The War of Northern Aggression

I was telling my father that I was planning on spending a few days in Northwest Arkansas visiting a dear woman (who is now my wife), when he mentioned that I should take her to the battle place of Pea Ridge. Apparently, Pea Ridge,  was an important battle site during the war of Northern Aggression.

I admitted to my father that in all the hours I have spoken to the woman in question, that I had not once broached the topic of the war of Northern Aggression. He immediately responded:

“Well, boy! What are you waiting for. You have to get these things on the table and get them there quickly!”

We both had a good laugh.

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The NFL and “Your Team!”

I was listening to Colin Cowherd this past week on ESPN Radio, as I do to keep up with sports on a national level. Cowherd always has an interesting take on sports and will say things that others in the industry will not say. He also is extremely worldly, so don’t think that I’m somehow endorsing him for your listening pleasure.

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Music in Worship

Those who know me, know my passion about true-biblical worship. I think the following video captures what I mean by that. Please don’t let the commercial bother you. Just click the “skip ad” option and keep going.

Of the Trinity

We do believe that God is one, most singly and singularly one, and an only one: The unity of the Godhead is… a most singular unity…, All three Persons have one and the same single and infinite Godhead, and therefore must needs mutually subsist in one another, because they are all three one and the same infinite God… united in their one nature, not confounded in their distinct substances; nay though their subsistence is in one another, yet their subsistences are distinct, but the nature most singularly the same.
— Francis Cheynell
Quoted Joel R. Beeke & Mark Jones in A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life.

Exhort and Convict Those Who Contradict

In my post on Saturday, I mentioned that part of the problem in the publishing of books by the Christian book industry is a lack conviction on the part of those in leadership of the church. Far too many men who are pastors love to preach, as long as they don’t have to confront anyone.

The problem with this is that the qualifications for elders doesn’t allow such a passive approach in the pulpit or the leadership of the church. Listen again to Paul’s words: For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick tempered, not given to win, not violent, not greed for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught that he may be able, by sound doctrine, to exhort and convict those who contradict (Titus 1:7-9).

Paul writes that those who are elders have a responsibility to exhort and convict those who contradict. This means that those who are contradicting the gospel, who are putting forth a false gospel, who are misleading the body, who are out for dishonest gain under the guise of the gospel, need to be confronted by our pastors. We cannot remain silent. We must speak the truth. To remain silent and not speak about those who are false teachers is to be disobedient to God’s word, and it shows a lack of love and care for the flock of God.

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Tyndale Pulls Book, But Should Repent Along With the Church

I don’t know if you heard of the book The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven. It is the book about a boy who died and went to heaven. Only he didn’t really die, and he didn’t really go to heaven. He made the story up and then someone published it and it sold millions like every other worthless book of its type.

What makes this one interesting is that the boy, Alex Malarkey, came out recently after actually reading the Bible and recanted the entire story. He said it was a hoax. Really? You see, that is the real rub. Alex, a boy, actually had to come out and tell us the story was a hoax before we (the wider church audience) could actually discern that the story was a hoax. Every single story like this is a hoax. In fact, let me try to be clear as possible: if someone has a story of dying and going to heaven, and they have published a book about it, then they didn’t die and go to heaven. It is a hoax.

The reason I say this is that we have a standard that we can use to test such stories. It’s called… (and I wish the people at Tyndale Publishing would actually get one of these books and read it), it’s called the Bible. By reading it with eyes of faith, we can actually discern between what is real and what is a hoax, like the book written by Malarkey and the other popular book Heaven is For Real.

Back to the standard. Let me be clear, I’m not saying that it is impossible for someone to die, while on the operating table for example, and be with the LORD provided they are actually Christians. What I’m saying is that the standard for discerning is given by Paul when he had such an experience. He writes: And I know such a man–whether  in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows– how he was caught up into the Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter (2 Corinthians 12:3).

The key for knowing whether something is a hoax or not is whether or not the person actually talks about it, and tells us wild things like Jesus has a pet unicorn that is colored like the rainbow. The true believer, whom God might give the experience of being caught up to heaven, would not talk about it because he or she would know it was unlawful. I actually heard of such a man who was a dear brother in the LORD who died on the operating table. But when it came to talking about it, he couldn’t. He was too overwhelmed like Paul to say anything.

The problem with these Charlatans is that they don’t hesitate to say anything, or write anything or make a movie out of it, deceiving the undiscerning. And for this they need to repent.

According to the latest reports on this book, Tyndale Publishing has decided to pull all the books and paraphernalia. Gee, that is wonderful. But what they should do is repent of such greed and stupidity. Call it ignorance if you like, but they are in the business of publishing Christian books and this book is undecidedly not Christian. There is no standard by which to hold them accountable for doing what they have done. Are they going to give the money back to the people who were fooled by these lies? Are they going to actually hire some Christian theologians to help set a standard so they won’t publish such tripe in the future? Will they actually use the Bible as their standard for truth, instead of the bottom line?

I doubt it. I doubt they will actually even apologize. Again, their goal is the bottom line so pedaling spiritual lies is no sweat off their backs. The only remorse they will feel is the remorse of actually getting caught.

This is where the church needs to repent. The leaders need to repent for not protecting our flock from such false teachers. The leadership is actually charged with doing so, see 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus and every passage where Jesus speaks about sheep in wolves clothing, false teachers and Pharisees. The leadership of the church is far to timid in doing such things. Pastors will preach week after week and never address the spiritual lies that are floating about. The problem is that there are those in their flocks who are succumbing to such lies. It is not enough to preach the truth, we must also warn the flock about the lies that are present. It is our duty.

Again, Paul’s words: For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain (Titus 1:10-11).

I wonder if that might apply here.

But back to the main point as well. Not only should Tyndale Publishing repent of their … dishonest gain, but so should those in Christian leadership for not warning our congregations about such bilge. Not all in leadership are afraid to say such things, and many do, but in general, it’s just not “nice” to say something about a Beth Moore, or Rob Bell, or other such deceiver.

I know it’s difficult to warn people against such books with horrendous theology. They don’t like it. To try and warn someone against something like Jesus Calling insults the ones who read it because they have deemed it right in their own eyes. But we still must try. The general population of the church is not discerning. It’s a sad reality and lands back on leadership’s lap. They don’t know that such books are not worth the paper they are printed upon, theologically and spiritually speaking. They don’t know, because again, leadership has not spoken of such.

But the larger congregation is at fault too. They are too prideful to listen to those of us who are trying to warn others. They believe that since they have some degree from Big U., that they have enough education to know what is right and what is not right. This is why so many of them heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables (1 Timothy 4:3-4).

The larger congregation in general loves fables more than they love spiritual truth found in Scripture. That is the reason why these books sell. They would rather listen to speculation about truth than actual truth itself. For this, the larger congregation needs to repent. Just because someone is talking about Jesus, heaven, hell, etc., doesn’t mean that what they are saying is true or has any real bearing to Biblical truth.

But I’m not sure any of these things will happen. For the most part, Tyndale Publishing will continue to print tripe for the Christian bookstores who are guilty of being undiscerning as well. People will continue to flock to those things that are but a shadow of truth. And we will see more books on people who go to, and come back from heaven.

I guess we should rejoice that one little boy, was used by God to do what the pastors and teachers should have been doing all along. Maybe a few will become a bit more discerning in the process.

Flashback Friday

Nothing like a creepy back road in South Carolina to make you grateful for streetlights and pavement. But seriously, I took this close to Edisto Island in South Carolina back in October of 2009.

Edisto 010

Dangerous Cliques: The Good Ol’ Boys Club

A friend posted something I wrote several years ago dealing with dangerous cliques in the church. The first installment was about the Domineering Old Lady Club. The point is that in Christ, we are not to form cliques in the church. Peter found this out the hard way when he tried to form the Jewish Lunch Club, by eating solely with Jews and excluding the Gentiles. The Apostle Paul came down rather hard on Peter for doing so, telling him that he was acting more in accordance with being a Gentile, than a true Jew since he was in direct contrast with the gospel.

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Hello Old Friends

I was perusing through some of my older post and kept coming across the names of people who use to respond and I realized that I had been missing some of my readers. In view of that, if you read this, leave a “hello” in the comments section. I would love to hear from you. Nothing like hearing from old friends even if they are only friends via the blogosphere.

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Is Joe Carter Selling Snake Oil?

I saw the post from Joe Carter and the Gospel Coalition floating around Facebook and finally took a gander at it. The title was: How to Change Your Mind, and Mr. Carter opened with these words:

The beginning of a New Year is an an excellent time to try something new. As you make your list of resolutions and goals I want to recommend adding a simple four step process that could transform your life by, quite literally, changing your mind.

Sorry, but that put me off from the get go. It’s not the making of resolutions, or reading the Bible, as he is advocating. It’s his sales pitch. Whenever I hear of programs, or ministries, or other things put forth that can transform your life, and change your mind, I get very skeptical about those putting them forth because they are promising us what only the gospel can do.

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Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve

Stoke 025We buried my brother today. As you know from earlier posts, my brother Stoke was found dead in his kitchen a week ago today. Since we had just seen him on Christmas day, the news caught us completely by surprise and it is still difficult realizing that he is gone.

We have the hope one has when a brother has trusted in Christ for salvation, and for that we are grateful.

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