Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Why Any Gospel Presentation Is Incomplete Without The Mention Of Repentance

I found this article in my files and can't remember who wrote it all, but I know that I did some work compiling it into it's present form. In any case, the reason it really struck me today when I found it was because of another gospel tract I came across this past weekend. Inevitably, someone asks me what I think of a particular gospel tract they've found. I guess I've put myself out there lately as the "go to guy" when it comes to these matters--and that's great, I just pray that my answers are wise, truthful, and above all, glorifying to God.

Some tracts are a plain train wreck. Others are just okay. And yet others seem to be lacking in mentioning God's holiness, wrath and of Hell. Many also totally leave out repentance and instead focus on simply "asking for forgiveness." See the article below. I think it gives a pretty good example of why we should never forsake the preaching of repentance to the sinner.

Many times when streetfishing, I run into professing Christians. When I go to hand them the tract they'll say, "Oh, I'm already a Christian." "Great!" I reply. "If someone were to come up to you and ask you what it means to be born again, what would you tell them?" That's were it gets a little complicated. Originally, I asked this question to probe deeper into their profession of faith as there are more and more false gospels being taught. But I quickly found out that even solid believers stumble over this question. For a quick example of this, click here to listen to a recent conversation I had with a Christian bookstore clerk.

Before putting all of my friends and family to the test, I decided to write this article as an encouragement. The purpose of this "experiment" is not to make people doubt their salvation although it might be evidence of just that for some. I realize that catching someone off guard and asking them a question like this really puts them on the spot. Especially if I have a microphone stuck in the their face. My hope is that it serves as a refresher. In a world where the gospel is becoming increasingly watered down, we need to have a solid understanding of what the truth is.

What it boils down to is four basic questions: Who is God? Who are we? What are the consequences? And what is the answer for man?

Who is God?

God is righteous, sovereign, perfect and holy in everything that he does. He is the center of everything and the creator of everything and the very definition of goodness and perfection.

Who are we?

Man was created in God's image and for His glory. Because of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden and the resulting curse, We have a sinful nature. We have offended God by breaking His laws in many ways in thought and deed.

What are the consequences? Because God is righteous and holy, His standard is absolute perfection. God is also eternal, and even the "smallest" of sins are of eternal significance to Him and eternally punishable. That is why Hell is a reasonable and just punishment for mankind. Because sin is such an offense to God, no amount of good works can undo my sinfulness.

What is the answer for man? Because God is so good, and knew that I would sin, for His glory, He provided a plan that was merciful and kind. This was the salvation He made possible by coming to the earth Himself; Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, living a perfect, sinless life so that He could be made the perfect sacrifice for my sins once and for all. Only God Himself could pay such a debt. By doing this, God has accounted or imputed to us His righteousness so that we can stand before Him and go to Heaven. It is the free unmerited gift of God; His grace.We receive this gift through repentance and faith. By repenting, or turning from our sin and placing our trust in the Savior, we are forgiven not because we are now good, but because we are bad people who have been forgiven by God. _________Some of this was adapted from an explanation Todd Friel gave on Way Of The Master Radio


There are three Greek words used in the New Testament to denote repentance. (1.) The verb _metamelomai_ is used of a change of mind, such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word is used with reference to the repentance of Judas (Matt. 27:3).

(2.) Metanoeo, meaning to change one's mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge. This verb, with (3) the cognate noun _metanoia_, is used of true repentance, a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised.

Evangelical repentance consists of (1) a true sense of one's own guilt and sinfulness; (2) an apprehension of God's mercy in Christ; (3) an actual hatred of sin (Ps. 119:128; Job 42:5, 6; 2 Cor. 7:10) and turning from it to God; and (4) a persistent endeavour after a holy life in a walking with God in the way of his commandments.

The true penitent is conscious of guilt (Ps. 51:4, 9), of pollution (51:5, 7, 10), and of helplessness (51:11; 109:21, 22). Thus he apprehends himself to be just what God has always seen him to be and declares him to be. But repentance comprehends not only such a sense of sin, but also an apprehension of mercy, without which there can be no true repentance (Ps. 51:1; 130:4).

Results from a a quick search of the word "repent" in the NT. Biblegateway.com

Matthew 3:2" Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 3:1-3 (in Context) Matthew 3 (Whole Chapter)

Matthew 4:17From that time Jesus began to preach and say, " Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."Matthew 4:16-18 (in Context) Matthew 4 (Whole Chapter)

Matthew 11:20[ The Unrepenting Cities ] Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent.Matthew 11:19-21 (in Context) Matthew 11 (Whole Chapter)

Mark 1:15and saying, " The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."Mark 1:14-16 (in Context) Mark 1 (Whole Chapter)

Mark 6:12They went out and preached that men should repent.Mark 6:11-13 (in Context) Mark 6 (Whole Chapter)

Luke 13:1[ Call to Repent ] Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.Luke 13:1-3 (in Context) Luke 13 (Whole Chapter)

Luke 13:3"I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.Luke 13:2-4 (in Context) Luke 13 (Whole Chapter)

Luke 13:5"I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."Luke 13:4-6 (in Context) Luke 13 (Whole Chapter)

Luke 16:30"But he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!'Luke 16:29-31 (in Context) Luke 16 (Whole Chapter)

Luke 17:4"And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him."Luke 17:3-5 (in Context) Luke 17 (Whole Chapter)

Acts 2:38Peter said to them, " Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.Acts 2:37-39 (in Context) Acts 2 (Whole Chapter)

Acts 3:19"Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;Acts 3:18-20 (in Context) Acts 3 (Whole Chapter)
Acts 8:22"Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.Acts 8:21-23 (in Context) Acts 8 (Whole Chapter)

Acts 17:30"Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,Acts 17:29-31 (in Context) Acts 17 (Whole Chapter)

Acts 26:20but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.Acts 26:19-21 (in Context) Acts 26 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 2:5'Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place--unless you repent.Revelation 2:4-6 (in Context) Revelation 2 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 2:16'Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.Revelation 2:15-17 (in Context) Revelation 2 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 2:21' I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality.Revelation 2:20-22 (in Context) Revelation 2 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 2:22'Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.Revelation 2:21-23 (in Context) Revelation 2 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 3:3'So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.Revelation 3:2-4 (in Context) Revelation 3 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 3:19' Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.Revelation 3:18-20 (in Context) Revelation 3 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 9:20The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk;Revelation 9:19-21 (in Context) Revelation 9 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 9:21and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.Revelation 9:20-21 (in Context) Revelation 9 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 16:9Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory.Revelation 16:8-10 (in Context) Revelation 16 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 16:11and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds.Revelation 16:10-12 (in Context) Revelation 16 (Whole Chapter)
Tomorrow we will look at another short article Reasons To Repent

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sin, A Little Thing

Here is yet another great passage from Charles Spurgeon. How often is it that we come across people in the street that try to justify their sin as "white lies" or "in the past...when I was a kid."

This is exactly why the Law is so effective in showing the sinner how exceedingly offensive all sin is to a Holy and just God, and it is what also makes the good news of the gospel shine all the more!

A little thing?

"Beware of light thoughts of sin. It is sadly true, that even a Christian may grow by degrees so callous, that the sin which once startled him--no longer alarms him in the least. We palliate and excuse our sin; we throw a cloak over it; we call it by dainty names.Sin, a little thing? Is it not a poison! Who knows its deadliness! Sin, a little thing? Do not the little foxes--spoil the grapes? Does not the tiny coral insect--build a rock which wrecks a navy? Do not little strokes--fell lofty oaks? Will not continual droppings--wear away stones? Sin, a little thing? It girded your Redeemer's head with thorns--and pierced His heart! It made Him suffer anguish, bitterness, and woe! Could you weigh the least sin in the scales of eternity--you would fly from it as from a serpent, and abhor the least appearance of evil. Look upon all sin as that which crucified your Savior--and you will see it to be 'exceeding sinful.'"

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Greek Preaching!

This is sent from a local evangelism team member Valerie M. here in the Phoenix area. Her email says it all:

Hello to Everyone! You gotta see this!
I am sending you the link to my mom preaching on Youtube. Here it is:

Hopefully, it will work this time. Let me know if it doesn't, OK? Thanks!

Mom is giving her testimony on the video of how she was saved in the Greek language. The Greek people in general don't have anyone to tell them the truth of the Gospel....up till now that is!! Now they have Mom! :) Praise the Lord!

The verses she used are: Romans 3:23, John 3:16, and Romans 10:13. In the end, you can see her pleading with the people to do what she did. She says, "You can do it too! Repent! Confess your sins to Christ and call out to Him to save you!"

So.....here is the question of the day.....What are some of us waiting for? Let's follow Mom's lead and get busy witnessing and preaching on the internet! I know some of you are already on the internet and have been doing awesome things there, like Tom, Al, Logan, and Sheri. You guys and gals are amazing! But now, it's time for the rest of us to join in too!
If Mom can do it, we all can do it too!!! OK. are we ready? Let's go!!!

Till the nets are full,

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Heaven And Hell Come To Earth For Rob Bell

The following look at the Emergence Christianity of pastor Rob Bell is from Rob Bell’s Abstract “Elvis”: A Critique of Velvet Elvis by Bob DeWaay, pastor of Twin City Fellowship:

In Velvet Elvis, Bell asserts that all people are already forgiven, reconciled, without having to respond to the Gospel in the manner Jesus said in the Great Commission: “and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). Here is Bell’s claim: “So this reality, this reconciliation, is true for everybody.”[1] His proof text is Colossians 1:20 which he assumes teaches universalism. But the passage includes humans, spirits and the material world. Wicked spirits will never be reconciled to God, and Christ has triumphed over them and disarmed them (Colossians 2:15). Elsewhere Paul “begs” people to be reconciled to God (2Corinthians 5:20). People who are not reconciled to God are ultimately consigned to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). But, having eschewed systematic theology, Bell’s trampoline jump does not require consideration of those passages that call into question his use of a favorite proof text.

Click here to read the rest of this article from Apprising Ministries.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Has The Missing Link Been Found?

Here's another short article from this week's online edition of Answers Weekly, a weekly look at answersingenesis.org.

"For many people, evolution is more than just a scientific argument about
origins: they use it as their philosophy of living, and it impacts every area of
their life. Those who want to reject the Creator are always looking for evidence
to support their belief system of evolution.

Christians should be aware that every so-called “missing” link between
man and ape has been rejected by scientists. Even many evolutionists throw out
Neanderthal man and “Lucy” as our ape-like ancestors. But we shouldn’t even have
to turn to science to know that these “ape-men” are false. The Bible clearly
tells us that God created humans and animals reproducing after their own

What’s the real missing link? It’s humankind’s relationship to the Creator.
He made them, and He’s never been missing. We’re made in the image of God and
are meant to worship and obey Him."

For more information, see The Neandertals: Our Worthy Ancestors, Part I? and Part II.

William P. Young In His Own Words…Part 1

The Shack by William P. Young has been doing the rounds for quite a while now, but I’ve been hesitant to say anything about it. The overwhelming popularity of the book and the adulation heaped on it by its readers (I read one Amazon review, which said that the book was just as inspired as Scripture - scary) made it an immediate no-go area for discussion, even though I had read the book.

Read and listen to the resto of the story at Wired4Truth.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Comic Relief

Brought to you complements of Sacred Sandwich!

What Effect Does Prayer Have?

Here is a great segment from a Q and A with John MacArthur.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wisdom From The 2009 Shepherd's Conference

Okay. Here it is. The buzz probably on everyone's blog concerning Phil Johnson's message entitled "Sound Doctrine; Sound Words" at the 2009 Shepherd's Conference. Here he addresses the increasing problem of crude speach in the pulpit along with communicating innapropriate subject matter and even blasphemy. He's naming names and this is sure to create a stir. It's a bit long at just over an hour, but well worth your time.

Commenting on Creation

This short article was on the back page of this month's Answer's Update, the newsletter of Answers In Genesis.

Many theologians today declare that Christians should believe in evolution and millions of years of earth history. Why is that?

As we researched this topic, we discovered that theologians who compromise with Genesis are putting their trust in secular science’s fallible dating methods. They do not fully believe the infallible Word of God as it relates to origins, though they may be sincere Christians.

In the Bible commentaries before the 1800’s, almost all Christian theologians accepted the six literal days of Creation and a global Noah’s Flood. There was no hint that they argued for a universe that is billions of years old.

In the past two centuries, as Darwin’s ideas have taken root in society, Bible commentaries have been increasingly teaching that the days of Creation were not literal days—and that the Flood of Noah was just a local event (not global). As you read through them carefully, you will find that the underlying reason the commentaries question the length of the Creation days and the global nature of the Flood is almost always because of accepting the fallible theories of scientists about the age of the earth. It rarely has to do with what the biblical text might teach.

It’s so sad that many theologians today—and most Bible colleges and seminaries—take Genesis figuratively but man’s theories literally!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Suprised by Faith: A book review

By Robert Tewart

Book Review: Surprised by Faith Don Bierle PhD
Dr. Don Bierle holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in the life sciences and an M.A. in New Testament Studies. As a research scientist he was a team member on scientific expeditions to both the Arctic and Antarctic polar regions. As an educator and academic dean, Dr. Bierle has been active for 30 years teaching biology, Bible, and worldview subjects in the college classroom. He has spoken at conferences around the world such as the Marshall Islands in the south Pacific, Amsterdam 2000, the Philippines, and throughout India.
He has also published several articles in scientific journals, is the author of Surprised by Faith (now available in Spanish, Russian, and eleven other languages) and other books Dr. Bierle has an unusual ability to analyze technical, scientific and theological subjects, and to communicate them in a clear, original and fascinating way. In his book Surprised by Faith, Bierle covers three crucial areas concerning the reliability of the Holy Bible textually. It’s a short read at only about 100 pages, but it’s jammed packed with solid apologetics for historical evidence for the reliability of what lies within the pages of scripture. He also eventually gets to the root in asking what we now do with that evidence. The bottom line is the spiritual aspect we all face whether our intellects are satisfied or not.
Manuscript Evidence

The first thing Bierle investigates has to do with the number of New Testament manuscripts there are in existence compared to other ancient works. This is important to establish continuity in manuscripts. See the Diagram below. Keep in mind how much other writings of antiquity are taught as fact in our schools.
Then he looks at time interval. This compares several ancient works with the New Testament in regard to elapsed periods of time between the original and existing copies. This has a great potential impact on the veracity of the writings. See the diagram below.

Lastly, the author examines the accuracy of the manuscripts. This has everything to do with how diligently the scribes worked making handwritten copies by comparing newer copies to the oldest in existence. He also examines any inaccuracies or “distortions” in light of whether it be spelling, grammar, or meaning and the consequences of such inconsistencies. See the last diagram below.
The rest of the book is dedicated to what we do with all of this evidence. “Is Jesus really God,” “Is Faith Reasonable,” and “Where Am I” are among the remaining chapters.

I found this to be a quick read and definitely a great “entry level” book on apologetics. I recommend it to anyone who would enjoy a short but powerful read from a highly qualified author. It will give you some practical and fairly simple arguments to defend the textual reliability of the Bible.

Note: I apologize for the crooked images. Hey--I'm no Tim Challies!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Science, Faith, Or Both?

“I don’t believe anything unless it can be proven scientifically!”

Oh, how many times have I heard this or something similar while witnessing. Many people seem to give such high reverence to science as if it can answer all of life’s questions. They claim that if a statement cannot be proven in a laboratory by the methods of natural science, it is untrustworthy and cannot be reliable. In other words, science should be considered objective and therefore real. Many people claim that if it is a statement of faith, it cannot be trusted.

Next time you run across this potential smokescreen, clear the air by offering the following questions:

§ What about the process of falling in love? The last time you fell in love, did you test it in a laboratory to see if it was real? Did you tell your girlfriend that your love wasn’t real because you couldn’t test in a laboratory?

§ Is the existence of truth testable in a laboratory? Can you prove I just asked you a question?
§ Are the laws of logic testable in a laboratory?

§ What about the adequacy of language and numbers? Are they testable in a lab?

Remember, faith is not a drawback to understanding reality. Everyone in this world exercises faith. No one can live life without faith. In fact, science itself requires presuppositions that must be accepted by faith before research is possible.

Science takes by faith the following presuppositions:

1. The universe is orderly. It operates according to patterns, which can be observed, and its behavior predicted.

2. Objective truth exists and is knowable.

3. The reliability of the sense perceptions. One must believe our senses are trustworthy in examining the universe around us.

4. The repeatability of a laboratory experiment. The experiment must be repeatable by another scientist in order to verify the resultant conclusion. Obviously, there are many things in life, which are not repeatable in a laboratory; history is one of them.

Remember, the scientific method was actually invented by a Christian in the sixteenth century. Prior to this time, most people believed the Greek polytheistic concepts, which viewed the universe as erratic and irregular and therefore not capable of systematic study.

Science is great and we need science but we must understand its limitations. Many times it can tell us how something works but it cannot tell us why something works.

Stand strong in your faith. Science is really the Christian’s ally!

See you on the street.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Calvary Chapel Free Gift

There's a great website called Calvary Chapel Free Gift that gives some interesting insights about the relationship between Calvary, Ray Comfort and The Way of the Master/Living Waters ministries. Being in a Calvary Chapel fellowship and having been so influenced WOTM, I was naturally thrilled to find this little gem a couple of years ago.

More and more Calvary Chapels are becoming enthusiastic about evangelism as layed out in The Way of the Master biblical model. Although Calvary's are known for always having been focused on biblical exposition and evangelism, there have been various obsticles along the way concerning Ray Comfort and his work., However, many now are excited anew about reaching the world with the Gospel using the Law to bring about the knowledge of sin.

The photo above was taken last fall a couple of days before the Awakening conference at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. Pictured from left to right: Don Stewart, Ray Comfort, Pastor Chuck Smith, Pastor Brian Brodersen.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spam Evangelism, Or Love?

The term "Spam Evangelism" has become somewhat popular at the blog of Pastor Jeremy Jernigan where there has been some spirited exchange on the matter. The term originates with Mark Betchtle author of Evangelism For The Rest Of Us. Since my comments there have been rejected for speaking my honest convictions, I have kept up there with the seemingly endless conversation on the matter. I think much of it has to do with the misunderstanding of how those of us who are being faithful to our gospel calling are actually engaging people. Below are two examples of recent encounters I have had with students at Chandler/Gilbert Community College. Clarke "Otter" McNeace and I have made this our twice a month fishing hole for some months now.

The response really has been positive. That is, no tomatoes have been thrown and no complaints to the administration have been made!

The first two conversations are examples of typical one on one evangelism. The third is an example some open air preaching I did last Fourth of July at Arrowhead Lake in Southern California. Notice the difference in tone and dynamics. Keep in mind that the open air is addressing dozens if not hundreds of people without amplification.

Personal note: Yes, I do believe I say "Grospel tract" in audio one and excessively use the word "okay" in the open air. The nerves never completely go away and that's a good thing. It helps to keep us in prayer and out of the flesh as much as possible.

Robert witnesses to Joey at Chandler/Gilbert CC March 2009

Robert witnesses to Micah at Chandler/Gilber CC March 2009

Robert Open Air Preaching at Lake Arrowhead California 4th of July

Friday, March 20, 2009

Vulgur Language... Where Is The Line?


The article links below delve into vulgar language and biblical sarcasm and where the line is verses going too far. Some consider Paul’s letter to the Philippians to have included profanity when he considered everything “dung” (“skubalon” in Greek) compared to Christ (Philippians 3:8). He used a vulgar concept and a strong word but did he actually use a profane word to do it? Some point to the original language and that today it would correspond to a four letter word not suitable for G rated movies. Others say not so fast.

Are there times where it is ok to use profanity to emphasis God’s word or even when speaking to Him? Are there situations where profanity is biblical and honors God? Did Paul and others do the very same thing in scripture? What does God have to say in His word about our words? Below are two links on the topic.

The first is from Phil Johnson

What about Paul’s use of skubalon? That word was not considered taboo in Greek culture. It was a strong word, but it was not the sort of vile expression that some want to make it… Strong language and profane language are not the same thing. We need strong language in the pulpit, but profane language has no place there. Click here for full message

The second is from Nathan Busentiz

Charles Spurgeon included this kind of “lewd speaking” in his definition of “profane language,” about which he said: “I am unable to frame an excuse for profane language: it is needless willful wickedness.” Click here for full message

Profane language is gratuitous to the world but not to God. To do so falls into the kind of speech I believe Paul was talking about and prohibited in Ephesians 5:3-4 and Colossians 3:8. I pray that God would shed a lot of light on this for his glory and our conformity to His likeness and thinking. A dear friend asked me the following questions nearly 9 months ago when we wrestled with God’s word on the topic. He first asked why people flinch or are offended when such words are spoken by holy men. He then asked if perhaps we have been conditioned to see certain things as vile that God do not intend to be thought of as vile. Those are great questions.

The reason I flinch when we hear such words spoken from “holy men”? Because we should all be concerned with sin and the question really is whether or not it is sin in God’s eyes? It is not that I am offended because it is not about me. It is that I am concerned because someone could be openly in sin and leading others into it. If I love them then I will be concerned about them and sin (and not me).

Have we been conditioned to see certain things as vile when God never intended them to be thought of as such?

Sure. But we have God’s word which is sharp and alive to cut through our conditioning and rationalizations to determine what God did intend. To determine how God does see certain things and how therefore he intends us to see these things. Through the eyes of scripture. Pastors should be above reproach and that includes filthy language. Harsh language and strong language? Go for it as God leads. Filthy language? Not. What is filthy? Where is the line?

There is a difference between biblically describing vulgar scenarios (like the Cross) and using vulgar words. Vulgar words are not required to communicate vulgar scenarios. And vulgar scenarios should be used biblically using strong or harsh language at most, not filthy language. That still leaves the questions as to what is the word list to not say or jokes not to tell? Let scripture guide you and inform your conscience and transform your mind (Romans 12:2) keeping in mind that this is not a small matter. For every idle word we speak we will give an account of.

"But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for
every careless word they have spoken." Matthew

"If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him
when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy
angels." Luke 9:26

Praise God for His mercy, love and forgiveness as He not only saves us but grows us in grace. We have His word on it.

Love, Rob-roy

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Almost Christian

"Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian," Acts 26:28

An almost Christian is one of the most hurtful creatures in the world; he is a wolf in sheep's clothing: he is one of those false prophets, our blessed Lord bids us beware of in his sermon on the mount, who would persuade men, that the way to heaven is broader than it really is; and thereby, as it was observed before, "enter not into the kingdom of God themselves, and those that are entering in they hinder." These, these are the men that turn the world into a luke-warm Laodicean spirit; that hang out false lights, and so shipwreck unthinking benighted souls in their voyage to the haven of eternity. These are they who are greater enemies to the cross of Christ, than infidels themselves: for of an unbeliever every one will be aware; but an almost Christian, through his subtle hypocrisy, draws away many after him; and therefore must expect to receive the greater damnation.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

When You're Too Popular

Francis Chan of Cornerstone Church says quite a bit in this short video about speaking the truth and how others may react to it.

Joey N., a friend of this ministry, attends Cornerstone and sent me a link to another video called Just Stop And Think a year or two ago. I had forgotten about Pastor Chan and his powerful messages.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Stay Out Of The Shack...And A Book Review

At the risk of beating the proverbial dead horse, I wanted to post this book review by local pastor Jeremy Jernigan. After reading his comments about how much closer he felt to God after reading it, pay attention to the video at about 3:18 in from Horizon Christian Fellowship. It is troubling that a shepherd responsible for the feeding of his flock would be getting any of his own nourishment from man-made wisdom. What does this say about his view of the sufficiency of scripture.

Here is the book review:

After hearing much talk about it (I'm not even sure who the person was who actually
persuaded me to buy this and read it) I got to reading William
P. Young's book, The Shack
. It is a fictional story of spirituality. As
such, I've definitely read a few good ones and a few that made me want my money
back. But this book was incredible.It is the story of a man who experiences
extreme hurt and then is able to have a dialogue with God about it. I was most
amazed by how I felt closer to God after reading this and how I couldn't get my
mind to shut down as it replayed parts of the book over and over for me. If you
need a good boost with God right now, or if you have experienced some tragedy in
your life and are still processing the pain, or if you are in to reading good
books....read this one! I give it 5 out of 5 stars. --Jeremy Jernigan

The question may arise about why I have chosen to further post articles concerning this particular church and one of it's young leaders. It is because I attended there for nine years and have several close friends that are still there. The departure of my family from there had everything to do with reading the clear signs of where they were going with their ministry.

My heart also goes out to the senior leadership right on down to those in children's ministries that served and loved my children so well. If I truly love them, why would I not make attempts to reach them with this information. Right or wrong, it weighs on my conscience.

As always, I would like to admit that I am but a fallible man, fully capable of being flat out wrong about these things. If so, because I have been so public with this issue, I am willing to accept public rebuke if any of what I say is un-biblical or unloving.

Soli Deo Gloria

Just Think

If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.

-Leonard Ravenhill

Monday, March 16, 2009

Can Satan Hear Our Thoughts?

By John MacArthur

Can Satan hear what we say and know our thoughts? Should we avoid praying out loud because Satan might hear us?

There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that Satan is omniscient. There are no verses that say he knows everything or that he can read our thoughts. But he is very adept at predicting human behavior because he’s seen it operate for so long. He can anticipate what you might do in a given situation without knowing your thoughts because of his knowledge of humankind and because he has a supernatural mind.
But in terms of being omniscient and being able to read your thoughts (as God can), the Bible does not support that idea at all. It never tells us that angels are omniscient. And if a holy angel isn’t omniscient, neither is a fallen one. So, Satan can’t read our thoughts, even if he’s great at predicting human behavior because he’s seen so much of it.
I was speaking at a conference in Iowa about this problem. People were asking questions like “How do you deal with demons?” and “Do we need exorcism to get rid of demons?” Well, there are a lot of people today who say you do. I once read a book about deliverance in which the author described a doctor who was supposedly delivered from the demon of post-nasal drip. And in this approach, whenever you think you have a demon, there’s a certain magical formula you say or you run around or “plead the blood”—whatever that phrase means, since it’s not from the Scripture. The blood has already been pled in your behalf at the time of your salvation and that takes care of it.
There are people who advocate little formulas and séance-type practices with a Christian connotation, claiming that they can cast out demons and so forth. But when you get into the Bible, you find that dealing with the devil is really as simple as going to Ephesians 6 and putting on the armor of God. You see, in Ephesians 6, it says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers,” right? We’re wrestling against demons and against Satan.
But what do we do about it? The best place to find out is to read right in that same chapter, isn’t it? Notice that it does not say, “Go get your demons exorcised with a Christian exorcism.” Nor does it say, “Go get somebody to cast your demon out.” It says, “Put on the whole armor of God,” and what that whole armor really consists of is righteousness. The heart of it is “the breastplate of righteousness.” The key then is to live a righteous, Spirit-filled life and to trust in the sovereign power of God.
So, there is nothing in the Bible that says Satan can read our thoughts. Certainly demons can hear what we say. They can understand what we say. And as I said before, they are very good at predicting the common responses of man because they’ve been at it for such a long time.
But don’t worry about that! A lady once said to me, “We whisper,” because she was afraid of demons hearing her prayers. My response was, “Well, that’s foolish!” You can go boldly before the throne of grace. In the Old Testament, it doesn’t say, “And David whispered to the Lord;” it says, “And David said unto the Lord”—and out it came. You never hear any time in the apostle Paul’s instruction to us about prayer when he says, “Don’t talk out loud.” When he wanted to pray, he just flat out prayed and it didn’t bother him whether Satan heard it because he was living in such a way that Satan couldn’t do anything about it anyway. That’s the issue.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Great Quotes

"Friendship evangelism is neither friendship, nor evangelism without the verbal proclamation of the Gospel."

--Tony Miano

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Update on Spam, Evangelism, and The Shack

On my last post, I cut and pasted an article from the blog of Associate Pastor Jeremy Jernigan over at Central Christian Church of the East Valley in Mesa, Arizona.

Since then, a reader to this blog has brought it to my attention that Pastor Jernigan has for whatever reason chosen to revise his post effecting the following change.

The original post read,

· "Recently, I’ve heard different people talk about the damage that can be done by the book, The Shack, which honestly, I think is a bit absurd."

But he changed it now to remove that part so it currently reads:

· "Recently, I’ve heard different people talk about the damage that can be done by the book."

I feel compelled to bring this to light so that my original post would not appear inaccurate if compared to the original by others. Since his original post, the subsequent comments by readers there has been lively to say the least. That is mainly why I am bringing this to light.

I have also brought this to the attention of Pastor Jernigan by email and he has given me a reason for the change which is acceptable...as long as he states it publicly on his blog. I do not mean to "expose" anything. I only want to remain accurate and above reproach in my writing. Especially because of the spirited exchange this has caused at his blog.

Spam, Evangelism, and The Shack

This is a post from pastor Jeremy Jernigan of Central Christian Church of the East Valley in Mesa, Arizona. He writes:

"In light of my post last week where I interviewed the author of The Shack, I’ve again heard the ongoing battle of how we approach sharing our faith. Recently, I’ve heard different people talk about the damage that can be done by the book, The Shack, which honestly, I think is a bit absurd. So I want to take the opportunity to voice my concerns with evangelism on the opposite end of the spectrum.
There was an interview that World magazine did with author and speaker Mike Bechtle. In it, he coined a term called “spam evangelism” that I think nails a lot of the current styles of “spreading” Christianity today whenever we try and do it outside of a relationship. He shared a personal story to make his point:"

Click here to read the rest of this post Please leave Jeremy some comments concerning his views on evangelism. Remember to communicate all things in love.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Reader Questions About Tracts

The following is an email I answered from a reader and fellow blogger. I thought it would be good to post.

Hey Jonathon,

I'll address each part of your question(s) as best I can. You wrote:

"...you're obviously planting seeds, but do you ever have an opportunity to do more than that? Do people stop and engage you?"

The answer is an emphatic "absolutely!" The tracts are great ice breakers. A typical encounter starts like this: "Hi, did you get one of these (handing them a tract). I'm out here today with some friends asking the ultimate question, what happens when you die?" If they answer, your on your way. I might hand out several tracts before someone pauses to look more closely. That's my cue to say something like above.

"Do they respond with deeper questions that allow you to go further than passing out a tract?"

Usually, they answer the questions I ask of them, but then they might pose objections or a "what about ---" type of question. Most questions and objections are fairly typical. You learn pretty fast how to answer the bulk of them pretty confidently.

"Also, I would imagine that many of the tracts you pass out end up in the trash and even on the ground as litter. Do you have concerns about that?"

My answer to that Jonathon, is yes, many do end up on the ground and in the trash. But if I hand out 1,000 tracts and 999 end up in the trash and 1 makes a difference, is it worth it? I am much more concerned with being obedient to God for spreading the gospel by whatever means than I am what people do with it. That may sound strange at first, but if you consider that God is absolutely sovereign, it makes sense.

"Whenever I start a project I immediately think, "Is this the most efficient way to do this?" and "Am I maximizing my time, energy, and resources?" Any thoughts you have on this would be greatly appreciated.."

I wrote a post about this called "Why Use Gospel Tracts". You can see it at at the following link:
http://streetfishing.blogspot.com/2008/11/why-use-gospel-tracts.html I also printed this off and put it along side of the tracts I display at church.

Hope all of this helps. Thanks for your questions!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Shack Is Coming To Town

It is official. The author of the wildly popular and best-selling book The Shack is coming to our town May 16-17, 2009. Click the link below for more information and an interview with the pastor that is bringing him to town.

The pastor who wrote this post stated:

“From my perspective, if you read this as a fictional story of one man’s speculation about God, it can be a powerful encouragement for experiencing or renewing your own journey with God through the Bible.”

Scripture has this to say about entertaining such “speculations”:

As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1 Timothy 1:3-5

Further, the scripture talks of those who became futile in their speculations (Romans 1:21), warns Christians to refuse and ignore foolish and ignorant speculations (2 Timothy 2:23) and to destroy speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Last year my wife volunteered at the bookstore of this very same church where The Shack was (is) sold and prominently displayed. At that time it was communicated to her and the volunteers that due to a number of concerns people in the congregation were voicing the bookstore manager obtained a response from one of the pastors to help assist them for such occurrences. The response that came for public use by the volunteers from the same pastor who also authored the blog link above was as follows:

“The Shack is one man’s idea of an interaction with God through a fictional story. We recommend that people read it, not as a theological treatise on par with the Bible, but as a story to ignite the imagination and the heart for a very real God.”

The following contains most of, but not an exact copy of what I wrote to the church bookstore manager which was then brought before a couple of the pastors to review. I am sharing it with you as an encouragement to test all things by God’s word, including what I am writing in love and concern.

I am confused as to why The Shack would be recommended by a Christian church and sold in its bookstore to be read in the context of it just being “one man’s idea” of God as a tool to “ignite imagination and the heart for a very real God” when the book does so much to describe a false view of God’s nature. It is one thing to acknowledge that The Shack is “not a theological treatise on par with the Bible” but we should go further and realize that it is also contradictory to scripture in many troubling ways. First let’s start with what the Bible says about God and His nature and the Scripture from which we learn about Him.

· We are commanded in the Bible both to have an intimate relationship with God through the person of Christ (1 Cor. 1:9) and to know him truthfully.

· We are called to exhort in sound doctrine (Titus 1:9), to "speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine" (Titus 2:1), and to have purity in doctrine (Titus 2:7).

· Such doctrines include the revelation of God, his nature, his calling, his sovereignty, his holiness, his majesty, his purpose for us, his redemptive work, and all other such teachings which are vitally important to us in order to properly understand God and to properly discern if the subjective spiritual experiences we have are true or false.

For instance, The Shack on page 205 is where God says to Mack, "My words are alive and dynamic-full of life and possibility; yours are dead, full of law and fear and judgment. That is why you won't find the word responsibility in the Scriptures."

· That is not true. In the New American Standard Bible “responsibility” occurs four times (Num. 4:16; 1 Chr. 9:31; Ezra 10:4; 1 Tim. 5:22). The NIV has it in 13 places. Even in Heaven we will be given responsibilities.

· God delegates responsibilities to angels (Jude 1:9; Revelation 12:7) and to believers who will rule over cities, nations and angels (Matt. 25:23; Luke 19:17; 1 Cor. 6:2-3, Rev. 2:26).

· Even now we are to rule over the fish, birds and every living creature (Gen. 1:28).

· King David confirmed this mandate that we have been put in charge by God, of everything God made, giving us authority over all things (Psalm 8:6).

· The Shack should not imply that “responsibility” is evil in God’s eyes when it is good in His eyes (Romans 14:16; Isaiah 5:20; Eccl. 12:14).

· The Shack should not create a God that does not give “responsibility” as being a good God when it is the true and good God that gives responsibility as a His good gift to us (James 1:17).

· Randy Alcorn in his book “Heaven” (p222) wrote the following “We must learn to take Scripture seriously when it speaks of our reigning over the earth. By telling ourselves that we mustn’t interpret Scripture literally, often we end up rejecting it’s plain meaning.”

Here is another concern. Does God place expectations on us? Does he expect us to believe in him, to follow him, to seek to be like Christ, to love others, to worship him in truth, etc.? Of course he does. Yet, on page 206 Papa (God the Father) says, "Honey, I've never placed an expectation on you or anyone else. The idea behind expectations requires that someone does not know the future or outcome and is trying to control behavior to get the desired result."

That is not only false but a false view of God. The true God does expect certain things from us and it is not necessarily true that an expectation from God means he doesn't know what the result will already be.

· God knows we are sinners, yet expects us to be holy. God says, "you shall be holy, for I am holy," (1 Pet. 1:16).

· He makes the only way for sinners to be made holy through the Cross (Heb. 10:14, John 14:6).

· God expects us to pick up our crosses and follow after Christ (Matt. 10:38).
One more concern is Universalism. This is the unbiblical teaching that through the atoning work of Christ, all people will be saved. The book seems to hint towards that. On page 225 we are told by God, "In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me, but only some choose relationship."

· If all humans are forgiven of their sins, then all humans go to heaven.

· This is the doctrine of universalism and it is a heresy that is contradicted by scripture (Mark 3:28; Matt. 25:46).

It is not wise to use fiction that contradicts scripture as it relates to God’s triune nature as held by the first century Christians through this very day. Fiction must walk in line with the scripture for it to be recommended not against it. And that would be the case no matter how talented the writer or how emotionally moving the story is. When emotions trump truth and the Bible and then are promoted as a way to know truth and the Bible better there is a problem. How can error help us know God better?

How can a false view of God’s Trinitarian and Saving nature in the work of God the Father, God the Son Jesus Christ and God the Holy Spirit be recommended as a tool to know God better as depicted in this work of fiction? How is that any different than the fictional account of Laminates and Nephites promoted by Joseph Smith (albeit he promoted it as actual history) in the Book of Mormon? The Book of Mormon is certainly one man’s idea of interaction with God and I am quite sure that won’t be in Christian Church bookstore anytime soon. It appears that with The Shack, and the Book of Mormon as well, there is an emotional appeal that asks us to overlook the whether the fiction is based on the truth of the Bible. When that happens we overlook the Bible in view of our emotions. Emotions trump truth.

When this happens in other areas we know better. The spouse whose emotions lead them to commit adultery has ignored truth. Because they overlooked God’s word in favor of an emotional reaction they have discarded the truth because the truth to them is based on what feels right. A very dangerous thing. The result is sin.

Christ followers should regard the word of God as the final authority on all things and any supposed accounts of actual occurrences should be compared to scripture, not our feelings, wants, and desires. In the case of The Shack, the book falls woefully short of scriptural truth in many areas and has the strong ability to mislead people regarding God's nature, work, and plan for us.

Here are some other reviews of The Shack.

· When the prophet Isaiah and the apostle John caught glimpses of God, they were overcome with despair at their own unworthiness in the light of His glory. The same could be said of Daniel or Paul, or any number of figures from Scripture.

· Sadly, the author fails to show that the relationship with God must be built on the truth of who He really is, not on our reaction to a sunset or a painting.

· As Papa warns Mack, God is not who Mack expects He is. But He is also not what our creative imaginations make Him to be, either. He Is, after all, Who He Is.

· This story is meant to teach theology that Young really believes to be true. The story is a wrapper for the theology. In theory this is well and good; in practice the book is only as good as its theology. And in this case, the theology just is not good enough.

· Because of the sheer volume of error and because of the importance of the doctrines reinvented by the author, I would encourage Christians, and especially young Christians, to decline this invitation to meet with God in The Shack. It is not worth reading for the story and certainly not worth reading for the theology.

· The Shack has God say, “I don’t create institutions—never have, never will.” But Romans 13 says, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” Similarly, God created the institution of marriage and family, and the institution of the church, which is his bride.

· I know wonderful people who say they have been drawn closer to God through reading the Shack. When people feel closer to God, I wholeheartedly rejoice. But I fear some readers (not all, by any means) may feel closer to a God who is different than the God revealed in Scripture... If that’s the case, then they are not closer to God at all, just closer to a false God, an idol constructed in the image of our contemporary need for acceptance and resistance to repentance and submission and accountability.

· With the book’s repeated message that the Bible has been twisted by churches and pastors and seminaries (and yes, sometimes it has),… I’m afraid some readers will feel justified in further distancing themselves from both the Scriptures and the church. And some may read meanings into Scripture that the biblical text itself contradicts.

Due to the numerous shortcomings identified and the tremendous responsibility of pastors to

care and protect the sheep they should not promote this “fictional” teaching or the author who is teaching it through the medium of “fiction”. It is not the fiction that is the problem. There is biblical fiction out there such as Pilgrims Progress. It is the teaching the fiction of The Shack transports to the reader that should not be endorsed, recommended or promoted.

If you are a fan of the book I appreciate your taking the time to read and consider these concerns as they are provided in love for you and our Savior. Please pray for every church to be discerning in caring for the body of Christ. This book and others like it could be making its way to your church or bookstore. A number of people I know in different states and in their churches have asked me about this book and shared their concerns. It is so important to know God’s word because it is so important to grow in knowing God and discerning false and/or errant teaching. In love I pray this is of benefit to you.

Love, Rob-roy
(1 Thess. 2:8)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Is Your Life a Waste?

Praise God for preachers that challenge you in Christ!
Write me and let me know if this challenges you as well as it did me.

Don't Waste Your Life - John Piper from I'll Be Honest on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Use of Tracts

By R. A. Torrey

The following is from Torrey's larger work, "Methods of Christian Work " (Chapter 5, pages 213-221):

Comparatively few Christians realize the importance of tract work. I had been a Christian a good many years, and a minister of the Gospel several years, before it ever entered my head that tracts were of much value in Christian work. I had somehow grown up with the notion that tracts were all rubbish, and therefore I did not take the trouble to read them, and far less did I take the trouble to circulate them, but I found out that I was entirely wrong. Tract work has some great advantages over other forms of Christian work.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

What Happens When Doctrine Is Set Aside For Opinions and Feelings

By Tony Miano

"Eisegesis" -- from the Greek root word "eis," which means "into, in, or among." Eisegesis is the errant hermeneutic practice of reading or forcing a desired meaning into a text, by applying either an unbiblical or extra-biblical presupposition to the text. "Exegesis," on the other hand, is the biblical hermeneutic practice of drawing the true meaning of a verse or passage from the text, by using other sound hermeneutic principles to assist in arriving at the right interpretation. Proper exegesis of Scripture requires the Bible student to set aside subjectivity for objectivity.

I would like you to meet Joshua. Joshua is a student (either past or current) of the Bethel Supernatural School of Ministry. The school is a subsidiary of Bethel Church, in Redding, CA--sadly, a hub of activity for the false spiritual movement known as the Lakeland Revival, a creation of now disgraced adulterer Todd Bentley and Fresh Fire Ministries.

Click here to read the rest of this article.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

John MacArthur: Abandoned By God

"...A massive moral disaster." --John Macarthur

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ice Breakers

There are many ways to use ice breakers in evangelism to go from the natural to the spiritual in conversation with people. The most important of course is the gospel tract. But if you want something to add that will really catch a person's attention, consider learning some "magic" or optical illusions or slight of hand. Some tricks are really easy. This one from Ray Comfort is in the easy to medium difficulty range. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ray Comfort on 60 Minutes..New Zealand

Here is a rare personal insight into Ray Comfort's ministry. 60 Minutes New Zealand did a great story on him. Click here to see the video.