28 July 2013

Desmond Tutu Prefers Hell Over a 'Homophobic' Heaven

Desmond Tutu
By the world's standards, Desmond Tutu, the retired archbishop of South Africa, is an intelligent and influential man. A social rights activist who became known worldwide in the 1980s as a staunch opponent of apartheid, Tutu has been a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism, the Pacem in Terris Award, the Sydney Peace Prize, the Gandhi Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal for Freedom.1 Yet, in the eyes of the Lord God, Desmond Tutu is a fool (Rom 1:22).

Sunday Morning Praise

How Great Thou Art

26 July 2013

This 'n' That

I'm thinking about taking a cue from Pope Francis. In light of the pontiff's recent initiative to award indulgences and absolution to devout social media aficionados and fans, I thought I might try something similar. Here is what I propose:

Those who have followed this blog via email or RSS for more than 3 years will receive 3 'Get Out of Jail Free' cards. Those who have followed for less than 3 years will only receive one. Sorry, but longtime loyalty pays off.

Twitter followers also will benefit and will receive 2 cards apiece. Anyone who frequently 'Favorites' or 'Retweets' my mundane Twitter ponderings may receive upwards of 5 cards depending upon frequency and, of course, depending upon how many followers they themselves have on the social media site.

Now, it's true that these cards are absolutely worthless, both in this life and in the next. But hey, what's good enough for the Pope is good enough for me!

Before you start calculating how many useless cards you've racked up, take a few minutes to enjoy your week in review:

NoCo90: Preaching Election to Unbelievers

If you have an idea or suggestion for an episode of NoCo90, contact No Compromise Radio at their website, on their Facebook page, or via email at: info [@] nocompromiseradio.com.

Additional Resource

23 July 2013

Guest Post: Whispers and Campaigns Do Not Preach the Word

Summer can be a busy time for all of us (even bloggers), so I have enlisted some guest bloggers whose work will be posted here occasionally throughout the summer months.

Today's guest post is written by Hariton "Harry" Deligiannides. Harry serves as an elder at Bethlehem Bible Church in West Boylston, MA. As an elder at BBC, Harry has filled in and preached Sunday services when pastor Mike Abendroth is unavailable and teaches Sunday school and evening services as needed. He also is in charge of membership for the church, teaches the College & Career study, disciples other men and teaches at the Institute for Biblical Studies. 

We first heard from Harry back in June with the post, "Bible Study in a Morgue?" and I'm excited to welcome him back!

22 July 2013

Faithful Service to Christ

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. (2 Corinthians 5:9)
Is Christ your Prince? This calls for your loyal and faithful service to Christ—who has saved you from Satan's bondage. He has broken Satan's power over you and is able to defend you from his wrath. In a word, who has a right over you besides Christ? He has given his life to redeem you and has delivered you from all your enemies that you may serve him without fear in holiness all your days.

Let devils and men do their wicked work, but not your hand, O Christian! If you have any loyal blood running in your veins, your own heart will smite you when you break the least skirt of his holy law. You could as well carry burning coals in your bosom, as hide any treason in your heart against your dear Sovereign. No, I would have you desire to advance the name of Christ and be instrumental for God in your generation.

He is not a good subject who only seeks what he can get out of his prince, but never thinks what service he can render. He is not a true Christian whose thoughts dwell more on his own happiness than on the honour of his God. Paul was willing to suffer for the furtherance of the gospel, and to wait for his reward later. This makes life worth living, to serve God as proof of our gratitude for his redeeming love.

O Christian, since he has rescued us out of the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son, lose no time; what you desire to do for God, do it quickly! Work zealously! If you have your new Prince's sword in your hand, be sure to use it and take heed how you use it, that, when you give an account before God, your sheath will not be found rusty through sloth and cowardice. Be faithful, attend to your work and labour, for you are his ambassador and shall see his face with joy.

– William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour

Further Reading
Salvation Is a Work of God
A Cooked Goose: Remembering John Huss
Expect the World to Act Like the World

19 July 2013

This 'n' That

photo: Ben McLeod via photopin cc 
There is a verse in Scripture that must be ever-present at the forefront of the Christian's mind, especially as he engages nonbelievers. That verse is 1 Corinthians 2:14:
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
There are times when you may be conversing with the unsaved that you feel as though you are slamming your head against the proverbial brick wall. Whether they are determined to oppose the entire concept of an all-knowing, all-powerful deity, or whether they are laboring under the notion that they simply must be "good enough" in their daily life in order to attain to Heaven, there are times when the Christian may find himself fighting the urge to grab the person by the shoulders and exclaim, "Why don't you get it?"

Admittedly, I've yet to see someone actually take such action, but there is no doubt that it can be frustrating to try to explain the things of God to men who simply do not have eyes to see or ears to hear. This, dear Christian, is an opportunity for us to exercise grace, patience and gentleness. As we remember the verse above, we are reminded that these individuals do not accept our words because they "cannot understand them." This ought to bring great relief to you, Christian, for it means that you can rest in your labors while our sovereign God does the inner work of softening—or hardening—the hearts of men. If we are faithful to share the truth that we have been given, if we are faithful to call sinners to repentance as we share with them the gospel of grace as found in Jesus Christ, then we may rest knowing that God will use our words as He chooses. We do not have to feel as though we are slamming our foreheads into that brick wall, because only the Spirit of God can penetrate such a barricade.

With that, take a few minutes to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

18 July 2013

NoCo90: The Misuse of Matthew 18

If you have an idea or suggestion for an episode of NoCo90, contact No Compromise Radio at their  website, on their Facebook page, or via email at: info [@] nocompromiseradio.com.

Additional Resources
NoCo90: Christ's Federal Headship
NoCo90: Donate Buttons and Christian Begging
NoCo90: No Arminians in Heaven

17 July 2013

The Vatican Uses Social Media to Disseminate Its Damning, Deceptive Doctrines

Photo: Twitter
The Roman Catholic Church continues to deliver its members into the hands of damning deceptions. In the article, "Vatican offers 'time off purgatory' to followers of Pope Francis tweets," The Guardian reports:
In its latest attempt to keep up with the times the Vatican has married one of its oldest traditions to the world of social media by offering "indulgences" to followers of Pope Francis' tweets.

The church's granted indulgences reduce the time Catholics believe they will have to spend in purgatory after they have confessed and been absolved of their sins.

The remissions got a bad name in the Middle Ages because unscrupulous churchmen sold them for large sums of money. But now indulgences are being applied to the 21st century.

13 July 2013

The Intolerance of the Tolerant: Massachusetts Pastor Receives Angry Backlash for Article Calling Homosexuality Sin

photo: Brett Jordan via photopin cc
Intolerance is not tolerated. Unless, of course, that intolerance is aimed at those who submit to the Lord Jesus Christ and affirm the authority of Him and His Word over all things. Yes, intolerance is the greatest sin in the eyes of men . . . unless it is aimed at Christians.

It epitomizes irony, really, to watch the reaction of those who cry, "Tolerance! Peace! Love! Unity!" when they are faced with the truth about sin, condemnation and the wrath of a holy God. The response is stunningly unsurprising, but should not go unnoticed by Christians.

The latest example of this is taking place in New England. It is not making the national headlines, but it is a story to be told nonetheless. It was not too long ago that Do Not Be Surprised ran a guest post by Pastor Patrick Slyman of Pigeon Cove Chapel in Rockport, MA. The post, entitled "Shaking Your Fist in the Face of God," was also to run in The Gloucester Times, a local newspaper. It finally did run in the Times on July 3, and the response has been predictable but noteworthy.

Spurgeon: To Pursue Union at the Expense of Truth is Treason to the Lord Jesus

The intense desire for union has its commendable side, and we are far from undervaluing it. Precious also is the protest for liberty, which certain valorous souls have lifted up. We rejoice that our brethren will not submit their consciences to any man; but the mercy is that we do not know of any man who desires that they should. Specially is the object of their brave opposition as free from a desire to rule over them as from the wish to be ruled by them. It is a pity that such loyalty to liberty could not be associated with an equally warm expression of resolve to be loyal to Christ and his gospel. It would be a grievous fault if the sons of the Puritans did not maintain the freedom of their consciences; but it will be no less a crime if they withdraw those consciences from under the yoke of Christ.

To pursue union at the expense of truth is treason to the Lord Jesus. If we are prepared to enter into solemn league and covenant for the defense of the crown-rights of King Jesus, we cannot give up the crown-jewels of his gospel for the sake of a larger charity. He is our Master and Lord, and we will keep his words: to tamper with his doctrine would be to be traitors to himself. Yet, almost unconsciously, good men and true may drift into compromises which they would not at first propose, but which they seem forced to justify. Yielding to be the creatures of circumstances, they allow another to gird them, and lead them whither they would not; and when they wake up, and find themselves in an undesirable condition, they have not always the resolution to break away from it. . . .

As a matter of fact, believers in Christ's atonement are now in declared religions union with those who make light of it; believers in Holy Scripture are in confederacy with those who deny plenary inspiration; those who hold evangelical doctrine are in open alliance with those who call the fall a fable, who deny the personality of the Holy Ghost, who call justification by faith immoral, and hold that there is another probation after death, and a future restitution for the lost. Yes, we have before us the wretched spectacle of professedly orthodox Christians publicly avowing their union with those who deny the faith, and scarcely concealing their contempt for those who cannot be guilty of such gross disloyalty to Christ. To be very plain, we are unable to call these things Christian Unions, they begin to look like Confederacies in Evil. Before the face of God we fear that they wear no other aspect. To our inmost heart, this is a sad truth from which we cannot break away. . . .

12 July 2013

This 'n' That

Biggest hunk of
beeswax ever.
Everybody has stuff. You know, stuff. Boxes and drawers of miscellaneous what-nots that aren't vital to your everyday life, but that you've kept over the years for one reason or another. Stuff. Summer is the perfect time to weed through some of that stuff, looking for 'buried treasure,' as it were, and identifying a few things along the way that may become a treasure to somebody else (Goodwill, anyone?).

For my family, digging through old junk means sorting through some boxes of really old items—things that we kept from my grandparents after they died and just never took the time to properly organize. Do you have a family member who never throws away anything? Well, that was my grandpa. You could almost always ask him for something, even something as specific as a certain size nail, and he would disappear into the basement and return with whatever it is you needed. A lot of what he kept over the years was plain, old junk, but in his mind, you never could know when you might just have a use for it.

Thanks for the buttons, Grandpa!
Case in point: I opened up a box of my grandfather's things and what did I find? The biggest hunk of beeswax anyone could ever want or need. Of course, since it was just kind of tossed into a box with a bunch of other junk, there were all kinds of small, ahem, treasures attached to it (see photo above). Yes, those are buttons. We found a whole bunch of buttons in this box. Why my grandfather was keeping these, I'll never know, but believe it or not, they came in handy. We dug around until we found a set of four, unique white buttons that happened to be the perfect addition to one of my favorite summer tote bags. So you see, sometimes it pays to hang onto old junk. But, I still don't know what to do with this chunk of beeswax . . .

It's fun to go through old family photos and root through old memories, but the best thing we can pass on to the next generation is the truth of salvation as found in Jesus Christ alone. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, as you talk to and interact with the children God has placed in your life, pray that you might never ignore an opportunity to talk to them about Christ. Pray that they would see Him and the reality of your salvation lived out in your words and actions. Photos burn, "stuff" breaks, and even memories can fade. But the truth of the Gospel and the impact of a godly life will be felt into eternity.

Now that I've inspired you, before you trudge down to the basement to dig through some of your old junk, take a few minutes to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

11 July 2013

NoCo90: Turn or Burn?

If you have an idea or suggestion for an episode of NoCo90, contact No Compromise Radio at their website, on their Facebook page, or via email at: info [@] nocompromiseradio.com.

Additional Resources
NoCo90: Christ's Federal Headship
NoCo90: Donate Buttons and Christian Begging
NoCo90: No Arminians in Heaven

10 July 2013

Happy Birthday, John Calvin

Today is the 504th birthday of reformer John Calvin. Though today we remember his earthly birth, it seems fitting, in light of Calvin's life, to look at some of his words just prior to his death. As Dr. Steven Lawson records for us in his book, The Expository Genius of John Calvin, the reformer penned these words as part of his last will and testament only a month before he would step into glory and finally see his Savior face to face:
In the name of God, I, John Calvin, servant of the Word of God in the church of Geneva, . . . thank God that He has shown not only mercy toward me, His poor creature, and . . . has suffered me in all sins and weaknesses, but what is much more, that He has made me a partaker of His grace to serve Him through my work. . . . I confess to live and die in this faith which He has given me, inasmuch as I have no other hope or refuge than His predestination upon which my entire salvation is grounded. I embrace the grace which He has offered me in our Lord Jesus Christ and accept the merits of His suffering and dying, that through them all my sins are buried; and I humbly beg Him to wash me and cleanse me with the blood of our great Redeemer, . . . so that I, when I shall appear before His face may bear His likeness. Moreover, I declare that I endeavored to teach His Word undefiled and to expound Holy Scripture faithfully, according to the measure of grace which He has given me.

As quoted in Steven J. Lawson, The Expository Genius of John Calvin, Kindle Edition, 17.
Lawson further writes of Calvin:
It is appropriate that Calvin's last words—"How long, 0 Lord?"—were the words of Scripture. He literally died quoting the Bible he preached, having expended himself in the work and will of God, faithful to the very end.
May we all be found so faithful.

Further Reading
John Calvin's Birthday Institutes Giveaway! (Closet Calvinist)
John Calvin on the Spirit and the Word
Reformation Must Begin in the Pulpit

09 July 2013

Guest Post: Free Will and Liquid Plumr®

Summer can be a busy time for all of us (even bloggers), so I have enlisted some guest bloggers whose work will be posted here occasionally throughout the summer months. 

Today's guest post is courtesy of the team at No Compromise Radio. It is hoped that the illustration provided here will help some come to a better understanding of what is an oft-debated topic: the role of election and free will in man's salvation. Since this can be a controversial subject, please be kind in the comments. Remember the One whom you serve.

08 July 2013

Bad Doctrine Yields Bad Fruit . . . and Bad Comments Defending Bethel Church

Doctrine matters. And all doctrine, good or bad, has consequences both now and for eternity. Bad doctrine yields bad fruit. No matter how one "feels" when he is absorbing that doctrine, if it is erroneous and false, ultimately it will be deadly. Eternally deadly.

Below is an example of some extremely rotten fruit. It is the apparent fruit of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, home of "pastor" Bill Johnson and the "Christian" music group, Jesus Culture. It comes to us in the form of a comment left on the post "Bethel Church's Jesus Culture to Plant New Church in Sacramento." Though comments typically are not published on posts as old as this one, an exception was made in this particular instance because it offered a good teaching opportunity. Here is the comment in question:
Though a cogent response already has been offered by a reader of this blog, this comment seems to be asking for even more. So let us look at it point by point.

06 July 2013

A Cooked Goose: Remembering John Huss

On this day in 1415, John Huss (Jan Hus) was burned at the stake due to his opposition to the heretical doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church and his faith and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. Foxe's Book of Martyrs records his story:
Photo: Wikipedia
When he was brought before the Council, the articles exhibited against him were read: they were upwards of forty in number, and chiefly extracted from his writings.

John Huss's answer was this:
"I did appeal unto the pope; who being dead, and the cause of my matter remaining undetermined, I appealed likewise unto his successor John XXIII: before whom when, by the space of two years, I could not be admitted by my advocates to defend my cause, I appealed unto the high judge Christ."
When John Huss had spoken these words, it was demanded of him whether he had received absolution of the pope or no? He answered, "No." Then again, whether it was lawful for him to appeal unto Christ or no? Whereunto John Huss answered:
"Verily I do affirm here before you all, that there is no more just or effectual appeal, than that appeal which is made unto Christ, forasmuch as the law doth determine, that to appeal is no other thing than in a cause of grief or wrong done by an inferior judge, to implore and require aid at a higher Judge's hand. Who is then a higher Judge than Christ? Who, I say, can know or judge the matter more justly, or with more equity? when in Him there is found no deceit, neither can He be deceived; or, who can better help the miserable and oppressed than He?"
While John Huss, with a devout and sober countenance, was speaking and pronouncing those words, he was derided and mocked by all the whole Council.

05 July 2013

This 'n' That

Ah, July 5, one of my favorite days on the calendar. Why? Because it means I don't have to deal with July 4th silliness for another whole year.

It's true, I'm not a big fan of the Fourth of July. Or rather, I'm not a fan of what the Fourth of July has become: another reason for Americans to stay home from work, drink alcohol and act like idiots. Of course, these things can be done any other day of the year (and sadly are), but there's one scary addition on the Fourth: fireworks. Really, could there be a more terrifying combination than inebriated, stressed-out Americans and fireworks? I think not. In fact, yesterday morning I tweeted:

(Okay, wait, let's talk about this. Only 3 RTs? Really? C'mon gang, you've retweeted dumber tweets of mine than this! I can feel my self-esteem shrinking. But I digress . . .)

Ultimately, it is important for those of us who live in America to remember—and to be thankful for—the country in which God placed us. We have been immensely blessed. But as we watch this country spiral downward in more ways than one, we must be reminded that we are citizens of a greater kingdom (Phil 3:20). No matter where you live on this earth, all of it is passing away (2 Pet 3:10). That is why we cannot put our hope in men and governments, but in God alone. Earthly freedom is an immeasurably wonderful blessing, to be sure, but as was stated at this blog yesterday, true freedom is found in being a slave of Jesus Christ.

Okay, before you aim a whistler up onto my roof, take a few firework-free moments to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

04 July 2013

True Freedom Is Slavery to Jesus Christ

This is a repost from last year. Nothing else seemed more appropriate.

Photo: GTY
As shocking as it is profound, God’s Word teaches that true freedom can only be found through slavery to Christ. Though they think they are free, all unbelievers are in reality slaves to sin—held captive to their lusts and ensnared in their trespasses. In fact, the Bible denotes only two categories of people in this world: those who are slaves to sin and those who are slaves to righteousness. Paul contrasted those two groups in Romans 6:
Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (Rom 6:16–18, NASB) 
As the apostle shows in this passage, there is no such thing as absolute moral independence. Every person is a slave—either to sin or to God. James Montgomery Boice articulated this reality with these words:
There is no such thing as absolute freedom for anyone. No human is free to do everything he or she may want to do. There is one being in the universe who is totally free, of course. That is God. But all others are limited by or enslaved by someone or something. As a result, the only meaningful question in this area is: Who or what are you serving? … Since you and I are human beings and not God, we can never be autonomous. We must either be slaves to sin or slaves of Jesus Christ. But here is the wonderful and very striking thing: To be a slave of Jesus Christ is true freedom.1
Slavery to Christ not only means freedom from sin, guilt, and condemnation. It also means freedom to obey, to please God, and to live the way our Creator intended us to live—in intimate fellowship with Him. Thus, “having been freed from sin [we have been] enslaved to God” (Rom. 6:2; cf. 1 Pet. 2:16). Slavery to Christ, then, is the only freedom, for “if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

John MacArthur, Slave, (Thomas Nelson: 2010), 201–202; emphasis in original.

James Montgomery Boice, Romans, 4 vols. (Baker: 1991), 2:689–90; emphasis in original.

Further Reading
Expect the World to Act Like the World
Salvation Is a Work of God
Nurturing Perversion

03 July 2013

NoCo90: Don't Tolerate Intolerance

If you have an idea or suggestion for an episode of NoCo90, contact No Compromise Radio at their website, on their Facebook page, or via email at: info [@] nocompromiseradio.com.

Additional Resource

"Preachers of L.A." Sure to Be an Insult to Both Television and the Church

So-called "reality" television has completely anesthetized people to actual reality. Further, it has created a whole new means by which "ordinary" men and women can achieve their narcissistic dreams of worldly fame and fortune. At the same time, it was a logical product of today's postmodern, self-loving society. Unfortunately, the visible church, with its "narcigetical" preaching and pragmatic, entertainment mindset also caters nicely to the "reality TV" phenomenon, as demonstrated by several recent shows of this genre.

Lifetime featured "Preacher's Daughters," and The Learning Channel (TLC) aired, and thankfully canceled, "The Sisterhood," a show that profiled pastor's wives. Now it's Oxygen's turn, as the network will air "Preachers of L.A." during this coming Fall season.

02 July 2013

Expect the World to Act Like the World

I expect the world to act like the world. What I don't expect is for the church to act like the world.
These words were spoken by Dr. John MacArthur at this past Sunday's evening service at Grace Community Church (GCC). Unfortunately, the audio and video of this session is not currently available online. The clip below is courtesy of Brannon Howse, who captured the audio live and shared a few excerpts on the July 1 episode of his Worldview Weekend Radio.

As he often does, Dr. MacArthur hits the proverbial nail on its head. Beloved, the world is going to act like the world. Pagans act like pagans. They celebrate sin and depravity. They glorify and exalt their fleshly lusts. And while it is not wrong to grieve and to speak out against the rapidly degenerating morals of society, Christians must be far more concerned with the state of Christ's church.

01 July 2013

Nurturing Perversion

Sinful perversion. The phrase is almost redundant, for to pervert a thing is to distort it to the point of corruption. Perversion of anything that corrupts God's original design and intention is sin.

America is a perverted nation, as clearly demonstrated by the 26 June 2013 decision by the United States Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This determination, though disappointing, should not have come as a surprise to the Christian who is familiar with his Bible. For quite some time, America has been plodding along the path of Romans 1, steeped and reveling in her sin and perversion. The ruling that DOMA is unconstitutional now swings wide the gate for the acceptance, and perhaps in time the legalization, of other gross sexual perversions. Even now, polygamists are celebrating the recent ruling by SCOTUS:
The Supreme Court’s rulings in favor of same-sex marriage Wednesday were greeted with excitement by polygamists across the country, who viewed the gay rights victory as a crucial step toward the country’s inevitable acceptance of plural marriage. Anne Wilde, a vocal advocate for polygamist rights who practiced the lifestyle herself until her husband died in 2003, praised the court’s decision as a sign that society’s stringent attachment to traditional “family values” is evolving. (Source)
But while Christians quite predictably raise their voices with such publicized events, it often is forgotten that these sexual sins—like all sins—did not appear in this advanced state overnight. How, then, did Americans get to this point? Note, the question is not how did America get here, but how did Americans get here. When the focus of the church is distracted by great national sins, individual sin can be overlooked, downplayed or ignored. This is to the detriment of men's souls, for salvation does not come to a nation, but to men, one by one.