Tuesday, August 30, 2005
By the way, I am concerned when churches share the worship of God with the symbol of the nation. I really don't think the flag has any business among the ecclesia. Also, let me just remind everyone of something that is related but not the same subject: when we continue to vote for the same people and get the same results, but we are expecting different ones, isn't that the definition of insanity? I am not a political activist, but I did promote a man that I thought would govern righteously in the past election, Michael Peroutka (Constitution Party). I know, I hear it now. Many are saying to themselves, "He didn't even have a chance." Maybe not, but a vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil. The words of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson ring in my ears, "Duties belong to man; outcomes belong to God".
When Dr. Bahnsen used this as evidence for God, Dr. Stein simply said he couldn't do so. When he then threw in the transcendental argument, you really have to wonder what Dr Stein was thinking at that moment, because it truly seems that he did not see that one coming and had never heard of such an argument. I really do become amazed at the depths that men will go to suppress the simple truth that there is a God. Whether they choose to believe in the God of the Bible or the god of Islam or whatever religion you can name. The fact is there is a God who created. When we walk into a elegantly built facility with computers, lighting, air-conditioning, carpeting and fancy trim throughout, do we think that those things sprang from nature? Do we immediately think, "What amazing things have come from mother earth!"? No. We might marvel at certain things and ask the question, "Who made this?" or "Who came up with this idea?" or "The person who made that has incredible talent". I do believe that the things around us, including ourselves and the incredible intricacies of the human body demonstrate that there is a God. From there we must understand exactly what God is like and who is the true God. I believe we can move on to the more difficult things, when man first acknowledges the existence of God.
However, I am equally amazed at believers who use this line of thinking to bolster their claim of the free-will of man in salvation. The argument goes something like this: "If men will respond to the light God gives them (creation), then He will give them more light (the gospel)". This came up in a discussion with a friend. This particular friend proceeded to tell me that there will be people in heaven who have never heard the gospel, but do believe God. They proceeded to inform me that Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him as righteousness. I responded with yes it was. But that's not all, what did he believe God about was my reply. Did he simply believe God was and that was it? No. He believed the gospel of Jesus Christ. This person responded with a clear denial that there was a gospel back then. Since I was in the process of teaching through Genesis in church, I gently reminded this person that Abraham did have the gospel preached to them. Galatians 3:8-9 say very clearly, "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed. So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham." This person proceeded to not proceed but was clearly upset that I had pointed this out to them.
I say that to say this. No one can be saved be a recognition of God as Creator. There are many people who do not hold the truth concerning the Creator as far down as some. However, the fact that we acknowledge that there is a Creator and that His wondrous works declare His glory, does not save us. It can only damn us. It can only cause us to see that we are responsible before Him for all our thoughts, words, and deeds, but it cannot save us. Only Christ can save us and the method for which He brings deliverance to the sinful stone cold heart of man is through the simple and foolish (from the world's point of view) method of preaching the gospel. We must be wise and knowledgable as Christians, but we must also be simple. We must be those who do not allow our attention to be drawn to good things, and end up forfeiting those simple and wonderful truths concerning Christ and His gospel. May God grant us perseverance in the proclamation of the saving gospel til our dying day or until Christ returns for us. Amen.
This will be brief.........The sign says, "The soul with no Sunday becomes an orphan."
I welcome your insights. What in the world this is supposed to mean, I haven't a clue.
Well in just a short time we have received a van. Yes, we will be keeping the Chevy Venture. This will make short errands where everyone is not tagging along a little easier. However, when the new addition arrives and on trips this van will be great for the family. There is plenty of seating. On the way home each of the kids wanted to ride with me in "the new big blue van". Each of them had a seat. Caleb sat with me in front, then the first bench seat was occupied by Dakota, then Tabitha, then Tori and finally Hannah (Peanut) in the rear. It will be difficult to get used to, but hopefully will serve a good purpose. It does have cruise control, which is a plus. It is also a 1 ton capacity van with towing package, so we will be able to pull many people and possibly a camper or boat in the future.
So we give thanks to God that He provided so quickly. Though we were hoping for it to cost us nothing, it actually was fairly inexpensive and to top that off we received about $1300.oo from out of nowhere, but of course we must realize the providence of God in holding that back in order that we might praise Him for His provision.
Yes it does say Cleveland County Family YMCA. Actually it's a good thing. Now when people ask if all those are our kids, we can just point to the sign. I'm kidding. Whenever that question comes up it is the greatest opportunity we have to present them with the reason for each of our blessings and to spread the gospel of our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ and glorify Him in doing so. If you happen to read this, one thing the van does not have at the moment is A/C. It has the capacity, but seems to not blow cold air. I will be attempting to work on that this weekend, so I ask for your prayers in my endeavors that the Lord Would guide me to good info on the web in checking the A/C system and getting it fixed.
Sola Deo Gloria
Again, think with me, what does this mean? It could mean at least 10 things that I named off to my wife the other night to 10 different people professing to be Christians. It could mean and infinite number of things to those who do not profess Christ. Some may object at this point and say, "Well, it's what the person who put it up intended." While that might be true, the person did put it up for the public to view and without a context in which to put it. When we utilize hermeneutics, we do so from a context, not from a vacuum. Therefore, some of the things I thought of were the following:
(1) Those who would be disposed to the prosperity gospel might look and say, "Yes Jesus, I do want that Cadillac", or "Yes Jesus I do want that big house".
(2) Those who might follow a health gospel might look and say, "Yes Jesus, I do want a healthy body", or "Yes Jesus, I do want this cancer gone in your name".
(3) Those who might hold to a positive thinking doctrine might look and say, "Yes Jesus, I will think positive thoughts today", or "Yes Jesus, I will not think negative thoughts today".
(4) The Arminian might look and say, "Yes Jesus, I will exercise my free will today". Sorry, I couldn't help it, but you know it's true.
(5) The Reformed person would look and say, "Yes Jesus, I need your help today and apart from you I am completely undone."
There are others that I might sight, but you get the point. Saying Yes to Jesus could mean many different things and totally different than what the church intended to put up. In my opinion this is what makes these signs such a scandal, but people like how clever they sound, don't they.
I have an idea for a sign, let me know what you think. "God is a just judge and He is angry with wicked men everyday. God is devising his instruments of men's judgments. He is preparing His sword, His bow, His fiery arrows and is waiting to judge men and while He is doing that man continues to dig a pit for himself into which he will fall and be judged by God. But there is good news. A Savior has come who has taken the sword through His own heart, felt the sting of the fiery arrows from God's bow and did it on behalf of those who trust in Him. Therefore repent of your sins, plead for mercy from Christ and seek Him while He may be found, lest you are buried in judgment, from which there will be no escape."
OK, I know it's a little long, but I wonder if that might get someone's attention. This only means that I'll have to call my friend Jerry Johnson and order a huge sign to put it on. He will be happy:) In case you are wondering, a portion is taken from Psalm 7.
Monday, August 29, 2005
I snapped this photo on the way home last week. I haven't been able to post and so finally, a week later, I am able to post. This comes from a four square gospel church. The sign reads, "Come out of the heat, the church is cool." Now if this showed up on a Reformed Baptist Church sign, which I don't think it would, then I might be inclined to believe that it really had something to do with the air conditioning. However, I want to ask a few questions: (1) What did the church mean by putting it up? (2) What do Christians think it means? (3) What do people who are unregenerate think it means?
I am sure that someone was just being clever in the church and once it was up the pastors, in this case a husband and wife (I know, it's unbiblical, but I'm not addressing that here), probably saw it and thought it was great that someone actually took the time to put the sign up and thought it neat. Many words were probably spoken about the sign as well and people might have gotten a smile from it. However, I do believe in the modern era, that the church would want itself to be cool. I'm not talking about an air conditioning issue, I'm talking about a Fonzie-Happy Days issue. Too many churches desire to be considered "cool" by the world's standards. They take the passage from Paul, "to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22)" We see that with the whole Purpose Driven Church movement and with the diminishment of doctrine and the increase of services that are simply for entertainment (singings, puppets, drama, etc.). While many may have good intentions, we all know what those are: good intentions, and the path to Hell is paved with them.
As a Christiain, I simply chuckle, but deep inside I am grived that churches think this is somehow clever. They take the incredible treasure that they have been given, the incredible title that they hold (the bride of Christ), and the holy God of the Scripture and His Son Jesus Christ and put that message on a sign in such a way that it diminishes the beauty of the holiness of God and the value of His truth. The church is made to look somewhat like a harlot rather than a spotless bride as she tries to give a siren call to those outside the church and lure them in by appealing to their flesh. The call for air conditioning is an appeal to the flesh and the call for a "cool" social club is as well. Jesus never did these things but always spoke of a cost involved in following Him. He was one who did not look to appeal to the flesh with how cool He was or how cool His followers would be. Rather, He constantly warned those who would follow Him that it could cost them their lives because of how un-cool the world would view them. Christians should never promote the idea of being cool in following Christ. Christianity is not that which puffs us up, but which, when properly understood, should humble us before God and men.
What do the unregenerate think of the sign? Well, I can't tell you that, but I imagine that they really don't pay it much attention. They may not even realize what is going on or they may simply see it with the air conditioning interpretation. Either way, I don't get the idea that the man apart from Christ will come to the church because of air conditioning. Nor do I think they will think it is cool to come to church, unless of course he hears that the latest Christian rock band is playing and there will be a bikini clad woman and a corvette raffeled off at the next bingo game. Needless to say, we should really consider what we are putting out to the world when these signs are posted. May God grant wisdom to those who do to refrain from such things.
I thought I would add one last thing: it is ironic that a message speaking about the church being cool is posted by a church named "Faith Ablaze".
Monday, August 22, 2005
Have you ever wondered who came up with those sign slogans that you see on church signs? I often scoff because of the lack of serious dealing with any of the subject matter that is posted. We’ve all seen them. How many of us have actually thought about what they say? I know, I know. Most of the time there isn’t much to think about, but in reality what is said will influence a lot of people’s thinking. Remember that at it’s core that sign is an advertisement. Since the church is to be the pillar of the truth, should those signs not bear out sober-minded truth?
I have for a long time determined that if I started a blog, that I would make church signs one of those little areas that I would speak to. I am virtually all over North Carolina, but predominately in Charlotte and I see a ton of these signs. Well, maybe not a ton, but I see a lot. I’m sure you do too. So, with that in mind, my pda camera by my side, I am on a quest to get pictures of signs and post……..hopefully tonight. By the way, if you have pics and would like me to comment on them, you can email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
We received the news last week that we are expecting again. This will be our 7th child. We have 2 boys and 4 girls. We are thoroughly blessed and sometimes it seems that the walls will fall in for all of the business of the house, yet God holds it together. We are often asked, as many of our large family friends and homeschool families (wait, they are one in the same aren't they?) know by those who see us together: Are you guys Catholic? Mormon? I do have to chuckle a bit. Instead of waiting for someone to ask us, "Don't you know how that happens?", we have often laughed about how we should approach people who look at us funny and only have one child with them and ask them the same thing: "Aw, you only have one.......don't you know how this works?" But I confess that without knowing someone's particular situation I might offend someone who would like to have more children but just have not. Once upon a time we would have been given no more than a passing notice. To have a large family would have been no big deal. However, what strikes me is even among the "people of God" we are often mocked and made fun of and looked at like we have 3 heads or something. My simple question always comes down to, "Do you believe what the Bible says about children and do you believe that God is truly the giver of life?" If you believe those things, then why do we fall into the trap that the world lives in? Why do we want to restrict the blessings of God in favor of the curses? Is it because in many cases people don't believe the Word of God? Maybe, or maybe its because they've never been challenged to think about what the Word says and then contemplate the implications of it.
Let me illustrate: I know many people in the pro-life movement who do all kinds of political activism and work with numerous organizations in aiding young women who are pregnant. I applaud their efforts. However, many of these same people do not have any problem using birth control pills which do have abortion potential. They do not have any problem in using condoms (talk about unnatural) in order that they may experience the pleasure of a sexual relationship without the intended consequence that God designed in the sexual relationship: children. Now it is true that not every married couple will produce children, even apart from birth control, but the Scriptures ask the question, " Why did God make the two, one flesh?" Answer: "He wanted a godly seed." We will recall the command to Adam and then again commanded to Noah that they should be fruitful and multiply. Ultimately does this not go to the issue of the gospel? That command ultimately led to the birth of Christ. We are to fill the earth with the knowledge of God as proclaimed in His gospel. I certainly can't do it alone. God grants us the wonderful means of children that we have the incredible privilege of evangelizing in order that just maybe God may see fit to take them to the utter most parts of the globe and declare His glory to the people of the world.
While I personally have a bigger vision that lasts far longer than my brief vapor of time here on earth I am also confronted with the fact that we are running out of space in our Chevy Venture. Our van seats 8. However with number 9 coming sometime around April, Lord willing, we will need a bigger van. Unfortunately, we really don't have the money. We were planning on paying the Venture off in 2006. My wife looked at me today, as I had been looking at vans, of which there are not many to be found, and said, "The Lord will take care of it, ye of little faith." Now my wife did not say it in a mean tone. She is the sweetest woman on the planet. She simply said it in an encouraging manner. However, it stopped me. I had for a moment taken my eyes off of the fact that my Father can provide a vehicle for us as easily as He provides our finances, our breath, our home, or anything else He has provided. So there I was in need of serious repentence, because though I could trust Him with all these kids we have, my trust failed to be upon him for such a thing as a piece of metal and 4 wheels. Oh that God would keep me ever so humble that I might always be dependent upon Him for ALL things.
We are currently going through Daniel in our Sunday School time and Matthew's gospel after. Today was extremely interesting in light of the numerous attempts I have made in order to understand the Roman Catholic position in regards to the Papacy. Though I was already at this conclusion previously, it was extremely informative to hear from a fellow elder his reasoning for understanding the distinction of petra and petros. The fact that Jesus refers to "this rock" and it is upon "this" rock that he will build His church seems to be so clearly referring to the truth that was just spoken. It is amazing that throughout the New Testament we find that both Christ and the Scriptures are spoken of as being the foundation. We are told in Ephesians that the foundation is the prophets and apostles. These are clearly the Scritpures of the Old and New Testaments, but the are also the embodiment of the eternal Word, the Lord Jesus. For Christ Himself says that the Scriptures speak of Him. So when we speak of the foundation, the Scriptures are virtually synonymous with Jesus Christ.
Christ is also spoken of as the chief cornerstone and in building, the cornerstone is the first stone laid. Therefore, if it is off in anyway, the entire building will be off. However, we noticed that Peter, is considered a small stone or even part of a stone. He is not the cornerstone, nor does he consider himself to be a bigger stone than all of the other stones. Rather in 1 Peter 2:5 he indicates that those who have been place into the spiritual house of God are indeed stones (lithos-small stones). What was once viewed as a physical building, the temple, is now a reality, the church. This is not for the church to glory in, but rather we are so graced by God that we reflect the wonderful glory of God. We indeed become the temple of the Holy Spirit and that by a work of God's grace.
Peter was not the only one given those keys to the kingdom in Matthew 16. We were exhorted today not to jump to quick conclusions. It is obvious that Jesus directly addressed Peter, but to say that He only had Peter in mind is to miss what follows shortly after. For in Matthew 18 Jesus clearly indicates that the church as a whole has this authority of binding and loosing and though we often (at least reformed people) speak of Matthew 18 in the context of church discipline, let us remember that church discipline only results from sin that arises between brothers who cannot effectively bring about repentance. So from the bottom up, we are those who have been given the keys of the kingdom. This is not only for the spiritually elite but also applies to the least of us who are sinners that have been graced by God.
I guess I wonder what Peter might think about his exaltation in the Roman church. I wonder what Mary would think likewise. What about the other apostles and other saints that Rome has exalted? How their hearts would break and they would cry out if they knew what was going on in that system. Even more, what does God think of such man worship? He was very clear when He said that we should not have any other gods before Him. He left no room for others to obstruct the view of Him. He left no room for the whole dulia-latria scenario we see being played out in Rome. Though some would argue and protest that they are not worshipping these saints, what in reality is going on? If someone murders someone in cold blood and then claims that they were really giving that person life, should we believe what they say they were doing, or should we believe what they were doing?
Father, thank you for your grace and the foundation of the Scriptures. Thank you for Jesus Christ my Savior and my Lord. Thank you for revealing to my heart and mind the same truth you revealed to Peter. May you grant the same revelation to those caught in the Roman system and may like my forefathers you set them free from the bondage of sin they are in. Amen.
So there..........I am resolved:)
Sunday, August 07, 2005
By the way, arn’t you grateful, that there’s hope? Listen to me carefully, its important we understand this convention. There’s hope for everyone in Jesus. Everyone. Everyone. Not a select group. Everyone.
Someone says, ‘Pastor you believe that you’re the elect?’ I sure am. Everybody that gets in is the elect; and he’s elected all of us. I believe everyone can be saved. Anyone can come to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Someone said, “I don’t think you ought to preach like that.” Well, I just hope no one gets saved that’s not supposed to.
I’m serious. We better get away from that and get back to the book and invite everyone to come to Christ! Just preach it! Invite everybody! Tell everyone!
Now I don' know about you, but isn't it a strange thing when you have to speak loudly to make your point? I am by no means saying that we cannot emphasize our points by raising the level of our voice, but the fact of the matter is that Mr. Hunt did not reference the Scripture at all at this point. Not only that, what is he actually saying? I know that Mr. Hunt is not a Universalist, yet he says, "Everybody that gets in is the elect; and he’s elected all of us." By everybody that gets in, I assume he means that everyone that comes to faith in Christ, they are the elect. I have not problem with that at all for that is biblical. Jesus said as much in John 6. However, it is only the elect that come to faith in Christ. Mr. Hunt adds that Christ has elected all of us. Now, if Hunt is addressing all Christians the way the apostle Peter did in 2 Peter 3:9, then his statement would be true. However, he is using it in the context of getting rid of a theology that teaches that God redeems only those who are his elect and leaves some sinners to face the consequences of their sin. If consistent, wouldn't Mr. Hunt understand that he is contradicting himself in the same sentence?
I might ask upon what basis is he doing this? I have heard that he was scolded by Adrian Rogers once for even wanting to give Calvinism a fair hearing. Whether this is true or not I do not know. However, knowing Dr. Rogers' views of Calvinism (actually a straw man view of Calvinism), I see that so many in the SBC will follow Dr. Rogers' thinking without seriously considering what the truth is concerning the doctrines of grace. Is it possible that many of these men love the applause of men, rather than the approval of God? It is possible. Why we face the same thing every day. My desire is not to condemn them for what they are speaking, but to plead with them to repent either of their ignorance of the truth, or to repent of their blatant misrepresentation of the doctrines and those who hold to them.
Mr. Hunt continues on to say that we should, "invite everyone to come to Christ! Just preach it! Invite everybody! Tell everyone!" I could not agree more! We should, for we have been commanded by our Lord to do so. That does not however mean that all men can come to Christ. The preaching of the gospel is to be a sweet incense in the nostrils of God and of the elect. But to those who are perishing, it is the smell of death. Therefore, we must remember that our primary audience is God. God loves to smell the fragrance of the gospel and His people love it too. Therefore, let us not jump on the bandwagon of becoming charasmatic in our preaching without being biblically accurate.
It seems though, that Hunt was not the only one promoting such false statements. Jerry Falwell also spoke such an untruth in his statements about what Baptists believe. I have a great respect for Jerry Falwell in that he is a man who puts his money where his mouth is in regards to things that he has spoken about. When the man speaks against abortion, he uses his own home and money to house young women and care for them so that they won't abort babies. He does have a great reputation. However, when the man stands and says that Baptists don't believe in particular redemption, he simply is either ignorant (and willfully so), or has an agenda. You can hear Falwell's comments on James White's "The Dividing Line" here. Has Dr. Falwell ever heard of William Carey? C. H. Spurgeon? A. W. Pink? James Boice? Maybe it's because he has only been in the SBC for a short period of time that he would make such a statement. However, as a Baptist minister all these years you would think that Dr. Falwell would have familiarized himself with some of these great Baptist preachers.
Alas, another problem that will soon be rising to the top in the SBC. First it was the liberals, next it will be the Calvinists. The liberals were gotten rid of through political means, not biblical ones. They were forced out by being required to give money. While I applaud the stand that the leadership took agaisnt the liberals, I don't agree with their method. However, the money approach won't work with the Calvinists. No, the leadership is not interested in biblical dialogue and debate. They would rather shout down those who would stand on God's sovereign grace. I say this only because it is a sad thing that so much progress has taken place in the SBC to stop short of coming fully back from liberalism. May those in the SBC receive from God the grace that enables them to listen and repent of some of the above statements and glorify God.............as God.
In review of the new Amazing Grace DVD, I must say that it is an engaging expose of the doctrines of grace. I am happy that we have been able to become good friends with the writer of the script, Jerry Johnson, and have been able to serve many others across America by providing it to them. It is a good beginning for those who have questions concerning the doctrines of grace, or as they are commonly called, Calvinism. My prayer is that God will use the DVD series to enlighten His people to His truth. In reflecting on those doctrines, I am constantly amazed at how gracious and merciful God has been to me. I was the chief of sinners in many repsects and continue to see how I still am. For now my sin is not as blatant as it was, but rather God reveals the roots of my sin. Though my heart is converted, I am clearly seeing how we train our hearts in unrighteousness and often that trainging is hard to break. Therefore, God's grace is not something that I needed just once in the past, but it is something that must take hold of me every moment of the day. For if God does not correct me and discipline me, then it is clear evidence from Scripture that He does not love me with a redeeming love. Yet, I know my Father loves me, for He does chasten me as I do my sons and daughters because I love them. Therefore, I lift my hands to Him in praise and adoration of His incredible and amazing grace that not only is able to save me, but is able to break the bonds and chains of sin in my heart and completely set me free from the presence of sin in the life to come. May He grant it for His glory. Amen.