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The ‘Word of God’ and quotes from Reformers via social media Pt 3

In my first post I discussed a strange phenomenon or development which occurred while I was driving over the road last year, namely: that many on social media which call themselves Christians, have developed an antipathy for the Words of God. You can read my first post here. In my second post I went on to discuss the quoting of ‘Reformers, creeds, confessions, and men who are for the more part theologically sound in the things of God.‘ You can read that post here.

In my last post I had two primary questions concerning the quoting of ‘Reformers, creeds, confessions, and men who are for the more part theologically sound in the things of God.‘ I covered the first question in my last post, which was:

First. Why have Christians, especially Reformed Christians stopped reading quotes from men who have come before us or creeds and confessions?

My goal today is to discuss the second question which is:

Secondly. Why does the only attention they (my quotes) draw is a negative comment, instead of reading them in context?

In answering this question I will state that I believe many think of themselves as grown up or beyond the scope of learning anything new from men who have come before us. In other words, they took their baby steps with Calvin, Luther, Knox, Spurgeon, and so forth, and now they need something deeper. I have talked to many Pastors/theologians on social media. Some of these were prideful and wouldn’t give me much of their time because I didn’t have that degree abbreviation associated with my name. Many of these are no longer on my friends list because they fell into some heinous sin, which brought shame on the name of Christ. The heinous sin which brought shame on the name of Christ wasn’t their downfall. Their downfall was the primary, underlying, main sin which they clung too and that was the sin of pride.

The main and primary reason of which I believe that my quotes draw a negative comment is because of laziness. That is right. I said that it is because of laziness. In other words, because we live in a society that is fast paced, we do not take the time to search a quote out and read it in context, to see if it is reading differently than what we perceive it to read. When I post a comment to social media it is not some obscure comment of which I searched the net and found. I list all the credentials under it in order that anyone who reads it may be able to go back and read it in context. Again, I list the author of the comment, the publisher of the book, the name of the book, and the exact page number where it may be found in the book from which the quote was taken. Just as we do not interpret a single scripture by itself, but instead interpret it in the light of context and the whole council of God, even so we should not interpret a single quote in isolation.

Another reason my quotes draw a negative comment is because it is not from that persons theological camp. A Baptist doesn’t think the quote is good because it isn’t from a Baptist theologian and a Paedobaptist doesn’t think the quote is good because it isn’t from a Paedobaptist. I once had a Covenanter state that we should only quote from our own theological camp. I even had one person tell me that I shouldn’t be quoting from Sir Isaac Newton’s: ‘Observations of the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John.‘ I asked them, ‘Why not?’ They said, ‘Don’t you realize that he was a Unitarian?’ It is funny that John Gill didn’t seem to mind quoting from him in his ‘The Sure Performance of Prophecy.

There may be other reasons why my quotes draw a negative comment, but I will conclude with this reason:

My quotes draw a negative comment because words have changed meaning or have bad connotations attached to them. For instance, many Baptists will not use the word ‘sacraments,’ when speaking of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper because of the use of the term ‘sacraments’ among Roman Catholics. These Baptists prefer to use the term ‘ordinances.’ Many of them do not realize that the seventeenth century Baptists used the term ‘sacraments’ when they wrote concerning Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

For instance: A few weeks ago I placed a quote up be Martin Luther and a brother of whom I highly respect and love, had a problem with one of Luther’s words. Now to be fair and honest, I probably should not have quoted from Luther’s Table Talk. This book, which was not written by Luther, but by his students, possibly should be read primarily for entertainment, due to the fact that the material contained therein is second hand testimony. Roman Catholics like to attack the writings of Luther. It usually falls on deaf ears when you point out that Luther didn’t write the Table Talk. However, a honest, recent Roman Catholic scholar pointed out that the Table Talk does not qualify unconditionally as a primary source. He stated, “the real distortion of the Luther image occurred with the Table Talk.”[1] This is because the Table Talk was written by Luther’s students. Luther had students who stayed in his house and as they gathered around meals or took walks in the garden, Luther would expound on questions or topics, of which were brought up by his students or his friend. Therefore, being notes on what Luther said, they cannot and should not be read as actual quotes from Luther.

However, I did quote from the Table Talk and here is the quote:

“A good preacher should have these properties and virtues: first, to teach systematically; secondly, he should have a ready wit; thirdly, he should be eloquent; fourthly, he should have a good voice; fifthly, a good memory; sixthly, he should know when to make an end; seventhly, he should be sure of his doctrine; eighthly, he should venture and engage body and blood, wealth and honor, in the word; ninthly, he should suffer himself to be mocked and jeered of every one.”

My theological friend responded with 1 Timothy 3:1-7. This list in 1 Timothy are the qualifications for the office of Bishop or Overseer. There is a vast difference between listing the qualifications of an office and listing good qualities which could reside in those holding the office. However, I do recognize that Paul also includes qualities that should reside in those who are seeking this office. So even if Luther did actually make this comment to his students, nevertheless, the qualities or properties for a good preacher which are listed, are not bad in and of themselves. Also the very next paragraph is a qualifier or explains why Luther may have made this comment and that is why my theological friend should have searched the matter out and seen why Luther may have made the comment found above. Here is the next paragraph from the Table Talk:

“The defects in a preacher are soon spied; let a preacher be endued with ten virtues, and but one fault, yet this one fault will eclipse and darken all his virtues and gifts, so evil is the world in these times. Dr. Justus Jonas has all the good virtues and qualities a man may have; yet merely because he hums and spits, the people cannot bear that good and honest man.”

Notice that the Table Talk, if it be Luther’s actual words or not, states that the defects in a preacher are soon spied out, even though the minister may have ten good virtues. And the Table Talk lists an example of a minister who had all good qualities, except for the fact that he hummed and spit while he preached and the congregation could not bare that. (Examples from other theologians will be found below stating some of the same things the Table Talk does concerning the use of the voice in preaching.)

My theologian friend admitted that some of the qualities listed in the above quote for a good preacher are good qualities, but God never expects a man to be eloquent nor to have a good voice. This word ‘eloquent‘ I believe is what really had him up in arms over the quote. This is due to what I stated above, namely that when evil or bad connotations get attached to a word, then people will not use or accept that word.

Some believe that when Paul stated: ‘And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 1 Cor. 2:1, that he was stating that he did not come to them with eloquent preaching. Now if we define eloquence as the Corinthians did, then certainly Paul did not come to the Corinthians with rhetorical speech of the art of sophistry. The art of oratory was huge among the Corinthians. If someone had a problem in court with one of the members of their community, then they would hire them an orator to speak for them. The content was not as important as the rhetoric. If the speech was beautiful and eloquent, then it would captive the audience and move them towards the point of view of the one who had hired them. Certainly Paul did not come to Corinth with this form of rhetoric, However, if eloquence is taken in its basic definition of ‘fluent or persuasive speaking or writing,’ who could argue that Paul wasn’t eloquent? For certainly no more eloquence could be found in words than the words he wrote the Corinthians:

1Co 2:1-7 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

So when the Table Talk uses the expression ‘eloquence‘ it is not stating that a good preacher must be gifted in rhetorical speech, but must be eloquent in the subject of which he is speaking.

I will close this article with a few quotes:

Tell me what you think in the comment section below.

Notice that Ames speaks about a ministers speech, gestures, and voice while preaching:

Concerning delivery, Ames advises that speech and gestures should be: “completely spiritual, flowing from the from the very heart; showing a man very conversant in exercises of piety, who also has persuaded himself beforehand, and thoroughly settled in his own conscience, those things to which he endeavours to persuade others; and into which, finally, there is Zeal, Charity, Mildness, Freedom, and Humility, with grave authority. The pronouncing of the speech must be both natural, familiar, clear, and distinct, so that it may be fitly understood; and also agreeable to the matter, so that it may move the affections. Gal 4.20, I would now be present with you, and change my voice, because I am in doubt of you. Among others, here are two voices that are most to be criticized: the one which is heavy, slow, singing, and drowsy, in which not only the words are separated with a pause, the same as a comma, but even the syllables in the same word are separated, to the great hindrance of the understanding of things. The other voice which most offends here is that which is hasty and swift, which overturns the ears with too much celerity, so that there is no distinct perceiving of things. That type of speech, pronunciation, and action which would be ridiculous in the senate, in places of judgment, or in the Court, is even more to be avoided in a Sermon.”

William Ames- The Marrow of Sacred Divinity, Chapter 35- Of ordinary Ministers, and their Office in Preaching.

Notice Spurgeon speaks first negatively concerning the use of the voice and then positively concerning the same:

“You are not singers but preachers: your voice is but a secondary matter; do not be fops with it, or puling invalids over it, as so many are…….On the other hand, do not think too little of your voice, for its excellence may greatly conduce to the result which you hope to produce…..I once heard a most esteemed minister, who mumbled sadly, compared to “a humble bee in a pitcher,” a vulgar metaphor no doubt, but so exactly descriptive, that it brings to my mind the droning sound at this instant most distinctly, and reminds me of the parody upon Gray’s Elegy: —What a pity that a man who from his heart delivered doctrines of undoubted value, in language the most appropriate, should commit ministerial suicide by harping on one string, when the Lord had given him an instrument of many strings to play upon! Alas! alas! for that dreary voice, it hummed and hummed like a mill-wheel to the same unmusical turn, whether its owner spake of heaven or hell, eternal life or everlasting wrath. It might be, by accident, a little louder or softer, according to the length of the sentence, but its tone was still the same, a dreary waste of sound, a howling wilderness of speech in which there was no possible relief, no variety, no music, nothing but horrible sameness.”

Charles Spurgeon- Lectures to My Students Vol 1, Lecture 8, On the Voice

He does warn not to play act while in the Pulpit:

“This is a most important matter. Of all things that we have to avoid, one of the most essential is that of giving our people the idea, ‘when we are preaching, that we are acting a part. Everything theatrical in the pulpit, either in tone, manner, or anything else. I loathe from my very soul. Just go into the pulpit, and talk to the people as you would in the kitchen, or the drawing-room, and say what you have to tell them in your ordinary tone of voice.”

Charles Spurgeon- Lectures to My Students, Lecture 3, Anecdotes and Illustrations

Notice Edwards, possibly the greatest mind ever produced on American soil, uses the term ‘eloquence‘ in a positive and not a negative sense:

“We know that when men are greatly affected in any matter, and their hearts are very full, it fills them with matter for speech, and makes them eloquent upon, that subject and much more have spiritual affections this tendency, for many reasons that might be given.”

Jonathan Edwards- The Present Revival of Religion, Part 4, Section 2- Another cause of errors in conduct attending a religious revival, is the adoption of wrong principles

Here is an example of eloquence used in the negative sense and then used in the positive sense:

I inquired of Dr. West, Whether Mr. Edwards was an eloquent preacher. He replied, “If you mean, by eloquence, what is usually intended by it in our cities; he had no pretensions to it. He had no studied varieties of the voice, and no strong emphasis. He scarcely gestured, or even moved; and he made no attempt, by the elegance of his style, or the beauty of his pictures, to gratify the taste, and fascinate the imagination. But, if you mean by eloquence, the power of presenting an important truth before an audience, with overwhelming weight of argument, and with such intenseness of feeling, that the whole soul of the speaker is thrown into every part of the conception and delivery; so that the solemn attention of the whole audience is riveted, from the beginning to the close, and impressions are left that cannot be effaced. Mr. Edwards was the most eloquent man I ever heard speak.”

Memoirs of Jonathan Edwards, Chapter 25- Concluding Remarks

Apollos is called an eloquent man in scripture: (chiefly because he was fluent in the scriptures)

Act 18:24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.

Commentators on Acts 18:24

John Gill– an eloquent man; in speech, as well as learned, wise, and “prudent”, as the Ethiopic version renders it:

John Calvin– Furthermore, lest any man should think that Apollos’ eloquence was profane or vain, Luke saith that it was joined with great power, namely, that he was mighty in the Scriptures. Which I expound thus, that he was not only well and soundly exercised in the Scriptures, but that he had the force and efficacy thereof, that, being armed with them, he did in all conflicts get the upper hand. And this (in my judgment) is rather the praise of the Scripture than of man, that it hath sufficient force both to defend the truth, and also to refute the subtilty of Satan.

J. P. Lange, Philip Schaff– He was an eloquent man (λόγιος means both learned and eloquent; as the main fact, however, viz., that he was learned in the Scriptures, is specially mentioned, the word is to be here taken in the latter sense). As his knowledge of the Scriptures is represented as having been very great (δυνατὸς ἐν τ. γρ., i.e., it constituted his strength), it is quite probable that, as an Alexandrian, he was indebted both for his skill in the interpretation of the Old Testament, and for his eloquence, to the school of Philo.

Footnote:

[1] Franz Posset- ‘The Real Luther,’ p. 30.

The ‘Word of God’ and quotes from Reformers via social media Pt 2

In my last post I discussed a strange phenomenon or development which occurred while I was driving over the road last year, namely: that many on social media which call themselves Christians, have developed an antipathy for the Words of God. You can read my last post here.

Today, I would like to discuss point 2 of what I normally post on social media, which is:

2. Quotes from Reformers, creeds, confessions, and men who are for the more part theologically sound in the things of God

I have found, after I came off the road, that quotes which used to generate a lot of attention, rarely draw any attention at all now. I say they rarely draw any attention at all now, however, I have found that when those calling themselves Christians, comment on them; it is usually to say something negative. So my discussion of this strange phenome-non will center on two points:

First. Why have Christians, especially Reformed Christians stopped reading quotes from men who have come before us or creeds and confessions?

Secondly. Why does the only attention they draw is a negative comment, instead of reading them in context?

First. It seems to me that men have given up the great teachers who have come before us. I have had one Pastor tell me, “I do not care to study Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Dagg, Pink, or Spurgeon. I learn through reading scripture by myself.”

It is true, that we are to read scripture. I highly recommend that everyone pull out the Bible and give it a read. Start at Genesis and work your way to Revelation and then start over. However, the Pastor who told me that he only learns by reading scripture himself works 65 plus hours a week. There isn’t much time left to read the Bible, study it in context, and prepare his sermons appropriately. Now I am not knocking working in order to support your family, but as a man who stands in the pulpit, I would rather drive an older vehicle, live in a smaller house, and wear used clothes than to neglect the study of God in order to feed God’s sheep.

This Pastor has committed at least two errors in his study of the things of God:

1st. As heirs of the Protestant Reformation we do not cry, solo Scriptura, but sola Scriptura.

Solo Scriptura basically means ‘just me and my Bible.’ One can get well aquainted with the scriptures by studying one’s Bible by themselves, however, since we all approach scripture with certain biases, then we will never come to the right interpretation, except we be taught.

A good course in hermeneutics will aide the student of scripture to rightly interpret the text. For instance: We all can read the morning paper and the interpretation of what is in it comes spontaneously because we live in the era of the events taking place, of which we are reading. This is not so with the Bible. There is a huge gap between the interpreter of scripture and the text of which he is interpreting. Hermeneutics helps to bridge this gap by applying rules to what we are studying. Hermeneutics isn’t only used with respect to the Bible, but with all pieces of ancient literature. Since there is a time separation between us and what is in the Bible, then there is a historical gap; in that our culture is different, there is a cultural gap; in that the original text was in another language than our own, there is a linguistic gap; in that the documents originated in another country, there is a geographical gap and a biological gap. In that usually a totally different attitude towards life and the universe exists in the text it can be said that there is a philosophical gap. The last could relate to how the universe was put together or who put it together.

Solo Scriptura has lead to many erroneous doctrines, not to mention many cults who call themselves Christians. All one would have to do is look at the doctrines of cults like: The Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, and Mormonism to recognize that one is not supposed to approach the study of scripture with a ‘just me and my Bible’ attitude.

The battle cry of the Reformation, however, was sola Scriptura and basically means that scripture is sufficient as our supreme authority in all spiritual matters. It means that all truth necessary for our salvation and spiritual life is taught either explicitly or implicitly in scripture. However, this view does not overlook tradition. I realize that the word ‘tradition’ has some bad connotations attached to it because of the Roman Catholic Church’s view of tradition, however, when the Protestant Reformers spoke of tradition they spoke of something entirely different than what the Roman Catholic Church meant.

Reformed Theology shares much in common with other communions of historic Christianity. The sixteenth-century Reformers were not interested in creating a new religion. They were interested, not in innovation, but renovation. Though they rejected tradition as a source of divine revelation, nevertheless they did not despise the entire scope of Christian tradition. They believed that the Church had learned much in her history and therefore embraced the doctrines articulated and formulated by the great ecumenical councils, including the doctrine of the Trinity and of Christ’s person and work formulated at the Council of Nicea in 325 and of Chalcedon in 451.

To close this point: We are not called to live as a hermit and hide in a cave somewhere with just our Bibles and study scripture on our own.

2nd. This Pastor has also rejected the gifts of God. God’s Word says:

Eph 4:11-14 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive…

These men of God were gifts unto the Church. Whereas Ephesians 4:8 states this: “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” These gifts were given for the edifying of the body of Christ, that we might grow in Christ and not be children who are tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine. Therefore, Christ taught the apostles, the apostles taught the Churches, which elders sprung from, and those elders taught other elders. Much of what Luther and Calvin knew concerning the proper interpretation of scripture came from Augustine, Bernard, Hilary, and many others.

Therefore, to reject the study of men who have gone before us, is to reject the gifts God has given to the Church. It seems to me that some think that they have grown so much, as to not need to be taught anything new. When I state, ‘taught something new,’ I do not mean a new novel or original doctrine, but mean that as long as we are in this body we are always learning concerning the things of God. Once we get to heaven all knowledge will not be given to us for we are not omniscient, but we will always be learning the things concerning God. So this is the primary reason I see that many now pass over quotes from men who have gone before us and that is because many think that they have outgrown studying the things concerning God through men who have gone before us or through the gifts Christ has given to the Church.

I do not want to make this post to long, so I will close here and pick back up next week with:

Secondly. Why does the only attention my quotes from men who came before us or my quotes from creeds and confessions draw is only a negative comment, instead of reading them in context?

Tell me what you think, in the comment section below, of why there has been a distaste for the study of the things of God.

The ‘Word of God’ and quotes from Reformers via social media Pt 1

April 27, 2020 7 comments

Many may not be aware that I am no longer driving over the road, but quit this last November for reasons that are primarily related to trucking itself, rather than my ability to do the job. I will not go into these reasons here, but instead want to speak on a phenomenon which has occurred over the last year while I was away from social media.

This phenomenon or development is related specifically to what is posted to social media platforms, particularly what I post to my social media platforms and the response it receives. I myself rarely use social media to tell the world about my dog dying, the sale I found at J C Penny’s on some cool looking jeans, or any other related events in my life. However, I do discuss a little football on social media and when I need prayer concerning some important event in my life, I let everyone on my friends list know.

The two primary things of which I post to social media is:

1. The Word of God

2. Quotes from Reformers, creeds, confessions, and men who are for the more part theologically sound in the things of God

1. Concerning the former, my posts from ‘The Words of God,’ (the Bible) before I went back out on the road used to generate a lot of attention. This should be if anyone is a Christian. How could a true Christian see God’s Word and not say amen or hit ‘like’ in passing? However, a year latter this is not the case. There seems to be more of an antipathy towards God’s Word or to say it more plainly, there seems to be an aversion, distaste, or dislike concerning the Scriptures in the times we are now living. Now I realize that most Christians could just read their Bible if they want to read scripture. Matter of fact, I had one Facebook friend say those exact words, “If I wanted to read scripture, then I would just open my Bible.” But how many Christians actually do that in the days in which we are living? If it were not for the pandemic of which the world has been facing the past few months, most Christians would not be quarantined and would be about their usual busy lives of making a living, tending their yards, and participating in events that consume all their free time. Even in this time of self quarantine I imagine that most Christians are staying busy catching up on the latest episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ or following CNN so as to have something new to post to social media concerning this pandemic.(1)

There are many reasons that I post scripture to my social media platforms, however, I will only list a few:

The reason I post scripture to my social media platforms is first and foremost because scripture holds preeminence in my life. The second reason I post scripture to my social media platforms is because scripture says, ‘Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.‘ 1 Cor. 10:31. The third reason I post scripture to my social media platforms is because I read scripture and rarely watch much television, and by doing so I try to bless those on my friends list with a scripture or two, that will help them as they go about their daily lives. However, one would think that if they had a friends list which included 400 to 500 professing Christians, God’s Word would receive more than 2 to 3 likes as those Christians browsed their social media feeds. Though I could list several more reasons for posting scripture to social media, nevertheless, I will conclude with the fourth and final reason why I post scripture to my social media platforms and that is because unbelievers are present on those social media platforms and I use scripture as a witnessing tool to them.

Now I am not writing this because very few have liked my posts here lately. I could care less what anyone thinks of me. I have been ridiculed, refused wages, fired, lost friends and family, and a host of other things since I began following Christ. Those things have not stopped my witness. I have been in valleys where God seemed far away and sin seemed as if it consumed me, yet those things have not stopped my witness. Though my old man has over the years tried to rear his ugly head, that has not stopped my witness, and God is still with me these 28 years later.

So my point of writing this post is just to ask, “What has happened over the past year to make Christians turn from acknowledging God’s Word on social media platforms? I will give a few reasons that could explain the disinterest in God’s Word on social media platforms:

Perhaps, 400 to 500 Christians are to busy to hit the ‘like’ or as I would call it, ‘the Amen button.’ or Perhaps, Christians are walking through the valley of the shadow of death or it may be the opposite, they are living on the mountain and don’t need God’s Word at this time. or Perhaps, there are not as many Christians on my friends list as I thought and they are showing their true colors at this point and time. or Perhaps, this global pandemic has hardened hearts towards God and Christians do not feel an Amen at this time. or Perhaps, Christians have chosen to read their Bibles instead of reading scripture online.

Concerning the last possibility that Christians are now reading their Bibles, instead of reading portions of scripture on social media sites, if this be the case, then I rejoice in this fact and praise God for it. However, I don’t believe this is the case.

So I ask, “What has moved hearts towards a distaste in God’s Word?” I will let you leave a comment below and tell me what you think.

I will cover point 2. Quotes from Reformers, creeds, confessions, and men who are for the more part theologically sound in the things of God, in my next post.

Note:

(1) I do not watch ‘The Walking Dead’ or CNN and if you do, I am not judging you for that. You have the liberty to watch either one. I am particularly not interested in either of these, as entertainment or the other as a news source.

Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

December 23, 2015 Leave a comment

By Albert Mohler, Jr.

A statement made by a professor at a leading evangelical college has become a flashpoint in a controversy that really matters. In explaining why she intended to wear a traditional Muslim hijab over the holiday season in order to symbolize solidarity with her Muslim neighbors, the professor asserted that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

Is this true?

The answer to that question depends upon a distinctly Christian and clearly biblical answer to yet another question: Can anyone truly worship the Father while rejecting the Son?

The Christian’s answer to that question must follow the example of Christ. Jesus himself settled the question when he responded to Jewish leaders who confronted him after he had said “I am the light of the world.” When they denied him, Jesus said, “If you knew me, you would know my Father also” (John 8:19). Later in that same chapter, Jesus used some of the strongest language of his earthly ministry in stating clearly that to deny him is to deny the Father.

Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God. Christians worship the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and no other god. We know the Father through the Son, and it is solely through Christ’s atonement for sin that salvation has come. Salvation comes to those who confess with their lips that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in their hearts that God has raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9). The New Testament leaves no margin for misunderstanding. To deny the Son is to deny the Father.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

How Christians Will Know They Can Join Hands With Rome

by Eric Davis

 

“With Reformation Day coming up, this is a good time to recall why the Reformers departed from Roman Catholicism. In our day especially, it seems that many Christians have history-amnesia when it comes to the importance of what God did through the Reformers. During the Reformation, great confusion existed regarding what was, and was not, the true church of Christ. Rome had asserted itself as the true church for centuries, and continues to do so today. However, as the Reformers recognized then, Christians must follow in step today by recalling that joining hands with Rome is a departure from Christ.

To be clear, this is not to say that everyone who sits in a Roman Catholic church is not a Christian. What it is saying is that several changes must occur before Roman Catholicism, by the book, can be considered biblical Christianity. And the men and women of the Reformation understood this, hence their necessary break with Rome. In their case, and ours, joining Christ necessitates breaking with Rome and coming under Christ means coming out from under Rome.”

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Christians want to act under the shadow of temporal authority

The promise was not accomplished, at last, but by means of ardent, deadly, and persevering struggles; and such must be the efforts of the church of Christ, ere she will gain the victory over the spiritual wickedness with which she has to contend. The Canaanites would not give up any thing but at the point of the sword. Hence the faint-hearted, the indolent, and the weak in faith, were for compromising matters with them. The same spirit which magnified difficulties at a distance, which spake of cities as great, and walled up to Heaven, and of the sons of Anak being there, was for stopping short when they had gained footing in the land, and for making leagues with the residue of the people. Thus it has long been in the Christian church: the gospel having obtained a footing in the western nations, we have acted as though we were willing that Satan should enjoy the other parts without molestation. Every Heathen and Mahometan country has seemed to be a city walled up to heaven, and the inhabitants terrible to us as the sons of Anak. And, even in our native country, an evangelical ministry having obtained a kind of establishment in some places, we have long acted as if we thought the rest were to be given up by consent, and justify to perish without any means being used for their salvation! If God means to save any of them, it seems he must bring them under the gospel, or the gospel, in some miraculous manner, to them: whereas the command of the Saviour is that we go, and preach it to every creature. All that Israel gained was by dint of sword. It was at the expense of many lives, yea, many thousands of lives, that they at last came to the full possession of the land, and that the promises of God were fulfilled towards them. The same may be said of the establishment of Christ’s kingdom. It was by ardent and persevering struggles that the gospel was introduced into the various nations, cities, and towns where it now is; and, in many instances, at the expense of life. Thousands of lives were sacrificed to this great object in the times of the apostles, and were I to say millions in succeeding ages, I should probably be within the compass of truth. But we have been so long inured to act under the shadow of civil protection and without any serious inconvenience to our temporal interests, that we are startled at the difficulties which the ancient Christian would have met with fortitude. They put their lives in their hands, standing in jeopardy every hour: and, though we cannot be sufficiently thankful, both to God and the legislature of our country, for the protection we enjoy; yet we must not make this the condition of our activity for Christ. He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. If ever God prosper us, in any great degree, it will be in the exercise of that spirit by which the martyrs obtained a good report.

Rev. Andrew Fuller-God’s Approbation of our Labours Necessary to the Hope of Success-Preached May 6, 1801

 

A Christian reads the Qur`ân

 Have you ever wondered how the Qur’an differs from the teachings of scripture? Have you ever found yourself witnessing to a Muslim and did not know how to counter their arguments because you were not acquainted with their supposedly holy book and beliefs?

Well if you have ever wondered these things and would like to learn more about the Muslim holy book and it’s views on characters from the Bible, Jews, Christians, Jesus, Grace and Judgment, Paradise and Hell, etc….. then here is a neat little article from one who is very familiar with these things.

L. M. Abdallah takes you through the Qur’an and gives you insight into this book and the belief of Muslims. He does this from a Christian point of view. To read L. M. Abdallah’s interpretations of the Qur’an then click this link here.

Be prepared the next time you witness to a Muslim.

My Two cents on the Death of Whitney Houston

February 19, 2012 2 comments

It seems that Christians in America somehow deem the gospel ineffective unless a celebrity in America dies. Then they speak out in ridicule of the celebrity and think they are ministering the gospel to the world. But most do not even blog the gospel any more. For instance, I have many a blog, of which I subscribe to, who never mentions Christ or the Gospel. They constantly blog about every wolf that comes down the pike and every false doctrine that shows its ugly head, but never mention Christ and his gospel. They remind us that we should beware of such movements as New Calvinism, The Emergent Church, The Seeker Sensitive Movement and so forth. These movements should be exposed for what they are, yet these blogs never mention Christ, how to be saved, or that we must be about our Father’s business.

No wonder I can put out a post, as I did two weeks ago, reminding everyone that we must be about our Father’s business and everyone passes it by without even a single ‘like.’ This is because this blog post was not esoteric enough or didn’t have enough theological words in it. It was simple and straight to the point. It reminded everyone that our life was like a vapour, that death was coming, and that we don’t have much time to be doing what we are going to do for Christ and his gospel, so we must be about our Father’s business.

You know why I believe that many do not mention the gospel or alert everyone of the poor conditions that exist among the impoverished around the world? It is because they are sitting around waiting on a celebrity to die. Then when this celebrity dies they want to point everyone to the fact that we ought to be weeping over the unfortunate in this world, instead of weeping over this celebrity. In other words they show more compassion for the unfortunate at that moment, than they do the friends, family, or fans of the one who just passed away.

Does the Bible command us to ridicule or use the deaths of others in order to preach the gospel? Does the Bible command us to make fun of someone’s death in order that the world will hear us? Let me ask you: What if your wife was famous and she died? Would you want people to console you or make fun of your wife? We must remember that the celebrity who died is a husband, brother, son, mother, wife, or daughter of someone else also. We are commanded by Paul the apostle to weep with those who weep Romans 12:15 and commanded by Christ to love our enemies Matthew5:44.

What did Christ do when confronted with the news of those whom Pilate slew and mingled their blood with the sacrifice? Or what did he do when confronted with the news of the eighteen upon whom the tower of Siloam fell? Did Christ use a platform of ridicule in order to preach the gospel? Or did he instead turn the results of the news story back on his hearers by telling them that if they do not repent, then they will also likewise perish?

God has called us to preach the gospel. By doing so we are to be all things to all men. We are to speak the truth in love. We are to be a shoulder of compassion to those who are in this world and have no hope. We are to point the world to Christ.

What I can’t believe is the posts that have gone up the past week over Whitney Houston’s death. There have been people who have posted that one person dies and a hundred million mourns, while millions die and no one mourns. This is a true statement, but is it relevant at the moment? Why is it that American Christians are so busy filling their utility sheds with crap all year if they are worried about the impoverished? Why is that they buy every what-not they can get their hands on, or spend a majority of their free time down at Wally world (Wal Mart), if they are so concerned about those who are hungry?

My next question is going to sting. Are we to preach to the world that Whitney Houston died and therefore men ought to repent? Or Are we to preach that God allowed his Son to die and that he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world, by his Son whom he raised from the dead, and therefore men ought to repent? The gospel is not that Whitney Houston lived and died, but that Christ lived, died, and rose from the dead. A man’s response to this is what will bring either salvation or greater judgment.

What I want to know is why have America’s so-called Christians sat around on their rear ends and allowed prayer to be taken out of schools and abortion to become legal and have remained silent. They remind me of the thousands of ministers who said nothing while Hitler murdered the Jews throughout Europe. The reason they said nothing is because they were afraid that Hitler would take their lives to.

Here in America it is different, however. We are not afraid to say anything because we will lose our lives. O no. We are afraid to say anything and to speak out against injustices because we do not want the western world to fire us from our jobs. You see we are like the Israelites of the ten tribes, who were exiled to Assyria. We don’t want to go back to the land because we are living off the good things of the heathen. In other words we love Assyria or should I say Babylon or should I say Egypt. We love the good things of this world. We do not want to be made uncomfortable. We do not want to be shunned by speaking the truth in love.

So instead we sit around and wait on a celebrity to die and then ridicule their death and think that we are preaching the gospel. Certainly we are to speak out against the injustices done to the poor and impoverished in this world, but there is a time and season to do that. There is a time and season to be compassionate and then a time and season to speak out against the injustices of the impoverished. But it is never appropriate to ridicule or to use as a platform someone’s death in order to make like we are concerned over the poor.

Christ, when he heard of Lazarus’ death, was moved with compassion and wept. When Christ saw the mother weeping, of the son who was being carried out of Nain, he had compassion on her. We also ought to have compassion on those who are distressed. We are not to have our heads so high in the theological clouds that we can’t minister to people with compassion. No, we are to take and mix our theology with compassion and minister to the hurting.

But here in America we are more tore up over the defeat of our favorite football team, than we are over somebody’s death. We are more hurt when our favorite race car driver loses the Sunday race, than we are over those who lost a loved one. Our gladiator games are more important and cause us more agony than seeing a life pass without knowing Christ.

What more can I say? God forgive us all for showing such a pathetic image of you. God forgive us for not being compassionate to the hurting. You have told us to let our light so shine that men might see our good works and glorify you. God forgive us for our failings in not being that light for you. Help us to wake up out of our theological clouds. Help us to mix theology with mercy and compassion in order to minister to the hurting.

 Amen.

 Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.

Trials Make us Great Christians

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Fiery trials make golden Christians.

Charles H. Spurgeon’s Proverbs