Twisted Tuesday – Justice Socialized: Reparations

Last week, dear ones, we began a new series on the Social Justice movement. In the introduction, which you can read here, I listed some imperative definitions for this discussion. If you’ve not yet read it, I would suggest you start there first. Today we’re going to be talking about the roots of this movement as it pertains to the church. While the political end of this movement is concerning, it’s not my main concern. My deepening fear is that this movement has so well branded itself as one seeking to right wrongs that believers jump on the band wagon and sign the dotted line before reading the fine print. This is still a Twisted Tuesday, so we’re going to address this as we work through verses they use out of context. Today, it’s Isaiah 1:17.

Isaiah 1:17
Isaiah-1-17

I’m actually surprised that this would be a verse used by the self labeled Social Justice Warriors, as they in no way intend on aiding orphans or widows. They just enjoy the word justice being involved in this text. In Isaiah 1:17 the noun translated as justice here, and translated as judgement in other translations, is mishpat. Mishpat is a masculine noun meaning to pronounce a verdict judicially. What we need to decide here is whether or not the meaning of injustice to God is the same as it is to the SJW’s. Likewise, is the means of justice the same? If these two are not the same, then this verse is not being used in proper context when quoted by those in the SJ movement.

Paul Washer Quote
Paul-Washer-Quote

Throughout the next few weeks I’m going to show why these two points are not in agreement with Scripture, using the verses they take out of context. Today I offer you, as evidence that Gods idea of injustice and justice are not the same, the idea of reparations. Reparations, in and of itself, is not bad. If I take your hat, it’s appropriate for me to be forced to give you back your hat and make amends for the time and effort you spent searching for the hat. If that was what SJW’s were asking, they’d be inline with Scripture. Instead, they are asking individuals to pay other individuals for acts that may or may not have taken place within their ancestral lineage. Reparations are not only considered financially, but also emotionally. You must feel bad for having been born a different color then someone else.

Charles-Spurgeon-Quote

Not only does this unbiblically separate us from one another based on the amount of melanin in our skin, it also requires certain believers to pay for something they did not do. That is, in and of itself, injustice in Gods eyes, not justice (Duet. 24:16, Ezekiel 18:19-20). This shows, clearly, that the SJ movement is misusing Gods Word, calling what is good, evil, and what is evil, good. Unfortunately, the church often desires the adoration of the world, and jumps at opportunities to join worldly pursuits guised as morally good.

This is a dangerous movement taking over churches of both liberal and conservative persuasion. Once in, it breeds disunity between brothers in Christ by separating them into groups of with differing victim status. They use Critical Race Theory to do so, which we will be discussing next week. I ask that you would please pray for me, beloved, as I write about this topic. The reading material for this series is deeply troubling. I also ask, friends, that you would pray for the leadership in your churches so that they will stand firm against this infiltration. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Historical Church Series: Early Church Heretics – Montanus the Spiritual Drunkard

Hello, beloved, I hope this post finds you all doing well. If you missed Tuesday’s post regarding essential Biblical doctrine you can find it here, although today’s heretic did not deny the virgin birth. There is a connection that I want to make, however, and that is with the sufficiency of Scripture. When we talk about essential doctrines of the faith it necessitates the need for God’s Word to be inerrant and sufficient. Often times cults, and ancient heresies require one or the other, and sometimes both, to be ignored. It was sufficiency that Montanus was attacking, as he would suggest he spoke directly for God, or more specifically the Paraclete.

Montanus came onto the scene around 160 a.d. with two women that claimed to be prophetesses. While his own writings have been lost to time, others wrote about him, including Eusebius and Tertullian. Before claiming to be a Christian prophet, Montanus was a priest of an ecstatic Oriental cult that worshipped Cybele the goddess of fertility. It does not appear that Montanus gave up much of the behaviors he learned in that cult, but changed his language to reflect that of the Christians. He and the two women claimed to be the fulfillment of John 14, 15, and 16 which had, rightly, been understood to have been fulfilled by the disciples themselves. Montanus also claimed that they were being filled with the Holy Spirit, and anyone who didn’t agree was simply not spiritual. They behaved, by all those who recounted it, as if they were possessed. They would go into trances, act wild as if they had no control of their movements, and then make prophecies. The majority of those prophecies would not come true, including the one that stated once they died Christ would return, bring the New Jerusalem, and the apocalypse. They were often called spiritual drunkards. That’s right beloved, there is nothing new under the sun, the Bethel folks did not invent the idea of being drunk in the spirit, Montanus and his two prophetesses’ did.

The early church was most disturbed by Montanus’ insistence on speaking first person for God, and his claim that the prophecies given were authoritative. God would, through His providence, use this to lead the 2nd-century church into clarifying the cannon. By this point in church history the cannon is closed, no new revelation is coming. There is agreement, for the most part, about what is theopneustos, or God-breathed. It was heretics like Montanus that would bring greater clarity to what was considered Scripture, and what was not. In this way, all things are used for good to those that believe. What some meant for evil, God meant for good, and the church was, during times of great persecution, still able to hold fast to the truths handed down. Unfortunately, we see a resurgence of Montanism today that is, for the most part, going unchecked. Men like Francis Chan are wrapping their arms around it, and embracing it as readily as they embrace ecumenism. I’m, of course, referring the the NAR and the WoF movements. Those who do not know church history are repeating it today.

At this point, I want to discuss Tertullian, with a warning to you, my dear friends. Tertullian was born in the middle of the 2nd century in Carthage, and indulged in the paganism of the day. Before the end of the century he was converted to Christianity, having been quoted as saying “Christians are not born, they are made”. His life changed radically at that point, he would go on to be a giant against heresy and the persecution coming from Rome. Unfortunately, towards the end of his life, Tertullian had some disagreements with the introduction of Greek philosophy into church by Clement of Alexandria. This disagreement eventually led him to leave the church and join the Montanists, who were stricter in many ways, and avoided philosophy. This not only gave credence to the Montanists, but also marred Tertullian’s reputation, and bolstered this heretical movement into the 3rd, and 4th centuries. There are times when we will disagree, this is why I’m writing about the essential doctrines, these are the areas we must separate over. To separate from sound believers over philosophy, and connect yourself with those denying Scriptural sufficiency makes very little sense. We can see that looking back, however, at the time I’m sure it looked very different. Tertullian had spent his life refuting Gnostics that were using the very same philosophy that was brought into the church. He felt that was a greater danger than Montanus. Believers today can learn two things from this, the first is that man is fallible, and the second is that we need to guard our hearts and renew our minds. I hope this series is a blessing to you all. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines of the Faith: The Virgin Birth

Hello again, my friends, I hope this post finds you all doing well. Today I’d like to continue in our series on the essential doctrines of the faith. If you’ve missed previous posts in this series I will link to them below. We’re going to be briefly discussing the virgin birth, the doctrine that Jesus Christ did not have an earthly father. This doctrine is, honestly, one of my favorites to consider. The truths of it go all the way back to the Garden, to the fall of man, when a promise was given. I’m getting ahead of myself though!

Historical Church Series -The Early Heretics: Introduction

Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines of the Faith: Salvation by Grace Alone

Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines of the Faith: The Deity of Christ

Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines: Monotheism

Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines of the Faith: The Resurrection of Christ

Let me start by explaining why this doctrine is so fundamental, and why denying it is so dangerous. When we discussed the deity of Christ and His resurrection we touched on a similar issue. We have to have the right, true, Biblical understanding of who Christ is. Christ was born of a virgin (Luke 1:26-27, Matt. 1:23-25) just as God had said He would be in Genesis and through His prophet (Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7:14). This matters, because our Messiah, the Saviour who was sacrificed for our sins had to be a perfect sacrifice. Only God is perfect. God the Son became man, entering His own creation to live a righteous, sinless life, and die for the unrighteous. If Christ was not born of a virgin then He was the son of Adam, not the son of God, and His sacrifice can not save. You see, dear ones, the virgin birth was more than a miracle, it was the promised sign (Isaiah 9:6). It was more than the promised sign, it was the first evidence that Jesus Christ was no mere man, but in fact God (Titus 2:13)! The Word was made flesh (John 1:1-3).

Oddly enough, many of the cults have a correct view of the virgin birth, while distorting other aspects of Christ’s being. The Roman Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Seventh Day Adventist’s each believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. JW’s accept this, but follow it by a rejection of the deity of Christ, suggesting that Jesus was born of Gods power but was not a member of the Godhead. Roman Catholics accept that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, but then turn Mary into a mediator between man and Christ, encouraging prayers to her rather than to God. Other cults, like the Mormons, Scientologist, Christian Science, and Islam, flat out deny that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. The Mormon church teaches that God had physical relations with Mary, which brought about the pregnancy. All others reject that Christ was born in any miraculous fashion. It needs to be stated that most of the liberal churches deny miracles, including this essential doctrine.

For more reading on the virgin birth and its importance, I recommend this article from Ligonier. I hope this series is a blessing to you all, and will help when addressing the cults, or just those in confusion. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines of the Faith: The Resurrection of Christ

In continuing our series on the essential doctrines of the faith, beloved, I’d like to address the resurrection today. If you’ve missed the previous posts in this series I’ll link to them below. The point of this series is to edify and embolden the faithful to share the Gospel with a lost and dying cultish world. You don’t need to have a perfect understanding of all the cults teachings to speak truth into confusion. All you need is a Biblical and historical understanding of Christianity. As such, today we’ll be discussing the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This doctrine is under attack, and has been for decades, but not by the cults only. In fact, some of the cults have a Biblical doctrine of the resurrected King, while professing churches in the ‘mainline’ arena do not.

Historical Church Series -The Early Heretics: Introduction

Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines of the Faith: Salvation by Grace Alone

Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines of the Faith: The Deity of Christ

Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines: Monotheism

The doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is obviously referring to His defeating death, and rising on the third day. It was not possible for death to hold Him, His sacrifice was perfect, His prophecies that He would rise were true (John 2:18-22). To deny His literal resurrection is the call Christ a liar (Romans 3:4), which would make Him a sinner (Hebrews 4:15). If He was a sinner, He was not God, nor was His sacrifice perfect, meaning we are all lost without hope (1 Cor. 15:13-17). This is why the resurrection is such an essential doctrine, without proper Biblical theology in this, you remove yourself from orthodoxy, and place yourself under condemnation with no hope of salvation (1 Peter 1:3-5).

Before we move forward, I need to make some definitional distinctions. We’re going to be talking in terms of liberal and conservative churches. These terms have more than one meaning, there’s the religious meaning and the political meaning. We’re strictly discussing the religious implications, not the political. In other words, when I call a group liberal, for this context of this post, I mean those professing believers who do not believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, Word of God. Whereas a conservative professing believer would take all, or most, of the Bible to be written by men, inspired by the Holy Spirit, thus without error. In the case of the resurrection, the liberal churches do not believe it actually happened. In this way, they are in agreement with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who teach Christ was resurrected Spirit, not in a bodily form.

While liberalism has spread to Mormonism, and Roman Catholicism, both have core doctrines that include a Biblical resurrection of Christ. Roman Catholics have left orthodoxy in the transubstantiation, or the repeated ‘sacrificing’ of Christ in the sacraments. Mormons have confused this doctrine by misunderstanding the Trinity, as do the Oneness Pentecostals. However, it is only the Jehovah’s Witnesses, alongside the liberal churches, who refuse to accept the Biblical doctrine of Jesus Christ rising bodily from the dead. This is one area where I believe the cults are not as deadly as those claiming to be born again. We know when we talk to someone knocking at our door early in the morning, nicely dressed, traveling in pairs, that we’re talking to someone who is promoting a cult. When we talk to a co-worker, relative, or friend that has been deceived by liberal teaching, but professes Christianity, it’s harder to nail down the errant theology.

I hope that this series continues to be a blessing to you, dear ones, and that you’ll be encouraged to boldly share Christ crucified, raised from the dead, as told in Gods Word. If you have not yet watched the Jeff Durbin vs. Andy Stanley debate I’m going to link to it below. They discuss the importance of Gods Word in regards to apologetics. Apologetics sounds like a term meaning we apologize for our faith, but what it is actually referring to is giving a reasoned defensive of our faith. Doing this without a proper understanding of the essentials is very difficult, doing so without believing in Gods inspired Word is impossible. Reasoning about an authority without accepting that authority is not reasonable. Have a great day, beloved brethren, and as always be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines: Monotheism

Today, dear ones, we’re going to discuss the essential doctrine of monotheism. Monotheism relates to two other, equally important, doctrines which we’ll discuss. One being that the God of the Old Testament is the same as the New, and the other that the Trinity is Biblical. The cults will inevitably get one of these three points wrong, as ancient heretics did, which leads to confusion or rejection of other Biblical truths.

First, let’s define monotheism. This is the belief that there is only one God (Duet. 6:4 , Isaiah 43:10-11). The God of the Bible is the only one, true God (Isaiah 44:8). This truth is rejected by many cults, such as Mormonism which teaches polytheism, and an endless regression of gods. This sets them apart from Hindus, which actually have a set number of idols. They also believe they can become gods themselves one day. The World Missions Society also rejects monotheism, teaching that there is a father god and a mother god.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-pTSllh7kJA&t=2166s

I am shocked in today’s age of relative ease, as far as research goes, to see a call for unhitching the Old Testament. On Friday we’re going to talk about the earliest church heretic which proposed the same thing. While Andy Stanley is not the first person to suggest we should not read the Old Testament, he certainly was the most publicized. This stems mostly from a desire to be liked by the world, and what worldly sinner is going to enjoy hearing of Noah’s flood? It’s better, some say, to just stick to what Jesus says. The Old Testament God is literally set against the New Testament God (1 Cor. 8:5-7). What confusion! No, my beloved friends, the God of the Old Testament is not different, there is only one God and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The truth is, when we unhitch the Old Testament God from Christianity we are denying monotheism (1 Th. 2:13 , Ps. 12:6). The Word of God is not to be chopped up into bits and pieces, only using the ones you like. We read Gods Word in its context, from beginning to end, taking the whole counsel of the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:15-17).

The last point I want to discuss is the doctrine of the Trinity (2 Cor. 13:14). I have often heard Muslims and Jews mischaracterize the Trinity. Mormons do this as well, and it can certainly be shown that Joseph Smith did not understand Biblical Trinitarianism when he suggested it would make a monstrous god. Roman Catholics, by adding Mary as a co-redemptix have also confused the rolls of the Godhead. Jehovahs Witness, Christadelphianism, Islam, Oneness Pentecostals, and the Way International all believe God is one person (1 Cor. 12:4-6) The Biblical understanding of the Trinity is one God, the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Mat. 3:16-17). The Westminster confession words it beautifully…

In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son. – Chapter 2.3

Monotheism is essential to the faith, my friends, as it is the only one, true God, that sent His only begotten Son to die in our place. There are many counterfeit dollar bills in the world, that does not mean the real dollar is fake, or that the fakes are somehow real. Many idols exist in this world, many false doctrines taught as truth surround them. They take Scripture out of context to attempt to fit their belief. When that doesn’t work, some unstable men remove portions of Scripture altogether, and give approval to others who do so.(2 Pet. 3:15-16). Others confuse the Trinity, taking the Lord God and splitting Him up into different beings. This is what happens when cults suggest Jesus was not God the Son. We must read God’s Word as a complete, masterful, inerrant, work which flows in perfect unison from Old to New Testament. Without just exegesis we will take His Scripture and misunderstand it, or worse, purposefully make it say what we want it to say. Handle His Word with care, brethren, and as always, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved

Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines of the Faith: Salvation by Grace Alone

Hello again, my dear friends, I hope this post has found you all doing well! Friday I introduced two new series’ that will be, hopefully, able to flow together. If you missed that introduction you can find it here. As I explained in that post, each Tuesday, Lord willing, we’re going to discuss the doctrines of Christianity that are foundational, or essential. As we do this, I’m going to be comparing these doctrines to the errant teachings of those who falsely claim to be our brothers and sisters in Christ. I hope these refutations will encourage you all, and give you confidence, when sharing the Gospel with members of these cults. The first doctrine I want to address is that of salvation, which every “Christian” cult gets wrong.

First, let’s start with some definitions. What do I, and others, mean when we say “Christian” Cults? This is referring to those cultish groups which insist on using Biblical language while abusing or misusing the Word of God. They follow other writings, apart from Scripture, and almost always have a leader whose written and spoken word are taken as revelation from god. There are cults which are political or atheistic in nature, however most will have an erroneous opinion on who Christ was, or what happens after we die.

Another word I want to define is doctrine, a word which has unfortunately fallen out of favor with most of the professing Christians in the west. Doctrine, which comes from the Greek word didaskolos, is used 58 times in the New Testament. It’s used in Scripture to denote those who teach about God, but today is used to describe the actual teaching, rather than the teacher. When I saw doctrine that’s precisely how I mean it, what someone is teaching in a religious institution. Christians have doctrines, whether they like the word or not. Cults also have doctrines, which are often times in direct opposition to Biblical doctrine.

The last definition I want to make, and this one is very important, is salvation. The Christian who calls the lost to repent and be saved, means something very different than a cult member will. We’re going to discuss that more, but briefly I want to write a precise definition, as a word for the believer might mean something completely different to the cult member. Salvation is the redemption of sinners who are in danger of the wrath of God (Isaiah 59:2) in the form of judgement. Salvation is a free gift from God, who sent His only begotten Son. He, Christ Jesus, bore the sin of all those who would be saved (1 Peter 2:24), not the entire world, that’s universalism. Anyone who brings you a definition of salvation that does not include all our sins being punished on Christ is bringing you a false Gospel that can not save.

Now that we have our definitions in order, let’s discuss this essential doctrine. Salvation is given by God’s grace, the reformers called it sola gratia, grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). The Bible, in its full counsel, describes salvation as a free gift given by Gods grace(Romans 6:23). There is no Biblical presidents for earning salvation, if there was a way to earn it Christ need not die in our place. The impossibility of keeping the Law is precisely why we need a savior (Romans 6:14-15). This does not mean that a believer can sin more so that grace more abounds, as Paul says, may it never be! We strive with the flesh, we fail, we weep over our sins, but none of these works cause our salvation. It is the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in us, conforming is to Christ’s image which causes the believer to hate sin, and war against it. We do so gladly because of the love of the Father, in saving us while we were yet sinners! In short, works do not cause salvation, but salvation does cause the desire to work.

This doctrine of salvation by grace separates born again believers from Mormons, Jehovahs Witnesses, Roman Catholics, and Christian Science members. These groups refer to salvation, and some will even say it’s all of grace, but they always add works. Mormons and Roman Catholics, for example, will say it’s grace plus works. Islam also teaches , along side faith in Allah, that you have to do the best you can. This significant deviation from Biblical doctrine replaces the Gospel, which brings the good news that all our sins can be forgiven through Christ’s sacrifice on that Roman cross, with a gospel that binds heavy burdens on its adherents. These heavy burdens require the bearer to be perfect, to follow not just Biblical principles, but those added on by the leaders. In this way, maybe, just maybe, that can earn eternity in heaven. Or if it’s Mormonism, one of the three heavens.

When you speak to members of these groups it’s imperative that you make definitions clear. When the door bell rings and you find yourself face to face with two young men, or when you discuss your faith with co-workers, friends, and family members who might be caught up in a cult, they’ll often use the same words we use. This can be very confusing, so be sure to begin with a solid understanding of the Christian doctrines, so that you can make the proper distinctions. Love, dear ones, is the most important thing you bring to the table. You must love the lost enough to correct them, you must love them enough to be patient with them, and you must love them enough to separate their false doctrines from Biblical truth. That’s not an easy task, so I ask that we all pray for one another in earnest, asking the God would give us each boldness, patience, and love. I hope this series is a blessing to you, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

The Problem with Princesses

Friday before last, dear ones, I mentioned that I had three different topics swirling around my head. Unfortunately, whatever the third one was, it’s gone and only the second remains. Today I’d like to discuss the issues that come with a culture soaked in princess tales. Originally I thought this must only affect young girls, but with the feminization of men, I think the problem will, in the future, be more widespread. Certainly, the ideas behind what I’m going to talk about are already cultural norms. I’ll use the term ‘princess’ as a reference to nearly every movie geared towards children. Even the superhero genre has the same basic principles as what I’m meaning when I say ‘princess’. Let’s look at this issue topically, how it affects marriage, parenting, work ethic, church life, and evangelism. I realize those last two categories seem similar, but in essence what I’m saying is how we treat each other as believers, and how we share the Gospel with the lost.

Let me start with what the actual problem is, and how pervasive it’s become. Princess movies all start and end with the same premise, that if you want something bad enough you’ll get it. Just believe in yourself. You can accomplish anything, you can be anything, and you deserve it all! It’s such utter nonsense that even in these movies the main character has to have help, usually from magical creatures. What an odd paradox, you can be anything you want to be if you only believe in yourself…but its impossible unless you have someone or something making it happen for you. To turn it even more on its head, we see the new trend of making the assumed good guy end up the villain, then the bad guy swoops in and saves the day. In every type, genre, and decade, these ‘princess’ movies push morals that are man-centered, and goals that are unrealistic.

How does this affect marriage? Love in these ‘princess’ movies is better described as ‘puppy love’. It often gives the impression that to be happy means to be adored. Some movies even go further, making the romance more of an unhealthy obsession. Young people in our culture, rather than preparing for adulthood and the difficulties of marriage, are out searching for ‘true love’. When that standard is impossible to reach, they often become disenfranchised with the institution of marriage and prefer to live together, treating one another as expendable. This obviously leaks into parenting, with couples who live together far more likely to split, even after having children. I’m a product of that type of relationship, many of us are. Divorce, or separation, compounds the disillusionment young people feel when it comes time to choose their own spouse.

Parenting, as I mentioned, is grossly affected by the impressions left from these movies. Its effect can be felt in two ways. As children, these movies change the way we view our elders. Often one parent is missing, sometimes both have died or left, very rarely are both parents present. When parents are there, they are usually treated with contempt, especially if there’s a dad. Modern movies treat fathers like complete buffoons. It’s worse when grandparents are involved, often having their age mocked rather than honoring their wisdom. Whether you realize it or not, this is teaching them how to treat you. The second way this affects viewers happens when they, themselves, become parents. When young girls grow up and get married they often treat their husbands like the idiots they saw portrayed in movie fathers growing up. Children then see mommy is boss in the movies, and in real life, who needs to listen and respect daddy? There’s no clear, beautiful, loving partnership between the parents. Why would any young man, seeing that, look forward to marriage? Or raising a family? Worse then this, the father of a family is the child’s first example of God the Father. No wonder so many feel comfortable blaspheming.

The third issue is the work ethic. Work ethic. What’s that? It’s when someone treats their employer with enough respect to actually work while they’re being paid to work. Getting there on time, not leaving early, not moving at a snail’s pace so that you can do as little as possible without getting fired. I had zero work ethic before getting saved, but if you had asked me I would have told you how great of an employee I was. I mean, I was late but I showed up! Funny how we think, we often see others faults while managing to ignore our own. Hard work is made to be a huge inconvenience in many of these movies if work is shown at all. Most of the time there’s a short montage of activity, then BAM the princess achieves what she wants! Magic, magical creatures, or help from regular woodland rodents, handle most of the grunt work. Today, everyone wants to be boss, no one wants to earn it. Who needs to earn it, when you were told your whole life all you need to do is believe? It’s yours, you want it, you deserve it! Isn’t that how real life works? No. Also, friends, not working to the best of your ability when being paid to do so is not just a bad witness, it’s theft. You’ve made an exchange when you get hired, your labor for their pay. If you take their pay without giving the labor, you’ve stolen from them.

After a childhood of fairytales, we grow up to adults pretending the spotlight is on us. This means when many go to church they take and never give. My church back home is tiny, tucked into the middle of woods that are already in the middle of nowhere. The pastor and his wife work tirelessly, almost everyone who comes is impoverished, widowed, or ill. There are a handful of millennials who come with their parents are grandparents. When there is a special occasion and the elders have all provided food, these younger folks eat and leave. They leave behind a big mess. That big mess gets cleaned up by those impoverished, widowed, and ill church members alongside the pastor and his wife. They take, they never give. This should not be the case, ever, at any age, least of all when your old enough to know better and healthy enough to help. We show the change worked within us to the world through our love for one another. Christianity isn’t a fairytale, we’re not living in a film, we ought to give preference one to another, not all to one.

Lastly, I want to discuss how these movies change the way we evangelize. I don’t remember the last time I saw a movie that didn’t smack of postmodernism. Your truth is your truth, my truth is my truth unless you don’t support abortion, sex change, and same-sex marriage. If that’s the case, your truth is evil and your a bigot that needs to be silenced! Everything is tolerated, except what they disagree with. That’s got nothing to do with the movies, I just added that for free. Postmodernism does have a lot to do with what we’re seeing, and the idea has infiltrated the church. The Gospel has been slowly watered down since Charles Finney took to manipulative means rather than trusted the Holy Spirit to work in the heart of the lost. The current idea that God loves you, so invite Him into your heart and He’ll make you happy, has come from decades of Biblical erosion. It now, often, is couched with a postmodern swing. We find that swing repeated in princess movie after princess movie, you are loved because you deserve to be loved. Your special. You’re the star of your own film. Of course, God loves you, and wants good things for you, who wouldn’t? What does that have to do with postmodernism? Your truth is true for you, but if we go any further than telling someone God loves them we might offend their truth.

Here’s the conclusion, the actual truth of the matter. Not my truth, because if everyone has their own truth, the word becomes meaningless. There are things that are true. There are things that are false. The truth is that life is hard, marriage is hard, parenting is hard, work is hard and that’s why they don’t call it play. Life is full of beautiful moments, its full of difficult moments, but we’re here to glorify God and make Him known. We’re not here to be the star of the show, we must preach the Gospel, die, and be forgotten. He must increase, we must decrease, die to self, love one another, love the lost. In most countries of the world our brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering, going without, being imprisoned, or martyred for their faith and for love of one another. We can’t even stay after the potluck and fold chairs? We can’t even love the lost enough to share the truth with them, while we still have the freedom to do so? Brethren, this ought not to be so. Culture is pervasive, it slips in bit by bit, until the body of believers is so dull of hearing that it needs milk when it should be eating meat. It needs teaching when it should be taught.

If you are reading this and are a Millennial or Latch-key kind of adult do not follow this trend. Watch the older believers, look for ways to be a blessing, look for opportunities to learn from them. If you are older than the Latch-keys and you’re reading this, please…help! The Bible specifically tells the older generations of men to teach the younger, the same for the women. Older women, find young ladies in your church and in your family to disciple, same for the men finding young men. Yes, I know, we’re an obnoxious group of know-it-alls, but it won’t take long before the first crisis hits. The baby won’t sleep, the spouse is mad, the parent is in the hospital, the job is hard, the bills are huge, tax season comes along, life will hit and none of what we learned in princess movies will help. But you can, and you can specifically do this with Godly wisdom. Let me encourage both groups to be Biblical, the younger are told to learn from the older, the older to teach the younger. If you’re reading this, and you blog, you’ve already started this process! Many of you have taught me diligently.

Twisted Tuesday – Foreknowledge

Hello all, I hope this post has found you doing well. As I mentioned in my last Twisted post, when I study and read Gods Word I’m often reminded of errant theology taught to me during my decade-plus time as a goat amongst the sheep. When I was first saved by Gods grace I had a deep desire to understand as much as I possibly could about this God that would rescue a wretch like myself. I wanted to know His attributes, to hear His word, to rid myself of all the misconceptions I had of Christianity. I never let go of the first verse I read as a new creation, 1 Corinthians 8:2.

We have a tendency, as sons and daughters of Adam, to sinfully let knowledge puff us up. I certainly was full of pride, and ego, before God rescued me from the chains of sin and death. I had no idea of the tremendous amount of knowledge that I didn’t know. Who God is, what He has done, why He has done it, how can we know, all these subjects to study and only one little me! I lost sleep, in my deep desire to understand, I let my daily ministry of serving my family slip. I skipped meals, prayer, devotion, I forgot to grocery shop, pay bills, and organize homeschooling lessons. I dug and dug, and frustratingly came back with opinions ranging from what I know today is rank heresy, to the actual truth. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I needed structure, discipline, and patience, but instead ended up falling into legalism. God is kind to His children, He prunes us, His rod and His staff comfort us, He patiently sanctifies us.

I had to throw it all out, friends, and start from the foundations of my faith, slowly building on the Rock. Everything I knew, or thought I knew, had to be checked against Gods Word. So, with that being said, you can imagine how overjoyed I am when I hear solid preachers teaching on the attributes of God! The Father’s foreknowledge isn’t discussed much in the groups I learned from before being born again. However, it was described exactly how Dr. Lawson says it is in the clip below. As if God had looked through time, learned what man would do, and went from there. Now, knowing that God does not learn, His attributes show that He is all knowing, I can see how wrong that perspective is. Twisting Gods Word often leads to a twisted view of God Himself.

https://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2019/02/13/the-foreknowledge-of-god/

You see, dear ones, that God has not seen into the future, but that there is a much more beautiful exegesis for the verses referring to Gods foreknowledge. To know, in an intimate, or unique, way, those whom He has called. What is this love? What is this that God has done for those He calls? To save us, wretched, rebellious, God-hating sinners, by sending His only begotten Son to die in our place? To adopt us? To sanctify us? To justify us? Not a single sinner on Earth has ever deserved this love. And yet, as if to further shine a light on the darkness of man’s wicked heart, He reveals in His Word that He knows us? Intimately, deeply, uniquely, knows us? We’re talking about the one true God, creator of the universe, whose ways are always righteous and just, who’s loving kindness knows no bounds, whose power is beyond comprehension. That God, has known us? How can anyone twist such a beautiful doctrine into such a sinful one? Well, beloved, I did. Before I was saved I would have touted this exact heresy.

To make man more, and God less seems to be the purpose of every verse taken out of context. Brothers and sisters, God can not, and does not, learn anything. Everything that ever was or will be was already known to Him before the Earth was made. If you have repented of your sins, put your faith in Christ, and been born again by Gods grace, then you too were forknown. If you have not been born again, if there’s never been a time when you were made into a new creation that now loves what God loves and hates what God hates, then your sins of lying, lusting, coveting, and idolatry are a direct offense against this great God. That’s the bad news. The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ, fully man and fully God, came and lived a sinless life, dying in our place, to save whosoever would believe. Repent, turn away, from your sins, and cry out to God for salvation. Only by one name, Christ and Christ alone, can man be saved. There is no other hope for sinners to be saved. As always, beloved brethren, be good Bereans, and study to show yourselves approved.

Twisted Tuesday – The Pearl of Great Price

If you, my friends, have ever sat under man-centered preaching you’ve no doubt heard repeatedly how great you are in God’s eyes. Although this is the exact opposite of what Christ preached during His Earthly ministry, and all of Scripture agrees, it doesn’t seem to sell as well. As many of you know, I spent a fair amount of time in the Word of Faith movement, more than a decade. God saved me out of that by His grace, and while I’ll never understand that as a wretch completely deserving of Hell, I will be eternally grateful to my Lord! It still catches me off guard when in my studies, or devotional time, I find a verse that was often taken out of context. This is what has happened with Matthew 13:44-46.

First I want to clear something up that’s very important. The reason Jesus gives for teaching in parables is completely different than the reason often given today. While I researched this I found several groups, including LDS, teaching that Christ was speaking in parables to reach His listeners. This is the exact opposite of what Jesus was doing. Having been rejected by the Jewish leaders and accused of casting out demons by the power of Satan, He spoke in parables so that they would not understand. He then explained them to His disciples privately. He tells us this prior to the parable in question, back in verse 13 of the same chapter. It’s also written in Luke 8:10 and Mark 4:12, and is a fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures.

Back to the parable itself, I can clearly remember being told that the man in this parable is Jesus, and of course, we’re the treasure He bought at a great price. While it’s true that our salvation came at a great price, that’s not what these verses are referring to. Over and over again, while I researched the different views of these parables attempting to find where the disconnect started, I found this same error. We’re the treasure in the field, Christ left heaven to purchase us. We’re the pearl of great price, Christ paid it all to redeem us. But a clear reading of the parables shows a very obvious picture. The kingdom of heaven is the treasure, we’re the ones that must count the cost. Ligioneer Ministries does an excellent job of fleshing this one out in this devotional here.

Mankind seems obsessed with bringing God lower and elevating man’s position higher. We love to hear how important we are, we feed on the twisting of Scripture with itching ears, so long as it builds up our inflated egos. Scripture is clear throughout, God is the only one who deserves glory, honor, and praise. Christ did not come to die for us because we are so great, but because our sins are so great. He is loving, kind, and merciful. He is also just, righteous, and holy. It would be entirely just for God to save none of the rebellious, God-hating, sinners on this Earth. It is an extreme example of His endless kindness that He saves some. The kingdom of God is of inestimable value, and when we consider this we willingly sell all that we have and follow Christ.

Please understand, dear ones, this does not mean that we need to be homeless and give everything away. It means the kingdom is worth turning our back on the worldly sins we once loved, like speaking wealth and fame. It’s worth humbling ourselves, casting aside pride, destroying the ego, and bowing our knee to the one true Savior. We must love Christ more than husband or wife, mother or father, son or daughter, because His kingdom is of endless value, and He is worthy! If you have repented and put your faith in Christ, then you have been saved, and adopted into His kingdom. That is a true treasure, that is what is of great price! It also does not mean that you are not loved. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him may not die but have everlasting life. But this text is not about us, it doesn’t give us any glory, there is nothing here for us to boast in.

We couldn’t even make our own heartbeat without Gods sovereign will continuing the electrical pulse pushing and pulling inside you. If you think that’s not true, go and search for the men and women who’s heart stops with no warning. We don’t even own the air we breathe, it’s borrowed from the One who created it. You, oh man, you think you are high and lifted up? Do you think you are of an inestimable price? What could we possibly offer God? Nothing. Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling. God has saved us, not because of our worth, but because He is merciful. This man-centered preaching is designed to draw men in, make them feel good about themselves, and give them the impression that the man standing on the stage is such a good and kind man. For love of self, men preach falsehood! They want to be liked, they want to be adored, to hear their name spoken well of. Who is deserving of all honor, praise, and glory? The thrice holy God, or a hireling that calls himself an undershepherd? When the wolves come, and they will come, these men flee!

Let us avoid man-centered preaching and teaching, and rather take God’s Word seriously enough to read it in its context. If you have been saved you have no need of bolstering, you’ve already received enough kindness and mercy to carry you through eternity. We must spend our days here glorifying God and making Him known to the lost. We will give an account to God for every idle word spoken, every word my beloved friends! God is great, He is kind, He is worthy, but even our righteousness is as filthy rags! How can we ever consider ourselves to be pearls of great price? No, dear ones, humble yourselves before such a great God, and give Him all the glory! As always, beloved brethren, be good Bereans and study to show yourselves approved.

Twisted Tuesday – In Jesus Name

Hello everyone! It’s Tuesday, which means I’ve got the misfortune of discussing what is, for believers, a grievous topic. The twisting, misuse, misquoting, or taking of Scripture out of context. Today I want to talk about praying in Jesus name, what it means and what it most certainly doesn’t mean. For a little background into my perspective here, as you all might remember from my testimony, I was raised in a Wiccan household. There were books of spells, crystals, and incense often burning in varies rooms. We had a Bible, and my mother was mixing the two, although mostly it was goddess worship. She has thankfully been saved by grace, or so I hope, I don’t know her heart but can see some fruit. This childhood has given me a unique concern for the ever growing presence of New Agism mixing into the church. It seems to be affecting the way we view John 14:13-15.

Oprah’s Secret, the Word of Faith, and New Age beliefs all teach that you speak things positive to get positive in return. Each group phrases this differently, and many add Christian words to give authority to what they’re saying. This is, at the core, just repackaged Wiccanism. As a witch your words are the power, you speak it and believe it, then it’s supposed to change something within the universe. Nothing is new under the sun. This is how many treat prayer, as if it were an incantation, which has its final deal in the phrase ‘In Jesus Name’. For the Word of Faith in particular, this is how they command things to happen how they want them to happen. When things don’t go as they commanded, somewhere someone didn’t have enough faith. This is obviously not how our Savior intended this text to be interpreted. Anytime we attempt to use prayer, or the ending words to our prayer, as a formula to gain what it is we want, we’ve gotten it wrong.

So, now we know what it’s not, what does it mean? When we pray we are not coming before a genie who is waiting anxiously to hear what our next demand is. We are praying to a God so great that without Christ we could never stand before Him. This God is holy, perfect, just, righteous, and blameless in all His ways. We, as born again believers, come before Him as adopted children, who have been rescued and ransomed from the slavery to sin and death. As new creatures in Christ we should desire the will of God on earth as it is in heaven. As 1 John 5:14 explains, when we ask in His name according to His will He hears us. Scripture makes clear that God is not handing us a blank check needing only to signed In Jesus Name. This is yet another reason why it’s so imperative to take the full counsel of Gods Word, and not pull a verse we like out of context.

Throughout John 14 Jesus is comforting His disciples, who are distressed to hear that they will be without their Lord. He repeats two points more than twice in the chapter. The first is that if we love Him we will obey Him. The second is that the power the disciples would have would come from Christ, and not from them. This was an important point to humble these men who would be used by God to complete the Scripture. We see later in Acts chapter 4 Peter telling the Jewish leaders the very same thing, that they are teaching in the name of Jesus, that is where they receive their authority. In this way we see that ‘In Jesus Name’ is asking for things that are within the will of God, as the name of Christ stands for all that He is in Scripture, and to give God the glory for every answered prayer.

As a side note, to expound upon this a little further, I have many family members still in the WoF movement. They frequently tell of how their prayers healed someone, or how they were given material blessings, after they had prayed for it. This is a really good example of the misunderstandings that revolve around the purpose of prayer. These are people who, though they say the words, are doing anything but praying in the name of Jesus Christ. They’re not asking in His will, but in their own desires. They do not give God the glory, but brag about their own righteousness. Let us be careful not to abuse Scripture, or prayer, but rather to be humbled by Gods provisions. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.