We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Stealing Sheep or Rescuing Them?

“Sheep stealing” has been the persistent cry of liberals, cultists and others who were preaching “another gospel.”  But the cry is hollow if the sheep is “stolen” from such a fold.  As a matter of fact, “stealing” is an altogether inappropriate word to describe what is happening.  The fact, in such cases, is that the sheep has been rescued from a “wolf” in shepherd’s clothing.  He has been enabled to see that the devil’s servants often come as “angels of light.”
Dr. Jay E. Adams, Shepherding God’s Flock, p.206

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Who Does Evangelism?


It is not shepherds, but sheep that make more sheep.  Shepherds care for them.  It is the job of a pastor/teacher to equip, train and feed the flock.  But as one of the sheep of God which he is too, he also must evangelize; and as an example to the flock he is to take the lead in evangelizing.  But he cannot, and must not attempt to, do the evangelistic work of the congregation for them.  He, as one man limited in time, space and energy, cannot be where they are with all of the opportunities that are afforded to each one of them alone.  Indeed, as he serves as a teaching model of the evangelist and as he concentrates on helping to equip all of the saints for their work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11, 12) as God intended, ultimately more evangelistic activity will take place than he possibly could engage in on his own.  In addition, the blessings of participation and personal growth for each member of the congregation that this will bring will be incalculable.
Dr. Jay E. Adams, Shepherding God’s Flock, pp.24-25

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Random Apostasies and Heresies

The following post was edited 5/2/14 to remove news with dead links.

Neil Simpson over at Eternity Matters has an excellent post about what a liberal's Bible looks like.  It has to be a very small one, and I liked one commenter's note that it is probably reduced to one verse: "Jesus wept."
I haven't yet gotten around to writing on Rick Warren, and now that there is so much about him out there I don't know if I will.  When Purpose Driven Life first appeared, I was telling everyone it was a fad, and that there were some real problems with Warren's theology.  Since that time he has gone more and more apostate, and downright heretical.  Apprising Ministries is a blog to watch for the continuing saga, and this post is a good one to start with.
My kind of Christian singer is highlighted by Defending Contending blog.  Wouldn’t it be nice if more were like him?
I’ve read a few articles recently about Vision Forum and the Patriarchy movement.  I can’t find a thing biblical about their teachings, and indeed it seems very aberrant and cult-like.  Here we have a video advertising for a “Father and Daughter Retreat.”  It seems like they treat their daughters almost as little concubines.  Yes, they are part of the whole cultic “courtship” movement.
Defending. Contending has an excellent post with a video demonstrating the Mormon belief that God sinned before becoming God.  I don’t know about you, but I want a God who is better than me - like the one in the Bible.  What is even more bizarre is their song virtually worshiping Joseph Smith.  Of course they do indeed teach that he decides who gets into heaven.  And their quoting Mormon stuff all in unison sadly shows the depth of their indoctrination into this cult.

Well, that’s about it for today.  That should give you enough to wonder what Bible is being read nowadays!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Perverting the Bible for Homosexuality

Great quote from Walter Martin today on Apprising Ministries:
The time has come to take off the velvet glove with these jokers, and tell people what they are really up to, and this is what they are up to: They are up to the perversion of the text of the Holy Scriptures.
We are more concerned in the United States about the rights of homosexuals than we are about Who Jesus Christ is and what He did.
We’re more concerned with social issues in the United States in the Christian church denominationally than we are with those who are dying in their sins without the Gospel. We are very concerned about everything except the things that really matter.
…the only way you can deal with this is to bring it out in the open and let people see it for what it really is: It’s filth, because it is attacking at the very core the character and nature of holy Scripture, and making the Scripture say what the Scripture does not say…

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What Is Good for the Market Isn’t Good for the Church.

I was cleaning off one of my book shelves today and came across a pamphlet by David F. Wells titled, “The Bleeding of the Evangelical Church.”  The point of the pamphlet was that the whole market-driven, seeker-sensitive movement was wrong and leads people to a false Christianity.  I had highlighted three quotations when I read this pamphlet back when I acquired it in 2001, and I am sharing these citations here, so as to give some food for thought.
“The Church is sanctioning the idea that when someone comes in its doors its okay to view that person as a consumer, somebody who is going to attempt to hitch up a product to their own felt needs.”
“Consumers in the market place are never asked to commit themselves to the product they are purchasing, as a sinner is to the Christ in whom belief is being invited.”
“For what succeeds in this world is not necessarily what is true or what is right.”

Friday, February 18, 2011

Unity in Truth

I just finished reading an excellent book by Norman Geisler & Ron Rhodes titled, “Conviction Without Compromise.”  I highly recommend it.
One of the lessons at the end of the book is, “There is no true unity without unity in the truth.”  I think that says a mouthful, and should be heeded by those in the Emergent church movement, not to mention everyone else.  Too many people are willing to have “unity” at the expense of solid doctrine.  It can’t be done.
An illustration used by the authors was about worship:
“Jesus instructed us to worship God ‘in spirit and in truth’ (John 4:24).  So there is no true worship without worship in the truth.  Because worship means ‘honor’ or ‘worth-ship,’ one cannot truly worship God without speaking the truth about Him.  Surely parents would not be honored by a child who spoke falsehoods and lies about them.  Neither can God be truly worshiped by songs consisting of words that are not doctrinally sound or that speak falsehoods about Him.  Likewise, no matter how good one may feel about a so-called worship or spiritual experience, if it is not based on and does not express truth, it is not a true experience of God.  We conclude, then, that there is, in truth, no true unity without unity in the truth.”
This reminds me of those who claim to be Christians while at the same time claiming that God is okay with homosexual behavior and abortion.  They are telling lies about God.  God is not honored by such people who refuse to tell the truth about Him.  Of course there are many other lies supposed Christians tell about God, but these two seem to be the most prevalent among those who are liberal in their belief system.
Remember, God is not honored by worship when those who worship him tell lies about Him.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Another Marian Shrine Sanctioned by Rome

The newspaper this morning carried a short AP article telling us that the Roman Catholic Church has recognized a chapel in Champion, WI, as the only site in the USA which had an official siting of the Virgin Mary.  The story goes that Mary appeared three times to Belgium immigrant Adele Brise in 1859, and since that time Catholics have visited the site to pray for miracles.   I found an article with the full story at 

Questions for the Romanists:
1.  One woman says she saw Mary appear to her three times.  Were there any witnesses?  No.
2.  How was Mary identified?  Surely no one knows what she looked like since there are no photographs of her.  So how do we know it wasn’t some other woman coming back from the dead claiming to be Mary?  How do we know it isn’t demonic?
3.  Can you show me in scripture where we are supposed to be talking to the dead?  Doesn’t Scripture instead speak against necromancy?
4.  Why is it that Marian “visions” almost always give unbiblical messages?  Even in this one “Mary” identified herself by the unbiblical title “Queen of Heaven” with the unbiblical claim that she “prays for sinners.”  Isn’t it interesting that “Mary” always repeats Roman Catholic dogma?
5.  The vision supposedly told Adele to “Gather the children in this wild country, and teach them what they should know for salvation.”  Since Adele knew only the Romanist idea of salvation, wouldn’t Satan rather have that version being propagated?
The Romanist Church claims that it “judges apparitions on the basis of their consistency with Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the teachings of the Church...”   However, they really only judge in relation to their tradition and teachings, and never on Scripture.
Here’s the bottom line:  “For even satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.” 2 Cor. 11:14-15.
The vision seen by Adele Brise, if she did see one, was not - and could not have been - the Virgin Mary.  There is no biblical warrant for such visions.  
And lastly, it is no more than superstition for Catholics to go to any particular place to pray for miracles; it doesn’t matter where one prays.

Friday, February 4, 2011

War and Killing

Before you read this article, know that I am not opening up this topic for discussion because it can get really skewed and heated (been there, done that) and I don’t want to spend the time debating it.  I am posting this article to demonstrate what I believe Scripture says about the topics of war and killing, and to provide information for those who are berated for believing what I express here.  People disagree, but please understand that it is not an issue of apostasy or heresy to disagree on this subject.  That being said, I hope you will thoughtfully consider what I present here.
The 10 Commandments says, in KJV, “Thou shalt not kill.”   This brings the following questions:
1.  Does this mean capital punishment is wrong?
2.  Does this mean all killing is wrong?
3.  What about war?
Although the KJV translates the Hebrew word here as “kill,” the Hebrew word does not mean “kill” in general, but specifically means to “murder,” i.e., to kill someone with malicious intent with no justification.  It does not mean to kill as punishment, nor does it mean killing animals, nor does it mean killing in self-defense.  It only means “murder.”  God does not contradict Himself, and in the same law where this command was given He gives instructions for capital punishment as well as for killing animals.  Also, God leads His people into war throughout the O.T., so this could not be included in the term “kill” unless God contradicts Himself, which we know is impossible.
Capital punishment was ordained by God before the Old Covenant with Moses was established.  He established this with Noah (Gen. 9:6) and all his descendants (which means everyone on earth).  At that time the punishment of execution was reserved for murder.  In the Law given to Israel through Moses, God prescribed execution for various heinous sins as a means of purifying the nation.   These sins for which execution was mandated were in addition to the crime of murder.   All the world, as descendants of Noah, still had that command of execution for murderers.  
There is no place in the New Testament that removes or voids this command.  In Rom. 13 Paul specifically states that the government’s duty is to be the servant of God bearing His wrath of punishment on wrong-doers, and then he states that government does not bear the sword for nothing.  One final thought; although God ordained capital punishment, He also permitted grace to exempt those guilty of capital crimes.  He even had mercy on David’s adultery and murder and allowed him to live.  So, while execution is moral and legitimate as a form of punishment for murder, mercy  may be warranted for extenuating circumstances.
What about self-defense?  It was validated by God in the Law (Exod. 21:13; 22:2; Num. 35:22ff), but it was not commanded.  Self-defense is when life - not material - is in jeopardy.  Christ implied the disciples were to practice self-defense when he had them buy swords if they didn’t have them already (Luke 22:36-38).  Although some people use Jesus’ command to “turn the other cheek” to claim we are not to defend ourselves, the real meaning of this is for non-defense of personal insult or non-life-threatening attacks.  This “turning of the other cheek” can also be seen in Rom. 12:17-21 and 1 Pet. 3:9, and in 1 Corin. 6 in the discussion about lawsuits.
Theologians J.P. Moreland and Norman Geisler tell us that “to permit murder when one could have prevented it is morally wrong.  To allow a rape when one could have hindered it is an evil.  To watch an act of cruelty to children without trying to intervene is morally inexcusable.  In brief, not resisting evil is an evil of omission, and an evil of omission can be just as evil as an evil of commission.  Any man who refuses to protect his wife and children against a violent intruder fails them morally.”
Now we come to the issue of war.  God used war often in the Old Testament, leading his people to war against infidels to cleanse the land.  He also used other nations to war against Israel as punishment.  In Revelation we see God using war also.  So there is not an inherent problem with the use of war; the problem becomes what it is used for.  Again, Rom. 13:1-7, as well as 1 Pet. 2:13-14, point out that the government was given the sword by God to punish wrong-doers.  On the occasions the N.T. mentions military officials they all appear favorable (Matt. 8:5-13; Luke 3:14; Acts 10:1ff).  No one told the soldiers to “go and sin no more,” but in Luke and Acts instructions were given on how to do right and to be acceptable to God in their military service.
Christians have historically been on both sides of the debate.  However, in the 5th century the theory of a “just war” was developed, and this was refined in the 13th century.  The just war theory of the 13th century had these requirements:
1.  Must have been declared by a legitimate authority.
2.  Have a just and grave cause, proportioned to the evils it brings about.
3.  Only be undertaken after all means of peaceful solution of the conflict have been exhausted without success.
4.  Have serious chances of success.
5.  Be carried out with a right intention.
Later Christians added the following requirements:
1.  Limited objectives
2.  Proportionate means
3.  Noncombatant immunity.
In his book, “Biblical Ethics,” Robertson McQuilkin has the following to say:  
“So we have in the New Testament the combined affirmation of government force and the lack of condemnation of those exercising that authority, supporting the overall biblical distinction between government and the private individual and the legitimate response of each to evil.  Government has a responsibility for restraining evil, protecting its citizens, and maintaining their welfare.  If it has a responsibility to protect its citizens from criminals, does it not also have the responsibility to protect them from criminal nations?  Christ’s teaching of nonresistance, if it is to be harmonized with the rest of biblical teaching on human authority, was not given to nations, police, or parents in their official capacities.  Though the data of the New Testament on the issue of the Christian’s participation in war is not direct nor abundant, the basic principles are clear: To be godlike is to make a sacrificial, loving response to maintain a no vindictive, nonresistant attitude in all personal relationships when one’s own rights are at stake; and human government is responsible, with accountability to God, to use force when necessary to assure righteous behavior for its citizenry.”
We see from Scripture that war is not inherently wrong, but that it is a responsibility given to the government for protecting against evil.
What about the use of force?  The following is from The Dust of Death by Os Guinness, which explains very well what should be the Christian point of view:
Provided that there is a legitimate basis for its use and a vigilant precaution against its overreaction in practice, a qualified use of force is not only necessary but justifiable....Force...is the controlling discipline of truth, justice, and authority in action.  Violence...can come from one of three directions - from the maintenance of authority without a legitimate basis, from the contravention of a legitimate authority, or from the injustice of a legitimate authority overreacting as it deals with opposition or violation.... 
[O]utside the Christian framework no such distinction can be better than arbitrary.... The ideal of justice within law can only be pursued with this distinction between force and violence kept carefully in mind.  Without such distinction there can be no legitimate justification for authority or discipline of any kind, whether on a parental or on a presidential level.... There must be a legitimate basis for and a legitimate exercise of force.  No force that does not issue from justice and that is not restrained by justice can achieve justice. Outside of this there is only violence.”