Daily Archives: October 3, 2017

Bible Q&A: Do I Need to Confess My Sins to Other Believers?

Question: I need help. I want to confess my sins, but I don’t know who to confess them to. Do I just need to confess to God, or does he ask that we confess to others? I’m embarrassed of my sins, and I don’t know who to talk to about them.

Answer: The first thing to say is that confession is a normal part of a healthy Christian life. The Apostle John says, “If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). John wrote these words to Christians. Then he added, “If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves” (v. 10).

The person who cannot see anything in his or her life that should be confessed as sin to God is a deceived person. That person is simply not seeing clearly. He or she is not in touch with reality.

Your desire to confess your sins is a good indicator of a normal, healthy Christian life. But how confession is to be done has been a matter of debate in history.

When to Confess Your Sins to Others

Many of us were brought up in a tradition where we were taught to confess our sins to a priest. There may be some value in that, but there is no place in the Bible where God says that you must confess your sins to a priest.

In the 16th century, there was a great movement to get behind the traditions that had built up in the church over the centuries, and to discover what the Bible actually said. The Reformers saw that we are confess our sins to God. They rediscovered the great Bible truth that in God’s eyes all believers are priests, and Jesus is our great high priest.


Your desire to confess your sins is a good indicator of a normal, healthy Christian life.
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John Calvin, who was a wise pastor, said that we are to confess our sins to God, but that confessing a particular sin to another person could be helpful—especially if, having confessed it to God, you were still struggling to find peace in your heart about it.

In that situation, you can go to a pastor and tell him, or you can go to any other mature Christian and tell them. This is what is often called “the priesthood of all believers.” It means you can go to any priest, including the one sitting next to you!

If Someone Confesses to You

If someone comes to you looking for help, and tells you about a sin in their life, your job is to help them grasp the promises of the gospel in relation to that particular matter. Whatever else that person may have done is none of your business. Your job is to help them come before God and believe the gospel in relation to the matter they have shared with you.

There is great wisdom here. James says, “Confess your sins one to another so that you may be healed” (James 5:16).

Confess your sins to God. And if you are still struggling to find peace, share it with a pastor or a trusted Christian brother or sister so that they can help you apply the promise of the gospel to this particular situation, and so you may find peace.

[This is an adapted excerpt from Pastor Colin’s sermon “Confess!” from I Almost Gave Up. Photo Credit: Lightstock]

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The post Bible Q&A: Do I Need to Confess My Sins to Other Believers? appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

John MacArthur on Worshiping in Spirit and Truth

Code: B171002

Many churches today put significant energy and emphasis into creating a “worship experience.” It’s not simply enough to choose appropriate songs that reinforce the point of the sermon. The lighting, staging, decoration, visuals, and even smoke machines all come together to create an elaborate aura for the worship experience. In that regard, cutting-edge church services are indistinguishable from concerts and stage plays.

But is that where the focus should be in the first place? Is true worship a function of all the stirring music, staging, and visual effects? Is the point of our praise to stimulate our senses and emotions? On the other hand, is it a purely mental exercise—is it rote and robotic? Or is its intended purpose somewhere in the middle?

We recently put those questions to John MacArthur. Here’s what he had to say:

“Worship is where the mind—understanding the truth—activates the emotions in praise, and adoration, and love towards God.” That’s a far cry from the raucous emotional explosions that pass for worship in many churches today. However, it’s also not the somber, staid affair some in the church would prefer.

True worship is not a battle between our minds and our emotions—it’s the two working together to the praise and glory of the Lord. As Christ Himself told the Samaritan woman at the well, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). You don’t have to look hard to find churches that fail to worship God in spirit, or plenty of others that overlook the vital aspect of the truth.

In his book Worship: The Ultimate Priority, John MacArthur contrasts the spiritual dangers of both extremes.

Sincerity, enthusiasm, and aggressiveness are important, but they must be based on truth. And truth is foundational, but if it doesn’t result in an eager, excited, enthusiastic heart, it is deficient. Enthusiastic heresy is heat without light. Barren orthodoxy is light without heat.

The same two extremes are still with us today. On the one hand there are groups who get together and hold hands and sway back and forth and sing songs and speak in ecstatic language. You can’t fault their enthusiasm, but far too often it is merely zeal without knowledge.

Worshiping with enthusiasm is not enough. No group of worshipers is more spirited than the fanatic Shiite Muslims who once a year slit their scalps with razors and then beat themselves in the head with the flat side of their swords to stimulate bleeding. Men, boys, and even infants have their shaved heads lacerated with swift chopping strokes of a straight razor and then march around in the square before the mosque, bleeding profusely while thousands watch and chant. They do it to celebrate the death of a Muslim leader more than a dozen centuries ago, and they see their hideous display as worship. It stands as an extreme example of what attempting to worship apart from the truth can become.

On the other hand, there are those who hold firmly to sound doctrine but have lost all the fervor of true faith. They know the truth, but they can’t get excited about it. Maybe some of them go to your church.

The Father seeks both enthusiasm and orthodoxy, spirit and truth. [1]

In the days ahead, we’re going to look at how the truth must undergird our worship for the Lord; we’ll also expose the dangers of lifeless, emotionless praise.

 


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Protestant vs Roman Catholic Doctrine

The following is from the October “Proclaiming the Gospel” email from Mike Gendron.  I felt it was important enough to post here so as to widen the audience reading it.
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The Reformation Recovered The Doctrine of Justification By Faith, by Mike Gendron
When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenburg 500 years ago this month, he ignited a theological firestorm that would burn throughout Europe. As a Roman Catholic monk, Luther’s greatest desire was to become right with God, yet his religion offered no peace or assurance. This led him to begin a diligent study of God’s Word and it was there that he discovered the only way a condemned sinner could be justified by a holy and righteous God. Luther’s study of Scripture revealed the glorious doctrine of justification that had been concealed and corrupted by religious traditions for over 1000 years. The Bible declares the justification of sinners can only be accomplished by a divine exchange – the imputing of man’s sins to Christ, and the imputing of Christ’s righteousness to sinners (2 Cor. 5:21). The only way condemned sinners can be justified is through the sin-bearing, substitutionary death of Christ who satisfied divine justice.
The doctrine of Justification is said to be the hinge upon which the gates of heaven open and close. Those who get justification wrong also get the Gospel wrong, and those who die embracing a false gospel will pay for that mistake forever. The doctrine of Justification declares the inflexible righteousness of God as a Judge who must punish every sin, that has ever been committed, by everyone who has ever lived. It also declares His love, mercy, and grace in providing His only Son to be crucified as a substitute for sinners.
Many Christians are unaware of how the Catholic Church has twisted and distorted the biblical doctrine of Justification and condemned those who believe it. Yes, they have pronounced 33 anathemas from the Council of Trent on anyone who believes that they are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Since this has eternal consequences, we have provided 10 contrasts between the biblical Doctrine of Justification and the corrupted doctrine that continues to be taught by Rome. To print a copy of these 10 contrasts click here. The numbers in parenthesis are paragraph numbers from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
1) Justification is by faith in what God accomplished in Christ (Rom. 5:1). Rome says initial justification is by water baptism (1992).
2) Justification changes one’s legal status before God whereby a condemned sinner has been acquitted and declared righteous (Rom. 5:12-21). Rome says justification changes the inner man, not his legal status (2019).
3) Justification is an instantaneous act of God which immediately declares a sinner righteous (Rom. 4:3). Rome says justification is an ongoing process, the ongoing renewal of interior man (2019).
4) Justification is permanent and is never lost by sin. The legal status of a justified man is as unchangeable as the righteousness of Christ (Heb. 10:14). Rome says justification is temporal. It is lost by sin and regained through the sacrament of penance and good works (1446, 1861).
5) Justification is by grace apart from works (Titus 3:7; Rom. 11:6). God justifies those who do not work (Rom. 4:5; Gal. 2:16). Those justified receive the gracious gift of Christ’s righteousness (Rom. 5:17). Rome says justification must include good works (2010). “If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, let him be anathema” (Trent, Canon 9). Rome says re-justification must be merited by making satisfaction for sins through works of mercy, prayer, service to neighbors, etc. (1459, 1460, 2027).
6) Justification is by imputation or crediting of Christ’s completed righteousness to the one justified (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 4:5). Rome says justification is by infusion of God’s righteousness which renews the interior man (1989).
7) God justifies the ungodly (Rom. 4:5). Rome teaches final justification is only for those who have become righteousness (2016, 2020).
8) After justification all sins are no longer taken into account or punished (Rom. 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:19-21). Rome says that sins committed after justification will be punished either in purgatory or in hell (1030, 1861).
9) God promises to glorify everyone He justifies because those justified can never be condemned (Rom. 8:1, 8:30). Rome says that God will condemn to hell anyone who was justified (by water baptism) but who dies in mortal sin (1861).
10) Justification precedes sanctification (Rom. 6-8). Rome says justification is an integral part of sanctification (1995).
The righteousness that justifies the ungodly sinner is an alien righteousness that was accomplished outside of and apart from man. It is the completed righteousness of Jesus Christ and is given as a gift from God apart from any merit or work of man. His perfect righteousness is imputed at the moment the redeemed is united with Christ by faith. The righteousness of Christ is our passport into heaven! No one will enter into glory without it (2 Peter 3:13).

John MacArthur Added To Cast Of ‘The View’

NEW YORK, NY—In a move designed to finally give an on-air voice to the nation’s conservative Christians, producers of popular morning talk show The View confirmed Monday the addition of preacher and author John MacArthur to the show. In internal test footage, MacArthur reportedly held his own against the flurry of conversation coming from the […]

. . . finish reading John MacArthur Added To Cast Of ‘The View’.

Seven Characteristics of Liberal Theology

Liberals believe they are making Christianity relevant, credible, beneficial, and humane. Evangelicals in the line of J. Gresham Machen believe they are making something other than Christianity. That was the dividing line a century ago, and the division persists.

What is theological liberalism?

Liberalism is both a tradition—coming out of the late-18th century Protestant attempt to reconfigure traditional Christian teaching in the light of modern knowledge and values—and a diverse, but recognizable approach to theology.

Like any “ism,” liberalism is not easy to pigeonhole. But Gary Dorrien’s magisterial three volumes on The Making of American Liberal Theology present a coherent picture of a movement that has been marked by identifiable hermeneutical and sociological commitments. Even if one wishes to avoid liberal theology, it would still be wise to know something about a movement that has exerted such considerable influence over the past 200 years.

Below are seven characteristics of liberalism that have been culled from the first volume of Dorrien’s trilogy. The headings are mine; the indented text is from the book.

1. True religion is not based on external authority

The idea of liberal theology is nearly three centuries old. In essence, it is the idea that Christian theology can be genuinely Christian without being based upon external authority. Since the eighteenth century, liberal Christian thinkers have argued that religion should be modern and progressive and that the meaning of Christianity should be interpreted from the standpoint of modern knowledge and experience. (xii)

What’s more, Dorrien recognizes this rejection is something new in the history of the church.

Before the modern period, all Christian theologies were constructed within a house of authority. All premodern Christian theologies made claims to authority-based orthodoxy. Even the mystical and mythopoetic theologies produced by premodern Christianity took for granted the view of scripture as an infallible revelation and the view of theology as an explication of propositional revelation. Adopting the scholastic methods of their Catholic adversaries, Protestant theologians formalized these assumptions with scholastic precision during the seventeenth century. Not coincidentally, the age of religious wars that preceded the Enlightenment is also remembered as the age of orthodoxy.

Reformed and Lutheran orthodoxy heightened the Reformation principle that scripture is the sole and infallibly sufficient rule of faith, teaching that scripture is also strictly inerrant in all that it asserts. (xv)

Note that Dorrien does not believe inerrancy was a Princetonian invention.

2. Christianity is a movement of social reconstruction.

One of the most influential definitions of theological liberalism was offered in 1949 by an able latter-day proponent, Daniel Day Williams: “By ‘liberal theology’ I mean the movement in modern Protestantism which during the nineteenth century tried to bring Christian thought into organic unity with the evolutionary world view, the movements from social reconstruction, and the expectations of ‘a better world’ which dominated the general mind. It is that form of Christian faith in which a prophetic-progressive philosophy of history culminates in the expectation of the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth.” (xiv)

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Albert Mohler Blog: “‘An Act of Pure Evil’ — Searching for Meaning in Las Vegas

In this essay, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. discusses the horrible events that took place Sunday night in Las Vegas. Mohler writes:

“Evil is a fact, too. And evil is a theological category. The secular worldview cannot use the word with coherence or sense. The acknowledgement of evil requires the affirmation of a moral judgment and a moral reality above human judgment. If we are just accidental beings in an accidental universe, nothing can really be evil. Evil points to a necessary moral judgment made by a moral authority greater than we are — a transcendent and supernatural moral authority, God”

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Dallas Theological Seminary’s Women’s Conference Speaker, Christine Caine, Raises Concerns for Reader

Lighthouse Trails recently posted a letter to the editor written by a woman who is concerned that Dallas Theological Seminary, known for, among other things, biblical inerrancy, has invited a Word of Faith heretic to speak at a women’s conference. LHT points out that the reason Christine Caine should not have been invited to speak at any evangelical seminary is because “she claims Joyce Meyer as her ‘spiritual mother’ and lists Word of Faith preacher Sheryl Brady as a dear friend calling her ‘flat out the best chick preacher of the word.’ Caine has ‘preached’ in seeker/emergent Steven Furtick’s mega church in Charlotte, North Carolina.”  More about Christine Caine here.

Thank you for the article regarding Dallas Theological Seminary’s movement toward contemplative prayer and the New Spirituality. It was painful to read as I have relied upon their faithfulness to the Word since 1974 when I first sat under the teaching of a DTS graduate. All the teachers I listen to and know have graduated from DTS. There are many graduates here in _____, Texas and true verse-by-verse teaching has had an influence upon so many who love the truth. I have been able to discern a change even in the teachers I sit under as I hear who they quote in their teachings.

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Source: Dallas Theological Seminary’s Women’s Conference Speaker, Christine Caine, Raises Concerns for Reader

October 3, 2017: Verse of the day

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Lord’s anointed. David recognized that the Lord Himself had placed Saul into the kingship. Thus the judgment and removal of Saul had to be left to the Lord.

MacArthur Study Bible

David respects Saul as the Lord’s anointed because Saul is still on the royal throne as king over Israel, even though the Spirit of the Lord has already left him. The Lord had previously anointed Saul as king (10:1), and in David’s eyes Saul still retains that status. The anointed of the Lord should not be killed or even cursed (cf. 26:9; Ex. 22:28; 2 Sam. 1:14; 19:21).

ESV Study Bible