Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Christians" can go "straight to Hell"?

This is a quote from John Piper's twitter feed

First there was this;

Every Christian, Jew, Muslim, or Hindu who murders himself and others for his faith goes straight to hell. (1 John 3:15) from HootSuite

Then he followed it up with this clarification...

Key words to ponder in the last post: "Christian" not just Muslim. "Murder" not just kill. "For his faith" not "in faith". from HootSuite

Obviously Mr. Piper's theology is clouding this understanding of the Scriptures. If a "Christian" can possibly go to Hell then there is no Eternal Salvation in Christ... my oh my!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I've been neck deep in study for an upcoming series of TCC Radio that will hopefully help the Church witness to Muslims. This has been so consuming that I haven't had very much time for blogging at all. Here's a thought though.

Abram was assured by God's promise and God accounted this as righteousness.

Abram was assured and that was accounted as righteousness.

Abram did not look for righteousness in himself in order to be assured.

The Lordship Salvation camp will tell you that you can't be assured of your Salvation unless you are showing some unidentified level of obedience to Christ, or righteousness. Abram was assured based on God's promise and God called him righteous because of it.

We silly Christians want so badly to be validated in our own flesh that we make up all kinds of doctrines that allow us to celebrate ourselves. Shame.

God demands, and deserves perfection, yet the Word of God and our experience tell us clearly that we won't be perfect until we are resurrected. Anything less than perfection is sin my friends. We can not get assurance of anything by looking at our selves other than our need for God. Even truly saved, regenerated people who are indwelt by the Spirit of God look like nothing but filthy rags in our behaviour compared to the perfect obedience of Christ Jesus.

Let us look to Him and not ourselves for assurance of the salvation that He has promised for all those who call on His Name.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Where Does Faith Come From?

Just something quick and dirty here. It's no secret that I completely, flat-out, without reservation or qualification reject "Regeneration (being born-again) prior to Salvation" which is a modern Calvinistic idea that is required to explain some of their other claims about the Gospel.
Eph 2:1-10
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
So one of the things that might be considered part of "Regeneration prior to Salvation" is that "saving faith" is a gift from God. Some see this as part of regeneration.. some who reject regeneration prior to salvation still hold that faith is a gift from God however... the ideas mix well but one is not dependant on the other.

So where does faith come from? Does the Bible tell us?
Romans 10:14-17
14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

“ How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
See faith comes from hearing the Word of God preached. All the many complex arguments fall deaf, dumb and still to the floor when compared with the plain reading of God's inspired Word.

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Penguin God Doesn't Care

*This is a repost of an article just posted at The Cross Current Blog. (See I HAVE been busy *smile*)

Just a couple of days ago I received an e-Mail from the President of The Cross Current. The opening ought to give a sweet chuckle to those in ministry.


If you have time (yeah, I know…the email is funny already:), I would REALLY like for you to author a brief blog posting about that National Post article I sent you.”

Yes I am very busy, and my schedule includes many things that really shouldn’t be put off. However, in ministry there is always time for what’s important.

The article El Presidente sent is God Is not here? by National Post Deputy Comment Editor Marni Soupcoff based on the implications of a child’s surprised and innocent question “God is not here?” The admirable author of this honest work deserves a response of like kind.

Dear Marni,

Thank you for your very honest article ‘God is not here?’ Your writing is far more lucid than anything else I’ve read recently relating to religion in the popular media. I am the writer/producer of The Cross Current Radio Show, which is an outreach broadcast. We’re different from the crowd in that we don’t just do a passive radio broadcast. We focus on helping Christians actually engage the culture in very sane, very real ways by modeling just that every week.

I truly did enjoy your article and so, if you will indulge me, I would like to offer some answers to the questions you asked. I recognize most of these are rhetorical, but since there are answers I would like to give them. You asked, “You see my dilemma?” Yes I do, and I’m confident you are far from the only one facing such. “—how can I not?” You can’t, and I’m thankful you know it. “Is it fair to saddle a child with your own prejudices?” Fair or not, you’ve recognized it can’t be avoided, and the parental responsibility of showing a child “how it should be.”

It is pleasant to read just how aware you are of these facts, and somewhat shocking to see this presented in the National Post (NP). Truly reasonable thinking about “god and faith” is far from the norm in secular media, and similarly in non-secular for that matter. For the first time I’m considering subscribing, if only because what is deemed reasonable to print in NP can be reasoned – seemingly even if this is not the popular approach to a particular subject.

The last question in your article is, to use a technical term, a doozy. “How should children be taught religion?” I’m no parental expert, but the short answer is this; they shouldn’t be. You’re actually closer to what “should” be done for them with your new but incomplete plan.

“…to tell my son what I really think about god and faith…” Oh that parents would be this honest with their children. Here’s a question for you; why do so many parents make a practice of lying to their children? From Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy, to taking kids to some church just to cover the bases; it truly is no wonder children have a hard time believing (and obeying) their parents when it counts.

There is much in the article worthy of discussion. Such as “I’d sooner he be indoctrinated by me than left with a moral void of ‘choice’ and ‘openness.’” Previous to this you accurately identified how almost all media has an agenda. Your child wouldn’t be left to “openness” but would be programmed by someone other than yourself. I’m constantly amazed when parents tell me how entertainment media doesn’t influence their children all that much only to see their child with the new ‘insert movie/tv show title’ action figure, lunch box and sneakers they just had to have. It seems reasonable to me then that the only unfair way of teaching your child about “god and faith” would be to let someone else you have not vetted do it for you.

Your new plan is a pretty good one, yet it lacks a solid foundation. “What I really think about god and faith” really needs to be replaced with “What I have found to be true about God [sic] and faith.” Kids have been fed enough fairy tales. You and your son’s father come from different backgrounds. I checked the comments on a NP blog posting of your article and found people suggesting reconciliation of your views as a solution. One poster specifically suggested reading the Old Testament as a family. That’s not an entirely bad idea, but it misses the real issue. Neither you, nor your son’s father actually knows for sure what is true about “god and faith.”

You said “I’m a believer in something (even if I haven’t figured out exactly what)…” I apologize right now for all those who will make fun of this, or use it in a way to try to discredit you. Like the rest of your article, I enjoy the openness of this statement. Replacing the concepts of “god and faith” with “math and reading” ought to relieve us of the pressures of presupposition. So for just a moment; if you were planning to teach your child math and reading I’m confident you’d want to do so with accuracy. Not that you would have to be an expert in either, but you would desire to teach accurately.

Most people we speak with think it doesn’t matter which god they believe in, or don’t. The truth is, the ‘Penguin God’ doesn’t care if you believe in him/her/it or not. The point you reference in the movie ‘Happy Feet’ is actually true, there is no such ‘Penguin God.’ So in that respect, it doesn’t matter if people don’t believe in him. This does leave the sticky problem of believing in him even if he doesn’t exist. However, if there is one true God who actually does exist, then believing in Him might be a matter of great importance. Depending of course on if it matters to Him. If such a God does exist, then the subject of Him and faith in Him becomes a lot more like math and reading. Accuracy is no longer just a preference, it’s a requisite. Yours is not the only will involved so the consequences of inaccuracy are neither solely internal, nor determined by you alone. If this God exists, then His own will may well be exercised even to the exclusion of yours.

Just like with the ‘Penguin God’, if there is no ‘one true God’ then believing in Him is a problem that parents need to address as well. Be sure this fact is not lost on me. I will not portray such as unreasonable or unprintable. We few of The Cross Current actively meet people right where they are in life. One question we like to ask, frankly because it cuts through smokescreens really well, is “Are you looking for something to believe in, or do you want to find the truth?” We know there is only value in believing something if it is actually true. Someone might choose to teach their child to believe in the ‘Penguin God’, but he doesn’t care. He doesn’t care if you believe in him, and he doesn’t care about your child. He doesn’t exist. One danger of believing a falsity is denying something true and that is always harmful. For example; if I believe Santa is real, I’m denying the truth that he is not. When I finally find out my trust has been abused and through deception I have been denied the opportunity to know the truth, I am harmed.

Through evaluation of many related subjects at length it has been determined that the Bible is the true Word of God. It does accurately reveal the one true God, not just another fairy tale character. I don’t expect, or even want you to take my word for it. What I offer is an out stretched hand. To help you determine what is true, not however to convince you. If I were to offer a convincing argument, someone more clever will surely come along after me to convince you of something different. Right now, you lack a firm knowledge of what is actually true. As an individual you not only need the same general revelation of truth as everyone else, but you have your very own concerns, questions, objections, ideas, and the like particular to yourself. Until they are answered you won’t be able to know and be sure of the truth. However, the wonderful thing is that the moment they are you won’t be able to honestly deny the truth you will then know. You will be convinced without me convincing you because your needs will have actually been met.

Would you like to be truly sure of what you’re telling your child? Not just hoping you’re giving him the best information you can, but actually sharing trustworthy truth? The ‘Penguin God’, and his peers will never care either way, but you ought to.

You are a smart, insightful woman. Even if you do not respond I’m pleased to demonstrate, as is reasonable, how it is perfectly OK to admire the people we encounter who none the less need help. During His earthly ministry the Lord Jesus Christ made no qualms about showing people they were in dire danger because of sin, but He reached out to them (and us) in that need. One woman He met knew her need more than many other people do. He admired her for this, and for going for the true solution. Mat 15:21-28 The Lord demonstrated His love by meeting our need through bearing our guilt and shame unto death, though He deserved none of it.

Based on your article, I’m sure no one has ever given you, or your son’s father a reasonable explanation of why He died for our sins, was buried and rose back to life on the third day all in accordance with the same Hebrew Scriptures you were likely introduced to in your youth. I’m sure no one has ever helped you determine if all this actually happened or not. We would like to.

By the way, the sight of a crucifix makes me shiver too, but probably for different reasons. His suffering in our place on the Cross is over, His sacrifice has been accepted and He is risen. I shiver when I see people putting their faith in anything other than this.

I was asked to make this brief, and I did try. Thanks for reading!