May 15, 2015 Truth2Freedom Daily Christian Blogroll Collection

May 11 Quotes


Is Judging a Sin?

I have been pondering the “judge” term as it’s used in our culture. I think we fear committing the sin of judging. But is it the judging we are supposed to avoid — the evaluating a person’s actions and determining if they are right or wrong? I don’t think it is. I think what we should avoid is being haughty when we realize that a person is doing wrong. As I examine myself, I feel this is what is in my head: there is a temptation to feel superior to the person who is in sin. That’s where I feel the danger lies, at least for me.

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The “Least of These” Are Not the Poor But the Christian Baker, Photographer, and Florist

Have you ever heard someone say, “I like Christ. I just don’t like Christians.” Jesus says that if you don’t like his disciples—if you reject them—you are rejecting Him. There is no version of Christianity that allows you to follow Christ while mistreating His body. And it won’t matter how much you profess your love for Christ if you reject and mistreat his body.

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Wanted: A Teaching Church

The Bible is the Word of God. All Bible-believing evangelical churches affirm this. In historic Protestantism, there is a theology of the Word that not only professes sola Scriptura but also professes the sufficiency of Scripture for all things concerning doctrine, worship, and godliness. What the church of the twenty-first century needs to be is a teaching church that plainly and powerfully proclaims the Word of God. Then the church will be equipped to fulfill its task in the world to worship and to witness to that world.

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Is Christianity Dying?

People who don’t want Christianity, don’t want almost-Christianity. Almost-Christianity looks in the mainline like something from Nelson Rockefeller to Che Guevara at prayer. Almost Christianity, in the Bible Belt, looks like a God-and-Country civil religion that prizes cultural conservatism more than theological fidelity. Either way, a Christianity that reflects its culture, whether that culture is Smith College or NASCAR, only lasts as long as it is useful to its host. That’s because it’s, at root, idolatry, and people turn from their idols when they stop sending rain.

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The Sin of Ham

We are faced with two temptations in dealing with our fathers, whether our biological fathers or our fathers in the faith. Particularly regarding our fathers in the faith, the one temptation is hagiography, treating them as if they were perfect and had no sin. The other is to focus in their sin alone, as if those shortcomings defined the man. I’ve been guilty of both of these, and no doubt those temptations are constant.

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Is the Original Text of the New Testament Lost?

In other words, it is possible (and perhaps even likely) that some of the earliest copies of the New Testament we posses may have been copied directly from one of the autographs. And, if not the autographs, they may have been copied from a manuscript that was directly copied from the autographs. Either way, this makes the gap between our copies and the autographs shrink down to a rather negligible size.

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“All Things” – Do We Really Believe It?

Has God kept these promises? Yes, in Christ! So, if God has kept every promise in Christ, He will keep every promise made in Christ. Some days, life seems unbearably painful and confusing. Some days the world seems to be spinning out of control. Some days, I wonder how the sin in my own heart will ever truly be vanquished.

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What to Do About Moralistic Therapeutic Deism?

Dean posits a false dichotomy when she insists that the purpose of instruction in the faith “is not primarily to foster beliefs about Jesus but the cultivation of trust in him.” She has little use for apologetics upholding the truth of the Gospel. Instead the Princeton professor favors a kind of Christian testimony that “neither dissects an argument, nor makes one; it is more inclined to sing.”

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The Narrow Christian Path

Jesus taught us the path to eternal life was narrow and that few find it. Along both sides of the narrow path are numerous distractions and dangers lurking to pull us away from God and His eternal Word of Truth. And if we take our eyes off the path we could easily stray off it […]

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A Queer Entanglement

by Terrell Clemmons

The Codependent Conjunction of “Gay Christians” and the Gay-Affirming Church When Harvard sophomore Matthew Vines came out to his parents over Christmas break, both of them affirmed their unconditional love for him right away. But the news was hard for everyone. As Christians, they believed the same thing the church has held for 2000 years […]

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Homosexual teacher reads “gay fairy tale” to 3rd graders

No note went home, no calls were made. Now parents in Efland, North Carolina are understandably outraged to learn that their 8 and 9-year-olds’ homosexual teacher decided to read a gay fairy tale – that the assistant principal gave him – to the youngsters. Said one parent, “People have been gay for years. People have […]

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“Psst … Lectio Divina … your mysticism is showing.”

One of the most pervasive of all the Contemplative, er, Contemptible Prayers, is a little practice called Lectio Divina. It comes to us via the ancients of the Catholic monks, and no longer sneaks in the back door of our churches – it marches down the center aisle and sits in the front pew. On […]

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The Death of Western Universities

by Bill Muehlenberg

There is no question that contemporary education in the West is in a bad way. The crisis in our classrooms, especially at the university level, is simply indicative of the moral crisis in the West. Moral relativism, political correctness, and the hegemony of secular left ideology is destroying our educational system.

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Boys: slip on a dress and you can join the Girl Scouts!

Girl Scouts isn’t just for girls anymore. But then again the Feminist Movement has been trying to blur and eliminate gender lines for decades. Now the Girl Scouts of America has changed its policy: Boys dressing as girls can join them for weekly meetings, campouts, changing, sleeping arrangements, and other travel-related activities and any other […]

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The Next Grand Idiocy: ‘Microaggression’

by Marsha West

Lee Duigon, a contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, gives us a heads up on what the future holds for conservatives and Bible-believing Christians if liberals have their way. Unfortunately they often do these days. It has become clear that liberals, academics and unions are hell bent on destroying the lives of anyone who refuses to adopt their warped belief system. In this piece Duigon […]

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Three Reasons I’m Encouraged by American Evangelicalism

by Landon

Psalm 135:6 [ESV] Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.

We live in a time where it seems as though American Evangelicalism is purposely doing whatever it can to undermine the authority of scripture and the sovereignty of God. Seeker-sensitive mega churches and their pastors are growing herds of false converts who have no idea what the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is and mistakenly think the Bible is about themselves and their temporal comfort and happiness. I’ve written about these issues at length and there remains an endless cesspool of material from which to choose a suitable Biblical discernment article. I should add, brother Tony Miano does an excellent job of addressing the many failures of American Evangelicalism every so often on Twitter.

In other words, it’s easy to find a celebrity pastor or conference speaker who is espousing a doctrine antithetical to the Gospel and address their errors. It’s not so easy to find reasons to be encouraged amongst the chaos. Further, one thing I’ve learned in a little over a year of blogging is that articles lacking provocation, especially in regards to a popular personality, do not get very many clicks. This then begs the question, am I writing and podcasting in order to espouse Truth and share the Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ or am I seeking the adoration of fellow fallen men and those to whom I hold in high esteem?

If I’m being honest with myself, I don’t think I’ll always like my answer to that question.

[alert heading=”Divine Providence?” type=”info” close=”true”]Interestingly, literally in the middle of writing this article, Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith graciously shared one of my past articles regarding Jefferson Bethke. It has caused the sort of dust-up between Christians for which this article is intended to be a respite. There are no coincidences.[/alert]

With that in mind, the challenge I placed before myself was to pray about and come up with three reasons why I am encouraged about the future of American Evangelicalism. While this was a most difficult exercise, it was indeed cathartic. I pray it is edifying and uplifting to my brothers and sisters in Christ who may also be grieving the current state of American Evangelicalism on a daily basis.

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Emergent Catalyst conference says it’s time to “awaken your wonder”

by Berean Researcher

Catalyst, the premiere mega-conference for Emergent Church Leaders, is sending a curious message to potential attendees of its next Atlanta conference Oct. 7-9: We are hardwired for wonder. Just as the wonder of the world points to God, a sight unseen, so too should our acts of creation bridge the gap between what is and […]

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Ed Young at Code Orange – Revisited

Ed Young at Code Orange - Revisited

You are about to see Ed Young acting very strangely. We thought it might be helpful for you as a follow up to “Ed Young is ‘Donkey Wrong’ with ‘Hee Haw'”, in order to understand just how much deception into which people at Fellowship Church are caught up. If you are someone who remembers this video from a few years ago, feel free to be appropriately disgusted again.

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Ergun Caner and Jill Caner file for divorce – Ergun seeks restraining order

Psalm 12 Outreach has obtained documents showing that divorce and child custody proceedings have been filed in Parker County, TX, on 4/9/2015, between Ergun Caner and Jill Caner.


“What Women Need Most for Better Bible Study”

Jen Wilkin is a Bible teacher of women who has also recently authored a book called Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds. It has been reviewed positively from several different quarters, for example,

9Marks reviewed her book here

Tim Challies reviewed her book here

I have not personally taken any of her in-person or online studies, but I did order her book last night. What got me interested is that a 6-month old clip from a conference in which Mrs Wilkin was an invited speaker surfaced. I loved what she had to say about what women need when studying the word. I say, hear hear, especially to #3.

The clip is 9-minutes. Please share with pastors and leaders and elders and deacons.

For those who can’t stream video, here is a short synopsis:

1. Women need better definitions about what Bible Study is, and what bible study isn’t. It is not a devotional and it is not topical. Have you ever seen a devotional on Leviticus? No. If we only study devotionals we will only get a skewed view of God and only learn about topics we personally like. Devotionals are not Bible study.

2. Women need better resources. Resources that focus on who God is, first, and who we are, second. We need resources focusing less on us and more on studies that teach us about who God is. Too many studies, topical books and devotionals open with asking questions like “Who are we before God?” when the real question is “Who is God, and THEN we will know who we are before Him.”

2a. We need resources that target the mind and not solely the emotions. When the verse that says “Love God with all your soul, strength, heart, and mind, it means women too. Our intellect should be engaged in the pursuit of the knowledge of God.

2b. We need resources that train us to do the work. We need to learn how to be better students of the Bible so that at the end of it we feel more comfortable opening the bible without study aids rather than less comfortable. Too many current studies make women feel less confident of studying His word.

3. We need better leadership support. Women flourish in the church when men care about women flourishing in the church. If you’re a church leader, educate yourself on the kinds of studies that your women are doing, caring about what is going on with over half of the people who fill your seats on Sunday.

I have very recently written about how good it feels as a woman to see a Pastor taking the time to delve into popular women’s Bible Studies and make a learned determination as to their edification level. I said that Pastor Hull, a Lutheran Pastor who researched Beth Moore, had spoken gently but firmly to his flock about the unworthiness of Moore’s teachings. He said that only one or two ladies were upset, but none left the church. In the end, he said, they understood his role is to make these kind of calls. I agree with Wilkin that women DO flourish when Christian men in church take an interest in their studies and gently but authoritatively assess and decide.

Jeff Maples wrote a very good essay called “The Rise of the Feminine Church of Eden” in which he charged the men with their part in the women usurping male roles, drifting off into poor theology of emotionalism and romanticism of the kind of books that Sarah Young and Ann Voskamp write. Maples said,

I would suggest that Christian men turn off the televisions, open a Bible, and learn how to step up and be a man. Pay attention to your wives. Your wife needs your affection, your love and your acceptance, but she also needs your guidance. You must be able to provide her with guidance. Your problem is you care more about who your NFL team is drafting than you do about your wife sitting in her bed reading Jesus Calling while looking for some kind of affection.

Please take a listen to Mrs Wilkin above.

Here is Tim Challies with a page of recommendations of studies for Women.

Bless you all. Men, we need you to guide us. Women, we need to choose Bible studies that engage the mind. Once the mind is illuminated and refreshed with knowledge of Who God is, the emotions of loving God and being in awe of Him will follow!

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Encouraging & Equipping Our Young People (Part 1)

From VOICE, May/Jun 2015. Used with permission.

Raising teens to become faithful Christian adults has never been easy. Like all of us, our children enter this world as sinners with hearts that must be transformed by the Holy Spirit.


The Next Time Life Has You in the Waiting Room

I hate waiting. We all do. Waiting for God to move can feel especially uncomfortable. When I’ve prayed and do not yet see God’s hand at work, I tend to get squirmy. Did He hear me? Will He answer? Will these circumstances ever change?

Despite our culture’s efforts to eliminate waiting from daily life (think ATMs, pay at the pump, and drive-through windows) inevitably life sticks in the waiting room. Because we serve a God who operates on His timetable, not ours, waiting is a by-product of our prayer lives as well.

Maybe you’re in the waiting room:

  • Waiting for God to heal your physical body
  • Waiting for God to bring you a spouse or a baby
  • Waiting for God to work in your church
  • Waiting for God to bring a prodigal child home
  • Waiting for employment
  • Waiting for reconciliation

Yep, I’m in the waiting room too these days. But, I’m determined not to spend this time kicking and screaming. I want to wait well. I don’t want to waste the waiting.

An Expert Waiter

Moses was an expert waiter. First, he waited to be rescued as a wee babe in a bulrush basket (Ex. 2:2). Perhaps he was too small to remember that moment of waiting, but it was a glimpse of how the rest of Moses’ life would go.

After murdering a man, Moses fled his home and family to the foreign land of Midian. He waited there for forty years (Acts 7:30). He spent four decades waiting for something to happen or for news that he could return safely home. Something did happen. Moses encountered the voice of God booming from a burning bush (Exodus 3:2). The wait was over! He had a mission.

But he found himself in the waiting room again soon, waiting for Pharaoh to let his people go. Once that wait was over, he wandered with God’s people in the desert for another forty years, waiting to enter the Promised Land. In total, Moses spent at least eight decades waiting for the Lord. He died at the age of 120 (Deut. 34:7), meaning he spent more than 60% of his life in the waiting room.

As we look at his life, here are ten lessons we can learn about how to wait well.

1. Be Content

After finding himself in a strange land with no family or possessions, Moses was invited to live with the Midianite priest and his family. I doubt the situation was perfect. But Moses chose contentment.

“And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah” (Ex. 2:21).

You have a choice. You can wait with great anxiety, fear, and frustration. Or you can wait with contentment. Here’s a visual. Think of the last time you sat in the waiting room at the pediatrician’s office. Since I have three young boys, that’s a stop I make about as often as the post office.

There are two kinds of waiters in that waiting room. There are the children who scream and cry and dump toys. And there are the children who snuggle close to their mommies or quietly wait (thanks to the help of the Disney app on their daddy’s iPhone). Both kinds of kids have to wait. The kid throwing a fit doesn’t get in to the doctor any sooner than the one who isn’t. But believe me, as a mama who has waited with both kinds of kids, the waiting feels infinitely longer to the distraught kid (and his parents!).

You don’t have to be happy about the waiting, but you can choose contentment.

First Timothy 6:6 reminds us, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

2. Love Your Own Family Well

Moses’ forty years in Midian were not unproductive years. He had two sons during that time (Acts 7:29) and devoted himself to caring for them and their mother.

This is a simple, yet effective, action plan for waiting well. Take care of your tribe. Love your children and grandchildren. Serve your husband. Don’t force them to bear the brunt of your anxious heart. Stop wringing your hands and get busy taking care of the people in your world.

“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse that an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8).

3. Work Hard

How did Moses spend his days in Midian while He waited for God to reveal the game plan? Did he pace the floors? Search the Internet for answers? (No, of course not. There was no Internet, but that’s often how we fill the waiting space, isn’t it?) Take matters into his own hands?

“Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God” (Ex. 3:1).

Moses was about to get shoved from the waiting room to the operating room, where God would give him a new identity and purpose. Moses was steps away from encountering the living God speaking from a burning bush. And what do we find him doing there?

He was herding sheep.

Training to be used by God is more likely to happen in the sheep fields than it is to happen in the palace. Especially when we are waiting for God to use us for kingdom work, we need reminded of the value of working hard and stewarding well the tasks He has already assigned to us.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Col. 3:23).

4. Intercede for Others

As Moses wandered in the wilderness, waiting for deliverance into the Promised Land, he prayed bold, powerful prayers for God’s people. (See Ex. 33:12-16, Num. 14:13-19). He knew the promised outcome, but he didn’t stop praying for God’s work.

As you wait for God to work in your own life, pray like crazy that He would move in others’. Your faith will be shored up by seeing God’s hand in the lives of other people.

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people” (1 Tim. 2:1).

5. Value God’s Commands

We all know the story of when Moses brought down the Ten Commandments on slabs of stone only to smash them out of anger for the people’s rebellion (Ex. 20:1-21). Moses was passionate about both God’s Word and righteous living. So much so, that he trekked back up the mountain to retrieve a second copy of the commandments from God (Ex. 34:28).

I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I am waiting on God I feel bitter about how He has called me to live. I don’t want to have joy in the waiting room. I want to pout. I don’t want to trust in Him when I cannot see Him, I want Him to reveal Himself. Frankly, sometimes I want to be the one to “throw down the tablets” in frustration.

Instead, I need to trek back up the mountain to be with the Lord. I need to ask Him to remind me of His priorities. I need to be about the business of living like He calls me to live. The waiting room reminds me that I serve a big God who does not jump through the hoops I set for Him. I should live according to His Word at all times.

6. Go to War Against Idols

In Exodus 32 Moses came down from the mountain (another waiting room) and found his people worshipping a golden calf. His reaction to this idol was not passive.

“He took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire and ground it into powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it” (Ex. 32:20).

Throughout the exodus Moses was diligent about purging idolatry from his people. The waiting room has that effect. Often, waiting exposes idols in my own heart. As my heart gets squirmy, I often come face to face with the fact that I am looking to something other than God to meet my needs. Then I have to swallow my pride, which tastes about as bitter as the powdered gold Moses’ made His people drink, and repent. Because of this pattern, I have found the waiting room to often be a gift. It is there that God does business with my heart. It almost always hurts, but the end result is a heart more devoted to God. If waiting makes your heart go wild, ask the Lord to reveal any idols you may have settled for.

7. Celebrate!

Moses’ people did lots of wandering, but they also did plenty of partying.

“On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts and at the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings. They shall be a reminder of you before your God: I am the LORD your God” (Num. 10:10).

Even in the waiting room, God has given you much to celebrate. Instead of focusing on all that He has not done yet, rejoice about all He has already done for you.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice” (Phil. 4:4).

8. Keep Your Eyes on the Promised Land

What has God promised you? Even if He has not delivered yet. Even if the finish line is nowhere in sight, you can take His promises to the bank. Moses knew that and spoke these words,

“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations” (Deut. 7:9).

Moses knew what it was like to wait. He waited longer and more often than I ever have, but all of that waiting didn’t weaken his faith. It strengthened it. In the end, he decided God is faithful. We can trust Him to take us where He has promised He will.

9. Seek God

One phrase Moses uttered over and over in the wilderness was, “Let me ask the Lord.” He was constantly double-checking with God that they were headed in the right direction. As you wait, seek God often. Read His Word. Squeeze your desires and plans through them and make sure you are headed in the right direction.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).

10. Enjoy the Journey

While Moses waited for God to deliver His people into the Promised Land, he saw:

  • God change Pharaoh’s heart
  • God part the Red Sea
  • Food rain from heaven and water spout from rocks
  • Clothing and sandals that did not wear out for forty years
  • A pillar of fire led Moses by day and a cloud of smoke by night
  • By God’s power alone, somewhere in the neighborhood of two million people survived in the desert for forty years. Moses had a front row seat.

God may not be doing the one thing you want Him to do at this moment, but He is doing a million things that He promises are working for your good (Rom. 8:28). Don’t get tunnel vision, honing in only on what has not happened yet. Widen the lens and see all He has already done.

Moses refused to try to manipulate God. He waited well and stayed ready to move when God called, and what a ride he got to take! As I wait, I want to be like Moses. Do you?

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to read “Are You Tired of Waiting on the Lord?

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5 moves to integrate theology into your ministry

1) Saturate your preaching and conversation with Bible truth.

If, as Paul says, those Old Testament stories were given to us as examples, then we should use them that way.


It’s What We Say, Not How We Say It

Making our arguments winsomely is important. But it won’t carry the day. That’s because, in the end, Christianity will remain a scandal in the world’s eyes.
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Short Answers to Big Questions: Week 11

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Do all good people go to heaven?

 

Nathan Betts of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries answers the question “Do all good people go to heaven?”.


Short Answers to Big Questions: Week 12

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Why did Jesus have to die?

Dr. Andy Bannister of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries answers the question “Why did Jesus have to die?“.


Emergent Catalyst conference says it’s time to “awaken your wonder”

Catalyst, the premiere mega-conference for Emergent Church Leaders, is sending a curious message to potential attendees of its next Atlanta conference Oct. 7-9: We are hardwired for wonder. Just as the wonder of the world points to God, a sight unseen, so too should our acts of creation bridge the gap between what is and […]

The post Emergent Catalyst conference says it’s time to “awaken your wonder” appeared first on Berean Research.


Three Reasons I’m Encouraged by American Evangelicalism

headerImage-encouraged

Psalm 135:6 [ESV]  Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.

We live in a time where it seems as though American Evangelicalism is purposely doing whatever it can to undermine the authority of scripture and the sovereignty of God.  Seeker-sensitive mega churches and their pastors are growing herds of false converts who have no idea what the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is and mistakenly think the Bible is about themselves and their temporal comfort and happiness.  I’ve written about these issues at length and there remains an endless cesspool of material from which to choose a suitable Biblical discernment article.  I should add, brother Tony Miano does an excellent job of addressing the many failures of American Evangelicalism every so often on Twitter.

In other words, it’s easy to find a celebrity pastor or conference speaker who is espousing a doctrine antithetical to the Gospel and address their errors.  It’s not so easy to find reasons to be encouraged amongst the chaos.  Further, one thing I’ve learned in a little over a year of blogging is that articles lacking provocation, especially in regards to a popular personality, do not get very many clicks.  This then begs the question, am I writing and podcasting in order to espouse Truth and share the Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ or am I seeking the adoration of fellow fallen men and those to whom I hold in high esteem?

If I’m being honest with myself, I don’t think I’ll always like my answer to that question.

Divine Providence?

Interestingly, literally in the middle of writing this article, Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith graciously shared one of my past articles regarding Jefferson Bethke. It has caused the sort of dust-up between Christians for which this article is intended to be a respite. There are no coincidences.

With that in mind, the challenge I placed before myself was to pray about and come up with three reasons why I am encouraged about the future of American Evangelicalism.  While this was a most difficult exercise, it was indeed cathartic.  I pray it is edifying and uplifting to my brothers and sisters in Christ who may also be grieving the current state of American Evangelicalism on a daily basis.

1. Unity for the Biblical Gospel.

I do not believe I have ever seen so many Christians uniting over the Gospel Truth laid out in the Bible; men are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (Eph 2:8-9).  While there will always be some percentage of evangelicals willing to partner with unbelievers (2 Cor 6:14), I’ve been encouraged by the growing number publicly decrying such ecumenism and preaching Biblical Gospel in its place.  Certainly we have areas in which we divide from one another, but there is a growing trend of tolerance toward those disagreeing on secondary issues without sliding over to full on Restoration Movement theology.

Pastor Joseph Rhea recently preached an excellent sermon on this very topic entitled Being of the Same Mind with One Another.  I would encourage you to have a listen.

2. Men are being raised up to boldly proclaim Christ.

As a faithful Bible-believing Christian, it’s not out of the ordinary to sometimes wonder if you’re the only true Christian remaining; which reminds me of Elijah in 1 Kings 18:22.  However, the truth is that we should not be discouraged as God is raising up faithful men to spread the Gospel each and every day.  Some of these men are high-profile and some are never noticed.  Either way, you are not alone and through the wonders of the internet, you can get encouragement from some of the more well-known of these men whenever you please.

This is anything but an exhaustive list, but if you want a good start, follow and learn from these men:

(Update: To be clear, first and foremost we should be looking to the Godly men in our own congregations boldly proclaiming Christ.)

3. Christian persecution is coming to America… quickly.

This may seem like an odd thing to include in an article about encouragement in American Evangelicalism but the truth is that persecution might very well be the best thing to happen to us.  There is great encouragement in persecution because it will cause the true church to rise to the top as those not really saved will no longer see it beneficial to proclaim something (Christianity) that they do not actually believe and they will walk away from the church.  Those congregations willing to stand up for convictions and Truth will become shining lights in a world of darkness.

Recently, on his daily radio program, Wretched Radio, Todd Friel asked a poignant question, “Does your church have a plan for the coming persecution?”  In light of this recent pew research poll, which says Americans professing Christianity are in sharp decline (of course meaning they were never Christians to begin with, John 10:27-30), many articles have been written and podcasts published that have fretted over the declining numbers of Christians in America.  This should not surprise us.

It is no longer profitable for a person to proclaim Christianity in our society.  Thus, those whose faith was never true to begin with no longer see any benefit of claiming Christ, and they drop the label.  Now, imagine when a state official is standing outside the doors to your place of worship asking for your social security number to ensure you do not receive government assistance, tax breaks, etc. because you’re a Christian.  How many of those lukewarm, professing but not saved Christians do you think will stick it out?  Little to none.  This is not something in which we gloat, rather, it will become easier to identify those who are currently within the church yet in need of evangelism.

Persecution of the Christian church in America is coming sooner than we think and it may very well turn out to be the best thing that’s ever happened to us.

***

Let us not forget God is sovereign. (Ps 115:3, Pr 16:9, Gen 50:20, Rom 8:28, Is 40:23, 2 Chron 20:6, Ze 4:6)

Christianity may very well die in America, or at least no longer be tolerated.  We should take heart in knowing, however, that the one true church will never die (Matthew 16:18).  While it can be incredibly discouraging and disheartening seeing all the shenanigans taking place around us, we must rest in the Sovereign and know that His will be done.

Finally, dear brother/sister in Christ, take inventory of what you are feeding your mind on a daily basis.  Are you in the Word faithfully?  Are you feeding your soul with solid messages from faithful exegetes?  Do you ensure to read uplifting articles?  Sadly, too many of us well-intentioned Biblical Christians feed ourselves a steady diet of discernment articles and media only.  I know, brother, it’s because you love the bride of Christ and you long to defend her that you sound the alarm as the watchman on the wall and educate yourself to recognize when damnable heresies arise among your people (2 Peter 2:1).   I, too, fall into the trap of ingesting only conflict and that is simply not healthy.

There is no question that #AmericanEvangelicalism is a bullet train racing away from sound doctrine.  However, let us not allow ourselves to be so fully engulfed with discord that we fail to recognize encouraging signs cropping up around us.  It’s an issue I myself need to improve and I hope you’ll join me.

Be encouraged, brethren– faithful men of God are being raised up all over our nation.  We may lose all things temporal, but the Word of God will never die.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Author

Landon

Landon

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Founder of EntreatingFavor.com, writer, and host of the Fire Away! podcast. He is a soteriologically Reformed Cessationist professing the Bible to be the infallible, inerrant, Word of God.


The post Three Reasons I’m Encouraged by American Evangelicalism appeared first on Entreating Favor.


The Five Most Common Mistakes Church Leaders Make When Leading Change – Rainer on Leadership #124

Podcast Episode #124

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Leading change is one of the most difficult things pastors and church leaders will do in a church. But it’s also one of the most needed things in many churches. So how a pastor or church leads through change will dramatically affect the results churches will have when changing. Today, we cover the five most common mistakes made when leading change. We also talk about elephants. Yes, elephants.

Some highlights from today’s episode include:

  • Many times, new pastors or leaders in a church make change before earning trust from the church.
  • Communication is not just telling others what needs to be done, but listening to them as well.
  • The more a leader listens, the more he or she earns trust.
  • When leading change, there must be a sense of urgency.
  • Bullet tests are often more beneficial in churches than a shotgun approach.
  • Fear is the last thing you need when initiating change in the church.

The five most common mistakes church leaders make when leading change are:

  1. Failure to earn trust.
  2. Not understanding the right pace.
  3. Failure to articulate the need and the urgency.
  4. Failure to form an informal alliance.
  5. Not launching new initiatives as a trial run.

Resources

The post The Five Most Common Mistakes Church Leaders Make When Leading Change – Rainer on Leadership #124 appeared first on ThomRainer.com.


The “Selfie” Gospel is No Gospel

The “New Model” Gospel

An Editorial by Dr. Orrel Steinkamp

For over 50 years at least, a new message to call the unconverted to Christ has been inching it’s way virtually undetected into a dominant place among evangelicals.

25 years ago, Christianity Today (the official neo-evangelical organ) published an article by Robert Brow, a Canadian evangelical, called “Evangelical Megashift: Why You May Not Have Heard About Wrath, Sin and Hell Lately.” Brow claimed nearly 25 years ago that there was a “new model” emerging in evangelicalism. Brow’s “new model” sounded then, as it does now, as tired ole mainline Protestant liberalism. Turns out Brow’s article was a precursor to Clark Pinnock’s new open theism and the evangelical emergent movement.

But evangelicals who have not yet espoused open theism and emergent teachings, without noticing it, have apparently accepted Brow’s “new model” teaching about the reason for the death of Christ. The “old model” teaching of the cross is still in many doctrinal statements but a “new model” teaching of the cross has affected our hearts and so also our message. This hybrid/mutation has now found a secure position in evangelical gospel preaching. The appeal to the unconverted has gradually changed. It is now quite normal to suggest that Jesus died to rescue us from a life that “sucks,” and promises heaven to boot. What was completed at the cross when the Savior cried “It is finished” has now become a rescue from an unpleasant life we don’t like anymore.

This “new model” preaching of the cross to the unsaved has actually been around for a long time. I remember at least 15 years ago listening to a sermon by Franklin Graham. He was preaching a graphic sermon on hell. I was shocked when he made his call to the unconverted and, right at the point of the appeal, he slipped, without warning or hesitation, into a come to Jesus call appealing to a whole range of felt needs. What started out as a hell-fire and brimstone sermon turned into a therapeutic appeal.

How did this become an acceptable gospel appeal to the unconverted? Since when did Jesus die to give us a new start and escape the vicissitudes of life in a commercial society? Well! Surely there was a convergence of causes, but probably the arrival of the church growth theory of missionary evangelism brought it front and center. It began with Donald McGavern’s teaching of church growth. He appealed to human psychological needs in missionary evangelistic ministry. Later, Fuller Seminary began teaching Church Growth theory to missionaries on furlough. Finally someone said that this was not only good for missionary evangelism but it should be used as well in the good ole USA. Before we knew it, missiologist C. Peter Wagner and his student John Wimber were convincing everyone that the way to make the church grow was to appeal to the temporal needs of the unconverted, whether in New Guinea or New York. Before Wimber became famous as a signs and wonders evangelist, he traveled the USA teaching Church Growth principles to American pastors.

This felt needs gospel paved the way for the seeker sensitive approach to evangelism. It gave birth to Robert Schuller’s self esteem gospel. Schuller called for a new self-esteem reformation. I heard him make this call in Minneapolis. Rick Warren and Bill Hybels, trained directly by Schuller, demonstrated that you could grow huge churches if you appealed to the perceived needs of the people. Suddenly every church wanted to go mega or at least mini-mega. Well do I remember when our District Superintendent sent out the Church Growth book Unchurched Harry to every pastor. We were asked to go to classes on church growth. It wasn’t long till the marketeers were teaching us “the customer is king,” etc. Eventually Schuller died in disgrace, and Hybels converted his mega church to the latest rage of Catholic contemplative prayer. Presenting the cross as the solution to a life that “sucks” was here to stay, or till an authentic revival clears the deck.

For the last 15 years, I have given special attention to the “new model” call to the unconverted in evangelical preaching. Oh! Sometimes there seems to be a throw away sentence, usually one quick sentence reference to Jesus dying for our sins, etc. But when the real pitch comes it is normally an emotional therapeutic appeal. “You can have your best life now, aren’t you tired of your unsuccessful life, Jesus wants a relationship with you, and you can escape your failures and your unsuccessful life. Jesus died for this, because He loves you so much, and He wants to give you an abundant life, and He has wonderful plan for your life. He wants to give you a new start in the kingdom of God,” etc., etc. Now, if you preach this gospel you may indeed increase church attendance. But there is a price. The message must be adapted to the consumer. You are suggesting that Jesus can give what you desire the most and could not attain on your own. I have also heard these emotional appeals: “Make your impossible dream possible,” “One little yes can change everything,” “Your hopeless life can be filled with hope,” “The rut in your life can turn into a super highway,” etc., etc. Imagination is the only hindrance here.

Read more


The Gospel Coalition: Advances Russell Moore-Flees from Gospel

moore_tgcThe Gospel Coalition, a network of evangelical churches founded by D.A. Carson, and Tim Keller, has been in a downward slide since it’s inception. While the original intent of the coalition seemed well, the accountability within the organization has been less than stellar. In other words, the members of the council of the TGC hold eachother to such a high regard, that any criticism of it’s members is looked at as malice. Besides Tim Keller, a well known evolutionist, who does not hold to the absolute authority of Scripture, TGC has aligned itself with many liberal members over the years. Members, such as Mark Driscoll, and James MacDonald, whose association with the organization has backfired, yet TGC has managed to stay alive and well.

Read more


First Video of Romans 9 Debate Posted

Well, this really wasn’t supposed to be how this was done, but hey…I am really desirous of putting this whole experience in the rearview mirror. I am looking forward to my debate with Shaykh Mustafa Umar in SoCal on the 23rd, so I would really like to get this situation wrapped up. Leighton Flowers has posted his crew’s video of the debate. We were supposed to exchange files and stuff first, but anyway….RedGrace Media will be out with their version as well, and our plan now is to take the files from all three sources (the church, this video, and RedGrace’s video), and produce the “ultimate” version, using all available camera angles/sources. For posterity, obviously! 

I read a review of the debate by a Molinist today…it was interesting. Now if we can just get WLC to debate Molinism.

The post First Video of Romans 9 Debate Posted appeared first on Alpha and Omega Ministries.


OSAS And Ezekiel 18

Q&A-chalkboard

Q. My question is, how do you interpret Ezekiel 18:24 in the light of OSAS? I believe fully that the saved person can’t be lost, but wondered about this text. I have been greatly helped by your website, thank you very much.

continue reading


Unwalled Villages?

Q&A-chalkboard

Q. I’ve been reading someone’s articles on another website. He’s a great writer and I’ve learned a lot from him, so I wrote recently to ask his opinion regarding the issue of “un-walled villages”, Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39. He believes that because of the construction that has gone on outside the Old City that the “un-walled villages” requirement has already been met, making the attacks of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39 imminent. (Personally I think it’ll be Psalm 83–the Rapture–Ezekiel 38, but I’m only a layman–laywoman?) Do you have an opinion or clarification regarding this particular issue? Thank you so much for your continued faithfulness and guidance. continue reading


Social Avoidance Disorder?

Q&A-chalkboard

Q. I believe I have a serious case of social avoidance disorder (self diagnosed) and this has caused me to quit attending Church, work only from home, and have barely any contact other than e-mail with acquaintance-level friends. I don’t even like to be ‘bothered’ by family members. And it has only gotten worse over the last few years. I used to be very active in Church, was raised in a Christian home and was saved when young.

I wonder if this could be demonic oppression or not? I know for a fact I can’t be possessed, as a believer, but have you heard of demonic attacks in this form to keep someone from accomplishing God’s will?

continue reading



Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner?


“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime

9 powerful minutes of animation that begins with a thief behind bars watching the scourging of Jesus, and it ends with the thief dying next to Jesus, and waking to see Him in a beautiful place.

The dying thief: What was so great about his faith?

There are many acts of extraordinary faith in the Bible. The one that has impressed me the most concerns the dying thief on the cross. We could take the approach that he had nothing to lose, so he decided to cast his lot with Jesus. But this makes absolutely no sense of the text and the context.
In this conversion we have a specific fulfillment of Christ’s first words on the cross. No sooner had Christ spoken the words, “Father, forgive them,” had the Father answered that prayer by turning a once-reviling criminal into a Christ-glorifying saint. While the soon-to-be converted criminal was not directly responsible for Christ’s death, he nevertheless joined with those who were and was thus indirectly addressed when Christ asked for God to forgive “them.”
Christ, the sinless one, was numbered with or counted among the transgressors (Isa. 53:12; Luke 22:37), all of whom have a bigger problem than the day-to-day sins they commit. They hate Christ, the God-man. Anyone who has a master other than the Lord Jesus hates him (Lk. 16:13; Gal. 4:8). That these two criminals loathed him is clearly manifested during the crucifixion: “And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way” (Matt. 27:44).
When the criminal who was converted was doing his worst against Christ, Christ was doing his best for this criminal.
The conversion of the one criminal was most extraordinary and testifies to the power of Christ’s prayer and the grace of God. Why?
This criminal’s faith did not come at a time such as when Christ turned water into wine; or performed miracles, such as walking on water, opening the eyes of a blind man, or raising Lazarus from the dead. No! The criminal believed on the Messiah while he was hanging as one cursed upon a tree. The criminal trusted in and boldly defended the one whose disciples had abandoned him. Jesus was at his lowest when this criminal asked to be remembered in Christ’s kingdom.
When he was on the cross, did anyone publicly cry out, as John the Baptist did, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29)? But this is essentially what the dying thief did. Little wonder, then, that Christ should promise him a place in his kingdom: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:43).
The criminal acknowledged he was guilty; he acknowledged that Christ was not (“this man has done nothing wrong”); he feared God; but, and here is the key: the criminal did not merely want to be in a better place. He wanted to be with Christ in a better place: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk. 23:42). The criminal believed “against all hope”.
Heaven is a better place because that is where Christ is. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but not everyone wants to go to Christ’s heaven. Not so with this criminal: he saw, with his eyes, Christ at his worst; but with the eyes of faith, he believed that Christ would soon be at his best, and so put his faith in a dying king.
Christ is always – always! – willing to save even the most miserable of sinners. A recognition of guilt (Lk. 23:40) and a confidence in him and not ourselves (Lk. 23:42) will always lead to the most assuring truth a sinner can receive: the Savior welcomes such into his paradise!
“One is saved, and we may not despair; the other is lost, and we may not presume.” Spurgeon

Our Time is Short

Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!

30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.

New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.

Jesus Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


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