Why I Love Jesus But Reject Islam

I ran across this while reading on James White’s web site. I pray it is encouraging to you, my brother or sister in Christ; and that it might provoke a lost sheep to consider the God-Man, Jesus – Who is the Christ.

In response to Kamal Saleh’s video found here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNGqrzkFp_4

James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries (www.aomin.org) teamed up with Ivey Conerly ( http://www.ivhisson.com/ ) to produce a Christian response. Our hope and prayer is that the message of the Gospel will be clearly presented to all who watch this video, but especially to Muslims who are led to listen and consider our words.

A written response to Kamal’s video can be found here: http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=4948

A 52 minute video response, point by point, can be found here:
http://t.co/hrx8AKqe

My sincere thanks to Ivey and Marcus for their great work. Soli Deo Gloria!

Please note: comments are not active for the simple reason that atheists (and others) cannot control their tongues, or their keyboards, and we have no interest in providing a forum for such things. If you wish to discuss the claims made in this video, listen to The Dividing Line and call in when we have open phones, toll free. See:

http://www.aomin.org/articles/webcast.html

How Dare You Keep Me Accountable to That!

ACCOUNTABILITY
Accountability is a funny thing. When we become Christians we eventually come around to knowing that we need accountability. More often, however, we make it our priority to get really good at holding others accountable. We are very serious and committed to the accountability of others regarding their faith, their witness, and their obedience. From time to time our friends will come to us and return the favor and it is very difficult to accept. It is never easy to be on the receiving end of the accountability stick.

In all our efforts to ensure our loved ones (and acquaintances…and total strangers) are toeing the proverbial Christian line, I believe that we routinely miss the 2 most important Christ-like behaviors. In all our zeal and good intentions, there are 2 areas to which we never call others to account. I want to focus on these 2 traits that Christ exhibited that truly require our utmost attention in holding ourselves and others accountable. Bear with me as I put the microscope on each of us (author included) and shoot very close to home here. I expect this to sting a bit because it stung greatly as it was revealed to me. We are very quick to call others to account, but are we holding them accountable for what is really important?

**Disclaimer – this article is directed towards our efforts in the accountability of others and not targeting our personal convictions. Many may hold strong convictions in the areas listed below, which I do not intend to criticize in any way. My concern is strictly with what we are missing in our accountability. **

As we sit back and ponder the ways to which we can leave our mark on the accountability factor for all those we know, we must think of the most Christ-like traits…several come to mind immediately:

1. Accountability to how we dress and modest feminine clothing.
2. Accountability to what we watch on TV and the music we listen to.
3. Accountability to having a TV at all!
4. Accountability to what preachers we listen to…or who that preacher has associated with at one time.
5. Accountability to proper doctrine!
6. Accountability toward homeschooling, women in the workplace, who we vote for, holidays we do or don’t celebrate, how much we give and where we give.
7. You name it and we will keep you accountable to it!

We are so good at calling these out when we see it. Are we definitely getting towards Christ-likeness with these? Are these common topics bringing the beauty of Christ to mind? I must say, they do not. Do these things really jump out as the Christ-like traits? They do not. Are these the behaviors that really resemble Christ? Are these the behaviors that our sanctification is leading to? Sanctification is the process of squeezing us through the meat grinder so that when we come out the other side we look more like Christ. Is this what it looks like? I think not. Each of these may require accountability as will drugs, alcohol, sexual impurity, and lying. But we are still missing 2 huge ones that are vital to our witness.

CHRIST-LIKENESS
So, what are we missing? We are so quick to hold others accountable, yet we miss these. I propose that the 2 traits most Christ-like requiring an increase in attention for accountability are:

1. Demonstrating humility.
2. Loving one another.

1. Humility: Was Christ humble? Yes – infinitely so! In Philippians 2:5-9 we see that Christ humbled Himself by leaving his glory in Heaven and emptying Himself to be in the form of a servant – a human. He had to be come nothing to be like us. He was humble to the point of obedience in death on the cross. Christ was infinitely humble. In Zechariah 9:9 it was prophesied that He was to come humble, on a donkey. He didn’t come like the king that He is, with an entourage, trumpets, majestic horses, and great fanfare. He came on a donkey, lowly and humble, a man of no reputation.This is a Christ-like trait that we should be demonstrating as Christians. We should be known as humble. Is that our reputation? Is this one of the things that people say of you?

Now, with focusing on humility, I don’t mean that we need to be humble when we come to hold others accountable on the laundry list above. I mean we need to HOLD others accountable to being humble! We need to come to our brothers and sisters and encourage them to be like Christ – lowly, humble, gentle, and kind in all things…even in our strong and bold defense of the gospel.

Paul, James, and Peter get in the act as well in 1 Corinthians 10:1, James 4:6-10, and 1 Peter 3:8, 5:5-6, where we are told to humble ourselves, be tenderhearted, like Christ who was meek and gentle. “A bruised reed He will not break, and a faintly burning wick He will not extinguish.” (Isaiah 42:3)

Are we urging each other to be humble? Are we stirring each other up towards humility? Are we seeking a humble spirit? Christ was humble and we should be humble. We need help being humble since it is contrary to the sinful pride and arrogance buried deep in our hearts.

2. Love: Was Christ Loving? Yes, of course, infinitely so! This is a touchy subject, however, because talking about Christ and His love can quickly brand you as a liberal with no backbone. I address this below. One of our tenants is “I love you enough to tell you the truth.” This is admirable in many many cases and horrendously unloving in many others. Do we sense the balance and do we see the line enough to not cross over it like a bull in a china shop? The line – the distinction – is defined by trait number 1. If we approach others with humility and true love for that person then it will be profitable. If we approach them in pride and arrogance then we are just hiding behind the word LOVE while we feed the self-righteous monster inside us. Do we truly demonstrate the Christ-like love we are called to?

Again, I’m not speaking of holding others accountable to the laundry list above in a loving way, I’m talking about HOLDING others accountable to love one another. We must love one another as followers of Christ.

All the laws and commandments are boiled down to two: Love God will all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself (Mat 22:34-40). The commandments come down to truly loving our neighbor. In John’s first epistle, he summarizes a long passage about love by stating that this is what we were commanded: “believe in the Lord Jesus and love one-another.” (1 John 3:22-24). We are commanded to love one another. Why is this overarching commandment the one least discussed? I suggest a reason below.

Are we seeking a spirit of love towards one another? Are we stepping out of our obsession with ourselves long enough to actually love one another? Are we calling each other to love? Are we holding each other accountable: a) in love, and b) to love? Are we placing love for one another as the primary commandment and law between mankind where it belongs?  We should be. We need helping in loving one-another. We have to stop loving ourselves if we are to love one-another.

YOU LIBERAL
How dare you hold me accountable to that! Shouldn’t we be bold with the truth? Yes, if you can do it in a Christ-like manner with love and humility. Don’t we have a responsibility to call out the unrepentant sin, false doctrine, and immodesty? Yes, if we can do it in a Christ-like manner with love and humility. I can hear some shouting and the computer screen, “That’s weak! That is classic liberal, touchy feeling, God is love, ecumenical, mumbo jumbo!” Or, maybe you aren’t vocalizing it but if we are honest, those of us in the fundamental and reformed camp must admit that we cringe at the “God is love” crowd and the “peace and love” crowd. Isn’t this all for the hippy Jesus freaks and the ecumenical crowd? If we are honest, our impulse is to recoil from the suggestion that we must hold each other accountable to Humility and Love as the utmost importance.

But, let’s not recoil. Instead let’s make our greatest desire to be Christ-like. Let’s give into the sanctification process and let our attitudes be conformed into the image of Christ who was infinitely humble and infinitely loving. He commanded us to love. These concepts aren’t owned by the emergent church and Rob Bell. Love and humility is owned by Christ! He is the founder of such things. Take it back. Let us be known as those who are truly humble and truly love one-another…even our enemies and those who disagree with us.

If we want to be like Christ, we must humble ourselves in the form of a servant and to the point of death, while loving one another preemptively and sacrificially to the point of death.

We need to help each other in this.

Let’s together hold each other accountable to be more like Jesus.

Quotes (942)

How is it that the Gospel can move one man to wade through an army of opposition to publicly identify with Christ in a deadly winter baptism, and yet in another man who confesses the same Gospel, it has no power to make even the most insignificant changes in his life? When will the church in the West regain the fundamental biblical truth that faith is evidenced by works; that a tree is known by its fruit; and that not everyone who confesses ‘Lord, Lord’ in the comfortable confines of Western evangelicalism will enter the kingdom of heaven?

– Paul Washer

HT: Saved by Grace

Sermon of the Week: “Why Every Pastor Should Be a Biblical Theologian” by Michael Lawrence

https://i1.wp.com/t4g.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Michael_Lawrence.jpg

This week’s sermon comes from Pastor Michael Lawrence who is formerly of Capital Hill Baptist (Mark Dever’s Washington DC church) and now pastor at Hinson Baptist Church in Portland, OR. This sermon comes from the 2012 Together For the Gospel Conference and is a direct plea to pastors, elders, Sunday school teachers and all Christians to not be professionals in the area of ministry; not to be about numbers, seating, programs, and the like, but to be BIBLICAL THEOLOGIANS. Biblical Theology is different from systematic theology in that if we compare theology to a tree, Systematic Theology would be the study of the full grown tree and its fruit while Biblical Theology is the study of the tree from a seed and watching it grow progressively over time and how its growth progresses from one stage to another. Biblical Theology, therefore, requires the Christian, pastor, teacher, or elder to be a person of the Word of God…to be fully drenched and saturated in the Word of God, and not systems or frameworks or theology books. Enjoy Michael’s interesting message here:

Why Every Pastor Should Be a Biblical Theologian

T4G Website with Link

Hinson Baptist Church Website for more information.

A Catechism for Babes, or, Little Ones

“There never was a man in the world without a creed. What is a creed? A creed is what you believe. What is a confession? It is a declaration of what you believe. That declaration may be oral or it may be committed to writing, but the creed is there either expressed or implied.”—B.H. Carrol

A Catechism for Babes, or, Little Ones, Suitable to their Capacity more than others have been Formerly,

1652 by H. Jessey, a servany of Jesus Christ

Prov. 22.6 Catechise or begin the child in his way, according to his 1capacitie: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

 2 Tim. 3.15. From 2infancy thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation.
 1Heb. mouth 2Gr. an infant

Q. Who made you?
A. God made me. (Psal. 100.3. Know that the Lord is God, he made us, and not we.)

Q. When did God make you?
A. God made me before I was born. (Psal. 139.13,16, next proof.)

Q. Where did God make you?
A. God made me in my Mother’s womb. (Job 31.15. Did not he that made me in the womb, make him?)

Q. Wherefore did God make you?
A. God made me that I should serve him. (Psal. 100.3. Serve the Lord, —he made us. Luke 1.74.)

Q. Must you not then learn to know God, that so you may rightly serve him?
A. Yea I must learn to know God. (See the first proof 1 Chro. 28.9: Know the God of thy Fathers.)

Q. When must you learn to know God?
A. I must learn to know God now, when I am but a child. (2 Tim. 3,14,15. Eccles. 12.1,2. Prov. 22.6. Remember now thy Creator. See the Title page.)

Q. How may you learn to know God?
A. I may learn to know God by his word, and by his workes. (Deut. 17.19. Psai. 91.7. 11.1 John 39.40. Rom. 1.19,20. He shall read it all the dayes of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God. The Heavens declare the glory of God. Psa. 19.1.

You are encouraged to read the complete catechism – and find many other excellent resources to build up your faith in Christ – right here.

Book recommendation: “Escape from the World Trade Center” by Leslie Haskin.

I fully understand that this will be a very controversial post (perhaps the most controversial post in DefCon’s history) and I’ve even been reluctant to post it (opting to leave it sitting in pending drafts for quite awhile). But even if it causes some to cease their readership of this blog, the truth needs to be told.

For almost a year now I’ve been revisiting the events of 9/11/01, without prejudice or preconceived notions, and I have come away shocked with what I have discovered. The more I look into the events of that day the more I am convinced that we have not been told everything about what occurred on that September morning almost eleven years ago.

So when this short book written by  professing Christian Leslie Haskin (detailing her escape from one of the three WTC towers that fell on September 11, 2001) became available for free on Kindle (from the longer book Between Heaven and Ground Zero), I download it. I was curious to read a survivor’s account of that day to see if it corroborated more with the government’s official version of the events of that day, or instead, with that of the mounting evidence pointing to a conspiracy of the magnitude never before seen in this country.

In this book, Haskin tells of her upbringing in a Christian home, her eventual turning from the faith, and how the events of September 11, 2001 brought her back to her faith in God. Haskin has written a few other books and she’s been a guest speaker around the country (and has even appeared on The 700 Club). But it was the details of her escape from WTC Tower One that I was most interested in and she did not fail to deliver. What I read in her account contradicts the official version of what happened on that day, and corroborates the evidence pointed to by conspiracy theorist’s (term not used pejoratively) to prove that not everything we’ve been told to believe about 9/11 is true.

As for the book itself, I found that the placement of Scripture throughout it seemed to be sporadic and random and it became somewhat distracting. Oftentimes the verses cited were completely out of context with the storyline. I also did not find the writing to be as polished as it could have been, as the jumping back and forth between 9/11 and other events in her past didn’t flow well to me and seemed somewhat disjointed. And the overuse of ellipses was very taxing, offering an unprofessional appearance and tone to her writing.

I also wouldn’t recommend this book on the grounds of theological meatiness as it is weak on doctrinal distinctions. I understand that this book is not meant to be a theological tome, but with the profuse employment of Scripture throughout it I would have hoped for a little more solidness in the biblical message she was trying to convey, instead of the man-centered, Hallmark card flavor it carried.

You can read more reviews of the book here where others had similar criticisms about the book.

But in spite of my above cited dissatisfaction, I still highly recommend this book because of the valuable information contained within it as the author details the things she saw, smelled, heard, and felt during her escape from the terror in her tower; things that should cause every American to ask questions without fear of being marginalized with ad hominen attacks pejorative labels like “crazy conspiracy theorists.”

So what is it in Haskin’s book that contradicts the official governmental 9/11 conspiracy theory and instead supports an alternative 9/11 conspiracy theory?

Continue reading

248 children found murdered.

I wonder if the murder of these 248 children will get as much attention (including around the clock news coverage) as the Colorado murders. Methinks the answer, sadly, is no.

Why? Because murdering 12 people in a movie theater is a crime, but murdering 248 children in their mothers’ womb is a “choice.”

It’s what happens when the culture of situational ethics and the culture of death collide.

From RT.com:

A fishing trip in Russia’s Urals ended with cries of horror as a man found canisters filled with human embryos, some already shaped to baby bodies.

­Lids on the bright blue containers apparently unlocked as the canisters hit the ground, and many embryos spilled out. The little bodies, no longer than 15 centimeters, shrank, turning into mummies.

A friend of mine called at night and said he went fishing and wanted to get some wood for his fire. He found some abandoned water canisters and wanted to take them for his house. And when he came up, he saw… little baby bodies,” a local told Russia’s Channel 4.

Arriving Monday morning, police found 248 embryos aged 12-16 weeks in and around the four canisters. Labels attached to tiny hands and legs listed family names of assumed mothers and some digit codes, which may refer to the pregnancy period, date of abortion or the hospital where the body originated from.

The 50-liter canisters filled with formalin seem to have been thrown out of a vehicle not far from a road leading to Nevyansk, a town on the slopes of the Ural Mountains.

Nevyansk authorities immediately said the canisters could not have originated in their town.

Our area is too small; we can’t have so many stillborns, miscarriages or artificial abortions,” they said.

Later it was revealed that the horrifying content was “biological waste” from at least three hospitals in Ekaterinburg, the region’s major city.

It appears a waste disposal company has failed to carry out its duties properly,” remark local authorities as the investigation continues. The Ministry of Health has been requested to determine which companies provide embryo disposal services to Ekaterinburg hospitals.

In Russia, embryos are subject to immediate disposal as they are classified high hazard waste. Prior to disposal, they are to be kept in special packages, not in canisters with formalin. It is also out of practice to attach labels with any information, at least in Ekaterinburg hospitals.

But the bodies found near the Urals not only fall out of this description – the labels show they may have been stored for over ten years.

Some medical experts believe the embryos might have been meant for studies or other purposes, as they contain stem cells. The cells are widely used for immune illnesses treatment and in cosmetic procedures.

Prosecutors are talking tentatively of criminal charges, but most probably the guilty party will bear an administrative punishment.

See more here (with news video).

Letter from a Recent West African Convert

Dear Friends,

I would like to share a very special letter that I received this past Sunday. By brief word of explanation, this came from a young man around 28 years old who was recently converted out of Is1am. His entire family, with the exception of one brother, all remain Mus1ims at this time.

Because of the war and the education system here in Liberia, people can actually take several years to get through high school. Many are in their 20’s and 30’s before they can afford to complete and gain their high school diploma.

Because of the sensitivity of those who minister in predominatly Is1amic areas, we will refrain from using his name. This young man is growing every week in his understanding of the Scriptures and is…well, I’ll let you read his letter to me which I have transposed just as he wrote it.

Thanks for praying.

*************

Dear Borther Mark,

How are you doing: hope all is Well with you and your family.

You may not understand why I writting you this letter, but if you do not understand, remember me. (He is reminding me who he is again because this was passed to me through one of the other men I am training. This is one aspect of Liberian culture to deal with another through somebody you respect.)

I am using this opportunity to inform you about the hard work you have done for me. I was in darkness, but now am walking in light. Through you my life will improve because of the bible class.

I understand that you want to open bible school in Gbarnga.

I will be going back to school in Gbarnga to complet my high School and I want to be part of this bible school in Gbarnga, because one day I want to become a missionary in my country Sierra Leone.

God bless you.

Signed,

The Fall of the United States of Rome. (Repost)

Martin Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) offers a sobering warning from the grave:

“If the West goes down and is defeated, it will be for one reason only: internal rot. . . . If we continue to spend our lives in jollification, doing less and less work, demanding more and more money, more and more pleasure and so-called happiness, more and more indulgence of the lusts of the flesh, with a refusal to accept our responsibilities, there is but one inevitable result—complete and abject failure. Why did the Goths and Vandals and other barbarians conquer the ancient Roman Empire? Was it by superior military power? Of course not! Historians know that there is only one answer: the fall of Rome came because of the spirit of indulgence that had invaded the Roman world—the games, the pleasures, the baths. The moral rot that had entered into the heart of the Roman Empire was the cause of Rome’s ‘decline and fall.’ It was not superior power from the outside, but internal rot that was Rome’s ruination. And the really alarming fact today is that we are witnessing a similar declension in this and most other Western countries. This slackness, this indiscipline, the whole outlook and spirit is characteristic of a period of decadence. The pleasure mania, the sports mania, the drink and drug mania have gripped the masses.”

Sermon of the Week: “The Subtlety of Satan ” by Jim Murphy.

In this week’s sermon, The Subtlety of Satan, Pastor Murphy gives a scathing indictment on what today’s version of a “Christian” is:

“(Today’s Christian is) someone who has made the decision to be an emotionally well-adjusted, self-actualized risk-taking leader who knows his purpose, lives a no regret life of significance, has overcome his fears, enjoys a healthy marriage, is an attentive parent celebrating recovery from all their hurts, their habits, their hang-ups, and that practices biblical stress relief techniques, is financially free from consumer debt, fosters emotionally healthy relationships with his peers, attends a weekly life group, volunteers regularly at church, tithes off his gross, and has taken at least one humanitarian aid trip to a third world nation. . . . Never once do you read in that modern contextualized interpretation that a Christian is one who sees their sin, confesses their sin, repents of their sin, and receives the gift of salvation in Christ alone. That’s how far we’ve come. So Christianity now is dictated and defined by culture.”

Pastor Murphy also exhorts his congregation to “connect the dots,” between the many dangers we are warned about repeatedly in Scripture and what is being taught under our noses in many churches and by many Christian authors and leaders today.

‎”The mood is that if you have a reformed soteriology you get a pass on everything else.”  -John MacArthur

What Mac says is so true – Calvinistic preachers are assumed to be orthodox because they have one doctrine correct. Yet those who serve as elders in the local church are to preach the whole counsel of God’s Word. This will humble any man and cause the sheep to be less dependent on the preacher and more on the Lord.

As we’ve pointed out in other posts, here and here, for example, the Bible has plenty of warnings about being deceived and misled by men. No man is above having his teaching tested against Scripture, because only the God Man Jesus was and is without error – and He is the Word of God!

HT: Sola Sisters

Homosexuality, Polyester, and Shellfish.

The following article, Homosexuality, Polyester, and Shellfish (found here), is a condensed version of a larger article of the same name (found here).

I hope this helps to answer the false charges of “inconsistency” leveled against Christians based on ignorance of the scriptures (and poor hermeneutics) from those making the accusations.

Jun 19, 2012 • By David Murray

Churches and ministries are coming under increasingly aggressive pressure from militant homosexuality. Some homosexuals are combing websites looking for sermons and statements that they can use in the media to ridicule Christianity and build sympathy for their cause.

When challenged, many Christians and even many pastors, struggle to defend and explain their position in a way that is Scriptural, consistent, and loving. Homosexuals and the media often point to other Old Testament verses that forbid things that Christians now eat or use. How do we explain that? 

Well, here’s a short briefing paper that I hope will answer some of these questions, and also help Christians and pastors to explain the Bible’s teaching in a loving way. Below you will find a bullet point summary of the paper (each point is explained in fuller detail in the paper). For further reading, please see the books referenced in the footnotes. And a huge thank you to my Research Assistant for the huge amount of work he put into this paper. 

Homosexuality, polyester, and shellfish.

What do these three things have in common? Well, they are all mentioned in the Bible as forbidden by God. And the latter two come up in conversations about the first.  The charge is often that Christians are being inconsistent – we allow polyester and enjoy shellfish, but we still condemn homosexuality.

The real question is not why Christians are inconsistent. The real question is why and how Christians do make a distinction between homosexuality, polyester, and shellfish. Because they do, and it matters.

The short answer is because Scripture demands that we must. The long answer is that when we take into account some basic hermeneutical principles and some Scriptural principles, we realize that we must relate differently to homosexuality than to shellfish.

Basic Hermeneutical Principles.  Our interpretation of Scripture is based on the following convictions:

  • Scripture is an authoritative revelation of God.
  • The central unifying theme of Scripture is Jesus Christ.
  • Old Testament law is divided into three main types: civil, ceremonial, and moral:
    • The civil laws were given to a unique nation (Israel) for a unique purpose and time.
    • The ceremonial laws pointed to Christ’s sacrifice and were abolished by His sacrifice.
    • The moral laws define sin and continue in force.
  • Homosexuality falls under the moral law.
  • The punishments for the moral law have changed.
  • The Old Testament needs to be understood in light of the New Testament.
  • The Old Testament law is still relevant today.

So, since the Bible is the authoritative Word of God, and we can distinguish between various Old Testament commands, what does the Bible say about homosexuality?

Relevant Scriptural Principles. Our position on homosexuality is based on Scriptural principles:

  • God created all things, including sexuality.
  • All humans are God’s creation.
  • Sex has a limited role and purpose in life.
  • Sin impacts all of life, including sex.
  • Homosexuality is a consequence of sin.
  • Scripture states that homosexuality is sinful behavior.
  • Homosexuality is not the only sin in society.
  • Sinners, including homosexual sinners, can receive salvation.
  • Believers cannot be characterized as having a homosexual life.
  • Victory over sin, including homosexuality, is possible.

Basic Relational Principles. Our interactions and relationships will be based on Scriptural principles:

  • Remember that salvation is more important than being heterosexual, or outlawing same-sex marriage.
  • Homosexuality is being used as a cultural battleground.
  • Fear and hatred of homosexuals are not proper responses.
  • Christians need to show grace to those who misunderstand.
  • Addressing the issue of homosexuality gives the church a unique opportunity to witness. 
  • All ministry on earth (apart from Christ’s) is from sinners to sinners.
  • Love sometimes demands non-approval.

Therefore the difference between homosexuality, polyester, or shellfish is not a reactionary choice between homophobia or vestiphobia or ichthyophobia. It is not an inconsistent personal preference.

It is a principled decision based on divine revelation.

Five errors of pragmatic churches.

The following article is from A Twisted Crown of Thorns:

Do they want bigger hot dogs? Flavored water or cushions for their ankles the customer is king. This is the approach to successful entrepreneurship. It is sometimes no different when it comes to modern day church marketing only that it is called being ‘purpose driven’. Long gone are the days of preaching the gospel and teaching sound doctrine. It’s not uncommon to hear pastors talk and ask questions like ‘what’s the vision for your church?’ or ‘how is your church going to grow?’ By ‘vision’ they usually mean ‘a purpose driven plan’ or pragmatic approach to church growth.

You see, the purpose driven church movement makes several assumptions but here we will look at 5 common errors and how they deviate from scripture.

Continue reading here.

Book recommendation: “Under the Banner of Heaven” by Jon Krakauer.

I recently finished Jon Krakauer’s book, Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith. I found the book to be very revealing of early Mormon history (much of the stuff modern day Mormons prefer you didn’t know about). Namely this book tackled Mormonism’s twin doctrines of polygamy and Blood Atonement (and detailing the hellish results those unbiblical doctrines wrought on Mormons and non-Mormons alike).

Although this work was a scathing revelation of Mormonism’s twisted and violent history, I could not help but detect the author’s occasional sympathetic bent toward Joseph Smith and the Mormon organization as a whole.

Sympathy or poor research in some instances (I am not certain which), but one example of less-than accurate reporting is when Krakauer said that when Joseph Smith fired his gun at the angry mob (the gun that was smuggled into the Carthage jail), he wounded “at least one.”

However, Mormonism’s own History of the Church cites that Jospeh Smith actually “snapped the pistol six successive times; only three of the barrels, however, were discharged. I afterwards understood that two or three were wounded by these discharges, two of whom, I am informed, died.”

I must say that there’s a chasm of difference between “wounding at least one” and “two or three were wounded . . . two of whom . . . died.”

Another instance in the book where the author would have done well to have done better research is when he writes that Calvinists teach that God is “bent on making humans atone for Adam’s original sin.”

If Krakauer did his homework he would have known that that is not the historic Calvinist position (and never has been). Calvinism teaches that God’s Son (and Him alone) is the only One able to atone for mankind’s sin that was inherited through Adam and for the sins man commits daily. It is actually the belief of Mormonism (and Roman Catholics, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Seventh Day Adventists, and Muslims, etc.) that man can atone for or add to Christ’s atoning work on the cross; and this in direct opposition to Galatians 5:4.

In all, although the author was incorrect on a few points, I found the book to be a fascinating look into both the mainstream LDS organization (the one’s who broke away from the original teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young) and the varios fundamental LDS organizations (the one’s who still follow the original teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young) with the Lafferty brothers’ murder of Erica Lafferty and her baby, Erica, on July 24, 1984, as the back drop of the book.

The book, although containing a critical overtone toward all religion, horrifyingly exposes the results of following Joseph Smith and Brigham Young’s teachings faithfully, showing that Mormonism (much like Islam) is a violent religion full of lies, deception, adultery, sexual immorality, and forever marked by the bloodshed of innocent men, women, and children.

The passing of blogging pioneer, Jim Bublitz.

Coming on the heels of Phil Johnson’s announcement of his retiring from blogging, it is with sadness that I report that I’ve been notified by Lyn of Saved by Grace (and confirmed by Lane Chaplin on his Facebook page), that retired blogger, Jim Bublitz, has passed away.

Bublitz, who retired from blogging due to illness in 2008, was one of, if not the blogger, who inspired me to enter the world of blogging. In fact, Jim’s blog, Old Truth, was the first Christian blog (along with Ingrid Schleuter’s Slice of Laodicea) that I came across and was the inspiration and impetus behind the blog you are reading right now.

You can still read Jim’s blog (which I encourage you to do) at OldTruth.com.

I do not know any further details of Jim’s passing, but I’m certain more information will come out in the next few days.

Please keep the Bublitz family in your prayers.

Sermon of the Week: “The Sovereignty of God”

The clarion call of the mush-mouthed preachers of lies that please the flesh is “God is love!” – as if almighty God was a one-dimensional character who is simpering in inability masquerading as “love”. The Creator and sustainer of all things is complex beyond our ability to comprehend. He is holy and His love is not captive by the creature. His love is primarily directed to and for Himself. We who are redeemed are loved with an everlasting love that God has set upon His elect – that we would shine the light of His Truth for the glory of His name.

God is sovereign, not trapped by a Greco-Roman perspective of human love that we may project upon our image of God. We must submit our mind to the Word of God and embrace what He has revealed – about Himself and us.

I don’t know the man preaching this sermon, but it will be good for your soul; and the glory of God.

HOMOPPRESSION IS AS BAD AS HOMOPHOBIA

A most excellent post by Ken Silva at Apprising Ministries.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

It’s Not Loving And Tolerant To Withhold Truth From Someone; It’s Hateful And Harmful

The homoppression I refer to here is not telling the truth to someone, claiming to be Christian, who self-identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer (LGBTQ) and thereby leaving them under oppression in their sin of practicing the sexual immorality of sexual relations with another of the same sex aka homosexuality.

As with any other sin e.g. heterosexual adultery or fornication, we are specifically commanded to tell people the truth according to God’s Word:

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1-2)

Here the Emerging Church-friendly comment of L. Ann Jervis concerning the above Scripture will prove helpful:

Addressing his readers as brothers, Paul turns to a fuller description of how a community living by the Spirit should behave. He first says that if someone is caught in a sin those who are spiritual should restore him gently. In contrast to 5:21, where Paul warned that those who do sinful acts would not inherit the kingdom of God, here Paul addresses the practical situation of a believer doing wrong.

This circumstance does not  call for the believer to be excommunicated or handed over to Satan (cf. 1 Cor. 5:5). Instead, the transgressor is to be restored, “put in order,” corrected for his or her own good.1

Well, we can’t very well restore someone until they are first “corrected for his or her own good,” now can we? Don’t go running down the rabbit trails. Sin, is sin; period. As our opening text tells us with crystalline clarity, unless one is willing to forsake it in the first place, i.e. repent, they will not enter the Kingdom of God.

However it’s also wrong, not to mention downright cruel and unloving, to simply leave people who are professing to be believers under the oppression of their sin should they transgress. And after-all, as Dr. Walter Martin (1928-1989) used to say, “Christians can do a lot a stupid things.”

So the issue isn’t about whether or not Christians can commit sexual sin; only those with their heads deeply buried beneath the sand will deny that. Rather, the heart of the matter, is the appalling homoppression and unloving refusal to follow what the Bible says concerning those openly practicing the sin of homosexuality.

Unfortunately, many today are flat-out lying to these LGBTQ people, precious souls for whom Jesus also died, and telling them that they are fine in the practice of their sin. However, the absolute truth is neither they, nor anyone else, can ever be in right standing with God while remaining in willful sin.

Take for example this tweet from Huffington Post a while ago today:


(source)

The link takes up to the HuffPost piece I’m Not Saying You’re Homophobic; I’m Just Saying You’re Homophobic by Mark Sandlin, a PC(USA) Minister & co-founder of The Christian Left, who immediately reveals his own absolutely untenable position:

Until today, I’ve restrained from calling people “homophobic.” I’ve called their laws homophobic, their ideas homophobic, their words homophobic, but never them. So, today I’m coming out as a person who calls other people homophobic.

Why? Well, because they are. Homophobia is the fear of homosexuality. At this point, it is impossible for me to believe that most people who hide behind the Bible or denominational polity haven’t had more than ample time to recognize that those two things simply don’t support their belief that homosexuality is a sin. (source)

Well, no matter how many times apostates like Sandlin repeat their man-pleasing mantra that the Bible doesn’t teach homosexual relations is sin, they cannot change e.g. our opening text. It’s simply laughable to suggest that Christians faithful to the Word of our Lord are fearful of homosexuality.

All Sandlin has done in his screedal post is to find a Matthew Vines to tell him what he already wanted to hear (cf. 2 Timothy 4:3-4):

“It’s still commonplace for straight Christians to say, ‘Yes, I believe that homosexuality is a sin, but don’t blame me — I’m just reading the Bible. That’s just what it says.’ Well, first of all, no, you are not just reading the Bible. You are taking a few verses out of context and extracting from them an absolute condemnation that was never intended.” (source)

Those of us know the Bible also know that Vines is only repeating the mythology of the evil pro-homosexual lobby that’s currently tearing apart the mortally wounded mainline denominations. They’ll receive even more footing soon within mainstream evangelicalism as it more openly embraces women claiming to be pastors.

So, why has Apprising Ministries “singled out” those practicing homosexuality? I’m glad you asked; 1) first of all we have not merely singled out homosexuality, and 2) I’ve yet to notice websites such as Christ-Followers In Fornication, or Thieves 4 Jesus, or Adultermergent.

I have, however, been led by apostate Emergence Christianity theologian Dr. Tony Jones to Queermergent. Jones is also “theologian in residence” at the Emergent Church gathering of his equally apostate “pastor” Doug Pagitt; and I’ve told you about Doug Pagitt. The Emerging Church, And Affirming Homosexuality.

As I close this out, for now, I’ll give you a glaring example—over at The Gay Christian Network (GCN)—of the homoppression of which I speak. We turn to their help section under “frequently asked questions.” There we find a number of questions, which if one is not careful can send us off chasing rabbits.

One critical question is: ”Does the Bible condemn gay sex?” And we’re told:

The Bible doesn’t discuss gay feelings, but it does discuss gay sex. There are only a handful of passages which mention same-gender sexual relationships, and all of them are negative.

There are basically two ways to interpret these passages, and gay Christians are divided on which is the appropriate one.

One view holds that the Bible does condemn gay sex, and that gay Christians should commit themselves to lifelong celibacy. This is the predominant view in the Roman Catholic Church, for example.

The other view holds that the Bible condemns certain sexual practices – including the homosexual sex rites of ancient pagan idol worship – but that God blesses a loving, monogamous, Christ-centered, same-sex marriage. A lot of information on this view can be found in the “Bible & theology” section of our resource page. (source, emphasis mine)

Let’s be careful not wrestle with the snake here and just stick to the most important concerns, which I have highlighted above. Kernels of truth within these eternally deadly lies would be: 1) The Bible condemns “gay sex”; and 2) it’s true, sadly, professing Christians are divided concerning these passages.

However, the fatal poison that’s been injected is that there are two legitimate ways to interpret those admittedly negative passages. Frankly, the Christians who would try to reinterpret the Bible in this area are thinking with their feelings; they are most certainly not going by what the text of Scripture actually says.

Well-meaning or not, they are still falling for the oldest lie the enemy has: “Did God actually say” (cf. Genesis 3:1)? Tragically, because I happen to love LGBTQ people enough to tell them the truth, someone like me absolutely does run the risk of being branded homophobic; that no matter how gently I express my views.

But rather, it’s really people like Mark Sandlin and Gay Christian Network who are, in very fact, actually perpetrating a type of homoppression—albeit sincerely—by lying to them in Jesus’ Name. And shouldn’t the Body of Christ also love these people enough to admonish them to stop this madness; before it’s too late…

Further reading

Endnotes

L. Ann Jervis, New International Biblical Commentary [Peabody: Hendrickson, 1999], 153, bold hers.

You Versus God: Who’s View is More Important?

What is more important? What you think of yourself, or what God thinks of you? In our current culture, how we view ourselves is considered of the utmost importance. In fact, many believe that the single greatest thing that we can do for ourselves is to perfect our self image. The greater and more positively we view ourselves, the more likely we will be successful in life. The more negatively we view ourselves, the less likely we will be able to cope with life’s difficulties. On the surface this sounds very compelling. When there are so many people and events that attempt to make us feel like we are worthless or failures, thinking positively seems to make sense so that we can avoid the inevitable depression that would come. Looking at all the positive aspects of our lives, seeing ourselves as good people in the midst of difficult circumstances, would seem to help us because we are not dwelling on the negatives. We are not being drug down emotionally, but we are able to keep our minds free and clear. Thus, it is argued, self image is far more important that anything else.

However, there is an aspect to this that is rarely considered. Self image addresses our perceived needs in the here and now. It concerns itself with how we feel at this moment, how we perceive ourselves in the present. While self image does claim to look back at past mistakes to learn from, and makes the additional claim that it benefits for future life decisions, it primarily concerns itself with our life in this world, at this moment in time. It does not, in fact cannot, deal with what comes after. It can only address how we exist in this life. So, if there is a life yet to come, one which God has much to say about, does it not conclude that solely concerning ourselves with how we feel about ourselves excludes a major aspect of our existence? And if it is how God perceives us that determines our eternal existence, then focusing solely on how we feel in the here and now could well prove detrimental to us. For if we concern ourselves with only how we view our life, then we could well neglect God’s view of us and, by natural extension, live in such a way that brings us into conflict with Him.

We are God’s creation. When God made the universe (see Genesis 1-2) He designed it to declare His glory and majesty (Psalm 19:1). But to whom did it declare? On day 6, God made man. Man was created in God’s image. He was created with the unique breath of life, the awareness of himself, the ability think and perceive outside of basic animal instinct. Man was created with the unique opportunity to understand he was created by God, to be in fellowship with God, to worship and obey God. Man, being God’s unique creation in the universe, finds his being and purpose in loving and worshipping his Creator alone. However, it was in chapter 3 of the book of Genesis where man turned that purpose on its head. At that time, man chose to seek his own purpose, to determine for himself what was right and wrong. In that moment, when man ate of the forbidden fruit, he actively chose to place his desires, his own feelings, over that which God had designed man for. In that moment, man chose how he felt about himself and forever changed his standing before God.

SInce that time, mankind has lived in a state of rebellion against God. Every thought, every word and deed, has been tainted by this desire to satisfy one’s self. And while man does often demonstrate an ability to show mercy, kindness and even love, it is all affected ultimately by the self centered sinfulness that first manifested itself in the garden. If you doubt it, then ask yourself this: who among us can ever say that they have never lied? How about theft, and the value of the stolen item is not the issue. The willful taking of that which is not yours, the depriving of another’s property, ideas or livelihood is theft. What about lust? Some may say that lust is what drives mankind’s ability to reproduce. But is also a demonstration of one’s inability to control the emotional and hormonal drives that God gave us to be used for our spouses alone. The inability to simply bring our thoughts under control when we look at another person again demonstrates how far we are in bondage to sin. What about how we view God? All one must do is look around at the various world religions to realize mankind has failed to acknowledge God as He truly is. From Buddhism to Islam to Catholicism and all points in between, mankind has designed “gods” that resemble the desires of its own heart. Every world religion establishes as system of “good works” that can appease its “god,” hopefully to the point of atoning for the very sins we just looked at. Yet, this demonstrates the fallen nature of man for it demonstrates a “god” that can somehow be bribed or cajoled into ignoring the guilt men have when they sin.

The point of all this is to say that God designed us to be in loving fellowship with Him, yet we have rebelled against Him. Our Creator is now not just the loving God who made us, but He is also the righteous judge who must hold us accountable for the sins we have committed against Him. Where we were once to be ushered into a beautiful, eternal existence with God, we are now barred from such a paradise. Where we were once in a state of being children of the King, we are now condemned criminals, traitors against our sovereign Lord. God cannot view us as positively as we hope to view ourselves. We were created to worship Him, but we have chosen a life of sin against Him.

So we come back to our original question: what is more important, our view of ourselves, or God’s view? If we only were ever to exist in this life, we could say that how we viewed ourselves was very important. But we were created by a being who exists outside of all space and time. We were created to love, honor and worship Him alone, yet we have sinned against Him. The end result is that, when this life ends, we will stand before that Creator, and he will be our Judge. The books of our lives will be opened and every sin we have ever committed will be judged. And like any good judge, God will find us guilty, condemning us to an eternal torment that justly fits our crimes. So the answer is simple, yet very profound, it is God’s view of us that has the greatest importance. And no matter how positively we view our own life, God sees it as utter rebellion. It is not a positive ending we are headed for, but one of eternal suffering.

So, we now ask, if man cannot appease God, cannot atone for himself, what do we do? Should we just “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die?” If we are honest, we have to admit it would seem that if we are to be condemned, should we not just “live it up?” If that were the end of the story, perhaps that would be the answer. But it is not. Remember, God made us to be in fellowship with Him. It is our sinful nature that keeps that from happening, Therefore, God made the way for that fellowship to be restored. We cannot make ourselves “un-guilty” of our sins, Nor can we convince God to simply “forget about it.” So, the only possible means of addressing the consequences of sin was for God to pay the price for it Himself!

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, second Person of the triune God, fully God and fully Man, came to this world approximately 2,000 years ago and did what we could never do. He lived a perfect life, free of sin in every aspect. He perfectly obeyed the will of His Father in every single moment of His life. Then, despite His being innocent of any offense, He willingly, voluntarily placed Himself in the hands of sinful man, endured an unfair trial, was humiliated, beaten and tortured. All the while, He could have called down legions of angels to rescue Him, yet He remained silent and received it all. Then Jesus allowed Himself to be placed on the cross, an instrument of cruel execution. He suffered and died, all the while being reviled by those He came to save. In doing so, He took upon Himself the punishment due for all our sins. The perfect, sinless Son of God took on the righteous and holy wrath of the Father so that the perfect law could be satisfied. We have earned eternal death from God, but the eternal Son died in our place. Then, on the third day after His death, Christ rose Himself from the grave. In doing so, Jesus proved that He had defeated sin and death. His own death paid the price for us, His resurrection secured life for us.

Today, that forgiveness of sins and promise of eternal life is available to us, but there is only one means by which it is obtained. We must acknowledge our that our life is one of wretched sinfulness, and is deserving of the judgment of God. We must turn away from that life of sin and commit ourselves to a life that is pleasing to the Lord. We must trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone, knowing that no work we could ever do would satisfy the law of God. Having total and complete faith that Christ has paid that price and devoting our lives to Him alone.

The question was who’s view of us was more important, our’s or God’s. Clearly, God’s view is the supreme view we must submit to. Yet, God’s view of His own Son is one of perfection and righteousness. If we will humble ourselves, repent of our sins and trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus, then God’s view of Christ is placed on us, rather than his view of of our sins. Place yourself in the hands of Christ. Trust not in your view of who you are, but trust in the holy and righteous God alone for salvation.

Original article posted here.