New Address: please update your blogroll / feeds

13 11 2006

humble-directions_jpeg.jpgWe have moved over to a new server and are now officially at :: http://www.IrishCalvinist.com

So if you would please update your blogroll, feeds and bookmarks.

address: http://www.IrishCalvinist.com

feed: http://www.irishcalvinist.com/?feed=rss2

Thanks to all of you who faithfully read, your encouragement is greatly appreciated. This new site should give the flexibility to improve things. So give me some time to unpack the boxes and then we’ll have the same message from a different zip code.

for the fame of Jesus:

erik





How Pop-Evangelicals Undermine God in Evangelism

10 11 2006

evangelism-frustrations.jpg

As a fairly new believer I attended an evangelistically zealous Arminian Southern Baptist mega-church here in Omaha. I too was zealous for evangelism and for growth. I enjoyed the culture of evangelism that the Senior Pastor had developed and fueled. However, as my theological senses began to sharpen and I began growing in the word, something strange happened, I got frustrated.

The church rolled out a new evangelism strategy that was geared toward reaching and converting more people. There was a slick acronym that the evangelist was to follow and there were key verses that we must use. Additionally, we were all told that we had to go and attend the training provided by this new evangelism program’s guru.

As I read the outline and interacted with the strategy I was shocked to uncover the seed of my discomfort: the avoidance of mentioning sin/judgment/wrath/substitution. So there I sat in visible frustration with this new program. I was even told not to do evangelism at this church unless I adopted this methodology.

With zeal accruing like the national debt I attended an all church meeting launching this new program / strategy. When the Pastor was finished with his promotion and/or presentation he opened up the floor for questions. After a few others gushed with pragmatic testimonies of success in this program I raised my hand. The pastor came over and in front of the 4,000+ in attendance I asked him at what point in the “presentation” we might tell them about sin. He deferred to the leaders of the new program, who began to get a bit loud in refutation of my seemingly silly question. There was no answer because sin was not discussed. Sure it may have been referenced as some type of moral inadequacy but never in terms of direct rebellion and disobedience to the Sovereign of heaven and earth.

As you might imagine I soon left this church. However, the ‘evangelism’ strategy has not. Nor has it left the scores of other pop-evangelical churches across America, who, fail to explain sin in there proclamation of the gospel. This ridiculous practice sounds nice when we don’t believe in biblical sin, but it is ridiculous when we speak in terms of real and fatal disease. Imagine the uproar if medical professionals began skirting the diagnosis of diseases such as cancer or AIDS in favor of making their dying patients “feel better”? It is an unsettling testimony to observe the standards for medical fidelity are higher than gospel fidelity.

As God would have it he saves sinners through the gospel. It is the gospel alone that is called “the power of God for salvation” (Rom. 1.16). The gospel as Paul says here is that body of truth that explains God’s character, man’s sinfulness, and Christ’s substitutionary atonement, man’s repentance from sin and reception of the righteousness of Christ by faith (justification). How can anyone understand their need for or even desire a Savior apart from understanding their destitute position before a just and inflexible judge? It is ridiculous and biblically stupid to hold forth a loving Jesus who is tolerant of sin, plagued with a bad memory, willing to be bribed, and so nice that he became God’s spiritual piñata and took a beating that we might get all the candy because we are so good.

To hold forth a different gospel is to hold forth a different Jesus. How about this: it is to lie! You are lying when you don’t tell people that God is angry at sin, that he is intolerant of it and that he is going to judge the thoughts and intentions of our hearts with rigid righteousness lest we repent and flee to the Lord our Righteousness for loving forgiveness.

This really is perverted. See in effort to accommodate “seekers” or the “unchurched” or the “dechurched”, (unbelievers) they undermine the only message that can truly save their souls. It is no different than the doctor telling the guy with a tumor that he just has allergies. It is gospel malpractice. It is worse than being silent, it is misleading sinners and undermining God. God saves through his gospel of his son and this gospel is not up for revision. Evangelicals who try to get cute and smart (regardless of motives, for I do not know them) undermine God.

So much like sanctification we have in evangelism the following conclusions:

If God saves sinners exclusively through the gospel (and he does) and people do not proclaim the biblical gospel (and they don’t) we must conclude:

1) Many pastors and church members do not know that the gospel is the exclusive power of God for salvation

2) Many pastors and church members do not believe that the gospel is the power of God for salvation

3) Many pastors and church members do not chiefly value people getting saved

This is discouraging but true and it calls for Christians to take up Jesus’ gospel and study it, preach it to ourselves, defend it in the church and in the world, and then faithfully share it with all.





How Pop-Evangelicals Undermine God in Sanctification

9 11 2006

tire-slash1.jpgI have found that I have personally become quite exercised about some of the various methods and practices that are employed within the popular American evangelical community. Sometimes I have, through introspection, wondered if my offense was based upon my preference and these evangelicals’ divergent view of ministry. In other words, I wondered if my issue was chiefly my offense or God’s.

So in effort to have clean hands, a clear conscience and pure motives I examined this, and tried to understand what in the world contemporary evangelicalism is doing. And you know what? I’m offended. But now more than ever I feel that my offense is rooted in the attack upon God’s method for accomplishing his own end.

Read the rest of this entry »





woman fatally bitten by a snake in church

8 11 2006

This sad story calls for discernment. Apparently this woman attended a church that believed that believers would demonstrate their saving faith in the practice of snake handling. This is truly sad. No doubt they are referencing Mark 16.17-18 which says:

“These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

These signs were promised to the apostolic community (Matt. 10.1; 2 Cor. 12.12) and served to authenticate the preaching of the word (cf. v.20). These ‘signs’ were not intended to become normative for all ages. For even a generation after the apostles we see the writers looking back in describing these miraculous signs (Heb. 2.1-4; cf. also 1 Cor. 12.29, 30).

This is truly sad because of the sufficient preciousness of fellowship with Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit without the trumped up drama of handling snakes. Does not a story like this compel Paul’s words to Timothy to your own hearts:

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth 2 Timothy 2:15





How the Elections should increase your passion for Jesus

7 11 2006

One of the great pictures that God draws for his children by way of stark contrast is that of the kings in the Old Testament. Whether we are talking about a ‘good’ king like Josiah or a ‘bad’ king like Ahaz we know that at the end of the day all kings fall short of God’s ultimate standard for ruling.

So too likewise for us today on a National Election day, with the news agency spinning, the poll numbers cranking, and the candidates sweating, we know that all of the candidates for whatever office, all fall miserably short of God’s design. This is not to say that candidates and elected officials are worthless, for I understand Romans 13 that the government and the respective officials are servants of God and being used in his providence to even accomplish his will. For us today with the election blitz we are reminded of the intended and optimal form of government: Theocratic Monarchy.

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Election is not the problem…sin is (part ii)

4 11 2006

In Romans chapter 1 the apostle tells us that humanity is ‘without excuse’. There has been much discussion on this post relative to what and how this could be. I thought it might be better to take this text insert it in another post and make some comments relative to the verse. Hopefully this serves as helpful.

In Romans 1 God is clearly angry as “the wrath of God” is being revealed from heaven. Notice the object of this justified anger: “men”. Humanity is in the cross hairs of divine wrath.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness /18

And why? It is because they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness”. Notice that the immediate reason given for unleashing heaven’s judgment upon man is that they are actively suppressing the truth. God is angry because of humanity’s rejection and suppression of his revelation (much more could and probably should be said here…).

Paul goes on to demonstrate how this revelation has been given and the persistent and dedicated truth suppression or rebellion that ensues:

because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them /19

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The goodness of God & how it makes me pray

1 11 2006

The Scriptures teach that God is good in both his character and dealings. The 119th Psalm says it this way in a true prayer to God: “You are good and do good, teach me your statutes” (v.68).

Consider with me the fact that everything believers in Christ would seek should be good and all of our deeds likewise should be pursuing good, in fact everything we desire should be good…right?!

Well not only is God intrinsically good but he is the source of all good. Everything that is good comes from him (Jam. 1.17). Do you fully grasp this? I don’t! If I did I would be praying a heck of a lot more!

God is the source and supplier of all goodness, therefore believers cannot obtain goodness apart from him. In other words, without God’s loving kindness fueling his gracious manifestations of goodness to us we are devoid of good.

So how does this impact my prayer life?

Read the rest of this entry »








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