Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Going to Ottawa to film a TCC Documentary

So, I'm a busy guy! The Cross Current is going to invade Ottawa this weekend, and we're bringing a film crew! Should be crazy! That's this weekend, but right now I'm packing in as much as I can! I'm almost done reading In Defense Of The Gospel, and am preparing my review presently. My study of Greek is on going - but slowed over these last two days. And as if that isn't enough I'm also working on a primer article on why I disagree with, and denounce the "Lordship Salvation" gospel.

That's why I haven't been posting... but hey some other people are posting great stuff!

Lou's got his first impressions of John MacArthur's latest revision of The Gospel According To Jesus up. Here's a quote from his short article that speaks to the heart of the issue.
One must remember that the primary crux of the controversy over Lordship Salvation is Dr. MacArthur’s view of what he believes are the requirements for the reception of eternal life. There is a difference between the requirements for and the results of salvation. My concern is primarily with the conditions Lordship Salvation places on the lost for salvation, that the Bible does not. It is this area that makes the difference between Heaven and Hell. The eternal destiny of human souls is as stake. This is why I wrote In Defense of the Gospel: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation.
And JP's got his latest in a series that answers attacks on the Gospel from the reductionist camp. He continues on with more information about the importance of Christ's burial, and if it really is "part" of The Gospel. Read his latest here. And here's a quote;
Instead of redefining and reducing the Glorious Gospel by removing Christ’s burial (1 Cor. 15:4) from “the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Cor. 1:21; cf. 1 Cor. 1:17, 1 Cor. 15:1, 11), Christians must recognize the centrality of Paul’s glorious Gospel set forth “as of first importance” in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, “stand” upon this Good News (1 Cor. 15:1) and “hold fast” to it’s content (1 Cor. 15:2)!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Just A Little Greek

I've dreamed of being able to read and understand Biblical Greek for a long while. Since I began my studies on the weekend I have learned to read the Alphabet and how to properly pronounce many words. Over the last three years I've spent a great deal of time looking into the Greek on subjects so there are a number of words I am already familiar with. The connecting of what I already knew, with the ability to speak and read is amazing. I'm SO hopeful. Today I was able to get a copy of "A Reader's Greek New Testament" (check it out at Amazon) from The Bible Treasury Bookstore.

Today I am very thankful to be able to read several verses in 1 John and John's Gospel as well. The speed of learning seems to increase as you go. Looking at the first verse was like looking at a pile of spaghetti noodles on a page but as I practiced those lines became letters and those letters became words. I fully encourage any and every Bible student to jump on board. Today I am able to read, just a bit, of the Word of God as it was written. Not just someone's translation of what the Word of God is.

Brother Robb and I are studying together. Why don't you join us? It's not expensive, and the rewards are wonderful even after only a few days. We've got a section of the Pillar of Faith forum dedicated to Greek Studies. Here's a direct link to a guide on How To Begin.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Is The Burial Part Of The Gospel?

I have deleted the content of this post because it was promoting a disorderly Brother's attack on his former Pastor. I was not aware of this at the time but I am now.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fire in Nova Scotia

Update 3: Our church was able to take in some people who needed a place to sleep and be cared for. I tried to capture the red glow on the horizon coming from Lawrencetown Beach. We were told the fire is currently 9KM wide. My camera just died.. and it's a Sony so I need it to be powered up to transfer the pictures. I'll charge the battery and then upload a couple pics.

Update 2: Here's some more. People are being welcomed at our church - City Heights Church.

*UPDATE* Here are some pictures taken just moments ago. About 45 mins after the last set.

Well the news is reporting that the highway to Lake Echo, NS has been closed off. Here are a couple of pictures I've taken over the last hour or so. We're starting to see an orange color to spots in the smoke. I'm not sure if that's from the sun, or from fires. I would be shocked if the fire moved that fast, but it IS remarkably windy today.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Defending The Gospel

I am adamant that the Gospel we are to preach today is the same Gospel all the Apostles preached, as the Apostle Paul declared in 1 Cor 15:1-11. That Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ, is found in 1 Cor 15:1-11. In the Church today we see various attacks of addition to (Lordship Salvation), and deletion from (The Crossless & Repentanceless Gospel) the Gospel. We even see the very foundation of the Gospel attacked, the Book of Genesis, even by people who claim to be believers. I am currently reading "Defending The Gospel of Grace" which is a commentary on Galatians & Jude, and have recently received John MacArthur's Lordship Salvation apologetic, and now today I have Lou's book, In Defense Of The Gospel that refutes Lordship Salvation. Let the fun begin!

Greek Study Materials Have Arrived!

It's my intention to devote one hour of every day to learning Greek. As my studies proceed I'm finding my limited understanding of Greek is holding me back. There are things I know, but much much more that I do not. I'm so tired of having to take someones word for it when they say "the original Greek means such and such." I can study these things out over time, but I can't always have confidence in my findings.. nor is it always the most effective use of my time. So, hopefully that can begin to change now. All of these materials together cost under $100 at Amazon. And I will also be taking the course at Teknia.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

e-Sword LIVE

I've been a big time fan of e-Sword for a long time. Now they have a free browser based version of the software, check out e-Sword LIVE.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Before The Lord Naked, A Faith Pleasing To Him.

Adam and Eve were naked before the Lord at the first but were not ashamed. However, after they ate The Fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they became aware of their nakedness. That they were fully exposed for examination, they saw themselves as they were. Beings who fell far short of the Glory of God, and they hid.

God says of King David that he was a man after His own heart. And while I'm sure that there is depth of meaning in that statement beyond what I understand, there is one thing I can tell you. David knew he was “dark but lovely.” David knew he was a terrible mess of a man. Sinful in desire and practice. But he loved God and sought after Him. At times David would be in great peril with enemies surrounding him. Instead of taking the few moments of refuge available to sleep and rest David would stay awake through the night watches to be in the presence of the Lord. To praise Him.

At one point we read of David's wife catching him dancing naked before the Lord. Dancing. Naked. What was David doing? He surely wasn't hiding his “nakedness” from the Lord God Almighty. David was making the Lord his refuge. David was coming to the Lord God in full knowledge of his own lacking. If we read about David we clearly see that he was not what some might call a “Law keeper.” His life is not marked by “radical obedience.” It was marked by “radical faith.”

In some settings 2 Cor 13:5 is used to teach that Christians ought to be constantly examining themselves to ensure they are in the faith. This examination is then explained to be about “fruit” and “obedience.” For it is explained that we will “know them by their fruit” and if we love Him we will “obey His Commandments.” Yet it is completely ignored that the Apostle Paul's topic in 2 Cor 13 was not IF these were Christians. He had already addressed them as such, and assured them of as much. What was being discussed is their questioning of his Apostleship. We read in 2 Cor 13:3

“since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you.”

He then makes a parenthetical statement about the Lord being crucified in weakness but now living in power. But he says “since you seek proof.... test yourselves.” The Apostle is saying, if you are indeed in Christ, and I was the one sent to you, and what I told you you received and you were saved then I am an Apostle and you ought recognize me as such. But what sort of test is the Apostle talking about? Surely if he instructs them to “test themselves” then a Christian ought to be able to test their salvation right? Read 2 Cor 13 and tell me if the Apostle tells them to look at their strengths or their weaknesses. Does the Apostle tell them that their strengths ought to assure them of their position in Christ? Or does he tell them to be assured by the power that Christ now works because He died in weakness?

Of judgment, either of others or of self the Apostle Paul tells us that we can not be “justified” by our own judgment or the judgment of other men. In 1 Cor 4:1-5 we read;

1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.

What does this tell us? That even if we see nothing wrong in ourselves we are not justified. Even if we see ourselves as perfect we could be completely missing the mark. Not ourselves, but the Lord is the Judge. Because we do not see clearly. We do not see as the Lord sees. Therefore our confidence CAN NOT come from what we see. We are to “walk by faith, not by sight.” In fact it's impossible to please the Lord without faith. Judging our salvation by our performance is not faith. It's “fact finding” and “fruit counting.” But what is this that the Lord says that we will “know them by their fruit.” I want you to take note of what the Apostle Paul, who received his doctrine directly from the Lord Jesus Christ says in 1 Cor 4: 5

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts.”

The Lord says we “will” know them by their fruit. A future tense. And the Apostle tells us not to judge “until” these things are revealed, right after showing us that we do not see clearly enough to judge right now.

But what of this teaching of the Lord that says we will know them by their fruit? In Mat 7:15-20 we read

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

We're told to “beware” to be on guard as it were, and so we should. But when will we “know them by their fruits.” Well the Lord says that a good tree can't bare bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” I don't know about you but I know MANY godly men who do both good things and bad things. Who teach good things and bad things. Who have godly moments and ungodly moments. Is a person a false prophet if they ever do something or teach something wrong? Since a good tree “can not” bear bad fruit? Or is a person automatically a “true prophet” the moment they do or teach something good, since a bad tree “can not” bear good fruit? I think we have this messed up. I really do.

When will the fruit be revealed by the only One who can honestly see it clearly now? When the trees are tested by fire. In verse 19 &20 He says

“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

When does this happen? Read on in Mat 7:21-23

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

In that day. What day? The Apostle Paul says in the day that the Lord comes He will reveal all. That's why we must “beware.” Must one beware not to pick a pare when you're looking for an apple? They are plainly visible are they not? But the Lord warns us that we must beware of false prophets. Why? Because they are not plainly visible. We can not now always see their fruit.

Before I get too far off track, why was David a “man after God's own heart?” Because he danced before the Lord naked, while our normal nature is to hide that nakedness from Him. Because when men seek to justify themselves, or to put it another way to seek assurance of their justification in themselves, they are not acting in faith in the One who died in weakness on our behalf but now moves powerfully in life.

Holiness. Being separated for the purposes of the Lord is something we need to focus on. But you know what we need more than holiness? More than obedience? More than doctrine? More than knowledge? More than anything else? We need faith. The faith that looks at the Cross and sees your full debt paid there. The faith that causes us to DANCE NAKED before the Lord Who has justified those who have repented to trust in His finished work on the Cross and His resurrection unto life.

That's why when we properly share our faith that we allow the Holy Spirit to expose the sinner's sin to them. So that they can see their nakedness. Not only to show them their desperate need, but also so that they can actually exercise their faith. That is repentance. To see your need and trust that it's met in Christ.

Then we see we are truly naked before the Lord, and that though dark, we are loved. If we have really repented we can dance before Him, even in that nakedness. That is a faith that pleases Him, because we come before Him fully Dependant on Him. Only by His righteousness. Thus we are truly vessels set apart for His use because He will truly get the glory for every good work. Our works won't be proof of us, but will be proof of Him.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Evolution of Soteriological Reductionism

Dr. Lance Ketchum has posted a history of attacks on the Gospel. He starts with the same quote from Galatians 6 that I quoted just the other day in sadness. I have not read the entire article yet but I suggest you give it a read. Here's a quote;

Every new generation of mankind seems to invent its own perversions of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some of those perversions, like much of what the Biblical Epistles deal with, added requirements for salvation to the finished work of the incarnate Son of God in His sinless life and penal substationary death to propitiate God’s wrath and justify believing sinners. Enormous amounts of detail in numerous texts is given to correcting these perversions of the gospel. We must conclude that correcting these perversions are extremely important to maintaining the objective facts of the gospel in order to maintain the purity of objective faith. In other words, there were absolutely certain beliefs that would “pervert the gospel” and lead people into a false faith and a false hope. If someone was misled to believe in any perversion of the gospel, that perverted gospel was leavened generating a leavened faith.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Gal 1:6-9

Well I had to back out of fellowship at a forum for a ministry that has been a great blessing to me. The bitterness, backbiting and "false convert" hunting was getting to me in a big way, but the last straw broke today. A brother in the Lord whom I have loved dearly indicated that Paul's Gospel 1 Cor 15:1-11 was not enough for salvation.

It breaks my heart. And I mean that.

I'm left to follow the instructions of the Apostle Paul in this regard. I must separate though it hurts. The parent ministry has been a great blessing and we have conversations between our ministry and theirs often. Forums are not always indicative of a ministry, but my previous decision to distance myself from it seems to have been wise. I leave behind many friends, whom I truly do love. But I also leave behind the fighting and having to constantly defend the Faith there.

The Apostle Paul says the following in Gal 1:6-9

6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

Monday, June 02, 2008

...with Gentleness and Respect

I've never been to the website before, but at a forum I frequent.. and in which I frequently argue against the bashing of so-called "false teachers" or "false prophets" I found a post that lead me to an incredible blog post entitled ...with Gentleness and Respect. It's a struggle to challenge the theology of someone while at the same time be respectful of them.. it's even tougher when you see extreme danger in the stuff they are selling.... err teaching. See what I mean? I try.. I really do try to be gentle and as respectful as I can be. My two pet topics, Lordship Salvation and the Crossless Gospel push me to the limit sometimes.. and if I were half as honest as I'd like to be I'd look over some of my posts and quote the times when I have found myself well past the limit.

The whole post is outstanding, but this one part is a point I try to make often... and one I should remember more often.

Contrary to what you may think, love, gentleness and respect do NOT compromise the Gospel. Instead, love, gentleness and respect are the fruits of the gospel in our lives and they only make our defense of the truth even stronger and more convincing. In fact, it doesn't matter if your theological precision is accurate to one one hundredth of a percent and all of your apologetic arguments are irrefutable. Attacking and demeaning and belittling are not actions that are in keeping with the gospel.