Friday, April 28, 2006

T4G Statement of Faith

This was given out to the audience as a confessional of sorts of what T4G is about, and what it is not about. I would encourage you to read through it, it is very well done and very complete.

We are brothers in Christ united in one great cause-to stand together for the Gospel. We are convinced that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been misrepresented, misunderstood, and marginalized in many churches and among many who claim the name of Christ. Compromise of the Gospel has led to the preaching of false gospels, the seduction of many minds and movements, and the weakening of the church’s Gospel witness.

As in previous movements of theological and spiritual crisis in the church, we believe that the answer to this confusion and compromise lies in a comprehensive recovery and reaffirmation of the Gospel-and in Christians banding together in the Gospel churches that display God’s glory in this fallen world.

We are also brothers united in deep concern for the church and the Gospel. This concern is specifically addressed to certain trends within the church today. We are concerned about the tendency of so many churches to substitute technique for truth, therapy for theology, and management for ministry.

We are also concerned that God’s glorious purpose for Christ’s church is often eclipsed in concern by so many other issues, programs, technologies, and priorities. Furthermore, confusion over crucial questions concerning the authority of the Bible, the meaning of the Gospel, and the nature of truth itself have gravely weakened the church in terms of its witness, its work, and its identity.

We stand together for the Gospel-and for a full and gladdening recovery of the Gospel in the church. We are convinced that such a recovery will be evident in the form of faithful Gospel churches, each bearing faithful witness to the glory of God and the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Article I
We affirm the sole authority for the Church is the bible, verbally inspired, inerrant, infallible, and totally sufficient and trustworthy.

We deny that the Bible is a mere witness to the divine revelation, or that any portion of Scripture is marked by error, in completeness, or the effects of human sinfulness.

Article II
We affirm that the authority and sufficiency of Scripture extends to the entire Bible, and therefore that the Bible is our final authority for all doctrine and practice.

We deny that any portion of the Bible is to be used in an effort to deny the truthfulness or the trustworthiness of any other portion. We further deny any effort to identify a canon within the canon or, for example, to set the words of Jesus against the writings of Paul.

Article III
We affirm that truth ever remains a central issue for the Church, and that the church must resist the allure of pragmatism and postmodern conceptions of truth as substitutes for obedience to the comprehensive truth claims of Scripture.

We deny that truth is merely a product of social construction or that the truth of the Gospel can be expressed or grounded in anything less than total confidence in the veracity of the Bible, the historicity of biblical events, and the ability of language to convey understandable truth in sentence form. We further deny that the church can establish it’s ministry on a foundation of pragmatism, current marketing techniques, or contemporary cultural fashions.

Article IV
We affirm the centrality of expository preaching in the church and the urgent need for a recovery of biblical exposition and the public reading of Scripture in worship.

We deny that God-honoring worship can marginalize or neglect the ministry of the Word as manifested through exposition and public reading. We further deny that a church devoid of true biblical preaching can survive as a Gospel church.

Article V
We affirm that the Bible reveals God to be infinite in all his perfections, and thus truly omniscient, omnipotent, timeless, and self-existent. We further affirm that God possesses perfect knowledge of all things, past, present, and future, including all human thoughts, acts, and decisions.

We deny that the God of the Bible is in any way limited in terms of knowledge or power or any other perfection or attribute, or that God has in any way limited his own perfections.

Article VI
We affirm that the doctrine of the Trinity is a Christian essential, bearing witness to the ontological reality of the one true God in three divine persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each of the same substance and perfections.

We deny the claim that the Trinity is not an essential doctrine, or that the Trinity can be understood in merely economic or functional categories.

Article VII
We affirm that Jesus Christ is true God and true man, in perfect, undiluted, and unconfused union throughout his incarnation and now eternally. We also affirm that Christ died on the cross as a substitute for sinners, as a sacrifice for sin, and as a propitiation of the wrath of God toward sin. We affirm the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Christ as essential to the Gospel. We further affirm that Jesus Christ is Lord over His church, and that Christ will reign over the entire cosmos in fulfillment of the Father’s gracious purpose.

We deny that the substitutionary character of Christ’s atonement for sin can be compromised or denied without serious injury, or even repudiation, of the Gospel. We further deny that Jesus Christ is visible only in weakness, rather than in power, Lordship, or royal reign, or, conversely, that Christ is visible only in power, and never in weakness.

Article VIII
We affirm that salvation is all of grace, and that the Gospel is revealed to us in doctrines that most faithfully exalt God’s sovereign purpose to save sinners and in His determination to save his redeemed people by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to His glory alone.

We deny that any teaching, theological system, or means of presenting the Gospel that denies the centrality of God’s grace as His gift of unmerited favor to sinners in Christ can be considered true doctrine.

Article IX
We affirm that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s means of bringing salvation to His people that sinners are commanded to believe the Gospel, and that the church is commissioned to preach and teach the Gospel to all nations.

We deny that evangelism can be reduced to any program, technique, or marketing approach. We further deny that salvation can be separated from repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Article X
We affirm that salvation comes to those who truly believe and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

We deny that there is salvation in any other name, or that saving faith can take any form other than conscious belief in the Lord Jesus Christ and His saving acts.

Article XI
We affirm the continuity of God’s saving purpose and the Christological unity of the covenants. We further affirm the basic distinction between law and grace, and that the true Gospel exalts Christ’s atoning work as the consummate and perfect fulfillment of the law.

We deny that the Bible presents any other means of salvation than God’s gracious acceptance of sinners in Christ.

Article XII
We affirm that sinners are justified only through faith in Christ, and that justification by faith alone is both essential and central to the Gospel.

We deny that any teaching that minimizes, denies, or confuses justification by faith alone can be considered true to the Gospel. We further deny that any teaching that separates regeneration and faith is a true rendering of the Gospel.

Article XIII
We affirm that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to believers by God’s decree alone, and that this righteousness, imputed to the believer through faith alone, is the only righteousness that saves.

We deny that such righteousness is earned or deserved in any manner, is infused within the believer to any degree, or is realized in the believer through anything other than faith alone.

Article XIV
We affirm that the shape of Christian discipleship is congregational, and that God’s purpose is evident in faithful Gospel congregations, each displaying God’s glory in the marks of authentic ecclesiology.

We deny that any Christian can truly be a faithful disciple apart from the teaching, discipline, fellowship, and accountability of a congregation of fellow disciples, organized as a Gospel church. We further deny that the Lord’s Supper can faithfully be administered apart from the right practice of church disciple.

Article XV
We affirm that evangelical congregations are to work together in humble and voluntary cooperation and that the spiritual fellowship of Gospel congregations bears witness to the unity of the Church and the glory of God.

We deny that loyalty to any denomination or fellowship of churches can take precedence over the claims of truth and faithfulness to the Gospel.

Article XVI
We affirm that the Scripture reveals a pattern of complimentary order between men and women, and that this order is itself a testimony to the Gospel, even as it is the gift of our Creator and Redeemer. We also affirm that all Christians are called to service within the body of Christ, and that God has given to both men and women important and strategic roles within the home, the church, and the society. We further affirm that the teaching office of the church is assigned only to those men who are called of God in fulfillment of the biblical teachings and that men are to lead in their homes as husbands and fathers who fear and love God.

We deny that the distinction of roles between men and women revealed in the Bible is evidence of mere cultural conditioning or a manifestation of male oppression or prejudice against women. We also deny that this biblical distinction of roles excludes women from meaningful ministry in Christ’s kingdom. We further deny that any church can confuse these issues without damaging its witness to the Gospel.

Article XVII
We affirm that God calls his people to display his glory in the reconciliation of the nations within the Church, and that God’s pleasure in this reconciliation is evident in the gathering of believers from every tongue and tribe and people and nation. We acknowledge that the staggering magnitude of injustice against African-Americans in the name of the Gospel presents a special opportunity for displaying the repentance, forgiveness, and restoration promised in the Gospel. We further affirm that evangelical Christianity in America bears a unique responsibility to demonstrate this reconciliation with our African-American brothers and sisters.

We deny that any church can accept racial prejudice, discrimination, or division without betraying the Gospel.

Article XVIII
We affirm that our only sure and confident hope is in the sure and certain promises of God. Thus, our hope is an eschatological hope, grounded in our confidence that God will bring all things to consummation in a manner that will bring greatest glory to his own name, greatest preeminence to his Son, and greatest joy for his redeemed people.

We deny that we are to find ultimate fulfillment or happiness in this world or that God’s ultimate purpose is for us to find merely a more meaningful and fulfilling life in this fallen world. We further deny that any teaching that offers health and wealth as God’s assured promises in this life can be considered a true gospel.

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures….
1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
Revelation 14:6-7

This was signed by Drs J Ligon Duncan III, Mark E. Dever, R. Albert Mohler, Jr. And C. J. Mahaney - after the presentation of this document to the audience Dr MacArthur expressed his interest in signing it as well. I wouldn't be surprised if they all end up signing it when all is said and done.

Back to the Harvest

I am currently sitting in the Louisville Airport after having an amazingly blessed time of fellowship at Together for the Gospel with my close friends, and hearing some incredible preaching and exhortation. The weight of the message John Piper preached last night left me challenged and encouraged, it had a sobering effect on the whole congregation. After he was done, there was dead silence, and that was broken by Bob Kaufman who began to lead us in singing -- we slowly rose and the voices that sang had a weight of their own - 3000 Pastors singing after a message like that is something to hear.

One of the objects of this conference was to bring people/Pastors together who may be out there on their own and have no support system, or as Al Mohler put it a "Band of Brothers". Mark Dever said they were the bait to draw everyone together, not a bad plan. I can somewhat understand why this is necessary - after living in California most of my life, I have always been surrounded by a Band of Brothers, they would correct me, encourage me, pray for me, counsel me, and teach me. I will always be grateful for the friends that God has put in my life. Now that I am living in Iowa I am still leaning on them, I have not been successful in finding another like-minded Christian as of yet. I have been blessed to meet a Pastor in Kansas, who is quickly becoming a great friend, I am currently praying that he will be called to Pastor the church I am currently attending, they are looking for a Pastor at the moment.

My heart truly goes out to the reformed, by himself-out numbered- sold out for the truth-of the gospel Pastor that is out there on his own without any nearby support network of brothers to sharpen iron with. I pray that this conference will have had the desired effect that Mark Dever envisioned and bring other Pastors together for edification and sanctification.

I will miss seeing my Band of Brothers on a daily/weekly basis, but praise God for the technology that keeps us together!

I can't wait for Together for the Gospel 2008!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Open Your Easter Egg!! What's In It?

So What!

It’s been a couple of week since Easter. Most of us sat in church and listened to that same sermon we hear every year. You know the one: the tomb is empty and mankind is redeemed. Jesus’ victory over sin can now give mankind hope and better than that, He defeated death and now we can live with Him forever!

Great story, all true and it gives us all great hope and comfort as we live in a sin filled world that has nothing to offer a Christian these days. But my real question is, how do we apply this to our lives today? If we say that it is to give man hope, what’s the difference between that and the man centered view that comes out of Roman Catholicism and their “earn your way to heaven theology”, Or the modern Pentecostals with their get a “blessing from God” and “name it and claim it”. If we are to approach God with anything other than to see ourselves as the sinners that we are and give Him glory and enjoy Him forever than we aren’t much different than the people who earn their way to heaven or use God to achieve some kind of spiritual or material gain. Yet every year at this time we seem to reflect on how Christ sacrificed for our well being.

This year I think that we should take a new approach. Let’s look at what Christ did as an example of how we should act. You might be saying right now that most people understand that and believe that but I think that is a false perception of reality. If we could all live by that example of Christ, then we wouldn’t have the problems we have in our own churches. Although we don’t have the problems in the churches today that we have in the secular world we do have a lot. We need to take a hard look at how we are acting and why we really show up at church every week. I think that our self-centered attitudes have taken over and we have lost focus. We do need to look at what the true biblical example is and start by applying it to our own lives. What I mean by that is we need to look into ourselves and quit applying it to others.

This brings us back to the story of Easter. Let’s look at it in the light of how we can use it as an example of how we should live our everyday lives. To understand this we must try to look at every part of the crucifixion and discern whether He was acting in His humanity or as God. We would have to say that when He was paying the sin debt He was acting as God. This shows us that we need to determine when that was. When Christ carried the cross down the Via Della Rosa He could not make it all the way and He was helped by Simon. This proves that He was now paying the sin debt at that time. If this is true then he was acting in His humanity not in His deity. This being true this part of the crucifixion then is applicable as something that we can apply to our lives.

From the beginning the only thing that he really said was that nothing that happened to Him happened because the Father allowed it and He claimed to be the Messiah. He was beaten and tortured beyond what we would consider acceptable but let’s look at our own lives. Is this the standard that we live by? I think that most of us would end up trying to claim some undeserved right to be treated differently. We would actually use that to disguise our own sin. We try to fool others but in the end the only people we fool are ourselves and we end up leaving fellow brothers and sisters in the wake of our path and we act nothing like the Christ who went to the cross fully understanding that it is God who is control not the ones who persecute us.

I would venture to say that some of those that persecuted Christ were part of the elect and did eventually come to a saving knowledge of God. Looking at Ephesians where it says that we are to love our wives the way that God loved the church. We will take that persecution from our wives. And to the women who think that you’re off the hook, the Bible says to pick up your cross and follow Him. To every man, woman and child who loves God I would ask, have you picked up your cross and followed Him?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

And So It Begins

Tomorrow I will be flying into Kentucky and attending the Together for the Gospel conference. I will be meeting up with two of my closest friends, Chris Hinton who co-blogs with me here at Truth or Consequences and Jason Robertson from Fide-O, It wont be the same without Scott Hill but we will have to manage.

For those of you that are missing it and wanted to go I can offer you no solace except to know that we will be enjoying it for you -- so try to wish us well. It should be a great time of fellowship and teaching, from the conference itself to the Band of Bloggers session the day before. There are plenty of people live blogging so you should be able to keep up, check Tim Challies he is an amazingly fast typist, I watched him live blog at the Shepherds' Conference and he must type 110 words a minute.

Monday, April 24, 2006

A Sad Time for the SBC

I fear there are more sad days to come for the SBC as time goes on. I have been in an SBC church all my life, and it is sad to see these types of developments that hurt the testimony of the church. The SBC needs to do as Tom Ascol has said and clean the rolls and be honest about our church memberships, we need to do biblical evangelism and fill our churches with the saved. We need to fill SBC pulpits with Pastors that are theologians and not stealing sermons from

Is that to much to ask?? Isn't that the calling??

NAMB president Reccord resigns following investigation
By Greg Warner
Associated Baptist Press

ATLANTA - Bob Reccord has resigned as president of the North American Mission Board (NAMB), three weeks after trustees completed an internal investigation and imposed "executive level controls" on the agency head.

"I regret that events of recent weeks have created an environment which makes it difficult to lead the organization and to stay on mission," Reccord, 54, said in a statement April 17. His resignation became effective immediately.

Allegations of poor management first surfaced in a February report by the Christian Index, the George Baptist news journal. NAMB's trustees responded with their own investigation. They concluded that the Index report contained some "inaccuracies," but also found fault enough to put Reccord under strict "executive-level controls" on March 23.

Many observers thought the trustees' tightening of the reins would prompt Reccord's resignation, and ABP reported April 13 that several unidentified trustees had called for Reccord to resign before facing a possible ouster at their May 2 meeting.

Also April 13, Reccord met with several prominent Southern Baptist pastors to seek their advice. Three days later, he resigned.

For full article click here.

Contemplative Prayer?? oy vey

Tim Sweetman at Agent Tim Online has a very interesting article on "contemplative prayer", if you have never heard of this I would suggest reading his commentary and coverage of it. We must always be on the watch for the "new way" of doing things and than measuring them against the word of God. It reminds me of the time we took our youth group to the SBC Youth Conference and they broke out the Prayer Labryinth -- that's when we knew it was time to go.

I believe Tim is a teenager, and gives a very good treatment of the topic.

Click here for commentary.

Lasting Impact

Mark Dever at the T4G blog takes on some important questions on the lasting fruit of ministry.

Here are a couple of quotes:

My pastor friend, how much of what we've done will continue to impact our town 50 years after our ministry is completed?

How much of what we've done will continue to impact our CHURCH 50 years after our ministry is completed?

How much of what we've done continues to impact individuals in our church 50 days after our ministry is completed?

For the full commentary go here.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Preach It!!

This is one of the top five messages I have ever heard preached. I can't encourage you enough
to listen to it. You will be challenged and blessed.

This message is from Dr. Steve Lawson, he is givng the 2005 commencement address at Master's Seminary.

Click here and then scroll down to hear the message.

Ask the World a Question -- Get a Worldly Answer

This is another example of what the world will chase after to have a "spiritual experience" or some kind of "enlightenment" -- False religion's and heretics have ruined the word enlightment. You want to know what lies the world is chasing? this website, is a great start. It makes beliefnet look like Spurgeon's library.

All the sites in this category are terrible and there is not one I could vote for.

Wie.Org Nominated For Best Religion And Spirituality Web Site For The Tenth Annual Webby Awards

LENOX, MA – APRIL 20 - The Webby Awards, the leading international honor for Web sites, nominated as the Best Religion and Spirituality Web site of 2006. is produced by EnlightenNext, which also produces the award-winning magazine What Is Enlightenment? Founder and visionary of, Andrew Cohen, inspires a dedicated staff of talented designers lead by Will Rogers and Webmaster Jeff Bellsey.

Hailed as the "Online Oscars" by TIME magazine, The Webby Awards are determined by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, a global organization with a membership that includes musician David Bowie, Internet inventor Vinton Cerf, Naked Chef Jamie Oliver, The Body Shop president Anita Roddick, "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening, Real Networks CEO Rob Glaser, and fashion designer Max Azria.

"The Webby Awards honors the outstanding Web sites that are setting the standards for the internet," said Tiffany Shlain, founder and ambassador of The Webby Awards. "’s Webby Award nomination is a testament to the skill, ingenuity, and vision of its creators."

"’s vision is to create an online forum for the evolution of consciousness and culture," says managing editor Carter Phipps. “By bringing together scientists, mystics, activists, business people, and philosophers, is forging new perspectives from which we can begin to address the challenging problems of our moment in history.”

For full story go here.

John Bunyan from Prison

Bunyan was imprisoned for teaching the gospel in its purity to the poor, and for refusing conformity to national creeds and ceremonies. This was as absurd as it would be, to imprison such of the inhabitants of a country who refused to swear that all mankind were of one standard in height; sending those who had consciences to prison, until they pretended that they had grown taller or shorter, and were willing to take the oath. Mental decision must be formed on evidence. God can enlighten the mind to see that he alone can guide us to spiritual worship-that his will must be personally consulted, and unreservedly obeyed. Such a man feels that his soul’s salvation depends upon obedience to God, and not to man. If human laws send him to jail for refusing to disobey God, he will write upon the prison wall as William Prynne did upon that in the Tower, “The Lord heareth the poor, and despiseth not HIS prisoners.”

‘Christ’s presence hath my prison turn’d into
A blessed heaven; what then will it do
In heaven hereafter, when it now creates
Heav‘n in a dungeon; goals to courts translates?’
‘He is not bound whom Christ makes free; he,
Though shut close prisoner, chained, remains still free:
A godly man’s at large in every place,
Still cheerful, well content, in blessed case,
Unconquered; he a sacred heaven still bears
About within his breast.’…

These were the feelings of all Christ’s prisoners. Indomitable was the heroic spirit of Bunyan. He tells his persecutors their folly and their sin, even while suffering under their lash; and after more than twelve years’ incarceration, his free spirit is unsubdued. Again for sixteen years he enjoyed the sweets of liberty, and then re-published at all risks his proofs of the wickedness of persecution for conscience’ sake. There was no craft, nor guile, nor hypocrisy about his character, but a fearless devotion to the will of his God; and he became one of the most honoured of his saints.

Written by John Bunyan while imprisoned.

1. Friend, I salute thee in the Lord,
And wish thou may’st abound
In faith, and have a good regard
To keep on holy ground.

2. Thou dost encourage me to hold
My head above the flood,
Thy counsel better is than gold,
In need thereof I stood.

3. Good counsel’s good at any time,
The wise will it receive,
Though fools count he commits a crime
Who doth good counsel give.

4. I take it kindly at thy hand
Thou didst unto me write,
My feet upon Mount Zion stand,
In that take thou delight .

5. I am, indeed, in prison now
In body, but my mind
Is free to study Christ, and how
Unto me he is kind.

6. For though men keep my outward man
Within their locks and bars,
Yet by the faith of Christ I can
Mount higher than the stars.

7. Their fetters cannot spirits tame,
Nor tie up God from me;
My faith and hope they cannot lame,
Above them I shall be.

8. I here am very much refreshed
To think when I was out,
I preached life, and peace, and rest
To sinners round about.

9. My business then was souls to save,
By preaching grace and faith;
Of which the comfort now I have,
And have it shall till death.

This is just a sample of where John Bunyan's mind was while in prison -- it was on Christ!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

T4G: Band of Bloggers. How to ask Questions to the Panel

Below are the directions from Timmy Brister on how to ask questions to those on the panel:

Questions have been asked about the discussion and how it will be moderated. Here is what I am asking for those of you attending. Because the length is only one hour, not every question stirring in our minds will be able to be addressed. Therefore, I am asking you to think though 5-10 questions concerning blogging, the gospel, and the glory of God and email them to me (at
I will in turn present them to the moderator. This will also give you time to consider thoughtfully what exactly you would like to ask these guys and will ensure that our discussion is fruitful and substantive. Please have your questions emailed to me no later than this Sunday, April 23, 2006. I will turn them in that following Monday morning.

As I mentioned earlier, following the panel discussion will be plenty of time to hang out and fellowship with one another. I have more details yet to mention, so please stay tuned for more to come.

John MacArthur on Celibacy in the Ministry

The following quotes are taken from John MacArthur's latest appearance on The Larry King Live show. As usual they had their roundabout guests with MacArthur being the only biblically sane one. I would encourage you to read the whole transcript, it is actually quite interesting. The subject as a whole had to do with a new A&E TV show called "God or the Girl", where future Catholic Priests choose between the ministry or getting married.

Quotes below:

JOHN MACARTHUR, EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN PASTOR: Yes, well I think from a biblical standpoint we need to readdress this issue on a couple of fronts. Number one, according to the New Testament, you can't be a pastor unless you are the husband of one wife and have proven that you're able to manage your household well.

The apostle Paul also said that one of the false doctrines, he called doctrines of demons, 1 Timothy 4, is forbidding to marry. There is no biblical basis for this whatsoever. You can't use Jesus as an example. He's God in human flesh.

There is no biblical foundation. In fact, Paul said it's better to marry than to burn. So, you put a priest in an impossible situation, then stick him in a confessional all day to listen to people reciting all their sexual sins and I think that's just way over the top if you expect somebody to live a pure life with that kind of temptation thrown at them.

KING: You say a pastor should be married, you mean someone comes out of seminary they have to be married or they can't be a pastor?

MACARTHUR: Well the bottom -- yes, the bottom line is there could be exceptions. You could have a widower. You could have somebody who did never marry. But the qualification for a pastor is the husband of one wife, a one woman man.

KING: So you think the idea that even though it's a discipline of the church it's a bad idea?

MACARTHUR: Yes, I don't think it's a biblical idea at all and it came, as Father Manning noted, because priestly families were building fortunes and in 1079 when that became law at the Lateran (ph) Council, it was because Rome started seeing that money was being kept in these massive families. If you don't have any children, you can't pass on anything.

This is just a sampling, there is a lot more that is worth reading in the transcripts.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Christian Bloggers Unite!!

Hear ye, Hear ye,

Timmy Brister has gone to some considerable lengths to organize a session at Together for the Gospel strictly for Christian Bloggers. I can't thank him enough for the work and effort he is putting into making this happen. This is becoming a session I am looking forward to as much as the rest of the conference.

For the speaker line-up and more information click here.

Jacob’s Ladder - What was he really seeing?

Soli Deo Gloria has an excellent commentary worth reading on Jacobs Ladder. While I will have to do some research myself, at this point I cant find any fault with it, and believe the conclusion makes sense.

You will also learn the meaning of the word Ziggurats, which is just fun to say to impress your friends.

This is a concise excellent read.

Soli Deo Gloria: Jacob’s Ladder

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Thank God!

The Old Rugged Cross

The Old Rug­ged Cross was writ­ten in 1913 by George Bennard in Al­bi­on, Mi­chi­gan. Or Po­ka­gon, Mi­chi­gan. Or Stur­geon Bay, Wis­con­sin. All three towns claim to be the birth­place of this hymn.

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.


So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.


In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.


To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.


O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.


In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.


To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.

Friday, April 14, 2006

TULIP For Dummies

This is a great post at Doxoblogy. Make sure to read the comments, there are some excellent points made and a good question about his definitinon for the "I" in TULIP.

If you have no idea what TULIP is you definitely need to read this.

Click below for post:

Doxoblogy: TULIP For Dummies

Are You on a Slippery Slope?

"Their foot shall slide in due time."
Deuteronomy 32:35
In this verse is threatened the vengeance of God on the wicked unbelieving Israelites, who were God's visible people, and who lived under the means of grace; but who, notwithstanding all God's wonderful works towards them, remained (as vers 28.) void of counsel, having no understanding in them. Under all the cultivations of heaven, they brought forth bitter and poisonous fruit; as in the two verses next preceding the text. -- The expression I have chosen for my text, their foot shall slide in due time, seems to imply the following things, relating to the punishment and destruction to which these wicked Israelites were exposed.

That they were always exposed to destruction; as one that stands or walks in slippery places is always exposed to fall. This is implied in the manner of their destruction coming upon them, being represented by their foot sliding. The same is expressed, Psalm 72:18. "Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction."

It implies, that they were always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction. As he that walks in slippery places is every moment liable to fall, he cannot foresee one moment whether he shall stand or fall the next; and when he does fall, he falls at once without warning: Which is also expressed in Psalm 73:18,19. "Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction: How are they brought into desolation as in a moment!"

Another thing implied is, that they are liable to fall of themselves, without being thrown down by the hand of another; as he that stands or walks on slippery ground needs nothing but his own weight to throw him down.

That the reason why they are not fallen already and do not fall now is only that God's appointed time is not come. For it is said, that when that due time, or appointed time comes, their foot shall slide. Then they shall be left to fall, as they are inclined by their own weight. God will not hold them up in these slippery places any longer, but will let them go; and then, at that very instant, they shall fall into destruction; as he that stands on such slippery declining ground, on the edge of a pit, he cannot stand alone, when he is let go he immediately falls and is lost.

The observation from the words that I would now insist upon is this. -- "There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God." -- By the mere pleasure of God, I mean his sovereign pleasure, his arbitrary will, restrained by no obligation, hindered by no manner of difficulty, any more than if nothing else but God's mere will had in the least degree, or in any respect whatsoever, any hand in the preservation of wicked men one moment. -- The truth of this observation may appear by the following considerations.

Taken from:
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
Enfield, ConnecticutJuly 8, 1741

Resurrection Thoughts

The French positivist philosopher Auguste Comte once told Thomas Carlyle that he planned to start a new religion to replace Christianity. "Very good," replied Carlyle. "All you have to do is be crucified, rise the third day, and get the world to believe you are still alive. Then your new religion will have a chance."

The cross and the resurrection stand as the pivotal events at the heart of the Christian faith. Christianity stands or falls with the substitutionary atonement wrought by the death of the incarnate Son of God on the cross and the resurrection of the Son of God on the third day. The church comes each year to this celebration of resurrection because we must constantly remind ourselves and the world of the resurrection hope, and of the reality of the risen Christ. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ must always remain a company of resurrection witnesses, speaking the Gospel of the cross and the risen Christ to a world desperate for genuine hope.

For full commentary click here.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What Judges Say about Scientology

Justice Anderson, Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia:

"Scientology is evil; its techniques are evil; its practice is a serious threat to the community, medically, morally, and socially; and its adherents are sadly deluded and often mentally ill... (Scientology is) the world's largest organization of unqualified persons engaged in the practice of dangerous techniques which masquerade as mental therapy."

Kenneth Robinson, British Minister of Health:

"The government is satisfied that Scientology is socially harmful. It alienates members of families from each other and attributes squalid and disgraceful motives to all who oppose it; its authoritarian principles and practice are a potential menace to the personality and well being of those so deluded as to become followers; above all, its methods can be a serious danger to the health of those who submit to them... There is no power under existing law to prohibit the practice of Scientology; but the government has concluded that it is so objectionable that it would be right to take all steps within its power to curb its growth."

Justice Latey, ruling in the High Court of London:

"Scientology is both immoral and socially obnoxious...It is corrupt sinister and dangerous. It is corrupt because it is based on lies and deceit and has its real objective money and power for Mr. Hubbard... It is sinister because it indulges in infamous practices both to its adherents who do not toe the line unquestionably and to those who criticize it or oppose it. It is dangerous because it is out to capture people and to indoctrinate and brainwash them so they become the unquestioning captives and tools of the cult, withdrawn from ordinary thought, living, and relationships with others."

Judge Breckenridge, Los Angeles Superior Court:

"[The court record is] replete with evidence [that Scientology] is nothing in reality but a vast enterprise to extract the maximum amount of money from its adepts by pseudo scientific theories... and to exercise a kind of blackmail against persons who do not wish to continue with their sect.... The organization clearly is schizophrenic and paranoid, and this bizarre combination seems to be a reflection of its founder, L.Ron Hubbard."

For more click here.


Forgiveness Part 4

How does Matthew 18, church discipline, fit into forgiveness?

Looking at Matthew 18 it is clear that the main purpose of this passage is to restore relationships; however, most of the time we think of this passage as being about church discipline. Each step of the way we are encouraged to help restore our brother. It should be a primary model for restoring relationships not just church discipline. Looking at this passage we see that only the last step is really about discipline and even at that, if we take that in context we are still to love the one put out of the church. To treat someone as a non-believer is to evangelize them and to help bring them to a saving knowledge of Christ. This shows us that not everyone is forgiven.
In Forgiveness part 2 we see that we are to forgive and that Christ is our example. We can also see that Christ doesn't forgive everyone; nor can we. So the question is -- who do we forgive and who do we not forgive?
We cannot, as sinful men, decide who we should forgive and who we shouldn't. So how do we apply this?
If we take a look at this passage it's clear that we are to go to the one who sins and confront the sin. Every step of the process is open to repentance. At anytime, the one who has sinned can repent and turn back to God. The NKJV and the NASB say that if your bother hears you -- you have gained your brother back. This clearly shows that it is more than just confession; it is repentance. The only way that we would know that he listened is if he shows genuine repentance. This passage fits clearly into how we have looked at forgiveness and is the perfect biblical model.Taking a step backwards and looking at the whole process shows us that the only thing that we are really doing, is looking for God's sovereign hand at work. Matthew 18 makes it clear that what happens on earth has heavenly consequences, what is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven and what is bound on earth is bound in heaven.

How does this happen?

When a man is confronted with his sin God has either given him ears to hear or He hasn’t. Matthew 13:10-17 makes it clear that God is the one doing the work and we are not. This means that true repentance and forgiveness is up to God and it is God who is sinned against. This whole process is a work of God front to back. The only thing that we can do is look to Him and Him alone!

In Psalm 51 David laments: it is Thee that I have sinned against and Thee ALONE.

When Cults Invade

If you read the post I have down below on the fastest growing churches, it doesnt take long to realize that the churches that are growing the fastest are cults and/or apostate to some degree.

To capatalize on this growth and to make the most of the publicity they are getting from Tom Cruise they are apparently seeking to expand (maybe franchises are next). I have heard rumblings of other places they are going to move into, but this is the first that I have seen written information on.

Again, this and other stories like it show that people are seeking after truth, we need not be afraid to share our faith and the love of our glorious Savior Jesus Christ. It has been my personal experience that people are more than willing to listen -- our job as Christians is to share the Good News.

If you want to know what Scientology is click here.

If you want to know why it is an evil cult click here.

PLANT CITY, FL -- In this town of restored brick buildings, behemoth Christian churches and stately homes, people are whispering.

The Church of Scientology is coming to Plant City, of all places.

On Monday, the church paid $620,000 in cash for an 11,000square-foot portion of Frenchman's Market, a downtown landmark at 102 N Collins St. dating from 1922.

It will be a "Life Improvement Center" like the one in Ybor City. Scientology staffers will offer audio and visual displays, videos and books on Scientology, and founder L. Ron Hubbard's seminal text Dianetics. Introductory Scientology courses will be available.

Personality and stress tests will be offered, too, as a way to entice people inside. Church officials say they haven't decided yet whether Scientologists will take to Plant City streets to recruit passers-by, as they do in Ybor.

But the Church of Scientology is not receiving Plant City's warm embrace.

From the pulpit of the massive First Baptist Church, two blocks from the new outreach center, the Rev. Ron Churchill spoke of the new neighbors in his last two Sunday sermons, calling Scientology a cult and warning his parishioners to be strong of faith.

Across the street from Scientology's building, antiques store owners hung "No solicitation" signs -- a message to Scientologists who stopped by last week to drop off literature. Keep out.

For full story click here.

Without Light -- Darkness

When the light of the gospel and the word of God are ignored -- Apostasy reigns supreme. The church is in trouble, it is sad when the evangelical church is destroying itself from the inside out. Of course this is nothing new, any reading of Jude makes this all very clear and unfortunately expected.

News Story below:

Caution urged in electing gay bishops

An Episcopal Church panel studying the furor over the denomination’s first openly gay bishop proposed Friday that dioceses use "very considerable caution" from now on in electing bishops with same-sex partners, but stopped short of the moratorium critics demanded.

The commission also recommended that the American church offer "apology and repentance" for the turmoil its actions caused within the global Anglican Communion, and said dioceses should stop creating blessing ceremonies for same-gender couples, at least temporarily.

The suggestions are among several that will go before a June meeting of the top Episcopal legislative body, called the General Convention, which can revise or reject the proposals. The outcome of their debate will be critical, shaping not only the future of the American church, but also its role as the U.S. representative of world Anglicanism.

The Communion has been in disarray since 2003, when delegates to the last General Convention approved the election of V. Gene Robinson as New Hampshire bishop. Robinson lives with his longtime male partner, and his consecration was greeted by many Episcopalians as a triumph for gay acceptance.

The 14-member Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, comprised of American bishops, clergy and lay people, was formed to lay the groundwork for the church’s response to what is known as the 2004 Windsor Report.

That report came from Anglican leaders seeking ways the 77 million-member Communion could stay unified despite the rift over homosexuality.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Pastor's Gone Wild

If you missed the Shepherds' Conference this year it was awesome -- as it is every year. In case you were not aware, the mp3's from the conference are available and I would encourage you to download them.

If you are a member of the Shepherds' Fellowship they are only $1.00 a piece, you can't beat that. At the very least you should get and listen to Steven Lawson's message from session 6, it was one of the best call to arms I have ever heard preached.

Click here for mp3's.

A Day to Praise

This being the Lord's day I wanted to point you towards some awesome sermons by John Piper, any of the ones you pick to listen to will bless you (especially the Romans series).

Click here for listing.

Friday, April 7, 2006

From the "You Have Got to be Kidding Me Files"

Floating Ice May Explain How Jesus Walked on Water, Researchers Say

By Alan CoopermanWashington Post Staff WriterThursday, April 6, 2006; A03

Combining evidence of a cold snap 2,000 years ago with sophisticated mapping of the Sea of Galilee, Israeli and U.S. scientists have come up with a scientific explanation of how Jesus could have walked on water.

Their answer: It was actually floating ice.

The scientists acknowledge that the Sea of Galilee, in what is now northern Israel, has never frozen in modern times. But they say geological core samples suggest that average temperatures were lower in Jesus's day, and that there were at least two protracted cold spells in the region 1,500 to 2,500 years ago.

In addition to chilly weather, their explanation depends on a rare physical property of the Sea of Galilee, known to modern-day Israelis as Lake Kinneret. It is fed by salty springs along its western shore that produce plumes of dense water, thermally isolating areas that could freeze even if the entire lake did not, they assert.

"I don't know whether the story is based on someone seeing Jesus walk on ice," said Doron Nof, an Israel-born professor of oceanography at Florida State University. "All I know is that during that time, a freeze could have happened -- and it could have looked like someone was walking on water, particularly if it rained after the ice formed."

This is not the first time that Nof, 61, has attempted to debunk a biblical miracle. In 1992, he and Nathan Paldor, an atmospheric scientist at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, wrote a scientific article proposing that strong winds across the narrow, shallow Gulf of Suez could have lowered the Red Sea by 10 feet, allowing the Israelites to cross to safety and then swallowing up an Egyptian army within a few minutes when the wind stopped, just as the book of Exodus says.

Click here for full article.

Fastest Growing Churches

I thought this was interesting, and based on what I see in society today I wasn't surprised.

It just shows that people are searching for truth - unfortunately what they seem to be finding is a man centered gospel that doesn't save. It also begs the question are we out there witnessing the way we should be? or are we out there witnessing at all?

This is not a time for excuses - it is time to take action for the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

People don't need another hip program -- they need the word of God.

For full article click here.

Catholic, Mormon, and Pentecostal Churches Fastest Growing

Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) - The Assemblies of God, the Mormon church and the Roman Catholic Church were the fastest-growing major denominations in the United States last year, according to the just-released 2006 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.

The Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal church, grew 1.81 percent to just under 2.8 million members. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints increased 1.74 percent to nearly 6 million people. And the Catholic Church, by the far the largest denomination in the United States, grew .83 percent to 67.8 million parishioners.

Only three mainline Protestant churches remain among the 10 biggest denominations in the country. The United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., stayed in the top 10 despite experiencing declines in membership last year. The Methodists ranked third, with about 8.2 million members.

The Evangelical Lutherans Ranked seventh, with nearly 4.9 million people. And the Presbyterians ranked ninth with just under 3.2 million congregants.

The Southern Baptist Convention remains the largest U.S. Protestant group, with 16.3 million members. It is the second-largest denomination in the country, behind the Catholic Church.

The yearbook has been published for 89 years by the National Council of Churches, which represents 35 mainline Protestant, Episcopalian and Orthodox Christian groups.

for His renown: Gospel of Judas Radio Interview

for His renown: Gospel of Judas Radio Interview

The Gospel of Judas

I have been reading about this for a few days now and haven't seen a lot of opinion rendered on the subject. Today though at for His renown Jim Hamilton has an excellent commentary that I couldn't agree with more.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Stolen from 9 Marks Ministries

Sorry for the length of this post but this is one of the best reading lists that I have ever seen (they also have one for Pastor's) put together. This list is intended for layman to help them grow in their knowledge and understanding of doctrine and theology. If you can print it out and order these books, I would commend you to do so. I have a fairly extensive library and can't tell you how important it is to study, study study.

If you are not familiar with 9 Marks I would encourage you to get familiar with them. They have a tremendous amount of free material and mp3's that are awesome.

For 9 Marks Ministries click here.

Stanley Jaki, The Savior of Science (Scottish Academic Press)
Philip Johnson, Darwin on Trial (IVP)
Philip Johnson, Objections Sustained (IVP)
Philip Johnson, Reason in the Balance (IVP)
Francis Shaeffer, Escape from Reason (IVP)
Michael J Wilkins and J.P. Moreland, Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus (Zondervan)

Courtney Anderson, To the Golden Shore: The Life of
Adoniram Judson (Zondervan)
Roland H. Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (Abingdon)
Iain Murray, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, 2 vols. (Banner of Truth)
Iain Murray, Jonathan Edwards (Banner of Truth)
C.H. Spurgeon, Autobiography (Banner of Truth)

Tom Nettles, Teaching Truth, Training Hearts (Calvary)
John Piper, ed., A Baptist Catechism (Desiring God Ministries)

Jay Adams, Handbook on Church Discipline (Zondervan)
John Armstrong, ed., The Compromised Church (Crossway)
J.L. Dagg, Manual of Church Order
Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (booklet; Center for Church Reform)
Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (book; Crossway)
Mark Dever, ed., Polity: Biblical Arguments on How to Conduct Church Life (CCR)
Mark Dever, A Display of God’s Glory: Deacons, Elders, Membership, and Congregationalism (CCR)
John Piper, Elders (Desiring God Ministries)
Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines within the Church (Moody)

Mark Dever, Richard Sibbes (Mercer)
Tom Dowley, ed., Handbook to Church History (Fortress)
Greg Wills, Democratic Religion (Oxford)

Joshua Harris, I Kissed Dating Goodbye (Multnomah)
Joshua Harris, Boy Meets Girl (Multnomah)

Augustine, Confessions (Henry Chadwick translation, Oxford World Classics)
Horatius Bonar, Longing for Heaven (Christian Focus)
John Bunyan, Grace Abounding (Anchor)
John Bunyan, Holy War (Christian Focus)
John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress (Penguin)
D.A. Carson, For the Love of God, 2 vols. (Crossway)
Jonathan Edwards, Charity and its Fruits (Banner of Truth)
Carolyn Mahaney, Feminine Appeal (Crossway)
Jerry Marcellino, Rediscovering the Lost Jewel of Family Worship (Audobon Press)
J.I. Packer, Knowing God (IVP)
Elizabeth Prentiss, Stepping Heavenwards (Calvary)
J.C. Ryle, Holiness (Baker)
C.H. Spurgeon, Faith’s Checkbook (Whitaker)
C.H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening (thin ones; Christian Focus)
Donald S. Whitney, How Can I Be Sure I’m a Christian? (Navpress)
Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Navpress)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together (Harper & Row)
Elyse Fitzpatrick & Carol Cornish, Women Helping Women (Harvest House)
John Stott, Basic Christianity (Eerdmans)

Joseph Bayly, The Gospel Blimp (Lifejourney Books)
D.A. Carson, ed., Telling the Truth: Evangelizing Postmoderns (Zondervan)
Jonathan Edwards, Works on Revival (including Distinguishing Marks) (Banner of Truth)
Val Grieve, Your Verdict on the Empty Tomb (Paternoster)
Patrick Johnstone, Operation World (Zondervan)
Will Metzger, Tell the Truth (IVP)
Iain Murray, The Invitation System (Banner of Truth)
Iain Murray, Revival and Revivalism (Banner of Truth)
J.I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (IVP)
Mack Stiles, Speaking of Jesus (IVP)
Christianity Explained (Narrowgate Press, UK)

John Murray, Divorce (Presbyterian & Reformed)

Ted Tripp, Shepherding a Child’s Heart (Shepherd Press)

Arthur Bennett, ed., Valley of Vision (Banner of Truth)
D.A. Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation (Baker)
Samuel Prime, The Power of Prayer (Banner of Truth)

Handbook to the Bible (Zondervan)
New Bible Commentary (IVP)
New Bible Dictionary (IVP)
Dan Allender and Tremper Longman, Bold Love (Navpress)
Dan Allender and Tremper Longman, Bold Purpose (Navpress)
D.A. Carson, Doug Moo, Leon Morris, Introduction to the New Testament (Zondervan)
Raymond Dillard and Tremper Longman, Introduction to the Old Testament (Zondervan)
Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All it’s Worth (Zondervan)

D.A. Carson, How Long, O Lord? (Baker)
Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed (Banner of Truth)

Louis Berkhoff, Systematic Theology (Banner of Truth)
F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Eerdmans)
John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Westminster/John Knox)
D.A. Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (Crossway)
D.A. Carson, Love in Hard Places (Crossway)
D.A. Carson, Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility (Wipf and Stock)
J.L. Dagg, Manual of Theology (Gano/Sprinkle)
John Flavel, They Mystery of Providence (Banner of Truth)
Timothy George, The Theology of the Reformers (Broadman)
Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom (Paternoster)
Wayne Grudem and John Piper, eds., Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Crossway)
Martin Hengel, Crucifixion (Fortress)
Carl F.H. Henry, Toward a Recovery of Christian Belief (Crossway)
Robert Letham, The Works of Christ
Fred Malone, A String of Pearls Unstrung (Founders)
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression (Eerdmans)
Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will (Westminster/John Knox, or SCM
Leon Morris, The Atonement (IVP)
John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Banner of Truth)
Tom Nettles, By His Grace and For His Glory (Founders)
J.I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness (Crossway)
J.I. Packer, Fundamentalism and the Word of God (Eerdmans)
J.I. Packer, God Has Spoken: Revelation and the Bible (Baker)
A.W. Pink, The Attributes of God (Baker)
John Piper, Future Grace (Multnomah)
John Piper, God’s Passion for His Glory (Crossway)
John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad (Baker)
John Piper, The Pleasures of God (Multnomah)
John Piper, TULIP: What We Believe about the Five Points of Calvinism (Desiring God Ministries)
Ernest Reisinger, What Should We Think of the Carnal Christian? (Banner of Truth)
Thomas Scott, The Articles of the Synod of Dort (Sprinkle)
B.B. Warfield, The Plan of Salvation (Simpson)
David Wells, The Bleeding of the Evangelical Church (Banner of Truth)
David Wells, God in the Wasteland (Eerdmans)
David Wells, Losing our Virtue (Eerdmans)
David Wells, No Place for Truth (Eerdmans)
John Wenham, Christ and the Bible (Baker)
George Whitefield, Selected Sermons (Banner of Truth)

Baptist Hymnal (Broadman)
Horton Davies, Worship of the American Puritans (Soli Deo Gloria)
Michael Horton, In the Face of God (Word)
Leonard Payton, Reforming Our Worship Music (Crossway)
David Petersen, Engaging with God (Eerdmans

Monday, April 3, 2006

How Evangelical are You?

This is a great tool that will help hold a mirror to where you are as an evangelical. I think every Christian that takes this test will be truly blessed.

Click here for test.

Are U2 Hyped??

If only the name of Christ could pack them in like U2, what a sad state of affairs for the Episcopal church. Read the last two quotes and you will see what I mean, I highlighted them in red.

Read full article here.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. --As the electric guitar in a U2 anthem faded from four speakers, the Rev. Robert Brooks welcomed worshippers to Grace Episcopal Church with an unusual suggestion: He warned them to protect their hearing."If the sound's an issue, we do have earplugs available," he said.

Ushers handed out complementary ear plugs and fluorescent glow sticks for this "U2 Eucharist," a communion service punctuated by the Irish band's rock music. In Episcopal parishes from California to Maine, believers are weaving U2's Biblically laced music into the denomination's traditionally formal liturgy.

Multicolor streamers flew over worshippers' heads at this service. Children danced by the altar. Plasma-screen TVs illuminated the gothic sanctuary. Some people sang and clapped. A few looked puzzled.

Brooks said the special service is part of an effort to reinvigorate his congregation by infusing it with young people and those interested in social activism. The service included an offering for local charities and enlisted volunteers for the One Campaign, an effort to alleviate global poverty that's backed by U2's lead singer, Bono."We absolutely need to grow in order to survive," Brooks said.

Weeks before the service, church members conducted what Brooks called "guerrilla marketing," posting fliers at coffee and sandwich shops, bars and colleges. About 130 people showed up for the Friday night service, roughly the same turnout as a Sunday morning.

A similar U2 Eucharist in November proved popular at All Saints' Church in Atlanta. Organizer Laurie Haynes Burlington said she and her husband planned on 300 worshippers. About 500 showed up."We totally ran out of bulletins," she said.U2 Eucharists appear to have been limited so far to Episcopal churches.

No one tracks how many parishes have put them on, but the service in Providence was based on a playlist created by the Rev. Paige Blair, a parish priest in York Harbor, Maine.Her format has spread by word-of-mouth and on clergy e-mail lists. She's received calls from more than a dozen interested churches and helped put on the service in Providence.

Christian Scharen, 39, a Lutheran pastor and professor at Yale Divinity School, said he's often argued to older colleagues that U2 is heavily influenced by Christianity. He wrote a book on the subject out this year, "One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God," and says it doesn't surprise him that churches have caught on to U2."People who have these liturgical resonances in their bones, they go to a U2 concert and they just get it," Scharen said. "

In some sense, I think it was just a matter of time before this started happening."Bono has told interviewers that he worships God through music. He once belonged to an ascetic Christian community.

The band's early tapes were sold in religious bookstores. In February, Bono spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast.

But band members also swear, drink and sing about sex, all anathema to conservative denominations, Scharen said.

He believes Episcopal churches are experimenting with U2 because the denomination encourages members to look for the divine in the worldly."They don't make the stark divide between heaven and earth, between the church and the world," he said.

Style Over Substance

I believe that one of the biggest problems in preaching today is the entertainment factor. Preacher's are so concerned with entertaining the crowd -- afraid that the crowd will get bored and go somewhere else. Well as R.C. Sproul has said so well "I have never heard of anyone in the bible or anywhere else, that has come into the presence of God and was bored". And yet, most churches are entertainment driven, I cant wait for the days of substance to return and when what is being preached is how we are remembered, and not the show that we put on. Any salesman can "preach" -- only a man of God can teach the people.

Unfortunately it looks like a whole new generation of style absorbed preachers will be arriving soon. Of course instead of being graded on dividing the word rightly -- he is being praised for staying away from kids that smoke and for singing his sermons, even the title of the article is called "That Little Man is Awesome". Maybe it's just me -- can I get a witness??

Click here for video and sound.
Click here for full story.

Some of the story:

'That Little Man Is Awesome'
8-Year-Old Preaches Up a Storm At a Florida Storefront Church

By Gregory LewisSouth Florida Sun-SentinelSaturday, April 1, 2006; B09

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- In a tiny house of worship at McNab and Powerline roads, Terry Durham is a star.

Although only 8, Terry draws crowds of worshipers eager to hear him preach the Gospel and praise the Lord.

"The Lord makes you feel good," Terry wailed from the pulpit recently. "He says, 'Who am I? I am Doctor Feelgood.' Yeah!"

But on Mondays, the boy church members call Minister Terry slips back into childhood. He is a first-grader at Oriole Elementary School. He excels at football and likes to play on a swing set.

Terry and his twin brother, Todd Jr., hang out at the Boys & Girls Club after school. They shoot pool, and they are careful to keep their distance from the older kids who smoke cigarettes.

Come Sunday, he's wearing an oversize suit and alligator shoes again and packing them in at his grandmother's storefront church, True Gospel Deliverance Ministry.

As generations of preachers have done before him, Terry stands in the pulpit, bouncing, dancing and singing his sermons. As Todd punctuates his brother's points with drum licks, the congregation of 60 responds: "Yes!" "Tell it!" "Preach on!"