Thursday, June 29, 2006

Sin is the Horse, Grace is the Cart

The real issue at hand here with this whole Tony Jones thing and whether or not he is "even a christian" is really about the teachings coming from him and from countless other Emergents. Some Emergents may blur certain doctrines of our faith and others like McLaren make it a whole lot more obvious that his teachings are ladened with heresies, erroneous theologies, and more than anything else, half-truths which in some cases may be worse since they are subtle and a little more difficult to detect.

Our faith is really not that complicated when it comes down to it.

Die to self (sin), live for Christ.

As I wrote when replying to Greggorant's question on the post "How Do You Define a Christian":

greggorant said...
in order to become a christian, do you have to believe the long list in your post?


Kennyo said...

go to this website:

Way of the Master

take the "Are you a good person" test at the bottom right corner of the site.

The "long list" that you refer to is a result of careful biblical study of the essential doctrines of true christian faith.

The way to become a christian is to understand your sin against a Holy God--read the 10 commandments and read Romans chapter 3.

God offers grace to us since atonement for our sin has been appeased through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. He took the punishment of our sin which we should have received but because of God's love He endured the punishment himself. There is nothing "good" within us yet while we were sinners Christ still died for us and offers his unmerited grace to us.

You must become converted.You must become born again to see the Kingdom of God--John 3:3

You must get a grasp of your need for the Savior- Jesus by understanding your violation to his holiness otherwise you will remain confused and unsaved destined to an eternal hell. God's standard is too high for us to attain but his grace is sufficient to save us anyway.

I love to tell this story

This is true love

This is a brief summary of the true gospel. I am hoping Greggorant was asking a question in sincerity. Either way, I wanted to make sure the gospel message was clear. Hopefully he understands if he didn't.

The Way of the Master website does a very good job explaining how we have offended the one true Holy God by disobeying the Ten Commandments. God cannot tolerate sin at all. He hates it, we should too. The Ten Commandments define what sin is for us. This is how we know we need the Savior.

God requires us to REPENT (turn away from sinning) give up everything for him and to be broken before him everyday. It is at that point in our attitudes that he offers his redemption through Jesus Christ receiving our punishment on the cross. This is the true gospel.

If anyone adds to this or takes away from it, they are a false prophet. We need to preserve the true gospel message. It is only a message of hope for those who understand their sin.

Sin and repentance are the horse, Grace and salvation are the cart.

Galatians 1:6-10

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!

As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


My prayer is that if there are some who may be reading these posts on thinkerup and may have recently become involved or are just beginning to become involved in an Emergent Church, would stop to consider these warning signs.

My hope is that anyone who finds themselves drawn to the Emergent Church movement would use careful biblical judgement and study to determine the truth through much prayer and research. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you his narrow truth as taught in his infallible scriptures.

The purpose of posting articles like the one below and the many others on this blog, is to warn people that the Emergent Church movement is rapidly heading toward pre-Protestant Reformation spiritual bondage and darkness. This movement is deceiving many, especially young people.

Please prayerfully take the time to study, read, and research as the Bereans did in Acts 17:11, not just trusting what the apostle Paul said but taking the time to carefully study and research the scriptures.



these articles are written by Richard Bennett of

"When the Catholic blueprint for false ecumenism appears in Evangelical circles, it is time to sound the alarm. The Emerging Church movement has become such a toxic and dangerous threat at the present time that I see that it will take three articles to analyze it.

In the first paper I will deal with the methods employed by Brian McLaren, a chief leader of the movement.

In the second article I will address the tenets of doctrine that the movement holds.

In a third article, I will write on the mystical aspect of the whole association."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Are Brian McLaren's Teachings Soul Damning?

an excerpt from the article by Richard Bennet

In order to accomplish his first step of lumping Protestants and Catholics together, [Brian] McLaren has to redefine the Lord Jesus Christ, Holy God, biblical authority, theology, salvation, and conservative Protestant denominational distinctives. However, after the example of the Lord and the Apostles,

1. Sola Scriptura--true believers adhere to God’s written Word alone as the final authority

2. Sola Gratia--Before the all-holy God, according to the Bible an individual is saved by grace alone

3. Sola Fide--through faith alone

4. Solo Christo-- in Christ alone

5. Soli Deo Gloria--all glory and praise is to God alone

These five biblical principles, called “the solas,” are the foundation of true faith in the Lord. They are founded on Scripture, existed in the early Church, and have been the basis of all genuine biblical revivals since then. The solas were the foundational principles for which so many thousands of Evangelicals gave their lives at the stake —
John Huss
William Tyndale
John Rogers
Hugh Latimer
Nicholas Ridley
Anne Askew
John Bradford
John Philpot name but a few — and for which millions were martyred under various tortures during six hundred years of papal Inquisition. Nevertheless, McLaren makes it very clear that conservative Protestants will have to compromise these basic biblical principles for the sake of community; otherwise they cannot be part of his “generous orthodoxy”.

According to McLaren, what we have just outlined in the solas must be discarded. Thus, he proclaims, “Calvinists in particular and fundamentalists in general” are to give up their “solas” or “alones” as distinctives because the word sola is not in the Bible. What he is telling the Bible believers is that they must renounce the five basic biblical principles — principles that were the distinctives, principles that separated the Reformers from the Roman Catholic Church. Hence, although McLaren has assured his readers that “emergent thinking” does not reject any of the thinking that has preceded it, yet when he applies his method, his words of assurance turn out to be of no value whatsoever.

On the most fundamental of these distinctives McLaren states, “Scripture is something God had ‘let be,’ and so it is at once God’s creation and the creation of the dozens of people and communities and cultures who produced it.” In this, as in most of his teaching, McLaren is in line with the Church of Rome. While Papal Rome does not say these words, she embodies the same concept when she states, “[Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God....” McLaren has clearly paralleled the Catholic line in attempting to equate man’s creativity on a par with God’s. The Scripture itself teaches something totally different, “...holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” 2 Peter 1:21. The Bible alone is the Word of God revealed to men as the Holy Spirit moved them. According to the Apostle Paul, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God....” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. It is not as McLaren would have one believe — “the creation of the dozens of people and communities and cultures.” It is especially serious to undermine the authorship of God’s written Word. Such belittling of the authority of the written Word prevents a person from coming to knowledge of the truth and embracing it as it is in Christ Jesus. This means that McLaren’s teaching is literally soul damning because it has “taken away the key of knowledge.”

(see entire article for references)

Monday, June 26, 2006

How do you define "A Christian"?

For all of those who have left comments regarding the question I raised about whether or not Tony Jones is even a christian in my previous post, I would recommend reviewing this list from Tim Challies newsletter. Like I said in one of the comments to Mark O. from Youth Specialties in the last post, I do not know if Tony Jones is a christian or not, I hope he is. I do not have a problem trying to determine whether someone is a christian or not. I think sometimes we need to do that. It is not a personal attack. It is an attempt to define truth and expose errors, especially from someone who is influencing youth. For all of you who have left comments saying you know Tony Jones personally I don't want to take anything away from that. I do not know what beliefs he holds to completely. I do not know him, I cannot say for sure one way or the other but I can bring into question someone's teachings which does reflect what they believe and if what they believe is biblically erroneous then it should be questioned and challenged in order to determine if a teacher is wheat or chaff. 1 Thess. 5:21. This way we know if we should be influenced by him or not.

By asking the question "is he even a christian" should cause us to look at what he teaches and stands for. This is the motive for the question being raised. This can be true for anybody. Please, make this true for me too.

What do we base our true faith on?

One thing I do not understand--how is it that men like Brian McLaren, Campolo, and Rob Bell can question orthodox creeds and foundational beliefs of our faith like the 5 Solas, the inherency and infallibility of scripture, or the things the Reformers stood for and are accepted with open arms and when someone like myself questions the salvation of one person, based on their teachings, people react with passionate fervor and get very upset? Where is the fervor in defending the Truth once delivered to the saints --Jude 1:3?

There must be a criterion which we can use to test teachings and teachers. I know this is very unpostmodern-like.

Truth is certain not ambiguous.

I think it is good to be reminded of what a christian believes every now and then. Apparently more often than we thought.

I love the clarity in this list of creeds. This is something more Emergents could do with although I know they get very uncomfortable with the idea of clarity and certitude. That's too bad because God is very clear, Satan is the author of confusion:


I believe in the Bible, that it is clear, complete, sufficient, true and without error. It says what it means. I do not demand that God speaks to me apart from it. I'm not waiting for still, small voices in my head or trying desperately to find God's will through random circumstances. I read, He speaks, I obey. Or I try anyways.

I believe in the God of the Bible. I believe in a God who is one, yet three. I believe in a God who is loving, holy, just, kind and good. I believe in a God who knows all and has foreordained all that has come to pass or will come to pass.

I believe that God, from nothing, made the world and everything in it in six days. Not six ages or six phases or six million years, but six days. 144 hours. That's what He said, so that's what He did. And it was good.

I believe in sin. I believe that Eve actually did converse with a talking snake and that her act of rebellion and the sin of her husband was as simple as taking a bite of a really delightful piece of fruit. This is not metaphor or fable. This is just what happened. Because of that sin, I believe you and I are both worthy of God's wrath. When Adam fell, we fell. And it was not good.

I believe that I am sinful. I delight in evil. I hate what is good. I am thoroughly, utterly depraved. Sin pervades every area of my life and turns me against my Creator. What is true of me is true of all men.

I believe in justice and in judgment. I believe that God, being just, demands just satisfaction for any all sinful deeds.

I believe in hell. A literal, tormentuous hell that is far worse than we can imagine. Nor should we want to imagine it. It is a place of justice. There are no devils with pitchforks and no sense of community where sinners sit around and discuss all the fun they had on earth. It is just the sinner and God, full of wrath, one-on-one forever. You don't want to experience that and neither do I, though I believe that we both deserve to go there.

I believe in grace, the unmerited favor that God chooses to extend to all in some ways and to only some in other ways. God grants grace to all men that they may live and laugh and love and enjoy this world. I believe that God grants special grace to some so that they may love and enjoy and serve Him forever. God shows His grace in providing us with a way out of the horrifying mess we've made.

I believe in Jesus. Born of a virgin, the perfect, Holy Son of God. The God-man. He died, literally, was buried, literally, and rose, literally.

I believe in the atonement. Jesus died on the cross in place of His people. He suffered in place of His people. And through this act, my sin was imputed to Him and His righteousness was imputed to me. This was the greatest act of grace and kindness the world has ever known or ever will know. Nothing that can, will, or could happen is greater than this.

I believe there is no salvation outside of Jesus. God will not waive the requirements of righteousness at the final judgment. Not for anyone and not for everyone. Not for those who have never heard of Him. Not for children. Not even not for those who love Him.

I believe in the gospel, the message of the good news of Jesus' perfect life, substitutionary death, and glorious resurrection.

I believe in repentance, for without turning away it is impossible to turn towards.

I believe that man's chief purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. To glorify God by enjoying Him forever. I don't need to undergo testing, fill out inventories or take a forty day journey to discover my gifting or purpose. Our purpose is as simple and as joyful as living to bring honor and joy and glory to God. Our purpose is a privilege.

I believe in the church - the true church - which is God's community of the elect, anxiously awaiting the sound of the trumpet, dedicating themselves to carrying out God's purposes while they wait. The church is the total number of God's people living when they are where they are. It is the church's honor and responsibility to take the good news to all the world.

I believe in families that honor God. I believe in families centered around marriage, an institution created by God and for God. Men are to lead their wives. Women are to submit to their husbands. Together, through their complementary roles, they are to provide a portrait of the love of God for His people.

I believe in perseverance; that God, by His grace, will never let go of those who have been saved.

I believe in heaven. A literal, beautiful, physical heaven that is far better than we can imagine. Heaven is the community of the redeemed together with God, full of love, all together for ever. It is a place of no pain, no sorrow. I long for this place. I hope I see it soon.

I believe in glorification; that someday God will return and will bring with him a new heaven and a new earth. Those who have been saved will live together forever, new body and perfected spirit united, in the presence of God. My heart aches for this day, for on this day I will believe perfectly and fully. And so will you.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Is Tony Jones Even a Christian?

The information in this article about Tony Jones (the US director of the Emergent Church and closely aligned with Brian McLaren) is bothersome, to think that Tony Jones may not be a true believer and yet is accepted by many in the church as though he were.

This is just an excerpt from a three part article on the Emergent Church by Richard Bennett. We should pray that Tony Jones really meets Jesus and repents from promoting forms of Eastern mysticism and Roman Catholic heresies. I do not know if he is born again or not, I can only go by what he says, writes, and teaches. It is very important to carefully understand what a person teaches before we automatically assume that they are part of the body of Christ. We need to test everything and test the teachings coming from the pulpits and books, even if the book is published by a "christian" publisher.


"In neither of his two books, Soul Shaper: Exploring Spirituality And Contemplative Practices In Youth Ministry (2003) and The Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life (2005), does Jones present the Gospel.

Like so many leaders in the Emergent Church, his personal testimony is not of being a convicted sinner without hope before the all Holy God and in that conviction coming to Christ as the only Savior. Rather, in Chapter 1, “The Quest for God”, Jones' testimony shows that in 2005 he is still fumbling in the darkness of unbelief.

"[Some of us] have this nagging feeling that God is following us around, nudging us to live justly, and expecting us to talk to him every once in a while...Every time I leave God's side, as it were, it's not too long until I feel God tagging right along beside me, I can't seem to shake him. Yet having this sense of God's company doesn't necessarily translate to a meaningful spiritual life. I know this because despite my awareness of God's presence, I have spent most of my life trying to figure out what to do about it".

This sad testimony is of a man who is not “in Christ”, and yet he is one of the leading lights of the Emergent Church movement in making and disseminating materials for youth pastors and youth groups.

Of his growing up in a Protestant church, he says, “I'd say there was one word that summed up my religious life: obligation.” Predictably, he fell away from his pattern of obligatory prayer, Bible reading, and “quiet time”, but felt guilt ridden about it. His solution:

"Something occurred to me: People have been trying to follow God for thousands of years...Maybe somewhere along the line some of them had come up with ways of connecting with God that could help people like me...I could think of no better way to spend it [his three month sabbatical] than to travel and read about different ancient ways of prayer and devotion".

His travels took him to round the clock prayer vigils and to Dublin, Ireland, to Catholic priest Alan McGuickian and the staff at the Jesuit Communication Centre. He “voraciously read” Roman Catholic mystics and spoke with individuals who were Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox. Nowhere does he mention any indepth study of the Bible nor of searching after the great truths of Scripture. In this way, his searching is reminiscent of Ignatius of Loyola and it is noteworthy that he recommends the disciplines of the founder of the Jesuits to youth pastors and youths to learn and practice. What is clear from his statements is that “obligation” remains major in his understanding of what it means to be a Christian — but what becomes equally clear is that he has no dependable knowledge of God from God. That is, he has no knowledge of God through the Bible as revelation by His Spirit. Because Jones does not hold to the Bible alone as giving truthful knowledge of God, God Himself remains a truth undefined. Thus Jones is free to define his own god and to fulfill his obligation to this god of his own making.

Thus by making Roman Catholic and Greek tradition his current standard, he is able to fulfill what he sees as his obligation in a supposedly time-honored and acceptable way through these old, mostly Roman Catholic mystical exercises. Yet clearly before the All Holy God, he is still an alien and a stranger to saving grace in Christ Jesus.

Jones's definition of “Christian” needs careful attention. In The Sacred Way, he states,

"For years I'd been told that to be a Christian meant I had to do three things: (1) read the Bible, (2) pray, and (3) go to church. But I had come to the realization that there must be something more. And indeed there is. There is a long tradition of searching among the followers of Jesus — it's a quest, really, for ways to connect with God...The quest is to know Jesus better, to follow him more closely, to become — in some mysterious way — wrapped into his presence. And I thank God that some of these brilliant and spiritual persons wrote down what they learned". (pp. 16-17)

What is missing in Jones's definition of following Jesus more closely is any conviction of sin and therefore any need for a Savior. Without the conviction of sin one does not have life in Christ Jesus. The Lord declared that the Holy Spirit “will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” Conviction is the Spirit's work; He does it effectually, and none but He can open the mind and heart of a sinner to saving faith. Jones appears to be totally unaware of this, for he says nothing about the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, or about the Holy Spirit's role of conviction. Jones is not a “follower of Jesus” in any biblical sense since his god is not the All Holy God of the Bible. His “Jesus”, therefore, is not the Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible."

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Brian McLaren Denies the Gospel

(by Richard Bennett)

McLaren absolutely denies the Gospel when, for example, he states,

"Perhaps our ‘inward-turned, individual-salvation-oriented, un-adapted Christianity’ is a colossal and tragic misunderstanding, and perhaps we need to listen again for the true song of salvation, which is ‘good news to all creation.’ So perhaps it’s best to suspend what, if anything, you ‘know’ about what it means to call Jesus ‘Savior’ and to give the matter of salvation some fresh attention. Let’s start simply. In the Bible, save means ‘rescue’ or ‘heal’. It emphatically does not mean ‘save from hell’ or ‘give eternal life after death,’ as many preachers seem to imply in sermon after sermon. Rather its meaning varies from passage to passage, but in general, in any context, save means ‘get out of trouble.’ The trouble could be sickness, war, political intrigue, oppression, poverty, imprisonment, or any kind of danger or evil."

Contrary to McLaren, Christ Jesus proclaimed, “I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” The Lord Himself summarized the Gospel when He said, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” The contrast is stark; the one who personally believes on the Son has everlasting life. The one who denies personal salvation is not only under the wrath of God, which is surely the soul’s death, but God’s wrath abides on him. McLaren has formally denied the faith. He and his followers have fulfilled the Word spoken of Scripture, that they “being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”

One can see McLaren’s heresy in other pastors and authors in the Emerging Church movement, such as Alan Jones. McLaren has endorsed Jones’ book, Reimagining Christianity: Reconnect Your Spirit without Disconnecting Your Mind. Alan Jones, like McLaren, rejects what is central and pivotal to the Gospel message. Jones brazenly declares, “The Church’s fixation on the death of Jesus as the universal saving act must end, and the place of the cross must be reimagined in Christian faith. Why? Because of the cult of suffering and the vindictive God behind it.” Jones goes on to say, “Penal substitution was the name of this vile doctrine.”

As we saw above, the Lord declared, “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” If McLaren and others, such as Alan Jones, continue to deny personal biblical salvation then they shall neither enjoy true life or happiness here nor in the world to come. Rather, they are now under the wrath of God’s condemnation. As there is no way of escaping the wrath of God but by the Lord Jesus Christ, those who will not personally trust and believe in Christ’s penal substitution in his or her place must go to eternity under the wrath of God and be cast, “into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Such is the miserable condition of those who accept such teaching, i.e., denying personal salvation, which we have documented.

McLaren, however, is not concerned with hell because, he says,

Isn’t hell such a grave ‘bottom line’ that it devalues all other values? It so emphasizes the importance of life after death that it can unintentionally trivialize life before death. No wonder many people feel that ‘accepting Jesus as a personal Savior’ could make them a worse person — more self-centered and less concerned about justice on earth because of a preoccupation with forgiveness in heaven. Again, although I believe in Jesus as my personal savior, I am not a Christian for that reason. I am a Christian because I believe that Jesus is the Savior of the whole world.

In the above statement McLaren does what countless others have done before him. He remakes Jesus into a social justice mascot. “Accepting Jesus as a personal Savior” for him is not focused on “forgiveness” but rather on “justice on earth.” The Lord Himself spoke about sin before God, and He was not an advocate of “justice on earth!” He taught that “...whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin... if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” In this passage, the Lord showed that He was not referring to political bondage but to a person’s slavery to evil passions and desires. The Lord’s message is about the bondage to sin and of the spiritual liberty that He brings. Christ Jesus’ message is “...except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” It never was a call for “justice on earth.” It is interesting that the Catholic priests, Leonardo and Clodovis Boff, would agree with McLaren as they wrote, “Liberation theology was born when faith confronted the injustice done to the poor.” Let it be clearly and emphatically stated: if Christ Jesus does not save a person spiritually, that person’s case is desperate, and he will die in his sins. McLaren’s profession, “I am a Christian because I believe that Jesus is the Savior of the whole world,” suggests that the whole world makes up the kingdom of God. Unless his profession is interpreted in the sense of personal repentance and salvation from sin, which he denies, McLaren’s personal salvation is a socialized reduction of the Gospel message.

The true message is the clarion call of the Lord, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The Lord’s message will always be “everlasting life,” notwithstanding a thousand McLarens who try to reduce His teaching into pragmatism, i.e., “concerned about justice on earth.” McLaren needs the light of the biblical solas to draw him out from his efforts to demolish the Christian faith; but he has rather turned aside into a still darker haunt, Eastern mysticism.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


I received a great father's day gift the day before Fathers Day. My wife and kids gave me a DVD of Rudyard Kipling's Captains Courageous from 1937.

I love this movie, it is one of my favorites. I intended to write a post about the many excellent examples of fatherhood in this movie but I couldn't find the time.

However, I found other illustrations in this film helpful in describing one thing in particular going on today in evangelicalism.

In the film, ten year old spoiled rotten brat Harvey Cheyne played by Freddie Bartholomew is the son of a widowed millionaire tycoon who sincerely loves his son but is unaware of his son's manipulative antics of bribery and threats in order to win favor with his peers. When things start getting out of hand with the boy, his father takes him on a luxury cruise in order to spend some time with his son and restore their relationship. While on the ship, Harvey mistakenly falls overboard. Soon thereafter Harvey gets rescued by Manuel, a humble Portuguese fisherman played by Spencer Tracy. He pulls the unconscious boy aboard his skiff and takes him on to the fishing vessel "We're Here" where he is surrounded by rugged fishermen. After Harvey awakens, he approaches the captain of the vessel, Captain Troop played by Lionel Barrymore and demands the captain promptly take him back to port. The captain is unfazed by Harvey's incessant demands and informs the boy that he will be able to return to his father when they have gathered enough fish to fill their boat. This, Harvey is told will take about three months. This is unacceptable to Harvey.

This boy comes from a world where everything he demands he gets. He is accustomed to telling adults what to do as they wait on him hand and foot. For the first time in his young life he finds himself in a position where the world does not revolve around him. This doesn't make sense to him at all. He offers them $10,000.00 if they return him immediately. The offer falls on deaf ears. The men continue to go about their regular chores while politely tolerating Harvey's annoying demands. He continues to insist the captain turn the ship around and return him to his father or he will have them all arrested for kidnapping.

As the boy refuses to relent and will not shut up, the captain of the ship mutters some words under his breath about "regretting to have to do this" as he gets up, goes over to the boy and smacks him in the head knocking him down on a big heap of fish carcasses. The boy suddenly shuts up. For the first time in his life he has just been put in his place. It's a wonderful thing to see. Finally, somebody who had the sense and the authority to stand up to this little boy who doesn't know his place among his elders and is convinced the world revolves around him, stands up to this spoiled brat, putting him in his place, and begins to bring clarity to the situation.

That scene in the movie sets the stage for what happens throughout the film. The boy learns how to work, clean, cut and bait fish along with the other fishermen. He learns to humble himself and respect others around him. He learns to take responsibility for his own actions. He learns to be unselfish. He learns what it means to be ashamed of his unethical deeds. He learns what it means to have little and appreciate life and see the many untangle blessings God provides. Manuel becomes a father to Harvey and changes his life forever.

My whole point in bringing up this movie is that I believe it is a good example of what is going on today in evangelicalism with so many of these new-upon-the-scene pastors and authors like Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Dan Kimball, Doug Pagitt, Tony Jones, and not so new Tony Campolo, to mention a few. This also resembles some youth pastors in today's churches.

What the church needs today are MEN like Captain Troop to get up and SMACK these guys on the head (so to speak) and tell them to sit down and shut up. Rob Bell and Brian McLaren come aboard the fishing vessel and start to tell the other fishermen that we must turn around and go a different direction? That's exactly what these guys are doing. They're coming onboard this ship with new charts in hand (I wonder if the charts were published by Zondervan) attempting to convince the crew that we need to rethink and re-imagine our present course.

I would love to see authoritative men of God stand up to these young Fletcher Christians and put them in their place, spiritually. Instead I'm afraid many evangelical leaders are listening to them and even seriously considering what they are teaching. They are giving them a platform. They're thinking..."maybe we should go back and change our agenda, maybe we should rethink or re-imagine our course. Maybe there are 'secret charts' we were not aware of or maybe our charts are outdated and today's fisherman may not feel that this is the best course to take".

O, I know that old fashioned "authority figure thing" doesn't work anymore with our current postmodern culture. Harvey's perception of an authority figure didn't work for him either until he ran into someone who actually exercised authority over him, then it worked.

Just imagine guys like Rob Bell, McLaren, and Campolo or one of today's youth pastors with his earrings and "ghetto-jargon" conversing with any of the "initials guys" (A.W. Pink, A.W. Tozer, W.P. Nicholson, J.C. Ryle, E.M Bounds, C.H. Spurgeon, L.R. Shelton, R.A. Torrey, D.L. Moody etc.). I can't imagine it. I don't even think the "initial guys" would give them the time of day, AND RIGHTFULLY SO! I think they would either ignore them like captain Troop did Harvey or they would boldly "put them in their place".

This is what we need men of God to do today in the church.

The "initial guys" remind me of Captain Troop. I know that they are no longer with us, but what I would like to know is are there any men out there today who have a position of spiritual authority who will speak out boldly against authors like Tony Campolo, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell and any other Emergent maverick with the arrogance and audacity to question the authority of the Word of God and believe it is their position to try and turn the fundamental doctrines of our faith on its head?

The same goes for any pastors of churches who may have a youth pastor introducing ideas and false doctrines flourishing in the Emergent Church circles and concepts promoted by the likes of the Campolos and McLarens, not to mention this infatuated fascination with the mystical "ancient spiritual practices" of the desert fathers and unbiblical doctrines of the apostate Roman Catholic Church.

Come on men! Stand for the truth! Contend for the faith! Quit making your idol "getting along with everybody". Where is Captain Troop? Where is Manuel the humble fisherman who takes this young boy and teaches him lessons in humility and respect?

In the end of the movie the boy becomes a respectable and appreciative person. He reconciles his relationship with his father and learns lessons of life which would not have been possible had it not been for the influence and bold leadership of real men like Manuel, Captain Troop, and his father.

They allowed Harvey to stay aboard the ship but they certainly did not let him dictate where the ship was to go and what the fishermen were to do. That was determined by the wise captain of "We're Here" and we know who our ultimate Captain is.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Highly Questionable Methods

by Robert Reymond

“The problem in our day, which gives rise to highly questionable church growth methods, is twofold:

On the one hand, we are seeing a waning confidence in the message of the gospel. Even the evangelical church shows signs of losing confidence in the convincing and converting power of the gospel message. That is why increasing numbers of churches prefer sermons on family life and psychological health. We are being overtaken by what Os Guinness calls the managerial and therapeutic revolutions. The winning message, it seems, is the one that helps people to solve their temporal problems, improves their self-esteem and makes them feel good about themselves. In such a cultural climate, preaching on the law, sin and repentance, and the cross has all but disappeared, even in evangelical churches. The church has become "user friendly," "consumer oriented," and as a result evangelical churches are being inundated with "cheap grace" (Bonhoeffer). Today's "gospel" is all too often a gospel without cost, without repentance, without commitment, without discipleship, and thus "another gospel" and accordingly no gospel at all, all traceable to the fact that this is how too many people today have come to believe that the church must be grown.

On the other hand, we are seeing a waning confidence in preaching as the means by which the gospel is to be spread. As a result, preaching is giving way in evangelical churches to multimedia presentations, drama, dance, "sharing times," sermonettes, and "how to" devotionals. Preaching is being viewed increasingly as outdated and ineffective. Business techniques like telemarketing are now popular with the church growth movement. Churches so infected also look to the multiplication of programs to effect their growth. They sponsor conferences and seminars on every conceivable topic under the sun; they subdivide their congregations down into marrieds and singles, single parents and divorced, "thirty-something" and "twenty-something," teens, unemployed, the child-abused and the chemically dependent, attempting to arrange programs for them all. And once a person joins such a church, conventional wisdom has it, the church and the minister must meet his every felt need. Accordingly, ministers have become managers, facilitators, and motivators—everything but heralds of the whole counsel of God—and this all because they have lost confidence in the preaching of God's Word as the primary means for the growth of the church and the individual Christian.

What is the answer? A restored confidence in the Reformed doctrine of the sovereignty of God in salvation!”

--Robert L. Reymond, in A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

God Uses Bold Men

Why do we always have to apologize for being a man?

There are few things I enjoy seeing more than a man whose number one desire is to acquire his strength from the power of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ.

He will be bold, not a wimp. He will fear God rather than being afraid to offend other effeminate men or dominate women. He will stand up and proclaim God's truths (all of them) without cowering into this little harmless passive kitten. Men who find their strength on their knees, alone with God.

This is how all christian men should behave. This is how every man who is a pastor of the true saving gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ should be.

Check out THIS criteria for a pastor and for a christian man:

"The gospel of Christ does not move by popular waves. It has no self-propagating power. It moves as the men who have charge of it move. The preacher must impersonate the gospel. Its divine, most distinctive features must be embodied in him. The constraining power of love must be in the preacher as a projecting, eccentric, an all-commanding, self-oblivious force. The energy of self-denial must be his being, his heart and blood and bones. He must go forth as a man among men, clothed with humility, abiding in meekness, wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove; the bonds of a servant with the spirit of a king, a king in high, royal, in dependent bearing, with the simplicity and sweetness of a child. The preacher must throw himself, with all the abandon of a perfect, self-emptying faith and a self-consuming zeal, into his work for the salvation of men. Hearty, heroic, compassionate, fearless martyrs must the men be who take hold of and shape a generation for God. If they be timid time servers, place seekers, if they be men pleasers or men fearers, if their faith has a weak hold on God or his Word, if their denial be broken by any phase of self or the world, they cannot take hold of the Church nor the world for God."

--E.M. Bounds (1835-1913), Power Through Prayer

Monday, June 19, 2006


Calling all religions, liberal politicians, Emergents (you know who you are), and enlightened citizens of the the global community. Come discover the answers to all of the world's woes. Here they are to save all mankind's (oops, I mean humankind's) problems. You won't want to miss THIS OPPORTUNITY:


More than 500 people from 40 states are coming next week (June 26-28) to Pentecost 2006: Building a Covenant for a New America. Don't miss your chance to take your faith deeper by building the faith-based movement to overcome poverty.

"The moral imperative for overcoming poverty calls us to move beyond empty promises and lack of will – beyond the politics of blame to a politics of solutions. It is time for all leaders to move from sound bites to sound vision; from debates to dialogue; from rhetoric to results. Overcoming poverty must become a nonpartisan agenda and a bipartisan cause. It’s time to build a Covenant for a New America.

Join hundreds of church leaders, lay leaders, social service providers, and activists young and old for three days of putting faith into actionto build the movement to overcome poverty in the U.S. and throughout the world."

Speakers include:

Sen. Barack Obama
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton
Sen. Sam Brownback
Sen. Blanche Lincoln
Sen. Rick Santorum
Sen. Olympia Snowe*
Rep. James Clyburn
Rep. Rosa DeLauro*
Chairman Howard Dean*
Chairman Ken Mehlman*
Marian Wright Edelman, Children's Defense Fund
John Carr, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Rev. Tony Campolo, Eastern University
Rev. Sharon Watkins, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Rev. Cheryl Sanders, Third Street Church of God, Howard University
Rev. Glenn Palmberg, Christian Reformed Church
Rev. Noel Castellanos, Christian Community Development Association
Rev. Brian McLaren, Cedar Ridge Community Church
Rev. Jim Wallis, Sojourners-Call to Renewal

See you there!

The Sojourners/Call to Renewal Staff


You won't see me there. You won't see me within a hundred miles of this one.

Check out this excerpt:

"The conference will also serve as the launch of a new initiative, the “Covenant for a New America,” a solutions-based agenda for overcoming poverty that transcends ideology".

Doesn't that sound a little eerie?

This is sort of like a New Reformation/U.S. Declaration/church-state duel effort combination/political/environmental humanitarian/ecumenical thing...I guess.

How appropriate for today.


Saturday, June 17, 2006

You Cannot Love God, and Love the World at the Same Time!

from "The Soul after Conversion", Octavius Winslow, 1808-1878

"For everyone born of God overcomes the world.
This is the victory that has overcome the world,
even our faith." 1 John 5:4

Faith then is the conquering grace!

Faith gives the victory!

Faith crushes this tremendous foe!

And how does faith overcome the world?

By leading the believer to the cross of Jesus!

True faith deals with its great object, Jesus.

It goes to Him in the conflict.
It goes to Him when hard pressed.
It goes to Him in its weakness.
It goes to Him in deep distress.

On Him it leans, and through Him it always obtains the victory.

Of the martyrs it is recorded that they
"overcame through the blood of the Lamb!"

Paul employs similar language in describing his victory:
"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus
Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me,
and I to the world." Galatians 6:14

It is faith in Christ that gives us the victory!

How could a feeble saint, with no strength or wisdom
in himself, overcome so powerful and subtle an enemy
as the world without supernatural aid?

He never could!

Look at the world!
There are its ten thousand temptations....
its temptations of pleasure,
its temptations of ambition,
its temptations of wealth,
its false religion,
its temporizing policy,
its hollow friendship,
its empty show,
its gay deceptions,
its ten thousand arts to ensnare, beguile, allure and charm.

Oh, how could one poor weak believer ever crush
this fearful, powerful foe but as he is "strong in
the grace that is in Christ Jesus"?

The cross of Christ gives him he victory!

Christ has already conquered the world, and faith
in His blood will enable the feeblest soul to exclaim,
while the enemy lies subdued at his feet, "Thanks be
unto God, who always causes me to triumph in Christ."

Reader! have you obtained the victory over the world,
or has the world obtained the victory over you? One
of the two is certain; either you are warring against it,
or you are its passive and resistless victim; either you
are "born of God," and "have overcome the world," or
you are yet unregenerate, and the world has overcome you.

On whose side is the victory?

Perhaps you profess faith in the Lord Jesus,
yet love the world, and conform to....
its maxims,
its policy,
its principles,
its fashions,
its dress,
its amusements,
even its very religion- for the world has its hollow forms of religion.

Is it so?

Then hear what the Word of the Lord says to you.
"Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you,
for when you love the world, you show that you do
not have the love of the Father in you." 1 John 2:15.

A solemn declaration for you, you who profess faith
in Christ, and who are still lovers of the world!

You cannot love God, and love the world at the same time!

Do not be deceived!

The outward garb of religion will not save you!

The mere name, the empty lamp; these will
avail you nothing when you come to die.

If the world has never been ejected from your heart,
if you have never been crucified to it, then the love
of God is not there; if the love of God is absent,
then you are a stranger to the new birth.


(The following article was edited with additions and
subtractions. The original author is unknown.)

It is said that Satan called a worldwide convention; and in his
opening address to all his evil angels, he said, "We can't keep
the real Christians from going to church services. We can't
keep them from reading their bibles and knowing the truth.
We can't even keep them from holding godly values. But we
can keep them from forming an intimate, abiding fellowship with
Christ. This is most critical for our cause, for if they have
intimate, abiding fellowship with Christ, then we can have no
power over them, and no chance of gaining strongholds in their
lives. Therefore, my evil comrades, this is what I want you to

"But how shall we do this?" shouted one of his demons.

"Keep them busy in non-essentials of life! Invent unnumbered
schemes to occupy their minds. Tempt them to spend, spend,
spend and to borrow, borrow, borrow! Convince them to
work 6 and 7 days a week with both husbands and wives
working 10-12 hours per day, so they can afford their
lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children.
Let televisions, VCR's, CD's, video games, and movies baby-
sit their children. By these tactics alone, we will fragment
their families."

"Over stimulate their minds with high energy sounds and
entertainment so that they cannot hear the still small voice of
our dread enemy, the Holy Spirit. Entice them to listen to
music and to watch programs, even many of the religious ones,
which will jam their minds with our agenda and our
philosophies. Flood their schedules with every kind of sports
activity you can imagine. They are especially gullible to these
kinds of tactics, since there is 'nothing wrong with them'!
Fill them with dread by pounding their minds with news and
weather reports 24 hours a day. Flood their mail and email
boxes with "stuff"; and have them pass trivia to and fro to one
another. Fill their minds with incredible amounts of sports
trivia. You see, my dark friends, we shall JAM THEIR

"In their recreation, entice them to be excessive. Fill church
calendars with sports and recreation. Exhaust them, so that
they will be too tired for serious bible study and prayer.
Exhaust them so that they will have no time for Christian
hospitality. Exhaust them so that they will have no heart for
ministry to the lost. O evil one, our plan will cause them to
forget that the lost are lost! Keep them going to amusement
parks, sporting events, concerts and movies; keep them
consumed with the cares of this life! And when they do meet,
instead of spiritual fellowship, have them involved in gossip
and small talk and card games."

"And don't forget to crowd their lives with causes and events
that are 'good and acceptable'. Again, our strategy is to so
exhaust them that they have no time to feed their souls, or to
cultivate love for our dread enemy, Christ. Thus, they will
have no spiritual power over temptations, over habits, over
wrong attitudes and so much more. They will have less and less
discernment as to what is true and what is false, as to what
is good, and what is evil. They will not even suspect us!"

Well, as you can tell, it was quite a convention!
And the demons went eagerly to their assignments.

Can we judge the success of their convention? Yes!
Just give an honest answer to this one question--
Do you know any busy, busy, busy, exhausted Christians
who are running to and fro, who have knowledge about
many things, but have precious little time to sit at
Jesus' feet, and who are fast loosing their grip on peace
and holiness and love and purity and forgiveness, and
who have less and less time and heart for eternal things,
or for the souls of others (even their own children!)
because their minds and hearts are jammed with
the things of this world?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

"Small Groups" vs The Family

"The best way to learn God's Word is through small groups"

"If kids are asking questions then they are learning"

"We need each other to properly grow in our faith"

"We were made to live in community"

I kept hearing these statements from the leadership of our church. As Sunday School teachers to teenagers, we were being told by the staff something new. That the best way for young people learn and get close to God is through intimate, close relationships with us and other kids. We began to be skeptical but went along and gave them the benefit of a doubt saying, "well, okay I guess". But as time went by the push for relationships got more intense and louder from the staff. Finally small group time replaced Bible teaching. So, we expressed our concerns and objections (in love) then left. Our objections fell on deaf ears.

Today in many churches that have fallen for modern day trends of church growth, the family worshipping together is almost extinct. Families that sit together in a church service are instantly noticed and seen as odd and unusual. A father who requires his teenagers to sit with him and their mother in the pew is almost unheard of.

I remember a previous pastor of ours. He was always thrilled to see families together at church. Families like mine were considered to be an asset to our local church body. But as time went by, with new leadership at the helm, family friendly attitudes began to fade. But small group friendly attitudes began to abound.

I have six children. My brothers and sisters combined with my kids makes up a family of 18 kids. Imagine that, all in the same church. Wow! A church's dream; to have so many young faces brightening up the hallways. You would think. But today, that kind of make up of a family in some churches is actually considered a threat. Especially in the churches that are presently obsessed with the small group paradigm.

In this new paradigm, the group is honored, not the family. Pastors will often make mention of this group or that group and talk about how they pulled together or how they helped the poor. But rarely, if ever, will you hear of a pastor who compliments a family where the mother and father are sacrificing their time, their love, their dreams, their everything for the poor? No, for the homeless? No... BUT FOR THEIR CHILDREN! When was the last time you heard of the church leadership talk about the first small group ordained and established by God, the family?

The visible family unit is being overshadowed by popular philosophies of community and unity which often ignore the strains put upon a family who is trying to go along with a church program that expects their members to join up with a small group to the detriment of Sunday family time (if that even exists anymore).

The family is fighting for its very life in every arena in society. And yes, even in the modern church.

Small groups can be helpful, but let's put the family first. And if small group time interferes with family time, tell small group time to take a hike. You got your small group already, your family!


Get Out Of The Church!

The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Our Position and Our Purpose" 2 Cor. 7:1.

"I would say to you, members of this church,
"Be holy!" Whatever you are, do seek to be holy.

And if you will not be holy- if you have a mind
to keep your sins- do us the favor to give up
your profession. If you will have your sins,
and go to hell, you can do it so much better
outside the church than you can inside.

I cannot see why you must need to do Christ
the double ill-turn to be his enemy, and yet
profess to be his friend.

Get out of the church, you that are hypocrites!"

--Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Truth Mixed with Error is Equivalent to ALL Error

"Error is like leaven of which we read, "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.

Exposing error is most unpopular work. But from every true standpoint it is worthwhile work. To our Savior, it means that He receives from us, His blood-bought ones, the loyalty that is His due. To ourselves, if we consider "the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt," it ensures future reward, a thousand-fold. And to souls "caught in the snare of the fowler"- how many of them God only knows-it may mean light and life, abundant and everlasting."

--Dr. Harry Ironside (1876-1951)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Devil Seeds Now Sprouting

For the last fifty years or so the devil has been cleverly sowing his seeds in the secular world for the sole purpose of reaping a harvest of widespread deception and open rebellion in the church.

The fifties in America and England introduced seeds of a harmless generational gap, manifested best in Rock-n-Roll music and James Dean. They called it rebellion. Rebels without a cause. Looking back, today's kids laugh at it as innocent and corny. Back then being a rebel was daring and risky. Today some form of rebellion and self expression is mandatory by the time you're 13 or you're a nerd. Today rebellion is noble.

The sixties pushed the boundaries even more. Distrust in institutionalized forms of authorities led to what we today call post-modernism. The Government and churches was the problem, not the rebellious ones' rejection of authority. Back then it was free sexual expression, drugs and distrust. Did church leaders who panicked over the "devil's rhythm" in the rock-n-roll music maybe see something bubbling under the surface? They couldn't put their finger on it but they recognized rebellion when flaunted right in front of them.

A modern day example of a seed once sown and recently sprouting occurred a decade ago when we applauded and re-elected a president who lied to us and polluted the White House with the stench of his sorted affairs. America then give him a high five and admired him for being honest enough to obey his sexual urges. He was a product of the sixties. But the good thing is that he didn't inhale. Shame on us. A seed once sown now sprouting.

In the seventies, churches became more open to new methods of outreach by bringing the world into the church. Everybody decided to become "born again". Movie stars, presidents and Terry Bradshaw. Wow! Even Larry Flynt and the anti-Anita Bryant crowd! Back then you could be in the world and "of the world" and yes, you could still be a "christian"! Separation from the world? What's that? You're a weirdo.

Now that the seventies ushered in the idea that anybody who made a profession of faith should now be trusted and taken at their word. The church got into the same boat as the world. The eighties told the church to be open to anything and gave us permission to be selfish without guilt. It was called the decade of greed, self and having it all. Pop-psychology and "I'm okay, you're okay" was the way. The worst people in society were the TV evangelists. Let's not forget, Michael Jackson was our model for the real man, to be a lover and not a fighter, remember? The evangelical church became more tolerant of everything from sissified preachers to women leaders.

Then came the nineties, the decade of political correctness and male sensitivity. The worst thing you could do is to offend someone with harshness of words. Preachers silenced themselves on topics of abortion and homosexuality.

The seventies, eighties and nineties found the devil more subtle in his sowing methods. The western secular world was already in the devil's camp. Don Henly described it well in "The End of the Innocence". The church, the devil's real prey, was even more in the cross hairs.

Finally in the new millennium, the church is so lost in the jungle of worldliness that we have disappeared into the secular landscape. So much so that we can't even see the devil's army rushing towards us with weapons of deception. The seeds once sown have now sprouted into weapons.

Weapons like rebellion against doctrine, rejection of male authority in the church, acceptance of anyone who makes a profession without evaluation, the substitution of psycho-babble for biblical doctrine, infatuation with preachers missing a backbone, church leaders who relinquish their position to eager women, confusion of roles in the christian family and let us not overlook, the evangelical church's love affair with Holy Spirit-avoiding, family-neglecting methods of church growth. And last but not least, at this present time all forms of ancient, Reformation-denying, eastern, mystical, contemplative-prayer, Catholic meditation techniques.

So here we are today. When we see a teacher or pastor, like Dan Kimball or Shane Claiborne who is outside the norm, appears extreme or non-conformist we must entertain his teachings and not expect him to be like us. Seeds of the fifties and sixties taught us that.

We must assume that any teacher or preacher is a legitimate teacher of God's Word, no matter what they teach just because they said they are. Tony Campolo comes to mind. We must embrace anything they teach because we must consider all sides of the story. Even the acceptance of sodomy if necessary. Seeds sown in the seventies.

When we see teachings that are all about the self, full of psychotherapy and pop-psychology it must be biblical and acceptable. Robert Schuller and the eighties taught us that. When jolted with anything goes styles of worship or women pastors, we dare not say a word for fear of offending someone. We must be politically correct. A real man would never offend anyone with his words, thanks to the seeds sown in the eighties and nineties.

We must be open minded and never take a rigid stand on doctrine. There can be more than one way of looking at scripture, so said the nineties and so said Brian McLaren, Rob Bell and the ever elusive Emergent Church. After all, there's more than one way of doing church too, if you don't believe me, go ask Rick Warren. He said it, I believe it and that settles it for me. And of course, there are many ways to pray. Richard Foster showed us that. The ancient monks were those we should learn from says Richard. Even if they were into panentheism and transcendental meditation. Thanks Richard.

Let's wake up!

We as the church must see today's deceptions for what they are, deep levels of worldly pollution that have been developing at a record pace over the last fifty years. The church needs to come clean, be clean and stay clean. We need to clean up our act and go back to corporate prayer and the teaching of the uncompromising hard Gospel and plain Truth of God's Word in this corrupt world. The church needs to sow seeds of the Gospel into the world and not allow the devil to sow seeds of the world into the church. Let's turn the table. We need to get the world out of the church and the Gospel into the world. The workers, you and I all who believe, need to get busy in our churches training each other, praying with each other. The corporate gathering of the church exists not for the world, but for the believer, as the Body of Christ, not the body of the world. Teach the Word, preach the Word (2 Tim. 4:2) that is our duty. Test all things, hold on to what is good and avoid all forms of evil (1 Thess.5: 21, 22).


Monday, June 12, 2006


These are the people training our youth pastors at the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention (NYWC). --You will need iTunes to be able to see the video of their podcast.

Everything's a big joke.

What a far cry from the description of the saints in Hebrews 11:32-38. How can we expect kids to take our faith seriously when leaders like this act like circus clowns?

I hope your church doesn't use Youth Specialties for the youth department's curriculum. If they do, I would carefully look into this organization.

By the way, Youth Specialties is also embracing "contemplative spirituality" and mysticism which will be commented on some other time.


Meditation in the Morning

This is something which I need to hear and apply to my life daily. I do read the word and pray each day but I don't do it in the morning. It's easier to sleep a little longer.

"My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up" (Psalm 5:3).

Bible study, meditation on the Word, and prayer are necessities for a healthy Christian life and are good to practice at any time of the day or night, according to the constraints of time and responsibilities of each individual. Other things being equal, however, the best time of all is in the early morning. A believer who awakens each morning to the voice of the Lord in His Word will, in turn, be ready to speak words of blessing to others through the day (Isaiah 50:4). And as we, in turn, look up to Him each morning in prayer, He will hear and direct our steps through the day.

This was the example set by the Lord Jesus Himself: "And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed" (Mark 1:35). If even Jesus Christ needed such a quiet time early in the morning set aside to fellowship with His Father, we also would do well to follow.

Note the prayer of David: "Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee" (Psalm 143:8). We urgently need to know the way we should walk each day, for it is so easy to get turned aside into our own ways, and the obvious time to pray for guidance is at the very beginning of every day.

One should not make a legalistic ritual of prayer and Bible meditation, of course, for it should come from a heart of love whenever and wherever it can be done, whether morning or evening; whether in a solitary place or a crowded street. However it may work for each person, may God help us to say with the psalmist: "O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day" (Psalm 119:97). HMM

Friday, June 09, 2006

Error in Doctrine is a Sin

"Error in doctrine is as much a sin as error in practice.

Remember, too, that error in doctrine is not only a sin, but a sin which has a great tendency to increase. When a man once in his life believes a wrong thing, it is incredible how quickly he believes another wrong thing. Once open the door to a false doctrine - Satan says it is but a little one - yes, but he only puts the little one in like the small end of the wedge, and he means to drive in a larger one; and he will say it is only a little more, and a little more, and a little more.

The most damnable heretics who ever perverted the faith of God erred by littles and littles; those who have gone the widest from truth have only gone so by degrees..."

--Charles Spurgeon


Savior But Not Lord?

Then he said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.' (Luke 9:23)

In the New Testament salvation and discipleship are so closely related as to be indivisible. They are not identical, but as with Siamese twins they are joined by a tie which can be severed only at the price of death.
Yet they are being severed in evangelical circles today. In the working creed of the average Christian salvation is held to be immediate and automatic, while discipleship is thought to be something optional which the Christian may delay indefinitely or never accept at all.

It is not uncommon to hear Christian workers urging seekers to accept Christ now and leave moral and social questions to be decided later. The notion is that obedience and discipleship are unrelated to salvation. We may be saved by believing a historic fact about Jesus Christ (that He died for our sins and rose again) and applying this to our personal situation. The whole biblical concept of Lordship and obedience is completely absent from the mind of the seeker. He needs help, and Christ is the very one, even the only one, who can furnish it, so he takes Him as his personal Savior? The idea of His Lordship is completely ignored.?

Lord, I bow to Your lordship in all of my life. Make me fully Your disciple and a discipler of others for Your sake.

Can we receive Christ as Savior and deny His lordship over us? Surely there is room to grow in our understanding of who He is and what it means to follow Him in daily life. But can He be our Savior without being our Lord?

--By A.W. Tozer

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Word and the Testimony

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies ... 2 Pet. 2:1

Whatever it may be in our Christian experience that originates outside of Scriptures should, for that very reason, be suspect until it can be shown to be in accord with them.

If it should be found to be contrary to the Word of revealed truth no true Christian will accept it as being from God. However high the emotional content, no experience can be proved to be genuine unless we can find chapter and verse authority for it in Scriptures. "To the word and to the testimony" must always be the last and final proof.

Whatever is new or singular should also be viewed with caution until it can furnish scriptural proof of its validity. Thoughout the twentieth century quite a number of unscriptural notions have gained acceptance among Christians by claiming that they were among truths that were to be revealed in the last days.

The truth is that the Bible does not teach that there will be new light and advanced spiritual experiences in the latter days; it teaches the exact opposite! Nothing in Daniel or the New Testament epistles can be tortured into advocating the idea that we of the end of the Christian era shall enjoy light that was not known at its beginning.

Beware of any man who claims to be wiser than the apostles or holier than the martyrs of the Early Church. The best way to deal with him is to rise and leave his presence!

by A. W. Tozer, 1950
From "Renewed Day By Day - A Daily Devotional"
Compiled by G.B. Smith, Copywrite 1980

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

1 PETER 5:6-9

At times the Holy Spirit leads us to passages in the scripture which He knows we desperately need to hear.

Humility before Him
Dependence upon Him
Resisting the enemy
Standing firm

1 PETER 5:6-9

6. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

7. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

8. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

9. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Our God is incredible. He has given us His truth through His word through which the Holy Spirit can minister to us for His glory.

We are indeed privileged.


"God is pleased with His people when His praise is continually and joyfully on their lips. The heavenly scene John describes is the unceasing cry of the adoring living creatures, "Holy, holy, holy!" They rest not, day or night. My fear is that too many of God's professing people down here are resting far too often between their efforts at praise.
I can safely say, on the authority of all that is revealed in the Word of God, that any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven.

In my opinion, the great single need of the moment is that light-hearted superficial religionists be struck down with a vision of God high and lifted up, with His train filling the temple. The holy art of worship seems to have passed away like the Shekinah glory from the tabernacle. As a result, we are left to our own devices and forced to make up the lack of spontaneous worship by bringing in countless cheap and tawdry activities to hold the attention of the church people.
And from what we can learn from the Scriptures we believe that the seraphim and cherubim and powers and dominions are still fulfilling their design - worshipping God who created them and breathed into them the breath of life. Man alone sulks in his cave. Man alone, with all of his brilliant intelligence, with all of his amazing, indescribable and wonderful equipment, still sulks in his cave. He is either silent, or if he opens his mouth at all, it is to boast and threaten and curse, or it's nervous, ill-considered laughter, or it's humor become big business, or it's songs without joy.

Yes, worship of the loving God is man's whole reason for existence. That is why we are born and that is why we are born again from above. That is why were created and recreated. That is why there was a genesis at the beginning re-genesis, called re-generation.

The purpose of God in sending His Son to die and rise and live and be at the right hand of God the Father was that He might restore to us the missing jewel, the jewel of worship, that we might come back and learn to do again that which we were created to do in the first place - worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, to spend our time in awesome wonder and adoration of God, feeling and expressing it, and letting it get into our labors and doing nothing except as an act of worship to Almighty God through His Son, Jesus Christ."

--AW Tozer

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


"The last War came upon this country suddenly and unexpectedly because people would not face the facts, because we were nearly all believers in, and supporters of appeasement, surrendering this and that, saying that war could not happen again, and that two World Wars do not occur within a quarter of a century!

This country kept on refusing to face the plain facts of the international situation. Men wanted to be happy and to enjoy themselves, and dismissed the man who kept on warning us as a ‘warmonger’, a ‘difficult person’ with whom nobody could work, an ‘individualist’.

Precisely the same, it seems to me, is happening in the realm of the spiritual today. People say, ‘Do not be negative; let us be positive; let us just preach the simple gospel’. But the Bible is full of negatives, full of warnings, ever showing us these terrible possibilities. If you find in yourself a dislike of the warnings of the Scripture and of this negative teaching, it is obvious that you have been duped by the wiles of the devil. You have not realized the situation in which you are placed."

--Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Emerging Church: Another Road to Rome

Is the Emergent Church movement really that big of a deal?

This commentary by Roger Oakland from should help explain which dangerous road this movement may be traveling down:


"The following statement taken from a book written by Chuck Smith Jr. titled There is a Season (foreword by Brian McLaren and endorsed by Leonard Sweet) provides insight into how Christianity may be “reinvented” in the future as the Emerging Church moves away from the Word of God towards the concept of experiencing God. Chuck Smith Jr.states:

"What would happen if we allowed people to “feel” what we cannot explain, to know with the heart and not with the brain? We would open the door of faith to a wider audience than if we continued to insist on a rational belief in the facts as the only legitimate starting point of the Christian faith."

A prayer station created for use during the Emerging Church service at Capo Beach Calvary illustrates what Chuck Smith Jr. means by allowing his congregation to “feel” and “know with the heart and not with the brain.” This prayer station was on display during the month of April, 2005. Further, the prayer station complete with candles, incense and icons featured an instruction sheet to assist church attendees in how to pray with an icon.

I believe we are seeing the apostasy that Paul warned would be a sign we are in the last days. Is it possible the grand delusion is underway and the world is being set up for a counterfeit bride for the counterfeit Christ?"


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Ephesians 5:6-11

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient.

Therefore do not be partners with them.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light

(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Serpent's Cunning

Some of the readers on know us from the church we used to attend. A church full of good people who love the Lord and have a desire to put him first in their life. I have known many of these people for many years and have enjoyed fighting for our faith side by side with them.

Those of you who know my brothers and I also know that we no longer go to that church. The reasons we no longer are members of that church are because we believe the leadership of the church has strayed from doctrinal truths and has allowed man-made methods to steer the direction over and above that of the Holy Spirit's.

The changes which caused us to leave did not happen over night. Slowly through many years biblical doctrine gets pushed aside and replaced by sinner appeasing methods (seeker sensitive) in order to grow the numbers of attendees and increase the size of the church. Every aspect of the church function becomes geared toward making visitors feel comfortable, in hopes they will return week after week and eventually "get connected" to the church. One of the areas where this is most evident is in the content of the messages being preached to the point of it changing the actual message itself. This is where erroneous doctrines begin to set in and become commonplace. This is a very gradual process. It's possible that an entire generation of young people can grow up in this kind of church environment and seldom hear any biblically sound doctrinal teaching. Allow me to quote Martyn Lloyd-Jones to help explain...

"We are to guard ourselves against being 'tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine', for if your doctrine goes astray your life will soon suffer as well. So it behooves us to study the doctrines in order that we may safeguard ourselves against certain erroneous and heretical teachings that are as rife and as common in the world today as they were in the days of the early Church." (from his Exposition of Ephesians)

When someone does come along willing to teach doctrine, how is anyone supposed to know if it is false doctrine or true doctrine? How are the people in the church able to test the teachings if they have never had any training in discernment?

The purpose of this website is to both point out the errors which have crept into the church (my former church and the church at large) and to help maintain a biblically sound perspective of the doctrines of our faith. Our desire is to "contend for the faith" as spoken of in the book of JUDE.

The one thing I do not want to happen is for readers to misunderstand what's going on here. Our goal is not to cause division for the sake of causing division. Division may be a by-product of raising certain issues but it is not the goal or the purpose.

Both of my brothers and I, along with our wives, as well as my parents, have spent about 17+ years being involved with the youth at our former church. We taught Sunday School, went on retreats, special events, and committed countless hours of our time to the youth throughout the years because of a burden the Lord had given us to see as many as possible come to know Jesus Christ as their savior and commit their lives to Him. This has always been our burden and still is to this day, even though we do not have as much contact with the youth of that church anymore.

The enemy is very clever. He attacks from within the church. He uses absolutely anyone he can. The best way to detect if the enemy on the prowl is to test ALL TEACHINGS against scripture. This is not always an easy task. This is also not always easy to discern. This is not a thing for "lazy" christians. You've got to read a lot. You've got to pray a lot, and I don't mean "contemplative prayer".

Below is an example of what can happen to a christian who is being warned of false teachers:

"A young Christian, for instance, brought up from his cradle to hear nothing but Evangelical teaching, is suddenly invited some day to hear a sermon preached by some eminent teacher of semi-Catholic, or semi-skeptical opinions. He goes into the church, expecting in his simplicity to hear nothing but heresy from the beginning to the end. To his amazement he hears a clever, eloquent sermon, containing a vast amount of truth, and only a few drops of error. Too often a violent reaction takes place in his simple, innocent, unsuspicious mind. He begins to think his former teachers were narrow, and uncharitable, and his confidence in them is shaken, perhaps forever. Too often, it ends with his entire perversion, and at last he is enrolled in the ranks of the Legalist, Ritualists, or the liberal Christians! And what is the history of the whole case?
Why, a foolish forgetfulness of the lesson Paul puts forward in this text. "As Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning," so Satan charms unwary souls in our century by approaching them under the garb of truth."

--J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)

This is exactly what I hope is not happening with any of the youth we used to teach. This is the reaction I fear. I believe this may be happening in some cases but I pray it is not.

Basically, christians need to wake up. Christians need to be aware of what is being taught. The errors may not be obvious. They may not always be evident. But like rat poison, 99% of it's contents are nutritious except for about 1%. But it's that 1% which is enough to kill.

We need to test everything being preached or taught against scripture. For example, if church leaders are reading books like "A Generous Orthodoxy" by Brian McLaren, you better find out what is in that book and if it is biblical or not especially when Brian McLaren holds unscriptural views on things such as HELL, SALVATION, and HOMOSEXUALITY. Ask direct questions on issues of doctrine. Ask for direct answers, then check it against scriptures yourself, like the Bereans did in Acts 17:11.

If your teacher/preacher is influenced by books like "Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster you better find out about Richard Foster and just exactly what he is teaching in his book. Richard Foster is a Quaker. Have you heard of the "INNER LIGHT" within all of us whether we are christians or not? Have you done any research on these "spiritual disciplines" taught by Richard Foster?

What if a leader in the church speaks admirably of authors like Tony Campolo? That should definitely raise some red flags, especially when one understands some of the positions Campolo takes.

I could easily go on and on here but I won't. It would take too long. The bottom line is, you need to weigh all things in the light of God's Word, not the word of Rob Bell and his book Velvet Elvis or his Nooma videos––which some youth pastors love to teach. Or not the word of your pastor, no matter how good of a communicator he is or how sincere he may be.

Teachers, preachers and youth pastors need to be ACCOUNTABLE for what they teach on a public platform. Christians should not give them a pass based on trust or based on a personal relationship. This is one of the slickest tools used by the devil. A person's relationship becoming more important than biblical truth.

Consider another quote from J.C. Ryle...

"What is more common than to hear it said of some false teacher in this day, "He is so good, so devoted, so kind, so zealous, so laborious, so humble, so self-denying, so charitable, so earnest, so fervent, so clever, so evidently sincere, there can be no danger and no harm in hearing him. Besides he preaches such a real Gospel: no one can preach a better sermon than he does sometimes! I never can and never will believe he is unsound." Who does not hear continually such talk as this?

What discerning eye can fail to see that Christians expect unsound teachers to be open vendors of poison, and cannot realize that they often appear as "angels of light," and are far too wise to be always saying all they think, and showing their whole hand and mind. But so it is. Never was it so needful to remember the words, "Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning."

Again, the purpose of all of this is not to be divisive but to alert pastors, teachers and fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord of errors in doctrine and theology and to remind us to carefully test ALL things against scripture rather than taking someone's word for it.

This is not a game--souls are at stake.