Monday, December 31, 2007

Note at the New Year

It is my desire to, at this time, express my thanks to all of you who visit this blog, read the posts and leave an occasional comment. This blog started in August of 2006 out of a sense of frustration over what I had seen going on in the name of "Christianity". And so much has happened since then, both in professing Christianity and my own personal life. The Ted Haggard scandal. A multitude of posts regarding "Rick Warren and Friends" among other things.

Then of course was adjusting to the passing of my father, who died a year ago this past November. He, of course, is sorely missed for his wisdom and comfort. His ethics and standards were so high. When he said you were ok, you knew you were ok.

But God is faithful. Regardless of what we face in society, "Christianity", or in our personal lives God is faithful. All these other things simply push us in to trust Him all the more.

So I give thanks in all this, giving praise to God for the fact that no matter how bleak things look He is there and His Word can be trusted.

Yes, it's a dark world out there. And it is likely to become much darker before it gets any better. May we press into our Lord as we end 2007 and begin the new year.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths" -- Proverbs 3:5,6

Wishing the best for all of you and giving thanks for you,

Tim Brown

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Bible and Islam: Posted Comments
(that weren't posted) Part 2

It was two days ago that I posted the first part of this apologetic. It was in response to a couple of spam comments that two individuals from Oman submitted for posting at this blog. Essentially, as best I can tell, the wannabe comments were nothing more than plugs for a pro-Islam, anti Christian apologetics website. And while it is certainly not my desire to squelch any discussion with those who may disagree with me theologically, I see no need to publish a link to a website which does nothing more than promote the error of Islam. Especially, of course, if publishing it will not lead to any discussion.

But I do think it the better part of wisdom to address the core of their message, which has to do with various key doctrines involving Christ and the Bible, among others. Last time, I dealt, however briefly, with the first message. As you will recall, one large problem with their argument is that they directly contradict the claims of their own Quran. This had to do specifically with the charge that the Bible is corrupted; a claim that is commonly made by Muslims. However, we found that by saying this, they must either be at odds with the claims of the Quran, (and/or Muhammed whom they claim was infallible) or they must concede that the Quran must be false in this regard. They can't have it both ways. The Quran, which claims to be infallibly provided through Muhammad by Allah claims that the scriptures are reliable.

Now, they want to say that our Scriptures are now corrupt, but they ignore vital evidence -- that we have 24,000 manuscripts and fragments which prove that our Scriptures have been faithfully preserved. So, objective evidence apparently means nothing to them.

This time, I'll repost the second message and at least get a start on dealing with some of the points the commenter ("Islam") included in his message.

Here is the second of the two comments I received from the reader in Oman:

From "Islam", also from Masqat Oman:

"Jesus? - Did He Really Die on the Cross? (Evidence says, NO!.)
Bible - Is It the Word of God? (Experts say, NO!.)
Trinity- Did Jesus or anyone teach this? (Bible says, NO!.)
"Only Begotten Son of God"? Was this Jesus? (Bible, says - NO!).
Are children born in original sin? (Bible says, "Yes!" - but Jesus says, "NO!")

Regarding the second claim in the list, "Is the Bible the Word of God", I think we've already dealt with this. The poster of the comment doesn't even understand his own Quran! So, I suppose they would be forced to either change their argument or face the reality that the Quran isn't accurate (not "Expert"). And since they don't list other "experts", the onus, I believe, is on them to provide the evidence.

The first claim I will deal with (however imperfectly) is "Did Jesus really die on the cross?". And of course they say the evidence says "no". Of course, this is no new argument. Even secularists have attacked the veracity of the scriptures on this. They want to say He passed out, or others will admit He died but they want to explain the empty tomb by saying his body was left on the cross and picked apart by birds.

The evidence for this particular person's argument, I presume, would be the text of the Quran, which states that Jesus was raised to heaven, having put His likeness on another whom died on the cross instead. I quote the following from "Answering Islam":

"What does the Qur'an say about the crucifixion of Jesus?

  • And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger
    - they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those
    who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit
    of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain. S. 4:157 Pickthall
  • That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Apostle of God";
    - but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them,
    and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge,
    but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:- S. 4:157 Yusuf Ali
  • And because of their saying (in boast), "We killed Messiah 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allah," - but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but the resemblance of 'Iesa (Jesus) was put over another man (and they killed that man), and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not [i.e. 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)]: S. 4:157 Al-Hilali & Khan"
I think it interesting to point out that if we assume the previous claims to be true, then the Quran (which holds Jesus Christ to be a prophet of God) also implies he is a false prophet, for Christ Himself said He would die and be resurrected. Additionally, assuming this allegation to be true, the impersonator would also have had to fulfill the prophecies that Christ fulfilled as He died on the cross. Rather incredible, no? And of course, all this is based on the claim that the Quran is reliable, but we'll get to that later. Suffice it to say that the Quran holds Jesus in high regard (even though they deny his deity). Yet it would make Him out to be a false prophet Whom, according to O.T. law, is worthy of death by stoning. So, to my two commenters, I say "you can't have it both ways...which is it?"

No, it's kind of like saying "I don't have enough faith to be an atheist". I don't have enough faith to believe that a false god gave Jesus his likeness and had someone else die in His place. I think it takes less faith to simply take the Bible at it's Word and say "Jesus died, just as He said He would (Matthew 16:21) and that He was raised from the dead on the third day (ibid), again, just as He said He would." No, I wasn't there. I didn't see it for myself. Even if I had been there, according to the Quran, it would have done me no good because they allege that Jesus and Allah pulled a sleight of hand. This, of course, is pure mysticism. But I trust the Bible which has time and again shown itself to be reliable. . .contrary to the false god of Islam.

For further study on the historicity of the death and resurrection of Christ, check out this link.

Ok. I think I'll pause there. But what have we learned? Simply this: Those who would use the Quran to discredit the Bible and the deity of Christ ultimately have a dilemma, namely, the very document which they want to use as evidence either contradicts what they claim, or it discredits itself. They contradict their own book and contradict what it says. Or, they affirm what it teaches (such as Jesus as a prophet and the accuracy of the Scriptures), without realizing that in the process they contradict themselves (a Jesus that falsely predicted His own death and resurrection and thus a false prophet).

Is it just me, or does this make one's head spin?

Until next time....

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Bible and Islam: Posted Comments
(that weren't posted)

Strange title for a blog entry, isn't it? Well, there's a reason for it. See, lately, we've been getting what are basically "spam comments" from Muslims in Oman. Seems that they are finding the Gadfly by googling "Bible Islam Post Comment". So, the title is kind of contrived in order to provide the keywords they are googling for. If they are hitting this, they are not bothering someone else...hopefully.

The comments are pro-Qur'an, anti Bible. Now, because these people are most likely simply trying to inundate the blogosphere with Koranic error, I don't take it personally. And if I'm right, they probably won't even check back to see if their comments are posted.

Still, because of the gravity of the issue, I thought it might be timely as well as wise to at least publish what they had to say and why it doesn't work. After all, if they put their ideas out there, they should be willing to have them put up to scrutiny.

Both comments (neither of which I posted) were basically an advertisement for a pro-Islamic site. As far as I can tell, it isn't a new site and as a matter of fact, I think I've seen it out there before.

So without further ado, I'll post their comments:

From "ha" in Masqat Oman:

"
What are we supposed to believe about the Holy Bible? Is it still the same? Do we believe everything in it? What does Quran say about the Bible?" (link eliminated)

From "Islam", also from Masqat Oman:

"Jesus? - Did He Really Die on the Cross? (Evidence says, NO!.)
Bible - Is It the Word of God? (Experts say, NO!.)
Trinity- Did Jesus or anyone teach this? (Bible says, NO!.)
"Only Begotten Son of God"? Was this Jesus? (Bible, says - NO!).
Are children born in original sin? (Bible says, "Yes!" - but Jesus says, "NO!")

All this & more - internets site to compare ─░slam & Christianity: (link eliminated)"

The first comment asks four questions:

1. "What are we supposed to believe about the Holy Bible?"
2. "Is it still the same?"
3. "Do we believe everything in it?"
4. "What does Quran say about the Bible?"

The first and third are kind of related, the second and fourth kind of stand out more. I'll address those first.

One charge that Muslims make about the Bible is that it has been corrupted. Somewhere along the line, they would argue, someone got hold of all the Bibles and changed them. They would say, therefore, that what we have now is not accurate. This is not a new argument. I've heard it from atheists, liberal theologians before hearing it from Muslims. So, nothing new here.

What they, as others, have missed is that we know what we have has not been changed. The old "transmission error" argument was very popular until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. So, someone argues that someone altered the text of a bible somewhere? What difference does that make? We have manuscripts that validate the translations we have today. As a matter of fact, by the time you consider all the manuscripts and fragments, we have close to 24,000 manuscripts to verify the accuracy of the English translations we use today. Yes, it's possible someone somewhere could produce a corrupted version of the scriptures. As a matter of fact, it's been done by the Jehovah's Witnesses (most noticably). It's called the "New World Translation". However, the existence of that translation doesn't effect the accuracy of the KJV, NASB, or NIV one iota.

The question "What does the Quran say about the Bible" sounds like a lead-in to an attack on the veracity of the Bible. However, let's consider the following from the Quran from Christian Apologetics Research Ministry:



The Muslims repeatedly claim that the Bible has been corrupted and that the Qu'ran is the only trustworthy scripture in existence. This is why Muslims often attack the Bible. But this cannot be acording to the Quran. The Quran says that the books of Moses, the Psalms, and the gospel wereall given by God.

  • TORAH - "We gave Moses the Book and followed him
    up with a succession of messengers," (Sura 2:87).

  • PSALMS - "We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it
    to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham,
    Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and
    solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms," (4:163).

  • GOSPEL - "It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sentdown the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong)," (3:3).

    Also, "And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We
    sent him the Gospel
    : therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah," (5:46).

We see that the Qu'ran states that the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel were all given by God. With this we Christians heartily agree. But, the Muslims claim that the Bible is corrupted and full of contradictions. If that is so, then it would seem they do not believe the Qu'ran since the Qu'ran says that the Word of God cannot be altered:
  • "Rejected were the messengers before thee: with patience and constancy they bore their rejection and their wrongs, until Our aid did reach them: there is none that can alter the words (and decrees) of Allah. Already hast thou received some account of those messengers," (6:34).

  • "The word of thy Lord doth find its fulfillment in truth and in justice: None can change His words: for He is the one who heareth and knoweth all," (6:115).

  • "For them are glad tidings, in the life of the present and in the Hereafter; no change can there be in the words of Allah. This is indeed the supreme felicity," (10:64).

When Muhammed (570 - 632) was alive, he claimed to receive the revelation of the Qu'ran from Allah. This means that at that time, the Bible which was in existence, could not have been corrupted because the Qu'ran states that God's word cannot be corrupted. The question I have for the Muslims is "When and where was the Bible corrupted, since the Qu'ran says that the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel are from Allah and Allah's words cannot be changed?"

__________________
The Quranic quotes used in this paper can be found online at http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/."


End of CARM article....

Alright then, what are we to believe about the scriptures...and do we believe all of it? Quite simple. The Bible is God's Word. We believe all of it. And by the way, we don't need the Quran to tell us we can believe it. It testifies on it's own to be true, and no, that is not a circular argument.

If a Muslim wants to tell you that the Bible is "corrupted", then they are at odds with the Quran. If they aren't accurate, they have to have been wrong when they were written, in which case Mohammed and the Quran are both wrong for affirming 'The Book"!

So not only is it true that this Islamic dog "doesn't hunt", it doesn't even have teeth!

Next time, we'll take a look at the second comment submitted to this blog which would raise questions about the deity of Christ, His death and resurrection as well as the trinity. And of course, who knows? We just might get another comment from Oman.

We can only hope!

-------------
Update (7/11/09). Here's a link to part two, which I added not long after this article.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

You Wanna Be a Soldier of Christ Jesus?

Ken Silva wrote this article over a year ago, but I think it is even more relevant today. It blessed my heart; may it bless yours.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Biblically Qualified Eldership

Tim Jack over at Musings of a Random Nature has this great post on Biblical qualifications for eldership. I miss Tim, he was an instructor of mine when I attended Logos Bible Institute at Grace Community church.

Church "Throwed Communion" Stunt Proves Disastrous
(satire)

Thought you might appreciate this:

"Falls Creek, Florida - Over the past five years The First Baptist Church of Falls Creek has been looking for new and creative ways to "beef up" their worship services and to attract new faces to their church. So they adopted a policy of "whatever works" into their collective vision. What resulted was a church that borrowed heavily from pop culture." . . .

You can read the rest here . . .


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas, Dear Atheist

From Al Mohler:

'Richard Dawkins appears quite comfortable with his status as the world's most influential apostle of atheism. He can rest his atheist laurels on the reputation of his best-selling book, The God Delusion, and his incessant advocacy of atheism in the media worldwide. To date, Professor Dawkins has demonstrated a take-no-prisoners approach to pressing his case, arguing that parents who inculcate religious beliefs within their own children are guilty of a form of child abuse.

And yet, it seems that Dawkins now wants to call himself a "cultural Christian." The BBC [British Broadcasting Corporation] reports that Dawkins now wants the traditions of cultural Christianity and plans to sing Christmas carols this season "along with everybody else." Now, why would an atheist want to sing Christmas carols?

The BBC reports that Professor Dawkins' comments came in response to accusations by a Member of Parliament that the nation was avoiding references to Christmas due to political correctness.

From the BBC report:

Prof Dawkins, who has frequently spoken out against creationism and religious fundamentalism, replied: "I'm not one of those who wants to stop Christian traditions.

"This is historically a Christian country. I'm a cultural Christian in the same way many of my friends call themselves cultural Jews or cultural Muslims.

"So, yes, I like singing carols along with everybody else. I'm not one of those who wants to purge our society of our Christian history.

"If there's any threat these sorts of things, I think you will find it comes from rival religions and not from atheists."

The thought of Richard Dawkins singing any carols with explicit Christian content is difficult to hold -- unless the Oxford professor intends to sing of a faith he does not profess.

Dawkins expanded on those comments in an article published December 13, 2007 by The New Statesman. In this article Dawkins explains that Christmas is a part of his nation's history and culture, and thus to be acknowledged, if not celebrated, by all.

He even threw some barbs toward the United States, suggesting that political correctness and a fear of offending anyone's sensitivities was leading to a denial of the cultural significance of Christmas. All this is unnecessary, he insists:

For better or worse, ours is historically a Christian culture, and children who grow up ignorant of biblical literature are diminished, unable to take literary allusions, actually impoverished. I am no lover of Christianity, and I loathe the annual orgy of waste and reckless reciprocal spending, but I must say I'd rather wish you "Happy Christmas" than "Happy Holiday Season"'....

Read the entire article here....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Islam, Judaism, Warrenism & Emergentism Under One Roof

From Watcher's Lamp:

"Rick Warren continues to share his religious consumerism marketing techniques with the members of the Union for Reform Judaism...

From the Christian Post: Rick Warren Counsels Jews on Recruiting Congregants

With the holiday season in mind, Warren urged clergy to take advantage of crowded events to publicize other programs so people can get involved in the community through smaller groups. “There are some principles that apply regardless of our faith, if it’s Jewish or Christian,” he said at the convention.

Other guests at the conference included the Emergent leader Jim Wallis of Sojourners and Dr. Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America.

Editor's note: What's wrong with this picture? Hello Rick, Can you spell ecumenism? Can you spell marketing? Can you spell heresy?"

Read the original here.

I have only one question for anyone who really supports Rick Warren: If you are really a Christian, why would you ever want to help other religions attract people to a lie?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Gilligan's Island and the Seven Deadly Sins "Bible Study"

The following is from "A Little Leaven" for filing under "Why not just get your lessons from Scripture???":


"If the Beverly Hillbillies "Bible Study" isn't your cup of tea, you may want to try the Gilligan's Island "Bible Study".

If we were to write the product description for this "Bible Study" here's what we'd say about it:

This light-hearted, relevant and humorous approach to the Seven Deadly Sins will have you and your small group laughing out loud as you enjoy a three hour tour of this classic T.V. show. As an added bonus you may also occasionally hear verses from the Bible. But don't worry, these verses have been diluted so that no one in your small group will feel overly convicted or judged. The best part is that this "Bible Study" is virtually "cross free". That means you can invite your Muslim and Mormon friends to your small group and they won't feel offended by an overtly Christian message about Jesus' Christ being God in Human flesh, His death on the cross for our sins and His bodily resurrection from the dead three days later.

As the Bible says, "The cross is a stumbling block for Jews and foolishness to Greeks" that's why we virtually removed the cross from our "Bible Study". We wouldn't want to put any stumbling blocks in the way of people who are trying to live God pleasing lives."


The original post can be read here.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Loving Dead People Back To Life

Here's an excerpt from this article at Apprising Ministries:

"The reason why secular America is now courting so-called evangelicals such as President Bush and Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren is that the Cross and sin have been surgically removed from the presentation of the false seeker sensitive non-gospel. And as such, the “Christianity” they would speak of is truly no different than the self-help rubbish spewed by Joel Osteen, who is only echoing the pathetically shallow psycho-philosophical and vain babblings of Robert Schuller.

How many of you reading this are old enough to remember having to study Schuller’s “theology” in Bible college, seminary and/or Sunday School at your local church? Then why don’t you stand up; and why don’t you begin to speak out as Schuller’s cynanide recycles from Rick Warren the new Charles Finney into the Emergent Church through Rob Bell? Some of us are crying out to those of you still on the sidelines — “Stand up for Jesus!” Do you really think this comes without a price for us?"

Here's the rest of the article...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

*Update* Rick Warren Gets Set Straight

From Apprising Ministries:

"In a World Net Daily piece called Rick Warren: ‘I always own up to my mistakes’ we’re told that, "Many false claims, [Warren] contended, have taken on a life of their own on Internet blogs, such as assertions he was mentored by positive-thinking pastor Robert Schuller."


Then Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren says: "I’ve only met Robert Schuller twice, I believe. I’ve never had a one-on-one conversation with him. Not once. So how do I even know him?" The WND story goes on to inform us:



Warren said some criticism is simply baseless, charging many "don’t do their due diligence on research." The Robert Schuller "mentorship," for example, likely originated with a statement the Crystal Cathedral pastor made on CNN’s "Larry King Live"… The claim was furthered by author George Mair in a biography of Warren called "A Life with Purpose" then spread like wildfire among Internet blogs."



Well, Mr. Warren I certainly don’t want to be one of those who don’t "do their due diligence on research." However, it sure appears to be Rick Warren who needs to be set straight because here’s what Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power website says right now:"



Click here to continue.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hey, Al Gore: Global Warming Is Caused By The Sun...

From Christian Research Network:


"It looks like Watcher’s Lamp won’t get a Christmas card from Al Gore this year…

"Al Gore may have to return his Nobel Peace Prize

NASA reports that the "fleet of THEMIS spacecraft, launched less than 8 months ago, has made three important discoveries about spectacular eruptions of Northern Lights called "substorms" and the source of their power. The discoveries include giant magnetic ropes that connect Earth’s upper atmosphere to the Sun and explosions in the outskirts of Earth’s magnetic field."

So what? Here’s what: The U.S. Committee on Environment and Public Works website reported the following back in March:

"Astrophysics and a host of the rest of the world’s leading solar scientists are all convinced that the warming of recent years is not unusual and that nearly all the warming in the past 150 years can be attributed to the sun."

Editor’s note: Read these related posts to understand that this is Biblically motivated and not politically motivated:

Green Lies and Amazing Truths, Climate Change: Stand Against False Gospel, **Crosstalk Alert** Christians and Global Warming, Climate Change Causes Rise in Tide of Ecumenism, Great Global Warming Swindle , Global Warming Delusions , Global Warming or Global Governance"

The Crusades: Turning the Tables

"Muslims still point to the Crusades as an example of injustice perpetrated by the West on Islam. An interesting question might be, "Had the situation been reversed, would Muslims have felt justified in going to war against Christians?" In other words, would the rules in the Qur'an and the Hadith (the holy books of Islam) warrant a conflict similar to what the Crusaders conducted?"

Read the rest here and ask "What are Warren, Hybels and others apologizing for???.

Rick Warren's Wal-Mart Message

"Mike examines Rick Warren's message for a recent Walmart Christmas program. Also, John MacArthur clip on 'not being ashamed of the Gospel.'"

Islamic Persecution of Christians

So, we're all happy brothers and sisters....the Muslims and Christians, huh? Well, why not? After all, we've just had a love fest between Islam and America's Pastor, Rick Warren as well as others including Bill Hybels and the President of the National Association of Evangelicals, haven't we?

I'd like a response from some of them on Islamic Persecution of Christians and just when they intend to "love us back".

Let's see. Here's some things they can work on. Click here to read about the following, they (persecution.org) have blocked linking directly to the stories via copyright. But you can read the stories through the index page as of today at least:

  • Women in Basra are being horrifically killed and dumped in the trash for "non-Islamic behavior".
  • Indonesian Christians are under increasing attacks.
  • In Egypt, Islam is increasingly targeting Christians.
  • In Canada, a muslim convert to Christianity receives a letter from his mother stating she will kill him.
  • In England, Muslim "apostates" are being threatened with their lives. One woman told her parents "You said you should kill me, but I'm still your daughter, don't you realize that?"
And that is just a short list of what is going on. A google search is quite revealing...

Again I'd ask each and every one of those falsely so-called "evangelicals" how they can sign such a document as they have and turn a blind eye to the reality of this violent, false and odious religion.

Hey, Warren? On your way to desecrating the temple in the middle of the tribulation (Christianity (thesis) + Islam (antithesis) = One World Religion (synthesis)*) , can you take a moment to give a response? I mean, after all, if you are really "America's Pastor", you can take a moment to answer a question from one of your "flock", can't you?

Oh yeah, that's right. "It's not about us" or those who suffer for the name of Christ. It's about you.

Never mind.

____________
(*Thanks to "Studying God's Word" for this concise statement.)

Monday, December 10, 2007

RICK WARREN PLACING A PURPOSE DRIVEN BURDEN UPON PEOPLE’S BACKS

From Apprising Ministries:

'“They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.”
(Matthew 23:4, NASB)

In The Purpose Driven Church Rick Warren says:

It is my deep conviction that anybody can be won to Christ if you discover the key to his or her heart. That key to each person's heart is unique so it is sometimes difficult to discover. It may take some time to identify it. But the most likely place to start is with the person’s felt needs. (219)

First, “deep conviction” proves absolutely nothing; many people have all kinds of convictions about all kinds of things, and how one happens to feel about something has zero bearing upon truth.

And second, what a horrible burden Rick Warren has just placed on the backs of those who would preach his Purpose Driven version of Christ’s gospel. To win people to Christ we are to seek and search for the key to their heart, which he tells us is so unique it is sometimes difficult to discover.

So, this begs the question: Since Warren is taking credit that “anybody can be won to Christ” with enough effort, is he then going to take responsibility for those he comes into contact with who end up in Hell because he couldn’t discover the key to their heart?

What a terrible burden for these Purpose Driven new evangelicals; if they don’t work hard enough to discover each person’s “felt needs,” then they actually end up responsible for that person being lost to a place called Hell.'

Is Your Church Reflecting The Culture...
...Or Shaping It?

How would you know? I'd recommend checking out "9 Marks eJournal" and reviewing the 9 marks in the site's banner.

9 Marks Journal on Contemporary Christianity

From Tim Jack, one of my instructors at Logos Bible Institute (when it was called that) and blogger over at Musings of a Random Nature:

"The November/December 2007 edition of the 9 Marks eJournal is now online at the 9Marks.org website. (For the uninitiated, the 9 marks refer to the marks of a biblical church. The site and ministry seems to be strongly driven by Mark Dever and Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. This edition has a very helpful position paper from CHBC on the church’s responsibility to the poor and some provocative thoughts on the church and culture.


I very much appreciate the work and writings of this consortium. They call us to biblical understanding and practice at a time when so many are being influenced more by culture than the Bible. I think they have defined the problem well:


The church has come to reflect her culture rather than to shape it. The leadership principles of corporate America have made their way into church leadership meetings. The consumerism of suburban malls has infiltrated ministry methods. The therapeutic model of secular counseling has found a comfortable place on the couch in the pastor’s office. And the sins that typify the culture all too often scandalize the church.


We believe this situation has come about because modern church practices have been gradually redefining the spiritual understanding of Americans. In the evangelistic quest to “be all things to all people,” many churches have become “audience-driven,” “seeker-sensitive” and full-service. In the ecumenical quest for unity, many churches have preferred to see doctrine evaporate rather than elucidate. The statement continues here."

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Of Pride and Dialectics
The Disease and the Cure.

We live in an age of utter hubris. It used to be that we thought that science had all the answers. That was bad enough. Now, we think that not only are there no definite answers (we made that decision, mind you), but that we are able to "divine" truth on our own.

Welcome to the age of postmodern hubris where mystery is king, confusion rules and certainty is considered prideful. If you say what you think, but want to avoid being judged as "proud", you'd better couch your certainties in a myriad of disclaimers. . .or so contemporary wisdom says. And, of course, this stupidity is prevalent even in professing Christianity. And I use the word "professing" very firmly.

We live in a time where "having a conversation" is considered the height of humility. How things have changed. It wasn't maybe 20 years ago I heard a sermon by Vance Havner, (I can't remember which one) where he referred to Christian leaders having symposiums ("...and you know what a symposium is...that's where you pool your ignorance..."). He was right. And very prophetic.

Welcome to the age of the symposium. Where we get together and pool our ignorance. It's not just Rick Warren and others who set themselves up as the arbiters of spirituality based on their own human wisdom. It's everywhere and the pressure is on us to cave in. But let us stand firm.

See, everyone wants to do the "dialectic shuffle". For those of you who don't know what that is, it goes back to a man by the name of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. The basic idea is that you have a thesis, then the antithesis (a proposal and it's opposite). From there you assume that the truth is somewhere in the middle. Rick Warren is the poster boy for this type of dance which he illustrates by way of his intercult affiliations. But it's all over the place.

Listen carefully. How often have you heard something like "sure we have differences...let's get together on what we have in common". Well, sometimes that is ok. But if we agree on 95% of some issue but the other 5% is something really fundamental, like the deity of Christ, His Eternal Preexistence, or something of equal worth, then the other 95% doesn't matter.

As a blogger and as one who has debated for the Christian faith, I've heard it many times. "No one else knows what they are talking about but you just have a corner on the truth, don't you." It has come from atheists and from those who profess Christ. This statement reeks of "we can't know".

Ok, let's blow off the atheists. We don't expect them to make a bit of sense anyway. After all, they often claim they can't believe in God because they haven't seen Him but they believe in electricity, ozone and tons of other things they haven't seen. So, I don't expect them to make sense. But I do expect those who profess to be "people of the Book" to be a bit different. That is largely not the case.

It's really gotten worse in recent years. Stupidity and ignorance are held as virtues. Instead of being people of the Word, we are told that "we don't need more Bible studies because we already know too much" If you can't smell the brimstone off that lie, check your uniform and make sure you are in the right army.

We can't "know too much". We can obey too little, but we can't "know too much", and I'm tired of the lie that says someone can be "so heavenly minded they are no earthly good". That is simply impossible although it is certainly true (and common) that you can be too earthly minded to be any heavenly good!

Let me say this straight up. It is the height of pride and arrogance to view scriptural convictions as inherently prideful. Is it possible to be prideful about your knowledge and convictions? Of course! But there is nothing inherently prideful about having clear Biblical convictions. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

I'm talking to those of you who would say something stupid like "Who are you to say this or that is true. You aren't God, who gave you the right to speak for Him".

I'd turn that right around at you. Let's see. You're basically saying something negative about certitude, aren't you? That means you are making one of the following two claims. That is that 1) God's Word isn't clear (God stuttered) or 2) God provided His Word but for some reason didn't equip us to understand it.

Which one, or both, is it? There are no other options...or am I wrong? Come on, give me an answer. Words have implications. Hold yourself responsible for what you are saying or just get out of the way because you are a stumbling block.

And I mean every word of that.

When you do that, you are just repeating the words of Satan in the Garden...."...has God Really Said..." only now you are not just impugning his Word but also His very character for you are saying that God is either unable or unwilling to speak with clarity and equip us to understand what He has said.

That is utterly demonic.

It is not prideful to speak with Biblical clarity and certitude because that implies that we believe God and trust that he can help us understand what He said!

The definition of pride has been turned upside down. Add to that all the other junk thinking in postmodernism and you have a spiritual holocaust waiting to happen.

Make no mistake about it. Satan is using his pawns (and Rick Warren is just a pawn...another victim of the enemy, willing or not) to undermine any form of Biblical certainty we claim. It is a demonic attempt to undermine the value and practice of Biblical Hermeneutics. And behind all the statements of perhaps well-meaning people who say "Who are you to speak for God", are the devil and his fallen angels. And it is an attack against our ability to know, with confidence, what God has said.

Biblical hermeneutics is the science and art of Biblical interpretation. It's a science in the sense that we have facts that can be known if we will just do the digging. Facts about history and grammar, for example. Those things can be known. But hermeneutics is also an art to some extent because sometimes there are subtleties that lead to more than one possible shade of meaning to a text. So, it's an art and a science.

So you say "wait a minute, I've never heard of this before. What are you talking about". Simply this. There are principles that are used to determine the meaning of any given text. There are four basic components to this. Let me list and partially describe them. They are important. Very important. And they form our weapon against the contemporary postmodern Christian confusion.

When you approach the Bible, you must (of course) read the text. That is just getting "what does it say". We still must determine "What it means by what it says". This is something we do actively. We try to do it without presupposition and bias. In other words, not "what does it mean to me" but rather "what would the text mean if I were dead?"

Let me describe this to you. When I took hermeneutics at Grace Community Church, John MacArthur simply called it the "L.H.G.C. method". I think what I'll do here is just outline them and cover them more in depth in a future post.

1. Literal. We take the Bible literally. Yet we are not wooden literalists, we do allow for figures of speech such as we use today, for example "sunrise" and "sunset".

Of course, we see all kinds of violation of this principle as "Christians" try to harmonize Genesis with the fairy tale of evolution. So, the six days of creation become "ages" or some nonsense. More on that later.

2. Historical. We make sure we understand what was going in at the time the text was written. This will obviously help us understand the intent of the author.

Of course, historical revisionists and other postmodernists would like to tell us that we can't know history. Satan's second attack.

3. Grammatical. What words were used in the original languages? Old Testament Hebrew (or Greek Septuagint) and New Testament Greek. Both of these Biblical languages are "dead" (not in use) so their words have not changed meaning, as in English or other "living" languages. Researching this is not as hard as you may think, it's just knowing where to look.

Satan's third attack is here when someone tells you (as a professor of anthropology once told me) "We can't know what the original words meant. We've lost that" or some other nonsense. It's another lie that attacks our ability to understand what God has said.

4. Contextual. The "contextual method" makes us put a verse in its proper context. The immediate context, the context of the book, the Testament it is in and the context of the Bible as a whole. Paul said that we are to "rightly divide the Word". The image there is that of "cutting it straight". If you cut things out straight, they fit together properly. Then there is also the context of God's revealed character.

Of course, you can see how this is violated. The "proof text" abuse of Scripture that makes a verse seem to say something it can't mean. Legalism loves to do this...take something obscure and force some rule out of it. Or, simply quote the phrase that supports what you want to say, then ignore the rest that might negate what you are saying. 1 Peter 3:21 is used by some to support "baptismal regeneration". Yet if you just read the verse...the whole verse...it is obvious that it doesn't support that. And how many of us have had someone with a list of petty taboos that say "don't do x or y because 'your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit". Again, a failure to read the surrounding text, just like Satan does.

Beloved, that is our weapon against all the error. The Bible is all that God has given us for instruction. Not visions, not feelings, not our opinion, not our subjective experiences. all those things may be pleasant but then the only thing we have (that we know is from God) is His Word. It is not the "thesis" in a dialectic discussion. It is the very Truth of God. Period. End of argument. He didn't mumble, yammer or stammer. And He has equipped His people to be able to understand it. No excuses, no apologies.

I guess some would say that makes me proud. Oh well.

Friday, December 07, 2007

What Rick Warren Wants
by Paul Proctor

Ok, so it's an old article. But given recent events, I think it's good for review. If you don't know what Rick Warren's "m.o." is, this may serve to clarify things.

ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY: THE DEITY OF CHRIST
...or, Warren et.al. between a rock and a hard place

Hot off the presses over at Apprising Ministries....

"The following quote from Abdul Saleeb (pseudonym) comes from The Dark Side of Islam by Saleeb and R.C. Sproul. We are informed that Saleeb “was born and raised in a Muslim country in the Middle East” and was a Muslim himself until he “eventually converted to Christianity” (backflap).

He writes:

Islam rejects not only the death of Christ on the cross and the doctrine of the atonement, but also the deity of Christ. Jesus Christ is the dividing point between Christianity and Islam. Following are several passages from the Qur’an on Christ’s deity:

  • They do blaspheme who say: “Allah is Christ the son of Mary.” But said Christ: “O children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Whoever joins other gods with Allah, Allah will forbid him the Garden, and the Fire will be his abode” (Sura 5:72).
  • Christ, the son of Mary, was no more than a Messenger; many were Messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth, They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the Truth! (Sura 5:75)
  • ...the Christians call Christ the Son of God. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the Unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth (Sura 9:30). (73)

And among those who are “deluded away from the Truth”; who are now under “Allah’s curse”, and among those “Allah will forbid” the Garden” and make Fire their “abode” would be professing Christians who signed A Christian Response to ‘A Common Word Between Us and You.’

Because at last check e.g. new evangelicals like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels, as well as, leaders in the Emergent Church like Brian McLaren and Tony Jones still at least give lip service that Christ is the Son of God.

Real tough spot for Christian compromisers: Damned by Yahveh Elohim, the one true and living God if they don’t; and damned by the demon god Allah if they do."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Lone Ranger Christianity?

You've heard it, I've heard it -- "There is no such thing as a Lone Ranger Christian!". The statement is a sound one, reminding us that we are all part of a body, each member having gifts and ministering to others. There is also protection that comes from fellowship with other believers -- protection from error, protection from attack by the enemy as well as from those who would wish us ill.

But the reminder is often one that is given to those who seek to avoid fellowship. Those who have such an independent spirit that they wish to keep their autonomy. Open rebellion, an unwillingness to be subject to someone else. That is not what I'm addressing.

What I'm addressing is what is becoming increasingly frequent -- at least in my neck of the woods. That is a more or less “compelled Lone Rangerism".

Church size has nothing to do with it; Small churches can freeze you out if you don't go along with whatever they want to push. Going to a larger one? Then you have to do everything through a "small group" and the results are the same. If you want to do a ministry, it may have to "be approved" or you may have to minister through something already established...and deal with leaders who just won't listen to Biblical reason. One church I attended was a little "all the above" with the added twist of leadership that wanted to support xxxchurch.com. No, I don't think so. "Ok, we have the local XYZ Denominational church with female leadership". Equally, "No!".

So, inevitably, you try all the available options. If, like me, you live in a smaller town (35,000 or fewer) your options are quickly exhausted. You also realize that most, if not all, of the local pastors are members of a town "ministerial association" which includes Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses or whatever else is out there...and of course they all "work together" to get the town more "spiritual". Once you know that (most all) the local pastors are members of something like this, you get to where you simply throw your hands up in the air.

Nothing left? I feel your pain -- that is precisely where my wife and I are. What you don't want to do (and neither do I), is isolate yourself. You need accountability. All of us do. You aren't crazy, things are probably as bad as they appear. But that doesn't mean you can't reach out to someone, even if it is another Christian who's life has some credibility. You say they live near you? Great! Get together to pray and study. No one said you have to meet in an established church. The Scriptures don't describe a set liturgy. And while it is certainly best to have a mature "brother" who can take on leadership to help keep things from getting "strange", that may not be an immediate option.

Just be sure that you have exhausted all your alternatives. Remember, I'm not saying "If you can't find a church like John MacArthur's, then pack your bags and start your own thing". I mean try everything reasonable first. I'm not saying "attend a church even if it is willing to coddle gross sin openly". It's kind of like a "reverse church discipline" situation where since you can't turn the sinning brother over to Satan (see 1 Cor. 5) because the founding members won't have it. So you separate yourself from the situation.

If you end up having to go "independent", then be sure to get some accountability somewhere. Even if it is over the phone from someone you trust that has a very high view of Scripture. I've had to do that many times in the past, even while attending an established church....because the leadership was a wreck. Many times I'd pray about some issue, come to a conclusion based on Scripture, then call two or three leaders that I deeply respected. If they were in unanimous agreement with what I had concluded then I went forward. If not, it would be time to rethink my thinking.

This is precisely the situation my wife and I are finding ourselves in. It can get very lonely.

As many of you are aware, for some time now I've had a poll running on this blog asking "Is your pastor an expositor". And to be quite frank with you, the results have surprised me. It would appear that there are more expositors out there than I had figured. Of course, it is possible that there are inaccuracies in some of the responses; perhaps someone's pastor isn't as "expositional" as the person thought. However, because I have no way to know that, I'm taking the results at face value -- it's not a 'scientific' poll anyway.

For those of us with less-than-scriptural leadership, there may have (if not already) come a time when, for one reason or another, you are convinced that it is time to "come out from among them". Maybe it's because you just can't deal with some issue such as PDL, Seekerism, Emergent or the leadership. As you already know, I've been there.

For that precise reason, I've started a new poll. It's geared for those of us who are thinking of leaving a traditional church behind or have found themselves with nowhere else to go. Think of it as a way to go public and say "I've got a struggle at one level or another and I need help!". None of us can go it alone. We aren't made that way.

In today's church climate, I find it hard to believe I'm all alone. I'm thinking that there are others who are dealing with the loneliness and challenge of being without the fellowship of a local established church. You've found one church after another to be the same as the last -- go, find out it's going to be another fight against the error of Rick Warren, Bill Hybels or something else only to find yourself in the awkward position of seeking fellowship, even if it is the "fellowship" of others who just don' t understand why lack of truth bothers you. It is a very tough place to be in.

What I want to do is this -- encourage others to say "Yes, I'm struggling with this" and find encouragment that you are not alone. I also want to use this post and the comment thread to try to find a way we can "fellowship" around our common struggle and perhaps help one another so that all the temptations that come with this experience don't overwhelm us.

No, we aren't supposed to seek autonomy. However, there are times where a genuine believer may find him or herself isolated instead of surrendering a key truth or principle. These are the brothers and sisters I am addressing.

Anyone else interested?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Warren, Hybels and other
IslamoChristian Apostates, cont.

Yesterday, I posted an article on the Unity Pledge between Muslims and Christians which was signed by Rick Warren and others, and I stand unapologetically behind that post. However, I discussed one central point...a key one...but only the one central point. Listen here for Todd Friel's coverage of this blasphemous document.

Note the signers included those from Bethel Seminary, Wheaton College and others. Are you a member of a BGC church? Bethel is a part of the BGC.

Thank you, Todd, for covering this as you did.

***Note***If the above links don't work, try this one.

Theology 101-Justification


The third installment from Mike Corley on the Five Solas.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Rick Warren: Asks for Allah's Forgiveness

Yup, you read that right. See, he's been working on a unity between Islam and Christianity. In the process, he signed a document. Want to see it? Oh...yeah...read the end of the Preamble. Better yet, here's what to look for:

"Before we “shake your hand” in responding to your letter, we ask forgiveness of the All-Merciful One and of the Muslim community around the world."

Wanna guess who the "All-Merciful One" is? It isn't Jesus. It is Allah, the false god of Islam.

By signing this, Rick Warren, Senior "Pastor" and "wolf-in-sheep's clothing" of Saddleback Church, committed open apostasy. Note that he wasn't the only one. He just happens to be a very influential person in what I reluctantly call "evangelicalism". Bill Hybels signed it as well as his other liberal friend, Robert Schuller and a host of other Christian "wannabes".

My friends, this is called "shipwrecking the faith". Hymenaeus and Alexander would be proud.

***Note*** If you linked directly to this blog entry, there is an update. Click here.

**** UPDATE, January 20th, 2009 ****
According to the software that tracks visitors to this blog, I get periodic massive waves of visitors who link to this blog post from an emailed link. Because I a.) do not know who they are so I b.) don't know if they are sympathetic to Islam or profess Christ, etc., let me supply this link out of concern.


7/14/09 -- And here is the testimony of a former PLO terrorist who gives testimony of Jesus Christ, also testifying that "allah is *not* the God of the Bible" and that Islam is *not* a religion of peace...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

An Open Challenge To Rick Warren

To Rick Warren:

While you are working so hard on your friendship with Islam, do you think you could talk to them about what they are doing to your brothers and sisters in Christ? The details are as follows, from "prisoneralert.com":

"In April 2007, Evangelist Daniel and more than 40 Christian leaders in Indonesia were arrested after a video recording of them praying for Muslims and the Quran was leaked to Islamic organizations. Evangelist Daniel was sentenced to five years in prison for praying, “Father we pray for the leaders of the madrassa, so their hearts would be open for gospel..."

Thank you,




Tim Brown
http://reformedgadfly.blogspot.com

For the rest of us, the remainder of the article reads as follows: "Please send a letter of encouragement and let Evangelist Daniel know you are praying for him and other believers in Indonesia. Let your friends know about suffering Christians and encourage them to pray and write too. Get involved pray and write to Evangelist Daniel today!"

'Seekers' Are Poor Judges of Their Own Needs

From "Old Truth". File this under "when will we learn":

"Quoting Ichabod Spencer . . .

During a time of a revival, a pastor that I had not known very well called upon me, and by invitation preached for me at my regular weekly evening service. I had mentioned to him the existing seriousness among the people. His sermon did not suit me. He made careless statements; seemed to me to rely on impressions more than on truth; seemed to value his own powers, and to desire other people to rely on theirs. I perceived that he highly esteemed himself, as "a revival preacher", and I thought he preached "revival" and prayed "revival", rather than Christianity. After we arrived home, and my pastor friend had retired for the night, a good friend came in to see me, and inquired how I liked his sermon. I criticized it strongly. My friend then told me, that as she left the church she crossed paths with one of our young ladies, who had been serious for some weeks, and who said to her, "oh that sermon will do me good. It was just what I wanted. I wish our pastor would preach like that". I felt humbled and sad.

And as my pastor friend was much older than myself, I thought it became me to consider more carefully what he had preached, and what I had been saying.

But I noticed that, from that time, the serious impressions of this young lady, who thought "the sermon would do her good", began evidently to diminish. I saw her often, and aimed to bring back the depth and solemnity of her former seriousness. It was all in vain. She grew more and more indifferent, till finally she went back to the world entirely. There she remains. Years have rolled on; but she remains a stranger to Christ.

Convicted sinners are very poor judges of what "will do them good". The very things which they think they need, are often the very things that are snares to their souls. How is it possible for "natural man, who discerneth not the things of the Spirit of God", to tell what will do him good? He has no sincere liking for God, or the truth of God. And if likings are to be consulted, the truth must often be sacrificed.

It is better to trouble his conscience, than to please his heart. A convicted sinner is the last person in the world to judge justly, in regard to the kind of instruction he needs. He will seize error more readily than truth, and if his tastes are consulted, his soul will be endangered. In consulting such tastes lies the cunning art deceivers, who lead crowds to admire them, and run after them, and talk of them, while they care not for the truth, "deceiving and being deceived".


From: A Pastor's Sketches, (year 1850)"

Friday, November 30, 2007

Death of Discernment Pt. 3
Rick Warren’s Inquisition

From Christian Research Network:

"Excerpts from Joseph Farah’s excellent article at WorldNet Daily:

While mega-pastor Rick Warren has joined a group of 100 church leaders calling for interfaith dialogue and the building of "common ground" with Muslims, he has a slightly different outlook toward Christians with whom he disagrees.

In his latest missive to fellow pastors, he writes: "You’ve got to protect the unity of your church. If that means getting rid of troublemakers, do it."

"As pastors, as shepherds of God’s people, it’s our job to protect our congregations from Satan’s greatest weapon – disunity," he writes. "It’s not always easy, but it’s what we’ve been called to do…"

…Has it ever occurred to Rick Warren that pastors have been wrong? Has it ever occurred to Rick Warren that pastors might teach unbiblical principles? Has it ever occurred to Rick Warren no earthly pastor is the recipient of all Divine revelation? Has it ever occurred to Rick Warren that pastors have led entire flocks into grave error that may have eternal consequences?


Has it ever occurred to Rick Warren that he, too, might be capable of such mistakes?

Rick Warren makes a spiritually fatal error when he proclaims, without any biblical authority, that Satan’s greatest weapon is disunity. That is simply not true. The Bible reveals over and over again that even one spirit-filled believer can stand up against Satan. God is not impressed with numbers. He doesn’t need numbers for victory. He doesn’t care about big churches. He doesn’t care about the cathedrals of men. He wants numbers only because He is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).No, Satan’s greatest weapon is hardly disunity. His greatest weapon since his fall and since the Garden of Eden has been deception. In fact, Satan loves unity – as long as those unified are knowingly or unknowingly serving him. He’d love for all of us to "go to hell in a handbasket."Read the rest of Joseph Farah’s commentary here…

See related articles Satan’s Greatest Weapon: Disunity? , SBC President Not Interested In the Victims of Purpose Driven, Unity In The Teaching of Apostolic Truth Yields Godly Love , Rick Warren, Evangelicals, Invite Muslims to Love God Together** , Begging forgiveness of Islam?"

Bullwhip Guy
A Parody

What follows is a parody of Rob Bell's "Bullhorn Guy" video. Presented for your consideration: Is Rob Bell's "Jesus" the Jesus of the Bible?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

How Rick Warren Evangelizes the Jewish

Paul told us that the purpose of the Body of Christ is to stir the Jews to jealousy. We are to share with them the Gospel and therefore the message that Messiah has come.

Here we have a series of videos from Synagogue 3000 which was held in 2005. I downloaded these directly from their website, which has since removed them (no conspiracy, they were simply old news).

Remember, these are not Christians. These are Jewish leaders Warren is talking to. They have no interest in Christ. Yet Rick Warren is more than happy to help them grow their synagogues and help them become "Purpose Driven".

Remember, I didn't say this...this is straight from the horse's mouth!

1. BelongersAndBelievers_S3KRickWarren.mov
2. CongregationalTransitions_S3KRickWarren.mov
3. DoubtAndBelief_S3KRickWarren.mov
4. InsidersVsOutsiders_S3KRickWarren.mov
5. ServiceVsServeUs_S3KRickWarren.mov
6. TheParametersOfFaith_S3KRickWarren.mov
7. WorshipAndFellowship_S3KRickWarren.mov

This would be a good place for a comment on missing his "purpose" as a Christian...but I'll resist the temptation...in any case, what message is he sharing? "Grow your congregation...it doesn't matter what you believe." Purpose Driven J.W. Kingdom Halls, anyone?

"...And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." 2 Cor. 11:12-14



Rick Warren's Gospel of Works


"In this episode Chris Rosebrough interviews Pastor Brian Wolfmueller on Rick Warren's false teaching regarding sanctification and how it imposes strings and conditions on Christian salvation. This is a hard hitting episode that exposes Rick Warren's purpose driven religion of works and how its become a 'different and false gospel."

Listen closely here.

The Absoluteness of Jesus Christ
Oswald Chambers

"He shall glorify Me." John 16:14

The pietistic movements of to-day have none of the rugged reality of the New Testament about them; there is nothing about them that needs the Death of Jesus Christ; all that is required is a pious atmosphere, and prayer and devotion. This type of experience is not supernatural nor miraculous, it did not cost the passion of God, it is not dyed in the blood of the Lamb, not stamped with the hall-mark of the Holy Ghost; it has not that mark on it which makes men say, as they look with awe and wonder - "That is the work of God Almighty." That and nothing else is what the New Testament talks about.

The type of Christian experience in the New Testament is that of personal passionate devotion to the Person of Jesus Christ. Every other type of Christian experience, so called, is detached from the Person of Jesus. There is no regeneration, no being born again into the Kingdom in which Christ lives, but only the idea that He is our Pattern. In the New Testament Jesus Christ is Saviour long before He is Pattern. To-day He is being despatched as the Figurehead of a Religion, a mere Example. He is that, but He is infinitely more; He is salvation itself, He is the Gospel of God.

Jesus said, "When He the Spirit of truth is come . . . He shall glorify Me." When I commit myself to the revelation made in the New Testament, I receive from God the gift of the Holy Spirit Who begins to interpret to me what Jesus did and does in me subjectively all that Jesus Christ did for me objectively.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Death of Discernment
Pt. 2


Having your own blog can be very fulfilling. A while back, I was feeling guilty because I haven't done my traditional journaling for a while. But then I thought "Hey, in a way I'm doing that on my blog!" Certainly, posts like I did a few days ago on "Righteous Sinners" qualifies. It marks a point in my life where I can point and say "Hey, God is changing me. I'm recording what I am seeing." and although there are certainly some things I wouldn't put in my blog, there is much truth to that.

Blogging also helps you to become friends with others who share your burdens, beliefs and trials. And I'm thankful for the support I've received during the rough times, such as when my father passed away a year ago this month. I'm very thankful.

Blogging also has its downside. I don't mean the regular people who disagree. I mean those who, regardless of what you try to say or do, just never seem to "get it". Generally, this happens when you are critiquing someone's theology. But you learn about how people think. Lately I've been reminded of how much confusion there is about the issue of discernment and how the simple act of evaluating a person or movement is viewed as touching the third rail in a subway. The arguments never change, they are a constant. And you see just how open to any error they and others of their persuasion are.

I can't remember who said it, I've heard it so much. The statistic that says the most quoted verse used to be John 3:16. It has been replaced and I'd imagine that many of my regular readers will know what it is. It's the passage in Matthew 7, which is "Do not judge..."

With that statement, all discernment is disqualified because, of course, that means you are being judgmental. Of course, it never dawns on these people that if they apply it to another person, they are making a judgment. It's circular. What they are doing is applying the rule of discernment "in reverse" to invalidate discernment. Kind of like the new tolerance which says "You must be tolerant" all the while not tolerating another (generally Christian) point of view. Logic completely goes out the window. The reasoning is hopeless.

Furthermore, you find firsthand just how confused people are about being able to analyze and critique someone's theology or practice. Any judgement is viewed as a personal assault. Again, there is a secular comparison to be made. For example, if you make an open statement about homosexuality and give the Biblical teaching on this, people will say you are guilty of "hating". In other words, if you say something negative about homosexuality, "you are attacking the person" or something similar.

How much like the world the church is. The world buys whatever view comes down the pike and so do those who name the Name of Christ. The world says "Tolerate and don't judge" and that is what the church is doing.

Let me share with you a couple emails. Let's call these people "Jill" and "Edward". These are actual emails but I've modified them. Here's the first one:

Jill emails me and says something like:

"You called (so and so) an "apostate" (that was the first one I found while searching your blog). If that isn't judging, I have no idea what is. I would like you to apologize to him for that. You don't allow personal jabs on your blog from others, so you can't do it either"


Edward says something like:

I've read (some thread) and still don't understand why you have double standards while it comes to others apologize for their judgment, but you don't need to. Would you like to tell me your reason of not apologizing?"

So, Jill and Ed have a "problem" because I have brought to light something that reveals something questionable about someone in the Christian public and possibly about their ministry. There are two problems here with thinking such as this. They are:

1. Christians are not to evaluate the validity of a person's views or ministry.
2. If you make an evaluation and put a label on it, that is a personal jab.

Both views are wrong. Worse, these views will lead one to open themselves up to whatever error comes down the pike. There is nothing left to tell truth from error when it comes to what a pastor or teacher proclaims. Thus, Christians turn themselves into (and pressure others to become) blind mice!

Happily, the Bible is our plumb line, not the world and not others who profess Christ. The problem is that the very passage that tells us to use discernment is used to shut down that same discernment. Another problem with this is that the end of the very same passage (which they never seem to be aware of) tells us to discern. We are told "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces."

Wow. If Matthew 7:1 is a universal command not to evaluate and discern, Jesus has just put us in an impossible situation. We aren't supposed to judge or make any evaluations, but we are also not to "cast our pearls to swine or give holy things to dogs". Oh. Ok. I guess he meant literal pigs and dogs.

Yeah, right.

In context, Jesus is talking about false prophets. Those who teach falsehoods and may even be unsaved. Just read the text. You'll even hear a chilling warning about those who think they are saved and really aren't. There will be those who say "Lord, Lord", thinking they are redeemed when they are false converts.

So, this "don't judge...that's a personal jab" mentality opens the gate to one following a false teacher. It is to play a deadly game of gullibility in the name of "humility" or "spirituality" when that isn't what Jesus is talking about at all.

So, what did Jesus mean? Well, because I don't like to reinvent the wheel, let me give you an excerpt from Bob DeWaay's "Critical Issues Commentary" from May and June of 2006, and an encouragement to read the entire article:

"Given this context, what is the meaning of Matthew 7:1-5? The answer is that we are warned against judging how righteous others are in comparison to ourselves. This passage is a warning against self righteousness. As sinners, we tend to minimize or rationalize our own transgressions and magnify what we see wrong in others. Jesus warns about this because self-righteousness like that of the hypocritical Pharisees will keep a person out of the kingdom of God. It is the poor in spirit and the persecuted who will “inherit the kingdom of God” (Matthew 5:3, 10). These humbled people know they need a savior.

So does Matthew 7:1-5 teach that Christians should accept all teachers and teachings without discrimination? No. This passage concerns peoples’ motivations and the degree of their internal righteousness. These matters we are not to judge. Other passages, which we will examine later, are concerned with judging the content of a person’s teaching. Before we study those
texts, let us examine other passages that are used to suggest that false teachers should not be corrected publicly."

To say "Pastor Hellfighter's gospel is heretical because he doesn't preach the Biblical Gospel" and then giving evidence for that from the Scriptures is not the kind of "Judgment" that Jesus is forbidding. It also isn't a personal jab. The standard that Pastor Hellfighter's theology is compared to is scripture, not "Well, I do it better". That is a tremendous difference!

What Jesus is forbidding reminds me of the "fence gossip" mentality. Let's say Ruth said the following to Nancy: "Well I know Judy is worldly because I saw her going to (such and such) and well, I 'd never do that". In this case she (Ruth) is making an internal evaluation of Judy based on her own standard, which isn't God's standard. Judy may have had very good reason (or not) to go where she went!

Clearly, gossip is condemned in the scriptures. No doubt about it. But stepping back and saying "Ok, how does Pastor Hellfighter's theology match with the Word of God" is not only not condemned or forbidden, it is encouraged!

How sad that so many have twisted this and consequently opened the door to false teaching. It is an epidemic. Worse, it is a needless one.

Warrenism and the Death of Discernment

It was a recent post of mine that triggered the ire of one of my readers. That's ok. I'm used to it. The person posted a comment which was loaded with sarcasm. It was obviously something written by someone who didn't share my convictions. Again, that is ok.

I write this because I think the time is right to review the issue of discernment. I'll let you read the thread, it is very tedious. But as it turns out, this person was, in fact, trying to defend Rick Warren. After I closed the thread, the commenter wrote a private email to me and informed me that Rick Warren is his pastor. He said he would have told me earlier, but then I hadn't asked. Oh well.

What really got up this guy's nose is that I said Rick Warren is an apostate. An apostate is someone who has fallen away from a former orthodox position. I will assume that Rick Warren was, at one time, orthodox in his beliefs regarding the basics of the Christian faith. As far as where he is now? Well, I'll let Rick state it for you. What follows are just a few links.

For all the "Joes" in this world who really believe in this guy, I'd ask you to carefully compare what you read and hear from Rick Warren in light of a decent Bible (for example, an NIV, KJV or NASB). Rick tends to pick modern paraphrases that feature a verse worded in a way that supports a given argument. So, instead of the Bible ruling over the content of his message, he finds the Scriptures a handy tool to subject to his own, uhm, "purposes".

Just a few cursory points first -- The true Gospel includes the message of repentance. I'd challenge anyone to examine Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Life" and count how many times the word "Repentance" is used. Let me save you some time: Not Once. What the "Joes" of this world need to do is reexamine how they defend Pastor Warren, claiming he does preach repentance while you never hear him say it nor read it in his printed material.

Ok -- What about Warren on "The Essentials" or, as stated by Joe, "foundational doctrinal issues"? Warren thinks that Mormons, Christians and Jews are just different "Denominations"! Ready? Here is another one. And of course, how Muslims and Christians should just get together and worship God...

I recall a video from CNN where Larry King interviewed Warren. I'll have to look for that one. Until then, here's a post that links to a video where you can watch him lump cults and denominations all together. After all, doctrine isn't important!

Joe argued later in the thread that a pastor must be "engaging". I'd argue that while that is a nice "plus", it certainly isn't an essential. What is essential is substance. The apostle Paul, self-described in 1 Corinthians, was not eloquent. He repeated the "reviews" of those to whom he preached. But he had substance. And I'd argue that eloquence can lull you more deeply into error.

So here is my plea: Let's see the "Joes" of this world needing us to help them return to at least some minimial form of discernment. When those who profess Christ can honestly try to defend those who openly spread a false Gospel we have really failed to represent the Gospel entrusted to us.

For the Joes? Let this be a loud wake-up call.