Theological Differences

It seems to me that the divide that Calvinist and Arminians have in their theology is one of emphasis. The divide is centered around the question of free will, or man’s ability to choose to become a Christian or not. In the Calvinist system, we believe that man cannot choose to come to God until the Holy Spirit has moved in his heart, enlivened the spirit in man, working faith in him, and at that point, the man believes in Christ for salvation.

All the work, in the Calvinist system of justification, is done by the Holy Spirit. The man is awakened spiritually and responds to the call of the gospel. The illustration that Jesus gives is that the man or woman is finally born again. Just as a child is born because of nothing in and of himself, so too are we born again because of nothing in and of ourselves. The act of being justified is one purely of grace, and not man’s ability to believe or not, since we would we are spiritually dead before conversion.

The Arminian, of course, opposes this view. They would say that man does have free will and can choose to do so. Since he can choose, then it is man’s responsibility to believe. In their system, they believe that God has made the way of salvation possible, and it’s up to us to believe and be saved. This means that God’s election of men before the foundation of the world, is based upon man’s will and decisions, and not God’s will.

They also accuse those of us who are Calvinist as making God out to be mean because He chooses some and does not choose others. The problem I have with their position is that they have yet explain to me the discussion of this very thing found in Romans 9. There, Paul makes the case that God chooses whom He chooses to show mercy upon. In that section of Scripture Paul makes it clear that man’s will is not a factor in being chosen, but the decision is based upon God alone. John 1:12-13 also make this clear, that God alone is the One who makes the decision, not us.

Now there charge against our position is that this makes God responsible for sin, even though the Scripture clearly says that there is no darkness found in God at all (James 1). We say that man is responsible for his own sin, and this is the only thing that is truly ours, but if you know anything about sin at all, it’s nothing we want anything to do with.

They would also say that God desires all men to come to Himself. And we would agree that on one level, God does disire this, but not when it comes to actuality. God is glorified in those who reject His grace just as much as He is glorified in those who accept. Through the one, His justice is glorified, in the other, His mercy is glorified.

And I believe that is truly the dividing point between the two camps. One camp, Calvinists, address both God’s justice(or Holiness, which is where His justice is derived) and His mercy (which is manifested in His love.) The Arminian camp, I believe, tends to focus only on His love. They cannot accept that fact that God would save some and not others, and therefore they put the full responsibility of salvation back in man’s lap, to the point that if a man rejects the gospel, then it is the man’s responsibility and not God’s. The problem we have with this is that it makes God less than sovereign over all things, and He actually seems more like a dottering old grandfather wishing and hoping that men would trust in Christ and be saved.

We would agree that it is man’s responsibility to trust in Christ and be saved, but not within his ability, and it is only when God moves on behalf of the sinner that the sinner believes in Christ and is saved. Since the man is spiritually dead, he cannot move in this way at all. He needs to be born again, an act that he cannot bring about. To the Calvinist, this truly speaks of God’s grace and magnifies it, for we see the richness of grace all the more in that there is no reason for us to boast if we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-10). To the Calvinist, God is sovereign in all of life, not just a few areas of life, and He rules in every aspect of the universe.

The God of the Arminian however is One that is only partly sovereign, which is an oxymoron, and has merely set salvation up so that it might be possible for all to be saved. To the Calvinist, God has set it up so that His elect will be definitely saved. There are no doubts in their salvation. As Jesus said, nothing can rip them from His hand.

And the logical conclusion to Arminianism is what has become know as the Open Theist movement, in which God really doesn’t know the outcome of tomorrow any more than you are I do. He is merely reacting to events instead of guiding them. I cannot accept this, nor do I want to worship a God that is like this.

I’m grateful that God is sovereign in all aspects of life, not just some. Yes, He grabbed me, and worked faith in me, and I have no reason to boast in my salvation. I am grateful He opened my eyes to my own sinful fallen nature, and showed me that the only way out of salvation was faith in Christ. I’m glad He worked faith in me so that I would believe and would help me in my unbelief. Yes, I am a Calvinist. That is not a boast, for the true Calvinist knows he has nothing to boast of… but God’s saving grace. For the true Calvinist we truly do sing the words Amazing Grace with gusto, for we know that were it not for His grace, we would be rightfully sent to hell, which all men deserve. But by God’s grace, He has saved some, and I am among those.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me…

Terrible Two’s

Yes, LBB is moving into that stage that is known as the “terrible twos.” I wish that it was not so, but alas, our boy is just as fallen and sinful as the next kid on the block.This morning, before I could get to his room, he was already shouting the defiant “no!” He says it anytime he is in his crib, or carseat or at the table strapped into a chair. It’s his burst of energy against any restraint. It is as if he is almost saying: “I dare you to discipline me!” And of course, I do when necessary.

He absolutely hates to go into time out. For him, its the most cruel and unusual punishment. But once we go through the screaming, and he calms down, the gentle and sweet spirit return.

I’ve been told that the terrible twos quickly pass when he turns 3. This is not reassuring, since he has yet to officially turn 2! The next year and a half are going to be interesting.

And it’s a….

Gummy Bear! Yes, our unborn child is only the size of a gummy bear. We went to the doctor on Monday and got to see our child for the first time, via a sonogram. The little Winston-Abby was wiggling, and turning and twisting around as we watched. LBB even watched for a moment or two, but I don’t think he understood. WA had a wonderful heartbeat of about 180 beats per minute, which is good for a gummy-bear sized baby and is about 1.83 centimeters long (that’s about 1 ¾ inch in length).

Everything seems to be progressing along quite normally, although we did find out the Winston-Abby had a twin early on in the pregnancy. The twin apparently didn’t make it long. We are trusting God with that one.

On Wednesday WA turns 9 weeks old… now, how can I say that? Because WA hasn’t been born, but is 9 weeks along. So WA is not 9 weeks old by normal standards… we need to rethink our aging system!

Yesterday, (Tuesday), LBB turned 21 months old in standard regular aging system, but is more than 2 years old in the new, “Timothy aging system…” wait a minutethat means I’m well over 46… NOPE, we stick to the old aging system! I will NOT reach 50 before my time!

Clinton Legacy

I finally got a chance to watch the Clinton interview on Fox and saw the venomous reaction by the former president. I would say that Chris Wallace really hit a nerve. I was wondering why the ex-president just didn’t admit that he didn’t get Bin Laden and move on. Say, “yes, we failed to get him… and I wish I had done more, but I didn’t.” If he had left it at that, then we still wouldn’t be talking about the interview three days later.

Since his reaction was such, I wonder if Wallace really didn’t hit a nerve, and the statements about Clinton are true. Which statements? The ones saying that he really is concerned with his legacy, and that this is what matters to him the most. If that is the case, this is really sad because for Clinton to have a real legacy, his life cannot and must not be about himself. Jesus said, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” If Clinton truly is the center of Clinton’s world, then he really will lose it. If he is really about himself and his legacy, then what legacy will he truly have.

It reminds me of Omri in the Old Testament. He was a king and 1 Kings 16:25ff says: Omri did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all who were before him. For he walked in all the ways of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin by which he made Israel sin, provoking the LORD God of Israel to anger with their idols.

The interesting thing about Omri, is that they have found archaeological evidence that the surrounding countries loved Omri. He was a man of trade and even helped build roads with the surrounding nations. Yet, in the one tome of importance, he is listed with Jerobam the son of Nebat. Omri was more concerned about his own standing in the world, than he was with his standing in God. That served him well for 12 years… but what were the eternal consequences?

If Clinton truly wants a legacy, he needs to die to himself and to what others think of him, and live unto Christ and Christ alone. That is the only true place to have a legacy at all. It might mean public scorn and ridicule… for 12 short years. But the eternal consequences are far greater and any scorn the public may offer, pales in comparison.

The Eyes of the President

On the post just below this one, I referred to some of the closing remarks of the president of Iran that I got from Rush Limbaugh’s site. The man was actually breaking into prayer when he said those words. Of course, those in our liberal press hardly mentioned it, as well as liberals in general. But had President Bush broken into prayer after a speech, just imagine the outrage that would have followed. I kind of wish he would just for the fun of it.

The reason I’m writing this post is to say that for a brief time, I had a picture of the eyes of the president of Iran on my site, but I had to take the picture off the site. I could not see putting the face of evil on the same site that I talk about my family and about my Lord. It was just not fitting to do so.

Some might ask why I say that he is evil, and it is a good question. He is evil because for now, he is the voice of Islam and anyone who offers a gospel other than that of Christ is an antichrist. The messiah that he is looking for (see the prayer below) does not exist and to look for any other than Jesus as the Messiah, is to be an antichrist. John says in his first letter: Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

Those of Islam fit this description. The Iranian president’s prayer shows that they deny Jesus as the Messiah, or Christ (Christ means Messiah… no, it’s not just His surname or the completion of a vulgar curse used by a profane and unregenerate generation). He is looking for another christ, which would be the antichrist. Another telling sign of this is that he looks for one that will make this world perfect. He is looking for the utopia on the planet, while the true believer looks to the future renewed heaven and earth. This planet will always be fallen until the Second Coming, so anyone who promises otherwise, is an antichrist. This is what the president is truly asking for. He isn’t looking to the true Messiah, but one of his own making that will bring their own brand of justice, not true justice to the world.

John tells us that already in the world, even in his day, there were many antichrists. Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the true Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by wich we know that it is the last hour.

Anyone who stands in place of Christ, or points to another besides Christ for salvation and as a path to God is an antichrist. The word means “in place of Christ.” Some of these will be evil, and some of them can be as kind as the little old lady next door (if there is one.) The point is all that one has to do to qualify to be an antichrist is to point to some other means of salvation, or entrance into God’s presence other than Jesus Christ. The only way to the Father is through the Son and His atoning work on the Cross. All other attempts into the Father’s presence are denied because the righteousness that those who make those attempts are as filty rags, and rejected by the Father. We need a righteousness this is not our own, to be imputed, or given to us. That righteousness comes only through Christ. Any other promises of this righteousness is a lie, and those claiming them are antichrists because they have offered a false salvation.

Yes, the eyes of the Iranian president are too evil for my site. His rhetoric is too evil as well, for he promises and looks to one that is not Jesus Christ. All those who follow him are damned. I don’t say that lightly, but apart from a movement of the Holy Spirit in their lives, they will remain damned. I hope and pray that the Holy Spirit begins another great awakening in our own hearts, and spreads outward across the planet before He comes again.

The Desire for a messiah.

AS reported by Rush Limbaugh, the president of Iran closed his speech to the U.N. by stating the following:

“I emphatically declare that today’s world, more than ever before, longs for just and righteous people with love for all humanity, and above all, longs for the perfect, righteous human being and the real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace, and brotherhood on the planet. Almighty God, all men and women are your creatures, and you have ordained their guidance and salvation. Bestow upon humanity that thirst for justice, the perfect human being promised to all by you, and make us among his followers, among those who strive for his return and his cause.”

If you look at his prayer, he is praying for something that we all long for and desire, a Savior. The problem is that this man is praying for the wrong savior. The only One who fits this description is Christ alone. Those in Islam have missed the Messiah like so many others in the world. They hope that their messiah will bring justice, and the Messiah will bring justice. They hope that their messiah will bring peace, and Christis the prince of peace and the only way we can have peace with the Father. They hope that thier messiah will bring righteousness, again, the only true righteousness if found in Christ. He is the Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world and was sinless. He is the only One that has a true righteousness before God.

But what they fail to see is that if they are not aligned with the living and true Messiah, then they will be on the wrong end of that justice, separated from that peace, and kept at a distance from God because of their own unrighteousness.

I think one of the strongest passages of Scripture concerning Christ is found in Colossians 1.

He is the image of God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

May those of Islam turn away from the wretched prophet and rhetoric and turn to the true Prophet, Christ Himself.


One of my favorites…

The following prayer is one of my favorites from the Valley of Vision. When I was in Arkansas, we actually incorporated these prayers into the worship service, using them as corporate confessions of sin. We don’t do that here because the elders feel like using pre-written prayers will lead to a faith that is rote. Of course, I disagree, but accept their counsel.

Forgive me for serving You in sinful ways, by glorifying my own strength, by forcing myself to minister through necessity, by accepting the applause of others, by trusting in assumed grace and spiritual affection, by a faith that rests upon my hold on Christ, not on Him alone, by having another foundation to stand upon beside You; for thus I make flesh my arm.

Help me to see that it is in faith stirred by grace that does the deed, that faith brings a man nearer to You, raising him above mere man, that You do act upon the soul when it is elevated and lifted out of itself, that faith centers in You as God all-sufficient, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, as God efficient, as in Your commands and promises, immediately, in all the hidden power, that faith sees and knows to be in You, abundantly, with omnipotent effect, in the revelation of Your will. If I have not such faith, I am nothing.

It is my duty to set You above all others in mind and eye; But it is my sin that I place myself above You. Lord, it is the special evil of sin, that every breach of Your law arises, from contempt, of Your person, from despising You of Your glory, from preferring things before preferring You. Help me to abhor myself in comparison of You, and keep me in a faith that works by love, and serves by grace.

The Timothy Rules

OK, after the last interchange on the Bush comment, I’m impossing the Timothy Rules for posting here. I borrowed these from Little Miss Chatterbox, and I’m adding to them as well. I don’t appreciate the attacks from the Liberal Left or the Religiously liberal, therefore be forwarned… I’m won’t tolerate you here. Go spread your lies at some other blog.

Here are the rules:
1) If you are a liberal you probably won’t like my blog (This means liberal in your Christianity as well, not just politically). You are allowed to make comments that address an issue or idea but personal attacks on my character or others will not be allowed. (No, you cannot post the speeches of nutcases like Cindy Sheehan, she is not qualified to speak to Christianity or what I should or should not believe.)

2) As Rush often says about his show he is a benevolent dictator. LaShawn Barber says it better than I can so I’m going to quote her here:

“You have no First Amendment rights on this blog. My right to free speech is protected on this site, not yours.

Mini-civics lesson: The First Amendment restricts government, not private citizens, from infringing on your right to free speech. On this blog, your speech is a privilege. On your blog, your speech is a right. Learn the distinction.”

3) If you have a blog please link back to it because I am much more likely to delete your comments (if they are hostile) if you don’t have a link.

4) I have the right to edit, delete or ban you from making comments. If you don’t like it whine on your own blog.

5) I’m really not looking for intellectual stimulating dialogue from those who are liberally left religiously. Since those who are liberal Christians do not hold to the inerrant, infallible Word of God as found in the 66 books of the Old and the New Testaments, we really have no basis for dialogue and quite frankly, I don’t have time for you. If you do not hold the Bible as authoritative, I don’t believe you are a Christian. So don’t bother me. I don’t believe in casting pearls before swine, as Jesus told us not to do.

I know this may seem harsh, but there are just far too many Christians that I can minister to without wasting my time with those who reject the very fundamentals of the faith.

From the Word of God:

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

In My Own Words — Sabbath/Lord’s Day Revisited

For my own sake, and for the sake of others who are willing to listen, I would like to go over the areas of the Sabbath which show that it is a perpetual commandment, for believers of all ages using Timothy D.’s presentation of the topic. I already know that this will not convince the anti-sabbaterians that are among the blogospher. Hopefully it will help those who do accept the doctrine found in Scripture. The purpose is building up the body of Christ, and not for tearing it down. In view of that, if you reject the keeping of the doctrine for Christians today, then I wish you would keep your comments to yourself. If you have questions, I welcome them.

First of all, Timothy D. writes: 1. The Sabbath was Instituted before the Fall. I believe that one of the reasons that there is still a weekly Sabbath is that it was instituted at Creation before the Fall and was not part of the ceremonies introduced in the Mosaic economy; neither was it connected to the sacrifices and other bloody ceremonies introduced between the Fall and Moses. How would something instituted as unconnected to Christ’s death be abrogated by that death?

He gets this from the following verses: Genesis 2:1-3 Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

This shows us that the Sabbath day was established before sin entered into the world, and therefore, when God gives us this commandment to keep it holy, we do so based upon the fact that it is a reflection of God’s creative work. God, Himself, also rested on that day from His work of creation. This alone should be enough reason to continue observing the Sabbath, but I know those who oppose any level of obedience will reject it outright. After all, many will say that the only Law that we should ever follow is: Love God and Love neighbor. Where they fail is tyring to extrapolate any real meaning to those two commands. They think that by merely stating that and leaving it open to their own interpretation, that they are truly loving God and their neighbors.

I would say that the only way we can truly love God is by obeying His word. More on this later…

Spawn of the Devil?!?

I was reading over at Little Miss Chatterbox’s blog, and in the comments, James Manning said that Bush was the spawn of the devil. I think he was actually joking because he had a smiley face after it… Of course, given my theological mind, I started to think, Yes, this is true. Bush is a spawn of the devil. In fact we all are metaphorically speaking.

When you look at Scripture and what it says about us before we are converted, we are spawns of the devil. Ephesians 2:1ff And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

The Apostle Paul is writing to those who are now believers and is showing them what they were before they were redeemed. We all begin life in this unredeemed category. We are sons of disobedience, walking according to the course of this world and according to the prince of the power of the air. We find the same truth in Colossians 1:21ff And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works… Again, what we were before we became Christians is fallen and belonging to Satan and his minions. It is only by God’s grace that He sends His Spirit to break down the gates of hell and rescue us from that eternal pit of torment.

Remember that illustration made by those who purport that coming to Christ is all OUR decision? They say, the devil has a vote, God has a vote, and you get to cast the deciding vote. And of course this is to spur you on to action… and you walk the aisle, get dunked, and are now a Christian. You may or may not be a believer, but the preacher did guilt you into action.

The reality is that there is no vote being cast by the created being. We start out in darkness and it is only by God’s grace that we are brought into His Light, to the Light, by the Light. His Spirit moves in the heart of the walking dead, and gives us true life and we believe and are saved from God’s wrath and the grip that Satan had on us. For we formerly belonged to the prince of the power of the air, that is, Satan. It is by God’s grace that we have been redeemed out of that.

President George W. Bush is no different. He was born into iniquity just as we all are. Thankfully though, through faith in Christ, he has been redeemed with the rest of Christianity. The sad reality is that those who hate him, and us, are left in their sins. They still belong to Satan and his minions. Why?

Jesus spoke to this issue: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”

We can readily understand why the Cindy Sheehan’s of the world hate Bush as much as they do. They love the darkness rather than the light, and anyone who stands in the light, especially a president, is the object of their wrath. They hate Christians and Bush with hearts that are controlled by Satan, the world and the flesh. They are trapped in theirs sins, which only spurs them on to more hatred. I think this is why so many of them, liberals, etc, are so slow to condemn Islam. Both groups have one thing in common, their common hatred of those who stand for righteousness. They have a common enemy in the Christian, and since Bush is a Christian and conservative, their hatred is doubled.

Do I hate them? No, I pity them. They say that we are robots because we have become believers and walk in lock step with Christ. But they too walk in lock step with the prince of the power of the air. They are slaves to their sin, and to Satan, and I do pity them. We would all be in that same category were it not for God’s grace and His marvelous Light. Above, Jesus spoke of those not in Him. But He also speaks of those who are in Him.

“But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” Let us do what is true, and come to Him.

Winston-Abby is Seven Weeks old!

OK, Winston-Abby is not seven weeks old as we would reckon age. But WA has been human now for seven full weeks. Here is what we know about WA:

Major organs have all begun to form. The embryo has developed its own blood type, unique from the mother’s. Hair follicles and nipples form and knees and elbows are visible. Facial features are also observable. The eyes have a retina and lens. The major muscle system is developed and the embryo is able to move.

Our child is growing and developing by God’s infinite grace.

I’ve been told that the Japanese count one’s birthday according to their conception date. If this is true, it does amaze me that this culture which is not founded on Judeo-Christian principles could get it so right. By their reckoning, WA is seven-weeks old, and I’m sticking to it for now.

What a precious gift a child is to mankind. As one man pointed out to me, children are eternal beings and when you raise eternal beings, you are either raising them for eternal salvation in Christ, or…

Our goal as parents is to raise our children in the Lord. That is the most noble calling mankind, can have, raising the next generation of believers in Christ. By putting it this way, we see the importance of raising children in the Church and under the authority of God’s word. Most people put the emphasis of a child’s education on finding that high-paying job. But the true goal is to educate a child so the child can know God and be known by God. Yes, finding a descent job is a good thing, but knowing Christ is better. This is the point of education, to raise them in the admonition of the Lord.

That is our goal with LBB and WA. I pray for HIS guidance in all of this.

As for LBB, we took a major leap of faith last night. Did we share the gospel with him? Did we let him go explore the neighborhood on his own? Did we let him cut the lawn? No to all these things. We didn’t give him his passy when we put him down for bed. For those who have gone through this, you know how hard it is. He thinks the passy is a part of his soul, or something like that. It was agony listening to him cry. But he eventually went to sleep and did just fine without it.

He was even in a good mood this morning. I got him up early and we went out to Charlie’s for a hair cut. He was the perfect little boy. BTW, I found out that first-time fathers, when asked how old their child is, give the age in months. Fathers who have more than just one child, say things like, “O, he is almost two,” instead of the, “he’s 21 months.” The fathers in the shop let me know this. I’m grateful. 🙂

BTW, the picture above is not an actual picture of WA, but of some other child that is seven-weeks old. I got the picture from the good people at… the WestSide Pregnancy Resource Center. The above quote about WA’s development is also from there. Go, check them out…

Blogger Questions?

For those of you who know these things better than I do, is there a setting some where that allows us to know which post someone has commented on? I have my setting posted where all comments are forwarded to my email account, but often times, I’m not sure which post they have responded to… am I missing something?

Also, I want to put an jpeg in the sidebar for Mitchell Fix’s book. How do I do that? So many questions… I know just enough about html to be dangerous…

THE Intern!

I know that while most people were focusing on memorials of 9/11 this weekend, here at Grace Presbyterian Church, we were focusing on the Lord’s hand moving. We have the opportunity of hiring an intern to help us with our youth and to reach out on the area college campus as well. The problem is that we lacked the funds to do so. Therefore we called a congregational meeting to see if people would be willing to give above and beyond their normal giving to bring the young man on staff. And God moved, the congregation was willing. We even got more money than we needed. What a blessing. We are excited because this means we will be able to do more to take the gospel to the surrounding county.
I know in the world’s view of things, this is small potatoes. But for us, it is big. Hopefully, he will be able to start in a couple of weeks, and I will have a full-time intern. This is really good because I believe the best training for a man that wants to go into the ministry is alongside someone who already is in the ministry. Timothy D. speaks on this over at the Culverites website. You might take a look because he is asking the basic question: what is the best way to train someone for the ministry? I think this is the best way. Bring the man who wants to go to seminary on staff as an intern, take care of him and provide for his needs while he attends classes in the closest Reformed seminary possible and let him get as much real experience in exercising his gifts as possible. Of course, I know that this isn’t always possible, but where it is, the church (and allow me to stress “the church“) should do everything we can to help train up pastors for the church!

Allow me to shamelessly plug the following seminary… especially the Charlotte branch! But there are others as well… Like Erskine, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, RTS in Jackson, MS… and… well that is all I know of other than CIU… which is where our Intern is training. BTW, if you would like to give to THE Intern fund… let me know. He has other needs for support as well.

9/11

I know I haven’t posted anything on 9/11. And this sentence is about as much as I will say: we need to continue on the course the Bush has set. I saw most of his speech last night. The only thing that I wish he would do is pursue those who are releasing information that is damaging to our national security. I don’t believe that our right-to-know supersedes our right to be kept safe by our government. Those who have thwarted the President in his endeavors, need to be fully prosecuted by the law. We have laws against such, and he should use them.

Never Submit

I don’t have much time to post today… (the Sunday night sermon is calling), but I wanted to draw your attention to Michelle Malkin’s column on “Post 9/11 Vocabulary Test.” It is quite sobering and shows, once again, the foolisness of those who want to white wash all that the terrorists have done, and are still trying to do to those of us in the west. Basically, they want to kill us. They want to wipe us off the map. The only way to appease them is to die, or convert to their tyranny.

She surmise’s at one point that the left in America is on its way to conversion to Islam. It only makes sense in light of a few things. The first is that the left is unwilling to stand up to the Islamofascists. They would much rather stick their heads in the sand and ignore the problem. And secondly, there is no conversion of the heart necessary in converting to Islam. It is a religion of the flesh, and the natural state of our flesh is tailored made for this religion. There is no action required by God to make the conversion, as there is with Christianity.

Christianity requires that the Holy Spirit change us and make us born again to become a true Christian. That is completely outside of our hands. But in Islam, all it takes is a choice by man’s fallen and bound will, to choose something that already fits with the desires of our heart. Since this is true, this should make those of us who are Christians fall on our face’s all the more in prayer, begging God for His mercy to be poured out on the hearts of millions upon millions of unbelievers. Then, let us rise from the floor, and go share the gospel with more fervency that we ever had in days gone by.

BTW, Michelle closes her piece by stating that she will never submit to Islam. I’m glad she has taken up that resolve. But our prayer for her is that she would submit to Christ and God’s word. Let the Christian never utter the words “never submit” without qualifiers. Never submit to what? We are called to submit. Christianity is about humility and submission, but it is submission to Christ and His Word.

Reading Fix

I finished reading Mitchell Fix’s book, Blame it on Adam on Tuesday. Let me just say that this book was as good as, if not better, than any Vince Flynn novel or Clancy novel that I have read. You know that Vince Flynn is my favorite author, and Mitchell’s book was better than anything Flynn has written to date.

What makes it better is that Mitchell writes from a Christian world view. The premise of most novels by Flynn, Clancy and many others, is that man is basically good and we just need to do the right thing. That is not a fundamental view that I believe is true in life. Man is not basically good. Remember that Jesus said that there is no one good except God alone (so take it up with Him if you disagree.) We know that there is goodness in the world, but that is because of God’s hand is moving, not something found in man. We see God’s hand moving in the story of this novel. And the title is based upon this premise that man is fallen, and this is why we see so much wickedness in the world.

BUT, THIS NOVEL IS NOT PREACHY. He is not writing to be preachy at all. The main characters are Christian, and they believe in turning to God in the midst of a the crisis, not to their own abilities. They do not preach to us, but live the Christian life in front of us. This book is a novel, after all, not a theological tome.

Mitchell does a wonderful job of telling the story of Martin Dorst, a man born with giantism, who is gifted in mathematics and filled with grace. He is a man that has to learn to humbly accept his place because even though he is gifted with a great mind, he is cursed with ugliness. He is ugly, so much so that people remark that he is just basically hard to look at.

And through Martin, God brings into the world twin brothers who are separated at birth: Bach and Miles. One becomes a pilot, the other a CIA agent. Their lives are intertwined, but they never meet, and both work to foil the plot of terrorists.

As we read about both, Mitchell does an excellent job in taking us through emotional roller coaster of terrorists attacking our neighbors, and then returning us to joy-filled moments through the relationships that Bach and Miles develop. Both men have a love of tennis. Both have strong relationships with the Lord, and both find the loves of their lives while seeking to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

For Miles this means learning to be a pilot and becoming one of the best pilots for the fictional airline, New England Airlines. He helps his dad with a homeless shelter and there, develops a great relationship with one of the homeless boys by teaching him the game of tennis. It is also through the shelter that he meets the love of his life, Amelie, a former pro-tennis player, turned social worker.

For Bach, doing his best means working for the CIA. He was nothing more than a grain counter until September 11 when he loses both his adopted parents and almost his own life in the attack. From that point on, he plunges deep into the world of Islamic terrorists, working towards thwarting their plots against the United States.

In the midst of all of it, they seek to lives their lives as Christians are called to live. Both are in the positions to become womanizers, but don’t do so. They treat women with respect and their girlfriends with the dignity that many are unaccustomed to. Because of their attitudes towards other people, we are able to grow fond of both brothers and know that both will do the right thing when the time comes.

The book is a page burner, to use the cliché. I didn’t want to put it down until I finished and it has as many plots twists as a season of 24. Therefore, I recommend that all of you who read this, read the book as well. It is a fun and exciting read.

You can get the book by clicking on the following sites: Amazon or Barnes & Nobles.

Islamofascists and Morality

I was reading Bush’s latest speech over at Little Miss Chatterbox’s site. Bush states the following:

These radicals have declared their uncompromising hostility to freedom. It is foolish to think that you can negotiate with them. (Applause.) We see the uncompromising nature of the enemy in many captured terrorist documents. Here are just two examples: After the liberation of Afghanistan, coalition forces searching through a terrorist safe house in that country found a copy of the al Qaeda charter. This charter states that “there will be continuing enmity until everyone believes in Allah. We will not meet [the enemy] halfway. There will be no room for dialogue with them.” Another document was found in 2000 by British police during an anti-terrorist raid in London — a grisly al Qaeda manual that includes chapters with titles such as “Guidelines for Beating and Killing Hostages.” This manual declares that their vision of Islam “does not… make a truce with unbelief, but rather confronts it.” The confrontation… calls for… the dialogue of bullets, the ideals of assassination, bombing, and destruction, and the diplomacy of the cannon and machine gun.”

I’m glad that President Bush gets it, and doesn’t fall prey to the false ideology that we can somehow negotiate with these corrupt heretics. This false religion is truly a religion of hatred and it is advanced by the use of the sword as the above quote indicates.

But that is not the only way that Islam is advanced. Islam is also advanced through an appeal to morality. Their imans call for morality in all their speeches. The truth is that the call for morality appeals to our human nature. We know from Scripture that we have been made with a sense of morality and the closer we come to the Scripture the higher that level of morality becomes. Yet, even those who reject the Bible completely, still are made with a sense of right and wrong. Through this truth, people in cults and false religions build their religions by appealing to what is right and wrong and showing the world is evil, and themselves to be right. It is an easy thing to do and even those within Christianity do the same thing.

The basic argument goes like this: “look over here at these people, they are wicked because of xxxx.” Just fill in the blank there. They continue: “We are not like the people of xxxx because they do this, that and the other thing. We don’t do this, that and the other thing. We do what is right in the eyes of Allah/God/(or whatever god they worship).”

This technique works because of the reality that there is so much evil in the world, and the West has glorified this evil. The West has given Islam plenty to look at and say: “see how the West is corrupt? And they call themselves a Christian nation!” We are not a Christian nation and have not been for years, but that is not going to stop them from the rhetoric.

All these religions are built on calls for morality. Where the false religions fail is that they never point out where they are wrong and how far short they fall of God’s glory. After all, morality does not save us. Perfect righteousness saves us. It takes perfect righteousness for us to enter into the presence of a holy God. Islam can worship God at a distance all they want, and rightfully so. But Christ opened the door for us to enter into the Father’s presence. How is that we obtain a perfect standing before God?

Not by anything found in us. When we believe in Christ for salvation, two things happened. The first is that our sins are paid for on the cross. The debt we owe God for our sins is completely wiped clean. The second thing that takes place is that we receive perfect righteousness from Christ, His righteousness. We no longer have to depend upon our own faulty righteousness. Because we have an alien righteousness from Christ, we may enter into the Father’s presence with joy and worship in Spirit and truth.

All of this points out to us that salvation is God’s to share. It is not ours to procure or to give to others. We know that not all will come to know Christ. There will be many who reject the gospel and are condemned for doing so. You cannot make someone a Christian. They can only become a Christian by the movement of God’s hand, not our threats or coercion.

This is why Christians pray for conversion and don’t bring new believers into the fold by the use of the sword. We openly admit that not all will be saved. We pray that many will, but know that not all will be saved.

This is not so with Islam. The sword does work for their religion because their religion is merely a call to morality. They will gain numbers by coercion, and in doing so, make it seem like Islam is on the rise. In fact, it is. But the conversions they have gained are of no substance with God. They may have zeal for their religion and may have many conversions, but they have no true righteousness before the Father, and they are damned. Their conversions that they obtain are no real conversions at all. All they have done is taken a person and caused them to shift from once sense of damning morality to another. Their sins are still before them. Their righteousness is still wretched. And their destiny with hell is still guaranteed.

Only if Christ intervenes into their lives, can they be saved. Are they radicals? Yes. Are they extremists? Yes. Are they wrong? Yes. And because of this, we cannot negotiate with them. We must stand strong against them for the sake of national security. We must also pray for them, and pray that the missionaries that are there, make some inroads into the Islamic world.

Tag — 1980s songs

After being given my first tag, I thought it would be neat to go and write my own tag and the following is what I came up with because there is a man in my congregation that I joke with a lot about 1980s music… making fun of the “wake-me-up-before-you-go-go” groups like Wham and the Go Gos! In view of that, here is my tag on 1980s music.

1. One 1980s song that has changed your life: Anything by U2… they set me free from my Pink Floyd hangover from the 1970s.

2. One 1980s song that you can sing all the lyrics: Of course, “Wake Me Up Before YOu Go Go!” and “Careless Whisper” Yes… this is a confessional… I really like Wham! back in the 1980s… and I can’t get their songs out of my head!

3. One 1980s band you would want on a desert island with you: U2 would be interesting because I think their members actually have the ability to think. I don’t agree with all their politics, but we could at least dialogue.

4. One 1980s band that you are embarrased you listened to: See number 2!

5. One 1980s band that made you cry [or feel really sad]: The Cutting Crew

6. One 1980s band that you wanted to play with: U2… I could play the snare drum for New Year’s Day.

7. One 1980s band that you had never formed:Duran, Duran!

8. One 1980s band you still listen to: Well, I try not to…

9. One 1980s band you want your children to listen to: U2

10. Now tag five people: First, I tag KC because I think he is old enough to play and might even be able to play the upcoming “Tag — 1960s songs.” :0

Dee, over at LMC, Fred… the man mentioned above… Kristi, when she gets back on line, even though she was probably born in the 1980s… and we’ll try Tugboat captain.