Against Dispensationalism — Thesis 26

Yes, there are plenty more thesis’ to go concerning Dispensationalism. I’ve already posted numbers 1-25 but I wanted us to look at number 26 in particular.

Remember, that in this discussion, I am not saying that Dispensationalists are not Christians. What I am saying is that their view of Scripture is misguided and wrong. It is a movement that only started in the 1800s and breaks with orthodox Christianity.

I was reminded this week that Dispensationalism was also a movement started by a woman who had a visions about the rapture and those around her proclaimed her to be a prophetess. (See here for the implications, and a related post concerning hearing the voice of God today).

What is wrong with this? Well, it goes against the basic understanding that the Canon of Scripture is closed. There is no more new revelation of what God has given us (Jude 3). Those who buy into Dispensationalism are buying into a system of doctrine that is based on a woman’s vision in the 1830s. If they do this, then they cannot  criticize those who have visions and so-called special revelations like David Koresh did before his death back in the early 1990s. I know that may be a bit on the extreme side in order to make the point. But the question remains: if we are accepting modern-day visions and prophecies, where do we draw the line between acceptable visions and prophecies and that which beyond reason, as was the case with Koresh, or Mary Baker Eddy, or Joseph Smith, or any number of nut jobs that have come along in the last 2000 years?

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Against Dispensationalism: Theses 1-25

Originally published December 5, 2010.

Many of you may know that I came through the Dispensational brand of theology when I was at Dallas Theological Seminary. DTS is known for its stance on dispensationalism. They have made that their trademark. (When we are talking about Dispensationalism, think of the Left Behind series and you get the idea). As a Reformed Presbyterian, I am not a dispensationalist. I believe the system of doctrine contained in that teaching is contrary to the best understanding of scripture. When I criticize dispensationalist, I am not saying they are heretics or non-believers, but simply wrong in their understanding of Scripture. There are many godly men and women who hold to the views that I reject here. So please understand that these differences I have with dispensationalist are not issues that would separate us from the table of communion together.

My main problem with dispensationalism is the common held belief that there are two peoples of God, Israelites/Jews and then those who belong to the church. This seems to go against the grain of the entire New Testament, especially in verses like Ephesian 2:11 – 3:7.

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You Might Be Reformed IF…

intellectualslackersThe following was written by Jody Harris, a member of my church on describing what it means to be Reformed in your theology. The graphic above is also Jody’s. He likes to challenge our thinking with great quotes, and deep thoughts.

… you might be Reformed.

If you think prayer is more than just trying to manipulate God into giving you what you want, …

If you think that there are things more important to God than your comfort, …

If you think the Bible has more to say about the Church than just the second chapter of Acts, …

If you suspect that how you *think* about God might be at least as important as how you *feel* about God, …

If you believe that the fact that a doctrine is described in the Bible supercedes your personal feelings about that doctrine, …

If you feel that nagging suspicion that something isn’t right when the pastor can preach an entire sermon series without ever opening a Bible, …

If you think that all of those letters that Paul, Peter, James and John wrote to the churches have something to do with how the Church should look today, …

If you think that there has to be more to the Christian life than just being nice, …

If you have always suspected that the pick­and­choose belief buffet can’t really reflect Christianity as it is expressed in Scripture, …

If the theology of, “God has a plan, and it’s all about you!” makes you suspicious, …

If you like the hymns unrelated to “tradition,” but because they are meaningful and true; in contrast with the mindless drivel of “modern worship” songs, …

If you accept God’s election because you find the doctrine clearly stated in Romans, even if you don’t “like it,” …

If you get a little creeped out when someone stands up in church and declares, “I’ve had a revelation from God,” …

If a “worship service” comprised of 45 minutes of near­meaningless, highly repetitive songs leaves you hungering and thirsting for something real and meaningful, …

If you’ve secretly abandoned Dispensationalism for not making sense, and gone searching for an eschatology that actually reflects what is taught in Scripture.

The Church is NOT the Gospel

Originally Published February 21, 2009.

From Michael Horton’s Christless Christianity:

“The church has a very narrow commission. It is not called to be an alternative neighborhood, circle of friends, political action committee, social club, or public service agency; it is called to deliver Christ so clearly and fully that believers are prepared to be salt and light in the worldly stations to which God has called them…”

“The church is not the gospel. Whether packaged in high church forms (with the church as an institutional place) or low church versions (the church as transformed individuals), the idea is rife among us today that the church is engaged in redemptive mission, extending Christ’s saving life and mission the world. But if we are ever to get the focus off us and back onto Christ (much less, to properly interpret Scripture), we will have to stop giving ourselves so much credit. We do not redeem; we were redeemed. The incarnation (God the Son becoming flesh) is not a prototype for us and our incarnational living and ministry in the world; it is a unique event of a unique person, of which we have been made witnesses rather than co-agents. Neither as a sum total of born-again Christians nor as a historical institution with a postal address is the church the savior; it is always the sinful body that is saved. The church does not testify to its own holiness or zeal but to Christ, who “justifies the ungodly” (Romans 4:5).”

The World Hates You!

This was originally published on September 20, 2010.  Please note that I was preaching at Grace Pres in Jackson, TN. I’m no longer preaching there.

How would you like the responsibility of preaching those words to your congregation? I had the opportunity and privilege to do so yesterday. I say privilege and opportunity because it is always a privilege to preach God’s word to His people. But yesterday’s message was difficult. Who likes to say, “Hey, guess what? As a Christian, know that the world will hate you.”

I couched it in terms of an ad agency. How the ad agency reveal that truth? How would it go over if our church ran ads “Come to Grace Pres, where you will be taught about the world’s hatred for you.

This is the truth of the gospel. When we become Christians, we are plucked out of the world by Christ and made His disciples. “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

As a Christian, we must realize that we are no longer members of the realm called: the world. We have become members of the Kingdom of Heaven, and that means we are automatically at odds with the world. This is a wonderful reality for us in the long run, but in the short run, it means that we will suffer persecution and hatred from the world.

Why?

Because the world first hated Christ. If we just look at the number of times that John talks about how Jesus was not received, or rejected or hated or threatened with death, we see that the world absolutely despises our Savior. The rejection is complete. I know that there are those who like to say things like, “Well, I love Jesus Christ but cannot stand Christians.”

This is an out and out lie. Jesus said that if we love Him, then we will keep His commandments, and His commandments are that we love one another, i.e., fellow believers. So to reject Christians, is to reject Christ. To reject Christ, is to reject the Father. Welcome to the realm of the world.

However if we are of Christ, then we to love one another because the world will hate us. We need to stick together as believers and encourage one another. I believe this is one of the reasons that Jesus said three times in His upper-room discourse: “These things I command you, that you love one another.” He knew that the world would hate us as well and we not only need His Spirit in us, but also one another. This is why we are to remain together as a body. To separate ourselves, is to distance ourselves from Christ and His Kingdom. This also opens us up to the attack of Satan. Remember, he prowls around like a roaring lion. Roaring lions never go after the pack, but after the sick and the young and those who are alone. So we are to stay together.

We must also realize that when the world does display its hatred for us, we are to rejoice. Listen to Christ’s words from the sermon on the mount:

Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

If we did not have the future promises given to us by Christ, the warnings of the world’s hatred for us would be sorely depressing. But we are given a wonderful promise: great is your reward in heaven. When we suffer for His name, then we should rejoice and be glad because we have a future hope that far exceeds anything we may have on this side of glory.

There is nothing here in this world that will last, or compare to the infinite joy and beauty we will have in glory with the Lord. When we remember this reality, we can endure the hatred of the world. For the love of Christ far surpasses any love that the world has to offer for us, for Christ’s love is enduring and far more fulfilling. The world’s love for its own is passing and in the end, a lie. It’s not true love in the sense that it does not seek the best interests of those who experience it. It cannot truly satisfy or fulfill those who yearn for it.

When Jesus tells us that the world hates us, we should rejoice because we really do not want the world’s love in the end. His love is far better. The sufferings and the hatred we may endure are only temporary. But not His love, or His Kingdom, or His promises. In view of all that, rejoice that the world does hate us. It means that we are standing for righteousness’ sake and suffering for His name. That is a blessing.

Yesterday, in my sermon, I mentioned this video. This woman is standing for righteousness’ sake. She is standing against killing the unborn especially black children. Watch the response to her. One man, white and liberal, tries to bring up adopting babies, as in, if you are really pro-life, you will adopt babies. Guess what? There are plenty of people wanting to adopt children in the U.S. If we would stop aborting all these children, then there would not be waiting lists for adoption.

The point is that you see the world’s hatred against this woman as she stands for righteousness’ sake. Please watch the video and support the movie if you can. It’s from The Runaway Slave movie.

You can see more about this movie here. It’s put together by C.L. Bryant, a black pastor who is conservative and is trying to show the dangers of socialism, progressivism, etc.

Hattip to Neil for the video.

He Is OUR Happy Ending

You are near, O LORD, and all Your commandments are truth. Psalm 119:151.

During my current trials I am reminded that the LORD truly is our hope in all things. Countless people have told me of the good that results from these trials, and it is true. But not necessarily in the way that we hope from a human perspective. The goodness in trials is Christ. He is our goodness. He is the One that is near. He is the One that gave us His truths.

I hope for a happy ending in my current situation. He may or may not give it. But when I realize that He is the Happy Ending, I find joy and contentment in the current pain and heartache. For now, the pain continues, the longing, the disappointment. Given the ultimate goal of being with HIM, there is joy. He will revive me according to His word. And that, as my dear brothers in seminary were in the habit of saying, will preach!

ר Resh

153 Consider my affliction and deliver me,
For I do not forget Your law.
154 Plead my cause and redeem me;
Revive me according to Your word.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
For they do not seek Your statutes.
156 Great are Your tender mercies, O Lord;
Revive me according to Your judgments.
157 Many are my persecutors and my enemies,
Yet I do not turn from Your testimonies.
158 I see the treacherous, and am disgusted,
Because they do not keep Your word.
159 Consider how I love Your precepts;
Revive me, O Lord, according to Your lovingkindness.
160 The entirety of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.

Last Night’s Nightmare: Houston Astros Moved to American League

This morning’s realization: it’s not just a dream. Yup, I awoke this morning to several really bad nightmares. I won’t tell you the others, they are too close to home. But the third one, which is the only one I didn’t pray about once awake was that the Astros were moving from the National League to the American League starting this spring.

It’s no dream. I even checked the schedule to make sure. Major League Baseball has moved the Astros out of the National League into the league with the designated hitter. This means it is completely pointless to get into the argument. Those who know me know I’ve always argued for the National Leagues position on the argument. But given that both my favorite teams are in the American League, I no longer have an argument for either position.

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Levi’s Jeans $60???

I was trying to find some Wranglers tonight and thought that Kohl’s Department stores would have some. Guess what? They don’t. They do however sell Levi’s 550, 501, 523, 518, 496, 321, 1492 and Pinta Maria jeans for the low price of $60s a pair and up! $60 a pair for jeans? Are they really that much better than Wranglers? After all, back when I was still buying Levi’s, when I was single and had more expendable income, I found the Levi’s wore out just as quickly as every other pair of jeans I’ve ever owned. So why does anyone pay that much for a pair of jeans?

They are too proud for me… I left empty handed and figured I would wait till I could find some Wranglers somewhere.

PS Just a note to my regular readers, I got to eat lunch with Danny Wright today of the Bumbling Genius. It was a joy getting to know him and always a joy to meet fellow bloggers in the cause. Dan told me he has also met Neal Simpson of Eternity Matters, which makes me want to get together with him as well.

Fashionably AND Modestly Beautiful

fashionI was really encouraged to find the following over at clashdaily.com, entitled, Christian Fashion Show: Slutty Does Not Mean Pretty. The reason I was glad to see this is because I have wanted to write about women’s fashion in the church for some time. Yet, being a pastor and a married man, it’s hard to evaluate the way Christian women dress and not anger some of my dear sisters in the LORD.

You see, I happened to be a bit old-fashioned when it comes to the way that Christian women dress because I think the Bible has something to say about how Christian women dress. 1 Timothy 2:9 that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation. When you couple Paul’s admonition with Leviticus 18, you begin to get the idea that nakedness is not something that our women should aspire to. In other words, we should not be taking our fashion cues from the runways of the Oscars or Victoria’s Secret. In other words, women are to cover themselves and not show themselves off to the world. Their bodies belong to their husbands or future husband and only he should have the privilege of seeing her body. The same with men as well. Nakedness is a shame, according to Scripture (which is another reason why Jesus hanging on the cross  naked was shameful.)

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The World’s Largest…

I know that Guinness has an entire book full of the world’s largest this, that and the other thing, but I was surprised a few weeks ago to not only come across the world’s largest pistachio, but also the world’s largest chili. Can I just say how blessed I truly felt? What a wonderful opportunity. I had to stop and take pictures of both.

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What Would Jesus Say to Ellen DeGeneres? Ed Young is Now Channeling Jesus

I’m trying to be generous here, no pun intended, but when I saw that apostate Pastor Ed Young, down in the metroplex, preached a sermon this weekend entitled: “What Would Jesus Say to Ellen DeGeneres,” I realized once again the truth of 2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

Do people really sit and listen to that garbage? Do people really think that is a sample of biblical preaching? Or did I miss the passage that said: “we preach Christ crucified, and every other fanciful desire of our hearts.”

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Sodom, Gomorrah & the Super Bowl

The following was written by friends, Dr. Jay and Miss Diana after their introduction into the Super Bowl half-time show, a show I did not watch, thankfully. They are writing to fellow Christians, as Miss Diana says. Please read with an open mind.

Most of you know Dr. Jay & I are Christians. This posting is for those of you, who are fellow Christians.

For those of you dear friends and acquaintances, who are not Christians, this is not addressed to you.

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WE Are NOT the Gospel

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?

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Idolatry of the First Amendment

OK brothers and sisters in the LORD, Jerry Johnson had done it now. He’s gone too far! He went so far as to say that the First and Second Commandments keep us from paying homage to the First and Second Amendments. In other words, the First and Second Amendment, are in the end, idolatrous.

How dare Jerry do such a thing! Doesn’t he know that the Bill of Rights were carved out of the rock at Mount Vernon? Doesn’t he know that the Constitution is the inspired word of God for America? We are, after all, God’s chosen people for the 21st Century? Doesn’t he know that?

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