I had this buried on my dashboard because I wanted to be able to reference this article the next time that I heard someone making the claim that we Christians, and our Crusades, are the reason that Islam hates us so much. I never imagined that I would be using it in a response from a fellow pastor in my own denomination. As I read the article, my heart sank at the comment David Wallover made in his response to Carl Trueman. (I know, now there is a response to a response to Trueman’s original post, which you should read and his response to the responses.)
Yes, Fred Luter, the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention, made an impassioned plea at the recent convention to quit arguing over theology and seek the lost, showing his hand and laziness.
“Because of our love for the Scripture we’ve had some differences of opinion, but the problem is that while we are arguing about these topics, lost men, women, boys, and girls are dying and going to hell every single day,” said Luter on the first night of the denomination’s 2013 annual meeting.
“While we are arguing about these topics and debating about these topics, America is going to hell every day,” he continued. “Time is running out. We do not have time for debate. We do not have time for arguing. The world needs to know that Jesus saves … for the sake of those who are lost.”
Read more here.
His comments are supposed to be the ultimate trump card in any argument. The problem is that it shows his hand. Luter doesn’t believe in God’s election, God’s sovereignty, God’s greater purpose of His glory. This shows us that Luter thinks he is the one that will be saving people. He is straight from the Charles G. Finney school of manipulation, which has done more to damage to the church than anything the government could do.
This is the same as the pastor I had a dialog who recently made the claim:
I will readily admit, even after graduating from Dallas, that I am a theological novice in many arenas, including John Calvin and Calvinism. I simply love Jesus, desire to be in His presence and am trying to bring as many people as I can one step closer to Him.
There is no excuse for this kind of laziness in the pastorate. For one, the man is not being honest. He says he wants to bring them closer to Jesus, but how is he to do this if He is not willing to dive deeper in the word and grow in his Christology (a branch of theology that focuses on the person and work of Christ). What does he intend to do, give them fuzzy feelings so that they too have fuzzy feeling about Jesus? The Bible never calls us to such slop. (Calvinism is at the heart of the SBC’s arguing by the way.)
The real problem behind both pastor’s is that they fostering anti-intellectualism under the guise of loving Jesus. This really is part of Satan’s attack on the church. He doesn’t want us growing in our understanding but resting in our feelings.
The Bible stands against this false philosophy in several places. The first is found in 2 Corinthians 10:2-6 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
In their noble attempts to “love Jesus” and “win the lost,” the two men are fighting Satan’s battle for him, instead of bring every thought into captivity and being willing to give an answer when ready to do so. Paul doesn’t want us to play stupid, but study in order to present ourselves approved and to be able to take on every stronghold that exalts itself against the word of God. This means we have to think and use our brains. We are never to stop studying God’s word in order to take on the spiritual battle we face. We must constantly be refining our beliefs and arguments so as to be used by God.
If you want a better exposition of this thought here, listen to Simon Brace on the following mp3. He is using 2 Corinthians 10:6ff to really drive home the point that we must be ready to argue for the faith. He shows that we are to argue, defend, embrace it, understand it and use it to advance the kingdom. There is no room for anti-intellectualism or sloppy Jesus love in the body of Christ. To make those things out as somehow noble, is truly deceptive, which comes from the great deceiver.
Plus, Wintery Knight has some on it as well.
The point is that we are never to stop diving into the word. We always need to be growing in our understanding and, as the above passage shows us, make arguments for the faith, taking every thought captive. We are to be ready to fight for what the Scriptures say and defend the faith on every front.
Both pastors above, who seem to be so noble in their sloppy doctrine, are actually doing more damage than good. Hopefully, they will repent of such laziness.
A friend wrote me this past week and asked me to listen to a recent sermon by her pastor. I typically only go to one place to listen to sermons, SermonAudio.com* because most sermons today are more inspirational chats from a qualified life coach and rarely resemble the preaching of God’s word. (Just the fact that pastors are referred to as life coaches and team members at all, shows us the desperate state of the church).
The reason my friend wanted me to listen is because at about minute 43, the man complained about suffering from making the Bible an idol. I know what he meant, but it really disturbed my friend. There are some times when we revere the Bible so much that we exalt it above the God it exalts. I have no reason to believe that this is a major sin in the church, given that most don’t even open their Bibles. But that is another post.
Jody, a member of my church, mentioned to me today a conversation he had with a woman about sharing the gospel. Like many Christians, she was under the impression that she needed to live the gospel, be the gospel, and love as the gospel before she could actually get around to sharing the gospel.
She, like many others, has been duped because this is a lie straight from the devil himself that actually prevents the gospel from being shared. If we could live the gospel and be the gospel and love as the gospel, then we wouldn’t need Christ now would we?
It is that time again, the time that we look back and reflect upon our accomplishments. It’s a time when we go the stats page and see what people have been reading. It’s a time to think about how I’m making an impact for the Kingdom of God. So, without further wordiness, here are the Top 10 Posts of 2012. Please note, some of these posts may not have been posted in 2012, but were the most read in 2012.
Number One — Blue Bell Ice Cream: Top 10 Flavors — Yes, coming in at number one, making an impact for the Kingdom of God, is this little ditty that I posted back on July 5, 2011, and comes it an number one with 9,394 hits. Apparently the post got snatched up by Google and every time someone Googles Blue Bell Ice Cream, my post come up. It’s amazing how many people are interested in Blue Bell Ice Cream. This is a good way to increase stats. Take something very popular, and write about it. I did the same thing with Oreo Cookies, but it didn’t make the Top 10 list for the year.
Number Two — Mike Sherman Shows His True Character – This one was simply a repost of Mike Sherman’s letter to high school coaches in several newspapers across the state of Texas. It comes in at number two with with 6,352 hits, but is remarkable because it holds the number one post of all time hits in a single day. I got 2,610 hits the day I posted it, showing that what he wrote at the time was really of interest to people. I posted it because it showed that Sherman truly is a man of character. I was completely surprised by how many read it.
Number Three — The Dreaded Brown Recluse Widow Tarantula — A humorous piece that pokes fun and our fear of spiders, this one actually started gaining traction long after I posted it on April 29, 2011. It falls into this position with 1,119 hits for the year.
Number Four — Cremation or Burial: A Biblical Perspective — Finally, we get to something of significance, something that deals with our views of life, something that has eternal ramifications. However… this is one of the pieces that I wish were NOT in the Top 10. After reading it over and giving it some thought, I feel the piece is full of holes and leaps in logic and therefore, really not well argued. So please, don’t read it.
Number Five — Top 10 Most Noble Jobs in the World — The premise is that since these are jobs that no one longs to do, they are noble because they are so necessary to our lives. It comes in at number five with 995 hits, and is the first one that drops below 1,000 hits.
Number Six — Top 10 Reasons I Love Christmas — This one came on with a surge as the year came to a close and finished with 978 hits.
Number Seven — Neil Boortz: Excellent Commencement Speech — This is a speech that was never given, but what Neil would say if given the opportunity. This post received 909 hits.
Number Eight — We Cry Abba/Father, Not Daddy — Finally, one that is theological that I actually like. I’m making the point that Abba does not equate to Daddy as some have tried to say. It makes the list with 873 hits.
Number Nine — Top 10 Reasons Christianity is Far Superior to Any Other Religion – This one is getting a lot of play because of those opposed to the faith more than those who are for it. Those of us “in Christ” know the real reason Christianity is superior is because of Christ and all that comes with being “in Christ.”
Number Ten — The About Page — guess people were trying to figure out who I am. The next was the page on Calvinism, followed by Against the Cults page.
BTW, the overall readership of my page is up over the past year. For instance, the number one post for 2011 was The Godfather which had 4,292 hits for 2011, while this year’s number one post more than doubles that hit count. This shows that if you just stay at it, you will build up readership.
It should be an axiom for Christ followers that while our faith should inform our politics, our politics should never inform our faith. But this particular author, as is often the case with Christian Democrats, has made an a priori commitment to supporting the Democrats and then seeks to find faith-based reasons to justify it. But here’s the uncomfortable truth such individuals must confront: while it’s certainly true that not every Republican is worthy of our support as Christians, any individual who runs under a platform that justifies the legal slaughter of innocent life made in the image of God is an unacceptable choice. Period.
Reading the list of supposed justifications for why Christians can turn a blind eye towards this outrageous offense, I imagine these Democrat apologists writing similar essays in the 1930s of how the Nazi Party was doing great things for infrastructure and social welfare programs in Germany. “Never mind that killing of the Jews thing,” they would essentially argue. That’s the underlying current of the Christian Democrat defense — “never mind the killing of the unborn beings made in God’s image thing.” That’s not to say that Democrats are Nazis, of course. It’s to say that there is something dreadfully wrong with your priorities and moral compass when you try to find ways to excuse genocide. As a believer, I cannot imagine justifying that to God.
It’s interesting, isn’t it? Christian Democrats used to find ways to justify their support of a party that promoted slavery. Now they do the same for a party promoting abortion. Tragic.
Beyond that, how lost we are as a culture when Christians in name will actively, vocally, and apparently proudly support a man (Barack Obama) who just a few short months ago called on his country to rebel against God’s own definition of the institution of marriage? This isn’t about how we treat those who practice homosexuality. This is a case where Barack Obama declared that God is a bigot — or at least that His prescription for what constitutes family is bigoted. Jesus affirmed marriage as a union of a husband and wife; Barack Obama suggested such a narrow description was discriminatory. Both can’t be right.
Please read the rest here.
Those of you who are regulars will recognize BabaLucy. She is a dear friend in the LORD and her grandchildren, as well as my children, call her Baba. She sent out the following to friends and family last night and I wanted to share it with you.
Dear Family and Friends,
As you know, I am very passionate about what I believe in!!!!!!!!! I
have sent many emails over the past 4 years and I am sure that you
have deleted many of them. I hope you will read this one.
Tomorrow is Election Day and I have worked and prayed and worked and
prayed and I have peace that passes understanding as Philippians 4
says. I just want you to know that I have laid that election in the
LORD’s Hands. I know that HE is raises up and puts down leaders and
that HE will still be GOD ALMIGHTY no matter how the campaign plays
out tomorrow. My hope is in JESUS CHRIST, not in who wins the
Let me close with some verses from Daniel that the LORD has had me praying:
Daniel 3: 17-18- “Behold, our GOD whom we serve, is able to deliver us
from the hot fiery furnace ( from this group in power is what I pray)
and HE will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
be it known to thee, O king, we will not serve thy gods, nor worship
the golden image which thou hast set up.”
Therefore, I will Praise HIM for whomever is elected.
I thought it was a good reminder that our trust should be in HIM, and not the political process. God is testing our faith so that it is purer than pure gold.
As I write this, the election is just a week away. I’m hopeful that the masses turn out and vote for Mitt Romney and those who want Obama, find some day-time talk show to watch instead.
I’m not going to comment on the buzz about the elections being postponed because of Hurricane Sandy. Liberals might delight in the idea, but the rest of the country will not wait, especially given that the president doesn’t have the Constitutional authority to postpone the elections.
Despite all of this, what if Romney still ends up losing? We have to ask that question because it may not be God’s will for him to win. What if Obama wins again? What will our response be as Christians? Will we rejoice in God’s sovereign plan or will we grumble?
As Christians, we have to admit that sometimes God’s plan are not what we want or think is best for the country. Remember how God used King Nebuchadnezzar to bring discipline and judgment on Israel? I’m sure that Daniel and his friends prayed that God would deliver them from the onslaught of Nebuchadnezzar’s army. I’m confident that they prayed YHWH would raise up an angel to smite the Gentile herd as it approached the holy land. However, God did not do so because His purposes and ways are not our purposes and ways.
He was bringing discipline on the nation of Israel for their years of looking to the world for comfort and protection. He warned them that He would do so if they did not continue in His ways. They did not continue in His ways and He brought about an army to discipline them.
If God wasn’t hesitant to discipline those who were His chosen nation, why should we expect any better treatment?
The truth is that here in the United States we tend to think that we are entitled to just rulers. We think it’s our birthright to have rulers that seek our material and financial well being. Yet often times, what we need more in our lives is more dependency upon Him, and not our political views or country.
We need to remember that we don’t have the right to the American dream, or just rulers, or prosperity and riches. God never promised us those things in Scripture. In fact, much of Scripture comes from the fact that God was removing those things from His people. He does so out of His love for us, for it is far better that we look to Him for our daily sustenance and well being than the society in which we live. It’s better that we depend upon Him for our next meal, our jobs, our health and wealth than it is to receive such through a society and country that has long turned their backs on the living and true God.
In fact, when we look to Christ’s messages to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, one of the harshest warnings came to the church that was financially fit. Listen to His words to the church in Laodicea:
Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
I’m not sure we get that with more prosperity, which is what Romney is promising for us. Not that I don’t want him to win. I do. But how we, as those who are God’s people, handle life if Romney doesn’t win. Will we trust in the LORD in His choice for our leader? I know, we think who we have as a leader is up to us. But ultimately, it is up to God. He is the one who changes kings like He changes the courses of rivers. In other words, God is sovereign in the affairs of men, not just in the affairs of His people. Will we rejoice that God is doing something in our lives if Romney loses? Will we be thankful?
Or will Romney’s loss cause us be angry with God, asking Him: “why have you done this thing?” Remember, He loves those whom He rebukes and chastens. He doesn’t chasten those whom He doesn’t love. He pours out His wrath upon them. It’s better to accept His discipline as one accepts discipline from a loving father, because HE is a loving Father.
From Pleasantville to Principia
If you looked up my childhood in a dictionary, you would have found the word Pleasantville. I was raised in Kansas City by two very loving, grounded, hard-working parents. I had a brother 2 years older than me, and the four of us together were very close, loving and fun. My brother and I were pretty good kids growing up. Our parents ran an indoor sports complex, and so athletics were extremely important in our family. We both grew up playing sports and hoped to someday see the fruit of our hard work through a College scholarship.
The Falsity of Fainting
We were members of the local Christian Science church. I never really noticed that I was different from anyone else in school because of the church I attended. I didn’t really notice there were other churches outside of Christian Science. The first recollection of me realizing that Christian Science was different and so was I, was when I fainted for the first time.
It was on the day of Thanksgiving. While getting ready for church, I made it very clear that my stomach was really hurting me and I didn’t feel capable of going and sitting for an hour in church. As was custom, my mom or dad took me into a quiet room of the house and shared that I needed to “Know the Truth” about myself and to read from the Science and Health the Scientific Statement of Being. I can to this day repeat it verbatim.
There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual.
Praying that my body was spiritual and not material, I tried to be a good Christian Scientist, and overcome my pain by changing my thought and aligning it with God’s thought and proceed to attend the morning church service.
It didn’t take but twenty minutes into the service and I looked at my brother and shook my head. The rest I don’t remember up until I woke to throwing up in the bathroom. I was told that I fell back on the pew, hit my head, slid under the seat and started to throw up. My dad rushed me out of the church. I went home and was sick the whole week. We prayed and no medical attention was sought out for my stomach pains and dizziness.
Through this experience, what made me realize that something was different about Christian Science was the reaction of my church congregation; or lack thereof. No one mentioned my faint when I came back the following Sunday. And I was told not to discuss it to any friends, neighbors or family members. By sharing this “false belief” about me fainting, I was accepting it to be true about myself. And it wasn’t true, because I was a perfect child of God.
My faints continued and so did my parents need help me KNOW THE TRUTH and not accept them. I remember a time where my family drove to Florida and we had stopped at a gas station. I had been sleeping in the back and woke up and no one was in the car. I ran into the gas station in complete fear that I wouldn’t get my candy they usually would let us have on stops. When I found my mom, I started to faint. She quickly dragged me into the bathroom so that no one would see. I remember vividly her trying to quietly wake me up and tell me that someone else was in the bathroom and to be quiet. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t have the help of someone else besides my parents, but she definitely didn’t want my faint to be seen. I have continued to have fainting issues to this day. To be clear, I don’t want to dishonor my parents for what they thought was the right thing to do in those situations. They always did their best to keep me safe and protected. But what really stood out to me was the rejection of the belief that I was a “fainter”. This rejection issue feeds into so many other areas of the Christian Science life. There’s a sense of shame that comes with a Christian Scientist’s failure to have healing or physical health. It is hard for me now to wrap my brain around. If I couldn’t overcome my faints, I felt that it was something I wasn’t understanding in my own thought about God and my true being. When in all reality, I’m a fainter and it’s okay. To sum up, Christian Science is a works “religion” and teaches that IF we are praying rightly and “knowing the Truth”, healing will occur. If no healing occurs; we aren’t where we need to be mentally. Works. And that is not how God works. He is a God of GRACE.
The Principia Bubble
When my brother and I had gotten older, the reality that we were the only Christian Scientists in our school, started to settle in. When our school had flu shots or required physicals, my parents handed in exemption forms from our local Church to our teachers, while all the other classmates were in the nurse’s office. It became evident to my parents that we were slowly being opened up to the medical world quickly through our schooling and friendships we made. So my parents did the right thing as Christian Scientists did, and they sold their business and home and moved us to St. Louis to attend the Principia Upper School-A School for Christian Scientists.
Principia offered everything my parents hoped and prayed for. My brother and I had a strong education but more importantly, we both became extremely passionate for Christian Science. We both were thorough in our studying of the Bible with its’ important Key- Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy. Every morning I read my Bible lesson and let the Science and Health guide me throughout the Bible in it’s own specific way, and I made my parents extremely proud with my daily spiritual growth.
The Wrong Decision or my BEST Decision
When it came time to choose where to go to College, I had always known that softball would play a key role in my decision process. Considering I loved the sport and my parents paid a lot of money so I could play at an elite level all throughout high school, I made getting a scholarship my main goal. At the time, I was 4th generation Christian Scientist. My brother was already attending Principia College, and so were my cousins. I worked extremely hard to get my scholarship and fortunately was offered one.
My parents still begged me to apply for Principia College and this is first part of “my story” where I knew the Lord specifically directed me.
I was always so obedient to my parents, but in my heart I knew Principia was the wrong place for me. My reasoning was that all my highschool friends would be there and I didn’t want to repeat highschool all over again. But looking back, it seemed very unlike me to not even please my parents with applying as a back up plan.
From College to I Do’s
I had 4 great years of college. I stayed true to being a Christian Scientist, but found myself around a lot of people who thought I was extremely different. I laughed it off, and egotistically thought that I knew the Bible better and was more spiritual than them. After all, I was a Christian Scientist and was capable of healing myself through prayer. They were all “weak” in thought and needed medicine.
And this is the 2nd part of “my story” where I saw the Lord’s hand at work. He brought me my sweetheart.
My husband was a blessing like no other. He was raised Catholic and I was raised Christian Science. What were we to do? Knowing my temperament, if I had married a man who was extremely opinionated and impatient, I probably would have put my foot down and said there was no way I would leave Christian Science. But my husband was and still is none of those qualities. He’s patient, open-minded and always calm.
We decided to attend both each other’s churches. We both had found we disliked different parts of each other’s denomination and decided that we would figure it out in time, instead of pushing to join a church.
“But I’m a Christian!”
Right in the beginning of our marriage, my kind-hearted Mother in Law encouraged me to attend a Bible Study. It is a 8 year study called Bible Study Fellowship. This Bible Study didn’t allow you to speak about specific denominations. It was a pure study of the Bible with application questions. I thought it was great. I had never studied the Bible without the Science and Health right next to me, and so I was very intrigued by this “new age” way to study. Oh me.
The first year I really enjoyed the study. But as any well-trained Christian Scientist would do, I ignored the parts of the Bible that were not “inspired by God’, such as “we are sinners…”, “Christ is God”. Obviously those were not inspired because Mary Baker Eddy told me that I am made perfect, sin does not exist and Christ is a great example-BUT DEFINITELY NOT GOD.
As I studied the Bible, the more clear it was to me that Mary Baker Eddy left out some extremely solid nuggets of TRUTH that I desperately needed to know about. When I studied and realized that Jesus declared himself to be THE Savior, and that a final day of judgement was to come for all men, I was stumped. I was told differently by my leader Mary Baker Eddy about my salvation. That’s when my world began to crumble. Is she calling Jesus a liar? I couldn’t piece it all together without feeling a great deal of anxiety. Nothing is more humbling than being passionate for one set of beliefs all your life and to one day find out that you are incredibly wrong. But this is where the Lord really protected my broken-hardened heart. At Bible Study Fellowship (bsfinternational.org) they would always ask us at the end of the lecture if we had accepted Christ. That was what would qualify someone as being Christian. I of course ignored that portion of the lecture because I was a Christian. Right? Wrong. The Lord continued to protect me.
The second year of this Bible Study feels like it was just yesterday; and I wish it was. I would love to go back and repeat the feelings I had over and over. It was my fourth week and we were studying the Book of Matthew. One of the key principles shared was, “Repentance involves changed thinking and a changed life”. That night, my life was changed. I don’t even know how my legs walked me out of that church, but I somehow made it to my car and called my Mother in Law and started rambling off a bunch of questions. Like always, she was calm, comforting, knowledgeable, and extremely helpful. That night on the phone, I came to KNOW the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior. 22 years old. I drove home, and looking back I’m surprised that I didn’t get a speeding ticket. I found my husband and quickly told him the news. The GOOD NEWS. Together we worship the Lord and I can’t be more grateful for God’s hand in my life.
Can someone teach me to forget, not just forgive?
I will be honest and say that I am definitely a working progress throughout this amazing change in my life. Although I now know the Lord as my Savior, the pain of knowing I’m the “black sheep” in my family and lost in a sea of Christian Science friends who don’t understand who I am anymore, is one big dark cloud over my head. I am working on forgiveness and trying to understand what God wants out of me. But the anger I have and grudges I hold are not mine to carry. They are the Lord’s. I am taking a place that’s not really mine when I hold onto the way people have wronged me.
I think about Joseph and his darkest hours in prison, sold into slavery by his own family, and wonder what He thought about God. God brought people into Joseph’s life in his darkest hours to comfort and help him. I think about my darkest hours and look back at different people God brought into my life. He was always there through the encouragement and comfort of others.
This is my lower story that will glorify God’s upper story.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
It’s all about the UPPER STORY. Christian Science was my darkest hour, and I know there will be many stumbling blocks along the way-but I have the armor of Jesus Christ and cannot be shaken. It’s all about the Upper Story.
I may have used this quote before, but it’s worth repeating. It is from J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: John, concerning John 14:2, Jesus going to prepare a place for us.
“Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people: a place which we shall find Christ Himself has made ready for true Christians. He has prepared it by procuring a right for every sinner who believes to enter in. None can stop us, and say we have no business there. He has prepared it by going before us as our Head and Representative, and taking possession of it for all the members of His mystical body. As our Forerunner He has marched in, leading captivity captive, and has planted His banner in the land of glory. He has prepared it by carrying our names with Him as our High Priest into the holy of holies, and making angels ready to receive us. They that enter heaven will find they are neither unknown nor unexpected.”
 J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospel: John, Vol. 4, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI., 2007, p. 52