Saturday, December 20, 2008

Close Doesn't Count...

I like horse shoes. Haven't played it in nearly a decade but I've always enjoyed it when I can play it. Maybe this spring we'll set something up in our back yard. Seems like we even have a now-banned-as-unsafe set of "lawn darts" from the 70's somewhere. I think my mom has them.

We all, in the natural sense, like to play in the margins. We like the give and take. "Kind of" hitting the target but if we don't quite do it, well, that's ok. And I think that's the appeal of lawn darts and horse shoes. It allows us to get in the vicinity of the goal and as long as we get closer than anyone else, hey, that's wonderful...we all go home feeling like we've accomplished something.

But God doesn't call us to live and play in the margins. He doesn't call us to compare ourselves to others who call themselves Christians, who compare *them*selves to even others who call themselves Christians...and on down the line. He calls us to compare ourselves to Him and His Word.

I think I'm pretty typical of many who would name the name of Christ. Foreign missions work has a certain appeal to me. Seeing the pictures of the poor in other countries. The hungry. You want to help them. You give some money or something for whatever reason. Some to merely salve their guilty conscience because they've been whining about their slow internet connection or that the chicken didn't turn out right this afternoon. Some even because they really care to get the gospel (or what they believe to be the Gospel) to those who need it.

Where I live we have lots of churches. Our town has always been known for being populated by two things -- church buildings and bars. That's changed somewhat as the factories have closed down because we seem to have more eateries per square inch than ever before.

Over the past year I've had the opportunity to visit many of the local churches long enough to get a feel for what they value. One of them I attended as long as 36 years ago while dating my first girlfriend. 

At least one of these churches takes what appears to be great pride in sending people on missions trips. Just a month or two. Maybe longer. And when the people come back they tell everything about what they did -- usually it amounts to giving out food and clothing which of course is a valid thing to do. Every great once in a while you'll hear them mention the Gospel. 

But what gets me is how people make such a spiritual thing about "going out there somewhere" to some foreign country to "do missions work". Someone comes back from one of these trips and it's made out to be some large accomplishment. And maybe sometimes it is...maybe someone actually begins to think about someone other than themselves or something other then their own needs.

But what I don't understand is the pomp and circumstance that surrounds all this "go to the foreign mission field" stuff while we won't even go to our neighbors who are lost? And why is this? The principle that the Scriptures teach is that if you are shown to be faithful with little you will be given more. Jesus said that in Luke 16.

I can't know the motive of those who do this. Maybe it's genuine concern. Maybe it's a sense of adventure. Perhaps it could also be for the sake of "spiritual appearance". Maybe a mixture of each and a few more things.

But what does this say of us? Does it not say something of "missions as a hobby"? Or maybe even "the Christian life as a hobby"?

You say "How dare you say that!" I can hear people in my town saying that! But my response is "If you are really so all fired concerned about the lost, why can't you even present the gospel to your next door neighbor? You mean you'll spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a trip to some foreign country but you won't share it with your neighbor when it costs you nothing but a walk to the next yard?" 

American Christianity wants to be entertained. It likes to "dabble". And dabbling in missions gives the aura of genuineness. And it's safe because, after all, you have no real investment in what you are doing. Generally you go, stick your toes in the water and then come home. There are no real consequences. "Play time over!"

And I've never seen anyone dabble on a missions trip to China involving the underground church...or to Korea where you can be killed for possessing a page of the scriptures...or the Sudan where Christians pay for their faith by being nailed to crosses.

And no, I've never gone overseas. I'd like to. 

But more than that, I'd like to be more the type of Christian who serves Christ in the mission field I live in. Right Here. Where I cannot hide behind anonymity.

How can we say we believe in the great commission when we won't even talk to the lost in our own town about the thing they need most? The thing they need most has nothing to do with "felt needs" but rather being saved from the eternal wrath of a holy God Who cannot look upon sin!

But so many of us would rather salve our consciences by sending clothes overseas (and I am not putting down sending clothing and food to the needy overseas) than help our spiritually dead and naked relatives and friends understand how to be clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ that comes through repentance from sin and faith in Christ!

We think of the book of James where he says real faith is shown when you give what you have to someone that is in need. Clothing. Food. Basic necessities. You say "I do that!". Great! That's fine!

But the lost have a need that so many of us are ignoring...the food of the Gospel...which we have, don't we? Or the clothing of the Righteousness of Jesus Christ? Or do we not have that to share?

James would say that if we won't give what we can to those who need it, it is a sign that our faith is dead. And I'd challenge anyone reading this to show me wrong in saying that if the physical is important, how much more the spiritual? For a man can die clothed and go straight to hell and a naked man may die and wake up in heaven!

Which is more important to you? The physical? You say you know Christ? If you don't see the spiritual as much more important, I question your claim and don't even try to tell me I shouldn't.

You say "but you don't understand, you have to make them feel better before you can attract them to Christ" and I say that a person must feel *worse* before coming to Christ. As a matter of fact, you must come to deny yourself (which means a refusal to associate with what you are and have been) before you can be converted! "If anyone would be my disciple, he must deny himself, pick up his cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24)

That's not a call to a "higher level of Christian living" ala Ryrie and others but a call to salvation. Period. 

And what doctor would you have the slightest respect for who worried about setting the broken arm of a child screaming in agony while that child bled to death from a severed jugular? I would hope you'd be horrified by such a doctor. "But I must make him feel better first!". No. The child will perish. And the doctor would be guilty of malpractice.

People, we have to quit "playing missionary". If we are really converted, we are ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). That means that where ever we go, we represent Christ. We never "punch out" if we really know Him. 

So you wanna go to a mission field? Great! Why not start with the one that begins at the other side of your front door? Or would James challenge the validity of your profession of faith? 

I remember one pastor saying "You're being awfully black and white. That's not how things are!" Oh Really? Let's see. The Bible is our sole authority, is it not? And does it not speak of light and dark, lost and found, condemned and saved? Just and unjust?

So, we're not in a game. We're not here to hobby around with religion. And Jesus warned about that. It's called being "lukewarm". James would say it's dead faith. 

The best translation I've heard of Hebrews 11:1 starts with "Faith is the substance..." of unseen things. In other words, faith is something you can *see* because it is something that shows itself. Just like James says, isn't it? 

You say you have faith? Great! Show you have a faith to share by sharing it!

If it's an issue of "I want to but don't know how", know that I used to be in the same position. But don't stay there. A great place to learn how to do Biblical Evangelism is Or, ask me! I'll be more than happy to help.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

*Just* Another Christmas? (The Short Version)

I've been reminded that there are newspapers out there that strictly enforce word count limits on a "letter to the editor". And my original article was way past that at around 650...but I didn't know that until I sent it. That is probably why it was put in the "Guest Opinion" section...longer articles there.

Some of you are interested in getting the article in your paper but are wondering how to cut the message down to 250 words or less. A friend at Facebook contacted me about this. Here's what I wrote for them and you can use it as well. It weighs in at 243 words, according to my word processor.

Also, remember you can find papers to submit it to at :

Here we go! Another Christmas. Will it be just more empty boxes? Let's hope not, it shouldn't be. Because Christmas isn't just about “things” it's about a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ.

He came here to die for us. Born a child, lived a perfect life. Why? Because we have all violated God's Law, the Ten Commandments! We've all lied, we've probably all stolen something at one time or matter how small...and we've all been guilty of hating someone, deserved or not. And Jesus said that hating someone reveals a murderer at heart!

Worse, the Scriptures tell us that no liar, thief or murderer will enter heaven, but be found guilty on the day of judgment and have to pay the ultimate penalty – hell.

Just ask God to forgive? What judge could just forgive a thief? That would make the judge unjust, wouldn't it? Sure it would!

But Jesus Christ is the Judge that removed His robe and came around to our side of the bench and died for us, enduring God's righteous judgment. He became our sin.

Our part is to "open the gift" God offers by repenting of our sin (turning from it) and trusting in what Jesus did for us so long ago. So, do you want to pay the penalty yourself? Repent, and trust in Jesus Christ alone as a skydiver would trust in a parachute. That's faith that saves. Take the “good” test at .

And Now for the Halftime Show!

You may remember that some time back I was recording my weekly weight loss here in the left margin of my blog. Eventually, I moved it to my Facebook account where I'm fairly active.

Last July 10th, I was up to 285 pounds, which is 100 pounds over. It took a long time to get there and it's taken some time to lose some of it. And it'll be even longer before I'm down to 185, which is close to what I should be.

Anyway, it is my pleasure to announce to you that as of today I am down to 235, which represents the halfway mark of my loss goal. Here's what the process looks like in a line chart:

Well, as many of you are well aware, a football game is played on field 100 yards in length. And at halftime, you have the halftime show, right? Well, since I've reached the weight I have, I'm officially at "half time" logically we must have the halftime show. It'd only be right...!

So. Here you go. Enjoy!

"If The Foundations Be Destroyed"

How many times have you heard this scripture fragment quoted? "If the foundations be destroyed, what shall the righteous do?". It's from Psalm 11:3. And with almost no exception it is quoted by someone who is referring to the decline of America. I've heard Dobson use it countless times. And the result is "handwringing". You know. That anxiety about "Oh's all caving in...we're gonna lose our freedoms..we better fight!".

Well, I for one am getting nauseated by hearing this fragment of Scripture abused in such a manner. Not sure how it started or who "ground zero" is as far as who started it but I'm plain nauseated by it.

This verse fragment is one I expected to read somewhere in this article that I received from CWN.

The above link is about how we are only two states away from having a constitutional convention and if that happens, we will have a major (liberal) workover of the constitution.

Now while I do love this country and the freedoms we have, I also have to remember something even more important: I am a Christian first and foremost. As such, my first responsibility is to maintain my walk with the Lord which can be broken down into personal holiness and also ministry to my wife before all other things. If I fail in one of those two areas, nothing else matters.

My second responsibility is making disciples. This has to be second because if my personal walk (personal holiness and ministry to wife/family) is not right then I have no right to talk to anyone about sin issues, do I?

Remember, we are Christians...first and foremost! I've often put it this way: I am a Christian who just happens to live in a country named the United States of America. I'm not some kind of "Amero-Christian". I'm a Christian. My citizenship is in Heaven. I'm here as an ambassador. I'm a missionary on this matter where I am. I'm not here to focus on what is going on around me and get all a-quiver about the changing political climate.

Now, of course, the analogy does fail a bit because I do have voting rights, etc. At least to this point. Things may change. But I think my point is obvious. I'm not here to get all wrapped up in "reforming" the country from the outside. I'm here to represent the Gospel and make disciples. And if you are a Christian, you are too.

So, while I do thank the Lord for the freedoms we enjoy at this time, I do not get wrapped up in having someone "protect my rights as a Christian", especially when it involves things that I have been told to do by the Lord through His Word regardless of what is viewed as a "right" by the surrounding society. And should there be a conflict between the two, the score shall be (rightly) Heavenly Citizenship 1, American Citizenship 0. Period. End of debate.

And let me clarify. I have no problem with someone who differs with me on the degree of political involvement. But I do have to disagree (rather strongly) with those who so often and freely abuse Psalm 11:3.

So, what gives with this phrase we hear so much about the foundations being destroyed? Is it true that the Psalmist could be telling us (ala Dobson) "OOOOhh NO! Things are falling apart! We're in BIG TROUBLE! We better do something fast!"

No. Not at all. And such an implication, so often heard, is a twisting of the Scripture. And if I hear it again, I will vomit.

Let's take a look at the passage, shall we?

1 In the LORD I take refuge.
How then can you say to me:
"Flee like a bird to your mountain.

2 For look, the wicked bend their bows;
they set their arrows against the strings
to shoot from the shadows
at the upright in heart.

3 When the foundations are being destroyed,
what can the righteous do?"

4 The LORD is in his holy temple;
the LORD is on his heavenly throne.
He observes the sons of men;
his eyes examine them.

5 The LORD examines the righteous,
but the wicked and those who love violence
his soul hates.

6 On the wicked he will rain
fiery coals and burning sulfur;
a scorching wind will be their lot.

7 For the LORD is righteous,
he loves justice;
upright men will see his face.

Now, to be fair, let's ignore the quotation marks at the beginning of this passage because they are not inspired. It is something added by the translators. Agree?

The Psalmist starts out by making a simple statement:

"The Lord is my refuge." Simple enough? No problems so far. He then asks a question: "How then can you say to me..." which indicates a question, no?

The question is this: "Because I trust in the Lord, why do you say to me..."You better run! Head for the hills! The Baddies are coming for you good guys! Whatcha gonna do about it?"

See? Not hard to understand is it?

Let's take a look at this passage again, but leaving out the question the Psalmist asks:

1 In the LORD I take refuge.
...(Why? How?)...
4 The LORD is in his holy temple;
the LORD is on his heavenly throne.
He observes the sons of men;
his eyes examine them.

5 The LORD examines the righteous,
but the wicked and those who love violence
his soul hates.

6 On the wicked he will rain
fiery coals and burning sulfur;
a scorching wind will be their lot.

7 For the LORD is righteous,
he loves justice;
upright men will see his face.

In other words, he is saying "Look. My refuge is in the Lord. No matter what, God is still on His throne. He controls the things that come our way. He is sovereign. He not only is sovereign, there is nothing that He is not aware of. He sees everything. Nothing escapes his view. He observes the righteous and the wicked. The wicked willl be dealt with and those who are counted by God as righteous will see Him."

So, buddy...what is this "It's all falling apart" stuff? It's temporal. It is therefore not all that important.

Nothing is out of God's control. And nothing is happening that He is not permitting. So, can we stop the panic? The scripture twisting...seemingly in the name of inciting political activism? That does not honor God. It dishonors him...first by showing our trust is not in our True Refuge but in our own political savvy. But also by misrepresenting what God has indeed said!

Want to vote? Great! Vote! I vote too! Want to call your congressmen and women about something? Fine! I've done it too...once in a while. But when it becomes a "trusting in chariots and horses" rather than trusting " he Name of the Lord our God" (Psalm 20:7) then it becomes sin. Period. The Lord is to be our fortress, not laws that we manipulate through those who do not even know the Lord.

Bretheren, for so long we have been a blessed country (in spite of ourselves). And I do believe we are going to lose that. But I'm hard pressed to see anywhere that we are told to preserve our own "rights". And so often I have gotten calls from places like the American Center for Law and Justice. Incessant calls asking for money so that they can "Protect my right to pray".

The last time I received such a call and heard that line, I told the person my thoughts on I've already delineated here. "I don't have a 'right' to pray...I have the duty and privilege to pray which was given to me by the Lord Himself! No one can change that regardless!" Her response? Silence. Then an answer that indicated to me that a light went on. No, I'm not going to fork over tons of money so someone can "protect my rights as a Christian". Why? On what basis? With all those in need around us, shall we throw our money away selfishly in the name of self-preservation?

Judgement day: "And Tim, let's examine how you used the money that I trusted you with while you were on Earth".

"Well, I, err, thought it might be protect myself...even though...uhmmm, You told me that 'no disciple is above his master...'"

End of defense. A failed one. Wood. Hay. Stubble.

Why are so many who name the Name of Jesus Christ seemingly so involved in self-preservation? And are we not likely working against the Lord Who is bringing about a purifying persecution? Shall we say "No Lord"? Those two words are mutually exclusive!

Our country is undoubtedly entering into a time of severe judgment from a Holy God. And He is doing it, in part, to bring men and women to despair in temporal things and themselves and bring them to repentance! Are we going to fight against that?

And who are we fooling? Ourselves? This country in which we live has not been a representative republic for some time. Remember the bailouts? They were passed *in spite of* the fact that the vast majority of those our "representatives", well, represent! What does that tell you about our political "horses and chariots"?

Nope, I'm not against voting. I'm not against speaking out on some issues. But don't expect me to find solace in political "solutions" through this lost culture. My refuge is in the Lord, especially when "the foundations be destroyed".

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

How To Witness to a Homosexual

What Would Be Justice?

This just came out in our local paper regarding our state governor.

"Federal authorities arrested Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Tuesday on charges that he brazenly conspired to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama to the highest bidder.

Blagojevich also was charged with illegally threatening to withhold state assistance to Tribune Co., the owner of the Chicago Tribune, in the sale of Wrigley Field, according to a federal criminal complaint. In return for state assistance, Blagojevich allegedly wanted members of the paper's editorial board who had been critical of him fired."

Question: If he is found guilty, would it do him any good to just say "Judge, you're a good judge...and I bet you love mercy...So, please forgive me, would you? I'm sorry! I've learned my lesson!"

I bet you're saying "No good judge would do that! It would be as criminal as what the Governor did!" And you know what? You'd be right! Justice must be served, or the law becomes a mockery!

Yet one day, you will stand before the Judge of Heaven and Earth. Think you'll do ok? On what basis? Think you're a good person? Let's see! 

Have you ever told a lie? Doesn't matter how small...or long ago. What would that make you? What would you call *me* if I told you a lie? A Liar, right? Ok, have you ever stolen matter how small. What would that make you? A thief! Ever hated someone? Jesus said that this is the same, before God, as murder! Ever looked with lust at another person? Jesus calls that adultery of the heart! Let your conscience speak to you! Wouldn't that make you a lying, thieving adulterous murderer at heart? And aren't we all? Yet, the "everyone is doing it" excuse is no more effective than the "just forgive me" ploy before a "good" judge!

So, do you think you'll go to heaven or hell? God says that no liars, thieves, adulterers or murderers shall enter Heaven (among others). That leaves only one option. Hell. 

What can you do? Well, while God is Just and must demand payment be made for sin, He also provided a substitute for your punishment; His Own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus came to Earth, God in human flesh, born of a virgin and lived the sinless life that you nor I can live. But then he suffered at the very hands of God the Father, willingly, so that those who repent (turn from their sin) and trust in what He did may be justified in God's sight. 

It has been rightly said that you are only guaranteed the breath you have in your lungs at this very moment. God does not owe you another. Turn from your sin and put your trust in the Savior!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Praising God for a Wonderful Witnessing Opportunity!

It's been such a wonderful day...even though I think I'm catching the flu...!

My wife and I studied God's Word together today and had a wonderful breakfast together. Then, we went out to shop for a few things and I even was able to pass out a few "Christmas Quiz" tracts!

But the big news is that the local paper was used of God to print a tract for the form of an "opinion piece"...which will be distributed to about 40,000 readers!

I posted about this a while back.
And I've been waiting! And though this wasn't the first piece that I sent to them which contained the Gospel (and they printed) this was purely evangelistic in content. It had no other purpose than to bring up spiritual things, present the law, hopefully show the readers that they (like me) are sinners in need of a Savior and present the good news of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!

I was a bit concerned on two fronts. First, that they may not print the article or, secondly, that they may edit it to shorten it. I had, after all, sent it as a "letter to the editor". But they even "promoted it" by turning it into a "guest opinion piece"!

It's my opinion also that the Lord used them to attract more attention to the "tract". The title I had submitted for this piece was "*Just* Another Christmas?"...and they retitled it "Wear Jesus Like a Parachute"...which at first didn't appeal to me. But then I thought...well, they are, after all, getting to my main point, aren't they? And, of course, that title would appear to be more of an eye catcher! And I'll accept that!

So thanks to you all who have been praying for this to pass. It isn't often that one gets the ability to share the gospel with so many with so little effort and no cost.

Praying that hearts will be convicted and souls won...!



Saturday, December 06, 2008

Should Fallen Pastors Be Restored?

It was September of 2007 that a local pastor was discovered having an affair with a member of his church. This was no small thing, of course, but it was discovered that this had been going on for an entire decade! 

While the pastor was removed from the the pulpit at that church, he has since taken over as pastor at a different church. And it took less than a year for him to do so!

This, of course, raises the question which is stated as the title of this post. Consider the following from John MacArthur. The source can be found here.

John MacArthur

It has always saddened me over the years as I've watched church leaders bring a reproach on the church of Jesus Christ. What's shocking to me is how frequently Christian leaders sin grossly, then step back into leadership almost as soon as the publicity dies away.

Some time ago I received a CD that disturbed me greatly. It was a recording of the recommissioning service of a pastor who had made national news by confessing to an adulterous affair. After little more than a year of "counseling and rehabilitation," this man was returning to public ministry with his church's blessing.

That is happening everywhere. Restoration teams--equipped with manuals to instruct the church on how to reinstate their fallen pastor--wait like tow-truck drivers on the side of the highway, anticipating the next leadership "accident". Our church has received inquiries wondering if we have written guidelines or a workbook to help restore fallen pastors to leadership. Many no doubt expect that a church the size of ours would have a systematic rehabilitation program for sinning leaders.

Gross sin among Christian leaders is a signal that something is seriously wrong with the church. But an even greater problem is the lowering of standards to accommodate a leader's sin. That the church is so eager to bring these men back into leadership is a symptom of rottenness at the core.

Some have claimed that a leader's failure makes him more effective in shepherding fallen people. That is ludicrous. Should we drag the bottom of sin's cesspool for the most heinous sinners to lead the church? Are they better able to understand the sinner? Certainly not! Our pattern for ministry is the sinless Son of God. The church is to be like Him and her leaders are to be our models of Christlikeness.

We must recognize that leadership in the church cannot be regarded lightly. The foremost requirement of a church leader is that he be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2, 10; Titus 1:7). That is a difficult prerequisite, and not everyone can meet it.

There are some sins that irreparably shatter a man's reputation and disqualify him from a ministry of leadership forever. Even Paul, man of God that he was, said he feared such a possibility. In 1 Corinthians 9:27 he says, "I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified."

When referring to his body, Paul obviously had sexual immorality in view. In 1 Corinthians 6:18 he describes it as a sin against one's own body--sexual sin is in its own category. Certainly it disqualifies a man from church leadership since he permanently forfeits a blameless reputation as a one-woman man (Proverbs 6:33; 1 Timothy 3:2).

Where did we get the idea that a year's leave of absence and some counseling can restore integrity to someone who has squandered his reputation and destroyed people's trust? Certainly not from the Bible. Trust forfeited is not so easily regained. Once purity is sacrificed, the ability to lead by example is lost forever. As my friend Chuck Swindoll once commented when referring to this issue--it takes only one pin to burst a balloon.

What about forgiveness? Shouldn't we be eager to restore our fallen brethren? To fellowship, yes. But not to leadership. It is not an act of love to return a disqualified man to public ministry; it is an act of disobedience.

By all means we should be forgiving. But we cannot erase the consequences of sin. I am not advocating that we "shoot our wounded." I'm simply saying that we shouldn't rush them back to the front lines, and we should not put them in charge of other soldiers. The church should do everything possible to minister to those who have sinned and repented. But that does not include restoring the mantle of leadership to a man who has disqualified himself and forfeited the right to lead. Doing so is unbiblical and lowers the standard God has set.

So why is the contemporary church so eager to be tolerant? I'm certain a major reason is the sin and unbelief that pervade the church. If casual Christians can lower the expectations on their leadership, they will be much more comfortable with their own sin. With lower moral standards, the church becomes more tolerant of sin and less tolerant of holiness. The "sinner-friendly" church is intolerable to God--that is a frightening condition.

Conservative Christians have for most of the previous century focused on the battle for doctrinal purity. And that is good. But we are losing the battle for moral purity. Some of the worst defeats have occurred among our more visible leaders. The church cannot lower the standard to accommodate them. We should hold it higher so we can regain purity. If we lose here, we have utterly failed, no matter how orthodox our confession of faith. We can't win if we compromise the biblical standard of moral purity.

What should you do in the current crisis? Pray for your church's leaders. Keep them accountable. Encourage them. Let them know you are following their godly example. Understand that they are not perfect, but continue nonetheless to call them to the highest level of godliness and purity. The church must have leaders who are genuinely above reproach. Anything less is an abomination.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

*Just* Another Christmas?

Our local paper has a circulation of about 40,000 according to their numbers last year. I've written and submitted the following to our paper (Galesburg Register Mail) as a Letter to the editor. They have published such articles from me in the I figured, why not now too?

Please. Please. Please! Feel very free to copy and paste the following as a letter to the editor of your own local paper. In doing so, you will be publishing the Gospel to potential thousands of readers...for FREE!

****NOTE**** If you want the tract version I have created, click here!

Here is my submission...:

"Just" Another Christmas?

Here we go again. Another Christmas. All the stores have their lights and trees on display. All the toys are on the shelves and the kids are lining up. This is the time of year when our commercialism comes to full bloom and even the most atheistic of businessmen and women cash in on a holiday that has its roots in something that happened in a manger nearly 2000 years ago, even as some of them fight against public expression of it in the courts.

But is that all it is? Tinsel? Lights? Spending money on Uncle Ed and hoping you get the same value in presents back so at least you break even?

Thankfully, no. Not at all. That is the humanistic, secular, commercial Christmas. And in the end, it is as empty as the boxes and paper that will be left on the floor after it's all over.

So, am I another Christian who is going to just say “Jesus is the reason for the season”? No. That is just triteness and I won't insult you with that. Rather, let me give you why it was necessary for Jesus to come here in the first place.

We have all broken God's Law, the ten commandments. We've all told lies, no matter how small and how long ago. Most of us have stolen something and, regardless of how small it was, that still makes us lying thieves! And that is only two of the ten commandments, yet God says in His Word that if we break even one commandment, we are as guilty as one who has broken them all! How many of us have been guilty of lust (which God calls adultery of the heart)? We've all held hate in our hearts against someone for whatever reason and God says that is the same as murder. And who hasn't blasphemed God by taking His holy name in vain? Need I go on? It's obvious – we all are guilty before God of breaking His law!

God is the holy, righteous and just Judge that must punish sin. The bad news is that merely asking for forgiveness isn't going to help any more than asking a local judge to just forgive you if you were guilty of robbing a bank. There is a penalty that must be paid and any judge that simply forgives a thief would rightly be considered unjust and rightly thrown from the bench. The judge would only be right in sending that thief to prison for a very long time. And in the case of the sinner, the destination is hell.

But God! -- Those are good words aren't they! But God sent Jesus Christ, His one and only Son, to come here and dwell among us. The Judge of the universe took on human flesh. He took off his robe. He came to us a child. The Bible says he “pitched his tent among us”. He lived the sinless life that you and I could never live. He was nailed to a cross and suffered the wrath and indignity of human abuse and murder at the very human hands He created. And He died. But even worse, he suffered the infinite wrath of his own Father because he became our sin. He cried “Why have You forsaken Me” because God the Father, for the first time in eternity, could not look upon Him because he became our sin. Yet, three days later, he rose from the dead showing that He had conquered death and proved that his sacrifice for us was acceptable to the Father.

Such is the love of God. It's how He showed His love.

In turn God calls all of us to turn from our sin (repent) and put our faith in what Jesus Christ did on that cross so long ago. You must “put on” the Lord Jesus Christ as a man would put on a parachute before jumping from a plane. Because, whether you want to or not, you will one day make the jump into eternity. 10 out of 10 people die, you know. Think you're a good person? Visit

Saturday, November 29, 2008


From Apprising Ministries:

"Recently in Emergent Church Theologian Tony Jones and his Unrepentant Homosexual Christians here at Apprising Ministries we covered the story of the coming out of a very influential leader and theologian in the Emerging Church who declared his belief that unrepentant practicing homosexuals can be Christians. And even though I vigorously disagree with him I do commend Tony Jones for caring enough, and being man enough, to clearly state what he believes on this issue.

Well, in this clip below from Way of the Master Radio Todd Friel discusses the hermeneutics used by Rob Bell, essentially the Elvis of the Emergent rebellion against Sola Scriptura, and predicts it won’t be long before the answer will be yes to the question asked here at AM: Will Rob Bell Now Follow Tony Jones Out of the Closet? We’ve already showed you in Saddleback Church Pastors Using Rob Bell Teachings we do know that Bell has gained a strong foothold within youth groups of mainstream evangelical churches.

Men and women, don’t you think it’s well past time that conservative Christians demand that Rob Bell, publicly and clearly, state where he stands on this criticial issue? Don’t you have a right to be told what your kids are being taught about homosexuality from one of the most popular names in the visible church? Perhaps the time is now to begin writing Mars Hill Bible Church to ask its teaching pastor Rob Bell where exactly it is he stands as to whether an unrepentant practicing homosexual can be a Christian.

I also know that if I was one who believed God fully accepted me as a Christ-follower in my homosexual lifestyle it would sure mean an awful lot to have men like Bell and his friend Doug Pagitt, who is also Tony Jones’ pastor, to go on the record in support. So, will Rob and Doug now also finally follow suit and stand up and be counted; or instead, will their seemingly caring posture be just that, a posture… "

Friday, November 28, 2008

Quitting Church - Why the Faithful Are Fleeing

Ordered another book! And I'll be reading it as soon as I get my hands on it. From the title, you can tell why it is of interest. It is of particular interest to me, as my wife and I meet in our home.

So far, from what I've seen and read from others, it's getting pretty good reviews.

When it gets here, I'll let you know what I think.

Buying the Wal-Mart Jesus

From Sacred Sandwich:

"The new Wal-Mart Supercenter just opened up in my town, and man, what a sight! It’s a mammoth structure of utilitarian architecture that houses everything from a grocery to a garden center, along with every dry good you can imagine from fashion wear to office supplies. And people just flock there because it’s one-stop shopping, famous low prices, and a quick “get in and get out” affair. It is an amazing achievement in the history of American consumerism.

Oh, and don’t forget about the official Smiley Face mascot greeting you on every sign. It just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside as you spend your money to save money.

The only problem is that the former Wal-Mart building in town is now vacant since the retail giant moved its local operation to the new Supercenter facility. Hard to believe that twenty years ago this smaller Wal-Mart store was the shining Camelot on the hill for local shoppers. Now it’s just a castle ruin, an empty shell of its former glory as the company moves on to bigger and better things. Alas, a sign of the times, I’m afraid.

Prior to the beginning of this Sam Walton invasion, our town had a few Mom-and-Pop retail stores downtown, but they’re gone now, too. The first Wal-Mart that landed here soon priced those little shops right out of the market and made it too easy for the faithful customers of our local enterprises to be slowly seduced by the discount convenience of the new store in town. Hometown loyalty and one-on-one service be damned! Pretty soon, those slow-paced, family-run stores with creaky wood floors and clanging brass cash registers had to close their doors for good. Nobody valued their unassuming brand of commerce anymore.

So why do I bring all this up? Because it seems to me that many Christians today have been infected with the same corrupting consumerism that has given rise to the Wal-Mart Supercenter..."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Paul Washer - Discipline Study - 1 Timothy 4:6-16

A few days ago, I found these over at TruthMatters. Thanks Josh!

Pastor, Elder or whatever, you will want to watch this series by Paul Washer.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Again, thanks to Josh at TruthMatters for his original post, where I found these.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oswald Chambers --- Spiritual Coherence

The Secret of Spiritual Coherence

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." Galatians 6:14

"When a man is first born again, he becomes incoherent, there is an amount of unrelated emotion about him, unrelated phases of external things. In the apostle Paul there was a strong steady coherence underneath, consequently he could let his external life change as it liked and it did not distress him because he was rooted and grounded in God. Most of us are not spiritually coherent because we are more concerned about being coherent externally. Paul lived in the basement; the coherent critics live in the upper storey of the external statement of things, and the two do not begin to touch each other. Paul's consistency was down in the fundamentals. The great basis of his coherence was the agony of God in the Redemption of the world, viz., the Cross of Jesus Christ.

Re-state to yourself what you believe, then do away with as much of it as possible, and get back to the bedrock of the Cross of Christ. In external history the Cross is an infinitesimal thing; from the Bible point of view it is of more importance than all the empires of the world. If we get away from brooding on the tragedy of God upon the Cross in our preaching, it produces nothing. It does not convey the energy of God to man; it may be interesting but it has no power. But preach the Cross, and the energy of God is let loose. "It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." "We preach Christ crucified."

Monday, November 24, 2008


From Ken Silva at Apprising Ministries:

"Diligently Searching The Scriptures Ala W.C. Fields Looking Hard For A Loophole

Apprising Ministries has been doing what we can bring to the attention of the Body of Christ a couple of important issues e.g in Emergent Church Theologian Tony Jones and his Unrepentant Homosexual Christians. For those who may not be aware of the heart of the matter Tony Jones, author of the book The New Christianity Christians and a leading theologian in the Emergent Church, is officially out of the closet now concerning his view that unrepentant practicing homosexuals can become Christians.

At the interspiritual website Beliefnet, where Jones now blogs, in Same Sex Marriage Blogalogue: How I Went from There to Here he removed all doubt as to his position—as well as that which he feels the Body of Christ itself should also take—regarding those who are unrepentant in their practice of the sin of homosexuality:

And yet, all the time I could feel myself drifting toward acceptance that gay persons are fully human persons and should be afforded all of the cultural and ecclesial benefits that I am. (”Aha!” my critics will laugh derisively, “I knew he and his ilk were on a continuous leftward slide!”)

In any case, I now believe that GLBTQ can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (at least as much as any of us can!) and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state. (Online source, bold theirs)

The other issue which needs to be brought to light is one I touch on in the AM piece Dan Kimball and the Emergent Church Seeking Hard to Make Homosexual Sin Not Sin. Predictably Kimball got all offended but, as I told him one time as we talked on the phone, by ones continued involvement with the practices of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM)—which would beyond question contribute mightily to bringing about the Protestant Reformation—they will only drift deeper into spiritual deception."

The rest can be read by following this link...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Insulting God: Hard Words for Hard Times

Betsy Markman over at "Just Another Clay Pot" has a wonderful series going on about the modern Gospel. You will most definitely want to read it. All of it!

So, are you or someone you know trusting in a prayer they prayed? What about now? Do you see hard evidence of God's discipline in your life so that you know you are a true child of God...or have you just convinced yourself you are saved because you said some words some years ago?

Important question. Good articles. Thanks Betsy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Paul Washer: Repentance Twofer!

Here's the first one. This has been especially meaningful to me. After watching it, you may be helped as I was...

Here's a great follow-up...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In The End, What Really Matters?

Today I received an email from Olive Tree Ministries. It contained an article by Jan Markell. Her article had to do with end-times events. The article included a link which ultimately took me to an article entitled "The AntiChrist and Mr. Obama". There has been much buzz about whether or not "The One" may or may not be "That One". And I'm not looking for the AntiChrist, but Christ. If you want to read the article for yourself, you can find it here.

In any case, there can be no disputing what the author had to say near the end of his article:

"...But whether Mr. Obama turns out to be the anti-Christ or not is really irrelevant to the Church. Our job in the short time we have left is to get ready to move to our new home. That means breaking our ties with the old one. Anything that can’t be put to kingdom use is excess baggage to us now. We should be sending whatever treasure we have up ahead. We should stop worrying about our career, our retirement fund, our lifestyle, and all those other worldly distractions and put all our resources to work for the benefit of our next life. After all it’s the real one. And one way or the other, this one is already gone."

I agree! And the Lord has been tapping me on the shoulder about this of late. This world is passing away. And the more it passes, the quicker the slide. It is time to put the worldly toys aside and send our treasure to Heaven, where we can enjoy our rewards forever!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Call For Help From a Brother In Christ

I'll let the link to all the talking. I will only add the following from the book of James:

"14     What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?
     15     If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,
     16     and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?
     17     Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself."

Spurgeon on Church Entertainment

“The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them...providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the church...the need is for Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt that it sets men aflame.”

Shai Linne On MML

I know of tons of area pastors who could learn something about preaching from this rapper. I'm remembering one pastor here who said that we must quit using words like "repentance" because "people don't understand what it means". Sad excuses. More likely, it is a case of being afraid of being "stigmatized" by using Biblical terms.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Message to a Lukewarm Church

The town I live in is not all that different from many others. We work, we play, we enjoy life. We go to church.

We have many churches in our town. At one time we were known for the number of churches here. And it is still a very religious town. We are Baptists, Methodists, Wesleyans, Independents as well as Nazarenes and others.

But in all my investigation I've yet to find a church here that does two vital things: Teach God's Word clearly and obey it. It's come to a point where I drive down a given street and when I see a church, it no longer represents to me what it should: a a place where people who know God meet together to worship God and, from there, go out to proclaim the Gospel. They are seeker sensitive, purpose driven messes that are more concerned with the pain of a splinter (felt need) than the bleeding jugular of a sinner.

We are enamored with ourselves, believing God is at work because we have increased our numbers by implementing human marketing devices and pop psychology to attain our goals rather than depend on God's Truth.

We have become social clubs that meet in buildings that look like church buildings and used to be inhabited by regenerate people. And it has been getting worse for a very long time.

In the past two years, in a search for a church home, this is what I've found:

*We have pastors who support "ministries" that support the use of porn in the name of "freeing from porn". To them, the Word of God is not sufficient and they make God to be a liar.

*We have pastors who lead "conservative" churches who have a problem confronting homosexuality in their own church. They fear man, and thus avoid exercising church discipline which was commanded by our Lord in Matthew 18.

*We have pastors who like to talk about evangelism but when push comes to shove, it's much ado about nothing. Call their bluff? They go silent behind the pulpit about evangelism, knowing that you are serious about it. And the Bible is nothing but a source text for topical messages in which you can rip a verse from its context to make it support your point. Thus, we mock our Lord's great commission and seek to make the Scriptures which were breathed to us by God subservient to our purposes.

Our churches here are full of people who look and act much like the world because, for the most part, they are among the unconverted of the world. Pastors and other church leaders cater to them in the name of keeping them there in order to have them hear, at some point, a gospel that has been truncated and toothless, devoid of any mention of sin and the need of repentance.

And what is the line offered by those who hear of these things? "No church is perfect."

True. And most churches are dead. And they are dead because they are led by men who fear man rather than God and refuse to represent God's Word unapologetically to dying people.

In summary, we pay lip service to Jesus Christ as Lord, but we refuse any claim He has to rule our lives.

I heard the following long ago. I ran across it again recently. I post it here as a warning to those who profess Christ yet see no urgent need to flee to God and seek holiness, "without which, no man shall see the Lord".


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Persecution or a Great Awakening" - Paul Washer

Michigan liberals attack Lansing congregation in the middle of Sunday worship

Just a head's up. It would seem our country is under a more immediate threat than we had imagined this past November 5th.

This report
is about a group terrorizing a church in Michigan. The church had done nothing. They were conducting a worship service. That's all.

I'm waiting for President-elect Obama to denounce this kind of thing.

Again, a warning. This is not a pleasant story. You'd think we were in a third world country the way people are choosing to act.

Just Another Clay Pot

I found this fascinating quote today:

"When God strips away illusions, He is doing us a great kindness. The process may be painful, because we tend to love the little dreams we've clung to. But the end result is something far better than any illusion could ever give."Betsy Markman, Just Another Clay Pot, Nov 2008

You should read the whole article.

An Analogy of Wilful Blindness

Ahhh yes! The frustration in trying to communicate simple Biblical truths to some. They come in many forms, even as "Contemporary Christians".

Here's an analogy:

Monday, November 10, 2008

On a Personal Note:

I'm so thankful that my weight has been dropping. My blood sugar levels are almost normal now, even without taking my glucotrol. 95 this morning.

I'm moving my weight tracking from here to FaceBook because it'll just be easier to deal with there. This is what it was as of this past Thursday (weigh day). I did gain a pound this past week but that sometimes happens for no particular reason:

285 (7/10)
280 (7/17)
275 (7/24)
274 (7/31)
271 (8/7)
269 (8/14)
267 (8/21)
260 (8/28)
258 (9/4)
255 (9/11)
253 (9/18)
253 (9/25)
252 (10/2)
250 (10/9)
245 (10/16)
245 (10/23)
242 (10/30)
243 (11/6)

So, every week now, I'll be posting my progress at facebook. I weigh in at 10am on

In any case, I want to thank those of you who have been praying for me. I needed to lose 100 pounds. I'm almost halfway there...and I started in July!



Just How Tightly Do You Cling to The Things of This World?

"And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death."
(Revelation 12:11)

Here we read a testimony of the great faithful believers of a day yet to come. This passage refers to saints of God who will endure persecution during the Tribulation that is to come. When it is, we don't know. But we know it is coming; we can be sure of it as if it has already happened!

Yet the tribulation they faced was nothing that could conquer them. It was by the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, applied in their lives, that gave them this power to over come. What Paul promised came to pass: "He that began a good work in you shall bring it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (my paraphrase, Phil. 1:6)

Believers overcome. And one mark of a true believer in Jesus Christ is death to self! Yet in our day, "Christianity" has become such a sloppy thing. Say a prayer, remember that you did it and trust in that like a tourist hangs on to a bus ticket. And whatever else you can distract yourself with while you wait for the bus to leave, so much the better!

Love of stuff. Love of self. Yet, Jesus said that we can't love both God and money. We can't serve two masters. And he also said that the gate is narrow and the way is narrow that leads to life! Still, so many imagine in futility that they can to through the narrow turnstyle of redemption with all their filthy luggage, love of self and love of this world and its toys. To the contrary! Jesus tells us that "If any man follow me...", in other words be converted, "...he must deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me!" Notice that He didn't say "You must be willing to...". No, the gate is much to narrow. To enter in, you must let go of the baggage and come alone.

Make no mistake about it; in Jesus' day when you saw someone carrying a cross, you knew one thing about that man -- he was going to die an ugly death. And one who would be His must die to self. You can only have one master.

If you have claimed Christ as your own, the Word gives you this mandate. To be His, you must die to everything but Him. The opinions of others, the things that this world calls valuable and even the greatest idol of all -- S-E-L-F! He and He alone must be supreme above all other things. But what is that in exchange for eternal life? Is that really a contest?

Our day is a day of rampant self-indulgence. Plain idolatry. Even the professing Church has decided that its focus is to find its "purpose". God is viewed as what has been referred to as a "Divine Butler" Who exists for our happiness and fulfillment. Gone is the Sovereign Lord of the Universe who rightly demands our obedience and worship! And do we ever tremble at the words of our Lord when He warns that He will turn away many who believe themselves to be His when He says to them "...depart from me, I never knew you...!" (Matt. 7:21ff). These were people who professed faith in Christ -- but Jesus referred to them as "you who practice lawlessness". Literally "...those of you who acted as if I never gave you the law!"

Our evangelism no longer speaks of sin and the need of repentance. The cry is "it's our lexicon! We must change our vocabulary!" No, we want to avoid the scandal of the cross and the Gospel. We don't want to face ridicule when the Bible says that we will most definitely face it if we " to live a godly life in this present world." When we do this, we are worshiping at the altar of S-E-L-F!

If this be true for any of us, we are must assuredly failing to demonstrate that we love not our own lives unto death.

The question then becomes "Before the Lord, can there be a valid sacrifice if there is nothing on the altar?" And according to the words of our Lord, if there be no death on our part can there be real life of God in us.

The days are short. They are getting shorter. And that cries out to us that temporal things -- even our very lives -- should be counted as refuse to us compared to the value of our Lord.

May we be found faithful as the dear saints in Revelation 12. And that is my prayer for you as well.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Yes Lord, May You Save Us!

From Apprising Ministries. Here's an excerpt:

"There’s a new movie buzz among evangelicals. It’s been several hours since the last one so it’s about time. This time it’s a Christian movie about…how bad and stupid Christians are and how we need to change everything because we all look like Fred Phelps. Got that?

And the producers are “just trying to start a conversation…” as they use half-truths and movie manipulation to do it. This film uses some great Third Reich movie demonization techniques to make Christians look as reprehensible as possible. The Christian Problem. Hmmm. Something must be done about that. (Online source)"

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Now, THIS Will Make Me Famous!

If you're the braver sort and you really want to finally see me "face to face", give the following a look. Another good reason might be for the evangelism idea that I've been using. By the way, I forgot to mention that the tract I show you in the video is from LivingWaters. Good stuff. Every time.

Friday, November 07, 2008

A New Reason for Facebook

It was a few months ago (July, I think) that I joined facebook. Not a big deal to most people, I guess. It's just a great way to connect with others with common interest. And it seems to be a better site than myspace.

Today, we started a new group with the long name of "Let's Pray that Obama Comes to a Saving Knowlege of Jesus Christ". Yup. Long title but that's ok.

It was started for two reasons. First because we are told to pray for our leaders. That includes Obama, regardless of how you or I feel about him. And I'll say I did not vote for him and leave it at that. In any event, it is a simple issue of obedience to pray for him. And obedience to God glorifies Him.

I also started the group because I was getting so tired of seeing references to other groups such as "Fly the flag upside down", which urges facebook users to use the flag icon to express national distress. I make the connection to Obama because I've seen those who would profess to be Christians connect it to his election. No mention of prayer, no mention of "we don't like this but let's trust God". No. Just all the hand-wringing of unbelief. The endless "sky is falling because our nation is in danger" stuff.

I'm not denying that our nation is in danger, but I've already gone on record why it doesn't phase me and has no eternal consequence other than test our faith. Yes, I love my country but I vote and do whatever else I can then I leave everything else to the Lord. I believe in the sovereignty of God. I believe that there are absolutely no random molecules anywhere in the universe. God has everything the way He has planned it. And when it starts to get on my nerves, I repent and return to the idea that faith glorifies God more than fear. And honestly, it usually works. No sarcasm intended.

Naturally, there is a level of anxiety that comes with a newly elected leader who does not support our Christian worldview. But that is no reason to stay there. As Paul told Timothy, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and a sound mind" (my paraphrase).

I would apply that verse to Obama in this way: We need to pray in the power of the Scriptures and God's Spirit, with a sound mind grounded in the Word to show love for the one whom we strongly disagree with on abortion, gay marriage and other issues. And we care enough about him to not want him to be lost in hell forever, regardless of how much we don't like what he stands for.

He is, after all, to be our next president and we are to pray for our leaders.

Another thing I've noticed -- groups on facebook centered on prayer that "God would give the grace to Obama to become pro-life". Well, that would be nice, but let's see him soundly saved first, ok?

So, if you have a facebook account and know your way around, look for the new group started up today. I'm not sure I'll be posting much there. It's more of a prayer and discussion board about issues to pray for about Obama. Again, do a groups search for "Let's Pray that Obama Comes to a Saving Knowlege of Jesus Christ".

Why don't you do it? Mike Ratliff joined it, so you know it's just gotta be cool!



Thursday, November 06, 2008

What Now?

From Mike Ratliff at Possessing the Treasure:

"I have been in a state of mourning since the Democratic Primaries came down to only two candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama. I had little confidence in any of the Republican contenders after Ron Paul dropped out. I was not sure for a while what really triggered this mourning. It was as I realized that this coincided very dramatically with the drastic decline in the Christian worldview in our time that God has taken His hand of protection away from this country. Judgment is coming.

A careful reading of the book of Judges in the Old Testament makes it clear that it is God who raises up and takes down leaders. God uses evil or unrighteous judges and leaders to bring His righteous judgment to bear on a people. With the victory of Barak Obama yesterday all of the dread about what would happen to this country if an ultra-liberal came to power seems about to become reality. Count on it that this man will appoint unrighteous Supreme Court justices. He will lubricate things so that liberal legislation will become law like the Freedom of Choice Act. Preaching or teaching God’s moral truth will be considered a hate crime.

What now? What are we to do who belong to the Lamb of God? We must remain in a state of mourning for this country. We must never stop praying for the repentance of those who are in darkness. We must pray for the salvation of Barak Obama. We must pray that God will curb the evil that is planned by him and his supporters. We must also pray for each other that we will be strong in the Lord, bold in Him, as we stand firm and trust that we are in God’s hands.

I am convinced that what is coming will cleanse the Church. What should our role be in a time like this?"

Is your Faith Christian or Just MTD?

From Lane Chaplin's blog, here is a post that is very worthy of your time:

"Many of you have read the posts I've put up lately claiming that we're dealing with another religion and not Christianity in regard to what the "seeker" movement puts forth. I believe that a man named Christian Smith has finally given an accurate name to the beast: "Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism."

In the article that I'm going to link to at the bottom of this post, he lays out the basic five aspects of this religion.:

  • A God exists who created and orders the world and watches over human life on earth.
  • God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
  • The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
  • God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when he is needed to resolve a problem.
  • Good people go to heaven when they die.

I believe that points 1 and 2 can be debated as to being Christian doctrine. They certainly are truths, but they are half-truths, and, as Mark Kielar says, "A half truth being presented as a whole truth is a complete untruth." I believe that God is active in the affairs of life on earth and not merely sitting back watching as indicated in point 1. I also believe that point 2 is in error in that we can be "good, nice, and fair" to each other without ever believing in Jesus Christ and "loving our neighbors as ourselves and loving God with all our hearts" as Christ commands. I know professing atheists who are very "good, nice, and fair", but obviously I don't know a professing atheist who is saved from God's wrath that is to come. Look closely at points 3, 4, and 5, though, and you will see that these points are antithetical to what Christianity is.

Point 3: "The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself."
This point is basically at the heart of all the fads, all the books, all the programs, all the lectures, all the legalism, and all the twisting of Scripture that is permeating much of this religion of "seekerism". The basic problem is this: An focus on self and a focus off of God unless God fits into the focus we have of ourselves. It's humanistic in its core. Sadly, though, this religion holds that this is the chief end of man (for God to glorify ourselves) whereas the great confessions of the past such as the Westminster Shorter Catechism hold that "Man's chief end is to glorify God, [a] and to enjoy him for ever. [b]"
[a]. Ps. 86:9; Isa. 60:21; Rom. 11:36; I Cor. 6:20; 10:31; Rev. 4:11
[b]. Ps. 16:5-11; 144:15; Isa. 12:2; Luke 2:10; Phil. 4:4; Rev. 21:3-4

Point 4: "God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when he is needed to resolve a problem."
This is also antithetical to what the Bible plainly teaches. We need God for everything. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." (Jas 1:17) If we hold that we need God only when bad things happen, then there is no way to get around the fact that we believe that we are capable of doing good apart from Him and His graces. This is a classical theological term known as Pelagianism. What you need to know about Pelagianism for this post is that Pelagianism teaches that man is basically good apart from God's grace, and Christianity teaches that man is wicked apart from God's grace. ("We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away." (Isa 64:6))

Point 5: "Good people go to heaven when they die."
In a sense, this statement is correct. If we've kept the law without offending it in even one point (James 2:10) and if there's no such thing as imputed sin from Adam (Rom. 5), we're good enough to go to heaven on our own. The problem is, though, that "all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God" (Rom. 3:23) and original sin is taught in the Bible (Rom. 5). If that wasn't proof enough that by our own "righteousness" we can't make it to heaven, you can just ask the Apostle Paul himself: Paul, is there any righteous enough to make it to heaven? "There is none righteous." Paul, are you sure? Do you hold that there's not even one person that's righteous? "No, not one." (Rom. 3:10)

So now we've effectively proven that the 5 points of Moralistic, Therapeutic, Deism, are not only not taught in Scripture, they are the antithesis of Scripture. Yet this MTD is basically what is taught in the "seeker" movement today. For those of you that are familiar with the "seeker" movement, think for a second about the types of verses that are normally quoted by the leaders in this movement; are not the verses they usually quote, even if the verses are quoted out of context, in some sense formalizing to these 5 points that are listed above? Are not the verses that they omit quoting and actually rail against quoting often because of "their bad experience with fundamental churches as a child" opposed to the 5 points that are listed above? It's something to definitely think about, but I am convinced that Christian Smith has nailed it. It's another religion folks, and now, we have a name to call the beast."

James White: An Apologist's Thoughts on the 2008 Election

A Familiar Can of Worms

This past October 23rd, I posted this article regarding Christians and Political Activism. It was a few days later I posted this follow-up.

Now, I'm thankful to Phil Johnson at TeamPyro for this post.

I'll not say anything further in this post regarding this subject. I've got too many ideas bubbling around in my skull and it'd come out a mish-mash. So, I'll add them later. But do take the time to read Phil's blog entry.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Atheist Central -- Ray Comfort's Blog

For those of you who are interested, please check this blog out. Lots of good posts and "discussion" going on there.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Election in Biblical Perspective

Found this as a forum post at the School of Biblical Evangelism. I think it puts the November 4th election in proper perspective:

"Whatever happens Americans should pray for their leaders. Paul wrote to Timothy saying, "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" [emphasis mine]. So also we should pray for our leaders, appointed by God, and given power to govern, so that we might live peacefully.

I read this morning this list of 10 Predictions No Matter Who Wins the Election:
1. The Bible will still have all the answers
2. Prayer will still work
3. The Holy Spirit will still move
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching
6. There will still be singing of praise to God
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people
8. There will still be room at the Cross
9. Jesus will still love you
10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him"

I did a google and found what may be the original post.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Rick Warren: Martin Luther was Wrong!

From Ken Silva at Apprising Ministries:

"Martin Luther, arguably the father of the Protestant Reformation:

The negotiation about doctrinal agreement displeases me altogether, for this is utterly impossible unless the pope has his papacy abolished. Therefore avoid and flee those who seek the middle of the road. Think of me after I am dead and such middle-of-the-road men arise, for nothing good will come of it. There can be no compromise.
(What Luther Says, II: 1019, as cited at Online source)

My dear pope, I will kiss your feet and acknowledge you as supreme bishop if you will worship my Christ and grant that through His death and resurrection, not through keeping your traditions, we have forgiveness of sins and life eternal. If you will yield on this point, I shall not take away your crown and power; if not, I shall constantly cry out that you are the Antichrist, and I shall testify that your whole cult and religion are only a denial of God, but also the height of blasphemy against God and idolatry. (ibid.)

Rick Warren, working for a second reformation of “deeds not creeds”:

“I see absolutely zero reason in separating my fellowship from anybody” (Online source).

“Now I don’t agree with everything in everybody’s denomination, including my own. I don’t agree with everything that Catholics do or Pentecostals do, but what binds us together is so much stronger than what divides us,” he said. “I really do feel that these people are brothers and sisters in God’s family. I am looking to build bridges with the Orthodox Church, looking to build bridges with the Catholic Church,….”
(Online source, emphasis mine)

“The Church, in all its expressions—Catholic, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Protestant and many others—has 2.3 billion followers.” (Online source, emphasis mine)"