In this new piece over at Apprising Ministries I walk you through an example of why this is so. I also offer that Christians need to begin serious discussions concerning when to separate from people spreading apostasy.
Even more, he’s simply a false teacher whose views are both outside Calvinism and outside Christian theology. Indeed, I would challenge anyone familiar with the History of Christian theology to classify him as anything other than a Montanist.
I encourage you to read Throckmorton’s essay. Or rather, expose.
Churches that take the Lord’s instruction in Ephesians 4 seriously will be the ones marching in the direction of maturity (Ephesians 4:13). Those who do not, will find themselves drowning in a sea of immaturity (4:14). These are the two options Paul lays before his readers. The first option finds the local church being equipped by the teaching of the Word and in turn building up the body of Christ. Such churches will be marked by four things.
First, unity: “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith.” Throughout the epistles the term “the faith” does not refer to subjective faith (e.g. “I believe; I have faith in God”) but to objective truth. “The faith” is a phrase synonymous with sound doctrine, or the body of truth as taught in the Bible. True unity is grounded in correct theology.
A certain pastor, in writing a critique of my ministry, said that he “leaned toward unity but you lean toward purity.” That may be a true evaluation, but I do not believe there is unity without purity. An attempt at unity without doctrinal purity is merely uniformity. Many today are willing to lay down their conviction of Scriptural truth in order to get along. Organizations are built under the umbrella of minimal beliefs but at the cost of great compromise, which leads to the doctrinal impurity of the church. While not all doctrinal beliefs are essential to the faith, and some are not hills worth dying on, I am amazed at what many are willing to jettison in order to embrace some form of outward unity. Paul, however, calls for a unity that is wrapped around the cardinal truths of the faith. Read more about Building Up the Body: Four Marks of Maturing Churches
Sadly and ironically, in its attempt to achieve cultural relevance, mainstream evangelicalism has become essentially irrelevant. As Os Guiness points out, [Os Guiness, Dining with the Devil (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1993), pp. 64–67] the seductive promise of “relevance” is, in reality, the road to irrelevance. When the church markets itself like the world, the distinctiveness of its message is lost and the gospel is irretrievably compromised. The entertainment value may be high, attracting throngs each week; but the eternal value is conspicuously absent, as those same people go home unchallenged and unchanged.
Besides, the quest for cultural relevance is contrary to everything Scripture teaches about church ministry. Preachers are called to preach the Word of God, unfiltered by notions of political correctness, undiluted by the preacher’s own ideas, and unadapted to the spirit of the age.
That is how I have approached ministry from the beginning. My father was a pastor, and when I first told him years ago that I believed God was calling me to a life of ministry, he gave me a Bible in which he had inscribed these words of encouragement: “Preach the Word!” That simple statement became the compelling stimulus in my heart. It is the one thing I have endeavored to do above all else in my ministry: preach the Word.
Pastors today face relentless pressure to do everything but preach the Word. They are encouraged to be storytellers, comedians, psychologists, or motivational speakers. They are warned to steer clear of topics that people find unpleasant. Many have given up biblical preaching in favor of shallow talks designed to make people feel good. Some have even replaced preaching with drama and other forms of staged entertainment.
But the pastor whose passion is biblical has only one option: “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2).
When Paul wrote those words to Timothy, he added this prophetic warning: “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” (vv. 3-4).
Clearly there was no room in Paul’s philosophy of ministry for the give-people-what-they-want theory that is so prevalent today. He was no “man pleaser” (Galatians 1:10; Ephesians 6:6). He did not urge Timothy to conduct a survey to find out what his people wanted. He commanded him to preach the Word—faithfully, reprovingly, and patiently.
In fact, far from urging Timothy to devise a ministry that would garner accolades from the world, Paul warned the young pastor about suffering and hardship! Paul was not telling Timothy how to be “successful”; he was encouraging him to follow the divine standard. He was not advising him to pursue prosperity, power, prominence, popularity, or any of the other worldly notions of success. He was urging the young pastor to be biblical—regardless of the consequences.
Preaching the Word is not easy. The stringent discipline required to interpret Scripture accurately is a constant burden, and the message we are required to proclaim is often offensive. Christ Himself is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense (Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:8). The message of the cross is a stumbling block to some (1 Corinthians 1:23; Galatians 5:11) and mere foolishness to others (1 Corinthians 1:23).
But we are never permitted to trim the message or tailor it to people’s preferences. Paul made this clear to Timothy at the end of chapter 3: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16, emphasis added). This is the Word to be preached: the whole counsel of God (cf. Acts 20:27).
In chapter 1 Paul had told Timothy, “Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me” (v. 13). He was speaking of the revealed words of Scripture—all of it. He urged Timothy to “Guard . . . the treasure which has been entrusted to you” (v. 14). Then in chapter 2 he told him to study the Word and handle it accurately (2:15). He then brings the epistle to its summit by urging him to proclaim God’s Word no matter what. So the entire task of the faithful minister revolves around the Word of God—guarding it, studying it, and proclaiming it.
In Colossians 1 the apostle Paul, describing his own ministry philosophy, writes, “Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God” (v. 25, emphasis added). In 1 Corinthians he goes a step further: “When I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2). In other words, his goal as a preacher was not to entertain people with his rhetorical style, or to amuse them with cleverness, humor, novel insights, or sophisticated methodology. He simply preached Christ crucified.
Faithfully preaching and teaching the Word must be the very heart of our ministry philosophy. Any other approach replaces the voice of God with human wisdom. Philosophy, politics, humor, psychology, homespun advice, and personal opinion can never accomplish what the Word of God does. Those things may be interesting, informative, entertaining, and sometimes even helpful—but they are not the business of the church. The preacher’s task is not to be a conduit for human wisdom; he is God’s voice to speak to the congregation. No human message comes with the stamp of divine authority—only the Word of God. How dare any preacher substitute another message?
I frankly do not understand preachers who are willing to abdicate this solemn privilege. Why should we proclaim the wisdom of men when we have the privilege of preaching the Word of God?
With that in mind, over the next few days and weeks I want to give you ten reasons I’m still preaching the Bible after forty-five years of pulpit ministry. This is not an exhaustive list, but I trust it will encourage you to be faithful to proclaim the Word of God to the people of God through the power of the Spirit of God.
(Adapted from The Master’s Plan for the Church.)
Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B140107 COPYRIGHT ©2014 Grace to You
Logos is the Greek term translated as “word,” “speech,” “principle,” or “thought.” In Greek philosophy, it also referred to a universal, divine reason or the mind of God.
In the New Testament, the Gospel of John begins, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1–4). Here it is clear that the “Word” or Logos is a reference to Jesus Christ.
John argues that Jesus, the Word or Logos, is eternal and is God. Further, all creation came about by and through Jesus, who is presented as the source of life. Amazingly, this Logos came and lived among us: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
John’s Gospel begins by using the Greek idea of a “divine reason” or “the mind of God” as a way to connect with the readers of his day and introduce Jesus to them as God. Greek philosophy may have used the word in reference to divine reason, but John used it to note many of the attributes of Jesus. In John’s use of the Logos concept, we find that
-Jesus is eternal (“In the beginning was the Word”)
-Jesus was with God prior to coming to earth (“the Word was with God”)
-Jesus is God (“the Word was God.”)
-Jesus is Creator (“All things were made through him”)
-Jesus is the Giver of Life (“In him was life”)
-Jesus became human to live among us (“the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”)
Further, the opening of John’s Gospel carries a striking resemblance to Genesis 1:1.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him …” (John 1:1).
(The corresponding theme of “light” is also used in both Genesis 1 and John 1.)
Logos is used in many ways, yet in John’s Gospel Logos is a clear reference to Jesus, the God who both created us and lived among us. Logos became a theological term important to Christians in the early church and remains a concept of significant influence today.
Heaven is most certainly a real place. The Bible very definitely speaks of heaven’s existence—and access to heaven through faith in Jesus Christ—but there are no verses that give us a Mapquest-style location. The short answer to this question is, “heaven is where God is.” The place referred to in this question is called the “third heaven” and “paradise” in 2 Corinthians 12:1–4, where the apostle Paul tells of a living man who was “caught up” to heaven and was unable to describe it. The Greek word translated “caught up” is also used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 in describing the rapture, wherein believers will be caught up to be with the Lord. These passages have led to the conclusion that heaven is beyond the earth’s airspace and beyond the stars.
However, since God is spirit, “heaven” cannot signify a place remote from us which He inhabits. The Greek gods were thought of as spending most of their time far away from earth in sort of a celestial equivalent of the Bahamas, but the God of the Bible is not like this. He is always near us when we call on Him (James 4:8), and we are encouraged to “draw near” to Him (Hebrews 10:1, 22). Granted, the “heaven” where saints and angels dwell has to be thought of as a sort of locality, because saints and angels, as God’s creatures, exist in space and time. But when the Creator is said to be “in heaven,” the thought is that He exists on a different plane from us, rather than in a different place.
That God in heaven is always near to His children on earth is something which the Bible expresses throughout. The New Testament mentions heaven with considerable frequency. Yet, even with this frequency, detailed description of its location is missing. Perhaps God has intentionally covered its location in mystery, for it is more important for us to focus on the God of heaven than the description or location of it. It is more important to know the why than the where. The New Testament focuses on the purpose of heaven more than telling us what it is like or where it is. We have seen that hell is for separation and punishment (Matthew 8:12; 22:13). Heaven, on the other hand, is for fellowship and eternal joy and, more importantly, worshipping around the throne of God.
In the past 2,000 years, the vast majority of Christians have been white/European. While Christianity had its beginnings in the Middle East, it spread rapidly to Europe and parts of Asia where Caucasians were the predominant race. The history of Christianity is filled with expansions, but mostly throughout Europe and Asia, then on to the West in the 15th century. Christianity has not had nearly the same success spreading among Middle Easterners, Africans, and Asians, and this has led many to declare that Christianity is a religion for white people.
Christianity was never intended for white people only. The first Christians were all Semitic in ethnicity and likely had light- to dark-brown skin. Christianity having been predominantly a white religion in past centuries has nothing to do with the message of Christianity. Rather, it is due to the failure of Christians to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the world (Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 1:8). The apostle John declared that Jesus Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the entire world [all races and nationalities] (see 1 John 2:2). Spiritually, men of all races are one due to the presence of a common sickness—sin. Sin entered the human race at the Fall, and because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, sin has been an inheritance for all of their descendants. Romans 5:12 tells us that, through Adam, sin entered the world and so death was passed on to all men because all have sinned.
But just as sin entered the human race by one man, so does redemption come by one Man, Jesus Christ. Forgiveness of sin, the essence of Christianity, is offered to all races, colors, creeds, and genders, to all “those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness” through Him (Romans 5:18). In giving His life as a substitute for sin, Jesus Christ purchased for God with His blood “men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). No, Christianity is not a white man’s religion. Christianity is not a black, brown, red, or yellow religion either. The truth of the Christian faith is universally applicable to all people.
According to a National Geographic survey, 77 percent of all Americans “believe there are signs that aliens have visited Earth”, and according to a recent Harris poll only 68 percent of all Americans believe that Jesus is God or the Son of God. That means that the number of Americans that believe that UFOs have visited us is now greater than the number of Americans that believe what the Bible has to say about Jesus Christ. With each passing year, the frequency of UFO sightings seems to keep increasing, as does the number of movies, television shows and video games featuring aliens and extraterrestrial life. It is almost as if the population of the planet is being primed for something. Could this phenomenon be the “strong delusion” of the last days that is talked about in the Bible? And if there are beings out there that are not human, (Read More…)
What advice would you give to a retired Air Force Colonel that has three graduate degrees and that cannot even find work as a janitor? 59-year-old Robert Freniere once served as a special assistant to General Stanley McChrystal, and he has spent extensive time in both Iraq and Afghanistan. But now this man who once had an office in the heart of the Pentagon cannot find anyone who will hire him. In addition to his story, in this article you will also hear about several other middle-aged professionals that cannot find work in this economy either. Despite what the Obama administration and the mainstream media are telling you, the truth is that there has been no employment recovery in this country. What you are about to read is absolutely heartbreaking, but it represents the reality of what is really going on out there in the streets of America today. (Read More….)
Apprising Ministries brings you a new piece touching on how confusion of Law and Gospel has led to different forms of legalism within the church visible.