This is a social media advertisement that appeared in my newsfeed last week.
There were two comments. One thought the event was going to be awesome. I suspect that there are a lot of professing young Christians that will agree with the”awesome” comment. After all, they’ve been slowly primed for this day since of the advent of the “seeker friendly” approach to church and church growth that assumes that natural born lost sinners are, at some level actually seeking after God, an assumption the Bible denies. (Psalm 14:2 – 3, Romans 3:11 – 12); The other comment I read at the time was not so complimentary:
“Gee, I don’t remember any “preaching festival” ANYWHERE in the Bible! ’Entertainment festivals showcase musicians. Gospel preaching is to be for God’s glory, NOT a talent show to “showcase” young preachers.”
Fellow believers, that there is a “festival” to showcase young preachers (IMHO) is an offense to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Many of you will get that sentiment. It’s also an offense to the gospel itself.
At he same time, it’s an accurate description of what much of evangelical Christianity has become, man-centered entertainment. Here’s a statement from the non-profit sponsoring the “festival”.
“One of the goals at Pulse is to encourage and equip young preachers to share the Gospel in a Biblical, unique, and unapologetic way. On March 2nd these young emerging leaders will showcase how they preach the Gospel.!”
While encouraging young preachers to unapologetically preach the gospel, the emphasis is clearly placed on “how” these youngsters preach rather than on the gospel itself and its power to save lost sinners. I can’
t can’t think of a single instance in Scripture that talks about the preachers “unique style”, whether it’s an OT prophet, NT apostle, or Jesus himself. While I’m hopeful that the true gospel will be clearly presented,, I suspect there will be a couple of “adventures in missing the point”, which is truly sad, for a couple of reasons.
First, since this event is, by design, to showcase the young preachers showcasing themselves will, by necessity, be advertising their own unique styles, and most likely removing the “offense of the gospel”, in order to please the audience with their many talents, while not making anyone feel uncomfortable before a Holy God. If you know your Bible, the Apostle Paul, as well as Peter declared that the message of the gospel is, by nature, offensive to the unbeliever (1 Corinthians 1:18, 1 Peter 2:7 – 8). By and large, today’s gospel must be appealing to a lost world, not convict it of sin, as the Holy Spirit is wont to do.
Secondly, and perhaps more significantly, the hearers of a false gospel cannot be saved by it.
I am NOT saying that no one who attend the “festival” will be saved, or that biblical truth won’t touch the hearts of listeners. God has saved many a lost soul at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, just not through preaching that never discusses the problem of sin (a self-confessed hallmark of Joel’s preaching).
Back to the point of this post – the sorry state of much of today’s evangelicalism., designed to entertain both the sheep and the goats. The aforementioned ad for a blatantly man-centered preaching “festival” says it all.
As was already stated earlier, that there is a “festival” to showcase young preachers is an offense to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.. It’s also an offense to the gospel itself. We need to be about the business of praying for TRUE revival, which is God’s work, not ours. We should also continue to pray that God continue to pen hearts to hear the gospel message, as Jesus Christ continues to build HIS church until He comes to meet his Bride in the air!
A recent article at American Thinker titled An illustrated look at the evolution of the ‘inject Lysol’ anti-Trump hoax made a very interesting point about hoaxes in general. The article lays out the chronological timeline and associated media ‘events’ that falsely claimed that President Trump recommended drinking disinfectants to combat COVID 19. Here is the quote from the article:
“On Thursday, April 23, President Donald Trump ruminated during a press conference about the possibility that, just as disinfectants can destroy the Wuhan virus outside the body, there might be a way to destroy the virus inside the body. Within hours, the mainstream media was telling people the Trump was telling Americans to inject or ingest disinfectant to treat Wuhan virus.
After that, the internet was quickly inundated with “Trump said to drink bleach” memes. While there was factual pushback from conservatives, facts made no difference – the hoax was set in place. It will now be a smear against Trump’s name as permanent as the Charlottesville hoax.”
If you remember, the Charlottesville hoax accused the President of being a racist and praising white supremacists when all he did was say there were good people on both sides of debate about removing a Robert E. Lee statue. In fact, the President has condemned the white supremacist movement. No matter, the ‘racist’ label stuck like glue. The American Thinker article uses the current ‘disinfectant’ hoax to chronicle the phases through which hoaxes pass until they become recognized as fact in the hearts and minds of some of us human beings (the gullible ones). I highly recommend reading the article.
The part of the article that caught my attention the loudest was near the end of the article, where a “point of no return”, from which there is no turning back to reality, even when the actual facts of the case have been presented over and over again.
“This information (actual facts) will be unavailing. In connection with the Charlottesville hoax, Scott Adams has explained that, once the hoax is fixed, there is no way to displace it with facts. No matter how often he showed people the transcript in which Trump made it crystal clear that he was not calling white supremacists “fine people,” Trump haters could not recognize that information:
After a few years of trying to deprogram people from this hoax, I have discovered a fascinating similarity in how people’s brains respond to having their worldview annihilated in real time. I call it the “fine people” hoax funnel. When you present the debunking context to a believer in the hoax, they will NEVER say this: “Gee, I hadn’t seen the full quote. Now that I see it in its complete form, it is obvious to me that my long-held belief is 100% wrong and the media has been duping me.”
That doesn’t happen.
What happens, instead, is that people, when presented with the documented facts (unassailable videos and transcripts), will start making up facts that comport with their belief system.”
Having said all that, I present to you a question:
“IS there a similarity between the evolution of a hoax and the adamant assertion that fallen human beings still have a libertarian ‘free will’ that is exactly the same as was Adam’s free will before the Fall?”
I ask the question from having noticed that there is a widespread assumption in Christendom that the Fall of man had no effect whatsoever on the human will. That is to say that fallen men can ‘by nature’ choose Christ as Savior and Lord. In fact, NO amount of presenting the Bible’s view of fallen men, what they literally ’can’ and ‘cannot’ do, in and of their natural selves, will result in libertarian free will advocates even examining the issue! You can ask almost all ‘free will’ advocates if they have asked Scripture about the state of the human will after the fall, but they find the suggestion nonsensical. After, we all KNOW we have complete free will and natural power to come to Christ all on our own.
At the same time that ‘free will’ in matters spiritual is a foregone conclusion by most Christians these days. IS there a connection/similarity in this issue and the evolution of ‘hoaxes’ described in the American Thinker article? I’m not coming to any conclusions here, although the ‘free will’ assumption has been around for a long, long, time.
Food for thought………
Last week, I was in the middle of my early morning indoor cycling routine and skimming through Facebook. I came across a FB post that had as a very sincere comment, the following:
“We are to invite people to the Banquet in Heaven.
Evangelism is 3 parts:
1. Determine if they are lost or saved.
Do you know or hope you will go to Heaven?
2. Plan of Salvation.
3. INVITE THEM to Heaven!
Years ago I witnessed to a man but did not invite. I attended his funeral. I wished I had invited him.
Last year I invited a man. 2 weeks later his daughter called and said he had died.
I have peace. I hope he is in Heaven, if he is not it is because he chose to reject JESUS.
Popular Preachers who speak against sinner’s prayer and altar calls are pharisees causing cowardice. I witnessed to an Atheist. Told him TODAY you will accept or reject JESUS, or reject HIM, told him the consequences of each choice. He said:
“I really don’t want to reject JESUS.”
I left the following reply, hoping to start a discussion with “Bob” (not his real name):
1. It’s not our job to ‘determine’ whether a person is saved or not.
2. I believe that it’s the Holy Spirit who issues the invitation. We might speak words of invitation, but the Holy Spirit opens hearts dead in sin to answer the invitation and causes them to respond.
2. I believe we are to invite them to Christ for the forgiveness of sin, which IS an invitation to heaven!
First of all, know that I’m not bashing “Bob”. There was a time I shared a lot of “Bob’s” approach to evangelism. The desired discussion has yet to take place. I’m still praying. I want to ask “Bob” WHY he placed so much emphasis on the need to issue “invitations”, although I think I know. He felt badly when he had witnessed to but NOT issued an invitation (to Heaven), but at peace when he witnessed AND gave an invitation. You see, if a personal invitation is NOT given and the ‘witnessee’ dies and ends up in hell, at least some of the blood is on the hands of the ‘evangelist’. If an invitation is given and the receiver of the invitation rejects Jesus and dies, the ‘evangelist’ bears no guilt. He can breathe easy. He did his job.
I believe such an approach to be faulty, and for the reasons I stated in my reply to “Bob”.
1. It’s not our job to ‘determine’ whether a person is saved or not. That’s God’s business. The best we can do is find out what a person thinks his/her eternal destiny might be and go from there. We could be speaking to a genuine believer who lacks assurance of salvation for one reason or another. Besides that, there are a LOT of folks who are SURE they are heaven bound, but for the wrong reasons. Still, at the end of the day, only God know who is/isn’t saved. We are to proclaim the gospel to everyone – saved folks need to hear it again also.
2. I believe that it’s the Holy Spirit who issues the invitation. We might speak words of invitation, but the Holy Spirit opens hearts dead in sin to answer the invitation and causes them to respond. (See Lydia in Acts 16). When God has opened a heart to hear, that heart WILL eventually hear and a sinner will be saved.
2. I believe we are to invite them to Christ for the forgiveness of sin, which IS an invitation to heaven! I have yet to find an “invitation” to Jesus (or “Heaven”, for that matter. What I find is a command to “repent and believer the gospel”, given by Jesus himself.
Concerning “Bob’s” assertion that those who do not use the “sinner’s prayer” or have altar calls are cowardly Pharisees…well, some might be, but many might not be. That was completely uncalled for. They might not use either in their evangelistic efforts simply because neither one is used anywhere in the New Testament. There certainly might be a call to face one’s sin, repent and come to Christ, but no specific reciting of the sinner’s prayer as a mandatory act. “Altar calls” are a human invention that started with “the anxious bench” in Charles Finney’s day.
What’s the point of all this? It’s simple.
God is sovereign in the salvation of sinners!
Comments are encouraged.
Church Social Media Marketing?
I don’t usually post things like this, but this is worth mentioning. My news feed is literally filled with the same sort of posts, probably the (unwanted) courtesy of a Facebook algorithm of some sort.
A post came across my news feed yesterday that started out with this:
It also told those of us who read it that:
We all know we SHOULD be doing more as far as Social Media Marketing goes…
It’s where all the kids (and adults!) are at, it’s where today’s ATTENTION is at…
❓Question: But why isn’t it working for churches?
‼️ Answer: Because churches have been doing it all Sᗡᴚ∀MʞϽ∀q.
I call it the “hook”.
The rest of the post, which I’ll gracefully skip, explains to Pastors HOW they’ve been getting it all wrong and sends them the standard link these posts include (to reel you in):
Here was my comment:
Here is the sole reply to my comment:
Actually, in his reply, the Chaplain quoted Mark 16:15, and added what he ‘thought’ Jesus ‘intended’, and what we have is an example of what is called ‘eisegesis’, or reading into the scripture what one wants to be there. In this case, what is being supported is the concept of needing a ‘marketing strategy’ to promote a local church. Sadly, that concept is not new.
Even worse is the reasoning behind the notion. It seems to be a near universal notion that church growth is all about the numbers of posteriors in the pews (or theater seats). To that I have one answer:
And I’ll leave that right there. . .
“Twenty-five years ago, evangelicals were outside the religious establishment. That establishment was made up principally of the mainline denominations. But today evangelicals have become the religious establishments, however informally. But despite this, I believe that today we are in some peril. We have a fight on our hands and what we’re fighting for is our evangelical soul, for it is possible for us to gain the whole religious world while losing our own souls. I do not say this because I am one of those who thinks that the best is always what is in the past, that we are always in a state of decline, and that if we want to think of a golden age we have to think of something that is behind us. I do not think that way at all. In some ways we, today, are better off than we were twenty-five years ago. Perhaps a lot better off. And yet in spite of that, I believe there are matters within the evangelical world today which are seriously amiss.”
Read the rest of the article here. You won’t be disappointed.
This is a chapter from, “Boldly Contending as a Military Chaplain,” which was written by Sonny Hernandez. When I found this article, I ordered the book. Caution: Not for the weak hearted.
American Evangelicalism is a dark ominous cloud on the horizon. It is a belief that embodies everything that is not orthodox Christianity, because it disregards holiness for happiness, substitutes the Gospel for gimmicks, exchanges theology for theatrics, disregards evangelism for entertainment, replaces overseers with opinions, embraces palatable, innocuous stories in lieu of powerful inspiring sermons, and does not promote sound churches, but social clubs. The delusion and superstition of American Evangelicalism will never liberate anyone from the retribution of God. Why? It is a truncated gospel that will never deliver, only deceive, and will never produce faithful servants, only false converts.
There are incalculable amounts of professing Christians that are in danger of false assurance. False assurance is walking the aisle at church and offering the lip service of magical prayers (asking Jesus into your heart), romancing Bible verses, oversimplifying the Gospel, and relying on the freedom of the will as a means of salvation. When professing Christians are encompassed by false teachers, rely on traditional conceits, and they embrace everything that syncretism offers, they must be warned that regeneration only comes from the Spirit, not superstition (John 6:63-66). This article will provide several questions for professing Christians to examine their lives to see if they are truly born again. Charles Spurgeon provides an invaluable injunction that will articulate genuine and false conversion:
Beware, I pray thee, of presuming that thou art saved. If thy heart be renewed, if thou shalt hate the things that thou didst once love, and love the things that thou didst once hate; if thou hast really repented; if there be a thorough change of mind in thee; if thou be born again, then hast thou reason to rejoice: but if there be no vital change, no inward godliness; if there be no love to God, no prayer, no work of the Holy Spirit, then thy saying “I am saved” is but thine own assertion, and it may delude, but it will not deliver thee.
1.) Do you earnestly desire God?
The Bible provides a regulated commandment to love the Lord (Deuteronomy 10:12). If a professing Christian is truly in love with God, he or she will passionately cry out in fear of God to know and praise Him with joyful lips, and be clothed in humility when yielding and submitting themselves before the tribunal God of Scripture. Authentic love for God is when a believer prays without ceasing that God would forebear the executions of His wrath, and their life exhibits prayer, supplications, and lamentations for lost sinners. Authentic love for God will produce a vehement belief that the Spirit, which propels the Word of God, will strike a penetrating conviction in the soul to cause a believer to hate sin, yield to the peaceable fruits of righteousness, and be radically obsessed with love for the Law of God because they meditate and memorize daily. According to the apostle Paul: If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come (1 Corinthians 16;22)!
Most professing Christians will profess love for God. Notwithstanding a profession of love, professing Christians must offer more than just lip service. There must be evidence of salvation (2 Corinthians 13:5)! Without evidence of salvation, a professing Christian has nothing to measure their Christianity upon. On the Day of Judgment, if God were to ask professing Christians if they love Him, and they respond by saying: “yes Lord, you know I love you,” but their life does not reflect evidence of salvation, what will be the final disposition for professing Christians on that Great Day? Here are tenable questions that should motivate professing Christians to examine their lives for fruits of salvation:
1. If you say you love God, then why do you spend more time on Facebook than your face in His book?
2. If you say you love God, then why do you have over five hundred text messages and over one thousand minutes on your cell phone every month and yet you have no time in prayer? It’s obvious what lord you serve!
3. If you say you love God, then why do you pay money to be entertained with movies that slander His Name and espouse all of the things He hates?
4. If you say you love God, then how come you never tell anyone (evangelize) about Him?
Counterfeit love for God is a revolting practice that must be admonished. It is not uncommon to hear many professing Christians treat God like He exists in a prescriptive medicine bottle, because they believe all they have to do when they are feeling bad is take their eight hundred milligrams of God to feel better. It is not uncommon to hear many professing Christians twist Scripture when they share Jeremiah 29:11 on social media, and ask all their friends to share with everyone they know to receive a blessing. This type of garbled claptrap must be rejected by telling them: God is not your prescriptive medicine, He is not your genie in a bottle, and He is not your fairy godmother. He is your Lord!
It is also not uncommon for many professing Christians to believe in a liberal Jesus, whose only attribute is love, and looks just like Fabio or a member of an effeminate boy-band, from the many egregious paintings that portray Him. Sadly, there are many professing Christians that believe Christ will return on the Second Coming by coming out of the clouds, riding a pony, and wearing a red t-shirt that says free hugs. This false, liberal Jesus is not the savior, but Satan, because when Christ returns, He will be riding a white horse with His robe dipped in blood. He will rule the nations with a rod of iron, dash them to pieces like the potter’s vessel, and tread the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of the almighty God to wage vengeance on those who do not obey the Gospel (Psalm 2; Revelation 19:11-15; 2 Thessalonians 1:8). Professing Christians must count all things as loss for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ (Philippians 3:8), and embrace the Lord for who He is. The Westminster Longer Catechism (question 7) provides a biblical teaching lesson on the attributes of God:
Question: What is God?
A. God is a Spirit, (John 4:24) in and of himself infinite in being,(Exodus 3:14) glory,(Acts 7:2) blessedness,(1 Timothy 6:15), and perfection;(Matthew 5:48) all-sufficient,(Genesis 17:1) eternal,(Psalm 90:2) unchangeable,(Malachi 3:6) incomprehensible,(1 Kings 8:27) everywhere present,(Psalm 139:1-13) almighty,(Revelation 4:8) knowing all things,(Hebrews 4:13) most wise,(Romans 16:27) most holy,(Isaiah 6:3) most just,(Deuteronomy 32:4) most merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.(Exodus 34:6)
2.) Are you passionate about church?
Church membership is a vital doctrine. Professing Christians must be subjugated under the headship of Christ (Ephesians 5:23), subservient to local church elders (Hebrews 13:17), able to provide offerings (1 Corinthians 16:2), never neglect meeting with the saints (Hebrews 10:25), devote themselves to teachings, prayer, fellowship (Acts 2:42), and faithfully observing the Sabbath and keeping it holy (Exodus 20:8-11). If professing Christians willfully neglect the aforementioned commands from Scripture, they must be reminded that Jesus said: “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15). If professing Christians do not obey Christ, then His Word calls them liars (1John 2:4).
It is imperative that local churches teach on church membership. In the current culture, youth are being deceived into accepting a gospel-less, soft-peddling church slogans that are not the Gospel, but gimmicks such as: “come as you are,” “dress casual,” “contemporary music,” “love God love people,” “hate sin and love the sinner.” Instead of trying to woo the youth to attend church or stir their emotions, a message must be sent that can actually save: “repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).
What happens when the youth are not taught about the importance of church membership? They will attend church because their friends attend, or because it pleases their mom and dad, grandpa or grandma, or because they want to meet friends. The youth must be taught: “you do not attend church because of your friends; you attend church because of God.” “You do not attend church because it pleases your parents or grandparents; you attend church because it pleases God.” “You do not attend church because you desire friends; you attend church because you need to desire God.” Sadly, it is quite possible that many youth are taught poor examples of church membership because of their parents. Here is an example: when parents become exhilarated over the “day after thanksgiving sale” where they have to wake up earlier than normal, but on the day of church, their bed becomes a mixed martial arts arena or boxing ring, because they literally have to fight with themselves just to get out of bed to make it to church on time. These types of parents do not attend church because they want to be godly and dignified, but rather a good deed. They do not care about being sound and Christ-centered, but rather to sooth their Christian conscience. This is why church membership is important.
3.) Is authentic worship important to you?
What is authentic worship? Christians are called to bow down to Him (Psalm 95:6), worship at His footstool (Psalm 99:5), proclaim His Name (Psalm 105:1), ascribe to Him the glory due His Name, worship in the Splendor of His holiness (1 Chronicles 16:28, 29) with reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28-29), and fear God and give Him the glory (Revelation 14:7). The 1689 London Baptist Confession provides a summarization of the faith, an affirmation of worship, a teaching outline, and a guard against apostasy that will amplify a professing Christian’s comprehension on worship:
The light of nature shows that there is a God who has dominion and sovereignty over all. He is just and good, and He does good to all. He is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, invoked, trusted and served by men with all their heart and soul and strength. But the only acceptable way of worshipping the true God is appointed by Himself, in accordance with His own will. Consequently He may not be worshipped in ways of mere human contrivance, or proceeding from Satan’s suggestions. Visible symbols of God, and all other forms of worship not prescribed in the Holy Scripture, are expressly forbidden (Exod. 20:4-6; Deut. 12:32; Jer. 10:7; Mark 12:33).
There are myriads of professing Christians that are culpable of worshipping God in a manner which He has not commanded or prescribed. Many will worship Him based on personal experiences, tradition, musical preferences, modern consensus, or by other means devised by human ingenuity that is undoubtedly carnal fiction. God will condemn fabricated worship that is defiled with imagination or devices of men. When Nadab and Abihu offered an unauthorized worship before God which He had not commanded: fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord (Leviticus 10:2). According to John Calvin: “Those who set up a fictitious worship, merely worship and adore their own delirious fancies; indeed, they would never dare so to trifle with God, had they not previously fashioned him after their own childish conceits.” This is why it is imperative to remind professing Christians: it does not matter what you like in worship, it matters what God commands.
It is condemned in Scripture as gross idolatry when God is not the object of worship, or when God is worshiped in a manner that is cultivated by human invention. When carnal people feel that children need to find a church where they can meet friends their age, music, and programs they like, or a cool youth pastor who can relate to them just because they wear dingy pants, plaid shirts, nerd glasses, have spiked hair, show off tattoos, or use juvenile vernacular, they need to be reminded: none of those things can strengthen a child’s faith, because they are fiction. They can never save because they are sinful. God does not command any of those trifling and obstinate practices.
Objections: Here are some additional objections that professing Christians commonly make when it comes to worshipping God as He commands (i.e., Regulative Principles), and also cogent responses:
- Objection:“I was not raised in a church that worshiped this way. I did not worship like this in my last church.”
Response: He is not the God of your idle traditions. He is the absolute sovereign God of Scripture. The Pharisees loved their tradition that nullified Scripture, but Jesus did not (Matthew 15:1-20).
- Objection: “I need a worship pastor who can stir my emotions and put me in the mood to worship.”
Response: is the incomprehensible grandeur & supremacy of God not good enough for you (Psalm 72:24-28)?
- Objection: “We need to change our worship so we can attract the youth.”
Response: you will not find such a commandment in Scripture which corroborates the fact that it is you who needs changing because the youth do not direct worship, God almighty does (Exodus 20:1-6).
- Objection: “I want to sing a song that reminds me of: grandpa, grandma, mom, dad, someone I love, or a time in my life that is most memorable.”
Response: it is called nostalgia when you embrace a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past; it is called idolatry when you sing these songs in church because your emotions have replaced the incommunicable attributes of God as the object of worship (Exodus 20:1-6).
- Objection: “I want to hear a worship pastor who is talented in singing, or else I will not attend your church.”
Response: you must not have read the sign outside that said church, not a talent show.
- Objection: “If we do not get our worship pastor that we like, we are leaving.”
Response: it is better to lose people than lose God, and it is better to offend you than offend God (Proverbs 1:25-29).
The Bible commands believers to worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24). In public and private worship of God, there must be exaltation, not entertainment. Professing Christians must embrace Christ-centeredness, not childish conceits, and they must focus on the fear of God, not fun and gimmicks. Even when there is contention in the church over worship methodologies, professing Christians must worship as God commands, and not because goats complain! The 1689 London Baptist Confession provides a biblical example:
The reading of the Scripture, the preaching and hearing of the Word of God, the instructing and admonishing of one another by means of psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with heartfelt thankfulness to the Lord, the observance of baptism and the Lord’s supper-these are all parts of divine worship to be performed obediently, intelligently, faithfully, reverently, and with godly fear. Moreover, on special occasions, solemn humiliation, fastings, and thanksgivings ought to be observed in a holy and reverential manner (Exod. 15:1-19; Esther 4:16; Ps. 107; Joel 2:12; Matt. 28:19, 20; Luke 8:18; 1 Cor. 11:26; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; 1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:2).
4.) What is the standard of truth in your life to measure conduct?
The Holy Scripture is unequivocally the only source and substance of truth. His Word alone is perfect and pure (Psalm 19:7-8), proven true (Proverbs 30:5-6), stands forever (Isaiah 40:7-8), never returns void (Isaiah 55:11), never passes away (Matthew 24:34-35), is breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:26); believers cannot live without (Mathew. 4:4), and never wrong (Titus 1:2). When a person casts doubt on God’s Word, they are partaking of the same execrable act performed by the Devil in the garden when he said: “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). If a person professes to be a Christian, they must embrace purity and not pollution. Charles Spurgeon provides an analogy of a pig to explain:
If you put on one side of a room a slap up a meal from the best chef in England, and on the other side, a pig trough filled with pig slop and you release a pig in that room, every single time he would go to the pig trough.
Why? Because he’s a pig. It’s what pigs do.
Now, if the pig was supernaturally transformed into a human being, he would not want to eat from the pig trough anymore, he can’t even take pig food without vomiting, and so he’d go to the slap up meal.
Why? Because he’s a human now. He’s not a pig anymore.
There is a disparity between true Christianity and counterfeit Christianity. True Christianity is where a believer yields and submits to Scripture as the sole source of truth that constitutes salvation. Counterfeit Christianity devalues the Bible as a verbose book that has good stories that are emblematic with virtue, but not inerrant. If a person is not subjugated to the Bible, and without a reasonable doubt believes that the Holy Scripture is the infallible Word of God, then here is an important message: you are not a Christian because you have nothing to measure your Christianity upon! This is why no one can deny the truth of Scripture. If someone dares to contend with God’s Word, it is not because the Word of God contradicts itself; it is because the Word of God contradicts them.
What are some common excuses in the church that professing Christians will make to neglect obeying the Scripture? Here are a few examples:
- “I think we should do it this way.”
- “At my last church, we have always done it this way.”
- “When I was a child, we did it this way.”
Responding to unbiblical excuses is important. When someone says: “I think” we should do it this way, remind them that their first problem is that “they think,” and they do not read. When someone lays the axiom about truth based upon an unbiblical tradition and they say: “at my last church” or “when I was a child we always did it this way so this is how it should be done,” it is imperative that they are reminded: that is called an unbiblical tradition, and not unprecedented truth. Taking Scripture out of context, romancing Bible verses, twisting Scripture, and laying the axiom about truth based upon personal experiences or traditions are examples of nullifying God’s Word. This is why the Holy Scripture must be the standard to measure Christian conduct:
All religious controversies are to be settled by Scripture, and by Scripture alone. All decrees of Councils, opinions of ancient writers, and doctrines of men collectively or individually are similarly to be accepted or rejected according to the verdict of the Scripture given to us by the Holy Spirit. In that verdict faith finds its final rest (Mat 22:29,31-32; Acts 28:23; Eph 2:20).
5.) How is holiness evident in your life?
The Holy Scripture patently declares God as holy (1 Samuel 2:2). In the year that King Uzziah died, Isaiah saw a blazing manifestation or theophany of God, and the angels crying out with a loud penetrating voice: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3). It is impossible to know what holiness is if people rely on their own folklore, melancholy, or other credulous sentiments that are radically inconsequential. Why? They are nothing more than vain repetitions and dreams of human diatribe against the authority of Scripture, and that is the malady to be found which separates false Christianity from the marks of biblical Christian Orthodoxy.
God’s eyes are too pure to approve evil, and He cannot look upon wickedness with favor (Habakkuk 1:13). This means that God cannot have fellowship with anyone who is not regenerate, and the boastful will not stand in His sight because of His hatred against workers of iniquity (Isaiah 5:4-8). How can this be explained? If God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6), sanctifies His people with truth (John 17:17), speaks life into existence (Genesis 1:1-31), denounces self-righteousness (Isaiah 5:21), lies (Exodus 20:16), and division (Romans 16:17-18), then God must hate anything that is antithetical to His Word, as the wisdom literature will explain:
There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers (Proverbs 6:16-19).
Christians are commanded to be holy (Leviticus 20:26), and not be conformed to the passions of their former ignorance (1 Peter 3:13-17). It would be incumbent upon all professing believers to inculcate an understanding of what perfecting holiness in fear of God means (2 Corinthians 7:1), so they can put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted Word which is able to save their souls (James 1:21). Why are these principles important? Charles Spurgeon provides an invaluable response:
Christ will be master of the heart and sin must be mortified. If your life is unholy, then your heart is unchanged, and you are an unsaved person. The Savior will sanctify His people, renew them, give them a hatred of sin, and a love of holiness. The grace that does not make a man better than others is a worthless counterfeit. Christ saves His people, not in their sins, but from their sins. Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.
It is imperative that professing believers practice holiness. If a professing believer is truly holy, their heart will ache when it devises schemes that are not commensurate with the Law of God, they will have a foul taste in your mouth and their eyes burn with enmity when they see the rampage of sin is prevalent in their life. There are always going to be people laden with iniquity that will provoke the Lord to anger, and they will not practice holiness. They will not petition the outstretched power of God to grant clemency from showering them with hell by the way they conduct themselves. Examples of this would be when professing believers pay money to be entertained with movies that God hates, and by spending all their time watching sports, and not reading any Scripture. How should a Christian hold another professing Christian accountable for such conduct? Here are two ways they can be warned:
- Self-professing Christians and sports: woe to you when your love for sports supersedes your love for Scripture. Do you not realize that when you abandon Scripture to spend countless hours watching the big game, you will elevate your understanding of players and statistics, but you will never become wise in salvation because you will be nothing more than an illiterate babe that exalts a few hours of entertainment above the commandments of God?
- Self-professing Christians & movies: when your life exemplifies a person who would rather indulge in a cinematic experience (movies) that entertains and encroaches your carnality, with sensuality, sexual immorality, obscenities, blasphemies, crude joking, and all the things that are detestable to God, rather than amplify your mind and feed your soul with the purity of Scripture that can make you wise in salvation. God knows what Lord you serve. It is not the God who established the heavens and laid the foundation of the earth. It is the false god that is only 30-55 inches that you call a flat screen TV, but God calls a golden calf.
It would be dreadful for any man or woman to be deceived into believing they are saved, and then be condemned to hell as an object of God’s wrath. If a person is truly regenerate, they have become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and their life will come to fruition that Christ abides in them (John 15:5). Without evidence of God’s effectual power and steadfast love in drawing a sinner to Himself, and granting the inseparable graces of faith and repentance, then all a person will ever receive is the perpetuity of His wrathful rebukes with a flame of fire and everlasting torment (Isaiah 66:15-16; 24), where Christ will say to them: “I never knew you, depart from me you who practice unrighteousness” (Matthew 7:23). This is why you must:
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test (2 Corinthians 13:5)!
2. See 1689 London Baptist Confession (Chapter 22): Religious Worship, and the Lord’s Day (1) ↑
3. John Calvin and Translated by Henry Beveridge. Institutes of the Christian Religion. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2008, 13. ↑
4. See 1689 London Baptist Confession (Chapter 22): Religious Worship, and the Lord’s Day (5) ↑
5. See 1689 London Baptist Confession (Chapter 1): The Holy Scripture (10) ↑
[Contributed by Sonny Hernandez]
The WSJ reported:
“Nike Inc. is yanking a U.S.A.-themed sneaker (the “Air Max 1 USA”) featuring an early American flag after NFL star-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick told the company it shouldn’t sell a shoe with a symbol that he and others consider offensive.”
One Radio Station reported that:
“Nike Pulls Shoes Featuring Betsy Ross Flag Over Concerns About Racist Symbolism”
Here is Nike’s first official response:
“Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured an old version of the American flag,” Nike told CNBC in a statement.
Given the reports of the world’s news outlets, only a very few people (those with ‘asparagus’ level intellects?) will buy Nike’s first official response. Later in the day yesterday Nike responded again:
“We regularly make business decisions to withdraw initiatives, products and services. NIKE made the decision to halt distribution of the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday.
Well, Nike, CK and news outlets aside, I couldn’t help but think about how interesting it would be to write a similar article about much of today’s Christian evangelism. It could be titled,
“Evangelical Leaders Remove ‘Sin’ and ‘Repentance’ from the Gospel Message Because the Terms Might be Offensive”
Although there is a general similarity in the theme that something that might “offend” someone in both cases (sneakers and the gospel), there are significant differences between the two.
1. Nike made its decision just this week and received a ton of backlash. Evangelicalism’s removal of ‘sin’ and ‘repentance’ in the gospel message is nothing new, and can be traced back to the late ‘80’s, if not further in the past.
2. Due to the removal of ‘sin’ and ‘repentance’ from the message of the gospel occurring sometime in the past (a book by noted psychologist Carl Menninger “Whatever Became of Sin?” was published in 1988), whatever backlash that might have been received is mostly in the past. There might have been strong opposition early on, but slowly the thought that we could win people to Christ just talking about how much he loves us became firmly entrenched in modern evangelical thought.
3. Finally (for now), the genuine gospel message IS a matter of offense to the unbeliever!
“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor 1:18)
Because sinners love their sin and darkness (and all of us are sinners), it takes a sovereign act of God to open a sinful heart to pay attention to the gospel message that addresses man’s sinfulness. But since God is really good at opening hearts to hear the gospel (see Acts 16 and the story of Lydia). Hearts ARE opened, the true gospel is preached, and sinners are saved!
And that’s what the whole Nike/Colin Kapernick/Betsy Ross sneakers issue got me thinking about.
My question to you is this:
“What’s worse, caving in to cultural demands for inoffensive sneakers, ot sending people to hell with a false gospel?
Food for thought……………………………
The last post here at the Battle Cry was a video clip in which Todd Friel of Wretched Radio named names and shared direct quotations of prominent evangelical leaders. The video clip criticizes a movement while intentionally not criticizing evangelicals who have embraced elements of CRT.
Racism is Real
Let me emphasize right now that racism is real. Racism has been a problem since the fall of man and the entrance of sin into a world God declared “good – very good”. It permeates every society and culture on the planet in one way or another
What is Critical Race Theory?
In short, CRT looks at nearly every facet of our society through a ‘racial’ lens. As one author states:
Critical Race Theory Calls for Permanent, Codified Racial Preferences
At the heart of Critical Race Theory lies the rejection of colorblind meritocracy. “Formal equality overlooks structural disadvantages and requires mere nondiscrimination or “equal treatment.” Instead, Critical Race Theory calls for “aggressive, color conscious efforts to change the way things are.” It contemplates, “race-conscious decision making as a routine, non-deviant mode, a more or less permanent norm” to be used in distributing positions of wealth, prestige, and power.
That’s just one characteristic of CRT, perhaps the main one leading to many other characteristics and eventual outcomes at all levels of our society. This post is not intended to be a discussion of CRT. Rather, it asks a different question.
How should blood washed members of the body of Christ, and the church, behave?
Should the church behave like the society around us, and contemplate “race-conscious decision making as a routine, non-deviant mode, a more or less permanent norm?”. If we believe the words of prominent evangelicals (watch the video clip), it could seem like we are.
What does the Bible say about us?
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” (Eph 2:19-22)
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph 4:1-6)
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:28)
“Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” (Col 3:11)
“so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (Rom 12:5)
Does racism exist? Yes. It is born in the heart of sinful men. CRT would have us believe that ‘inanimate’ entities and institutions are racist (but just certain ones). As with any evil, racism begins in the hearts of the sinful human beings who make up entities and institutions. They key to lasting change is found in Christ, and only in Christ, with the radical transformation of the human heart into the likeness of our Savior.
Does racism exist in the hearts and minds of professing believers? Only to the extent that the sin of racism has not been conquered in Christ. When racism raises its ugly head in the life of a believer, it must be confessed and repented of before a Holy God, and when appropriate, before those whom we have wronged.
What we, as individuals and as the church, do NOT need to do is behave like the society and culture around us, when the behavior of our society and culture contradicts what the Bible clearly states and teaches.
We should be shining examples of how things should be, not the way they are.
For further reading, should be interested:
Racism, Justified: A Critical Look at Critical Race Theory (Highly recommended)
Contributed to Pulpit and Pen P. E. Harris
Through many years of pastoral ministry, I have encountered many so-called evangelical Christians who do not believe in speaking about their faith. Many of them have bought into the philosophy that Christians should only witness Jesus Christ to people by their lifestyle. The mantra of these people goes like this, “You should be a witness for Jesus Christ and maybe even have to speak about it.” Many in the church today would agree with this statement. They believe that somehow through osmosis people get saved when they see Christians just being themselves. I have even heard testimonies by Christians who claimed to have won people to Christ without a spoken word. And yet, in 30 years I have never run into anyone who said that was how they got saved. Lifestyle evangelism is just an excuse to be silent about Christ. This philosophy is contrary to the express teachings of Jesus Christ who said, “… go into all nations and preach the Gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) And, “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before my Father in Heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in Heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33)
The reason people like lifestyle evangelism is because it makes them feel safe. They never have to confront people about sin. They never have to stand up for righteousness. In certain crowds, they can always be spiritually ambiguous so as not to offend. They never have to face rejection and ridicule. They just live their “Christian” lives and keep their opinions to themselves. A close cousin of lifestyle evangelism is the Joel Osteen positive only Christianity. People know there is little risk of offense if you only speak positive and encouraging things. This safety issue is one of the reasons for the popularity of Mr. Osteen. In Osteen’s church, you can be a “Christian” without counting the cost of discipleship. And you never have to worry about having a contrary opinion with other people. You never have to worry that your message will offend anyone. You never have to bring up the subjects of sin and rebellion. Because all you do is encourage people to find health, wealth and prosperity in the promises of Jesus. No muss, no fuss, no confrontation, no persecution by the world. Just believe the myth that as long as you focus on improving yourself and finding your own purpose, the glow of your positive light will attract other people.
However, there is a major flaw with this philosophy. This is a Christianity who’s true light is hidden under a basket. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not just a positive message of God’s gifts and promises. The Gospel is first a negative message convicting people of sin. This conviction leads to repentance and contrition before people can ever receive the positive promises of God. The ministry of the Gospel is not just positive light, it is first and foremost confrontational salt. As Jesus Christ said in the Sermon on the Mount, “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. You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp-stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:11-16) Notice how the reference to salt is connected to people who are persecuted for righteousness sake. Salt is a metaphor about people speaking up for the truth and righteousness of God. Notice also that salt comes before the light in the passage.
Before refrigeration, salt was indispensable to fight the bacteria that would cause food poisoning. If you went to the meat market the only choice you had was meat left outdoors, usually covered with flies. Eating meat is a very positive and healthy thing. But only a fool would try to eat unrefrigerated meat without first salting it before it was cooked. The use of salt rubbed into the meat kills off the corrupting influence of insect larvae, viruses, and bacteria. Even today it is recommended to give turkey a salt rub before cooking it to prevent salmonella. Salt also has the power to clean wounds and to prevent infection. The ancients commonly used salt as a medicinal cure. But needless to say, salt in a wound is a mighty powerful irritant. It stings, but it heals. Being salt in a spiritual sense means you are an irritant to people trapped in sin and worldliness. Just as salt stings when it confronts an infected wound, so does true preaching of repentance sting prior to salvation. The authentic Gospel stings the heart of sinful, worldly and lost people. And yet, without the medicine of Gospel-salt people cannot be healed, forgiven or set free by the blood of Christ. Being salt with flavor means you actually have to speak negative truth to lost souls in order to bring them to the positive aspects of deliverance and salvation. Being salt means you have to confront the corroding bacteria of false doctrine in the world and in the church. Being salt means you have become a true disciple of Jesus Christ. It means you must be willing to sacrifice yourself and suffer possible persecution for the sake of the genuine salvation of souls.
Before Lucifer fell and became Satan his name meant light-bearer. Presently the church is crammed full of useless positive light-bearers. This is Lucifer’s plan to turn Christians into half-truth positive only speakers so the true and complete Gospel never gets out. He wants us to bring light without salt, and he has been wildly successful. This work of Satan is all about deceiving souls because the half-truths of the positive Gospel are in reality the complete lies of the Evil One. Because of the popularity of the false positive Gospel throughout the world, the real church has a severe shortage of salt-bearers. Men and women who are willing to risk, confront and speak the truth necessary so people can be authentically saved. What the church and world need more than ever is full disciples of Jesus Christ who boldly proclaim both the salt and the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ’s substitutionary atonement and God’s grace to save.
[Contributed by P. E. Harris]
P.E. Harris has been a Christan pastor, teacher, and lecturer for 30 years. He and his wife Aloma live in Southern California. The Harris’ have 5 children and 8 grandchildren. Mr. Harris’ two books will be available in 2018. Christian Fiction: Royal Rodger and the Great King: And Christian Non-Fiction: Anchors of Salvation