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
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?


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, " 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

Amazing video

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

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