IGNORANCE LEADS TO ERROR Sunday, Feb 26 2012 

For years, there were several things that really puzzled me.  I was reared in a church where they practiced “externalism”.  I prefer not to use the term “legalism” since the majority of the time it is used in error with intent to slander.  The true definition of legalism is found in Galatians.  When I was a teenager, this emphasis on the outward man as a primary teaching drove me away from Christ.  Later, as a young man in the ministry, I noticed that far too many of my peers were caught in this web.  It was only when I understood the biblical view of holiness that I was able to see the flaws in this kind of teaching.

Throughout my fifty- two years of ministry, many of my peers have left this culture of externalism, but have moved far to the left with a flawed view of grace.  The “anything goes” theology that they adopted meant that they were simply moving from one extreme of the flesh to another.  We all know that depending upon the flesh is little different from feeding upon it.  This extreme view of grace is merely an excuse to let the flesh have whatever it wants.  Why was it that some of our friends on their journey away from externalism, did not stop at a biblical view of holiness?

The answer to this question has become very clear.  It was ignorance of the scripture that held them captive in externalism, and it was ignorance of scripture that sped them into a system as awful – if not worse – than externalism.  They simply went from law on the right to law on the left.  I do not mean that my friends do not know about the Bible; of course they do.  On the other hand, though, I am absolutely sure they do not know the Bible.  There is a world of difference.  Those in both extreme camps were ignorant of a theology that is biblical; they simply went from ignorance to error.

PARALYZED IN ERROR

With the passing years, I have come to understand why it is that my beloved brothers and sisters have remained linked to organizations, fellowships, missions, and schools that have turned their backs on theology that is biblical: they simply don’t know what is going on and so have blindly followed those leaders who themselves are blind to truth. Ignorance covers a lot of error.  The problem is that now those same people are being led into groups on the left who have tolerated heresy for some time.  My friends are being carried by winds of false doctrine, paralyzed by error, and they don’t even know it!

Young men in particular, but gray heads as well, have become enamored with carnal minds and have not stopped to ask the scriptures for the truth.  Today, scholars, intellectuals, form, and degrees have become the authority.  That can mean only one thing – those who use them as an authority have probably turned from the text. Hence the mad rush to the left, giving credence to error.

In a recent interview with a “respected” scientist, he was heard to state that the view of a young earth is “ridiculous”.  This statement was made by a scholar who supports the Big Bang theory, the most ridiculous cruel joke of the age!  In our world today, however, the desire of so many is to look intellectual and to compromise scripture.  Consider, for instance, the day-age theory and all the other nonsense formulated by people who only know about the Bible.

AT THE HEART OF IT ALL

As is so often the case, there is a common thread in this journey from right to left.  What I know now is that the hermeneutic that produced the flawed view of externalism is the same hermeneutic that produced the opposite extreme.  That is the reason people are so numb about error and also why hardly anyone snaps to attention when error is taught in the pulpit and the classroom.  It is also why mind-numbed “worshipers” today can sing lies, offending a holy God as they bob, weave, smile, applaud, and yell.

All of this is true because so many people only know about the Bible.  They know about Bible stories and favorite proof texts, but have no idea what God is teaching in those texts.  The end result is that the Bible ignorance that leads to error is rampant in our churches – both in the pew and in the pulpit.  God wants us to know what He has given us in holy writ.  He wants us to know the sovereign creator who loved us so much that He sent His son to the cross.  We should not be satisfied with just knowing “about” this blessed book.

Have you ever asked why it seems that so few people in our circles today are really being born again?  Would you dare to ask why there is so little of the moving of the Holy Spirit?  Please don’t tell me about all those huge churches full of unsaved people.  The answer is in the Book, but you can get the answer only when you take it from the text instead of putting it into the text, like the scholars do.

BREAKING THE CHAIN OF ERROR

There is only one biblical hermeneutic, or system of interpretation.  The minute that is left behind, all you have left is “private interpretation”.  If we center our teaching on knowing the scripture rather than just knowing about it, our lives, our churches, and the world around us will change and, as Luther said, “We might have more Christians”.  The intellectuals have invented a plethora of hermeneutical “systems”, and they all end in the same place, with human reason.  Every error of interpretation ever invented had to rise from a flawed hermeneutic; and that is why my beloved peers missed it and went right on by.  Before I leave, remember…this ministry is about making people think.

 

Advertisements

A LESSON FROM LOWE’S Monday, Feb 20 2012 

For our overseas readers, let me begin with an explanation.  Lowe’s is a large chain of home improvement stores.  Unlike other major home improvement chains, Lowe’s has come down on the moral and conservative side of most issues.  They were recently identified as a sponsor for a television program called “All-American Muslim”.  A reliable and informed conservative organization challenged them on this decision, and a firestorm of complaints caused Lowe’s to withdraw their sponsorship.  Their reason was legitimate: they simply didn’t want to be in the middle of this conflict.

The tidal wave of criticism that followed from the liberal minds was very revealing.  I write this article knowing that I tread on dangerous ground, but knowing also that most of our readers are clear-headed conservatives.  It is possible, however, that someone who is reading this has been caught in the liberal web and may never have thought this through.  It is also possible that some readers have struggled in that they do not know how to answer the fallacious criticism from those who have believed the lie that Islam is a peaceful religion.

IS IT TRUE?

Those who have told the truth about the aforementioned television program and Lowe’s’ action have been called uninformed, intolerant, prejudiced, bigoted, and ignorant.  The fact is, however, that those who have defended the charade are the ones who truly are intolerant, bigoted, and ignorant of the facts.  Liberalism and its bedfellows are experts on dealing with the “what” of situations but almost never the “why”.

Why would anyone characterize the “All-American Muslim” program as propaganda? The answer is that what is portrayed in the episodes, coupled with the attempt to whitewash the true Islam, is false advertising.  The discussion isn’t about America’s being a melting pot for all cultures; it is about the true heart and majority of a major religion.

Those who try to explain the “why” of this issue are classified as having “Islamophobia”. Name-calling is the same liberal trick that is used with the subject of sodomy.  Anyone opposed to this destructive practice is called “homophobic”.  It has never crossed their minds that the deliberate campaign against Christianity in our country is “Christophobic”.

WHO IS REALLY INTOLERANT?

Are all Muslims terrorists, or are there some who would prefer living in peace?  No, not every one of them is a terrorist; and yes, some desire a peaceful life.  History, however, has demonstrated that those who are violent at heart are perfectly willing to live in a pretense of peace until they are a majority.

The “All-American Muslim” façade in no way resembles the real Islam.  The total Muslim population of the U.S. is but a drop in the bucket compared to its worldwide scope.  It is there you will find the truth, not in some finely-tuned American television program.  We have had some examples of the real Islam here at home, but they are always played down by the dominant liberal media.

The real face and heart of this religion can only be found in the majority.  Find any country in the world where Islam rules, and you will find the truth.  This is how to erase the ignorance of a liberal perspective.  The bottom line is that in those countries there is no true democracy, no real freedom, and no peace for anyone who disagrees with the majority religion.  What you will find is hatred, violence, fear, and death.  There is zero tolerance for anyone who disagrees, including some of their own; this is the real Islam religion.

The liberal sermon on diversity falls on deaf ears elsewhere in the world.  All patriotic Americans applaud diversity; it is center stage in what we are all about.  Arabic Americans have every right to the freedoms promised to all Americans.  Those of us who served in the military defended that freedom for every American, but this critical discussion isn’t about being an American.  It is about using our freedoms to create the living hell that exists in all the nations where a different kind of religion monopolizes the scene.

THE REAL PROBLEM

Anyone with an informed, honest perspective will see the danger in the false advertisement of Islam in America.  They will be able to see the intolerant, prejudiced, bigoted, and ignorant practice of liberalism as evidenced in Islam’s war against Christianity.  There is one thing, though, that is far more dangerous than the intellectual pagan who has rejected Christ.

Why would a civil leader, an evangelical, or even a fundamentalist believe or communicate the lie?  Why would they defend the thing that has destroyed the freedom of nation after nation?  Why would anyone dare to say that Islam is a “peaceful religion”?  It could be fear, politics, a desire to be accepted, or perhaps a lack of understanding.  No matter how you state it, the real issue with such people is ignorance. Those who rail against patriotic and conservative Americans and demonize Christians may have knowledge, but they do not have wisdom.

The bottom line is simple: if you are willing to read the news, even twisted as it so often is, you cannot miss the truth about real Islam.  Read about what is happening in Libya today and in Egypt.   Consider what will happen in Iraq and the whole of the Arab spring and think, just think!  And thus endeth the lesson from Lowe’s.

“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.”

Revelation 22:11

BIRDS OF A FEATHER Monday, Feb 20 2012 

The future of every church, agency, and educational institution rests on its theological standard.  It’s not about a historical statement of faith or whatever creed an organization claims to adhere to.  As the years pass, those creeds become a façade, little more than a piece of advertising, while an organization’s real standard is about what they practice, teach, and represent.  Maintaining a historical standard can be very difficult, and sooner or later all human organizations tend to leave behind either a portion of or most of such standards.  One would expect that at that at the point of departure there would be an open admission of that change, but that usually is not the practice.

When a move away from an original position, it can be identified by several things.  The most obvious has to do with whom they “fly” with, because birds of a feather do stick together.  I am not talking here about general associations or being in the same room, so to speak.  This discussion is about giving a place of participation and respect to those who have moved further down the road toward error and, ultimately, liberalism.

Turning the platform, classroom, or leadership over to someone who holds error is the same as approving the error, because you cannot avoid the identification.  All one has to do is to follow the practice of accommodation, and you will know where a group is going theologically and, in the end, morally.

LOWERING THE THEOLOGICAL AND MORAL BAR

The problem of serious association is coupled with a second indication of a move to the left.  This problem is a failure to clearly identify doctrinal and moral issues, as well as a defense of theological accommodation.  A few illustrations will suffice.  The trend toward looking lightly on the cults has become popular.  The idea that Mormonism or Seventh Day Adventism is not a cult is by no means new, but now there is a move afoot to view them as legitimate church groups.  Where someone comes down on this gives us a clear identification of where they are headed theologically; after all, the scholars have made this decision for us.

Eschatology seems to be the slippery slope for many.  It is a simple matter for the sleight-of-hand agent to gain respectability and move from one error to another.  This misdirection moves slowly, hoping not to be noticed.  Joining hands under the table like this is one way for a group to hide their move to the left.

In moral issues such as abortion, sodomy, and the use of alcohol, the race to accommodation varies.  Biblicists are often castigated for referring to abortion as murder, even though God’s Word is very clear on the subject.  This softening of language is very telling.  Even the word “sodomy” is forbidden amongst those who want the identification of sin to be made respectable.  Alcohol use is a perfect example of how hard people will work to ignore scripture in order to make sin acceptable.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING

There is no such thing as a single stand-alone error; one error simply leads to another. When one gives credence to one error, all you have to do is look for the others.  In front of me is an advertisement containing several names.  At least four of the persons listed here are known for at least one theological error, while others are known for their accommodation of those who hold error.  How could this happen to a self-proclaimed fundamentalist group?

The answer is in the third thing that identifies theological drift.  The people involved in the above simply say that the error is not an error, or that it is only a small error and not all that serious.  Even small moral and theological errors, however, are very dangerous. Once the small error is accommodated, it is not long until another more serious one finds a comfortable home.  James puts the progression this way:

…but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.  – James 1:14, 15

DENYING AND DEFENDING ERROR

Why would a professing fundamentalist deny or defend error?  The answer can be found in the common hermeneutic that they use.  The Reformed hermeneutic is flexible; it allows the interpreter freedom to adjust theology as he travels the road that leads left. This is the illustration I have used here before.  The hermeneutic that allows you to leave the any-moment catching away of the church, called the rapture, is the same hermeneutic that allows you to choose any eschatological error all the way to denying that there is such a thing as a Millennial Kingdom.

The three things that identify the accommodation of error are a warning to all of us.  We would do well to use care in the depth of our relationships, small and great, with those who have chosen respectable error.  We would do well to clearly identify erroneous theological and moral issues that lead to a chain of compromise.  We would be wise not to follow those who have today’s plethora of popular theological errors. Accommodating error is unwise, and denying it is serious; but defending it is sinful at best.  Let the bad examples of others be a good lesson to those of us who are committed to the authority and sufficiency of scripture.