Why Theology Matters

There they were, talking theology again. It seemed like every time I went upstairs to the second floor of Lincoln Hall, I would find those four guys discussing theology. Travis Campbell was one of them. You can see him here discussing 10 Undisputed Facts About Jesus. As they would discuss theology, I would stand there and listen as long as possible. But truth be told, most of it was over my head.

They discussed things like predestination, the sovereignty of God, election, and man’s free will, or lack thereof (depending on how you define free will). I had a great deal of respect for the men who were in those debates, many have gone on to fruitful ministries.

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Currid On the Woman’s Desire

Concerning Genesis 3:16b

Your desire shall be for[a] your husband,
    and he shall rule over you.”

It is customary to understand the woman’s longing for her husband to be one of sexual desire, or at least, one of great affection. But that is probably incorrect. The proper signification comes from comparing this verse with Genesis 4:7, which uses both verbs, to ‘long’ (desire) and to ‘rule’, from 3:16. Also, the proximity of the two verses is weighty. In 4:7, God tells Cain that ‘Sin is crouching at your door; it longs to have you, but you must rule over it.’ The issue for Cain is what will dominate him and have control and mastery over him. The same applies to 3:16: the woman will have an excessive desire and determination to dominate her husband. The man, however, will dominate her. Thus this verse describes the ongoing condition of marriage relationships which will exist after the Fall.

The nature of the new order is quite appropriate. It was Eve who led the family in the garden episode, who ate the fruit first and led the man to do the same. Adam, for his part, let woman lead, and he refused to take his mandated leadership role. God now proclaims that such struggles and tensions will always appear in the marriage relationships.

From John D. Currid’s An EP Study Commentary:Genesis Vol. 1, p. 133.

The Osceola Sanctuary

By far, the most beautiful sanctuary I have had the opportunity in which to serve, was the sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church Osceola, AR. It was my first church as a minister in the Presbyterian Church in American and as you can see from the photo below, it is quite beautiful.

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Where There is No Vision Statement, the People Cast off Restraint; But Happy is He who Keeps the Vision Statement

I came across an article stating 5 Signs You’re Part of an Unhealthy Church, and naturally I had to read it. But not for long. The very first statement the writer made showed me clearly there was no point in continuing my reading. The first statement:

1. Leadership Does Not Have Clear Vision. The author used Proverbs 29:18 for her proof text. Where there is no vision, the people perish. (Sarcasm Alert) Now we know! This is the reason the church has been so messed up for 2,000 years! The church failed to come up with a vision statement! Yes, the apostles failed in giving us what we needed for the church to succeed: a vision statement. O, how the apostle Paul misled us. We could have been so much better off disregarding sound doctrine, if he had just told us we need a vision statement. That is the silver bullet the church needs.

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Letter To My Friends

Dear Friends, all of you,

As I received comments over my last post I realized that many of you have experienced the same anguish I am experienced in trying to find a good church in which to worship. Notice, I didn’t say “perfect” or “great” church, but simply a good one in which to worship.

Therefore, I’ve decided to invite all my friends who are struggling to find a good church in which to worship to move to Brenham, TX, where we will start a good Reformed Presbyterian church in which to worship. I know that some of you are Baptist, and I promise you that if you stick it out long enough with our new church here in Brenham, you will get over this as I have.

I know many of you have jobs where you are. But don’t worry, this is Texas. There are lots of jobs in the area for people with any level of skill (apparently of which I lack). So come, let us build the LORD’s church, where the preaching is solid, biblical and most importantly, guided by His Spirit. There will be calls to worship that give you reason to think, prayers that are filled with thought, communion that is never repetitive, baptism filled with joy, singing which is based on well, theologically accurate truth and a fellowship filled with the Spirit.

I know this may be difficult at first, since so many of you have family in other parts of the country, or where you live, but I have a solution to this problem as well: bring them too!

See, once all of you start arriving, we can start our worship services on the Lord’s day, and rejoice at how God will provide for all of us. Now I know some of you are thinking that I don’t mean you, but you are exactly who I am thinking of in my invitation. Yes, you will have to leave your lovely states where you reside, but look at the bright side, Texas is equally beautiful in it’s own right (see the picture above in the banner). So pack up your goods like Ma and Pa of the Beverly Hillbillies and head on down to Brenham.

I’ll leave the light on for you… and preach about HIM once you arrive.

Wishfully Sincere,

Timothy

The Death of Reverence, The Death of Holiness

Church 001

I sat on the pew outside the sanctuary and began to weep. I was crushed at what I was hearing and what I was experiencing. “Was I such an anomaly that finding a place to worship God with reverence and holiness was asking too much?” I literally felt like there would be no place for me to worship, no place to confess sin, no place to hear from Christ, no place that honored our LORD in thought, word and deed.

The church was an Acts 29 church, so I thought it would be solid in some ways. But I was disappointed the moment I saw the “band.” I know, I’m a relic, a has-been, a wash out, therefore I should just get “with it” and the “world” and worship like the rest of the world worships God. But I can’t do it. To me the “band” lacks reverence for a holy and just God. It is the world’s invention, thrust upon the body of Christ by those who supposedly “know better.”

If you were to tell the believers in the 1960s and 1970s that by 2010, if you really wanted to lead people in worshipping God then you would have to adopt the concert hall, the bar room, the disco in order to worship, they would have quit sharing the gospel at that moment out of reverence for His holiness.

“You mean the body of Christ is going to become the world, in order to save the world?”

I think the apostle John had something to say about that. 1 John 2:5 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the loveof the Father is not in him.

But John was “o-so first century! What did he know?” (Read: Open Letter to Praise Bands).

Instead of reverence, corporate prayer, corporate confession of sin, meditation, reading of Scripture, we are given the barroom with the latest act “leading” us? in worship. The leading act was so loud, it hurt my ears. That was the initial reason I left the sanctuary. I’ve had enough ear damage from my days of debauchery, I have no real desire to damage them some more in worldly worship.

The “band” even sang one of my favorite songs, Amazing Grace. But I wasn’t inspired to sing. Why should I? No one would have heard anyone over her voice and the congregation knew that as well. No one but the leader of the “band” was singing. John Newton would surely weep if he knew his song was being treated in such a manner.

This was not corporate worship. Corporate worship, which is prescribed in the Bible for the church to do, is for the entire body to do, not just a lead singer. Corporate worship was one of the marks of the Reformation. The Reformers were seeking to put worship back into the hands of the people.

Before the Reformation, only the clergy were participating in worship. The people just watched. Little did we know that the people really don’t want to worship. Just as the people in Moses’ day rejected being in God’s presence and asked Moses to be the mediator, so too are our congregations rejecting their right to pray, confess and sing to God. We are putting worship back into the hands of the clergy all over again, only this time the “clergy” have guitars and drums. They don’t realize this is what they are doing because while the lead singer belts away on one of their favorite tunes, he give some in the congregation an emotional experience, thereby deluding them into thinking that they have worshipped. They haven’t. I was having an emotional experience, and it was NOT worship.

Worship is more about obedience to God than emotional experiences. It is more about saying what is true of God, back to God. It is recognizing that we are meeting with a holy and just God, not Jay Z.

It means we do all to glorify Him, not that which glorifies the band leader and the guitar player. It means we actually prepare for worship throughout the week and on Sunday morning. We realize that congregational worship is the most important thing we will do all week, when done properly. When it is done properly, then we have met with God in His presence, heard from God through the reading and preaching of His word, been fed by God through reading and preaching of the word, and communion. We have been comforted by the gathering of the saints, both the ones here and the ones worshipping God as the church triumphant. In fact, we are joining with them in the worship that is already taking place in heaven.

But for some reason, we now want our worship to resemble some bad rock concert from the 1970s. Instead of holiness and reverence, we can dance in the aisles like a bunch of drunks.

I decided to leave. No point in staying. By the time the pastor got around to preaching, my heart would have been so upset that it wouldn’t matter what he said. My heart wasn’t right any longer. I knew that church wasn’t for me so I left, went to the car, and wept some more. I knew it would be hard to find a church to get plugged into, but I never realized the emotional toll it would take on me.

I called Babalucy and we talked and prayed.

I then set off for a Lutheran church I had passed the other day. I’m not Lutheran, and I don’t like the fact that going there, I would be considered out of fellowship and denied acceptance at the Lord’s table. I knew all of that, and accepted it in the hopes of solid, biblical preaching and a reverence of God.

Damn! The Lutheran church I found had open communion. That meant they were conviction-less Lutherans. No preaching of the word of God today. However, I did get a helpful lesson in forgiveness, which is what the pastor was preaching. In fact, it was a 12-step program and he was on steps 8 and 9. He even used a bit of Scripture, but was very brief with it. No need for the Bible here! Move along.

The pastor also let us know that he and his wife had tattoos on their backs. For some reason, he felt like we needed to know that. I guess he was trying to show us he had a past… and a present.

While the first church was irreverent in their music and approach before God, the Lutherans were irreverent in the substance of their actions with God. Both were irreverent in their own way. Both failed to take entering into the presence of God with any level of holiness or seriousness. Both treated entering the Holy of Holies as if it were a joke.

(Please note: Not all Lutherans are this way. I was hoping to find the ones who were not. It is just this particular church was. I can accept being barred from the table over theological disagreements if those barring me are reverent before a holy and just God.)

By the time I got free of the Lutherans, I realized I had time to find another place to worship. Someone told me of a church that was non-denominational that was supposed to be really good. I went to that one and as I got out of the car, I could hear the thump-thump bass of the band inside.

“Keep walking,”  I told myself. I did. I noticed others arriving about the same time and then it hit me. No one was carrying a Bible but me. In fact, the two previous churches had the same symptom. No one carried their Bibles. This was not good.

I got to the door and looked inside. I could see the “band” playing at the front of the sanctuary, the lead singer’s face all contorted as he belted out whatever ditty he was singing. The crowd, all on their feet, staring ahead as if he were Jon Bon Jovi rocking away.

I’m NOT going in there!” I turned and went back to my car.

On the way over, I passed a typical Baptist church that had a lot of cars in the parking lot. “Ok, give it a shot.”

Turns out, the Baptist church was letting another Luther church use their sanctuary during the early hour. They were all leaving when I got there, and there were only about 50 of us left in the sanctuary that held about 250. I stayed simply out of empathy for the pastor. I know what he must feel to look at all those empty pews. I could see the budget shortfall reported in the bulletin. I knew his staff was way too big, but because of tradition, he was bound to keep the associate pastor, the organist, the church secretary, etc., even though the church had no need for all that.

They were desperate for growth and I felt that desperation. Literally. They had me introduce myself and gave me a form to fill out so they could contact me. And IF I gave that form back to the pastor at the end of the church, they would give me a special gift. That wreaks of desperation. I know. I’ve done all those things before. Desperation never works. I’m an expert at it. I know.

But I was polite and put my name on the form. I sang the songs presented, and listened to the explanation of Acts 14. It was OK. It wasn’t offensive. It was a decent message and he didn’t act like Jesus was his BFF.

I left without giving the form back to the pastor, but the associate pastor chased me down in order to give me my gift! It was a bag with a coffee cup, some Hershey’s Kisses, a New Testament, a pen and a pack of Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate.

While the Acts 29 church was trying to woo me with Starbucks-like coffee, a rock band and donuts, the Baptist tried to win my heart with Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate.

Neither worked. I want calls to worship, benedictions, corporate prayer. I want corporate confessions of sin, and corporate assurances of pardons. I want singing where I can hear the congregation, and songs that are theologically accurate and Christ centered. I want good, solid Biblical preaching where the pastor strives to preach the full counsel of God. I want communion where the table is fenced and non-believers know that partaking of the communion in an unworthy manner is to drink judgment upon oneself. I want benedictions, and pastoral prayers, and the reading of Scripture.

I guess what I’m saying is that I want Reformed worship… and another pastorate.

What Christ Are They Coming To?

Over the past several years, I’ve had believers in my immediate family tell me that there are many people in our nation coming to know Christ. I’ve heard reports that there are more Christians now than at any time in history. I’ve been told that more believe in America today than any other time in the history of this country.

But if these things are so, what Christ are they coming to? It’s been my experience as a pastor over the past 15 years that there are far more “believers” who want nothing to do with the Christ and the cross of the bible than there are those who actually hunger for God’s word. I don’t see people coming in droves to be in Christ’s “presence,” or even being willing to suffer with Him in His sacrifice.

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From the Department of “Let’s Just Love Jesus and Ignore Theology” Comes This…

Yes, Fred Luter, the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention, made an impassioned plea at the recent convention to quit arguing over theology and seek the lost, showing his hand and laziness.

“Because of our love for the Scripture we’ve had some differences of opinion, but the problem is that while we are arguing about these topics, lost men, women, boys, and girls are dying and going to hell every single day,” said Luter on the first night of the denomination’s 2013 annual meeting.

“While we are arguing about these topics and debating about these topics, America is going to hell every day,” he continued. “Time is running out. We do not have time for debate. We do not have time for arguing. The world needs to know that Jesus saves … for the sake of those who are lost.”

Read more here.

His comments are supposed to be the ultimate trump card in any argument. The problem is that it shows his hand. Luter doesn’t believe in God’s election, God’s sovereignty, God’s greater purpose of His glory. This shows us that Luter thinks he is the one that will be saving people. He is straight from the Charles G. Finney school of manipulation, which has done more to damage to the church than anything the government could do.

This is the same as the pastor I had a dialog who recently made the claim:

 I will readily admit, even after graduating from Dallas, that I am a theological novice in many arenas, including John Calvin and Calvinism.  I simply love Jesus, desire to be in His presence  and am trying to bring as many people as I can one step closer to Him.

There is no excuse for this kind of laziness in the pastorate. For one, the man is not being honest. He says he wants to bring them closer to Jesus, but how is he to do this if He is not willing to dive deeper in the word and grow in his Christology (a branch of theology that focuses on the person and work of Christ). What does he intend to do, give them fuzzy feelings so that they too have fuzzy feeling about Jesus? The Bible never calls us to such slop. (Calvinism is at the heart of the SBC’s arguing by the way.)

The real problem behind both pastor’s is that they fostering anti-intellectualism under the guise of loving Jesus. This really is part of Satan’s attack on the church. He doesn’t want us growing in our understanding but resting in our feelings.

The Bible stands against this false philosophy in several places. The first is found in 2 Corinthians 10:2-6 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

In their noble attempts to “love Jesus” and “win the lost,” the two men are fighting Satan’s battle for him, instead of bring every thought into captivity and being willing to give an answer when ready to do so. Paul doesn’t want us to play stupid, but study in order to present ourselves approved and to be able to take on every stronghold that exalts itself against the word of God. This means we have to think and use our brains. We are never to stop studying God’s word in order to take on the spiritual battle we face. We must constantly be refining our beliefs and arguments so as to be used by God.

If you want a better exposition of this thought here, listen to Simon Brace on the following mp3. He is using 2 Corinthians 10:6ff to really drive home the point that we must be ready to argue for the faith. He shows that we are to argue, defend, embrace it, understand it and use it to advance the kingdom. There is no room for anti-intellectualism or sloppy Jesus love in the body of Christ. To make those things out as somehow noble, is truly deceptive, which comes from the great deceiver.

Plus, Wintery Knight has some on it as well.

The point is that we are never to stop diving into the word. We always need to be growing in our understanding and, as the above passage shows us, make arguments for the faith, taking every thought captive. We are to be ready to fight for what the Scriptures say and defend the faith on every front.

Both pastors above, who seem to be so noble in their sloppy doctrine, are actually doing more damage than good. Hopefully, they will repent of such laziness.

Theology of the Heart and the Head

James Montgomery Boice write in his commentary on Psalm 139:

“Sometimes we speak of ‘doing theology’ today, and we often talk about the conflict between the head and the heart, saying that either one alone is inadequate. A theology that is all of the head is cold, dry, barren, and of little practical value. A theology that is all heart may be warm, comforting, and practical, but it will lack substance, and because it does it will be subject to every theological fad that comes along and will not hold up in hard times.”

Boice goes on to say that Psalm 139 is both head and heart, telling us of God’s nature, but in a very personal way. The Psalmist shows us how God is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent in our own lives. No matter what we think, or where we go, He is there and He already knows. He knows more about us than we know about Him, or ourselves. He is not distant to us, but involved in the life of the believer and all this is very comforting to those of us who struggle with the trials of life. He is a loving God who cares deeply about us and we can trust in Him.

For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

139 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall[a] on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[b]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.

19 Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God!
Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
20 For they speak against You wickedly;
Your enemies take Your name in vain.[c]
21 Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

Dallas Theological Seminary: Great At Teaching Moralism and Calvin Bashing

A friend wrote me this past week and asked me to listen to a recent sermon by her pastor. I typically only go to one place to listen to sermons, SermonAudio.com* because most sermons today are more inspirational chats from a qualified life coach and rarely resemble the preaching of God’s word. (Just the fact that pastors are referred to as life coaches and team members at all, shows us the desperate state of the church).

The reason my friend wanted me to listen is because at about minute 43, the man complained about suffering from making the Bible an idol. I know what he meant, but it really disturbed my friend. There are some times when we revere the Bible so much that we exalt it above the God it exalts. I have no reason to believe that this is a major sin in the church, given that most don’t even open their Bibles. But that is another post.

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For Phoebe & Joseph: RCC Cult or Not?

For Phoebe and Joseph.

Phoebe has made the claim that the RCC is a cult. Joseph responded that it was not. Phoebe’s response is below. So that both don’t take over the comments section of the Top 10 Hymns, I’m posting Phoebe’s comments here, so they can respond on this post.

I welcome both of their input to the topic. However, I don’t wish to engage right now. This is not my battle.

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Self Control in Golf and the Christian Life

2013-03-13 18.30.34I noted on my Facebook page the other day that golf is a great metaphor for the Christian life in that the more self-control you maintain during the game, the better it goes for you. In other words, playing golf well will not come about when you give yourself over to the flesh. The flesh screams at you every time you stand over the ball for the next shot. What does your flesh scream? “Hit the hell out of it!” But any golfer knows that hitting the hell out of it will lead to a hell of shot… out of bounds, into the woods, into the river, or even into the unknown. Very few good things ever come from hitting the hell out of the ball.

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Pope Roundup That Matters

Comics024Too many things to be said about the new pope. Again, I am not endorsing this man as the head of the church. Only Christ is the head of the church, and any other man who puts himself in that place is an anti-Christ. This is a position held by Protestants since the Reformation. Since the RCC has not done anything to change their position on the pope, neither shall we. John Knox, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards and John Wycliffe have all agreed with this position. So realize it is not something new to me, and it certainly should not be shocking to anyone that a Protestant would actually be opposed to the pope and the apostate church in Rome. There is far too much at stake when it comes to the eternal souls of people, and Protestants who hold true to Scripture can never affirm Roman Catholicism that calls justification by faith alone in Christ alone an anathema! (Canons of Trent, p. 43).

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We Did NOT Just Vote for a New Pope

I guess I do need to write this post, given the fact that so many of my friends and acquaintances on Facebook had to rush and tell everyone that “we have a new pope.” I immediately responded with this:

BTW, “WE” did not just choose a new pope. Remember brothers and sisters in the LORD, “We” are not Catholic. We are protestants. The pope is AN anti-christ and is seated as the head of the church, whereas we believe that only Christ is the head of the church (Read Colossians). So please, fellow protestants and Christians, quit lauding this as something special. It’s just another move of the apostate Roman Catholic Church.

Let the Timothy bashing begin. How dare I say anything against our newest celebrity, or should I say, our celebrity du jour? How dare I infer that there might be some truth that is actually confrontational? How dare I stand on some convictions?

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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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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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Thoughts on Suicide

My thoughts have returned to suicide recently as we had to face the realities of this ugly sin with the death of Harriet Deison this past Saturday. Harriet was the wife of Pete Deison, an associate pastor at Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas, TX. Our prayers have gone up for Pete and his entire family. When I was an intern in PCPC I always looked up to Pete and his ministry there. I barely remember Harriet but from what I gather, she was an awesome woman for the LORD for many years before she took her life on Saturday.

I know a lot of people have the belief that if you take your own life, that this is one of the unforgivable sins found in Scripture. While suicide is a sin, it is not unforgivable. I had to wrestle with this some years ago when my step-mother, Liz Hammons, took her own life in a field outside of Brenham, TX in the very same manner. My father asked me to give part of the eulogy for Liz, since I was the only pastor in the family. Upon my arrival at his home, I set out to see Liz through the eyes of her friends. Given that she was a step-mom, I can’t say that she and I had the best of relationships, although I loved her and do miss her to this day. She was part of our family for some 32 years and she had a lasting impact on my life as well as those around her.

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Is God Omnibenevolent?

From a discussion on the Calvin page, on the concept of God’s Omnibenevolent.

Sacred struggler writes:

I’m talking about God’s omnibenevolence, not the world’s. This is all about God’s character here. I can’t imagine anyone trying to argue that the world has no evil in it.

“Omnibenevolence (from Latin omni- meaning “all”, and benevolent, meaning “good”)[1] is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “unlimited or infinite benevolence”. It is often held to be impossible, or at least improbable, for a deity to exhibit such property along side omniscience and omnipotence as a result of the problem of evil. However, some philosophers, such as Alvin Plantinga, argue the plausibility of co-existence. ” This is from the article. This is what we’re talking about. Of course it’s hard to defend that God is good, it doesn’t make it false though.

My response:

Not sure I’m buying the term itself perhaps because of the idea of benevolence itself. I believe God is infinitely good, but has a hatred of that which is evil. Infinite benevolence seems to suggest that He is infinitely good apart from His anger and wrath toward a rebellious world. In other words, He is infinitely good toward the rebellious, which one could argue He does the moment He shows any goodness or kindness to anyone. But does this infinite goodness, being all present at all times in every place completely and beyond measure, be present in a world in which evil exists at all?

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