April 23, 2013

Regressive Justification: Righteousness Proximity (Worldview Everlasting)

I'm working my way through Broken right now.  Fabulous stuff: 
... "the danger is, that by being so concerned with these hypocrites in the church you end up starving the sheep. And the end result of that, starving yourself as well." - Jonathan Fisk

(10:47) How often does it turn out that we even start on this path from the "if we can just" mentality that is mentioned in the book (Broken) that I'm looking around and I'm looking at the church and I'm seeing that the church isn't looking like what I think it ought to be. That is: "I'm not so worried about my own standing before God, I've come to a point where I think I'm doing pretty good. It's everybody else!" This is especially an easy thing for a pastor to do because of course we're spending our lives in the midst of this and we've got membership in this congregation or church that we have that well they just don't look like they really care. Yeah, I know how that is and so what's easy to do is to start trying to pinpoint what's wrong with that individual that they are perhaps not having faith, and then wanting to fix it. But then here's the thing. Why do you think that fixing it is a matter of the law? Because if they're not living the Christian life, as in they are not living in the "new obedience," the problem is not that we haven't taught them the law enough. But they don't really believe the gospel.

Now it may be a matter of the law not being taught enough in a manner in which it condemns them, and makes them aware of their need for the gospel, but it is a lack of faith that is the issue. Not a lack of "obedience."
reads a bit from the Augsburg confession article VIII
which is to say, we recognize that in the church there are going to be false brethren.... we recognize this and we confess this as a reality lest we somehow become extremely surprised when we find that there are sinners in the church, not just sinners, there are unrepentant sinners. That means sinners without any faith at all. Now again here's the question. Having maybe been concerned about one of your sheep that they are an unrepentant sinner, is the answer then to make the entire sheepfold begin to believe that the mark of their Christianity is obedience, and put them back on the treadmill of the law? Or is the issue to go directly to that one unrepentant sinner who has no faith and actually speak words of conviction to them? Which isn't 'you need to be a better person so you can be a Christian!" the issue is "I'm not so sure you're a Christian." And the answer to that is repentance and faith in Christ, not 'oh, be good now.'

That's the challenge. The difficulty, the danger is, that by being so concerned with these hypocrites in the church you end up starving the sheep. And the end result of that, starving yourself as well."

April 18, 2013

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

In light of so many tragedies and horrors occuring this very week, as well as this month in history, let me direct you to a wonderful post entitled Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled.
"I am a man who had to tell my wife she was going to die. I can tell you confidently it is no easy thing to let your heart not be troubled."
Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled.

I am hoping you will read it before you look to see who wrote it.  Be encouraged.  God is still in control, as bleak as it appears.

April 17, 2013

A Little Gem From A Christian Journalist Covering the Gosnell Trial

Being subtly snubbed by the ‘inner ring’ - Andrée Seu Peterson
This short article was shared to me by someone who I have considered a friend who I have watched this very thing happen to, not so subtly at all, but very blatantly. But it is telling that many in leadership in the church today can't even hack the subtle version. And then they wonder why people despise a lot of male leadership in the church.  It's mostly networking, with very little leadership.

[No, I do not believe in female leadership in church, but when men don't act like men, protecting the flock, willing to confront error even in their friends, it's very hard to tell whether we actually HAVE men leading.  Sorry, feel a bit cynical about this subject.]

I've often quoted Cyrano De Bergerac when I see this happen:
Le Bret: Why go about making enemies?

Cyrano: Watching other people making friends, everywhere, as a dog makes friends... I mark the manner of these canine courtesies, and think, Here comes, thank heaven, another enemy!
Peterson, the author makes some great observations that Christians everywhere should pay attention to. It seems this is the obvious besetting sin of anyone who has a popular/growing ministry (Discernment ministries, bloggers included).
...if one is not careful of one’s heart, there is the tendency to desire the respect of the world—or at least the avoidance of ostracization.

But I find, lo and behold, that Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians and Timothy are much about ostracization, and Paul’s layered exhortations to not mind it at all, and to persevere in being bold even if you are not liked.
Read more at World Mag

April 12, 2013

Well, this didn't take long. Rick Warren, And Beth Moore join forces to exploit Matthew Warren's death... And Mark Driscoll is not to be left out!

Let me repeat, I am truly horrified and grieved at the death of Rick Warren's son by his own hand.  People of sound theology have tragedies happen to them all the time.  That is not the point.

But we all knew it wouldn't take long before they would do exactly as we were supposedly supposed to do, being haters and all (addition Sept 3 2013 -> I was reminded of this today and I still cannot believe that Rick Warren did this, I truly could not believe what I was seeing - end addition):

Rick Warren Exploits Son’s Death to Attack Critics

I am truly horrified at both Beth Moore and Rick Warren.  May God help them to see their error, and I pray that Matthew's soul is resting in peace.


Mark Driscoll has also weighed in
Rick Warren, critics, and the hope of God’s Son

He admits most of the Christian posts were good, a few bad ones, and then goes on to talk about all the hate from the world. Well Doh! it's the WORLD Mark, remember that place, the WORLD? Don't you live in Seattle? HELLO!  The world hates Christians (or those they think are Christians), it doesn't matter if they're suffering.  They hate us every day.  What gets me is how much time Warren wastes trying to curry favor with them by compromising the message he claims he isn't compromising.... the one message by which some of them might be saved.  And yet, this is how they repay him.  It's a crying shame, I agree. And yet he continues to do it, while neglecting the one gospel that he is supposed to be preaching to them.

I mean, Sure, he's a nice guy.  No one ever said he wasn't.  But niceness doesn't mean much in the kingdom of God.  It doesn't equal 'sanctification.'  Nor does it mean the person's teaching is sound.  You of all people ought to know that.

I truly do grieve for them.  I am not attacking Rick Warren over his son.  His son's death doesn't erase Rick Warren's false teaching or automatically make him a candidate for canonization.  He is still the same.  So am I, so are all of us.  Evil doesn't take a break for you, or Rick Warren, or me.  Now if something bad happens to any of us bloggers, EVER, can we blame Mark Driscoll and Beth Moore for hating on us and making us miserable?

Related:
Why I don't do Beth Moore Anymore
More Beth Moore
Beth Moore
Some Reviews of Beth Moore
Beth Moore - False Teacher (Do Not Be Surprised)
Beth Moore - going Seeker Sensitive?
Extreme Theology - Beth moore's Dangerous Bible Twisting

A great review (written by Rev. Thomas Messer) of Broken by Rev Jonathan Fisk

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 follows:

I haven't finished Broken myself yet, but it is next on my list.  In the meantime I have enjoyed this review written by Rev Thomas Messer that someone alerted me to yesterday, which also serves as a response to two other reviews, one written by SBC pastor David Snyder, and one written by Anthony Sacramone :
Sacramone longs for a sequel to Broken. He imagines that Fisk has left us hanging. What now? What comes after the Gospel? He even suggests a title for a sequel: Risen: Living the Gospel Life Like Only a Lutheran Can. Cute and clever (it would have been cuter and cleverer to have "Fixed," instead of "Risen," but I digress), but, given his review, I shudder to think of what one might find in this longed-for sequel. What comes after Jesus? Is there something more?

But, Sacramone is not alone. There are lots of Lutherans today struggling with trying to answer the question, "What now?" There are charges of antinomianism and legalism being hurled to and fro in the never-ending debate of how to deal with this question. Justification and sanctification are pitted against each other in a wrestling match akin to Jacob wrestling the Lord. Dead Lutherans are quoted ad nauseum (and almost always completely out of context) to suggest that our understanding of the Gospel does not match theirs, that when we preach Christ and Him Crucified for sinners, but fail to spur Christians on to holy living through the follow-up of moral imperatives, we are robbing them of the Gospel (or, at least of Gospel living). There is a very real fear that we have an aversion to good works or sanctification, and that many of us are so in love with Romans 7 that we completely ignore Romans 6 and 8. Jesus is not enough for some, it seems. There must be more. We've heard the Gospel. Now what?

Jesus. That's what.
Read more at Abide in My Word - What Now? Jesus. That's What.

related:
"Broken" Facebook Page
Jonathan Fisk's Youtube Channel

April 10, 2013

A Gem from C F W Walther

Seems appropriate in light of the dearth of criticism or public rebuke for well known Christian teachers plunging headlong into grave error:

THIRTY-NINTH EVENING LECTURE.
(November 6, 1885.)
http://www.lutherantheology.com/uploads/works/walther/LG/lecture-39.html

If only theologians and teachers of religion would not make themselves so contemptible and hated by their own fault! Alas! This sad fact is recorded not only in the annals of the history of the Church, but it is also confirmed by our own experience. There are too many teachers of religion who misuse their sacred office, their minds, their greed of money and glopry, and their love of domineering. They do not only hush and even deny the truth continually, partly from a miserable fear of men, partly from an abominable favor of men, but instead of preaching the pure Gospel, they proclaim the very opposite and spread lies and errors. Why, there is no vice too shameful, no crime too awful, but teachers of religion have desecrated their office with it and have given the world offense, grievous beyond utterance.

Is this fact to deter you, my friends, from continuing your devoption to the study of theology? God forbid! Consider, in the first place, that the omniscient God has foreseen these sad events and has nevertheless in his infinite wisdom adopted this order of adminstering the sacred office, not through holy angels, who did not fall from their holy estate, but through fallen men, who are subject to sin. May God keep us from taking offense at this arrangement! Let us rather adore God for having made admirable provision that His church shall not be overcome by hell, in spite of the fact that it is served by such poor and, at times, such abominable ministers.
God help us...

April 9, 2013

R C Sproul Jr bravely throws rocks at the mighty discernment bloggers

R C Sproul has tweeted his support for the whining Tim Challies, bravely joining Tim's call to shun the discernment lepers:

https://twitter.com/rcsprouljr/status/319472509948936194

I just have to wonder where all these guys have weighed in on the real abuse going on in Christendom, such as the Sovereign Grace Ministries sex abuse coverups, James Macdonald's unethical behavior and Elephant Room shenanigans, Mark Driscoll's battering of the sheep, John Piper and Rick Warren's cavorting, etc.  Anyone? Anyone?  Bueller?

*crickets*

Figures.

One has to wonder too what they think about discernment RADIO programs and podcasts, like oh, Wretched, Fighting for the Faith, even oh... I dunno... Renewing Your Mind...Issues, Etc.?

Related:
http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/04/08/discernment-blogging-why-r-c-sproul-jr-denounces-it/
(yes I realize they probably disagree with me on a lot of things, but why do "our" guys have to make it SO EASY to make orthodox Christianity look ethically bankrupt?)
http://wineandmarble.com/sit-down-and-shut-up-challies/
http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/2013/04/03/tim-challies-has-no-room-for-discernment-bloggers/

April 6, 2013

Rick Warren's son takes his own life

I am so sorry for what the Warren family is going through right now.  May God grant them his peace as only his gospel can do.