Christianity, say many among us, is a life, not a dogma; and they reckon this the enunciation of a great and unappreciated truth. It is, however, a mere truism, or it is an unmeaning antithesis, or it is an absolute falsehood. It sounds oracular and great; it is only pompous.
Christianity is both a life and a dogma; quite as much the one as the other. But it is a dogma before it is a life; it cannot be the latter till it has been the former. It is out of the dogma that the life emerges; not the dogma out of the life; and the importance that is attached in Scripture to knowledge,--right knowledge,--should make us cautious in disparaging doctrine, as if it were harmless when wrong, and impotent or uninfluential when right. ... Remain ignorant of the doctrine, and you remain ignorant of the person [of Christ]; nay, that person becomes a mysterious shadow,--vague, unintelligible, and unlovable. --Horatius Bonar
Friday, August 31, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
"What a number of elaborate sermons have been preached to no purpose! Even the truth that is in them is rendered, in a great measure, useless, by the wisdom of words with which it is clothed." —Joseph Milner (1744-1797)
An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted believer can hardly fail to notice it during the past few years. It has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.
From speaking out as the Puritans did, the church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses.
My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the church. If it is a Christian work, why did not Christ speak of it? "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature". That is clear enough. So it would have been if He had added, "and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel." No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to him.
Then again, "He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers., for the work of the ministry". Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people or because they refused? The concert has no martyr roll.
Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all his apostles. What was the attitude of the church to the world? Ye are the salt", not the sugar candy--something the world will spit out not swallow. Short and sharp was the utterance, "Let the dead bury their dead" He was in awful earnestness.
Had Christ introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into his mission, he would have been more popular when they went back, because of the searching nature of His teaching. I do not hear him say, "Run after these people Peter and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow, something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it. Be quick Peter, we must get the people somehow." Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them.
In vain will the Epistles be searched to find any trace of this gospel of amusement! Their message is, "Come out, keep out, clean out!" Anything approaching fooling is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.
After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the church had a prayer meeting but they did not pray, "Lord grant unto thy servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are." If they ceased not from preaching Christ, they had not time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution, they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down. That is the only difference! Lord, clear the church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods.
Lastly, the mission of amusement fails to effect the end desired. It works havoc among young converts. Let the careless and scoffers, who thank God because the church met them halfway, speak and testify. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment has been God's link in the chain of the conversion, stand up! There are none to answer. The mission of amusement produces no converts. The need of the hour for today's ministry is believing scholarship joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire. - Charles Haddon Spurgeon - (1834-1892)
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
"Remember dear preacher brother that only the Lord's opinion of you matters in the judgement, be faithful to proclaim His Word only, do not resort to man-centered techniques or cave in to the many pressures placed upon you in a self-centered world. Be faithful and true to the Word of God and the God of that Word." —Jonathan Sims
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Pictures are worth a thousand words!
Nope; don't see a Cross on the outside either.
No Cross in the foyer, but there is a scripture verse of Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." now that's a verse everyone loves to hear!
No Cross is visible at the Lakewood Bookstore which is huge, I wonder what they sell in there? Do you think they might have a John MacArthur book or two in there?
Imagine that? No Cross in there either.
Hey if you incorporate the big video monitors it almost looks like a cross. I know this is how Lakewood Church looks most of the time, but...
I wish it looked more like this!!!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
"Hence it is, that natural men are generally so fond of Arminian principles. "Do and live," is the native language of a proud, self-righteous heart." —George Whitfield
"If you don’t believe that God is the Sovereign One who is determining who is being saved, then you must believe it’s your job. I’d be out of the ministry if I was an Arminian. I don’t want that responsibility." —John MacArthur
"There are many would have peace with the destroying of truth; peace with Arminian, Socinian, Antiscripturist. This is a peace of the devil’s making." —Thomas Watson
"If we sum up the evidence that has been given, we shall find its amount to be, that Arminianism came from the Church of Rome, and leads back again to the pit whence it was digged." — Augustus Toplady
"I have not discovered half the poison contained in the Arminian doctrine concerning God’s decrees, I will in brief present to your view the opposition that is in this matter betwixt the word of God and the patrons of free-will." —John Owen
"So that let Arminians turn which way they please with their notion of liberty, consisting in the Will determining its own acts, their notion destroys itself." —Jonathan Edwards
"[Arminianism is] the Pope's Benjamin, the last and greatest monster of the man of sin; the elixir of Anti- Christianism; the mystery of the mystery of iniquity; the Pope's cabinet; the very quintessence of equivocation." —Alexander Leighton
"What are the new Arminians but the varnished offspring of the old Pelagians, that makes the grace of God to lackey it at the foot, or rather, the will of man? that makes the sheep to keep the shepherd?" —Christopher Ness
"Arminianism is thus guilty of confusing doctrines and of acting as an obstruction to a clear and lucid grasp of the Scripture; because it mis-states or ignores the eternal purpose of God, it dislocates the meaning of the whole plan of redemption. Indeed confusion is inevitable apart from this foundational truth [of election]." —C. H. Spurgeon
So if you would allow me to paraphrase.
"Arminianism is a half poisoned self righteous man of sin who's heart is full of proud nonsense that is of the devil's own making which leads back to the pit of Rome and produces a confusing offspring of the old Pelagian monster that destroys itself and truth in the mystery of iniquity."That may have been a bit over the top.
Taken from 20 Centuries of Great Preaching; Volume 3 (Waco, TX: Word Books Publishing, 1974), p. 139. and excerpted from Whitfield Gold, Pure. Refined. by Ray Comfort (Gainsville, FL: Bridge-Logos, 2006), p. 102.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
• "Services at our church have an informal feeling. You won't hear people threatened with hell or referred to as sinners. The goal is to make them feel welcome, not drive them away."
• "As with all clergymen our pastor answer is God– but he slips Him in at the end, and even then doesn't get heavy. No ranting, no raving. No fire, no brimstone. He doesn't even use the H-word. Call it Light Gospel. It has the same salvation as the Old Time Religion, but with a third less guilt."
• "The sermons are relevant, upbeat, and best of all, short. You won't hear a lot of preaching about sin and damnation, and hell fire. Preaching here doesn't sound like preaching. It is sophisticated, urbane, and friendly talk. It breaks all the stereotypes."
• "Our pastor is preaching a very upbeat message... It's a salvationist message, but the idea is not so much being saved from the fires of hell. Rather, it's being saved from meaninglessness and aimlessness in this life. It's more of a soft-sell."
So the new rules may be summed like this: Be clever, informal, positive, brief, friendly, and never, never use the H-word.
"I fear there are some who preach with the view of amusing men, and as long as people can be gathered in crowds, and their ears can be tickled, and they can retire pleased with what they have heard, the orator is content, and folds his hands, and goes back self-satisfied. But Paul did not lay himself out to please the public and collect the crowd. If he did not save them he felt that it was of no avail to interest them. Unless the truth had pierced their hearts, affected their lives, and made new men of them, Paul would have gone home crying, "Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" - C.H. SpurgeonTaken from an article from John MacArthur titled "What's Wrong with "User Friendly"?"
Monday, August 20, 2007
Also first century church's didn't have the complete cannon of scripture, so I guess we would all just have to use the Old Testament like the Bereans did or rely on oral tradition for the better part of 300 years. Third; just imagine how hard it would be to grow your church when the leader of the known world is killing off your members just as fast as they join your congregation, can you imagine how hard it would be to take role from one Sunday to the next. The persecution of the Christians under Nero was so harsh, that even the inhabitants of Rome resented his cruelty, I think its safe to say that Nero would not have been onboard with Rick Warren's PDC Plan!
Forth; a first century church was open 7 days a week, Acts 1:46 "And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart", you see in order for church's today to be a first century church there would be little time left for today's relevant pastors to ride their Harley's or blast their bass boat to the nearest fishing hole. Fifth the early church regularly had to deal with many "heretical" groups trying to infiltrate the church with false teachings as Arianism, Gnosticism and Montanism which are still with us today in some forms, but today we don't have this problem because almost every idea is accepted into today's emerging church's where truth is vague and style is king. Lastly there was severe church discipline taking place in the first century for instance Ananias and Sapphira in chapter 5 of Acts, but today church discipline is all but UN-heard of with divorce running rampant and the homosexual community allowed to sit under pastoral leadership without confrontation of their sin would never fly in the first century. So with all that said all true believers do have "singleness of heart" and "all things common" with his fellow believers but for a pastor to think that pursuing these two traits define only a first century church is clear evidence that he is not a first century pastor.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
"Many churches in America today are offering ... new religion that guarantees no hell, requires no holiness, It is a limp, Spineless Christianity that does not confront sin for fear of being judgmental. It is an impotent gospel that tells people everything is okay." Thomas E. TraskTrask listed several causes of what he calls 'Spineless' Christianity one of these issues is situational ethics in which biblical absolutes are rejected. How ironic that the general superintendent of the largest Pentecostal denomination in the nation would point to what is running so rampant within his on denomination to describe what 'Spineless Christianity' is and then denys it by saying "May it never ... invade this church!", this reminds me of Luke 6:42 "How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye?"
If Pentecostals truly want to kill 'Spineless' Christianity they might want to start with purging their own churches of 'Word Faith' false teachings and expose all the heretics that parade the 'Prosperity Gospel' on TBN who attach themselves to the Pentecostal statement of faith. Second it would also be a bright idea to condemn Roman Catholicism as a false religion, even if they do claim to speak in tongues. Third they should repent of allowing women to take the role of pastoral leadership in the church as 1 Corinthians 14:33-34 says "for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says." Fourth they should stop being unequally yoked with unbelievers as they tend to align themselves with Roman Catholics, but 2 Corinthians 6:14 says "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?". Fifth they should stop teaching a second helping of the baptism which divides Christians into the haves and have not's and elevates some Christians into 'All Star' status. I truly believe Trask statement was dead-on describing a 'Seeker Friendly' gospel but not to the extent that it should have be directed to the Pentecostal denomination, their issues were not addressed at all.
Cling not to such beggarly elements - such filthy rags - mere cob webs of Pharisaical pride but look to Him who has wrought out a perfect righteousness for His people.
You find it a hard task to come naked and miserable to Christ... But if you come at all you must come thus ... There must be no conditions - Christ and Christ alone must be the only Mediator between God and sinful men - no miserable performances may be placed between the sinner and the Savior. Let the eye of faith be ever directed to the Lord Jesus Christ; and I beseech Him to bring every thought of your heart into captivity to the obedience of our Great High Priest.
George Whitfield (1714-1769)
Taken from God's Anointed Servant in the Great Revival of the Eighteenth Century, by Arnold A. Dallimore (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1990), p. 161. and excerpted from Whitfield Gold, Pure. Refined. by Ray Comfort (Gainsville, FL: Bridge-Logos, 2006), p. 99.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
List compiled from Dr. John MacArthur's sermon titled "The Deadly Dangers of Moralism".
01. Cultural morality is not our commission.
02. Cultural morality wastes immense amounts of precious resources, time, money, human energy.
03. Cultural morality sets up inevitable failure.
04. Cultural morality fails to understand the nature of the Kingdom of God.
05. Cultural morality puts the responsibility on man rather than God, well-intentioned people trying to do the impossible.
06. Cultural morality creates morality without theology.
07. Cultural morality fails to understand that salt and light are not moral influence, but gospel witness and the power of holy living.
08. Cultural morality has no New Testament model to follow except the Pharisees.
09. Cultural morality creates unholy unions in which unbelievers and enemies of the gospel are welcomed.
10. Cultural morality leads to acceptance of inclusivism.
11. Cultural morality becomes selective as to the sins it attacks.
12. Cultural morality fails to understand the true nature of spiritual warfare.
13. Cultural morality makes the mission field into the enemy.
14. Cultural morality brings persecution and hatred of Christians for the wrong reasons.
15. Cultural morality reverses the divine order. That is, it makes morality the power for salvation. Works rather than Grace.
16. Cultural morality fails to understand the wrath of God.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Free from the law, oh, happy condition,
Jesus hath bled, and there is remission.
Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,
Grace hath redeemed us, once for all.
Once for all, oh, sinner receive it,
Once for all, oh, brother believe it;
Cling to the cross, the burden will fall,
Christ hath redeemed us, once for all!
Now we are free, there's no condemnation,
Jesus provides a perfect salvation.
"Come unto Me," O hear His sweet call,
Come, and He saves us once for all.
"Children of God," O glorious calling,
Surely His grace will keep us from falling;
Passing from death to life at His call;
Blessèd salvation once for all.
Philip P. Bliss
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
1. Beware of men whose preaching is shallow, and who never seem to say anything new, in the sense of the understanding of Scripture.List compiled from a sermon preached by John MacArthur titled "Creatures Born to Be Killed, Part 3"
2. Beware of preachers who fail to preach on the holiness of God and His hatred for sin.
3. Beware of preachers who emphasize feelings and emotions rather than doctrine, who are shallow and lack depth.
4. Beware of preachers who are preoccupied with physical appearance; who is preoccupied with clothing, jewelry, cars, houses, wealth, fancy hotels, fancy restaurants.
5. Beware of preachers with a lack of deep seriousness about sin.
6. Beware of preachers who have a preoccupation with sexual matters and subjects in the pulpit.
7. Be very wary of preachers who are more concerned with relationships to people than they are with peoples' relationships to God.
Friday, August 10, 2007
"Leave out the cross and you have killed the religion of Jesus, atonement by the blood of Jesus is not an arm of Christian truth it is the very heart of it." - C. H. Spurgeon
"The atonement is not a part of Christianity - it IS Christianity!" - Oliver B. Greene
"A Christianity which is not Cross centered is not Christianity at all." - Leon Morris
Monday, August 06, 2007
Saturday, August 04, 2007
"In this work, Pastor Charles Leiter has done a great service to the Church in that he has taken two of the greatest doctrines of Scripture and two of the greatest miracles in the Christian life and explained them in simple language without loss of content. As I read through the manuscript of this book I was amazed at its simplicity and scope…Of particular interest to me was the setting forth of a proper view of regeneration…" - Paul Washer
Friday, August 03, 2007
"This obedience to the voice of the Earth is more important for our future happiness ... than the desires of the moment. Our Earth is talking to us and we must listen to it and decipher its message if we want to survive." - Pope Benedict XVI
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Faith does not look to God with a cold heart and clouded thoughts concerning things to come. Faith inspires confident expectation in the heart of the believer concerning the objects his hope promises. True faith imparts reality and life to the things promised in Christ Jesus. Faith does not give the believer an imaginary appearance of things promised, but real substance. Genuine faith is a grace which marries subject and object. The true believer does not ask to be allowed to visit heaven and SEE what is there; faith brings heaven to the believer:" - Oliver B. Greene
Excerpt taken from "The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews" by Oliver B. Greene p.436, The Gospel Hour, Inc.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
I downloaded a sermon by Dr. Azurdia a few days ago from his website titled "Spirit Empowered Preaching" and just got around to listening to it last night and I believe it to be such a profound message that I don't think I will ever be the same. The message is titled "A Clarion Call To A Worldly Christianity, Part 1". I highly recommend this message to every believer of course it may just be because of where I am in my walk and this message may not effect you the way it did me, but I don't think that's the case.
Download: "A Clarion Call To A Worldly Christianity, Part 1"
"God has placed you here as a mouth piece for Jesus Christ, and until you understand that my Christian friend you will never know your true purpose. You will walk through this life the way a great many older Christians do, incisively indulging in self pity because of the bummer of a life you think God has given to you."