AfterThought Podcast – Episode 4: Interview with Michelle Lesley Part 1

Hello, beloved, I hope this post finds you all doing well. Today I dropped the first part of a two part interview with blogger Michelle Lesley. In this episode we discuss Mrs. Lesley’s testimony, how she came to teach women, and the open letter to Beth Moore. In the next episode we get into more specifics about the connection between Mrs. Moore, the SBC, and the Twitter responses. My hope is that this interview will help clarify for anyone who does not use Twitter how things have progressed in this discussion. There’s a bit of an awkward ending, due to some technical complications. Other then that, I hope you all enjoy this episode. Michelle is a delight to talk to, and truly a blessing to be taught by! You can also listen in at iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, and Podbean. As always, dear friends, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

https://afterthoughtbybiblicalbeginnings.podbean.com/e/episode-4-interview-with-michelle-lesley-part-1/

Early Morning Flight

Dear ones, I hope this post has found you all doing well! This morning we are flying home, so I’m typing this from the airport. We are truly blessed by the ability to make a 29 hour drive in a four hour flight. If you recall, I did a series on aerodynamics which you can read here, if you missed it. I love everything about airplanes, especially flying on them, despite my desperate fear of heights. my dream job would be pilot, a great big plan with lots of buttons at my command.

I can’t help but consider how many people today will put faith in a complete stranger to blast them through the sky at hundreds of miles per hour, crammed into a metal tube. Yet, the creator of the universe, King of kings and Lord of lords freely offers salvation to all who would believe, and the world mocks. It’s an odd thing to see the wickedness of mans heart, cold and dead towards God, in comparison to its willing trust of sinful man. To God be the glory, He takes out the stony heart of the lost sheep, replaces it with one of flesh, grants repentance, and faith, gives salvation, adoption, sanctification, and justification to those wicked sinners. If my trust in this pilot is undeserved and I never make it to write another post, the live is Christ and to die is gain. This plane takes me to a city that I know, yet in Gods capable hands I’ll one day be brought home to the city with which my citizenship belongs. Praise God, He is gracious! As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

AfterThought: Episode 3 – Postmodernism With a Very Special Co-Host

Dear ones, todays podcast episode is the first I’ve done with a co-host. The person who joined me in the discussion on postmodernism does a fantastic job of bringing a different perspective on the issue than my own. I hope you’ll find the conversation helpful, and fun at the same time. We talk about the aspects of postmodernism, where it stems from, where it leads, and how it effects the worldview of believers and non-believers alike. You can listen to the new podcast at my host site here.

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After-Thought-Logo

I’m excited to tell you all that AfterThought is now available on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play. If you get a chance to check it out, please like, subscribe, comment, or share to get the word out. I can not even begin to tell you how much all your support means to me! As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Wednesday Testimony – Zack Knotts

Today, beloved, I’d like to share with you a testimony I stumbled upon on Instagram. I was very blessed by this young mans humility, honesty, and Biblical accuracy as he described how he became born again. Like me, he was saved out of the Word of Faith movement. Below is an excerpt from his testimony…

When I began college, I was still on the charismatic, Word of Faith side of things at this point, but I had cooled down dramatically. I attribute this to the lack of wonders I was so desperate to see that I did not see. I was disappointed that prophecies that had been uttered did not come to pass as I had hoped they would. I felt that I had been sold a bill of goods. I thought I was doing everything right and nothing happened. Talk about being deflated and unsure about anything anymore. I started speaking out against the Joel Osteen’s and Benny Hinn’s of the world because they lied to me. I did everything they told me to do and nothing happened. This was not my best life now and I did not receive a special anointing. I began to see them for the con artists they and many others in this movement were. 

Sam and I started a bible study for the purpose of fellowship and good food. Initially, we saw this as an opportunity to preach and would prepare as if we were preaching sermons. We soon realized that if we were going to call this a bible study, then we should study the bible. We would pick a book and read it through verse by verse. We decided to read through Romans. Romans 1-7 went by just fine and I have no memory of the conversations that took place. Romans 8-9 are a different story, specifically chapter 9. Romans 9 deals with God’s sovereignty in salvation.  Let me be absolutely clear: I had no idea this concept even existed, let alone was taught all throughout Scripture. Sam picked up on the language and was what being communicated before I did, and he would later send me links to podcasts, articles, and other things that he found dealing with this. I immediately rejected everything I was reading. Remember, I am a full-blown synergist at this point, and I believed that I absolutely had a role in my salvation. Now everything I was reading told me the opposite. In fact, I am being told the only thing I contributed to my salvation was the sin that made it necessary (I believe I saw this from Dr. James White). I read through Ephesians (specifically chapters 1 and 2), John 6, John 10. God’s foreknowledge and predestination is all over the Bible. Who am I to argue with God? I could not deny this anymore. I read up on Calvinism and what it is and what it is not. I read the Scriptures that I was direct to from the many articles I came across. At this point, I knew I was in trouble.

Though I was baptized at the age of 7, I do not believe I understood the gospel at that time. After embracing Calvinism through God’s providence in college, this is when I believed I truly became a Christian. I was made aware of my wretchedness and how depraved I was. This journey grew through the cage-stage to where I consistently made everyone I knew aware of God’s sovereignty in salvation. With newfound understanding comes new responsibility. It was time to find a church.

Sam and I were on this journey together and we searched Google for churches that would align with our new beliefs. We found Trinity Baptist Church in Shreveport. We read over their doctrinal statement and even noticed a former teacher was the wife of an elder of the church (now it clicked why she read “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” to us in high school). Sam also knew of a family that went here so it made complete sense to check this place out. I fell in love. Pastor Chris Hough is one of the most genuine men I have ever met, and he immediately embraced me, as well as the other brothers and sisters at Trinity. Pastor Chris was passionate and truly had a zeal for the Lord. His love for the Lord and his dedication to his church was spectacular. He wanted to know about me and who I was, where I came from, and what I was about. One thing that was still an issue for me at this point was Sunday football. Football was still an idol in my life and I often chose to spend Sundays with the wrong saints. God eventually showed me that football ultimately has no meaning when it comes eternity and while it can be enjoyed, it should never take the place of where I should be on Sunday afternoon. Praise be to God that He has changed my heart to spend Sundays with the best saints of them all, the saints that love me.

Fast forwarding 4+ years, I now live in Dallas, Texas. I have a great job where I work alongside brothers and sisters in Christ and I have the opportunity to serve my brothers and sisters in Christ each day. I am a member of Heritage Grace Community Church, where Emilio Ramos is my pastor. Football is no longer an idol in my life as I have found something much more beautiful in Jesus Christ. I was baptized again back on February 17th, 2019. I can honestly say that I am a different person than I was in high school or even 4 years ago. I have learned to view everything in light of the Gospel, and I credit the many men in my life for bearing patiently with me for that. God saved me despite me. One thing I will never wrap my mind around is how God was unconditionally faithful to me even when I gave Him every reason not to be.

I recommend his entire testimony, although it was too long for the purpose of this post. It is filled with Scriptural truth, a clear Gospel presentation, and a refutation of false teachers. The full testimony can be read following the link below.

docs.google.com/document/d/1yoQx83sFrVJHNRf_CHgVDgUegIMTMpP9OmM04NNDNTU/mobilebasic

Twisted Tuesday – Does the Bible Approve of Rape?

Obviously, dear ones, you already know where I’m going to come down on this question. A resounding, NO. I hate this topic, in all honesty, I can’t even stand writing the word. Hollywood has taken to portraying this heinous act in the filth they release on a daily basis. Without the previous standards, steaming companies can create movies and shows that are far more graphic than anything our culture has ever excepted before. The type of scenes shown, even in particular shows addressed towards teens, contain the graphic nature of what was once unspeakable. Only the most vile of lust filled sinners would secretly watch this type of pornography. Now, you can see it on highly rated television series in crystal clear, high definition. What does the world say when Christians find this behavior disgusting? God approved of rape in the Bible.

The verse being twisted today is Deuteronomy 22:23-29, although they will only quote verses 28 and 29. The reason for that? Well, if you read it in context the actual accusation falls apart. What is said is that here, in Deuteronomy, God forces the raped woman to marry her assaulter. This, rewarding the rapist and punishing the victim. What does this passage actually say? If a man finds a woman and rapes her, he is to die. Rape, in Gods Word, is a crime worthy of capital punishment. Can a dead man marry someone? No, of course not, the verse where a man must marry the woman is referring to a consensual act. In other words, if it’s found out that a woman is not engaged or married, yet willingly sleeps with a man, when it’s found out the man must marry her and can not divorce her. This is to protect the woman, to ensure that any man who would sleep with a woman knew he would be responsible for marrying her.

What about crying out? At this point in history, and for most of the past, the Jewish and Christian culture sought to protect the purity of women. Recognizing that a man could easily over power a woman, it was not common for them to be in town without family members. Someone would hear a woman cry out, showing it was not consensual, and the man would be put to death. Again, this does not approve of rape, or reward the rapist, it soundly shows Gods hatred for this sin. Why? Because women are made in the image of God, and to desecrate a woman in this way is a direct assault against an image barer. Regardless of how obvious this is, you will still come across this argument fairly often.

The reason we see this argument, albeit as weak as it can get, is due to the wicked desire of a lost heart to make God sinful. To feel confident in their own sin, the world seeks to suppress the truth of God’s righteousness by cherry picking verses, ripping them out of their context, and using them to accuse God. The world wants to sit on the judgement seat, they want to put God in trial, they want to be gods themselves. This idolatry should not surprise us, however I hope that this post will help you to better answer when you have this thrown your way. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved!

AfterThought Podcast – Episode 2: Feminism in the Church

Today I posted the second episode of AfterThought, my new podcast. While I wait for Apple iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify to approved the podcast, I greatly appreciate all your support and listening at the host site. Lord willing, soon the podcast will be available in easily accessible and convenient sites. Today’s episode is a lot more punchy then the last, however, the topic of feminism is not one I address for the sake of controversy. This is something that is deeply concerning to me, as I’ve seen professing Christians espouse this unbiblical worldview. If you recall, I did a series on Feminism which you can see here. At the bottom of that post, there are links to the rest of the series.

If you have time and would like to listen to my podcast, you can hear it here. If you missed my previous episode you can listen here. If you feel so inclined, please like and share the podcast so that we can get the word out. Again, all you’re support in this podcast has been such a blessing to me. I do ask for your prayer, as I attempt to use my time more wisely, for the glory of God. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

We’re Only Channels, Not the Flow of Water Itself – By The Outspoken Tulip

Below is a post from The Outspoken Tulip, Debbie has blessed me yet again with her humble honesty!

As a young Christian, I’d daily arm myself with Christian tracts and charge out to evangelize the toughest kids on the high school campus.You know, the kids that scared my Christian friends half to death. Looking back, I realize how vulnerable I was in my little wheelchair, but at the time I knew no fear!

One day my less courageous (read: more sensible) friend asked me why I went out to those particular kids. Borrowing a popular motto from that era, I self-righteously replied, “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done!”

The salvation of Terra Linda High students depended on me.

Since then, I’ve repented of my pride. Yes, the Lord calls me to declare His Gospel as faithfully as I can. Just as surely as He ordains the elect to be saved, He ordains evangelism as the means of saving the elect. We are the channels through which the living waters of the Holy Spirit flow.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that we are channels only. We want to do great things for the Lord and to enjoy recognition for our fearless ministry. But the Lord wants us to serve Him in humility, praising Him for the privilege of having His Holy Spirit work through empty channels like us!

https://youtu.be/o1y0A8ffP40

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Historical Church Series – Early Church Heretics: Pelagius

Today is the day that I have been looking forward to, in regard to the heretics of the early church. We are now at the end of the 4th and beginning of the 5th century with the one heresy which still remains largely unchecked in churches today. Pelagianism. Most of the previous heretics were struggling with understanding the nature of God, Christ, or the Gospel. Pelagius takes the cake for being the greatest man centered threat to the church. He was born in Britain, which was conquered by Rome in the 1st century, in 360 AD and died in 418 AD. Here’s a little fun trivia for you, dear ones, the roads Rome built in Britain are still the roads used today and arches from the time period can still be seen standing the test of time.

Newport-Arch-Roman-Arch-In-Britain-Photo-by-Peter-Broster

Pelagius taught in Rome, where his heretical views were first considered orthodox at the council of Lod, then condemned by the councils of Carthage and Ephesus. These heretical views start with the denial of original sin. He suggested that all of mankind was not affected by Adams fall, only Adam himself was hurt by that. Thus, each individual is born good, and can choose to stay that way, through free will. To Pelagius Gods grace was just a helpful mechanism to aid pure and moral people to come to Him. This is a rejection of several key texts in Scripture, in particular Romans 5:12 where Paul specifically explains that we all fell through Adam. This heresy also makes the news for Christ crucified a moot point. If we can make it by our own free will, which contrary to Scripture, Pelagius taught was not in bondage to sin, then we do not need a Savior or forgiveness of sins.

The individual who stands out historically for opposing Pelagius is Augustine of Hippo. Augustine was born an African Roman in 354 AD. Largely credited for influencing the Reformers, Augustine opposed Pelagius and taught that man was fallen in Adam and needed Gods grace for salvation and for any good works. Augustine participated in the council of Carthage that declared Pelagius a heretic, alongside over 200 bishops. A lot could be said about Augustine, and his contributions to the church. I’d love to do an entire blog just about him, and perhaps will tell the story of his conversion in the podcast. However, for the purpose of today’s post, this is as far as I’ll take it.

Pelagius taught that man was born good, and as I mentioned before, that’s a belief strongly held today. Many, professing believers or lost, proclaim their own goodness. Few today believe that God is sovereign, and that it is only by His grace that we are able to come to Him. Many are teaching the heretical view of Pelagianism without even having heard of Pelagius. There is nothing new under the sun, for the love of self we hide the truth of Scripture, desiring the approval of man rather than the salvation of the lost. It is as popular today as it was in 4th and 5th century Rome to teach the wickedness of the heart of man. We don’t need to point to cults for today’s heresy, it’s found in the churches throughout the West. Many claim to love Gods Word, and obey it, yet likewise stand with Andy Stanley in bald faced defiance of Scripture. The truth is that the heart is deceitful above all other members, who can know it? None are righteous, no not one. No one seeks after God. And yes, even our righteousness is as filthy rags.

Unless we repent of our sins and put our faith in Christ Jesus alone for salvation we will die in our sins and receive just punishment. Dear ones, we must stand uncompromisingly on the Word of God, proclaiming the truth that saves souls! No sugar coating, or watering down, will change the opinions of a fallen world. They hated our master, they will hate us as well. Therefor, give no ground to the enemy, and reject pragmatism at all cost! As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Thursday Book Review – Irenaeus Against Heresies

The book review I’d like to do today is going to go along with the Friday series on heresies, in particular, the Gnostics. Irenaeus, who was taught by Polycarp, the disciple of John the Apostle, directly refutes Gnosticism in all its many forms throughout this five-volume set. While Gnosticism isn’t the only heresy he addresses or the only topic he brings up, it’s the main thrust of the book. Most likely written in 180 AD, Irenaeus Against Heresies clearly lays out Biblical theology held by the early church, while answering the heretical views being introduced into the church.

Irenaeus of Lyons quote
Irenaeus-of-Lyons-Quote

There’s a couple of points that I found very interesting. First, Irenaeus was a quick-witted man, willing to be sarcastic when sarcasm was needed to show foolishness. This made the dry reading of the varied sects within Gnosticism more bearable. Second, he names names for the sake of the brothers and sisters in Christ being confronted by the Gnostic leaders. He warns believers about specific people to avoid, just as we need to do today. Lastly, he connects this heresy to Simon Magus from Acts 8:9-24. That was such a fascinating part of the book, to have that man’s story told to a further degree. Obviously, the early church fathers, like Irenaeus, are not inspired writers. We do not, under any circumstances, turn their words into Scripture, or hold them as high as that authority. However, it is a blessing that so much of their writing has remained, and we can and should enjoy their works. Particularly, it was interesting to hear about Simon and where his error led.

Irenaeus Against Heresies is an important book for today’s believers, as we deal with very similar false teaching. Not only in the cults, but also in the minds of the lost who grew up hearing bits and pieces of gnostic nonsense, which can be seen in the way postmodernism has flourished. Also, Gnosticism is still very much a thing, and as believers, you will have the so-called Gnostic Gospels mentioned from time to time. It’s dry in many places, in all honesty, as even admitted by the writer who explains in a few different points why he needed to be so detailed. His sense of humor breaks up the expansive lists of names, and differing views on the eons, held by so many at the time. It’s in the public domain, which means you can download it in pdf free here, or listen to the audio here, and also if you enjoy podcasts there is a podcast version of the audio here. If you want it for yourself, and find the free printing of nearly 400 pages tedious, you can buy the kindle here, and the paperback here. I do recommend this for older brothers and sisters in Christ, as most younger readers and preteens would find this too detailed and dry to follow. As always, beloved brothers, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved!

In case you missed it, I launched a new Podcast! You can listen here, and soon will be able to listen in iTunes and Google play. I’m also on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram if you’d like to link up in other social media platforms. God bless you!

A Big Announcement – New Podcast

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, I am thrilled to announce that I have launched a new podcast to go alongside the blog! In an effort to make better use of my time, to edify and encourage the body of Christ through stories, interviews, and discussions on pressing topics, and to cover issues that are too expansive to detail in short blog posts, the podcast AfterThought will be posted twice a week. It will, Lord willing, be available on iTunes and Google play, but the first episode is available here. As I continue in this work I ask that you would please pray for me. You’re encouragement and prayers have been a daily blessing to me. I look forward to hearing your opinions, or corrections if needed, on this new adventure.