Another Gospel

My heart longs for churches to wake-up from apathy and lack of discernment (along with many other sickening symptoms) and boldly confront errors with truths of the gospel. The next two videos of men (Justin Peters and John Piper) are few that are attempting to do just that.

People, if you are not shaking and trembling for God and running to his mercy as a result of what you hear at church you’re not hearing the gospel. And such so-called church that does not preach the gospel is not a church. Ultimately, God is the gospel. That means the ultimate focus of the gospel is not man nor his needs but God! I would even argue that the ultimate goal for the gospel is not even the salvation of men but the exaltation of God! Hence the purpose of the gospel is not so that I can have the health and wealth, but solely for God’s glory!

Brothers, preach the Word of God (cf. Hebrews 4:12-13) this weekend!

Paganism in the Church (Response)

Regarding my previous post “Paganism in the Church” one of our readers raised this question:

What do you mean by “paganistic worldviews”, and in what specific ways are these worldviews embraced by “many” Midwesterners?

I think it’s a good question and I want to reply it here since this can benefit everyone. First of all, to borrow the words of Paul, paganistic worldviews are simply the “imaginations and every lofty thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Hence any view that is contrary to clear teachings of Scripture is considered pagan. Although I can say much on this, due to time I’ll stop here.

Secondly, though I wasn’t thinking of any specific sin or specific ways, my point is that everyone whether someone lives in Midwest or not, all share fundamental problem in the worship of self. Self-worship and pride are the root of all paganism. “I did it my way” is iconic American cultural value that is so steeped, unfortunately, even in our churches. Typical American Protestant churches today embrace tenets of Arminianism that were considered as heresy by the Synod of Dort, and they are seldom questioned in our generation. I wonder how many that are reading this post have even heard of Dortian theology? That’s another whole issue for another time.

We often equate paganism to primitive occultic practices that of the third-world nations, hence many Americans today hardly think of paganism exists in America. However, paganism cannot be viewed merely by checklist of specific sins or ways, meaning, because I don’t do this or that thus I’m not a pagan. No. As I’ve stated before, whether people live in primitive jungles of Amazon or modern penthouses in New York, everyone is born with paganistic worldviews. Although there are different colors and leafs of paganism, they all come from the same root, namely, exalting and enthroning of self. The only solution to this detrimental problem is the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is why the gospel needs to be preached to all peoples and all nations, even to the religious folks here in Midwest, many who think they’re Christians just because they were confirmed and/or go to church.

Due to time, let me just leave you with the words of Alan Redpath:

If we pray for revival and plead with God to bless, and yet in our lives refuse to submit to His will, we are hypocrites. Before revival comes, perhaps God will either have to remove some of us or break us. Both the outward and the inward look reveal that the will of God is not being done. Because it is not being done in the Christian, there is no blessing in the church. And because there is no blessing in the church, the world is unreached, untouched, going to hell, lost for time and eternity. May He have mercy upon us and help us to see this awful sin in the church of Christ today! We say we care about lost souls; we say we are burdened for the need of men who have never heard the gospel; we say we long to see our cities reached for Christ. Yet all the time in our hearts there is a big capital “I” which has never been broken and is standing in the way [Victorious Praying: Studies in the Lord’s Prayer (Grand Rapids: Revell, 1993), 54].

Paganism in the Church

People in the Midwest (especially, in my neck of the woods where I minister) pride themselves that they are not anything like the people in other parts of the country or other parts of the world. I would say, that all depends on what you’re talking about. But when it comes to fundamental nature of mankind it doesn’t matter where you live. People are people – i.e., blasphemers of God and slaves to sin by natural disposition that are in desperate need of God’s redemption.

Having said that, it is one thing to talk about the sameness of sinners while there is a clear distinction in the severity of sins (Proverbs 6:16; Matthew 12:31). What I see all around me is people putting on religious facade while embracing paganistic worldviews. Sadly, this includes many professing “Christians.” And Scripture makes both explicit and implicit statements that there is severity of God’s judgment against those who prostitute God’s truth. The professing “Christians” cannot claim ignorance when they have the oracles of God, just as the people of Israel were judged for failing to be responsible with what they were given (Romans 3:2).

While some here say, “We’re not like the people in California” (meaning, “We’re more culturally conservative than Californians” though that is greatly debatable in my observation), I would argue that paganism is embraced by many, regardless where you live – even if you live on a small farm out in the booney of the Midwest.

On this regard, I want to recommend a must-read article “Are We Goin’ To San Francisco?” by Dr. Peter Jones of CWiPP (Christian Witness to a Pagan Planet). I believe that understanding the cultural weather of our time helps us to be more urgent in our prayer, preach more boldly and passionately, and be more mission-minded in confronting the people with God’s authoritative and sufficient truth.

Would Real Lutherans Please Stand-Up

It’s official as of today.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) passed a resolution at its annual assembly urging bishops to refrain from disciplining pastors who are in “faithful committed same-gender relationships.” The resolution passed by a vote of 538-431.

You can read more about it here.

I don’t even know where to start with this. They should just change their name to the “Extremely Liberal Church in America” (ELCA). Seriously!

To use the term “Evangelical” front of their church name is shameful. What an oxymoron description: an evangelical homosexual! By its very lifestyle one disqualifies him/herself from evangelical or the gospel-living. What gospel allows unrepentant sinners the privileges of fellowship and membership with the Body of Christ? If so, then such gospel is not the biblical gospel (Galatians 1:6-10). Also, to use the term “evangelical” mars the rest of churches that do truly embrace the historical evangelical heritages. What a shame.

My second thought is this: What would their founder, Martin Luther say about this? And where are the echoes of Luther who said, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen” (Roland Bainton, Here I stand [New York: Abingdon Press, 1950], 185).

Thirdly, they need to drop the name “church” since it doesn’t fit the definition any longer. Historically the marks of a true church have been defined as: 1) true expositional preaching of God’s Word, 2) practice of church ordinances (baptism and Lord’s Supper), and 3) practice of church discipline. Because time does not permit me to comment on the first two, but the last mark does reveal the church’s view of sin and God’s holiness. This biblical mandate that is directly taught by our Lord is a multi-step process with excommunication/removing individual(s) being the final step (Matthew 18:15-20). And the only sin that can bring to such step is the refusal to repent of the sin that initiated the process in the first place. And two primary reasons for church discipline are concern for the soul of the sinner(s) and concern for the health of the church; and not to mention defaming the glory of God and smearing the Bride of Christ.

Let’s pray that a genuine remnant of God’s people would take a stand on this issue.

Here I stand. God help me.

Germany Ponders Pastor’s Grisly Suicide

At the awake of this latest news “Germany Ponders Pastor’s Grisly Suicide,” more and more I believe that we Americans (especially churches) need to seriously wake up and realize what’s happening in many parts of the world regarding rising of Islamic power. As you read this blog at this time there are small scale of wars that are going on in many parts of the world in the name of “Jihad” and the interests of “Islamic” advancements. We may think this does not pertain to America, but that’s what the people in the Europe said all these years. If you haven’t already, read and watch the video series on my past post.

Another Inconsistent & Weak Argument

A British entertainer and openly gay Elton John preaches against intolerance. And the latest, he wants to ban religion.

Elton John and others alike are militant about moral accomodations and moral tolerance. He and others alike say people like Christians and Christianity need to be banned.

But isn’t it interesting that he and others say they’re “for” tolerance, yet they cannot tolerate us and what we affirm?

Another example of inconsistent and weak argument.