Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Media nuisance

I wonder how you respond to the media when they "reveal" the "latest" in scholarly research on Jesus, especially when it contradicts everything Christianity has believed for the last 2000 years?

Darrell Bock has written a short article addressing this issue. Even though it is not an in-depth look at the issues, it certainly gets one thinking.

"Not long ago, topics like textual criticism and the extra-biblical Gospels elicited yawns from my seminary students. I went through the obligatory motions of covering these staples of New Testament study, knowing that no matter how hard I tried, questions would be rare and engagement minimal.

"All that has changed. Topics like the James ossuary and the Gospel of Judas have hit Times Square, not only pricking the attention of seminary students, but also garnering coverage from journalists and culture-watchers, from CBS News's traditional news team to 360 Degrees's Anderson Cooper."

Continue reading here...

HT: Justin Taylor

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Charles Finney is no hero!

Evangelicals of all stripes revere Charles Finney. However, they probably do not have a clue about his beliefs, and he is just a name out there, a poster boy if you like.

Yet, Finney was one of those ├╝ber-heretics, but still made it into the evangelical "Hall of Fame."

What a shame that evangelicals have lost its capability to discern evil, dangerous and heretical doctrines.

Read more about Finney and his heresy at GraceRemarx, Phil Johnson's website, Modern Reformation, from Charles Hodge, and at Monergism.

Help for Africa's doctrinal wanderings

Some time ago I pointed to an article which highlighted the African church's doctrinal wanderings towards the WOF heresy.

Well, it seems that some help may have arrived in the form of the Africa Center for Apologetics Research (ACFAR). ACFAR has realised the need for solid doctrinal teaching and the battle against the many cults and false teachers in Africa, and as a result they have set up their ministry in Kampala, Uganda.

ACFAR also has a blog to keep up to date with what is going on there.

Pay them a visit. Perhaps you can help in one way or another.

Christian Worldview: Does it exist?

"He took the blade. It was bright silver. He loved the way it glistened. It felt good in his hand. He cut deep into her chest again and again. He showed no emotion, no recognition of her humanity. She lay motionless, her life gone. He made no attempt to cover the body. Later that night over a beer he openly talked to a stranger in the bar about what he had done. The stranger felt ill.

What are we to make of this? Should someone have called 911? Should he have been ar-rested? Is this a Hannibal Lector story? It all depends. To make sense of it, this narrative fragment needs placing in a larger picture or frame of reference. We need to know more.

Now suppose I were to inform you that the setting earlier that night was a back alley late at night and that the woman had been alive but drunk when she entered it, then you would be entitled to think that this is a case for CSI. The man listening to the story in the bar ought to have called the police. However, if I were to say that instead of the alley, the setting earlier that night had been a CSI autopsy room, then the complexion of the event changes your reading of it. The man with the knife is no serial killer but instead a forensic scientist. Maybe he shouldn’t have talked about the details to a stranger over a beer. But if that was misconduct it was unprofessional, not criminal."
Continue reading Graham A. Cole's article called "DO CHRISTIANS HAVE A WORLDVIEW?"

[You will need a PDF reader to read this article. You can find one here and here.]

HT: Justin Taylor

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sometimes the good guys win, even if it is a Gator!

What an acceptance speech for the Heisman Trophy!

Congratulations Tim Tebow, not just for winning the Heisman Trophy, but for having your priorities straight in your acceptance speech! You are a real winner!







Of course, if he was aborted like the doctor suggested to his mother, he would never have had this honour bestowed on him!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Teaching apologetics to Iranian Christians

Dr. James R White has been busy. He has been doing a series of videos for television satellite broadcasting into Iran. Here is a short clip from the first day of recording.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Tomorrow's People School

My wife, Charlaine, bless her heart, is a teacher for grade 3s, and also head of department for the junior phase (grade 0-3) at her school, Tomorrow's People Primary School, here in Pretoria, South Africa.

It is a Christian school for disabled children of all types. They accept normal children, children with learning disabilities, ADD, autistic, Down Syndrome, and up to children with cerebral palsy.

The idea behind the school is to normalise their education as much as possible, and even to get some to progress to the standard of normal schools. Obviously it depends very much on the individual child.

Obviously, schools like these are not cheap to run and they are always in need of one thing or another.

DISCLAIMER: I was not asked or approached by anyone from the school, not even my wife, to garner support for the school. I simply have noticed a need in the school.

A school like this needs finances to buy specialised computers with special software, for those that do not have the ability to write with their hands and therefore needs to be able to do class work on these special computers with special keyboards.

As a Christian school, Biblical principles are followed in their treatment of children. No child is seen as just another student.

My wife had only 6 children in her class this year (2007), as they were the difficult children in terms of abilities and disabilities. So many times my wife came home thinking that she was not making an impact on these children, just to be amazed a few days later at what they actually achieved.

Because one class could have children of such vastly different capabilities, teachers need to be acutely aware of how to handle each child's education. This calls for teachers with special abilities. That, in turn, leads to higher salaries, which the school can't afford, as their budget does not allow for it, since the school tries to keep school fees as low as possible to keep it affordable for the parents.

It would be nice to find sponsors for this school to be able to buy the specialised computer equipment for these special children, and also to be able to attract specialised teachers into the school.

If you have contact with anyone that may perhaps help in sponsorship, it would be greatly appreciated. Simply point them my way, and I will put them in contact with the owners of the school. It really doesn't matter if the sponsorship comes from within or from outside of South Africa.

Thanks for your time!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Monday, December 03, 2007

Mohammedans are crypto-Christians

Steve Hays wrote an interesting blog post called "The blasphemous teddy bear."

It is certainly worth the read...

Acceptance of sin in the church

This is probably going to cause some controversy, but I guess not that much, since I do not have thousands of readers here.

At a local church nearby, there was a member who was known to the leadership as a serial murderer. What was amazing about this church was that there was an organization that was passively condoned by this church, that promoted serial murder as a way of life. One would have to stretch the imagination to its limits to imagine something like this happening, yet here it was. What was even worse than this, is the fact that this church knew about this organization, and that several of its members were part of it, and that there was an actual serial murderer in their midst. Yet, the church passively condoned it all. I say passively, because the church did or said nothing against this organization or those that supported it.

On a smaller scale, churches are forever condoning sin by not doing or saying anything against it. We all know of the adulterers and fornicators in our churches, but the leadership in our churches are usually without any backbone and choose not to "offend" these offending church members.

The Bible is very clear about situations like these. Unrepentant people in the church should be treated as unbelievers. However, in the church today, these people are welcomed with open arms, and as such are encouraged (albeit passively) to continue in their sinful ways.

Now, coming back to the story about the church that condoned serial killers and their supporters, I hope you realize that it was completely fictional as the facts stand. However, it is not that far from the truth!

We have people in our churches that do commit murder everyday. We also have people in our churches that even encourage those that commit these murders.

What am I talking about? I am taking about abortion of course! It is nothing short of murder! And, it should be classified as such!

It is time that we confront these people, abortionists and their supporters in our churches. And, if they refuse to repent, we need to treat them as unbelievers.

That means, that when a person actively supports abortion, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, pornography, or those that continue to legalize these abominations, then they should no longer be treated as believers and should effectively be excommunicated from the church.

Here in South Africa, where political parties can literally stand on absolute opposing sides of the coin, it should be much clearer for Christians to know who to vote for, but I guess that Christians here still vote very strongly according to the colour line and do not even think about moral issues.

Here, many who claim to be Christians actively vote for the ANC, who have been the greatest purveyors of immorality and injustice. They are the ones who have forced through liberal laws such as free abortion, pornography, same-sex marriage, etc.

While a Christian party exists, the ACDP, many of these Christians still vote for and assist the ANC with all its immorality. In fact, I know a person who used to be a member of the ACDP, but walked over to the ANC and is expending all his energies in working for the ANC. Yet, while he is actively supporting the ANC (with all its injustices and immoral legislation) during the week, he comes to church on Sundays to raise his hands in worship unto the Lord.

I personally think that the church should start setting the boundaries of its membership and not just see membership as a notch on its belt and tithes in the church coffers.

There are real moral issues at stake here, and many who claim to be Christians in our churches are simply turning a blind eye at the terrible atrocities committed in the name of ANC forced law!

Church, stand up against immorality in the church! Do something about it!

Dare have a backbone!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Challies: Win books on CD

It is that time of the month again! You can win a copy of The ESV Listener's Bible on CD and/or one copy of Classics of the Christian Faith from Challies.com.

First prize: One copy of The ESV Listener's Bible on CD and one copy of Classics of the Christian Faith on CD.
Second prize: Classics of the Christian Faith
on CD.
Third Prize: Classics of the Christian Faith
on CD.

Simply click on the banner below to enter:

November Giveaway

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Finnish pastor on trial for believing women may not serve as pastors

"A pastor who refused to work with a female minister because of his biblical convictions has been charged with criminal discrimination by a Finnish court.

"Ari Norro will be on trial Nov. 16 for allegedly violating Finland's laws barring discrimination in the workplace or in public based on gender and other grounds, including sexual orientation, Christianity Today magazine reported.

"Norro is a member of the Lutheran Evangelical Association in Finland, a group within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland that believes the Bible does not allow women to serve as pastors."
Continue reading...

Monday, November 05, 2007

Charismatic nuttiness

Phil Johnson, one of the PYROMANIACS, has written a two-part blog post on the nuttiness of the charismatic movement.

Even though I will be seen as a charismatic, (yeah, I do believe that the gifts continue today), I do think that Phil's assessment has great value. It is for this very reason I do NOT like to be labelled a Reformed Charismatic, since the term "charismatic" has the meaning "charismaniac" in my mind. Simply think of all the heretics that are very acceptable within the charismaniac movement, and you immediately know why I would rather see myself as a continuationist and NOT a charismatic.

Anyhow, Phil's two posts are as follows:
If You Can't Say Something Nice...
Something "Nice"?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Is the preacher a "reliable carrier" of God's truth?

Tullian Tchividjian brings us 5 questions on how to discern whether a teacher, preacher, or anyone else for that matter, is a "reliable carrier" of God's truth as revealed in the Bible. Of course, these questions are not the only questions that should be asked, but are merely a catalyst to think further on the issue!

I wonder how many pastors and teachers will pass the test on this one?

HT: Justin Taylor

Here are 25 more questions by Don Whitney, to see where a pastor or teacher stands.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

God's providence in action

God's providence in action! Listen and view it here.

What's more to say?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

CELEBRATE THE REFORMATION

Dr. Peter Hammond from the South African Reformation Society wrote an article as to why the Reformation was important and why we should celebrate it:
"This year, Reformation Day, 31 October 2007, will be the 490 th Anniversary of Dr Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the church door of the Schlosskirsche in Wittenberg. 10 Jubilees!

Western civilisation has been blessed with the greatest freedoms, productivity and prosperity ever known in history. The liberty, standards of justice and creativity enjoyed in Western civilisation is a direct result of the Protestant Reformation of the 16 th Century.

Our Lord Jesus Christ taught: “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

It was Martin Luther’s earnest quest for peace with God and his intensive study of the Scriptures which led him to challenge the unethical fund-raising tactics of the papacy and launch the Protestant Reformation. Luther’s love for the Word of God and his dedication to truth led him to challenge the entire ecclesiastical and political authority of the Roman Catholic church and the Holy Roman Empire."
Continue reading...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Challies give away: 40 books

Tim Challies once again is giving away some books. This time he is giving away 40 books. To stand a chance of winning, go here!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Self-made man? Think again!

I listened to an excellent sermon by Phil Johnson, from PyroManiacs fame. The sermon is called Paul's Conflict with Peter, which has an excellent portion dealing with people who claim that they have done it! Self-made men, and others in whatever field you think you have made it, beware! This portion of the sermon deals with God's sovereignty.

Download and listen!

Friday, September 28, 2007

The "bumper sticker" gospel

To many evangelicals today, the gospel comes on a bumper sticker. To many, that is what the gospel amounts to. When asked what the gospel was, they would come back with bumper sticker slogans. At most a phrase with a few words. To them, THAT is the gospel.

Why is this the state of the church? Even though it was not planned, this post is really an extension to my post yesterday! When pastors cannot preach solid doctrine from the pulpit without falling back onto a little bit of this and a little bit of that with a solitary verse here or there without any good exegesis, no wonder the gospel has been demoted to the back of a c
ar! The gospel has been diminished to little phrases that can fit onto a bumper sticker. It simply shows how small the gospel has become in the collective mind of evangelicals!

Within evangelicalism, the gospel has been demoted to be our "testimonies." It is no longer the message of God's salvific act within history to make propitiation for the sins of His people. Instead of the gospel being God's story of salvation effected within history, we have detracted from the gospel to make it "our" story! Bishop William Willimon from the UMC says that my story (and your story) is really not that interesting. That is why we should be preaching the gospel as it is spelled out in the Bible.

The problem we have is that we want to MAKE the gospel effective. It is not our
job to MAKE the gospel effective! Jesus said that He will build His church. We think that it is our job to make the unbeliever believe. It is NOT our job to make people believe or try to convict them. When the Spirit comes,
(8) he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: (9) concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; (10) concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; (11) concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (Jn 16:8-11)
We must remain true to the gospel, and the Holy Spirit will do the rest! The only reason the church must put up all kinds of side shows and circus acts, is because it no longer preaches the gospel, nor does it believe in the gospel. If it did, it would also trust that God would bring about the fruit He desires! We were told to preach the gospel, not to draw all people unto Christ. That is what Jesus Himself said HE would do!

The problem with the church today is that it goes looking for disciples. We were not told to do that! Jesus said we must make disciples. How do we do that? Not by looking for nice people to add to the church. We are not to go looking for respectable people that would add clout to our local church! We are to make disciples! That means that we must preach the gospel with all its glory and offensiveness. When we hide certain parts of the gospel because it might offend someone, then we are NOT preaching the gospel. It is either all or nothing!

The gospel is not a "pat on the back" type of message, saying, "You're OK! I'm OK!" The gospel is intrusive. It makes a full frontal assault on your human sensitivities. It tells you that you are condemned to hell by a God that is holy and hates sin, including your sin, and if you do not turn from your sin and believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, you are condemned to die in your sin!

This issue gets knocked around a bit in the White Horse Inn radio show of 24 June 2007.

Listen and learn!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Disregard for (true) theology will lead to heresy!

I was reading Phil Johnson's blog post concerning the pervasive errors, and I dare say "heresy", of the Emerging/Emergent movement and specifically of Doug Pagitt.

I have said this before on many occasions and I will continue to say it, when the church disrespects theology and preaches pop-doctrine and all kinds of psycho-babble and self-help schemes, it inevitably loses its foundation on the Scriptures and ends up heading straight for the heresy door of life.

I was listening to a sermon of John MacArthur the other day in which he made the statement, "The meaning of Scripture is the Scripture."

At first sight it may seem to be an odd statement. However, when we think about this in relation to what many preachers say from the pulpit today, it clearly makes sense! Many preachers say things such as, "I don't preach theology, I preach the Word!" or "I don't believe theology, I believe the Word!" I have always made it clear that this is a totally nonsensical claim by these preachers! The fact is that each of us has a theology; so, we might as well ensure that our theology is soundly based on proper hermeneutical principles as we study the Bible!

So, coming back to what MacArthur said. The fact is that the words of Scripture were not written in a vacuum which needs to be filled by the readers of Scripture. It is NOT the reader who gives meaning to the Bible, but the writers of Scripture. When each writer wrote his book(s), he had a certain meaning in mind for what he wrote. It is this meaning that many preachers are simply denying, not all in so many words, but certainly in the way they treat the Bible and its interpretation!

As often as we read the Bible we are also involved in interpreting the Bible. When I say something as simple as "yabba dabba doo," you immediately go into interpreting mode. To some people that will not make any sense at all. Why is that? Probably because they have never watched The Flintstones!

So, whenever we read the Bible we interpret the Bible, and hence, we have a formation of a certain theology.

The question then is, is that theology that you have formed an informed theology or a theology of happenstance? Are you satisfied with an ad-hoc theology, or are you willing to study the giants that have gone before us? Your answer to that question will determine whether you will one day face the heresy door I mentioned above or not!

However, I have noticed a two-fold problem against the study of theology.

Kenneth and Gloria CopelandFirst, there are those that are so super-spiritual that they don't need others (books included) to teach them. They know the Bible and they can even recite many verses. However, among the Word-Faith preachers there are many who can do the same, but they still hold onto a whole series of heresies!

Second, many find that it takes hard work to study theology. I think this points back to our own sin natures... Laziness! Yet, we have to divide the Word correctly, and that takes time and effort. To many Christians, they believe that when they are zapped by the Holy Spirit they would not need to work hard to understand the Bible. But then, of course, that notion comes from our instant age. Instant coffee, instant water through our taps, fast foods, and remote controlled TVs. Simply change the channel and watch something better. We tend to think the same way when it comes to the Bible and doctrine. We don't stick with things that require too much thinking or are not exciting enough.

If we really care about the Bible, then we would definitely care about the theology we entertain in our thoughts. In fact, if God really is that important to us, we would regard His Word with great seriousness and ensure that what we preach or believe concerning His Word, would be what was meant by the original writers of His Word!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Is it Monday already?

How many of us don't think of work as a necessary evil that must be done in order for us to look after our families? Some who make a lot of money see work only as a means to an end:
As ABBA used to sing...
"Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the rich man's world
Money, money, money
Always sunny
In the rich man's world
Aha-ahaaa
All the things I could do
If I had a little money
Its a rich man's world."




To many, if not most people, work is merely that unnecessary event during the day, which must be done in order to have money to live!

Many times, I find myself thinking: "Man, I'm tired of working! It is such a waste of time! I could be doing so many better things right now than this!"

I think many of us are caught with those thoughts.

However, is that how God wants us to think of work?

The Rev. Robert Lynn wrote a very interesting article called "T.G.I.Monday: The Gospel at work," in which he explores this issue of work and shows that work is not just something to make a living by, it is also a way to find meaning in life, "not a distraction from mission but part of the mission."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Evangelicalism is bleeding

Way back in 1996, Dr. David Wells wrote a pamphlet (which now has become a fully fledged book by the same name) that described how evangelicalism moved from outside the religious establishments with all its entrapments to becoming the religious establishment. Evangelicalism wanted to gain the whole religious world, but in the process lost its own soul.

"So what I would like to do in the time that I have is to look, first, at some of the great surface changes which have taken place during this time and, second, I want to try to look beneath the surface of those changes, and then, third, I want to begin sketching out ways in which I think we might seek to change some directions. So what is the peril I see happening?"
Continue reading "The Bleeding Of The Evangelical Church"...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Blog addiction

Seems like I still have some work to do!

57%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Mingle2

Win books!

You can win a set of commentaries from Tim Challies. If you want to enter the draw, simply click here or on the banner below!

sept Giveaway

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Smokin' In The Boys Room

Steve Camp wrote an interesting piece called, "Smokin' In The Boys Room" which deals with the question, "...is it a sin, a bad habit, or has the church just been plain legalistic?"

It would be interesting to hear what you have to say on this topic. Is it a sin, or not?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Dr. D. James Kennedy has gone home

After reporting a mere 8 days ago that Dr. D. James Kennedy had retired, it is sad to report today that the "most listened-to Presbyterian minister in the world" died at around 03:00 this morning.

...

Understanding Radicalization and Islamicization

I listened to a message this morning via podcast by Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo of the Barnabas Fund. The title of his message is Understanding Radicalization and Islamicization - The Theology and Practice of Contemporary Islam. He spoke during the Henry Forum at the Capital Hill Baptist Church(CHBC)--pastored by Mark Dever--back in April. You can find this message at the CHBC Audio site or download it directly from here.

This message by Dr. Sookhdeo really brings about an understanding of Muslim thought, and raises the issue whether the West should keep on labeling Islam as a religion of peace.

Political Correctness (PC) might be the very ideology that will cause the undoing of the West!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sovereign Grace Ministries blesses the body of Christ

Sovereign Grace Ministries has blessed the body of Christ with an invaluable free gift! They have made their store's entire online MP3 collection available for free download.

These MP3 can be browsed by speaker, topic, audio set and conference set.

Some speakers include:
Mark Altrogge
Mark Dever
Ligon Duncan
Wayne Grudem
Joshua Harris
Bob Kauflin
C.J. Mahaney
John MacArthur
Albert Mohler
John Piper
David Powlison
R.C. Sproul
Justin Taylor
Terry Virgo
Bruce Ware

I know you want to check it out, so go!

HT: Justin Taylor

Friday, August 31, 2007

Do you support blasphemy in movies?

The guys from WayOfTheMaster has put a very interesting video on YouTube.

Check it out!


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dr. D. James Kennedy retires

Dr. D. James Kennedy, who founded Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, almost 50 years ago, has retired from the pulpit. He suffered a heart attack in December and also preached his last sermon on Christmas Eve 2006. Since December 2006 he has been unable to return to lead the church.

May God bless this great man of God!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Piper seminars online

I am so sorry that I have not been active here at "Just thinking...," but my life is very busy at this time.

I have just read at Justin Taylor's blog, Between Two Worlds, that John Piper's seminars are online. That would include the audio and course notes for these seminars. The best of all, its FREE!

Although Justin listed them on his blog, I am going to do so too:
It would be absolutely, definitely worth your valuable time to get these seminars and to listen to them over and over again.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Is your church relevant in today's world?

When people speak of relevance in the church today, it most likely sounds more like abdication.

HT: PyroManiacs

Monday, July 30, 2007

The government shall be on whose shoulders?

We all do it some or other time in our lives. Reading into a verse of the Bible, a meaning that does not exist in that verse at all. Of course, many times we do not mean to do it, but it happens because most of the time we are not well equipped to study the and interpret the Bible properly.

On other occasions we come to the Bible rather maliciously, with a preconceived notion in our minds, looking for some verse to back up that notion. Any verse will do, really!

Such a misinterpretation happened just recently with regards to Is 9:6.

Isa 9:6-7 ESV "(6) For to us a child is born, to us
a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (7) Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this."

While giving his sermon/motivational speech, the preacher involved said, without referring to the Bible, "unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon our shoulders." There was a deliberate misquotation of the verse quoted above.
In the sermon he said that the first part of this prophecy has been fulfilled (
unto us a child was born and unto us a son was given), the second part of this prophecy has not been fulfilled (the government shall be upon His shoulders) and the third part has been fulfilled (He shall be called Wonderful Counsellor...).

Continuing, he asked the question "Where was Jesus born? In heaven or on earth? Where was He called Wonderful Counsellor, etc? In heaven or on earth?" With each of these questions he clearly expected the people to say "on earth." Then he asked the final question: "Where will the government come upon His shoulders?" The natural answer from the audience was, "on earth." Then he went along explaining that
Jesus is the head and the church is His body, therefore, the government spoken of in Is 9:6 will come upon the body of Christ, the church.

From this he concluded that South Africa needs a Christian government now, since the government is upon the shoulders of the body of Christ. I have no problem with Christian government and working towards that in any country, but to misinterpret this verse in that way is to do serious harm to the art of interpreting the Scriptures. This is clearly reading into this passage a meaning that was not intended by the writer of the passage, Isaiah!

The government spoken of in Is 9:6 has nothing to do with an earthly government in a country with boundaries around it. It has to do with the spiritual government of Christ over the Kingdom of God which has no earthly boundaries, but the hearts of men!

To make this passage mean an earthly kingdom surrounded by physical boundaries is to grossly misinterpret this verse and to eventually make it meaningless!

When we take passages of Scripture and allowing ourselves to insert meanings into those passages that were not intended the original author, we effectively render those passages meaningless! It no longer bears the caption "Word of God" but rather "Man's Fantasy!"

It is this fantasy of man that leads to all kinds of doctrinal error and even heresy. It is incumbent upon us to guard against this by properly interpreting the Scriptures by letting the author speak without putting words in his mouth!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Adrian Warnock moved!

For those that like reading Adrian Warnock's blog probably have already discovered that his blog has a new URL. But, for those that did not know, his new URL is http://adrianwarnock.com/.

Monday, July 23, 2007

God sued again?

People have such a great misunderstanding of who God really is! While God nowhere promises us in the Scriptures that He will keep us from sinning, there are still people in the world who shifts blame away from themselves as the rightful heirs of their own responsibilities, to making God responsible for their own actions.

A man in Romania is effectively suing God for breach of contract. Apparently, God broke His agreement with, Pavel Mircea, 40, which was made at Mircea's baptism. It seems that Mircea believes that God promised him at his baptism to protect him from all evil, but instead gave him over to Satan, who then made Mircea commit murder.

This is so clearly a case of implicit faith! James Montgomery Boice preached a sermon several years ago in which he gave this illustration on implicit faith. I can't remember all the details, but it goes something like this (or perhaps not at all!).

A man wanted to become a member of the church, and while he sat before the church board, he was asked what he believed. The man responded: "I believe what the church believes!" The board then asked: "What does the church believe?" The man then answered: "The church believes what I believe!" Finally the board asked him: "So, what do you and the church believe?" To which the man responded: "Oh, we believe the same thing!"

This is a very widespread norm amongst those who attend. Most people, like Mircea from Romania, simply implicitly believe what the church teaches on any subject, whether the church teaches the truth or not! For this man, and many in the church, there is just no idea that they need to study the Bible for themselves, to see if the church is indeed teaching faithfully from the word of God. This will lead to explicit faith.

Explicit faith is not based on the faith and teachings of another, but on a faith that was personally discovered through the study of the Bible. I am NOT saying that we should not listen to what the church has to say. What I am saying is that we need to take what the church says and study the relevant passages to confirm whether the church teaches faithfully on a given subject or not!

It would really be interesting to know how many people in the church believe what they believe because they have actually sat down and thought about their belief, and how many simply believe what they believe because it was uttered from the pulpit.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Africa embraces prosperity "gospel"

Christianity Today has an article called Gospel Riches.

Here is a snippet:
Pastor Michael Okonkwo rises from his gold-coated throne before 4,000 onlookers in Lagos, Nigeria. "Hallelujah!" bellows the self-proclaimed "father of fathers, pastor of pastors," wearing a glittery green gown. The crowd stands and roars.

A 62-year-old former banker and graduate of the Morris Cerullo School of Ministry in San Diego, California, Okonkwo touts a seminar called "Financial Intelligence"; if you've missed it, he encourages you to buy the tapes. Okonkwo describes the "intelligence" he preaches in his book Controlling Wealth God's Way: "[M]any are ignorant of the fact that God has already made provision for his children to be wealthy here on earth. When I say wealthy, I mean very, very rich. … Break loose! It is not a sin to desire to be wealthy."

I found it interesting that one of the Professors mentioned in this article, Allan H. Anderson, taught me Church History in South Africa.

HT: Justin Taylor

Monday, July 02, 2007

Decision Making and the Will of God - Part 7

With this edition of the series on Decision Making and the Will of God, we continue where we stopped last time. Our series ended with chapter 11 last time, and so we will pick up the thread with chapter 12 of Friesen's book, Decision Making and the Will of God.

This is part 7 of this series and we are only at chapter 12. The book has a total of 27 chapters and 3 appendices. So, as can be seen, this book has a great wealth of information on the subject at hand. Obviously, with all the exposure the subject gets, it is necessary to treat the subject fully. That is Friesen's with this book.

Chapter 12 takes us into pretty foreign territory for the Western mind. That is, the sovereignty of God in His dealings with man. Friesen goes into the subject of God's sovereign will. Man is not the ultimate determiner of his own destiny. Neither is chance, or fate! God is the Ultimate Sovereign! And He has a will!

Friesen shows his readers what Scripture has revealed about God's will.
1. God's will is certain of being fulfilled;
2. God's will is detailed and includes all things;
3. God's will is hidden, except where expressly revealed;
4. God's will is supreme, yet, neither does it violate human responsibility, nor does it make God the author of sin;
5. God's will is perfect, leading to God being glorified and is for our good.

Friesen goes into detail with each of these points and really makes his case solid by use of Scripture. Even though we are not to be looking for that individual divine dot that shows us God's intended will for our individual lives, God is still in control and is guiding us divinely.

"[Ruth's] faith in God was rewarded when she entered Boaz's field, though she was unaware of God's sovereign guidance. There was no voice behind her saying, 'This is the field. Walk ye in it.' In fact the text says she 'happened to come' upon the field (Ruth 2:3)! Humanly speaking she had no specific reason for choosing the field, but God perfectly, secretly, in detail, guided her within His sovereign will."[1]

In essence, chapter 12 gives us the Biblical data on God's sovereign will. Chapter 13, on the other hand, is more specific and deals with planning, circumstances, fleeces and open doors.

If God is sovereignly in control, and His will is always fulfilled, then why should we bother planning? That is a question that many have asked. Friesen shows how the Bible expects us to plan. However, all our plans should be made in humility, understanding that our plans should be hedged by the little sentence, "if the Lord wills." We should plan in complete humility and with complete reliance on God.

The Traditional View normally uses circumstances as guiding markers in discerning God's individual will for our lives. However, Friesen makes it clear that Scripture never commands us to treat circumstances as any type of authority in discerning God's will about the future. Imagine a fire burning down a brothel. Many Christians will immediately say that it was God's judgement. Now, imagine a fire burning down an orphanage for HIV/AIDS orphans. Will Christians still call this God's judgement, or will it be the devil this time? You see, unless God reveals the reason for something, it will be pure presumption on our part to claim that we know what was behind it! That is why circumstances cannot be used for discerning our next steps.

If a door of opportunity is closed, would it be because God closed the door, or because the devil is trying to prevent the opportunity from being fruitful? Opportunity sometimes comes with an easy open door. At other times the door is wide open, but there is great resistance (1 Cor 16:8-9). At other times an open door may present itself, but need not be taken (2 Cor 2:12-13). Every open door cannot be seen as a command from God, but should rather be evaluated in wisdom.

The fact is, guidance throughout the Bible has always been a matter of miraculous revelation by God Himself, or by God's people using the wisdom God had already supplied. Inner impressions just do not tip the scale at all, and in fact do not feature in the Bible. It is either God initiating the guidance, or people using their God given wisdom supplied in God's revealed moral will.

Next time we will tackle chapter 14 and on.

1. Friesen, p197.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Decline of the Sabbath?

Ingrid Schleuter from Slice of Laodicea has written a short article called The Opinion Journal on the “Decline of the Sabbath.”

In order to see my take on it, read my post The Sabbath: Celebrating Christ in the New Covenant.

Hell's Best Kept Secret

How do you present the gospel?

See this video from The Way of the Master by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Gobsmacked!

Can this guy even sing? I read so many emails about this guy, I just had to see it for myself.

Warnie and his Arminian brothers

Go to Warnie's blog!I just read a post by Adrian Warnock called, Terry Virgo On Healings Driscoll and Theology. I have no real problem with the post. Here is a quote:
"One of the temptations for us Reformed Charismatics is to just not talk about our experiences of the Spirit and the things we see. If we just don't talk about our charismatic experience it is much easier for us to fit in with our reformed brothers. At times I feel I am more interested in fitting in with my reformed brothers than my Arminian Charismatic brothers!"

Adrian nails it on the head concerning wanting to fit in with "our reformed brothers." My reasons for doing so may not be the same as Adrian's.

You see, I am a charismatic, but I am also very committed to the Reformed faith, more specifically New Covenant Theology.

I was a committed Arminian for many years and defended Arminianism against these crazy Calvinists. However, God showed me the light back in 1998.

In my experience with Arminian Charismatics (ACs), theology is not a high priority. In fact, they are more led by their noses than the Scriptures so graciously given to us by God to be sufficient in faith and morals. To most ACs (and I chose "most" here carefully), Christianity is a life led by experiences and anecdotes. Even their "truth" is based on experience and anecdotes.

The last time I heard any exegetical justification from an AC for anything he believes or does, even from the pulpit, was ... um, aah, urgh! I can't think when that was!

ACs have no problem allowing Word-of-Faith preachers, modalists (read here, here, here, here and here), and the like in their fold because these guys are such dynamic preachers and they heal people! There are very few ACs that ever look at other preachers critically, especially if they are dynamic speakers. Being very funny from the pulpit will also give one great standing among ACs.

Are all ACs like this? I guess not! However, from my experience that would be the exception.

It is for the reasons above that I prefer to be "in" with our reformed brothers.

Updated: 19 June 2007
I bolded, italicized, and "redded" the words "my experience" in my post, since there are some brothers (sisters too?) out there that do not seem to have the ability to read clearly.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology

The MP3s of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology for the 4 different host churches (Sacramento, Jackson, Grand Rapids, Philadelphia) are available at the website of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.

Unfortunately, you will have to pay for these MP3s!

Freely you have received, freely give! Ironic, isn't it?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Discount: What Jesus Demands from the World

John Piper's book, What Jesus Demands from the World, has been discounted for all Desiring God Blog readers. Make use of this excellent opportunity!

This is a limited offer with only 500 books available. So, get over there now!

John Calvin: 500!

Get ready for the celebration of John Calvin's 500th birthday... on July 10, 2009! Yes, 2009!

Preparations are underway for the celebration of Calvin's 500 birthday, and you can read more about it here.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Decision Making and the Will of God - Part 6

Due to the length of time that it has been taking to do this series on Decision Making and the Will of God, I have decided to combine more chapters at a time per post. My last post was on chapter 8 of the book.

Even though it is taking much longer to read this book than I had initially anticipated, I am enjoying what Friesen is saying in this volume very much. He is very balanced in his approach to the subject of "finding" the will of God. And, what I mean by being balanced, is that he only uses the Bible as the counterbalance on the other side of the scale. He constantly does exegesis of the relevant passages making sure that what he is proposing remains true to the Scriptures.

Many writers on this subject use page upon page of ditty little anecdotes to "prove" their point while hardly ever attempting to let the Bible speak for itself. Anecdotes prove nothing more than gullibility on the subject, since people have stories about just about anything in which they have "experienced" something to disprove our own "experiences."

Friesen continues to let the Bible speak on this issue, and I know that some out there will simply not like what Friesen has to say because of their own presuppositional biases.

Chapter 9 handles the subject of our God-given freedom and responsibility to choose. Friesen refers to Augustine who set forth a principle that says, "Where there is no command, God gives us freedom (and responsibility) to choose."[1] These are not Augustine's words, but this is what the principle comes down to.

Inside God's moral will, there is an area of freedom and responsibility. As a result, anything in which God did not pronounce a direct command or law, we have freedom and responsibility to choose the wise option. This freedom and responsibility as a unit is exemplified in God's command to Adam that he could eat from any tree of the garden except one. God gave a specific command concerning only one tree, from which Adam could not eat. Therefore, Adam could choose freely from any of the other trees without the need to be told which one to eat from next. This principle shows that within the given boundaries there is freedom.

After learning in chapter 9 about the freedom and responsibility to choose, we come to chapter 10 which answers the question, "On what basis does the believer make decisions?"

Whereas in chapter 9 we read that where there is no command, God gives us the freedom and responsibility to choose, we now find a further principle, "Where there is no command, God gives us wisdom to choose."[2] Friesen shows how men of God, in both the Old and New Testaments, had wisdom to make decisions in situations where God did not give direct revelation. Examples of verses in this regard are Eccl 10:10, Mt 10:16, Ac 15:28-29, 1 Cor 16:3-4 and 1 Thes 3:1.

Having built a case for the way of wisdom in chapter 10, drawing from the OT, Jesus and from the apostles, Friesen moves into chapter 11 looking more deeply at the lives of the apostles.

At the end of chapter 10, Friesen tells us that the real "clincher--the biblical data that provoked the radical reshaping of my understanding of decision making and the will of God--was the instruction of the apostles."[3]

Something that I have been battling with for some time now, way before I started reading Decision Making, is the idea that we should be seeking God's individual will for our lives on a daily basis, yet there are no examples, nor instruction to do so anywhere in the NT. Friesen picks up on this teaching and categorically states that it is not recorded even once, that the apostles ever tried to discover God's individual will for their lives. The apostles use phrases concerning their decision making that point to freedom in decision making.

I agree in this regard. We will be hard-pressed to prove from the NT that we are supposed to search for God's individual will for our daily lives.

As usual, Friesen builds principles in this regard: "In the area of freedom, the believer's goal is to make wise decisions on the basis of spiritual usefulness, Or, when there is no command, God gives freedom and wisdom to make spiritually advantageous decisions."[4 - Italics supplied by Friesen]

Naturally, Christians will ask how this wisdom is acquired. This involves the believer's attitude and approach.

A Christian's attitude must reflect the following:
1. Each Christian must become aware of the fact that no man is naturally wise,
2. He must have the conviction that God is the ultimate source of wisdom,
3. God will grant wisdom to those with certain characteristics, such as reverence for God, humility, teachableness, etc.,
4. The believer must have faith.

In the proper approach, the believer must understand the following:
1. He must ask God for wisdom,
2. Wisdom is found in the Scriptures,
3. Outside research must be done where appropriate.
4. Wise counsellors are needed,
5. Life itself can provide wisdom, and
6. Direct revelation may sometimes be used by God himself to direct us. [This is dealt with in chapter 15 of Friesen's book.]

What Friesen is telling us here is that wisdom ultimately comes from God himself. The principle that where God has given us no commands, He gives us wisdom to choose is aimed at here. That wisdom can then be acquired through the right attitude and approach.

Continue with part 7...

1. Friesen, p137.
2. Ibid., p160.
3. Ibid., p173.
4. Ibid., pp174-175.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Piper speaks clearly on prosperity gospel

John Piper is very concerned about the spread of the "Prosperity Gospel" heresy. And, rightly so! When I walk through Christian bookstores, I see the sections on heresy growing at an alarming rate! Christian bookstore chains such as Impact, CUM, and Gospel Direct sell books by these heretics of the prosperity cult and others that by right should not be called Christians.

It is troubling that churches keep on supporting the sellers of and even sell these heresies themselves. I have posted extensively on this subject before in the series, Heresies in the Church.

John Piper, from Desiring God is also angry about these heretics that are given free reign. Watch this video to hear his words on this matter.

This is probably the angriest I have heard in Piper's tone!


HT: Eddie Beal

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Creation Museum is open!

The Creation Museum finally opened its doors on 28 May 2007.
The Creation Museum presents a "walk through history." Designed by a former Universal Studios exhibit director, this state-of-the-art 60,000 square foot museum brings the pages of the Bible to life.


Monday, May 28, 2007

Sex-change minister reappointed to lead church

Kenneth and Gloria CopelandApostasy is rife in the church. I am talking about churches that are supposed to be evangelical. They allow heretics such as T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, and others like them to grace their pulpits and their bookstores!

However, there are churches out there that simply no longer deserve the term "church" in the name of their liberal, ungodly institutions! One such church reappointed a minister that had a sex change operation since being appointed there initially!

A United Methodist minister who has changed gender since being chosen to lead a congregation in Baltimore will be reappointed there, church officials announced Thursday at a regional convocation.

The Rev. Drew Phoenix told the church's Baltimore-Washington conference that he had gone through "spiritual transformation" in the past year, since changing his name from Ann Gordon and receiving medical treatment to become a man.
Continue reading...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

What is that you're wearing?

Dan Phillips has written a couple of thought proving blog posts on the issue of dressing modestly.

In this post he points to a post by Jim Jordan simply called "On Dressing Modestly." This is an excellent post for dads who have daughters (and sons). Here is an excerpt:

While reading a post over at Pyromaniacs on this subject I was reminded that I had intended to write about something that happened when my daughter first dressed too immodestly. She had just shy of 10 years old and had decided she was going to wear her 5-year old Power Puff Girls shirt [is that still around?], which didn't cover anything below her rib cage. She combined that with a pair of low riding shorts. Prancing around the room, she asked, "Daddy, what do you think?"

I thought for a second, then answered,"It looks like you want all the boys at school to know that your dying to have sex with them." Her face turned beat red and her her mouth formed into a Mr. Bill-style "Oh, no!" expression.
Continue reading...

Of course, this goes against everything this "Britney Spears/Lindsay Lohan/Pussycat Dolls" culture is trying to force onto our sons and daughters!

Well said Dan and Jim!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The New Defender’s Study Bible

Study Bibles are popping up everywhere. Another one is The New Defender’s Study Bible.

"This is a new edition of the only study Bible stressing the defense of the Biblical Christian faith from the perspective of literal creationism and absolute Biblical authority. The New Defender's Study Bible offers:
  • Introductory notes on each Bible book
  • Greatly expanded commentary notes
  • End-of-Verse references
  • Words of Christ in red
  • Concordance
  • 21 topical appendices for understanding biblical authority and accuracy
  • Maps
"With each copy of The Defender’s Study Bible, the Abridged Defender’s Collection CD-ROM (containing the entire Study Bible with all footnotes and the text of Many Infallible Proofs) will be included at no additional cost."

Read more...

Church Growth 101

Monday, May 21, 2007

Are you not glad this guy never became a preacher!

The devil did not approve of Joshua wanting to become a preacher, so he told the unsuspecting preacher wannabe to microwave his daughter... And, Joshua did as the devil commanded!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

No wonder the world takes Christianity so seriously!

This video proves why the world takes Christianity so seriously! I do not mean seriously as in a viable alternative worldview with answers to life, but seriously as in need of psychiatric treatment. No wonder in some circles Christianity is seen as a psychological disorder!

But then, if the non-discerning keep supporting these quacks--this is the nicest word I could think up for them--then these quacks will keep on multiplying like rabbits!

This is not REAL Christianity, but Hey!, this is all the world really sees of Christianity. And, we all know that TV is not a good medium of presenting anything the way it actually is!



HT: Irish Calvinist

Jerry Falwell: 1933 - 2007

Dr. Jerry Falwell (11 Aug 1933 - 15 May 2007) has graduated from this life, and has passed on into the heavenly mansion prepared for him by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dr. Falwell died yesterday, 15 May 2007.

"The Rev. Dr. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority and Liberty University and pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church since 1956, died today. He was 73.

"Falwell was found unresponsive in his office this morning. Attempts to resuscitate him failed."
Read more...

Woman, what are you wearing?

Dan Phillips, a member of the PyroManiacs, wrote an excellent article called Sister... show mercy! In this post he tackles the oh, so sensitive issue of how women (even in the church) dress. In the comment section, someone said that even if a completely naked woman strolls down the aisle in church, it still would be no excuse to sin. I agree with that, however, I do not believe that the temptress is therefore exonerated. See Mt 18:6. The one who tempts is just as guilty as the one who sins!

Dan has followed up with another post, Young lady, I'm talking to you.

It is really worth reading these posts!

After you have read these posts and you are stark raving mad, thinking that nobody has the right to tell you what to wear, think again! Then you obviously haven't met God yet!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Rick Warren: Pastor of porn sellers?

Rick Warren
Rupert Murdoch is starting to move into putting porn on TV channels! Does Rick Warren, his mega-church pastor, have something to say about his church member's unholy partnership with the devil's porn industry?

There is lot of concern about Rick Warren's connections to Rupert Murdoch, and rightly so!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Greg Koukl on Christian political passivity

I have been involved in politics now for just over a year. The longer I am involved in politics, the more I realize that there are more Christians needed in politics. And, I do not mean just any Christian! My call is for Christians that have a solid grasp on historic Biblical orthodox theology.

A non-theological Christian (which is an impossibility, but I am sure you get my drift), will definitely not make a good Christian politician. Such Christians have the idea that a verse from the Bible on its own can say its own thing, without being connected to its context. False doctrine, even heresy, is born in such conditions. This is not what we want in politics.

Greg Koukl, wrote an article called "Political Passivity—Vice or Christian Virtue?" In it he writes:
"It’s not only the left that sounds the alarm when Christians “jeopardize the separation of church and state” by engaging in political action. Some Christians object, too. One evangelical leader offered this stern warning: “There should not be even a hint of anything political in our public discourse.”

"This may sound spiritual in some circles, but it can be devastating to the public good. Without question the Gospel has supernatural power to change lives, and those changed lives can change the world. William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King, and Mother Teresa come immediately to mind.

"Some Christians wrongly conclude, however, that political involvement is therefore a waste of time. This is a mistake. The Gospel is never communicated in a political or cultural vacuum."
Read more...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Good family devotions?

Someone asked: "What is a good way to do family devotions?"

The Irish Calvinist answered!

Banking on Greek!

Click for large image.As most of us know, Greek is very important for any pastor to master! Oh! Sorry, I don't really believe that most of us know of the importance of a strong knowledge of Greek (and Hebrew) to the pastor. Most pastors have a care-less attitude to the Biblical languages!

Click for large Hebrew text image.John Piper wrote an article in the June 1983 The Standard, called "Brothers, Bitzer Was a Banker!"

It is of great importance for pastors to read this article, but also for the rest of us. If only pastors would take the study of the Biblical languages seriously, it would make such an amazing difference in their churches!

HT: Dan Phillips.

Letters to a Young Evangelical

After reading what some have to say about Tony Campolo's book, "Letters to a Young Evangelical," I have to come to the conclusion that Campolo is an evangelical in garb only. In fact, it seems like he is a raging liberal trying to get Christians to follow his wayward ideas!

Reviewer Douglas LeBlanc writes, "Campolo writes that evangelical has taken on too much baggage and ought to be replaced with red-letter Christian, especially for believers who call themselves progressives but reject the label of Religious Left. Have fun with that semantic game, brother, but don't expect the evangelicals you caricature to play it with you." [italics provided by LeBlanc]

Jordan Hayden from First Things wrote A Letter to Tony Campolo in which he writes, "You start off by accusing conservative Christians of uncritically baptizing the Republican agenda, and you claim to offer a biblical outlook that "transcends party politics." But then you turn around and support nearly every plank in the Democratic party’s platform. I tried to keep track: You make an argument (liberally peppered with Bible verses) for the Democratic position on abortion, gay marriage, tax cuts, trade policy, Iraq, nuclear disarmament, school vouchers, racial profiling, the closing of Guantanamo Bay, capital punishment, and global warming.

"I have no problem with politically liberal Christians, but why do you claim to be beyond party politics when you so clearly aren’t? Do you really expect us to believe that Jesus just happens to have the same politics as Nancy Pelosi?"

HT: Justin Taylor.
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