It’s Not Really About Either John MacArthur Or Beth Moore

Todd Friel asked for a pithy answer. John MacArthur’s reply was witty, funny and a lot  more controversial than it should have been.  If you’ll listen to the following clip from Friday’s Q&A at the Truth Matters Conference in its context, you’ll realize that MacArthur went on to defend his position Biblically.

Maybe the “Go home” crack was unnecessary. Maybe it gave egalitarians an excuse to Read More »

Committed To The Scripture

The Reformation happened, at its core, because men and women went back to the Bible. They measured the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church against God’s Word, and consequently rejected the false teaching that Christians need to supplement faith with works in order to even hope for salvation. These brave Reformers risked — and sometimes sacrificed — their lives because they were committed to the Scripture.

What a powerful example for us to follow! All glory goes to God, Who taught them to have faith alone in grace alone through Christ alone depending on Scripture alone. As we celebrate the 502nd anniversary of the Protestant Reformation this month, may our gracious Lord keep us committed to the Scripture.

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Saturday Sampler: October 13 –October 19

Autumn Leaves Sampler

I dearly hope that you’re tired of the fluffy things being passed off as women’s Bible Studies these days. If so, read this Introduction to A Zero Fluff Bible Study on the Deity of Christ by Sharon Lareau of Chapter 3 Ministries. Sounds like a helpful study, ladies!

On the Ligonier blog, Nathan W. Bingham presents a video clip of Robert Godfrey explaining why the 16th Century Reformers considered the Roman Catholic Church to be A False Church.

Why should we avoid telling people ‘God has big plans for you!’ in our evangelism? Visit The End Time for Elizabeth Prata’s well-reasoned argument against that unscriptural and misleading assertion.

Erin Benziger, writing in Do Not Be Surprised, cautions us to Employ Wisdom Wisely.

If you’re new to Reformed Theology (or even to Christianity in general), you may wonder what salvation entails and how it happens. Eric Davis of The Cripplegate outlines the entire  process in So Great a Salvation — an easily read description of the various components. And those of you who are familiar with Reformed teaching will still appreciate this concise reference tool.

Charismatics don’t have a corner on mysticism. In Throwback Thursday: Flying nuns and flying priests, Tom of excatholic4christ walks us through Roman Catholic history to demonstrate the mystical bent of that religion.

I love just about everything Michelle Lesley writes.  My regular readers know I do. But sometimes she’ll surprise me by writing an especially exceptional blog post like Putting on the “You Can!” of Complementarianism. Ladies, if you need encouragement to see value in serving the Lord apart from pulpit ministry, Michelle’s article is for you!

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Flashback Friday: How Do We Hear The Holy Spirit?

In honor of the Truth Matters Conference on the sufficiency of Scripture, I thought this article  from August 31, 2017 might be appropriate:

Voice Of GodCharismatics have claimed personal words from God for years. That figures, since the bulk of charismatic theology (despite their insistence to the contrary) depends on exalting experience over Scripture. In light of that fact, I can almost expect them to believe that God speaks apart from the written Word of God.

A Facebook conversation with someone from the Charismatic church I belonged to in California reminded me recently that a primary argument for God speaking personally pits the living Holy Spirit against the “dead letter” of the Bible. It’s not a denial of Scripture’s authority. In this person’s mind, it’s not even a denial of Scripture’s sufficiency (though that’s pretty much exactly what he’s doing). Rather, it apparently adds a personal relationship with the Spirit that Scripture somehow can’t provide.

Of course, my friend hastens to add, the Spirit never contradicts Scripture. Which raises the question: Why would He then need to speak apart from Scripture in the first place? Why not trust Him to speak through the Bible He inspired?

The mere suggestion that God’s Word is a “dead letter” needing augmentation with personal experiences absolutely chills me. That very idea completely ignores what the Bible says about itself.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. ~~Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)

As we read God’s Word, the Holy Spirit uses it to convict us of sin, instruct us in righteousness and reveal Who the Triune God is. Through Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us what to look for in a spouse, how to conduct ourselves in business, how to order our families and what His Church should do. Above all that, He shows us His nature and His priorities. He lets us   know what angers Him, what pleases Him and what honors Him.

Certainly, during the course of a day, the Holy Spirit will bring Scriptures and/or Scriptural principles to our minds that we can apply. Even then, please notice, He’s speaking Scripture. He doesn’t, as some claim, direct us to brush a stranger’s hair or purchase an extra bottle of milk. Rather, He commands us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love others as much as we love ourselves.

Until we obey everything He tells us in His Word, what would be the point of Him speaking personally to us?

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Don’t Expect A Political Savior

Untitled-1Yes, Beto O’Rourke exposed the Democratic party’s agenda Thursday night. And yes, that agenda must keep genuine Christians from supporting any Democratic candidate. Please, as you read this article, know that I in no way want to discourage Christians from supporting voting. And adherence to Biblical  principles absolutely must shape what we do at the ballot box.

O’Rourke’s proposal to strip churches and Christian institutions of tax exemptions troubles me, but it in no way surprises me. I began this blog shortly after the Obergefell decision precisely because I knew the legalization of same sex marriage would inevitability lead to the persecution of Christians who believe the Bible. And no, I’m not a prophet. God didn’t speak to me or give me a vision, It’s simply a logical conclusion.

Beto O’Rourke did nothing more than Read More »

I Didn’t Do Anything

How many times have you heard your kids object to discipline by protesting, “I didn’t do anything,” when it’s all too clear that they’ve done something wrong?  How many times have you made the same declaration?

We all want to escape personal responsibility.

Yet when we do something right (or appear to do something right), we do our best to make sure people know about it. In those cases, we’re perfectly happy to claim as much responsibility as we possibly can. Especially when it comes to our salvation.

But the truth humbles us as we see Christ’s complete mastery over our salvation. From beginning to end, He provides the grace. He even gives us the ability to believe in Him! As a result, He receives all the praise and glory. We didn’t do anything!

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Saturday Sampler: October 6 — October 12

Flourishes03

In Blog & Mablog, Doug Wilson often transcribes messages he gives at weddings. His message to Kip and Karis expresses the beautiful way that a Christian marriage reflects the Gospel. I’ve been married for 17 years, and I still need this basic teaching.

On October 6, 1536 William Tyndale died of strangulation before being burned at the stake. Erin Benziger of Do Not Be Surprised writes Strangled and Burned: Remembering William Tyndale to show us the significance of Tyndale’s execution.

Tim Challies tells us about The Servers and Servicers in Every Church as an encouragement for us to understand people who differ from us. Interesting perspective!

As we go through Pastor Appreciation Month, it helps to know how we can minister to the men who shepherd us. Melissa at Your Mom Has A Blog draws on her experience as a pastor’s wife in Want to Tend to Your Pastor’s Heart? Show up. This short post gives one of the most compelling reasons for faithful church attendance I’ve ever read.

In He Will Light Up our Path: The Truth about Feelings and Emotions, Lara D’Entremont’s guest post in Morning by Morning uses Psalm 19 to help us discern when feelings deceive us. Ladies, we constantly need this reminder!

Sarah Ascol, as a survivor of sexual abuse, explains What was Missing from Caring Well in her report for the Founders Ministries website. I love her firm conviction regarding the sufficiency of Scripture.

Sometimes we  stray from the actual Gospel, as R. Scott Clark demonstrates in When the Good News Becomes Bad for The Heidelblog. Maybe his insights aren’t terribly fresh, but we constantly need to come back to the basic message of the Gospel, don’t we?

Please don’t neglect Why the Reformation Still Matters by Michael Reeves, which appears in the Ligonier blog. It’s an excellent companion to R. Scott Clark’s piece.

Why does Paul forbid women to preach to men? Elizabeth Prata takes on this hot-button issue in an essay for The End Time as she elaborates on a video addressing the subject. Please make time for her post.

If you’ve been starting to think about your Bible reading plan for 2020, Michelle Lesley offers an interesting reason to try reading the Bible chronologically. A Weeping Profit invites you to experience Bible history as something that lets you feel the heart of God.

Prioritize Love, says Jason Vaughn in his article for Parking Space 23. As he shows us Romans 12 in context, he helps us understand why renewing our minds leads us to actively love each other.

I take no joy in including Presidential candidate promises draconian crackdown on religious liberty by Denny Burk in this week’s collection of posts. But the matter Burk reports mustn’t be ignored. The time for political action is long passed; now Christians must brace for inevitable persecution.

Let’s close with Michael Coughlin’s Psalm 119:121-124 — Deliverance in Things Above Us as an encouragement of God’s grace and faithfulness.

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Flashback Friday: The Reformation And Galatians

Originally posted June 27, 2017:

Whittenberg DoorThe Lord used the apostle Paul to bring the Gospel to the gentiles in Galatia. Sadly, after he left that region, representatives of a group known as the Judaizers descended on that fledgling church, teaching that they needed to augment their faith in Christ by following Jewish law. They especially insisted that gentile converts undergo the rite of circumcision.

Paul was infuriated that the church he had founded had so quickly abandoned the Gospel of faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross in favor of a counterfeit gospel that required human effort to assure salvation. He wrote a scathing letter, scolding them for adulterating the Gospel with doctrines of men. We see the reasons for his frustration most clearly articulated in Chapter 5 of his epistle to the Galatians.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves! ~~Galatians 5:1-12 (ESV)

I imagine Martin Luther found this passage helpful as he broke free from the demands of the Roman Catholic Church. Luther rightly saw that  Rome’s elaborate system of sacraments, Purgatory, Indulgences and Papal authority produced a gospel quite different from the Good News that Jesus Christ fully paid for the sin of whoever believes in Him by His death on the cross. Like Paul, Luther sought to turn Christians back to focusing on Christ’s work instead of imagining that they could supplement it through their cooperation.

Notice specifically Paul’s firm assertion that a Christian who supplements his faith in the Lord by depending on legalistic rituals actually nullifies the effects of faith in salvation through Christ’s work on the cross. At that point, a person essentially declares that salvation ultimately lies in our power, not in what Christ accomplished on our behalf.

The sacramental system of the Roman Catholic Church, despite their denials, easily parallels the false teaching of the Judaizers. As a matter of fact, the Judaizers claimed to follow Christ, just as the Roman Catholic Church does. In many respects, the Judaizers presented themselves as genuine Christians, thereby convincing the Galatians to accept their doctrinal error. Not surprisingly, then, the Catholic Church managed to convince Christians of similar errors.

But Paul’s firm refutation against the system of righteousness by works enabled Luther and the other Reformers to stand against Rome’s numerous conditions for salvation. Just as Paul proclaimed that circumcision had no bearing on anyone’s standing before God, so the Reformers proclaimed that sacraments couldn’t add to what Christ had already done. The Reformers returned to the Biblical teaching that Christ Jesus fully satisfied the Law by dying as our substitute.

Roman Catholicism gets some doctrines right, such as the Trinity, but it adds conditions for salvation in much the same way that the Judaizers did. These conditions made humans responsible for sustaining their salvation.

Human centered salvation, however, takes the glory away from the Lord Jesus Christ. It demands that He share His glory with us. Paul recognized that danger among the Christians in Galatia, and he refused to tolerate such a corruption of the Gospel! He therefore set a pattern for the Reformers to follow once they could read God’s Word and understand that Rome had corrupted the Gospel. His passion for Jesus Christ to receive all the glory inspired the Reformers to also develop that passion.
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