Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sin and Deliverance

It's no surprise that the trend in "Christianity" is towards acceptance of sexual sins such as homosexuality. For far too long the teaching in much of "Christianity" has offered little or no hope for deliverance from ANY sin. If we can't be delivered from other sins, what would make anyone think they could be delivered from a sin such as this? If sin is inevitable what would make this particular sin any different for those who have this temptation?

I recently read an article by a man claiming to be a Christian who wrote: "I don’t care if homosexuality is a sin..." He admitted that according to the Bible it is a sin. But he doesn't care. Why? Because everyone sins and on the "sin scale" homosexuality "rates pretty low." He goes on to say a lot of nonsensical things including this: "Ultimately none of us have a clue what God thinks about homosexuality and we should stop pretending we do or trying to guess." Yet, in the same article he said that, according to the Bible, homosexuality is a sin! Yes, we do know what God thinks about it because He told us!

My point in posting all of this is to say that it's time to get back to the teaching of God's Word and what He has to say about all sin. We can be delivered from all sin! We can walk as He walked! There is no excuse for willful acts of sin! Through the power of the Holy Spirit Christians are enabled to live a life free from sin. I think the muddled thinking about homosexuality in Christianity today is due (at least in part) to the prevalence of the teaching that all Christians can't help but sin and we do so everyday and that once we're saved we're always saved - not matter what.

Let's get back to God's Word and what it really teaches about sin and God's deliverance from it.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Salvation Army bridge - Samuel Logan Brengle

"One of The [Salvation] Army's central doctrines and most valued and precious experiences is that of Heart Holiness. The bridge which The Army throws across the impassable gulf that separates the sinner from the Saviour -- who pardons that He may purify, who saves that He may sanctify rests upon these two abutments -- the forgiveness of sins through simple, penitent, obedient faith in a crucified Redeemer, and the purifying of the heart and empowering of the soul through the anointing of the Holy Spirit, given by its risen and ascended Lord, and received not by works, but by faith.

Remove either of these abutments and the bridge falls; preserve them in strength, and a world of lost and despairing sinners can be confidently invited and urged to come and be gloriously saved.

The first abutment is deep grounded on such assurances as these: 'There is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared' and 'If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.'

And the second firmly rests on such Scriptures as these: 'And God, who knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.' 'If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin;' and 'Ye shall receive power after hat the Holy Ghost is come upon you.'"

Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Review - Audrey Bunny

Audrey Bunny is a beautifully illustrated childrens book about a bunny with a smudge over her heart that she is ashamed of. This story teaches children a valuable lesson about how God has created everyone and loves us - imperfections and all! My three year old daughter loves this book and I enjoy reading it it her. It's a great childrens book and I highly recommend it!

I have a copy that I'll give away. Just leave a comment with your name and I'll pick a winner.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned below for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally use and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR; Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

John Piper, Racial Reconciliation, and Disappointment

I'm disappointed. I feel very strongly about the need for racial reconciliation in the Church. I'm the pastor of a church in Birmingham Alabama - a city that is not known for positive racial relations. However the church I pastor feels very strongly about being a multi-ethic church. While at this point we are still largely white, we do have many African-Americans who attend and we hope to someday reflect our community which, according to the 2010 Census data, is 52.3% African-American. Our church has chose to stay in our community in order to "bloom where we're planted" and reach the community we are a part of.

Back to why I'm disappointed. I was thrilled when I learned that John Piper was writing a book on race and the Church. As most of you know, Piper is a Calvinist but despite this I have enjoyed reading several of his books and he has influenced my thinking in numbers of ways. I would consider him my favorite Calvinist =). When Piper's book was released I could not wait to purchase it. I love my Kindle but this was one book that I wanted in hardback to I went to the local Christian bookstore and paid full price for it (something I very rarely ever do). I knew Piper was a strong proponent of racial reconciliation and integrated churches so I was excited to read what he had written. 

Here's why I'm disappointed. Piper has a lot of good things to say in this book. Much of which I agree with. However, Piper's answer to the racial problems seems to be Reformed (Calvinist) theology. Essentially he takes the grid of the 5 points of Calvinism and tries to put it over the issue of racism as the answer to our racial problems. I, of course, expected to have to chew on the meat and spit out the bones of Calvinism when I purchased the book, but unfortunately Calvinism is the bulk of the book! Apparently we are to believe that the only way to love the whole world is to believe in a God who doesn't! To suggest that the answer to our racial problems is loving everyone by believing in a God who has chosen some to be saved and some to be damned is mind-boggling to me. Why should I love everyone, if in your view, God apparently doesn't (if He has chosen to damn some to Hell)? I come away from this book wondering if Piper thinks I'm racist since I don't believe in Reformed theology. If Reformed theology is the answer for racial reconciliation, and I don't believe in it, apparently so. 

So, I'm disappointed. There is a lot of good in this book. Much of what Piper says I agree with. However, I'm disappointed because what could have been a great book was spoiled by bad theology.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Too anxious to get to the Gospel?

Francis Schaeffer once was asked the question, “What would you do if you met a really modern man on a train and you had just an hour to talk to him about the gospel?” He replied, “I have said over and over, I would spend 45-50 minutes on the negative, to really show him his dilemma that he is morally dead, and then I would take 10-15 minutes to preach the gospel. I believe that much of our evangelistic and personal work today is not clear simply because we are too anxious to get to the answer without having a man realize the real cause of his sickness, which is true moral guilt in the presence of God.”

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Old and New

"...some people see the religion of the Old Testament as legalistic and mainly concerned with punishment and see the New Testament as full of grace and forgiveness. This is nonsense, of course, because God has not changed: he was no less forgiving in the Old Testament than he is now, though the basis of his forgiveness - the death of Jesus - is a New Testament event." - David Instone-Brewer

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Don't Assume

"Don’t assume you know all the facts after hearing one side of the story.

Don’t assume the person is guilty just because strong charges are made against him.

Don’t assume you understand a blogger’s heart after reading one post.

Don’t assume that famous author, preacher, athlete, politician, or local celebrity won’t read what you write and don’t assume they won’t care what you say.

Don’t assume the divorced person is to blame for the divorce.

Don’t assume the single mom isn’t following Jesus.

Don’t assume the guy from the Mission is less of a man or less of a Christian.

Don’t assume the pastor looking for work is a bad pastor.

Don’t assume the church that struggles or fails is a bad church.

Don’t assume you’d be a better mom.

Don’t assume bad kids are the result of bad parents.

Don’t assume your parents are clueless.

Don’t assume everyone should drop everything to attend to your needs, and don’t assume no one will.

Don’t assume the rich are ungenerous.

Don’t assume the poor are lazy.

Don’t assume you know what they are all like after meeting one or two of their kind.

Don’t assume you should read between the lines.

Don’t assume you have interpreted the emotions of the email correctly.

Don’t assume everyone has forgotten about you.

Don’t assume they meant to leave you off the list.

Don’t assume everyone else has a charmed life.

Don’t assume a bad day makes her a bad friend.

Don’t assume the repentance isn’t genuine.

Don’t assume the forgiveness isn’t sincere.

Don’t assume God can’t change you.

Don’t assume God can’t love you.

Don’t assume God can’t love them."

- Kevin DeYoung