‘Twas Grace That Taught My Heart To WHAT?

Fearing God fell out of fashion decades ago, and I’d venture to guess that it’s not going to make a comeback among most evangelicals. Popular wisdom (if you can really call it wisdom) says that we should come to Christ out of love,  not out of fear.

But I praise God for allowing me to feel afraid of eternity in hell for two weeks in January of 1971. It was a miserable two weeks, most assuredly, and I wouldn’t want to repeat them. But the Lord graciously gave me that dreadful period of fear as a preparation for hearing that Jesus died for my sins.  The grace of fearing God enabled me to experience the grace of receiving His mercy.

Verse 2 of Amazing Grace reminds me of that horrible two weeks and that wonderful day when He opened my heart to the Gospel. Indeed, it was grace that taught my heart to fear, and precious grace relieved those fears!

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Saturday Sampler: June 23 — June 29

Fish Sampler

Each Sunday, Pyromaniacs provides our “weekly dose of Spurgeon” by quoting lengthy passages from the sermons and writings of C.H. Spurgeon. This week they quote a medley of passages in Spurgeon on women preaching. Helpful  stuff!

Emma at My Redemption for His Glory blogs about The One Thing Keeping Us From God. She holds up some strong challenges that each of us must consider, but she also brings us back to our merciful Savior.

With a careful balance of respect for the dead and concern for the deceived, Pastor Gabriel Hughes writes Remembering (and Responding to) Rachel Held Evans. Because Rachel’s followers continue to read her books and believe her false teaching, Gabe rightly understands the necessity of countering her assertions.

I’m recommending a second item from Pyromaniacs this week, this time written by Hohn Cho. The Complimentarian Responsibility Toward Women is primarily aimed to men (pastors, in particular), but as women we can see how Biblical masculinity offers us protection and security.

As a baby boomer, I appreciate Tom of excatholic4christ for writing One last time to witness for Jesus? in response to an obituary in his local paper.

Although I don’t anticipate deleting my personal Facebook page quite yet (that separation is becoming a distinct possibility at some point, I admit), I believe Mark McIntyre of Attempts at Honesty makes some important observations in Living up to our Facebook Page. See what you think.

Golf and the Sanctity of Life, which Richard Holderman writes for Gentle Reformation, is definitely heartwarming. But it also requires us to think about why we should value human life.

Writing from personal experience (and most likely very recent experience), Michelle Lesley offers Five Words of Encouragement for Spiritual Warfare’s Battle-Weary Soldiers. As always, she substantiates each point with abundant Scripture — one of the reasons I love her work so much.

Posting to The End Time, Elizabeth Prata assists us in Learning when to stay in and when to separate out. She draws from the wisdom of Proverbs to make a practical and timely application.

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Rejoicing In Wrongdoing Or Rejoicing In Truth?

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Angela and Bill began attending Third Baptist Church about three months before their wedding, informing the young pastor that they had recently returned to Christ. He agreed to officiate the ceremony, charmed by their obvious adoration of each other and their apparent zeal for the Lord. Once married, they joined the church. Within a year, Angela began serving as a deaconess, and a few years later Bill became and elder.

Eventually someone in the church learned that Angela and Bill had met in a church ten years prior to their wedding. Angela was, at that time, married to a man who struggled with alcoholism. Bill’s wife had been in a car accident that left her so physically and cognitively disabled that she needed to live in a nursing home.

At first, the couple merely turned to each other for mutual support.  Predictably, it didn’t take long before they fell in love. Nobody knows whether or not they became physically involved, but at some point Bill suggested that Continue reading

Your Attempts To Love Examined Through Scripture ~~ Part 3

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Growing up in the late 60’s, I absolutely loved The Beatles. To this day, I recall their harmonization as they sang, “All You Need Is Love!” At the time, however, I thought of love as a flowery feeling that magically accepted everyone (unless they supported the war in Vietnam, of course). I had no clue that Biblical love demanded dying to self and standing with the Lord for His priorities.

Tuesday I began taking you through 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 to show how people — in this case, discernment bloggers and our critics — can exercise love even while disagreeing. I continued the discussion yesterday. Today I’d like to keep working through this well-known passage, including a clause that probably  would have made The Beatles Continue reading

Your Attempts To Love Examined Through Scripture ~~ Part 2

1 Co 13Postmodern culture equates love with unquestioning approval — as long as we unquestionably approve of politically correct people, behaviors or causes. When we question people or views that the majority of people enthusiastically support, we usually receive harsh tongue lashings condemning our unloving positions.

Oh, the irony!

Yesterday we started looking at questions people on opposite sides of a given issue can should ask themselves in the midst of disagreements. Since I’m currently embroiled in heated debates as a discernment blogger, I’ve chosen to illustrate my thoughts by challenging discernment bloggers and our critics to examine how lovingly we deal with conflict. But please don’t imagine that Continue reading

Your Attempts To Love Examined Through Scripture ~~ Part 1

1 Co 13In the movie Forest Gump, Forest makes only a couple references to his intellectual disability. When Jenny questions his ability to have a serious relationship with her, he angrily retorts, “I may be a stupid man, Jenny,  but I know what love is!”

Critics of discernment ministry often accuse discernment bloggers of being unloving. Sometimes, sadly, they correctly call us out. And when we fail to operate out of genuine love, we definitely need our brothers and sisters to correct us. In fact, if they really love us, they certainly will be faithful to show us our sin and to call us to repentance. Christian love never allows someone to remain in sin and/or doctrinal error.

To demonstrate my point, let’s walk through the Bible’s most celebrated passage on love, and compare the attributes it lists against Continue reading

Did I Publish The Open Letter To Beth Moore In Order To Get People To Read The Outspoken TULIP?

Dear DebbieLynneSince Susan Heck, Michelle Lesley, Elizabeth Prata, Amy Spreeman and I released Open Letter To Beth Moore last week, we’ve fielded a lot of questions and criticism. Some of the questions undoubtedly come from Mrs. Moore’s supporters, who typically won’t tolerate any questioning of their beloved teacher. Nevertheless, their questions deserve respectful answers such as those Michelle Lesley graciously provided in today’s In the Mailbag blog post. I dearly hope you’ll read Michelle’s thoughtful and important post before you continue on with this article.

That said, a comment by J Mill included a remark that troubled me. Let me quote the entire comment for the sake of context before I discuss the portion that bothered me:

It certainly seems against the gospel to assume that one cannot be friends with people because you interpret scripture differently. The world wide CHURCH has many different interpretations on many theological issues and yet we are one. Just because you disagree with her does not mean that she is operating outside of biblical orthodoxy. Not everyone needs to speak on everything – we all have topics that are especially in our view at certain times. Most importantly, Scripture would direct you to conduct this inquiry one-on-one with Mrs. Moore, not use it as fodder for your blogs. It seems you may have a log in your own eye to remove.

Michelle’s Mailbag post dealt with most of J Mill’s objections, so again I refer you to her wisdom. But the accusation that I used this matter merely as fodder for my blog shouldn’t go without notice.

Regular readers of my blog know quite well that I have been trying to move away from the idea that discernment ministry revolves around calling out false teachers. Too many so-called discernment blogs (most notably Pulpit and Pen) capitalize on exposing teachers they disagree with (even doctrinally sound teachers). Such baptized versions of supermarket tabloids have severely damaged legitimate discernment bloggers, and I have absolutely no desire for The Outspoken TULIP to degenerate into that type of blog. If J Mill had read enough of my articles, she would have known better than to have made such a baseless accusation.

Subsequent to running the Open Letter, I wrote a teaching reviewing the basic Gospel message. At this writing, only 101 people viewed that post, compared to 5,844 people who clicked on the Open Letter. Ladies, that lack of interest in posts that actually focus on the Word of God disturbs me. I would much rather have you excited about posts that proclaim the Gospel and study God’s Word than about posts about Beth Moore.

I was asked to provide input on the Open Letter, to sign it and to post it on my blog. I complied with those requests after consulting my husband. I wanted the letter publicized in order to ask very legitimate questions of someone who has an extremely high profile in the Southern Baptist Convention — to which my church currently belongs. As Michelle Lesley explained in her post today, publicly asking Beth Moore to clarify her views on homosexuality is no different than publicly asking Joe Biden to explain why he no longer supports the Hyde Amendment. The SBC is floating Beth Moore’s name as its next president, making it necessary to understand her position on this issue. In that context, I agreed to donate space to the Open Letter.

I had been planning an entirely different series for last week’s posts. Running the Open Letter derailed those plans indefinitely. Far from being fodder for my blog, this letter has interrupted my train of thought.

Furthermore, the Lord has been convicting me concerning caring about gaining readers. The SBC may be big on numbers, but I am fighting against the lust to have thousands of adoring followers. The lust for numbers has led the SBC and other evangelical churches to compromise God’s Word — ironically that’s the main reason they cling to Beth Moore in the first place. To put it bluntly, they profit from her book sales. I have no interest in compromising my obedience to God simply to have a widely read blog.

Wanting more readers for posts that teach Biblical doctrine than for posts that call out false teachers like Beth Moore doesn’t mean I want a huge following. It simply means that I want the women who read this blog to care more about studying Scripture than they care about the latest dirt on a false teacher. Though it’s sometimes necessary to ask the sort of questions that Susan, Michelle, Martha, Amy and I asked, I prefer to teach Biblical discernment by helping women rightly understand God’s Word.

Finally, although people I highly respect gave me words of encouragement after I published the Open Letter, only one affirming Tweet meant the world to me:

Jeremy's Tweet

May it be a joy for Pastor Jeremy to give account for me when he stands before the Lord (Hebrews 13:17).

____________________________

Also see Elizabeth Prata’s essay answering her critics.

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An Invitation To Sinners Only

As you read through the four gospels,  you can’t help but notice the spiritual pride of the Pharisees. They found Jesus offensive because He threatened their political power, certainly, but also because He confronted them with their inherent sin. They believed that their acts of righteousness (a righteousness, by the way, devised from their own rules rather than God’s Word)  pleased the Lord. They couldn’t come to Jesus because they simply didn’t believe they needed a Savior.

In contrast, I see my sin all too clearly! I’ll be the first to tell you exactly how wretched and disgusting I really am! And if you doubt me, my husband and my sister could easily testify to my corrupt nature. I know how poor and needy I am with respect to a righteousness of my own.

I also know that Jesus took my sin upon Himself on the cross. As a result, I can go to Him, trusting Him to give me His righteousness. My need for Him opens me to receive His mercy, causing me to glorify Him instead myself.

Are you poor and needy enough to arise and go to Jesus?

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Saturday Sampler: June 16 — June 22

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We’re in the middle of Gay Pride Month, and many join the LBGTQ community in celebrating sexual sin. The secular media has been emboldened to teach young children to embrace same sex marriage as normal and good. Writing for Abounding Grace Radio, R. Scott Clark points to this trend as a prime example of Why You Should Not Let Hollywood Catechize Your Children.

Posting on The End Time, Elizabeth Prata reminds us that The only way to deal with sin is to mortify it. She echoes a basic Biblical principle — a principle that present-day evangelicals routinely ignore.

Don’t read Clint Archer’s Selfie-Syndrome: Overcoming Narcissism on The Cripplegate unless you’re mature enough to accept conviction from the Holy Spirit. But if you want the Lord to help you out of selflessness,  I highly recommend that you read the article and do some business with Him.

God created you to do amazing things? Michelle Lesley takes on this popular saying by comparing it to God’s Word and encouraging women who believe their lives amount to little. Please, if you feel at all discouraged about your contribution to God’s kingdom, read Michelle’s post. (It also shows us how to use Scripture in discernment.)

I’m not surprised that Erin Benziger finds spiritual lessons in some rouge flowers in her driveway. Check out More Than a Pansy on her Do Not Be Surprised blog for two wonderful glimpses into God’s sovereignty.

Although Christy Britton writes primarily to writers in Eyes Up, her counsel in this post for Servants of Grace apples to anyone. It dovetails beautifully with Michelle’s piece. I encourage you to read both — they certainly minister to me regarding my temptation to judge the effectiveness of The Outspoken TULIP by numbers.

SharaC of Into the Foolishness of God examines the trend of Wrestling with Scriptures that don’t conform to popular culture.

Where did the term complentarianism come from? Denny Burk gives us a peek into recent church history with his article, Complentarianism? What’s in a name? This blog post helps us understand the reasons for adopting this name and embracing this position.

In The Cripplegate, Jesse Johnson teaches A simple method to strengthen your prayer life. You may not agree with all of his points (neither do I), but a lot of what he says really puts prayer in an interesting perspective.

Expanding on a recent Tweet he made, Darrell Harrison enumerates Six Reasons the Church in American is Becoming Increasingly Impotent in his Just Thinking for Myself blog. His assessment deserves careful attention, as I believe he correctly diagnoses some prominent maladies in evangelicalism.

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What Can I Say About The Gospel That Hasn’t Already Been Said?

cfce9-crossofresurectionLately, evangelicals have been telling us that social justice is a “Gospel issue.” A recent comment on one of my blog posts suggested that the Gospel teaches us to have unity despite theological differences (a point worthy of its own article). These sentiments, as well as similar sentiments I’ve heard throughout the years,  prompt me to think that we need periodic reminders of what the Gospel actually is.

Most of you may decide not to read this article. Why waste time reading about something so basic? Do I have new insights into the Gospel? Perhaps a fresh take on it? Can I present it in a creative manner that Continue reading