Thursday, December 30, 2010

Scot McKnight At Rick Warren's Church

Latest from Lighthouse Trails Research on Warren's Apologetic Weekend which offered Greg Koukl, Scot McKnight, and Philip Yancy. Here's the part on McKnight:

Quote:

In McKnight’s books Embracing Grace: A Gospel for All of Us (with an endorsement by Brian McLaren on the front cover and McLaren references within) and in his book A Community Called Atonement, McKnight doesn’t necessarily reject penal substitutionary atonement (as does McLaren) but says there are many ways of viewing atonement, likening it to golf clubs–using different ones for different purposes (Prologue). Worth noting, McKnight’s Atonement book was published by the emerging publishing partnership of Abingdon Press and Emergent Village. McKnight is seen by the emerging church as someone who represents it. And McKnight’s website and his books confirm this with numerous favorable references on these issues. In his book Jesus Creed, he recommends a variety of books by contemplative advocates including Gary Thomas’ book, Sacred Pathways, where he instructs readers to repeat a word for twenty minutes (which is mantric like meditation) and several other authors of whom we have already mentioned in this article. One of the books McKnight recommends is Eternal Wisdom from the Desert: Writings from the Desert Fathers. St. Anthony is one of the desert fathers featured in that book. Contemplative teacher, Willigis Jager disclosed the following:

Christian literature makes reference to many episodes that parallel the
experiences of those going a yogic way. Saint Anthony, one of the first desert
mystics, frequently encountered strange and sometimes terrifying psychophysical
forces while at prayer. (Jager, Contemplation: A Christian Path, p. 72)

What is being described here is the Kundalini experience that can happen during mantric-like episodes. While McKnight does not come right out in his books and recommend practicing this, he recommends those who do. What we consider McKnight to be is a “bridger,” someone who claims orthodoxy but is actually being used as a bridge between orthodoxy and a dangerous mystical practice.

End quote.

LHRT noted in 2007:

"In emerging church leader, Scot McKnight's book, "The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus", McKnight says that Protestant Christians are the only Christians who do not honor Mary. He recommends that Protestant churches all practice an "Honor Mary Day" (p. 144), saying she "leads us to a Jesus who brings redemption ... To listen to Mary is to hear the message of Jesus' death and resurrection as a mega-event whereby God established a new kind of power, a new kind of family, and a new kind of kingdom" (p. 145).
McKnight describes this great event as a time when the world will come together and worship Mary."

This is the same group that JP Moreland and Koukl have been involved with (yes, its a small world). Patton, head of Credo and host of "Converse With Scholars" who is a neo-Calvinist, has promoted a lot of liberalism, Emergent church junk, Eastern Orthodoxy, and denies the inerrancy of Scripture and doubts the Six Literal Days of Creation as Genesis teaches.

List of past guests on CWS here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Consistency of life must be followed by consistency of speech

From John MacArthur's Commentary:


Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person. (Colossians 4:6)

Consistency of life must be followed by consistency of speech. Paul is not speaking here of preaching the gospel, but general conversation. Believers’ speech must always be with grace, as was Christ’s (Luke 4:22). There is no place for those things that characterize the unredeemed mouth. Whether undergoing persecution, stress, difficulty, or injustice, whether with your spouse, children, believers, or unbelievers—in all circumstances believers are to make gracious speech a habit. To speak with grace means to say what is spiritual, wholesome, fitting, kind, sensitive, purposeful, complementary, gentle, truthful, loving, and thoughtful. Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:29, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

The speech of the new man must also be seasoned… with salt. It is not only to be gracious, but also to have an effect. Salt can sting when rubbed into a wound (cf. Prov. 27:6). It also prevents corruption. Believers’ speech should act as a purifying influence, rescuing conversation from the filth that so often engulfs it. Salt also adds flavor, and the speech of the new man should add charm and wit to conversation.

Believers must also know how to respond to each person. They must know how to say the right thing at the right time. In Peter’s words, they must be “ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet. 3:15).

The speech of the new man is vitally important: “If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well” (James 3:2). Unlike the ungodly, who say “Our lips are our own; who is lord over us?” (Ps. 12:4), we as believers should echo the prayer of the psalmist in Psalm 141:3: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

End quote.

I found it interesting that salty conversation in this context is to have a godly affect, not a carnal affect...which is what Mark Driscoll and Paul Tripp, among others, have. They clearly, as have many Reformergents, either ignored or twisted this passage.

Christ Jesus Our Shield - A Word of Encouragement For The Soldier of Jesus Christ

"Surely, I am with you always — even unto the end of the world!" Matthew 28:20

Christ is ever with His people — as a shield and deliverer. Our estimation of this truth, will be proportioned to our intelligent apprehension of the number and potency of our enemies — and the costliness and preciousness of the treasure thus divinely protected.


"Surely, I am with you always — even unto the end of the world!" Matthew 28:20

Christ is with us, as our guide. How deep our need of Him as such, and how endeared does it make Him! So blind are we, so dark is our future, so perplexing is our present path — that the very next step might be a false one — taking us into a wrong direction, entailing untold anxieties and sorrows, or hurling us from a precipice into total ruin! Yes, we need just such a guide as Christ!

What Alpine traveler would attempt the ascent of a steep glacier, or cross the dangerous pass — unattended by an experienced guide — one who knew the route, whose skillful eye could detect the treacherous crevice, and whose strong arm could fence the narrow, winding way?

Our path to eternity demands just such a guide as the prophet foretold Christ would be. "I have given Him," says God, "for a Leader and Commander to the people." His own gracious words corroborate this statement when speaking of Himself as the Shepherd of His flock, who "Goes before them, and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice."

Oh, what a privilege — in every path of doubt, in every circumstance of danger, where human judgment is either warped or beclouded, and your own mind hesitates and falters — to have such a wonderful Counselor, such a divine Guide as Christ at your side! As such — He is ever with you!

He will guide you . . .with His eye of providence,and with His hand of power,and with His heart of love!

He knows the way that you take — for He has ordained it.
He knows every crook in your lot — for He has appointed it.


He will . . .roll away the stone of difficulty,level mountains,fill up valleys,make the crooked path straight,and the rough place smooth; this will He do unto you, and not forsake you.

Oh, be honest and upright with Him! Go to Him first, consult Him first, acknowledge Him in all your ways — before you consult any human guide. May Christ, in all the minute details of your life, have the pre-eminence. Learn to lay your own desires and thoughts at His feet.

"He guides the humble in what is right — and teaches them His way!" Psalm 25:9.

Not our way — but "His way." We must first surrender our way and will — before He will teach us His. He guides the "humble" — the childlike, trustful, unquestioning disciple, who humbly locks his hand in Christ's and says, "Lord, lead me and guide me, not in my own way — but in Yours!"

Oh, take a firm grasp of this unfailing Guide, and you shall travel safely and surely, through all your unknown future. Be honest and sincere only to know and to walk in the Lord's way, the way in which He would have you to go; and then will He fulfill His most gracious promise, "Surely, I am with you always" — in the midst of the utmost peril and dangers!

There are assaults from which alone Christ can shield us!

Innumerable and invisible,sleepless and restless,working with an almost almighty power,everywhere with an almost omnipresent existence,ever plotting our ruin — are the spiritual enemies of our soul, and the sworn foes of our faith!

The world and its fascinations,Satan and his devices,the flesh and its tendencies,error and its disguises — are all confederate against the child of God, opposing his every advance in holiness!

But Christ is our ever-present shield, near at the moment of assault, and skillful to deflect and disarm it! "Fear not, Abram, I am your shield!" are words addressed to all who have like precious faith with him.

Listen to Paul when defending Christianity before Nero: "At my first answer no man stood with me — but all men forsook me. . . . Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me and strengthened me." Severed from the protection and sympathy of man — he was all the more conscious of the presence and love of God. This is the manner of the Lord with us. The stage shall be swept of the human — to give place to the Divine. When the last human prop bends, and the last spark of creature-hope expires — hail it as the harbinger of Christ's nearness, that the more signal may appear His loving deliverance, and the more complete and undivided His glory.

Oh yes! the Lord encompasses you! Encircled by danger — you are also encircled by Christ! When you embark in His cause on foreign service, enter the carriage of a railway, launch upon the treacherous sea, bend your steps of mercy to the bedside of the sick, travel the lone and dreary road — be your experience what it may, let your mind be kept in perfect peace, trusting in this truth: the ever-present protection of Jesus. The unhealthy climate shall be harmless, the sickening malaria shall be innocuous, the perilous transit shall be safe — curtained within the pavilion of your Savior's love. Swelling above the tempest, louder than the voice of many waters, or whispered in the still solitude — shall be heard the words of Jesus, ""So do not fear — for I am with you! Do not be dismayed — for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand!" Isaiah 41:10. Lord, it is enough! My heart trusts in You, and I am helped!

~ Octavius Winslow

Psychosomatic Effects of Sin and the Biblical Solution

I got this from a very solid sister in Christ, Susan Brackley.

Quote:

Evil and sin cause psychosomatic effects of inner turmoil and anxiety which affects our physical body. Not all sickness is a result of personal sin, but the bible does often recognize a common link between sin and sickness.

Proverbs 3:2 “For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.”

The ‘they’ here refers to God’s law and commandments, as we saw in the previous verse yesterday.

This fatherly figure here in Proverbs is echoing the fifth c...ommandment in Ex 20:12 ‘Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God gives thee.’ In general those who heed this command of God do live longer, and have better lives. Those who rebel against parental authority, even as imperfect as parents can be, solicit God’s wrath in their lives.

Jay Adams writes, “The Bible teaches that a peace of mind which leads to longer, happier living chimes from keeping God’s commandments. A guilty conscience is a body-breaking load. A good conscience is one significant factor which leads to longevity and physical health. And so, in a measure, one’s somatic (bodily) welfare stems from the welfare of his soul. A close psychosomatic connection between one’s behavior before God and his physical condition is an established physical principle.”

Sin, can be, and often is, the root or contributing factor of some illnesses. Not all sickness is related to particular sins. Job was a godly, upright, and righteous man, yet God allowed illness in his life for His own reasons. They were not a result of Job’s sin. There are many diseases, birth defects, and physical conditions that are not a result of personal sin. It is unwise and ungodly to go around suspecting these situations as being a result of a person’s sin. God knows and He doesn’t need us passing judgment on things that we don’t know about.

Yet the bible does often recognize a common link between sin and sickness. Jesus healed a crippled man and implied that his condition had been a result of sin in his life. “Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, Behold, you are made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” Jhn 5:14 Again, in 1Cor 11:30 speaking of people taking communion unworthily, not taking the time to examine ourselves and truly repent of our sins first … “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” (sleep = die)

We are not to judge everyone’s sicknesses as being a result of sin. We need to leave that type of judgment up to the Lord. However if we are personally involved in one’s life and see a pattern of sin and sickness we aren’t to omit the idea from perhaps being true. I have had to address this subject many times through counseling situations. We cannot judge the motives of the heart any more than we can know exactly what God is doing in another person’s life. However we are to wisely, and mercifully take what we do know and hold that out to those who need our help. It gives them hope when there are biblically sound answers to what they may be facing in life.

It is ideal that we examine our own sicknesses ourselves before God. If we know that there is un dealt with sin in our lives and we keep getting sickly; it is right that we consider chastening. Repentance doesn’t mean that our sickness will go away…but it does ensure that God’s hand of chastening will be lifted. There are times that our sickness lives on, although we have repented. We have a reaping and sowing principle that kicks in here. I have a dear friend who was a long time alcoholic, he had lived a very rough life. Frequenting the bars, fighting, motorcycle accidents, car accidents, as well as the internal ruining of his liver, lungs (smoking), and heart. He got saved later in life, and stopped his evil lifestyle, he truly repented of his sins and gave his life to Jesus…a tremendous testimony of God’s grace and transforming power! Yet, he had the repercussions of his former sins haunting him all through out his Christian life. Those old choices eventually took his life with many physical problems. He never once blamed God for his ailments. A more thankful man you’ve never seen! He is walking on streets of gold now!

Again, and I can’t stress it enough… we are not to think evil of sick people. If we don’t know of sin in their life, don’t assume it. This causes us to be guilty of evil thoughts. If we do know of a sin in someone’s life, we need to go to them, in love, to help them see and consider it. Some illnesses are Psychosomatic; of the mind. David was depressed and in sin and recorded Ps 32 to tell about it. He affirmed that in his case, happiness came through confession and forgiveness of sin. David knew that sin brought on his physical sicknesses at that time. Evil and sin cause psychosomatic effects of inner turmoil and anxiety upon the physical body. This is not a new teaching. Refer to Psalms 38 and 51 for more on this subject. Worry, fear, guilt, depression, hate, jealousy, (just to name a few examples) all originate in the mind first; then if continued, they reek havoc on the body. Hiding sin causes distress of body and soul.

If we are sick and we know that we are right before God, we know and are at peace that God has a purpose. If we are sick and we know that we have been entertaining sins and that we aren’t right before God, we can know that His hand is heavy (in love) upon us to repent. Hebrews 12

Doing right before God has all of the promises both in this life as well as the life to come! What do people want? Universally…right across the board… everyone wants the security of long, peacefully abundant life and assurance of the future. Even those who boast of ‘not needing God’ seek after this type of happiness and security themselves. They, of course, cannot find it apart from Him, but nonetheless they spend time, money and great effort trying to obtain it on their own. True lasting peace cannot be found apart from God. “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, says my God, to the wicked.” Isa 57:20-21 This only comes through loving and keeping God’s Word, through a faith based relationship with Jesus. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.” Pro 9:10-11

God’s people enjoy peace, “And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Php 4:7 Christians have trials, we have enemies, we live in a sin cursed earth, we even fight our own sinful desires constantly…but we have answers, we have a Comforter, The Holy Spirit and amidst the storms of life we have peace. Even if our very life is taken; we enter into eternal peace in the end. ‘Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.’ Ps 119:165(Jay Adams Competent to Counsel p. 125)

End quote.

I'd just like to add, this is exactly why we shouldn't run to medication to solve a sin issue. Our Creator has told us what to do already, how to live, how to think, how to have relationships. HIS ways are perfect and bring true peace.

Psa 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple...Psa 119:11 I have stored up you...r word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Joh 8:31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Php 4:5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; Php 4:6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Php 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Being Told You're Too Negative

"When others say or suggest that perhaps my outlook on life or my comments and links are "too negative", I remind myself that "being positive" in their minds...is being blissfully silent and/or at peace while this nation, its' seminaries, churches and schools and the people in them are being systematically spiritually dismembered limb from limb. I won't put a happy face on carnage, I am to resist evil, not embrace it." ~ Don Mitroff

Well said!

Rick Warren To Give Away $1 Million To His Empire

Don't believe it when Rick Warren plays "average Joe" or poorboy.

He's revealing what some of us already knew: he's raking in the bucks. In his pride which is drapped in mock humility, Tricky reveals he's a millionaire. Please don't tell me you are surprised.

Quote:

"Every time we've done these campaigns, Pastor Rick and his wife have always led the effort by saying what they're going to commit or give," he told The Christian Post. "They're committing based out of a slogan we've been using here: Not equal gifts but equal sacrifice."

Warren and his wife, Kay, have chosen to step out in faith by committing to give $1 million a year for the next three years to Saddleback.

"[T]his is how deeply we believe in the vision of this church," the California pastor said in an email to the congregation. Notably, Warren takes no salary from the church and supports his family with 9 percent of the royalties from his books while giving away the other 91 percent. He revealed that last year his personal income from his books was $87,000.

End quote. Source.

After being told yet again about how he doesn't take a salary from his church and does "reverse tithing" (which isn't biblical, and which if he had the right motives, we'd never know about it...we aren't to let the left hand know what the right hand is doing), we are then told he's going to give $1 million over the next three years to his new Decade of Destiny program to multiply his empire. How can he afford that?

What Tricky won't equally boast about is how he can afford to give away that much cool cash if he is only making $87,000 as he claims. Here's where he likely gets his money: from his interviews, seminars, and conferences, not to mention all the money gifted to him and/or his "church", all the freebies, etc.

Folks any pastor who parades around how much he isn't making isn't humble. He's prideful.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Francis Chan

Eph 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.


CNN reports :

“Even in my own church I heard the words, ‘Francis Chan’ more than I heard the words, ‘Holy Spirit’,” he said.

That was a big part of the reason he walked away at the peak of his professional career.

“I think there has been too much emphasis on me. I want to be used by God, but I think we have this desire to make heroes out of people rather than following God and the Holy Spirit.”

End quote.

The Holy Spirit? The emphasis should be on Christ, not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ Jesus, and Christ Jesus glorifies the Father. Chan's concern about "The Holy Spirit" being talked about seems more along the lines of a Charismatic view than a biblical view. And I'm not saying we don't talk about what the Spirit of God is doind in our lives. But to have that be the focus instead of a man, is still not the right emphasis. In addition, for most men, being a pastor is a career, not a calling. You can quit a career, you can't quit the calling God has called you to.

And if he's so done with all that, then why is he still speaking around the us? Just like Piper...quit, but not totally---give it "all" up, but not really. This is fake humility. If he wants it to not be about him, then no more interviews, no more speaking engagements, no more books, and no more DVDs (and yup that's his latest angle).

More concerns: he claims he never made more than $36,000 which I don't believe, not in Simi Valley California, and not including all his speaking engagements, the Seminary of which he is president (the dude has enough money and time to spend on a surfboard and trapse around to go surfing--or was that just another gimmick for his dvd "Just Stop and Think" that they sent out to thousands of homes in Simi Valley?). Why is he so proud of how "little" he made? Why is he letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing?

"Chan plans to return to the states in January. He is already scheduled to appear at the Passion Conference in Atlanta, which has drawn a crowd of more than 20,000 in the past, and do a stint in the chapel at the NBA All-Star game in February."

See? If he's trying to escape being a celebrity "Christian" then why does he continue to feed the monster?

These celebrity "pastors" whine about being a celebrity, when they are the ones that fed into the whole thing by selling books and going on national or even international speaking engagements. Part of the problem is that they aren't shepherding their own flock...they are feeding their egos by going everywhere else...seminaries (don't we have enough of these man-centered things?), youth conferences, Emergent conferences, Desiring-I-Don't-Know-What-Kind -Of-God Conferences, book writing, etc., instead of sitting still and feeding his own flock. If you don't write books and go on speaking engagements, then you won't get "famous". Yeah, you'll "just" be a pastor. That's not too exciting for some who easily get bored apparently.

Flashback to April 2010:

Quote:

Chan made clear that his decision to depart wasn't prompted by immorality, discipline or disputes within the church. Rather, he has long felt a restlessness and stirring to let go of the church he founded 16 years ago to "do something different."

"I started to just feel too much like this earth was my home in some ways – you know you just get your roots in and get comfortable. And then I started feeling this call and there's all sorts of fears," he said.

Just five years ago, Chan was struggling with whether he was willing to completely surrender himself to God. He realized he was and was willing to go anywhere for God.

At that time, his calling was with Cornerstone Church. Today, he's feeling a tug somewhere else.
The well-known preacher is still unsure of what his next adventure will be or where God is calling him to though he's feeling drawn toward Los Angeles. Part of him wants to go somewhere where he is unknown, he said. He also has a sense that he's being called to do church differently, not necessarily with formal Sunday services.

Chan will preach at Cornerstone through the end of May and participate in speaking engagements over the summer. He then plans to take his family to a third world country – possibly Thailand – where they will care for victims of the slave trade and orphans while spending time seeking the Lord.
After a few months overseas, Chan plans to launch something new at the beginning of next year. While fearful, he expressed full trust in God.

End quote.

Sorry, but God doesn't call a pastor away from a flock like this. Chan has emphasized in youth ministry for a long time, and its not of HIM when a senior pastor wants to get out of his comfort zone--he by his own admission, has gotten bored and wants to move on to do something different. Being a pastor, a TRUE pastor IS to lay down your life for Christ Jesus and HIS sheep. Chan thinks it means giving up a house (but not speaking engagements and selling DVD's). And frankly I find it dishonest for him to whine about "stop making about ME" when HE'S the one making about him: his "little" salary, his celebrity, his comfort zone, etc. Then again that's his "gospel"---man-centered, so this is the fruit.

Contrast that to the maturity we see in someone like John MacArthur or Spurgeon, Gill, etc. Here's something interesting MacArthur said:

I am committed with all my heart to the church, and not just THE church in a generic sense, but this one. The average pastor stays in a church three years in America, just long enough to accomplish nothing. It's true. Three years. But I'll tell you one thing you do accomplish, you send a message very loud and clear to your congregation that you didn't make a commitment to that church, then try to convince them that they should for a lifetime. It's a tough sell.

In the eighteenth century in America, for example, seventeen hundreds, eighteenth century, 71 percent of pastors in that century at one church their whole life...71 percent. There was one particular church that was pastored by a father, a son and a grandson for 123 years. They only knew one family...one family. There was another church I read about in the eighteenth century where the pastor died and a young pastor came and married the widow...and so they knew that family and that new man. That was pretty typical. Men spent their entire life in the same church. Four percent of pastors in the eighteenth century had three churches. One was the norm, 71 percent. You gave your life to the church and then you could tell your people to give their life to the church. Pastoring a church wasn't climbing a ladder, it wasn't sort of a road for self-promotion. It was...it was like a marriage. In fact, when a person went to candidate at a church, the minimum stay was three months. You didn't go in there and preach two sugar-stick sermons which were a lot better than you could produce every week, and wow them, you know, with your best shot. You went for three months, maybe six months, maybe even a year. And at the end of that time they determined whether you would come. And then they had what was tantamount to a wedding and you made a commitment, a vow to the church. In today's environment there are lots of divorces. It's very hard if pastors aren't committed to local congregations to expect people to be. In fact, in some cases I think pastors move faster than people do. But this is a day of non-commitment, isn't it? This is a day of "I need my needs met." "I want fulfillment...I want to be happy," etc., etc., so we bounce along thinking we can find a more favorable place. That goes all the way down through our whole culture. Everything we do is that way and the church tends to accommodate that with a very high mobility in the pastorate and a very high mobility in the people. And even more than that, the people are looking for the briefest kind of association with the church. If you can hit me with a Sunday-night service, I'll really be happy, "one hour, I'm in there and out of there and don't mess up a whole day" mentality. And this shows up in the unwillingness of people to join the church.

End quote.


Joh 10:11 "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.
Joh 10:12 "He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
Joh 10:13 "He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.
Joh 10:14 "I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,
Joh 10:15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reconsidering How You See Scrooge

In Defense of Scrooge

By Michael Levin

Excerpts:

Quote:

No doubt Cratchit needs—i.e., wants—more, to support his family and care for Tiny Tim. But Scrooge did not force Cratchit to father children he is having difficulty supporting. If Cratchit had children while suspecting he would be unable to afford them, he, not Scrooge, is responsible for their plight. And if Cratchit didn't know how expensive they would be, why must Scrooge assume the burden of Cratchit's misjudgment?

...As Scrooge observes, he supports those institutions with his taxes. Already forced to help those who can't or won't help themselves, it is not unreasonable for him to balk at volunteering additional funds for their extra comfort.

...The normally taciturn Scrooge lets himself go a bit when Cratchit hints that he would like a paid Christmas holiday. "It's not fair," Scrooge objects, a charge not met by Cratchet's patently irrelevant protest that Christmas comes but once a year. Unfair it is, for Cratchit would doubtless object to a request for a day's uncompensated labor, "and yet," as Scrooge shrewdly points out, "you don't think me ill used when I pay a day's wages for no work."

...The biggest of the Big Lies about Scrooge is the pointlessness of his pursuit of money. "Wealth is of no use to him. He doesn't do any good with it," opines ruddy nephew Fred.

Wrong on both counts. Scrooge apparently lends money, and to discover the good he does one need only inquire of the borrowers. Here is a homeowner with a new roof, and there a merchant able to finance a shipment of tea, bringing profit to himself and happiness to tea drinkers, all thanks to Scrooge.

Dickens doesn't mention Scrooge's satisfied customers, but there must have been plenty of them for Scrooge to have gotten so rich.

Third, most important, and completely overlooked by Ghost and by Dickens, there are hopefuls whose own plans turn on borrowing the money returned to Scrooge from his old accounts. Scrooge can't relend what Caroline and her unnamed husband don't pay up, and he won't make a penny unless he puts the money to use after he gets it back.

The hard case, of course, is a payment due from Bob Cratchit, who needs the money for an emergency operation on Tiny Tim. (Here I depart from the text, but Dickens characters are so familiar to us they can be pressed into unfamiliar roles.) If you think it is heartless of Scrooge to demand payment, think of Sickly Sid, who needs an operation even more urgently than Tim does, and whose father is waiting to finance that operation by borrowing the money Cratchit is expected to pay up.

Is Tim's life more valuable than Sid's just because we've met him? And how do we explain to Sid's father that his son won't be able to have the operation after all, because Scrooge, as Christmas generosity, is allowing Cratchit to reschedule his debt? Scrooge does not circulate money from altruism, to be sure, but his motives, whatever they are, are congruent with the public good.

End quote.

For the entire article go here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

John Newton : Comfort For the Christian In Everything That Comes Our Way

Excerpts from Letters of John Newton

"We are disciples--Jesus is our Master. The world we live in is His school--and every person and event is under His management, designed to forward us in the great lessons which He would have us to learn--such as . . . self-denial, a distrust of creatures, and an absolute dependence upon Himself. In this view, afflictions--are mercies, losses--are gains, hindrances--are helps, and all things, even those which seem most contrary--are working together for our good."

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Sovereignty of God by A.W. Pink

Excerpts: (Arthur Pink, "The Sovereignty of God")

Because God is righteous--His judgments fall upon those who rebel against Him.
Because God is faithful--the solemn threatenings of His Word are fulfilled.
Because God is omnipotent--none can successfully resist Him, still less overthrow His counsel. Because God is omniscient--no problem can master Him and no difficulty baffle His wisdom.

It is just because God is who He is, and what He is--that we are now beholding on earth, the beginning of His out-poured judgments! In view of His inflexible justice and immaculate holiness--we could not expect anything other than what is now spread before our eyes!

Faith endures "as seeing Him who is invisible." (Hebrews 11:27) Faith endures the disappointments, the hardships, and the heart-aches of life--by recognizing that all comes from the hand of Him who is too wise to err--and too loving to be unkind. So long as we are occupied with any other object than God Himself, there will be neither rest for the heart, nor peace for the mind. But when we receive all that enters our lives as from His hand--then, no matter what may be our circumstances or surroundings--whether in a hovel, a prison-dungeon, or a martyr's stake--we shall be enabled to say, "The lines have fallen unto me in pleasant places!" (Psalm 16:6). But that is the language of faith--not of sight or of sense.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

There's No Such Think As A Christian Drunk

I like to keep things very simple. I think Scripture does too. Its clear enough for a baby Christian to understand some things, and deep enough for a mature Christian to continue to be amazed and learn from. Here's the thing: if drunks and liars can't go to heaven, then we cannot think a Christian can be a Christian and a drunk; a Christian and a liar---even if he professes sound doctrine. Years and years of unrepentant sin proves one is lost. It really IS that simple.
1John 1:6 says that if we say we have fellowship with God while we walk in darkness we lie and the truth is not in us.

Drunkeness is a fruit of darkness, the world, those dead and outside of Christ.

1Co 5:11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler--not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you." How much more a "pastor"?

One cannot be a drunk--drinking oneself to Alcoholic Heptitis--and be a Christian, just as one cannot shoot up heroine consistantly and be a Christian. And don't forget, drunks can hide their drinking very well. Just as a false teacher can hide his false teaching or immorality really well....eventually God reveals what was done in darkness, especially done in HIS name while shepherding and teaching His sheep in His name.

If one mourns over his sin and repents, then perhaps its at that time he got saved. Time will reveal if the repentance was real because the fruit that's in keeping with repentance will be evident and be lasting.

1Co 5:11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler--not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you."

1Cor. 11:21 seems to be talking to professing Christians, but which are not, given 1) the context and 2) the rest of 1Cor. letter including the surrounding verses of that chapter and surrounding chapters. The whole letter as well as 2Cor. is a letter of rebuke and a call to examine themselves to see if they are in the faith. Many were causing division from the truth.

1Co 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Eph 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit

Rom 13:12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Rom 13:13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.
Rom 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.


1Pe 4:3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.
1Pe 4:4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you;
1Pe 4:5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
1Pe 4:6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.
1Pe 4:7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

2Co 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test?

**Update**

It seems some who have sought to post comments regarding this article are defenders of Alcoholics Anonymous and/or its thinking in regard to the sin of drunkeness. Because of this, here is some information to show just how UNbiblical AA is and therefore should be avoided totally. True resolution to drunkeness is going to be spiritual because God says its a spiritual issue, therefore Scripture and the Person and work of the Holy Spirit is how HE deals with this as well as other sin issues.

How Alcoholics Anonymous Doctrines Compare with Scripture: http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/aa&bib82.html

Roots of AA http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/bobs11_1.html

More info on AA and also includes “Celebrate Recovery” critique.: http://morebooksandthings.blogspot.com/search?q=AA

Psychologist father and neo-pagan mystic Carl Jung's influence on AA: http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/e-books/ECP-ebk.pdf p. 161-162, "The End of 'Christian Psychology'"

AA changed U.S. view of God, say emergents:
http://mywordlikefire.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/aa-changed-u-s-view-of-god-say-emergents/

12 Steps: http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/12steps1.html & http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/12steps2.html