Archives For Evangelicalism

I love evangelism. It’s constantly on my mind. It is impossible to see a human and not think about where they will spend eternity. It brings joy to my heart when people tell me about their gospel conversations. I love watching evangelistic encounters on YouTube and seeing the way that others do evangelism. It is because of all these things that when I see someone misrepresent Christ that my heart is troubled. The Gospel message is already Angry Preacheroffensive enough.

And because of all these reasons I haven’t been this disgusted by something I’ve seen done by “street preachers” since I got to see Westboro Baptist face to face. In a video entitled “Street Preacher Invades Starbucks” (I don’t recommend watching it since it is filled with profanity) a group of men “invade” a Starbucks and then start following and screaming “repent” to a few pedestrians. As the scene got more intense, a lady said some words that should have stopped them in their tracks.

I would rather go to hell than be with you!

Instead of being proud of this encounter, to the point of posting it as an example of proper evangelism on YouTube, they should have been ashamed.

“I would rather go to Hell than be with you”, are not some words that I ever want someone to say to me. And although Westboro and heretical “street preachers” are extreme examples, I think we are all tempted to sin during evangelistic encounters.  So here are some marks of an evangelist who seeks to represent his Savior in a way that would please Him.

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By now we’ve all heard of Chris Harper Mercer, the man who killed ten people on the campus of Umpqua Community College.

Can you imagine the despair in the room? Put yourself in the shoes of the students in that classroom as they watched their teacher drop. As the gunman shouted to the Christians to make themselves known! What would you do?

As a College minister I can’t help but be deeply affected by it. Tragedy has struck yet another college campus. Just yesterday I talked with several students on their way to class, and asked them if they were to die tonight gun-pointed-at-you-in-your-face-aim-aimedwhat would they say to God. Words like these are not scare tactics. We all are literally on the verge of eternity.

So many people are using this situation as a political tool. Some are calling for stricter gun control. Some say that the man specifically targeted the school because it was a gun-free zone. Others are blaming anti-depression medication as they say that all of the major shootings in the last few years came from kids who grew up taking drugs. It’s obvious that the world is confused, is without direction, and is jumping to conclusions. As Christians we know that the only place to get the answers is the Scripture. I wish I could visit Oregon and spend a few days praying with students and bringing them the hope that they need.  We need to pray for the Church in Oregon to wisely know how deal with this situation. Here are some truths that we know when tragedy strikes.

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While I’ve been overwhelmed with the positive response about last week’s article, “Why Evangelicals and Roman Catholics Cannot Be Together,” some seem to not quite grasp the reason for it. After all, they say that they have neighbors or family members who really love Jesus, who attend a Roman Catholic Church. While I have spoken to many Catholics and have yet to meet one who can explain the Gospel, I am sure that at least in America there has to be some believers who Sunday after Sunday are attending RCC’s. If you are one of these people, here are four reasons you need to leave today. Or if you know someone whom you believe to be born again, here are four reasons you need to encourage them to leave.

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September 30, 2015

Arminianism & Its Hazards

by Eric Davis

calvins flowerChances are you’ve discussed it lately. Who chose whom? God? Man? Both? Whose will and choice triggers salvation? Man’s? God’s? Both? It’s a common occurrence to spar over Calvinism (the doctrines of God’s sovereign grace) vs. Arminianism.

This post could not possibly address all the issues. Instead, it will take a brief look at some of Arminianism’s consequences. But first, a quick reminder of common Arminian teaching.

Arminianism typically holds that God elects individuals to salvation based on his foreknowledge of their personal worthiness. It’s claimed that God’s election means that he chose those whom he foresaw would trust in Christ for salvation prior to them doing so. God chose those whom he foreknew would choose him. Humanity, therefore, is fallen, but not incapable of seeking God. Though sinful, man is still able to arouse his will so as to choose God savingly. Some reject election, arguing that it is incompatible with human freedom and responsibility, thus rendering things like evangelism, prayer, and discipleship unnecessary. It follows, then, that many argue that one is able to lose their salvation.

arminian flower

Arminianism has had its propagators over the years. Jacob Arminius, of course. Later, John Wesley wrote, “I reject the blasphemy clearly contained in the horrible decree of predestination…I would sooner be a Turk, a Deist, yea an atheist, than I could believe this” (Cited in Demarest, The Cross and Salvation, 102). About 100 years later, Charles Finney held that there are essentially two types of people; the savable and the unsavable. God chose those who inherently possessed the ability by their freedom to choose God and be saved. Some contemporary proponents include F. Leroy Forlines and Roger Olson, to name a few.

Wherever we might find ourselves theologically, there are a number of hazards for consideration which are consequent of Arminian teaching:

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Papacy02Anyone paying attention to the news last week could not have missed Pope Francis’s historic visit to the United States. Perhaps the most alarming aspect of his visit was the way in which some evangelical leaders enthusiastically embraced him. Today’s article addresses one of the many reasons why evangelicals should neither endorse nor applaud the office of the papacy.

The Popularity of the Papacy

Francis is unarguably one of the most popular popes in recent memory. That popularity has been fueled, largely, by his unexpected message of tolerance toward those who have historically been condemned by the Catholic Church.

In last few months, Francis has even shocked many Catholics with statements he has made about homosexuality, divorce, abortion, capitalism, climate change, and how he views of people in non-Catholic religions. Some of his comments have been so surprising, in fact, that it leads one to wonder about the continuing validity of the rhetorical question: “Is the Pope Catholic?” With Francis, it’s getting harder and harder to say for sure.

In spite of all of that, the pope has never been more popular. Type the words “pope Francis souvenirs” into Google and over 1.8 million results show up. There are Pope Francis bobble heads, coffee mugs, commemorative buttons, key chains, wall art, collectible stamps, prayer cards, throw pillows, and a whole lot more.

Incredibly, the pope’s popularity has even spilled over into some Protestant circlesenticing a number of evangelical leaders to embrace him as a brother in Christ, rather than to reject him as a false teacher. In the words of one well-known television preacher, regarding Francis: “I love the fact that’s he’s made the Church more inclusive. Not trying to make it smaller, but to try to make it larger—to take everybody in. So, that just resonates with me.”

But the fact of the matter is that the popularity of this pope or any other pope represents the tragic reality that there are more than a billion people today caught in the clutches of a false religious system. The Roman Catholic church is not the true church. It is an apostate movement that has undermined the gospel by elevating the traditions of men above the Word of God.

[Note: This article continues on the Preachers and Preaching blog.] Click here to Continue reading . . . 

As the evangelical world in America seems rather excited about the Pope’s visit, I can’t help but remember how I nf95i1-warrenpopefelt when I discovered the Evangelicals and Catholics Together document (ECT).

In 1995 the unthinkable happened. Well known evangelical pastors signed a document in which they joined themselves with Catholic priests and Philosophers, in an ecumenical fashion in order to promote the agreements over the disagreements that have plagued Protestants and Catholics for centuries dating back to the greats: Calvin, Luther, Zwingli and Knox. They agreed to no longer “proselytize” each other, agreeing that Catholics are indeed brothers, and sisters in Christ.

This article was successful in its endeavor. The vast majority of Christians in America do not evangelize Catholics. Someone like me who has shed many tears over the deception of the Roman Catholic Church is seen as hateful. I totally understand the desire to believe people are saved. I also desperately want Roman Catholics to go to heaven, but we can’t let our desire for people to be saved or our desire to please men, lead us to cheer them on as they run towards hell. We must love them.

When I first found out about the ECT, I was shocked. I was fresh off the boat and never in a million years did I imagine such confusion over what seemed to be such a clear issue to me and any Italian believer. Most evangelical churches in Italy, many of which we would never step foot into, recognize this truth.

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Since there is so much confusion about Roman Catholicism, many faithful men have stood up and provided helpful tools to equip the Church in reaching Catholics. The more you understand Roman Catholicism the easier it will be to explain the Gospel with clarity. I have been helped by all these books and recommend them to you.

1 – Are we Together? – R.C. Sproul

“This book is not what you might assume: a rehearsal of slogans. Rather, it is an intelligent and engaging primer for Protestants and Roman Catholics alike about what Rome actually teaches and what are the profound issues that continue to separate confessional, evangelical Protestants from the Roman communion. This is a book that Protestants should give to their Roman Catholic neighbors and that Protestant pastors (after reading it) should give to their members. It is also a book that more than a few theologians and historians should read before the next round of ecumenical discussions and documents.” ~ R. Scott Clark

2 – Evangelicalism Divided – Iain Murray

Iain Murray’s historical overview of the fortunes and misfortunes of evangelical Christianity, especially in England, between 1950 and the century’s end-time, will stir up both an approving and a dissenting readership. But no one can contend that it ignores some of the most vital theological issues of the time and the conflicts surrounding them. The narrative is well documented, and it details not only conflicts of perspective but inconsistencies and alterations of views by some of the leading participants in the events of the day. The names best known to Americans – Billy Graham, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, James Packer, John Stott among them – are evaluated, commended and critiqued as contributory to the present-day evangelical outlook and predicament. – Carl F.H. Henry

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342491561_640Christ promised to build and bless one, and only one, institution in the universe: the church (Matt. 16:18). The true church exists, then, not consequent of man’s power and method, but God’s. However, this is not always articulated and practiced by professing Christians. Ours is a day which has witnessed that. This past weekend, I attended for the first time a conference which addressed the issue head on.

The annual Ekklesia Conference is hosted by Grace Immanuel Bible Church in Jupiter, Florida, pastored by Jerry Wragg. Ekklesia has as its mission, “to instruct Christians in the inseparable truths of Christ’s church and His gospel. Our desire is that believers would passionately serve and commit to the advancement of those realities with lifelong conviction.” As the previous 5 years of the conference, a theme is chosen which relates to the local church. This year’s was the mission of the church. Today’s post is a brief review of this worthwhile event.

So that readers may get a better feel for the flavor of the conference, here is a brief rundown of the speakers and their respective sermons:

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Bible07Last weekend, I had the opportunity to address this issue during a prospective student lunch at the Ligonier Fall Conference.

Today’s post is adapted from the notes I prepared for that lunch.

How to Choose a Seminary

I’m sure there are many practical concerns that factor in to why people choose the seminaries that they choose. Perhaps it’s the cost of tuition, the distance from home, the popularity of the professors, or the academic prestige of the institution. All of those are reasons why someone might choose a seminary, and some of those reasons involve legitimate considerations.

However, I’m convinced that none of those reasons represent the primary criterion that should be used to choose a seminary. And that’s because seminary is unlike any other educational institution in the world. Continue Reading…

September 17, 2015

Review: Captive

by Jesse Johnson

It was a jail break 10 years ago that helped make Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life one of the best selling books of all time.

In Atlanta on March 11, 2005, an inmate awaiting trial for rape found himself in an isolated hallway with a lone female deputy. What followed became a nationally televised man-hunt that you likely remember.

The inmate, Brian Nichols, punched the deputy in the face so hard he put her in a coma, stole her gun and radio, entered court, murdered the judge and a court reporter, and then killed another deputy while fleeing the building.   Continue Reading…