Archives For Caleb Kolstad

Photo Credit: eyeballplant.com

Photo Credit: eyeballplant.com

I recently took our adult Sunday School classes through a short series on rethinking biblical application in relation to expository listening. From that study, I was reminded that biblical change is a synergistic work of grace which often involves the preacher (2 Tim. 4:1-2), the expository listener, and the Holy Spirit (Phil. 2:12-13).

In earlier articles I addressed the biblical expectations of the preacher (Ezra 7:10, James 3) and the listener (James 1:21-27; Luke 12:48). I also included some helpful thoughts by Pastor John MacArthur with regards to the role of application in expository preaching.   In today’s article, I will identify some practical principles that will hopefully instruct Christian listeners and expository preachers alike in order that both might better profit from the preaching of the Word. Continue Reading…

July 24, 2015

We Will Not Bow!

by Caleb Kolstad

KnowingTheTimes-2013Throughout his ministry, Martin Lloyd-Jones frequently preached sermons on the state of English culture and society. These messages, known as the “Knowing the Times” sermons, became a vital part of his pastorate as he equipped his flock to understand the the Bible and gave them practical principles for living in a fallen world. Nothing from Downy Street every caught the Lord by surprise, and these messages (he called them “occasional addresses”) were his way of encouraging his congregation to view their culture through a biblical-lens.

Last Sunday, Pastor John MacArthur delivered a prophetic word that immediately reminded me of those “Logic On Fire” Lloyd-Jones addresses. At the evening message, MacArthur began by telling the congregation that while much that is very helpful has already been said regarding the recent legalization of same-sex “marriage,” he wanted to give additional clarity (you can listen to the message here).

He began by pointing out that our country often delineates our history through acts of terror and war. But he wanted us to know that in his opinion, the two biggest acts of terror our country have faced are both from our Supreme Court: the legalization of abortion, and now the legalization of SSM. How are those two connected? Well, the first attacks mothers, and second attacks families. The first means moms without kids, and the second means kids without moms.   Continue Reading…

Rom. 1:16-32, 1 Cor. 6:9-11, and Jude 3-25

A Biblical Perspective on the SCOTUS decision

flag america and christianAfter Friday’s landmark SCOTUS decision many shepherds felt compelled to imitate the example of Jude.  Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.  For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (Jude 3-4).  Following in Jude’s footsteps I decided to take a week off from my regular expositional series through the gospel of John in order to address the Supreme Court’s nation changing decision.

These are dark times, there’s no denying it!”  In our own backyard my family hears beautiful hymns of the faith played on traditional church bells from only a block away.  We often hear great gospel songs like “the Old Rugged Cross” and “Amazing Grace.”  Yet when anyone drives by this same church they quickly observe a flashing “Gay Pride” rainbow flag that is proudly displayed on St.John’s digital billboard.  St. John Church of Christ wants everyone in Freeport to know that they are leading the way in the “Open and Affirming” church movement that is sweeping through our nation like wildfire.  Dr. Dutcher strongly believes that Lord himself wants every church, not just his own congregation, to join him in this progressive crusade.  They are certainly not alone in this!  Just like week Pastor Tony Campolo issued a statement saying he now “fully supports same sex marriage.”  Add to that, a recent article on Reuters which reports that close to 35% percent of “professing Evangelicals” now support gay marriage. That number represents a sixteen percent increase over a time span of just three years (though around 45% of the nation still believes homosexuality is a sin).

I do not know what it is like where you live but in our “conservative” city the local newspaper has provided Dr. Dutcher with free advertisement more times than I can count.  How is it, that one liberal pastor is given so much press coverage so he repeatedly promote his own religious and personal convictions?  St John’s “Unity Fest” for example was spotlighted three times in the month of June alone.  In sharp contrast, the congregation that I pastor is celebrating its 170th anniversary of ministry in Freeport on July 1st. We did not even receive one write up.  For all the talk about “dialogue” and “free speech” very few media outlets have given equal opportunities so that both sides can express their viewpoints concerning this controversial subject.  That’s strange seeing only 3.8% of Americans identify themselves as LGBT (per Gallup).

Needles to say, the moral trajectory of our nation is quite troubling.  I make this assertion on the authority of Scripture.  The goal of this article is to evaluate last week’s landmark Supreme Court decision from a biblical perspective.  As you have no doubt observed everyone these days has an opinion but only Being’s point of view truly matters. Continue Reading…

gay white-house-rainbow

Michael S. Williamson—The Washington Post/Getty Images http://time.com/3938935/white-house-rainbow-gay-marriage-decision/

For many decades the LGBT movement has worked tirelessly in effort to fundamentally transform America’s conscience with regards to sexuality and gender.  This has been achieved, in large part, with direct assistance from Hollywood.  In a Hollywood Reporter article from 9/25/14 Natalie Jarvey wrote, “Gay couples? Gay kisses? Yawn. New sexual boundaries are being broken as Amazon’s ‘Transparent’ is the latest to tackle a once-taboo topic.”  Long before Bruce Jenner decided to go public with his transgender decision the path had already been paved for him.  In my judgment, a ‘team effort’ strategy during a sweeping “moral revolution” is what helped advance the LGBT cause so rapidly.

Our LGBT friends need to remember that not too long ago many/most “Liberal/Progressive” politicians actually campaigned in favor of traditional marriage (take Bill and Hillary Clinton for example).  The night before his presidential election victory in 2008, then candidate Obama said, “Marriage is between a man and a woman.” I do not support same sex same weddings though I do oppose California Proposition 8.  Much has changed in seven short years (and much has not).

If I were to summarize the LGBT strategy I would highlight six simple words: Desensitize, Normalize, Demonize, Legalize, Idolizeand for some, Victimize (or you could say Penalize)!  It is remarkable in some ways that less than 4% of the population has effectively influenced the Supreme Court into changing the “legal definition” of marriage (ultimately no human court has the authority to redefine what God designed).

Bruce Jenner

Photo credit: Annie Leibovitz: Vanity Fair

Now before you dismiss this article outright as coming from one of those “angry Baptist preachers” I would encourage you to at least consider the real life examples that are listed below.

The goal of this post is not to call on Christians everywhere to boycott Hollywood and Starbucks.  Every Spirit-filled believer has to make their own Biblically informed decisions as to what they are going to watch, listen to, and read.  Unlike some pastors, I do not believe that Christian liberty should not be taken away from believers just because it is regularly abused (for more on what the Bible teaches concerning grey area decisions consider this, this, and this). I for one take my wife to a restaurant owned by a gay chief, have gay friends, still enjoy Starbucks, hope to take my children to Disneyland one day, and occasionally go to the movie theater- but now I digress.

How did we get here?  Contrary to popular opinion, TV shows and movies are almost never “agenda-less” entertainment.  People write books and movie scripts with a certain worldview and with specific goals in mind.  My blog is no different.  I have a Christian worldview.  As such I believe that the Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice.  I try and convince my small “audience” to follow the clear teachings of Scripture as an expression of love for Christ (John 14:15).

Back to the widespread influence of Hollywood.  Neal Postman observed correctly long ago that many Americans are simply “amusing themselves to death.”  This means that most church kids know far more about the entertainment world then the world of the Bible.  They know the lyrics of secular songs far better then they know lyrics of most sacred songs. They spend more time watching TV/movies then just about anything else.  In view of this, as my Greek professor often said, “We need to be aware so we can beware.”

Suffice it to say, the amount of TV shows that promote the LGBT agenda are too numerous to count.  Here is a VERY small sampling: Continue Reading…

Wolf HallMy wife and I have enjoyed watching a new series on PBS Masterpiece called “Wolf Hall“. In this intriguing show history is retold through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, “the enigmatic advisor to King Henry VIII, as he maneuvers the corridors of power in the Tudor court. This six-part series follows the back-room dealings of this accomplished power broker, from humble beginnings, who must survive deadly political intrigue.”

One of the things that I like to do while watching a show like this is to utilize my smartphone to ‘fact check’ the details. For example, did Queen Anne Boleyn truly commit incest or was it a false charge trumped up against her because she failed to produce a male offspring? What were the actual circumstances surrounding her death?  As a Christian, I especially want to know what role genuine believers played during the English Reformation?

For those of you interested in learning more about the heroes of the faith in this era I recommend the following books: Katherine Parr: A Guided Tour of the Life and Thought of a Reformation Queen (one of the many wives of Henry) by Brandon Withrow. I also would commend chapter four in Christopher Catherwood’s, Five Leading Reformers: Lives at a Watershed in History.  Finally, I would encourage you to consider reading J. C. Ryle’s classic book, Five English Reformers.

Here is a snippet of some of the helpful details Catherwood provides in his short, but helpful book, on Five Leading Reformers. “The Reformation, when it finally came to England, came not with a Wycliffe or a Tyndale, but through the gentle scholar of quiet determination, Thomas Cranmer.”

What then is the key factor in determining the English Reformation? The answer is surely the top down nature of the English Reformation, a change made initially not on spiritual grounds but on political ones. This is how Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) could be promoted by one King (Henry), lauded by the King’s son (Edward) and martyred by the same King’s elder daughter (Mary).” “We need now to come on to the events which propelled Cranmer to fame- the issues at the heart of the English Reformation.” Continue Reading…

While I am sure there are some good reasons for pastors to leave the ministry, I can think of three negative factors that contribute to this very sad statistic:   Continue Reading…