Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Should Elders/Pastors be Disqualified by Unbelieving Children?

There is an excellent series being written over at the Expository Thoughts blog called "Children who Believe". Matt Waymeyer is doing a great job of working through the texts and being faithful to the exposition of the scripture. I like very much the Pastoral approach and clear and concise way that Matt is presenting his argument. I believe this is a subject that every Pastor should have reconciled before entering ministry, - if you have never done an exposition of this, I can't commend to you enough to read and think through Matt's work.

"First Timothy 3:4-5 indicates that the fatherÂ’s faithfulness in the home is a testing ground for how faithful he will be in managing the flock at large. Two fathers could be equally faithful in their parenting, and yet one might have a son who is elect and the other a son who is not. In this case, the second father would be disqualified even though he was no less faithful and capable than the first father."

"Children who Believe" in Titus 1:6 (Part 1)
"Children who Believe" in Titus 1:6 (Part 2)
"Children who Believe" in Titus 1:6 (Part 3)

Free Indeed?

How do we reconcile the fact that God is sovereign with the fact that he has given us free will as persons?

I don’t see any problem in reconciling the sovereignty of God with man’s free will as long as we understand the biblical concept of freedom. With respect to mankind, human beings are given the ability to make free choices, but our freedom is a limited freedom. We are not absolutely free. Remember, God said to Adam and Eve, “You may eat of all of the trees in the Garden.” But then he added a restriction: “Of this tree you may not eat. If you do, you will surely die.”

Now, God is a being who has the ability to make free choices, and I am a being who has the ability to make free choices. The difference, however, is that I am not sovereign. God is sovereign. God has more authority than I do. God has the right and the power and the authority to do whatsoever he pleases. I have the power and the ability and the freedom to do those things that I can do, but my freedom can never override the power or the authority of God. My freedom is always limited by the higher freedom of God. What is a contradiction is God’s sovereignty and human autonomy. Autonomy means that man can do whatever he wants without being worried about judgment from on high. Obviously those two are incompatible, and we do not believe that man is autonomous. We say that he is free, but his freedom is within limits, and those limits are defined by the sovereignty of God. This is a simple analogy: In my house I have more freedom than my son. We both have freedom, but mine is greater.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My Walk, Your Walk, His Walk - is One Better?

Ephesians 4:15 ...grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ

Spiritual growth is simply a matter of applying scriptural principles, but there are many who believe only spiritual giants experience a great increase in faith.

I have read about mystics who knelt and prayed for eight to ten hours, wearing holes in the wood floors. I have read about Robert Murray McCheyne, who would soil the pages of his Bible and the wood of his pulpit with great floods of tears. And I have read Power Through Prayer by E. M. Bounds, who spent countless hours in prayer. As I learned about these people, all I could think of was that I could never reach that level. But God uses each of us in different ways.

Spiritual growth is not some mystical achievement for a select few on a higher spiritual plane. Rather, it is simply a matter of glorifying God by confessing sin, trusting Him, bearing fruit, praising Him, obeying and proclaiming His Word, praying, and leading others to Christ. Those are the qualities every Christian needs in order to mature. When you focus on them, the Spirit of God will change you into the image of Christ, from one level of glory to the next.

John MacArthur

Monday, February 26, 2007

Jonathan Edwards Resolution 63 - If Only we were Willing to Chase such Lofty Purposes

Resolution 63 - Jonathan Edwards

On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true luster, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time.
Jan.14' and July '3' 1723.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

My Response (Rant) to Morris Chapman

Before reading this you may want to read Morris Chapman's article.

Morris Chapman is purposefully not saying anything at all, which sums up the majority of SBC leadership. They are not willing to take hard stands and say what they really think - they are as much politician as they are Christian.

I believe the Bible is clear on who grows the church and it is not us. God grows the church and blesses the work of His people. The SBC feels it is better on the whole to lie about our membership roles and to convolute growth in the church by aligning it to baptism's - now I would bet that all of those people on the roles have been baptized. Does that mean they are saved? Of course not, so why is that how we measure growth?

The other problem I see is that the SBC has hitched its wagon to Rick Warren and Lifeway. Two big mistakes when it comes to biblical growth and biblical teaching. You can not have biblical growth without biblical teaching. Using Rick Warren's strategy you will have plenty of baptisms and few Christians. Using Lifeway's material you will have watered down felt needs, self-centered Christians that believe the Gospel is all about them and not God. Their curriculum always skips over the theological meat of any book and focuses on lesser topical ideas. In some of their Sunday school curriculum they don't even call Bible verses Bible verses - they call them Bible phrases. Curriculum that operates 10,000 feet above the scripture is not going to truly help someone in their Christian walk.

I believe we do need to unite under the banner of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Seeking unity to serve others and bring the love of Christ to all people groups. We must be willing to offend and stop asking sinners how we should do church. We need to be honest about our church roles and expunge those that do not attend. We need to exposit and preach the full council of God without exception and/or apology. We must evangelize and reach out to the lost at every opportunity with a desire of seeing them won to Christ. We must go back to the Bible for our church curriculum and demand more from our teachers that rely on milky Lifeway material.

All of that and I didn't even mention Calvinism, which is the real debate in the SBC. And, I believe is what Morris is really hinting at in his article. As a convention let's give God a reason to grow the SBC churches, and let's do it the right way, by starting with biblical theologically accurate teaching, and being sold out to His glory, and His purposes. Can I get an Amen??

Southern Baptist Asks if Conservatism is Better

A top Southern Baptist executive says leaders in the convention should examine the spiritual health of the denomination now that theological conservatives have been in control for several years.

Morris Chapman, president of the Southern Baptist executive committee, said his fellow leaders must look at whether the 16.3 million-member church is now better off.

“Is our convention any better spiritually because biblical conservatives are leading?” Chapman asked Monday during the committee’s winter meeting. “I leave that question for you to answer in the depths of your own heart.”

The conservative resurgence started in 1979, when Southern Baptists, angry about what they saw as the liberal direction of their seminaries, elected a fellow conservative as the convention president. It was a watershed that began a dramatic shift to the right – theologically and politically – in the years that followed.

But in the last few years, the number of baptisms in Southern Baptist churches has reached a low point, and many of the congregations have either not grown or declined in membership.

Also, internal conflicts have arisen over whether Southern Baptists can speak in tongues during worship, among other theological disagreements.

Chapman said that cooperation among Southern Baptists is the “glue that holds us together.” The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Protestant group in the country.

The Associated Press

James Cameron Is Next In Line to Topple Christianity?

In a bold jab at the heart of Christianity, "Titanic" director James Cameron has made a new documentary that claims the resurrection of Jesus never happened, according to published reports.
Cameron, best known for the Oscar-winning box-office smash, produced the film that asserts Jesus was not resurrected - and that the burial tomb of Christ and his mother, the Virgin Mary, were discovered near Jerusalem, said the report on Time magazine's Web site.

The story starts 27 years ago when Israeli construction workers in the Jerusalem suburb of Talpiyot unearthed a 2,000-year-old cave holding 10 caskets.

After 20 years of archeologists' examinations, the names on the caskets became clear: Jesua, son of Joseph; Mary; Mary; Matthew; Jofa and Judah, son of Jesua.

The Time story does not explain why there are only six names for 10 caskets.

The documentary claims Jesus sired a child with Mary Magdalene - an assertion made famous in the best-selling book and 2006 movie "The Da Vinci Code."

For full article click here.

The Deity of Christ, Article 10, Belgic Confession

This Reformed confession was prepared in 1561 by Guy de Bres (c.1523-1567), who was later martyred, and others, and then slightly revised by Francis Junius (1545-1602) of Bourges. First written in French, it was soon translated into Dutch and Latin. The Synod of Dort (1618-1619) made a revision but did not change the doctrine. It covers the spectrum of theological topics.

Article 10: The Deity of Christ

We believe that Jesus Christ, according to his divine nature, is the only Son of God-- eternally begotten, not made nor created, for then he would be a creature.

He is one in essence with the Father; coeternal; the exact image of the person of the Father and the "reflection of his glory," being in all things like him.

He is the Son of God not only from the time he assumed our nature but from all eternity, as the following testimonies teach us when they are taken together.

Moses says that God "created the world"; and John says that "all things were created by the Word," which he calls God. The apostle says that "God made the world by his Son." He also says that "God created all things by Jesus Christ."

And so it must follow that he who is called God, the Word, the Son, and Jesus Christ already existed when all things were created by him.

Therefore the prophet Micah says that his origin is "from ancient times, from eternity." And the apostle says that he has "neither beginning of days nor end of life."

So then, he is the true eternal God, the Almighty, whom we invoke, worship, and serve.

13 Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3 14 Gen. 1:1 15 John 1:3 16 Heb. 1:2 17 Col. 1:16 18 Mic. 5:2 19 Heb. 7:3

To read the full Belgic Conession click here.

Signs of the Apocolypse - A Pastor Who is Jesus AND the Devil, Members Brand themselves with 666

Miami Church Brands Members With '666' Tattoos

Surrounded by a mob of news cameras, a group of smiling, well-dressed church members crowded into a South Beach storefront parlor on a recent muggy evening and got matching tattoos of their prophet's symbol: 666.

Members of Growing in Grace, a controversial religious sect headquartered in Doral, said they were following the example of their leader, Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda, who has claimed to be Jesus and recently declared himself the Antichrist.

Critics have called De Jesus a cult leader who manipulates followers. Church members say he has brought them happiness and spiritual fulfillment.

"This is backing up what I truly believe," said Alvaro Albarracin, 38, who heads a film production company and joined the church more than a decade ago. He showed a bandage that covered the freshly tattooed "666" on his forearm. "It's like a brand. It's like a sign."

It's a sign most Christians would shun, because for centuries the numbers have been associated with Satan. But for the 30 or so church members who branded themselves with 666 and SSS — the initials of De Jesus' motto, "salvo siempre salvo," or "saved always saved" — it's a mark of their absolute faith in De Jesus.

Church members say the symbol doesn't connect them to Satan but rather to De Jesus' claim that he has replaced Christ's teachings with a new gospel.

Scholars and critics of the movement say the tattoos offer frightening evidence of the influence De Jesus commands over his followers.

For full article click here.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Is Global Warming True?

That is the question that many people are having these days, especially if one is in the Democrat Party in the state of Iowa. In all fairness, I should say that not all Democrats would hold to the theory of Global Warming. It is not uncommon to hear from the mouths of many church members around here "This Global Warming is something, really something." I had a man come up to me this past Sunday and those were his words. He really felt that if it wasn't for Global Warming we would be looking at minus 20 to 30 degree weather right now in Clinton, IA. And this is a man almost 90 years old believing this stuff! I beg to differ, it is a sign of the End Times. We are in the last days and the weather points to that fact. One just does not read of Global Warming in the Bible. Friends, the weather patterns are different everywhere right now and I don't care what part of the U.S.A a person lives in.

In my humble opinion, things are going to get worse and worse until Jesus comes again and that includes the weather. America in it entirety will never, never get any better. (Read Matt. 24). Come on now, why should the weather forecast and other things like that take our eyes off the good news of the gospel, the cross of Christ and the things of God in general? It shouldn't and nothing should! Don't be deceived into believing something that is not scriptural.

It appears that many Americans really have stooped to the point of worshiping aspects of creation over the creator of the universe; the God that made everything including the weather patterns. (Read Rom. 1:24,25). Do you think for a moment that the weather patterns are controlling themselves or that God is in control of them? I opt for the second choice. I think some people better stop and think what it means to say that God is sovereign. When sovereignty is spoken of in the Bible it means that God is in complete control of things in heaven and on earth and that clearly proves that He created the weather and is control of it. So much for the theory of Global Warming, that idea in thrown out the window with the baby's bathwater.

Jesus Christ is coming back a second time and the Bible says it will be like a thief in the night. He is coming when a person least expects it. Are you ready? Are your bags packed, life right? Begin placing your faith, trust in Him today and not the weather or anything of this world. Jesus Christ clearly died for the sins of the world, place your faith in Him today for the forgiveness of your sins if you have never done so. Begin living a life of victory in Him! Praise God for His Grace that Saves!

Conviction and Pain

I agree with AW Tozer on his daily devotion. Regarding conviction and pain in the life of a person He writes,

"I consider it a good sign that some people are still asking questions like these in our churches: "What should happen in a genuine conversion to Christ?" and "What should a man or woman feel in the transaction of the new birth?" If I am asked, my answer is this: "There ought to be a real and genuine cry of pain!" That is why I am not impressed with the kind of evangelism that tries to invite people into the fellowship of God by signing a card. There should be a birth within, a birth from above. There should be the terror of seeing ourselves in violent contrast to the holy, holy God! Unless we come into this place of conviction and pain concerning our sin, I am not sure how deep and real our repentance will ever be. The man whom God will use must be undone, humble and pliable. He must be, like the astonished Isaiah, a man who has seen the King in His beauty!"

Friday, February 23, 2007

Book Review: When the Darkness Will Not Lift, John Piper

When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God–and Joy

When the Darkness Will Not LiftAuthor: John Piper

Publisher: Crossway/Good News

ISBN: 1581348762

Paperback, 79 pages

There are many books that go into a great more detail than When the Darkness Will Not Lift about methods of dealing with depression, but few will equal the pastoral touch brought to this difficult subject by John Piper. This book will serve as an encouragement not only to those suffering their own loss of joy—and who among us has not at some time—but especially for those who try to care for such a one. As always, Piper does not settle for easy answers or quick formulas. However, he is unflinching in pointing us always God-ward, with God as revealed in Christ as the only satisfaction to our deepest longings and needs. - Mark Traphagen, Westminster Bookstore Staff, January 2007

Because of the brevity of this work, those seriously engaging this topic will want to dig deeper. Books specifically recommended by Piper in When the Darkness Will Not Lift include:

Buy this book

Is Purity Possible in a Sex-saturated Culture

Robert Plummer calls collegians to live purely in sex-saturated culture

By David Roach

When Robert Plummer started dating his future wife, the couple made what may seem like a radical commitment: they would not kiss each other on the lips prior to marriage.

Though many Christians and non-Christians alike think such a high standard is extreme or legalistic, Plummer told students in a session at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's Give Me An Answer collegiate conference Feb. 10 that such radical steps are necessary to forsake sexual sin and live a life of purity.

For full article click here.

Mohler Debates Secularist in 'On Faith' Online Chat

By David Roach

Though the Christian church has evidenced shortcomings in every era of its history, Christians have done much more good than harm in Western society, R. Albert Mohler Jr. said Feb. 20 in the first ever online panelist chat on a faith-oriented website sponsored by The Washington Post and Newsweek magazine.

"The modern concerns for human rights, the rights of women, and the protection of the vulnerable have been driven by Christian concerns and the belief that every individual, male or female, is created in God's image," said Mohler, who serves as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. "This is a far more substantial basis for human rights than secular theory."

For full article click here.

Want to Know How to Glorify God?

David instructs Asaph and Asaph’s relatives on how to glorify God.

1 Chronicles 16:8-36

David’s Song of Thanks
8 Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
9 Sing to him; sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
10 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
11 Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
12 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles and the judgments he uttered,
13 O offspring of Israel his servant,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
14 He is the Lord our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
15 Remember his covenant forever,
the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
16 the covenant that he made with Abraham,
his sworn promise to Isaac,
17 which he confirmed as a statute to Jacob,
as an everlasting covenant to Israel,
18 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan,
as your portion for an inheritance.”
19 When you were few in number,
and of little account, and sojourners in it,
20 wandering from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another people,
21 he allowed no one to oppress them;
he rebuked kings on their account,
22 saying, “Touch not my anointed ones,
do my prophets no harm!”
23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Tell of his salvation from day to day.
24 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
25 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and he is to be held in awe above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
27 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy are in his place.
28 Ascribe to the Lord, O clans of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come before him!
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
30 tremble before him, all the earth;
yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,
and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
32 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
33 Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.
34 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
35 Say also:
“ Save us, O God of our salvation,
and gather and deliver us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name,
and glory in your praise.
36 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!”
Then all the people said, “Amen!” and praised the Lord.

The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (1 Ch 16:8-36). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

How can the Gospel become compromised in the local church?

Quite frequently even dedicated church members need to be reminded that they (or even we) are not all that matters. The church is not about you; nor is it about me. It is not even about us corporately, though this may come closer to the mark. The church is in many ways “an earthly expression of heaven.” Worship of the exalted Christ by, in part, preserving purity and holiness in her midst is key to who and what the Church is. The glory of God in Christ is what we are about. The church is not about us. We are about the church; and the church is about God. And the gospel? The gospel, the Good News, is at the heart of all that we are and believe. Indeed, “God is the gospel.”

“A healthy church is filled with people who have a heart for the gospel, and having a heart for the gospel means having a heart for truth--for God’s presentation of Himself, of our need, of Christ’s provision, and of our responsibility.” So if we don’t get the gospel right, we probably won’t be right with God and our churches will not faithfully worship the exalted Christ and preserve purity and holiness in her midst. Our churches will not be faithful in word or deed, in worship or evangelism, in polity or creed. We must, then, seek faithful gospel saturation in our churches. We must seek to overcome anything and everything which hinders gospel saturation if we are to be faithful. This leads us to our question:

What kinds of attitudes and ideas lead to the compromise of the Gospel in the local church?

For full article click here.

Baptism by Proxy - Do the Mormon's Get it Right?

There’s not a single text in all of Scripture that gives an explicit mandate for the church to practice proxy baptism, or baptism for the dead, and yet here is a practice that has emerged in one religious body. The text cited as proof of this is 1 Corinthians 15:29. We notice that Paul does not say to his readers, “You should baptize the dead,” but he asks the question, “Why is it that some of you are baptizing for the dead if in fact the dead are not raised?” The fact that Paul asks a question about it indicates that there were people practicing it. When he asks the question, there is neither an explicit or implicit rebuke for the practice. Some have looked at that and said that the apostle Paul recognized that this kind of practice was going on in the Corinthian community and he didn’t denounce it, so it has a tacit apostolic approval, and perhaps we’re missing something we ought to be doing.

But we don’t have a mandate to do it, and I think there’s much in Scripture to indicate that this practice is utterly repugnant to God because of its theological implications.

We have to understand why Paul says what he says in 1 Corinthians 15. This entire chapter is Paul’s magnificent defense of the resurrection of Christ. He is responding as a theologian to a spirit of skepticism that had emerged in the Corinthian church. Word had come to him that some people in the church were denying the Resurrection. So Paul explored the implications of that. If there is no such thing as resurrection (which is what the Sadducees believed) and if there is no life after death, what are the consequences? First of all, if there is no resurrection, then Christ is not raised. So if there’s no resurrection whatsoever, that eliminates the resurrection of Christ. If there is no resurrection of Christ, what are the implications of that? That means you’re still in your sins. There’s been no mark of divine approval on Christ’s perfect sacrifice for your justification. It means you’re a false witness of God because you’ve been running around telling everybody that, in fact, Jesus was raised and that it was God who raised him.
Paul goes on to say that if Christ is not raised, then those who have fallen asleep have perished. The dead are dead. We’ll never see them again; it’s all over. He goes on to give them all these options.

In this process he uses a classical form of argument, the ad hominem argument, in which you argue on the other person’s grounds and show the inconsistency of their position. Paul, in essence, is saying, “I know some of you people are out there practicing baptism for the dead and at the same time saying that there’s no resurrection. What in the world are you doing it for?” In other words, he’s showing the folly of denying resurrection and practicing something that would depend on resurrection for it to have any meaning. But Paul is in no way endorsing the practice of baptism by proxy.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Lord Is My Strength and My Song

The Lord Is My Strength and My Song
Isaiah 12:1-6

You will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
that you might comfort me.
2 “ Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.”
3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4 And you will say in that day:
“ Give thanks to the Lord,
call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
proclaim that his name is exalted.
5 “ Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
let this be made known in all the earth.
6 Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Is 12:1-6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Monday, February 19, 2007

What is the Biblical Evidence for the Imputation of Adam's Sin?

The doctrine of the imputation of Adam's sin means that when Adam first sinned, that sin (and its blame) was rightly regarded by God to be our sin as well. John Piper writes:

The problem with the human race is not most deeply that everybody does various kinds of sins—those sins are real, they are huge and they are enough to condemn us. Paul is very concerned about them. But the deepest problem is that behind all our depravity and all our guilt and all our sinning, there is a deep mysterious connection with Adam whose sin became our sin and whose judgment became our judgment. (John Piper, "Adam, Christ, and Justification: Part 1")

God ordains that that there be a union of some kind that makes Adam's sin to be our sin so that our condemnation is just. ("Adam, Christ, and Justification: Part 5")

The biblical basis for this doctrine of imputed sin is discussed thoroughly in John Piper's five sermons on Romans 5:12-21. Here we will simply seek to summarize some of the primary evidence from this text.

For full article click here.

Day of Reckoning: Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel Face an Uncertain Future

This is a very informative article from CT on the issues going on within Calvary Chapel. No denomination is perfect and although Calvary does not consider themselves a denomination - they are. This article goes fairly in-depth on their moral failings and leadership integrity issues. While I do not agree with a lot of their ministerial philosophies, or their stance on church polity, gifts, and church membership. I dislike even more a perpetuation of hypocritical Christians - especially at the higher levels in their leadership. The first two lines of the article are the epitome to me of Calvary, they aren't anything - pure vanilla.

Talk to Calvary Chapel pastors about their theology, and they appear the epitome of evangelical balance and moderation: neither Calvinist nor Arminian, neither Pentecostal nor cessationist.

Talk to Calvary Chapel pastors about their vibrant network of 1,300 churches across the U.S., however, and they'll offer two radically different views. Most will call Calvary Chapel a mighty and ongoing work of a faithful God—and they will be right. But the other view expresses deep worry that lax moral standards among some key leaders will sink Calvary's ship. As one pastor said to Christianity Today, "The Titanic has hit the iceberg. But the music is still playing."

Click here for full article.

SBC Pastor's - Young, Angry, and Blogging About It

Baptists Denominationally Disillusioned, Move Toward Future

Mon, Feb. 19, 2007 Posted: 08:27:55 AM EST

There are a lot of "angry young men" out there in the Southern Baptist blogosphere, one university dean pointed out.

Some Baptist bloggers, mainly pastors and seminarians, voice traditional views, some talk about culture and theology, and others indicate that they are revivalists. But drawing more attention are the comments posted more than the hosts of the blog pages.

"Are there angry people out there on the blogosphere?" posed Gregory A. Thornbury, founding dean of the School of Christian Studies at Union University, at a Baptist Identity conference over the weekend. "You bet."

"You guys are mules. You make much noise but cannot reproduce," Thornbury quoted one comment on a blog.

Some Baptist leaders point out a lack of evangelism in the Southern Baptist denomination. Before committing to others in outreach, however, Baptists were called to first recommit to the gospel and go back to the basics, one of which include regenerate church membership.

For full article click here.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

My Journey Into and Out of the Emergent Church

By Jason Carlson

The growing influence of the so-called emergent church movement has generated much interest and debate in recent times. As a columnist for the Christian Worldview Network, people often ask me for my take on the emergent church movement. Thus, the purpose of this article is simply to offer my humble perspective on the emergent church movement, based upon my unique firsthand interactions with many of its leaders, many of whom I count as friends in-spite of my disagreements with them.

My initial entrance into the emergent church conversation came about six years ago while I was a student in seminary. One of the key figures in Emergent, the official title of the organization that is the primary voice for the emergent church movement, Doug Pagitt (Pastor of Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis), is a close friend of mine. Doug had a profound influence on my life during his time as my youth pastor when I was in high school. Between my years in youth group and my entrance into seminary, Doug became intimately involved with many of the key movers and shakers who would eventually form the organization, or “generative friendship” as they call it, which is now Emergent. During these formative years of Emergent, actually back then it was called The Terra Nova Project, Doug invited me to many of the early gatherings of this group, it was at these events where I was introduced to and spent much time with people like Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Pagitt and others.

For full article click here.

Is the Southern Baptist Convention Itself Filling up with “Dead Churches”?

This is an excellent article and research done over at the Christian Research Net blog. If you are interested in learning more about the troubles that our convention is facing I would encourage you to read through it.

"At Apprising Ministries I share a devotion by A.W. Tozer, based on Revelation 3:1, which follows in the light of The Unacknowledged Controversy in the Southern Baptist Convention: Which Jesus Do You Serve? Just this morning I also sent that article to SBC president Dr. Frank Page because he has made the statement that the SBC is “a Jesus Convention.”

Click here for full article.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Falling in Love Again

This is an excellent article that I can't recommend highly enough, it is definitely worth your time. It is written by Steven Lawson who is one of the best expositors on the planet. I hope you take the time to read through this - I believe you will be blessed.

Here is an excerpt:

"Far greater than the much-publicized romance between Prince Charles and Lady Di is our relationship with Jesus Christ. Ours is the greatest love story ever known. The King of kings courted us, lowly peasants that we were, and pursued us to become His royal bride. At first, our love showed that we were the definition of romance. The epitome of love, courtship, and marriage.

Bible study was so life-changing. Prayer was so heart-lifting. Worship was so earthshaking. We savored every moment in His presence. But, as in any relationship, our love for Christ is subject to fluctuation. Sometimes there is a serious waning of our intensity. Sometimes our passion for the Lord grows stale. Mechanical. Routine. And we begin to take Him for granted.

Sure, we are still the bride of Jesus Christ. And, legally, we are still married. But we are merely coexisting. We share the same heart, but the relationship has grown cold. Distant."

Dr. Lawson's four point outline:

Step One: Remember
Step Two: Repent
Step Three: Repeat
Step Four: Remain

(click below to read how Dr. Lawson unpacks these points)

Click here for full article.

The Gospel in 6 Minutes - John Piper

John Piper,

Is Oprah Working for the Devil?

February 16, 2007 - Today, Oprah Winfrey will be doing a follow up on last week's show on the film, The Secret, due to overwhelming public response. And as was expected, her promotion of the DVD last week is helping to make it a best-seller. (see Paul McManus' report on The Secret).
On Oprah's website, it states:

One week later ... the reaction to The Secret! Your emails poured in and went off the charts! The secret to making more money, losing weight, falling in love, landing your dream job ... and you want more! The questions, the successes and the lives changed. Stories you have to hear! A follow-up to the show everybody is talking about!

While most people may view the new DVD promoted by Oprah as a safe and effective method to reach their goals and aspirations, what they do not know may hurt them spiritually. Rhonda Byrne, the author of The Secret, is a disciple of a couple named Jerry and Esther Hicks. In the Acknowledgements of The Secret, Byrne thanked Jerry and Esther Hicks and the teachings of Abraham. Incredibly, Abraham is a group of spirit guides that Esther Hicks channels for guidance on spiritual issues. On the Hicks website, they state:

Abraham, a group of obviously evolved teachers, speak their broader Non-physical perspective through the physical body of Esther [Hicks]. Speaking to our level of comprehension, from their present moment to our now, through a series of loving, allowing, brilliant yet comprehensively simple, recordings in print, in video, and in sound - they guide us to a clear connection with our Inner Being--they guide us to self-upliftment from our total self [god-self].

Because Oprah, who is one of the most influential people in the world right now, is giving The Secret a huge thumbs up, this could potentially accelerate the paradigm shift we are going through, which is racing the world into such deception as never seen before and what the Bible predicts will take place before Jesus Christ returns. And with contemplative spirituality (just another form of the same spirituality being promoted through The Secret) now being embraced by so much of Christendom, the words of occultist Alice Bailey may indeed come true, when she said that the Age of Aquarius (that time when humanity realizes its divinity) will come not around the Christian church, but rather through it. The Secret is pure undisguised metaphysics and is the total manifestation of what the apostle Paul describes as seducing spirits (Abraham) and doctrines of devils (The Secret). Incidentally, the word occult means secret or hidden.

Today, when millions of viewers are watching Oprah and more of The Secret, may God protect those who are sincerely hurting and looking for answers and truth. And may Christian leaders who have succumbed to contemplative spirituality repent and turn back to the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, and may they speak publicly about their repentance and quickly warn believers to also turn back.

For additional information:

The Secret: A New Era for Humankind

Take a look at the book that influenced The Secret, The Law of Attraction by Jerry and Esther Hicks. The foreword is written by staunch New Ager Neale Donald Walsch.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Southern Baptists Discuss Baptist Identity, Controversy

Amid increasing clashes in the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, the head of the SBC opened a conference on Thursday to discuss the Baptist identity and the controversy within.

SBC President Frank Page told a crowd of around 200 at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., that the denomination does not belong to them as he acknowledged factions among Baptists.

"Oftentimes in our convention, we're broken into groups," said Page, according to The Jackson Sun. "This convention does not belong to me or to you. It is a Jesus convention."

Earlier, a leader with the North American Mission Board – the American mission arm for the SBC – expressed being "heartbroken" about disagreements over theology and worship style among Baptists and that such feuding takes away from the evangelism focus of the denomination.

Bill Curtis, chairman of trustees for the NAMB, said the debates he has been seeing would ultimately mean "missed evangelistic opportunity."

At the second Baptist Identity Conference, Page expressed similar concern and emphasized the need to adopt the selflessness of Christ and the need for more open dialogue at every level of the convention.

Click here for full article.

How To Change Your Church

Often on the “Calling For Truth” Radio Program, we discuss theological issues that are essential to the ministry of the Local Church. Many times, we receive comments during or after the program from listeners who say something to the effect “I found your topic today to be very interesting. My church really needs to be doing that, where can I get some additional information and how do I go about approaching the leadership at church about this issue”.

Well, on today’s program we will discuss and article written Dr. Mark Dever, entitled “How To Change Your Church”. While the article does not specifically offer advise to those in the congregation looking to be an agent for positive change in the local church, it does speak to those in the teaching ministry of the church and in doing so offers help for anyone seeking to encourage the ministry to continue to make Biblical change.

Click here to listen to this program.

'Amazing Grace' film on Wilberforce Called inspirational

February 12, 2007
By Michael Foust

William Wilberforce isn't a household name in America, but an upcoming motion picture is trying to change that.

"Amazing Grace" is the story of Wilberforce, a devout Christian and a member of the British Parliament who, beginning around 1787, sought to do what then seemed impossible — lead the British Empire to abolish the slave trade, what supporters called the lifeblood of the economy. He failed year after year before, finally, in 1807 — 200 years ago — his bill became law, abolishing an evil that had resulted in the enslavement and death of millions of Africans. Shortly before his death in 1833, he learned that another bill — to abolish the practice of slavery itself in the empire — would soon become law.

Click here for full story.

Princeton Prof Attacks Morality of Embryonic Stem Cell Research in SBTS Lectures

By David Roach

Embryonic stem cell research is fundamentally wrong because it destroys human beings who deserve moral respect, Princeton University professor Robert P. George said Feb. 8 in the Norton Lectures at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

George argued that stem cells may not be the cure-all that stem cell research advocates are proclaiming them to be.

For full article click here.

Christians Must Prepare for Onslaught of Sexual Temptation

By Jeff Robinson

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Sex is a gift which God designed to be acted out within marriage, but Satan tempts all Christians to misuse it in sinful ways and they must be prepared to battle temptation, Charles Lawless told a group of college students Feb. 10 at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Sexual temptation is a struggle that is universal among human beings because God-given physical urges are strong tool in the hands of Satan, said Lawless at Southern Seminary's annual Give Me An Answer Collegiate Conference. Lawless serves as dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth. The conference theme addressed the question "Does God Care About Sex?"

For full article click here.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

By Faith Alone

Pastor Justice gives some good thoughts on the "What is Faith?" section of the Calvary Baptist Church website in Clinton, IA. I encourage you to take the time to read the article.

In the New Testament one sees that a person is saved by faith alone. Life saving faith in Jesus Christ produces good works, thus proving that genuine salvation has taken place in a persons life. So, for those doubting that the Bible remains consistent in this area, think again. Paul does not disagree with James and vice versa. A basic hermeneutical principal is that scripture agrees or scripture interprets scripture.

Daily repentance is a must in the life of a true believer. It is essential because it proves that a person is really born-again and has entered into a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Who is the prince of preachers and said repent and believe the gospel in Mark 1:14.

There is reason to doubt the salvation of a person who does not daily repent of sin. I don't know about you but I do not want to hear the words from Jesus when I die "Away from Me I never knew you."(Matt. 7:23) Soon after to be cast from the Lord's presence forever. What a tragedy! All because a person never repented and believed in the gospel. Sadly many love sin more then they love God and want to be saved from it.

True believers have repented and believed in the gospel and have come to Christ by faith. Is that a characteristic in your life this day?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

We are alive and kicking on the blog

It is a pleasure to now serve Christ as the preaching/teaching pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Clinton, IA. I was called as pastor of the church on Dec. 1, 2006. Check us out on the web at Please stop and say hello if you are ever in the area.

Friends, it just feels great to be able to post once again. I hope you enjoy the wealth of information that has been brewing in our minds the past two months. God bless you and thanks for being patient and reading our thoughts once again.