Wednesday, February 29, 2012

People Who WILL NOT Go to Heaven (Part I)

People Who WILL NOT Go to Heaven

Posted on February 1, 2011 (Airo)

For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. - 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8

As pointed out in Dear “Carnal Christian”, the visible church is overburdened with professing Christians who have never been truly converted. What I mean by “visible church” is that there is a distinction between the professing church and the true Church. The professing church, or visible church, is comprised of both genuine believers and mere professing believers who are still dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1). On the other hand, the invisible church, or Body of Christ or true Church, is exclusively comprised of born again saints who have been sealed by the Holy Spirit through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

So how do we distinguish between a true believer and a false convert? One simple test can be found in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (which reflects Galatians 5:19-21 and Ephesians 5:3-5). From the text:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

Do not be deceived, dear professing Christian. The mark of a true convert is that their life is no longer representative of these sins. Galatians 5:19 indicates these things are manifest (evident) as a lifestyle for those who are still walking in darkness, i.e. those who are not saved. Let’s take a closer look in defining these terms:

Fornicator - one who participates in unlawful sex, which is to say of one who indulges in sexual activity outside of the boundaries of legal marriage. It can also mean giving oneself over to false gods, eg religious idolatry. Referring to sexual acts, these would include premarital or post-marital (divorcees) sex of any form (heterosexual, homosexual, incest, pedophilia), but also to include adultery.

Adulterer - one who engages in inappropriate behavior or unlawful sexual activity in violation of legal marriage vows. Such would be the case for two married individuals engaging in inappropriate conduct, or a single individual violating the boundaries of marriage with a married individual.

Idolater - one who worships a false god, or has created a god in their own image (which is to say the “Christian” god they worship is not the God of the Bible). This might include worshiping a god from any of the worlds religions, worship of a person, or worship of an object, such as money.

Homosexual - one who engages in homosexual activity, or same-sex intercourse. This would include those in same-sex relationships, celibate or not.

Sodomite - one who offers himself as a male prostitute to engage in homosexual activity.

Thief - one who steals. Forms of thievery would include embezzlement, robbery (violent force), or by non-violent means, such as cheating, downloading illegal music, or shoplifting.

Covetous - one who is greedy to gain material wealth, or one who is not content or satisfied with their belongings and envies the possessions of others.

Drunkards - one who gets drunk or intoxicated with alcohol.

Revilers - one who is a blasphemer or is marked by contemptuous, disrespectful, or disdainful speech.

Extortioner - one who blackmails for profit, or unlawfully obtains wealth or information through coercion.

The message is clear: those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:21). Yet, the visible church is so polluted today that sins such as drunkenness and fornication are swept under the rug and widely accepted by the vast majority of professing Christians. The same could be said for the other sins with regards to church acceptance, homosexuality for instance...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rick Warren's Bridge to Nowhere

Growing up in San Jose, CA I had occasion to more than once visit the Winchester Mystery House. This house was owned by Sarah Winchester, the wife of the famous gun mogul William Winchester. Mrs. Winchester kept this house under construction for 38 years. Construction began in 1884 and continued non-stop around the clock until her death on September 5, 1922. Her home had no master building plan. With no master plan this seven story mansion is famous for stairways that lead to "nowhere," doors that open to walls, and passage ways that lead to nowhere. Of course the home is also famous for the extravagant conveniences of its time. Mrs. Winchester spent nearly 5.5 million dollars on this strange, extravagant, and spooky house.

Why did she do this? There are a few legends that are part of the mystery and romance of this former mansion and residence. The most popular legend is that Mrs Winchester upon being troubled, consulted a medium in regards to her fears of being haunted by the spirits of all those who died as a result of her husband's repeating rifle. The medium supposedly told her that if she kept building it would ward off all the spirits of those who were killed by those who bought her husbands's gun. That is precisely what she did. She kept building. My emphasis this morning is on the halls, walkways, staircases, and such that lead to nowhere. They were ordinary and useful items but served no purpose because they led to nowhere.

Apparently Rick Warren of Saddleback Community Church and Purpose Driven Life fame is building a bridge. I don't think he is building a bridge because he is haunted or is attempting to wield off unfriendly ghosts. Nevertheless, his bridge goes to nowhere. As a result this bridge is just as useless as any staircase in the Winchester Mystery House that leads to nowhere.

Apparently Warren has embarked on a mission to heal relations between "evangelicals" and Muslims. Warren is attempting to partner with southern California mosques in hopes of proposing a set of theological principles that prove Muslims and Christians worship the same God. There is an agreement in place not to "evangelize" either group; Christians or Muslims.

It is one thing to develop a commitment and ministry to reach out to Muslims and expose them to the gospel and the God of the Bible. However, it is another thing to deny they reality of the Bible and the Koran in order to conclude that both Muslims and Christians worship the same God. I would never advocate refusing to evangelize the Muslims. The evidence is clear that Biblical Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God. Any attempt to build such a bridge will result in a bridge that is built to nowhere.

It seems that some men never learn. They never learn how clever Satan truly is. God has given the church the Great Commission to evangelize the world. It is the mission of every believer and local church to serve as ambassador's of Christ sparing no effort to preach the gospel to every living creature. It seems the easiest way to stop this evangelization of the world is to convince "the church" that certain people groups, ethnic groups, or religiously affiliated people do not need evangelized.

There have been those through the years proposing the the church does not need to evangelize the Jewish people. Then ECT (Evangelicals and Catholics Together) in versions I and II came along proclaiming we didn't need to evangelize Catholics. Now it seems thanks to Rick Warren's attempt to build a such a bridge to Muslims we won't need to evangelize them. Sorry, Mr. Warren, you can place the Koran and the Bible side by side and you will not find the same God in each document. As Sarah Winchester did for 38 years, you are building your bridge to nowhere, irregardless of how pure your motives may be.

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's Time to Play - Name That Heretic!

Do You Know, Your Heretics?

In the 5th century I entered into a debate that centered on the relationship between human nature after the fall and the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believed that people could reform their own behavior and live lives as morally good citizens.

I also rejected the doctrine of original sin, substitutionary atonement, and justification by faith. I heavily emphasized unconditional free will and the ability to better oneself spiritually without grace. 

I taught that human beings are born with a clean slate and only through voluntary sin do they become wicked. You could live perfect and sinless life and even merit heaven if you wanted to.

Even though I was rejected and my "error" was deemed heretical in 416 by the Council of Carthage you can still find most of my heretical teachings widely accepted and taught in fundamental/evangelical churches today.

Who am I? 
Do you know your heretics?

It' is time to play - name that heretic!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

How's Your Preparation Going?

This life was not intended to be the place of our perfection, but the preparation for it.

--Richard Baxter
(12 November 1615 – 8 December 1691)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Book Review: Setting Our Sights on Heaven

Title:  Setting Our Sights on Heaven - Why it is Hard and Why it's Worth It
Author: Paul D. Wolfe
First Copy Right:  2011
Type of Book:  Paperback
General Subject:  Christian Living
Price:  $18.00
ISBN:  978-1-84871-143-3

The purpose of Wolfe in writing this book lies in the fact that most people who expect to go to heaven one day fail to "set their sights" on heaven consistently in their everyday experience. Wolfe wrote this book to delineate the challenges that hinder setting our sights on heaven and the rewards that such an exercise can produce. After explaining to his children where he would be in the year 2084 in response to their questioning, it donned on him (based upon the year of his birth) that he would be long in heaven by that time. Wolfe stated that this "raised for me once again the issue of heavenly-mindedness." Wolfe asserts that Christians are to be a heavenly-minded people.
However, it has been Wolfe's experience that most Christians are not heavenly minded. As a matter of fact, he states that many are simply oblivious to their future eternal residence. Wolfe writes this book in two parts - part one to explain and identify the "world to come." In part two he writes about "the cure for what ails us," in other words, whey we struggle to be heavenly-minded, and what one can do about it.

The theme of Setting Our Sights on Heaven is what the bible's teaching is about heaven and the fact that we are to be heavenly-minded. The thesis of this book is that Christians ought to think about heaven as those who long for it and who are destined for it.

Wolfe has combined both exposition and argumentation in order to develop his thesis. Wolfe uses both explanation and analysis to present to the reader a clear road map as to why Christians are to think much about heaven. At the same time Wolfe is skilled at using the technique of argumentation to make his points clear, concise, and cohesive. The reader is not left to guess or wonder about what Wolfe is trying to say or what point he is making as he develops his thesis. Wolfe is very precise in his explanation and argumentation.

Setting Our Sights on Heaven is a very interesting book. Wolfe has the ability to capture the attention of the reader at the outset of picking up the book and holding the reader's attention throughout the book.Wolfe is extremely accurate in his proposition, his exegesis of scriptural passages, and his offers of "proof." This is an important book for believers to read in order to be challenged biblically and not merely emotionally to become people whose minds are fixed on their future heavenly abode. This book is an extremely valuable tool for today's believers and  they will find it to be extremely useful.

Paul Wolfe is an associate pastor at New Hope Presbyterian Church in Fairfax, VA. As a result he writes from a shepherd's perspective. He is an accomplished author having previously published My God is True! Lessons learned Along Cancer's Dark Road. The forward is written by Sinclair Ferguson. A recommendation is made by Alistair Begg.

Setting Our Sights on Heaven has a few footnotes peppered throughout various chapters. Their is no end note section nor bibliography. This book contains no index.

In summary, Setting Our Sights on Heaven is a very well written and useful book. It is my opinion that the content of this book has been well researched and offered in such a way to be both informative and inspirational. I found this book to be very challenging in my own life in regards to the question "are my sights set on heaven." Wolfe has been honest and direct as he has challenged the reader to assay his own heart in regards to this matter. Wolfe concludes with an example and quote from the great Puritan pastor Richard Baxter urging the reader to turn his/her thoughts from vain things to the study of eternity. The usage of this quote is very powerful and beneficial. I found Wolfe's summary in his final chapter to be both compelling and convincing. 

I received a free copy of this book and nothing else from the publisher. The opinions and thoughts offered are mine and mine alone, and not those of the author, publisher, distributor or anyone else connected to this project.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Religious News - NIV Still for Sale

NASHVILLE – Complaints that the New International Version of the Bible (NIV) is inaccurate and too gender-inclusive are not going to stop one of the world's largest Christian resource producers from selling it.
  • Nashville-based Lifeway Christian Resources voted unanimously to keep selling the NIV Bible, while making clear the company doesn't endorse it.
    The (Nashville) Tennessean file photo
    Nashville-based Lifeway Christian Resources voted unanimously to keep selling the NIV Bible, while making clear the company doesn't endorse it.

The (Nashville) Tennessean file photo

Nashville-based Lifeway Christian Resources voted unanimously to keep selling the NIV Bible, while making clear the company doesn't endorse it.

That translation was criticized at the 2011 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix. Church representatives there approved a resolution asking Nashville-based LifeWay Christian Resources — owned by the denomination — to take it off its shelves.
Critics said the translation, which was updated in 2011, is filled with errors when it comes to language about gender, using "brothers and sisters" instead of "brothers" and "they" instead of "he" for a single pronoun. That kind of approach undermines the authority of the Bible, they said. LifeWay's trustees disagreed.
After having a committee review the 2011 NIV, they voted unanimously this week to keep selling it, while making clear they don't endorse it.
"We do not believe the 2011 NIV rises to the level to where it should be pulled or censored or not carried in our retail chain," said Adam Greenway, a trustee who is senior associate dean of the Billy Graham School at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in a statement.
That decision disappointed the Rev. Tim Overton of Halteman Village Baptist Church in Muncie, Ind. Overton wrote the resolution against the NIV that passed in Phoenix.
His resolution initially was rejected by the committee that vets resolutions before they are presented at the annual meeting. But he brought it to a floor vote, where it was approved.
Overton, like many other Southern Baptists, believes in verbal plenary inspiration — the idea that every word of the original texts of the Bible comes from God. Adding words to a translation undermines that belief, he said.
"If it says 'brother' and you say 'brothers and sisters,' you are adding to the Scriptures," he said.
Marty King, spokesman for LifeWay, said a committee of trustees reviewed the NIV to decide whether it was acceptable. Under Southern Baptist rules, he said, they were not required to comply with the resolution, and representatives at the annual meeting had inaccurate information about the translation.
"People thought this Bible used female language for God," he said. "It does not. We think that messengers voted without accurate information."
First published in 1978 and updated several times since, the NIV remains one of the best-selling Bibles in the United States.
A previous update that used inclusive language, known as the Today's New International Version, flopped after being published in 2002. That year, Southern Baptists passed a resolution asking LifeWay not to sell the Today's New International Version, and the retailer agreed.
The latest update is a better translation, said George Guthrie, Benjamin W. Perry Professor of the Bible at Union University, a Baptist school in Jackson, Tenn. Guthrie spoke to the LifeWay trustees at their meeting, saying that the NIV is a thought-for-thought translation, rather than a word-for-word translation. That's a common approach used by many translators.
Guthrie said that the Committee on Bible Translation, which produced the NIV, did a good job.
"The NIV is not perfect," he said. "But it is a good translation."
The LifeWay decision was welcome news to the NIV's translators. Douglas Moo, the Kenneth T. Wessner Chair of Biblical Studies at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., said he was confident that LifeWay would do the right thing and keep the NIV on the shelves.
"I am grateful for the decision, but there is a part of me that regrets that the decision needed to be made," he said.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Open Letter to Certain Critics

Open Letter to those who disagree and criticize John MacArthur for Publishing a MacArthur Study Bible using the New International Version translation (NIV)

This is my first ever open letter to anyone. Well, maybe it isn't a letter, it's more like a note. 

Well, maybe it isn't it a note, it's more like a paragraph. 

That's it, my first ever open paragraph!

For the record I do not like the NIV anymore than you do. However, who are you to criticize, condemn, or charge MacArthur with improper motives? So, I say to you:

When you pastor a single church for over 40 years, serve as an exemplary president of a bible college and seminary, teach the word of God expositionally for over 40 years, raise 4 children who love and serve the Lord, and maintain a pure and devoted marriage, without a hint of scandal, then you can do the following two things:

1) Criticize him

2)  Publish your own Study Bible using the translation of your choice 

Sincerely Yours,

Gregg Metcalf
Kelso, WA

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Defining Discipleship

It is clear to me that in this day and age it have never been more important to have a working and biblical definition of the word disciple. More than ever it seems this term is being redefined or used in ways it was never meant.

The biblical term μαθητης (math-ay-tes’) means learner or pupil. We see this usage in many passages in the gospels. In one instance we see Christ make the statement that a "disciple" (pupil or learner) is not above or different than his "teacher." (Luke 6:4) We also see that conditions were placed on those who considered themselves to be disciples. (Luke 9:23) What is a disciple? What is a good working definition? Without adding a burden to this term or making it out to be something it is not, how are we to understand the term disciple?

A Disciple is one who is:

CONVERTED - A disciple is one who is following Christ. A disciple has surrendered to Jesus as both Savior and Lord. A disciple is one who says, "I know the Lord and Savior and I submit to Him as my authority." 

CHANGED - A disciple is one who is imitating Christ. Jesus said that we would know a tree by its fruit. (Matt 7:17-20) Jesus did not imply disciples would be known by perfect fruit; He meant by those who are growing and exhibiting the fruit of the Holy Spirit. As a disciple spends time following and imitating Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ changes us internally. Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, changes who a disciple is.

COMMITTED - A disciple is one who is serving Christ. Jesus saves disciples for a purpose. God's mission becomes the mission of each and every disciple. Disciples recognize that they are now responsible for be a part of the fulfillment of the great Commission. Disciples become those who make disciples who in turn make disciples. Disciples who make disciples who make disciples.

As a result, growing disciples experience real learning, experience real loving, and experience real living. A disciple learns to follow Christ, learns to imitate Christ, and learns to serve Christ


Jim Putman, real-life discipleship (Colorado Springs: NAVPRESS), 2010
Leroy Eims, The Lost Art of Disciple Making, (Grand Rapids:  Zondervan Publishing House,) 1978
Robert E. Coleman, (The Master Plan of Discipleship, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House), 1987

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Daily Grace...


Love in the Truth

The Elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth…
(2 John 1)

The writer of this letter did not choose to conform to the standard practice of letter writers during the life and times of Christ. The writer did not identify himself in the beginning of this letter but simply chose the term “the Elder.” This self-designation only occurs in the two letters of John the Apostle.

We know three things about the time that this letter was written. First, the term elder was commonly used in the local churches to designate those who taught and governed the local church. Second, we know from tradition that John served with the elders in the church of Ephesus during the last 25 years of his life. Third, the writer used the definite article “the” and not the word “an.” Most theologians believe this establishes and indicates the unique position and authority of the writer. John, the last living apostle and disciple of Jesus Christ, as the elder writes with apostolic authority to this “elect lady” and “her children.”

There are two schools of thought as to the identity of this lady and her children. The first school of thought believes this to be a figurative use and reference. The thought is that the lady represents a local church that John is writing to and the children represent the individual members of the congregation. The second school of thought believes this to be a literal use and reference. They would hold that this is a specific woman that John knows and that the children are actual children that resulted from the union of this particular woman and her husband. This woman is probably a widow.

Regardless of the school of thought that you choose to go along with, it is John’s sentiment and confidence in the love and truth of Christ with which we are to gripped with. John has real and clear feelings of Christian love for this woman and her children. John stresses his personal feelings of love for her as a believer.

This love is not the word one would use for personal affection or friendship. It is the highest level of ethical love that is characteristic of God himself. Why does John love her so? What kind of love does he have?

It is a love that operates and emanates from the realm of “the truth.” This is the truth that is embodied in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. John’s love issues forth from the fact that both this lady, along with her children, and John have placed their faith in the divinely inspired truth which God revealed in the incarnate Christ. John loves this woman because both she and he have believed God’s message of reconciliation in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

John assures her that not only does he love her for this reason but all who know the Lord Jesus Christ in this manner loves her also. As believers we love all who are in Christ as evidenced by their walking in the truth, verse 4. You and I are to love believers with the love characterized by God because they are believers. This is why we can love in particular each believer in our own local churches. We love them not because they are lovable, lovely, or even loving, but because they too by virtue of believing the message of God revealed in Christ belong to God.


What effect does this passage have on your life? How do you view each and every member of your local body? What does this passage expose in your life about your “feelings” for every member? Do you love just a few, like those who love you or can benefit you? Do you love even the most difficult, not because they deserve it, but because they are God’s child also?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Should We Be Surprised?

On February 15, 2012, SI.Com (on line rendition of the print magazine, Sports Illustrated) released a story of drug use and drug arrests at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth Texas. SI.Com reported that some 17 students were arrested after authorities conducted a six month “sting.” Apparently this was reported as “especially embarrassing” because it included at least four members of the high profile football team.

I was asked “Could you write your thoughts on Christians & illegal recreational drug use and abuse. This is such a huge and "live" issue among Christian youth and adults today, just as "fornication" - sex outside of the context of marriage and "living together outside of marriage is, which I'd like to have you write your biblical thoughts on. This "sin of drug use" issue is even more in the forefront now because of the recent prime example of TCU's major drug bust.” Today I will offer my thoughts on this issue as requested. Do not be surprised if they are not what you would have expected.

The question at hand is, “Have so-called Christians became so much a part of the godless secular world today that there is no biblical "right" or "wrong" and are unholy nominal Christians at best?” I don’t think this is the right question. Quite frankly, if we chase the answer to this question or questions like it we won’t get anywhere near the problem.

I think the problem lies with this statement made by Chris Del Conte, “I expect our student-athletes to serve as ambassadors for the university and will not tolerate behavior that reflects poorly on TCU, the athletics department, our teams or other student-athletes within the department," athletic director Chris Del Conte said. "Our student-athletes are a microcosm of society and unfortunately that means some of our players reflect a culture that glorifies drugs and drug use. That mindset is not reflected by TCU nor will it be allowed within athletics."

The students, those that really are Christians are to be ambassadors of Jesus Christ. We must first start with this question, who says Texas Christian University is “Christian” and who says these students are Christians. Simply saying one is a Christian has never made anyone a Christian. Are these “Christians” who have become part of the godless secular world and have become “nominal” Christians at best? Or, are these individuals who have been deceived by the convoluted, re-defined, and false Christianity being hawked today?

True believers have put off the deeds of the flesh, make no provision for the flesh, have died to sin, walk worthy of their calling, and have set their mind on the things of the Spirit knowing that the things of the flesh lead to death.  It does not surprise me that we have such individuals who seem to have their feet in two camps, one the world, and one in some hope of a heaven which is administrated by a “god” of their own imagination. (Ephesians 4:22, Colossians 3:8-9, Romans 13:14, Romans 6:2, Ephesians 4:1, Colossians 1:10, Colossians 3:1)

I am not surprised by the lifestyle of today’s youth in particular who claim to be Christians and yet live like those who do not know our Lord and Savior. It is not the fault of Christianity or the gospel which is the power of God that transforms creatures of darkness into creatures who are being changed into God’s image. When you have a deceptive and bad presentation of the “gospel” and what defines modern Christianity, you reap a product that involves people remaining in a lifestyle that includes drugs, sex outside of marriage, alcohol abuse, and etc.

Let me say two things here quickly before you have a conniption fit. First, I realize that no one can truly know the heart of any individual. Only God can. Therefore, it is possible some of the students at TCU might be true believers. Second, I realize that true Christians do and often sin, some grossly. However, they do not sin continually as a way of life, nor do they live without the discipline of God upon their lives bringing them to repentance, restoration, and rejection of their sinful lifestyle.

I am never surprised when a blind man runs into a wall. He can’t see it. I am never surprised when a lost man lives like a lost man. I expect that. I am not surprised, although tremendously grieved, when I hear of individuals who have been offered a “Christianity” which is not biblical and the product is opposite of what we expect from the Scriptures.

We need to go back to the basics. We need to revisit the doctrine of conversion. Are we really dealing with believers? Are pastors of our so called evangelical bible churches really saved? Are the majority of people in the church today really saved? I think we are seeing a growing number of churches filling up more and more with tares rather than wheat. This is why churches are “life-less”, anemic, and seem to make no impact on the community around them.

What happened at TCU is tragic. What is happening to the church at large and believers in general is tragic. Let’s rid ourselves of this Charles Finney idea of “carnal” or “nominal” Christians and let’s get back to preaching the gospel of the bible. Let’s reintroduce Christianity to our churches and colleges. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

--Without me, saith Christ, you can do nothing; neither without him can we endure any thing. And he only can support the sinking soul under the most smarting troubles and heavy oppressions.

--We may safely sail through Christ's blood into the bosom of the Father.

--Truth, not words, feeds the soul: and I much rather desire, in my ministry, to profit, than to please, my auditory.

--Former failings bewailed, shall not interrupt the course of future kindness.

Simeon Ashe

 (died 1662) was an English nonconformist clergyman, a member of the Westminster Assembly and chaplain to the Parliamentary leader Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester.)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

"Don't let worry kill you - let the church help!"

Friday, February 17, 2012

For Your Friday!

Happy Birthday to my second daughter, Sonja A. Abramson of Milwaukie, OR! Happy Birthday SAM2!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The All Sufficient Scripture

  • You have Scripture for a master instead of me; from there you can learn whatever you would know.” -John Chrysostom
  • “Among those things which are said openly in Scripture are to be found all those teachings which involve faith, the mores of living, and that hope and charity which we have discussed.” -Augustine, On Christian Doctrine trans. by D.W. Roberston, Jr. (New York: Liberal Arts Press, 1958) 11:9.
  • “The Church is to be judged by the Scriptures, not the Scriptures by the Church.” - John Wesley
  • “Let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth.” - Basil of Caesarea (c. 330 - 379 A.D.)
  • “The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.” Westminster Confession of Faith

    “The fanaticism which discards the Scripture, under the pretense of resorting to immediate revelations is subversive of every principle of Christianity. For when they boast extravagantly of the Spirit, the tendency is always to bury the Word of God so they may make room for their own falsehoods.” - John Calvin

     “I have convenanted with my Lord that he should not send me visions or dreams or even angels. I am content with this gift of the Scriptures, which teaches and supplies all that is necessary, both for this life and that which is to come.” - Martin Luther

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

You Can't Take It With You (When You Go)

You Can’t Take With You (When You Go)
Gregg Metcalf
February 14, 2012

Now and then I look out my window
at the guy who lives across the street
he is never home he’s always on the go
he doesn’t know the meaning of retreat

Evidence of his dedication sits in his drive
All the trappings of his wealth is on display
he has never learned the meaning of deprive
he has all the latest toys so he can play

But there is one thing he’s never thought of…


While my little boat is in the water
His big boat sets there in the drive
While I am fishing with my daughter
He is still trying hard to arrive
My old Ford needs a little tender lovin’ care
It is no secret that our house is old I know
He doesn’t understand or seems to be aware
That you can’t take it with you when you go

we don’t have much- money is in short supply
our things are old- heck most are second hand
fact is we use up all we ever get or buy
we know that all these things don’t make a man

there are a lot of lessons that folks never learn
after all has been said or done,  I still know
when you are done livin’ there’s one thing to discern
that you can’t take it with you when you go


While my little boat is in the water
His big boat sets there in the drive
While I am fishing with my daughter
He is still trying hard to arrive
My old Ford needs a little tender lovin’ care
It is no secret that our house is old I know
He doesn’t understand or seems to be aware
That you can’t take it with you when you go 


When you drive your self to work each day
Keep in mind the end of time be sure to play, or...


While my little boat is in the water
Your big boat sets there in the drive
While I am fishing with my daughter
You are still trying hard to arrive
My old Ford needs a little tender lovin’ care
It is no secret that our house is old I know
You don't understand or seem to be aware
That you can’t take it with you when you go

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why Won't Johnny Preach?

I am completely appalled, angry, apprehensive, and anxious right now. My bewilderment and bombastic rhetoric is directed at both congregant and pastor of the local churches in this area. I am still retching and reeling from Sunday’s so called worship service. I have recently moved to Kelso and I thought I would take some time and check out the churches in this community. The last few weeks we have been visiting around the local churches of Kelso.

Kelso is a neighboring city of Longview. West Kelso and Longview nuzzle up together at Cowlitz Way and Washington Way. West Kelso and main Kelso are separated by the Cowlitz River which can be crossed by the Allen Street Bridge or the Cowlitz Way Bridge. Kelso is a small city of approximately 12,000 residents. Kelso has some 30 places or so that call themselves “Churches.” Of course only about a dozen of those 30 some organizations can even be considered close to being a representative of the bride of Christ.

My frustration and frankness stems from this sincere question: doesn’t anybody preach the bible anymore? Does anyone know how to pick up the scripture and from a literal, historical, grammatical, and contextual set of hermeneutical rules exegete a passage of Scripture? By this I mean explain and expound what the original author had in mind and what the original audience understood and make relevant application of the ancient text.

All that was offered at (imagine that the name of the church is here but obscured by a blue-dot) was a topical lesson on forgiveness. The pastor apparently found a verse that had the word “forgiveness” in it and placed that short verse on the bulletin cover. We did not have to open our bibles because no text was explained. As a matter of fact we were never referenced to the bible. A few scriptures were “yanked” out of context. By the way, because only a certain portion of the “proof-text” verse touched on the topic, the entire verse was not quoted nor appeared on the transparency.

I am appalled at how the bible is actually being handled, or really mishandled. I am anxious for the congregation that sits under such “tofu” week after week after week. How can one grow strong if the beef is never served during a meal? This wasn’t even milk. When Paul spoke of milk he meant the milk of scripture. Listen to him, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. (Note: the milk is not topical porridge; it is the word of God, simple basic principles of God’s word) You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk (basic principles of God’s word) is unskilled in the word of righteousness (emphasis mine), since he is a child.” (Hebrews 5:12-13, ESV)

A 20 minute sermonette of a topical idea precariously supported by strings of verses “ripped” out of context is not strong meat. No wonder that most of these believers never cash a check out of the rich account of their inheritance in Christ. No wonder the community remains unreached. Of course 30 minutes of 7-11 music was on the menu. What is that? You don’t know what 7-11 music is? That is music where the same seven words are sung 11 times.

Why won’t Johnny preach? Why won’t Johnny wrestle with at text until he knows the mind of the author and has a word from God? Church members and officers need to take great care that their pastor “works at preaching” and that preaching is the main point of his ministry.

 John MacArthur made this point with eloquent force during his sermon to the 1990 Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. How can church members encourage their pastor to make preaching his priority? Here are MacArthur's suggestions:

Fling him into his office, then tear the "Office" sign from the door, and replace it with a sign that says, "Study."

Take him off the mailing list. Lock him up with his books and his typewriter and his Bible. Slam him down on his knees before texts and broken hearts and the flick of lives of a superficial flock and a holy God.

Force him to be the one man in the community who knows about God. Throw him into the ring to box with God until he learns how short his arms are. Engage him to wrestle with God all the night through, and let him come out only when he's bruised and beaten into being a blessing.

Shut his mouth from forever spouting remarks and stop his tongue from forever tripping lightly over every non-essential. Require him to have something to say before he breaks the silence.

Burn his eyes with weary study. Wreck his emotional poise with worry for the things of God. Make him exchange his pious stance for a humble walk with God and man. Make him spend and be spent for the glory of God.

Rip out his telephone. Burn up his success sheets. Put water in his gas tank. Give him a Bible and tie him to the pulpit. Test him, quiz him, examine him. Humiliate him for his ignorance of things divine.

Shame him for his good comprehension of finance, batting averages and political party issues. Laugh at his frustrated effort to play psychiatrist. Form a choir, raise a chant and haunt him night and day with, "Sir, we would know God."

When at long last he does assay the pulpit, ask him if he has a word from God. If he doesn't, then dismiss him. Tell him you can read the paper. You can digest the television commentary. You can think through the day's superficial problems and manage the weary drives of the community and bless the assorted baked potatoes and green beans better than he can.

And when he does speak God's Word, listen. And when he's burned out finally by the flaming Word, consumed by the fiery grace blazing through him, and when he's privileged to translate the truth of God to man and finally is himself transferred from earth to heaven, bear him away gently. Blow a muted trumpet. Lay him down softly and place a two-edged sword on his coffin and raise the tune triumphant, for ere he died he had become a Man of God.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Book Review: Tyndale - The Man Who Gave God an English Voice

Title:  Tyndale: The Man Who  Gave God an English Voice
Author:  David Teems
First Copy Right:  2012
Type of Book:  Paperback
General Subject:  Biographical
Price:  $15.99
ISBN:  978-1-5955-5221-1

The author’s purpose in writing this book is found in the prologue, p. xv; it is written in contrast to his book Majestie. Teems states that “Majestie laughs where Tyndale must grit its teeth. Teems states that this book will inform, amuse, and even entertain. He claims his book will even bewilder the reader. Teems explores the man William Tyndale in an age where Henry VIII, Anne Boylen, Mary I, Martin Luther, and the Roman Catholic church create what he calls “a rather humorless age.”

Theme: The effects of Roman Catholic domination on dissenters.
Thesis:  Roman Catholic dogma protected and promoted by persecution of any considered as dissenters nearly prevented the translation of the bible into the English language.

Teems uses narration as his means to tell the story of who William Tyndale was, who he became, how his translation came about, and how the Roman Catholic church used its power to kill and destroy all those who opposed their doctrine and organizational structure.

With very little information available and known about William Tyndale, Teems does an excellent job on describing the times, the players, and the overall atmosphere that was present as William Tyndale became the first to translate the bible into the English language. Tyndale’s life was brief, just 42 years, but his legacy is undeniably the most important gift to the world since the giving of Jesus Christ by God the Father as a sacrifice for his people.

Teems goes into great detail about the age in which Tyndale was born and lived in order to give us an idea of what made this man what he was. Tyndale had a great passion for placing the Scriptures in the hands of the common man. He was uniquely gifted for languages and is credited with introducing extraordinary words and phrases into the English language. It is often reported that he was responded to a critic with this famous quote, “If God spares my life, ere many years, I will cause the boy that driveth the plow to know more the Scriptures than thou dost!”

With narration Teems weaves the information that we can verify concerning Tyndale’s life with the philosophical, intellectual, spiritual, religious, and practical dimensions leading up to is birth, his life, his monumental work, and his eventual death. Teems uses this information to demonstrate why it was so necessary to translate the Scripture into English and why the Roman Catholic hierarchy fought it so strenuously.

Teems traces Tyndale’s youth, education and his life. He gives us insight into the exile that Tyndale faced and his subsequent execution.

Tyndale is an extremely interesting book to read. It held my attention all the way through. Teems has done an excellent job on research of the people and events surrounding Tyndale and his translation. The reader will find a wealth of historical information. There is a complete section of end notes, appendix, and a bibliography.

David Teems is an accomplished writer having written To Love Is Christ, And Thereby Hangs a Tale, Majestie:The King behind the King James Bible, and Discovering Your Spiritual Center.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from BookSneeze.