Tag Archives: Grace

Does the Covenant Keeper Save Dying Infant Children?

Originally published on March 27, 2008. 
The sign of the covenant does not save us. However, the Covenant Keeper does. My wife posted her thoughts on baptism below, and it brought out the following question from BB Idaho.

Don’t know much about the theology: reminds me of a premature daughter many years ago. She was in dire straits and the neonatal staff offered: “If a chaplain is not available, or if death is imminent, a nurse or physician may baptize the child. A small amount of water should be placed on the child’s head with these words: “I baptize you (give the child’s full name) in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.” An entry should be made in the chart.” ..this little girl did not last the day and I’m glad we did the emergency baptism. What are the ramifications of ‘original sin’, premature birth & death and the place of baptism (by a medical practioner) in this not uncommon circumstance?

BB, I’m sorry for your loss and that you had to go through this. I hope the following is helpful and will strengthen your faith in our LORD.

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The Camp Movie — Shooting a Scene in Our Church

I just found out about 30 minutes ago that the filmakers of the movie Camp, are filming a scene for the movie in our church, Redeemer Christian Fellowship. Jacob Roebuck, the director and writer for the movie, is the son in-law of one of my elders. They needed to shoot a scene in the waiting area of a jail… and… well, seems like one of our classrooms fits the bill. I’m not sure if I’m excited about that, but I will get over it.

I hope to go down and take some pictures of them while they are filming. I just got to meet Teresa and Kate who are responsible for turning the classroom into the jail holding area.  It will be interesting to see how that takes place.

Watch this video for the some back ground to the movie. It is a Christian movie about summer camps that take in troubled children for two weeks at a time and the difference they make in the lives of those children.

One more point: I got to see a screening of part of the movie several weeks ago, and it looks like it’s going to be a great movie.

Also, if you want to help support the movie, go to their website. They are taking donations to help produce it and finish it out. Also, it will be a great movie for churches to rally around when it comes out in February or March. Here is the link to their web site.

Baptist Vote to Keep “Sinner’s Prayer”

The Southern Baptist Church voted this week at their convention to keep the “sinner’s prayer” as a form of conversion. Some might think this an odd thing, but the there have been those Baptist Calvinist who have questioned the use of the “sinner’s prayer.” They have done so because it gives the allusion that by saying the “sinner’s prayer,” one is actually saved.

One is not saved by saying the “sinner’s prayer.” I agree with the Calvinistic Baptist and this in one of the reasons I left the SBC back in the 1990s. Too much emphasis is put on what we do as opposed to what God does in saving us. No where does the Bible ever tell us to utter this prayer, it truly is an invention of men, specifically that bastard of revivalism known as Charles Finney. Sorry but I must call him that. He did more damage to the church in American than a hundred liberal courts or seminaries with the implementation of his new methods, i.e., the sinner’s prayer. More churches have been led down a hell-bound path by adopting such practices as altar call than any liberal professor could ever dream of. It would boggle our minds to know the number of people who were led to believe they were saved by trusting in these damnable actions of their own, instead of trusting in Christ. You hear it today every time the sinner’s prayer is put forth, and once a person says this prayer, they are told to write the date down so they can remember when they were saved.

This is all focused on what the sinner does and not what Christ does. If we are truly to be saved, we must believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. We are not to “say” a prayer, although prayer will result after true belief comes about. We are not told in Scripture to walk an aisle, go to the altar or do any other thing in order to be saved. Simply believe in Christ and His work for salvation. We are saved by faith alone in Christ alone, and this is NOT of ourselves, but is a gift of God. We are merely passive recipients of God’s grace.

To take and add altar calls and sinner’s prayers to the gospel is no different than the Roman Catholics calling for indulgences in order to be saved. It is Christ plus our works that ends up not saving us at all.

So I am saddened by the actions of the Souther Baptist Convention. They have added works to our salvation. This should be rejected by all Christians, Baptist and non-Baptist alike.

Here is a bit from the story about the SBC:

The resolution was originally presented by Eric Hankins, pastor of First Baptist Church in Oxford, Mississippi, though the version approved by the committee omitted language designed to refute the denomination’s increasingly Calvinist membership. (An effort to put much of the language back in was defeated in a floor vote, as was an effort to remove references to the phrase “Sinner’s Prayer.”)

Indeed, Hankins says his resolution was sparked by a talk from one of the SBC’s Calvinist stars, David Platt. Speaking at the Verge church leaders’ conference March 1, the pastor of the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, said the emphasis on the Sinner’s Prayer is unbiblical and damning.

“I’m convinced that many people in our churches are simply missing the life of Christ, and a lot of it has to do with what we’ve sold them as the gospel, i.e. pray this prayer, accept Jesus into your heart, invite Christ into your life,” Platt said. “Should it not concern us that there is no such superstitious prayer in the New Testament? Should it not concern us that the Bible never uses the phrase, ‘accept Jesus into your heart’ or ‘invite Christ into your life’? It’s not the gospel we see being preached, it’s modern evangelism built on sinking sand. And it runs the risk of disillusioning millions of souls.”

Speaking at the SBC Pastors’ Conference preceding the Baptist’s annual meeting, Platt referenced his Verge sermon, lamenting that his messages “can become three-minute YouTube clips.” But, preaching from John 2-3, he reiterated his statements that believing in Jesus is not enough. “Many assume they are saved simply because of a prayer they prayed,” he said. “It’s not that praying a prayer in and of itself is bad—but the question in John 2 and 3 is what kind of faith are we calling people to?”

The Need For Christ Crucified — J.C. Ryle

The following is from J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, on John 6:1-14 when Jesus fed the 5,000.

Let us never doubt for a moment, that the preaching of Christ crucified, — the old story of His blood, and righteousness, and substitution,– is enough for all the spiritual necessities of all mankind. It is not worn out. It is not obsolete. It has not lost its power. We want nothing new,– nothing more broad and kind,– nothing more intellectual,– nothing more efficacious. We want nothing but the true bread of life which Christ bestows, distributed faithfully among starving souls. Let men sneer or ridicule as they will. Nothing else can do good in this sinful world. No other teaching can fill hungry consciences, and give them peace. We are all in a wilderness. We must feed on Christ crucified, and the atonement made by His death, or we shall die in our sins.

Even today, with all of man’s inventions and technological advances, we still need the same old gospel of Jesus Christ for salvation. Nothing will ever replace that need for mankind because no matter how we rationalize, we are still sinners in need of God’s grace.

Ask Pastor Timothy

A friend wrote and asked me to respond to the following quote:

“You can not grow spiritually healthy until your are emotionally healthy.  Emotional maturity is necessary for spiritual growth”

Wow! What a burden that places on us to get emotionally healthy, and what a hindrance for the Holy Spirit. This statement is very similar to the statement that was made to a bunch of single friends back in the 1990s: “You will never be married until you are spiritually mature!” Glad we have that going for us. Now that I’m married, I MUST be spiritually mature!

I had to speak to my friend to find out more about the quote before I gave any comment to it. Apparently the pastors of this church are preaching through a book that makes this claim on Sunday mornings. Notice, I said that they are “preaching through a book?” Please notice, they are not preaching from a book in the Bible, but some popular book out there that is supposed to help us become holistically healthy, so that we may go out into the culture and reach people for Jesus Christ.

This type of stuff always sounds great on the surface. “Let’s get you healed up and complete so that you can be used by God, people will see you for being complete and whole and want to come to know Christ too!” The problem with this mindset is that it is contrary to the gospel itself and makes evangelism/spiritual maturity, growth in Christ, all dependent upon us. It is very much like the statement from St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel always. Use words when necessary.”

This isn’t the gospel at all, but humanism with a gospel dress. It’s an attempt to make those feel like they are in control of their emotions, the gospel, the kingdom, their own spiritual growth. This fails on several levels.

First, please notice that the Apostle Paul never called us to become more Christ-like so that we could preach the gospel, even using words at times. He said just the opposite: 2 Corinthians 4:5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.

Paul wasn’t preaching himself, but Christ alone. This is the call of the church when it comes to reaching the world. We are not to preach ourselves, or put ourselves on display or even talk about how much we have benefited from being saved. We are to preach Christ. We are to tell of His death and resurrection. We are to point others to the gospel for salvation, not us, or a particular church. It is the gospel that saves, not our conformity to some holistic ministry model.

Secondly, the above quote and assertion assumes that emotional health is something under our control and precedes spiritual maturity. Emotional health may result as we grow in Christ, but it may not. That is not the goal of the gospel and sometimes the LORD leaves a thorn or two in our flesh to keep us dependent upon Him (2 Corinthians 12:7). Some people may always be emotional wrecks, yet, God may use such to help them grow spiritually.

Third, the problem with the quote is that it seems devoid of Christ’s work in our lives through the washing of the water and the word (Ephesians 5:25-26). It is Christ who cleanses us with His word and His Spirit. We don’t mature because we do something or don’t do something, we mature spiritually because He causes the growth and cleanses us and heals us. We are dependent upon Him for spiritual growth.

Now, we may aid in that growth. Just as a child will grow whether we feed him M&M’s and candy bars, or chicken soup and veggies, the child will grow. The question is: will the child be more healthy using a healthy diet, or using candy? Since we know healthy eating helps our children grow in a healthy manner, so too does eating spiritually healthy food aid us in our spiritual lives.

What is spiritual food? The preaching and teaching of God’s word. This is the spiritual food that Jesus commanded Peter to give to His sheep (John 21). If we want to be healthy spiritually speaking and grow spiritually speaking, we must seek out those things that help us grow in that manner: His word, the preached word of God, the sacraments of baptism and communion, prayer and corporate worship.

Isn’t it ironic that the above church that brought all this about is trying to grow their people spiritually but isn’t using the very means that God has given them to do so? Sad. The pastors of this church should truly repent of such foolishness. They are turning to man’s wisdom in order to grow God’s people, yet God has told us to preach Christ crucified in order to do so. Shame on them.

For more on spiritual growth, I commend the chapter on Growth in J.C. Ryle’s book: Holiness. Go here to read it.

Also, if you have a question for me, email me at askpastortimothy   at Gmail dot com. That is in code, so I hope you can figure it out. I wrote it that way so some bot doesn’t discover it and spam me.

Matt Chandler — Jesus Wants the Rose!

(Hattip: Bryan at Chief of the Least)

I heard of Matt Chandler through some of the members of the congregation, but this is the first time I have actually heard him. Now I see why they were telling me about him. He is spot on when it comes to the gospel. Instead of preaching moralism, like the man he refers to, he gets right to the gospel. He who knew no sin, died for those of us who are sinners. While we were yet sinners, He died for us. Watch the video, it’s very powerful.

Praying for Common Grace

I ran across an blog post entitled 22 Signs That The Thin Veneer Of Civilization That We All Take For Granted Is Starting To Disappear. 

The article is giving us 22 horrific events to show us that our country is falling a part. If you go there, please be prepared to be depressed. These are snapshots of human depravity at its best.

In fact don’t go to the site. The best thing we can do as believers is pray for our country in such situations.  Yes, we can lament that our country has turned it’s back on God, and in turn, He has removed that common grace our country needs just to function. Remember, God’s common grace towards mankind is not something that He owes to us. It is grace. Grace is undeserved favor from God. What we all deserve is the society we are seeing without God in it and much worse. So we cannot complain to God.

But we can petition Him. We are to pray for our country and the one thing we need to pray for is common grace. What is common grace? Common grace is the grace that God shows to mankind so that His children, true Christians, can live in peace (1 Timothy 2:1-3). Common grace is praying for rain so that we can live in society with plenty of food. It is praying for peace, it is praying for judges and rulers to do their jobs justly even though they are not believers. Praying for common grace is praying that those in society would live as if they were influenced by the gospel and God’s law, even though they are not partakers of the gospel.

We need common grace for society to function, therefore we should pray for it and ask God to show our country and the world common grace. But we should also pray for His special grace to fall on mankind as well. What is special grace? Special grace is the grace leads sinners to repentance and belief in Jesus Christ for salvation. That is our ultimate prayer for society. This should be our desire for our world. It is easy to sit back and realize that the lack of common grace on mankind is God’s judgment, and the lack of special grace is judgement of the eternal nature, but our heart’s desire should be that the LORD would pour out His grace, both common and special on mankind. This is what is needed more than anything in our society.

We tend to think we need more laws, or more politicians, or more common sense. But what we need is more common and special grace. Only God can give that and when He does, societies change, because men and women change. They go from those who exalt sin, to those who repent from sin and seek holiness. Instead of living as those in the world, they live as those who are seeking to change the world for His glory.

Yes, we can lament that sinfulness of sin that is bursting forth on society right now by listing ways society is breaking down. Or we can fall on our faces, and plead to the Sovereign God of all Creation, to pour His grace upon mankind.

No Respecter of Persons

I like what A.W. Pink points out in his chapter on the Sovereignty of God in Reprobation. He writes:

“Again, we are asked, Does not Scripture declare, again and again, that God is no ‘respecter of persons?’ We answer, it certainly does, and God’s electing grace proves it. The seven sons of Jesse, though older and physically superior to David, are passed by, while the young shepherd-boy is exalted to Israel’s throne. The scribes and lawyers pass unnoticed, and ignorant fishermen are chosen to be the apostles of the Lamb. Divine truth is hidden from the wise and the prudent and is revealed to babes instead. The great majority of the wise and noble are ignored, while the weak, the base, the despised, are called and saved. Harlots and publicans are sweetly compelled to come in to the gospel feast, while self-righteous Pharisees are suffered to perish in their immaculate morality. Truly, God is ‘no respecter’ of persons or He would not have saved me.”

Pink is discussing the reality that God chooses some for salvation, and doesn’t choose others. I know that this topic elicits a lot of thought and emotion for many. I think about the reality of it a lot as well, especially given that Scripture speaks about it so much. We must accept what Scripture says to the fact. God does indeed choose some for salvation and chooses others for reprobation. In doing so, He is glorified through both. See Romans 9.

What is interesting is that so many cannot stand this doctrine of election, even though they themselves have been recipients of it. They come to Scripture and readily accept the reality that God did not choose the Pharisees to be followers of Christ. Yes, there were a few chosen, the Apostle Paul and Nicodemus, but for the most part the Pharisees are left in their sin to die outside of God’s grace. Many readily accept this reality. Jesus chose fishermen to follow Him, not Pharisees. In their acceptance of this reality, they are affirming God’s election. Immediately, the attacker of election will say, “but that is because the fishermen chose to follow Christ and the Pharisees didn’t choose.

This is true. There were choices made. But the fishermen only chose Christ AFTER He had chosen them. We don’t choose Christ because we are smarter, wiser, or better than those who do not. We choose Him because of His grace towards us, that in eternity past, the Father chose us, the Son redeemed us on the cross, and the Holy Spirit awakened our dead souls to our need for a Savior. The Holy Spirit then gave us a new heart, by which we would desire Christ and believe in Him for salvation. THEN we made our decision. Our decision was based upon His grace and choice of us and not anything in our own being.

The Pharisees didn’t choose Christ because the Father had not chosen them. They were outside of God’s elective decree. It is only when we realize these truths that we truly begin to appreciate God’s grace towards us. Otherwise, we would tend to boast about our salvation, our faith. For those who are truly saved, we know there is no room for boasting at all. Our salvation is purely by God’s grace. That is why it is so Amazing.