28 February 2014

This 'n' That

Last Saturday morning, I received a photo and text message from my brother. The picture (right) was of a half-eaten doughnut, the handiwork of my nephew. The message read, "Dunkin Donuts needs to make a donut with frosting and sprinkles on both sides, I think." Frosting and sprinkles on both sides? I'd go for that! And when you think about it, this serves as an illustration of modern day evangelicalism as well.

How many self-professed Christians only desire to eat the frosting and sprinkles of their version of the faith? They want the love and the forgiveness and the warm-fuzzies. They want God the "daddy" but not necessarily God the Father. They want boyfriend Jesus but not the Lord and King of all. The visible church today often presents Christianity as nothing but a sickeningly sweet, emotionally-driven pseudo-faith. Nobody wants the "dough"—the talk of sin, repentance, seeking holiness and righteousness. No, that is far less enticing than the frosting and sprinkles offered by so many pastors and churches.

Now, I realize this illustration is breaking down, especially if we consider that there really is no part of a doughnut that contains lasting nutritional value, but I think you get my point. Sadly, it seems that there are fewer and fewer pastors who seek to preach the Word in its glorious entirety, whether or not it is popular to do so. We are thankful for these faithful men.

Well, I don't know about you but I could really go for a doughnut right now! It's okay, go ahead and run to your local Dunkin Donuts, but bring that doughnut back here to enjoy it alongside your week in review (kind of):

26 February 2014

No One Has Seen God the Father . . . Except Jesus Culture's Kim Walker-Smith

So not only has Kim Walker-Smith seen Jesus Christ and God the Father, but she also fills the Kim-shaped hole in God's heart. Kim Walker-Smith's testimony here is blasphemous. What ought to be of great concern to the Christian, however, is that this is the mindset behind the music and teaching of Jesus Culture, a group that is extremely popular among young, professing Christians. Parents, protect your children. Pastors, guard your flock. Christians, be discerning.

Further Reading
Jesus Culture and Judah Smith to Join Piper, Moore, Chan and Others at Giglio's Passion 2013
Thank You, Lord. Reader Is Led "to the Truth I Tried to Reject"
Bad Doctrine Yields Bad Fruit . . . and Bad Comments Defending Bethel Church

25 February 2014

Mark Driscoll's Mars Hill Church Offers Free Pre-Screening of 'Son of God' Movie

When last year's television miniseries "The Bible" was at the height of its popularity, it was noted that not only did the series grossly distort the actual Word of God, but the powers behind the production were not exactly sympathetic to the truth of Scripture.

This year brings the miniseries' sequel, "Son of God" to the big screen. Rick Warren is unsurprisingly ecstatic, even partnering with Lifeway to release a Bible study to go along with the movie. After all, why would anyone want to do a Bible study based on the actual Bible? It seems now though that even "young, restless and Reformed" pastor Mark Driscoll is jumping on the "Son of God" bandwagon, offering a free pre-screening of the movie for all of his church campuses:

The Ecumenical Bear Hug of Pope Francis and Kenneth Copeland

Pope Francis
After the strange fire burns, what remains? It would not be unreasonable to argue that out of the ashes of strange fire, which itself is ignited by the Great Deceiver, will emerge a more powerful ecumenical movement than has been seen in prior times.

No group has more invested in this ecumenical, unbiblical unity than the Roman Catholic Church. Perhaps that is why it was not surprising to read the story below. Stand Up for the Truth reports:
We are galloping toward a one-world melding of religions, and the ramifications are staggering. Pope Francis has now sent a video message to Word of Faith father Kenneth Copeland, urging a reconciliation between Catholics and Charismatics.

“The Catholic and Charismatic Renewal is the hope of the Church,” exclaims Anglican Episcopal Bishop Tony Palmer, before a group of cheering followers at the Kenneth Copeland Ministries. Palmer said those words are from the Vatican. Before playing the video message from Pope Francis to Kenneth Copeland, Palmer told the crowd, “When my wife saw that she could be Catholic, and Charismatic, and Evangelical, and Pentecostal, and it was absolutely accepted in the Catholic Church, she said that she would like to reconnect her roots with the Catholic culture. So she did.”

The crowd cheered, as he continued, “Brothers and sisters, Luther’s protest is over. Is yours?”

Even Kenneth Copeland finds this development incredible: Said Copeland, “Heaven is thrilled over this…You know what is so thrilling to me? When we went into the ministry 47 years ago, this was impossible.”


Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Sanctification

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12–13)

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
The New Testament talks about justification, sanctification and glorification; those are the divisions of the term salvation. The New Testament talks about people being justified before God, which means that God regards these people in Christ as guiltless; he forgives them in Christ; they are justified by faith. However, sanctification is not that, but something different. It is that process which is going on within us, and which is making us perfect. Sanctification is continuous, whereas justification is God once for all regarding us as sinless; it is God clothing us with the righteousness of Christ and thereby regarding us as free from guilt. Sanctification is Christ being formed in us, our nature being purged and purified and cleansed and perfected. And then the ultimate state is that of glorification, the state in which you and I, and all Christian people, will be when, beyond this life and death and the grave, we shall stand face to face with God with a perfect resurrected body, entirely free from sin and evil and pollution. There we shall be glorified. . . .

. . . There are those who think that sanctification is something in which you and I are quite passive. There are people who teach that as you have been justified by just believing and doing nothing, so you must receive your sanctification in exactly the same way. They say that you are justified by faith, and that the big mistake that most Christian people make is that they strive and endeavor to improve and perfect themselves. That, they say, is an error; you have nothing to do but to stop and give in and receive this sanctification and then you will be held to be perfect. They put it sometimes in a phrase like this—'Let go and let God,' and they have based it upon this word that we are considering together. You have nothing to do but to let go and wait upon God and then you receive. And yet the answer is found in the Apostle's words here, which are an active commandment: 'work out,' do something, 'work out your own salvation, with fear and trembling.'

Now that is where the confusion of doctrine comes in. By all my efforts and working and striving I can never make myself a Christian, but because, and only by the grace of God, I have become a Christian, then I must work with all my might and with all the energy and effort that I can command. Once having been made a Christian I am in a position to work, and so the exhortation to me is to work out my salvation. Paul, then, exhorts us to work and to labour and to strive and fight the good fight of faith. He says in Romans 6:11 that we must reckon ourselves to be 'dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God.' Therefore, it does seem to me to be entirely contrary to the Apostle's doctrine to teach that we are to be sanctified in a passive manner and that we should do nothing but wait for God to do everything for us. . . .

21 February 2014

This 'n' That

Photo: ITN
Okay, I admit it, there is a lot about the Winter Olympics, or the Olympics in general, that I don't understand. Like, why are the Opening Ceremonies so. very. long? Speaking of the Opening Ceremonies, if you weren't already aware of it, that malfunctioning snowflake-turned-olympic-ring was really a message from God to America. It's true, William Tapley said so. There probably also was prophetic significance in the fact that Russia won the pairs figure skating event, and that their final routine was accompanied by the soundtrack of Jesus Christ, Superstar. And if William Tapley hasn't yet picked up on those details and decoded the secret message, then I can only assume that he's not familiar with his 1970s rock operas.

And while I'm on the topic of the Olympics and figure skating, can somebody please get a message to the male figure skaters for me? It is this: Stop the sparkles. Seriously. I'm pretty sure you'll be able to hit or miss all of your jumps and twirls even without the sparkles, and you may look a little more dignified if you save the sequins for your next homemade Valentine's project. Like this guy. Okay, so he won the gold, but what was he thinking? There. I said it. I stand by my opinion. I shall now await the hateful comments from sparkle lovers around the globe.

Of course, we're just being silly here. I do enjoy watching the Olympics in the evenings, but I'll never understand what would compel someone to aspire to competitive luging or ski jumping. But hey, you know us bloggers—we're not exactly an adventurous bunch. Wait—do you think there's any chance they'll ever make blogging an Olympic sport? If so, sign me up. Just as long as I don't have to wear sparkles.

Okay, it's been a busy week in Internet land, so let's not linger in the silliness any longer. If you're watching the Olympics, push pause so you can read your week in review (kind of):

20 February 2014

Would Jesus Bake the Cake?

photo: Jamie Anderson via photopin cc
Just because a reporter professes faith in Christ and sweeps the Christian blogosphere with her testimony of conversion does not mean that she will deliver sound biblical opinions or have her theological ducks in a row. Reporter Kirsten Powers demonstrated this in a recent article at USA Today addressing the defeat of a Kansas religious freedom bill in the state's Senate. Serving as an illustration for the issue is the well-known controversy over a Christian-owned bakery that refused to bake a wedding cake for homosexual nuptials.

Whether one agrees with the Kansas legislation or not, if one is going to appeal to the Bible in opposition to it, one ought to at least handle the Bible rightly. Writes Powers:
What's the matter with Kansas? A bill protecting the religious freedom of businesses and individuals to refuse services to same-sex couples passed the state House of Representatives last week. It was blessedly killed in the state Senate on Tuesday.

It's probably news to most married people that their florist and caterer were celebrating their wedding union. Most people think they just hired a vendor to provide a service. It's not clear why some Christian vendors are so confused about their role here.

Whether Christians have the legal right to discriminate should be a moot point because Christianity doesn't prohibit serving a gay couple getting married. Jesus calls his followers to be servants to all. Nor does the Bible call service to another an affirmation.

Powers has taken a fair amount of heat for her article, and has taken to responding with comments like the following tweet issued on 20 February 2014:
This reveals the motivation behind Powers' article, as well as her lack of understanding regarding sin and salvation. It may behoove Ms. Powers to glance at these thoughts on the issue of same-sex attraction, and to consider from the Bible whether or not it is sin to even experience same-sex attraction. But all of this is a tangent not originally intended for this post.

Adequate responses to Powers' article have already been issued. Among these are Andrew Walker's article "Of Consciences and Cakes" at First Things and Denny Burk's post, "Are Conscientious Christians the New Jim Crow?" Walker sums up the issue well when he writes:
What’s at stake in this context is when individuals who provide material and artistic craft for weddings are then forced to take their talents and their creative abilities and use them for purposes that go against their consciences.

The mistake is this: The idea that forcing persons to participate in activities they consider sinful is the equivalent of Good Samaritan mercy ministries.

Jesus was a friend of sinners, the argument goes, so Christians should sacrifice their “rights” for the sake of loving and serving their neighbor, the dispossessed, the marginalized.

Jesus was a friend of sinners, indeed, but Jesus wasn’t a friend of sin. His infectious holiness led him to love and befriend sinners, but all of this was aimed toward a particular end.

And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:30-32)

Jesus has in mind, notice here, repentance unto salvation.

There’s no place in the Scriptures where Jesus mandates his followers to forsake their consciences or either celebrate or be complicit in sin. Jesus says to love all and serve all. He doesn’t say to love and serve by ignoring sin. As a matter of fact, the Scriptures expressly forbid this.

(Source, emphasis added)
It seems Powers would disagree with Walker, though, as she concludes her article with this statement:
Maybe they should just ask themselves, "What would Jesus do?" I think he'd bake the cake. (Source)

18 February 2014

The Grand Instrument By Which Souls Are Converted

J.C. Ryle
The Bible applied to the heart by the Holy Ghost is the grand instrument by which souls are first converted to God. That mighty change is generally begun by some text or doctrine of the Word brought home to a man's conscience. In this way the Bible has worked moral miracles by thousands. It has made drunkards become sober, unchaste people become pure, thieves become honest, and violent-tempered people become meek. It has wholly altered the course of men's lives. It has caused their old things to pass away, and make all their ways new. It has taught worldly people to seek first the kingdom of God. It has taught lovers of pleasure to become lovers of God. It has taught the stream of men's affections to run upwards instead of running downwards. It has made them think of heaven, instead of always thinking of earth, and live by faith, instead of living by sight. All this it has done in every part of the world. All this it is doing still. What are the pretended Romish miracles, which weak men believe, compared to all this, even if they were true? Those are the truly great miracles which are yearly worked by the Word.

J.C. Ryle, How Readest Thou? (Moscow: Charles Nolan Publishers, 2002), 29.

Further Reading
Dedicated Pastors Produce Discerning Sheep
Why Beth Moore and Not Me?
Actively Seeking Holiness

14 February 2014

This 'n' That

Well, it's Valentine's Day and you know what every good five-pointer likes to receive on Valentine's Day, don't you? That's right, tulips.

photo credit: antonychammond via photopin cc
Oh, but I haven't forgotten my Arminian friends. This card's for you:

Well, now that I've either made you chuckle or offended you, why don't you take a moment to sit back, smell the tulips, and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

Repost: Watch Your Step This Valentine's Day

This is a repost from 14 February 2013. 

Today is Valentine's Day and I find myself reminded of a quote from Wild at Heart author John Eldredge. (No, this is not in any way an endorsement of that book or of Eldredge). Tim Challies posted this bizarre story from Eldredge's book Beautiful Outlaw back in October 2011, but somehow it just seems more appropriately marveled at on February 14:

12 February 2014

NoCo90: Private Prayer Languages

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: Super Bowl or Super Dumb?
NoCo90: 'I Wasn't Led'
NoCo90: Broken and Wounded

11 February 2014

Naked and Without Excuse

White Tail Chapel; photo courtesy of YouTube.
A rather unbelievable story is traversing the Internet. It concerns White Tail Chapel, located in Ivor, Virginia. This church apparently is a rather popular gathering place, with one report stating that summer services become so crowded that they are standing room only. From the outside, this church appears quaint and inviting, but one step inside during Sunday services may find the unprepared visitor receiving an eyeful of images that he will never be able to erase from his mind.

The reason for this is that White Tail Chapel, pastored by Allen Parker, is located in a nudist resort. One can now easily imagine where this story is going. Yes, attendees of this church are encouraged to attend in the nude. The Daily Mail offers more details as to why Pastor Parker has led his church down this path:
Pastor Allen Parker . . . said he came to the decision to allow naked worship after concluding the clothing requirements of other churches were overly 'pretentious', and decided his own flock should be free to forgo such materialism if they desire.

07 February 2014

This 'n' That

photo credit: Chiceaux via photo pin cc
Almost daily, the thought crosses my mind that the most dangerous attacks against the Word of God are those that come from within the professing Christian church, not without. After all, we expect those who deny the existence of God to argue against His truths, but we may be caught off guard when one who claims to know, love and serve Jesus Christ in one breath denies His Word in another.

Yet this is happening all across professing Christendom. Pastors functionally deny the Scripture they claim to teach as they present it to their congregation only after they have twisted and distorted it to serve their own purposes. Deceptive doctrines of demons, once welcomed only by the "fringe" of the visible church, have now woven their way into the fabric of evangelicalism. Doctrines that dangerously dance on the line of Word Faith or prosperity teaching are now accepted as right and true by many self-proclaimed Christians. Even the teachings of Rome have wandered into our midst, no doubt due to the complacent ignorance of so many professing Christians.

The war for truth in which we as Christians are engaged is not one that is largely fought outside of the walls of the visible church, but inside. If Satan can succeed in causing us to doubt and question the clear Word of our God, then he has managed to crack, at least in our minds, that firm foundation upon which we must stand. This is why it is vital, dear Christian, that you study and know the Scriptures. As has been stated before on this blog, "It is the Word that silences the lying mouth of the enemy, and we ought never to shy away from wielding this sharp and piercing sword (Eph 6:17)."

How gracious of our God to offer us such a powerful weapon! Still, we ought not dare wield it without the rest of our armor as described in Ephesians 6:10–17. And so, after you have properly clothed yourself for the day, take a few moments of rest from this noble battle to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

01 February 2014

The Destruction of Pride and the Elevation of Furtick

Proverbs 21:4 says, "Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, is sin."

James 4:6, 7
Pride is a devastating sin. It is the sin that cast Satan from Heaven (Isaiah 14:12–14). It is at the root of every transgression against God. Yet it is a temptation that confronts every man at nearly every turn. To succumb to pride is to begin plummeting down a dark and cavernous hole of sin. Dr. Steve Lawson has rightly said, "We are never more like the devil and never more unlike Christ in His incarnation than when we are proud."

The Bible is not quiet about this pervasive cancer and its detrimental effects upon man:
A man's pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor. (Prov 29:23)
When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom. (Prov 11:2)
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling. It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud. (Prov 16:18–19) 
It is easily seen then, that while pride brings destruction upon a man, humility invites honor and wisdom, the gracious favor of a God who loves the humble but hates the spirit of pride and haughtiness (Prov 6:16–17). Indeed, this is in keeping with the calling of those who have been saved by Christ. If our Lord came not to be served, but to serve (Matt 20:20–28), then those who have been redeemed by His blood ought to serve Him with joy.