Archives For Evangelicalism

This week was vaccine week in the news. Measles outbreaks in California and Arizona shed light on the trend of anti-vaxxers: parents who intentionally do not have their kids immunized against measles (the actual vaccination is against measles, mumps, and rubella). Today I want to appeal to Christian parents who are in the anti-vaxx crowd. But before getting there, a little history:

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February 4, 2015

Why I’m Not A Mormon

by Eric Davis

TempleLiving where I do, the topic of the Mormon faith often arises. It’s a religion which is gathering quite a few adherents, especially outside the USA. But if you were to ask me why I do not ascribe to Mormonism, I would begin by giving these three reasons:

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Yesterday, as I was reading through portions of Martin Luther’s commentary on Galatians, I came across the following:

“Christ took upon Himself our sins, not by constraint, but of His own good will, in order to bear the punishment and wrath of God: not for the sake of His own person (which was just and invincible, and was not in any way guilty), but for our person. So by means of a joyous substitution, He took upon Himself our sinful person, and gave to us His innocent and victorious person: with which we, being now clothed, are free from the curse of the law. . . . By faith alone therefore we are made righteous, for faith alone lays hold of this victory of Christ.” (Commentary on Gal. 3:13)

crown_of_thornsJohn Calvin’s comments on 2 Corinthians 5:21 are similar:

“How can we become righteous before God? In the same way as Christ became a sinner. For He took, as it were, our person, that He might be the offender in our name and thus might be reckoned a sinner, not because of His own offences but because of those of others, since He Himself was pure and free from every fault and bore the penalty that was our due and not His own. Now in the same way we are righteous in Him, not because we have satisfied God’s judgment by our own works, but because we are judged in relation to Christ’s righteousness which we have put on by faith, that it may become our own.” (Commentary on 2 Cor. 5:21)

Those quotations, which underscore the doctrines of substitutionary atonement and Christ’s imputed righteousness, reminded me of an earlier study I had done regarding 2 Corinthians 5:21, specifically with regard to this question: In what way was Jesus “made sin” on the cross?

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pg44-boredom-gettyLet’s face it. Church is not always as exciting as we would like. Sometimes it’s boring and disappointing. It’s possible that there are good reasons for that. But it’s possible that there are not.

Being bored is not the worst thing that can happen to us in our churches. In fact, it may be the best thing since it can present opportunity for personal change. Though not always, our personal boredom can often be symptomatic of a needed soul adjustment.

Consider a few shifts before submitting to disappointment’s demands:

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The_Boy_Who_Came_Back_from_HeavenRecent days have seen a rise in controversy over supposed celestial journeys. Not surprisingly, they have proved to lack authenticity.

But there was one individual who did experience a trip to heaven that was authentic. Nearly 2000 years ago, the Apostle Paul wrote, speaking of himself:

“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows—was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4).

PrintWithout seeking it out, the Apostle saw the real heaven; the dwelling place of God, angels, the exalted Christ, and those who trust in him as Lord and Savior. This truly was a supernatural experience beyond imagination; something of the extraordinary. And it really happened.

Moreover, we find the description of the event recorded in Scripture. If nothing else, we can learn that Scripture is sufficient (as opposed to 6-year olds, for example) on matters of heaven, and the like. And, what else can we learn from the Apostle’s experience? How did he speak about it after it happened? What did he say? What can we learn from him?

From the Apostle’s genuine experience, we can learn several things on how to speak of a visit to heaven. Here are a few observations from the way in which Paul described his unmatched and unrepeatable visit:

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Picture a high school math teacher that casts doubt on the textbook he’s teaching from. How adept at mathematics do you think his students will be? Or imagine a quarterback that doesn’t have confidence in his coach’s playbook. How far can the team progress into the season?

Paul Washer TMAI

These scenarios illustrate the reality of much of the theological education on the mission field today. Liberal Christianity and skepticism regarding the truthfulness of the Bible have been exported from the shores of America, and flown throughout the globe into the remotest regions on the planet. The consequences of the aspersion cast upon the text of Scripture have been devastating to the mission field. Many well-intentioned church leaders taught by Western missionaries mimic the unbelief of their teachers and doubt the veracity of Scripture. As a result, they base their ministries on pragmatic strategies and human experience—everything but the Word of God. And why wouldn’t they, if Scripture is nothing more than just another voice in the conversation? As you can imagine, the spiritual health and vitality of these churches suffer for lack of being fed from the mouth of God (Matt 4:4). In fields where there was once an unwavering loyalty to God and His Word, missionaries—not pagans or atheists—are sowing the seeds of doubt and unbelief, rather than the seed of the Word of God which brings a true spiritual harvest.

The Master’s Academy International (TMAI) believes that as missionaries go into the field to bring new converts to a saving knowledge of Christ, it is of utmost importance that they instill in their young “Timothys” a lofty view of Scripture—reverence for God and His Word. It is TMAI’s conviction that if missionaries do not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, they have no business being involved in disciple-making through theological education.

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Abortion vs WarForty-two years ago next week—on January 22, 1973—the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Roe v. Wade that a child in the womb is not to be considered a human person. Since that time, over 56 million babies have died in America under the sanction of the law. In January 1984, 31 years ago this week, President Ronald Reagan designated the third Sunday of every January as Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, to coincide with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. That’s this Sunday.

As we take time this weekend to remember that the fight against this most tangible evil in our society is far from over, I thought I would pool together some of the posts that The Cripplegate has run on abortion to this point. I pray they serve you as you think, reflect, mourn, and pray about how you might give yourself to bring the Gospel of Christ to bear on the issue of abortion.

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We live in a day of brazen-enough unbelief. It is as if the Christ-haunted today need to prove to their mommies what bad little boys they are, sounding out increasingly billowy boasts and denials and declamations of godlessness, complete with snazzy little samplers of depravity.

But such baldfaced rejection has never been the greatest threat to Christ’s church. I mean, if-only, right? If only heretics all wore T-shirts reading “I DENY FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS” or “HELLBOUND APOSTATE.” I suppose still some naïve souls would, in the name of a very wrongheaded understanding of “grace,” entertain such. But it would make matters simpler for others. (“Look—he’s wearing the T-shirt! How am I being ‘judgmental’?”)

 

tee shirt

No, the gravest danger to God’s people has always been the smiling subversive, the best-buddy bogus blowhard, the accommodating apostate, the helpful heretic. He wouldn’t touch a flat-out denial with a list of 10 Commandments Promises Whatevers. Like the Government, he’s “here to help.”

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As I’m sure you’ve heard, yesterday a Newspaper office in Paris was attacked by gunmen who murdered twelve people. The specific targets were the paper’s editorial cartoonists, and the motive for their murder was the fact that they had often drawn cartoons disparaging Mohammad.

While the attack was swiftly condemned by many political leaders—France’s own president called it “an exceptional act of barbarism”—it was also met by many people eager to protect the reputation of Islam. The fact that the murders were done to avenge the reputation of Mohammad and that the politically correct response was to protect Islam’s reputation is ironic indeed.   Continue Reading…

Perry Noble replied to the controversy addressed below with his own blog post. In it he apologized for what he said about the Hebrew word for “command.” The post below is not edited in light of that, but instead we encourage you to read Noble’s post.

commandmentsOver the past few weeks noise has arisen over the recent Christmas Eve service preached by pastor Perry Noble. Among other things, he performed a sweeping edit of the ten commandments in Exodus 20 during the sermon.

His justification for doing so was three-fold. God spoke to him, telling him to preach a message in which he edited each of the commandments, then he received affirmation from fellow-staff to do so, and a Jewish friend told him that there is no word in Hebrew for, “command.” The claim is made that instead of “Ten Commandments that you have to keep…they’re actually ten promises that you can receive when you say, ‘Yes,’ to Jesus.”

So, for example, the first commandment, which says, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exod 20:3), is better understood as, “You do not have to live in constant disappointment anymore.” As a sidenote, the commandments are not promises to which we say, “Yes,” but standards by which we are shown to be condemned so that we would see and sorrow over our inability to render ourselves acceptable to holy God, repent, and embrace the Person and finished work of Jesus Christ for acceptable righteousness.

So, the errors here are significant. First, this is a remarkable edit and jumbling of Scripture (which others have sufficiently addressed). But there are some other issues which merit consideration, especially for those of us who stand behind a pulpit each week.

One issue here is the sacredness of the pulpit. By pulpit, I do not mean a physical stand which sits in a church, but the spiritual act of preaching the Bible. Biblical preaching is to be a sacred endeavor, because of the sacredness both of the office of pastor and the task of preaching. Further, the sacredness is not ourselves, but the God we represent, the God for whom we speak, and the word of God from which we preach. In that sense the pulpit carries with it a sacredness.

Consequently, here are some considerations for the sacredness of the Christian pulpit:

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