Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Next Articles

We've had some really great conversation in the thread called The Power Of God To Salvation. Mark, Jazzy and Bridget each contributed their views in support of Lordship Salvation.

I, and other men, vehemently disagree with them. We have shown by Scripture why. I would like to thank both Lou and JP for their comments and for their participation in the Gospel of Christ. In that thread I tried to remain friendly and graceful but of course did not always succeed. These discussions can get very heated and it's easy to see people on either side wanting to "win" instead of wanting to offer up simple Truth.

The Gospel is precious and can not be allowed to be defiled. It is the message of God's Grace towards man. It speaks of things that are too Holy to be uttered by the dirty mouths of men. But for His Glory, the Lord God Almighty has chosen weak and small men like myself to carry that message of Salvation to the World. A message freedom without cost available to the slaves in bondage who will but receive the Gift of God.

I've turned comment moderation on. That means IF I manage to get some time in the next week to allow comments then I will. But I do not expect to. I made my closing statements and then left commenting on for several hours. The others have not chosen to offer any closing statements so the thread stands as it is for now. I will turn free commenting on again as soon as I will be able to moderate properly.

In the meant time, I'm preparing the next article in a series on Lordship Salvation Theology and it will be called "The Offense Of The Cross" Gal 5:11 comes to mind immediately of course, but so do sections like 1 Cor 1:17-24 and Col 2:11-23 if you think about it.

The Gospel is the message of The Christ Crucified on the Cross on our behalf for our sins, buried in the ground, and risen and seen again. Are you offended by the Cross because of any of these?

That the Cross shows you exactly what a sinner you are.

That the Cross shows you exactly what is required because of your sin.

That the Cross shows you exactly how Good God is.

That the Cross shows you exactly what the Innocent willingly paid.

That the Cross shows you exactly that the guilty and unworthy can justly, and freely, go free.

Does the Cross offend you, Sinner?

Does the Cross offend you, Saint?

Does the Cross offend you?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Blog post from someone who's been on TCC

Well I hosted TCC Radio this week, and that was a new experience. Made for a busy week that's for sure! Cory will be back on the air next week, and I'm THANKFUL!

For the episode of TCC Radio called Expelled: Politics & Popcorn we spoke with Micheal. He stuck around after the movie and chatted with Cory. It wasn't the best sounding interview - by a long shot - because of microphone issues but it was interesting. And being interesting is pretty important for a radio show right?

I think it's neat to finally read a blog post made by someone who's been interviewed by TCC. In the post Micheal shares some more thoughts about his take on the movie and what it was like for him to be interviewed by Cory, the host of TCC Radio. Check it out here.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Power Of God To Salvation

Christian, what is the “object” of your faith? Evangelist, what is the object of the faith you call people to so that they might be saved? Pastor, what is the object of the faith you build the flock up in? Is the object Jesus Christ and His finished work on the Cross, or is the object the quality, quantity, and/or consistency of a person’s response to the messaged preached?

One might ask, 'What is authentic faith'? The Bible use the word faith, or pisteuo (in transliterated Greek) which has the meaning “conviction of the truth of anything, belief;Vine amplifies this with “belief with the predominate idea of trust (or confidence) whether in God or in Christ, springing from faith in the sameFaith is the confidence that something is true and the natural trusting that results from that confidence.

I had intended this writing to be the catalyst of a healthy new discussion on Lordship Salvation’s additions to the Gospel of grace. However, it seems just linking to the uncommonly short article at Lou Martuneac’s blog, In Defense of the Gospel, which reviews one key page in John MacArthur's third and latest edition of his original The Gospel According to Jesus has done that already.

Still be sure, my purpose in writing this is beyond getting some thoughts out of my head and down on paper, or maybe pixels. For most of the Winter and Spring my focus had been toward answering and limiting the spread of the Grace Evangelical Society’s (GES) reductionist Crossless” interpretation of the Gospel. Many men have joined together in this cause and it has been a great blessing to learn from and with them. I don’t believe the GES reductionist views are as “dangerous” because they do not, nor indeed can, carry the same credibility as the argument for Lordship Salvation. The proponents of the reductionist view are tenacious, but unless blinded, the casual student of the Word can easily recognize the error. This is not so with Lordship Salvation, and that should not surprise us.

Much of the New Testament deals with and warns of this vein of additionist religious teachings commonly known as Lordship Salvation. Paul knew that Christians would be drawn to things that have the appearance of Holiness, Col 2:23 He knew it, and spent most of his ministry arguing against such false systems telling us over and over again that Christ is our righteousness that there is no profit in anything outside of or in addition to Him.

A short and overly simplified description of Lordship Salvation, indicates that saving faith (that faith which is required of a sinful man in order that he will be saved by God) includes:
1) Submission to the lordship of Christ over all areas of one’s life,
2) A willingness to meet the demands of discipleship (although these proponents sometimes indicate that actually meeting the demands is not the requirement, just the willingness to do so),
3) Loving the Lord Jesus above all things,
4) Forsaking sin,
5) Seeking to live a righteous life.
The impossibility of this proposition is recognized by the additionists and this opens the door for the idea that “regeneration” (being Born Again into God's family) happens to the sinner before they have faith or do anything toward God at all. They are Born Again, then God reveals Himself and then He gives them the Faith to believe in Him, submit, love absolutely... and so on.. and THEN they are saved.

Brethren, does God save people apart from faith? If a person is born again into God's family apart from Faith then Salvation is not “through Faith” at all. Eph 2:8-9

Brethren consider this;
Rom 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ,for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”
God declares that the Gospel is His power to salvation for everyone who believes. What ought we to add to the power of God in order that we might attain Eternal Life?

The Gospel of Christ is, “The Good News of Christ (God’s Anointed One)” The Gospel is “Good News” not a set of requirements for man. It's not a contract, it's a declaration! It is the “power of God” to salvation for everyone who “believes” which is pisteuo or who places confidence in it. The News is about Jesus and His work on the Cross. This is the plain, clear, and absolute teaching of the Word of God on the subject of Salvation.

Some will ask “What of repentance unto life then?” I declare in agreement with the Word of God that Repentance unto life is a “change of mind” and a “changing of mind” (metanoia and metanoeo) about sin, righteousness, judgment and Christ in response to the convicting and convincing by God the Holy Spirit. John 16:7-11 Let us first read the Apostle’s introduction to the Gospel and then the Gospel it’s self to see if we see this repentance unto life in it, and if we can then see it in Romans 1:16.

The Apostle Paul declares this Gospel in I Cor 15.
1 Cor 15:1-2 “1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the Gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.”
Here Paul says he is going to “declare the Gospel” that the Corinthians “received” at some point in the past.

The Gospel is something you “obey” 2 Thes 1:8 1 Peter 1:17 Rom 10:16
Romans 10:16 “But they have not all obeyed the Gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?”
And obeying the Gospel is “believing” it, as per Rom 10:16.
Even still The Gospel doesn’t contain instructions one must obey. It is a message, “Good News” of things accomplished by God on our behalf. This news is “received” 1 Cor 15:1 or “rejected” John 12:48 & Acts 13:46

But what does it mean to “receive”? 1 Cor 15:1 says paralambano is an active “response” to hearing the Gospel. We “take it to ourselves” or we “accept it” It is in the Second Aorist tense meaning it happened at some point in the past. The voice is Active which means the Corinthians are the ones who “received” this Gospel. The mood is Indicative meaning Paul is making a “statement of fact” So Paul says it is a statement of fact that you accepted this.

And Paul continues, by saying “in which you stand.” “You stand” is rendered from histemi which is “to be placed firmly, fixed”. It is in the Perfect Tense which “describes an action which is viewed as having been completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be repeated.” It is also in the Active Voice and the Indicative Mood. “You stand” means it is a finished work, that you stand, and it is simple fact – not to be debated. This is Eternal Security found right in the Gospel.

It’s of great importance to point out that Paul is writing these Corinthians to remind them that the Resurrection is true, that we do have Eternal Life, that we will be raised up at the end. This infidelity of the Corinthians, together with Paul's statement “unless you have believed in vain” needs to be considered. How can a person's belief be in “in vain”? Can this mean a “weak belief” or a belief that is only a “profession” or “mental assent”? The Apostle explains what it means to “believe in vain” himself through the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit,
1 Cor 15:12-18 12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
It is not the quality of the believer's believing that Paul says can be “in vain” it is the object of that belief. Only if Christ is not risen, then our belief would be in vain. Yet, the additionists would have you measure the quality of your faith through prior commitment, works or other evidences in order that you could actually be saved. But the Apostle Paul says, you put your faith in this, and by it you are eternally saved be reminded of this.

Brethren, Paul is writing this encouragement to the same Corinthians, many of whom were living out a very poor Christian testimony. Paul called these born again Corinthians “carnal” to the point that they could not “receive” anything beyond the basics of the faith. 1 Cor 3:1-3 Yet, Paul writes of their Eternal Salvation as an established fact.

Do you see repentance in Rom 1:16 now? Do you see that the Gospel is “obeyed” when it is “received” and do you see that God saves those who have Faith in His Son? Peter says the end of our faith is the salvation of our souls. This is exactly the opposite of regeneration prior to faith. 1 Peter 1:9 Paul says that this faith can come from the revelation we receive, that it is this revelation that makes us “wise” unto Salvation through Faith. And that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. 2 Tim 3:15 Rom 10:17
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
Is the assurance of your Eternal Salvation, the quality of your faith & performance or the quality of the Person and His finished works? Is the Gospel the power of God to salvation, or is it His regenerating work? Is the Gospel the willingness of a lost person submission and commitment to performance expected of a born again Christian? What say you? What does the Bible say?

What is authentic faith? The Word of God says “authentic faith” is confidence that Jesus Christ, as identified by the Gospel, was qualified to, and actually did accomplish everything written in the Gospel on our behalf and the confidence that in this alone we stand righteously before Holy God.

This what the Bible says, and, each and every Apostle Jesus Christ sent to bare testimony of Him, and His death, burial and resurrection. This Gospel truly is the power of God unto Salvation and here it is declared in detail by the Apostle Paul himself under inspiration of God the Holy Spirit. Can there be further debate among the Brethren if Scripture declares it?
1 Cor 15:1-11 “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the Gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed,”
Authentic faith” receives this, and the one who does receive it is saved and will eternally stand on these grounds and by no other means. This is the power of God unto Salvation.

The follow-up to this article will be 'The Offense Of The Cross' God willing it will be done soon, and will cover several ways that the Cross offends people. Including that the Innocent was condemned while the guilty ones go completely free, and how the Cross shows the world exactly what a bloody spectacle their own sin is, and that the ruler of this world, the one the world bows down to and follows has been judged and is defeated no matter who bows down to him.

Quick update

I've been having a very spirited discussion with Mark over at In Defense Of The Gospel

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Robb's take on Real Evangelism

My good friend, and Bother in the Lord, Robb has a new podcast up at Good Morning, Jesus Christ! Great intro tune! And neat message too! He's looking at Rom 1:16 and how the Apostles evangelized in Acts.

My own article that centers on Romans 1:16 is under review by some Brethren right now. As soon as the review process is complete I'll have it up.

Random pics from our Ottawa trip

Unfortunately you can see my desperate lack of skill with setting up the camera. Many of the pics were taken in "ISO" mode and the picture quality is TERRIBLE. Looks great on the LCD for the camera... but terrible once you see the real picture. So... I didn't notice the problem until I got home and saw them on my computer. Still you can see the guys witnessed like crazy!! There are no pics of me here. I was witnessing all day too, but these are pics I took of everyone else in between my times to talk with people.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

One page that tells a 20 year story.

Is James 4:7-10 an appeal to salvation being made to the unsaved? It's an important question I want you theologians and laymen of the Word of God to ponder as I tell you a very short story about an article I'm writing.
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
I really wanted to get an article posted before I left for Ottawa. However... it kept growing and I was learning things I hadn't noticed before. I found there was potential in the article to go deeper into the topic of what the True Gospel of Jesus Christ is and how it ought to be taught and preached than I had ever gone at OMW before. Dreams of grandeur started to fill my mind... OK maybe I didn't get THAT carried away.. but I was really hopeful of stepping up both the quality and depth of my study on the topic.

Thankfully, I asked for assistance. I wanted an important (very important for my article) point to be reviewed. I had arranged for the entire article to be "peer-reviewed" (as though I could claim the person who agreed a peer!) but it was not completed before I had to leave. So I decided to send of a specific question. And I'm thankful I did. Lou Martuneac engaged some of his peers to answer the question for me. And guess what.. the answer came back that I was flat out wrong.

So now a great portion of the article must be rewritten, and the remainder needs to be deeply scrutinized. My own bias filled mind jumped at an opportunity to find itself validated in Scripture. This is exactly the same as when a secular scientist imposes his own worldview on the findings and then congratulates himself on being verified by the "evidence." Not a pretty picture at all is it? Well this is why "peer review" is so important. And who we "choose" to do these "peer reviews" is just as important as having them done.

So back to James 4:7-10. I've just read a new post at IDOTG about page 250 of John MacArthur's 20th Anniversary Edition of The Gospel According To Jesus. The quote being addressed at IDOTG was found on Pg 218 of the original printing (20 years ago), and 252 of the first revision. This quote ought to have been reviewed many times. The book has been an outstanding seller since it was first published, so it surely has been read many times.

When I turn to page 250 of the 20th Anniversary Edition of TGATJ I see the first line of the second paragraph, and the first line of the third paragraph do in deed say;
One of the most comprehensive invitations to salvation in all the Epistles comes in James 4:7-10.

The invitation in 4:7-10 is directed at those who are not saved -
Brethren, read the Epistle for your self and answer God honestly, can He tell a lie? Can God the Holy Spirit call "guilty, wicked hearers of the Word who are not doers; who are still captive to dead faith; who are bitter, selfish, arrogant liars whose 'wisdom is not what comes from above but is, natural, demonic'; who are loving the world and thus are the enemies of God; who's inner spirit is still dominated by lusts; and who are proud and self-sufficient" by a term that indicates they are saved believers, that being "Brethren"? The quote here is the continuation of the first line of paragraph 3 on Pg 25o.

The basic problem of the Lordship Salvation message is it's demands that a sinner be a disciple in order to be saved. Every Christian will be discipled by the Holy Spirit, this is true. And for the most part the debate with Additionists (those who would add to the Gospel such as Lordship Salvation does) is not with what a genuine conversion will result in, but it is about what must be done to be genuinely converted.

I will let Lou carry on the conversation on this subject at IDOTG. But you visit you will find the following post that I have made.

Mark Pierson you said
If I were away from my church for a while, and a great distance away at that, and I wanted to write a letter to that congregation I would address it to "my brethren", knowing full well that not all who attend there on a regular basis are truely saved. Some hearing the letter read from the pulpit would not truely be brethren. But that would not stop me from addressing the larger part of that congregation, that IS born-again as brethren.

The glaring difference between anything you ever have or ever will write and Scripture is that Scripture is perfect.

If I wrote, a sentence to the Church that said -

"Saved Christians, put your faith in Jesus Christ to be saved!"

I could simply be discounted as a very poor writer or worse a terrible theologian.

But if the Apostle James wrote "Saved Christians, put your faith in Jesus Christ to be saved!" the BEST case scenario would be that this letter could not be included in Scripture.

A man may addresses the Brethren and include the unsaved who are sitting beside those in fellowship. He would be in error to do so. But a man can, in sincerity, do so.

However, God who knows the heart, knows who are His, and who can not lie, could NEVER address an unsaved person using the term "brethren." It would be to bare false witness.

You may be able to project the error, shortcoming, and political correctness of a man on a man... even the Apostle James but to project those same shortcomings (falling short of the Glory of God even) on the true Author of this Epistle, namely God The Holy Spirit is something I would repent of if I were you.

I invite you to participate in the conversation. Have your ideas "peer reviewed" and review those of your peers. For as much as I respect other men who are senior in the faith to me, I fully agree with something my Brother in the Lord Cory McKenna prayed this weekend; "We (Brethren) are all one at the foot of the Cross."

Oh Canada! You're 141 Today!

I was in Ottawa this weekend and wow what a time I had. I've got some more pictures coming but here are some to help celebrate Canada's Birthday, July 1st! While we were there on Sunday night there were some bands doing sound checks for the big show. This made for a bit of a challenge to talk with people but it also drew a crowd, so we were thankful for that much anyway. These pictures are of the capital building, with the Peace Tower and of the flame out front. One thing I absolutely love about Canada is that the people of the country are allowed to freely walk through their own capital building. We didn't have time to go inside this time, but I've walked through it a few times. The artwork inside is breathtaking. Hopefully one day I'll get the chance to share the Gospel inside that building. This weekend I got to share it many times on the street out front. :)

I'm the guy in the blue shirt with the black "Ottawa" hat. The floppy green hat I had on all day was great for the relentless sun we enjoyed, but the moment the sun went down I need to find something that wouldn't hurt my ego so much. :) At 5.99 it was a bargain!