WHO IS A CONSERVATIVE? Tuesday, Mar 1 2016 

These days, designations and tags are flying around like bumblebees. The problem is that these categories only represent the user’s point of view. “A conservative is someone who agrees with me!” There is no static view in any of them. Conservatives come in many colors. Because of this, all of these groups change meaning over the years. Designations alone are like trying to pick up mercury.

The only way to get to the root of this problem is to ask, “How did they come to that conclusion?” rather than “What is their conclusion?” Your mindset, your system of thinking is really the issue, because that is where your conclusions, points of view, and beliefs come from. We face this every day in theology. It is why people contentiously debate doctrinal positions. One needs to ask, “How did you come to that belief; what system did you use?” The reason there are so many differing doctrines is that people use different systems of thinking. If they all faithfully used the same system with its rules, they could readily come to the same conclusions.

In the early days of American education, there was a strong emphasis on “critical and analytical thinking”. This can be demonstrated in the founding documents of our nation, and it is the reason why certain people are trying to destroy them. What we have in state education today is not “critical and analytical thinking”, even though they claim that it is. What is going on in this rapidly deteriorating system is “brain washing and indoctrination”. Sadly, this same approach has sunk its teeth deep into what is called Christian education. That is why we look, think, act, and smell like the American education failure.

AN OBSERVATION

To illustrate this problem, I am forced to use some current designations; but hang on – I will explain later. We seem to be dealing with “liberals, moderates, and conservatives”. I know there are other fringe tags, but I will let you have that discussion among yourselves. Liberalism has a hundred threads, and they are not necessarily similar. What is common about all those tangents is that they use the same system of thinking. Human reason is their authority, and they have a disdain for truth. In fact, many of them do not even believe there is such a thing as truth. Their final authority is man, culture, intellect, etc. No matter how illogical their conclusions may be, they will defend them to “your” death. Liberalism is not wrong about everything; but as I often say, “It doesn’t have answers, but only creates problems and then blames them on someone else”. So liberalism (as an illustration) is about how they think and not so much what they think.

Conservatism (bear with me here) at its heart is interested in truth that can be demonstrated, unlike the so-called science of liberalism that is based on faith or what one believes based on man’s authority. Early conservatism leaned heavily on “analytical and critical thinking”. Sad to say, most people we know in this category love to argue but are not able to answer the “why” of their position. In these days, I fear that thinkers are in the minority. We must remember, however, that even in this group the views are not unanimous.

When people declare a position, or the importance of that position, they create questions that allow us to discover their systems of thinking. That is why you have conservatives championing liberal positions. The left might hold views that the right holds, and vise-versa. That is where moderates come in. They are neither one nor the other, but the problem is that moderates always move left and not right.

BACK TO THE FUTURE

So in this present atmosphere, we ask “How can you tell who is what?” It is not about what they say, but how they arrived at what they say. If one thinks like a liberal, he divides things up; he is a moral conservative, a liberal in economics, and so on. That is the problem. This is not about the leaves; it is about the root. It is how they think, and so many people who claim to be conservative simply tend to think like liberals. How you think determines what you believe and what you are.

Perhaps you can explain why I have never met a person who is liberal in politics who is not also liberal in religion. This is not about whether they got something right; it is a system of thinking as to how they view everything in life. So, if you are thinking about who is a conservative, you should be asking how that person thinks.

There are some positions that quickly identify with liberal thinking. Abortion and sodomy are two of them, and you have to think like a liberal to support such heinous acts. These, though, only allow you to ask the right questions. Any person who is soft on any major issue of any kind is giving you a message. As believers, we should be reminded that for us there is no such thing as a separation of the religious and the secular. The Bible is clear; every thought, deed, and position is subject to the will of God.

LOOKING DOWN THE BARREL

Since we are on the subject, consider pulling out the rifle and looking down the barrel. Let me talk about “us” – those who claim to be conservative and profess salvation. In theology, you have all three of these categories. Call them what you wish; it is right, middle, and left. There are those who are completely committed to the Word and will of God. We may not always practice it right, but we trust a Holy God and believe the Book is God’s Word.

Then how did we get to the “theological error of the month”? It is because we have been taught to think like liberals. Look at how quickly our “professed” fundamental friends run to defend and buddy up to the moderates. By their very nature, moderates think with a liberal mind-set; so the truth is that our own brothers have been duped by that humanistic way of thinking.

I want you to remember this: “Moderates, those in the middle, are far more dangerous than the worst heretic among liberals”.

That is where we are today. In the present atmosphere, our own brothers and sisters are running to cast their lots with a system of thinking that opposes God at every step. That system of thinking is not conservative, and neither are they. Just saying!

PROTECTING THE PASTORATE Friday, Feb 26 2016 

The scriptures are clear concerning the man who is pastor, shepherd, elder, bishop, and overseer.  His qualifications, role, responsibility, and limitation are plainly stated.  In my book, “The Weeping Church; Confronting the Crisis of Church Polity”, all of this is carefully outlined.  The book has been in constant publication since 1985.

I am amazed at how often people take the liberty of ignoring or rewriting the Bible text, particularly on this subject.  Almost every local church problem goes back to this issue.  Of course, the roots of those problems are sin and pride; but God blesses only what He orders.  If a church is organized in such a way as to create and feed conflict, one should not be surprised when it breaks out.  Everything man touches is flawed, but the closer we can stay to the plain, clear statements of the Word, the more likely we are to have peace.

Right now in our country we are living out the tragedy of this kind of ignorance.  Creditable historians know that this country is a republic, not a democracy.  Democracies always end in tragedy, and there are clear historical reasons as to why that is true.  A republic has the rule of law, and people are meant to be treated in that way.  So I have often asked, “Where did the concept of democracy in a local church come from?”  If you found it in the text, it is only because you inserted it there.

BEGININNG AT THE BEGINNING

God always makes things simple for us; we are the ones who make them complicated.  We often do that on purpose in order to confuse people so that we can get away with making the Bible agree with us.  This is the problem with the average concept of the pastor in our churches.  Pastors are often installed in local churches as errand boys or merely someone to fill the pulpit.  A local church is a flock, and it needs a qualified under-shepherd.  Christ is the Chief Shepherd, and He is the one who appoints these under-shepherds.  The prayerful task of the local church is to find out who Christ has appointed for them.  The church should be seeking the will of God rather than the will of the people or a flawed majority.  Churches languish because, in the flesh, they think they have a better idea.

The selection process of a congregation often follows the pattern of the nation of Israel in its choice of King Saul.  They thought they needed a man who was tall, dark, and handsome.  Who cares about the heart of the man, let alone what is in his mind?  That is why people are so easily fooled – you don’t always get exactly what you see.  Sad to say, candidates are not always truthful.  More than one prospect has hidden his questionable theology; then, when his error comes to the surface, he is so firmly settled in that the people are not willing to stand up and be counted.  On the other hand, they would fight over the color of the carpet at the drop of a hat!  What percentage of local churches has leaders with enough knowledge of the scripture to ask the kinds of questions that would smoke out a theological “wolf in sheep’s clothing”?  That’s the problem: they only think they do.

We would have to add to this mix the intention of a candidate to change the flavor and format of church function.  All these changes may not actually be a biblical question, but hiding the intent to do so is.  If the prospect had been honest and had outlined his prospective changes that would scatter the sheep, the door would have closed – and he knows that.  Christ is fully aware of, and has not forgotten, these questionable and sinful assaults on the local church.

NON-ANSWERS TO THE PROBLEM

On the other hand, the local church often practices bad habits in order to control conflict and protect itself.  The clear answers to unrest in church polity are clearly stated in God’s Word, and they are the only way a church can solve difficulty in its fellowship.  Some have chosen simply to do away with the real shepherd of the sheep.  If you don’t have a pastor, then fifty percent of your problem is gone – right?  They forget this: But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.  (Matthew 9:36)

A flock without a true shepherd will falter and eventually be destroyed.  The function of a shepherd cannot be fulfilled by a false shepherd or a hireling. (John 10:12)  Only the qualified (I Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-10), a Christ-appointed shepherd (I Peter 5:1-4), can fully carry out that ministry of the pastor, elder, and bishop.  The Chief Shepherd appoints, qualifies, empowers, and approves true shepherds.

Be careful with your human response to this, but if a man does some shepherding, it does not mean he is a shepherd.  This is a simple concept.  When my wife was in the hospital, I had to do some mothering; but that didn’t make me a mother.  Humans can put any title they wish on a man, but only Christ can designate one of His under-shepherds.  Then there is the “Hagar Syndrome”.  They think they can solve the problem by multiplying the number of men they choose as pastor, elder.  The text clearly states that churches had, and have, multiple pastors; and that is true if they are appointed by the Chief Shepherd. Often this is used as a smoke screen to build an oligarchy.  This concept is in direct conflict with nature and the Bible standard.  Leadership and headship are always singular.

GOD’S PLAN OF ORDER

So why are churches so quick to join theological bandwagons when they know that the wheels are coming off?  Basically, it has to do with the humanly devised hermeneutic that is raging in the new church culture.  Intellectuals have provided a plan whereby churches can “have it their way”.  Churches follow unbiblical polity because there is so little knowledge of the Bible.  They know about the Bible, but have found a way to “fill in the blanks” in order to get their own way.  This is often done by means of the abuse of language, the ignoring of context, or the twisting of historical information.

Theological smart-alecks may have lot of information, but they are short on wisdom.  Intellectualism draws young novices because it is important for them to “run with the big boys”.  They fall into error willingly, but seldom find their way out of the theological slime pit.

The wise man will let the text speak for itself.  The strong man will be willing to stand up for truth even where error has been practiced for generations.  A holy God will bless what He orders, and that is how we protect the biblical pastorate

WORDS HAVE MEANING Friday, Jan 29 2016 

STOP IT; KNOCK IT OFF!  Stop supporting evil, that is.  We may not have meant to do it, but when our words give credence to wickedness, we need to stop using them.  Let me give you an example.  Why do intelligent, spiritual persons use the term “same-sex marriage”?  There is no such thing.  The only marriage that exists is the one that God instituted and which He controls.  The term “same-sex marriage” is a lie.  Every time it is used, it gives credibility to something that God has judged and condemned.  To give encouragement to anything so heinous is an offence to a Holy God.

The offence grows more egregious when politically correct Evangelicals try to defend the use of nice words to describe bad things.  It is moral insanity to argue that we must say nice things about sin in order not to offend sinners.  To ignore sin of any kind is not being a “friend of sinners”.  No one ever comes to Christ for salvation without first dealing with his or her sin.  Those who practice “sloppy agape” argue that we all sin and that we need to deal with gossip, etc., before we deal with sodomy.  We do need to deal with all our sin, but covering the sin of others is particularly offensive.  The biblical doctrine of God’s holiness has all but disappeared in today’s culture-driven church, and God has written “Ichabod” over all those churches.  The Word of God is nothing more than a fetish in the emerging/emergent church, and it continues to find ways to ignore the plain, clear teaching of scripture.  When sin is a forbidden teaching, it provides a hothouse for the very thing that God commands us to forsake.

 SWEARING

When I was a small child, the word “darn” would get a bar of soap put into my mouth, and I had to bite down on it.  “Christianity astray” would consider that to be cruel punishment, but today’s practice of letting Christian teens run free with foul mouths is real cruelty.  Those who love to defend sin would say my mother was a legalist.  What they do not know is that my mother was a spiritual giant beside those spiritual pigmies who misuse the word “legalism”.  It appears that the majority of people who use the term have no idea what it means.  To them it is just another way to make man comfortable about sin.

Normally people would limit swearing to “taking the Lord’s name in vain”.  Even that has become acceptable verbiage among professing Christians.  Posts on social media as a habit include vulgar words and gutter talk.  The sad thing is that no one says anything about it.  This is not just a teen thing; adults who ought to know better spit out crude and vile words in their posts as well.  They would be wise not to claim relationship to Christ, since unsaved people see no difference between their conversations and those of any worldling. Who needs a Christianity that sounds like a conversation from the damned?

MURDER

This is the month that the abortion holocaust is remembered.  Even now we have become numb to the brutal way unborn children are being dismembered every day.  The silence in the midst of this terrible practice reminds us of the reason why people were silent while the Nazis slaughtered thousands of people daily.  Fear was the main reason for a lack of response, but most of the Germans felt that there was nothing they could do.  After all, it was the government, and so it was legal.  In our guilt, we’ve had to find nice words for the killing of babies in the womb, so the real word “murder” is unacceptable.

Let me remind you that a thing is not legal if God has condemned it.  Then why do professed believers line up to defend heinous practices?  If we obey God and speak clearly to identify such evil, those who claim Christ line up to defend the crime.  To speak strongly about some pseudo-law is viewed as being anti-government; but to side with the others and use nice words about evil is in fact anti-God.

It is no wonder that a holy God is obligated to judge any nation that embraces the murder of children.  It is mind-boggling to know that people who claim to be Christians side with those who hate God.  Words have meaning, and words need to reflect the view of a God who hates and always judges all sin.

GOD HATES ALL SIN

These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imagination, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord.  (Proverbs 6:16-19)

If God hates all sins and prescribes capital punishment for some, why do some people spend so much time opposing what God has said?  Why such effort to prove God wrong?  Holiness is meant to be an affront to those who love sin.  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.  (I Corinthians 1:18)

It appears that some folks don’t want to offend those who sin, but they don’t mind offending God.  We need to be careful about deliberate personal offence to others.  There is far too much meanness in our own circles, but it isn’t mean to make sin clear to the sinner.  The truth is that real meanness is failing to tell the truth about sin, thus letting people plunge into hell or stand empty-handed at the Judgment Seat.  It is dreadful to allow people to feel good here about sin and then let them discover in eternity that you really didn’t care.

JUDGING

It would help if people would take time to study the entire Bible on any subject, but then perhaps they don’t really want to know what God has said.  One of the favorite mantras used by today’s “sin protectors” is to say that what God has said about sin is “judging”.  It is obvious that they don’t want someone else asking questions about the sin in their own lives.  Another defense is “love”, but love does not hide the truth from people.  If there is danger, the loving person will say so.  If that attack doesn’t work, then any old proof text will do.  “Judge not lest ye be judged” is a favorite parley.  Ignorance of Scripture is little different from deliberately denying what is the “plain, clear statement of the Bible text”.  Remember this: a proof text without a context is a pretext.

Words do have meaning, and that meaning had better be what God has said and not what you have inserted into the text!

THE BIBLE ON CRIME AND PUNISHMENT Wednesday, Dec 30 2015 

The Bible speaks to everything in one way or another. Where it does speak directly, it is correct even if the pagan culture in which we live disagrees or thinks that God’s way is too simplistic or idealistic. The criminal justice system in our country is seriously flawed and corrupt, and this is because the system does not represent the basic model presented in God’s Word.

The fact is that during the establishment of our nation much of the foundational law represented the Judeo-Christian principles. It wasn’t perfect, but the years of judicial, administrative, and legislative adjustments have stripped our law of its value. A majority of these changes were in violation of the original documents, without the permission of the people.

The end result of pagan intellectualism has given us a prison system that multiplies the criminal element and moral perversity. The present practice celebrates and rewards the violator and punishes the victims, who are the core of our society. The rejection of capital punishment mocks a holy God and encourages murderers, rapists, and other evildoers to continue committing their crimes. The unequal application of the law ends up punishing the little guy while the elite go free and even run for high office. In the courtroom, the defense is expected to get the guilty off. While the family of the victim lives with the grief of the crime, our legal system bankrupts a nation, encouraging a violent society.

The end of this spiral comes when those in charge do away with real punishment because they say that “the system is flawed”, but then go on spreading evil by moving further away from the answer God has given. This pagan philosophy is based on folly – the idea that man is basically good and society has the power to change the criminal into a good citizen through re-education. How has that worked out? The bottom line is that evil things are made good and good things are made evil. This nonsensical system murders the innocent child in the womb, but rewards those who are guilty and sets them free.

GODS WAY ALWAYS WORKS

God’s plan is clear and simple. Cities of refuge and temporary confinement were only for the purpose of making sure that judgment was served honestly and with alacrity. The goals were restitution and retribution. For the criminal, there was always an end to the dealing with evil. The pagan mind tells us that capital punishment doesn’t work, but the truth is that no murderer who died for his crime has ever murdered again. The liberal mind complains that capital punishment is “cruel and unusual punishment”. The record, however, makes it clear that prison is a cruel and unusual punishment, while execution is actually merciful and quick. God’s plan shuts the door on the manufacture of the criminal element. The growth and respectability given to sodomy at this hour is a by-product of a useless prison system. The answer to crime from frustrated leaders is simply to make things legal, no matter how evil the practice is in God’s sight. The problem is that making things legal doesn’t make them right, but it does reveal the serious lack of wisdom in the present system. Pagan philosophy counters with the argument that moral people want to establish a “theocracy”. The truth is that God’s plan works; it is what is needed, no matter what you may choose to call it.

INSULT TO INJURY

The saddest point in all of this is that some of those who name the name of Christ are siding with the seared mind of the unregenerate. There are several reasons for this. One reason is the philosophy of the state educational system in our nation, which has been adopted by so-called Christian institutions. The liberal mindset has no valid authority base. That mindset has taught a whole generation to use human reason as the highest authority. God gave us the ability to reason, and that ability, when properly used, will end up in agreement with God’s wisdom. Man’s wisdom ends up working full-time to prove that God is wrong.

EXAMPLE

Yesterday a friend of mine was sentenced to jail time for lying to the IRS. None of us would approve of any deliberate and clear violation of the law. In this case, however, he did not owe anyone anything, so restitution had taken place and there was no evidence of deliberate violation. It was not a capital crime, so retribution was not an issue. In God’s plan, the issue was settled. So, what is going on here with the imposition of jail time? Most of us have taken deductions that were disallowed, and many have not included so-called income that was questionable. It would be very easy for the current vacillating system to put us behind bars; in fact, this system has been used many times by a vengeful administration to punish those who disagree with them.

CORRUPT

Corruption is a very strong word, but it is true and is the point of this discussion. When the little guy is punished for something, he is judged harshly. At the same time, those at the top use power and money to avoid justice. Some of the most public figures owe huge amounts of taxes and have avoided paying them. This is corruption. If lying to the IRS is a crime – and it is – then why are major leaders so often shielded from responsibility? If lying is a crime, then half of Washington should be indicted given the fact that liberalism lives on lies.

The argument used to protect the elite is that nothing has been proven, and they are innocent until proven guilty. That may be true of the court, but it isn’t true in the real world. If someone murders and a corrupt defense attorney gets them off, they are still guilty. It seems, however, that if you have enough power, influence, and money, you can get away with murder. It may all be legal, but it still is corrupt. So, while the average citizen has no “real” protection, he can be incarcerated for questionable charges. Meanwhile, the guilty run for the highest offices in the land and may never even be charged even if their crime was treasonable, such as rewriting the founding documents of our nation!

CONCLUSION

This is the real story of flawed justice. In the end, it doesn’t work because it flies in the face of what the sovereign creator God has given us. His way is perfect and always works. Man’s way is flawed and produces injustice. So who should be behind bars?

HOW TO KNOW WHEN THE EMERGING CHURCH IS EMERGING IN YOUR CHURCH Monday, Nov 23 2015 

WARNING!!! To keep you from having a “hissy fit”, please keep this in mind. Most of the things on the following list are not bad in themselves. This is not a condemnation of change or of things that are new; rather, it is a list of things that almost always appear on the road to the Emerging Church and its denial of biblical authority and sufficiency.

My heart is grieved by the fact that many of my long-time friends have been fooled into replacing a theology that is biblical with “culture authority”. They do this by mocking things of the past and ridiculing those who press for biblical responsibility. Theology is a nasty word to them, but theology is actually a growing understanding of the God whom we serve.

HERE IS A PARTIAL LIST

Hymnals disappear. The Psalms are actually a hymnal. There is nothing wrong with a hymnal, even though there are things in some hymns that are errant. The Bible doesn’t command us to have hymnals in our churches. On the other hand, many people need to see the notes in order to be able to sing. Some churches have put the score on the screen to solve that problem. Without it, the blending of voices in harmony is nearly impossible.

The organ disappears. The Bible does not require that a church should have an organ, but trying to replace it with a tinny technical sound does not solve the issue. Nothing in our world can possibly replace the majestic sound of a pipe organ.

The platform is renovated. Anything that represents the past is bad and has to go. The choir loft and other furniture, including a communion table, are all replaced with new items designed to modify worship activity. Even the pulpit has to go, one way or another. It is certain that none of these things are commanded in Scripture, but their removal is the first hint that the Bible is no longer the center of worship.

The building is renovated. In this war on history, anything that speaks of the past has to go. When walking into some of the today’s new facilities, it’s hard to even know for sure that you’re in a church. We can worship anywhere, but that is not the question. The question should be, “Is real worship going on here at all”?

Music does a turnabout. There are many kinds of music, much of which can be used tactfully. This is not an easy area to discuss, but replacing beautiful harmony with discord, yelling, repetition, and songs written by low-talent writers is certainly not helpful. It’s not that all current music is by any means bad; but when lyrics fly in the face of Scripture, there is a problem. It seems that the great majority of “worship leaders” don’t really even have enough theology to know when they are offending God.

Sermonettes replace biblical preaching. This is the second thing that reveals a turn away from Scripture. Preaching of the text is derided. Certainly some truth is spoken, but there is so little solid teaching of what God has said that people are starving spiritually. This happens when the communicator only knows about the Bible and very little of what God has actually said in the Bible.

Services dry up and disappear. The assembly of the local church is necessary for the health of the fellowship. Even with three services a week, there is a dearth of Bible teaching. People should be doing studies personally and with their families, but it is probably less than ten percent of the congregation that actually does. The Bible gives no strict rule on this, but during the persecution in the first century, they met daily. After all, how could once a week possibly provide for the coming persecution?

Evangelism almost disappears. For most churches, this is long gone. The task of reaching the lost should not be relegated solely to the preacher. The first line of evangelism is each true believer living and sharing the gospel in a needy world. Some human theological inventions have removed this from the believer’s responsibility, but it is still there.

Altar calls are non-existent or non-effective. Invitations at the end of a service are a recent invention, but they do have value. The important issue is why they have disappeared. If no one ever responds, why should you even bother to have one? And why doesn’t anyone one respond? This has to be a topic for another discussion, but a lot of it has to do with poorly crafted messages.

Unregenerate membership. This is an old problem. We invented a church membership concept that allows professing Christians to be part of a local church. When attendees act and talk like pagans and confess that the Spirit of God does not dwell in them, they should not be part of a membership. The new approach today, however, is to welcome pagans into the church without any clear testimony of conversion. The percentage of unsaved people in today’s congregations is now staggering. This is a third major area identifying the departure from scripture.

Man-centered worship. Worship is about God, to God, and for God; but you wouldn’t know it in most of today’s “worship” meetings. Yes, there are lots of words about God, but it hard to actually find Him. How can you worship when the words being used are offensive to God and to His Word? Who in such a meeting can really worship? Unsaved Christ rejecters, as well as carnal, out-of-fellowship believers can’t truly worship. So, how many true believers who walk in the Spirit and who are able to worship are present? Man-centered entertainment “worship” is carnal and fleshly. One certain “worship leader” has confessed that “We do what we like”.

A hatred of history. This is the mantra of liberalism, socialism, and communism. Those on the road to the Emerging Church must shake the dust of history off their feet. The true believer rejoices in factual history, learns from it, and respects it, but does not live in the past. The road to “what we like” can have no historical markers.

A disdain for doctrine and scorn for theology. This is where it all ends. It is why churches often change their names, neuter their public doctrinal statements, and make fun of exegetical preaching. Their sick defense is that “We change our methods, but not our message”. Sorry, but that is an impossibility and, frankly, it is a lie.

WHOA!! Don’t waste one breath in trying to argue about any of the above. The fact is that we need change, and many new things do indeed have value. The standard, however, should ever be the Holy Word of God. The tragedy is that most people don’t know enough of a theology that is biblical to allow them to avoid the dead end. That dead end is the Emergent Church mob. How much of this has emerged in your world?

IGNORANCE AND APATHY Thursday, Oct 8 2015 

The story was told of a reporter who was taking a brief survey on a city street. He asked a passerby to comment on the biggest problems in our country, ignorance and apathy. The individual supposedly replied, “I don’t know and I don’t care”. That response reflects the attitude in the average church toward the Bible. I am amazed at the gross ignorance of the scriptures amongst those in our circles. The same is also true of the average church leadership and, unfortunately, of some pastors.

And now, if I have your attention, let me explain. Most people I know have knowledge about the Bible, but few actually have knowledge of the Bible. To know about Adam in the garden, Joseph’s coat of many colors, Daniel in the lions’ den, or David and Goliath is to know about the Bible. That is not the same as knowing what God is communicating to us. The Bible is a book about God. The scripture is there for us to understand who He is, what He has said about Himself, and what that means to us.

It doesn’t take an extended conversation to see that the average person in the church has surface information about the Book, nor does it take very long before they demonstrate a lack of understanding of what God has actually stated. They tend to repeat what other people have said or written, but they have never tested it with the text. A greater tragedy is that, when you ask them to explain their beliefs, they simply don’t care. Their ignorance is displayed when they say, “I think” or “I believe” or “my view is”. What is even worse is to hear them say, “That is what my pastor, or my church believes”. Apathy is evident when they say, “It’s not all that important”.

ILLUSTRATIONS OF THIS

Over the past year, I have been grieved again and again by people from my past who don’t know or even care what God has said. As students or members of the church, they have all had the same basic teaching. Some have done very well in embracing “what the Bible says”, so at least there is some success. Others have no shame in rewriting the Bible anytime it doesn’t agree with them. Some of these folks who sat under biblical teaching have joined churches that are actually cultic. Most of them do not even have a clue about the doctrinal position of the church and have never asked. Many have moved to the “emerging church” because of its entertainment emphasis as opposed to true worship. They have no idea where the church is or where it is headed theologically, and they don’t seem to care. Even when God has written Ichabod over them and closed the doors, they just move on to another church tragedy filled with ignorance and apathy.

I have been tempted to use some of the names of those churches and the individuals who have turned their back on God’s word, but then ignorant people would call that “judging”. One thing that seems evident is that this curse is caused by the fact that so many people in those churches have never been born again, and so they have no ability to understand the text that is spiritually discerned.

Do you have any idea why so many so-called churches today have changed their names? There was a time when you could see a church name and at least know where to begin with your questions. With the “dishwater” types of names so many churches have now adopted, you have to begin at the beginning; there is no other obvious place to start with your questions. Church websites have deliberately watered down their statements of faith in order to prevent your realizing that they are a cult. They know that most folks don’t know what questions to ask, nor do they know why certain doctrines are a key for understanding.

ACCEPTING THE CHALLENGE

This problem often begins with churches when they try to select a new pastor. To start with, it is Christ who calls pastors, not local churches. The church’s main task is to find out who it is that Christ has selected as His under-shepherd for that congregation. Countless hours are wasted in ignorance and apathy as those who are responsible discuss surface issues and miss the main focus. If Christ designates a man as local shepherd, you can be sure that person will be equipped and qualified. You can be sure that Christ would approve a man of the Book – not a man who knows just about the Bible, but one who actually knows what God is saying. We often end up with someone who is telling only what they think God is saying. God help us! When it comes to finding out what a man really believes, who in the average local church would be able to do that? Get off your high horse! Yes, it is true that all of us know some basic Bible facts, but who is going to protect the church from doctrinal error? Who in the church’s leadership has understanding that would root out false teaching in a candidate?

This is why so many churches have fallen prey to the “emerging church” movement and to entertainment in lieu of true worship. Pastors who know what God has said in His Book and who are called of Christ have backbone and will stand up to such nonsense. A man who is called by Christ will be a man who understands God’s holiness as being central to what we know about Him. He would be reviled by the worship of man and intolerant of having the filth of the world dragged into a congregation.

OUR RESPONSE TO THIS PROBLEM

How do we deal with ignorance? There is no end to opportunities in this arena. Ask yourself, “How many minutes each week does the average church member spend in solid, serious study of God’s Word, including church meetings?” There you have the heart of ignorance. The first step is to make sure that any and all teaching and preaching are carefully crafted and filled to overflowing with who God is and what He says. Then ask in what ways we can increase valuable study of the Word by each member. It should begin by setting aside books written by humans and then moving to studies of the Book. How do we deal with apathy? Challenge people to search their own hearts. God will speak to them if they have not become His son by faith. A spirit of revival is needed in the church that is self-absorbed, and that includes the preaching of God’s word regarding sin. Because they love their sin, the “emerging church” hates preaching on wickedness. They breed immorality because to them God’s word is only a toy.

Only God can break through to the mind that has embraced ignorance. Only He can break the heart of someone who doesn’t care. I grieve for those who are comfortable in their trap, but there surely must be some of them who are still open to preaching about a holy God.

ISRAEL A TOUGH NUT Monday, Sep 14 2015 

A lot of opinions have been tossed around as to who Israel is, and it is time to ask some questions. To begin with, what is behind the “replacement theory”? That is the idea that the Church replaces Israel. Actually, this theory comes from a humanly developed hermeneutic. The one biblical hermeneutic recognizes the clear, distinct, and eternal differences between Israel and the Church: Israel is the wife of God, and the Church is the Bride of Christ. This distinction cannot be changed and will remain in eternity.

At least the replacement idea is clearly stated and is easy to recognize. The problem for those in our camp is that there are small encroachments on this subject. Any narrowing of that clear biblical distinction has to use the same hermeneutic that the replacement theory uses. Any distinctive that belongs to the Church and is assigned to Israel is a step in the wrong direction. It even appears to be a mild form of anti-Semitism.

PRESENT ISRAEL

In the Arabic world, we teach some of the finest believers I have ever known. This subject is difficult for them because of things that have been done to them. I don’t excuse anything that anyone does that is wrong or inconsistent. On the other hand, though, this discussion deals with who they are and not what they have done.

The nation of Israel that is now in the land is a nation. It is foolish not to recognize that fact. This present nation, however, is not equal to the Old Testament theocratic nation of Israel. It is not equal to the nation of Israel in the Millennium. The people in this present nation are God’s chosen people despite their rejection and hard-heartedness. The Bible does tell us that they will return to the land, but that they will return in unbelief. They will be a different people in heart when the “New Covenant” is fulfilled just prior to the Millennium. That will be a miracle of God, just as your own personal salvation was a miracle of God.

WHO OWNS THE LAND?

Many writers have been proposed opinions about this subject. It has been suggested that the nation now in the land has no claim on the land. This would be the Reformed position, but it is wrong. It is the Jews that God has chosen as His special people, no matter when or where they are on the earth. The land grant – all of it – was given to the people, not to the nation. (Genesis 15:18-21) Even when there was no organized nation, the land belonged to them, the people; thus the people in the land at this hour do indeed retain the promise of the land grant.

I have often been asked, “If the present nation of Israel were driven into the sea, would that affect my understanding of prophecy?” The answer is no. We know only what we see and what is clearly stated in the Bible text, but God knows what He intends to bring to pass. On this subject we must be careful about assigning to Old Testament texts meaning that is not clearly tied to the specific subject.

BEWARE OF OFFENSE

Bible history is very clear: any nation, group, religion, or individual who offends God’s chosen people will, without question, be judged by God. In due time, any nation that has turned its hand to God’s chosen people will be destroyed. Theologians ignore this judgment by simply having those people disappear. In the end, scholars will be judged for their philosophical and allegorical treatment of Israel. The problem is that any offense, whether large or small, offends a Holy God. This is not just a matter of disagreement; it is a serious consideration.

The leadership of our country has turned its hand against God’s chosen people and has opened the door to their destruction. If the nation that is now in the land were to be slaughtered, how is that any different than what Germany did to the Jewish population? This is not about what the present nation is doing; it is about who they are. They are in unbelief and have rejected their Messiah, but they are still God’s particular people, like no other people in history. It is a backdrop for those who try to blend the Church and Israel. No matter how small, it is not a light matter; and everyone who has participated in this, no matter who they are, should expect judgment.

One has only to read the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ to see what happens to those who set their teeth against this ancient people. Without doubt, it ends in the greatest bloodbath in the history of the earth.

THE PROBLEM OF THE LAND

You can do your own study from scripture and history as to why God’s people lost possession of the land. It was their own fault. They failed to obey, to keep the covenant; and God promised they would be dispersed and that others would take their land. In God’s time, though, they will have all of the land that God willed for them. While they are driven out of the land, not occupying it, the land still belongs to God’s chosen people. He has never revoked that promise of ownership.

THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM

The cancer of the “emerging church” has swept through our own ranks. The mantra is, “We have changed our methods, but not our message”. It is possible that some do not understand what they have done, but that is a bold-faced lie. The “emerging church” is filled with theological error, and on the subject of Israel they are dead wrong. I find it difficult to understand why people who have been taught truth seem to find it so easy to ignore doctrinal error when moving to one of the “entertainment churches”. In their disobedience they now say, “It doesn’t matter”. Even those who have moved into cult congregations are unable to see the false teaching. They appear to be blinded to truth, and what is worse is that they actually enjoy the Laodicean congregations they have joined! Perhaps the “noise” has helped to impair their hearing and their hearts. In the end, they have no idea how these false teachers have arrived at ideas that offend a Holy God.

JUDGMENT IS AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO BELIEVERS Saturday, Aug 22 2015 

JUDGMENT IS AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO BELIEVERS

In Genesis 6:5, there is a description of our present world: And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Then God determined, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man and beast (6:7). But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (6:8). God’s grace in the midst of awesome judgment is a blessing and an encouragement to the obedient. When His judgment was over, God said, I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth (9:13). Now when believers see the rainbow, we are reminded of God’s grace and that He always judges sin.

Every judgment spoken of in the Bible is a warning to the unbeliever and a blessing to the believer. It is a reminder of God’s all-knowing, all-present, and all-powerful character. It reminds us that the sovereign creator God is a holy God and that His holiness is His primary characteristic. Truth flows from His holiness, and love flows from truth. Liberal-minded professing Christians hate judgment because they know they have been disobedient. True grace is foreign to them. This is why their “sloppy agape” makes love to rule over holiness – so that judgment will disappear. Judgment, on the other hand, causes true believers to rejoice. Even the final judgment in the Lake of Fire does this, because the eternal destruction of the wicked highlights God’s holiness, forgiveness, and grace for the obedient. Liberal-minded theologians deny the eternal judgment of God simply because their guilt condemns them, and they hate judgment.

An example of this in our own society is the issue of capital punishment. There is a very real reason why people oppose this doctrine that is clearly taught as part of the age we live in. Many who oppose the death penalty judgment only wish to protect themselves. They fear judgment because their hearts condemn them.

ALL JUDGMENTS HAVE ALREADY BEGUN

Those who have chosen judgment over grace are already suffering the consequences of their decision. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36) Every day, in the life of the unbeliever, God is demonstrating His judgment. James talks about the wicked wealthy man who is already being judged for his ill treatment of the poor and needy. Everything in his life is a mockery of a holy God, while every day in the life of the true believer should glorify the Lord of Glory.

The Bible teaches that, after the departure of the true church from this earth, the anti-Christ will rise. The Holy Spirit’s special ministry of indwelling that began at Pentecost will no longer exist on this earth as a restrainer; then the evil one will rule. One word characterizes the Tribulation period; it is the word “wrath”. The rule of the wicked one is a judgment of tsunami proportions, and this judgment has already begun to work.

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (I John 4:3)

THE JUDGMENT HAS ALREADY BEGUN

Our nation and our world will be judged. Because of the holy character of the sovereign creator God, He must judge evil. Never in the history of this world since the flood has wickedness and violence been so wide spread. Never in the history of our nation has the holocaust of abortion been so sweeping. Never has the voice of sodomy been so deafening. No group or leader in government has been so egregious. While all past leaders have had their faults, nothing compares to the evil in the elite of our own country. All three branches of our government have openly and without apology left the road of truth for a street of lies. The rich and the powerful go on without conviction while the small and insignificant are imprisoned for petty crimes. God must judge this once great nation.

I have no time for those who have their heads in the sand. The judgment has already begun. I am thankful for the optimists, but those of us who are realists refuse to make excuses. In the past, God has used His creation to judge this cursed earth, and He is doing so now. Fire, flood, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, typhoons, etc., are not incidentals in God’s plan to judge; and that judgment has begun.

STOP HERE FOR A REMINDER AND ENCOURAGEMENT

For believers, all of this reminds us of God’s grace for His children and that He loves His own and is justified in all judgment. Our nation is just one incident away from a civil war, and those who stoke the fire of racism may be the spark that causes it to begin. Economic collapse is inevitable given the rapid increase of our national debt. How God will judge all this wickedness, we do not know; but true believers know that God will judge, and He will be justified. That is why believers can be comforted. HE WINS, WE WIN, THE WICKED LOSE.

The carnal mind says …for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation (II Peter 3:4); but God says, For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (Romans 8:22) Put down your silly games, and make sure your heart is right with God!

A DAY OF PRAYER AND MOURNING Tuesday, Jun 30 2015 

Several voices are calling for a day of mourning and prayer for our nation. It has been suggested that we choose July 4th of this year for that purpose. It would be a good contrast to what we normally see as a fun day with the family. One would have to note that security forces are saying that there are credible threats against us on that day.

A precedent for this is found in Proverbs 29:2 – When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. In my nearly eighty years of life, this world has moved further into moral self-destruction than in all the rest of history. Those who misunderstand the holiness of God ask …where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation. One question will solve this: when, in the history of this world, has there been a worldwide push to support sodomy? This may not include every nation, but who would ever have expected the news to be filled with photos of crowds in the streets of so many countries calling for the spread of this wickedness? This has never happened before.

MY, AIN’T GOD MAD

Some years ago I wrote an article with this title. Now in our nation, when you add the murder of thousands of unborn children to the exceedingly wicked spread of sexual perversion, it spells judgment. The wicked laugh at such an idea, saying “We don’t even know if there is a God”. Some in our circles tell us it isn’t so bad. Others ridicule God’s justice and push their own “sloppy agape” to silence the voices of truth.

Have it your way. The fact is that God has to judge this nation because He is holy and all other things flow from His holiness. God will judge this nation. We don’t know just when or how, but we do know why. We do know the times and the seasons (I Thessalonians 5:1), and we do know how God has done this in the past. He has used wicked rulers, enemies, and even the weather. We do know that this world is cursed by sin, and …we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Romans 8:22) We do …know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (II Timothy 3:1) A list of crimes against God is outlined in that text, and they continue to increase at breakneck speed.

HOW DO PEOPLE RESPOND?

The pessimist cries, “Woe is me, there is no help or hope! It’s all over; nothing we can do. Face it – we have lost”. The optimist cries, “It’s not that bad. We will recover. Focus on the positive, and ignore the negative”. The realist cries, “This is a critical hour. We are set for the judgment of God. God is still on the throne. In the end, we will win; and we have a responsibility in this hour. There is no time for a pity party. We are overcomers, and the battle is not done”.

Actually, both the pessimist and the optimist have their heads in the sand. They both fail to engage the opportunity God has given us in this hour of trouble. As true believers, we were born for this hour. It is a great time to share the love of God and the gospel of Christ. The contrast is so great that, if we respond as God has directed, God will bless in many ways. This is a great hour for truth. The pessimist ignores it, and the optimist denies it. The realist steps up to take the challenge God has put before us. A holy God has called us to speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15)

It is not loving to soft-pedal sin. It is not loving to cover or ignore wickedness. It is loving to tell the truth and make it plain and simple. We are not supposed to surrender or be silent. We need to see things as they are. This is not time for the silence or cowardice.

WHY SHOULD WE MOURN?

The truth is that our nation has crossed the line. Except for the grace of God and the possibility of a national revival, there is no coming back. The destruction of this country is sure, and the judgment of God has been sealed. This may be why mention of America is nowhere to be found in the scriptures. We should mourn because that judgment is near. In recent years our country has come close to civil war several times, and in the last year any one of these “flash points” could have set off fighting in the streets. We had a warning of outside destruction on 9/11; now the destruction is from within. Racism is on the rise, the elite in our capital violate our founding documents, the economy is set for collapse, and our military power has been neutered. One might add to this the current open hatred for biblical Christianity.

Of course there are small rays of light, such as the spirit of forgiveness in Charleston and some in leadership who speak out for righteousness. The entertainment church in general, however, has become virtually useless and doesn’t have enough power to blow the nose of flea. We should mourn because no nation that chose to kill its young and its old, embrace sodomy, or to turn its hand against God’s chosen people has ever continued.

If I had a flagpole, I would lower it to half-mast on the fourth of July in remembrance of the “death of a nation”; but I refuse to surrender, to soft pedal sin, to run and hide, to be silent. My only task is to speak as God speaks, love what God loves, and hate what God hates. The reason for this is that true believers are winners, not whiners. Read the Book: He wins, we win, they lose. PERIOD.

DAY OF PRAYER AND MOURNING Sunday, Jun 28 2015 

Several voices are calling for a day of mourning and prayer for our nation.  It has been suggested that we choose July 4th of this year for that purpose.  It would be a good contrast to what we normally see as a fun day with the family.  One would have to note that security forces are saying that there are credible threats against us on that day.

A precedent for this is found in Proverbs 29:2 – When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.  In my nearly eighty years of life, this world has moved further into moral self-destruction than in all the rest of history.  Those who misunderstand the holiness of God ask …where is the promise of his coming?  For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.  One question will solve this: when, in the history of this world, has there been a worldwide push to support sodomy?  This may not include every nation, but who would ever have expected the news to be filled with photos of crowds in the streets of so many countries calling for the spread of this wickedness?  This has never happened before.

MY, AIN’T GOD MAD

Some years ago I wrote an article with this title.  Now in our nation, when you add the murder of thousands of unborn children to the exceedingly wicked spread of sexual perversion, it spells judgment.  The wicked laugh at such an idea, saying “We don’t even know if there is a God”.  Some in our circles tell us it isn’t so bad.  Others ridicule God’s justice and push their own “sloppy agape” to silence the voices of truth.

Have it your way.  The fact is that God has to judge this nation because He is holy and all other things flow from His holiness.  God will judge this nation.  We don’t know just when or how, but we do know why.  We do know the times and the seasons (I Thessalonians 5:1), and we do know how God has done this in the past.  He has used wicked rulers, enemies, and even the weather.  We do know that this world is cursed by sin, and …we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Romans 8:22)  We do …know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  (II Timothy 3:1)  A list of crimes against God is outlined in that text, and they continue to increase at breakneck speed.

HOW DO PEOPLE RESPOND?

The pessimist cries, “Woe is me, there is no help or hope!  It’s all over; nothing we can do.  Face it – we have lost”.  The optimist cries, “It’s not that bad.  We will recover.  Focus on the positive, and ignore the negative”.  The realist cries, “This is a critical hour.  We are set for the judgment of God.  God is still on the throne.  In the end, we will win; and we have a responsibility in this hour.  There is no time for a pity party.  We are overcomers, and the battle is not done”.

Actually, both the pessimist and the optimist have their heads in the sand.  They both fail to engage the opportunity God has given us in this hour of trouble.  As true believers, we were born for this hour.  It is a great time to share the love of God and the gospel of Christ.  The contrast is so great that, if we respond as God has directed, God will bless in many ways.  This is a great hour for truth.  The pessimist ignores it, and the optimist denies it.  The realist steps up to take the challenge God has put before us.  A holy God has called us to speak the truth in love.  (Ephesians 4:15)

It is not loving to soft-pedal sin.  It is not loving to cover or ignore wickedness.  It is loving to tell the truth and make it plain and simple.  We are not supposed to surrender or be silent.  We need to see things as they are.  This is not time for the silence or cowardice.

WHY SHOULD WE MOURN?

The truth is that our nation has crossed the line.  Except for the grace of God and the possibility of a national revival, there is no coming back.  The destruction of this country is sure, and the judgment of God has been sealed.  This may be why mention of America is nowhere to be found in the scriptures.  We should mourn because that judgment is near.  In recent years our country has come close to civil war several times, and in the last year any one of these “flash points” could have set off fighting in the streets.  We had a warning of outside destruction on 9/11; now the destruction is from within.  Racism is on the rise, the elite in our capital violate our founding documents, the economy is set for collapse, and our military power has been neutered.  One might add to this the current open hatred for biblical Christianity.

Of course there are small rays of light, such as the spirit of forgiveness in Charleston and some in leadership who speak out for righteousness.  The entertainment church in general, however, has become virtually useless and doesn’t have enough power to blow the nose of flea.  We should mourn because no nation that chose to kill its young and its old, embrace sodomy, or to turn its hand against God’s chosen people has ever continued.

If I had a flagpole, I would lower it to half-mast on the fourth of July in remembrance of the “death of a nation”; but I refuse to surrender, to soft pedal sin, to run and hide, to be silent.  My only task is to speak as God speaks, love what God loves, and hate what God hates.  The reason for this is that true believers are winners, not whiners.  Read the Book: He wins, we win, they lose.  PERIOD.

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