in the end.

PS2 – Stay tuned for the rewrite for the Health, Wealth, and Prosperity Gospel edition.

Quotes (589)

j_elliot

“The urge comes on me at times to write in scathing terms articles for these piddling little magazines of ‘comfort and kind words for God’s little flock.’ Baloney! When are we going to rise like men and face the world squarely? This driveling nonsense which condones inactivity because of the apostasy of the day needs a little fire to show up the downright ungodliness it hides. We cuddle around the Lord’s table as though it were the last coal of God’s altar, and warm our hands, thinking that will appease the wrath of the indignant Christ when He charges us with the unmet, unchallenged, untaught generation of heathen now doing their Christmas shopping. It makes me boil when I think of the power we profess and utter impotency of our action. Believers who know one-tenth as much as we do are doing one hundred times more for God, with His blessing and our criticism. Oh if I could write it, preach it, say it, paint it, anything at all, if only God’s power would become known among us! ICHABOD!”

– Jim Elliott

1927 – 1956

Sermon of the week: “What Was Paul Doing on Mars Hill?” by Phil Johnson.

If you’re one of those people who think the Apostle Paul’s proclamation of being all things to all people meant “anything goes,” then you desperately need to listen to this message.

This sermon answers all those worldly doctrines built on shifting sand that try to use the excuse that Paul employed examples of Greek culture in his preaching to reach the lost therefore we can employ whatever we deem as relevant (i.e. sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll or whatever other lust of the eyes and lust of the flesh you happen to be engaging in and enjoying).

For all those who live by these erroneous beliefs, I strongly encourage you to take a break from leaving scathing comments on DefCon and listen to Phil Johnson’s apropos sermon: What Was Paul Doing on Mars Hill?

God’s courtroom

As I type this, the sentencing phase of the Letalvis Cobbins trial is taking place. If the system works as it should, he will receive the death penalty. Why? Because that is what he deserves for the crimes he has committed. They were heinous, barbaric, abominable, and not simply inhumane–but inhuman. And because of the inhumanity with which he and his accomplices acted toward Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom, they should all be removed from society and sentenced to death. (And before you say that the death penalty is “unbiblical” I would direct you to Romans 13:1-4).

Right now, his sister is pleading on his behalf, that he not be sentenced to death. She, along with the rest of his family, is pleading that the judge and jury spare his life. And they may succeed. They may play on the sympathies of the judge and the jury, or the judge and jury may be so soft-hearted that they will sentence Cobbins to life without parole. And as this unfolds, several thoughts come to mind.

First, is Letalvis Cobbins any worse than we are? Consider this for one moment. Letalvis Cobbins committed one of the most despicable murders in the history of Knoxville, or Tennessee, or the United States for that matter. But is that so very different from the ways we break God’s laws? Without the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in those of us who know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior; without the Holy Spirit of God holding back the wicked hearts of evil men, there is not one person on the face of the earth–past, present, future–who has not been capable of doing everything Letalvis Cobbins did–and worse. (And when I say, “not one person” I am, of course, excluding Christ our Lord.)

Second, as much as he deserves the death penalty for his crimes, are we any less deserving of eternal punishment for trampling over the laws of Almighty God? Which of us can say that we are “not as bad” as he is? We may not appear to ourselves or to other humans to be as bad. But who is the final decider on what and who is “good?” Which brings me to………

Third. On the day when we stand before God to give an account, there will only be two possible scenarios for us:

1) We can stand there, alone, with no one to plead our cause. When the books are opened, and the charges read, we will not have an attorney. We will not have friends and family pleading with The Judge that we were a “good person.” And even if our friends and family could stand there and plead for us, God will not see us as a “good person.” Why? “No one is good but One, that is, God” (Mark 10:18). Our friends will do no good pleading our cause. Our family will do no good pleading our cause. Not even the Virgin Mary will do any good pleading our cause. Without the blood of the spotless Lamb of God (1st Peter 1:18-19), the Great Mediator (1st Timothy 2:5) and Advocate (1st John 2:1), then all the pleading on our behalf is useless. Because when God judges, He does not offer compassion. He does not offer mercy. If anything, when we stand there and beg for mercy, He will say, “I offered you mercy. I gave you My Son, and you wanted nothing of Him. Now, I want nothing of you.”

And then what will they cry? “‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’” (Matthew 7:22). And they will cry, and they will weep, and they will gnash their teeth (Luke 13:28). All to no avail. For He will cast His fiery gaze at them and declare, for all to hear, “‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you worker of iniquity!’” (Matthew 7:23).

No mercy.
No compassion.
No retrial.

No appeal to a higher court. For there is no higher court than the one presided over by that Great and Perfect Judge, Almighty YHVH. And they will be cast into a Lake burning with fire and brimstone (Revelation 20:15), and their torment will be eternal, and the smoke of it will rise like incense to the heavens (Revelation 14:11), as a memorial to the perfect justice of a perfect and holy God. And His justice is perfect, because all men are judged by the same Law, by the same Judge, and with no respect of person (Romans 2:11; Romans 3:19-20; Deuteronomy 1:17; 2nd Samuel 14:14; 2nd Chronicles 19:7; Acts 10:34; Revelation 20:12).

So I ask you, my friend, who is pleading for you?
Mother?
Father?
Friend?
Priest?
Joseph Smith?
Your “good works?”

Unless it is the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord which is pleading to the Father on your behalf, be sure that you will receive nothing less than what you are due: eternal punishment for transgressing the eternal Law of an eternal God.

OR………

2) As guilty and as heinous as the crimes committed by Cobbins et al, , there is an even greater One who will plead for us to that eternal and Almighty God if we ask. The name of that advocate is Jesus Christ the Lord. If He is pleading for us, we can stand there, with our sins forgiven, having been paid for on the cross of Golgotha. Those who have acknowledged Christ Jesus as Savior AND LORD will have their debts wiped off the books. And when they stand before the Great and Almighty Judge of all, they can hear their final verdict read–“NOT GUILTY!!” 1st Timothy 2:5For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. And that Mediator is seated at God’s right hand, ever ready to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). And as many as He draws, and as many enter into Him for rest, and as many as He saves, He saves to the uttermost.

We will face consequences for our actions here on earth. But be assured, friend, that there is hope even for one like Letalvis Cobbins. And there is even hope for one like you.

Listen To Your Heart?

hrtI’ve often heard people say that they’re not worried about their sins; they just do what their hearts tell them to do. I’ve even heard burly bikers say sappy stuff about their pure hearts. Where do people get that, and why do so many believe that? Could it be that it has been pounded into our heads hundreds of times?

Here are a few select lines from various songs. On this list is music from nearly every genre, for every age group.

  • Phil Collins – Trust your heart. Let fate decide, to guide these lives we see.
  • Stevie Wonder – Why second guess what feels so right? Just trust your heart and you’ll see the light. True to your heart, you must be true to your heart.
  • Lynard Skynard – Follow your heart and nothing else.
  • Melissa Etheridge- I have come this far with a truth of the heart.
  • New Radicals – This whole d___ world can fall apart. You’ll be okay; follow your heart.
  • Smokin’ Armadillos – Let your heart lead your mind.
  • Ultravox – Follow, follow your heart.
  • Triumph – You’ve got to follow your heart.
  • Judy Collins – Trust your heart.
  • The Stylistics – Listen to your heart, hear what it’s saying.
  • Motorhead – Listen to your heart.
  • Little Feat – Listen to your heart.
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt – Listen to your heart.
  • Roxette – Listen to your heart.
  • Reba McEntire – The heart won’t lie.
  • Thumbelina cartoon – When you follow your heart, when you follow your heart.
  • Sonic Underground cartoon – When there’s people in your life trying to tell you what is right, what do you do? Listen to your heart, girl. Do you take a brand new road or the one you’ve always known? Am I getting through? Listen to your heart, girl. ‘Cause the heart’s not gonna lie to you. Listen to your heart, girl. And I know you’ll always be hearing the truth if you listen to your heart.

Music has a profound effect on people. Tunes get stuck in our heads. People memorize lyrics. Many listen to the radio all day long at work. Certainly the doctrines found in music will end up being adopted by a certain percentage of people.

The Bible has a few different things to say about our hearts and how we should make decisions.

Jeremiah 17:9: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Proverbs 21:2: Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.

Proverbs 14:12: There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

Proverbs 3:5: Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Proverbs 28:26: Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.

Albert Mohler on the false health & wealth gospel.

Prosperity Heresy

Albert Mohler discusses on his audio blog and radio show the false gospel of health and wealth, and those who preach this false gospel (e.g. Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Hagin, etc.) stemming from this New York Times article.

They’re worth a listen.

Audio blog (5 minutes):

It Promises Far Too Little – The False Gospel of Prosperity Theology

Radio show (38 minutes):

The Gospel and Wordly Wealth – The Myth of the Prosperity Gospel

Here’s a slideshow from the latest pulpit pimping extravaganza put on by Kenneth and Gloria Copeland.

Quotes (587)

Stephen Charnock A man may be theologically knowing and spiritually ignorant. . . . A man may be excellent in the grammar of Scripture, yet not understand the spiritual sense of it. . . . The highest rational knowledge of God cannot profit without the knowledge of faith. . . . It can be of no more advantage to us than it was to the Jews knowing Him, or to Judas living with Him. In the Scriptures, Christians are not called knowing persons, but believers.

– Stephen Charnock

1628 – 1680

Bud ‘n Bubba: Redneck Jesus Freaks.

Rednecks for JesusI can’t make this stuff up. First there was the Cotton Patch Gospel, now this.

In a world where everyone feels they have the license to contextualize the gospel message as they see fit, we have all sorts of “ministries” out there pushing all sorts of “Christianity.” For some reason we refuse to believe that the sovereign Creator of the universe is still capable of saving His elect with that old gospel of 2,000 years ago. We feel that we must help God out by doctoring up the gospel to make it “relevant.”

Truth be told, we simply don’t trust that He is capable of saving His elect, that the gospel itself has the power to save, and that God alone is the one who does the saving.

So we end up doing it our way, (because we think we’re so much better at it than God). Thus we have a gospel message contextualized for the hip hop/urban crowd, the sports-nut crowd, the Gothic crowd, the teen crowd, the punk rock crowd, the biker crowd, and the list goes on and on. Now we have a gospel for the redneck crowd.

Meet Bud ‘n Bubba; self-described redneck Jesus freaks.

Bud 'n Bubba

Bud ‘n Bubba are a couple of good ‘ole southern, God-fearin’, America lovin’ boys that love to make people laugh. Some folks call ‘em REDNECKS. Hailing from Booger Holler, these guys travel the south in their official “touring vehicle” (ok, it’s a travel trailer) and share their unique brand of humor with any unsuspecting audience they can pin down.

These guys are also on Facebook (here) and they even have a fan club whose only requirement is that you pledge that you love the Lord, your family, and your country, and, like Christ, you’re willing to lay your life down for all three.

I wish this was just another mockery by the world, but it’s not. It’s just another mockery by the professing church who thinks their strange fire is acceptable to God.

Bud ‘n Bubba’s ministry is explained on their website:

The ministry of Bud ‘n Bubba exists to provide some fun, family-friendly entertainment that is appropriate for all ages, and to combine this silliness with the message of Jesus Christ.  Through music and comedy, this pair of Redneck Jesus Freaks will entertain you with their own brand of insanity.

Combining ministry and entertainment? Combining redneck silliness with the message of Jesus Christ?

Oh, how we have lost the understanding of what it means to suffer as Christians. As countless brethren are persecuted around the world, being beaten, tortured, and killed for the faith; as children grow up without parents (who have either been imprisoned or martyred for Jesus Christ), we in America just can’t be amused enough.

Today, Bud ‘n Bubba’s desire is reach out to as many people as possible and use the power of laughter to share the message of hope.

Since when did laughter ever save someone? Where is one example of laughter being the impetus of salvation? Where does conviction of sin, a broken spirit, and repentance factor in during all this laughter? What is so funny about our sin and what it cost for Jesus Christ to atone for our sin? And in such serious matters one also has to wonder what’s so funny about the consequence of those who reject Christ’s substitute for their sins.

And, although I couldn’t find even a cut-and-pasted generic doctrinal statement on their website, I did find their Redneck Jesus Freaks temporary tattoo for only $2.00.

Does not even the church take Jesus seriously anymore? American Christianity has become one big running joke. It’s been turned into a carnival and there’s plenty of rides to keep you busy and entertain you to death.

It’s a true sign of the spiritual state of the visible church when the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ simply isn’t enough, but instead we must be constantly amused. But can we blame these guys? They’re only providing what the biblically illiterate, doctrinally shallow, tares of the mile-wide, inch-deep church of America demand: “More entertainment, less gospel truth . . . and we want it now!”

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. – 2 Timothy 4:3-4