I believe in God. I also believe God. “Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.” -Charles Spurgeon. Scripture is my authority for all things regarding to life and godliness. 2 Cor.10:5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ
Saturday, January 31, 2009
The Happy Man
watches his heart,
guards his senses,
redeems his time,
loves Christ, and longs for glory!"
Happy is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." Psalm 1:1-3
~"The workings of grace in the heart"by J. C. Ryle
Friday, January 30, 2009
The RNC and GOP Just Continue Their Liberal Arrogance
Steele, an attorney, is a conservative, but he was considered the most moderate of the five candidates running.
He vowed to expand the reach of the party by competing for every group, everywhere.
"We're going to say to friend and foe alike: 'We want you to be a part of us, we want you to with be with us.' And for those who wish to obstruct, get ready to get knocked over," Steele said.
"There is not one inch of ground that we're going to cede to anybody," he added.
"This is the dawn of a new party moving in a new direction with strength and conviction."
1.) Foes should not be welcomed into any party or group. They only serve to tear down the group and stop it from what it should do. It also lowers the standards of the group. There isn't common ground with opposing sides.
2.) The GOP needs to be obstructed with the liberalism its pushing. And it seems they don't care about those who are holding on to the traditional GOP platform ideals. That's not part of the new direction, but the old.
3.) Its all a game and they are using a black man to gain the black vote. This is racism and not principles. Its shameful. They did this with Sarah Palin...used her to get the feminist vote. They use their own people to get power. Unbelievable.
I don't know why the "new direction" whether its in politics or "Christianity" is ALWAYS to embrace the enemy. This doesn't show courage, but rather cowardice. They (liberals) want to be popular and standing on Truth is not popular. They lack integrity and honesty and consistancy and stand for NOTHING but selfishness and error.
Unbelievable. And they pat themselves on the back today thinking they are enlightened. It was the SAME PEOPLE who brought us Bush and the $750 billion dollar bail out. They are the ones who forced McCain on the GOP when there were FAR MORE qualified persons for the job (not to mention Palin was a terrible choice as well).
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Some Good News In California --For Once
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A California appeals court has ruled that a private Christian high school has the right to expel students because of an alleged lesbian relationship.
The 4th District Court of Appeal in Riverside on Monday upheld California Lutheran High School's right as a private, religious organization to exclude students based on their sexual orientation.
Two teens filed a lawsuit claiming they were discriminated against after they were expelled from the Wildomar school in 2005 because of an alleged lesbian relationship.
A court in Riverside found that the school had the right to expel the girls because the school isn't bound by the same anti-discrimination laws as a business establishment.
John McKay, attorney for California Lutheran, says the school's goal is to educate children based on Christian principles.
I bet they are not 501c3, therefore they pay their taxes as a private entitity and therefore can expell whomever they want.
CHURCHES, TAKE NOTICE!
Questions I do have though:
* Where are the girls' parents? They are a factor in this whole situation.
*How long did the administration take to deal with the issue?
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Inter-Faith of Chuck Coleson Returns
Chuck Coleson lays out more home for the continued Inter-faith work with his Romanists buddies in an interview with I-Don't-Know-What-Kind-Of-Christianity-Today.
[NOTE:I'd like to be clear: this is inter-faith, not ecumenicism. There is no common ground between the RCC and Christianity; it is not a denomination of Christianity. It is, instead, a pagan religion condemned by God. Just as joining hands between Christians and Muslims is inter-faith, so it joining hands between Christians and Catholics is inter-faith.]
Coleson said: "Almost at the same time that statement was issued, the two Catholics who were willing to say they agreed with what the reformers meant when they said sola fide died. It's as if "Okay, you finished your task. The big issue that divided us in the Reformation has now been settled, so you guys can come home and rest."
WOW! All that blood for nothing. Then again many Reformers really ARE going back to Mamma Rome. Its all so wrong.
"It's a little bit eerie. The two of them going just weeks apart does not suggest to me that God does not care about the continuing work of ECT but that the first major breakthrough had been accomplished. It's amazing timing." - Coleson
Does he not see this is God's judgment against those who mix truth with error? Apparently he doesn't. Coleson is an impediment to the Gospel and has NO CLUE what Truth is, primarily Justification according to Scripture--and has no clue what the RCC Catechism teaches on justification OR what Luther taught (see below).
Benedict said last year that the RCC is the only true church. So many professing Christians were shocked,but I wasn't. I knew for years this is what RCC teaches and its there repeatedly in their own Catechism and other documents. So Coleson is wrong on Benedict, putting his own interpretation back into Benedict's and Rome's proclaimations. RCC says salvation is ONLY found in the RCC. Period. Coleson has a personal relationship at stake and therefore is compromising truth and leading many people straight into the lion's mouth. He ought to be ashamed.
The RCC is the means of salvation
RCC Cat. #845 "Outside the Church there is no salvation"
RCC Catechims #846…the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation...Hence they COULD NOT be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.
Baptismal Regeneration: Luther and Rome agree
RCC #1213 Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: "Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word."
Luther’s Larger Catechism (LC) (86)If, therefore, we have once in Baptism obtained forgiveness of sin, it will remain every day, as long as we live, that is, as long as we carry the old man about our neck.
RCC 985 Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of the forgiveness of sins: it unites us to Christ
Luther’s Large Catechism on the Sacrament of the Alter #23 For by Baptism we are first born anew;
RCC Cat. #1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. (John 3:5)He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.
In case Coleson or any of the Inter-faithers think Rome and Christians are still on the same page and ignore the significance of the Council of Trent:
Prologue of RCC Catechism #9 "The ministry of catechesis draws ever fresh energy from the councils. The Council of Trent is a noteworthy example of this. It gave catechesis priority in its constitutions and decrees. It lies at the origin of the Roman Catechism, which is also known by the name of that council and which is a work of the first rank as a summary of Christian teaching.
RCC Catechism Prologue" The Council of Trent initiated a remarkable organization of the Church's catechesis. Thanks to the work of holy bishops and theologians such as St. Peter Canisius, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Turibius of Mongrovejo or St. Robert Bellarmine, it occasioned the publication of numerous catechisms.
Trent Council CANON III.-If any one saith, that in the Roman church, which is the mother and mistress of all churches, there is not the true doctrine concerning the sacrament of baptism; let him be anathema.
Trent Council CANON V.-If any one saith, that baptism is free, that is, not necessary unto salvation; let him be anathema.
RCC 1992 …Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy. Its purpose is the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life
RCC 1993 Justification establishes cooperation between God's grace and man's freedom. On man's part it is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, and in the cooperation of charity with the prompting of the Holy Spirit who precedes and preserves his assent
RCC # 2027 we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods.
RCC Cat. #2006 The term "merit" refers in general to the recompense owed by a community or a society for the action of one of its members, experienced either as beneficial or harmful, deserving reward or punishment. Merit is relative to the virtue of justice, in conformity with the principle of equality which governs it.
Mary like Jesus: RCC Cat. #487 What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ.
RCC# 2146 The second commandment forbids the abuse of God's name, i.e., every improper use of the names of God, Jesus Christ, but also of the Virgin Mary and all the saints.
RCC# 2162 The second commandment forbids every improper use of God's name. Blasphemy is the use of the name of God, of Jesus Christ, of the Virgin Mary, and of the saints in an offensive way.
RCC cat. #975 "We believe that the Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, Mother of the Church
All of these teachings of Rome are contrary to Scripture such as 1John 1:8,10; Col. 1:18; 1Tim. 2:5; Romans 4; Eph. 2:8-9; Gal. 1:16 for instance.
Secrecy in Churches
Act 24:16 So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.
2Co 1:12 For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.
2Co 4:2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God.
Heb 13:18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.
Scripture is clear on how we are to deal with all people in God's sight. So why do churches deal in darkness and secrecy? The latest news on Ted Haggard, the homosexual/bisexual (he says he can't be pinned down on his catagory) is that he was involved in homosexual sodomy with a young man at his church during the time he also paid a male sodomite for sex. The Associated Press article says:
Brady Boyd, who succeeded Haggard as senior pastor of the 10,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, told The Associated Press that the man came forward to church officials in late 2006 shortly after a Denver male prostitute claimed to have had a three-year cash-for-sex relationship with Haggard.
Boyd said an "overwhelming pool of evidence" pointed to an "inappropriate, consensual sexual relationship" that "went on for a long period of time ... it wasn't a one-time act." Boyd said the man was in his early 20s at the time. He said he was certain the man was of legal age when it began.
Boyd said the church reached a legal settlement to pay the man for counseling and college tuition, with one condition being that none of the parties involved discuss the matter publicly.
Boyd said a Colorado Springs TV station reached him Thursday to say the young man was planning to provide a detailed report of his relationship with Haggard to the station. Boyd said the church preferred to keep the matter private, but it was the man's decision to go public....
Anticipating criticism of the settlement with the former church volunteer, Boyd said Friday that it was in the best interests of all involved. He would not name the volunteer or the settlement amount.
"It wasn't at all a settlement to make him be quiet or not tell his story," Boyd said. "Our desire was to help him. Here was a young man who wanted to get on with his life. We considered it more compassionate assistance - certainly not hush money. I know what's what everyone will want to say because that's the most salacious thing to say, but that's not at all what it was."
He said that "secondarily, it's not great for our church either" that the story be told. Boyd said Haggard knew about the settlement two years ago.
Money cannot make something better. That's what the world says and that "church" who uses Jesus' name and has a few Bible laying around, should KNOW THAT. It was hush money, by any other name. It was to make the problem go away. There should've been church discipline as well. They kept this from the congregation and the public, and all parties were silent on this issue when Haggard came out last year. Silence on gross sin such as this is also sin.
Another example is here and here.
These echo my own experience at our old church where secrecy was the key to "dealing" with dissenters like myself and my husband, or questions of accountability regarding a building fund and mass production of a dvd to manipulate people into giving.
This is NOT how we see leadership in Scripture. Shame on elders who can't do things with a clear conscience before God AND man. Clearly they know they are in the wrong, otherwise they would do things out in the open and trust the Master for the outcome.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Where Is the Memo of Outcry To Desiring God Ministries and John Piper?
Lighthouse Trails is very disappointed in the men who are participating at the 2009 "Entrusted with the Gospel" National Conference, knowing that Mark Driscoll will be one of the featured speakers.
While Driscoll's crass speech about sex may perhaps not bother these men, his manner is degrading to women and children--and godly men are required of the Lord to defend and protect women and children according to Scripture.
Contact: Cathy Mickels, 360-387-8150 SEATTLE, Jan. 14 /Christian Newswire/ --
Concerns about Mark Driscoll, the controversial pastor of Seattle's Mars Hill Church, are being circulated in an eleven page memo raising many questions regarding why Driscoll will be speaking on "Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth" at The Gospel Coalition's Conference this coming April 21-23 in Chicago. (See http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/about)
[To get the memo by Cathy Mickels, go here.]
In response to those who will claim Driscoll is doctrinally sound, Mickels states, "Since when is it doctrinally sound to refer to Jesus as some 'dude' who tells 'knock-knock jokes'?" Since when does Biblical doctrine tolerate the description of the Old Testament as 'a red-neck hillbilly comedy' containing mocking comments about Noah and Jeremiah?"
Quoting from Driscoll's book, Confessions of a Reformission Rev, Mickels states, "It also appears Mark Driscoll discovered early on that talking about sex could help him build his church. In fact, Driscoll wrote, 'I assumed the students and singles were all pretty horney, so I went out on a limb... Each week I extolled the virtues of marriage, ... oral sex, sacred stripping and sex outdoors...This helped us a lot because apparently a pastor using words like penis and oral sex is unusual, and before you could say aluminum pole in the bedroom, attendance began to climb steadily to more than two hundred people a week.'"
The memo details that in one of Mark Driscoll's most recent projects, he undermines and corrupts gospel truth. For example, Christ said to Nicodemus, "You must be born again," but according to Mickels, without shame this pastor recklessly undermines the words of Jesus for the title of his new book called, PORN-AGAIN Christian. Mickels asked, "Who would tamper with the words of Christ and then use them as an introduction to a discussion on the perverted world of pornography?"
The memo says in part:
Oddly enough, it was a stand-up comedian, foul-mouthed Chris Rock, whom Mark Driscoll credits with teaching him how to preach. Mark claims this comedian was "a better study in homiletics than most classes on the subject." (Confessions of a Reformed Rev, pg. 70). Therefore, would he think others should also follow his example, which will require them to fill their mind with curse words and smut in order to learn how to effectively deliver a good sermon?
Admittedly, Mark Driscoll states he is reformed in his thinking, and he can deliver a sound sermon if he wants to. But, that does not negate his reckless, irreverent treatment of God's Word, and the crude language that proceeds out of his mouth. This only makes his ministry more dangerous. If an enemy of the faith had used the same comedy to mock and pervert the Word of God, we would see this attack for what it is. Moreover, throughout the history of the church, vulgarity and playing fast and loose with Scripture would have immediately been identified as falsehood, error, or a serious character flaw. However, for some reason, today many in the Church are compromising and excusing ungodly behavior coming from the pulpit.
For those who would be alarmed by this cavalier handling of God and His Word, Mark also has an arrogant, cocky response. He says, "...religious people are too serious.....judgmental....they're such a joke."
There are some HORRID quotes by Driscoll, but you can to go to the link to read them in full.
At least John MacArthur takes a stand regarding such filth. You can find his quotes in the memo, too.
I'm also glad some folks are expressing their disgust with him like Slice of Laodicea and Lighthousetrailsresearch.
However, my concern is why does JOHN PIPER ENDORSE DRISCOLL?
WHY DID JOHN PIPER HAVE DRISCOLL SPEAK ON THE ISSUE OF "The Power of Words and the Wonder of God"?
What about Piper endorsing Paul Tripp and his filthy language? Go here for his s*** use in a promo video for the "Power of Words" Desiring God conference.
Why are folks not upset with PIPER?
Where is the memo to Desiring God conference and ministry?
Al Mohler Ignores Rick Warren's False Teaching
In it, Ingrid rightly is frustrated with Al Mohler who discusses these two here. What I found interesting is absolutely NO condemnation for Rick Warren at all by Mohler. Rather, Al says, "Representation is undoubtedly symbolic, but Rick Warren and Gene Robinson represent radically divergent worldviews and incommensurate goals. They are not two very different representatives of one religion. They are instead two very symbolic representatives of two very different religions."
HELLO?? Rick Warren is JUST AS LOST and is a FAR WORSE CANCER than Gene Robinson. The subtlety (until recent months) of Warren's error confused many, and cause others to embrace him as a brother in Christ but who's style or method is just different than they would prefer. Rick Warren's works gospel is no different than the Episcopalian one. Both these men are in rebellion and have NO GOSPEL; they are in the SAME CAMP. If Mohler can't see this, he needs to be quiet and stay home. Seriously. This is really getting annoying.
I knew Mohler was soft on Warren a few years ago because my former pastor mentioned how he was disappointed with Al's lack of a stand against Warren back then.
This is why I haven't trusted Mohler. He's willing to ignore the GROSS ERROR of one of his own SBC pastors instead of rake that man over the coals.
Remember what someone once said: “Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.” That would apply re: Warren.
For specifics on why Warren is a false teacher (and this makes Al Mohler's ignorance of this glaring) go here.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
"Having a form of godliness--but denying its power." 2 Timothy 3:5
Formality frequently takes its dwelling near the chambers of integrity, and so assumes its name; the soul not suspecting that hell should make so near an approach to heaven. A rotten post, though covered with gold, is more fit to be burned in the fire, than for the building of a fabric. Where there is a pure conscience--there will be a pure conversation. The dial of our faces does not infallibly show--the time of day in our hearts. The humblest looks may enamel the face--while unbounded pride governs the heart!
A hypocrite may be both the fairest creature--and the foulest creature in the world! He may be fairest outwardly in the eyes of man--and foulest inwardly in the sight of God. How commonly do such unclean swans cover their black flesh with their white feathers! Though such wear the mantle of Samuel--they should bear the name of Satan!
Many appear righteous--who are only righteous in appearance. But while they are deceiving others with the false shows of holiness--they are also deceiving themselves with the false hopes of happiness. The hypocrite would not willingly appear evil--and yet would inwardly be evil. He would gladly be accounted godly--and yet would not be godly.
Man, either appear what you are--or be what you appear. What will the form of godliness do for you--if you deny the power thereof? Those who have the power of godliness, cannot deny the form; while those who have the form of godliness, may deny the power.
Hypocrites resemble looking-glasses--which present faces that are not in them. Oh, how desirous are men to put the fairest gloves--upon the foulest hands; and the finest paint--upon the rottenest posts!
Hypocrites are better in show--than in substance. They are like painted tombs--which enclose decayed bones. That is a sad charge, which the God of truth brings against certain false professors, "I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews, and are not--but are the synagogue of Satan!" A false friend--is worse than an open enemy. A painted harlot is less dangerous--than a painted hypocrite. A treacherous Judas is more abhorred by God--than a bloody Pilate!
Professors! Remember--the sheep's clothing will soon be stripped from the wolf's back! The velvet plaster of profession--shall not always conceal the offensive ulcer of corruption. Neither the ship of formality nor hypocrisy--will carry a person to the harbor of felicity. The blazing lamps of foolish virgins may light them to the bridegroom's gate--but not into His chamber. Either get the nature of Christ within you--or take name of Christ away from you.
A bad man is certainly the worst--when he is seemingly the best. We must not account everyone a soldier--who swaggers with a sword. A rusty sword--may frequently be found in a highly decorated scabbard. What good is it to have our hands as white as snow--if our hearts are as black as the bottomless pit! Such professors resemble soap bubbles--smooth and pretty without--yet only filled with air!
One thing to the hypocrits. God reveals you in time. Do not think you fool HIM even if for a time you fool others. His Word exposes your evil deeds and He will not be mocked. Repent!
Here are my challenges:
Challenge: A walk through the book of Proverbs soon reveals your true heart and mind. If you think you're doing ok in mind and heart, take a look through Proverbs. It will prove you wrong.
Challenge: Test all teachers no matter their look (they often "look" nice, innocent, kind, wise), form (your elder, professor, teacher, conference speaker, author), or substance (they might say some biblical things, but are they omitting IMPORTANT things?).
Be ready to throw away the vessel through which error and hypocrisy comes. Be loyal to Christ Jesus and His Word above all people.
Do not play favorites with men who are hypocrits and cowardly (you know: those who secretly agree with you, then publically they side with the enemy).
Do not give them excuses.
Do not drink the filth they have contaminated the water with. Do not allow their position to be their free pass. Some of the most vile men are learned pastors!
Challenge: To be consistant is to strive to live by Scripture in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Pray for a teachable heart and His protection.
Know that to be CONSISTANT means you confess your sins (1John 1) and you test yourself against Scripture.
Being consistant means being CONSISTANT WITH ALLL CHRISTIANS. Differing scales for favorite people is inconsistant and wicked; indeed it is the sin of favoritism (James 2). Its dishonest, disloyal, and unloving.
The Protesant Trilemma--Its More Than A Dilemma! More on the Apostles' Creed
Pro 30:6 Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you and you be found a liar.
Luther holds to the Creed (the Apostles' and his very own Catechisms) as the test of true believers:
Luther’s Preface to his Larger Catechism:
1] This sermon is designed and undertaken that it might be an instruction for children and the simple-minded. Hence of old it was called in Greek Catechism, i.e., instruction for children, 2] what every Christian must needs know, so that he who does not know this could not be numbered with the Christians nor be admitted to any Sacrament, just as a mechanic who does not understand the rules and customs of his trade is expelled and considered incapable.
On the Apostles' Creed, Luther states:
1] Thus far we have heard the first part of Christian doctrine, in which we have seen all that God wishes us to do or to leave undone. Now, there properly follows the Creed, which sets forth to us everything that we mustexpect and receive from God, and, to state it quite briefly, teaches us to know Him fully.
The Apostle's Creed is inspired by God according to Luther:
6a For as truly as I can say, No man has spun the Ten Commandments, the CREED, and the Lord's Prayer out of his head, but they are revealed and given by God Himself,
67] From this you perceive that the Creed is a doctrine quite different from the Ten Commandments; for the latter teaches indeed what we ought to do, but the former tells what God does for us and gives to us. Moreover, apart from this, the Ten Commandments are written in the hearts of all men; the Creed, however, no human wisdom can comprehend, but it must be taught by the Holy Ghost alone.
Creeds are the test and Luther shows his interfaith error
LLC 66] These articles of the Creed, therefore, divide and separate us Christians from all other people upon earth. For all outside of Christianity, whether heathen, Turks, Jews, or false Christians and hypocrites, although they believe in, and worship, only one true God, yet know not what His mind towards them is, and cannot expect any love or blessing from Him; therefore they abide in eternal wrath and damnation. For they have not the Lord Christ, and, besides, are not illumined and favored by any gifts of the Holy Ghost.
3] For if we could by our own powers keep the Ten Commandments as they are to be kept, we would need nothing further, neither the Creed nor the Lord's Prayer.
Now remember, The Apostles' Creed
Does not declare Jesus to be God or Creator
Declares Jesus went to hell, when that is not what Scripture states (hell is not death)
Does not declare Scripture to be the inspired and infallible 66 books of the Bible
Does not declare the Holy Spirit to be the third Person in the Trinity or Creator
Does not declare the Trinity
Does not speak of repentance to God for sin
Does not declare the sufficiency and authority of Scripture alone
Does not declare justification by faith alone, not by works
Yet here we have Luther, the "father of the Reformation" or however folks want to crown him, as elevating that document ON PAR WITH SCRIPTURE and says, "the Creed, which sets forth to us everything that we must expect and receive from God, and, to state it quite briefly, teaches us to know Him fully. "
How can this be when the creed doesn't discuss the Triune Godhead, the Word as the sole authority of practice and faith, Jesus as God, sin and repentance, total depravity of man and therefore the need for salvation? How can we know God when so much is ignored? We can't. That is why God gave us HIS Word, not the creed which is a mere document written by ecumenical men.
The Protestant Trilemma, by By J. R. Graves , 1860
16.Will Protestants charge the Papacy with denying that doctrine professedly so sacred to Pedobaptist--THE ALL-SUFFICIENCY of the Word of God for faith and practice?--the Bible and the Bible alone, for all religious doctrines and duties?
Can not Rome point to their Books of Common Prayer, Rubrics, etc., Confession of Faith, and authenticated Disciplines, that in every Protestant meeting-house are placed either on top of the Bible or by its side, but in every case the first required to be observed by Protestants. If the laws, and traditions, and "rules" enjoined by their elders and "chief ministers" on them are not observed, the guilty Protestant is cast out of the Church of Christ--if these organizations can be so considered. Does Rome do worse?
17. Will Protestants assail the Papacy for sweeping away the great fundamental vital doctrine of individualism, upon which all true Christianity rests, because she forbids by pains and penalties personal religious liberty, and freedom of the conscience, and forces upon her infantile, unconscious subjects, onerous rites, Church ordinances, and religious obligations, and even salvation, without either faith or voluntariness on their part.
Would not Rome reply: "Whenever you judge me on this you condemn yourselves. You have imitated my example and adopted the very rite which I originated, by which to accomplish these very results, that I might the more easily and successfully extend my authority over the hearts and consciences of men. Were it now in your power as it has been, to carry out your principles, you would not only as thoroughly destroy the pure doctrine of personal religion, but constrain religious freedom and liberty of conscience, by 'pains and penalties,' as you have done. But you are more inconsistent than I am. While you teach the doctrine of total hereditary depravity in your Creed, you deny it in your Ritual, (for the baptism of infants,) and while you deny in your Creed the possibility of the apostasy from grace of a saint or the elect, you deny it in your Discipline."
CHAPTER IV. TWO OTHER QUESTIONS
5. Will Protestants declare before the world, that the ordinances administered by the Priests of Rome are invalid, since Rome is no Church, but Antichrist, and her priests therefore the ministers of Antichrist?
Can not Rome reply: "It is quite unfortunate for you to say so, since you unbaptize Luther and Calvin, and all your first ministers, and thereby acknowledge yourselves unbaptized, and without authority to baptize. If you are not concerned for my honor, you should be for that of those whom you boast of as your ecclesiastical fathers and founders. The less you say about my baptisms and ordinances the better."
The dilemma presented by the Archbishop of York to the British Parliament, early as 1558, vaunting itself upon its orthodoxy and succession apostolic, is worthy of special attention just here, and it will show that Presbyterians are not alone between two horns, and impaled upon a third!
Here it is:
"The Romish Church is either a true Church or a false one."
"If true then the Church of England--we may add, all Protestants and Reformed Churches, are schismatics, and have been excommunicated."
"If false, then the English Episcopal clergy, and all Protestant ministers, have false orders, are unordained, and without authority to administer the ordinances."
How do you answer those three questions?
How do you use the Creeds and Confessions? Are they the first thing you think of or go to for spiritual knowledge? Do you use them as the test of whether a person is a true believer?
Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Ps. 138:2… You have exalted above all things Your name and Your word.
Psa 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
Pro 30:5 Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
Is. 8: 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Pro 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Pro 3:7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
Pro 3:8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Pro 3:9 Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
Pro 3:10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
Pro 3:11 My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline or be weary of his reproof,
Pro 3:12 for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
May God's Word encourage your hearts and get you to "think on whatsoever is true":
Php 4:5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;
Php 4:6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Php 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
One day in college as I was looking at this passage it struck me: the description of what we are to be thinking on (and its NOT AN OPTION), can easily describe God Himself!
The Evangelistic Monstrosity of The Day
It is the bounden duty of every Christian, to have no dealings with the evangelistic monstrosity of the day, to withhold all moral and financial support of the same, to attend none of their meetings, to circulate none of their tracts. Those preachers who tell sinners that they may be saved without forsaking their idols, without repenting, without surrendering to the Lordship of Christ--are as erroneous and dangerous as others who insist that salvation is by works, and that heaven must be earned by our own efforts!
Think of the above in terms of who you see today on tv, books, magazines, radio, conferences, etc. One major player if Rick Warren. He does not tell sinners that they must foresake all their sin, that they must repent, and they must surrending to the Lordship of Christ Jesus.
Sometimes a teacher's error isn't necessarily what they say (they would say enough to sound legit), but what they do NOT say.
Be discerning, and be willing to dump all who proclaim that which is not the Gospel but say that it is. You cannot pick out "the good" from the "bad" and think you please the Master. HE demands purity in doctrine and practice. What does darkness have to do with light?
I think many professing Christians cannot truly believe that the face of a false teacher can seem so nice; that their favorite author can't possibly be a false teacher. There is a reason why Scripture says the devil comes as an angel of LIGHT; that there would be false teachers among YOU who SECRETLY SNEEK IN among YOU.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Christians Should Never Walk In the Counsel of the Wicked
"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly." But notice exactly how it is expressed—it is not "does not walk in the open wickedness" or even "the manifest folly," but "does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly." How searching that is! How it narrows things down!
The ungodly are ever ready to "counsel" the believer, seeming to be very solicitous of his welfare. They will warn him against being too strict and extreme, advising him to be broad-minded and to "make the best of both worlds." But the policy of the "ungodly"—that is, of those who leave God out of their lives, who have no "fear of God" before their eyes—is regulated by self-will and self-pleasing, and is dominated by what they call "common sense." Alas, how many professing Christians regulate their lives by the advice and suggestions of ungodly friends and relatives—heeding such "counsel" in their business career, their social life, the furnishing and decorating of their homes, their dress and diet, and the choice of school or avocation for their children.
But not so with the "blessed man." He "does not walk in the counsel of the wicked." Rather is he afraid of it, no matter how plausible it sounds, or apparently good the intention of those who offer it. He shuns it, and says "Get behind me, Satan!" Why? Because Divine grace has taught him that he has something infinitely better to direct his steps. God has given him a Divine revelation, dictated by unerring wisdom, suited to his every need and circumstance, designed as a "lamp unto his feet and a light unto his path." His desire and his determination is to walk by the wholesome counsel of God, and not by the corrupt counsel of the ungodly.
~From A.W. Pink's "The Blessed Man"
Ponder on this folks. This would include all forms of psychology, humanism, pragmatism, ecumenicism. We have the more sure Word of God which is fully infallible and inerrant!
Rethinking the Apostles' Creed
The central message of the Bible is that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Saviour from sin, and the only safety from God’s righteous punishment of sin. The only way of salvation is through belief in the purpose of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (I Corinthians 3:11). The Apostle Paul proclaims Christ crucified as the only antidote to the deadly venom within man, called sin. He wrote: "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (I Corinthians 2:2).
Evidently, the Apostle believed that the meaning of the death and resurrection of Christ was of primary importance, a message to be understood by both those who have already trusted in Christ for their eternal state, and those who were yet to hear the Gospel.
[T]he Gospel of Christ...is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith [Romans 1:16-17].
Knowing what that Gospel is, and believing it, is of first importance for those who proclaim the Word of God. If it is not first in importance, but somewhere down the list of things to be taught, or absent from the list entirely, confusion (frequently fatal) results.
How shall the justified live by faith, if the object of that faith is unknown, or at best, obscured? If the professed Christian doesn’t understand the meaning of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, how can he give a clarion call to those without hope and without God in the world?
Recitation, so it is said, aids in the understanding of Christian doctrine; but it may not do so, if the recitation is done or heard inattentively, or the creed itself is not faithful to the Gospel. Supposedly, the congregation’s "one voice" in reciting a creed reflects its unity in one belief as well. Yet, what do individual minds (and there is no other kind) understand by what they say? Is there unity of thought and meaning of the particular words expressed? Or is the creed ambiguous or incomplete?
The Apostles’ Creed is a case in point. It has a long history behind it, and in its longevity, it is unchallenged as the Christian’s creed; yet is it Christian? The apostles knew nothing of the Apostles’ Creed, for it emerged some three centuries after their passing, its author(s) lost to history. It has the honorific label "Apostles" attached to it, as if they created it, recited it, and endorsed it; when they neither wrote, recited, nor endorsed the creed attributed to them. Roman Catholics, Greek Catholics, Anglicans, Liberals, and Protestants all recite the Apostles’ Creed, yet the Reformers thought rightly that the Roman Catholic Church with its papacy is Antichrist. How can this be? Rome has recently called Protestant dissenters to its hierarchy and doctrine, "separated brethren," and continues to attempt to end the separation by such means as ecumenical councils, documents, and creeds. The Apostles’ Creed is one ecumenical bridge over the gap. The Apostles’ Creed is a lowest-common denominator attempt at ecumenism.
The Apostles’ Creed does not perform the requisite functions of a creed: It does not accurately summarize the content of Christian belief; it omits essential Christian doctrines; it does not distinguish heterodoxy from orthodoxy; and it is ambiguous, rather than clear. Because of these defects, it cannot unify the hearts of God’s people, for, as an ecumenical creed, it allows many who do not hold to the Gospel revealed by God to profess to be Christians.
God’s revealed truth divides men; but it also is the only basis of Christian unity.
But if the words of a creed join together believer and unbeliever, Protestant, Roman, Anglican, Liberal, and Greek, then the creed has failed to achieve Christian unity, but has accomplished the purpose of the enemy, who sows tares among wheat.
...Notice that the Apostles’ Creed neither mentions essential articles of the faith nor defines the terms it uses. Thus it becomes, at best, a mere mentioning of terms, not a confession of well-defined truths revealed by God for our instruction....
The Heidelberg Catechism seems to say that the Apostles’ Creed expresses the very things, termed "Articles of our catholic, undoubted faith," necessary for a Christian to believe: that is, it supposedly expresses that which a person must believe to be a Christian.....Then it asks, "Where can we find a short statement of everything God commands us to believe?" (This question itself seems a bit contrived given the previous answer and command "to believe everything God tells us," does it not?) The primer answers: "In The Apostles’ Creed." Now, does this Creed contain "everything God commands us to believe," even in summary? Does the Apostles’ Creed express that which a person must believe to be a Christian? Is it the "litmus test" of one’s Christian faith? Ponder these omissions of some of the articles of our Christian faith.
1. The Creed is silent on Christ’s satisfaction of the Father’s justice. The term and concept of propitiation are absent.
2. The Creed is silent on Christ’s substitutionary death. The term and concept of Atonement are absent.
3. The Creed is silent on the purpose of Christ’s death. His death is mentioned, but an historical event, without an explanation of its meaning, is not a Christian confession. The Pharisees also believed Christ died. Christians must confess, "Christ died for our sins."
4. The Creed is silent on Scripture. In his summary of the Gospel, Paul wrote: "Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures." How can a Creed derive its authority from Scripture if it does not even mention it? Perhaps this is one reason why the pope can confess the Apostles’ Creed too: Belief in Scripture is omitted, but belief in the "Holy Catholic Church" is included.
5. The Creed is silent on the inspiration of Scripture, the authority of Scripture, the sufficiency of Scripture, the necessity of Scripture, the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture, the perspicuity (clarity) of Scripture, the power of Scripture, the coherence of Scripture, etc. The Apostles’ Creed describes the "Catholic Church" as "Holy," but not the Word of God.
6. The Creed is silent on the Trinity. Although all three Persons are mentioned, the unity of the Godhead is not expressed, and only one Person is confessed as God. The Creed is so vague that its confessors may believe in three gods, or that only God the Father is God, and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are lesser beings.
7. The Creed is silent on the Gospel. The term and concept are absent. It makes no reference to the method and means of salvation. Salvation by God’s grace alone is not mentioned.
8. The Creed is silent on justification by faith in Christ alone. One would think a creed would say something about justification and faith. The Apostles’ Creed does not.
9. The Creed is silent on predestination, and election. It contains not even a hint of an eternal divine plan for the salvation of God’s people.
10. The Creed is silent on regeneration and sanctification—the new birth and the Christian life.
11. The Creed is silent on confession of sin to God, and offers no definition of sin.
12. The Creed mentions Pontius Pilate, but is silent on the Person of the Holy Spirit. "I believe in the Holy Ghost" does not express much of anything. Would any listener figure out who he is or what he does? The Apostles’ Creed does not even say that the Holy Ghost is God. Amazing, isn’t it? Did I say amazing? I meant appalling.
13. The Creed implies that only the Father is Creator. John says that "All things were made by him [the Logos]." Job and the Psalms proclaim that the Spirit "made the heavens and all the hosts of them."
So what kind of creedal expression is the Apostles’ Creed? It is a lowest-common denominator ecumenical confession, apparently designed to please everyone in the churches, except the Christians. It is not, as Schaff believes, "the Creed of creeds." Nor does is it "contain all the fundamental articles of the Christian faith necessary to salvation" (Creeds, 1, 14).
Omission of these central truths leaves many doors open for cunning persons to bind unsuspecting souls in ecclesiastical chains. Without God’s wrath fully appeased once for all by Christ’s death, we must sacrifice Christ afresh every day and work for our own salvation. The Apostles’ Creed does nothing to preclude or dispel damnable heresies such as the mass, taught by the largest religious organization on the planet.
Creed Articles Not Found in Scripture
These words of this ecumenical Creed—"He descended into Hell"—tend to confuse, not explain, the belief of the Christian. Must one believe that Christ went to Hell after his death and before he rose from the dead? (This is how the Apostles’ Creed states it by its word order.) What is the basis for this belief?
What do unbelievers think as they attend our assemblies and hear us say, "He [Jesus Christ] descended into Hell" after his death, and then try to explain away the obvious meaning of the words by saying that Christ really didn’t go to Hell? Why should they believe anything else they hear in our assemblies? Perhaps we have an esoteric interpretation of other statements as well. Intellectual dishonesty—or ecclesiastical dishonesty—will not persuade anyone to listen to the rest of our teaching.
One does not need to travel far from the Biblical descriptions of Christ’s suffering to learn the meaning of it all: God’s sufficient Word does not keep us hanging in suspense. But the Apostles’ Creed does.
Another example of this–not saying what we mean, and saying what we don’t mean–is found in the words: "I be-lieve...in the Holy Catholic Church." This clause is such a source of confusion that disclaimers need to be made for it upon its every utterance, and it isn’t the only one.
Commonly, Reformed and Protestant preachers will give a disclaimer immediately following the recitation of the Creed to the effect that the Creed is not to be construed as meaning the Roman Catholic Church, which calls itself "the Holy Catholic Church." If Protestants mean "We believe that there is an elect people of God that the Lord Himself gave out of the whole of mankind to the Son, and this people is ‘the church’ in view, known in Scripture as the very small remnant, and the only true children of Abraham," then they should say so: "I believe that God has chosen and saved his own people out of every race and nation." This would maintain the antithesis between true and false, which distinction is blurred by the confusing term "Holy Catholic Church." When Rome decides to call "home" the "separated brethren" of the Protestant churches, she will no doubt use the ambiguous terminology of this very Creed to further her aim. The call will be legitimized by the gentle reminder that "we all believe in the one Holy Catholic Church, do we not? You’ve been confessing it in your churches for centuries; now come home, come home to the one place you’ve been confessing for all those generations. Mother Kirk has her arms spread wide to embrace you."
Protestant Reformers protested against that very institution, the organization calling itself the Holy Catholic Church, which is a governmental power, a nation unto itself, and not a church at all. Roman Catholics recite this Creed, using the same words, without disclaimers, and people know very well what they mean. Why adopt their confession? Why can we not frame the words of a true confession to reflect Scripture?
This clause, "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church" is followed by a confession of "the communion of saints," and then by "the forgiveness of sins," with no explanation given as to how one can have forgiveness. Out of all the things of importance in life, how one obtains forgiveness of sins is absolutely vital. Since it follows on the heels of "the Holy Catholic Church," would it not plausibly follow that forgiveness comes through and because of that Holy Catholic Church? It is strongly suggested by the word order of the Creed.
One possible—and plausible—reason for the order in the Apostles’ Creed is the false teaching that the dispenser of forgiveness is not God, but the Holy Catholic Church. That large and influential religious organization based in Rome teaches that very thing: Forgiveness comes from its authority, through its priests and sacraments. There is no ambiguity as to their teaching in this regard; the ambiguity lies in Protestants’ using the same words to confess some different meaning. Christians are to proclaim clearly what they mean, and not speak in ambiguities that confuse others.
The Creed says, "I believe…in the Holy Ghost." Well, so do the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The question is: What are you confessing when you say those words? Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in the Holy Ghost as a "radar beam" of God’s power (their words, at my door, many times) but not as a Person of the Trinity. They believe that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force used by God to direct people and things. The Apostles’ Creed does not rule out such a notion. To say: "I believe in the Holy Ghost," is not to say very much. The clause is devoid of definition, of predication, and therefore of clarity. It does not distinguish between meanings that differ, for no meaning is given. The antithesis between false doctrine and true teaching is absent. The clause as it occurs in the ecumenical Apostles’ Creed is devoid of the meaning that would make it Christian, i.e., Scriptural....
Is the Apostles’ Creed less than accurate? We have seen that it is. Is it less than Biblically sufficient? Absolutely. There are deficiencies in this Creed in that central doctrines are not expressed. This allows common confession of the Creed with Antichrist.
The Creed substitutes unexplained statements of historical events for the Gospel of an atoning Christ who is the perfect satisfaction of holy justice for his elect people.... The question is: Will the Reformed churches put away the so-called Apostles’ Creed of the Roman Church-State, or will they continue to recite it, obscuring the Gospel and erasing the distinction between a true church and a false? Will they practice the first mark of a true church of Jesus Christ–as defined by Guido de Bres in the Belgic Confession, "the preaching of the pure Gospel"—or will they sink deeper into the mire of "unity first" thinking? Will the Gospel of justification by faith alone be clearly expressed to those whom God brings to their assemblies? Shall it contain the evangel, the Gospel of the Christ who died for the sins of his people, explained according to the authority of the Scriptures, or omit it for the sake of peace, unity, and tradition, as the Apostles’ Creed has done for many centuries?
I rather go directly to Scripture and use it as the sole authority to test all things and ever person. And so I do.
Take Heed What You Read!
"Take heed what you hear" (Mark 4:24): the word "hear" obviously includes what is read, for that which is written or printed is addressed to the ears of our intellect. Few people today realize the urgent need for "taking heed" unto what they read. Just as the natural food which is eaten either helps or hinders the body—so the mental food we receive either benefits or injures the mind, and that, in turn, affects the heart.
The only thing which is really worth calling "religion" is the life of God in the soul-commenced, carried on, and consummated solely by the Holy Spirit. Hence, whatever does not bear the impress of the Spirit's unction, should be rejected by the Christian: for not only can unctionless messages do us no good—but what proceeds not from the Spirit—is of the flesh.
Some of God's dear people may suppose that it would be presumptuous to set themselves up as judges of what they hear or read—but that is a serious mistake, being both a false humility, and a shirking of duty. The Apostle rebuked the Hebrews because their senses (spiritual faculties) were not developed so as to discern between good and evil (Hebrews 5:13).
If the God of creation has given us natural palates for the purpose of distinguishing between wholesome and unwholesome food, the God of grace has furnished His people with a capacity, a spiritual sense, to distinguish between nutritious and unwholesome soul food.
"Just as the mouth tastes food—the ear tests the words it hears" (Job 34:3). Does yours, my reader? Are you as careful about what you take into your mind—as what you take into your stomach? You certainly ought to be, for the former is even more important than the latter.
How many of God's dear children listen to the automaton "letter" preachers of today, and yet find nothing suited to the needs of their poor souls!
What they hear and what they read does not penetrate and grip—it has no power—it neither breaks down nor lifts up—it produces neither godly sorrow nor godly joy. The messages they hear or read, fall upon their ear like an idle or twice-told tale—it completely fails to reach their case or minister to their needs. They are no better off after hearing a hundred such "sermons" or reading through a hundred such periodicals, than they were at the beginning! They are no farther from the world—and no nearer unto God!
It is often a long time before God's children are able to account for this. They blame themselves; they are exceedingly loath to say, "This message is not of God." They are afraid to act in the spiritual, as they do in the natural, and condemn and discard that which is worthless.
Ah, it is a great thing when once the Holy Spirit teaches a soul—that it is power which is lacking from the lifeless preaching and lifeless articles of dead professors.... Yes, what the renewed soul longs for (though at first he knows it not) is that Divine message which comes to him "not simply with words—but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction!" (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
Those who are partakers of this Divine power (and they are few in number) can never be satisfied with a powerless ministry, either oral or written.
"Those who live according to the flesh—have their minds set on what the flesh desires," (Romans 8:5). They are charmed with oratorical eloquence, catchy sayings, witty allusions, and amusing illustrations. On just such "husks", do the religious "swine" feed!
But the penitent prodigal can find no nutriment therein! Men "of the world"—and they may be graduates from some "Bible Institute" or possessors of a diploma from some Bible Seminary, now styling themselves "preachers of the Gospel"—will speak of the things of the world and "the world hears them" (1 John 4:5). But those who are seeking to "work out their own salvation with fear and trembling" obtain no help therefrom, yes, they perceive clearly that such sermons and periodicals are "broken cisterns, which can hold no water" (Jer. 2:13).
"Take heed what you hear" and read! More than forty years ago the saintly Adolph Saphir wrote, "I think the fewer books we read—the better. It is like times of cholera, when we should only drink filtered water." What would he say if he were on earth today and glanced over the deadly poison sent forth by the heterodox, and the lifeless rubbish put out by the orthodox? Christian reader, if you value the health of your soul, cease hearing and quit reading all that is lifeless, unctionless, powerless, no matter what prominent or popular name be attached thereto. Life is too short to waste valuable time on that which does not profit. Ninety-nine out of every hundred of the religious books, booklets, and magazines now being published, are not worth the paper on which they are printed!
To turn away from the lifeless preachers and publishers of the day—may involve a real cross. Your motives will be misconstrued, your words perverted, and your actions misinterpreted. The sharp arrows of false report will be directed against you. You will be called proud and self-righteous, because you refuse to fellowship empty professors. You will be termed censorious and bitter—if you condemn in plain speech—the subtle delusions of Satan. You will be dubbed narrow-minded and uncharitable, because you refuse to join in singing the praises of the "great" and "popular" men of the day. More and more, you will be made to painfully realize—that the path which leads unto eternal life is "narrow" and that FEW there are who find it. May the Lord be pleased to grant unto each of us—the hearing ear and obedient heart! "Take heed what you hear" and read!
Friday, January 02, 2009
Present Day Evangelism
"The glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me." 1 Timothy 1:11
Most of the so-called evangelism of our day is a grief to genuine Christians, for they feel that it lacks any scriptural warrant, that it is dishonoring unto God, and that it is filling the churches with empty professors! They are shocked that so much frothy superficiality, fleshly excitement and worldly allurement should be associated with the holy name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They deplore the cheapening of the Gospel, the beguiling of unwary souls, and the carnalizing and commercializing of what is to them, ineffably sacred. It requires little spiritual discernment to perceive that the evangelistic activities of Christendom during the last century have steadily deteriorated from bad to worse—yet few appear to realize the root from which this evil has sprung. It will now be our endeavor to expose the same. Its aim was wrong, and therefore its fruit faulty.
If the evangelist fails to make the glory of God his paramount and constant aim, he is certain to go wrong, and all his efforts will be more or less a beating of the air. When he makes an end of anything less than that, he is sure to fall into error, for he no longer gives God His proper place. Once we fix on ends of our own, we are ready to adopt means of our own. It was at this very point, that evangelism failed two or three generations ago, and from that point it has farther and farther departed. Evangelism made "the winning of souls" its goal, its summum bonum, and everything else was made to serve and pay tribute to the same. Though the glory of God was not actually denied, yet it was lost sight of, crowded out, and made secondary. Further, let it be remembered that God is honored in exact proportion as the preacher cleaves to His Word, and faithfully proclaims "all His counsel," and not merely those portions which appeal to him.
The evangelist was esteemed not for the soundness of his message—but by the visible "results" he secured. He was valued, not according to how his preaching honored God—but by how many souls were supposedly converted under it.
Once a man makes the conversion of sinners his prime design and all-consuming end, he is exceedingly apt to adopt a wrong course. Instead of striving to preach the Truth in all its purity—he will tone it down so as to make it more palatable to the unregenerate.
To say nothing here about those cheap-jack evangelists who aim no higher than rushing people into making a formal profession of faith, in order that the membership of the churches may be swelled.
In twentieth-century evangelism, there has been a woeful ignoring of the solemn truth of the total depravity of man. There has been a complete underrating of the desperate case and condition of the sinner.
Instead of seeking the aid of outside evangelists, let the churches get on their faces before God, confess their sins, seek His glory, and cry for His miracle-working operations. "Not by might [of the preacher], nor by power [of the sinner's will]—but by my Spirit, says the Lord."
It is in no captious spirit that we write, seeking to make a man an offender for a word. It is not that we are looking for perfection, and complain because we cannot find it; nor that we criticize others because they are not doing things as we think they should be done. No, it is a matter far more serious than that, the "evangelism" of the day is not only superficial to the last degree—but it is radically defective. It is utterly lacking a foundation on which to base an appeal for sinners to come to Christ. There is not only a lamentable lack of proportion (the mercy of God being made far more prominent than His holiness, His love than His wrath)—but there is a fatal omission of that which God has given for the purpose of imparting a knowledge of sin. There is not only a reprehensible introducing of "bright singing," humorous witticisms and entertaining anecdotes—but there is a studied omission of dark background upon which alone the Gospel can effectively shine forth.
But serious indeed as is the above indictment, it is only half of it—the negative side, that which is lacking. Worse still is that which is being retailed by the cheap-jack evangelists of the day. The positive content of their message is nothing but a throwing of dust in the eyes of the sinner. His soul is put to sleep by the devil's opiate, ministered in a most unsuspecting form. Those who really receive the "message" which is now being given out from most of the "orthodox" pulpits and platforms today, are being fatally deceived. It is a way which seems right unto a man—but unless God sovereignly intervenes by a miracle of grace, all who follow it will surely find that the ends thereof are the ways of death. Tens of thousands who confidently imagine that they are bound for heaven—will get a terrible disillusionment, when they awake in hell!
The nature of Christ's salvation, is woefully misrepresented by the present-day "evangelist." He announces a Savior from hell--rather than a Savior from sin! And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of fire--who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness!
True, as the Christian grows in grace, he has a clearer realization of what sin is--rebellion against God; and a deeper hatred of and sorrow for it. But to think that one may be saved by Christ, whose conscience has never been smitten by the Spirit, and whose heart has not been made contrite before God--is to imagine something which has no existence in the realm of fact. "It is not the healthy who need a doctor--but the sick" (Matthew 9:12). The only ones who really seek relief from the great Physician, are those who are sick of sin--who long to be delivered from its God-dishonoring works, and its soul-defiling pollutions.
As Christ's salvation is a salvation from sin--from the love of it, from its dominion, from its guilt and penalty--then it necessarily follows, that the first great task and the chief work of the evangelist, is to preach upon SIN: to define what sin (as distinct from crime) really is, to show wherein its infinite enormity consists, to trace out its manifold workings in the heart, to indicate that nothing less than eternal punishment is its desert!
Ah, preaching upon sin will not make him popular nor draw the crowds, will it? No, it will not; and knowing this, those who love the praise of men more than the approbation of God, and who value their salary above immortal souls, trim their sales accordingly!