December 21, 2012

When family turns against you (VCY America's shameful founder) (UPDATE #2)

There's a new update at the original post (which is back up).
Also this short blurb to alert of the update

original as previously posted:

It's about time this all comes out.  God help this family and protect the Schlueters.  Those who have spent so much time tarring and feathering this poor woman for daring to mention there were problems before ought to be ashamed. (Brannon Howse, Phil Johnson etc.)

The original has been pulled from fear of reprisal, but I received permission to post a pdf of the original post.

Love Letters from my Daddy

(links to the images in the pdf seem to work for now)

Argoweaver's  site is an equal-opportunity hack-and-slash blog that says equally awful things about Vic;  why would Vic use such a source to intimidate and mock his own daughter?

What a totally irrational man.  He and Argoweaver belong in the same psych ward.

December 5, 2012

Calling all former evangelicals - a survey for you from a Doctoral Student

Pastor Matt Richard writes at his blog

Attention all former Evangelicals.  I am currently enrolled at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in their doctor of ministry program.  With my schooling I am responsible to conduct and write a Major Applied Research Project (i.e. MAP).   The MAP is a doctoral level project / thesis for Concordia Seminary.

I have most recently settled on a theme of research and writing.  The title of the research project is, "Becoming Lutheran: Exploring the Journey of American Evangelicals Into Confessional Lutheran Thought."

In connection to this research and writing project I have decided to start a Research Journal Page that will be used as a venue of communication.  This Research Journal Page will publicize my progress, research, and findings.  

If you are a former Evangelical who 'has' or 'is' journeying into Lutheran thought, I am in need of research participants.  If you are open to being involved in the research project, please contact me by CLICKING HERE.  

Finally, could you be so kind to help get the word out for this research project?  While I am so very grateful that this research project has already been promoted on Steadfast LutheransThe White Horse Inn, and KFUO Radio, I am still in need of research participants.    

Thank you for your interest and help.  I covet your prayers and support over the next year as I work on this project.
In Christ,
Pastor Matt

(Join in the Facebook Conversation!  Click 'Like' at

November 29, 2012

Some good sermons from this week

1. Pastor Jason Gudim, in 30 minutes , preaches from Romans 15 about living the Christian life and surprise, he makes it about Christ rather than the Christian. Amen, pastor Gudim! He does this every week and it is SO refreshing! He does this from week to week, taking from about 20--30 minutes and says far more than pastors who take twices as much time. Unfortunately there are many pastors in our denomination, even in prominent positions of leadership, who seem to excel at reminding us we have to be surrendered to God, study more, pray more, get up early and have devotions, be more on fire for God, etc, to be a REAL sanctified Christian. Even those who don't preach that can't seem to see the problem with those that do. I pray that will change as people get tired of being beaten with law, unlawfully preached.

Listen here:
Being a Christian (Romans 15)

Faith Lutheran's website:

2.Dr Warren Gage, at Coral Ridge a few weeks ago, preached a conclusion to Tullian's Genesis series, making it about Christ the second Adam. While this was not a wedding sermon, his segment spent on Genesis 1-3 could really make a GREAT wedding sermon, tying in Genesis 1-3 and bringing in Ephesians 5 and 1 Cor. 15:22, 45, This is so refreshing when compared to so many moralistic ones that are generally preached at weddings.

Listen here:
In The Beginning, Grace, part 13

Coral Ridge's website:

November 7, 2012

“Fear Not, Little Flock”: The King’s Promise that Presidents Can’t Match (White Horse Inn)

“Fear Not, Little Flock”: The King’s Promise that Presidents Can’t Match
by Michael Horton
If our hopes indicate what we value most—what keeps us going, then our fears reveal the same in reverse. What do we need (or think we need) so much that we would be unable to go without it? And what do we believe in so much that if it doesn’t come through for us we’re totally disillusioned?
Even the most casual observer of these final days in the countdown to the general election is aware of the enormous largess being spent on fear. Tragically, some of the most extreme examples of fear-mongering hail from churches, on the left and the right. Earlier in the campaign, some evangelicals expressed alarm that a Mormon might become the high priest of the nation’s soul, while reviving the rumor that Barack Obama is a Muslim. (“After all, he’s not quite like us, is he?”) Yet many conservatives now think that Mitt Romney is just right for the job. In fact, maybe we’ve been too hard on Mormonism. It’s a God-fearing faith of family values. Isn’t that what matters most?

read more at the White Horse Inn blog

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;

for the LORD has spoken:
“Children have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its owner,
and the donkey its master’s crib,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.” 

Ah, sinful nation,
a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the LORD,
they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
they are utterly estranged. 

Why will you still be struck down?
Why will you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint.
From the sole of the foot even to the head,
there is no soundness in it,
but bruises and sores
and raw wounds;
they are not pressed out or bound up
or softened with oil. 

Your country lies desolate;
your cities are burned with fire;
in your very presence
foreigners devour your land;
it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners.
And the daughter of Zion is left
like a booth in a vineyard,
like a lodge in a cucumber field,
like a besieged city. 

If the LORD of hosts
had not left us a few survivors,
we should have been like Sodom,
and become like Gomorrah.

Hear the word of the LORD,
you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!
“What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the LORD;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats. 

“When you come to appear before me,
who has required of you
this trampling of my courts?
Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocation
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause. 

“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” 

How the faithful city
has become a whore,
she who was full of justice!
Righteousness lodged in her,
but now murderers.
Your silver has become dross,
your best wine mixed with water.
Your princes are rebels
and companions of thieves.
Everyone loves a bribe
and runs after gifts.
They do not bring justice to the fatherless,
and the widow’s cause does not come to them. 

Therefore the Lord declares,
the LORD of hosts,
the Mighty One of Israel:
“Ah, I will get relief from my enemies
and avenge myself on my foes.
I will turn my hand against you
and will smelt away your dross as with lye
and remove all your alloy.
And I will restore your judges as at the first,
and your counselors as at the beginning.
Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness,
the faithful city.” 

Zion shall be redeemed by justice,
and those in her who repent, by righteousness.
But rebels and sinners shall be broken together,
and those who forsake the LORD shall be consumed.
For theye shall be ashamed of the oaks
that you desired;
and you shall blush for the gardens
that you have chosen.
For you shall be like an oak
whose leaf withers,
and like a garden without water.
And the strong shall become tinder,
and his work a spark,
and both of them shall burn together,
with none to quench them.

- Isaiah 1:2-31 ESV

October 26, 2012

9-11... Never forget... (like Mark Driscoll apparently has.)

All you have to do is keep the story of 9-11 in your head while you read this article by Mark Driscoll trying to justify his heavy handed leadership. Pretty self explanatory.

Do You Trust Your Pilot?

I prefer Jesus as my pilot Mark. He makes me to lie down in green pastures, and leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.

You on the other hand want to make the sheep comfortable doing 4 G's. Sorry, sheep aren't built for high gravity turns. We just want to eat, sleep, enjoy our fellow sheep, and reproduce, like Jesus told us to. You're supposed to be warding off wolves, not being one, or taking sheep on plane rides. You can go for plane rides Mark, feel free. Goats might like it too. Hopefully after you leave on your plane ride the sheep will be blessed with a real undershepherd who follows the Good Shepherd.

October 25, 2012

Dr Laurence White at the Family Leadership Summit

Dr Laurence White recently appeared at the Family Leadership summit earlier this fall, giving a lecture on Christians and compromise, and calling out national evils.  You'll have to register (free) to have access to the 30 minute video but it is well worth it.  You'll also have access to the other videos from the other speakers there.

Dr Laurence White at the Family Leadership Summit

Afterward he gave this excellent interview to Steve Deace which can be heard here (hour 2)

Steve Deace Show October 2, 2012

October 20, 2012

Sovereign Grace abuse response posted (UPDATED)

I haven't posted about the Sovereign Grace Ministries abuse cases.  Sovereign Grace has apparently posted a public response, which I read at the BGBC Survivors blog.

 I know that when Brent Detweiler started exposing some of the problems in SGM, he was pretty soundly tarred and feathered by people who are so obviously "in the know" like Frank Turk.  ( Not to mention Al Mohler.)I wonder what those people who lambasted him are thinking now? There's Tom Chantry who spent an awful lot of time defending the SGM guys while simultaneously admitting he doesn't know anything about them.
Tom Chantry so astutely asked
"Here's my question to all of you: What would qualify any outside person or group to intervene and/or mediate this dispute?"
Exactly. I wonder. Certainly not sexual abuse of children, right Tom?

He goes on:
"The implication of many of the online responses to Trueman et. al., to the Peacemakers overture, and to the AOR report suggest that the necessary condition for anyone to even comment is that they first agree entirely with the conclusions of SGM's critics. >

That is problematic for two reasons. First, it suggests that one group was entirely in the wrong and the other was entirely in the right. "

October 19, 2012

The Mitt Romney Report

The Mitt Romney Report

If you haven't read this compilation of information on Romney, please just spend ten minutes here, looking at the source material...if this doesn't convince you that he's at least as bad for our country as Obama, and he and the GOP are lying to their Conservative base, I don't think anything will.

A really short primer to get you started can be found here:

20-Question Mitt Romney multiple-choice exam

I read this one and was horrified. And there are a TON of other article there that prove this is his standard M.O. for political expediency. And it is not limited to abortion. He has exhibited this same kind of weathervane leadership on many other Conservative/Christian/moral issues:

Romney's 'Flip, Flop, Flip' By Michael Dobbs I thought this was an interesting little post about being consistent in one's Christian conservative stance as applies to politics:

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
NOTE: That page is promoting the only Prolife Profiles Tier 1 presidential candidate, by the name of Tom Hoefling. His running mate is J. D. Ellis. I don't know much about them, but I guess I should get some research done ASAP. If you are concerned about Romney and can't think of anyone to write in, I suggest you do the same!

Romney vs Romney, what does he stand for? Sept 12, 2012
The author quotes from Brent Bozell in 1994 (and it is still true today):
"Romney demonstrated very clearly in the debate last night that he has more in common with liberal Democrats than he does with Conservatives. . . . Conservatives should not let their disgust and anger with Ted Kennedy's big government liberal record blindly lead them to support Mitt Romney." - Brent Bozell, United Press International, 10/26/94

William Wilberforce, Abortion, Slavery, and Incrementalism

An excellent article from Colorado Right to Life on the efforts of William Wilberforce.


A document on slavery at reports, "Sugar planters in Guyana and the Caribbean and their political and financial backers in Britain were not yet ready for the final abolition of slavery. They decided that it would be better to support legislation to improve the physical, moral and religious conditions of the slaves." These bills were called "Amelioration Laws," yet in reality, they only continued the suffering. Likewise, Wilberforce’s nemesis Henry Dundas stymied the anti-slavery movement by stipulating "gradual abolition," only prolonging it. Do we want to "ameliorate" abortion? Or do we want to end it?

October 17, 2012

If you think it is OK as a Christian to vote for "pro life with exceptions" (UPDATED: NEW ROMNEY ABORTION AD)

Think again:

Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation
In these United States, we are a government by the consent of the governed. The state has no power the people are not willing to submit to or permit. Therefore, what you’re really doing is choosing which of two arsonists to hand the matches to. One arsonist may burn down a building with fewer people, but you are consenting to allow him to burn down the building nonetheless.

Imagine choosing between two Nazis. One will kill 1,000 Jews, and the other will 10. Are you a hero for choosing the one killed 10 Jews? Not according to the Nuremberg trials after World War II. As depicted in the award-winning holocaust film Judgment at Nuremberg, judges who tried to make the case they were heroes by sending fewer Jews to the gas chambers and concentration camps were hung to death right alongside the worst of executioners.

I agree we should do as much as we can to save as many as we can whenever we can, like in another award-winning holocaust film Schindler’s List. But before settling for the best we can do, we should try to do all we can do first. That’s not what we’re doing. We’re surrendering to the child killing industry and the ruling class up front, and then patting ourselves on the back for our own sellout.
Thus the killing continues.

Very convicting.

The new Romney ad targeting swing states should show you exactly what kind of a twisted man you'd be voting for, out of sheer pragmatism. And the sad thing is, you don't even get the pragmatic results you are aiming at.

Walther's Law and Gospel lectures 24, 25, 26

A couple of great Walther lectures I read over the last few days.

Lecture 24 exposes Melancthon for the Synergist he was:

Lecture 25 speaks passionately about the NECESSITY of pastors who will not just preach truth but will plainly and accurately and VIGOROUSLY refute error from the pulpit, which some in the AFLC, our current denomination, sadly do not want to do:

In fact I once got an email back from the dean of the seminary defending the unwillingness to thoroughly do the job of a pastor/teacher. I had asked the dean if they planned on doing anything to warn about the error of the Church Growth movement and adoption of Purpose Driven or Seeker sensitive methodologies. I was told by the Seminary dean that they believe that if they just teach the truth that will take care of the issue (in spite of the many commands in Scripture for the pastor and teacher to actually refute error). A further question from me about how that worked for one particularly popular pastor who had been teaching there for years, who then went out to Camarillo, CA and started a "purpose driven church" (as per his website at the time) received no further response from him. Sigh.

They are likely too enamored with Spener's self defeating, divisive, "non-divisive" approach as explained in Spener's Pia Desideria. In fact I've been told that book is taught in Seminary as a good book. I've read some sections... and I shudder to think of young men who can't see the error in that book going out and leading a flock of God's sheep.

In lecture 26 Walther refutes the approach of those like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels and those who focus on 'contextualization' -- and this was done a hundred years before their time. (I guess there's nothing new under the sun):

Anyway, good reading. The links there are to the online, older version, but I have the reader's edition from Concordia which is a little easier because the language has been updated. It's worth buying!

October 16, 2012

Rick Warren's teachings indistinguishable from Islam/Chrislam?

In February I linked to a post from the Orange County Register where Rick Warren was building bridges to Muslims.

After that he insisted he was not promoting Chrislam (via twitter, hardly the place to correct the article, which the author insists was accurate).  Well, obviously some Muslims are getting the message that his teachings are equally applicable to them.  So whether he calls it Chrislam is irrelevant.

Wardah Khalid (Author, Young American Muslim) has weighed in very positively on her time spent listening to Rick Warren and Oprah.

'I Have Aha Moment Exhaustion!' My Afternoon With Oprah and Pastor Rick Warren 

But discerning Christians have been saying what she's saying for years...and they have not been intending it to be a positive observation.  Specifically, that Rick's teachings aren't actually Christian, but rather they are basically a general-revelation-inspired moralism that appeals to all sorts of non-Christian (works-salvation, works-sanctification) religions, including Islam, and should not be a part of any church that wishes to be faithful to the only Word of God that can save souls.

But NOOOO, of course he's not promoting Chrislam, because he said so!
"Yes, I realize that Pastor Rick is Christian, and well, I am not, but I was familiar enough with his work to know that much of the spiritual advice he gave his Christian followers resonated with Muslims as well. (His book, "The Purpose Driven Life," is the best-selling non-fiction book in the world). Thus, it was with anticipation and excitement that I entered the Hobby Center last Friday afternoon to watch the show."

October 10, 2012

Elephant Room's Harvest Bible Chapel racking up the debt?

The Elephant's Debt

Hm... an interesting read about how James Macdonald has squandered the blessing God gave him when he was trying to remain faithful to His Word... how and when that started to change, and what people tried to do about it.

Sounds like he's taken a page from Mark Driscoll's playbook about consolidating power in himself, neutering the elder board to whom he claims he is accountable.

Dr Laurence White (LCMS) on the Steve Deace Show

Dr Laurence White seems to be almost a regular the last few months on the Steve Deace show.  This past  week he spoke to Steve in Missouri on some of the political issues Christians should be considering.  Fabulous interview!!
Hour 2: A long-time culture warrior is challenging his own to put principle ahead of party… Steve shares his interview with the indomitable Dr. Laurence White.

Another excellent podcast was Rod Rosenbladt's interview on the Janet Mefferd show on October 8, speaking of one of the five Solas, Solus Christus.
Hour 3- Dr Rod Rosenbladt discusses Christ Alone

I just love how excited Rod gets about this stuff.  I watched his "Two Natures of Christ" series on Vimeo and was touched by how emotional he gets occasionally, when speaking about our wonderful Savior!

September 26, 2012

A Good Overview of the AFLC

I was looking for a post on Lutheran Baptism by pastor Dan Antal which appeared on the back of our bulletin a few weeks ago. I had hoped to find it online. But instead I found this excellent post and ensuing discussion on the Brothers of St John the Steadfast on the AFLC:

Steadfast AFLC — AFLC 101

In all it seems to reflect my husband's and my observations, as well as that of his pastor brothers, and the concerned reports given to us by our daughter as she toured around the country visiting various AFLC churches this past summer on her summer team. A good and instructive read, especially for AFLC members or those considering joining. They also mention that the AFLC is not alone in dealing with these problems.

August 7, 2012

Mitt Romney, as we all know, never was Christian... or Conservative

Surprise Surprise...

Mitt Romney comes out in support of homosexual Boy Scout Leaders...

Next on the agenda, tweaking Obamacare to make it easier for us to swallow.

Does anyone really still think the GOP doesn't utterly despise the conservative Christians and other religious people that still blindly support it? Well I guess I just answered my own question... obviously someone does.

June 22, 2012

When Bullies Lose a Leader (The Pedestrian Christian)

I have to admit this made me chortle repeatedly.  Alex lets Team Pyro have it with both barrels:

When Bullies Lose a Leader

Heaven forbid I suggest his language is strong... though sometimes I was finding myself laughing with surprise at his boldness.  After all haven't I repeatedly been accused of the same?


I'm not sure what he means with the reference to hyper-calvinism, so I did ask on the comment thread. Hopefully he will clarify. (YES he changed it to neo-calvinism, which makes much more sense!)

I must say I do agree with his general point.  The whole discernment community is becoming a good old boys' network and heaven help anyone who is principled enough to question the de facto leaders and not to engage in furthering this cult of personality.

I hadn't read the thing from Phillips about worrying about his hit count on his original blog.  That is really truly pathetic.  Do people really worry about the size of their audience?  Why?  I think sometimes I've looked at my hit count... by accident.  This blog is just my thoughts. If they help someone, good, and if not, then forget about it.

June 20, 2012

AMY - Exorcism at Mars Hill - Charter member of Mars Hill speaks out

This is truly a heartbreaking story:


(disclaimer: -- some "colorful" language as is typical of those from Mars Hill, including Mark Driscoll himself... but if you aren't tempted to wax profane at the incredible nature of this story, I have to wonder if you don't have a heart.)

June 14, 2012

It really is... FINISHED

A Lutheran (LCMC) blog  "CrossAlone" questions:
Preach the gospel, not the text – 1
What’s a preacher to do? Preach the text? Or the gospel?
Even Gerhard Førde said preaching is “doing the text” to believers.[1]
But doesn’t that work better with some texts more than others?
For example, when the lectionary has those “take up your cross” texts which presuppose that we can and must do something to make salvation work: “He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matt 10:38).[2]
What do you do with a text like that? What did Førde do?
In this sermon, On Death to Self, Førde preaches the gospel even though he is preaching about “dying to self,” and “taking up your cross.” Excerpt
Here is an excerpt from Gerhard Førde's sermon on The Death of Self: (bold added)
"At the betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane when the crowd comes out against Jesus with swords and clubs, the disciples want to do something. They still want to do their bit for God. They want to take up the sword and risk their lives, perhaps, and fight. One of them grasps a sword and cuts off the ear of one of the assailants. But Jesus will have none of it: ‘Put up your sword,’ he says, ‘for there is absolutely nothing you can do!’ In Luke’s account, Jesus even stretches out his hand to undo what the disciple had done – he heals the wounded man. At that point, no doubt, everything within us cries out in protest along with the disciples. Is there nothing we can do? Could we not at least perhaps stage a protest march on God’s behalf? Could we not seek, perhaps, an interview with Pilate? Could we not try to influence the ‘power structures’? Something – however small? But the unrelenting answer comes back, ‘No, there is nothing you can do, absolutely nothing. If there were something to be done, my Father would send legions of angels to fight!’ But there is nothing to be done. And when it finally came to that last and bitter moment, when these good ‘righteous’ men finally realized that there was nothing they could do, they forsook him and fled.

Can you see it? Can you see that hidden in these very words, these very events, is that death itself which you fear so much is coming to meet you? When they finally saw there was nothing they could do they forsook him and fled before this staggering truth. You, who presume to do business with God, can you see it? Can you see that this death of self is not, in the final analysis, something you can do? For the point is that God has once and for all reserved for himself the business of your salvation. There is nothing you can do now but, as the words of the old hymn have it, ‘climb Calvary’s mournful mountain’ and stand with your helpless arms at your side and tremble before ‘that miracle of time, God’s own sacrifice complete! It is finished; hear him cry; learn of Jesus Christ to die!’

At the cross, God has stormed the last bastion of the self, the last presumption that you really were going to do something for him…He has died in your place! He has done it. He made it. It is all over, finished, between you and God! He died in your place that death which you must die; he has done it in such a way as to save you. He has borne the whole thing! The fact that there is nothing left for you to do is the death of self and the birth of the new creature” (Gerhard Førde, sermon - "The Death of Self").

Read more at CrossAlone  (see link on their page for the entire sermon)

Cheap Law - revisited

NOTE 3-14-2016
I have since come to realize that there are definitely problems with soft antinomianism going on in the church today. I wrote the original post here while still not seeing that problem. There certainly is a problem with hammering the law too heavily as well. But that isn't what I'm seeing in my circles at the moment.

original post:

I know I linked to Tullian's "Cheap Law" blog post in the previous post of mine. His was essentially a republish of another post by John Dink.

But I just wanted to grab a clip from the original, because it was so good.

Hallelujah, What a Savior!
"He tabernacles among the brokenhearted. Without a shred of ignorance, he can call every skeleton in your closet by name. Yet, Jesus is not ashamed to prepare a room for you in his Father’s house. He loves to share his reward with sinners. But, I must warn you. To those who think they deserve a place at my Father’s table… not even a stale crumb is reserved for you. If you trust in some personal display of good fruit to save your seat, you have received your reward and my Christ will not vouch for you. I beg you to listen to the voice of your first love: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
read more at John Dink's "Exchange" blog.  I assure you, only the spiritually strong and capable will be disappointed by it.

disclaimer (yes, Dink unfortunately does quote from Brennan Manning on his blog in other posts.  :-(  Sorry... not a fan of Manning.  Too squishy/mystical.)

Law and Gospel (6 articles) by Tullian Tchividjian

(note 6-22-2015): I have since come to the conviction that even though I don't believe all the critiques of Tullian are fair, they do have some good points. Tullian's message has been going off the rails for a while and his associations and messages are getting more vague.  He seems to have gone from assuming the gospel to assuming the law.)

NOTE 3-14-2016
I have since come to realize that there are definitely problems with soft antinomianism going on in the church today. I wrote the original post here while still not seeing that problem. There certainly is a problem with hammering the law too heavily as well. But that isn't what I'm seeing in my circles at the moment.

original post:

Law and Gospel Part 1
Law and Gospel Part 2
Law and Gospel Part 3
Law and Gospel Part 4

If's Kill! 
Cheap Law


Joel Taylor Throws Down (Again) On John Macarthur

Joel Taylor over at 5pt Salt has thrown down on John Macarthur's eschatology, and a few other large popular ministries.   I have to wonder, will he be labeled a discernment diva now?  Will Frank respond in his inimitably disdainful way?  Will Todd Friel mockingly talk about Joel and his circular firing squad and his tendency to "Fire! Aim!  Ready!"?  Will Phil come out of retirement to set the record straight and tell us how some people, especially women, just shouldn't be blogging, especially when they don't afford the proper amount of respect toward duly ordained ministers of God?  Well no, not likely, because he's already said he just isn't interested in eschatology.  However, as most people know, secondary doctrines do very much affect the primary ones i.e. the gospel, and Joel is attempting to make that case very clearly. All those guys have said that the gospel is the issues we are supposed to have circular firing squads over.

I do think it's about time more people discussed this issue.  I tend to agree with Joel here though I'm not clear that it's quite as important as he's making it (that may very likely be my own ignorance on the matter).  I think a lot of people don't even understand how it undermines the primary issues.  It is a felicitous inconsistency.

I wish people would discuss it more, with clarity on how it affects our understanding of the exclusive and precious gospel of salvation by grace ALONE through faith ALONE.  So I'm gonna pop some popcorn and watch and see if this turns into anything at all.  However, it looks like he's been posting on Macarthur for a while and they aren't paying attention.

June 12, 2012

Ascribing Free Will to Man Does Not Fix The Problem

I was just reading this little post someone shared with me, and it made me shake my head sadly.

Election, Foreknowledge and Free Will by Vera Six

I used to believe in Free Will.  I was somewhat of a C S Lewis type, holding God's sovereignty and Man's Free Will in some sort of cognitively dissonant state, not realizing how unscriptural the latter idea is.  I am amazed at the rest and freedom from guilt and fear that came in letting go of the latter tradition for that is what it is--just a tradition, and quite an unbiblical one.  How sad it is that so many still cling to it, thinking it is what makes God worthy of worship, for them.  For if God did not allow them free will, they seem to reason, he would be a monster that they could not worship.  Very well then, worship your idol.  For that is not the God revealed in Scripture.  I pray he will have mercy on you for it, though, and will reveal the truth to you in time.

If you think that by believing in "Freedom of the Will" that it makes God more just and fair, think again. Unless you take away God's sovereignty and quite a few of his other attributes, or become a Universalist, you still cannot get around the idea that God is not exercising his saving/wooing/drawing (whatever you want to call it) power on behalf of at least SOME humans. If you say that God is willingly submitting to man's free will so as not to violate man's free will, then he is STILL by some act of his will NOT saving some.  Consider the following analogy.  Remember no analogy is perfect but hopefully it will help you see the dilemma which is not resolved:

Martin Luther's commentary on Galatians

I am going through the excellent videos by Faith Lutheran church, Capistrano Beach, CA, of Rod Rosenbladt going through Luther's commentary on Galatians.  Good stuff.  He says at the beginning it's only going to be 8 weeks but it apparently turns out to be 14.  In the first part, at about 27:50 minutes he says something that I am sure, if read or played in an adult Bible Study class, will cause a lot of pietists of both Lutheran and regular evangelical stripes to  stand up and rend their garments...regarding teaching people to "ignore the law."

Martin Luther’s Preface to His Commentary on Galatians
The greatest wisdom of Christians, then, is to have nothing to do with the law and works and the whole of active righteousness, especially when the conscience wrestles with God’s judgment. On the other hand, the quintessence of wisdom among those who are not among God’s people is to know and earnestly follow the law and active righteousness.

It is very strange to the world to teach Christians to learn to be ignorant of the law and to live before God as if there were no law. Yet unless you are ignorant of the law and convinced in your heart that there is now no law nor wrath of God, but altogether grace and mercy for Christ’s sake, you cannot be saved, for knowledge of sin comes through the law. On the contrary, works and keeping the law must be strictly required in the world, as if there were no promise or grace. This is because of the stubborn, proud, and hard-hearted, before whose eyes nothing must be set but the law, that they may be terrified and humbled, for the law is given to terrify and kill such people and to exercise the old nature, and both the word of grace and that of wrath must be properly taught, as the apostle teaches in 2 Timothy 2.

June 11, 2012

Luther on the Law (Jono Linebaugh - LiberateNet)

NOTE 3-14-2016
I have since come to realize that there are definitely problems with soft antinomianism going on in the church today. I wrote the original post here while still not seeing that problem. There certainly is a problem with hammering the law too heavily as well. But that isn't what I'm seeing in my circles at the moment.

original post:

The end of the Law (Rom 10.4), understood by Luther as Christ kicking the Law out of the conscience and rejecting its role as the regulator of the divine-human relationship, is thus the end of the “ifs” that interpose themselves between God and his creatures. In place of the “ifs” Christ has uttered a final cry: “It is finished.” These three words are the unconditional guarantee of the three words God speaks to sinners in the Gospel: “I love you.” In this unconditional context the justified person is freed from the inhuman quest to secure a standing before God and freed for the human task of serving one’s neighbor. In Luther’s memorable words: “A Christian is a perfectly free Lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all” (Freedom of a Christian 1520).

May 31, 2012

Martin Luther, the Method and Fruits of Justification

A superb sermon which was brought to my attention by Andy Underhile -
The Method and Fruits of Justification - a sermon by Martin Luther, Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Andy is posting it in parts, but the full sermon can be found here, because I got to the end of part 5 and thought I have to hear the end! I can't wait!


(Note that when he says 'require' or 'necessary' he is speaking in the philosophical sense, as in - "it naturally follows" or "it is by definition." Luther is not using these words in a "law" or imperative sense - as if you ARE required to do something to ensure you are saved or to maintain yourself in a state of justification before God.)

Kirk Cameron Planning Top Secret New Movie

Kirk recently released Monumental, which has gotten mixed reviews from all sides. I know I was not happy with the way he has promoted it, as if the secret to fixing our country is found in a statue and in becoming more moral people.  This is a theology of glory.

Now he's working on another one:
Kirk Cameron Keeps New Movie a Mystery; 'Super Secret' Trailer Promised to Subscribers

It's really sad that Kirk Cameron hasn't learned from the REAL mistakes of Promise Keepers  (hint - it's not what PK says the mistakes were) and is basically producing his own film-form spin-off.  We've seen the Keaton brothers doing the same thing.  The White Horse Inn published a decent critique of Courageous here:
Courageous Christianity? - White Horse Inn Blog

May 30, 2012

Promise Keepers... They're BAAAACK!
This is the video that is linked on their site's main page:
Promise Keepers is Back -- Looking Forward

1:50 "The frequently asked question, what happened to Promise Keepers, what happened to the stadiums that were bristling with men? I really don't believe that Promise Keepers got off track. I believe that Promise Keepers has always done what it was called to do. However, when Coach and I came back to Promise Keepers in 2008, we said we've got to expand our audience, we've got to go after women, we've got to go after young adults, and we did that... only to discover that was a mistake. The Promise Keepers brand, the Promise Keepers anointing is for ministry to men. That's what God's called Promise Keepers to do. We've now recognized that was not the right thing to do. So when I say we're back, we're back to focusing on Ministry to MEN. That's what Promise Keepers has been, that's what Promise Keepers is gonna be about."
Really? THAT is what you did wrong? Here I thought it was the sinfully ecumenical unsound doctrine you were promoting and partnering with, and the constant hammering of law law law with no real gospel. Silly me.

This ties in very closely to the problems with the movie (moving though it was, I admit myself...) of Courageous, which was written about quite well here (emphases mine):

Courageous Christianity? On the White Horse Inn blog

May 25, 2012

Can You Elevate Doctrine Over The Spirit?

Cripplegate has a great article written in response to a sermon preached by Mark Driscoll:

Driscoll vs. Calvin, Doctrine vs. the Spirit
‎"Inspired by the Spirit, Peter wrote, “knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:20-21). So then, to say, “Don’t elevate doctrine above the Holy Spirit,” is equivalent to, “Don’t elevate what the Holy Spirit has said over what he has said.” Doctrine is the knowledge of the who and what of God from the Spirit-spoken word, which is why the distinction is non-existent. As John Calvin wrote (whom Sinclair Fergusson has said was the “theologian of the Holy Spirit”), “Scripture is the school of the Holy Spirit, in which as nothing useful and necessary to be known has been omitted, so nothing is taught but what it is of importance to know” (Institutes 3.21.3). Because of the Spirit’s work, both in inspiration of the canon and illumination of the believer, doctrine vs. the Spirit is a false dichotomy."
read more at Cripplegate

May 24, 2012

Christian and Missionary Alliance church given back to its congregation (Paramus, NJ)

Sorry this is a little bit old, and an update on this story:

Christian & Missionary Alliance church members fighting back
World Net Daily reported that a judge has given the church building back to the congregation at Paramus NJ.  Thank the Lord!

Judge Puts Congregation Back In Own Church
Halts 'eviction' that would turn property over to conference

“We were informed that the district was going to shut us down,” Smaha told WND.

The reason?

“He told us that we were too small.”

.... The eviction order then became effective Jan. 1.

When it obtained possession of the building, the C&MA turned it over to a Korean congregation of about 20 members, while the Community Church members, estimated at 70 at this point, were told to find another location. Smaha told WND today that the church members now have “no intention of evicting the Korean church now that we are moving back into our building.”

“I’ve already extended the invitation for his congregation to continue meeting in our building, and we’ll work around schedules as best as we can,” he said.

“My mom always said, ‘two wrongs don’t make a right,’ and I don’t think it would be right to do to them what the CMA did to us,” Smaha told WND.

The Korean church pastor, Cliff Chung, was grateful.

“That is so very kind and generous of them,” he said. “We are truly brothers and sisters in Christ, and we are so appreciative of their welcoming spirit.”


The court's decision is not final, and there is more ahead. I appreciate this paragraph:
“I pray, and ask others to join us in this prayer, that the Christian & Missionary Alliance will simply have a change of heart and drop their claim to our building,” Smaha told WND. “Either that, or I pray that we’ll make solid, legal precedent so that they can’t continue treating church congregations this way.”

The denomination could not be reached tonight for comment.

Doin' time (Humor from Truthinator)

Truthinator has some good satire today: Doin' time:
Man: So, why are you here?
Lady: I sang a real hymn in church, not one of those remade in the Emergent style du jour. You?
Man: I’m an independent blogger who dared post an opinion without the approval of the evangelical media police…

 See more at Truthinator

May 15, 2012

Fourth Church KICKED OUT of Harvest Bible Fellowship

Boy the stories about punitive pastors are just multiplying! Surely this is what Jesus meant when he said "it shall not be so among you." Blood Stained Ink reports that there has been another church leaving Harvest Bible Fellowship over the Elephant Room and related controversies. Only they didn't do it voluntarily. They were unceremoniously dumped.
“… There is hope amidst the suffering. Loved ones, we have hope. And for our church, as I am studying the passage, I am amazed at the pertinence of God’s Word. Can I just tell you that? I am amazed that God sees what we are going through, and a year in advance knew that we would be in this passage. And with the suffering that we are going through as a church – if you were here last week, you heard about the sufferings that our church is enduring. That we have a sign out there that says: “Harvest Bible Chapel.” And did you know that we are no longer a Harvest Bible Chapel? Because our denomination decided they wanted to kick us out. And why did they want to kick us out? Because they wanted to choose to embrace, to invite and affirm somebody who teaches false doctrines about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and about the Trinity. And so because of that loved ones, I don’t know about you, but I’m perplexed right now at this situation. I’m confused. I’m discouraged. And I’m grieving over this.
read more at Fourth Church “Kicked Out” from Fellowship via “Catapult?” at Blood Stained Ink Praise God for the courage of the leadership there! May God raise up more men like that!

Phil Johnson Responds for John MacArthur and Grace Community Church regarding Chuck O'Neal and Beaverton "Grace" Bible Church

The Wartburg Watch has published Phil Johnson's official statement for Grace To You:
Phil Johnson Responds for John MacArthur and Grace Community Church
"In a story currently circulating on the Internet, a claim is being made that the elders of Grace Community Church (John MacArthur, Pastor) advised a church in another state to file a defamation lawsuit against a former member.

For the record, we would not approve of such a lawsuit, for multiple reasons.

'First, Scripture expressly teaches that it is better to be defrauded than to take a fellow Christian to court: "Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? . . . It is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?" (1 Corinthians 6:7). Here is what John MacArthur says about that passage:

Christians who take fellow Christians to court lose spiritually before the case is heard. The fact that they have lawsuits at all is a sign of moral and spiritual defeat (hettema, a word used of defeat in court). A believer who takes a fellow believer to court for any reason always loses the case in God's sight. He has already suffered a spiritual defeat. He is selfish, and he discredits the power, wisdom, and work of God, when he tries to get what he wants through the judgment of unbelievers.

The right attitude of a Christian is to rather be wronged, to rather be defrauded, than to sue a fellow Christian. It is far better to lose financially than to lose spiritually. Even when we are clearly in the legal right, we do not have the moral and spiritual right to insist on our legal right in a public court. . . .

. . . If we cannot convince the brother to make things right, and if he will not listen to fellow believers, we are better off to suffer the loss or the injustice than to bring a lawsuit against him. "Do not resist him who is evil," Jesus commanded, "but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also" (Matt. 5:39-40). Contrary to the world's standard, it is better to be sued and lose than to sue and win. Spiritually, it is impossible for a Christian to sue and win. When we are deprived wrongfully we are to cast ourselves on the care of God, who is able to work that for our good and His glory. [The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 1 Corinthians (Chicago: Moody, 1984), 139-40.]

Second, Jesus was very clear about what Christians should do even when we are vilified by unbelievers: "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad" (Matthew 5:11-12). "Do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also" (vv. 39-40).'

That is our official position, and it is not merely theoretical. Having been at times targets of malicious slander in various gossip-forums on the Internet, we do appreciate the frustration of dealing with relentless character assassination.

But the example we were given to follow by Christ Himself deals with exactly such situations: "While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously" (1 Peter 2:23)."

Phil Johnson - Elder, Grace Community Church
In light of that, this order of events as told by Julie is interesting:
Feb 25 - Chuck posts review saying he is suing us
Feb 29 - talked with pastor of the day from GCC
Mar 1 - Received subpoena
Mar 5 or 6 - Bill Shannon phoned me to ask questions
Mar 9 - Bill Shannon told me he can no longer help in our situation after meeting with Chuck
Will Bill Shannon publicly recant for overstepping his authority and dragging their church into this mess?

Beaverton "Grace" (cough cough) Bible Church sues its critics, Claims John Macarthur's ministry told them to do it.

This is almost as good as Perry Noble's henchmen harassing James Duncan for criticizing Noble. At least Noble's henchmen had the sense to realize they couldn't do anything LEGALLY to these people. Doh! Can you believe they have the blasphemous nerve to put "grace" in their church name? Oregon church sues ex-members for defamation over blog criticizing church’s practices
Thou shalt not bad-mouth your former church on the Internet. That’s the message a pastor in Oregon is apparently championing in a lawsuit against former members of th Beaverton Grace Bible Church, claiming their statements online amount to defamation — equivalent to $500,000 in damages, according to reports. Church pastor Charles O’Neal filed the suit March 1, citing words such as “creepy,” “cult,” and “spiritual abuse” as defaming his house of worship outside Portland, said local TV station KGW. The suit sets up a May 21 hearing with freedom of speech at the forefront. “It would be extremely difficult to determine that wording or posting caused that tremendous $500,000 worth of damage,” Linda Williams, an attorney for defendant Julie Anne Smith, told KGW. “It just didn’t.”
I hope they ask for the church to pay for the court costs. This kind of thing would never, or rarely, happen in a loser-pay court system. Though I am sure there are also abuses in that sort of system. Here is the poor lady's blog. I am heartened to see the support she is getting. Praise God there are some people with sense in this world yet. I enjoyed this comment on the NY Daily News site:
bronkowitzsamuell 07:56 AM
May 14, 2012
Jim Jones used to shut his critics up with the threat of lawsuits. I'm not saying that this church has a Jim Jones in it, of course, but.... you have to wonder, don't you?
:-) Even Westboro Baptist isn't so foolish as to sue their critics. Who woulda thunk they weren't the bottom of the barrel as far as legalism goes?  I guess Mark Driscoll's legalism is infectious in the Northwest.  But so far as I know Mark hasn't sued anyone... yet.

As I commented on Julie Smith's blog, "cult like" is the kindest description I can come up with for this pastor. So sue me. Here's a Screen Shot of the pastor's "review" of his own church, counter-"defaming" Julie-Anne:

Elsewhere on google reviews he claimed a pastor on staff at John Macarthur's ministry told him to, but he seems to have removed it. This is what has been widely circulated around as his words, and she posts about it here:
Pastor Chuck wrote:

DEFAMATION IS A CRIME: Pastor Chuck O’ Neal, his wife, his children, and Beaverton Grace Bible Church as a whole, have suffered JulieAnne’s hateful lying slander for well over three years. After seeking counsel from a pastor on staff with Grace Community Church (under Pastor John MacArthur) and reading him several excerpts from JulieAnne’s endless defamation, he recommended that we FILE A LAWSUIT in an appeal to Ceasar as the Apostle Paul did when falsely accused of crimes against God and the state. The lawsuit has been filed in the Washington County courthouse.
FBC Jax is talking about it and this comment by one Keith Farmer was rather disconcerting:
Keith Farmer said... I received correspondence back from a member of the GTY team regarding this issue. It is sad that the Church is publicly embarrassed by such acts. I do not wish to divulge what the GTY staffer wrote to me but I am disappointed in the response. Praying for all involved... May 15, 2012 9:35 AM
More details at The Wartburg Watch here: Pastor Makes International News by Suing Blogging Critic-Is John MacArthur’s Church Involved? Also in this post's comment thread, Phil Johnson offered her an official statement by the ministry.
Phil Johnson on Mon, May 14 2012 at 09:53 pm

I just learned about this story for the first time at noon today. I couldn’t locate your e-mail address, bit if you’ll e-mail me, I’ll send you an official statement from Grace Church and John MacArthur that you can publish. If you want to talk further by phone, I’ll tell you what I learned about this situation this afternoon. I’ll give you my cell # by e-mail.
I am still trying to locate such a statement.

May 3, 2012

Tullian Tchividjian on Sanctification (Midweek at Coral Ridge April 25, 2012)

(note 6-22-2015): I have since come to the conviction that even though I don't believe all the critiques of Tullian are fair, they do have some good points. Tullian's message has been going off the rails for a while and his associations and messages are getting more vague.  He seems to have gone from assuming the gospel to assuming the law.)

original post:

Midweek|FAQ: Part 9|Pastor Tullian "What Is Sanctification?"

This was just so good. I have been so blessed listening to Tullian Tchividjian lately. He admits his focus has changed in the last few years, as he used to be a bit more focused on law-based sanctification. A change for the better.

Some excerpts as he explains that justification and Sanctification are distinct ideas that are inseparably linked. Sanctification follows justification by necessity. He says: ‎
"...if you are in Christ, if you are justified, Sanctification IS BEING DONE TO YOU whether you feel it or not. Even if you are in a season of sin right now. It is being done to you, somehow, some way..."

"The only way sanctification happens is if we continually revisit your justification - when we go back to what Jesus has done."

"The goal is love, the benefit is freedom. It's something God is doing IN us, FOR us, he's ALWAYS doing it, he'll never stop doing it, he's sanctifying you and me right now. Sanctification is getting used to your justification. It's continually revisiting the truth of justification. We become increasingly sanctified as we focus on what Jesus has done, not on what we must do and that is why I talk so much about justification, because I want you to be sanctified!"

"My goal as I preach, as I teach, as I write, is to so talk about Christ's finished work, that by God's grace, love will begin to develop in your heart as you contemplate his unconditional love for you. ... when you are at your worst God is still giving you his best. ... when you begin, just BEGIN to believe that, when you ACTUALLY begin to believe that, that even when I am at my worst, God is still, in Christ, giving me his best,... his love for me is never ever wavering, it's not conditioned on how I'm doing. It's not conditioned on what I'm accomplishing or achieving. It's not conditioned on how stable your home life is, or what a good guy you are, or what a faithful wife you are. ... It's conditioned solely on what Jesus has done for you. "
"That's my hope for you and for me, is that we become increasingly sanctified. That we grow increasingly holy. And that happens only as we fix our eyes not on our holiness or lack thereof, but on Christ's holiness and who he is."
watch the video at:
Midweek|FAQ: Part 9|Pastor Tullian "What Is Sanctification?"

or on Vimeo

April 3, 2012

Are You Tired Of Being Told You're Supposed To Be A Radical World Changer?

The Call to Radical, World-Changing Discipleship: A Question for Preachers - White Horse Inn Blog

Good article!! Don't let the title scare you.

"If you wanna walk on water you gotta get out of the boat!"  

I just want to crawl into a hole and disappear whenever someone tells me I have to go out and make a difference in the world to be serving the Lord.

So thankful the White Horse Inn guys get it.  They are nearly always a breath of fresh air.

March 30, 2012

More Elephants In The Room: TD Jakes Comes Out Pelagian

Would ya look at that! T D Jakes is not orthodox after all!
"We develop our propensity to forgive or not to forgive by what we see illustrated at the early ages of our development. We don't come here unforgiving. Children are not unforgiving. You can punish them and they will hug you in a few minutes,"
TD Jakes: We Are Born Forgiving in Nature; Unforgiveness Is Learned

How many Elephants are there in the room now? I've lost count.  That's ok, we'll just train the Elephant to do a few more tricks and call it orthodox.  Case closed!

March 29, 2012

An Excellent story - Atheist stunned at church's charity toward him

I can't vouch for the church's teachings but they definitely have SOMETHING right!

Atheist shocked when church helps with bills
When Jessica Crye, a member of Sand Springs Baptist Church in Athens, Texas, found out, she called her pastor, Erick Graham, to see if he had heard the news -- not only about the dropped suit but about Greene's health. Crye asked Graham if their church could help him. Graham's answer was simple.

"Sure we can help him," Graham told her.

Graham said he didn't need to take time to pray about the matter or to mull it over because Christ had already provided an answer.

"We don't need to pray about it," Graham said. "We've already been given the command to do it."
Read more at Baptist Press

March 28, 2012

Matt Chandler replaces Mark Driscoll at Acts 29 Network

Apparently Mark Driscoll, Darrin Patrick, and Matt Chandler has decided it would be better for Matt Chandler to lead Acts 29.  That would seem to be a step upward.  However, the letter released by Acts 29 from Mark Driscoll, Darrin Patrick, and Matt Chandler sure leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

It sounds more like a way to remove the trouble maker Mark from leadership without admitting why.

The letters from Darrin and Matt can be read along with Mark's letter at Phoenix Preacher.

Prayers for Matt, for wisdom in this new level of responsibility.

March 23, 2012

Michael Horton at LIBERATE 2012

LIBERATE AUDIO:  Michael Horton
"...the (Gospel) Promise is not simply about something that might happen, the promise in the process of being announced, creates the reality of which it speaks. God wasn't talking ABOUT the promise, God was preaching the promise INTO Abram and he believed. It's the same with us.

I think of the law and the gospel this way: Call it Purposes and Promises. Law and Gospel is what I'm going to call it here. A sailboat is decked out with all of the greatest latest technology. It tells you where you are, it tells you where you need to be, it plots your course. You absolutely need that on a sailboat. What danger lies up ahead, you need to know that. How do you get from point A to point B? What does it mean to sail properly? You need all of this instruction. But you need wind in the sails or it's not going to go anywhere.

There are a lot of people who become Christians - that brief and shining moment where they hear the gospel, at the beginning. They're sailing out of the harbor. They've just learned that all of their sins are forgiven, it's a new covenant, established by Christ, inaugurated by his blood! They get that. Wind is in their sails...they're following the directional advice, they're plotting their course, law and gospel are working fine together. For that brief and shining moment. And then suddenly, someone STOPS preaching the gospel to them, and they're dead in the water, with all this technology, with all this wisdom. With all this smartness on the boat. They can't go anywhere. That's where a lot of Christians are today. Surrounded by the Christian life section at the bookstore. By 90 percent of what they hear on Christian radio. By far too many sermons that they're likely to hear this coming Sunday which keep them turned in on themselves, which give them some new gadget... and they're saying "I'm DEAD IN THE WATER! My problem ISN'T that I don't have enough technology, my problem isn't that I don't have enough direction! I don't need another gadget to tell me I'm dead in the water! Is there any wind for my sails?

Only the Promise can do that." -- Michael Horton

Listen here


I've been waiting on the edge of my seat for this!  The audio is now freely available.

LIBERATE Conference from Coral Ridge

Some quotes from session 2.
"The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, just by faith in the Son of God, who did something... he loved me. How would you live today if you knew at the very bottom of your soul that you were loved? You know what that would do? It would free you from having to make sure you were being loved." - Elyse Fitzpatrick

‎"Grace purifies our motives because it removes the power of self-serving guilt from the equation" - Elyse Fitzpatrick
After listening to some very law/moralistic preaching the last couple days (from a local popular pastor in our church's denomination, oddly enough, warning against legalism, and from James Macdonald on finding God's Will), I really am finding this a breath of fresh air. I'm finding I am less and less inclined to tolerate people adding law to the gospel. This not saying I am less tolerante of the right preaching of law and gospel or that I don't want to hear any law. I do, and I do need to hear it. What I am less tolerant of is the confusion of the two, or the neglect or corruption/lightening/dilution of either one.

Dilution/corruption of the law = moralism/legalism
Dilution/corruption of grace/gospel = moralism/legalism

They both end up in the same place.

March 21, 2012

The wife of a former elder at Mars Hill tells her story

More stories keep coming out about the abuse and coercion under the authority of Mark Driscoll. This time the wife of former elder Paul Petry speaks out:

My Story by Jonna Petry

Shortly before Paul was confirmed as a pastor/elder, I was invited to a dinner to celebrate Grace’s (Mark’s wife and my friend) birthday. There were a dozen or so women in attendance and I ended up sitting next to Karen Schaeffer, who was Mark’s administrative assistant - a lovely, older, godly woman whom I greatly respected. Sitting next to us was an elder’s wife who was close in age and who also had quite a bit of previous ministry experience. The three of us enjoyed great conversation – alive, encouraging, as iron sharpens iron. We ended up being the last three to leave the restaurant and as we walked to the car decided we should pray together for some of the things that had been shared. We got in the car and ended our time together praying for many things, including the elders, our families and the church.

The next morning I heard from the elder’s wife, the one Karen and I had so enjoyed - that she had shared our conversation with her husband and he felt that it showed “disloyalty” on Karen’s part, was gossip, and that it needed to be brought to Mark, which he did. Karen was fired. The gist of what she shared that was branded “disloyal” was a heart of thankfulness that my husband, Paul, was being made an elder because Mark needed strong men around him who could handle and stand up to push-back. When I found out what this elder and his wife had done, I called Mark immediately in tears and asked him to forgive me for my part in that conversation. Looking back, I’m not sure that Karen or I really did anything wrong, but I was sure afraid.
read more at Joyful Exiles

So thankful that people are starting to have the courage to stand up and speak the truth about what is going on.  May the Lord continue to sustain them in their battle against the lies of the enemy.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. -- Gal 5:1

March 9, 2012

A decent summary of Rick Warren's latest Bridge to Islam two-step

Apprising has a good summary of the chronology of Rick Warren's latest attempt at spinning away his sinful ecumenism.

Rick Warren, Ed Stetzer, and Watchbloggers

Worth a read. Yes, all of us did make note of the fact that Rick denied the story. Problem is, Ed doesn't remember that Rick's been caught lying too many times for us to give that much credence. Our entire point is that he plays both sides against the middle, and whether or not he is aware of or admits to that is irrelevant.

Ed Stetzer should be ashamed of himself.

And this is interesting from Rick Warren:
"Christians have a fundamentally different view of God than Muslims. We worship Jesus as God. Muslims don’t. Our God is Jesus, not Allah."
But then we have Rick's buddy John Piper tweeting:!/JohnPiper/status/159953341177282560
So is it any wonder everyone is confused and alarmed? Why is it our fault for these supposed excellent and effective communicators' inability to communicate clearly? Ed, maybe you're suffering a bad case of over-contextualization. There's a cure for that. It's found in 1 Cor 2:1-5 --
"And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."

March 8, 2012

In case you doubt Mark Driscoll is blasphemous...

(DISCLAIMER: Yes,I know people are guessing that David Kupelian has some questionable associations/endorsements, most notably promoting stuff by Roy Masters, but that doesn't mean he isn't spot-on about Driscoll.)

David Kupelian at World Net Daily has a great article on
which should put all your doubts to bed. (yeah, pun intended)
But back to Driscoll: I have nothing personal against this popular, hip, tough-talking young pastor in blue jeans, and I totally understand the appeal of his blunt, masculine, passionate style – a refreshing respite from all the stuffy, pretentious and cowardly pastors out there.

However, let’s just state the obvious: Mark Driscoll is utterly obsessed with sex.

He tells, for instance, the following story of one female member of his congregation who – and I quote – “brought her husband to Christ” by giving him oral sex, in accord with Driscoll’s specific pastoral advice to her. Here’s how Driscoll, during a Nov. 18, 2007, sermon in Edinburgh, Scotland, described this particular husband’s “conversion”:
She [the wife] says, “I’ve never performed oral sex on my husband. I’ve refused to.” I said, “You need to go home and tell your husband that you’ve met Jesus and you’ve been studying the Bible, and that you’re convicted of a terrible sin in your life. And then you need to drop his trousers, and you need to serve your husband. And when he asks why, say, ‘Because I’m a repentant woman. God has changed my heart and I’m supposed to be a biblical wife.’” She says, “Really?” I said, “Yeah. First Peter 3 says if your husband is an unbeliever to serve him with deeds of kindness.” [Laughter from audience] How many men would agree, that is a deed of kindness. He doesn’t want tracts. Those won’t do anything. What we’re talking about here could really help.
Really, people? Is this what we now stoop to in our efforts to make the magnificent Christian faith – the moral foundation of Western civilization – more appealing to a rudderless, confused and sex-drenched generation? Is this what now passes for pastoral counseling and preaching the Bible? I call it abuse and exploitation. I would even call it blasphemy (“… tell your husband that you’ve met Jesus … And then you need to drop his trousers …”).
(read more at WorldNetDaily)

Hear hear, David. Blasphemy it is, indeed. Mark Driscoll needs to repent of his carnal false teaching. Can salt water and fresh come from the same spring?

If you would like a more sound source to read from than David Kupelian, try this other blogger who reports Mark Driscoll Slammed by Baptist Press Over Sex Teaching. I didn't realize that Driscoll had said some of these things in the Edinburgh sermon, as I'd never forced myself to sit through that sort of carnal blasphemy, so the story of the woman's converting her husband through sex was new to me. Hence my rationale for posting what is actually an 'old' story.

I do realize John Piper reprimanded Mark for this particular Edinburgh sermon, but it seems like (according to his subsequent Peasant Princess sermons and his Real Marriage book) he hasn't actually repented of the message he was promoting (the manipulative way in which he tells men to spiritually coerce their wives into performing certain acts, by saying Jesus commands it), just the lewd way in which he presented it. That's only half the problem.

He responds to Phil Johnson here in a video
And Piper is reported here to have rebuked Driscoll on the Edinburgh sermon

Maybe I'm just cynical, but after all the Rick Warren debacle especially, I'm highly skeptical of Piper's assessment of 'rock solid' and 'significant.' He spends so much time apologizing for Mark in that transcript that it becomes much more of a "the woman doth protest too much, methinks." Mark speaks for himself. He doesn't need Piper to spin for him.

February 29, 2012

Another defector from the Harvest Bible Fellowship (Prescott AZ)

Another church has seen fit to leave Harvest Bible Fellowship!  Praise the Lord!

A New Season: An update from the Harvest Elders
From the Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel of Prescott,
For the past six years we have counted it an immense privilege and blessing to be part of Harvest Bible Fellowship. As an independent local church we have enjoyed wonderful fellowship, gleaned many valuable resources and wisdom, and made many incredible long-lasting relationships.

Over the last 11 months or so, Harvest Bible Chapel Chicago (HBC Chicago) has made statements and taken actions that we strongly believe reflect a change in the direction of critical parts of their ministry. We believe these actions and resulting changes can be categorized into three areas:

We believe that HBC Chicago has begun championing the idea that Christians can associate with those teaching heresy (such as those who engage in teaching the Word of Faith and Prosperity Gospels) without necessarily endorsing them or their ministries, implicitly or explicitly.

February 27, 2012

Race Based Special Interest Theology (The Pedestrian Christian) (UPDATED --ADDED LINKS)

Originally posted 2-3-2012 at 10:55pm CT

A commenter at Better Than Sacrifice mentioned he was working up this article, so I looked it up:

An Examination of Protestant/Evangelical Race Based-Special Interest Theology (Part 1 of 5)
Now, as you cannot see for the moment with this quote, Loritts is black. While this should not matter to anyone with respect to theology and more importantly, Christianity, it apparently matters to Loritts who approaches the theological issue as if it is, in part, a racial one. He imposes upon the objections of others some kind of racial responsibility with respect to theology. That is, Loritts asserts, at least implicitly, that our theological assertions and objections can legitimately be formed, in part, by racial considerations.

Your first reaction, I am sure, is that he is wrong and you are correct. But you would be surprised the number of Protestant/Evangelical Teachers (and I am referring to those on the moderate to conservative side) who would, in one breath, reject Loritts’ assertion but in another breath echo the very theology underlying why Loritts believes it is acceptable to approach the matter as he does. I am not sure all of the causes for such duplicity in some notable men, particularly when it is rather obvious, it might involve ego-investment, but this paper is not about this so I will save the why’s in their case for another day.
Excellent.  I have been trying to say much the same thing.

read more at The Pedestrian Christian

UPDATE:  Alex Guggenheim has the rest of his series up, definitely worth reading.  I do wish he could find "shorter" words to express some concepts (smile), as I think many people will read those things and feel their eyes glaze over.  This is not at all meant to be critical of Alex's writing or content.  I am at a loss however as to how else it could be written.

Part 1 is also linked above

Part 2
Our Identification is Spiritual and Based Solely in Christ
And as we saw in the earlier Ephesians passage God is telling us, through Paul, that no such thing exists now, in the body of Christ. There are no human properties such as genetic or geographic ones regarding how we, the people of God, seek to identify and establish God’s objectives because these objectives are spiritual ones. But more specifically, these church age objectives have nothing to do with resolving social issues between various races; this has to do with spiritual reconciliation with God.