A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

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Tag Archives: Christ

How do the deaf hear the gospel?

That is a good question to ask a lady called Jean. I have had a really wonderful evening hearing of the missions work among the deaf in Austria. I must say any day I hear of God’s glorious works in the salvation of any soul I am always intrigued and amazed. This time I was glad to hear of how the gospel is spreading among the deaf in Klagenfurt, Austria. Jean Ellis has given over thirty years of her life to work in Austria.  Her ministry in affiliation with Grace Baptist Mission (GBM) has almost been exclusively among the deaf and their families. By God’s grace some have come to repentance and faith in Christ and by the grace of God the number of deaf believers is growing who are now led  by local sign language using pastors grounded in sound Biblical teaching. The work in Austria has been blessed with conversions and even baptisms.

The work among the deaf:

There have been many challenges in the work; part of the challenges were to translate the Bible into Austrian sign language, prayers of the leaders and new believers. Much prayer is still needed for missionaries to this community group (as well as to many missionaries to deaf people around the world). More missionaries are needed to special needs people whether deaf, blind or mute. Why? Because we as believers have an obligation and a commission from the Lord to spread the gospel. Besides…

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? [Rom 10:14]

May God send workers in to the harvest. May the Lord equip the workers for the harvest. May the glory go to Him alone.British sign language letter A

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Take the Calvinism Test.

The label Calvinist is thrown about flippantly. In some circles it’s used with a snarl and a growl. In most cases people do not actually know what it means. However Times Herald has noted that….

 This label that once was considered very bad in almost all Christian circles is enjoying incredible new popularity. Surging numbers of Christians are attending Calvinistic conferences and reading Calvinistic books and articles.

Calvinism is still misunderstood and is recovering from so many decades of bad press. In spite of that, however, more people opening called themselves Calvinists or variations of that, like mild Calvinists or moderate Calvinists. Have you been labeled a Calvinist? How can you know if you or someone else is such an animal? In a moment I’d like to give you a simple test to determine just that.

The nickname Calvinist comes from the Reformer John Calvin (1509-1564). Although John Calvin taught through books of the Bible day-by-day in Geneva, Switzerland, he is known mostly for teaching that God is sovereign over the salvation of sinners. He taught that God chose to save some people before time began, and then predestined that they would become believers in Christ. …Read More!

Encouraging news: Church planting in Lyon France

When you see a missionary coming home broken in body….

These are just a few interesting quotes I came across from To Every Tribe. Hop over there and take a peek at what God is doing in previously unreached lands…

william careyRemember, when you see a missionary coming home broken in body and weary in soul, it isn’t the privations or dangers or things he’s done that leave a deep hurt; it’s the things he couldn’t do that break his heart.

Anonymous Missionary

 

I have seen, at different times, the smoke of a thousand villages – Villages whose people are without Christ, without God, and without hope in the world.

Robert Moffat, 1795-1883 Pioneer Missionary to South Africa

 

We do not truly understand the gospel if we spend all of our time preaching it to Christians. The gospel is a missionary gospel.  It is a communication of Good News to people and in places where the name of Christ is unknown.

David Sitton, President of To Every Tribe Read more of this post

What God begins, he finishes…

On the perseverance of the saints…

Psa 138:8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Ecc 3:14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.
Isa 46:4 even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.
Jer 32:40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.
Rom 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Phi 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
2Ti 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safety into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Of all whom he has called and brought to Christ, none will be lost

Joh 6:39-40 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Joh 10:27-29 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
Rom 8:28-31 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? …Read More!

What would John Flavel say about MTV (and Miley Cyrus)?

“If you neglect to instruct (your children) in the way of holiness, will the devil neglect to instruct them in the way of wickedness? No; if you will not teach them to pray, he will to curse, swear, and lie; if ground be uncultivated, weeds will spring.” – John Flavel

John Flavel on Providence

Look around in the world, and you may see some in every place who are objects of pity, bereaved by sad accidents of all the comforts of life, while in the meantime Providence has tenderly preserved you .- John Flavel

 

Parents: Do you know where your children are?

A very interesting article on Christian parenting….

I got into a brief conversation with one my classmates the other day. He is a youth minister and was telling me that one of his greatest challenges is dealing with parents who want him to talk to their teens regarding unChristian behavior. The challenge is not so much talking to the teen but to the parent who insists that their child is a Christian and therefore should be exhibiting Christian behavior. In other words, there is denial that the child may not actually be a Christian.

Now as a parent, I certainly understand where this insistence comes from. You have established your home as a Christian home. Christ and his church have taken priority. You want your own commitment to Christ reflective in your household. No doubt, your children have been immersed in church from birth – Sunday school, VBS, Awana. Hopefully you have spent time with them at home training and exposing them to God’s word and to prayer. It seems reasonable then that they should turn out to be Christian. And let’s be honest, there is a level of personal pride to say that we have intact Christian homes. …Read More!

Error always lures the Heart away from Christ.

error and moneyWhy do so-called Christians forsake the pure wine of Gospel joy for the adulterated poison which the whore of the world smilingly holds out to them in her golden chalice? Is it because the message of the Gospel, which once sparkled in the preached Word, and furnished comfort to mourners, has now gone stale? Or has that stream of spiritual joy which has run through the lives of saints for so many generations, without mingling with the world’s polluted pleasures, at last fallen into them and lost its divine nature? No, the Gospel stays the same. . . and the joy it brings is as refreshing and restoring as it has always been. It will be lovely as long as God and Christ continue to be life, for it flows and is fed from their heart.

The problem is not in the Scripture; it lies in those who say they hold to it. Those who insist that they obey this Gospel are not like holy men and women of earlier times. The world has grown callous, and men’s priorities and affections have chilled and become cold. Our palate is no longer chaste; it no longer prefers the heavenly foods served in the Gospel. The cheer is as lively as ever but the guests are as deadened by constant contact with the world. We have grown debauched in our judgments and corrupt in our principles; no wonder that our joys are carnal.

Error is a whore that lures the heart away from Christ and His spiritual joys. Once the mind is confused by error and begins to malign the truth, it affects the heart, poisoning it with carnal joys. Here, then, is the root of the misery of our times. ..Read More!

PCUSA rejects Hymn “In Christ Alone” because it contains “The wrath of God”

If Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) had it’s own way it would write it’s own bible. A bible written in pencil -so that you can erase the bits you don’t like. Speaking of which….

Recently, the wrath of God became a point of controversy in the decision of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song to exclude from its new hymnal the much-loved song “In Christ Alone” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. The Committee wanted to include this song because it is being sung in many churches, Presbyterian and otherwise, but they could not abide this line from the third stanza: “Till on that cross as Jesus died/the wrath of God was satisfied.” For this they wanted to substitute: “…as Jesus died/the love of God was magnified.” The authors of the hymn insisted on the original wording, and the Committee voted nine to six that “In Christ Alone” would not be among the eight hundred or so items in their new hymnal. …Read More!

Todd Bentley gets 34,000 people ‘saved’ in one week without the gospel!

Todd Bentley is eccentric in his practice. He loves being the charismatic preacher he is and will draw a crowd and will definitely continue to do so. I have watched and listened to his ‘revivals’ all the way from Lakeland to South Korea and now in Uganda. Most of these trail blazing show men draw crowds because they preach a message that most of the people they attract want to hear. He promises sensations, manifestations and signs and wonders and indeed he does get to mesmerise hundreds with his showmanship. But at what cost? It is at the cost of the gospel.

This is what Todd reports in his news letter:

One time in my life, a curse was broken that I didn’t even know was on me. It doesn’t mean that there was a witch doctor or a warlock practicing magic or sorcery like we see in the movies that was specifically cursing me. That’s happened, too. I’m not just talking about someone out there with a voodoo doll and putting pins in it. These things happen. I believe in that (sic)….

[So Todd tells of going to a Ugandan town called Jinja where “a curse came over the city for many years-nobody was getting saved, nobody was getting healed, and nobody was getting delivered” till he made an appearance]

I got up on the platform [in Jinja] and I started to break the power of witchcraft, and 1,835 people at the same time started manifesting demons and fell to the ground writhing like snakes. We counted 1,835 people vomiting, rolling in the mud, writhing and hissing on the ground like snakes. …Read More!

John Flavel: If you neglect to instruct children….

child“For you that are parents, or to whom the education of children is comitted, I beseech you mind the duty which lies on you. … For to what purpose do we desire them before we have them, rejoice in them when we have them, value them so highly, sympathize with them so tenderly, grieve for their death so excessively, if in the meantime no care be taken what shall become of them to eternity? … If you neglect to instruct them in the way of holiness, will the devil neglect to instruct them in the way of wickedness? No, no, if you will not teach them to pray, he will teach them to curse, swear and lie. If ground be uncultivated, weeds will spring up.” ~ John Flavel

Hudson Taylor: The heart of an Evangelist and the impossible Chinese mission.

Today there are said to be  between 100-200 million Christians in China. Looking back at the seeds of the gospel sown in China one can hardly forget the labours of one  Hudson Taylor. Hudson Taylor (21 May 1832 – 3 June 1905) had the strongest desire to share his Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ with a defiant atheist who was very antagonistic to Christianity.  A Scripture reader who had visited him had been ordered from the room, and he had even spat in the face of a visiting vicar. This man also had a gangrenous foot that needed dressing. The story then goes that

washing-the-feetUpon first commencing to attend him I prayed much about it, but for two or three days said nothing to him of a religious nature. By special care in dressing his diseased foot, I was able considerably to lessen his sufferings, and he soon began to show grateful appreciation of my care for him. One day, with a trembling heart, I took advantage of his warm acknowledgments to tell him what was the spring of my action, that I was constrained in all I did by the love of Jesus Christ for me. Then I spoke of his own solemn position and his need of God’s mercy through Christ. It was evidently only by powerfully restraining himself that he kept his lips closed. He turned over in bed with his back to me, and said not a word. …Read More!

I’ve heard that before: “Don’t give us Doctrine, we just want to follow Jesus!”

You have heard this countless times haven’t you? “Don’t give me doctrine, I just want to follow Jesus”, what they are really saying is “give me law, not gospel. They are asking for more imperatives and less indicatives. They just want something practical.” But how is this any different than Mormons or theological liberals? Fact is, we need a Savior, not just a moral example. The truth is …

follow jesusYou could not have believed the gospel of Jesus Christ without knowing its contents. You did not just follow a generic Jesus. To be saved you understood that you had no self righteousness of your own and you trusted in Christ’s finished work… which included His living the life you should have lived and dying the death you deserved. This is doctrine. The idea of simply “following Jesus” is requiring more demands of the law because you are looking for Jesus to tell you something you can do. But you need the gospel, not merely law, to be saved or to grow in grace. Indeed following Jesus springs out of a renewed heart. As Christians we only follow Jesus when we know Who we are following and as such we need to preach the gospel to ourselves daily. …Read More!

Many ‘Christians’, many symbol carrying followers but few believers.

fish symbolMy generation has seen one of the highest number of people calling themselves Christians than ever before. On one hand this has been good -on the other hand it has been frankly nauseating. What with all that is going on in the name of Christianity on television? Christians especially where I hail from have become complacent. We hardly have any zeal for the things of God unless it comes wrapped around the wrist of a pastor jumping out of a helicopter with the flash and bang of a Hollywood special effects production team. There is no other fitting message for my generation than the letter to that ‘self sufficient’ lukewarm church that nauseated Christ -the Laodicean church in Revelations. I do hope this excerpt wakes up some….

In His letter to the church of Laodicea, Jesus warns us about the danger of self-sufficiency. Laodicea was a wealthy banking center and proud of her rich resources. In AD 60, the city was destroyed by an earthquake. Rather than accepting aid from the Roman Empire, the people of Laodicea refused any help and rebuilt the city themselves with their own resources. They did not need anyone’s charity.

Yet, while Laodicea appeared to have everything, it actually lacked the most basic of resources — water. Unlike the mountain towns that had cold water streams or nearby Hierapolis that had access to hot springs, Laodicea had no water supply of its own. Water had to be piped in through aqueducts. By the time it arrived, the water was lukewarm and full of sediment. Cold water is good for drinking, hot springs were reputed to have healing qualities, but lukewarm, sediment-filled water neither refreshes nor heals. It is disgusting. …Read More!

Chinese student in Italy tells of conversion from Atheism to Reformed Christian

This excerpt is from a story recounted to Andrea Ferrari an Italian Reformed pastor. It’s the testimony of a Chinese student Yi Wang  in Italy. Born in an atheist family he had never met a Christian until he left his motherland China and travelled to Europe. Yi says…

Italy

Italy

Being a Christian was never part of my life plan. I used to have many plans, from big ones of studying abroad and establishing the career to the small ones of dawdling with girls in clubs. But I never planned to be a Christian, not even in my dreams. After moving to Italy, I came in touch with Christianity for the first time. I didn’t reject everything about it, but looked down on it as something inferior. My belief was pretty much like Immanuel Kant: Christianity, like other religions, has a positive effect indeed to the personal morality and social mood, but unfortunately it cannot be tested by the science and human rationality. So I respected religious people, but, as an evolved human being, I disdained to believe any religion. The Bible says: “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” What I thought was just the opposite: “the heavens and earth mock and deny God.” When I recall it today, it was such a transgression. I used to resist him, thinking that I had no faults and he has no right to judge me. But he let me realize that I was always sinning against him and that there are much more terrible faults than the lack of secular ethics and morality. I cannot understand how God has such mercy to send his only Son to die for me, a son of disobedience. …Read More!

Need another Pope? Pick me! Pick me!

I must be growing old..and becoming a legend. I have seen several Popes come and go (and of recent wait for this) I have witnessed a Pope resign from service! It sure is an absolute rarity -and this has happened in my life time! Wasn’t it just the other day that the white smoke was puffed out of the Vatican chimneys to announce the installation of a new “man of God” with the zeal and enthusiasm of a spring chicken and the agility of a rabbit to absolve helpless sinners of their iniquities,  venerate saints and springboard helpless souls from purgatory? Wasn’t it just a wink ago that Pope Benedict XVI made his first tour of the world to declare his commitment? And just before any one can say ‘Smith Wigglesworth’ guess what he has declared:

Pope resigns… Pope Benedict XVI made the shock decision to quit the papacy because of his deteriorating health. [gasp!]

In a decision that has surprised even his closest aides, the 85-year-old Pontiff said his strength was ‘no longer adequate to continue in office due to his advanced age’.

He announced his resignation in Latin to a meeting of Vatican cardinals this morning, saying he did not have the ‘strength of mind and body’ to continue leading more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide.

The decision is unprecedented. He is the first Pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415 and no Pontiff in history has stepped down on health grounds. …Read More!

A day at the cemetery and burial place of the ‘vilest’ woman -ANN FREEMAN!

The other day my wife and kids came across a peculiar head stone. Some other kids who were around got spooked and thought it was the burial place of some witch. I got interested and decided to go and look for this unusual head stone. I have had to wait a couple of days for the snow to settle down and climb up the hill -and go exploring Pitsea Mount.

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This family head stone is found on Pitsea Mount in Basildon just a yard or so behind St. Michael’s church tower. St. Michael’s church was built in the 13th century  but later fell into ruin and only the church tower remains to this day. The inscription reads:

ANN FREEMAN

Born: 30th March 1837

Died: 20th March 1879

HERE LIES A WEAK AND SINFUL WORM

THE VILEST OF HER RACE.

SAVED THROUGH GOD’S ELECTING LOVE,

HIS FREE AND SOVEREIGN GRACE

Apparently this inscription has intrigued people over the years. …Read More!

Do’s and Don’ts when witnessing to cult members.

There are both do’s and don’ts when it comes to witnessing to cultists. Here are a few tips you will find helpful:

 The first do is, do identify with the cultist. Convince him (or her) that you consider him to be a person in his own right — worthwhile, basically honest, and not trying to put something over on you. Cultists are people before they’re cultists. They have families, they have children, they have needs, they have frustrations and fears, and they are brothers and sisters in Adam, though not in Christ.      In Acts 17 we are told that all people are God’s offspring. This means that in Adam, all of us share a common heritage. So let’s talk to cultists from the family-of-Adam perspective, prayerfully hoping to bring them to the family-of-God perspective. …Read More!

Does God always heal?

First Peter 2:24 says of Christ, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
One of the primary rules of biblical interpretation which must never be violated is context. What is the context in 1 Peter 2? Answer: salvation. There is no way to interpret it in any other sense. The verse is talking about Jesus on the cross dying for us, enduring punishment and bearing our sins, thereby providing salvation for us.
When certain people get hold of this passage, however, they change the context from salvation to physical healing. Every time such people see the word “heal” in the Bible they assume it refers to the miracle of divine healing for the physical body, regardless of whether the context indicates otherwise. …Read More!

J.C Ryle on Human Nature’s Mournful Picture When Christ was Born

Quoting J.C Ryle on Matt 1:2-4

…it is not always those who have most religious privileges, who give Christ most honor. We might have thought that the Scribes and Pharisees would have been the first to hasten to Bethlehem, on the lightest rumor that the Savior was born. But it was not so. A few unknown strangers from a distant land were the first, except the shepherds mentioned by Luke, to rejoice at His birth. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” What a mournful picture this is of human nature! How often the same kind of thing may be seen among ourselves! How often the very people who live nearest to the means of grace are those who neglect them most!

HT Reformed Quotes.

 

Yes, I was “Born this Way” too.

 

[This post was first published in March 2012] Yes, we have heard the chuckle by some vocal ones, “I was born this way”. Jim rightly adds

Except the ‘this way’ referred to has nothing to do with sexual orientation or anything of the kind.  It has to do with the fact that all of us are born totally depraved and that we remain intractably so until and unless the grace of God in Christ aids us to betterment.

As D. Martyn Loyd-Jones puts it

[What does the phrase ‘total depravity’ mean?  It means that ]… man in his fallen condition has an inherently corrupt nature, and the corruption extends through every part of his being, to every faculty of his soul and body. It also means that there is no (observe the adjective) spiritual good in him. Yes, there is plenty of natural good, there is natural morality, he can recognise virtue and so on. But there is no spiritual good whatsoever. That is what it means.

Yup, you were (and so are we all), ‘born this way’. Dead in sin, spiritually bankrupt …Read More!

Ignoring the Atonement leaves you begging at the door step of Christian liberalism for a new Fad.

I while ago my friend Andy wrote a very interesting piece on the consequences of ignoring the Atonement. Was Jesus’ life simply an example for us to follow or did he come as the Lamb of God to take away sins of those who would believe?
[Andy writes] In the early days of liberal theology, it was the vogue to claim that Jesus’ death was the result of His zeal. He shot His mouth off too many times about religious and moral truth, until, finally, His opponents could take no more and had Him assassinated. The theological axe-to-grind of this view was their rejection of the atonement as an objective, meritorious, vicarious sacrifice – in short, as a substitionary death.
Evacuating Christ’s death in such a way, all that remained was His example. Not many evangelicals (a term I am growing increasingly uncomfortable with) would espouse such a radical view regarding Christ’s death, but the accompanying view of His life as merely a pattern or example, has clung on with tenacity in the best of circles. …Read More!

Ten reasons why we will hence forth do no ‘Altar Calls’. No, the piano isn’t broken.

You can imagine the uproar that could occur if the above notice met congregants to most mega churches. Well not only mega churches do ‘Altar Calls’ but most churches I know do. We all know when that moment is a bout to be breached….when the pastor gives a nod and the pianist and worship leader begin to take their places.

But what’s wrong with the ‘Altar Call’ you ask? Well here are ten reasons but first Thabiti Anyabwile humbly explains:

I’m sometimes asked by people why we don’t do “altar calls” at our services. Like the people who ask the question, the churches in my personal background pretty much all practiced “altar calls” at the conclusion of a sermon or service. I’ve seen them done in very poor fashion, and I’ve seen some pastors be really clear about the gospel, repentance, faith, and the fact that “coming forward” does not save. I date my own conversion to the preaching of Exodus 32, which concluded with an altar call.

So, why don’t we practice “altar calls”? I don’t think the pastor who practices an “invitation” at the end of a sermon is in sin, but he may not be acting wisely either. This list of reasons, compiled by Pastor Ryan Kelly of Desert Springs Church, is a pretty good summation of some of my thinking (HT: Z).

1. The altar call is simply and completely absent from the pages of the N.T.

2. The altar call is historically absent until the 19th century, and its use at that time (via Charles Finney) was directly based upon bad theology and a man-centered, manipulative methodology. …Read More!

Does re-orientation or conversion therapy work?

Matt has an interesting post on conversion therapy. Matt is a 23-year-old blogger who is sharing his testimony of being engrossed in a homosexual lifestyle and heavy drinking till two years ago when Matt was transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ (he is no longer a practicing homosexual by the grace of God). I would suggest you read his testimony here. He asks pertinent questions in this article. Do we come to Jesus because of the things we can get from him? Read on….

Although I fully support biblical and spiritual counseling, I am not the biggest fan of the idea of conversion therapy. Nor am I a fan of programs that lead people to focus more on their desire to haveheterosexual attractions than their to desire to know Jesus Christ (who, by the way, is the only One who holds the power to create such a transformation in sexual desires). I just can not bring myself to support the idea of putting someone through a systematic program solely in order to “re-orient” them. Now, with that said, there are many biblical, Christ centered programs out there who help sexually broken people find healing by pointing them toward the grace of God found in Jesus Christ. I would take a bullet for these kinds of ministries, being that I myself struggle with homosexuality and know how confusing and lonely it can be at times. These ministries do great, glorifying work in the Name of Jesus that help many people. They are far from perfect, but what ministry can claim perfection?

Before I became a believer, I heard about Christians who had claimed to be “cured” of their homosexuality by means of conversion therapy, but then these people would later be found in gay bars or having sex with men they met on the internet. After becoming a believer, I have seen and heard this even more frequently. I think the title conversion therapy is often erroneously placed on organizations that are not trying to sexually “re-orient” people, but rather are helping people to find healing through the means of an intimate relationship with their Creator and Savior. Those who have a sound biblical perspective on homosexuality know that the issue of same sex attraction is really just a symptom of a much deeper problem stemming from the innate brokenness and sinfulness of the person’s heart. Sexual re-orientation is not the goal; holiness in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit is the goal. …Read More!

Dear Hooded pastor, ‘Hoodie Sunday’ will not Heal the rift.

I know social injustice and racial issues really cause a lot of polarizing tension in communities. But the bible says that the solution to the depravity, wickedness and injustice in this fallen world is the gospel. If the right balance is not made with most of these social issues and agendas one can get preoccupied running down rabbit holes chasing shadows. What do I mean?

Atlanta, GA– Pastors, ushers and members of the congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church wore hoodies instead of their Sunday best to protest the killing of Trayvon Martin.

“We’re standing as the church of nonviolence to say that a hoodie is not a weapon,” said Senior Pastor Rev. Raphael Warnock. “We stand in solidarity with the family of Trayvon Martin. We stand in support of our children who deserve better than to be stigmatized and stereotyped.”

Pastor Warnock stood in the pulpit on Sunday wearing a maroon Morehouse College hoodie.

Ebenezer is one of countless churches across metro Atlanta and the nation recognizing this as “Hoodie Sunday.”

‘Hoodie Sunday’ is just another band aid social fad. Social justice is good but it has it’s place and shouldn’t replace the exposition of the word of God nor the preaching of the gospel on Sunday. Why should congregational worship of God be put on hold on Sunday because of a social agenda? …Read More!

Sermon writing rules then and now…Crikey!

Seeking to train and encourage men to preach, Dr. Somerville wrote “Rules for Sermon Writing” below (left column).  Nollie Malabuyo ‘s article draws that comparison between Somervilles’s guidelines with the prosperity and megachurch preaching we see and hear today (right column). But who was Somerville? In Glimpses of Old Glasgow (1894), Andrew Aird described Rev. Somerville as…

As a preacher Dr. Somerville was fervent; his style of address was that of a scholar; and his prayers were the outpourings of his heart. As a pastor he was held in high estimation by his people; and he frequently occupied Glasgow and country pulpits, where his discourses, full of the knowledge which maketh rich, were ever listened to by large audiences. There was something in the tone of his voice, and in the light of his eyes and the glow of his countenance which made one involuntarily say, “This man has been with Jesus.”
Read more of this post

On Being Cal-minian (Both Calvinist and Arminian)

Ever met some one who said he is both Calvinist and Arminian; straddles both sides of the proverbial fence?  I am proudly Cal-minian they say. Well I know it gives a theological head ache . Listen to this …..

There is so much wrong with that statement that I don’t even know where to begin. First of all it assumes that two mutually exclusive claims can both be true. This is patently false. Believe in both/and propositions all you want, you and the semi truck cannot both cross the intersection at the same time without grave consequences. There is only truth and error. There is only life or death. …Read More!

Pastor urges Hip congregants to suffer for Jesus by getting Tattooed.

You would think as Easter approaches people would spend more time reading their bibles and focusing on Christ’s death for sinners. No, some pastors are into more hip and trendy (actually goofy) ideas…

In a hip, artsy, area of Houston, a hip, artsy pastor is taking an unorthodox approach to Lent.

Standing in front of his congregation at Ecclesia Church, a congregation he admits is different – more diverse, more urban – than many evangelical churches – Chris Seay encouraged them to do so something he said combines the ideas of sacrifice and devotion that mark the Lenten season, the 40-day lead up to Easter.

He asked them to get tattoos. Specifically, he asked congregants to get a tattoo corresponding with one of the Stations of the Cross, the collection of images that depict scenes in Jesus’ journey to his crucifixion.

“The tendency we have as Christians is to skip past Jesus’ suffering,” Seay said in an interview. “Not only do tattoos come with a bit of suffering, they are also an art form that has not fully been embraced.” …Read More!

Meet The Christians: A Day in the life of a Newly Ordained Pastor

I am grateful to God for the previous interviews and how they have been a primer for people to know more about Christians and what they believe. Today’s anonymized guest is a young man who has just been ordained as a pastor recently. He is a Christian of course, married to one beautiful woman and we will mask him first and then ask him a couple of questions to see what he believes. If you missed the previous anonymized interviews please go here.

ATCT [A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®] : Sorry you are masked from your audience today. What is a typical week in your life like?

CHRISTIAN: Sunday, preaching and pastoring. Monday, chilling and chores. Tuesday, study and administration. Wednesday, pastoral visiting, study, and church meeting. Thursday, household shopping and study, Friday, very unpredictable. Saturday – family day. Throw in three or four trips to the gym and some tropical fish maintenance along with far too much net surfing, some reading, and a little television, and that is about it. Oh, apart from prayer, eating and sleeping.

ATCT: Did you have any Christian influence in your youth or childhood?

CHRISTIAN: Yes, both my parents love the Lord, and so do all my uncles and aunts, and of course, the wider church family.

 ATCT: What is the gospel in one sentence? …Read More!

Where God by His Grace got me from…

I believe I was so spiritually corrupt and prideful and rebellious that I would never have come to faith in Jesus without God’s merciful, sovereign victory over the last vestiges of my rebellion. (1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1–4; Romans 8:7). …Read More!

Amusing the goats but starving the sheep!!

Charles Spurgeon was right…

My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’ That is clear enough. So it would have been if He has added, ‘and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel’ No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Then again, ‘He gave some apostles, some prophets, some pastors and teachers, for the work of the ministry.’ Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people or because they refused? The concert has no martyr roll. …Read More!

Meet The Christians: A Day in the life of a Christian serving in a War and Disaster Zone.

If you have missed any of the previous anonymized interviews with Christians from different backgrounds please go here. Continuing with the same format today’s guest too has been anonymized (so that the glory of the testimony) goes to God. Today’s guest has spent over 18 years working in disaster zones. He has come very close to death countless times while preaching the gospel. He is one unsung hero in many respects but today he will tell us what drives him on even when he is far from family, friends and safety.

ATCT [A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®] : Sorry you are masked from your audience today. Could you tell us what a typical week in your life is like?

CHRISTIAN: I don’t usually have a typical week. Travelling, ministering and lot’s of calls from folks around the world that the Lord has allowed me to encourage and minister to. Study, reading, Praying, meditating, talking to my bride, sharing with my kids.

ATCT: Did you have any Christian  influence in your youth or childhood?

CHRISTIAN:I had basically no Christian influence in my life as a Child. I did attend a very tiny church roughly three times in grade two. I was never one who disbelieved that God existed, I did not however have a relationship with Him.

ATCT: What is the gospel in one sentence? …Read More!

Can we do Coke (or Champagne) and Pizza for Communion?

Clint Archer looks at the communion table and questions surrounding it in his latest article:

After my post on children taking communion I received some great questions. I wanted to address them more fully than in a crammed comment cage.

Have you ever thought of these provocative variables in the form and substance of the Lord’s Supper:

  • Should we not emulate the NT church’s practice of sharing an entire, sit-down meal?
  • Must the bread be unleavened?
  • Must the wine be alcoholic?
  • Must the wine be red or can we use Champagne instead?
  • Where does one draw the line? For example, can pizza and Coke count as communion? I.e. can the bread be sweetened, or have a topping? What about milk and cookies?

Makes the blood boil a bit, doesn’t it? You may have got stuck on the milk & cookies on, and you would probably say: “Obviously not, don’t be dumb.” …Read More!

Aha! So, are you a Calvinist….no ifs and no buts?

So imagine the theological police round you up in a dark street corner and as they breathe down your neck and one asks you,“so, little helpless brat are you a Calvinist?” With the microphone firmly planted to your upper lip say, “You decide. Here is what I believe . . .”

I believe I am so spiritually corrupt and prideful and rebellious that I would never have come to faith in Jesus without God’s merciful, sovereign victory over the last vestiges of my rebellion. (1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1–4; Romans 8:7).

I believe that God chose me to be his child before the foundation of the world, on the basis of nothing in me, foreknown or otherwise. (Ephesians 1:4–6; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:29–30; 11:5–7)

I believe Christ died as a substitute for sinners to provide a bona fide offer of salvation to all people, and that he had an invincible design in his death to obtain his chosen bride, namely, the assembly of all believers, whose names were eternally written in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain. (John 3:16; John 10:15; Ephesians 5:25; Revelation 13:8)

When I was dead in my trespasses, and blind to the beauty of Christ, God made me alive, opened the eyes of my heart, granted me to believe, and united me to Jesus, with all the benefits of forgiveness and justification and eternal life. …Read More!

Preparing a modern day sermon…

After perfecting his visually stunning gimmick, Pastor Antics only had to desperately look for a bible verse to tag along to the message…

Taking the pulpit to the streets…

HT Mike Stockwell via Facebook

Methods, Methods and More Methods: Sacrificing Sola Scriptura on altar of Sola Cultura?

We have seen this happen day in and day out. A church is set up in the corner and before you can even say “Smith Wigglesworth” it has become the local centre of entertainment and creative arts. Along the way you find we have lost the gospel and no longer even mention the name of Jesus lest we offend some first time visitors. So, methodology (and contemporary methods at that) are they neutral? Here is something you can learn from Arturo Azurdia as we go back to scripture….

As a man devoted to the gospel first and foremost, how am I to respond to the steady barrage of novel methods for ministry being advocated today by various expressions of evangelicalism? Is it ethically responsible to disengage my evaluative faculties in the name of contemporaneity? Is it true that methods for ministry are of no real consequence to God insofar as our motivation is the salvation of human beings—that, in fact, our methods should be altogether determined by the unique mores of each cultural context? Is methodology neutral? Or are we dangerously close to sacrificing Sola Scriptura on the altar of Sola Cultura? …Read More!

Celebrity pastors urged to make fashion statement.

What would we do with out fashion? What would we do without celebrity and vanity? Why not bring it all to church?  The world we live in is visually driven and so is the culture. We are excited, enticed and ensnared by what we see. The billboards scream at us, the television adverts constantly beckon us to feed our base urge to desire and covet what we do not have. Yes, we love it don’t we?

If only we could get for ourselves a man and celebrity to feed this primitive urge of depravity. A man to point us to vanity. A man to scratch our itchy ears and teach us things that we yearn to listen to. A man to boost ourself esteem. We will be ready to pay him double and even triple if he can call himself our “man of God”. He could carry the title of “pastor” for all we care.

Some say the office of pastor is a sacred one. One with which comes an immense amount of responsibility. But in our endless search for self aggrandisement we want a hireling that we can call pastor who can desecrate this office. We are many so we will be able to set up a mega church if need be. We will build our man in a mansion and a private jet if he wants one. He could even publish some books and stuff that we deem relevant like seven day sex challenges.

All this is will be his only on one condition. He should not tell us about sin, righteousness and judgement. You see we don’t do bible. …Read More!

Meet The Christians: A Day in the life of a gym loving Christian blogger

I would love to do a lot more exercise than I get to do.  This week we get to meet another Christian. He loves to blog. He loves to read. He loves to blog – did I say that already? He is a husband, a father and a pastor. Well today he dreamily seems to be doing some gym work. And as he brushes past making a bee line for the weights and stuff, we get to stop him in mid action. Hey mystery Christian guest, care for a two minute anonymised interview? [More anonymised interviews here] Listen in to the actual interview:

ATCT [Atwisted Crown of Thorns]: Sorry you are masked from your audience today. What is a typical week in your life like?

 CHRISTIAN:  That’s hard to say.  They’re all a bit different but generally speaking they’re filled with writing, phone calls, hospital visits (when necessary), dropping in on Church folk, posting an occasional bit on the blog, and reading, reading, reading.  And then there’s going to the gym and trying to combat the woes of aging.  But that’s another subject altogether.

ATCT: Did you have any Christian influence in your youth or childhood?

CHRISTIAN: Not at home.  My parents thought of God as a big joke and when I told them I was called to ministry my mother told me I’d be happier being a garbage collector.  My childhood pastors were good and decent Christians though and I was close to them.

ATCT: What is the gospel in one sentence? …Read More!

T.D Jakes’ prosperity and word of faith gospel nearly killed me.

Many times the victims of false teachings (like prosperity gospel and word of faith) are never seen. Some perish in their new found teachings with wads of green money stuck between their teeth. Others wither out in oblivion far from these churches, empty handed with promises of riches and endless frustrations. Why are popular teachers hastily given the rubber stamp of approval without due consideration of the human cost of their destructive teaching?. Thabithi Anyabwile has an interesting article in which he highlights and puts a human face to this discussion. Meet Sean, here is his story…

I am, to be really honest here, very upset by the passé attitudes [towards Jakes] of these brothers (and pastors, I might add). I’m upset for a few reasons, but If I’m being honest, the main reason why I’m so disturbed by this is because the prosperity gospel nearly killed me. Literally. I was so sick I was on the verge of death. I was lying in a hot bath with a temperature of 96 degrees, way beyond dehydrated, and literally dying with mercury poisoning. My mother was crying over my naked body, begging me to go to the hospital for treatment. “NO!” I insisted. How could I put faith in a doctor? “God is my ultimate healer! In him alone will I place my faith!” …Read More!

The “Oneness” side of the Nadarkhani story.

I have not ceased to put this information out not only to highlight the importance of freedom of worship of this young man but also that the gospel may advance in countries like Iran. Today I will highlight another aspect of the story of profound theological importance. You see…

Youcef Nadarkhani has been reported in both the secular and Christian media and periodicals to be under a death sentence for his conversion from Islam to evangelical Christianity. He was arrested on 12th October 2009, in the city of Rasht in the northern part of Iran, where he had been the pastor of the underground church there. He is reported to be the evangelical pastor of “the Church of Iran”. However, what might come as a shock to many evangelical believers is that “Pastor” Nadarkhani is actually one of the leaders in a growing cult in Iran, which is linked with the Oneness Pentecostalism (Jesus Only) cult, which is non-Trinitarian, believes in baptismal regeneration, and is very closely linked and supported by the United Pentecostal Churches outside of Iran. They greatly admire and follow the teachings of an American preacher, William M. Branham, who claimed to be the last of God’s prophets on earth, that the doctrine of the Trinity is from the devil, and only those who are baptised in Jesus’ name are saved.

But what is the wider implication of this? …Read More!

Hi…I have a problem and I need help.

This is usually  the last sentence that an addict will usually say before they are willing to get help. Those of you who have family members struggling with alcohol, drugs or other forms of addiction (and yup, sin too) know what I mean. This week (again) I have had to see some one I love go through denial after denial that they are struggling. Watching these 3 clips of Jeff Allen’s story and his struggles with alcohol and later coming to repentance and faith in Christ have been quite refreshing in a way.

Part 1:

…Read More!

Somebody! Anybody pa-leeeease take Ed Young out of the pulpit into the wood shed!

I am not surprised any more (honestly) at what some of these celebrity pastors come up with. Especially from the guy with endless gimmicks who calls his flock “ferraris“, tells them that they should get a swagger and at the end of it all demands them to give him their bank direct debit details and routing numbers so that he can “joyfully” strip them of their tithes. But that is not all….

Sexperiment author and Fellowship Church pastor Ed Young, who is challenging married couples at his church to have sex for seven straight days, believes that sexual deprivation and not satisfying a spouse within the lovemaking department are sinful.

“I think one day we will be held accountable regarding how we satisfied our spouse’s sexually,” Young told The Christian Post in an interview Friday.

“I would, in fact, off of Romans 12:1 say that sex is even an act of worship because Romans 12 said we can present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is a reasonable act of worship.”

Young teaches in his new bestselling book, Sexperiment: 7 Days to Lasting Intimacy with Your Spouse, that depriving a spouse of sexual intimacy is a sin. …Read More!