Monday, June 20, 2011

Evangelism and Godly Living Can't Be By the World's Ways

Lately people claim doctrine isn’t important, church isn’t important , how we evangelize isn’t important, and how we live isn’t important. Rubbish. Reading over Eph. 4 (especially focusing on 11-23) after hitting some key passages in church yesterday I made some observations.

First, Eph. 4 starts off with how we ARE TO WALK “in a manner worthy of the calling by which we’ve been called.” To “walk” indicates a consistant practice, consistant way of living; simply it means to “practice”. The way we learn to walk in a manner worthy of our calling by Christ, is to be in a local church.

Elsewhere we see Paul telling us how God has instructed us on the structure of the local church (Eph. 4:10): Titus 1, 1Tim. 3, 1Cor. 14, Matt. 18 are examples. Act 2:42 “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” By this, we are attain unity of the faith, grow up in Christ, and are no longer to be children (command) carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, craftiness in deceiftful scheming. The accountability and stability of being in a local church helps us obey this Scripture.

We are then told how NOT TO WALK. We are not to practice nor live by the ways of the world, that is, by the futility of the fruitless thinking of the Gentiles (unbelievers). As Christians, we are commanded to NOT use the ways of the world, but rather reject it, for it has nothing beneficial for us as Christians in life and in godliness. Moreover, its deadly.

The unbeliever's walk is described as anything but good: futile, darkened, excluded from the life of God, ignorant, hardened in heart, callous, senuality, greedy for every kind of impurity. As the way in which unbeliever’s think, understand, and live, God says: there is nothing here that we are to borrow from at all. Nor is this the way in which we are to evangelize.

Someone once said in regard to evangelism and preaching, “do not appeal to that which is fallen” and this is true. This is exactly what Eph. 4 is talking about. The spiritually dead have no understanding and their thinking is utterly futile. How we learned of Christ was NOT in this way. Think about it: how did Peter learn Christ Jesus is the Son of the living God? By flesh and blood (that is, by man, by rationality, by logic, by the fallen mind, by the teachers of the day?) It was revealed to Peter by God the Father, Jesus said. And so it is when we evangelize.

To use worldly means to win souls is nothing more than to further win souls to HELL yet telling them they're on their way to Heaven. The thinking, the worldview, the practice of the world leads to Hell. So why, WHY would a Christian use the things of the world to appeal to that which is DEAD and condemned by God, to try to lead one to Christ? It is not only anti-biblical, it is utterly insane to even consider doing so! Logic, rationality, entertainment (music, dance, concert-like atmosphere)—that is, appealing to the senses, is diametrically opposed to the way in which we are to proclaim and learn of the Gospel of Christ!

Joh 6:63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

By the way, Eph. 4:20-21 talks about learing Christ, hearing Christ, and being taught IN Christ. This necessitates verbal communication of the Gospel, not some silent witness as so many claim. And we HEAR CHRIST when we hear the Gospel. I think that’s VERY interesting. We don’t hear man, we hear the HOLY HOLY HOLY God when HIS gospel is proclaimed.

And lastly, this gospel that is proclaimed, not by appealing to the flesh, the sinful lusts, the darkened understanding of unbelievers, leads to living a life in a manner worthy of God. In this gospel we are told not only of who Christ Jesus is, all the truth that is in HIM, we are told that salvation necessitates a NEW WALK, new patterns, new thinking—not clinging to parts of the old way of life, the old manners, the old culture, the old worldviews, the philophies of man, the deceit and scheming of man.

Doctrine leads to right thinking and to a life worthy of the calling, worthy of God:

Eph 4:23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Truth by necessity means we cannot add the lies of humanism/psychology/self-esteem/culture – that which is impure. We are to utterly reject all of this if we are in Christ.

I’d like to offer a few notes from the MacArthur study Bible since it sums up this distinction of unbelievers from believers:

4:17–19 In these verses, Paul gives 4 characteristics of the ungodly lifestyles which believers are to forsake.

4:17 the futility of their mind. First, unbelievers are intellectually unproductive. As far as spiritual and moral issues are concerned, their rational processes are distorted and inadequate, inevitably failing to produce godly understanding or moral living. Their life is empty, vain, and without meaning (cf. Rom. 1:21–28; 1 Cor. 2:14; Col. 2:18).

4:18 alienated from the life of God. Second, unbelievers are spiritually separated form God, thus ignorant of God’s truth (1 Cor. 2:14), and their willing spiritual darkness and moral blindness is the result (cf. Rom. 1:21–24; 2 Tim. 3:7). They are blind, or “hard” like a rock.

4:19 being past feeling. Third, unbelievers are morally insensitive. As they continue to sin and turn away from God, they become still more apathetic about moral and spiritual things (cf. Rom. 1:32). lewdness … uncleanness. Fourth, unbelievers are behaviorally depraved (cf. Rom. 1:28). As they willingly keep succumbing to sensuality and licentiousness, they increasingly lose moral restraint, especially in the area of sexual sins. Impurity is inseparable from greediness, which is a form of idolatry (5:5; Col. 3:5). That some souls may not reach the extremes of vv. 17–19 is due only to God’s common grace and the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit.

4:20, 21 learned … heard … taught. Three figurative descriptions of salvation, the new birth.

4:21 as the truth is in Jesus. The truth about salvation leads to the fullness of truth about God, man, creation, history, life, purpose, relationships, heaven, hell, judgment, and everything else that is truly important. John summed this up in 1 John 5:20.

For more go here.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Post-Modern Pastors And Scripture

Tit 1:9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

Tit 2:6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; 7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.

Tit 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. 15 These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Post-Modern “pastors” and teachers do not fulfill Titus 1-2. Instead, they waver and embrace men of unsound words and doctrine, men of impurity, all the while claiming they are “learning” and “don’t know” themselves. Trying to make fake humility a virtue, when in fact its dishonest and prideful, they reject the exhortation and commands of these passages, therefore disqualifying themselves as elders/teachers of any sort.

Furthermore, to claim imperfection and therefore continue in error IS to reject the commands given above. Perfection is never an issue at any time EXCEPT for Scripture and the God of Scripture. So using words like “flawed” or phrases like “no one’s perfect” is unacceptable when it comes to a pastor teaching the Word and offering other pastors to use their pulpits to teach their sheep.

Elders are to “hold fast” to the Faithful Word. That is, “cling to” to it and not embrace error which “contradicts” sound doctrine, nor the men through which such deceipt and rebellion come through. This requires 1) being saved, 2) knowing Scripture, 3) being mature in the faith, 4) being discerning, 5) confronting, 6) rebuking SEVERELY, and 7) therefore NOT giving platform to such men and justifying them as “imperfect” or “immature” or “learning”. Rather than being given a microphone to teaching, they are to be silenced.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

MacArthur's Words Appropriate For John Piper and Rick Warren

Here's what MacArthur says in his book (remember this was before Piper came out defiantly promoting Rick Warren):

"..that liberals arose from within evangelical ranks, used evangelical vocabulary, and gained acceptance through relentless appeals for peace and tolerance. The new modernism is following precisely the same course, and that tactice seems likely to take evangelicals by surprise once again.

Most of the market-driven megachurches insist they would never compromise doctrine. They are attractive to evangelicals precisely became they claim to be as orthodox in their doctrine as they are unorthodox in their methodology. Multitudes are sufficiently reassured by such promises and simply abandon their critical faculties, thus increasing their vulnerability. Unfortunately, real discernment is in short supply among modern evangelicals.

– John MacArthur, Ashamed of the Gospel, p. 200

Friday, June 03, 2011

Reformed Professor Steve Brown: not so Christian

I don't normally post from anyone from Team Pyro, however this is an exception. Dan Phillips gives information on PCA/Reformed Theological Seminary professor/Author/Radio Talk Show Host Steve Brown. Phillips sets up his opening remarks and preface here which is Part 1 and brief. Part 2 is the meat of the matter.

I bring this up simply because Steve Brown seems to exemplify more and more Reformers these days. In other words, in my view based on the things Phillips reports about which is based on a few messages Brown gave at RTS, Brown is liberal. Reformers are liberal. And I do believe its because they stress a "greasy grace". This is also one reason why I won't use the label "Reformer", with the other reason being I don't adhere to the basics of Reformed theology nor their view of history. I am a Sovereign Grace Baptist.

Of interest I found points 8-12. Specifically:

8.He says some things that are absolutely, barkingly, wildly irresponsible; and if his students take any of them seriously, they will ruin their ministries and other people. For instance:

(A) Brown says that, when one is preparing a sermon, and he thinks of saying something but his conscience or judgment tells him he shouldn't — he should anyway! Because that's probably God talking to him. So, in the Brown universe, verses likeProverbs 10:19; 12:18; 15:28; 17:27; 21:23; and 29:20 are not as important as expressing oneself in a personal pursuit of "grace."
  1. (B) Brown also tells Christians they should disagree with their pastor once a month, period, just because it's healthy for their assertiveness.
    (C) Brown speaks of a Christian leader who fell morally, badly, and says in effect that he's glad he did, because it was good for him. Too bad about the guy's family and church, I guess.
    (D) Brown urges all of them to cuss, just to do it. I don't recall an exposition ofEphesians 4:29.
    Brown keeps talking about dialogues he has with God, and quoting (usually without qualification) things God supposedly says to him, Steve Brown, that are not in Scripture. But it's okay, remember, because he says believes in the Reformed position on the inerrancy and sufficiency of the Bible, and he isn't a charismatic, and maybe he's hearing God wrong. (Those are his "covers.")
    9.Brown says weird things about repentance. I listened twice, and still can't quite explain it. He denies the Biblical teaching that it means a change of mind which necessarily issues in adorning fruitful actions... though those elements come back into his teaching at other points. Just another weird aspect of his teaching. [UPDATE: I listened again. Brown says that he used to teach something like that forgiveness was apologizing for spilling the milk, repentance was cleaning it up. He now regards that as a terrible error and false teaching, for which he apologized everywhere he had preached it. Repentance is not change, he insists emphatically. It is understanding who God is and what He did and who I am (?!!). So it's a New Agey realization; it isn't a decisive change of mind that issues in a change of behavior, because we can't change (Matthew 3:8; Acts 26:20; Romans 12:1-2 and etc. to the contrary notwithstanding).]

12. Again and again Brown trots out his creds: I am a Christian, I am orthodox, I am Reformed, I am a five-pointer, I am conservative, I believe in literal 6-day creation, and on and on. But then he says...

(A) that if this unsaved Jewish rabbi he personally likes doesn't go to Heaven, he (Brown) doesn't want to go, either (which means that the rabbi's presence is more important to him than Jesus' presence, though I'm sure Brown doesn't intend that meaning); and...
(B) Brown says that there are no "super-Christians," except maybe (Mary-worshiping proponent of a Gospel-perverting sect) "Mother" Theresa, and (longtime doctrinal compromiser) Billy Graham — so, in other words, these two may well be above every other living Christian, including John Piper, John MacArthur, Al Mohler, and everyone else; and
(C) Brown frequently speaks of how much insight he's gotten from this or thatRoman Catholic or otherwise heretical writer, on various aspects of Christian living; and
(D) Brown enthuses about what a great and real relationship with God unbelieving, apostate Jews have; and
(E) Brown mentions how he wears a New Age bracelet
for some physical ailment, quipping that he "tried Jesus" and it didn't work, so he is trying this ("and I thought I heard the angels laugh"); and...
(F) frequently says in passing how well this and that apostate heretic "understands grace." And...
(G) Brown says that (unrepentant antinomian murderess) Annie Lamott is a wonderful Christian person who he thinks is so great and loves to feature on his radio show.
(H) Brown says that Harry Emerson Fosdick was a Christian, and probably would be "on our side" (or some equivalent) if he were alive today
End quote. (bold original, red original, blue is my emphasis)

But this is what is happening in the Reformed circles a la Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll, John Piper. Its also the same with Warren who easily convinced Piper of being sovereign grace. This is such a shame and a sham. Examples of this are elsewhere at RTS as well as the ETS and other places.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Faith which depends on signs and sensations isn't faith, it's doubt looking for proof. If faith can't believe without sensation it's not faith at all. Jesus refused the way of sensation, for it was the people's way, it was the wrong way, it was the way to failure. – John MacArthur