31 August 2010

The Doctrines of Grace: Part "U"

U - Unconditional Election

Here's where people start to get nervous and uneasy. While no one likes to accept the fact that he is depraved and will not, left to his own devices, choose God, the idea that God elects some and not others is often more than our human--and might I add, fallen--minds can comprehend. The doctrine of election just doesn't fit into our picture of what "fairness" should look like. In fact, most Bible scholars who disagree with this doctrine do so vehemently, claiming that it transforms the God of the Bible into a "monster." Strong words. Especially when Scripture so clearly tells us that God chooses us. It's not the other way around, no matter how much you twist Scripture.

If we're going to claim that it's unfair of God to choose His elect, then we have to go back to the Old Testament and argue with Him over His selection of Israel as His chosen people and nation. Then let's look at Romans 9, where Paul explains God's sovereign choice. Remember Jacob and Esau? God made His choice between those two children while they were still growing in their mother's womb! Are you going to tell God He was wrong?
"And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad--in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls--she was told, 'The older will serve the younger.' As it is written, 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, 'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.' So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy."
"You will say to me then, 'why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?' But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, 'Why have you made me like this?' Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory--even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?" Romans 9:10-16, 19-24
It's as if Paul anticipated all of the arguments man would raise against this great doctrine of election. Who are we to talk back to God? Who are we to say to Him, "No fair! You're wrong!"?
"Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
'For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?'" Romans 11:33-35
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9
I think we've established that we cannot reduce God to the mindset and rationalization of man. I want to offer just a few of many Scriptures that tell us that God has chosen us.
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you." John 15:16
Doesn't get much clearer than that, does it? But here's a few more:
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." John 15:19
"[E]ven as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him." Ephesians 1:4
"Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall." 2 Peter 1:10
"For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you.." 1 Thessalonians 1:4
We see over and over again in the epistles that the Church is referred to as those who have been chosen by God.
"But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first-fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 
"And he said, 'This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." John 6:65
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all , and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." John 10:27-30 
"For many are called, but few are chosen." Matthew 22:14
I think this last verse is key. "Many are called." A general, universal gospel call goes out to all. The Bible tells us that we can know simply from looking at creation that there is a Creator. The Great Commission entreats us to go out and declare this gospel call to everyone. "But," you protest, "if people are predestined to be saved, then why bother with sharing the gospel, why bother with missionaries, etc.?" My friend, to paraphrase the great Charles Spurgeon, if I knew who had an "E" (for "elect) stamped on their back, then perhaps this argument can stand. But how are we to know whose name has been written in the Lamb's Book of Life? And even so, how are we to know that we may be the means by which God intends for that person to hear His Gospel and be saved? A person can't be saved without hearing the Gospel of Christ, and so we proclaim it boldly and joyfully!

Now, here I will acquiesce a bit and acknowledge that, upon hearing the Gospel, a person must respond in repentance, faith and trust in Jesus Christ BUT this response is the work of the Holy Spirit because, as has already been illustrated, fallen man will not and cannot choose God on his own. Man has volition but it is not independent of God. Acts 11:18 shows us that it is God who grants repentance. The cross is absolute foolishness to a man dead in his sins, and so it is the power of the Holy Spirit which grants us faith.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
If I am fully responsible for choosing God all by myself, then this verse is obsolete! If I have chosen God and He only chose me because I chose Him first, then why do I pray in thankfulness for salvation? If I have chosen God first, I should be patting myself on the back and telling everyone how smart I am for making such a good choice. I think it's safe to assume that no one would actually do this, and so, like it or not, you believe in the doctrine of election.

Back to Matthew 22:14, "few are chosen." I can hear you from here saying, "That's not fair!" Really? Let me just pose this question: Who deserves to be saved? No one. That's easy to see from the doctrine of total inability! "Salvation never has been a matter of fairness...I don't think you want fair, do you? Election is rooted in pure grace. He is most gracious and it seems that He is most gracious to those to whom grace seems most undeserved. (Online Source)."

Do you believe that God is holy and just and perfect? Then if, as the Bible says, he does not wish anyone to perish, why is it that not all are saved? John MacArthur states it well:
God never ever planned to save everyone. You say, "How do you know that?" Because not everyone is saved, therefore God couldn't have planned to save everyone or everyone would be saved, right? Because God can do whatever He purposes to do. Is that not true? So, the question is then, why does God pass over some and choose others? And the other is, for His own glory, Romans 9 again tells us that God is glorified in His wrath as He is in His mercy. Now this is a huge issue, but denying the doctrine of predestination or the doctrine of election doesn't solve the problem. One thing is clear: God did not determine to save everyone. That is clear. Jesus said that when He said, "Many are on the broad road that leads to destruction." And so the question then is, if God in His perfectly just and holy, sovereign purpose determined to save some, by what means did He determine to do that? Did He determine to do it simply willy-nilly on the part of the people making the choice, or did He Himself make the choice? First, He determined we know not to save all or there wouldn't be an eternal hell and there wouldn't be "few" that find the way to life everlasting. (Online Source)
If God had planned to save everyone and everyone isn't saved, then we have a weak, ineffectual God. But then why would He create those who are not saved? Some here misunderstand the doctrine of election and assume that, if some are elected for salvation, the rest must be elected for Hell. That is double predestination and it is not what the Bible teaches. Saved or not, man is sinful and wretched and bound for Hell. So those who are not saved are given their just judgment for their disobedience.

Some like to soften this doctrine and say That God simply looked ahead and saw that we would choose Him, so then He chose us. Personally, I think this gives fallen man far too much power! I picture God in Heaven, wringing His hands as He is creating us saying, "Oh boy, I hope she chooses me! What if she doesn't choose me? Oh, I hope she chooses me!" We end up, however, back at Ephesians 2:8-9 because if it was my choice to have faith, then I should be walking around flaunting it and boasting about my awesome selection. How does that bring glory to God?

I admit, from a human perspective, it does seem as though we "choose God" or "accept Christ." This is not the true order of events, though. As Pastor Bob DeWaay says, "What really happened was Christ accepted me by providing forgiveness of my sins through His blood and apprehending me on the scene of history through the gospel...If being saved were the result of something we did through some innate ability that all humans have, then these passages [Ephesians 2:8, 1 Corinthians 1:30] would make no sense (online source)." Pastor DeWaay goes on to say,
[I]f God is indeed always doing everything He can to save everyone, and yet some are saved and some are not, then the reason some are saved has to be found in them, not God.
If, on the other hand, salvation is 100% undeniably, singly and solely from God alone, then we should preach the Gospel with even more confidence, knowing that we are merely the tools God will use to save whoever will be saved!

I believe that to deny the doctrine of election is to deny the sufficiency and inerrancy of Scripture. There are far too many times that God says that He chose us. Yes, there are passages that seem to contradict this truth as Christ declares that whosoever will may come. Yet do not forget that those who come are given Him by the Father (John 6:37). I cannot fully reconcile the truth of man's volition with the clear, obvious, and difficult truth of the doctrine of election. But I cannot deny election because it leaps from the pages of Scripture. It is truly a divine paradox that I ultimately leave to God to reconcile. For me, this doctrine is one more proof that God wrote the Bible, because no mere man would ever have composed such difficult truth!

Many dislike this doctrine because they have come across those who claim it haughtily and pridefully. Yet from the eyes of this wretched sinner, it is the most beautiful of all Bible truths, second only to the substitutionary death of Christ for the salvation of those who will believe. That God has chosen me has sent me to my knees and to my face many times in tears of gratitude. Painfully aware of my own inability and my own sin and fallenness, to even begin to fathom why I may be counted among God's elect is the most humbling experience. I am profoundly grateful for this truth because I know that, without God's grace, without His Spirit, I would not be among His children. I rejoice in this doctrine because it makes grace alive.

See Also:
The Doctrines of Grace: An Introduction
The Doctrines of Grace: Part "T"

Further Reading:
God's Will and Man's Will (a masterful sermon by Charles Spurgeon)
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (Jonathan Edwards)
The Doctrine of Election, Part 1 (John MacArthur)
The Doctrine of Election, Part 2
The Doctrine of Election, Part 3
Recovering Reformation Theology: Rejecting Synergism and Returning to Monergism (Bob DeWaay)
Why I am a Calvinist (Phil Johnson)
Salvation is of the Lord (Charles Spurgeon)
Election (Charles Spurgeon)
Election No Discouragement to Seeking Souls (Charles Spurgeon)
A Defense of Calvinism (Charles Spurgeon)

Have We Anointed an Unworthy Shepherd?

From Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries:
Have We Anointed An Unworthy Shepherd?
By Jan Markell
August 31, 2010

Could we say that the church has failed to wake up very many people so, by default, a Mormon -- Glenn Beck -- has made quite a stir and has become an official spiritual leader? He rallied hundreds of thousands last weekend with themes of faith and love of our country. Americans are desperate and fearful of what is coming upon this land so they look to a Mormon for leadership. I am glad his Saturday event was successful for just some of these reasons:

* Americans came to celebrate America after the highest leaders in our land have trashed her around the world.

* They focused on what was right in America and they also honored our military.

 * Faith and patriotism were lifted up -- two items that the Left despises.

 * Attendees were passionate -- traveling thousands of miles and, once arriving in D.C., walking for miles, even if handicapped.

* Conservative Americans must gather together to fortify one another. Such events strengthen one another and offer hope. Finding kindred spirits in a depressing age is essential.

* Whether the Left heard or not, the attendees sent a message that they are fed up. November is around the corner and they had better look out.

In light of the positive aspects of the honoring America weekend, could there possibly be a down side? I tried to do a fair and balanced radio program last Saturday, August 28, with Brannon Howse, former Mormon Ed Decker, and apologetics' expert Eric Barger. We raised a few issues, and you can hear them here.  I have received some thanks for the honesty and integrity of the two hours, and a few hate e-mails and calls for the position the panel took, which will be explained in the paragraphs below.

The theme of the Friday gathering of spiritual leaders and the Saturday rally was an encouragement to turn back to God. The not-so-subtle theme was "many faiths, but one God."

I believe many conservative Christians would have been relieved if Glenn had not brought out Mormon doctrine that very few are familiar with. He stated at the Saturday event  that the American Indians are the "chosen people" -- blatant Mormon doctrine. The crowd applauded in approval. You can view that here at the 4:30 mark.
He stated -- and has affirmed this on his radio and television programs -- that God is the only answer. While much was troublesome last weekend, who else is sticking their neck out saying we have to turn back to God and gathering hundreds of thousands in the process? It would be wonderful if Franklin Graham or even Joel Rosenberg could attract a half-million people and deliver the true gospel. We aren't quite there yet. Again, by default, we defer to Glenn Beck.

The weekend opened on Friday night, Augsust 27, with Glenn's "Divine Destiny" program which again, is straight out of Mormonism. Many participants have implied, or blatantly stated, that Glenn is a "saved Mormon" or on the way to becoming one.

Friend and frequent radio guest John McTernan, was present both days just to observe. He writes on his blog,"There were several prayers offered at the Friday event and none were made in the name of Jesus. I was deeply grieved after I left.
"On Saturday, I attended the rally. If it had been just political, I could accept Beck as a leader; however, it went way beyond that. I am not questioning anything about Beck's character or motives. What I am deeply grieved about is that this was not led by the real church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Is America in such desperate spiritual condition that masses of Christians will follow a Mormon for spiritual revival?"

McTernan continues, "The sheep in America are desperate and fearful of what is coming, so they look to a Mormon for leadership. A Mormon leading a meeting like this for America turning back to God should have God-fearing pastors in America on their knees crying out to God for mercy. I am grieved, not so much with Glenn Beck, but that the church is so pitifully weak that a Mormon can now lead God's people, and they do not see the spiritual danger."

What are major Mormon beliefs and how do they play into this scenario? When God is the professed focus of the August 27-28 weekend, what is the deeper meaning? And Glenn is outspoken about his Mormon faith. He so-stated that fact many times over the weekend and in the weeks and months leading up to it. It was not subtle or hidden. But Glenn does not bring out the bullet points below because it reads like science fiction.
Mormon theology teaches:
* God was born and raised on another planet.

* He has a harem of wives.

* They produce spirit-babies that are sent to earth; there they gain bodies and earn sainthood.

* Jesus is the brother of Lucifer.

* Jesus is the chosen/elected savior by a council of gods from other worlds.

* America is the promised land, not Israel. The holy city is Independence, Missouri, not Jerusalem. Jesus' latter-day agenda is to return to Missouri.

* The U.S. Constitution is as sacred as the Book of Mormon. In the latter days, it will be under siege and will be saved by Mormons. Thus, we must "reclaim America" to save the Constitution and usher in a genuine age of Mormon leadership. They want to build a Mormon kingdom on earth, similar to modern day Dominionists/Kingdom Now proponents within Christianity. Founder Joseph Smith had a socialistic philosophy and wished to have a society that shared things in common.

* America's founding fathers were "spirit babies" who created a "sacred Constitution."

* Salvation is works-based and not through grace and faith.
This is what Glenn Beck believes. Is the god of this system, this faith, the one he referred to when he stated, "Today, America turns back to God?"   Is his god concept one we can turn back to?
For greater insights, visit the Web site of former Mormon and radio guest, Ed Decker. Also visit the apologetics' site ofEric Barger.
Brannon Howse has done extensive radio programs and written cutting-edge articles on this issue for over a week.

Jim Garlow, a popular and influential pastor who partnered with the Mormon faithful in California to defend traditional marriage, was quoted recently in CNN's Belief Blog, saying, "I have interviewed persons who have talked specifically with Glenn about his personal salvation -- persons extremely well known in Christianity -- and they have affirmed (using language evangelicals understand), 'Glenn is saved. He understands receiving Christ as Savior.' "

In short, Mormonism has a different holy book, father, Jesus, concept of grace, salvation, end-times, etc. You cannot be a "saved Mormon." Evangelicals who should know better already call him a "brother in Christ." Some of those share the Mormon "dominion" of the earth and this is their connection. Promoting this false end-time theology of making the earth perfect seems to trump everything elseWe can't save the earth and make it perfect. Jesus Christ has to return to do that.
So, was the following the purpose? Brannon Howse has posted a story at his Worldview Weekend site that the LDS Examiner states through Mormon writer Greg West, "As a Mormon, I have to consider an unintended message throughout Beck's work, which has culminated in this event. That message is: 'Mormons are Christian believers. Despite nearly two centuries of misrepresentation and religious envy by sectarian Christianity, Beck has achieved the visibility, prominence, and has had the time day after day, week after week, to speak openly and truly about his core beliefs. Those statements of faith have disoriented and confused those who had previously believed the lies about Mormons."
West has proved our point. "Evangelicals and Mormons Together" will be next. Why not? A Mormon successfully called a nation back to God.
Most who stand with Glenn, however, do not embrace this theology. Some Christian leaders are just deceived and others think it is hip and cool to align themselves with a man who is so prominent and so pro-America.

John McTernan states, "I know Mormonism real well. There is a Mormon prophecy that America is going to be nearly destroyed with the Constitution hanging by a thread. A Mormon savior would arrive and lead the Mormon church to save America. I can see this coming into play real soon. Maybe the revival Beck is talking about is a massive conversion to Mormonism."

We sincerely hope Glenn Beck will become a true brother in Christ. We can pray to that end and also that Christian leaders will sharpen their discernment and understand the disservice they are doing to the body of Christ by exalting an unsaved man, and allowing him to be a virtual shepherd over millions of Americans who just want to take back America.

True or False?

I'm going to open this up for discussion. Is the following quote true, false, or somewhere in the middle?
"God's message [in the Bible] is that He has a plan and purpose for each individual."
Looking forward to your comments and discussion.

Quote of the Day

"False religion is far worse than bad politics." -Phil Johnson on the perils of evangelical Christians partnering with Mormon Glenn Beck. (Phil Johnson is the Executive Director of Grace to You and founder of the Pyromaniacs blog).

29 August 2010

Sunday Morning Praise

Just kidding!

Here's some real worship...

Rock of Ages
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,

When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.

28 August 2010

The Doctrines of Grace: Part "T"

I want to begin this post by reminding my readers (especially those who are getting nervous) that I do not agree with everything taught by John Calvin or the Reformers. I fall into the category of a dispensational premillennialist (I believe that the Church and Israel are distinct. I also believe in the pretribulational rapture of the Church and the literal thousand-year reign of Christ), which stands in contrast to many of the Reformers and their covenant theology and amillennialism. It is for precisely this reason that I dislike the label of "Calvinism." I do feel, however, that these doctrines have merit and are worth exploring biblically. We must acknowledge divine paradoxes in the sovereignty of God. How was Jesus 100% God and 100% man? I don't know, I can't understand it! But the Bible says it was true and so I believe it. This will make more sense in later posts, but I felt it necessary to remind you of that disclaimer from the start. Moving on...

The "T" in T.U.L.I.P. stands for "total depravity." Some scholars prefer the phrase "total inability" or "absolute inability" and I prefer those as well. We are not all as evil as we could be, but we are all utterly unable and incapable. We are unable to save ourselves and we are unable to come to faith without God granting it to us. We are born into sin, born into the desires and lusts of the flesh, incapable of doing any spiritual good.
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17:9
"Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil." Jeremiah 13:23
"But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person." Matthew 15:18-20
These verses make it pretty clear that the human heart is a hopeless, wretched thing apart from Christ. This is because we are all born spiritually dead.
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience--among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind." Ephesians 2:1-3
We are dead. What can dead people do? Absolutely nothing. Dead people have no power, no ability. John MacArthur says, "Man's problem is he is absolutely dead and he is incapable of relating to God at all...God's person, God's truth, or God's commands (Online Source)." If man is born a sinner, then what is his fate apart from Christ?
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23
"But, people can do good!" you protest. Yes, people can do good, but they are incapable of doing spiritual good which will be pleasing to God. What is demanded by our God? Perfect righteousness.
 "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." Romans 3:10-12.
"For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God." Romans 8:6-8
As Phil Johnson says, Romans 8:7 "describes a hopeless state of utter inability to love God, to obey His commands, or to please Him. That is the state of all whose hearts have not been renewed by Christ (Online Source)." How do we escape the flesh, how can we please God?
"You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you." Romans 8:9-11 
Did you catch that? It is God, by means of the Holy Spirit, who raises us to life!
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--...For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:4-6, 8-9
God "made us alive" through the saving work of Christ on the cross and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit within us. A dead person cannot will himself back to life. Lazarus did not emerge from the tomb until Christ called him and enabled him to do so. So also can dead sinners not emerge from the darkness of their sin until they are called and enabled to do so. "We cannot by sheer force of will set our hearts to love Him, because as fallen creatures we are so in love with our own sin and rebellion that our desires are twisted. Our affections are warped and hopelessly corrupted...Our hearts are poisoned by sin, and that is why we do not and cannot love God on our own (Johnson, online source)."

"We cannot love God on our own." So true. And yet,
"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die--but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." Romans 5:6-11
"Christ died for the ungodly." He died for the unrighteous, for the sinner, for those who were his enemies. It does not read that Christ "died for those who made a few mistakes but were basically good." Nope, we were hopeless, helpless, wretched, unrighteous, enemies of God. And yet He died that we might live.

It's imperative that we understand the doctrine of man's absolute inability if we are preaching the Gospel. If we cannot describe the fallenness of man, then we cannot explain what we mean when we say that "Jesus saves." Saves from what? From the wrath of God. Why do we need to be saved from the wrath of God? Because we are all deserving of that wrath if left to our sinful nature without salvation through the blood of Christ and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. If we don't tell people why they need a Savior, then the Good News falls flat.
"The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:14
So we preach the Gospel to unsaved sinners by revealing to them the terminal illness that afflicts them. The Gospel is not really "good news" if the hearer is unaware of his own sinful inability before a holy, just, and righteous God. Without a right understanding of man's inability, I fear we will find ourselves lacking a right understanding of salvation.

An Incomplete Love

The Washington Times reports:
Calcutta Celebrates Teresa's 100th Birthday
An anniversary Mass to begin the Catholic Church's year of Mother Teresa was celebrated Thursday in Calcutta at the Missionaries ofCharity headquarters, with more than 1,000 people president and Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo presiding. 
A message from Pope Benedict XVI was read aloud, in which the pope said he was "confident that this year will be, for the church and the world, an occasion of joyful gratitude to God for the inestimable gift that Mother Teresa was in her lifetime and continues to be through the affectionate and tireless work of you, her spiritual children."
Celebratory Masses also were held in Albania, with Prime Minister Sali Berisha and other senior political leaders present, and Macedonia. The latter country's Parliament even held a special session to honor Mother Teresa.
But amid all the special prayers, film festivals, an Indian government-issued coin, Indian Railways' blue-and-white "Mother Express" and even dedication of a church in her name, the nuns in their signature blue-bordered white saris continue to work tirelessly for the poorest of the poor whom Mother Teresa, a hero in India known simply as "Mother" despite being foreign-born member of a minority religion, had embraced as her own. 
Mother Teresa was and still is a woman known for her "good works." I often hear Christians quoting the Roman Catholic nun as if she was nearly deity. I've been scorned and scowled at for suggesting that this "great" woman, while an exemplary picture of philanthropy and charity, was perhaps not the best role model for a Christian to follow. I cannot judge the state of Mother Teresa's heart, nor do I care to. But I do have to wonder if the following quotations are those of a Bible-believing Christian:
"There is only one God and He is God to all; therefore it is important that everyone is seen as equal before God. I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic. We believe our work should be our example to people. We have among us 475 souls - 30 families are Catholics and the rest are all Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs—all different religions. But they all come to our prayers." (emphasis added)
"There are so many religions and each one has its different ways of following God. I follow Christ: Jesus is my God, Jesus is my Spouse, Jesus is my Life, Jesus is my only Love, Jesus is my All in All. Jesus is my Everything" (emphasis added).
You'd think if Jesus was her "Everything" that she'd want everyone to know the truth about Him. But maybe not.
I pray that you will understand the words of Jesus, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Ask yourself “How has he loved me? Do I really love others in the same way?” Unless this love is among us, we can kill ourselves with work and it will only be work, not love. Work without love is slavery. 
"Work without love is slavery." Perhaps, but where do good works get us without faith in Christ?
"But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." Titus 3:4-7, emphasis added.
Mother Teresa spoke of love avidly and often. But I often wonder if, as she "loved on" the poor and the destitute, did she share with them the good news of Jesus Christ and Him crucified for our sins? Or did she forgo that Truth because it was too offensive and because she believed in many ways to God? If so, then she loved people right down to the pit of Hell. Without Christ, love is incomplete. Let's ensure that we aren't compromising or even sacrificing Truth in the name of love.

What is Dora Really Exploring and Should Your Children be Exposed to It?

It's no secret that the Nickelodeon cartoon, Dora the Explorer is all the rage among children. I don't even have kids and I tire of seeing all of the Dora gear when I'm shopping for my nephew. I never actually watched an entire episode of the show, but it has always given me an uneasy feeling. I've attributed this to the fact that most cartoons give me the creeps and since I'm not directly affected by the Dora phenomenon, I haven't lost any sleep over the show's success. But this morning I saw this article over at Yahoo and it reminded me of a television show I saw a couple of weeks ago. As Dora the Explorer celebrates its 10th anniversary, the Associated Press reports:

'Dora The Explorer' may change a whole generation

 Fri Aug 27, 2:49 AM PDT

Don't underestimate her just because she's a little girl. "Dora The Explorer" is a multibillion-dollar franchise that may be creating a more enlightened generation, more open to different people and cultures not their own.
"Dora" has aired against the backdrop of the immigration debate. When the new Arizona law was announced, a photo of Dora behind bars as a suspected illegal immigrant made the rounds on the Internet. 
Such is the influence of Dora, Cortes said, that future fans could affect the political future of America. A 5-year-old viewer in 2000 is now 15. 
"It will be another three years until they go to college and be able to vote, and I think we may see a difference. You can't be certain, but our hope is that young people of all backgrounds will be more open," he said. "If Dora can do that, her impact is unimaginable." 
Most parents love Dora because it supposedly challenges their children with problems to solve. It also doesn't hurt that the character of Dora is actually fully clothed, unlike so many of the other popular cartoons of today! But what else is Dora teaching your children? Did it ever occur to you that this seemingly innocent show may be teaching theology? Well it is, but it's not teaching them biblical theology by any means.

I don't watch a lot of television. When I do sit down for a few minutes of mindless entertainment, I will turn on one of two types of shows: I will either watch reruns of old classics such as I Love Lucy or The Dick Van Dyke Show or Father Knows Best or My Three Sons, or I will turn on an episode of Food Network Challenge, so long as the challenge for the week is some sort of dessert. A couple of weeks ago the theme for the show was "Dora the Explorer Cakes" in celebration of Dora's 10th anniversary. Each contestant had to represent a particular episode of Dora the Explorer in cake. Consequently, the viewer was offered a brief explanation of each of the competing Dora episodes. I was astonished. Let me share two of the four episodes that were featured on this episode of Food Network Challenge. It will give you an idea of what Dora the Explorer has been teaching your children.

Episode: "Dora Saves the Mermaid:" A mean octopus is destroying and polluting the ocean. Dora has to restore cleanliness and peace to the mermaid kingdom. Yes, Dora is teaching your children about the Green religion. Can you guess what special item had to be included on this cake in order for it to qualify for judging? You guessed it, a recycle bin! You see, in this episode, Dora puts some recyclable trash into a recycle bin and then proceeds to explain to her companion, Boots, how to recycle. Yes, we must save the earth from all of this pollution otherwise it will surely disintegrate beneath our very feet! This earth will be destroyed, all right, but it won't be because I threw my plastic water bottle into the regular trash can, it will be because God Himself has judged it with fire.
"But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly." 2 Peter 3:7
Episode: "Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom:" I want to quote this episode description directly from the show, "The crystals are the life of the kingdom and the greedy king wants the crystals for himself. So there's this adventurous little girl named Allie and Dora helps Allie and they go on a long scavenger hunt to find the crystals." The special item that must be included on this cake? Why, the four crystals from the Dora episode, of course! Hm, it seems to me that Dora has been exploring a little bit of New Age beliefs and practices! But teaching your children about magical crystals that are "the life of the kingdom" is surely harmless...isn't it? You tell me.
19 "Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." Galatians 5:19-24
I'm sure there are some reading this and thinking "Okay, but you don't have any children, who are you to tell us how to parent?" Well, I'm not telling you how to parent, I'm telling you to be aware of what your children are taking into their minds and their hearts. I'm under no illusions--I am aware of how difficult it must be to raise children in this wicked, fallen world. That's why I am so thankful that I don't have children nor do I have the desire to ever have children. Parents, you must stand firm and fast on the truth of God's Word. Your children don't need to have Dora the Explorer to get through the day. Don't compromise your child's precious, impressionable thoughts in order that you may have 30 minutes of "me time." A godly house should not allow such ungodly teachings into its living room.

27 August 2010

The Doctrines of Grace: An Introduction

"It's the end of the world as we know it!" Maybe. Or Jesus could tarry for another 10 or 20 years. Personally I don't think He will, but it's a possibility.

"We have to get as many people saved as possible!"Umm...kind of, but we desperately need to change this terminology. The concept of evangelism and "saving souls" is important regardless of where we are in the prophetic timeline. Whether Christ is returning tonight, next week, or when your grandchildren have grandchildren, we need to be preaching Christ and Him crucified. But we cannot get anybody saved, and herein lies the problem with modern-day evangelism. Instead of striving to "get people saved" let's focus on what we are called to do: let's preach the Gospel. If we do our part, we can leave the saving up to God and the Holy Spirit. But today's squishy, warm-fuzzy gospel of "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life" isn't going to suffice. Without correct doctrine, we cannot have a correct gospel. And without a correct gospel, nobody is going to truly get saved.

With that, I am going to embark on a series explaining the Doctrines of Grace, otherwise known as the "Five Points of Calvinism," and why I believe them to be true and biblical. I realize that right now I have angered some of my readers while others are praying for what they perceive to be my poor, confused soul. I would ask that you "hear" me out over the next few weeks and if you still disagree with me, well, there's pretty much nothing I can do about it.

For all intents and purposes, one could refer to me as a Calvinist. However, that identification does not mean that I believe and agree with everything that John Calvin taught and believed. Staunch, "hyper-Calvinists" would probably consider me to be more of a 4 1/2 point Calvinist, but I'm okay with that. In the end, what I truly identify myself as is a Christian, because when I stand before the Bema Seat, it won't be John Calvin staring back at me!

So, what are these "five points" which are so hotly debated...and hated (by some)? They can be remembered quite easily by the acronym T.U.L.I.P.
In this series, I will take each of the five points, explain the basic tenets of each and explain why it is a biblical doctrine.

What is the point of this exercise? I'm doing this partly to (hopefully) help to clear up some of the confusion that exists in regard to Calvinism. Granted, men far more educated and far more eloquent than myself have already addressed this topic. Yet I know that many of my readers have not read those arguments and so perhaps this will be those individuals' first introduction to this teaching.

My greater hope, however, is that an explanation of the Doctrines of Grace will aid us as we seek to serve the Lord by obediently preaching His Gospel. How can T.U.L.I.P. help with this? Simple. Because Calvinism is not "Calvinism," it is the gospel.
"I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor.
“Salvation is of the Lord.” [Jonah 2:9.] That is just an epitome of Calvinism; it is the sum and substance of it. If anyone should ask me what I mean by a Calvinist, I should reply, “He is one who says, Salvation is of the Lord.” I cannot find in Scripture any other doctrine than this. It is the essence of the Bible. “He only is my rock and my salvation.” Tell me anything contrary to this truth, and it will be a heresy; tell me a heresy, and I shall find its essence here, that it has departed from this great, this fundamental, this rock truth, “God is my rock and my salvation.” 
- Charles Spurgeon, A Defense of Calvinism
Phil Johnson well explains Spurgeon's statement here when he says, "He [Spurgeon] was pointing out that the principle at the heart of all gospel truth is the same principle that drives Calvinism: 'Salvation is of the Lord.' Salvation is God's work; it's not something we do for ourselves. That's the truth he was defending (online source)."

I am not suggesting that we launch into a discussion of election with the unsaved sinner. I am suggesting that we properly understand this concept that "salvation is of the Lord" if we are to effectually share the Gospel. If we do not understand the Gospel, how can we properly share it? It is a misunderstanding of the Gospel of Christ that has led to countless altar calls, hand raisings, and card signings as "proof" of someone's salvation, yet how many of those "saved souls" never really came to know Christ because the true Christ was not preached to them? How many of those who wept and shuddered, moved by the emotionally charged setting and tear-filled piano chords, but never really told of their own hopeless depravity, one night "made a decision" for Christ and a week later were still lost in their wretched, sinful, fallenness with not a clue as to the state of their own nature? How many of these still live lost lives without Jesus, yet blindly and blissfully believe that they will spend eternity with Him because they "prayed a prayer?" Dear friends, if we do not understand the saving work of God then we cannot do justice in presenting our Savior to another!

Be patient with me throughout this series and extend grace. The plate of my life, though piled no higher than anyone else's, still lacks room for this endeavor. Nevertheless, the idea drifted into my mind as it has in months past and I feel it is time to finally bring it to fruition. So stay tuned...
as it is written:
"None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips." "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes." Romans 3:10-18

Author's note: I am not claiming that those who disagree with the doctrines of grace are heretics or are eternally damned anymore than I would expect that they would say the same about me for holding to these truths. These teachings raise discomfort and great tension in people from both sides of the argument. In a discussion such as this, it is important to remember and to acknowledge that there are divine paradoxes which we will not and cannot understand this side of Heaven. These will be discussed in the appropriate posts.

26 August 2010

Thursday's Spurgeon

Brethren, the Savior's character has all goodness in all perfection; he is full of grace and truth. Some men, nowaday, talk of him as if he were simply incarnate benevolence. It is not so. No lips ever spoke with such thundering indignation against sin as the lips of the Messiah. "He is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap. His fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor." While in tenderness he prays for his tempted disciple, that his faith may not fail, yet with awful sternness he winnows the heap, and drives away the chaff into unquenchable fire. We speak of Christ as being meek and lowly in spirit, and so he was. A bruised reed he did not break, and the smoking flax he did not quench; but his meekness was balanced by his courage, and by the boldness with which he denounced hypocrisy. "Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; ye fools and blind, ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" Those are not the words of the milksop some authors represent Christ to have been. He is a man--a thorough man throughout--a God-like man--gentle as a woman, but yet stern as a warrior in the midst of the day of battle. The character is balanced; as much of one virtue as of another. As in Deity every attribute is full orbed; justice never eclipses mercy, nor mercy justice, not justice faithfulness; so in the character of Christ you have all the excellent things.
From the 1866 sermon entitled Sweet Saviour.

24 August 2010

KJV Only?

Dr. Daniel Wallace explains why modern Bible translations (such as the ESV or the NASB) are closer to the original text than the KJV.

The King James Bible from :redux on Vimeo.

You can read more on this topic at Justin Taylor's site, The Gospel Coalition.

Quote of the Day

"Our country is not going to be saved by compromising on Biblical truth. And if that's what it takes for us to save the country, then bring the persecution on! And maybe the persecution like the brothers and sisters in Cuba and China have gone through will cleanse this apostate church that is growing in vast numbers here in America. Bring it on, I'm ready. Because I am sick and tired of these people who want to co-mingle their religious and spiritual and theological worldviews with that which is the very antithesis of Biblical Christianity." --Brannon Howse, quoted from the August 23, 2010 episode of Crosstalk America. Listen to the entire broadcast here.
See also: Following Glenn Beck's Divine Destiny or God's Word?

22 August 2010

Sunday Morning Praise

I apologize for neglecting to send out my usual Sunday hymn last week. I was out of town and with an unusual schedule, it got lost in the shuffle. Nevertheless, I am sure that you all had a blessed Sunday without it! I had a particularly wonderful Sunday last week, as I had the opportunity to worship at Grace Community Church and to hear Dr. MacArthur preach as he resumed his study of Mark. I had only been to Grace once before and fell in love with that community of believers. It was wonderful to be back, rather soon and rather unexpectedly. Especially with my current lack of a church community, I can honestly say that it felt like home. I can't wait to go back! If you ever find yourself without a place to worship on Sunday, let me suggest that you tune into the live audio broadcast of Grace Community church. It's no substitute for actual fellowship, but at least you can be guaranteed that you will hear the Bible preached in truth and love.

As I sat in church last week, I did remember that I had failed to post my usual Sunday Morning Praise. Knowing that I'd be unable to do so for the rest of the day, I decided to share with you this week a couple of the hymns that we sang:

Immortal, Invisible

My Faith Has Found a Resting Place

21 August 2010

Should You Stay or Should You Go?

Do you attend a church that is...not quite right? Are you there so that you can "be a light" and "make a difference?" How's that working for you? Often I hear the argument that individuals are remaining in their rapidly declining (doctrinally speaking), apostate churches with the hope and intent of "changing" that church. Yet the change never comes and they continue to warm the pew week after week. Now, the Bible does exhort the Christian to remain in Christian community, but are we to remain in a community that merely claims to be Christian and yet does not bear the fruit of the Gospel? Are we called to "be the light" in a spiritually dark church? Or is it our job to find a Biblically, doctrinally solid church so that we may continue to grow and learn in the faith? Todd Friel weighed in on this in the first few minutes of this Friday's podcast. Listen here.

The Quantum Lie

Pastor Bob DeWaay and Warren Smith speak on New Age spirituality.

20 August 2010

Todd Friel has a Question for Glenn Beck

HT: Christian Research Network

Happy Birthday, Brother!

Well, unfortunately my email subscribers will be getting this post a day late. The day got away from me and the subscription sent out before I had a chance to post this. Nevertheless, I still have to "publicly" embarrass my brother and tell him HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Yes, dear brother, you are getting old! I'm blessed to have a brother who loves and fears God, who is an amazing father to his young son, and who is teaching his son about Jesus Christ.

In honor of my brother's birthday, I'd like to post a short video of his favorite childhood cartoon. Once again, Happy Birthday, brother!

NewSpring Leadership Conference Leads Down a Purpose-Driven Path

If you have any doubts about the stance of men such as Mark Driscoll or Francis Chan (you know, because they're supposedly "Reformed" so they must be okay) just take a look at the picture below. This is the lineup of speakers for Perry Noble's NewSpring Leadership Conference in September. Notice that they just added Rick Warren to the schedule...how exciting! I just hope that Noble, the "Purpose-Driven Pope of the Carolinas," doesn't mind sharing the stage with the patriarch of purpose-driven! Regardless, the day will surely prove to be one filled with business acumen and positive thinking!

19 August 2010

Apprising Ministries to Glenn Beck

It's really beginning to irritate me to watch so many "evangelical Christians" fawn over and follow Glenn Beck. Sure, he's spoken a lot of truth about government corruption, but I'm tired of him espousing his Mormon doctrine and I'm even more tired of watching Christians be deceived by it. Not too long ago, Beck told his viewers that they needed to be stockpiling food and water. That may not seem out of line with the current state of affairs of this country. However, as Christians should we not trust that our Heavenly Father will provide for our needs? The best part of this advice of Beck's is that it is actually part of the core doctrines of Mormon theology for a person to keep a stockpile of food. So where does Beck get off surreptitiously imposing his Mormon doctrine on his viewers? Well, seems to me that his viewers, even the "Christian" ones, have given him a wide open door.

Has Beck been a helpful political watchdog? Yes. Yet, should Christians pray with him? No. Are Christians praying with him? Yes. Should we assume that Beck is a Christian just because he talks of Jesus and God? No. Is he a Christian? No. Is Glenn Beck a Mormon? Yes. Can a Mormon be a Christian? No. Ken Silva explains in an excellent post at Apprising Ministries:
let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:10-12)
You’d Want To Know If The Savior You Believed In Didn’t Exist
Being an online apologetics and discernment work Apprising Ministries does not involve itself in politics per se; however, there are times when those issues will cross, as is the case with popular conservative talk show host Glenn Beck and his upcoming Divine Destiny event. As you can see below Beck tells us that ”nationally-known religious figures from all faiths will unite,” which then makes this a religious event; and in addition, Beck’s popularity means there are many following him who do think he is a Christian:
(Online source)
In a short post a while back Glenn Beck, a baptized and practicing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), responded to Focus on the Family (FotF) pulling their promotion piece for his supposedly Christian book. As you can see e.g. in Focus on the Family Promotes Mormonism, that particular post was taken down by FotF after some Christian ministries complained that FotF was promoting Mormonism by running it.
Here’s what Beck said in response over at his Glenn Beck – Faith &  Inspiration website:

(Online source)
However, no one is arguing against “Christmas as a time for redemption and atonement.”; that understood, at the same time, the proper meanings of the words “redemption and atonement” are inextricably wound together with the “beliefs” of one’s “religion.”  So that’s why the Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along” sentiment expressed by Glenn Beck, as sincere as his appeal is, concerning “the concept of religious tolerance [being] too important to be sacrificed” has such a hollow ring to it.
And as heartfelt and noble as “it is my hope that all of those who believe in a loving and peaceful God would stand together on the universal message of hope and forgiveness” sounds, the truth remains, the Bible knows nothing of any “universal message of hope and forgiveness”; for those outside of a personal relationship with the one true and living God—as in the, singular and only, one which exists—found only in Jesus Christ of Nazareth, because all others are lost.
This is where Beck’s eternal soul, as well as that of all those in the non-Christian cult of Mormonism, remains—right now—in perilous danger. Glenn Beck is obviously an intelligent man so he should know that “those who believe” in a god who doesn’t exist, no matter how “loving and peaceful” they imagine him to be, are essentially worshipping a phantom. And worse, God the Holy Spirit says that their devotion and worship is actually something they offer to demons and not to God (see—1 Corinthians 10:20).
AM has a post called Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?, which via a take-off of the old TV program To Tell the Truth, that introduces you to a few of the many Jesuses running around the contemporary landscape today. What I did in that article was take the benefit of my 22+ years of studying Comparative Religion and then distill the basic teachings of certain groups concerning Jesus so as to have their “Jesus” give you a synopsis of who he is according to that particular religion.
In this case of Glenn Beck, here now is the “Jesus of Mormonism” as he introduces himself to you:
Elohim was once a man who lived on the planet Kolob. He died and was resurrected by his father—after earning his way to godhood—as did his father before him and on back. Heavenly Father pro-created all of us through sexual relations with one of his celestial wives and we are all his spirit children. I was born first; next was Lucifer, and then on down the line comes you. When the head of the gods—of which there are countless numbers—called a council of the gods I came up with a better plan of salvation than my brother Lucifer did. So I became the Savior for Heavenly Father’s children on earth. I was conceived for my earthly mission when Heavenly Father came down and had sexual relations with his daughter the Virgin Mary.
I sweat great drops of blood for your sins in the Garden of Gethsemane. Then on the cross I finished my work; and because of that atonement, all persons on this earth are going to be resurrected. And so now you have a chance to earn your way to becoming a god just like me by working the Gospel Principles taught by the Mormon Church. But be careful because my blood was not sufficient to cover some of your sins my prophet Brigham Young once taught for me. He said, “There’s not a man or woman who violates the covenant made with their God that will not be required to pay that debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out. [And y]our own blood must atone for it.”
Now following below is the actual Jesus Christ of Nazareth as found in God’s Word—the Bible:
I am the Jesus of the historic, orthodox Christian Church, which I purchased with My Own blood. I Am the one true and eternal God incarnate—God the Son—second Person of the blessed and Holy Trinity. I am the very Creator of the entire universe and the only Savior of hopelessly lost mankind. There is never a time that I did not exist as I am the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.
And in the fullness of time I was born of the Virgin Mary and clothed with human flesh. Then while on My planet I lived the sinless life necessary of you to come and be in the Presence of God the Father. In My Father’s will and for His glory, I willingly sacrificed My perfect life for yours, and shed My blood on the Cross as an offering for the sins of all who will be regenerated by God the Holy Spirit; who believe in Me.
I bore the wrath of Almighty God that you deserve and as I died in your place I said: “It is finished.” I was buried, but on the third day, I rose again from the dead in the same Body so that you could know that I am the One I claim to be. Now you can trust in Me because by My resurrection you know that I am able to save all those who by God’s grace alone, place their faith alone, in Me alone. I say that in all the universe there is only one God; you are not Him, nor will you ever be.”
Let me ask you; can those two claiming to be Jesus above truly be the same person? The answer is: No. Now they could both be false; but only one of them could actually be Christ Jesus of Nazareth. And since the Bible gives us eyewitness depositions aka Gospels from people who personally knew Jesus, the Apostles Matthew and John, we must conclude from the extant evidence the Mormon “Jesus” is not the real Jesus, but an impostor.
Therefore, he doesn’t exist; and I’m sure you can understand that a non-existent savior cannot provide “redemption and atonement” for Glenn Beck, or for that matter, anyone else. And for Apprising Ministries—or any other genuine Christian ministry—to point that out to Focus on the Family, ostensibly a Protestant evangelical ministry, and to Mr. Beck is not anything even close to “censorship.”
Rather, it is most loving thing that we can possibly do. And Glenn Beck, please know that you are more than welcome to contact me anytime to discuss this matter further. Nothing would make me happier than to see you come to know the real Jesus; that said however, I would not be following God’s admonition to love you as I love myself if I was not willing to tell you the truth. May the Lord grant you repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ Name.