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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Oh, The Insanity Of It All!!

You must watch this new clip from Fox News.


John Gibson has the right take, the police officer has it all wrong??!!

Firearms Refresher Course

I received the following via email from a friend last week. Thought I would pass it on for your consideration.

1. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.

2. A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.

3. Colt: The original point and click interface.

4. Gun control is not about guns; it's about control.

5. If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?

6. If guns cause crime, then pencils cause misspelled words.

7. "Free" men do not ask permission to bear arms.

8. If you don't know your rights you don't have any.

9. Those who trade liberty for security have neither.

10. The United States Constitution (c) 1791. All Rights reserved.

11. What part of "shall not be infringed" do you not understand?

12. The Second Amendment is in place in case the politicians ignore the others.

13. 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.

14. Guns only have two enemies; rust and politicians.

15. Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety.

16. You don't shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.

17. 911 - government sponsored Dial-a-Prayer.

18. Assault is a behavior, not a device.

19. Criminals love gun control -- it makes their jobs safer.

20. If guns cause crime, then matches cause arson.

21. Only a government that is afraid of its citizens tries to control them.

22. You only have the rights you are willing to fight for.

23. Enforce the "gun control laws" we ALREADY have, don't make more.

24. W hen you remove the people's right to bear arms, you create slaves.

25. The American Revolution would never have happened with gun control.

26. "A government of the people, by the people, for the people..."

Monday, April 23, 2007

Who is clinging to What?

Today the following was in the letters to the editor section of our local paper. Mr. McFadden wrote a guest column several weeks ago and I provided a rebuttal to his position. I have been watching the paper faithfully for his response and here it is.

Just what kind of proof do the creationists desire?

The creationists’ favorite ploy is that evolution cannot be “proved” experimentally. What would they call experimental proof?

I imagine it means a recognizable species of living organism would be placed under distinctively altered living conditions and observed until some of the members of the breeding population had changed enough that they could breed and reproduce with one another but not with members of the old population from which they had been isolated. Isolation from the old population is an essential element in evolution, for obvious reasons — if you don’t want red-haired grandchildren, you don’t let your daughter go out with red-haired boys.

If this could be demonstrated in just one instance, would James C. McEntire admit that evolution had occurred, or would he cling stubbornly to his unproved and unprovable creationist hypothesis? Remember, “it says it in the Bible” proves nothing except that it says it in the Bible, and men of great holiness and learning, I’m told, have warned us against interpreting Genesis too literally.

Can the reverend’s sermonizing prove I’m hell-bound because his creationist’s life is more moral than my evolutionist’s life? Of course. We disagree, and to him that’s immoral.

Russell McFadden, West Columbia


This is the reponse I sent to the paper. I do not know if it will be printed yet but I do know it will be published here.

Instead of providing evidence of one kind of animal evolving into a completely different kind of animal Mr. McFadden complains against my insistence that the theory of evolution be subject to empirical science.

I wonder, if the theory of evolution does not measure up to the demands of empirical science (that is demonstrable evidence) if the gentleman from West Columbia would “cling stubbornly to his unproved and unprovable” evolutionary hypothesis.

“Science says”, proves nothing except that science says it and plenty of scientists of learned background have told us that creation is a very plausible explanation for the diversity, complexity, and precise order we see in nature.


Mr. McFadden misses the point of my “sermonizing” entirely! My point is that we have all broken God’s Law; it is not that I am more moral than he or anyone else for that matter. Because the law of God condemns us we need a Saviour. And yes, if you reject the Saviour then a holy God will execute the sentence with unflinching devotion to justice.

The fact that we disagree is not immoral to me. Could it be that the pot is calling the kettle black?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Are Democrats Responsible For VT Massacre?

Well, lets consider the question for a moment with the logic that is often used by the Democrats.

1. The Democrats are generally for gun control. If someone had had a gun on campus the crazed killer likely would have been stopped before he ended 32 lives. Because the Democrats have limited a persons ability to own and carry a weapon they stand responsible for keeping some of these innocent people from protecting themselves.

2. The Democrats have engaged in class warfare for a long time. The rich are evil, selfish, greedy, and should be punished (most often through the tax code). Now we have a young man who by his own admission went on a killing spree to give "rich brats" what they deserve. Because Democrats have often made political careers vilifying the rich they now have an individual who has taken their 'punish the rich' concept to the extreme.

So, according to typical liberal logic the Democrats/Liberals in this country are responsible for the massacre at VT.

Oh, you think this is absurd. Well good! Then you will also think it is absurd to blame the massacre on conservatives who believe the Constitution says what it means when we find the words, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The Constitution says the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Infringed - To encroach, to trespass.

The right to keep and bear arms shall not be encroached upon, or trespassed upon.

The modern liberal politician say the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall be infringed.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Someone Is Watching!

The following is from a message by Thomas Brooks in 1675. The message is entitiled The Golden Key to Open Hidden Treasures.

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. Proverbs 15:3

The harboring of any known sin, either in heart or life, is a high contempt of the all-seeing eye of God--of the omnipresence of God.

It is well known what Ahasuerus, that great monarch, said concerning Haman, when he found him cast upon the queen's couch on which she sat: "What!" says he, "Will he even assault the queen right here in the palace, before my very eyes!" What! will he dare to commit such a villainy--as I stand and look on?

O sirs! to do wickedly in the sight of God, is a thing which He looks upon as the greatest affront and indignity that can possibly be done unto Him. "What!" says He, "Will you be drunk before Me, and swear and blaspheme before Me, and be wanton and immoral before Me, and break My laws before My eyes!"

This, then, is the killing aggravation of all sin--that is done before the face of God--in the presence of God! The consideration of God's omnipresence--that He stands and looks on, should be as a bar, to stop the proceedings of all wicked intentions; and a great dissuasive from sin.

It was an excellent saying of Ambrose, "If you cannot hide yourself from the sun, which is God's minister of light--how impossible will it be to hide yourself from Him whose eyes are ten thousand times brighter than the sun!"

There is no drawing of a curtain between God and you.

When you are in secret--consider that God is present.

God is all eye. He sees . . .
all things,
in all places,
at all times.

The godly are dissuaded from wickedness, upon the consideration of God's eye and omniscience. Joseph saw God in the room--and therefore dared not yield to lust. But Potiphar's wife saw none but Joseph--and so was impudently alluring and tempting him to sin.

I have read of two godly men, who took contrary courses with two harlots--whom they desired to reclaim from their wicked course of life.

One of the men told one of the women, that he was desirous to enjoy her company in secret. After she had brought him into a private room, and locked the door, he told her, "All your bars and bolts cannot keep God out!"

The other godly man asked the other harlot to be unchaste with him openly in the streets--which she rejected as an insane request. He then told her, "It was better to do it before the eyes of a crowd--than before the eyes of the all-seeing God!"

Oh, why shall not the presence of that God who hates sin, and who is resolved to punish it with hell-flames, make us ashamed or afraid to sin, and dare Him to His face! Let your eye be ever on Him--whose eye is always on you!

(Provided for your thoughtful consideration!)

Monday, April 16, 2007

One Little Sin Is Enough To Condemn You!

The following is a couple of excerpts from a message by C. H. Spurgeon entitled The Curse Removed.

"Thou mayest be the most moral in the world, but yet the curse of God is upon thee; thou mayest be lovely in thy life, modest in they carriage, upright in thy behaviour, almost Christlike in they conduct, yet, if thou has not been born again, and regenerated by sovereign grace, the curse of God still rests upon thine head. If thou hast but committed one sin in they life, God's justice is so inexorable, that it condemns a man for one solitary offense; and though thy life should henceforth be one continued career of holiness, if thou has sinned but once, unless thou hast an interest in the blood of Christ, the thunder of Sinai are launched at thee, and the lightning of terrible vengeance flash on thee."


" . . . . and if thou has sinned but once, the curse is righteous when it lights upon thy head. Dost thou ask me how this is? I answer, Thou sayest thy sin is little; then, if the sin be little, how little trouble it might have taken thee to have avoided it! If thy transgression be but small, at how small an expense thou mightest have refrained from it!"

Spurgeon goes on to reason that the little sins could very well be the most egregious sins, for if they were so little they could have been easily avoided; thus the smallness of the sin aggravates the crime against heaven.

He says a few sentences later, ". . . . for a little sin hath in it the essence of all sin; . . . ."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Why I Am Independent Baptist!

This is a follow up to “why I am a Baptist.” Baptists come in a lot of different flavors. To some this denotes the weakness of our position. To us it is foundational to our position. Freedom of conscience is the liberty to discern God’s truth and then give account for our conclusions in the Day of Judgment. Accountability always accompanies liberty.

I am an Independent Baptist. This is in fact a redundant term. One of the tenants of Baptist doctrine is the independency of the churches. Of course this is applied in varying degrees. Consequently I would call myself an Independent Baptist denoting that we have no head except Christ, no headquarters except heaven, and no hierarchy except Pastors and Deacons. As an independent Baptist I believe that the churches are completely autonomous in every decision relating to their business, their beliefs, and their practices. Some scoff at such an arrangement but it is in fact the arrangement of the New Testament. Some fear the lack of accountability. A legitimate fear if one does not take their accountability to Christ seriously. A legitimate fear if one does not understand their subordinate role to the Word of God. Pastors are accountable to their churches and church members are to obey their Pastors. Church members are accountable to one another. As an Independent Baptist I believe this is the pattern set forth in the New Testament.

INDEPENDENT BAPTIST

One of the reasons for believing this is because the New Testament only knows of one kind of church. The Protestant view, which many Baptist have embraced, is that there is a universal invisible church and a local church. The Catholic believes in a universal visible church. The Protestants changed it from visible to invisible in order to make a distinction between themselves and the Catholics. In doing so they embraced an even greater absurdity, an invisible church. There is no such thing as a universal church in the pages of the New Testament. The universal church concept is a product of Catholicism in order to support their growing hierarchy and the ultimate rule of the Pope over the universal church. I believe it was Augustine, who introduced this concept, or maybe it was Cyprian, I would have to look to be sure. There error is that they confused “basilica” (kingdom) with “ecclesia” (called out assembly).

The word “church” is used I believe 115 times in the New Testament and every time it is the word ecclesia. This was not a new word but a word with a well-established meaning in the Greek language. It always means a called out assembly. Where there is no assembly you cannot have an ecclesia. That would not be in keeping with the word. The universal church whether visible or invisible never assembles therefore it cannot be an ecclesia (church).

Jesus calling out his assembly is recorded in two places (Mark 3:13,14 and Luke 6:12,13). It is here where he called out twelve men to be with him. This meets the definition of ecclesia. For approximately three years these men assembled with Jesus. He trained them and equipped them. He commissioned them (Matthew 28:19,20). They were empowered on the day of Pentecost through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2).

Through a series of events churches were started in Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. Then as far as Antioch from which Paul was sent as a missionary on three different journeys. As a result churches were established all across the Roman Empire. The epistles were written to specific congregations. The church at Corinth, the church at Ephesus, the church at Philippi, etc. . . Thus everything that is written in these epistles must be understood in the light of the local church for that was the context in which they were written.

Christ is the head over every New Testament church not some universal church that never assembles. People scoff and ask how can he be the head over thousands of churches the same way he can be head over thousands of men (1 Corinthians 11:3). I know there are several passages that people use to validate the concept of a universal church especially 1 Corinthians 12:13 and several verses in Ephesians. The fact is there are a few places where the word church is used in a generic sense, making reference to all churches in general but no church in particular. This in no way alters the definition of ecclesia. It would be the same as if I used the term the American family. No one would think for a minute that I am talking about some kind of universal visible or invisible family. I am speaking of all families in general and no family in particular. It is the same when the Scriptures says in 1 Corinthians 11:3, “the head of woman is man.” No one reads that and thinks he is speaking of a universal visible or invisible woman or man. They know he is making reference to women and men in general and no man or woman in particular. In this same way the word “church” is used in a few instances.

When one reads the book of Acts one thing is apparent. These churches all operated independently of one another. They did on occasion cooperate with one another but each church was the sole determiner of the level of their participation. They were independent churches, with their own pastors. There is no ecclesiastical hierarchy in the New Testament. The book of Acts gives us no pattern to that end and the epistles give us no instruction to that end.


FUNDAMENTAL BAPTIST

The word “fundamental” is not a word I use very often, primarily because it means so many different things to different people. Depending on people’s experiences they will have differing impressions of the term and the people who claim it. I suppose that is true with any word but nevertheless I do not tend to use this word very much. When I do I use it in the sense that I am a Baptist that believes and practices the Bible. I embrace the fundamental truths contained therein. Again with that definition in mind the term “fundamental” is redundant.


PARA-CHURCH CONVENTIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS

I believe I have addressed this issue in what I have written to this point. But so there is no mistaking my position. I do believe the Baptists that join together in Conventions and Associations are departing from the New Testament pattern and precept.

This error is most often seen in the area of sending missionaries. I am opposed to any mission agency outside the New Testament church. That is the only mission agency the New Testament knows anything about. There are Baptists who claim to be Independent but surrender a portion of their sovereignty in the area of mission leaving it to a board to determine who is fit to serve. This is a point that it not arguable. I have looked up the websites of all the major Baptist missionary boards and without an exception they play some part in determining who goes to the field and who does not. The level of involvement varies. Inevitable you end up with presidents, vice presidents, secretaries, a board for this, and a board for that. It has the smell of ecclesiastical lordship and I reject it.

The book of Acts lays down a clear pattern. I could go into great detail here and will if anyone has an interest but suffice it to say. The church at Jerusalem sent Peter and John to examine the works that were being started in Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. The church at Jerusalem sent Barnabas “as far as” Antioch of Syria. There he confirmed the disciples and committed them to the Lord. Then in Acts 13 the Lord spoke to the church at Antioch to separate Paul and Barnabas for the work whereunto he had called them. He did not speak to a mission board, a convention, or an association. He spoke to a local church. The church at Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas to do the work the Lord had called them to. The result of their first journey was churches started in places like Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe. Each of these congregations has Pastors set over them. At the conclusion they returned to Antioch of Syria and reported to their sending church. They did not report to a mission board, association, or convention. A short while later they sent Paul and Silas and they started churches and returned and reported to the church at Antioch. Paul was again sent out by the church at Antioch on a third missionary journey and was apprehended in Jerusalem before he could return to Antioch. That is a brief overview but I can provide chapter and verse for the whole chain of events.

At no time do we find them saying we really need to get together and form a board to send these missionaries. Every missionary we support is sent, serviced, and authorized by a church of like faith and practice. They do not use any kind of missionary board. This is in keeping with the New Testament pattern.


BAPTISTS AND PROTESTANTS

I am not a Protestant I am a Baptist. In fact my position is that Catholic churches are Baptist churches that fell into apostasy. Protestants want us to concede that point, because if we are right then that only adds to their illegitimacy. I know there are some who claim the name Baptist who embrace the designation Protestant. All I can say to that is they are Protestants and they would do well to take the name Baptist off their signs. They probably accept Protestant baptism, if so they are Protestants. This would be true of most Southern Baptist. It has not always been true of Southern Baptist. I have some older writings from Southern Baptists and they would agree with most of my positions out lined here. Of course they had their convention.

Protestants own the fact that they came about either during or since the Reformation. They own the fact that their roots are in Roman Catholicism. This is the very reason why so many of them bare such a remarkable resemblance. Baptizing babies. Sprinkling and pouring. Sacraments. Liturgy. Priesthood.

Jesus said he would build his church.

All of the protestant churches are too late and have the wrong founder to be the New Testament church. They concede Roman Catholic to be the oldest church but contend it has been corrupted. While we admit that the Roman Catholic Church is old it does not reach back to the pages of the New Testament. They claim Peter as the first Pope but that is a farce and any reasonable person knows it. Protestants are simply reformed Catholics in most cases. Unfortunately they did not reform enough for they still bare more likeness to the great harlot than they do the spotless bride.

I realize the nature of what I have presented can give rise to many questions. I will be more than happy to answer them as time allows. This has all been presented from memory so I reserve the right to correct small matters of detail. But, on the whole this is a faithful summary as to why I am an Independent Baptist.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Why Am I A Baptist?

A reader commented on a past post and wanted to know “Could you be persuaded to blog on the subject of "Why I am a Baptist"? I mean explaining why you are a Baptist, as opposed to a Methodist, or a Catholic, or a Lutheran, etc., etc.” And then there was a corollary question, “why you are an Independent Fundamental Baptist, as opposed to Primitive Baptist, Southern Baptist, Missionary Baptist, etc.”

I would in fact be delighted to answer both of those questions. They are both important and useful questions. Those of you that read here would not get past the title of my blog before you realized that you are at a place where the author is unashamedly Baptist and that by conviction. There are important differences between Methodist, Catholics, Lutherans, Church of Christ, Church of England, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Assemblies of God, etc., and Baptists.

They are important differences and some of them carry eternal consequences. I am a Baptist because I am fully persuaded that the Baptist positions are Bible positions. I know that my Catholic and Protestants friends would disagree with me and they are free to do so. I would not deprive them of the liberty of drawing their own conclusions. Nevertheless I believe they are dreadfully wrong and wrong on important matters.

The topic at hand could provide enough material for a lengthy book in fact maybe even a systematic theology. It is difficult to deal with one area without quickly realizing that Bible doctrine is not isolated into nice little manageable sound bites that can be independently examined and considered without reference to related topics. All doctrine is related! That said, I will attempt to be as brief as possible realizing the never-ending connections that exist. For the sake of order I have identified eight areas where the Bible’s teaching finds representation among churches that are known as Baptist. Thus, for at least these eight reasons I am a Baptist! The eight areas are as follows:

Baptist accepts the Bible as the final authority in matters of faith and practice.
Baptists preach and teach that a man is justified by grace through faith.
Baptist practice congregational form of church government.
Baptists acknowledge only two church offices.
Baptists acknowledge only two church ordinances.
Baptist practice freedom of conscience.
Baptist practice believer’s baptism by immersion.
Baptists believe that it was their kind of church that Jesus started.

I will now set myself to providing a reasonable defense for the aforementioned premises.



BAPTIST ACCEPTS THE BIBLE AS THE FINAL AUTHORITY IN MATTERS OF FAITH AND PRACTICE

The Bible is inspired of God.
2 Timothy 3:16 - All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
The Word of God is derived from the breath of God. Consequently it is the only authoritative word we have. Because the Bible is God’s word it is profitable for doctrine (what we ought to believe), for reproof (informing us where we are wrong), for correction (informing us how to get right), for instruction in righteousness (how to stay right).
2Pe 1:21 - For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
We acknowledge that God used men to record his word. These men were not writing their own thoughts but were writing as they were moved (borne along by) the Holy Ghost.
Baptists believe that the Bible is the holy oracles of God and consequently have a rightful place far above all human creeds and churches. Everything is to be examined and scrutinized by a “thus said the Lord.” If it measures up it can be accepted with confidence. If it is found wanting it can legitimately be discarded as rubbish and an attempt to subvert the faith that was once delivered to the saints.
For Baptist it is to the law and the testimony. It is the Word of God that is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.
No other writings are placed on a level with Scripture whether it is church fathers, church councils, church dogma, creeds, popes, etc. . . .
While we admit that doctrinal statements may be helpful in providing a concise overview of one’s doctrinal positions the final appeal is to the Word of God.
The Berean spirit is the Baptist spirit.
Ac 17:11- These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.



BAPTISTS PREACH AND TEACH THAT A MAN IS JUSTIFIED BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH

Salvation is provided in grace and received by faith. All false religion incorporates some kind of works for salvation. When the false religions fall into the category of “Christianity” the proponents of a works for salvation system can usually be found doing a good deal of “bait and switch” with their terminology. Works generally become grace and grace generally becomes works. That which is clearly a work (like baptism) is claimed to be a sacrament or means of grace. They claim that it is not a work for they must in order to keep up the charade that they believe in justification by faith alone.
Ro 11:6 - And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
There is a clear distinction to be made between grace and works. The Baptists are meticulous in their guarding of this precious truth. It strikes at the heart of how a man gets to heaven. Thus when people tell us we just disagree on minor points we cannot take them seriously, for we disagree on how a man gets to heaven.
Ephesians 2:8,9 - For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
No doubt every “Christian religion” accepts this verse but it is the Baptists that insist that when it says not of works then absolutely no outward act of obedience is required to be justified, including baptism. A person does have to raise a hand, bat an eyelash, nod the head, or walk an isle, much less present himself or have himself presented for baptism.
Romans 3:21-28 - But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
The righteousness of God is made available to us through Jesus Christ without the works of the law, any law, God given or otherwise. It is by faith that we are justified because of grace and thereby all boasting is excluded.



BAPTISTS PRACTICE CONGREGATIONAL FORM OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT

Baptists acknowledge no other ecclesiastical body as having authority over their affairs other than the church in which the business is conducted.
Mt 16:19 - And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Mt 18:18 - Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Baptists believe that Christ is the head of every church.
Eph 5:23 - For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Eph 1:22 - And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Col 1:18 - And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Baptists believe the Holy Spirit is the administrator.
Eph 2:22 - In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Every church is autonomous (self-governing). The will of God is discerned through pastoral leadership in conjunction with majority rule ever being guided by the Bible.
Acts 1:15-26 - And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
1 Corinthians 6:1 - Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.
1 Corinthians 5:4,5 - In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
There are several examples of churches making final decisions concerning their own church.



BAPTISTS ACKNOWLEDGE ONLY TWO CHURCH OFFICES

This is in contrast to the popes, cardinals, bishops, presbyters, elders, deacons, sub-deacons etc. . . . This whole religious hierarchy is not derived from the pages of the New Testament but a perversion of apostasy bought about during the first several centuries of church history. It is catholic in origin and the daughters of this mother of harlots have to one degree or another embraced her system of ecclesiastical officers.

The New Testament knows a simpler plan, Pastors and deacons. This is in keeping with congregational church rule.
1 Timothy 3:1 - This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
The Baptist position is that Pastor, Bishop, and Elder are all terms denoting the same office simply different aspects of it. Much like President, Commander in Chief, and Head of State are all titles representing different aspects of the same office.



BAPTISTS ACKNOWLEDGE ONLY TWO CHURCH ORDINANCES

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They are ordinances in that they are two divinely appointed symbols given to the church to communicate gospel truth.

Baptism communicates the death, burial and resurrection of Christ as well as the fact that the believer’s life has been transformed by believing that message.
Romans 6:3-6 - Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

The Lord’s Supper likewise communicates truth concerning the gospel.
1 Corinthians 11:23-34 - For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

Baptists do not believe these are sacraments. The whole concept of a sacrament is not derived from the pages of the New Testament but forced upon it. Sacramental religion is Catholic in origin, not New Testament. The Protestants adopted their forms of sacramentalism from the Catholics because that is their origin. Sacraments and priesthood go hand in hand, never mind that the New Testament knows nothing of this kind of priesthood. To the contrary the New Testament teaches us the priesthood of the believer. Priesthood is remnants of the Old Covenant.


BAPTISTS PRACTICE FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE

Baptists believe that all men have the right to read and understand the Bible for themselves. We believe that we will all stand before God one day and give account for ourselves, what we believed, and how we behaved. Baptists have never been for coercion in matters of faith. This is not true of every one who has named the name of Christ. Whether it was the Catholics in Spain, Italy, France and all across Europe at certain times. Which by the way the Crusades were waged by Catholics they were not Christians. It might have been the Lutheran church in Germany, the Church of England in England. The fact is there were centuries when men were coerced into accepting creeds they did not believe. Dissent was squashed. Martyrs were made.

The Baptist position is for every man to know the Bible for himself and to judge all his teachers by that standard.
Ac 17:11 - These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
1Pe 2:2 - As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
Ps 1:2 - But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Isa 8:20 - To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Joh 5:39 - Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
2Ti 2:15 - Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.



BAPTISTS PRACTICE BELIVERS BAPTISM BY IMMERSION

We believe this is the only valid baptism and that any other baptism is invalid and alien to the practice of the New Testament.

In the New Testament it was only believers that were baptized.
Matthew 3:5-8 - Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
Ac 2:41 - Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
Acts 8:36,37 - And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Acts 16:32-34 - And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
Acts 18:8 - And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

In the New Testament baptism was by immersion.
Matthew 3:6 - And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
Joh 3:23 - And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.
Acts 8:38,39 - And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
Immersion is the only mode in which the proper message is communicated, the message of the gospel, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Sprinkling and pouring is foreign to the pages of the New Testament and originated within the context of Catholic apostasy. Again, the Protestants brought their mode of baptism with them from the Catholic Church from which they are derived. The apple never falls far from the tree!



BAPTISTS BELIEVE IT WAS THEIR KIND OF CHURCH THAT JESUS STARTED

One of the primary reasons for this is because the Baptist churches are the churches that bear the closest resemblance to the pages of the New Testament. You will not find a “Holy Catholic Church” in the pages of the New Testament. It is not there. Their sacraments are not there. Their priesthood is not there. Their ecclesiastical hierarchy is not there. Their doctrines of Mariolatry, purgatory, transubstantiation, the saints, the rosary, holy water, penance, auricular confession, etc. . . . is not there!! Her daughters, the Protestants, more closely resemble her than they do the church of the New Testament.

Jesus started a church.
Mt 16:18 - And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church . .

Jesus promises that church a perpetual existence.
Mt. 16:18 – . . . I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
The protestants would have us believe the gates of hell did prevail against the church that Jesus started for a period of time and that they recovered it.

Ephesians 3:21 - Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Paul indicated that God would get glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages. The Protestants would have us believe that is not true but that for hundreds of years the light was extinguished. The Holy Spirit said throughout all ages. In every age God has had his faithful witnesses holding firm to the New Testament faith that was once delivered to the saints. We believe that those faithful witnesses were in faith and practice Baptist and often were designated Ana-Baptist because they rejected the baptism of the dominant churches as being New Testament baptism.

It is obviously not Catholicism. The Catholic Church is the result of a slow departure from the word of God.

It is not the Protestants. They all readily admit they came into existence during the Reformation. They all have human founders, whether it be Martin Luther, John Knox, King Henry VIII, John Wesley, etc. . . . .

The Baptist church is the church of the New Testament, by doctrine, by practice, and by the promise of Jesus to perpetuate the church he started.

These are the short answers as to why I am a Baptist and a fullypersuadedbaptist at that!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Who Is That In Overalls??

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

The Danger Of Creationism

The following is an exchange that has taken place in our local paper, well at least part of it has taken place. Mr. McFadden wrote a guest column about a week and a half ago. Someone at the bus barn brought it to my attention and I set out to respond in a guest column. The difference between a letter to the editor and a guest column is about 300 words. A letter to the editor is only allowed 200 words while a guest column is allowed 500 words. Mr. McFadden's ran as a guest column so I responded with five hundred words and requested that it be granted guest column status. They called me at the end of the week to confirm that I had written the letter and said they would run it as soon as possible, I expect some time this week. A guest column is also given a more prominent place on the editorial page. Mr. McFadden's letter was published several days ago and mine will probably be published sometimes this week. Following are both letters in their entirety.

America slipping deeper into irrationality

By Russell McFadden
The Facts
Published March 27, 2007

Is America slipping into a slough of backwardness, superstition and borderline psychosis — the inability to distinguish between reality and our imaginings? Would such a trend have noticeable detrimental effects on our national life, or has it already?

Could anything be done to correct such a morbid course in our nation’s mental life? The answer to all of the above is yes, but the condition is far advanced and requires immediate and thorough corrective measures. A Pew poll revealed that two-thirds of Americans favor teaching religious creation myth as science in the public schools; almost one-half reject the thoroughly proved scientific explanation of the origin of physical life; one-third would teach a Bronze Age myth, creationism, as the single explanation of this origin.

Only one-fourth agree with the rational explanation: Darwin’s Theory of Evolution without interpolations of divine intervention, etc. This proportion is lower than any other developed nation’s except one — Turkey. American high school seniors ranked 22nd in math and science, and 1 in 5 Americans believes the Sun revolves around the Earth. These statistics should both alarm and disillusion a nation that preens itself on being a leader in the first world.

The scientific explanation of physical life is as much a part and product of science as any other scientific explanation, be it of matter, gravity, motion or any other of the many and varied scientific laws and principles on which our unbelievably comfortable, orderly, and wholesome lives are based. Such an explanation contradicts — and contradicts flatly and uncompromisingly — religious traditions regarding the origins of the world and mankind, traditions resting on little more than untestable assertions and a child-like subservience to authority. Because of this, tens of millions of Americans believe that as an act of faith science’s verdict must be rejected out of hand, although the rest of rationalism’s teachings, with all their blessings, will remain acceptable.

But this cannot be. Science is a seamless garment, and if one part be torn out for irrational reasons, eventually the entire fabric will unravel. The magical thinking and myth-making that are an integral part of traditional religion are irreconcilably antithetical to science — although the two world-views might, with good will, live side by side — and if allowed to prevail in those areas where science must reign, they will poison the entire science-borne culture; as, for instance, in the public education system.

Rationalists have watched as a dark fog of irrational belief — from the sincerely held religious conviction to clearly disordered thinking; to psychics, space aliens, and communicating with the dead; to creationism, Biblical prophecy, and Intelligent Design; to cynical, blasphemous, and prurient, ludicrous tales of Christ’s love-life. A fog has thickened and spread across America’s mind and heart, largely through that true axis of evil — television, talk radio and the publishing industry. The illness is advanced and gaining strength. It will require a full, sustained effort by the sources of civilized rationality to save the patient.


My Response

There is no place where the imagination of men runs wild like the theory of evolution. Read any article dealing with evolution and it is filled with speculation, assumption, theory, guessing, actually faith. The very thing the evolutionists scoff at in the creationist. The evolutionists believe we evolved the creationists believe we were created.

Attempting to equate evolution with empirical science is an ill-conceived attempt to be an intellectually bully. True science is something that is demonstrable. When we are dealing with origins we are dealing with history. No one was there when it happened. We cannot reproduce it in the laboratory. The choice is simple; we either believe God or man?

The evolutionists have yet to show the transition of one species into another. It can be easily proved that each species reproduces after its kind. To argue that acceptance of evolution is on a par with the acceptance of gravity is a gross mischaracterization. I can demonstrate the law of gravity over and over again that is why it is called the law of gravity. It has yet to be demonstrated that one species can mutate into a completely different species that is why it is called the theory of evolution. “Magical thinking” and “myth making” are the basis of the theory of evolution which has no connection whatsoever to empirical science.

The moral chaos we are facing can be directly attributed to the introduction of evolution. Evolution makes us animals in a cosmos without God. We have been telling ourselves for several generations that we are animals then we are appalled when people act like animals. The evolutionists have been zealously attempting to give us a culture without the God of the Bible. Then when society starts coming unraveled they complain that it is the fault of those who believe in creation.

If there is no creator then there is no one with the authority to establish moral absolutes and every man is free to do that which is right in his own eyes. This is fertile ground for anarchy. Yet we all know there are moral absolutes. It is wrong to lie. It is wrong to steal. It is wrong to commit adultery. It is wrong to murder. It is wrong to dishonor your parents. It is wrong to take God’s name in vain.

If there is no moral authority then I can kill, rape, plunder and blaspheme and there is no one with authority to tell me it is wrong. No one has a right to impose his or her standard of morality on me. These things are wrong and we all know it, “Because he has appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness!”

The evolutionists have removed all fear of God from before our eyes. For most, this fear will not be renewed until they stand before the judgment bar of a righteous and holy God. Unfortunately, it will then be too late!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Book Review - Faith Works

This past week I spent two days on a lonely golf course with a team from one of the local High Schools. I drove the bus for them. These are usually long days. Leave at about 6:00 am and return usually in time to do my pm route. So I have anywhere from six to seven hours to occupy. I nearly always take some things to work on and some reading material. The two days this past week allowed me to start and finish the book entitled, Faith Works: The Gospel According To The Apostles. The author is John F. MacArthur, Jr. He is a well-known radio preacher and prolific author.

This book which comes in at 212 pages not counting three appendixes is apparently a sequel he wrote a few years back entitled, The Gospel According To Jesus. Apparently that book created quite a stir and attracted a good deal of attention from those who disagreed with the views presented therein.

The controversy is what has become known as the Lordship controversy. I think in its most simple state it is the difference between those who contend that you can accept Christ as Saviour and not as Lord and those who would argue that you must accept the whole Christ, Saviour and Lord. I would be aligned with the latter and this is the position that MacAuthur sets himself to defend. He does an admirable job with a broad subject in a relatively short space.

The controversy is argued in several areas.

One area where the arguments play out is repentance and whether it is a requirement for salvation. I honestly do not understand how there can be any controversy over this matter. The Bible is abundantly clear, it seems to me, that "except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish." This is not an isolated truth. From beginning to end the unbeliever is challenged to repent, to turn from his wicked ways. Clearly though with the topic at hand this becomes a central battle ground. Of course much of the controversy swirls around how one defines repentance.

Another area of controversy and this is a big one is whether a believer will necessarily have good works. In fact this seems to be the center of the debate. Again, I find it difficult that one could read the New Testament and come to any conclusion other than salvation results in a changed life. MacAuther argues this point forcefully and with what seems to be compelling logic rooted in Scriptural truth. Apparently those who oppose his view contend that a person can be saved and never have any fruit that can be seen, that in fact one can turn completely away from Christ and yet be saved. This particular view seems to be the more extreme portion of those who hold the opposing view. Those who embrace the opposing view argue that to conclude that all true believers will have works is introducing works to salvation. But as MacAuther rightly points out we do not argue that works in any way produce salvation but rather that salvation most certainly will produce works. If it does not produce works it is not the faith that saves.

This raises another issue of serious contention in this debate. The meaning of faith. MacAuther spends a whole chapter defining and explaining faith. He raises several interesting points that are worthy of consideration. Again the point of contention seems to be that MacAuther is arguing that if a person has the kind of faith the Bible speaks of then they will have a changed life. Those who oppose his view appear to be arguing for the fact that one can have the kind of faith of which the Bible speaks and their life not be changed (ever) in any noticeable manner.

Another issues that invariably arises in this debate is the believer's relationship to sin. It is obvious that true believers have the capacity to commit any sin, but MacAuther argues, I believe correctly, that the general direction of the believer will be toward righteousness. There is a big difference between falling into sin and running to sin. There is a big difference between relishing sin and abhorring sin where ever we find it. The view being confronted in this book apparently believes that believers can embrace sin and seek after it and still have confidence that they are saved.

Of course this raises the question of grace becoming license. A whole chapter is devoted to this area of the debate.

Then of course the issue of the eternal security of the believer becomes part and parcel of the debate.

The book is actually a very good treatment of the subject especially if you agree with MacAuther's position. If you don't and you enjoy reading the opposition you should find his views challenging.

There were two things that hinder my ability to enjoy the book completely and without reservation. In this book MacAuther's Calvinism takes a prominent role especially in the early part of the book but it is sprinkled throughout. Like so many Calvinists he seems at times to be conflicted with his own positions. I caught him on a couple of occasions stating Calvinist doctrine and then seeming to explain why he did not mean what it sounded like. Calvinists seem to often find themselves on the horns of a dilemma.

Another thing that was difficult to get past was his use of New American Standard Bible. MacAuther uses a lot of Scripture to buttress his views which I genuinely appreciate but would appreciate even more if he would use the text translated from the Textus Recptus. I genuinely tired of reading the scripture he quoted and in fact found my self skipping that part since I had an idea of what the passage said anyhow. On a few occasions he referenced the King James Bible and that along with my familiarity with the King James reminded me over and over again of its superior ability to make a point.

In essence it was a well-reasoned and thoroughly Biblical apologetic for those that believe one must repent to be saved and that once saved an individual's life will be changed. I regret the strong overtones of Calvinism and the use of an inferior Bible text. It was only these two things that made the book difficult to read, but it did hinder me.

Quotes:

"But commitment to Christ does mean that obedience rather than disobedience will be our distinguishing trait."

"Grace that does not effect one's behaviour is not the grace of God."

". . . faith presupposes repentance. How can those who are mortal enemies of God sincerely believe in his Son without repenting?"

"We obey because we are committed to the object of our faith."

"B. B. Warfield, noting that trust compromises some element of commitment to is object, wrote, 'We cannot be said to believe that which we distrust too much to commit ourselves to it.'"

"Saving faith, then, is the whole of my being embracing all of Christ. Faith cannot be divorced from commitment."

"The call of the gospel is to trust Him. That necessarily involves some degree of live, allegiance, and surrender to His authority."

"Faith itself is complete before one work of obedience ever issues forth."

"But make no mistake - real faith will always produce righteous works."

"The state of one's heart will inevitably be revealed by its fruit."

"To say that works are a necessary result of faith is not the same as making works a condition for justification."

"Faith works are a consequence of faith, not a component of faith."

"No good works can earn salvation, but many good works result from genuine salvation. Good works are not necessary to become a disciple, but good works are the necessary marks of all true believers."

"Repentance is not just a change of mind; it is a change of heart."

"Faith is never said to be the ground for justification, only the channel through which justifying grace is received."

". . . no one who lives in perpetually lives in conscious and purposeful rebellion against him can truly claim to trust him."

"At justification we surrender the principle of sin and self-rule. In sanctification we relinquish the practice of specific sins as we mature in Christ."

"It means that when we trust Christ for salvation we settle the issue of who is in charge."

"The life that is void of holiness has no claim to justification."

"Grace does not mean we have permission to do as we please; it means we have the power to do what pleases God."

"Real Christians cannot endure perpetually sinful living."

"A predilection for such sins reflects an unregenerate heart."

"If these people are true children of God, why are they not constantly under His discipline?"

"The closer we get to God the more we see our own sins."

"A person who has not lost any of his appetite for sin - and acquired instead a hunger for the things of God - has not been truly converted. 'What are our tastes and choices and likings and inclinations? This is the great testing question.'"

"Both James and Paul view food works as the proof of faith - not the path to salvation."

"Scripture encourages true believers with the promise of full assurance, while making false professors uncomfortable by seeking to destroy their false sense of security."

"True Christians love Christ."

book rating **

http://www.amazon.com/Faith-Works-Gospel-According-Apostles/dp/0849908418/ref=pd_bbs_2/104-5316320-6147911?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1175899059&sr=8-2

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Book Review - The Way Of The Master


The Way Of The Master is written by Ray Comfort and is the name of his evangelistic ministry. I was first exposed to this ministry a few years ago and since then I have come back to it on several occasions. At the beginning of this year I determined to really examine the content of what Ray Comfort was suggesting. I am always highly skeptical of these kinds of ministries. I am fullypersuadedbaptist.

I am quite certain that Ray Comfort and myself would disagree on a wide range of issues. I also believe we are in agreement concerning the gospel. I do rejoice whenever the true gospel is being preached. Ray Comfort's ministry seems to be on to something in giving people practical information and help in sharing their faith.

His book, The Way Of The Master is basically a synopsis of his ministry and his view of how the gospel should be presented. The book is 326 pages long and a fairly easy read. Comfort's writing style is down to earth without a lot of pretension.

As I have become more familiar with his views there are several things I appreciate and to which I believe Baptist should give attention to.

His basic premise is that in preaching the gospel you begin with the law (the Ten Commandments). I have been preaching for years that before a person can be saved they must be lost, that is they must recognize they are lost. Comfort articulates that view very nicely and proceeds to give practical instruction how to use the law to bring people to an awareness of their sin against a holy God. His position is difficult to argue against standing on the bulwark of the Bible. The New Testament is clear in expressing the role of the Law in the life of the unbeliever. It is to make the whole world guilty before God, to stop every mouth. The Law is the schoolmaster to bring men to Christ for salvation. Paul said, I had not known sin but by the Law.

One thing I have come to realize through thinking about Comfort's positions is that when we preach that men are sinners and give them verses like "all have sinned" most people readily admit this. But their view is that it is no big deal because everyone is a sinner. I have come to think that people can admit they are sinners without feeling a sense of guilt. So, instead of simply telling people they are sinners we need to show them how they have transgressed God's law. I have felt this to be an important part of any gospel presentation for many years now. Men must understand that God demands moral perfection. That moral perfection is addressed in His law. If we fail to measure up we are in big trouble on the day of judgment. Men must be brought to a place of understanding their personal guilt before God.

Another issue that he addresses that I appreciate is the emphasis on judgment to come. We have been told for decades now that preaching about hell is offensive and that if we are not careful we will scare people into heaven. Finally someone is willing to face head on the reality of hell and that people need to be warned about the wrath to come. A gospel presentation without a clear, definitive, terrorizing presentation of hell is woefully inadequate. The fact is we cannot make hell out to be worse than it is. It is real, it is hot, it is eternal and people need to be warned. There is nothing wrong with people running from hell to Christ. Most gospel preaching and witnessing today has no note of an alarm in it. Comfort's book reinstates the centuries old premise that it is alright to bring people to a fearful awareness of the judgment to come.

Another issue that he raises is repentance. In most gospel presentations, and gospel tracts people are not instructed to repent. This in spite of the fact that the Bible's message is a message of repentance. It is a message of the sinner turning from his wicked ways. If a man does not turn from his sin he cannot be saved. If he will turn from his sin God will save him and change him. It is the absence of repentance that has brought into existence a whole generation of "believers" who drink, use tobacco, curse, watch raunchy movies, only go to church on Sunday mornings, engage in fornication and adultery, cause problems in their churches, tell dirty jokes, watch TV but don't have time to read their bibles, easily take offence, show themselves in public in varying degrees of undress, etc. . . These people have "asked Jesus into their hearts" but have never repented of their sins and trusted Jesus and taken up their cross and followed him. I never cease to be amazed in raising spiritual issues with people how many of them are already "saved"? Is that right??? Wow, I would have never known it. Why is this true? Because churches have abandoned calling people to repentance. Comfort addresses this issue and it is a comfort to me that he does.

It is also a good book for the fact that it provides loads of encouragement for sharing your faith. He debunks the idea that you have to make friends with people before you talk to them about spiritual issues. In fact he contends that you can build a relationship with a person in just a few minutes. He even argues that if you are concerned about their eternity you will set yourselves to build a relationship with people and then courageously and purposefully turn the conversation to the things of God. There are far too many who never open their mouths and share their faith. They are waiting for their unbelieving friends and acquaintances to bring up the subject. You may have a long wait, and while you wait they are drifting ever closer to eternal damnation. I found his book and other material to be very encouraging in just getting people to speak up for Christ.

I would recommend the book and his other material that relates to soul winning. I do not give him a wholehearted endorsement because I am sure that we would disagree on quite a bit once we moved beyond the gospel and sharing one's faith. He does not exclusively use the KJV. I believe he may be using the NKJV.

Here are a few quotes from the book:

"We live in a 'therapeutic' culture that places a high value on feeling good, self-esteem, and self-actualization."

"The freedom he (Jesus) offered was not freedom from the hardships of life."

"Those who look to the cross as a token of God's love will never doubt His steadfast devotion to them."

"Perhaps one of the greatest errors made by moder preachers is to assume that sinners know that they are sinners and therefore don't need to be confronted with the facts."

"Nearly two-thirds (of Americans) think they are heaven bound."

"Most of the world realizes that they have broken God's Law - the Ten Commandments, but it's no big deal."

"Again, it is difficult to discern between true and false converts, but they are often revealed when they don't get their own way."

"However, 'following up' with a false convert is like putting a stillborn baby into intensive care."

"But you cannot follow-up on a spiritually dead person. Being dead, he had no interest in growth."

"Nothing reveals Calvary like Sinai."

"R. C. Sproul said, 'Jesus doesn't save us to God. He saves us from God.'"

". . . you and I are not the only things he loves. He loves righteousness. He loves holiness, and He love justice."

"Calvary's grisly wounds . . . stand as a fearful testimony, not only of God's unfathomable love for sinners, but also of His incredible love for justice."

"John R. Stott, commenting on Galatians 3:23-29, writes, 'We cannot come to Christ to be justified until we have first been to Moses, to be condemned.'"

"And the world will stay desensitized to sin, whether they sit in the world or in the Church, as long as they are not confronted by the Law."

"Sinful people will not give up their darling lusts unless they have good reason to. Hell is a good reason."

In relation to sharing our faith Comfort writes, "Don't stay in the tomb of dead silence."

"What one generation permits, the next embraces as normal."

". . . . this is not a God-forsaken world - it is a world that has forsaken God."

"Charles Spurgeon said, 'I have heard it said that if there is a crooked stick, and you want to show how crooked it is, you need not waste words in description. Place a straight one by the side of it, and the thing is done directly.'"

http://www.livingwaters.com/Merchant2/graphics/00000002/wotm_book.jpg

Book Rating ***

Holy, Holy, Holy

The following is from a message by Thomas Brooks entitled, The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness. The message was preached in 1662.

Exodus 15:11 - Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

God is . . . infinitely holy,
transcendently holy,
superlatively holy,
constantly holy,
unchangeably holy,
exemplary holy,
gloriously holy.

All the holiness that is in the best and choicest Christians is but a mixed holiness, a weak and imperfect holiness. Their unholiness is always more than their holiness. Ah, what a great deal . . . of pride is mixed with a little humility,
of unbelief is mixed with a little faith,
of peevishness is mixed with a little meekness,
of earthliness is mixed with a little heavenliness,
of carnality is mixed with a little spirituality,
of harshness is mixed with a little tenderness!

Oh, but the holiness of God is a pure holiness, it is a holiness without mixture; there is not the least drop or the least dreg of unholiness in God!

God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. - 1 John 1:5

In God there is . . .
all wisdom without any folly,
all truth without any falsehood,
all light without any darkness,
and all holiness without any sinfulness.

God is universally holy. He is holy in all His ways, and holy in all His works.
His precepts are holy precepts,
His promises are holy promises,
His threatenings are holy threatenings,
His love is a holy love,
His anger is a holy anger,
His hatred is a holy hatred, etc.

His nature is holy,
His attributes are holy,
His actions are all holy.

He is holy in sparing;
and holy in punishing.
He is holy in justifying of some;
and holy in condemning of others.
He is holy in bringing some to heaven;
and holy in throwing others to hell.

God is holy . . .
in all His sayings,
in all His doings,
in whatever He puts His hand to,
in whatever He sets His heart to.
His frowns are holy,
His smiles are holy.
When He gives, His givings are holy giving;
when He takes away, His takings are holy takings, etc.

Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts! - Isaiah 6:3

God is eminently holy.
He is transcendently holy.
He is superlatively holy.
He is glorious in holiness.

There is no fathoming,
there is no measuring,
there is no comprehending,
there is no searching,
of that infinite sea of holiness, which is in God.

O sirs! you shall as soon . . .
stop the sun in its course,
and change the day into night,
and raise the dead,
and make a world,
and count the stars of heaven,
and empty the sea with a cockle-shell,
as you shall be able either to conceive or express that transcendent holiness which is in God!

God's holiness is infinite.
It can neither be . . .
limited,
nor lessened,
nor increased.

God is the spring of all holiness and purity. All that holiness which is in angels and men flows from God,
as the streams from the fountain,
as the beams from the sun,
as the branches from the root,
as the effect from the cause.

Ministers may pray that their people may be holy, parents may pray that their children may be holy; but they cannot give holiness, nor communicate holiness to their nearest and dearest relations. God alone is the giver and the author of all holiness. It is only the Holy One who can cause holiness to flow into sinners' hearts; it is only He who can form, and frame, and infuse holiness into the souls of men. A man shall sooner make make a world--than he shall make another holy. It is only a holy God, who can . . .
enlighten the mind,
and bow the will,
and melt the heart,
and raise the affections,
and purge the conscience,
and reform the life,
and put the whole man into a holy gracious temper.

God is exemplary holy. He is the rule, example, and pattern of holiness.

Be ye holy, for I am holy. - 1 Pet. 1:15

God's holiness is the copy which we must always have in our eye, and endeavor most exactly to write after.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Where Did March Go?

It was a blur and is gone forever. With our week long trip to Kansas and our evangelism seminar last week I feel like I have been treading water. This week promises to be equally full. Field trips all day today and tomorrow with the golf team at one of the local high schools. Missionary to Spain Wednesday evening. Deliver pizzas on Thursday evening. Family reunion on Saturday about three hours from here. My cousin who is planning the get together has asked me to put together a service and share a message with the family.

I at least wanted to stop by and tell you about two treasures I found recently. When in Kansas I visited several antique stores to mainly look at books. I saw a book with the title on the spine Baxter's Saint's Rest. I thought it couldn't be, but it was. Richard Baxter is a famous Puritan and one of his best known works is The Saint's Everlasting Rest. I picked the book up and it has a publishing date of 1870. He actually wrote the book in the late 1600's. I saw the price that I believed said $2.00. I thought that can't be right??? It can't be $200.00, it must be $20.00 which I was prepared to pay. I asked the lady at the counter and she said $2.00. I said hold the book for me while I look some more.

Then on ebay this last week there was a book for sale entitled, Life Of Charles H. Spurgeon by Russell H. Conwell. It was published in 1892. The price at the time was only $10.00 with just a couple of days left. I have bid on things like this before but the price usually moves up rapidly toward the end and out of my range. I bid $20.00 and ended up getting it for $17.50. It is just over 600 pages of biography. Conwell was the pastor of the Grace Baptist Church of Philadephia and a personal friend of Spurgeon.

There are several topics that I am wanting to post about when time allows.