Thursday, December 28, 2006

Religious Unconsciousness

"There is a condition which has existed in the Church for some years and is steadily growing worse. I refer to the loss of the concept of majesty from the popular religious mind. The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshiping men. This she has done not deliberately, but little by little and without her knowledge; and her very unawareness only makes her situation all the more tragic.

The low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us. A whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one basic error in our religious thinking.

With our loss of the sense of majesty has come the further loss of religious awe and consciousness of the divine Presence. We have lost our spirit of worship and our ability to withdraw inwardly to meet God in adoring silence. Modern Christianity is simply not producing the kind of Christian who can appreciate or experience the life in the Spirit. The words, "Be still, and know that I am God," mean next to nothing to the self-confident, bustling worshiper.

The loss of the concept of majesty has come just when the forces of religion are making dramatic gains and the churches are more prosperous than at any time within the past several hundred years. But the alarming thing is that our gains are mostly external and our losses wholly internal; and since it is the quality of our religion that is affected by internal conditions, it may be that our supposed gains are but losses spread over a wider field." —A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)

Excerpt taken from "The Knowledge Of The Holy" by A. W. Tozer (1897-1963) Copyright 1961 HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

So many people in this world today really don't understand the meaning of Christmas and why this time of year we celebrate the birth of a child. Why was that child's birth so amazing that over 2000 years later we still stop the world in order to recognize him. What was it about this child's birth that caused time to be divided. We will just let the Bible answer that for us.

John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

John 1:14 "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."

2 Corinthians 5:15-19 "and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation."

I love 2 Corinthians 5:19 God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, that's the reason for the season! Merry Christmas and God Bless you and yours!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Increasing Apostasy

I picked up a little gem today in a tiny antique store in historic downtown Bell Buckle, Tennessee it is titled "Expository Notes on the Epistles of James and Peter" by H. A. Ironside. As I turned to page 86 I read the following that really brought to mind men like Brian McClarin, Rob Bell and Jay Bakker who are heading up the Emergent Church Movement and spreading another gospel. Mr. Ironside quotes the following as he exegete's from 2 Peter 2: 11-17.

"While these ungodly men vaunt themselves against all authority, and as these teachers of error mingle among the people of God they are spots and blemishes, marring and disturbing the fellowship of the saints, giving themselves over to self-indulgence as they feast with Christians as though they belonged to the family of God. Because there is no power in error to subdue nature's sinful lusts they are described as having eyes full of adultery; they cannot cease from sin. It is only the might of the Holy Spirit which can subdue and hold in check the lusts of the flesh. False doctrines never do this. While beguiling or leading astray unstable souls that is, those who are not well-grounded in the truth of God, they prove themselves to be an accursed generation whose hearts are exercised not unto godliness but with covetous practices.

While the propagators of unholy and unscriptural theories profess to have just the message that men need, they actually have nothing that can give victory over sin or relief to a troubled conscience. They are like wells without water which only disappoint the thirsty who go to them, or like clouds that look as though they might soon pour down refreshing showers but are carried away by gales of wind, and so the land is left as dry and arid as ever. The doom of these misleading teachers is sure. The mist of darkness is to be their portion forever. The sad thing is that even among professing Christians so many are ready to listen to these pretentious vendors of false systems only to be destroyed at last when they find that they are left without anything upon which the heart and conscience can rest for eternity."

Excerpt taken from "Expository Notes on the Epistles of James & Peter" by H.A. Ironside, Publisher: Loizeax Brothers (1947)

Holy Advertisement?

I usually don't report one of Slice of Laodicea's articles but this one was just to bad to pass up. It seems that advertising has begun to seep into churches, and this new phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down. Marketing experts are now attempting to target evangelicals while they sit in the pews. Among the wave of early adopters is the Republican Party, which has successfully sold its platform to church-goers in the 2000 and 2004 elections; and Hollywood has also envaded with, Mel Gibson's church-marketed film "The Passion of the Christ" which became a blockbuster; and publishing giants have cashed in, with Rick Warren's best-selling book The Purpose-Driven Life. It seems that the heavenly market is now up for sale, and you can't help but wonder how long it will be before you see Mastercard and VISA, decals on your church windows, or bathroom stalls decorated with Diet Coke ads, and the church nursery with diaper ads on the walls, nope it won't be long now before the First FORD Baptist Church comes to your local community. Read the full article from Out of Ur.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Quote of the Day

“Man has always treated sin as a misfortune, not a crime; as disease, not as guilt; as a case for the physician, not for the judge. Herein lies the essential faultiness of all mere human religions or theologies. They fail to acknowledge the judicial aspect of the question, as that on which the real answer must hinge.” -Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness (Banner of Truth: Edinburgh)

Thanks Tony Reinke

Fast Fish!

Today as I was coming home from work I payed close attention to a fish emblem on the back of a car and while looking at it I asked myself why am I not moved by it? What's the purpose of having one of these little emblems? I guess the person in the other car is trying to say to me and the rest of the world hey I am a Christian and I know it because I am not afraid to show it on the back of my car, well that's all good. But I see so many of these emblems every day blowing by me at 85 mph, or drafting behind me like it's the Daytona 500, flashing their headlights, and blowing the horn as if they were late for choir practice or something. (Oh don't let get me started on folks being late for church!) It's becoming increasingly more difficult for me, and I am sure others to give any credulity to these little fish decals because they really don't say anything; it's just a symbol that presupposes a message, unlike some Christian decals from days gone by that just simply said "Jesus is Lord". I found a quote where one woman describes why she puts one on her car. “I put the fish and the other 27 stickers on my car to show how faithful I am to the Lord,” she went on to say. “You know, for everyone who doesn't know that I head the church booster club, volunteer at the Sunday school, and baptize the mentally handicapped. Because everyone needs to know how secure my faith is.” She added, “I assure you, completely secure.” Wow, do I really need everyone to know how secure my faith is? I don't really know what I am trying to say in this piece, I guess if putting a little fish sticker on your car makes you feel better about your faith; hey go for it, but just remember it doesn't convince me when you cut me off at 85 mph.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Still Saved?

1 Peter 1:1-6b "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. Praise to God for a Living Hope Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice"

When I think of some of the false teachings that have invaded so many denominations today there is one that really has always been a thorn in my flesh, it is the teaching that a true believer can somehow lose his or her salvation. How in the world do they fit that into the passage above where Peter clearly states "an inheritance that can never perish"? Or Ephesians chapter one or a number of other verse's that clearly teach the security of the believer. I have heard many Christian's that teach the loss of salvation is some how based on what the believer does or doesn't do, as if one can somehow stamp out the sovereignty of God by some sin they commit after God has chosen them to salvation, they fail to understand who God is and they fail to understand that salvation is the work of God and not man. Notice that Peter states that our security is not kept by us but by the power of God. In verse six Peter tells us to greatly rejoice in this, well what is this? Go back to verse 3 and 4, It's the new birth and it's the inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade kept in heaven for you. Well if I could loose my salvation what's left that I may rejoice in? I am also reminded of 1 John 5:13 "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." How can I know I have eternal life if I can loose it? Well lots of folks buy into this false doctrine from false teachers but I think I will stick with the writers of the Bible and let them answer for me.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Great Humbler

Thanks to Challies for the great post about the five points of Calvinism it's a must read.

The doctrine of unconditional election is the great humbler. We are humbled when we see that we must rest not in the person who wills to be saved, but in God who elects and who has the power to save. We remove all trace of pride, all trace of self-confidence, and rest in the sovereignty of God. We allow this humility to filter to all areas of our lives, for only by God and through God are we saved. We lower ourselves and lift God high. We are humbled, so God may be magnified and glorified. And we live in service to God out of gratitude that His amazing grace extends even to sinners like us -- sinners who would never and could never have chosen Him, but for His gracious and unfathomable choice. Read the full article here.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Calvin on Scripture

II Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

I believe that the Purpose Driven Movement truly fails to understand or apply this passage in their ministry efforts and the reason I believe that is because they are driven to please the unbeliever rather than edify the faithful. But don't take my word for it, turn back the pages of time and hear what John Calvin had to say about it.

"When we consider that there is nothing but sin and wickedness in us, we must learn to be displeased with ourselves, and serve God fervently, with a pure heart: this is the doctrine contained in the Holy Scripture, We must understand the meaning of St. Paul, when he saith to reprove; that is, if we would be well instructed in the school of God, we must confess ourselves guilty; we must be pricked to the heart; we must be reproved for our faults. When the Word of God is rightly expounded, the faithful are not only edified, but if an unbeliever come into the church and hear the doctrine of God he is reproved and judged. By this we understand that although the unbeliever may be wrapped in darkness, and pleased with his own ignorance, yet when God so enlightened him that he seeth the misery and wickedness in which he hath lived, when he seeth his deplorable situation, while giving ear to the Word of God, he perceived the heavens open, as it were, and that man was not made for this life only, but to be exalted to a higher station. Thus unbelievers are convicted.

And to make it more clear, St. Paul addeth the secrets of the heart are then disclosed; for we know while the Word of God is buried, no man taketh heed to himself; our hearts are in darkness. What then must we do? We must apply the Word of God to our use, and be awakened out of sleep: we must no more forget God, nor the salvation of our own souls; we must search the very depth of our hearts, and examine our whole lives; that we may be ashamed of our filthiness, and become our own judges, to avoid the condemnation that is ready at the hand of God."
Excerpt taken from a sermon delivered by John Calvin (1509-1564) called "The Proper Use of Scripture" which was transcribed from the book Great Expository Sermons compiled by Faris D. Whitesell, copyright 1964 By Fleming H. Revell Company: Westwood, New Jersey

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Another Gospel Bookstore

Today I was able to get around the small rural town of Shelbyville, Tennessee which I recently moved near by and really just wanted take it all in so as to get familiar with my new surroundings being new to the community and all. So I spotted one of the local Christian Book stores and decided to stop in. The first thing that caught my eye was smiling Joel Osteen in the front window, I should have stoped right there and just climbed back in my truck, but being a glutton for punishment I went on in. And yep there they were the names of the best known heretics and false teachers from the church growth movement, emerging church movement, Word Faith movement and even the New Age movement. This store was a Charismatics dream come true with the Charisma Magazine right as you walk in and Bishop T.D. Jake's big mug everywhere you looked not to mention other notable TBN All stars like, John Hagee, Joyce Myers, and more. I was floored don't know why but I guess I wasn't expecting such an onslaught of heresy in such a small town. One of the saddest thing for me was seeing the few books by John MacArthur that they did have sitting right next to books by Joyce Myers, oh how in the world can this private Christian retailer park to opposing theologies right next to each other and still sleep at night is beyond me. But it wasn't all bad there was even one Spurgeon book and several books about the Pilgrims, and the Reformation, Calvin, John Knox, Wesley and even a commentary by Matthew Henry, so there is hope or maybe it's just leftovers from glory days gone by? I also noticed that there weren't many books at all, it was more like a Christian Gift Shop with tons of wall decorations, plates, cards, Cd's, and pretty things to sit on the shelf. I guess the most notable outcry was the tiny display area laid out for Bibles, oh how sad that the Word of God has taken a back seat to such trivial stuff. Come Lord Jesus!

Quote of the Day

"The biggest mission field in America is professing-Christianity". --John MacArthur

Intolerance of Intolerance?

I am so sick of hearing the word Intolerance, especially from the homosexual community that quotes the word as if it is a four letter word that is supposed to make someone out to be a bad person. As a Christian I have the responsibility to myself, my family and my God to be intolerant, or even discriminate of certain things, ideas, and behaviors. How many of us would tolerate a murderer? Or a cheating spouse? How about a child molester? I dare say none of us, so why should I have to tolerate what the Bible clearly states as an abomination? Now I am not advocating hate for homosexuals, my heart breaks for the homosexual community I long to see them come to Christ and repent of their sins, and not just the sin of homosexuality but all sin. And before I am bombarded with hate comments please read what the Bible says about the sin of homosexuality and then be tolerant of my intolerance or you are guilty of being a hypocrite being intolerant of my intolerance.

Forbidden - Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. (Le 18:22).

Considered an Abomination - And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. (1 Ki 14:24).

Punishment - If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (Le 20:13).

Unclean - Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retainh God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Ro 1:24-32).

Friday, December 15, 2006

What is the Main Issue Facing the Church?

The main issue facing the church is the lack of discernment. That is the main issue facing the church. The church doesn't distinguish between truth and falsehood. It has a defective immune system. It has a case of spiritual AIDS. It does not have the ability to fight error because it doesn't know the truth. It doesn't have enough truth antibodies to fight off error. The church is ignorant. It is blissfully ignorant and consequently it is victimized easily by error.

This is a serious, serious problem. Weak theology, shallow, superficial knowledge of Scripture, all kinds of uncalled, unqualified people standing in pulpits who were not sent by God like the false prophets Jeremiah talks about and don't have the Word of God and don't understand it, are inventing all kinds of things that the church is buying into. A superficial knowledge of Scripture, a weak theology, all kinds of error flooding into the church cripples discernment. And what makes it worse is that there is a movement to say that the tolerance of all of this is the purest expression of Christian love, right? And if you call these people into question and you call what they're saying into question and say it's not truth, it's error, you are unloving, you are divisive and you are striking a blow against the unity of the church.

And so, you have error flooding the church. The church is by its theological and biblical ignorance unable to fight against that error. And tolerance is being elevated as a supreme virtue which aids and abets the problem. And this is in contradiction to the command of 1 Thessalonians 5:21, "Examine everything carefully and hold on to what is good and put away what is evil."

The church has gotten itself into a position where it cannot distinguish between God's Word and Satan's lies. That's sad...that's sad.

Now let me go a little deeper into this issue. Of all the issues of discernment, and there are many, there's a lot of confusion in the church, there's a lot of error in the church about a lot of things. There are all kinds of views of the work of the Holy Spirit, the person of the Holy Spirit. All kinds of views about various passages in the Scripture, paradigms for sanctification, forms of baptism, spiritual gifts, views about salvation, about the purposes and work of God, about the sovereignty of God, about the human volition All kinds of views about all kinds of things. And the church not only lacks discernment, but lacks the will to be discerning.

But of all of the issues that are important, there is one that is at the top of the list. If we're going to be discerning about anything, there is one thing we have to be discerning about and it's this...who is a Christian? That's the most critical one of all. That is the most critical issue of all. At the top of my list in this matter of being discerning is we need to know who the true Christians are because if we don't, then we've invited the enemy into the camp.

Excerpt taken from a sermon delivered by John MacArthur at Grace Community Church in Panorama City, California. It was transcribed from the tape, GC 80-221, titled "Deliverance: The Neglected Doctrine". You can read the entire sermon here.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Look closely it's a Christian on a missionary trip to Argentina but that's not the Bible she is sharing is it? No it's The Purpose Driven Life, yes this is a missionary from Saddleback Church where Rick Warren is pastor. Yikes would hate to have to explain that one to God on judgement day. Lucy you have some splaining to do.

Thanks to Chris Rosebrough of Extreme Theology for the post, please be sure to read the entire post at his site.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Benny and The Jets

Well folks, we have a true emergency on our hands!,, billions of souls may hang in the balance! Yes! The very future of Christianity itself is up in the air. Yeah, poor Benny Hinn needs a new Gulf Stream Jet in order to spread the Gospel according to Benny Hinn, and he's already named his future mode of transportation, Dove One! I mean, we can't have Benny Hinn traveling the way the rest of us mortals travel! No, no, how will all those millions of folks get bilked out of their...I mean, millions of folks get blown over by Benny throwing the Holy Spirit...I mean, get saved? "Oh, look, it's Dove One!" And who gets out? The, the guy who throws the Spirit around like a dodge ball---Benny Hinn. You know what the sad thing is? He'll get his Gulf Stream in the name of Jesus and continue to desecrate the truth and the gospel and give the faith a black eye. It's judgment, nothing but judgment. Then again, would you want to answer before the judgment seat for what he has been doing for years now? I sure wouldn't.

A big thanks to James White for bringing this to our attention.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Grow In Grace

2 Peter 3:18
"Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

Grow in grace - not in one grace only, but in all grace. Grow in that root-grace, faith. Believe the promises more firmly than you have done. Let faith increase in fullness, constancy, simplicity. Grow also in love. Ask that your love may become extended, more intense, more practical, influencing every thought, word, and deed. Grow likewise in humility. Seek to lie very low, and know more of your own nothingness. As you grow downward in humility, seek also to grow upward-having nearer approaches to God in prayer and more intimate fellowship with Jesus. Ma God the Holy Spirit enable you to "grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior." He who grows not in the knowledge of Jesus refuses to be blessed. To know Him is "life eternal," and to advance in the knowledge of Him is to increase in happiness. He who does not long to know more of Christ knows nothing of Him yet. Whoever hath sipped this wine will thirst for more, for although Christ doth satisfy, yet it is such a satisfaction that the appetite is not cloyed, but whetted. If you know the love of Jesus as the deer panteth for the waterbrooks, so will you pant after deeper draughts of His love. If you do not desire to know Him better, then you love Him not, for love always cries, "Nearer, nearer." Absence from Christ is hell; but the presence of Jesus is heaven. Rest not then content without an increasing acquaintance with Jesus. Seek to know more of Him in His divine nature, in His human relationship, in His finished work, in His death, in His resurrection, in His present glorious intercession, and in His future royal advent. Abide hard by the Cross, and search the mystery of His wounds. An increase of love to Jesus and a more perfect apprehension of His love to us is one of the best test of growth in grace.

By Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) taken from the Best-Selling Daily Devotional "Morning By Morning"

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Who are The False Teachers?

2 Peter 2:1-3
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not."

It seems that most of Christianity just goes along with the flow of what is being taught as Christianity today, and no one seems to buck the trend openly other than a select few teachers but does anyone ever ask just who are these false teachers of today, and what are the damnable heresies that they teach? I guess verse 2 sheds some light on why no one seems to point out the false teachers of today for "many shall follow their pernicious ways" Oh how sad that many have been taken in by false teachers, it reminds me of Matthew 7:22-23 where Jesus said "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

I believe it's clear that the false teachers that Peter refers to are false Christian Teachers who Jesus warned us about in Matthew 7:15 where he said "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." Who are the sheep? It's clear that Christians are sheep but these false teachers just look like sheep they are not real Christians but wolves pretending to be Christians. How can we know these wolves? Go back to 2 Peter "by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you" Look for plastic words and the want of money from you will be a dead giveaway and that pretty much describes 90% of the televangelist we see today.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Back Online

After a month and a day I am finally back online, we recently moved out to the country and the first thing I noticed out here is that no one gets in a hurry the builder, the TV company, phone company, water company etc. So I am thankful to be back and the first thing I did was to rush to and downloaded the latest MacArthur sermon, it's like a breath of fresh air. Praise God, Jesus is Lord!