Friday, January 28, 2011

For your enjoyment

I tried to find a good reason to post this video here that relates to this blog. I'm not sure what that is, except that God has given us animals to subdue and rule over (Genesis 1:28.) I suppose that would include enjoying and caring for our domestic pals. This pup is surely a joy to his owner, but the glory is God's alone for giving us animals to appreciate.

Monday, January 24, 2011

'Man Saves Man' and Decisions Are The Plan

Where did we ever get the idea that people can save other people, and even save themselves? Sure, nobody comes right out and says that, but you can tell that they think it. It's amazing how this one theological error upstream ends up causing an entire evangelism epidemic downstream. No, theology is not useless "head knowledge", it impacts our actions. And in this case, bad theology has produced an entire errant evangelistic system.

The problem that we are seeing today, is that church leaders believe that people can control when and if the New Birth occurs. Here's one example with scenes from an actual church service: 

We are warned of the problem in Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God:
"If we forget that it is God's prerogative to give results when the Gospel is preached, we shall start to think that it is our responsibility to secure them. And if we forget that only God can give faith, we shall start to think that the making of converts depends, in the last analysis, not on God, but on us, and that the decisive factor is the way in which we evangelize. And this line of thought, consistently followed through, will lead us [into error]. If we regarded it as our job, not simply to present Christ, but actually to produce converts, to evangelize not only faithfully, but also successfully, our approach to evangelism would become pragmatic and calculating."
That's exactly the kind of thinking that is represented in links like these:
Megachurch pastor Steven Furtick says he's setting "strategic goals in the areas of attendance, salvation decisions, (and) baptisms". Now if you really believe that it's up to God to save people, how can you make a specific goal for salvations? How can you predict how many God will save? Maybe He'll save none. I suppose one way is if God tells you ahead of time how many he's going to save. That's what Steven reports on another post in which he shares how God told him that "100 people would give their lives to Jesus", and before he preached a sex sermon God told him that "50 people would be saved". Curiously, these numeric prophetic messages are never mentioned ahead of time, and are only spoken of in specific terms AFTER they appear to come true.
A staffer at one church talks about their goal of saving "hundreds" over the upcoming year, but I wonder if they've considered the possibility that the Holy Spirit might save 10 times that many, or maybe nobody at all. After all, John 3:8 reminds us, who can predict what the Spirit will do? He's like the wind that blows where it wishes.

The Cool Church missions blog points out that 300 made decisions when "Pastor George spoke". Elsewhere, Pastor Greg talks about 1600 people who got saved in jail, and makes a special point of mentioning that "I led over 130 to the Lord myself". A nursing home evangelist says that he resists boasting about 'decisions' but, you guessed it, he ends up doing it anyway. Not only that but, he let's you know that the decisions occurred "due to our ministry".

As for the video clip above, it's worth noting that repentance was never discussed by the pastor in that church service. Leaving out key aspects of an evangelism message like that is one of the common traits of the modern error of Decisional Regeneration. That's the focus of this informative video clip which outlines the problem with today's "man saves man" church methodology, which is based on no less than faulty theology.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Theology Questions

Mars Hill Church has some good resources concerning the most asked questions about theology. Here is one on assurance of salvation.

This is a question that comes up frequently, particularly among fairly new Christians who are still working on understanding the Scriptures. First, the very fact that this situation is bothering you is evidence that you are part of God’s family and need not fear loss of your salvation. You cannot lose your salvation. Look up Romans 11:29 and memorize it.

If you’re concerned about the “unforgiveable sin,” be sure to see Pastor Mark’s explanation on the topic.
As for your referring to Hebrews 6:4-6 and Hebrews 10:26-31, let me say that these are two of the most hotly debated portions of Scripture among theologians more astute and experienced than most all of us. Our suggestion would be to try to acquire or borrow a copy of the ESV Study Bible and read the commentaries that it gives on those two portions of Scripture.

The Mars Hill position on those passages would be that they describe persons who fall into one of the first three soils that Jesus describes in Luke 8:4-15. When you read that parable and the meaning that Jesus himself provides, you will understand that many people can “taste” the blessings of God and sometimes even appear to be “born again,” but in time it is revealed that they never were the “good soil.” The Apostle John in 1 John 2:19 explains those of the first three soils by saying, “They went out from us, but they were not really of us, for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they are not of us.”

The very fact that being one who does not remain is bothersome to you, reveals that you are saved. You want to remain in the body. Therefore, be assured and secure in your salvation. Check out the document, Assurance Scriptures, and rest in your own assurance. When you have time, turn in your Bible to 1 John 5 and then download and print this document. You will see that you can already identify with at least some of the evidences of your being a part of God’s family. As you mature in your faith, more and more of those evidences will become part of your life. We call that process “sanctification.”

Instead of worrying about your salvation, you need to move on to why God saved you. Read Ephesians 2:8-10. Verse 10 will indicate to you that he saved you for a purpose. As a new believer, you need to figure out what your Spiritual Gifting is and how you can fulfill Ephesians 2:10. When you have time, go to the Mars Hill website for the six sermons that Pastor Mark preached on spiritual gifts. As you listen, you most likely will discover which gift or gifts that God has blessed you with. When you begin to minister to others with that or those gifts, you will experience the joy and assurance that our Lord Jesus wants you to have.

Satan would want to put doubt in your mind. Tell him to get lost in Jesus’ name, because he has no right to your life. He is the father of lies and he or his demons are lying to you to weaken your faith. Flee from him and serve the Lord Jesus because he is your head pastor and top authority.


Am I Saved – Examine 1 John 5.rtf
Assurance Scriptures.txt

Friday, January 7, 2011

What is Reformed Theology (In a nutshell)

I thought it was time for something pithy...

Reformed theology...

...presupposes God's Word alone as our ultimate authority.
...stresses the sovereignty of God, that is, His reign over all things, meticulously determining (Eph 1:11)
   all that comes to pass (i.e. God is never taken by surprise).
...ephasizes a Christ-Centered proclamation of the gospel, that salvation is wholly of God, by grace alone
   through faith alone in Christ alone as revealed in the Scripture alone to the Glory of God alone.
...views the Bible as a redemptive-historical organic unfolding of revelation which is structured by three
   covenants (redemption, works and grace).

It goes without saying that those in the Reformed Tradition hold to the doctrines of grace (the five points of Calvinism), man's helpless condition apart from Christ, the necessity of evangelism and the work of the Holy Spirit who (monergistically) quickens the dead to life through the preaching of the word as God turning their heart of stone to flesh, and opening their eyes to the excellencies of the gospel (uniting them to Christ). In other words, RT stresses the way the objective, written Word together with the inner, supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit work together. For the Word without the illumination of the Holy Spirit remains a closed book. We (the church) cast forth the seed of the gospel and the Holy Spirit germinates it, so to speak, with the blood of Christ bringing forth life in people from every nation, tribe, language, and people (Rev 14:6). RT traces its historical and theological lineage back to the theology of Christ, Paul, Augustine and to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century.