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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
[This post was first published in November 2011] Many of you probably do not remember this day because it was a long while ago. In this clip Kirk Cameron (Way of the Master) asks Pastor John MacArthur what the heart of the gospel is. MacArthur then explains (Justification by Faith Alone/Sola Fide) to Actor Kirk Cameron (The Way of the Master) from 2 Corinthians 5:21. Listen to this:
Does TBN still feature questions on the gospel any more?
“Pastors are supposed to be under-shepherds of Christ. Too many modern preachers are so bent on understanding the culture that they develop the mind of the culture and not the mind of Christ. They start to think like the world, and not like the Savior. Frankly, the nuances of worldly culture are virtually irrelevant to me. I want to know the mind of Christ and bring that to bear on the culture, no matter what culture I may be ministering to. If I’m going to stand up in a pulpit and be a representative of Jesus Christ …Read More!
“Churching” the unchurched is a terminology used by many mega churches or purpose driven churches and if you have never heard of it, (let me begin by bursting the bubble) it actually has nothing to do with evangelism. No…
“Churching the unchurched is an absolute fallacy – it is like purposing to let the tares in. It is absolutely bizarre to want to make unsaved people feel comfortable in a church. The church is not a building – the church is a group of worshiping, redeemed, and sanctified people among whom an unbeliever should feel either miserable, convicted and drawn to Christ, or else alienated and isolated. Only if the church hides its message and ceases to be what God designed the church to be, can it make an unbeliever comfortable.” ~John MacArthur
In many countries Thanksgiving Day is celebrated at different times in the year. This day meant a lot to the founding fathers and God fearing ancestors. But today, years later we have a generation that has walked away from God and are left with a meaningless tradition. What and whom does an Atheist thank on Thanksgiving Day? A good question and a dilemma posed by John MacArthur especially when you are all dressed up …
The atheists’ dilemma: whom do you thank when you think there’s no one to be grateful to?
Thankfulness is one of the distinguishing traits of the human spirit. We sense the need to say thanks, and we realize we ought to be more grateful than we are. We furthermore perceive that we are indebted to (and accountable to) a higher power than ourselves—the God who made us. According to Scripture, everyone has this knowledge, including those who refuse to honor God or thank Him (Romans 1:19–21).
Ingratitude is dishonorable by anyone’s reckoning, but to be willfully ungrateful toward the Creator in whose image we are made is to deny an essential aspect of our own humanity. The shame of such ingratitude is inscribed on the human conscience, and even the most dogmatic atheists are not immune from the knowledge that they ought to give thanks to God. Try as they might to suppress or deny the impulse, “what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them” (Romans 1:19).
How sad it is for a man to prepare a sumptuous meal of roast turkey (or vegan mock salad turkey) and then begin to pretend there is no Creator to thank for these provisions or for life itself.
Happy Thanksgiving folks! (And do not choke on the turkey or vegan mock salad turkey) 🙂
In loving memory of Jim Bublitz who went to be with the Lord not more than two days ago, I will feature this post from his blog – The Old Truth.
In the 19th century, R.L. Dabney wrote –
“All the leading Reformers, whether in Germany, Switzerland, England or Scotland were constant preachers, and their sermons were prevalently expository”; the purpose was to explain the meaning of Scripture. So he says, “We can assume with safety that the instrumentality to which the spiritual power of the great revolution of the Reformation – was mainly due to the restoration of scriptural preaching”.
Martin Luther in 1533 said, “The Word of God is the greatest most necessary, most important thing in Christendom.” And it is. I’ll tell you what, you turn away from the Book and you have endless problems. You turn away from the Book and Jesus becomes a clay toy, you can shape Him any way you want. Truth becomes a clay toy, you can shape it any way you want…
See, people want to reinvent Jesus, shape Him any way they want.
-You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit._ – Matthew 7:16–17
One’s basic character—attitudes, inner motives, loyalties, standards—eventually manifests itself in his or her life. Christians produce good fruit in their attitudes and actions. But unbelievers, especially false prophets, will eventually manifest bad fruit.
False teachers can hide their true fruit for a time behind ecclesiastical trappings, evangelical vocabulary, and false fellowship. But how they behave when not around Christians will soon enough reveal their true loyalties and convictions. …Read More!
You have probably heard that question before. Brace yourself…
Avoid superficial interpretation. One of the common problems in interpreting the Bible is this little phrase, “This verse means to me….” so forth and so forth and so forth. Let me tell you something. It doesn’t matter what it means to you, the question is what would it mean if you weren’t alive? What would it mean if you didn’t exist? What does it mean PERIOD is the issue, not what does it mean to you. Sometimes you’ll hear people get together and supposedly have a Bible study which is little-more than a pooling of ignorance. People say, “Well, I look at this verse and I feel this verse is saying…”
It doesn’t matter what you feel. That has nothing to do with it.
It’s not a matter of how you feel about the verse, it’s not a matter of what you think it means to you. Avoid ad-libbing in Bible interpretation. …Read More!
Okay not that I want to cause a stampede but this year’s Shepherd Conference 2012 media is available here.
Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Ca usually hosts an annual event (Shepherd’s Conference) for pastors from all over the world. The topics discussed are usually very nutritious and mouth watering (of course in the spiritual sense). No skinny jeans or sex sermon series or prosperity shtick. The one clip from a couple of years ago (2010) that always reminds me of the Shepherd’s Conference is this one:
Then I said: “Ah, Lord God, behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’” Jer 14:13 ESV
With heads bowed and eyes closed, the music was just right. The preacher shuffles and gently casts his gaze over the reverently silent congregation before he beckons, “Put your hand up if you have tried everything and now you want to accept Jesus into your heart. See, you have a God shaped hole in your heart and only Jesus can fill it.” A hundred to two hundred hands go up in the air. They ask Jesus into their hearts that day-a decision they may well repeat a few more times through that year.
A major denomination which has 11,500 churches throughout the US – in 1991, their first year of what they called “the decade of harvest,” they got 294,000 decisions for Christ. They found that only 14,000 remained in fellowship. That is, they couldn’t account for 279,000 of their decisions for Jesus. And this is normal modern evangelical statistics when it comes to crusades and local churches. Many converts don’t fall away. They get followed up and squeezed into a local church where they’re surrounded by a good social life, and they stay within the church given assurance they’re saved when there is no grounds for their salvation, because they do not have the things that accompany salvation. –True and False Conversions by Ray Comfort
When we hear Christian clichés like ‘Accept Jesus Christ as your personal saviour;’ ‘Ask Jesus into your heart;’ ‘Invite Christ into your life;’ or ‘Make a decision for Christ’ and find that such theology is not scripturally based then we realise something must have been omitted. In order to be saved, a man must repent (Acts 2:38).Asking Jesus into your heart leaves out the requirement of repentance and trust in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31, Heb 6:1). How could it sound so right, yet be so un-right? Yeah. Welcome to the shaken and stirred Gospel Lite! Read More
John MacArthur explains the dangers of making emotional pleas.
I have enjoyed Grace To You podcasts while half asleep on the train, while bleary eyed walking out of the Emergency Room and when chasing stray cats away from the back garden on weekends. Needless to say I have come to respect and love John MacArthur for his love for the gospel. But wait a minute, thats not all….
If I were John MacArthur, for one thing, I’d be able to throw a football further than anyone reading this post. But I would also be faced with a conundrum of existential proportions: What’s next?
[Recently], to the sound of thunderous ovation, Dr. MacArthur completed the expository preacher’s equivalent of landing on the moon. They say the space shuttle carrying Armstrong employed less technology than a modern coffee machine. By finishing the Gospel of Mark, MacArthur has preached on every verse of the New Testament, using less technology than a typewriter (a rollerball was his instrument of choice to handwrite every one of his thousands of sermons).
For 43 years John tunneled his way with a worm’s-eye-view of the Greek grammar and syntax each week in his tiny home study, so that he could share the mined wealth of insight with a hungry congregation of 6000 members, and a waiting planet of innumerable Grace To You listeners. He set out to achieve this goal early in his ministry. It must have been the confidence of youth, bolstered by pro football and baseball scouts desperately wooing him, which fueled his “dream big” mentality.
A lesson learned: If your checklist for success is as mundane as “Big house, small wife, two cars parked outside a two-car garage full of junk, and a couple of kids” you set yourself up for midlife crisis. Either you attain your underwhelming goal and think, like the preacher in Ecclesiastes, “Is this it?” resulting in the purchase of a Harley Davidson, hair transplants, or home renovation. Or you fail to attain your dream of mainstream mediocrity and…find solace in the company of new friends like Prozac or Jack Daniels. …Hee hee. Read More!
Not many people will not recognise the name Harry Emerson Fosdick. Yet the fabric of most Christian Bestsellers, Contemporary Christian Music, Self Help Literature and Pop motivational psychology is dipped in an age old Self Esteem gospel chalice that was popularised by Mr. Fosdick. Speaking of fabrics, remember the Hans Christian Andersen story of The Emperor’s New Clothes? Read More
In the heat of the battle the dirty sweat drenched and blood furrowed brow of the commander perks up as he peers at his scanty remnant. He has seen his men put up a fierce resistance. The devastating onslaught has been from all fronts. Menacingly sustained at times. The reserves are running low. The platoon is now surrounded. There is no time to reminisce or sleep. Fatigue and final consumption never felt so close. His muddied badge barely sticks to his bosom while a few pips are clearly missing from his right shoulder. Despite the haggard silhouette there is no mistaking the undiminished authority he still wields. It will be at least a day or two until the 1st Calvary Division would arrive in the eastern skies –if only they would hold on for that long. However if all failed-the platoon had gone through this worst case scenario over and over; the last resort would be to die fighting than be taken in. Read More