Archive for the ‘poor theology’ Category
This video is a demonstration, in my estimation, of poor open air preaching. My advice when preaching the gospel whether in the open air or anywhere else, preach Christ. Exalt Him. Preach against sin but preach Christ. Your passion should be to glorify Christ and to exalt Him and to bring honor to Him. No doubt some will hate us for the name of Christ and many will despise the truth of the gospel, that God saves sinners by His grace through faith. But our passion should not be to make others mad, to provoke them to hatred, to make them angry by being angry at them. Preach Christ. He is faithful to save (1 Corinthians 1:21).
I recently found out that an old friend of mine has fallen away from the faith. He is a guy who has been committed to the Lord for many years. He was a Christian long before I was and in fact he tried to evangelize me before I was saved. When I got saved in 1992, he was one of the men in my life who encouraged me in the faith to persevere and remain faithful to Jesus despite the trials I would face (Acts 14:22). He took me to my first South Carolina Gamecocks game and though we went with some lost men, he remained resolute to be faithful to Jesus despite their sinning. He was one of my early heroes of the faith.
But now I hear that he has turned his back on the Lord. He has left his wife and is living in the world and in sin.
I know that each of us has free will and can turn from following the Lord. I am not here to debate whether he was saved to begin with. To me, that is a cheap excuse for apostates, to merely say they were never saved. I could list his accomplishments for the Lord such as his heart for evangelism, his testimony of being saved out of a corrupt life while attending Ohio State, or his passion for worshiping the Lord but that is not my point. I am not here to decide where he stood in the midst of his doings for the Lord. Perhaps he was a false convert. Perhaps he never truly repented of his sins. I don’t know. God knows (2 Timothy 2:19). I do know this, his life turned toward sin when he begin attending a seeker church about 10 years ago. After he started attending this seeker church, he was not the same. His prayer life was gone. His heart for the lost was gone. His passion to avoid sin was gone. He began to listen to old music that he liked before his salvation. He began to watch movies that he would have never watched before.
I place much of that at the foot of the seeker churches he attended. He ended up attending three seeker churches during the past 10 years. The final seeker church was his demise. I vaguely knew the first two churches because they are “screen” churches where they watched the services of other seeker churches in other places. Multi-site churches they are called. The last seeker church he attended was very poor preaching (0r lack thereof) and focused on the hype instead of the gospel. This church has made headlines a few times in my city by doing “crazy” things such as dropping Easter eggs out of helicopters.
The point is that my friend was not being challenged to holiness, to evangelism, to being a man of God. He was not being taught the Word of God nor the doctrines of the faith. He never heard solid expository preaching while attending these seeker churches. He grew to view the “traditional” church as dead and lacking in regard to meeting the needs of the culture. Gone were the days of laboring in prayer. Gone were the days of praise and worship of the King without regard for what the world thought. Gone were the days of seeing people as dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1-3) or seeing that their eternal destiny was based on the gospel (John 14:6). Gone were the days of weeping over the souls of people heading for hell (Revelation 20:15). Gone were the days of confessing sins (1 John 1:9). My friend sat week after week in a church where hyped up music was the motif. He sat under “talks” from men in skinny jeans and slick hair but with little passion for the gospel. He sat and watched people abiding in sin and loving it all while claiming to be a Christian (1 John 3:7). He never heard rebukes against sin. He never heard the glory of God as the focus of all that we do. He never heard the excellence of Jesus. He heard only hype and watered down messages designed to entertain and not exhort.
And so he fell away. His heart became cold to the things of God (Hebrews 3:12). He allowed the world to take over and the wages of sin is always death (Romans 6:23).
My friend is an apostate now. He needs Jesus. He is one of those people you’ll encounter in evangelism who either will claim to still be saved despite living in sin (John 8:34) or he will bash the Church. Either way, he wants nothing to do with the gospel right now. I do pray the Lord turns his heart away from sin and back to the Savior. In Jesus alone do we have salvation (John 15:1-11). I pray that the seeker churches repent. I pray they see that they are doing much more harm than good. They are destroying people because they are not seeking to exalt Christ or His kingdom. They are only building up the flesh and this always corrupts (Galatians 6:7-8).
Pray for my friend to repent (James 5:19-20).
President Obama now endorses homosexual marriages. This is no surprise to me or to anyone else. In a political year when Obama needs votes especially from his liberal wing, it comes as no surprise that he would now choose to endorse same-sex marriages. The first same-sex marriages took place in the Netherlands on April 1, 2001. The countries that followed were Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland and Argentina. Obama would love to add the United States to that list. The problem is that the United States is a republic with 50 individual states in the union. Each state has a right to have its on constitution that defines how it feels on certain issues including gambling, marriage, etc. Only on federal issues does the United States government have the power to state what States must do. It will take years for the entire United States to ever endorse same-sex marriage.
That said, the pro-homosexual community will do all that it can to fight. If you have not read Dr. Michael Brown’s book, A Queer Thing Happened to America, then you need to read it. Dr. Brown shows the slow but steady progress that the gay and lesbian leaders have made into American culture. Through media outlets such as Hollywood and television, homosexuality has become so common place in our thinking that we are not even bothered to hear about it anymore.
Even in the Church, many evangelicals want us to embrace homosexual marriage. Emergent leaders Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo endorsed same-sex marriages. Andy Stanley recently waffled on the sin of homosexuality. Joel Osteen has long waffled on the issue. The Church seems to not know what the Bible says about the sin of homosexuality. Many of us, myself included, struggle with how do we preach against the sin of homosexuality while at the same time loving people who are trapped in that sinful lifestyle.
Before I tackle some of the issues involved, let me first state that the Bible is very clear on the sin of homosexuality. No one reading the Bible can miss that point. Genesis 19 alone shows God’s hatred for the sin. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 shows that God saves people who were once homosexuals. Romans 1:18-32 shows that when God gives people over to their sinfulness, the ultimate expression of that sinfulness is homosexuality. 1 Timothy 1:8-11 shows that the Law of God is used to show sinners (including homosexuals) their sins.
Before I leave that, let me state a couple of things. First, some say that since Jesus never mentions homosexuality then He must endorse it. The problem with this is many. For one, Jesus was a Jewish rabbi and He would have clearly known Leviticus 18:22. If someone would have asked Jesus, He would have pointed to the law of God forbidding such practices. Next, Jesus didn’t talk about a lot of issues. He didn’t mention gang rapes or child sacrifice or abortion or bank robberies but we know all these are sinful because of the entirety of the Word of God. Lastly, while Jesus never says anything about homosexuality, the New Testament does and the sayings of Jesus are equal with all the other Scriptures as well. The words of Jesus are not greater than any other words in the Bible. They are all inspired of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). I have shown above that the New Testament forbids the sin of homosexuality so Jesus does condemn the sin.
Another issue about this sin is that I hear some well-meaning believers say that the sin of homosexuality is a sin but just as sinful as adultery or lying or theft. In a way, I agree. Sin is sin. But we cannot ignore that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 because of homosexuality. He didn’t destroy the cities because of the sin of lying or greed or idolatry. He destroyed the cities because of the sin of homosexuality. No one can miss that point when you read the chapter. I agree that sin is sin in the eyes of a holy and pure God but there is something about homosexuality that makes it vile and wicked before God so much so that He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and Romans 1:18-32 establishes that He turns people over to their wickedness and this often is displayed in the sin of homosexuality.
Now what do I believe the Church should do about Obama’s statement and should our nation more and more drift toward allowing same-sex unions. First, the Church should not become political. Be active in doing what God has called us to do and that is to preach the gospel first and foremost (Matthew 2819-20). The mandate for the disciple is to see the world change by preaching the gospel of redemption through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). We cannot legislate morality. We can only truly transform a nation through the gospel. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 promises that God will save even homosexuals through His gospel if the Church is faithful to preach the gospel.
Secondly, the Church should stand firm on what the Bible says about marriage. Leaders may waffle and politicians may waffle but we should remain steadfast in standing firm for the truth of the Word of God even in everyone else around us denounces us or says that we are full of bigotry and hatred. The truth of the Word of God is more important than the favor of men (Acts 4:19-20). What we will see in the evangelical church is more and more leaders (especially young leaders) especially from the seeker/mega churches embracing homosexual marriages and will start denouncing those who preach against the sin. They will do so because they value money above God, people above Christ, and do not preach the true gospel of repentance. Traditional churches will lose favor with more and more people as we stand firm for Christ. Who cares so long as God is exalted and the gospel is proclaimed! God will still be saving sinners including homosexuals.
Third, the Church needs to obey Romans 12:14-21 when it comes to homosexuals or anyone else who is not a disciple. The passage says,
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This should be our approach to all who are enemies of the cross. We should reach out to them in love even if they hate us. Many will not want to hear our message of salvation through Christ or that God will save homosexuals or adulterers or liars from their sins. 2 Timothy 4:3 says that sinful people desire only to surround themselves with teachers who teach them what they want to hear which would include living in sin (Jude 4). We must stand firm and preach the gospel of repentance and call people to forsake their sins (John 8:11; Acts 2:38-39, 41; 26:20).
Lastly, we should encourage former homosexuals to preach the gospel to homosexuals. The fact that there are former homosexuals proves that people are not born that way. Homosexuality, like all sins, is a choice. A person chooses to be a homosexual just as a person chooses to lie or to cheat or to steal. No one makes us sin. We sin because we want to sin (1 John 3:4). Former homosexuals should preach the gospel of God’s salvation to lost homosexuals. God can save homosexuals just as He can and does save other wicked people including religious pharisees or hypocrites.
Prayer can transform our nation. We should pray first and foremost for Obama to be saved (1 Timothy 2:1-7) and for his eyes to be opened to the truth of the Word of God. We should pray that God would send a revival of His grace and mercy upon our nation that would turn lost souls toward the cross (2 Peter 3:9). We should pray for all sinners to see that salvation comes not by being good people or moral people but by being born again in Jesus (John 3:3-7; Ephesians 2:1-10). Salvation is what will turn the tide of sin in our nation and our world. Only the gospel can bring that salvation.
Some people prefer the King James Version. I understand that. I have respect for the King James Version. It was the Bible that John Wesley preached from. It was the Bible that Francis Asbury preached from. It was the Bible that Adam Clarke preached from. It was the Bible that Richard Watson, Leonard Ravenhill, Samuel Chadwick, E.M Bounds, and A.W. Tozer all preached from. The great Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon preached from the KJV. No doubt God has used the KJV in powerful ways!
Yet thankfully we have better translations today. I prefer the ESV. Some prefer the NKJV. I believe the NKJV is much more superior to the KJV. The marginal notes alone help the NKJV as the marginal notes show the differences in the various Greek texts used. Most English translations including the ESV or the NASB don’t do this and I wish they would follow the NKJV and put variant readings in the marginal notes.
Yet despite my love for the ESV, I am not an ESV only guy. I know some disciples love the NIV. I have respect for the NIV but I prefer a more literal translation and the ESV fits that bill for me. Someone wrote that the ESV is the offspring of the marriage between the NIV and the NASB. The ESV is not a perfect translation by any means and I have been faithfully reading and studying from the ESV since 2007 and I can honestly say that I have found disagreements with the ESV text and the Greek text. They are not major problems but they are there.
However, one major issue I take an exception with the KJV-only movement is that they make a Bible translation an issue of both fellowship and sometimes even salvation. Not all KJV-only people are guilty of this but I have met many who make the KJV an issue of the gospel of Christ. If one is not preaching from “God’s preserved text” then they are not preaching the Word of God. Since a person can only be saved by hearing the Word of God (i.e., the King James Version = the Word of God) then one can not be saved without the preaching of the KJV (Romans 10:17 KJV of course). I have met a few that would admit that a person can be saved by reading from an NIV or an ESV but most stand their ground. When I pressed further with the point that salvation is by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV of course), they would agree. But then I would say, “So if a person reads from the NIV and believes the gospel of Jesus Christ, that He died for their sins, that He rose again, and that He is alive at God’s right hand and they confess their sins and repent, are they lost or saved?” Most would admit that they are saved. Yet if they can be saved from reading the NIV or the NASB or the NKJV or the ESV then what is the problem here? Isn’t salvation the main issue of the gospel of Christ?
When we add to the work of Christ by saying that a person can only be saved if they hear the gospel from the KJV or they must use the KJV to be faithful to Jesus, we are adding to the gospel. This is nothing more than the errors that Paul dealt with in the book of Galatians. Jesus is the gospel. Not a translation. Jesus is our salvation. Not a translation. Jesus is our righteousness, our hope, our redeemer, our Passover Lamb, our sacrifice. Not a translation.
We continue looking at what Arminius had to say about the Roman Catholic Church and her false teachings:
IX. First. The name of the Adulterer and The Pimp of the Church is his.
(1.) He is the Adulterer of the church, both by the public and mutual profession of each other; because he calls the [Roman Catholic] church his and she neither disowns the arrogance of this title nor is afraid of the odium [attached to such assumption,] and he is the adulterer in reality. For he practices spiritual adultery with the church, and she in return with him. He commands the apocryphal writings to be accounted divine and canonical; the ancient Latin version of the Scriptures, [commonly called] the vulgate, to be every where received as the true original, and under no pretense whatever to be rejected; his own interpretations of the Scriptures to be embraced with the most undoubting faith; and unwritten traditions to be honoured with an affection and reverence equal to that evinced for the written word of God. He enacts and rescinds laws that pertain to faith and morals, and binds them as fetters on consciences. He promises and offers plenary indulgences, and the remission of all sins, through the plenitude of his power. “He exalteth himself above all that is worshipped,” and offers himself as some god to be adored with religious worship. In all these acts the church, deceived by his artifices, complies with his wishes. He is, therefore, the Adulterer of the church.
(2.) But he is also the Pimp or Pander of the church, because he acts towards her as the author, persuader, impelling exciter and procurer of various spiritual adulteries committed, or to be hereafter committed, with different husbands, with angels, Mary and other deceased saints, with images of God, of Christ, of the Holy Ghost, of the cross, of angels, of Mary, and of saints; with the bread in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper; and with other inanimate objects.
X. To him likewise belongs the name of The False Prophet, whom the Scripture calls “the tail,” in opposition to “the head;” (Isa. ix, 15;) and this, whether it be received in a general acceptation, or in a particular sense and restricted to a certain and determinate person.
(1.) In its general meaning, whether it signifies him who teaches falsehood without arrogating to himself the name of a prophet, or him who falsely boasts of being a prophet, the latter of which seems to be the proper signification of the word. (2 Pet. ii, 1; Acts xiii, 6.) For, first, he partly introduced into the church many false dogmas; and partly those which were introduced when such a great mystery of iniquity was finished, he defends, maintains and propagates. Of this kind, the dogmas concerning the insufficiency of the scriptures without traditions, to prove and confirm ever necessary truth, and to confute all errors; that it is of the last necessity unto salvation for every human creature to be under subjection to the Roman pontiff; that the bread in the Lord’s supper is transubstantiated, or changed in substance, into the body of Christ; that in the mass Christ is daily offered by the priest as a propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the living and of the dead; that man is justified before God, partly by faith, and partly by works; that there is a purgatory, into which the souls of those enter who are not yet sufficiently purified, and that they are released from it by prayers, intercessions, watchings, alms-deeds, indulgences, &c. In the Second sense, this epithet is due to him, because he says that he is a prophet, who, on account of the perpetual assistance of the Holy Spirit, which is attached to that chair, cannot possibly err in things which pertain to faith and morals.
(2.) But it also belongs to him in the restricted meaning of the word; because the Roman pontiff is “the false prophet who works miracles before the beast, (Rev. xix, 20,) “out of whose mouth comes out three unclean spirits like frogs,” (xvi, 13,) and who is not improperly understood to be “the tail of the great red dragon, that drew the third part of the stars of heaven.” (xii, 4.)
XI. He is also deservedly called The Destroyer And Subverter Of The Church. For since the superstructure of the church “is built by the faith of the doctrine of the apostles and prophets, which rests on Jesus Christ himself, the chief Corner-stone,” since it likewise increases more and more through the obedience of faith in the right worship of the Deity and in the pursuit after holiness; and since it is built up in the Lord, being fitly framed together into one body through the bond of peace and concord; (Ephes. ii, 20, 21; iv, 3; 2 Pet. ii, 5, 6;) the Roman pontiff demonstrates himself to be, in a four-fold manner, the subverter of this edifice: First, by perverting the faith. This he effects,
(1.) By adding the books of the apocrypha and unwritten traditions to the prophetical and apostolical scriptures.
(2.) By joining himself, as another foundation, with Christ who is the only foundation.
(3.) By mixing numerous false dogmas with those which are true.
(4.) By taking away some things that are true, or corrupting them by false interpretations. Secondly, by adulterating the integrity of divine worship. This he does,
(1.) By an addition to the persons who alone, according to God and his command, are to be objects of worship.
(2.) By the introduction of a method which is expressly forbidden by God.
(3.) By introducing vain, ridiculous and old wives’ superstitions.
(4.) By the institution of various peculiar societies of devotees, separate fraternities, and newly fabricated religious orders of Francis, Dominic, &c. Thirdly, by vitiating the purity or soundness of holiness and morals. This he accomplishes chiefly by the following acts:
(1.) By inventing easy methods of obtaining remission of sins and plenary indulgences.
(2.) By declaring certain precepts in the name of councils.
(3.) By absolving many persons from the obligation of their duties.
(4.) By binding men to [the performance of] those things, which no one whatever is capable of understanding or accomplishing.
(5.) By bringing into the Christian world the worst examples of all wickedness. Fourthly, by breaking the bond of concord and unity. This he effects chiefly by these acts and artifices,
(1.) When he arrogates to himself a power over others, which by no right belongs to him.
(2.) When he obtrudes many false dogmas to be believed as true, and unnecessary things as absolutely necessary.
(3.) By excommunications and senseless fulminations, by which he madly rages against those who have not deserved such treatment, and who are not subject to his diocese.
(4.) When he excites dissensions between princes, republics and magistrates and their subjects; or when he foments, increases and perpetuates such dissensions, after they have been raised in other quarters.
You’ll notice on this blog that I avoid politics. I know some believers enjoy debating politics and many feel that it is even a sin to avoid politics. I receive almost daily e-mails from various groups all wanting to take back America for God through political means. I log onto Facebook and see Christian friends posting about their favorite political candidate and how we need to rid the nation of President Obama and his liberal policies. I am told that the change for our nation is found in Jesus and Christian politicians leading the way.
And frankly I don’t care. I know some will chide me for not caring. I do vote. I do pray for our nation. I do pray for our leaders. I pray for Obama. I pray for other nations as well. I know this fact: I am a disciple of Jesus who happens to live in the United States of America but my first priority is not to America but to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15-16). His kingdom will never cease to reign (Isaiah 9:6-7). And I know this, Jesus’ kingdom is not composed of political means through the flesh but through the gospel preached by the Spirit of God (2 Corinthians 5:17). Jesus said that His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36) and sadly too many believe that the Republican party or the Labour Party or whatever party represents the kingdom of Christ when it doesn’t.
What we don’t find in the Book of Acts is the Apostles of our Lord using His name or His gospel to advance a political movement. It didn’t matter to the Apostles if they were in Israel or Galatia or in Africa, the gospel was the only hope for the nations (Acts 4:29-31). Jesus never called His disciples to overthrow nations through politics but through the gospel (Acts 1:8). The Apostles rightly knew that unless people are born again, they will not enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3-7). This has nothing to do with politics. The Church had nothing to do with the kingdoms of this world for they knew that Jesus was Lord over the nations (Psalm 2:8-9). In time, His kingdom would overthrow the other kingdoms not by power from men but from the gospel (Daniel 2:44 and notice that God sets up this kingdom!).
So I come to my point here. The “Reverend” Jesse Jackson was quoted as saying that Jesus was an occupier. I don’t know much about this occupy movement but they appear to be nothing more than typical liberals trying to avoid work and be supported by the government. I saw a list of demands from the OWS group and it was ridiculous with calls for minimum wage of $90 an hour, 6 weeks paid vacation for all, no home schooling but mandatory government schooling only, etc.
I don’t mind if these people want to waste their time by sitting around holding signs but I do ask them to avoid bringing Jesus into this. I don’t believe that the Church should allow the glorious Son of God to be hijacked by any political movement whether liberal or conservative. If Jackson were a true disciple of Jesus, he would know that Jesus didn’t not seek to overthrow the Romans, avoid paying taxes, sit around waiting on government to feed and support Him, etc. Jesus came on a mission from God to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). He didn’t come to establish a political movement. He came so that we might be born again (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).
And this goes for all who would seek to make Jesus on “their side”. As Joshua found out in Joshua 5:13-14, the question is not whether Jesus is for us or our enemies but are we on His side. His kingdom is not about changing social ills through legislation but through regeneration (Titus 3:5-7). How can we call people to morality apart from the supernatural aid of the Spirit. I do believe in just laws, paying taxes, etc. but in the end, until people are born again of the Holy Spirit, they are dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1-3). They will never enter into the kingdom of God no matter how moral they may be (Galatians 5:16-21). Only by being set free from sin through the blood of Jesus are we saved and do we make peace with God (Romans 5:1).
I believe we should pray that true disciples of Jesus go down to where these protestors are and preach the truth to them of the gospel of God. Perhaps they will see the truth of 2 Thessalonians 3:10 once they have truly repented of their sins (Acts 2:38).