Tuesday, April 24, 2007

are we indispensable?

this past weekend, i accepted a call as the pastor of a church just north of louisville. for the last several days i have been thinking and planning for the coming work at our new church home.
as the accompanying ambition that come with such thoughts began to grow, i came across this quote:

...the christian must never for one moment imagine himself to be
indispensable to god, or allow himself to behave as if he were.
the god who sent him, and is pleased to work with him, can
do without him
.-j.i. packer

to follow that quote with another,
" ...for the sake of the world, i thank the lord that
the truth's not contingent on me."

- derek webb, "the truth"

praise be to our god, who is self-sustaining and self-sufficient. how mysteriously wonderful that he chooses to use broken vessels to further his kingdom.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

worship at the american altar of safety

safety is an illusion.

we get glimpses of that truth every so often. pearl harbor, the oklahoma city bombings, columbine and other high school shootings, sept. 11, 2001, and most recently the events at virginia tech.

there are moments in time when our nation collectively feels vulnerable and exposed. but days, weeks, then months roll by and we regain our swagger. oh we will look back and commemorate on anniversary dates, but we march forward making new laws and regulations, tightening security and enforcing stricter policies.

its the american way. pull yourself up your bootstraps. get up off the mat. learn, adapt, and prevent.

until next time when the gossamer curtain we pretend is a steel wall is ripped down and we find ourselves exposed, vulnerable, and terrified.

why do we put so much trust in this invisible security blanket called "america"? is it because we think we are untouchable? after all, we have always bounced back.

unfortunately, the history of the world is full of civilizations that rose to great power, lasting much longer than our young nation and spreading much further. but where are they now?
if history has shown us anything, no nation has lasted forever. they eventually fail and they fall.

what would happen to our joy if america failed? if in our lifetime the government collapsed (no... i mean really collapsed)?
how would we live our lives if we were not guaranteed any service, provisions, or protection from any local, state, or federal entities because there are none?

what would happen to our faith if our churches were firebombed, our meetings interrupted by gunmen, and our fellow believers were kidnapped out of their homes and beaten, maimed, or beheaded?

what would our faith look like if abortion happened all around us, adultery and homosexuality were the majority and there were either no government at all to change it, or those in power endorsed it?

what if sharing the gospel put you in prison or got you killed?

what would it be like to be a christian in those circumstances?

we could ask our christian brothers and sisters in china, uzbekistan, iran, yemen, and a host of other countries.

from a voice of the martyrs site:
Around the world today Christians are being persecuted for their faith.
More than 70 million Christians have been martyred for their faith
since 33 AD.
This year an estimated 160,000 believers will die at the hands of their
oppressors and over 200 million will be persecuted, arrested, tortured,
beaten or jailed. In many nations it is illegal to own a Bible, share your faith,
change your faith or allow children under 18 to attend a religious service.
Nations where Christians are frequently persecuted include…
Cyprus , Maldives , Sri Lanka , Algeria , Egypt , Mauritania , Sudan
Azerbaijan , Equatorial Guinea, Morocco , Syria , Bangladesh , Ethiopia
Myanmar (Burma) , Tajikistan , Bhutan, India, Nepal ,Tibet (China) ,

Brunei ,Indonesia ,Nigeria ,Tunisia ,Chechnya, Iran , North Korea
Turkey , Chiapas , Iraq ,Oman , Turkmenistan , China ,Kuwait
Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Colombia, Laos Qatar, Uzbekistan
Comoro Islands, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Cuba, Malaysia,

Somalia and Yemen
For more information on these countries and persecution
worldwide, sign on at

we must be on guard to flee from the idolatry of safety and freedom. god does not love american christians more than christians who live in these other countries. the national language of heaven will not be english. not all christians in the world bathe every day. not all christians in the world eat every day.
we do not have a *right* as christians, to a house, a warm bed, indoor plumbing, clean water, or transportation.
we do not have a *right* to live in neighborhoods where our children will be "safe".

we have no "rights". we live in a country that extends privileges to us, but ultimately, they are no more than that.

if it all were taken away, would the way we cling to christ be an infinitely tighter grip than we now know?

is that o.k.?

god help me for trusting in a false security more than the provisions of christ.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

change of plans...

after i posted yesterday, i saw where there are a few other people posting about derek webb and his music around the blogosphere, so i will hold off for awhile.

i will recommend his music to you, though.

if you only buy one album of his, track down his live recording, "the house show". this is an album of derek while he was on tour playing in peoples living rooms with no sound systems. there was a lot of dialogue and teaching times and the album is a good mix of music with brief commentaries between songs. this is an excellent introduction to derek and his music.

then you should follow that album up with his album about the church, "she must and shall go free."

maybe one day we will make it back to this topic.

for now, spend the time you would have been reading a longer post praying for the people of the virginia tech community. not only the victims family and friends, but for the family of the shooter as well. also pray for the believers in that community that the lord would give them much grace, wisdom, and discernment as they minister to the hurting people around them.
above all, lets pray that the lord will receive glory and honor out of this situation. we may not know how that will happen, but if we believe scripture, we believe he is worthy at all times.

Monday, April 16, 2007

i repent...

i am in seminary preparing to be a pastor in part, because the lord used a friendship with derek webb to open my eyes to the richness of scripture and the beauty of its truth.

derek webb is a singer/songwriter who is drawing many comparisons, from christian and secular media alike, to bob dylan and other folk singers of past generations who became “spokespersons” for and against ideas and concepts of their time. formerly a lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter for the band “caedmon’s call”, derek launched a solo career in 2003 and has released four albums to date, with another coming in may of this year.

i first met derek after a caedmon’s call concert in 2000. we spent about thirty minutes talking about various topics ranging from music, haunted schools in memphis, growing up in tennessee, and other random things.

after that meeting, we were able to talk a few more times over the years. he was always gracious even remembering my name each time we met.

through conversations with derek and through his music, other writings, and various media related to him, the lord brought to me to a place of intense self – examination which led to a fierce desire growing inside of me to study the bible, doctrine, and church history.

this time of my life also coincided with my brief stint in music as a profession, (recounted here)and i was able to be the opening act for derek a couple of times. backstage we picked up where we had left off on some old conversations.

i hang on to those memories because they are reminders to me of how the lord worked in such odd circumstances with results that changing my life. if i had been told earlier in life that i would be a pastor, i would have never guessed it would by way of being a musician and the opportunities and encounters that would come with that.

i say all of that to preface my next several posts. i will be taking some of derek’s songs, both older and more recent, and exploring the lyrics. i want to make the disclaimer that i do not, myself, nor do i recommend that anyone get their religious beliefs from fallible people or their music. but i do believe that music can open our eyes to concepts and ideas that in turn push us to find out “if these things be so”.

like the bereans in acts 17, derek’s words have pushed me to scripture over and over again. a lot of the time i have come away agreeing with the message of his music. there are some ideas that i either do not agree with, am not in complete agreement with, or am still sorting out what i think, but i will focus on a handful of the many songs derek has written that have forced me to scripture, and proved themselves trustworthy.

the first song i want to share is called “i repent” from the album i see things upside down.

i repent, i repent of my pursuit of america's dream
i repent, i repent of living like i deserve anything
of my house, my fence, my kids, my wife
in our suburb where we're safe and white

i am wrong and of these things i repent

i repent, i repent of parading my liberty
i repent. i repent of paying for what i get for free
and for the way i believe that i am living right
by trading sins for others that are easier to hide
i am wrong and of these things i repent

i repent judging by a law that even i can't keep
of wearing righteousness like a disguise
to see through the planks in my own eyes

i repent, i repent of trading truth for false unity
i repent, i repent of confusing peace and idolatry
by caring more of what they think than what i
know of what we need
by domesticating you until you look just like me

i am wrong and of these things i repent.

this song can easily move me to tears. it is so true of my own life. confusing what i have with what i deserve. patriotism with christian faithfulness. knowledge of my liberties with prestige. trying so hard to earn god's favor despite saying i know it is only by grace through faith in christ.
having small sins that no one sees and thinking i am better than those whose sins are more public. by making god in my own image so i can rationalize my actions and live a "safer" life.
of keeping silent when the truth is betrayed just to keep the peace and perhaps gain a bit of realestate in society. of caring more of what people think about me than about the eternal state of their soul.

our actions betray what we really think, more than what we say we believe.
how often do we repent of what is in our hearts. the pride, the arrogance, the intentional ignorance, the tendancy of self-preservation at the expense of the glory of christ.

we are too often lacking in self-examinanation and more so in acknowledging sin in our lives and saying " i am wrong and of these things i repent"

Saturday, April 14, 2007

jesus' top priority

i was reading a rather interesting article here that sparked all kinds of thoughts. but what really grabbed my attention was a survey on the sidebar. the question it asked was:

If Jesus lived today, what do you think would be his top priority?
Abortion, Homosexuality, Poverty, Global warming, or AIDS?

aside from the fundamental flaw in the question (jesus is alive), i was intrigued.

im not sure what i think about this question.

when jesus was physically on earth, he did heal people. it isn't obvious that he favored some illness' over others though.

there were crimes against humanity. the event of his own birth resulted in infanticide. but jesus did not make this the focus of his ministry.

we know that there was perverse sexuality, adultery, fornication, and homosexuality from the gospels, acts, and the writings of paul. he did speak against sexual sin, but did not base his ministry on them.

there was most definitely poverty. yet we see no instances of jesus upgrading the social or economic status of the poor. he definitely confronted those who had plenty and told them to meet the needs of those around him.
(it is interesting to note that he did not place this burden on the shoulders or at the feet of the government...)
but again, correcting the socio-economics of his day and time were not his priority.

global warming... well... jesus' divinity aside, al gore hadn't been born yet to invent the internet or to inform us of the impending doom, so we'll call it a "non-issue".

though thats not to say that jesus was not concerned for the creation and environment around him. the sermon on the mount shows that he alluded to the beauty of creation. yet, it was not the focus of his message.

notice that i am not saying that jesus was not and is not concerned about these things, but that he did not make them the focus of his ministry insofar as they were the bulk of the content of what he taught.

the content of his message was/is the glory of god, the coming of his kingdom, and doing his father's will.
involved in those things were the meeting of the needs of the sick, the poor and the needy. he also confronted sin. so we cannot say that jesus was not concerned with these things.

but his ultimate message was one of the good news, the he came to live and die in obedience to his father who sent him to be the sacrifice for sin.

so what about today. what if jesus' earthly ministry took place in 2007. what would be his"top priority"?

i would say it would be the same as it was 2,000 years ago. to proclaim the glory of god, his kingdom and to be in obedience to god. would he heal the sick? yes. would he feed the hungry? sure. would he confront those with plenty to share and care for those with needs around them. i suspect that he would.

but, as before, he would not establish an earthly kingdom. he would not be republican and he would not be a democrat. he would promote the kingdom of his father, and its values. what are those values, one may ask?

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

if we follow these two commands, we will act and react to the needs of those around us. but we will never elevate the physical and temporal needs of the world around us to be more important than the spiritual and eternal.

lest i be misunderstood, i do not think jesus meant that we deny a starving man food until we have given a full gospel presentation. nor should we put off any research into curing aids until we have given a tract to those dying from it.

but there is no salvation or justification in meeting physical needs. there are people who have, are, and will spend there entire lives giving to the poor, helping the sick, and feeding the hungry who will do so at the neglect of the souls that are dying despite the health of the body.

we can always do a better job to reach out to the needy around us. until christ comes, we will never arrive to the point where we have done "enough" to help our fellow man.
we often forget that compared with the rest of the world, even the lower middle class in our society would be esteemed as rich beyond measure by much of our world. we could all do without more in order to give to those with need.

but we should never ease our consciences or appease our hearts that rightfully grieve at the suffering of others in a way that does not address the soul when given an opportunity.

it is relatively easy to sponsor a compassion international child (which my wife and i, along with our sunday school class do and i encourage you to consider here), or give money to charity. it is not uncommon to go on mission trips to help build or repair homes. these are good things, and we can always do more.

but how difficult do we find it to share the gospel with those we are helping?

maybe a better question is, "how difficult is it to share the gospel with our co-worker who has a nice house, a nice car, nice clothes and a good family?"

who is more needy? is that even a relevant question?

any who are not in christ are needy. whether we give them water when they are thirsty, clothe them when they are naked, help them when they are sick, whether they be rich or poor, if we deprive them of the gospel, we deprive them of life.

Friday, April 13, 2007

a bit of spring cleaning

just a quick post to point out that i have been trying to make the site a bit more user friendly.
i have categorized all of the posts from the past (almost 2 years!) so that they can be found by topic, date, or title. hopefully this will make it easier for newer visitors to find older topics. i am also trying to regularly update the "currently reading" and "listening to" links.

i will be updating some of the links on the sidebar as well.

enjoy your weekend.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

a response to a member of the church for men

my last post started a discussion in the comments that i wanted to bring out in the open. i think the discussion is healthy and did not want it to get lost.
here are the two comments.

I understand your sentiment about the shot clocks
and about the "drive through" church. but what if
someone were to come here that normally wouldn't
come to a "normal" church like you and i attend. what
if they came and were so intrigued that they began to
change their life and began to worship God in the way
that He wants us to and then joined in fellowship with a
"real" church? there could be some validity in this process.
just a thought.


... Amen, that is exactly what is happening at Church for Men.
I am one of the organizers. Men are coming who have not been
to church in 9 to 11 years. They are not only finding Godly men
and encouragement. They are finding home churches.
-Mike Ellis, Church for Men Florida

first i want to say that i am glad to have an organizer of this group to comment. i do not want to misrepresent them or what they are trying to do. upon reading the initial news report i was unable to find a website. today i realized i had been putting in the wrong name. i was entering "men's church" instead of "church for men".

here is their website if you would like to look around.

the website addresses a concern that i myself have had for quite awhile. the content of much of the modern "praise and worship" movement filled with language of a dating relationship that if a non-believer were to walk in, it would be unclear if we were singing about god or our boyfriend/girlfriend. this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

so with the "church for men" i can stand in agreement with this.

i also think it is a valid concern that so many men who call themselves believers do not attend church with their families. again, i can stand with the "church for men" on this.

the website poses these "big questions"

• What is it about modern Christianity that
is driving men away?

• Jesus was a magnet to men, but our churches
repel them. What’s changed?

• Why do rival faiths inspire male allegiance,
while ours breeds male indifference?

• What can we do about it?

any search through this blog will find that i have been asking similar questions for quite awhile.
why is that that our church roles are three times larger than the actual attendance? why is it that those who call themselves believers or identify themselves as christians don't live like it?
what does the church need to teach and do to hold its members accountable?

all of this to say that my concern with "the church for men" is less with the questions that they are asking, but more with the solutions being provided.

as stated in the news article, the church for men says that men aren't going to church because they are "bored stiff"

“god, I would have gone to church more if it wasn’t so boring!”

is this a valid excuse?

our first question must be, why go to church?

it is for the worship of god that we go to church. a quick search through the new testament, especially the pastoral epistles, finds that the emphasis is placed on teaching / instruction / preaching. this does not mean that there is nothing else involved. there is prayer, singing, taking of an offering, discipline, taking of the lord’s supper, and other aspects to new testament worship. but the new testament is clear that it is the teaching of the scriptures that holds prominence, and everything that is done when a church meets is ultimately done for god.

if we have to be coddled and convinced and accommodated before we go even once a month, are we even going for the right reasons?

men are supposed to be the spiritual leaders of their family. what kind of leadership is it that goes to church by itself once a month to a church that does things his way?

rather than catering to men who find church “boring” or an inconvenience,
perhaps we should care less about making church “attractive” and care more about
the condition of the soul’s of those who call themselves believers, yet need specialized and customized services to come.

with this in mind, i also note that there is no precedent for men separating themselves from women to worship. quite the contrary, it is obvious that men and women worshipped together.(gal. 3:28) to meet together exclusively based on sex is to divide the body.

all of this is not to say that we make no effort in our churches to worship and present the scriptures in a way that engages its hearers, but we must be careful not to sacrifice the integrity of the message for the way that is is delivered. where is the line between "entertaining the worshippers" and doing what we do to honor god? i am all for planning our church services in a way that engages those in attendance. i do not think that "the more boring, dry, and old ways of doing things the better."

there are obviously different ways to “do” church. some may meet at a large and ornate building and have a pastor in a suit and tie behind a pulpit and have an organ accompanying their music. others may meet in a building that is more modern, like a theatre, or maybe even a “warehouse” look and have a pastor in a golf shirt and khaki pants sitting on a stool with a band. some churches in other countries meet in a grass hut and sing with just percussion and listen to preaching from a preacher dressed in native clothes, just like the poorest of their congregations.

there are many great churches with pastors that i greatly respect who fit anywhere in the spectrum of these churches. i do not think one has to attend a specific type of building, dress a certain way, or have music in a certain style in order to be a real church. but what is the *reason* why we do these things the way we do?

the church, we often forget, is (biblically) made up of believers. the gathering of the saints is for worship by believers. however, in our pragmatic society, we have gotten things backwards. our church services have gone from the biblical model of the gathering of believers to worship and hear the word of god in order that they be taught, reproved, corrected, and trained in righteousness ( just read paul's instructions to timothy and titus), to focusing on getting the lost into our churches and doing whatever it takes to keep them there with the hope that they will be converted.

this is a concern that does need to be addressed. of course a church should welcome all who want to come, but the church is made up of believers! the church is to train the believers who come in all matters of the faith, including evangelism, so that as these members go out to work, school, and the community, they are witnessing and sharing the gospel.

the church in the new testament was not an evangelistic gathering. it was a gathering of believers.

we spread the gospel as believers in hopes that the lord will change their hearts and they will repent and believe! then as believers, they join the church to be trained and equipped, admonished, corrected and instructed, so that they too can go out and fulfill the great commission.

obviously this does not mean that within church services we act as if there are no unbelievers present. of course there will be, and they are always welcome! but the point is, if we spend all of our energies and efforts making our services evangelistic, we are neglecting the believers in attendance who have come needing to be matured beyond the basic matters of the faith. (heb. 5:11-13)

now, what of non-believers? in no way to i want to convey any ounce of anti-evangelism. far from it, as believers we are called, commanded to evangelize! and so by all means, i hope and pray that churches teach their members to share the gospel with those they come into contact with. we, as believers, should all be actively involved in evangelism. a healthy church is one that teaches its members to evangelize and whose members do evangelize.

what i am saying is, a church that focuses, develops, and directs its corporate worship to a gathering of non-believers is neglecting the people the church exists to benefit.

i am all for organizations making an effort to evangelize and spread the gospel to non-believers. there are many groups that do this. i have been involved with several. b.s.u./b.c.m., campus crusade, intravarsity, young life, billy graham crusades, youth evangelism conferences, etc. these are good organizations that seek out non believers to come and be the bulk of their participants so that they might hear the gospel.

but they are not churches.

a healthy church is a church that does everything in a way that honors god. in this there is room for diversity in methods, so long as it does not contradict the word of god, or turn the worship of god into a trivial matter. it will also help its members grow on into maturity and be there to instruct, correct, encourage, and minister to its members as they grow.

one final thing.

mr. ellis responds saying that many from the “church for men” are "finding church homes." if this means that they leave the "church for men" to go somewhere else, my simple question is this. where do you find an example from scripture of a church encouraging its members to go worship somewhere else? (outside of church planting) what is it at "the church for men" that is lacking that men must move on somewhere else once they reach a certain point of maturity? is this not an admission that rather than being everything that men need in a church, it is actually missing what a growing christian man needs?

if this means that they find a church home at "the church for men", what about their families?
the church's members are diverse and have diverse needs. to organize and plan church services to meet the needs of just one demographic is selfish at best, and harmful at worst.

i agree with the "church for men" that they way church is often "done" leaves a lot to be desired. but i do not believe that the answer is to custom make services for every demographic that feels slighted. (1 cor. 9:1-27)

the unifying purpose of the church is the glory of god, and that is something all christians have in common. there is something to be said for "dying to self", even in the context of how we order our worship services.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

"would you like fries with your worship?

from fox news

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — No hymnals. No pews. No steeple.
No stained glass windows. And no women.

This ain't your grandma's church.

Organizers of the Church For Men say that guys
are "bored stiff"in many churches today.
The Church For Men meets one Saturday
evening a month, drawing about 70 guys dressed
in everything but straight-laced shirts and neckties.

The service features a rock band, a shot clock
to time the preacher's message and a one-hour in-and-out

The church is part of a national movement to reverse what many
Christian pastors and ministers are calling a troubling trend.

Studies show that men are less likely than women to show up
on Sunday mornings, and the reaction has been an emerging
testosterone theology of sorts. Churches nationwide are now
reaching out to men

i dont even know where to start...

shot clocks to time the preacher... one hour guarantees because men are "bored stiff" in church.

to think that there are people in the who risk physical beatings, torture, and even death to worship god, it makes me ashamed that because we are so inconvenienced by church we put in what amounts to a "drive through." so we arent bored by the gospel of our god.

its too bad he isnt more interesting.

may god deliver us from self... soon...

Friday, April 06, 2007

out of the grip of death

i received my bachelor's degree in music. i also have a philosophy minor, and now i am in the school of theology in seminary preparing to be a pastor. but still, music holds a special place in my heart.

over my years of study in music (which is more than most) i performed hundreds of pieces of music as a soloist, member of several ensembles, and with opera companies and combined orchestras and choirs.

one of my favorites is the brahms requiem. it is by far one of the most beautiful pieces of music i have ever performed. we performed it in 1999, about two weeks after the columbine shootings. i remember singing the sixth movement and being blown away, almost unable to sing from choking back tears as we sang:

Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting?
O grave, where is thy victory?

(text from1 Corinthians 15 )

just thinking about the victory over death that believers can take comfort in gave me chills as we sang that text over such beautiful music that was so powerful and deliberate...defiant music.
i remember feeling like i was staring satan in the face with my eyes squinted, shaking my fist in his face!

how did we get this boldness, the comfort, this confidence?

as andrew peterson put it so powerfully in his song "high noon":

And the demons, they danced in the darkness
When that last ragged breath left his lungs
And they reveled and howled at the war
that they thought they had won

But then, in the dark of the grave
The stone rolled away
In the still of the dawn on the greatest of days

High noon in the valley of the shadow
When the shadows were shot through with light
When Jesus took in that breath
And shattered all death with his life

Be gone, you wages of sin
Go on, don't you come back again

I've been raised and redeemed
You've lost all your sting...

Let the people rejoice Let the heavens resound
Let the name of Jesus, who sought us and freed us
forever ring out

All praise to the fighter of the night who rides on the light
Whose gun is the grace of the God of the sky!

...in the valley of the shadow
When the shadows were shot through with light
When the mouth of the tomb shouted,
"Glory, the Groom is alive"
Be gone, you wages of sin
Go on, don't you come back again
I've been raised and redeemed, all praise to the king
The victor of the battle...


can you feel that? "when jesus took in that breath and shattered all death with his life"

there was a cold, dead, lifeless body on a slab of stone from friday until sunday.

and then it breathed! jesus took in a big breath and defeated the sting of death!

"the mouth of the tomb shouted glory, the groom is alive!!!!"

can't you just picture satan and his angels... standing with mouths open... thinking that they had won, celebrating! when all at once jesus stands up and walks out of the tomb and ruins their party!

i have talked a lot the past week about the death of christ. why he died. what he accomplished when he died. and those things are so very important. we often neglect *why* they are important.

but how glorious that it does not end with death, but jesus christ who died in our place overcame the power of death and walked out of that grave victorious! the father's wrath against the sins that killed his son was fully exhausted, totally satisfied.

and jesus rose from the grave.

may you have a blessed weekend where you think often about our risen lord and savior, who lives and reigns yesterday, today, and forever.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"saved from what?"

there was a good, and helpful, exchange in the comments from yesterdays post that i encourage you to read in full.

in my response to "anonymous", i realized that i need to articulate more clearly "why" we need saving.

r.c. sproul speaks of having someone approach him years ago and ask "are you saved", and in his confusion, he asked "saved from what??" (see his book by the same name)

this is what we need to make clear.

with that in mind, i will put here an excerpt from my response to the previous post. i am glad to have dialogue and hope to have more.

[christ] came as a “propitiation”. [see romans 3:25; hebrews 2:17; 1 john 2:2; 1 john 4:10]

that word means “an appeasement of wrath”. i don’t know how to
get around that. scripture is clear that christ came to die so that the
wrath of god would be satisfied. instead of that wrath coming against
sinner’s, it is placed on christ in their place. god doesn’t “calm down”
or get less angry towards sin. the bible is clear that his wrath is poured
out against sin.…

all men are “by nature objects of wrath” and to deny that god punishes men
for sins and ours out his wrath on sinners is to either deny or ignore a large
part of scripture.

The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes;You [God] hate all
who do iniquity (psalm 5:5)

The LORD tests the righteous,but
his [God’s] soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Let him rain coals on the wicked;fire and sulfur and a scorching
wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the LORD is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;the upright shall behold his face.
(psalm 11:5-7)

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness
and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
(rom. 1:18)

But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up
wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment
of God, (romans 2:5)

but to those [people] who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth,
but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation
and distress for every soul of man who does evil… (rom. 2:8,9)

But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God,
what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous,
is He? (I am speaking in human terms.) (rom. 3:5)

Much more then, having now been justified by His
blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.(rom. 5:9)

Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging
the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of
wrath, even as the rest (eph. 2:3)

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality,
impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is
because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of
disobedience (col. 3:5,6).

these few verses, not to mention many other speak to the wrath of god against *sinners*, not simply “sins”. “sins” do not go to hell, people do.

the bible is clear. the wrath of god is poured out on those who have not had that wrath satisfied by the sacrificial, substitutionary death of Christ.

i do not disagree that god loves his children. why would i? the scriptures are clear! god is love! but they are also clear that he is just and gracious and merciful. how can he be merciful and gracious if there is no pending punishment? we can’t be saved from something we were never in danger of!

…the bible is very clear. jesus himself is very clear. there are those people who will not come to Christ, and they will go to hell. why do they go to hell? because they deserve the wrath of god due to their sins not having been atoned for.
this does not mean god is mean or cruel. it means that he is just.

"the wages of sin is death." (rom. 6:23)

what is a wage? it is something that is earned.

what all people earn by sinning is death.

all have sinned,(rom. 3:23) so all have earned death.

the only hope of escaping this death is faith in christ.

if there is no faith in Christ, then sinners get what they have earned and what they deserve.

imagine if a judge in your city had on trial a known child molester who had been caught in the act and was known to be guilty. now imagine that the judge not only did not send him to jail, but he set him free.
“you are free to go, because I want to be known as loving!”

that judge would be off the bench as fast as possible and people would be outraged!

so it is with the justice of god.

he *is* loving. he *is* gracious. he *is* merciful.

and he *is* just.

this is why missions and evangelism is so important! we are to spread the good news to all so that they might be saved! it is the free offer of the gospel to all men! and that is another aspect of the love of god, that he sent his son so that whoever believes will be saved! praise god!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

your gospel, "reverend" is no gospel at all

there are many who pass themselves off as christians who are not. you cannot be a christian and deny the gospel.

someone should tell jeffrey john.

mr. john ( i will not call him "reverend") has prepared a message that will be aired this easter week on the b.b.c. in it he denies the very gospel that christians are to proclaim.

an excerpt from an article in the british newspaper "the telegraph":

In a BBC Radio 4 show, Mr John, who is now Dean of
St Albans, urges a revision of the traditional explanation,
known as "penal substitution".Christian theology has taught
that because humans have sinned, God sent Christ
as a substitute to suffer and die in our place.

"In other words, Jesus took the rap and we got forgiven as
long as we said we believed in him," says Mr John. "This is
repulsive as well as nonsensical. It makes God sound like a
psychopath. If a human behaved like this we'd say
that they were a monster."

Mr John argues that too many Christians go
through their lives failing to realise that God is
about "love and truth", not "wrath and punishment".
He offers an alternative interpretation,
suggesting that Christ was crucified so he could
"share in the worst of grief and suffering that life can
throw at us".

mr. john's message has stripped the gospel of its meaning. if christ's death did not appease the wrath of god against sinners who have placed their faith in his sacrifice, then there is no justification and no forgiveness of sin.

i wonder what mr. john does with passages such as:

Isaiah 53:6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned
to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all.

John 1:29
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

Romans 3:25 God presented Him [Jesus] as a sacrifice of
, through faith in His blood.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 Corinthians 15:3 Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made Him [Jesus] who had no sin
to be sin for us,
so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

Hebrews 2:17 For this reason He [Jesus] had to be made like His
brothers in every way, in order that He might become a merciful
and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make
atonement for the sins of the people.

Hebrews 9:28 Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins
of many people;
and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin,
but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.

1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree,
so that we might die to sins
and live for righteousness; by His
wounds you have been healed.

1 John 2:1-2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you
will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to
the Father in our defense Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours
but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that
He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

(all italics mine)

we must not remain silent when "teachers" do violence to scripture in order to rearrange the character of god that is more to their liking.

yes, the bible speaks of the love of god, as it does his patience, his grace, his mercy, his majesty, his holiness... and his wrath. it is careless and awful to pit one of god's characteristics against another in a way that neuters him.

perfect love hates anything that does harm or injury to the object of that love. if you love your child, then you hate pornography, molestation, rape, murder, and a host of other things. this does not discount your love for your child. your hatred towards those things demonstrate your love for your child. your love would be no love at all if you were indifferent or casual about those things.

we have got to get over ourselves and our politically correct warm fuzzy jesus culture that looks less like christianity and more like the oparah winfrey show.

yes jesus loves his children, and yes he hates their sin. the wrath of god will be poured out on all sin that is not paid for by the death of christ.

god forbid that we deny the truth of the gospel, the work of our lord.

this is why we must *demand* solid preaching in our churches.

doctrine is not boring... it saves us from hell! demand that your church hold christ centered, theologically sound preaching! if our pastors do not equip their congregations with the truth, how will the respond when they hear or read false teaching from a smooth talking, mind wowing author who teaches heresey?

in paul's letter to timothy, he urges him to be prepared for and to combat this possibility with these words. we would do well to ensure we heed them in our churches.

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and
His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;
but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for
themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,
and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths

(1 tim. 4:1- 4)