Wednesday, September 01, 2010


The view and priority of the Word of God for many Christians was tested last week; as the 'net and the airwaves were abuzz with the question of whether or not Christians should join conservative television personality and professed mormon, Glenn Beck, at his "Restoring Honor" rally in Washington. D.C. last Saturday.

For the record, I was completely opposed to any Christian participation in this event. Beck, himself, said this was to be a "spiritual" revival. That along with the blasphemous joining in "prayer" by mormons, muslims and Christians at his other public rallies, made it impossible for me to be a part of this unholy alliance. I cited II Corinthians 6:14 and Amos 3:3 among the many Scriptural admonitions to have no part in any such denial of the one true God, Yahweh.

What I'm finding so frustrating about the Christians who cheered and attended this event is their rationalizing and minimizing the clear teaching of Scripture. Truly, it is their dismissing of its clear teaching. II Corinthians 6:14, Amos 3:3, etc. are quite plain. What amount of human wisdom and contemporary contextualizing is sufficient to trump the holy wisdom of God? He said not to, period. End of contemplation. Why is that so difficult to understand?

I Corinthians 10:6 explains that the things that happened to the Old Testament saints were for our example and instruction. Have we forgotten Sarah's "helpful idea" to have Hagar for a surrogate? Have we forgotten that King Saul had his kingdom taken because he disobeyed Samuel's instructions? Have we forgotten that Uzzah was struck down for touching the ark?

No, I mean NO, amount of "good" (even the salvation of some of those in attendance/watching) ameliorates the fact the God was disobeyed in this activity and it will reflect.

I heard many say that God was glorified and was pleased with this rally. Why, because His name was mentioned? I would be very interested to know if the Gospel of Jesus Christ was publicly proclaimed. Did anyone have the gumption to proclaim that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way of salvation; to the exclusion of all others. Was salvation by GRACE ALONE, through FAITH ALONE, in JESUS ALONE, to the glory of GOD ALONE proclaimed to the mormon host, his brethren and a watching world?

I also wonder, how many of the Christians who attended this rally were vehemently opposed to participating in the "Million Man March"(of course, that even was predominantly a CP production; however, I found myself debating with a good number of CP's over this rally)? What were their reasons for not participating in that interfaith event? Could it be because the leader, Louis Farrakhan, is a muslim? Could it be because the muslim god is not the God of Christianity? But isn't the mormon god different than the God of Christianity? In fact was not the mormon god once a man who attained godhood?

Could it be that the Jesus of islam is different from the Jesus of Christianity? Could it be because the muslim jesus is only a prophet and not God incarnate? But isn't the mormon jesus different from the Jesus of Christianity? In fact, isn't the mormon jesus just satan's little, nicer brother and the literal son of a god and his wife?

I know, I know Farrakhan is overtly muslim (not really, the Nation of Islam is not orthodox muslim). Beck doesn't emphasize his mormonism. And that is with good reason. It would definitely hinder their assimilation if everybody knew that according to mormon founder, Joseph Smith's First Vision, God said that the churches of Christendom "were all wrong"; that "all their creeds were an abomination", and that Christian ministers "were all corrupt" (from One Nation Under gods" by Richard Abanes, p377; quoting Joseph Smith, Pearl of Great Price; Joseph Smith-History 1:19)

It might strain relations between us if Christians knew that mormons "have repeatedly confirmed that their church is the 'only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth' and that ' the power of God unto salvation-(Romans 1:16) is ABSENT from all but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints'" (from One Nation Under gods" by Richard Abanes, p378; quoting Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine p.9).

It seems to me there are just as many reasons not to join up with Beck as there were not to join up with Farrakhan. I guess Beck and the mormons are just a bit more subtle. Hey . . . wasn't that the key characteristic of the serpent in the Garden of Eden?

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!! (Acts 17:3)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

I Think I May Be On to Something . . .

I don't read signs into everything that happens; but I do find a tasty bit of serendipity in an article I just read two days ago. If you have been following along, my first post of this year was entitled, "2010: The Year of Thinking Biblically". Most recently, have posted, "The Tyranny of Our Emotions". Well, the wise men (and ladies) over at Modern Reformation magazine obviously have been thinking along the same lines I have. They have published a powerful article by Charlie Mallie who hits one out of the park on this very important subject.

Since I barely scratched the surface of the problem of the need for Biblical literacy and commitment; I thought I owed it to my readers to add more meat to the bones. So please dig in to this article and be armed for the Year of Thinking Biblically!!!

"Without the Word,
by Charlie Mallie

I can barely open my eyes this morning as I stumble out of my car into the pre-dawn mist and try to get my bearing. The wonderful aroma of freshly brewed coffee hits my senses and my body turns as if on autopilot. I reach for the door, tripping over the threshold as I step into the soft light and the morning sounds of beans being ground and the espresso machine giving birth to that mysterious dark elixir. The birth pangs continue as ordinary milk is transformed into a magical delight added to the more superior of coffee possibilities. Dr. Rosenbladt once posited that coffee was an ontological argument for not only the existence of God but also that he wanted us to pay attention. I am in complete agreement. I order my usual "Vente Mocha, triple shot with whip."

"$3.87, Charlie. How's it going today?" a friendly voice offers.

"Mm," my words stick to the roof of my mouth like peanut butter. Plumbing the depths of my pocket I manage a "Good, thanks," as I hand John $4.12.

He looks utterly confused by my accounting, as if someone took a big monkey wrench and jammed it straight down into the gears of his mental machinery. He looks at the coins and then at the register and then at me. He tries to give back the change and says, "It's only $3.87." There's a bit of an uncomfortable pause.

"I know," I say, "but I need quarters for the meter," but still there's no understanding. It's pointless. In my mind a voice is yelling, "I'm not even going to think about what they didn't teach you in high school math." "Never mind, just keep it," I say, smiling.

I grab my beverage and walk over to the corner table and take a seat. As I take my first sip I think, "What if the world becomes like this?" More thoughts like these begin to swirl behind my eyes as I imagine a culture in which the ability to read becomes a lost art, math is treated like magic, and anyone who can make change at the cash register a modern magician. Can you imagine a world where doctors no longer have a competent grasp of human anatomy and physiology? Would you go under the knife knowing it was a gamble? How about a world where lawyers no longer understand the concept of justice? Wait--scratch that last one. Or what about a world where the church no longer bases its teachings on the Bible, or where Christians are completely ignorant of God's Word? It's that last thought that preoccupies the rest of my morning, and the issue that seems to be every solid pastor's challenge these days.

Some would argue that we're already there. I know, I've had those arguments with fellow pastors. I don't think that all is lost, not completely, not yet. Things may be bad, but I know some real oases in this wasteland of American Christianity, and for them I give thanks. I hope and pray that all of you reading this are at some such place, a bastion of orthodoxy of some sort. But I also realize that in surveying the landscape, things are not as well as they could be among the Christians in this country. Trying to find water in the desert is becoming more of a challenge.

As an adult convert I can say that my first hundred or so encounters with Christians or with various churches didn't impress me much. When I had courage enough to darken the doorway of some assembly, often I found the teachings shallow and gimmicky. There was so very little of the Word, if at all. I remember one mega-thon in Southern California where the "youth dude" was standing in for the main pastor one particular Sunday. When it came time to "do the Supper," he had us all bow our heads and "in our hearts intensely remember Jesus," and then he looked up and yelled, "Here's to Jesus," as if toasting the skylight with his little plastic cup filled with Welch's. That was the last church I walked out of with five-thousand-plus people watching. So began the years of my church fast--and my struggle to find genuine biblical Christianity, one that was saturated through and through with the Word of God.

It occurred to me back then (now over fifteen years ago) that the very aspect of what pulled me with great velocity out of those churches seems to be what draws so many others to them. The emphasis on marketing rather than teaching, offering choices, rather than calling for commitment, entertainment rather than substance flows like a chapter out of Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death. If you look at it from 40,000 feet, regardless of the individual manifestations of the malady, the source is always the same: a lack of teaching founded on the whole counsel of God or at the very least an inoculation against such teaching. Why, in some places, you can have solid biblical teaching and have it be rejected wholesale remains, for the most part, a mystery to me. The parable of the sower may offer some explanation with the seed that falls upon the side of the road.

How dangerous is it to have a church that isn't completely shaped by the Holy Word of God in doctrine and in practice? What's the big deal? Can't we just form a group of Christians based on whatever we feel will best serve our needs? We need to be culturally relevant and sensitive. As we look at the way the church has operated in the history of Christianity we can certainly say that there are more efficient models for conducting business. We're modern thinkers; look at all the advances in science and technology--look at how much we now know about this human condition called life. Surely the church cannot operate as it has for the past two-thousand years. Surely the times have changed--and the church must change with it, right?

Maybe not. I hope you wholeheartedly disagree with the previous sarcastic statements. If you do in fact disagree, it is unquestionably the result of a particular thing in your history. Somewhere in your background the Word of God came to you. A passage that you read or that someone spoke stuck with you. Some pastor preached on a given text and it took root. You read your Bible and the Word was implanted. That living and active Word, the vehicle of the Holy Spirit, was buried in the soil of your heart and it grew. As that seed did its seedy thing, a small part of you was conformed to the image of the Sower. In that moment you were given discernment by the Word and the Word became a part of you. Because of that gift of being taught by the Holy Spirit through his Word, you can look at such silly assertions and say, "I think not."

But that's really the key, isn't it? The Word. It all turns on the Word of God. Not just a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path, but the very means that guard our steps as we walk with Christ who is the Way, the Truth, the Life. The Word, the Word, the Word! Sola Scriptura we Reformation folk like to say. Once upon a time, people thought it a principle worth fighting for and even dying for. But why? They thought it that important because they knew it was the Word that must be their foundation. They took passages such as Matthew 7:24-25 to heart. They believed 2 Timothy 3:16. They held fast to a whole host of testimony that if condensed said, "Sola Scriptura!"

Without the Word, we are sitting ducks for all sorts of trouble. If it is true that the devil roams about like a lion seeking to devour whomever he will and that the only weapon we are given is the Word of God--that double-edged sword of the Spirit that proceeds from the mouth of Christ--then without the Word we are truly vulnerable. Worse than that, we are helpless against whatever wind of doctrine blows through our doors. But I can only know such things from the Word. I will not come to the conclusion of such things by a careful contemplation of the starry sky--sorry, Mr. Kant. Without that transcendent eternal Word dropping down from the lofty realm of the neumena confusion, heresy, even apostasy becomes commonplace and talk of absolutes degrades into discussions of preference. Without a raft of revelation to sail me through this sea of doubt, there is no distilling ought-ness from is-ness. We are adrift in this sea of doubt, seeking and never finding, grabbing hold of whatever promises a remedy, even if it is just a temporary distraction from the pain upstairs that makes our eyeballs ache. The idea of victimhood gives credibility to this destructive narcissism as we become so singularly focused on our own needs to the exclusion of culture, community, and even family. The church fares no better, for it is filled with such individuals who are without the Word to straighten their inborn crookedness (in curvatus se), and instead it panders to their felt needs.

The recognition of this total depravity, without the mirror of God's law, is merely an optimistic attempt to place bandages on the devastating cancer of our sin, topically treating an inborn propensity for death with modern-day snake oils, peddled by religious carnies. Without the salve of the gospel, the message of God's salvation in Christ pro nobis (!), these souls are merely relegated to a hot and hopeless eternal existence, and an earthly life where meaning isn't given from above but must be mined from the depth of the human condition. Tell me I'm wrong! But if this were not the state of things in these latter days, there would be no need of a publication such as this calling for a modern Reformation and a return to the solas! We are in dire need of the Word of God to be present in our churches.

And it's not just that the Word be present but that we as the body of Christ persist and remain fluent in that Holy Word of God. The old Lutherans called this catechesis: the teaching, or the passing on of the teachings of the apostles, specifically those concerning Christ's death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins. This we did from the passages and we believed catechesis was to be lifelong. The best of Lutheran orthodoxy on the subject reveals a deep understanding that the Word of God is to be understood as living and active. It is the creative, redemptive Word that is the vehicle through which the Holy Spirit delivers God's law, illuminating our sin, and thereby showing us our need for our Savior, but it is also the means of communicating the gospel. That gospel, delivered by the Word, was the thing that got into your heart, soul, mind, and body, straightening you up to look anew at Christ's death for you, absolving you of guilt and shame--forgiving your very sins--and that's how you were conformed to his image, by putting to death the deeds of the old Adam in you. It was the gospel, the forgiveness of sins, that delivered the Holy Spirit to you personally; and once the gift was given, faith was created ex nihilo or, as the old Lutherans said, what was delivered was "forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation."

Once upon a time every young Lutheran was expected to have memorized about twenty pages of questions with answers that were verses from the Bible in Luther's Small Catechism. These days, many Lutheran churches no longer use the catechism at all. Don't even ask me about their use of the Bible. Because of this, whether it was laziness on the part of the pastors or resistance on the part of the people, biblical ignorance abounds. Within my own church body, it is a huge struggle to try and teach out of several generations that took so much for granted. Scriptural familiarity is at an all-time low. That's a dangerous place to be for a church body that claims to be roundly and soundly about Jesus. It leaves us open to all sorts of things that range from just plain silly to the outright demonic.

For without the Word to inform my life in Christ, what do I have? I will almost certainly clench tightly to flowery or fiery words that sound conservative or wholesome. The prophets to whom I give ear will be of my choosing, certainly not those of old to whom the Word of the Lord came. I will be drawn to messages and teachings that anesthetize and comfort my ignorance. I will do this because it is easy, comfortable, and familiar. What I will not do in this is confront my sin. At best, I will define my sin not in biblical terms but in humanistic ones, ways in which I can make progress and chart my ascendance. At worst, I will ignore it and bury it where it cannot be confessed and it cannot be forgiven. I will, given the inclination of my heart, rank myself among my peers and compare my "progress in enlightenment" to that of my associates. I will be a bigger Pharisee than I am already--and not just me, millions like me, all who call themselves Christian. Where will it end?

It's one thing when a lack of biblical acumen affects my course in this life, but what happens when the problem becomes so widespread that it pushes the entire Christian church on earth off her intended heading? Students of history well realize this has happened before. The last, most significant realization perhaps, called for reformation when a young Augustinian monk, who, having had the stage set for him by a previous generation of humanists, heard the cry ad fontes and returned to the Holy Word of God for teaching and direction. We know the result; it's a matter of history. For a time there was division, dissention, and destruction; but there was also life and as a direct result, after a while, real peace in a land marked by civil unrest. The gospel of Jesus Christ through Reformers the likes of Luther, Calvin, and others, came to the forefront in the life of the church. Because the gospel of Jesus Christ, understood as the real rescue of sinners sola gratia, came to be the center and the circumference of the public life and expression of the church, the benefits of that gospel flourished as well. God's Word being given its rightful place did what God's Word always does: it creates life.

But if it is God's Word that creates life, then what about its absence? Well, if it is true that through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned, and that death reigned from Adam until this present age, and that through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, then through the one transgression there resulted condemnation of all men. That condemnation of sin reigns in death. Without the Word there is only death; without the Word of the gospel, that death is eternal. Without the Word of God--it matters little how you dress it up, market it, or in what words you couch it--it is merely the dry dusty breath of a dead man on his way to the valley of dry bones in the desert. To be without the Word is to be without Christ. To be without Christ is to be without a Savior. To be without a Savior is to succumb to that insidious hereditary darkness that results in our ultimate demise without hope of resurrection. The question is, "Son of man, can these bones live?" What can we say? Our own words fail, even here, "You alone, O Lord, know."

What we do know, and that again from the Word, is that the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one death reigned through the one, how much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:17). But here again, what I'm trying to show through example is that it is only a fluency in the Word and with the Word that best provides protection against all forms of this death that manifests itself both in the world and in the church.

I don't think there are many in the various camps of the orthodox who would argue that American Christianity has drifted away from Scripture. The signs are too clear, the marketing too effective, the billboards are everywhere. If space permitted, a contrasting of a knowledge of Scripture over and against the smooth-tongued seductive attacks against the Word would make the case even clearer and the need and urgency to return to the Word rather stark; but this article merely paints with a broad brush, leaving the detail work to more competent individuals.

Before I close, I'd like to leave you with just a few thoughts. The Reformers understood very well that the entire Scriptures were about Jesus. He himself says as much in Matthew. But in addition to that, Luther and those who followed understood that the Word was not just casuistry concerning Jesus, but that it was about Jesus in a particular way. Holy Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, described in infinite detail the scarlet thread of redemption--Jesus primarily in his dying and saving office for sinners, of which you and I are included. Should we lose that message in its particulars and its entirety, we lose the ability to communicate our very salvation. Apart from God's Word, the only knowledge of God we have is one of power and might, of justice and of law. We lose Jesus, we lose the Christ, and we lose our very salvation.

Can we have a church that is completely devoid of Scripture? Will it still be church? I'm afraid, given the current trend, this question might be answered for us all. May it never be, but nevertheless, come Lord Jesus".

Charlie Mallie (M.Div., Concordia Theological Seminary) is associate pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Tombal, Texas.

Thanks, Charlie!

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!! (Acts 17:11)

Monday, February 22, 2010


Much to the detriment of our spiritual growth and maturity, many of us believers are still under the bondage of one very stubborn taskmaster: Emotion. I am all too aware of the common stereotype of us Calvinists: we're supposedly cold, robotic, non-empathetic and dull. Like most stereotypes these are dreadfully wrong; but presenting the "touchy-feely" Calvinist is not the aim of this post. The beast that I would like to destroy here is: The Thing that Ate Their Brains!

To our shame "unregenerate emotion" has blunted our witness to the world and made thousands of us prey for every pulpit pimp to come down the pike with a new revelation from a god. Why? Because when unregenerate emotion is on the bench, reason is prima facie evidence for a lack of faith. "Unregenerate emotion" declares "reason" to be antagonistic to trusting God. "Unregenerate emotion" is especially dangerous to a Christian because it negates discernment. The "pimp in prophet's clothing" can go virtually undetected because he tells the "unregenerate emotions" everything they want to hear. Most heinously, "unregenerate emotion"; like the traditions of men makes void the Word of God (Matthew 15:6).

I recall a discussion I once had with a dear friend regarding the then popular practice of "pleading the blood of Jesus". I explained to my friend that this nauseating phrase was not only unbiblical; but it also mocks our Lord's precious blood. The word "plead" only appears four times in the entire New Testament (38 times in the OT, but of course it would not appear with Jesus' blood there) and each time it is in the past-tense with nary a drop of Jesus' blood in the vicinity. The phrase mocks the blood of the Lord because it doesn't honor it as the invaluable propitiation for the sin of mankind that it is. It remands it to some sort of mystical, cartoonish force-field that protects even inanimate objects like your car or your lawnmower. Despite the fact that there is no biblical precedent or instruction for this practice (or any proof that Jesus' blood stops bullets or is better for a car than regular scheduled maintenance); my friend stated that he would continue the practice because he "felt" it was right.

Consider that ol' chestnut: "slain in the spirit". I've debated this topic a number of times with other believers who swear it's real and that it has happened to them. I've walked with them through the Scriptures and pointed out that there is no account of this phenomenon happening to believers even once. The only occasion that even remotely resembled this side-show attraction was when the men who came to arrest Jesus fell down when He told them who He was (John 18:7). And these men were certainly not believers; but were enemies of Jesus. Yet, in the face of clear reason, "unregenerate emotion" drew the reigns and made them reject truth.

Many have somehow allowed a false dichotomy to be forged between the mind and the emotions. As if in the act of saving us, God somehow left the mind unredeemed and it is now imperative that the mind and reason not be trusted. They believe that too much thinking is a foil to going deeper with God or seeing Him really "move" in their lives. The pulpit pimps sense this blood-in-the-water and stoke the frenzied feeling festival with the most outlandish of claims: "stomp on the devil's head", "speak your break-through into reality", "talk to your wallet", "tell cancer it has to go", "tell the devil to give you back your stuff". And we're supposed to judge angels (I Corinthians 6:2-3).

True regeneration includes the emotions. Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul AND with all your MIND (Matthew 22:37). The heart and the mind are equally important; but the heart must be informed by the mind. The feelings must be informed and guided by the intellect. God did not create us with an internal civil war raging between our faculties; that's an effect of sin. Our intellect and our emotions should be working in concert allowing us to fully commune with our Creator. That goal can only be reached by divorcing our emotions from the flesh and uniting them with a redeemed, Christ-submitted, Holy Spirit-guided, Bible-renewed mind.

We must understand that our salvation and our standing with God are grounded in objective truth. The righteous life, death, resurrection, ascension and return of our Lord Jesus Christ are realities that make a difference for our real eternal destinies. This faith makes claims and proffers doctrines that must be intellectually embraced if ever our emotions will truly glorify our God.

Christianity, more than any other pursuit, is truly for the thinking man. Don't worry, when we contemplate with keen minds the majesty of God and the pure genius of the redemption that He has wrought for us more than enough emotional flooding will overtake our hearts.

Think. It ain't illegal . . . yet!

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!! (Acts 17:11)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Is Haiti Cursed?

Sure, but so is Houston and Hawaii. Honduras and Hattiesburg. So is Holland and Hong Kong. For that matter the whole earth is cursed!

What is so surprising is the fact that so many people who should already understand this (Pat Robertson!) act as if Haiti is being singled out. Can you handle the truth? The truth is: Haitians and all the rest of mankind, in Adam, made a pact with the devil a long long time ago. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve entered in to a pact with satan to throw off God's rightful authority as their sovereign king and creator; to grasp after autonomy, godhood. And because of this ill-fated folly they and consequently all mankind and the earth itself was cursed. God had warned them that in the day they ate of the fruit of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" they would surely die. And men have been dropping like flies ever since. We don't get to choose how we go. Some will go in their sleep. Some will be killed in earthquakes. The fact is: we are going to go. Are we prepared to meet God on the other end is the major concern.

Perhaps it seems as though Haiti has been receiving a disproportionate percentage of the curse. Like every nation on earth they have sinned against Almighty God. Their government is corrupt. So is ours. There's the practice of voodoo. Ever been to Louisiana? I think, however, the unsaved among us should give heed to Jesus' words when he was questioned regarding some other deaths that seemed to be curse-related . . .

" There were some present at that very time who told him [Jesus] about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:1-5.

When it comes to "perishing", does it really matter how you get there?

Take a look in the mirror, Pat!

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!! (Acts 17:11)

Monday, January 11, 2010


" . . . As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:15

Let's break down what the Apostle Paul is saying in this verse. In chapter ten of the letter to the Romans, Paul is summing up what is required for a person to be justified before our Holy God. As we come to verse 15, he is detailing how one actually comes to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Simply put, the Gospel (the Good News) must be fully heard and believed in order for a sinner to be saved from the just wrath of God. Of course, you don't have to be an ordained minister to be qualified to explain the Gospel; but I hope no one would deny that this is the ordained minister's primary and most crucial function.

The verse that I have highlighted is actually a quote from the prophet Isaiah, who in chapter 52 verse 7 of his prophecy stated,

" How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

I wonder how many preachers today have "beautiful feet"? As I look over the biggest names in popular christianity; I have to say, "not too many"! What does every single individual who walks into a church on Sunday morning have in common? The have all sinned against a Holy God. For many people this is a way of life; they are called "the unsaved". This is what they do. The others are believers; but even so, throughout the week they have betrayed the innocent blood Jesus shed for them on the cross.
R. C. Sproul aptly refers to this as "cosmic treason".

But when these kind of folks walk into the churches of Dollar, Jakes, Osteen, Hinn and their ilk what do they hear? Do they hear of the offense they have given to their Creator? Do they hear that they are fallen creatures in need of a foreign righteousness to clothe them that they will not be condemned by the unrelenting justice of Almighty God? Do they hear that the entire penalty has been borne and full debt has been paid by the sinless Son of God? And that trusting Jesus alone to bear their guilt is the ONLY way to be saved from Almighty God's righteous wrath? Do we hear the Good News that there is now a way for sinful men, like you and me, to stand justified before a Holy God? I've watched a lot of these guys' broadcasts and have yet to hear it, even once.

What do we hear instead? We hear: "God wants you to be a champion", "Jesus was rich and His children should be rich, too", "Dogs have little dogs, cats have little cats; so what does God have", "If you have enough faith, sickness cannot exist in your body", "Jesus wasn't God; Jesus was a man, because God wanted to show what He could do through a man"!

These preachers (and any who model them) have hammer-toes, bunions and their feet stink to high heaven!

We don't need self-glorifying and blatantly false proclamations. We, saved and unsaved, need to repeatedly hear the precious Gospel of Jesus Christ. We must always be brought to terms with the loving God who sacrificed His innocent Son because He did not want to condemn His people. We have to face that even in our saved state we continually spurn that unfathomable love by our every sin. Nonetheless, we still have the promise of forgiveness if we come to Him in repentance. We must constantly be encouraged to mortify our sin and to vivify Godly virtue that we may be conformed to the image of our Lord. Our hope must be perpetually stoked by the proclamation of justification by faith ALONE in Jesus Christ ALONE to the glory of God ALONE! And that hope may only be promulgated through the triune God's sole method of special revelation: the Bible.

There are too many pretty hair-do's, too many GQ suits, too many bulging biceps, too many flashy cars, too many shapely legs haunting our pulpits. We need more beautiful feet. Feet tirelessly leading us to the cross. Feet leading us to repentance. Feet leading us to gratitude. Feet leading us to biblical faith. Feet leading us to contentment. Feet leading us to to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. We need beautiful feet!!!

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!! (Acts 17:11)

P.S. I am eternally thankful for the beautiful feet of men like Michael Leach, R.C. Sproul, Michael Horton and John Piper who have helped me to understand and love this Gospel.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

2010: The Year of Thinking Biblically?

It's a new year and already I'm a little ticked off. If you are the least bit curious as to where I have been hiding since my post of June 7, 2009, the answer is: over at Facebook. Now, you may think Facebook is a monumental waste of time; but it has afforded me the opportunity to share a little of what I talk about here without always preaching to the choir. What has ticked me off is the large number of professing "christians" who have espoused this "designer christianity" that does nothing but make unbelievers all the more resistant to true Biblical theology.

Recently, I posted a statement condemning abortion as a sinful and heinous act. One of my friends (a female) responded in opposition stating that there were valid reasons for a woman to have an abortion. I challenged her position in private emails, away from the public forum of Facebook and I was blind-sided by one of her defenses. I shouldn't have been; but I was and I'll explain why. Part of her defense for abortion was her perception that the Bible is "full of contradictions". Of course, she failed to provide even one example of any such contradiction. Here is the kicker: she continually posts these pithy, quasi-spiritual statements on Facebook. One of her recurring posts is the "Go to Church" command that she posts frequently on Sunday mornings. I can't help thinking: "Whatever for? To hear teachings from a book that is (as she believes) 'full of contradictions'"? What is mind-blowing is that she has absolutely no clue as to the duplicity infecting her words.

This is the kind of non-thinking that I hope becomes extinct among professing Christians in the Year of our Lord, 2010. Folks, we have to make a decision and commit to it. Either the Bible is the inerrant, infallible and immutable Word of God; authoritative in all it teaches or it is not. It's that simple. If it is the former, then it must be the final rule of our faith and practice.

I challenge all of you "designer christians" to at least be honest. If you don't believe the Bible please have the common decency to stop calling yourselves "Christians". Try "Cubic Zirconiums" or "Soy Beans"!

Notice I didn't say, " if you're not going to do everything the Bible says . . ." That would mean we all would have to stop calling ourselves "Christians". None of us can keep the whole Word without fail. But if at the very minimum you don't even acknowledge the veracity of Scripture, then you are not a Christian. You are a fake a fraud and a total black-eye on Jesus' bride! So please, go set up a religion of your own; draft official tenets to which you can submit and support. Recruit those who think like yourselves. Before you know it you'll be featured on Oprah and even have a television network of your own . . . you can call it TBN!

Now for those of you who love, and I mean Psalm 119-Love, God's Word . . .what must we do to make 2010 the "Year of Thinking Biblically"? The first thing we must do is READ God's Word. ALL OF IT!!! We have many guides to help us read the Bible through in one year. This is a fine goal; but I think it is more important to read the Bible through continually year after year. We must continually feast on Scripture.

"But brother Keith, I need a plan". Today is your blessed day for I, indeed, have a plan! I highly recommend reading the Bible chronologically. I'm positive that many of you have read the Bible through in its given order. A chronological study of Scripture will allow you to understand God's redemptive plan linearly as it unfolded. This is particularly helpful when studying I and II Samuel, I and II Kings and I and II Chronicles. When read chronologically the prophecies of the major and minor prophets are inserted into the books where they were historically pronounced. This gives the reader a more clear understanding of the status of the divided Kingdoms; and the acts of the people and various kings in light of the warnings they received. I must say that reading the Bible this way made a huge difference in my understanding. Huge!

Here is the chronological list of the books of the Bible

The next thing we must do is commit to memorizing Scripture. No small order here. Knowing exact chapter and verse is a great goal; but we should at least know where to find just about anything in our book. Thank God for James Strong and!

Next, meditating on the Word. Now I'm preaching to myself. We have to hide God's Word in our hearts if we are going to live by it. A bevy of good sound Bible commentaries are available online for free! Try this one:

Christian Classics Ethereal Library

Finally, we've got to follow James' admonition to be "doers of the Word and not hearers only"! As Nike says, "Just Do It"! Caution: not in a sense that there is any merit toward salvation in it, but because we know the Word is the Truth and we are the people of the Truth. Face it, because you trust chairs to hold you, you never hesitate to sit in one. Because you trust your spouse, you never hesitate to leave your house. Because you trust your President . . . well, y'know what I mean!

I'm throwing down the gauntlet fellow believers. Are we "Christians" or are we "Cubic Zirconiums" Let's resolve (strong word) to love God's Word as we do the God who reveals Himself in it!!! Remembering that we can do NOTHING on our own. It is our sovereign king, Jesus who is our nourishing vine. And if you run into any of those "designer christians", give 'em a packet of soy sauce and a smile!

Let's make 2010 (and beyond) the year of thinking Biblically!!!

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!(Acts 17:11)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Intertestamental Period

Now I know (somewhat) how Israel felt during the period between Malachi 4:7 and the advent of our Lord Jesus . . . No, God has not been silent; but let's just say He hasn't exactly been locquacious where my blog is concerned!!!

Sure there's been plenty of fodder for discussion; but none of it has seemed to have been "blog-worthy". I know , I know, Tiger has given us much to discuss about adultery, hero-worship and evasive driving maneuvers. The Prez is always good for a lesson in "how to kill your young and get other people to pay for it". And you just can't beat a good "end of the world" story with the Mayans and 2012 knocking on our door. Certainly there was something I could milk out of these hot issues; but that's exactly what I promised not to do!

I want to thank each of you who have checked back here over the last few months to find out if I posted anything new; and I want to apologize for not having anything. I do, however, want to assure you that I am still committed to this blog and to blogging that which has substance and not just space-filling capability. I hope that 2010 will bring a rush of topics for me to give you my insignificant two cents. I hope that anyone who is new to In Submission to Sovereignty was able to get something out of my old stuff and that you'll check me out again in the new year. For those of you who have been with me for a while thanks for not abandoning the ship!

Doubtless there will be plenty that the pulpit pimps will serve up more that needs to be debunked. The atheists will provide more distortion and inconsistency to be refuted. TBN will always present more brazen heresy that needs to be denied. At the same time there will be triumphs for God that need to be trumpeted; and God-willing, yours truly will give an interesting perspective on it all.

Thanks for reading. May the always triumphant, infinitely Holy and intentionally near God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ continually comfort, protect and mature you throughout a God-glorifying 2010!!!

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!! (Acts 17:11)