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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Friday
Jun232006

On Baptists and Booze

sbc.jpg

At the annual meeting of the Southern Baptists, the following resolution was approved.  The spirit of prohibition lives on!

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Resolution No. 5


ON ALCOHOL USE IN AMERICA

WHEREAS, Years of research confirm biblical warnings that alcohol use leads to physical, mental, and emotional damage (e.g., Proverbs 23:29-35); and

WHEREAS, Alcohol use has led to countless injuries and deaths on our nation's highways; and

WHEREAS, The breakup of families and homes can be directly and indirectly attributed to alcohol use by one or more members of a family; and

WHEREAS, The use of alcohol as a recreational beverage has been shown to lead individuals down a path of addiction to alcohol and toward the use of other kinds of drugs, both legal and illegal; and

WHEREAS, There are some religious leaders who are now advocating the consumption of alcoholic beverages based on a misinterpretation of the doctrine of "our freedom in Christ"; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, June 13-14, 2006, express our total opposition to the manufacturing, advertising, distributing, and consuming of alcoholic beverages; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge that no one be elected to serve as a trustee or member of any entity or committee of the Southern Baptist Convention that is a user of alcoholic beverages.

RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists to take an active role in supporting legislation that is intended to curb alcohol use in our communities and nation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists to be actively involved in educating students and adults concerning the destructive nature of alcoholic beverages; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we commend organizations and ministries that treat alcohol-related problems from a biblical perspective and promote abstinence and encourage local churches to begin and/or support such biblically-based ministries.

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For a thoughtful and pastoral response from Justin Taylor, Click here: Between Two Worlds: The SBC Resolution on Alcohol

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Meanwhile, I went shopping for a new refrigerator.  I think I found the one I want.

beer fridge 2.jpg

 

Any thoughts?

 

Thursday
Jun222006

Who Said That?

question mark.jpgWho said that?

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"The best honor is that which a man gains in communion with the Most High. Jabez, we are told, was more honorable than his brothers, and his prayer is immediately recorded, as if to insinuate that he was also more prayerful than his brothers. We are told of the petitions in his prayer. All through the prayer it was very significant and instructive. We have only time to take one part of it - indeed, that one part may be said to comprehend the rest: `Oh, that you would bless me!'

I recommend [the prayer of Jabez] as a prayer for each one of you, dear brothers and sisters; one which will be available at all times; a prayer to begin Christian life with, a prayer to end it with, a prayer which would always be appropriate in your joys or in your sorrows.  Oh that you, the God of Israel, the covenant God, would bless me!"

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Go to it!  Please, no google searches or cheating!

Monday
Jun192006

Some Dos and Don'ts of Evangelism

conversation.jpg

 

Some "Dos and Don’ts" of Evangelism

Taken from lectures on evangelism, "Telling People the Truth in Love," now posted on the Riddleblog (click here)

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1. Be clear about what you believe and why you believe it. Know the Scriptures and know the confessions and catechisms. The more you know about your faith, the easier it is to talk with non-Christians.

2. The essence of evangelism is communicating the correct information about sin and grace, simply and clearly. Talk about the law and the gospel, not about infralapsarianism and divine simplicity. That comes later!

3. Avoid the use of Christian jargon. Speak about real sin, real guilt, real shed blood!

4. Use tact and be charitable! Don’t talk about reprobation with someone who has just lost an unbelieving family member. Be kind and courteous! Many non-Christians act and speak out of ignorance, not malice.

5. Be sensitive to someone’s past—if they’ve had a bad experience in church, struggle with a particular sin etc., be understanding and compassionate! Non-Christians hate self-righteousness, and they have a right to do so. Do not soft-peddle the law and the guilt of sin, but make sure they understand that you are a justified sinner, not a self-righteous "know it all," who is here to correct them!

6. Stick with the subject—don’t get side-tracked. When the conversation wanders, pull it back to center stage—the law and the gospel.

7. Evangelism is not about winning an argument, but leading people to Christ. Discussions may get heated and intense at times—that’s okay. But the purpose of evangelism is not to show why you are right and they are wrong. It is to communicate the truth of the gospel. The message is to be the offence. Not you!

8. When people are apathetic about sin—use the law. When people have doubts or are skeptical—use basic apologetic arguments. When people express guilt for sin—present the gospel.

9. Evangelism is about leading non-Christians to Christ. Convincing evangelicals that Reformed theology is true, falls under the heading of polemics. Don’t confuse the two.

10. Stick with what all Christians hold in common wherever possible. Leave the internecine fighting among Christians aside when talking to non-Christians. A non-Christian will not care much about why the Lutheran view of the Lord’s Supper is in error, or why Baptists are wrong about infant baptism. That will come during catechesis.

11. Wherever possible, speak about Christianity as factually true— "Jesus did this," "Jesus said this," "people heard and saw him," etc. Keep away from the subjective line of approach— "it works for me."

12. Pray for wisdom.

13. Trust in the power of God the Holy Spirit working through the word! Cite texts directly from the Scriptures with attribution. Jesus says, Paul says....Not, "I think," or "it seems to me."

14. Don’t rush things. Just because someone is not ready to trust in Christ after one encounter does not mean that effective evangelism has not taken place. Pre-evangelism is equally vital. You may plant, but someone else may have to water.

15. Treat people as objects of concern, not notches in your belt. Establish relationships and friendships whenever possible.

16. Don’t forget that a prophet is without honor in his own home. The chances of you leading your own unbelieving family members [or someone close to you] to Christ are remote. Pray for someone else to come and evangelize your family!

17. Don’t force things. If people balk, ridicule and otherwise are not interested, back off. Find another time and place. If after repeated attempts to communicate the gospel, and someone still shows an unwillingness to hear what you have to say, "shake the dust off your feet and move on to a new town!"

18. Be willing to get people the resources they need: be willing to provide them with a Bible, the right book to read, and certainly an invitation to attend your church or Bible study, etc.

19. Pray for opportunities to evangelize. Pray for your church—that God would bless the preaching of his word, that he would bring non-Christians into our midst, and that he would bless the church with growth.

20. You don’t have to become a practical Arminian to be a faithful evangelist! A Reformed approach to evangelism simply means telling people the truth in love.

Thursday
Jun152006

This One Cracked Me Up!

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I don't like to post jokes, but this one cracked me up!

I was walking across a bridge one day and saw a man standing on the edge about ready to jump.  Immediately, I ran over to him and plead, "Don't do it!"  "Stop!"

"Why shouldn't I jump?"  He said.

I said, "well, there is so much to live for . . ."

"Like what?" the man asked.

"Well," I said, "are you religious at all, or an atheist?"

"Religious."

"I am too!  Are you a Christian?"

"I am a Christian."

"Fantastic.  Me too.  Are you a Catholic or a Protestant?"

"Protestant."

"Me too."  What denomination?

"Baptist."

"Wow.  Me too.  Are you Baptist Church of the Lord or Baptist Church of God?"

"Baptist Church of God."

"Wow, that's amazing, so am I."  "Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or Reformed Baptist Church of God?"

"Reformed Baptist Church of God."

"I can't believe this!  Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Church of Baptist Church of God Reformation 1915?"

"Reformed Church of Baptist Church of God Reformation 1915."

To which I said, "die heretic scum!" and pushed him off.

 

Monday
Jun122006

What Will They Think of Next?

immerse bible.jpgWith the large numbers of Hurricanes expected this season, some of you might want to get one of these . . .  Yup, its a waterproof Bible!  From Thomas Nelson no less (surprise, surprise).

According to the publisher . . .

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Finally, a Bible that can go anywhere you go! The first-ever water-resistant Bible is available in lime green and orange. With the pages 100% water-resistant and a zipper for enclosing the pages, this Bible is a wonderful addition to any mission trip, a weekend at the beach, hiking, or even when you get baptized! More importantly, as you read the pages of the Bible you will be immersed in God's love for you and His wonderful plan for your life!

 

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(H. T. John Chitty)

I might have to get one of these for my Baptist Brother and White Horse Inn compatriot, Ken Jones.  Those of us in earthquake country in Southern California, would appreciate a "crush-proof Bible," with all of judgment passages highlighted in red.

Friday
Jun092006

Who Said That?

question mark.jpgWho Said That?

"Indeed, God would save all men if He could . . . . God will achieve the greatest number in heaven that He possibly can.  He does not love just some men; He loves all and will do everything within His loving power to save all He can . . . . God will save the greatest number of people that is actually achievable without violating their free choice."

You know the drill!  Leave your answer in the comments section.  Google searches do not count!  Answer to follow in a few days.

Wednesday
Jun072006

A Fashion Statement

fashion statement.jpgOne of my Lutheran friends sent this to me with the following caption:

"The man on the left, wearing a fabulous vintage chiffon-lined Dior gold lame gown over a silk Vera Wang empire waisted tulle cocktail dress, accessorized with a 3-foot beaded peaked House of Whoville hat, along with the ruby slippers that Judy Garland wore in The Wizard of Oz, is worried that The Da Vinci Code might make the Roman Catholic Church look foolish."

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I thought some of you might enjoy this so I am passing it along . . .

Saturday
Jun032006

And the Survey Says . . . The Antichrist Is . . .

antichrist beast wince.jpgIn a recent survey on sermonaudio.com (h.t. to Paul and Luann), people gave the following answers to the question, "who is the Antichrist?"  Over four hundred people voted.  Here are their answers . . .

 

•    A Future Man to Be Revealed

52% · 268 votes

 •    The Office of the Pope

24% · 122 votes

 •    An Invisible Yet Known Presance

3% · 18 votes

 •    All of False Religion

10% · 54 votes

 •    The Anti-Christ Has Come and Gone

4% · 21 votes

 •   

No answer. Skip this survey, I do not care to vote on this topic.

7% · 35 votes

In my book, The Man of Sin, I attempt to make the case that the church has faced many "antichrists" from the days of the apostles (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7).  

I also contend that the beast from the land is imperial Rome (Revelation 13:1-10) and the beast from the sea is the emperor cult in Asia Minor (Revelation 13:11-18) when John was given the vision we now know as the Book of Revelation, about A. D. 95.  The dragon empowers the state and its leader (the false prophet) to turn on all those who confess "Jesus is Lord."  To confess "Jesus is Lord" is to simultaneously confess that "Caesar isn't!" 

John implies that what is represented by the beast (a satanically energized state waging war on the church) will reoccur throughout the course of this age (Revelation 17:9-18), and will finally culminate in a great apostasy and out-pouring of evil at the end of this age (Revelation 20:7-10), when Satan is released from the Abyss, only to go to his final destruction.

Paul's discussion of the "man of sin" (lawlessness) in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, fits with this as well.  Paul speaks of someone in the church (the temple of God--which I believe is not a reference to the temple in Jerusalem, either in AD 70 or in the future), who proclaims himself God, demands worship, and deceives many through Satanic power.  Paul likewise ties this to a final apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3).  While image of a deceiver in the church surely fits with the papacy (which is an antichrist institution), Paul ties the revelation of this particular individual to the time of the end (2:8).  The appearance of the man of sin and the final apostasy are harbingers of the end.

So, how would I vote in the poll?  Because there is a certain sense in which Antichrist is a past, present, and future phenomena, if I could, I'd say "yes" to points 1, 2, and 4, and "no" to point 5, "the Antichrist has come and gone."

Friday
May192006

The "Moses Model" of Ministry Backfires . . .

chuck smith.jpgNo doubt, Chuck Smith is one of the most influential figures in the modern American church.  He's the father of "contemporary worship," he give life and vitality to the charismatic movement when it had no credibility, and he served as an important father figure to a generation of kids from the 1960's who did not have fathers--the so-called "Jesus People" movement.

But his theology has long been suspect.  He's not only made a number of nutty end-times predictions (see my last "Who Said That?"), but he is militant in his opposition to Reformed theology in particular and Reformational theology in general.  At best, he's a classic Arminian.  At worst, he's a thorough-going Pelagian.  His theology is characterized by an ecclecticism typical of independent Bible Church fundamentalism. 

Having attended Calvary Chapel back in the 1970's, I've long thought one of his most erroneous (and dangerous) notions was his view that church government is grounded in a one-to-one relationship between the pastor and Jesus (called the "Moses Model"--see Click here: The Philosophy of Ministry of Calvary Chapel). 

The Moses Model positions the pastor as the one who communicates the will of God to the church--not only in terms of theological teaching, but also in terms of overall ministry management and direction.  The pastor is elevated above other church officers (pastors) and "board members."  What the pastor says, God says . . .  Calvary Chapels have always been secretive about money and their finances--a fruit of this approach to church government.

Chuck Smith does not see a proper role for deacons and elders as is so clearly taught in the New Testament.  Many people consider "ecclesiology" the least important loci of Christian doctrine and don't give things like this much thought.  But this is what happens when you don't.

And so, not surprisingly, the chickens have come home to roost with the sad scandal going in Albuquerque and Southern California as reported recently in Christianity Today (H. T. my friend and colleague Danny Hyde--http://dannyhyde.squarespace.com/).

If you've ever attended a Calvary Chapel (or still do) you need to read this article carefully (see the link below).  This is what happens when ministers place themselves above Scripture ("just me and Jesus") and above other church officers (i.e., a group of elders who watch the pastor's life and doctrine).  This is what happens when church business is conducted in secret and when budgets are hidden from the congregation.  If this is not a good argument for Reformed/Presbyterian church government--which protects both ministers and church members from each other--I don't know what is!

It is all very sad.  But it is not at all surprising . . .

 

Monday
May152006

Who Said That?

question mark.jpgCan you guess who uttered these rather embarrassing words?

"From my understanding of biblical prophecies, I'm convinced that the Lord is coming for his Church before the end of 1981.  I could be wrong, but its a deep conviction in my heart and all my plans are predicated on that belief.  In 1986, Halley's Comet is coming again.  Jesus said that prior to His return in glory there'd be signs in the heavens.  Halley's Comet could be one of those signs . . ."

As usual, no cheating--google searches or otherwise!  Answer to follow in a few days.