Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Humiliation Day (Repost)

The modern mind may think of several things when remembering Thanksgiving Day, but how many would consider this to be a time of serious contemplation and even…humility?  For those who would dare to examine the beginnings of our Thanksgiving Day holiday, they would find that prayer and humiliation formulated the basis of and necessary prelude to this day of joy and celebration.  Frankly speaking, one cannot find the latter lest they seek the former. 

History reminds us of this truth, especially when we consider the writings of Mr. William Bradford who served as the governor of Plymouth Plantation almost continuously from 1621 to 1656 (except for five of years of this period).  His description of the early pilgrims, their devotion to God, and their endurance through suffering, helps us to comprehend better the significance of what we now refer to as Thanksgiving Day.  Before their own day of thanksgiving came about there was an even greater event which http://www.hdg.de/eurovisionen/images/religion/mayflower.jpgpreceded it. In Bradford's record below we learn of the hardships that visited Plymouth, even after new supplies and passengers arrived on the ship called the Anne:

"These passengers, when they saw their low and poor condition ashore, were much daunted and dismayed, and according to their divers humors were diversely affected. Some wished themselves in England again; others fell a-weeping, fancying their own misery in what they saw now in others; other some pitying the distress they saw their friends had been long in, and still were under. In a word, all were full of sadness. Only some of their old friends rejoiced to see them, and that it was no worse with them, for they could not expect it should be better, and now hoped they should enjoy better days together. And truly it was no marvel they should be thus affected, for they were in a very low condition; many were ragged in apparel and some little better than half naked, though some that were well stored before were well enough in this regard. But for food they were all alike, save some that had got a few peas off the ship that was last here. The best dish they could present their friends with was a lobster or a piece of fish without bread or anything else but a cup of fair spring water. And the long continuance of this diet, and their labours abroad, had something abated the freshness of their former complexion; but God gave them health and strength in a good measure, and showed them by experience the truth of that word, (Deuteronomy 8:3) 'That man liveth not by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth a man live.'"

"When I think how sadly the Scriptures speaks of the famine in Jacob's time, when he said to his sons, 'God buy us food, that we may live and not die,' (Genesis xlii.2 and xliii.1) that the famine was great or heavy in the land. And yet they had such great herds and store of cattle of sundry kinds, which, besides flesh, must needs produce other food as milk, butter and cheese, etc. And yet it was counted a sore affliction. Theirs here must needs be very great, therefore, who not only wanted the staff of bread but all these things, and had no Egypt to go to. But God fed them out of the sea for the most part, so wonderful is His providence over His in all ages; for His mercy endureth forever."

"I may not here omit how, notwithstand all their great pains and industry, and the great hopes of a large crop, the Lord seemed to blast, and take away the same, and to threaten further and more sore famine unto them. By a great drought which continued from the third week in May, till about the middle of July, without any rain and with great heat for the most part, insomuch as the corn began to wither away though it was set with fish, the moisture whereof helped it much. Yet at length it began to languish sore, and some of the drier grounds were parched like withered hay, part whereof was never recovered. Upon which they set apart a solemn day of humiliation, to seek the Lord by humble and fervent prayer, in this great distress. And He was pleased to give them a gracious and speedy answer, both to their own and the Indians' admiration that lived amongst them. For all the morning, and greatest part of the day, it was clear weather and very hot, and not a cloud or any sign of rain to be seen; yet toward evening it began to overcast, and shortly after to rain with such sweet and gentle showers as gave them cause of rejoicing and blessing God. It came without either wind or thunder or any violence, and by degrees in that abundance was that the earth was thoroughly we and soaked and therewith. Which did so apparently revive and quicken the decayed corn and other fruits, as was wonderful to see, and made the Indians astonished to behold. And afterwards the Lord sent them such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair warm weather as, through His blessing, caused a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing. For which mercy, in time convenient, they also set apart a day of thanksgiving."

[Note: "...A law of 15 Nov. 1636 (Plymouth Colony Records XI 18) allows the Governor and Assistants 'to command solemn days of humiliation by fasting, etc., and also for thanksgiving as occasion shall be offered.'"]. Excerpt of William Bradford - Of Plymouth Plantation [1620-1647] by William Bradford, edited by Samuel Eliot Morison.

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What I love about this excerpt is that the institution of their thanksgiving celebration came some time after a day of prayer and humiliation. Here is a great lesson for us all: Genuine thankfulness can only grow and flourish in a heart that has been softened and prepared by humility (Philippians 2:1-14; 1 Cor 4:7). In view of the truth of God's word, and in view of the historic example of these godly brethren, let us all seek the Lord prayerfully, with humility, and with thanksgiving!

Soli Deo Gloria

(Repost from The Armoury, November 2005, 2009, 2010)

Saturday, October 06, 2012

President Barack “Uh”bama

President Barack Obama’s strong propensity to stutter and mumble his way through unscripted debates, speeches, and announcements is both bothersome and striking. Now, for those who think highly of the president’s abilities and acumen, such pauses and mumbles are often seen as the signs of a cautious genius. For myself, it sounds like a man who hasn’t much to say without a teleprompter. Wednesday night’s debate was yet another moment of such stuttering and stumbling. So much so, that it didn’t take long for parody videos to arrive on the scene featuring nothing but the condensed stammering of the President himself. Of course, no one is perfect - we all stumble and struggle at times when speaking our mind; however, the Obama administration continues to produce much more than the occasional communicative mishap. Let the reader know that I do not wish to express cruelty in this article, instead, I would suggest that for a man to be the leader of the free world, he ought to have a measure of unscripted clarity and articulation that renders genuine cogency. A man who has real and honest answers will speak directly, succinctly, and forthrightly; but a man who twists and contorts reality will often stammer through his oratory (unless it is pre-fabricated and scrolling on a screen before him). I would suggest that such muttering is indicative of manipulation more than anything else. Should the reader desire further proof of this matter, then all one has to do is review every interview and statement given out from the Obama administration concerning the recent Benghazi debacle, after which time it can be declared: Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

The Obama administration is filled with such stumbling and stammering. In the earliest years of Obama’s White House, I wrote about this same problem when the disgraced nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan was released without a viable explanation to the public (The Audacity of Communication). When the White House was pressed for an explanation, Robert Gibbs was there to set matters “straight”: 

Q (Reporter): Is the President concerned that Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan will be a proliferation risk, now that he’s been released from house arrest? And will he renew the US request for him to be interviewed by US intelligence?

A (Robert Gibbs): Uh, obviously we’ve seen the reports of the release, but have not received, uh, have yet to receive official word, uh, from the government. Uh. Obviously this President has made clear, uh, many times, the great concern he has for nuclear proliferation, uh, and, uh, as we hear from the government about, uh, these reports, uh, obviously, uh, the President, uh, and this government want assurances that, uh, that Dr. Khan is not involved or engaged in, uh, any of the activity, uh, uh, that resulted in, uh, in, in his house arrest earlier.

After hearing Gibbs’ response, I had to replay it in order to try to make sense of his “answer.” Perhaps it was out of morbid curiosity, but I wanted to see if such a jumbled collection of words could even be organized into a diagrammatical construct – thus:

The Audacity of Good Grammar

I could barely find enough grammatical material to build such a maze, but there it is in all its glory: another monument to the confused and contorted message of our nation’s leadership. When men have real answers, their words will be clear and forthright, thus rendering genuine cogency in their communication. On the other hand…

…“a fool speaks nonsense.” (Isaiah 32:6).

When politicians stammer, or merely repeat non-answers, it is often indicative of a deeper problem. Our nation is in great need of real truth, honesty, clarity, and justice. May the Lord have mercy upon our land in our great time of need.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Liberal’s Lexicon

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Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And clever in their own sight!
Isaiah 5:21

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dear “Self-Respecting Calvinists” -

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The world of Christian media is a bit of a two-edged sword. Through it many Bible teachers have helped the cause of the Gospel in the lives of many men and women. It is this side of the sword that cuts well – for the glory of God. Then there is the other side of this sword – the one which tends to spill more blood than supply corrective surgery. In this latter side of the blade we find the unhelpful or sometimes destructive influences of popular preachers/teachers whose misplaced dogmas and verbal mishaps find their way into the local church through various ways and means. The pastor of a local church may wish to ignore the presence of this bad side of the blade – but he hasn’t the luxury to do so, especially if some of his congregants are the devoted disciples of such Bible teachers.

Over the years in the ministry I have had to invest more hours than I can count addressing so-called “controversies” that were whipped up by others simply because I happened to disagree over a point of doctrine with popular teachers, both past and present. While this problem is not new, I believe that the modern church is mass-producing this matter through what I call the industry of retail Christianity; as a disease, it is becoming pandemic. Moreover, I am of the opinion that few popular teachers truly understand the extent of divisiveness that they can easily generate when they act imprudently over issues of doctrine – especially those issues that are not central to the Gospel. No one is perfect. When we fail, it is needful to make restitution for such failures. Should we ever err on a point of instruction, or overemphasize a matter which results in unnecessary conflict, then we need to own up to it for our own sakes, and for the sake of those whom we instruct and influence. Whether a man is a media star or a pastor of a small church, the principle remains the same, however, I would suggest that a man’s personal responsibility increases in proportion to the extent of his influence.

I was reminded of all of this some time ago when a man came to visit our church for Sunday morning services. This man braved 1 ½ hours of driving in order to fellowship with us, hear God’s word, and ask me a question that was burning in his conscience. Sensing his desire to speak at length about what was burdening him, I invited him over to our home for lunch following the services. We had a wonderful time of fellowship together. Early on, we spoke for some time before he asked me his core question, and yet, in some strange way I could almost anticipate his concern before he expressed it. My clues came in pieces through some of the things that he said; through the study Bible that he had in hand; and by means of the comments he made about his church. Thus, when the question came – it offered little surprise. As well, I felt quite prepared to offer a response – simply put, I’ve had to deal with this issue for some time. His question was simple enough: he wanted to know if he should leave his church since his pastor was post-millennial. The basis for his query came from his repeated exposure to an audio tape of John MacArthur issuing a millennial manifesto, where he said,

“Every self-respecting Calvinist is a premillennialist.”

This gentleman repeated this manifesto thrice, saying “it keeps going on in my mind”; and this meditation of his only increased his sense of burden and concern. Before addressing my thoughts about such “self-respecting Calvinism,” I asked this man questions about his present church. For all I knew, there could be other issues that would actually warrant significant concerns. I asked about his church’s core doctrine (very sound); the body dynamic and health of the flock (loving and lively); the leadership – their doctrine and example of life (above reproach); and inquired about their focus on the Gospel and outreach to the lost (excellent). I am only summarizing the exchange here, but by the time he was finished describing his flock – I nearly wept in the man’s presence. Though I am deeply aware of this controversy that has been produced by MacArthur’s manifesto, I still remained incredulous concerning the practical effects that it has in the lives of real people within real churches. Here was a man who was prepared to leave a loving flock over this matter. Wanting to be careful and measured in my response to him, I began discussing the extent of the controversy in its modern form (i.e., historic Pre-millennialism vs. Dispensational Pre-millennialism); the overall debate in view of church history; the relevance and purpose of prophecy in the life of a Christian; and the importance of the primacy of the Gospel in everything. Then I told him –

“Concerning pastor MacArthur’s manifesto: with all due respect, no self-respecting Calvinist would make eschatology such a divisive issue.”

I don’t think that he expected to hear this from an alumnus of The Master’s Seminary, but he listened carefully and attentively anyway. My simple prayer for this man has been that he would pray and think through this matter very carefully – since the thought of leaving a church body is quite serious. Without hesitation I told him that I saw no reason for him to leave – period.

When I first heard MacArthur employ this manifesto, I was struck by his dogma and insistence. He has all the freedom in the world to believe this about his theological opponents, but when one considers what is conveyed in this pontification, its meaning and implications are quite draconian. MacArthur’s Pre-Millennialism, which is Dispensational Pre-Millennialism and not Historic Pre-Millennialism, formulates the centerpiece of what he calls self-respecting Calvinism. The implications of his charge are as follows: anyone who does not hold to such Pre-Millennialism is not a self-respecting Calvinist.

Really?

Are we really to believe that brethren throughout the ages and in the present day, who have a differing view on this subject, must now be tossed out of the sorting bin of “self-respecting Calvinism” (whatever that means)? I should, however, credit MacArthur for some measure of consistency in his manifesto. The strength of his charge is only reinforced by the following assertions:

“Let’s leave Amillennialism for the Arminians. It’s perfect. It’s ideal. It’s a no-brainer. God elects nobody and preserves nobody. Perfect. Arminians make great Amillennialists.”

“We can leave Amillennialism to the process theologians or the openness people who think God is becoming what He will be; and He’s getting better because as every day goes by, He gets more information; and as He gets more information, He’s figuring out whether or not, in fact, He can keep some of the promises He made without having to adjust all of them based upon a lack of information when He originally made them. Let’s leave Amillennialism to the Charismatics and the semi-Pelagians and other sorts who go in and out of salvation willy-nilly; it makes sense for their theology.”[1]

[Postmillennialism isn’t given any better treatment when he says]: “…Postmillennialism… is ‘optimistic Amillennialism’…the two positions are basically the same.”[2]

If anyone wishes to search out the oddities and heresies associated with any system of eschatology, they are certainly welcome to do so – but is this helpful? For example, comparing MacArthur to Harold Camping (a Dispensational Premillennialist) would be a fool’s errand and would take us no-where, thus, is it at all fair to associate the whole of Amillennialism with the likes of Arminians, process theologians, or even openness theologians? Arguments of guilt-by-association can be very startling, and may seem to justify the label of “non-self-respecting Calvinist” for some – but such arguments don’t advance any reasonable or meaningful debate. It is not terribly surprising that those who hear such statements are quickly led to the fearful belief that Amillennialism directly corresponds to various forms of rank heresy. Thus, it is perfectly understandable that this man came to me, with such a manifesto resonating in his mind, wondering if he should leave his church immediately.

It is understandable, but it is all quite sad and disturbing.

I can say that I greatly appreciate John MacArthur’s historic defense of the Gospel. He is not a perfect man, and he has, at times, said things that I could not defend; however, his overall defense of the Gospel has been forthright and sound. It is for this reason that his recent heralding of eschatology seems rather strange and even ironic, and here’s why: the Fundamentalist movement of the early 20th century included Dispensational Premillennialism within its definition of biblical orthodoxy. C.I. Scofield advanced this line of thought extensively, heralding Dispensationalism and Eschatology to a fault. As a result, a church culture was born out of such an influence which focused on the structure of Dispensational thought and Eschatology at the expense of the substance of Theology proper, Hamartiology, Anthropology, Soteriology, and Christology. Resultantly, many churches in America became aliens to the historic doctrines of grace, though they retained a strict stance in Dispensational and Premillennial thought. This segment of church history should remind us that when a particular view of eschatology is heralded at the level of the Gospel itself, or higher, the seed of such error will grow and thrive in time. Ironically, it was this very theological culture that MacArthur confronted with the historic doctrines of grace during the 90’s. His book, The Gospel According to Jesus, created a firestorm of controversy among many Dispensationalists. For a man who had to face the errors of a culture which exalted Dispensationalism and Premillennialism above its theological place, one must wonder why he would seek to pick such a fight over this matter in the present day.

This is pungent irony.

Let me end this with a comment, a recommendation, and an appeal. My comment is this: I have a deep love for brethren who love Christ, the rich doctrines of grace, and who share in the same commitment and evangelical zeal for the Gospel Jesus Christ. With this in mind, I often think of the Puritans of old whose eschatology did not take them into the depths of heresy. Though I may hold to differing views on eschatology, this does not change my high esteem for them as self-respecting Calvinists, if you prefer to employ that label at all. My recommendation is that if you are a Dispensational Premillennialist, then broaden your reading a bit by getting books like The Puritan Hope (Iain Murray, 1971), or MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto (Samuel E. Waldron, 2008). I recently read Waldron’s work and must say that it is a must-read for anyone who wishes to search this matter out with better information and understanding. The subtitle to Waldron’s work is: “A Friendly Response.” I must say that his response is indeed friendly, the tone is mature and irenic and is therefore highly commendable. Which brings me to my simple appeal. I am quite sure that John MacArthur holds a busy schedule; but since it is he who has opened the war room of this discussion – there ought to be a discussion of some sort. I don’t know of anyone who has written a full book addressing MacArthur’s manifesto (other than Waldron) – if there is someone else who has invested such time and energy, then I am completely unaware of the matter. But Waldron has written a book on the matter and it is now four years old. His work is not a diatribe; it is not guilty of ad-hominem attacks; or guilt-by-association argumentation. It is a friendly response indeed, and it absolutely deserves a response.

Unfortunately, to my knowledge (and as of the writing of this article), Pastor Waldron has received no response from MacArthur for what he has written. Thus, my appeal is simply this: Dr. MacArthur, as the one who started this conversation, please take the time to read and respond to Dr. Waldron. As an example to a watching world, do it for the sake of God’s glory and Christ’s church.

If this matter is as important as you insist, then a non-response is simply indefensible.

Soli Deo Gloria


[1] John MacArthur, Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist is a Premillennialist, Shepherds’ Conference 2007, First Message.

[2] Ibid.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Welcome to the World of Retail Christianity

dawnkollar_ingodwetrust_1Any young man going into the ministry must understand that he must be prepared to address a flock that is, in this present day, influenced by a pantheon of teachers – many of whom they have never met. By itself, this isn’t a bad thing – especially if those teachers are: a). called of God; b). preaching the Gospel; c). exalting Christ and not themselves; d). upholding the authority of Scripture rather than invented doctrines of their own; e). heralding the priority of the local church; and f). ministering the word with a spirit that is devoid of a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes.

In a perfect world, such an external influence would be…perfect.

However, we don’t live in a perfect world. Pastors aren’t perfect; churches aren’t perfect; published books by men and their publishers aren’t perfect. Thus, we find a constant battle within the church to pursue God’s perfect word amidst all such imperfections. For the pastor of a local church, this battle is, firstly, internal and then it is external. It is internal in the sense that, as a preacher, the pastor must endeavor to seek out the preaching of God’s Word without the pollution of his own opinions and preferences. By itself, this is a strong and continual battle. It is external in the sense that there is a constant influence of teachers whose teaching is not at all helpful, whether wholly or partially. Sometimes those problematic influences are absolutely heretical;[1] in most cases they are problematic on a lesser scale – but it is all part of the battle nonetheless. What intensifies this battle is what I would call the industry of Christian media. By this label I am referring to the exploding industry of Christian video, audio, books, conferences, and web-media – a great deal of which is presented with all of the fanfare of modern marketing techniques and salesmanship. It is this perpetual marketing of Christian media that has created a cultural psyche of  keeping up with the Joneses – but with a Christian twist. However, the rule of life and conduct for the Christian is not to keep up with the Joneses per se. Our benchmark is not horizontally defined, but is defined by Christ and His Word – no matter what the Joneses are doing. In the secular realm you can see whole neighborhoods following such a pattern of conformity. One neighbor buys a 60” flat panel TV – the other neighbors see it, want it, come to conclude that they need it and buy one themselves, whether they can afford it or not. Unfortunately, such choices can be dictated by jealousy or materialism (or both) rather than wisdom.

When Christians make spiritual choices, in this manner of keeping up with the masses, it can be quite dangerous. Doing what one’s friends or neighbors are doing is never a justification for doing anything. In this present culture of retail Christianity, I fear that many are determining orthodoxy by what is deemed as vogue among the masses; but this can never be the means by which we evaluate anything. In the worst of all cases, people can come to feel that without that next popular book, conference, or webinar – their sanctification will somehow be incomplete. Though the retail earnings may be good, a spirit of dependency such as this is dangerous since it diminishes the primacy of Scripture and that of the local church. In writing this, I am not at all suggesting that all books, conferences, videos, webinars etc. are inherently bad. There are many profitable resources out there that can be utilized for the glory of God. However, it must also be pointed out that there are many well-marketed resources that are deeply problematic. What is needed is for the believer to be dedicated to Christ with the nobility of those Bereans who “received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily” in order to see if what the Apostle Paul taught was in fact true.[2] It is this attitude which says - “I must measure everything by the standard of God’s Word, not by the standard of my neighbors, social popularity, or any mere man” - that Luke calls: “noble minded.” Had these Bereans simply kept up with the popular thinking of their day, they would have gone the way of the Pharisees.

May it never be.

Finally – as a final application of this encouragement and warning, let me suggest the following (and I offer this, not under the presumption that you are not doing so, but as an encouragement to “excel still more” in these principles): the next time you hear an online sermon, read a book, attend a conference, or watch a webinar – 1). Be sure that you measure the contents of what you have been exposed to by the standards of God’s word, not by the habits and preferences of your friend or neighbors; 2). If you are unsure about what you have studied, go and consult the undershepherds of your local church - men whose lives,ministries, homes, and conduct you can see and experience personally; and 3). Throughout everything, pray without ceasing for the Lord’s guidance and leading, as you sort through it all, knowing that it is the Lord whom we serve – not men. There are many in this world who seek to instruct you – just be on guard for your souls as you listen and learn – knowing that it is Christ whom you serve.

As Christian said to those retailers in Vanity Fair: “We buy the truth.” Prov. 23:23.[3]


[1] Jude 3-4.

[2] Acts 17:10–11 (NASB) — 10 And the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea; and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.

[3] Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Above all, a Christian

john-calvinFor years now I have been accused of being many things in view of my basic defense of God’s sovereign work of salvation: I have been accused of being a Calvinist, a Hyper-Calvinist, a “Calvinist-heretic,” and even a “Calvinist-cultist.” What I find absolutely fascinating about all this tongue wagging is this:

It has never been my practice to use the label – “Calvinist” at all. 

Now, to my sovereign grace friends, please know that I do not vilify those who use such a label – let every man do what he is persuaded to do in his own conscience. Additionally, it should also be said that I have been committed to the realities of man’s total depravity, God’s unconditional election, an atonement that is particular and extensive[1], God’s grace which is irresistible, and the reality of the saint’s perseverance. Yet despite all of this, I do not go about with the label: “Calvinist.” For many Arminians, this practice of mine will probably be judged as utter hypocrisy; for some “Calvinists,” this is high treason. For myself, it is my highest preference for ministering the word as a follower of Christ, and, secondarily, it is the best way that I know how to honor the memory of one of my favorite Christians in all of church history: John Calvin.

Why do I say this?

Over the years, I have become deeply impressed with Calvin’s humility as a mere man and child of God, especially in view of his zeal for evangelism; his heralding of God’s authority in the Scriptures alone; his vehement opposition against Papalism and the adoration of mere men; and his insistence on using church fathers as mere guides to exegesis, not as final authorities of it. In fact, it is this latter priority of his that has so deeply affected my own life and ministry. During Calvin’s lifetime, the Roman Catholic church was showing all of the signs of man-centeredness that one could possibly imagine. Scripture had become an incidental decoration to Rome’s perf5.000x8.000.inddmasterpiece of man-made tradition. Priests recited, not the authority of God as their ultimate source of truth, but only those church fathers whose views favored their own. When one studies such severe adoration of mere men during this period, it is difficult to avoid comparisons with that of the Pharisees in the 1st century. Pick up a copy of the Mishnah, the written collection of rabbinic traditions, and you will find, line after line, authoritative instructions all prefaced with the formulaic expression: Rabbi ____ says. Line after line, their formulaic instructions all began with the premise, not of Scripture, but of the teachings of popular Rabbi’s throughout history. Such oral traditions, which the Pharisees vehemently defended, were rebuked as that which “nullified the commandments” of God, as the Savior declared. For the Pharisees, as well as the leaders of the Romish church, truth was decided by a contest between popular Rabbis and church fathers, not God’s Word. However, in the imitation of Christ Himself, Calvin refuted this slavery to tradition and hero worship, and directed others to the principle of Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, and Soli Deo Gloria. Without Sola Scriptura, all of the other Solas will be lost in the morass of human “wisdom” and reasoning.

I would urge the reader to pick up a biography of John Calvin, and you will discover that he sacrificed much in his life in order to deter others from the man-worship that was so prevalent in his day. As I learned more about this soldier of Christ, it seemed difficult to believe that he would approve of people going about identifying themselves by his name. At least, for myself, it is something that I cannot fathom doing for a few reasons. If I could imagine a way to honor the memory of John Calvin, it would be by heralding the only name which he sought to herald – the name of Christ alone.

But this is not my principal reason for avoiding such a label.

With or without John Calvin, bearing the name of Christ is a privilege that transcends imagination – and it comes at a great expense: the shed blood of the unblemished Lamb of God – Jesus Christ. It brings to mind Christ’s mercy and love in the salvation of this depraved sinner; it reminds me that the Father elected me, in His Son, despite my own wretchedness; it underscores the truth that the Good Shepherd laid down His life for me, as one of His frail sheep; it compels me to remember that my salvation has been brought about by His sovereign grace alone; it gives me hope in His continuing grace to persevere me to the end; and it reminds me that I have been bought with a price, therefore I am to glorify God with the whole of my body, life, and being.

Dear reader: above all, I am a Christian.


[1] For years now I have employed the expression “extensive atonement” in view of the Apostle John’s numerical analysis of Christ’s atoning work: “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;” Revelation 7:9 (NASB) – italics mine. My book, All Nations Under God, details the reality of Christ’s atonement which is clearly particular, yet wonderfully extensive.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Praying for Dead Presidents

prayingfordeadpresidents

Satan’s great design and desire is to have us see nothing but a twisted version of reality. From the person and work of God down to the most mundane task in this life, the great accuser, deceiver, and Father of all lies delights in every form of deception that he can muster.[1] One of the greatest inventions created by the Devil is man-made religion, and I should add: this world is filled with such an invention. One of the reasons why man-made religion is such a tool of Satan is because it creates the false impression that there are many ways which lead to Heaven. Satan delights in this because it contradicts Christ quite directly, who said - “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” John 14:6 (NASB). When one sees the world in its reality, through the clear lenses of Scripture, a very stark reality is discovered: the path that leads to heaven is not broad, nor multi-faceted; instead, it is remarkably narrow as defined by the Savior Himself.[2] I mention this in view of our nation’s fascinating hunger for religious-speak during our great American tradition: the presidential election. How intriguing it was that the arbiters of the DNC convention sought an awkward reversal of their platform language to include references to “God” and “Jerusalem.” This strange shift followed the media’s analysis of the GOP’s convention, which was filled with more references to religion and God than one could possible count. For myself, I wouldn’t miss a minute of sleep if both parties would simply cease and desist from using God in their political venues, particularly when one considers the deities represented. Taking the representative candidates of each party, let us consider the religious views represented:

1. President Barak Obama: Barak Obama’s religion advocates the murder of the unborn, homosexual “marriage,” and a broad form of syncretism which sees no significance difference between Islam and Christianity. If the contradiction of this latter issue is not be apparent to the reader, I would refer you to the following articles already posted here at The Armoury: An Open Response to an Open Letter [Read this first]; The West’s Dangerous Ignorance of Islam; Scientology, Islam, and the Religious Messengers of Hatred; Obama, Islam, and the Munich Accord 2.0; Weak Leaders-Endangered Nation. All of this yields a deity that is alien to the Bible – though not alien to this world.

2. Governor Mitt Romney: The god whom Mr. Romney believes in and serves is just one deity amidst a system of what we might call progressive-polytheism – an invented idea from Joseph Smith - the creator of Mormonism. Without republishing the details of this matter here, let me supply the reader with some crucial facts about the false religion of the “Latter Day Saints,” already published here at The Armoury: Absolutely no Apologies; Hallowed be Thy Name; No Mr. Scarborough. If the reader wishes to see further evidence of the non-Christian nature of the cult of Mormonism, then please read their own document, Gospel Principles, and see, within the first few pages, that their religious system of thought is heretical to the core (highlighted portions on pages 13, 17 & 18).

Point: The religious-speak from both sides is fraught with deception, lies, and false claims – whether by ignorance, or by intentional deception. Thus, wrangling over who is using the name God, or not, is somewhat of an absurdity. Ultimately, it is all a part of a broader deception – one which engulfs the multitudes into mere religion, rather than Christ.

It is for this reason that the presidential election cycle is a bit of a cringe-creating moment for my own soul – especially when religion is injected into the race. Satan disdains Christians who are spiritually engaged in the things which matter most – i.e. the Gospel - and so his agenda is to engage us in debates about mere moralism, money, power, and national security. It is not that these issues are unimportant, but they can never take the place of the primacy of the Christ and the Gospel. Moreover, the souls of the men and women around us are of greater value than the material concerns of our nation – at least, this would be the genuine attitude of a Christian who understands what Christ taught: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” Matt. 16:26.

But Satan does not want the Christian to be concerned about the souls of men. His desire is to obfuscate the reality that there are only two classes of humanity, spiritually speaking: the living and the dead.[3] Those who are without Christ are called, by Scripture, dead in their trespasses and sins. Those who are in Christ are made alive in Christ, and in the end, there are no other classes of humanity:

By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. 1 John 3:10 (NASB)

All of the shades of grey that are created by Satan’s many religions are whisked away by the black-and-white reality of Holy Writ: truth vs. error; life vs. death. As Christians, we must remember to look at our politicians and political leaders through the reality of God’s Word, rather than the manufactured deceptions of Satan. When we do this, we should remember that our prayers for the souls of men are prayers that are rendered for those who are spiritually dead and face the condemnation of the Lord Jesus Christ unless they repent and believe in Him (Revelation 21:6-8). In all of our interest in politics, the souls of these men should govern our greatest concern. It is for this reason that Mike Huckabee’s comments on religion over the years have been particularly striking. As you might recall, Huckabee had queried about the religion of Mormonism and had asked a reporter (in 2007): “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?” He received much backlash for simply asking a perfectly good question, but sadly, no-one answered him. In the end, Huckabee sheepishly “apologized” for his question and retracted it entirely. Had he done some very simple reading of their own documents, he would have discovered that the answer to his question is yes. But now Mr. Huckabee has a different perspective on Mr. Romney’s spiritual standing, as he mentioned in the 2012 GOP convention:

“I care far less as to where Mitt Romney takes his family to church, than I do about where he takes this country.”[4]

This is a sad and disturbing admission from a man who claims Christ. Some of the greatest rebukes given to the nations of Israel and Judah came at a time when each kingdom was filled with an abundance of material wealth, power, mere morality, and national security. God, who is not satisfied with such external matters, often calls those religionists who herald such things “whores.”[5] Alternately, if a person is a Christian at all, he will be concerned about the spiritual condition of the souls of others – whether the person is a candidate for the presidency, or a homeless man on a street-corner. If a person is a Christian at all, he prays for the welfare his nation;[6] for the wisdom, well-being, and salvation its leaders;[7] and this he does with the chief desire that the name of God would be exalted among men.[8]

Satan’s deception is the lie of Lady Julian – “that all will be well, and all will be well.”[9] Satan whispers such things in the ears of men who believe that, by their own means and merit, all will be well. However, the believer must refute such deception and remember that when we pray for those who know not Christ, we are praying for dead men and women – that they would receive the gift of eternal life and be spared from the second death [Revelation 20:14]. We also pray remembering that we also once were dead, deceived, and enslaved by this world [Eph. 2:1-3, Titus 3:1-7], and therefore we are no better than those for whom we pray. In this, our hope and prayer is that Christ would grant them, by His mercy and grace, life eternal and the experience of everlasting joy in Him.


[1] John 8:44 (NASB) — 44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.

[2] Matthew 7:13

[3] 1 John 3:10 (NASB) — 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. See also Ephesians 2:1-10.

[4] Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/08/29/transcript-former-arkansas-gov-mike-huckabee-speech-at-rnc/#ixzz26b6a4F00

[5] Hosea 5:3.

[6] Jeremiah 29:7

[7] 1 Timothy 2:1-4.

[8] 1 Peter 2:11-15.

[9] Chapter 27, 13th Revelation of Lady Julian.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Weak Leaders–Endangered Nation

bowtothekingsmallerWith the brutal murder of American ambassador Chris Stevens, along with three other American diplomats, our nation has been plunged into a new 9/11 crisis. As we watch these events unfold, we are simultaneously exposed to a bloviating lap-dog-media which remains fixated on arguments concerning the proper rhetorical methods and means by which politicians should respond to such a crisis; but, as usual, they are missing the larger point. The 9/11 of 2012 is not about what politicians might say within the first 24 hours of the media news cycle; nor is it about a shoddy movie which critiques the life of Muhammad; instead, it reveals the bad fruit of our nation’s commitment to a dangerous passivity, weakness, and spirit of appeasement – one that is dedicated to the practice of placating our sworn enemies, and not asking questions later. America’s foreign policy motif has become entirely obsequious, being unwilling to stand up against our growing enemy: Islamic jihad. Whatever takes place in the days and weeks to come, it must be understood that we have helped to create much of the unrest that we now face. The so-called Arab spring has not been a liberation movement for peaceful democracies, but is becoming a means by which whole nations are becoming swallowed by Islam. And whenever any criticism is leveled against the religion of Islam, our politicians and diplomats seem to be more eager to deride our 1st amendment freedoms rather than punishing murderers. It is painful to watch our nation’s leaders repeating some of the worst elements of human history, but they are indeed doing this. The nation of Judah was sacked by Babylon by way of the foolishness of king Hezekiah, who, 125 years earlier, sought to placate his Babylonian visitors by exposing his nation’s treasures and secrets:

And Hezekiah…showed them[1] all his treasure house, the silver and the gold and the spices and the precious oil and the house of his armor and all that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah did not show them. 2 Kings 20:13

From this one act, Judah’s future was sealed with this dark prophecy:

17 ‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and all that your fathers have laid up in store to this day shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,’ says the LORD. 2 Kings 20:17

Hezekiah’s attempt to appease and placate Babylon only served to guarantee Judah’s future demise as a nation. Simply put, the lessons of history should remind us that weak leaders beget nothing but endangered nations and citizens. Sadly, this present administration’s repeated pattern of appeasing our enemies has only served to embolden them to future and further hostility. Rulers who make choices for their own political expediency and gain fail to see that their actions go well beyond the next election cycle or campaign stop. Sadly, their self-absorption makes them numb to the fact that what they do, or fail to do, does have an influence on the policies and practices of our nation – even its safety within an increasingly dangerous world.

In the end, our greatest enemies are right here among us.


[1] Representatives for Berodach-baladan a son of Baladan, king of Babylon

Thursday, July 26, 2012

If the Lord Wills…

takeyourmedsThe disease of sin is both deadly and subtle. How often do we go about in our daily affairs without realizing its hidden presence in the ongoing battle of the Spirit and the flesh (Galatians 5:17)? The subtlety of our indwelling sin is what makes it so dangerous, because, as a disease, sin often eats away at our vitality while we ignorantly believe ourselves to be in the best of shape! Thankfully, the Scriptures give us the requisite prognoses that our sleepy conscience cannot supply. Ultimately, only the Great Physician, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, can awaken our souls to the systemic reality of sin’s corruption.

There are many subtle sins that are common among men, however, I find that there is one that tends to infect believers with striking regularity. The sin of which I speak is the sin of presumption.

James is very direct when describing this dangerous tumor which is common among all men:  

James 4:13–16 (NASB) — 13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.”14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that.”16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.

Isn’t it interesting that James doesn’t allow us the latitude to excuse such presumption as that which is harmless. How easy it would be for the spiritual patient to declare: “Oh, I simply misspoke – a harmless mistake.” But James’ assessment of the matter is much more severe. A spirit and attitude which assumes the existence of another day, beyond today - which the Lord has not yet supplied, is more than an innocent miscalculation – James calls it evil arrogance. That’s a big pill to swallow, but it is a needed one!

Simply put, the mind that is set on the things below is much more prone to become infected with the expectation of tomorrow; however, the mind that is set on the things above will be quick to confess the conditional “if” much more readily than the adverb “when.”

Let us therefore confess with greater conviction and regularity: “If the Lord wills, we shall live…”

Saturday, June 09, 2012

“Pastor” Terry Jones–Cease & Desist

Terry Jones Small Florida Church Pastor Calls LJt_1j8S9UXl

Rarely do we ever see genuine Christianity being given the time of day within our modern, sensationalistic media. If a man is a cult leader, a theological innovator, or a madman – then he is given “the microphone” and is marched out in front of a camera as a supposed poster-child of Christendom. Biblical genuineness and legitimacy isn’t titillating enough to make the evening news, therefore, its coverage is as rare as summer snow. Within the Twilight Zone of such a Universe thrives extremists such as the Westboro Baptist “Church” and “pastor” Terry Jones. If you will recall, it was in 2010 that Jones became the favored oddity of the news media when he promised to burn a copy of the Koran. In front of news cameras he repeatedly insisted that his message was an important one, especially since “God had told him” to do this. For the record, I do defend the 1st amendment rights of all citizens – even their right to say and do extremely stupid things. Without the freedom of speech – whatever that speech may be – this nation would quickly become a land of grave oppression.[1] Having said this, and as an exercise of my own right of free speech, I must say that Mr. Jones’ supposed Koran-burning “message” was one that had nothing to do with the Gospel at all, but seemed to be a desperate bid for personal attention on the national stage. Well, he got this… and more. His repeated insistence that God told him to do it was then followed by several appeals from government officials for him to cease and desist.[2] Shortly thereafter, Jones renounced his bid for Koran-burning fame, sheepishly announcing his change of heart on national television.[3] What is the message that might be gleaned from all this? The reality is that Mr. Jones doesn’t have a coherent or consistent message at all. Contrarily, the true God is not the author of such confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). Back in 2010, I addressed this matter from the pulpit by focusing on the Apostle Paul’s description of his own ministry where he compares and contrasts a ministry of sincerity versus those who merely peddle the word of God:

2 Corinthians 2:14–17 (NASB) — 14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?17 For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.

Audio: An Aroma of Life or Death, Part I

The shame of Jones’ actions in 2010 didn’t dissuade him at all, instead this cornucopia of madness was later washed down with a Koran-burning chaser in March of last year, and again in March of this year. In the more recent case, Jones was slapped with fine of $271.00 by the Gainesville Fire Rescue department – a miniscule amount compared to the grand cost of his obfuscation of the Gospel. But unfortunately, Jones’ peddling of God’s word does not end here. As of June 9th of this year it was reported that Jones has now erected an effigy of President Barack Obama, dangling from a noose, directly in front of his cross-laden Dove World Outreach Center building.

What a disturbing “outreach” message this is.[4]

With the cross of Christ in the background, and Barack Obama hanging from a noose in the foreground, one can only wonder what observers will think should they assume, falsely, that Jones has any association with the true message of Christ. Jones maintains that it is all a metaphor for his opposition to the president, and by this he believes that it is all well and good. To this I must ask: how do you reconcile this with the Apostle Peter’s mandate to “honor the king” who happened to be the emperor Nero at the time?

1 Peter 2:16–17 (NASB) — 16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. 17 Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

In all of our freedoms, the genuine Christian must never use such freedom as a covering for evil, remembering that the desire to garner attention through shocking words and actions is a dangerous one – it is the religion of peddlers. In this one act of his, Jones has revealed himself to be nothing more than another religious jihadist, whose message is not Christ, but is instead the message of the violence and foolishness of men.

cc: Pastor Terry Jones, Dove World Outreach Center

For a more thorough treatment of 1 Peter 2:16-17, along with the general subject of patriotism and the Christian, please see the video below: The Marks of True Patriotism -

 


[1] Unfortunately, there are those who confuse and conflate a defense for free speech with a defense for the particular views of men like Jones. When a person defends the principle of free speech, this does not mean that he agrees with all expressions of speech. Thus, the protection of Jones’ freedom of speech must not be construed as an agreement with what he is saying.
[2] Among others, Jones received appeals from President Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, and General Petraeus.
[3] Wikipedia: In an interview on the morning of September 11, the day of the intended protest, he said, "We will definitely not burn the Quran...Not today, not ever." CNN wire staff (September 11, 2010). "Florida pastor calls off Quran burning"
[4] “When asked whether he thought his message might get lost behind the physical display of a black man with a noose around his neck, Jones said, ‘Quite honestly, I never even thought about that.’” Rich Abdill, The Broward Palm Beach New Times, June 8th, 2012.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

It is Enough

polycarpThe Apostle John’s interlude of encouragement, found in 1 John 2:12-14, is remarkable. There, he addresses all layers of the church’s population, beginning with a general address to the whole church [little children], then directing his comments to the elderly as well as the youth. As Simon Kistemaker puts it in the New Testament Commentary:

“John appeals to his readers and summarizes his thoughts in poetic form. He addresses his readers according to categories: first, all the believers receive his exhortation; next he appeals to the fathers and then to young men.”[1]

In particular, I find it quite interesting that John repeats himself the most when addressing the elderly element of his audience. In fact, he repeats himself word-for-word when addressing this group, as follows: 

13. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning.

14. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning.

Why such repetition? I agree with those who remind us that repetition in Scripture normally has the design of strengthening the emphasis of a matter.[2] Thus, why does John offer an exact repetition to fathers? I would suggest that his point is to herald the seriousness of what he says about the true essence of Christian maturity. It is as if John is saying: “contentment in Christ alone is the sign of Christian maturity.” In many respects, it calls to mind the Lord’s teaching given when Philip requested that Jesus “show us the Father”:

Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? John 14:8-9

What Philip did not yet understand was that he did see the fullness of the Father’s glory, through Christ, and it is enough. I would suggest that John’s point in 1 John 2 is quite simple, yet deeply profound: mature Christian faith confesses, with deep satisfaction, “I know the Father through the eternal Son of God – and it is enough.” In fact, such knowledge of the Father, through the eternal Son, is so satisfying that it is worthy of such repetition. We see such contentment in the life of John’s own student: Polycarp. Before his martyrdom, Polycarp confessed this same sense of contentment after being exhorted to renounce the eternal Son of God:

“Eighty and six years have I served him, and in nothing hath he wronged me; and how, then, can I blaspheme my King, who saved me?”

The simplicity of Polycarp’s confession is both beautiful and breathtaking. To know Christ is everything – it is enough – which is the very same lesson given to us from Polycarp’s mentor: the Apostle John. Of course, when John refers to such knowledge he does not mean a mere abstraction of thought or head knowledge. Instead, John’s frequent use of the word know (γινώσκω) is key to our understanding of what it means to love the God who first loved us in His eternal Son.[3] When John speaks of the Christian’s knowledge of God, he is expanding on the central essence of what it means to love God truly. This point is very important because John’s 1st century audience was well aware of the Greek emphasis on erotic and hedonistic love. Such love was devoid of any relationship with others, but only had the focus of one’s self-pleasure and desire. Thus, the crucial distinction of the term love (ἀγάπη), as opposed to hedonistic love (ἔρως, ἡδονή), was that of the core idea of a relationship, i.e., to know someone truly and intimately. All of this points us to the essence of genuine maturity – to know and love the Father by knowing and loving His eternal Son, and to say, with repetition and great satisfaction: it is enough, because He is enough.


[1] Simon Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary, 1 John (Baker Books, Grand Rapids Michigan, 1986), pp. 267-269.
[2] Three times the Apostle Paul tells us of the inability of a man’s works to yield the fruit of justification. God’s repetition, through Paul, is quite telling: Galatians 2:16 (NASB) — 16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.
[3] 1 John 4:19 (NASB) — 19 We love, because He first loved us.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

A Solemn and Sincere Warning to President Obama

obama-rainbow-logo-gay-marriage-lesbian-anti-gay-law-dont-ask-dont-tellAs one who prays regularly for those in governing authority, I offer the following Solemn and Sincere Warning to our President: Barak Obama:

As a NC resident, I consider yesterday’s Marriage Amendment victory as a bitter sweet one. Though I am thankful that God’s institution of marriage has been affirmed in our state’s constitution, I find it utterly disturbing that such a legal maneuver was required at all. It stands as a dark testament to the severe perversity and downgrade of our nation – a downgrade which has, for decades, winked at sexual promiscuity, adultery, and divorce. Today, we see the continued evidence of this downgrade such that, now, 50% of Americans support homosexual marriage. Mr. President, I mention all this as a prelude to your announced support for gay marriage today. I believe that your admitted “evolution” comes as no great surprise to most in our nation. Yet, I must say that the honesty of your recent admission is remarkably important, especially when considering the question of your religious faith. I have found it very interesting when people accuse you of being a Muslim. Of course, the nearly universal response to this, from most in the mainstream media, is that you are, in fact, a Christian – based upon your own public profession of faith. Even conservative politicians have gladly affirmed your profession. But what does any of this prove or resolve? While it is ultimately true that only God knows the hearts of men,[1] we must also acknowledge that conscientious believers must discern the professions of others by means of evaluating their fruit:

Matthew 7:19–21 (NASB) — 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits.21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.”

A genuine Christian is one who has been born, spiritually, from above,[2] believing that Christ is the eternal Son of God, from above,[3] who died as the sinner’s substitute upon the cross[4] and rose again on the third day.[5] But such faith does not stand as a barren tree, but yields the fruit of loving obedience to Christ through a submission to his words and commandments:

John 14:21 (NASB) — 21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him.”

If we say that we know and love Christ, but reject His commandments, we then prove ourselves to be liars rather than genuine believers.[6] In all of this, we must come to recognize the importance of what the Savior is teaching us: He is revealing the horrific reality of those who merely feign faith in Him unto their own eternal damnation. It is in this very vein of consideration that I offer the following solemn and sincere warning to you Mr. President: Your recent confession of support for gay marriage reveals a very important and deeply troubling matter. At the same time, it reveals a very important sign-post, the message of which is crucial: If a man claims to be a Christian at all, then he ought to hold fast to the Lord’s commandments. However, rejection of Christ’s word should serve as a potent warning:

Matthew 19:1–6 (NASB) — 1 AND it came about that when Jesus had finished these words, He departed from Galilee, and came into the region of Judea beyond the Jordan;2 and great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there.3 And some Pharisees came to Him, testing Him, and saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all?”4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,5 and said, ‘FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE; AND THE TWO SHALL gaymarriageBECOME ONE FLESH’?6 “Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

When creating the institution of marriage, God made them “male and female” – giving a clear indication of what is to be joined together as one flesh. Thus, “a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.” The clarity of the Savior’s commandments could not be clearer: one man and one woman joined together in holy matrimony. Anything other than this is an unholy abomination. Do not be deceived Mr. President, he who has Christ’s commandments and keeps them – he it is who loves Christ truly as a genuine believer. By making your support for gay marriage known publicly, you have clearly revealed an allegiance, not to Christ, but with those who stand in opposition to the words and commandments of the Savior Himself. What the Scriptures call unnatural and indecent acts,[7] you have affirmed as legitimate behavior, and you have publicly revealed this as one who gives hearty approval to those who practice such things.[8]

Mr. President, genuine believers are certainly not perfect people, but their lives are marked by genuine fruit and forward oriented spiritual progress despite their trials and momentary setbacks along the way. Ultimately, no child of God will be known as one whose practice it is to regress backwards from the words and commandments of Jesus Christ. Thus, a genuine disciple of Christ will seek to stand by His words, rather than flee from them as you clearly have today. I implore you to consider the nature of the fruit of your actions this day – they are serious and solemn indicators of the true nature of your “religion.” Your actions this week serve as a sign-post, revealing a dangerous enmity against the very Creator of all things (including marriage). Mr. President, do not ignore these sign-posts – their message is cogent and clear. Your position on homosexuality is not the only matter that justifies the aforementioned warning (such as your continued support of those who abort and murder the unborn children of our land, your religious syncretism, along with your willingness to attend a racist church for 20 years). Yet, this recent admission of yours only strengthens the need to issue this Gospel call knowing that the wrath of God is promised to the “sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:1-6). The reality is that we must all give an account before the Lord someday – and that account will go well beyond whether or not we merely claimed to be a Christian in this life. The real question will be this: “Did we have a genuine faith – one which revealed itself through the fruit of loving obedience to Christ and His commandments?”[9] If not, then we must heed the solemn warnings of Scripture: Acts 17:31 (NASB) — 31 …He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” It is this Jesus who is returning to judge the living and the dead; and though men may disobey His words now, with apparent impunity, they cannot escape His final justice and coming judgment.[10]

May God have mercy on you… may God have mercy on America


As a side note….

In light of the tense political climate that we have here in America, I should note that this post would have been written to any president, no matter what his background or ethnicity may be. Should anyone doubt my resolve in this, then please note my convictions on the subject of racialism below:

Video: All Men are Created Equal?
from: www.wheredoyoustand.us

Finally, on a personal note, it has now been roughly eight years since the book The First Institution was completed and published. In its introduction, I addressed the disturbing trend of those who seek to redefine the institution of marriage. Here is a small excerpt:

“During the completion of this book, our nation has witnessed the anarchy of many judges, governing authorities, and politicians who have pressed an agenda to redefine the institution of marriage without any regard to law - whether the law of men or especially of God. The corruption of our culture has become so excessive, that it is actually considered to be a matter of debate as to whether men should marry men and women should marry women! But this pattern of corruption is the very earmark of a society that is being given over to its own wickedness. In light of this societal degradation, a very important question must be addressed: exactly who has the authority to define marriage and family? Judges and legislators in our own nation are laboring diligently to redefine what the nuclear family is, but do these individuals actually have the authority to establish the standards that define the family? The very simple answer from Scripture is: No. Only God has the authority to define the institution of the family, for He is the Author (Latin – auctor; Creator) of all things. This Latin word [auctor] is the foundation of our English words author and authority. Therefore, when we say that God has authority, we are acknowledging His office as the Creator and governor of all things…The terrifying reality is that those who deny the Creator have no real concept of the judgment that awaits them. The Scriptures remind us that one day all creation will bow in submission to the risen Son of God, and in that day every created thing in Heaven and on the earth will bow in submission and confess the absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father. In that final judgment of mankind, all creation will make this universal declaration of God's unquestioned authority, whether as a final confession unto judgment, or as an act of genuine worship by the disciples of Jesus Christ unto eternal glory. When His judgment is complete, there will be no petitions heard, no protests permitted, and not a single appeal will be entertained. The only sound that will fill God's Supreme Court of justice will be the song of the Lamb, which will yield the eternal celebration of Christ's victory and dominion over the entire Universe.” (The First Institution, A Theological and Practical Guide for the Reformation of God’s Institution of Marriage and Family, © 2004)


[1] 2 Timothy 2:19 (NASB) — 19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness.”
[2] John 3:3 (NASB) — 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
[3] John 8:23–24 (NASB) — 23 And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.24 “I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.”
[4] 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NASB) — 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him., 1 Peter 3:18 (NASB) — 18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit…
[5] 1 Corinthians 15:16–17 (NASB) — 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
[6] 1 John 2:4 (NASB) — 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;
[7] Romans 1:26–27 (NASB) — 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
[8] Romans 1:32.
[9] James 2:14-26.
[10] 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Potential Bloodguilt of George Zimmerman

I remain incredulous concerning the judgmental frenzy which surrounds the case concerning Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. I won’t recount the details of the case here, but must say that if you haven’t heard of the story concerning the death of Trayvon, just “google it” and you’ll find the twisted cornucopia of self-appointed judges, juries, vigilantes and executioners. If the case of Travon Martin and George Zimmerman proves anything, it is this: depraved men will gladly use a tragedy for their own profit and political gain. In writing this I have no intention to take any particular side, save this one:

Proverbs 13:10 (NASB) — 10 Through presumption comes nothing but strife, But with those who receive counsel is wisdom.

We have yet to receive the full counsel of a judicial review on this case, and yet this has not stopped the talking-heads within the media from adjudicating the thoughts, motives, and intentions of George Zimmerman. The reader should note that the biblical standard for dealing with such matters is radically different than that of the world’s. Ultimately, this matter ought to be tried by facts[1] rather than judgmental rumors, innuendoes, and speculation. The law of our land still declares that a man is presumed to be innocent until he is adjudicated as guilty by a court of law – not the media, the president, or any religious leader. The law of the land is that of non-presumption concerning a person’s guilt. Unfortunately, such a standard often falls victim to various desires for vengeance or personal gain. However, it is distinctly Christian to submit to such a standard of non-presumption as that which is given to us by governing authority[2] and, ultimately, biblical authority.[3] But sadly, too many today will seize upon a news item in view of how such an event can be twisted for their own gain via political influence, TV ratings, or book sales. Bizarrely, this case has already been adjudicated by the loudest voices in our land as being another example of racialism here in America. Even religious talking-heads have weighed in on this issue in order to insinuate, or to conclude, that Mr. Zimmerman was driven by racialism. I too have listened to his 911 call and have concluded this: it is, at best, inconclusive. We won’t know about the details of the case until it is given a more thorough examination by those who have the facts of the case and the testimony of witnesses.

I am sorry to say that I am not dramatically surprised by our President’s insinuation that the Martin/Zimmerman case should be examined through the prism of skin color, and thus, racialism; nor am I surprised by Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson’s unmitigated judgmentalism in this case; nor does the media surprise me – rarely do they allow the facts to get in the way of their own political narrative. What is particularly disgusting is to see religious leaders riding the same gravy train of judgmentalism and presumption in this. With their air of moral supremacy and presumed omniscience, one would think that they were the self-appointed fourth-member of the Trinity.

If anything happens to Mr. Zimmerman before his case is ever heard, then his bloodguilt will be upon the hands of all the self-appointed judges, juries, and executioners who decided to bypass the wisdom of ancient Scripture, while taking matters into their own hands:

Deuteronomy 19:15-20: 15 “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.16 “If a malicious witness rises up against a man to accuse him of wrongdoing,17 then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days.18 “And the judges shall investigate thoroughly; and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely,19 then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.20 “And the rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you.”

Romans 13:1 Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.

Sadly, the Judeo-Christian ethic which informed much of the thinking of our founding fathers is being replaced with the worst forms of progressivism, political expediency, pragmatism, and racialism; and the evidence of this is being revealed from highest office in the land to the common man in the street. This is no small matter – it is extremely dangerous. If Mr. Zimmerman is lynched by the mob, the President won’t be able to right the wrong with a “Beer Summit” 2.0.

May God have mercy on our nation.


[1] Deuteronomy 19:15–20

[2] Romans 13

[3] Deut. 19:15-20