28 February 2011

Ed Young Doesn't Know What to Do: Follow-Up

As you recall, I blogged last week about Ed Young's teasing tweet regarding a Ferrari that someone supposedly just gave to him. Well, following Sunday's sermon, we now all know what the Ferrari buzz was really about. Yes, Ed Young did drive onto the stage in a brand new Ferrari (he apparently used a Rolls Royce for a prop just a few weeks earlier). But he claims the car isn't his. Instead, Young was using this shiny symbol of materialism and idolatry as an illustration for his sermon - that we are all Ferraris. As reported by the Christian Post:
"God gave me a Ferrari because I am a Ferrari. You're a Ferrari too. God has given you a Ferrari," he said.
For the past several weeks, Young has been trying to relay the message that though God has given everyone a Rolls-Royce or a Ferrari (one's body), many are not using it the way it's supposed to be used.
Read the entire article here.
Telling his congregation that they are all like brand new luxury sports cars is akin to Joel Osteen telling his congregation that, "When God made you, He had all the options put on..." Remember, in this seeker-driven, prosperity gospel that these men preach, it is imperative that people be told how wonderful they are and how lost God is without them. To tell the truth--that we have all broken the laws of God and deserve to stand before Him in judgment and will be condemned without the shed blood of Christ to cover us--well, that would simply be too detrimental to people's self-esteem!

So Young used this motor-driven illustration to rev up his latest sermon series, "RPM: Relationships. Passion. Marriage." We shouldn't be surprised that Young has chosen to "preach" on the topic of relationships yet again. After all, this is the same Ed Young who, in 2008, issued a 7-day sex challenge to couples in his church. It's good to know that all of us who don't watch Oprah or Dr. Phil have another venue we can visit to learn about relationships - we can simply go to church. Oh, Lord, forgive us for giving a platform to men like Ed Young!

More Thoughts on Rob Bell's Thoughts on Hell

Don't worry, I'm not going to wax eloquent for another blog post about Rob Bell and his new video trailer for his upcoming book, Love Wins. I am not surprised in the least by the apparent underlying Universalism touted by Bell. One needs only to listen to one of his sermons or visit his church website and read their "Narrative Theology" to see that he seemingly believes that, in the end, all will be saved and Hell will be empty. What I want to do here is to link you to some other pertinent responses to Bell's video and upcoming book. Don't trust my opinion, but please take what these men say into consideration. Parents, you especially need to be concerned about this issue, because Rob Bell and his videos are lauded in youth groups across the country. Trust me, I have seen it and it is terrifying to think that this man's aberrant theology is influencing our teenagers and children.

27 February 2011

Is John Piper Desiring More "Purpose?"

Last year, seemingly conservative, reformed pastor John Piper shocked many by naming Rick Warren as the keynote speaker for his 2010 Desiring God Conference. Along with the invitation, Piper deemed Warren to be "doctrinally sound" and "not Emergent" which I addressed in this article. Well, apparently Piper has decided to continue to ignore the concern and prayers of so many. It has been announced that the 2011 Desiring God Conference will be held at Saddleback Church.

As I've said in the past, I'm not really a fan of John Piper, but I know that there are many, especially in the more reformed circles, who for years have looked up to Piper, his teaching, and his writing. He has the standing endorsement of many conservative evangelical leaders. With this most recent announcement, then, I think it is our duty to continue to pray for Piper, and to encourage him to rethink this decision.

I don't need to tell you again of the countless dangerous false teachings that have been introduced into the church by false teacher Rick Warren. I don't need to remind you of the dangers of his latest Daniel Plan endeavor. On March 6, Warren will be honoring Roman-Catholic globalist Tony Blair at his church, and Warren himself, with his PEACE plan, is actively involved in the movement toward a one-world religion. Piper's decision to align once again with Rick Warren is not merely a move of poor judgment, it is a deep blow to his credibility and it is, in essence, a spiritual betrayal to those who have so trustingly looked to Piper for teaching. Has the desire to gain popularity through this alliance with "America's Pastor" blinded Piper's ability to discern and judge rightly? Since we are not in a position to know Piper's motives, let us simply pray that the light would shine in his life and reveal the dangers of this grossly erroneous decision.

SEE ALSO:
Articles About Rick Warren
John Piper: Desiring Rick Warren

Sunday Morning Praise


Come, Thou Almighty King
Come, thou almighty King,
help us thy name to sing,
help us to praise!
Father all glorious,
o'er all victorious,
come and reign over us, Ancient of Days!

Come, thou incarnate Word,
gird on thy mighty sword,
our prayer attend!
Come, and thy people bless,
and give thy word success,
Spirit of holiness, on us descend!

Come, holy Comforter,
thy sacred witness bear
in this glad hour.
Thou who almighty art,
now rule in every heart,
and ne'er from us depart, Spirit of power!

To thee, great One in Three,
eternal praises be,
hence, evermore.
Thy sovereign majesty
may we in glory see,
and to eternity love and adore!

Al Mohler Comments on the Impending Normalization of Gay Marriage

The Christian Post carried an article this week in which Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, makes some excellent points in reference to the administration's recent decision regarding DOMA.
"I think it's clear that something like same-sex marriage is going to become normalized, legalized and recognized in the culture. It's time for Christians to start thinking about how we're going to deal with that," [Mohler] said Friday on the Focus on the Family radio program.
The Southern Baptist made it clear that he was not saying that they are giving up. Marriage is still an institution Christians need to save, particularly in their own community. But Christians also need to start learning how to deal with the shifting culture and even face the fact that they may lose a few from their flock.

"I think we're going to be surprised and heartbroken over how many people are going to capitulate to the spirit of the age," he noted. "We're going to find now that there may not be as many of us as we thought." (emphasis mine)
Ultimately, the worldview or the belief that God designed marriage to be between a man and a woman only makes sense if one understands the Gospel, Mohler pointed out, which raises a critical point:


"This whole situation reminds us that we are, first of all, to be Gospel people who are fellow sinners ... saved by grace, with the responsibility to share the Gospel with others."
Read the entire article here
Mohler makes an excellent point with his comments. While God's definition of marriage is certainly something worth defending, Christians need to realize that our society is rapidly degenerating, but is it really our job to stop it? Or do we simply find ourselves separated more and more from the world (and from liberal "Christians") and moving ever closer to the glorious return of our Lord? Instead of spending your energy with petitions and poster board, perhaps you should seek to engage in the only possible solution that does exist: the preaching of the Gospel. The widespread acceptance of wrong as right and right as wrong was predicted long ago in Scripture. Take comfort in that...God is not surprised by this. And also realize that this is simply one more way that God is separating His true Church from the imposters. I believe Mohler is correct when he says, "We're going to find now that there may not be as many of us as we thought." Wow, get ready. But what should be our response? Preach the Gospel.

26 February 2011

Ed Young Doesn't Know What to Do

That's right, poor pastor goat-herder Ed Young doesn't know what to do...with his new Ferrari. The following appeared yesterday on his blog:


Sounds like Young could use a little lesson from Mark 10:17-31. Oh, but I'm certain that he will use this great gift to further the Kingdom of God. If nothing else, he'll lure a lot of people to "church" on Sunday so they can find out what he's going to do with it. Oh, the tragedy of "relevant" religion!

Rob Bell's Universalism

Most of us have safely assumed for quite awhile that Rob Bell adheres to a form of so-called "Christian" universalism. The promo video for his new book, Love Wins (below), seems to be teasing us to learn more about that same heresy. Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries comments further:
[W]e are seeing within mainstream evangelicalism a reimagined version of just about every piece of antibiblical theology i.e. doctrines of demons that seducing spirits have ever attempted to bring with them as they slither into the Christian Church. One that is being openly promoted now is so-called Christian Universalism.
Read the rest of Ken's article here

LOVE WINS. from Rob Bell on Vimeo.
This is a dangerous message. Why? Because it sounds so good. It sounds warm and friendly and logical to our fallen, depraved, now brainwashed postmodern minds. The scariest thing is that your kids, your youth groups, are eating this stuff up. Do you know what your children are learning on Sunday nights as they gather for "youth group" in the church auditorium? You might want to make sure you know exactly what is being taught there. Just because it's "keeping them out of trouble" doesn't mean it's any less detrimental to their soul.

SEE ALSO:
Rob Bell On His Practice of "Militant Mysticism" (you'll want to read this one!)

24 February 2011

A Romans 1 America

Let's face it, we've been living Romans 1 here in America for several decades. The only thing that has changed is the widespread acceptance of the ever-growing licentiousness, and the ease with which it spreads due to today's technology. So were we really surprised yesterday when our president did the following?
Obama Abandons Defense of Marriage Act
Read the rest at CNS News
What a surprise. We all knew this was coming. All you have to do is look at the man's past support of this sinful, unnatural agenda. The question is, how do we respond to it? At the risk of being over-simplistic, let me suggest this: preach the Gospel. After all, does anything else really matter?

Thursday's Spurgeon

The following is from Spurgeon's Flashes of Light, Article 365:
We cannot get on with philosophical gospels: we must bring together all these new geological gospels and neological gospels, and semi-Pelagian gospels, and do with them as the people of Ephesus did with the books—we must burn them, and let Paul preach again to us. We can do without modern learning, but we cannot do without the ancient gospel. We can do without oratory and eloquence, but we cannot do without Christ crucified. Lord, revive thy work by giving us the old-fashioned gospel back again in our pulpits. It is to be lamented that there are so many who are considered not to be bad preachers who scarcely ever mention Christ’s name, and are very loose concerning atonement by his precious blood. You will hear people say they have gone to such and such a chapel, and whatever the sermon might have been about, it certainly was not about the gospel. Oh, may that cease to be the case! May our pulpits ring with the name of Jesus; may Christ be lifted up, and his precious blood be the daily theme of the ministry!
Amen.

22 February 2011

Shallow Preaching = Shallow Conversions

"Shallow preaching that does not grapple with the terrible fact of man's sinfulness and guilt, calling on 'all men everywhere to repent,' results in shallow conversions; and so we have myriads of glib-tongued professors today who give no evidence of regeneration whatever. Prating of salvation by grace, they manifest no grace in their lives. Loudly declaring they are justified by faith alone, they fail to remember that 'faith without works is dead,' and that justification by works before men is not to be ignored as though it were in contradiction to justification by faith before God." (H.A. Ironside, Except Ye Repent)

A Postmodern Interpretation of John 14:6

Watch this and then ask yourself, "does this make any sense at all?"


HT: The Huffington Post

Once again we see that no one can twist Scripture quite like a postmodern! Okay, let's set aside the countless ways that a Christian can be offended by that little video. Let's look instead at what is apparently the main point. This video is claiming that John 14:6 does not claim that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, only that Jesus decides who will get into Heaven. Take a look at the verse:
Jesus said to him [Thomas], "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
You'll notice that the video conveniently failed to mention the first part of the verse, where Jesus offers His sixth "I am" statement in the book of John and definitively declares, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Let's face it, when you add in that brief statement, this postmodern argument starts to crumble. After all, how many ways can you interpret (or misinterpret) something as clear as "I am the way...?" However, I'm sure that if we searched long enough we could find a sermon or teaching that mangles that part of the verse as well.

So let's step outside of John 14:6 and look at the broader context of the book of John. Is there any other place where Jesus teaches that faith in Him is the only means by which one can obtain eternal life?
"For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:40)
Hmm...that seems pretty clear.
"Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever." (John 6:56-58)
Uh-oh, that sounds awfully clear too!

We could look at the parables in Matthew 13 of the hidden treasure and the costly pearl. With these parables, Jesus taught that "the kingdom of heaven is only for those who perceive its immeasurable value and are willing to sacrifice everything else to acquire it" (John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus, 20th anniversary edition, 147). A true Christian is one who, by God's effectual call and irresistible grace, has repented and placed their full trust and faith in Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection. A true Christian, having experienced such miraculous regeneration, is one who is willing to and even desires to surrender everything in submission to the Lord Jesus Christ. And it is only those true believers who will inherit the kingdom of Heaven.

We could, in fact, look at numerous passages in both the Gospels and the epistles and see that, indeed, it is only by being a true Christian that one can obtain eternal life. Nowhere does Scripture even hint that on Judgment Day, Jesus will take a look at the Buddhist, the Muslim, the atheist, or the false "Christian" convert and simply "decide" that he or she is good enough to get to Heaven after all. No, the Bible is clear that it is only through a total submitting faith in Christ that one will be with Him for eternity. Come to think of it, it's rather amusing that these postmodern, emergent "Christians" would even desire to one day see Heaven. If they hold such little respect for Jesus, why would they want to spend eternity with Him? Of course, unless they repent and turn to Him in true faith, this won't be an issue...

The "conversation" in this video offers one other consideration, though. As Christians, we must be sure and certain of our faith. We cannot toss out a half of a Bible verse and then tell someone that they're blaspheming God when they disagree--it's not exactly an effective form of evangelism! No, you don't have to memorize your whole Bible to be prepared for an encounter like this. If it were me, I'd go back to the basics and take Jesus' approach: Law and Gospel. Try to get to someone's conscience with the Law, and then hit them with the Gospel. Beyond that it's out of your hands, so let the Holy Spirit do His job! And when it comes to this postmodern mindset of reinventing, re-imagining and redefining Jesus Christ, Christianity, and the Bible, all you need do is still just preach the Gospel. Not everyone is a trained apologist, nor are we all called to be. We are called to share the truth of the salvation that is offered through Jesus Christ, and we are called to contend for that truth when it is under attack. Be faithful to your calling and let God do the saving!

20 February 2011

I Don't Want Free Will


luther23.jpg
“I frankly confess that, for myself, even if it could be, I should not want ‘free-will’ to be given me, nor anything to be left in my own hands to enable me to endeavour after salvation; not merely because in face of so many dangers, and adversities  assaults of devils, I could not stand my ground …; but because even were there no dangers … I should still be forced to labour with no guarantee of success … But now that God has taken my salvation out of the control of my own will, and put it under the control of His, and promised to save me, not according to my working or running, but according to His own grace and mercy, I have the comfortable certainty that He is faithful and will not lie to me, and that He is also great and powerful, so that no devils or opposition can break Him or pluck me from Him. Furthermore, I have the comfortable certainty that I please God, not by reason of the merit of my works, but by reason of His merciful favour promised to me; so that, if I work too little, or badly, He does not impute it to me, but with fatherly compassion pardons me and makes me better. This is the glorying of all the saints in their God” - Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will (Grand Rapids: Revell, 1957), 313-314.
HT: Reformation Theology

Sunday Morning Praise



O Sacred Head Now Wounded

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
How art thou pale with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish that once was bright as morn!

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

This hymn, as you probably know, has many more verses than were included in this video. Click here if you'd like to read the rest!

17 February 2011

Thursday's Spurgeon

The following is excerpted from a sermon entitled Christ is All:
There are a great many differences among believers, but there is no difference as to this essential point. Unhappily, the Christian church has been divided into sections, but those divisions do not affect our agreement upon this one point, that Christ is all.

It is no uncharity if I say that the man who does not accept this is no Christian, nor is it too wide a liberality to affirm that every man who is sound in heart upon this point is most certainly a believer. He who trusts alone in Christ, who submits to him as his sole teacher, king, and Savior, is already a saved man; but he who gives not Christ the glory, though he should speak with the tongues of men and of angels, though he should have the gift of prophecy, and all knowledge, and though he should have all faith, and could remove mountains, and he should appear to have all virtue, yet he is no Christian if Christ be held in light esteem by him, or be anything less than all in all; for in the new creation this one thing stands as the mark of the newly created, that “Christ is all, and in all” to them, whatever he may be to others.
HT: The Daily Spurgeon

13 February 2011

Sunday Morning Praise




All Creatures of Our God and King
All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!

Refrain
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in Heaven along,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice,
Ye lights of evening, find a voice!

Refrain

Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for thy Lord to hear,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
That givest man both warmth and light.

Refrain

Dear mother earth, who day by day
Unfoldest blessings on our way,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,
Let them His glory also show.

Refrain

And all ye men of tender heart,
Forgiving others, take your part,
O sing ye! Alleluia!
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
Praise God and on Him cast your care!

Refrain

And thou most kind and gentle Death,
Waiting to hush our latest breath,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou leadest home the child of God,
And Christ our Lord the way hath trod.

Refrain

Let all things their Creator bless,
And worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
And praise the Spirit, Three in One!

Refrain

12 February 2011

If Evolution is Scientific Fact, Why Does It Keep Changing?

From Yahoo:
Lucy Was a Walker, Study Finds
by Mike Krumboltz
Lucy may be 3.2 million years old, but she still has the ability to surprise. Scientists recently reported that Lucy, aka Australopithecus afarensis, likely walked on two feet.
The findings came when researchers discovered a new foot bone belonging to Lucy. The bone's structure suggests that Lucy walked much like we do today. National Geographic explains that "until now it had been unclear just how upright -- in a sense, just how human -- Lucy really was."
So, is an ancient foot really a big deal? Well, yeah. An article from LiveScience.com explains that this discovery "could change the story of human evolution, or at least the story of human foot evolution."
Read the entire article here.
Okay, so evolution is changing...again. There's a shocker. How am I supposed to have confidence in this supposedly scientifically proven theory if it changes every time an archaeologist digs up a part of a foot bone? Give me 6 days. Give me a Creator. Give me a book that has recorded how this world and everything in it came into existence. Give me God's Word.
    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
    And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
    And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
    And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
    And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
    And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
    And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
    And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
    Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
 
    So God created man in his own image,
        in the image of God he created him;
        male and female he created them.
 
     And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
    Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.
(Genesis 1-2:2 ESV)

LifeWay Stores Drop Warning Labels on Emergent Books

From Lighthouse Trails Research:
According to Christianity Today article, LifeWay Christian Stores (resource department for Southern Baptist Convention) has decided to end their “Read with Discernment” labels program that began in 2007.1 Books that LifeWay was carrying at that time by emerging church authors such as Rob Bell and Brian McLaren were suppose to receive labels telling potential readers that they should used discernment when reading the books as the books “may have espoused thoughts, ideas, or concepts that could be considered inconsistent with historical evangelical theology.” But, says Christianity Today, LifeWay has decided to end the warning program. Chris Rodgers, LifeWay’s director of product standards and customer relations, said: “We have been thinking about doing away with them for some time . . . They have kind of become irrelevant.”
Read the entire article here

10 February 2011

Thursday's Spurgeon

The following is excerpted from a sermon entitled Bought with a Price and was delivered on August 6, 1871.
Brethren and sisters, it is no slight thing to be holy. A man must not say, “I have faith,” and then fall into the sins of an unbeliever; for, after all, our outer life is the test of our inner life; and if the outer life be not purified, rest assured the heart is not changed. That faith which does not bring forth the fruit of holiness is the faith of devils. The devils believe and tremble. Let us never be content with a faith which can live in hell, but rise to that which will save us — the faith of God’s elect, which purifies the soul, casting down the power of evil, and setting up the throne of Jesus Christ, the throne of holiness within the spirit.
HT: The Daily Spurgeon

09 February 2011

Signs of a Toxic Movement

The following was posted several weeks ago over at The Watchman's Bagpipes. When I first read this list, my jaw literally dropped. I was stunned because every item on this list describes my experience in a particular self-professed "Christian" organization. It reaffirmed my belief that this movement is essentially a cult in Christian clothing. Please consider the following Signs of a Toxic Movement:

  1. The leader is always right and always in control.
  2. The leader never accepts blame for anything.
  3. Perfectionism. "The fear of making a mistake, the fear of sinning, keeps the victim of perfectionism from experiencing the grace of God and traps that person in a toxic religious system."
  4. "Don't confuse me with reality, my mind is made up!" Refusal to admit the truth. "Pride often keeps people from being willing to admit they have been deceived."
  5. Does not permit personal growth. Members talk alike, dress alike, have same mannerisms. Decisions are made for them.
  6. "Service with a smile." No matter what is going on in personal life, appearance is everything. Everyone must see you as being happy. No emotions allowed except that of happiness.
  7. Us versus Them. One must build the belief that the group vision is on the edge of spiritual evolution and that all others are not as spiritual. "Holiness is what we have but others do not."
These signs are adapted from an article in Discernment Ministry International's Truth Matters newsletter, August 2003.
If any of these characterize a group with which you are involved, perhaps it's time to prayerfully consider their true motives. Tread with caution, stand on Truth. And if you do go up against a group such as this, taking them to task for their distortion of the Word of God, remember to ready yourself with God's armor. If you wield His weapons, then you have no need to fear any man, or any man-made group.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
And for those of you who have, in the strength of God, stood up against a group or a person who was perverting His Truth, do not be disheartened by persecution. It will come and it will come in droves, but you have no need to be popular here on Earth. Your call, dear Christian sister or brother, is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to contend for that Gospel when it is under attack.
I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 1:3)
May God grant us courage to contend rather than cower.

Do Not Be Yoked Together With Unbelievers

The following was written by Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries:

DO NOT BE YOKED TOGETHER WITH UNBELIEVERS

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? (2 Corinthians 6:14-15)
So What Does A Believer Have In Common With An Unbeliever?
Well, this would seem clear enough; but unfortunately, not so today because evangelicalism decided to embrace the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church aka the Emerging Church—with its “big tent”Progressive Christianity aka Emergence Christianity. So here we’ll look briefly at 2 Corinthians 6 as it concerns the historic context of this important passage of the Bible. The following commentary on our text from Dr. Murray Harris is a good place to start:
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers” (v. 14a). Clearly this is not an injunction against all association with unbelievers (cf. 1Cor 5:9, 10, 10:27). Paul actually encouraged the Christian partner in a mixed marriage to maintain the relationship as long as possible (1Cor 7:12-16). Rather, this is a prohibition against forming close attachments with non-Christians.
Paul’s agricultural metaphor (“You must not get into double harness with unbelievers”—C.K. Barrett) is based on the command of Deuteronomy 22:10 that prohibited the yoking of an ox and an ass for ploughing, and also on Leviticus 19:19 where the crossbreeding of animals of different species is prohibited. Although precisely what might have constituted a “diverse yoke” or “double harness” for the Corinthians remains unstated, it clearly involved compromise with heathendom,… Paul is content to state a general principle that needs specific application under the Spirit’s guidance.
In expanded form the principle might be expressed thus: “Do not form any relationship, whether temporary or permanent, with unbelievers that would lead to a compromise of Christian standards or jeopardize consistency of Christian witness. And why such separation? Because the unbeliever does not share the Christian’s standards, sympathies, or goals” …[1]
This passage will also have an obvious spiritual application, which should become even more evident now through the scholarly commentary of Dr. Harris. Consistent with what Christ Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:22 —“The eye is the lamp of the body,” the more spiritually mature will understand that anything you allow into your life on a regular basis, which would grieve the Holy Spirit, will have adverse effects on you. You might recall 1 Corinthians 15:33 — Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character” where God shows us that even an unregenerate pagan understood this.
And if the Lord’s warnings are ignored, then know this: You will also open yourself up to further spiritual blindness and possibly even demonic oppression. The fact that Paul is simply using physical “marriage” to also illustrate a spiritual principle as well is obvious even to the rather conservative dispensational camp, who are certainly not known for any kind of radical spiritual excesses. By the way, my comment is simply to make a point concerning proper understanding of this passage, and is meant respectfully for my more dispensational brothers, with whom I happen to have much affinity.
Here’s what Dr. David Lowery says in The Bible Knowledge Commentary put out by Dallas Theological Seminary, an organization known for its conservative/dispensational theology:
What hampered the Corinthians’ open, loving response, which Paul called for? (v.13) Answer: rival suitors vied for their affections and allegiance. Though verses 14-15 are often applied to various sorts of alliances (e.g., mixed marriages, improper business associations), Paul’s primary association was probably ecclesiastical. The rival suitors were possibly pagan idolators (cf. 1 Cor.10:14) or more likely false apostles (cf. 2 Cor. 11:2-4). In censure or affection Paul was equally candid (cf. 6:11).
The solution to the dilemma was for the Corinthians to separate from the false apostles. Whatever may have been their own and others’ estimation of their spiritual status, Paul considered the false apostles to be unbelievers (cf.11:13-15) from whom the Corinthians needed to separate. But Paul did not say that Christian should have no contacts whatever with unbelievers. Earlier he argued the absurdity of such a position (1 Cor. 5:9-10). But religious unbelievers might lead believers astray from “sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3), and the fact concerned Paul greatly.[2]
What needs to be clearly understood here is this: Whatever one believes in—whether it’s a false god, i.e. demons such as in Islam, or no god at all, as in secular humanism—that belief system is your religion. It brings me no pleasure to have to tell you that we are, right now, likely at the beginning of an end. To be clear, I do not claim to know exactly what it is that has ended. Could it possibly be the end of the Age of Grace itself; God knows, but this much is certain, we are at the end of our Lord’s patience with what’s passing as Christianity—and especially so—here in amoral America.
And if you listen closely, then you will hear the call from men actually sent by God as Christ is now giving over the evangelical section of the visible church to their love of the self here in this pagan postmodern nation; an apostasy, which is spiritually spreading  just as explosively as an Oklahoma wildfire:
Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’”
“For who among them has stood in the council of the Lord to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened?” … For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (Jeremiah 23:16-18; 1 Peter 4:17)
________________________________________________________________________________
Endnotes: 
[1]  Murray Harris, 2 Corinthians, in Frank E. Gaebelein, Gen. Ed, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12 vols, [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992], 359,  ,emphasis added).
[2] John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, 2 vols., [Colorado Springs: Cook Communications Ministries, 2000], 570, bold his.

08 February 2011

Christianity is Courageous, Not Cowardly

For there is some danger of falling into a soft and effeminate Christianity, under the plea of a lofty and ethereal theology. Christianity was born for endurance…It walks with firm step and erect frame; it is kindly, but firm; it is gentle, but honest; it is calm, but not facile; obliging, but not imbecile; decided, but not churlish. It does not fear to speak the stern word of condemnation against error, nor to raise its voice against surrounding evils, under the pretext that it is not of this world.
It does not shrink from giving honest reproof lest it come under the charge of displaying an unchristian spirit. It calls sin ’sin,’ on whomsoever it is found, and would rather risk the accusation of being actuated by a bad spirit than not discharge an explicit duty. Let us not misjudge strong words used in honest controversy. Out of the heat a viper may come forth; but we shake it off and feel no harm.
The religion of both Old and New Testaments is marked by fervent outspoken testimonies against evil. To speak smooth things in such a case may be sentimentalism, but it is not Christianity. It is a betrayal of the cause of truth and righteousness. If anyone should be frank, manly, honest, cheerful (I do not say blunt or rude, for a Christian must be courteous and polite), it is he who has tasted that the Lord is gracious, and is looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God. I know that charity covereth a multitude of sins; but it does not call evil good, because a good man has done it; it does not excuse inconsistencies, because the inconsistent brother has a high name and a fervent spirit. Crookedness and worldliness are still crookedness and worldliness, though exhibited in one who seems to have reached no common height of attainment.

-Taken from God’s Way of Holiness, 1864.
— HORATIUS BONAR (1808-89)
 HT: The Crosstalk Blog

06 February 2011

Sunday Morning Praise

Just in case you didn't like my previous post, here is a truly praise-filled, truth-centered hymn:

Sunday Morning Praise - Narcissistic Edition

This song was playing on the "Christian" radio station when I woke up this morning. As I laid there and listened to Bruce Carroll sing about himself and how someone (the song doesn't mention who) filled the hole in his heart I thought that today, instead of praising the God of the universe and Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, perhaps my readers would rather hear a song that's all about them. Thank goodness someone was good enough, then, to place this video on YouTube so that I could share with you! Don't worry, Jesus and God don't make an appearance in this song at all, so if you'd rather sing this song to your spouse, or even your dog, have at it.

03 February 2011

Thursday's Spurgeon

The following is excerpted from an article entitled Slippery Places, first published in the March 1867 edition of The Sword and the Trowel:
"When cast by providence among sinful persons who respect us, we ought to be peculiarly watchful. The hatred of the ungodly when poured upon Christians in the form of persecution, is seldom harmful to their spiritual nature, but the friendship of the world is always to be suspected. When the servants of the high priest allowed Peter to warm his hands at the fire, had Peter been a wise man, he would have been afraid that evil would come of it. We are disarmed by kindness, but it is never safe to be disarmed in an enemy’s country. “Who,” saith the old proverb, “could live in Rome and yet be at war with the Pope?” Who can have much to do with sinners and not have something to do with their sins? The smiling daughters of Moab did more mischief to Israel than all Balak’s frowning warriors. All Philistia could not have blinded Samson if Delilah’s charms had not deluded him. Our worst foes will be found among our ungodly friends, for they who are false to God, are not likely to be true to us. Walk carefully, believer, if thy way lie by the sinner’s door, and especially if that sinner hath acted a friendly part to thee."

01 February 2011

What Does Dominion Theology Look Like?

Well, it kind of looks like this:
Thanks, Todd. I couldn't have concocted a better illustration.

See Also:
WHAT IS DOMINIONISM?
DOMINION THEOLOGY (Both of these articles at Apprising Ministries will link you to several other excellent articles on the topic.)

Brian McLaren is Freed by "Evolutionary Christianity"

Christianity Today reports:
The emergent church pastor [McLaren], who views the Bible more as an "inspired library" rather than a legal constitution, also praised "Evolutionary Christianity" as a faith perspective that allows for the discussion of Darwin and evolutionary theory as opposed to orthodox views that raise arguments to the theory.
"[I]t enables us to do theological reflection on the theory of evolution and on evolution as a beautiful ark of history and ark of creation," explained McLaren. "Personally, that has freed me in so many ways. It's raised my vision of who and what God would be. It has certainly raised my excitement on what it means to be a Christian."
How much more refreshing it would be if McLaren would speak instead of being freed from sin through salvation in Jesus Christ!
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. (Romans 6:5-7 ESV)
Of course, we can't expect Emergent Church leader McLaren to declare such a thing, since his version of Christianity cannot be found within the pages of the Bible.
"My Christian identity is more about joining God in the healing, restoration and development and evolution of the world moving toward a brighter, richer and deeper future," he said.
Hm, would you like a little Dominion Theology with that social gospel? But then, the two go hand in hand. As for me, my Christian identity rests in the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:8-11 ESV)
Only God can restore, renew, or regenerate, and I'm quite certain He doesn't need my help with that.
Read the entire Christianity Today article here.

The Beautiful Necessity of Law and Gospel

Have you ever read Romans and felt as though you had been sucker-punched with the fist of your wretched sinfulness?
"For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 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 3:9-18 ESV)
Such is the reality of the Law. But then, did you continue reading and become flooded with the grace and mercy of Almighty God and His gift of salvation through Jesus Christ?
"But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." (Romans 3:21-26 ESV)
Such is the glory of the Gospel. And such is the necessity to always present the Gospel in light of the Law. After all, what good is the good news if we do not first share the bad news? Nobody is going to have interest in a Savior if they have never been shown why they need a savior. So don't be afraid to tell someone that he is a sinner, because it's true, you know. And it's far more loving to expose them to that truth, so that the light of the Gospel can truly shine through the darkness of that sin. And when it does, oh, will it shine!

Disturbing Quote of the Day

"It is imperative that youth from all parts of the world participate actively in all relevant levels of decision-making processes because it affects their lives today and has implications for their futures. In addition to their intellectual contribution and their ability to mobilize support, they bring unique perspectives that need to be taken into account."
"Each country should, in consultation with its youth communities, establish a process to promote dialogue between the youth community and Government at all levels and to establish mechanisms that permit youth access to information and provide them with the opportunity to present their perspectives on government decisions[.]" (From the UN document Agenda 21. You'll have to Google it for yourself, because I don't want it linked to this blog!)
Why am I eerily reminded of God's pronouncement of judgment on Judah through the prophet Isaiah?
"And I will make boys their princes,
        and infants shall rule over them."
 (Isaiah 3:4 ESV)

For information on the connection between Rick Warren's "Daniel Plan" and Agenda 21, please listen to this episode of Crosstalk.

SEE ALSO:
SADDLEBACK HEALTH & FITNESS SEMINAR: INFOMERCIAL FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT