Tuesday, October 31, 2006

REVIVAL on the Isle of Lewis

"The minister at Barvas, the Rev James Murray Mackay, had been led to write to Duncan through the prayers of his congregation, and in particular two elderly sisters named Peggy and Christine Smith who had received the God-given assurance that Duncan would be the instrument that God would use to fulfil His purposes on the island.

Duncan was quite unaware of these things and he intended to stay in Lewis for just ten days and then take a rest from his mission work. However, despite his tiredness, he immediately recognised the feeling of spiritual expectation amongst the people who had invited him to Barvas, and after the preaching service on the second evening he was there, the congregation lingered outside the church and were joined by others who had not attended the meeting. At that moment, the voice of a young man was heard praying aloud inside the church, and many were moved to join him as a sense of deep conviction came over the crowd. The church was soon filled with people calling upon God for mercy and praising Him for His goodness, and even when they separated in the early hours of the morning, small groups went on praying in various parts of the village. The powerful awakening which swept through Barvas in the following days was not an isolated event, and although Duncan Campbell's preaching was similarly blessed when services were hastily arranged in villages such as Tarbert, Leurbost and Arnol, the revival was felt throughout the whole of Lewis, to such as extent that he later described it as "a community saturated with God".

CLICK HERE to listen to this incredible story about the Hebrides Revival.


Isaiah 64

1 Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains would tremble before you!

2 As when fire sets twigs ablaze
and causes water to boil,
come down to make your name known to your enemies
and cause the nations to quake before you!

3 For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,
you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.

4 Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

5 You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
who remember your ways.
But when we continued to sin against them,
you were angry.
How then can we be saved?

6 All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

7 No one calls on your name
or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us
and made us waste away because of our sins.

8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.

9 Do not be angry beyond measure, O LORD;
do not remember our sins forever.
Oh, look upon us, we pray,
for we are all your people.

10 Your sacred cities have become a desert;
even Zion is a desert, Jerusalem a desolation.

11 Our holy and glorious temple, where our fathers praised you,
has been burned with fire,
and all that we treasured lies in ruins.

12 After all this, O LORD, will you hold yourself back?
Will you keep silent and punish us beyond measure?

Monday, October 30, 2006

“Sir, I Do Not Need a Revival in my Heart"

"Haven’t we too often forgotten Christ? Haven’t we lived too much without him? Haven’t we been contented with the world, instead of desiring Christ? Have we all been like that little ewe lamb that drank out of its master’s cup, and ate from his table, and lay in his lap? Or have we rather been content to stray on the mountains, feeding anywhere but at home? I fear that many of the troubles of our heart spring from the lack of communion with Jesus. Not many of us are the kind of men and women who, living with Jesus, learn his secrets. Oh, no! we live too much without the light of his presence, and are too contented when he is gone from us. Let us, then, each one of us-for I am sure that each of us need, in some measure, to pray, “O Lord, revive your work.” Everyone! I think I hear one Christian saying, “Sir, I do not need a revival in my heart; I am everything I wish to be.” Down on your knees, my brothers and sisters, down on your knees, and plead for him! He is the man who most needs to be prayed for. He says that he needs no revival in his soul; but he needs a revival of humility, at any rate. If he supposes that he is all that he ought to be, and if he knows that he is all he wishes to be, then he has a very poor understanding of what a Christian is, or of what a Christian should be, and very wrong ideas concerning himself. Those who are in the most hopeful condition are those, who, while they know they need reviving, yet groan under their present sad state, and pray to the Lord to revive them. Now I think I have in some degree substantiated my charge-with too strong arguments."

--Charles Spurgeon, Spiritual Revival, the Need of the Church, November 11, 1856

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"When Did "Mission" Quit Meaning Evangelism?"

"How did evangelicalism get to the point where its leaders are openly bragging about transforming nations? How did we get to the point where the term "mission" has now been broadened to include marketplace (commerce) and changing the governments of nations? When did "mission" quit meaning evangelism, i.e., sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ from the Written Word of the Bible? When did it start meaning social action of the most dominionist kind?"

READ MORE HERE-- on this interesting subject.

Herescope has an entire series--CLICK HERE-- on the resurgence of the "Social Gospel" via Rick Warren, C. Peter Wagner, Brian McLaren, Peter Drucker, Bob Buford--there are lots of other names you will recognize if you take the time to read these very informative articles.

If you read authors, hear speakers and/or preachers proclaiming similar ideologies, please be informed so you can make you own intelligent conclusions as to whether or not this is all coming from the same place. And don't be afraid to question where these people got their information from. I helps in your reseach.

It does make one wonder when you continue to see the same themes appear over and over and over again.

Just be informed.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ashamed of the Gospel?

"Many of us Christians have become extremely skillful in arranging our lives so as to admit the truth of Christianity without being embarrassed by its implications. We arrange things so that we can get on well enough without divine aid, while at the same time ostensibly seeking it. We boast in the Lord but watch carefully that we never get caught depending on Him."

--A.W. Tozer, The Root of the Righteous, page 39.

Friday, October 27, 2006


by Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries:

The danger posed by Rob Bell now is that his teachings are coming into more mainstream evangelical denominations through largely unsuspecting youth ministers. Beleaguered senior pastors anxious for new and innovative ways to reach the youth are told about the very personable and charismatic Bell with his Nooma videos. These are then introduced in youth groups who don't know the "lingo" of what Emergents actually mean by the words they are using because Christian terminology has been repainted [read: redefined]. Through his involvement with contemplative spirituality over the past couple of years Rob's personality has been changing and along with it so has his doctrine. Here is a short and more direct look at Bell's denial of the genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ with his near universalism, but with a twist of course.

There are those who are having a problem understanding how Rob Bell denies the genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ. So let’s see if we can make this one a bit more direct. Here’s Rob Bell in his book Velvet Elvis: Repainting The Christian Faith (VE):

"Humans are guilty because of our sin, and God is the judge who has to deal with our sin because he is holy and and any act of sin goes against his core nature. He has to deal with it. Enter Jesus, who dies on the cross in our place. Jesus gets what we deserve; we get what Jesus deserved."

Not exactly Rob. Jesus is God Himself and He doesn’t “deserve,” or need to earn, nor be given anything. That aside, here Bell is speaking of “humans,” mankind in general. Then he later goes on to say, “All has been forgiven”. Not so fast Rob, you left out this Biblical truth that prior to forgiveness there must first be – Godly sorrow [which] brings repentance that leads to salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10).

A little further on in VE Bell makes another misstatement of fact when he says, “This forgiveness, this reconciliation, is true for everybody”. No, it isn’t. It is only offered to those who genuinely repent of their sin and believe in Christ. O, I know it’s not as exciting as some keen saying by some ancient unregenerate Rabbi, but the Greek word pisteuo means “to totally commit to.”

So you should now be able to see that yet again pastor Bell is wrong when he says:

"This reality then isn’t something we make come true about ourselves by doing something. It is already true. Our choice is to live in this new reality or cling to a reality of our own making."

As you can see, there’s no talk of godly sorrow here, and there’s no talk of repentance involved. So if there’s nothing we need do, then everyone would already be forgiven, thus they would already be saved. And Bell makes no distinction that these are Christians here, in fact just the opposite. And as I just showed you from Scripture one cannot be a Christian until they repent and ask for forgiveness.

Then following Bell’s musings all the way through to their logical conclusions in VE he says:

"The fact that we are loved and accepted and forgiven in spite of everything we have done is simply too good to be true" (ibid).

Yes, it is. As a matter of fact this lie is so “good” it isn’t even true. But then just to make sure it’s understood that by “we” above Bell is not just speaking of Christians–the Body of Christ–he will go on to say:

"And this reality extends beyond this life. Heaven is full of forgiven people. Hell is full of forgiven people. Heaven is full of people God loves, whom Jesus died for. Hell is full of forgiven people God loves, whom Jesus died for. The difference is how we choose to live, which story we choose to live in, which version of reality we trust."

Men and women, this is simply ridiculous and should actually make the true Christian quite angry. Let’s stop pawing at Emergent Hollow Men like Rob Bell and Brian McLaren with kid gloves. First of all, if “Hell is full of forgiven people” then Bell has just told you that all of mankind was already forgiven at the Cross. This is universalism…oops, except obviously there are bad people in the world and Jesus did say the road was “narrow” so now we have to account for that.

Ah, I know; we’ll say that some of these people choose on their own not to accept this forgiveness. Yeah, there we go. So now Bell has just told us that Christ’s atonement was not actually sufficient to save those whom He “died for” and that the Father would give Him. Can’t you see what Tozer called “the glory of fallen man” here? We choose whether or not we will accept a forgiveness that we are supposedly offered without even so much as having to repent?

A pretty good deal for man, don’t you think? And if God has already forgiven everyone already, then why would they even need to go to Hell at all? Remember also that Jesus told us – the eternal fire [of Hell was] prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). Man only ends up in Hell, which is separation from God, because of the sin that separates him from a holy God Who cannot dwell with sin.

But if in Rob Bell’s Emergent all-ee in free…almost fairytale everyone can simply “choose” to live in a “new reality” because they are already forgiven of their sin, then there would no longer be any more reason for anyone to even be separated from God. In other words, there wouldn’t be any need for man to go to Hell.

Well, Bell did get one thing right above. As I said in Emergent: Believe It…Or You’re Not…Saved, you will have to decide which “version of reality” you are going to trust. Bell’s, or what the Bible says, and what the historic orthodox Christian Church has always taught.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Criticism of Emergent, Rob Bell and Mark Driscoll

Phil Johnson of Pyromaniac is "Fed Up".

The following from his blog:

"Perhaps you are one of those who thinks I have been too hard or too shrill in my criticisms of "the Emerging Church." In all honesty, the more I have been exposed to the various streams of the movement, and the more closely I have examined the agglomeration of trends and ways of thinking that make Emerging-style "ministry" distinctive, the more I want to distance myself from everything "Emerging." If any ostensibly-Christian movement since late-nineteenth-century modernism was more deserving of a shrill warning, I can't imagine what it would be.

Here is a lie writ large: "Postmodern Ministry Takes Us Back to The Bible." I invite you to follow that link; read the page; notice the sound file linked at the bottom of the page; and give it a careful listen.

It's a sermon by Rob Bell. David Posthuma introduces the message with this hopeful claim: "I present this teaching for one purpose alone . . . to illustrate how radically different postmodern Biblical facilitation is from the Seeker-Sensitive Topical Talk model so prevalent within our churches today."

OK. I'll grant that Bell's message is completely and radically different from anything you would hear in a seeker-sensitive context. But Posthuma's blogpost seems to imply that Bell's sermon proves Emerging-style ministry is somehow more "biblical" than seeker-sensitive worship.

Hardly. Bell's message is not only unbiblical; it's anti-Christian. He takes a bit of drivel he apparently learned from a yoga instructor somewhere, badly rephrases in quasi-biblical terminology, and spends 36 minutes doing "exposition" on a breathing exercise.

The result is not merely trivial: it's flat-out heretical. And in more ways than I care to enumerate.

I'll give one brief example, though. Here's a sample of what Bell does with the gospel: "You can't get enough points to get in with the Big Guy. You can't do enough good deeds and then God will like you. One of the things the Spirit does is remind us that we belong. Period. Just exactly as we are. You are loved by God."

Bell's syncretized amateur yoga exercise is not Christianity by any stretch of the definition. I'll go further: if this is what Bell really believes, he himself is no Christian.

The message actually proves that the stream of Emerging religion represented by Rob Bell hasn't a clue or a care about basic biblical truth. It's nothing but an experiment with the deconstruction of Christianity.

On a side note, but a related subject I thought in the interests of balance, after hearing that sermon by Bell, I ought to listen to a sermon from the "conservative" side of the Emerging movement. So I listened to this one by Mark Driscoll. I wish I hadn't. Driscoll's smutty language and preoccupation with all things lowbrow are inappropriate, unbecoming, and dishonoring to Christ. I completely agree that many Christians fail to appreciate the true humanity of Jesus. But it's not necessary to get vulgar in order to communicate the truth about His humanity.

This is the first time I have ever posted anything critical of Driscoll. I have appreciated his defense of the atonement and his willingness to confront the neo-liberalism of other Emerging leaders honestly. But I don't think his perpetually coarse language in the pulpit and his apparent preoccupation with off-color terms and ribald subject matter are merely minor flaws in an otherwise healthy ministry. It is a serious shortcoming.

No, it's actually worse than that, because it blatantly violates the clear principle of Ephesians 5:3-4. It is shameful (v. 12) and therefore a reproach. It's characteristic of the old man and one of the fleshly behaviors we are expressly commanded to put aside (Colossians 3:8). Scripture even seems to indicate that unwholesome language signals an impure mind (Matthew 12:34). And yet this seems to be a deliberate, calculated, and persistent practice of Driscoll's. It is practically the chief trademark of his style.

That's troubling, and even more troubling when I see young Christians and older believers who ought to know better mimicking the practice. If this is the direction even the very best Emerging-style ministry is headed, it's not a trend any Christian ought to find encouraging, much less one we should follow."

--Phil Johnson

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Worldly Youth Groups

They have their own unregulated world where adults have little or no
access. From Myspace to instant messaging to youth group "worship
gatherings". It's a movement cut off from the rest of the church.
Worship times led by a youth leader who embodies a worldly image and
style that many youth only wish they had the guts to flaunt in the
face of their parents. Led by a youth leader with a confidence and an
eloquence in speech that intimidates mild-mannered older folks from
even daring to imply that there seems to be a love of the world in the
outward appearance and affections of the leader.

This unfettered youth environment discourages the God ordained
structures of church authority and adult oversight where critical
discernment and good judgment could be utilized. These are the
unfettered youth programs in many churches, unrestrained and free from
the shackles of propriety and appropriateness. Anything goes styles of
worship and expression is common place. Who's to say it is not right?
Who's going to be the wet blanket and raise the red flag of
discernment when song or worship mirrors the world's self-gratifying
methods? Who will dare to say "your worship is worldly" or overly
feelings based? Where is the elder adult who has the spiritual
stability and maturity to understand the complicated web of proper
worship versus "anything goes" worship?

But what are we to expect when the church leadership props up a
dynamic pied-piper as a leader? Leaders who seem to overlook doctrinal
error so long as the kids show up. Their love of an eloquent tongue
seems greater than a love for biblical accuracy. Leaders who are so
desperate for numbers that they are willing to tolerate little
falsehoods. You know, the ones that are sympathetic towards, and flirt
with affections for ancient Roman Catholic mystical "disciplines" like
contemplative prayer or the catholic eucharist. Or ideas that compete
with the Great Commission like "the other half of the gospel" which is
to feed the poor and save the village or saving the environment. Ideas
like these are given equal status or even considered actually
spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

But who is going to speak up? Who is going to be the boy who tells the
emperor that he has no clothes on? Who will go against the king as
Micaiah did in 1 Kings 22? Or as Elijah?

How long will the older folks remain silent?

The youth in our evangelical churches are being groomed to become the
next generation of blind mice. Who will tell them that they should
submit themselves under Biblical church leadership? Biblical that is.
It surely won't be their youth leader. Not church leadership that is
ambiguous on the tough issues. You know, like telling a young person
that you should dress with decency when entering the doors of the
church out of a sense of reverence to God. Or like telling the young
person why they should never again wear the t-shirt that says "Jesus
is my homeboy". Or another one like how you as a young man with
earrings are feminine. Or how God did not create your body to be a
piercing pin-cushion, following in lock step fashion with the God
rejecting lost secular world.

Please, older folks, speak up. Your young are confused and misled! Has
this happened because YOU have remained silent for too long? They are
misguided by the world. They love the way the world looks, the way the
world sounds, what the world values. Take a close look. They are NOT
emulating you. They are copying the world. May God forgive our
silence. How long will you remain silent? Before it's too late?


Monday, October 23, 2006

The Church Needs a Revival

"That kind of preaching is just what is missing in these times; where is the intensity now?"

"It is neither in the pulpit nor even in the pew, in the measure that we desire; and it is a sad, sad age when intensity is scoffed at, and when that very zeal which ought to be the prominent characteristic of the pulpit is regarded as fanaticism. I pray to God that he would make all of us fanatics that most men would laugh at and that many would despise. To my mind, it is the greatest fanaticism in the world to go to hell, and the worst folly on earth is to love sin better than righteousness; and I think that they are anything but fanatics who seek to obey God rather than man, and to follow Christ in all his ways. To me, one sad proof that the Church needs revival is the absence of that solemn earnestness and intensity which was once seen in Christian pulpits..."

--Charles Spurgeon, Spiritual Revival, the Need of the Church, November 11, 1856

Imitate Him in Public

"My brethren, let me say, be like Christ at all times. Imitate him in "public." Most of us live in some sort of public capacity—many of us are called to work before our fellow-men every day. We are watched; our words are caught; our lives are examined—taken to pieces. The eagle-eyed, argus-eyed world observes everything we do, and sharp critics are upon us. Let us live the life of Christ in public. Let us take care that we exhibit our Master, and not ourselves—so that we can say, "It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me."

—Charles Spurgeon

Thursday, October 19, 2006

America's Spiritual Poverty

"You feel sorry for us in India because of our poverty in material things. We who know the Lord in India feel sorry for you in America because of your spiritual poverty. We pray that God may give you gold tried in the fire which He had promised to those who know the power of His resurrection...

In our churches we spend four or five or six hours in prayer and worship, and frequently our people wait on the Lord in prayer all night; but in America after you have been in church for one hour, you begin to look at your watches. We pray that God may open your eyes to the true meaning of worship....To attract people to meetings, you have a great dependence on posters, on advertising, on promotion, and on the build-up of a human being; in India we have nothing more than the Lord Himself and we find that He is sufficient. Before a Christian meeting in India we never announce who the speaker will be. When the people come, they come to seek the Lord and not a human being or to hear some special favorite speaking to them. We have had as many as 12,000 people come together just to worship the Lord and have fellowship together. We are praying that the people in America might also come to church with a hunger for God and not merely a hunger to see some form of amusement or hear choirs or the voice of any man."

--Bakht Singh (1903-2000)

Corrie Ten Boom's comments on Bakht Singh:

"Bakht Singh was a Sikh who became an internationally known Christian. Born to wealthy parents in 1903, Bakht Singh was converted in 1929 while studying in Manitoba. Knowing that his parents would not accept his conversion, he returned to India with great trepidation. His fears were well-grounded. His wife left him. His parents and relatives rejected him. Despite suffering from a speech impediment, Bakht Singh became an evangelist. He spent hours a day on his knees studying the Scripture. He carried the Bible wherever he went and urged converts to read it daily. His sermons quoted extensively from Scripture. Revival followed wherever he went..."

"Prayer is the Hardest Thing in the World"

"Our people don't get off the door step of the church - "Hey,
do you think the Cowboys will win today?" It's dribble! It's nonsense!
When did you last tiptoe out of the sanctuary when you dare not say a word?

The church has to rediscover two things.
One, the majesty and the Holiness of God, and
the other, the sinfulness of sin.
Prayer is not the easiest thing in the world,
Prayer is the hardest thing in the world.
Prayer is the most demanding thing in the world."

--Leonard Ravenhill, Weeping Between the Porch and Alter

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Old Cross and the New

is a great commentary from A.W. Tozer. It is always good to remind ourselves just what the cross represents and to never become comfortable with trying to "pretty-up" our faith so as to make it look appealing to the world.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Rushing Irreverently Before Him

The excerpt below reminds me of the sad occasion when the youth pastor in my former church did a rap (about the church) during the offertory. Or when the youth decided to spontaneously start a conga-line during the singing in the worship service. Also there was the seventies rock concert re-enactment where one of the assistant ministers came walking down the isle dressed like a pimp in the seventies with bell bottoms and giant feather sticking out of his hat as the entire stage of the santuary was transformed to look like a rock concert with different colored swirling spot lights and the girl backup signers swaying to the Dave Bowie song 'Fame". This was a so called "worship" service?

What is going on here? Am I crazy?


"Lightness, frivolity, irreverence in the pulpit; a talking to God as an equal, instead of lying at His feet as a suppliant—how painful a spectacle to the soul that has been taught to tremble at His word! I do not say a man of God may not be entangled in this snare; but where can his conscience be, not to see the awfulness of approaching a holy God without reverence of His dread majesty? What says the Scripture? "Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire. (Heb. xii. 28, 29.) How the Lord has visited with the hottest tokens of his displeasure those who dared to rush irreverently before Him! How Nadab and Abihu were consumed because they offered strange fire! (Lev. x. 1, 2.) How Uzzah, because he touched the ark, not being a Levite, was smitten by the immediate judgment of God! How more than fifty thousand of the men of Bethshemesh were smitten with a "great slaughter," because they dared irreverently to look into the ark of God! (1 Sam. vi. 19.) Is He not the same holy, jealous Jehovah now? And will He suffer any man to rush into His presence with irreverence, and talk to Him as though he were His fellow? O where can a man's conscience be, who can go before the Lord without some reverence and godly fear in exercise?"

--J.C. Philpot, Trying the Spirits, 1844

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Hardness of Our Own Hearts

"Perhaps if there were more of that intense distress for souls that leads to tears, we should more frequently see the results we desire. Sometimes it may be that while we are complaining of the hardness of the hearts of those we are seeking to benefit, the hardness of our own hearts and our feeble apprehension of the solemn reality of eternal things may be the true cause of our want of success."

--Hudson Taylor

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Tomorrow May Be Too Late

"Here me! Every church without a prayer meeting condemns us; every Bible daily unopened condemns us; every promise of God unused condemns us; every lost neighbor condemns us; every lost heathen condemns us; every dry eye among us condemns us; every wasted minute of our time condemns us; every unclaimed opportunity for God condemns us. Next year is not ours. Tomorrow may be too late. Unless we repent now, unless we return and fire the prayer alters now, unless we fast and weep now, woe unto us at the judgment!"

--Leonard Ravenhill, Revival Praying, 1961

Friday, October 13, 2006

Praying About Revival

"The main reason we should be praying about revival is that we are anxious to see God's name vindicated and His glory manifested. We should be anxious to see something happening that will arrest the nations"

––Martin Lloyd Jones (1899-1981)

Is To "Contextualize" Actually To Compromise?

This is an excellent post by Steve Camp on Slice of Laodicea on the topic of how evangelicals attempt to "contextualize" our message to accommodate our contemporary culture.

I understand the pressure to convey our message so our curent culture understands what we are stating but I fear we have a tendancy to "sell-out" or compromise our message in the process. This is something we should be very careful of.

Here is an excerpt:

"Current evangelicalism is obsessed with the latest of benign buzz words - contextualization. It is a central theme to Bible conferences; it is the focus of books, blogs, pulpits and preachers.

...NOW, at its most base level, contextualization it is not first and foremost about proclaiming the gospel, but the purposed targeting of a specific audience group so that the most successful marketing of Christianity to that group can occur. It is the foolish attempt to make Jesus relatable by making the gospel germane (has man's arrogance now so fully blossomed in our day to actually believe that God needs us to make Him and His gospel "acceptable" in order for lives to be impacted with its truth? That if we don't, that evangelism and the fruit of the gospel is somehow stunted?)"


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Refreshing Certainty

I read this on Herscope and thought it was very encouraging, therefore I wanted to share it with readers of thinkerup. Sometimes it helps to read men of the past who are untainted by our postmodern culture to help us get the right perspective on spiritual truth:


"Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed on him, "If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31-32

"...Religion is not an airy, imaginary, enthusiastic something, which stands independent of the word of God. It is not something mystical and visionary, the creation of the human brain, like some poetical dream, or the mere ebbing and flowing of natural feelings, however deep, various, or refined. This is mysticism, not religion; delusion, not salvation; enthusiasm, not the work of faith with power. True and saving religion is the work of the Holy Spirit operating upon the heart through the word; giving us faith by the application of the word, raising up hope by the power of the word, shedding abroad love by bringing the truth of the word with power into the soul. Does not our Lord, in our text, speak of "continuing in the word," or rather "my word," that being the means whereby we "receive of his fullness grace for grace," and thus by abiding in the word abide in him, as he speaks so plainly and beautifully in the parable of the vine? "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me." (John 15:4.) We forget sometimes these things, expecting religion to be wrought in our heart almost independent of the word of truth. But how striking are those words of our gracious Lord "For I have given unto them the words which you gave me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came from you, and they have believed that you did send me." (John 17:8.)

But bear in mind, also, that the Lord is very tender over his own work upon the soul. He is exceedingly gracious unto those that fear his name; has purposes of eternal mercy and love toward them; has sworn never to leave or forsake them; is pledged to bring them home to himself; and therefore, having begun the work, for his own name's sake, he will surely carry that work on. It is the Father's will that every one who sees the Son and believes on him should have eternal life. He has promised that not one of his sheep shall perish, and that none shall pluck them out of his hand; their continuance, therefore, does not depend upon creature exertion, creature ability, creature faith, or creature strength; but depends upon the good will and everlasting purposes of God the Father, the eternal love of the Lord the Lamb, and the gracious operations of the Spirit in unison with the choice of the Father and the love and blood of his dear Son. Therefore, they continue in the word, not because they have any strength, or goodness, or wisdom, or righteousness of their own, enabling them to do so; but because the eternal thoughts of God were towards them, because they are savingly interested in a covenant ordered in all things and sure, and because he who understood their cause is able, and not only willing, but firmly resolved to bring them through every trouble, and plant them before his blissful presence for evermore...."

--J.C. Philpot
[Excerpted from True Discipleship, or the Liberty of Truth

Preached at Providence Chapel, Oakham, on
Wednesday Evening, July 7, 1869,
some emphasis added

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


This is an important warning posted on Lighthouse Trails Research blog regarding Rob Bell.

Here is an excerpt:

"Christian schools and youth groups are presenting the Nooma films to their youth, and many of these groups are having teens read Velvet Elvis. Because Bell promotes and teaches New Age mystical practices in a Christian context, young people may accept these teachings as biblical Christianity. And when trusted teachers are presenting this material, both teens and parents alike may be caught off guard."


Jesus is More Than Just a Really Nice Role Model

If I hear one more person, especially a "christian", promote Jesus as a "role model" I think I am going to explode.

"Oh... yes... Jesus was a good example. He showed people a better way to live."

True, Jesus was a good role model but that was not his intention for coming to earth!

Jesus came to be God's sacrificial lamb to rescue his elect (Rom. 8:30, Rom. chapter 9, Eph. chapter 1) back to himself through his death of crucifixion and through his resurrection from the dead. This is what everyone seems to be getting away from. This however IS the gospel and this IS the reason for God miraculously becoming man while still remaining God to be the blameless and perfect payment for our sins which the one and only holy and just God required due to the fact that he can not tolerate any sin because of his unapproachable holiness. If you showcase Jesus simply as a good role model, you are degrading and insulting him. You are not seeing him as he really is and thus you are creating God in your image and are guilty of idolatry since the god you think you are worshipping is, in fact, not the real God, but a false image of him. You might as well build a golden calf.

Did Jesus go through all that he went through for us to reduce him to just another good example of a good person which God hoped we would follow? If that's what you think he is all about then WOW, you have a lot to learn about who this holy God is. This easy believeism and easy new gospel has got to go. Following Jesus and being sanctified truly is the narrow way and it is not easy. Repentance is not easy. It's easy to receive but it is not easy to go through. It hurts to face your sin. It hurt Jesus to become man and live with what would equate to living with worms.

Why would John in Revelation 1:17-18 say when he saw the glorified Jesus:

"And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death

Is this something you do when you face a good role model for people to follow so their lives will be better or is this something you do when you are in the presence of the Almighty and Holy sovereign God--Jesus Christ?

If you only see Jesus Christ as a role model or a good example of humanity and do not recognize him as God worthy of worship, I strongly urge you to find out who He really is (before it's too late) by reading the books of John, Hebrews, and Isaiah. Then read the book of Romans.

Don't insult Him.

THIS POST on Herescope illustrates one example of how Jesus has been downgraded to accommodate people's whims.

Here is an excerpt:

"…this subtle switch from the Lordship of Jesus Christ to the ‘modelship’ of Christ deceptively exchanges the truth of Who He is and what He did for the principles that He lived. Thus the Gospel of faith is effectively transformed into a false gospel of works, and the Lord Jesus Christ is replaced with the universal “Christ” or “Jesus” of the counterfeit kingdom."

...."The new message which replaces Lord with “model” has given today’s movements new impetus. It is much easier to get the masses to follow the example of a “model” than it is to get them to bend the knee to the Lord."


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

God's Sovereignty

"Divine sovereignty is not the sovereignty of a tyrannical Despot, but the exercised pleasure of One who is infinitely wise and good! Because God is infinitely wise He cannot err, and because He is infinitely righteous He will not do wrong. Here then is the preciousness of this truth. The mere fact itself that God's will is irresistible and irreversible fills me with fear, but once I realize that God wills only that which is good, my heart is made to rejoice."

"A consciousness of our powerlessness should cast us upon Him who has all power. Here then is where a vision and view of God's sovereignty helps, for it reveals His sufficiency and shows us our insufficiency."

"What is God's remedy for dejection at apparent failure in our labours? This—the assurance that God's purpose cannot fail, that God's plans cannot miscarry, that God's will must be done. Our labours are not intended to bring about that which God has not decreed."

—A. W. Pink

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The End Times and Rising Apostasy

This is from Crossroad website:

a " falling away" from God's unchanging truths

"...in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons...." 1 Timothy 4:1

"...because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved." Matthew 24:12-13

"The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." 2 Thessalonians 2: 9-12

"...when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:21

"For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." Matthew 24:25

"As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ." Colossians 2:6-8

"...do not be conformed to this world...." Romans 12:2

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things..." 2 Timothy 4:2-5

"...they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. " Matthew 24:9-11

"...know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
"...Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned...." 2 Corinthians 3:1-5, 12-14
"I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ." Galatians 1:6-7

Jesus said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many." Matthew 24:4-5

"...concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition." 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-3

"Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called 'Today,' lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 'For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end...." Hebrews 4:12-14

"Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

“...the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. " John 16:2

"You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times." Matthew 16:3

"For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, 'Peace and safety!' then sudden destruction comes upon them..." 1 Thessalonians 5:3

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23

Friday, October 06, 2006

Cowardly Preachers

This quote below by Charles Spurgeon identifies very well many pastors today. Too many have chosen to soften the truth of God's Word, leaving out the difficult passages during sermons and being very selective with their topics so as not to offend.

We all need to pray for our pastors so they will faithfully preach and teach the whole council of God, as difficult as that may be at times.

Please pray for your pastor. It's well past time for the Truth to be boldly proclaimed.

“I know of no surer way of a people’s perishing than by being led by one who does not speak out straight and honestly denounce evil. If the minister halts between two opinions, do you wonder that the congregation is undecided? If the preacher trims and twists to please all parties, can you expect his people to be honest? If I wink at your inconsistencies will you not soon be hardened in them? Like priest, like people. A cowardly preacher suits hardened sinners. Those who are afraid to rebuke sin, or to probe the conscience, will have much to answer for. May God save you from being led into the ditch by a blind guide.”

--Charles Spurgeon

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Brian McLaren -- Causing Confusion Again

I have always liked Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. It was such sad news when I heard about his tragic death. The first thing I thought was, "oh no, so young, his poor kids and wife". What a sad occasion. Another thing I have always observed and admired about Steve Irwin was that it seemed like everyone liked him. He had an enthusiastic charisma which was infectious. He brought an appreciation to his audience for wildlife and nature all around us. He was very entertaining to watch and we learned a lot from his wildlife adventures.

This post is not about Steve Irwin. This is about Brian McLaren's take on Steve Irwin, calling him a "missionary". I have a real hard time with this one. I have no idea about Steve Irwin's standing with Jesus Christ. I do not know whether or not Steve Irwin was rightly related to God. Brian McLaren again is creating confusion with his inclusive assumptions about Steve Irwin's standing with God by referring to him as a missionary based on his love for nature. Brian McLaren is very reckless with comments such as those in his article. Based on McLaren's own comments he has categorized Steve Irwin more closely in the category the person described in Romans 1:25 than a missionary sent by God to preach the gospel. According to McLaren: "...saving love is in the heart of everything. Steve’s saving love was for wildlife..."

I am not making any comments on Steve Irwin's spiritual condition, McLaren on the other hand is doing such.

It is my understanding that our love for God should be so all-consuming that our love for other things in comparison looks like hate. Luke 4:26. Again, this is no comment on Irwin, but on McLaren's comments about him.

You have to read McLaren's article about Steve Irwin to understand what I am talking about. In an honorable attempt to say something nice about the Crocodile Hunter, I believe Brian McLaren has created more confusion within the faith.

Below is an excerpt from the post on beliefnet Brian McLaren: A Tribute to Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, Unlikely 'Missionary':

"I know this might sound strange, but I think the man was a kind of missionary. He knew why he was put here on this planet; he knew his mission, and he knew it was more than a job. It was a vocation, a truly spiritual calling, an invitation and solemn duty to join in the care of God’s sacred creation.

What characterized Steve’s mission? Saving love – and especially for the creatures that are often misunderstood, despised and hated - crocs, sharks, snakes, spiders, and their kin."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


"The preacher’s task is both the most honorable and the most solemn of any calling. It is the most privileged and, at the same
time, the most responsible one. He professes to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, a messenger sent forth by the Most
High. To misrepresent his Master, to preach any other Gospel than His, to falsify the message which God has committed to
his trust is the sin of sins which brings down upon him the anathema of Heaven, (Gal 1:8), and will be visited with the sorest
punishment awaiting any creature! Scripture is plain that the heaviest measure of Divine wrath is reserved for unfaithful
preachers (Matt 23:14; Jude 13). Therefore the warning is given, “be not many master, knowing that we shall receive the
greater condemnation” (James 3:1)

--A.W. Pink

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Leap Into The Fire

This very old quote from Pilgrim's Progress is still applicable to today's trends running rampant throughout the church (Church Growth Movement, Emergent, Mysticism)

"What danger is the pilgrim in!
How many are his foes!
How many ways there are to sin,
No living mortal knows!
Some of the ditch shy are, yet can
Lie tumbling on the mire:
Some, though they shun the frying pan,
Do leap into the fire."

--John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress, Published in 1678

Strengthen Me Against All

"Look how fears have presented themselves, so have supports and encouragements; yea, when I have started, even as it were at nothing else but my shadow, yet God, as being very tender of me, hath not suffered me to be molested, but would with one Scripture or another, strengthen me against all; insomuch that I have often said, Were it lawful, I could pray for greater trouble, for the greater comfort's sake."

--John Bunyan

Monday, October 02, 2006

Is the "Social Gospel" Replacing the Gospel?

Seems like everywhere I turn I keep hearing and seeing preachers and ministries referring to the gospel as a partnership between the message of salvation and feeding the poor and social activism. I see it popping up all over the place. The Emergents are obsessed with it. Rick Warren wants to save the world from physical suffering with his P.E.A.C.E. plan and tell you how to live with his S.H.A.P.E. plan. Guys like Shane Claiborne are going to take us back to the hippie movement where everyone lives in a commune and who knows maybe you'll see a photograph of him inserting daisies in the rifles of our soldiers in Iraq. The church I left last year recently did a sermon series on the Kingdom of God being about feeding the poor and how we have been neglecting the "other half of the gospel". Strange, I have never seen this much passion and excitement when talking about saving souls from hell. But boy when you talk about meeting people's physical needs WOW now you're talking. This is something we can get excited about!!! This is something people can understand, unlike the gospel which might make people mad at us and makes us look unlikable, undesirable and like social rejects--not cool, not cool.

Are these two methods of evangelism really the same thing? I am very reluctant to draw that conclusion. Have we really lost that much confidence in the power of God through the gospel to change lives? To really change lives? I know every time someone brings up an issue like this there is a long line of people hurling questions such as "don't you care about the poor?" You mean to tell me you are just going to go up to some poor starving person and give them a tract without doing anything about their physical condition?"----and my (obvious) answer....NO! I 'm not going to do that.

Here is the distinction I am trying to make. I see christians getting excited when challenged to help the needy and see the potential of the physical good a social justice movement can achieve (I am not including Jim Wallis' and Tony Campolo's version of social justice which I believe is very politically liberal movement and spiritually deceptive). I also see christians being very apathetic when encouraged to speak of Jesus Christ to their friends and neighbors. I am concerned because I see christian leaders in churches so reluctant to verbally explain the gospel message to the lost and ministers unwilling to speak of the offensive portions of the gospel for fear of appearing intolerant and judgmental but very willing to do something for others which anybody can do. Let's keep in mind that Muslims, Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Politicians, the Red Cross, and the United Nations can all feed the poor and provide physical aid. These can also and do get involved in social justice movements. They can be generous, compassionate, and self-sacrificing to the poor and downtrodden. So I would like someone to answer me-what is the difference between them and us? Do we need to be reminded that the one thing we christians can do which the false religions and social justice organizations cannot do is offer salvation from an eternity in hell - God's redemption through the blood of Christ's crucifixion on the cross and his resurrection. That is what makes us unique. That is what will make them not like us at some point. They will love us if we keep feeding them. Just like they would love anyone who is so generous. Shouldn't the proclamation of the gospel message be highest on the priority list for christians? Shouldn't this be our primary concern and addressing physical needs secondary? Shouldn't this be our motive for evangelism? Shouldn't this be the subject of our earnest and desperate praying? Have we lost confidence in the gospel and in God to raise the spiritually dead?

I don't think you will find too many martyrs dying for the cause of feeding the hungry--who would kill someone for that? But upset the apple cart by preaching the WHOLE council of God and you may (will) ruffle some feathers along the way.

There is a whole lot more which could be said about this. One thing is for certain--this "social gospel" trend is not going away, it will only intensify. It fits very well in our humanistic, politically correct, man-applauding, man-pleasing, felt needs postmodern, be whoever YOU want to be context.

For further reading this article from Crossroads website sheds some light on some aspects of how the social gospel movement has influenced and infiltrated christianity through the years.

Here is an excerpt:

Rauschenbusch introduced Jesus "not as one who would come to save sinners from their sins but as one who had a 'social passion' for society." He and his comrades established the "Brotherhood of the Kingdom," which unified like-minded church leaders under a common socialist quest for an earthly "Kingdom of God."

Their plan would have fit our times! It called for political reform, ecumenical unity, "social justice" (ending poverty), and global peace. To justify its place in "Christian" theology, words like redemption and regeneration were redefined to fit their socialist ideals.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Popular church leaders use the same strategy today! Pastor Brian McLaren's recent book, The Secret Message of Jesus, twists God's Word into an endorsement of an earthly, interfaith Kingdom. Likewise, Tony Campolo's hope of earthly perfection mocks the Biblical promise of eternal life:

"The gospel is not about... pie-in-the-sky when they die.... It is imperative that the up and coming generation recognize that the biblical Jesus was committed to the realization of a new social order in this world.... Becoming a Christian, therefore, is a call to social action."

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Cheapening of the Gospel

"The evangelists of today are very often prepared to be anything to anybody as long as they can get somebody to the alter for something. They glibly call out: "Who wants help? Who wants more power? Who wants a closer walk with God?" Such a sinning, repenting "easy believeism" dishonors the blood and prostitutes the alter. We must alter the alter, for the alter is a place to die on. Let those who will not pay this price leave it alone"

--Leonard Ravenhill, Why Revival Tarries, 1959, p.59-60