Finally! A Study That Shows Why Non-Christians Don’t Attend Church!!!

Of course, I’ve been saying it for years, but it’s good to have scientific evidence on my side. What have I been saying? The reason non-Christians don’t attend church is because they are not Christians. They, and I’m using a reliable source here, don’t seek God and never have (see Romans 3:9-18 for a better explanation).

This study, put about by Pira, or the Pirate Christian Radio, shows that 100 percent of the verses in the Bible that describe non-believers, speaks of them in a non-favorable sense. Chris Rosebrough, who helped put the study together, says the following:

“For decades the conventional wisdom in the broader church growth and missional movements has told us that the reason why unchurched people don’t attend church is because they think church is boring and irrelevant. Although true, the conventional wisdom has not been able to satisfactorily explain why unchurched people feel that way. Our survey, of the Biblical texts, strove to dig down and uncover the real reasons why our pagan non-Christian friends and neighbors feel that way about church. What we discovered was shocking and its implications regarding the newly adopted church methodologies in seeker-driven churches will challenge the core assumptions of the entire church growth industry!”

What they found was that the Bible doesn’t support anything the church-growth gurus have been telling us for years. Wow! Imagine that. The Bible contradicts conventional wisdom born out of a business model? My jaw is metaphorically dropped!

Here is the chart:

Looks pretty conclusive to me. Non-Christians don’t like church because they don’t like God. They don’t like the Bible. They don’t like anything having to do with the faith. I think Jesus said something about this if I’m not mistaken: “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”

This is why I’ve always thought that the Seeker-Sensitive churches were getting it wrong, along with the Emergent churches. We don’t need to reinvent the church, but let the church become what it is supposed to be: the people of God gathering together for the purpose of worshipping God. The church doesn’t come together to evangelize the lost or make the lost feel more comfortable. The church is to proclaim the truth, which is not comfortable. The church is to edify the saints, not seduce the lost, so that the saints can do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11ff). The church is here for the people of God and for God’s glory, not to make non-believers feel more comfortable.

Hopefully more in the church will realize that and we will start doing what we are supposed to do instead of doing what those with MBA’s are telling us we should do. After all, God’s word about what the church is and how it is set up predates any MBA program by a good 1,900 years. You would think that God had it already figured out.

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Who Do You Fear?

Last night I had some thoughts about an earlier blog that I posted and have since removed. I didn’t remove it out of fear, but out of a sense that people would miss the point and say I was saying something that I was not saying. Yet, after I removed it a certain level of fear settled in for the evening and left me heading to Scripture for comfort.

One of my favorite passages is found in Luke 12, when Jesus tells us who it is that we should fear. He says, “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear; Fear Him who after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”

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I Don’t Want the Heat

I have to confess that my blog has been quite A&M focused of late. A lot of that has to do with the fact that I just don’t care for the heat that some of my posts tend to produce. Witness the recent post I posted about Obama being portrayed as Jesus. I immediately caught heat for it. Sorry, but I just don’t care for the heat at all.

I do lament that Obama won because I don’t think his polices for this country are the best policies, given that wherever those policies are tried, they tend to fail. I don’t believe this country will ever be what it was 25 years ago or even before that. Far too many people want a hand out from the government, instead of a hand up.

Yet, at the same time, I know my LORD is sovereign and that Obama is in the White House because of God’s eternal decree. The Triune God is the ONE who sets up kings and brings them down. Therefore, we must admit that God has a purpose in giving us such a king (Daniel 4:17, 25, 35).

As this country falls into more decay, may we remember that He gives the leadership to whomever He chooses and not who we would choose. This is one of the lessons where we realize that God truly is God, and we are but mere men living in a very fallen world.

Given that, how shall we respond? Here is some advice from our Savior:

But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lendto those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers. I hope you have a wonderful day, but more importantly, you remember that God has blessed you and you do have reasons to be thankful. Even the breath we have is a blessing from HIM, the God of all creation!

I thought about posting my sermon text from this past Sunday, but thought it better to give you the link since I posted it on SermonAudio.com. Go and listen to the riches we have in Christ, provided… you are “in Christ.”

BTW, I’m not one who says that God loves you unconditionally. He doesn’t. The condition for His special love comes in Christ alone. I’ve been discussing this over on Facebook with some friends and one of the weaknesses of the church is this horrible idea that the living and true God who revealed Himself to us in the 66 books of the Bible loves all people unconditionally. He does not. Those outside of Christ are “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:1-5). Only those “in Christ” are truly His children.

Here watch this video:

watch?v=jTKIP3mGA6Y&list=UULPsWYmscD7C6ylU3HY-PNQ&index=5&feature=plcp

Now, be thankful you know the truth and if you are in Christ, rejoice at the mercy you have received. If you are not in Christ, trust in Him for salvation.

Excellent thoughts on preaching. It’s better to listen than to take notes.

Tides and Turning

The Doctor, and Jonathan Edwards, didn’t think we should be taking notes during a sermon. Martyn Lloyd-Jones quotes Edwards:

The main benefit obtained by preaching is by impression made upon the mind at the time, and not by an effect that arises afterwards by a remembrance of what was delivered. And though an after-remembrance of what was heard in a sermon is oftentimes very profitable; yet, for the most part, that remembrance is from an impression the words made on the heart at the time; and the memory profits, as it renews and increases that impression (Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 1, p. 294, Quoted in Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors, pp. 359-360).

Lloyd-Jones then comments,

I would add that I have often discouraged the taking of notes while I am preaching. It is becoming a custom among evangelical people; but it is…

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“Do Not Say, ‘A Conspiracy!'”

In Isaiah’s day, while the Assyrians armies were approaching, the people of Israel had fallen so low spiritually speaking that to seek God’s help instead of seeking foreign aid seemed liked a conspiracy to them. The prophet warned them not to seek foreign assistance even though he was accused of conspiracy against the theocracy. What Isaiah was telling the people was that they should not have feared the approaching armies, but the LORD Himself.

Isaiah told the people:

“Do not say, ‘A conspiracy,’
Concerning all that this people call a conspiracy,
Nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.
13 The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow;
Let Him be your fear,
And let Him be your dread.
14 He will be as a sanctuary,
But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense
To both the houses of Israel,
As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

We suffer from the same spiritual blindness today. We should not say: “conspiracy” when it comes to our elections or our country. There may be conspiracies and voter fraud. But God is the one who raises up rulers and disposes of them at will. He is the One who placed the president in the White House. He is the One who placed the stumbling block in front of the people so they could not see what was best. He has His reasons for doing so.

I’m not sure what those reasons are, but I have a clue. As one friend pointed out to me yesterday, had Romney won the election, we as Christians might have been too tempted to look to him for the solutions to the problems in this country, and not the LORD. After all, it was the hope of many of us on the right that Romney would fix “it,” whatever the collective “it” was and is. Romney is not the fixer of “it.”

The LORD is. He is the One that brings peace. He is the One that provides wisdom. For far too long we have been trusting in our own strength and abilities to fix things and we are seeing the results of this today.

Just one anecdotal example: the Bush years. Remember that George W. had both houses of congress and did absolutely nothing to fix the problem of abortion. They didn’t even make an attempt to limit it. In fact, they were so busy trying to out Democrat, Democrats that… well, you were there and remember the results.

Congress is not going to fix the problem of abortion. Neither is the Supreme Court. Neither will they fix the problem of Obamacare, or immigration, or higher fuel costs, or high unemployment. If we want the blessings of all those things being turned around we must turn to the only One who can bring about those blessings.

The same was true in Isaiah’s day. The prophet said: The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow; let Him by your fear, and let Him be your dread. Of course, the people all cried out: “conspiracy!” “Turn to the LORD for our help? What is He going to do?”

We hear the same complaints today. But unless His people are willing to turn to Him, nothing will change. The foolishness that is our government will only continue to spread and grow until the Assyrians are at our door ready to remove our government for us, and give a new and more oppressive one.

King James Only?

Another round of arguments is being made for the King James version of the Bible by a man named Sam Gipps. I won’t post his message here, but give you Dr. James White’s response to the claims of Gipps.

The King James only people are quite interesting. What they are trying to claim is that the 1611 King James version of the Bible is the only “true” Bible we have left. What they mean to say is that the only true Bible is this particular translation into English. It’s not the Greek text that the translation was based upon, but the translation itself. This means that the only people who have the true Bible are English-speaking fundamentalist. I’m sure the appeal is made within these circles that the only true Christians left on the entire planet earth are those who have the King James Bible. In a sense, it makes these people almost cult like in their beliefs. I’ve also written about KJV only people here.

Here is Dr. White’s first response:

Here is Part 2:

Also Part 3:

Goodbye Christian America!

I like what Richard Stearns has written over at the Huffington Post. No, I’m not a fan of the Huffington Post, but I believe Stearns has made a real point. The country as a whole has moved from being a Christian nation to a officially a post-Christian nation. This is a good thing since it will allow true Christianity to flourish instead of the cultural, Tim Tebow Christianity that is so prevalent. What I think he means by this is that Christians have focused far too long on window dressings of Christianity instead of true Christianity. Let me quote Stearns:

As this cultural shift has occurred, many Christians have reacted in frustration. We have fought to place the Ten Commandments in courtrooms and Christmas crèches outside town halls. We have sued over public prayers and crosses in state parks. One court recently weighed in on whether cheerleaders at a Texas school should be allowed to post Bible verses on their banners.

While symbols can be important, we have focused perhaps too much on them instead of the underlying reality they reflect. Instead, we need to go back to the basics of living as disciples of Christ, living missionally for Christ and demonstrating the Gospel in tangible ways within our schools, workplaces and communities. While I would be happy to see the Ten Commandments back on the courthouse wall, the fight over symbolic issues is backfiring, alienating people from the truths of the gospel rather than attracting them to it. The kind of Christianity the world responds to is the authentic “love your neighbor” kind. Its appeal can’t be legislated through court battles and neither can courts stop its spread.

The point is that we get all up in arms when some atheists boob gets his collective shorts in a wad all the while ignoring the fact that in our churches, the true gospel of Christ is not being preached at all. Stearns points to one of the symptoms of the problem, the fact that we are not living as good neighbors where we live. I’m pointing directly to the problem: the gospel isn’t being preaching in our pulpits across America.

Far too many pastors will jump into their pulpits and give great, inspiring messages. Just watch tomorrow morning what your pastor does. It will be upbeat, positive, inspiring, and happy. But that is not the gospel. The gospel isn’t upbeat, inspiring or happy-go-lucky. It is harsh, hard, confronting and not much fun to hear.

Why is that?

Because the gospel confronts us with the truth that we are sinners in need of a Savior. We need salvation that come from outside ourselves. Yes, it is positive when we trust in Christ for salvation. But that is not what most are preaching. They are preaching a Christianized version of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps. The gospel says just the opposite: you have no bootstraps, no power to pull yourself up, in fact, you are so spiritually dead you don’t know that you need to be pulled up.

But alas. Some will point out this is the reason I have a small congregation. True. Pope Bozo Himself, Joel Osteen proves me wrong every Sunday, right? After all, his messages are Christianized versions of the Dr. Phil Show, and he has Jews coming into his congregation saying how inspired they are along with about 45,000 others. And they are inspired. They are not saved, but they are inspired. Remember, if the message won’t confront a Jew, or a Gentile for who they are, then the gospel is missing.

Please, if you go to church tomorrow and hear Mr. Upbeat, without the gospel, please find another church so that you can start living as a true Christian, and not just a cultural Christian, thinking that because you like Tim Tebow, you are a believer. Tim Tebow’s scriptural reference eye shadow does not make us Christians. The gospel does, and that requires true confrontation, with true repentance, and true faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Jesus doesn’t make it possible for us to be saved. He either saves us completely, or we are left in our sins and trespasses offering dung-covered creches as good works. Christ will have none of it and doesn’t really care if we fight to have a creche erected on the courthouse lawn. Doing that has nothing to do with Christianity. Being filled with the Holy Spirit and producing true spiritual fruit is far more important than our freedom to say “Merry Christmas.”

Yes, we are no longer a Christian nation. Hopefully, those of us who believe will step up and live as true Christians, which will go much further than our cultural manipulations.

A Note From BabaLucy!

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
election.

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.

BUT

IF

NOT,

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.

In HIM,

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.

The Apostle Paul Is Gay?

(The following was my first-run introduction to my sermon for this coming Sunday. I decided not to go with this approach, but wanted to share it with you nonetheless.)

I first began looking into this idea about the apostle Paul, I wasn’t sure that I would have enough material to justify the need for a sermon. As I passed the list around of the sermons I was planning on for this series, I was hoping someone would question me on the validity of it, and I was so reluctant concerning the topic that I put it off for a few weeks.

Once I cracked the lid on the topic, I realized that my initial assessment was absolutely correct concerning the apostle Paul. People of all stripes hate or reinterpret him or simply ignore him.

For instance, in my research I came across liberal theologian and Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong. Spong is for the liberal church what R.C. Sproul is, or Alistair Begg is for those who truly believe in Christ. Theological liberals love Spong and his spawned messages that water down the truth of Scripture.

(Some might ask: why bring him up? I bring him up because he appears on television at every opportunity he can trying to debunk the faith. He has been on 60 Minutes, ABC News countless times, CNN, Dateline, Larry King Almost a-Live, etc. He teaches that hell isn’t real, there is no real sin, and that the church has just manipulated people throughout history).

In the video that I listened to, Spong actually tried to make the case that the reason the Apostle Paul is so harsh on homosexuals and the sin of homosexuality is that in reality, the Apostle Paul is a suppressed gay man. Once you know this truth, then you will begin to see his gayness popping up everywhere through the New Testament.

Of course, we reject Spong’s assessment outright, on two very simple facts. First, Spong doesn’t believe that Paul’s writings are God’s inspired word. He sees them as simply historical documents of the early church and are to be regarded simply as historical documents.

Never mind Spong’s inconsistency in coming to Paul’s letters. For in one breath he says that Paul really didn’t mean the homosexuality was a sin, but in the next breath fully affirms Paul’s statement: For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God.

The other reason we should reject Spong and his position is that he came by it, not by the leading of the Holy Spirit, but because a gay man who informed Spong that Paul was an oppressed gay man. Since a gay man recognized this truth???, it must be right??? What? Are we supposed to listen to the sinner in interpreting Scripture or to the Holy Spirit?

This is the problem with liberal theologians. Whatever cause they support, whatever pet sin that they refer to, they end up twisting Scripture to meet their needs. In other words, feminist come to the Bible only to find that Jesus was a feminist. Gays come to Bible to find that Jesus and the disciples were gay.

Yet, if we are going to be faithful Christians, we cannot afford to listen to men like John Shelby Spong. We need to know that the Apostle Paul is trustworthy, and, more importantly, we need to know that the Apostle Paul was called by Christ for the work of the ministry.

Here is the video of Spong telling Dr. James White how it is that he came to know that the Apostle Paul was actually an oppressed homosexual. It’s actually mind boggling that those who consider themselves so wise, become such fools.

Please note: Spong has not exegetical leg to stand upon. He is simply reading into the text what he wants to find. This is truly dangerous and is not exegesis at all. This is known as eisegesis, which means reading your own interpretation into something that is not there.