Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sacred Cow Saturday - Episode 6 - Hell, The Great Pulpit Disappearing Act

The subject of Hell or eternal punishment is a bit of a sacred cow in the "modern pulpit". Sacred in the sense of never being mentioned. I've often heard it said that hell isn't spoken about because people don't like to hear about it (I still can't find that verse in the Bible). HELLO - isn't that the point? Jesus obviously didn't heed the advice of smarter more modern preachers when He said "But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him" (Luke 12:5).

Preachers who minimise or ignore hell betray their congregations. It has disastrous repercussions in evangelism and missionary endeavor as John Piper rightly points out . . .

So preacher, do you love your flock enough to tell them about the unquenchable fire that awaits unrepentant souls?

Go On To Episode 7
Go Back To Episode 5
Go Back To Episode 1

Friday, August 29, 2008

Live Cross to Justin Peters’ Meetings in Denmark

The “Back to Scripture”( coming very soon) network has just hosted our first meeting with Justin Peters. Justin is understandably tired after having a late night televised debate in England and then catching an early flight to Denmark. In spite of all of this Justin has been a true soldier of Christ in laboring tirelessly in God’s word and answering the relentless questioning he received.

Integrity is a word that I must use sparingly in these modern times of VIP preachers with bodyguards, private jets and five star hotels but integrity is a word I can lavish on Justin Peters. Not only does he come willingly without asking for money, he never asks for special treatment, and remains extremely accessible to anyone who wishes to speak to him. Justin is someone who never draws attention to his physical disability (cerebral palsy) nor uses it to emotionally manipulate people. His great love and joy is preaching and teaching from God’s Word and he has continually shown himself to be a workman faithfully handling the Scriptures (II Timothy 2:15).

Tonight, in the Danish city of Aarhus, Justin spoke about the difference between true and false revival. It was riveting and pertinent with so many people here sifting through the ruins of the so called “Lakeland revival”. Justin faced a barrage of questions about Todd Bentley and gave many of the audience a refreshing lesson in reasoning from the Scriptures. The questions continued unabated and it became clear from this that the “emergent” movement is alive and well in Denmark spreading it’s poison in many fellowships. Justin dealt with everything biblically and graciously and imparted precious insights to the hungry hearers.

Go Here To Watch Justin's Video Series Exposing the Word Faith Movement

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Man Who Makes Ray Comfort Feel Lukewarm

Mark Cahill is one of the most radical and fervent witnesses for Jesus Christ I know of. Ray Comfort says that Mark is the only guy who makes him feel lukewarm. Mark was recently on Way of the Master Radio to discuss witnessing with Todd Friel. If you want some great instruction coupled with a kick in the pants regarding witnessing then listen in - this is great stuff!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Washer Wednesday - His Secret

People often ask Paul Washer how he maintains his blazing passion and zeal for the Gospel. His answer lies in his testimony . . .

What is your view of conversion? Is it something that happens via praying a prayer? Or is it a supernatural transforming work wrought by God Himself, one that gives a hunger for God's Word, burning desire to preach to the lost, and a longing to walk in holiness?

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules (Ezekiel 36:25-27).

Monday, August 25, 2008

Do You Actively Witness? If Not Why Not?

I hear all sorts of excuses about why people won't witness. The ugliest of all is when "devout people" try and give a "spiritual excuse" like "I wasn't led" or "that's not my gifting". Here is the reality - the Great Commission was issued to all (in the greek that means "all") Christians. When Paul talks about the gift of evangelism in his letter to the Ephesians what does he say the gift is for - "to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:12). The gift of evangelism is for the church, obviously to equip them to share the gospel.

Honesty here is what helps. I think it is good if we humbly come to the table and confess to being scared, not knowing how to, and not caring enough. This was the reality of where I was at when I heard the message "Hell's Best Kept Secret".

Charles Spurgeon said "Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that." He continued, "The saving of souls, if a man has once gained love to perishing sinners and his blessed Master, will be an all-absorbing passion to him. It will so carry him away, that he will almost forget himself in the saving of others. He will be like the brave fireman, who cares not for the scorch or the heat, so that he may rescue the poor creature on whom true humanity has set its heart. If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for."

There are, in reality, only two times we should preach - In season and out of season.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Does a Motorbike in the Sanctuary Make Jesus Cool?

So how cool was that!!? Obviously the pastor is familiar with that obscure biblical verse that says "He that rideth a motorbike into the midst of the congregation will give the Gospel clarity and maketh himself popular to the perishing thereby making Jesus more popular and cool to become a Christian" - Megaliar 13:22

This video is actually poetic and a great metaphor for much of what is going on in "modern Christianity". Now I'm not going to condemn someone for riding a motorcycle into the sanctuary (though you could probably make a good case for it) but it does summise the many endless lures modern churches often try in order to get converts and grow. The crash is a metaphor for the world looking on and laughing because they can see through the lame ideas. The rider getting up after the crash and waving his arms going "It's all cool - I meant to do that" is metaphoric of how to reassure the congregation that everything is under control and "we're definitely heading in the right direction".

On a subliminal level it is an admission that the Gospel does not have enough power in and of itself. I cannot say this for certain in every individual case but it is certainly a prevalent thought among many congregational leaders and perpetuated by church growth experts. But it is a suicidal road trying to add to the Gospel. It both obscures it and distorts it.

The church is relevant because we are different. We offer a message that is unique and is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God unto salvation (1 Cor 1:18).

It has become cliched and popular to use the bogus quote of Francis of Assisi (bogus because there is no proof that he said it) "Preach the gospel, if necessary use words". That is like saying "wash always, if necessary use water". The Gospel is not visual but verbal which is why Paul said "how shall they HEAR unless a preacher is sent".

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sacred Cow Saturday - Episode 5 - Todd Bentley Post Mortem

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I posted a 2 part series exposing Todd Bentley's false teaching at the height of his popularity.
Click Here for Part 1
Click Here for Part 2

Well this sacred cow is now a rotting carcass. Here is a video posted recently quoting a key leader within the Apostolic movement repenting and giving his post mortem of the "Lakeland Revival" and the dire future for the Charismatic movement if they don't start practicing biblical discernment.

There are several things worth pondering in the aftermath of all this.
1. We should be grieved and deeply saddened by the public reproach this brings to the name of our flawless Savior.
2. We should be grieved and praying for the many people deceived by this false revival.
3. We should be grieved for Todd Bentley's marital situation and personal integrity and that he would come to a place of sincere repentance.
4. This once again highlights the need for leaders to have a willingness to speak out when they are in the know for the sake of Christ's Name and the wellbeing of the wider body of Christ.
5. Not just those in charismatic circles, but also in the wider evangelical community need to really go through a deep process of self examination and biblical study so as to be able to biblically critique and examine the claims of every "new thing" that keeps appearing on the horizon.
6. The fact that there were no documented verifiable organic miracles that took place in Lakeland is ultimately irrelevant. Our first port of call must always be the purity of the gospel they preach. Because in the last days the Bible warns us that many will be deceived by miraculous signs and wonders as we see in Mark 13:22 which says "For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect."
7. Self appointed people portraying themselves as an authoritative voice for God should always cause alarm in our spirit and instruct us to proceed with extreme biblical caution.

Here is an article written by John Piper about the "Lakeland revival" and the need for biblical discernment:

Lee Grady, the editor of Charisma, one of the main charismatic magazines, has written a lament and critique of the Lakeland “revival” which is now in a tailspin over the leader's announced separation from his wife. Grady’s summons to pray for the church and our nation is right, and among his commendable questions and observations are these:

"Many of us would rather watch a noisy demonstration of miracles, signs and wonders than have a quiet Bible study. Yet we are faced today with the sad reality that our untempered zeal is a sign of immaturity. Our adolescent craving for the wild and crazy makes us do stupid things. It’s way past time for us to grow up."

"True revival will be accompanied by brokenness, humility, reverence and repentance—not the arrogance, showmanship and empty hype that often was on display in Lakeland."

"A prominent Pentecostal evangelist called me this week after Bentley’s news hit the fan. He said to me: “I’m now convinced that a large segment of the charismatic church will follow the anti-Christ when he shows up because they have no discernment.” Ouch. Hopefully we’ll learn our lesson this time and apply the necessary caution when an imposter shows up."
Charismatics will not be the only ones who follow the Antichrist when he rises. So will the mass of those who today in thousands of evangelical churches belittle the truth of biblical doctrine as God’s agent to set us free (John 8:32).

Discernment is not created in God’s people by brokenness, humility, reverence, and repentance. It is created by biblical truth and the application of truth by the power of the Holy Spirit to our hearts and minds. When that happens, then the brokenness, humility, reverence, and repentance will have the strong fiber of the full counsel of God in them. They will be profoundly Christian and not merely religious and emotional and psychological.

The common denominator of those who follow the Antichrist will not be “charismatic.” It will be, as Paul says, “they refused to love the truth.”

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

Our test for every Lakeland that comes along should first be doctrinal and expositional. Is this awakening carried along by a “love for the truth” and a passion to hear the whole counsel of God proclaimed?

(quoted from )

Go On To Episode 6
Go Back To Episode 4
Go Back To Episode 1

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Home Front - Justin Peters Coming to Denmark (Part 4)

Justin's Itinerary For Denmark

Friday 29th August
Viby Library (in the city of Aarhus)
The Good news about Jesus Christ
The difference between true and false revival

Saturday 30th August
Viby Library (in the city of Aarhus)
Differentiating between true and false gospels
Q & A session

Sunday 31st August
Viborg Baptist church (please note - I do not endorse this "church")
10:00 Church service (subject TBA) followed by a short break and then a Q & A session.

We are so honored to have Justin come and minister to us.

Here is part 4 of Justin's Call for Discernment series

Go On To A Report From The Meetings
Go Back To Part 3
Go Back To Part 1

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

An Apology From The Bottom Line

It has been brought to my attention that it was very difficult to post comments on my blog. Not being a nerd or having any cyber-skills I had no idea about this. My good friend (with a great blog) Lane Chaplin explained it to me over Skype. I had to change my settings in order to allow people other than people with a blogspot account to comment.

This has all now been fixed and anyone can now comment. I am very sorry for the inconvenience and I hope that anyone who has had their comment refused in the past will try and post again. I certainly welcome it.

Tomorrow - Justin Peters Part 4 but to hold you over until then here is Justin Peters appearing on Todd Friel's new TV show "Wretched TV". A word of warning though - the sync is out between the picture and the voices giving a distinct old kung fu movie flavor to it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Washer Wednesday - Not Ashamed of the TRUE Gospel

In our third installment of Washer Wednesday I thought we could take a snapshot of the difference between the "modern gospel" and the true Gospel. Here Paul Washer explains that our relevance as a Christian voice does not come from being like our culture but rather that we are different and the Gospel we preach is scandalous.

Let me ask, which gospel do you preach???

Monday, August 18, 2008

Home Front - Justin Peters Coming to Denmark (Part 3)

Following on from yesterday, here is part 3 of Justin Peter's "Call for Discernment" series. I actually found some of the revelations in this series to be quite shocking.

Go On To Part 4
Go Back To Part 2
Go Back To Part 1

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Home Front - Justin Peters Coming to Denmark (Part 2)

Here in Denmark we are very excited that Justin Peters is going to the effort of coming and ministering to us. Justin is not only a fine expositor of Scripture and Gospel peacher, he also has a very specialised area of expertise when it comes to laying out the lines of demarkation between what is biblical/what is unbiblical/what is false/what is heretical. In a marketplace full of theologies and philosophies, I for one am glad to have Justin's precious ministry visit our shores and and cut a straight edge between between what is godly and ungodly.

Contining on from Friday here is part 2 of Justin's "Call for Discernment" teaching.

Go On To Part 3
Go Back To Part 1

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sacred Cow Saturday - Episode 4 - Where the Feminists Get it Wrong

Following on from last saturday's article on gender roles I thought I would post part of an article by Dr John MacArthur which critiques feminist thought and how it has badly influenced intepretation of Scripture and in turn the exercise of a Christian worldview when it comes to understanding what it means to be a biblical man and a biblical woman.

WHERE THE FEMINISTS GO WRONG! (Article by Dr John MacArthur)

If more Christians understood the methods of feminist thinking and what kind of biblical interpretation they must do in order to arrive at their conclusions, they would likely be more hesitant to accept the feminist position. To understand the feminist interpretation process, we begin by examining their view of Galatians 3:28 and how their interpretation of that verse affects their interpretation of the rest of the New Testament.

FEMINIST VIEW OF GALATIANS 3:28 - The foundation for all feminist interpretation of the New Testament is Galatians 3:28--"Their is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Feminists interpret this verse to refer to an equality which is both theological, regarding men and women’s standing before God, and also social, regarding all of their relationships in day-to-day living. If men and women are equal before God, feminists say, then there can be no differences within their roles and responsibilities in society. Feminists therefore use this verse as the basis for the elimination of all role distinctions between men and women in Christianity. They then interpret all other New Testament verses on women in light of the feminist understanding of Galatians 3:28, thus demanding that no other verse be allowed to teach role distinctions for men and women.

PROBLEM WITH FEMINIST VIEW OF GALATIANS 3:28 - Feminists fail to interpret Galatians 3:28 in its proper context. The verse concerns the subject of justification and the believer's relationship to the Abrahamic covenant. Paul was not seeking to establish social equality in the relationships he mentioned. Rather, he was showing that all, regardless of their standing in society, may participate by faith in the inheritance of Abraham to be sons of God. He was teaching the fundamental equality of both men and women in their standing before God. Even the feminists emphasize that this is a theological passage rather than one dealing with practical matters.

Equality of being before God does not require the elimination of all role distinctions in society. Equality of being does not rule out authority and submission in relationships. We could point to many examples of relationships in which there is equality and yet a difference in roles involving authority and submission--the Trinity, the President and U. S. citizens, parents and children, employers and employees, Elders and church members.

The theology of Galatians 3:28 will result in certain social implications, but they will be the ones given in the Bible. Where authority and submission are discussed in relationships in the New Testament, instructions are given for how those relationships may be regulated so that they function in Christian love and harmony and not with abuse. The Bible does not eliminate authority but cautions that authority should be exercised in a way that honors Christ. Those in authority (husbands, Elders, parents, employers) are instructed to use their authority in a godly way. And also, those who are to submit to these authorities (wives, church members, children, employees) are instructed to submit to authority in a godly way.

Because feminists want to rule out the submission of wives to husbands and of women to male leadership in the church on the basis of Galatians 3:28, they face a serious problem in biblical interpretation when they come to the Pauline passages which explicitly teach the submission of wives to husbands and women to the male leadership in the church. Beginning with their interpretation of Galatians 3:28 that all role distinctions must be abolished in the name of equality, they seek to interpret these other Pauline passages (Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18; I Pet. 3:1; Ti. 2:5; I Tim 2:11-15; I Cor. 11:1-16; I Cor. 14:34-35) in light of that questionable interpretation of Galatians 3:28. Feminists of various persuasions have come up with four different ways of handling this biblical material in order to reach conclusions favorable to the feminist viewpoint:

FEMINIST VIEW #1 - The New Testament passages which teach the submission of women were not really written by Paul but were added by scribes, and thus are not part of the inspired Word of God.

PROBLEM WITH VIEW #1 - This position reveals a low view of the inspiration of Scripture. According to this view, some of the Bible was inspired by God and some was not. Therefore, the Christian, rather than submitting to Scripture, must function as the judge of Scripture--always making decisions about what is inspired and what is not inspired. Both II Timothy 3:16 and II Peter 1:20-21 indicate that God inspired all Scripture, that he was overseeing the process of the writing of Scripture in such a way that the end product is His Word, not the product of human authors. Thus, the Christian views all of the Bible as God's inspired Word and does not set himself as judge of the Bible.

FEMINIST VIEW #2 - The New Testament passages which teach the submission of women were written by Paul, but he was wrong. Those who hold this view believe Paul was too much influenced by his rabbinical background and that in his writing of Scripture he had not reached a full understanding of how the gospel related to relationships between men and women. Thus, he was mistaken in some of the passages he wrote.

PROBLEM WITH VIEW #2 - This position is also based on a low view of the inspiration of Scripture. In this view, too, the Christian must become the judge of Scripture to determine for himself what is correct and what is incorrect. This view assumes that twentieth century man has a better understanding of God's truth than did the Apostle Paul writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Again, II Timothy 3:16 and II Peter 1:20-21 indicate that God worked in and through the writers of Scripture in such a way that the end product was God's perfect Word and not a conglomeration of truth and error put together by human authors.

FEMINIST VIEW #3 - The New Testament teaches the submission of women, but the teachings are no longer applicable in the twentieth century. According to this view, Paul was teaching the world view of his own culture in the first century, but our twentieth century culture is more enlightened about the equality of men and women, so the teaching no longer applies. Or sometimes it is said that writers of the New Testament knew that the ideal was to abolish all gender-based roles but feared to hinder the gospel if they broke so radically with their own culture. Thus, these Pauline passages are relegated to temporary cultural truth rather than universal truth for all cultures and all times.

PROBLEM WITH VIEW #3 - The foundation for Paul's teaching on the role or responsibilities of women is never the culture of his own day but rather the purpose of woman's creation and the woman's failure in the fall as Paul points out in I Corinthians 11:1-9 and I Timothy 2:8-15. Adam was created first, and Eve was later created as a helper for him rather than their being created simultaneously and independent of each other. Eve was deceived and led her husband into sin rather than submitting to his leadership. If the reason for the woman's submission is related to the creation and the fall, than it is not something which can change from year to year and culture to culture. Rather, it is a universal principle.

Some feminists say that there was no submission for the woman in creation but only as a result of the fall, that Genesis 3:16 was the beginning of authority and submission. But Genesis 2:18-25 teaches a submissive role for Eve in relationship to Adam, and Paul interprets it that way in the New Testament. Thus, the cross does not rid us of authority and submission, but it brings harmony to authority and submission relationships.

FEMINIST VIEW #4 - The New Testament, if rightly understood, has never taught the submission of women. If the literary context, the historical context and the theological context were carefully studied, Paul would be clearly seen to be egalitarian, and thus the New Testament teaches that women may fulfill any responsibilities in the marriage and the church that men may fulfill. Thus, “headship" means only "source" and never "leader" or "authority." "Be subject" means only "relate yourselves to" or "respond to" or "adjust yourselves to" and never "submit to."

PROBLEM WITH VIEW #4 - In these last two views the confusion among the various feminist representives comes to the surface. Both groups read these same passages, and some say they teach submission and others say they do not.

Greek lexicons include "authority" as one of the meanings for "head" and "submit" as one of the meanings for "be subject" so that only prejudicial interpretation could limit these words to pro-feminist definitions. This last view is so unconvincing that other feminists even reject it.

If one wants to arrive at pro-feminist conclusions, there are a limited number of ways to interpret the biblical context in order to reach such a position. These four are the alternatives which feminists have devised thus far.

Each alternative has serious flaws which cause the Christian, in the process of feminist interpretation, to sacrifice either a high view of inspiration of Scripture or else to use a false hermeneutic, or principle for interpreting Scripture. Either is too high a price to pay. All of these exegetical gymnastics become necessary just to force the Pauline passages to harmonize with the feminist interpretation of Galatians 3:28. If Galatians 3:28 were interpreted correctly in context to refer to the fundamental standing of men and women before God, and if the feminists did not totally reject any concept of authority and submission, harmony of all the biblical material on the subject would be rather simple.

Go On To Episode 5
Go Back To Episode 3
Go Back To Episode 1

Friday, August 15, 2008

Home Front – Justin Peters Coming to Denmark (Part 1)

Living in Denmark it is very special to be visited by a preacher of the caiber of Justin Peters from “Call for Discernment” ministries ( Justin will be in the UK in late August for a public debate and we (Back To Scripture/Tilbage Til Bibelen) have taken the opportunity to fly him over to Denmark just after the debate and conduct some meetings here.

Justin is a very special individual who was born with Cerebral Palsy and suffered some major disappointments as a teenager at the hands of an unscrupulous “faith healer” who suggested the reason behind Justin not being healed at her crusade was that wasn’t giving enough financially. But Justin didn’t grow bitter and God graciously saved him. He went on to do his Master’s degree at Southwestern Baptist Seminary.

Justin is very knowledgeable in the area of practicing biblical discernment regarding true and false teaching. But more important than that, he is a faithful expositor of God’s Word and aq passionate preacher of the biblical Gospel.

Here’s a video of Justin in action. It's part 1 of a 4 part series on youtube called "Call For Discernment" where Justin Peters exposes serious theological problems in the "Word Faith" movement . . .

Tomorrow - Sacred Cow Saturday

Go On To Part 2

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More Shai Linne - I Couldn't Help Myself

I am so excited about Shai Linne I've got to put up another of his songs. In a sea of man centred repetitive "worship music" this hip hop/rap guy stands out as someone who brings glory to God and packs a serious theological punch.

I would suggest you will learn more of value from 3 minutes of Shai Linne than from the empty rambling warm fuzzies of most "seeker sensitive" preachers. The point in this song is simple, every great leader and figure of history is dead or dying - but Jesus is Alive!


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Washer Wednesday - Be a Man . . . Biblically

For our second installment of Washer Wednesday I thought it would be good to follow up Saturday's post about gender roles with a sermon by Paul Washer about biblical manhood. In an age of extremely short attention spans Paul Washer is a preacher that holds my attention from beginning to end. Difficult to fault biblically, his sermons just carve me up with conviction. This message is so critical in an age where the world's value system has so influenced the modern church-goer as to what a godly man should be.

This is a sermon given on Sunday July 27, 2008 at Grace Life Church of the Shoals (formerly First Baptist church of Muscle Shoals).

Christian Music with Good Theology?

Where do you find music with excellent theology? You might have to turn your ear to my favourite Puritan rap artist if you want to actually learn something biblical and worthwhile. I'm not speaking of the whole genre of course but there is a guy called Shai Linne on the scene who does hip hop with amazing reformed theology.

Theologically Shai is a Calvinist who packs more theology into a 3 minute song than many evangelical preachers do into a 45 minute sermon. Shai is a guy off the streets who finds inspiration from reading classics like "The Cross of Christ" by John Stott as well as preachers like Paul Washer, John Piper, and CJ Mahaney - How cool is that!!

Here is a track from Shai's new album "Atonement" called "Were You There" . . . you just gotta listen to this!

Shai has also been discussed and played on my favorite radio show Way of the Master Radio . . .

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Coming to a Cinema Near You - A Movie Actually Worth Seeing

I am envious of you folk living Stateside for there is an excellent movie opening next month which I encourage you all to see. It's called "Fireproof" and stars Kirk Cameron and is brought to us by the people who made the Christian themed surprise packets "Flywheel" and "Facing the Giants". This is a movie that is not only devoid of expletives, sex scenes, and grotesque violence, but is also a film that is completely unambiguous in giving a sharp and biblically sound presentation of the Christian Gospel. Please support this film so that it might make it to Europe!

Below I have pasted Tim Challies review of the movie. Tim Challies has one of the best Reformed blogs on the web and has reviewed most books you can find in a "Christian bookstore". He is a very hard marker with sharp biblical insight so I read his review with great interest.

Fireproof is a product of the team who brought us Facing the Giants, a film produced with a budget of merely $100,000 that went on to gross $15,000,000. In this new film Kirk Cameron plays Caleb Holt, a fire chief in Albany, Georgia. While he is loved by the men who work for him and regarded as a hero in his town, Caleb struggles in his relationship with his wife, Catherine. After seven years of marriage it seems that the relationship is growing cold. Caleb finds solace in looking at pornography on the Internet while Catherine finds herself in a growing relationship with a colleague. As the couple begins to steel themselves for a divorce, and as they begin the process of ending their marriage, Caleb’s father presents him with a book and challenges him to begin a 40-day experiment he calls “The Love Dare.” Caleb decides to give it a shot, though he does so more to respect his father than to salvage his failing marriage. Struggling to show love for his wife even as she continually rejects him, Caleb calls his father and asks, “How am I supposed to show love to someone who constantly rejects me?” This gives his father an opportunity to share the gospel with him and, armed with the reality of a new love, Caleb sets out to win back his wife’s heart.

I can be excused, I think, for entering the theater somewhat apprehensively. After all, Christians do not have the greatest track record when it comes to combining great spiritual truths with sound art. But in the case of Fireproof I was pleasantly surprised. The film, though produced with a limited budget compared to most of what we see on the big screen, is very well put together. There are really no occasions where I feel a bigger budget might have improved the film, and this despite a couple of extended action sequences where I would almost expect to see quality compromised by budget restrictions. This is clearly not the case.

This is not to say the movie is without blemish. There are a few occasions when the dialog becomes just a bit stiff or stilted and this is especially true in the film’s opening moments. There are a couple of times when I feel that portions of the script could have done with just a little bit more tweaking or when a scene could have benefited from just one more take. Also, I feel that a handful of the minor characters are too weak, either through lack of development or through sub-par acting. But these are really the only downsides worth mentioning. (Is it worth mentioning that everyone in the town has a good Georgia accent except for Caleb? How is it that his father and mother both have that southern drawl and he doesn’t?)

Kirk Cameron is very solid in the lead role and was a great choice for it. He is strong throughout and at key moments, when given the chance to shine, is outstanding. Erin Bethea, who plays opposite Cameron as Catherine Holt is also very good, and this despite Fireproof being her first major movie role (and only her second role overall). Caleb’s father is excellent as a wise, loving, pastoral father. The prominent characters develop well and I found myself genuinely drawn into the story. While the movie deals with difficult and serious themes, it does not take itself so seriously that it cannot pause for a few laughs now and again.

One thing I like to evaluate in Christian movies is whether the film inserts faith themes subtly or blatantly. In the case of Fireproof the person who watches this film will walk away with absolutely no doubt that it is a Christian movie. Faith figures prominently and the gospel is clearly presented. Sinful actions and decisions are shown to have negative consequences and are eventually rebuked. While “The Love Dare” is used to draw Caleb back to his wife, it is clear that this is merely an instrument used by God to do His work. This movie is Christian by any measure. It sweeps to an ending that is powerful and emotional, stirring to tears at least several of the people in the theater with us.

I enjoyed Fireproof and am excited to know that, come September 26, a film with such a good message will be debuting on hundreds or thousands of screens across America. It is a refreshing film with a refreshing message that speaks boldly to a culture infatuated with immorality and convinced that divorce is freedom. I am grateful for this film and pray for its success.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sacred Cow Saturday - Episode 3 - Gender Roles

As a Christian it is critically important to exercise a sound biblical worldview. That means we can understand the world by what Scripture has to say about it. When the Bible tells me that Jesus Christ is the only way to receive salvation from God's coming judgment I can confidently discriminate against all other religious paths as false.

But sometimes worldly ideas infiltrate our church culture actually causing professing Christians to interpret Scripture via prevalent worldly thinking. One of the biggies in this area would have to be the influence of feminism on many pulpits. I mentioned in an earlier post how a preacher at a wedding I attended read a text from Ephesians chapter five and deliberately circumnavigated the verses that told wives to submit to their husbands.

Does the modern church need to keep putting a new spin on Scripture that doesn't conform to society? The Apostle Paul tells us in his letter to the church in Rome not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. What should our mind be renewed to? Well Paul answers this in his letter to the church at Philippi;

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:3-8)

So Christ (the Bridegroom) painted a picture of His love for His Church (His bride) by humbling Himself as a servant and ultimately laying down His life for her. Scripture is clear that godly marriage should reflect this. Husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the Church, and wives should submit to their husbands as unto Christ (and yes, the context is already there in the verses). This is not about importance or value but about a human shadow of something heavenly.

If you have an axe to grind over this then maybe you need to examine yourself and see if you need to die more to self. If it is no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in me then why are we spending time debating these issues of equality. Women should not be treated equally with men - they should be treated better by an adoring husband. Husbands should not be usurped and overruled by their wives - they should be submitted to by a wife who understands that her husband is her covering and the one who is answerable to God for the wellbeing of his family. And ultimately (and I have to confess that my own marriage is a work in progress) a marriage is an opportuntity for two people who have crucified their own flesh to glorify God by displaying Christ's love for His Church and the Church's devotion to Christ.

None of us hit the mark but it is a worthy goal to pursue. Just ask Voddie Baucham . . .

Go On To Episode 4
Go Back To Episode 2
Go Back To Episode 1

Friday, August 8, 2008

Tim the Catholic Calls Back

Yesterday we heard a great witness encounter between Kirk Cameron and "Tim the Catholic". It was very apparent that Tim was massively convicted. As Tim got off the phone they pleaded with him to think long and hard about their conversation. Well Tim did think long and hard and actually called the radio show. Download the podcast and find out what happened to Tim. Tim calls at 26 minutes into the program (have a box of tissues handy).

Pay particular attention to Tim's hunger for God's word and desire to witness to others - generally strong indicators of genuine conversion.

Go Back To Hear The Initial Interview

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Kirk Cameron Masterclass - How to Witness to a Catholic

I have mentioned on an earlier post how much I respect Kirk Cameron as an authentic Christian who actively shares the Gospel. Just over two years ago on "Way of the Master Radio" Kirk was in the studio and a Catholic guy named Tim called in asking some questions. What followed was an amazing fly on the wall experience of listening to a born again Christian witness to a Catholic with tremendous wisdom and knowledge of the Scriptures.

This is a brilliant case of turning on the light instead of exposing the darkness. Kirk never points out to Tim the erronous doctrines of Catholicism but rather explains the Gospel with clarity and Tim joins the dots. Click here to download the podcast and hear the encounter. It starts about four minutes into the program. Kirk teaches us that we can lead a horse to water, and while we can't make it drink, we can salt his oats.

Tomorrow - Tim the Catholic Calls Back

Go On To Hear Tim's Phone Call When He Calls Back Two Weeks Later

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New to The Bottom Line - Washer Wednesday

Paul Washer is possibly the most downloaded preacher in the world. His preaching is making a massive impact among the resurgence of reformers. I believe what is special about Paul is that he is literally a "dead man walking". He is a man who is beyond caring about diplomatic sensibilities and getting invited back. He is a weeping prophet who fervently desires to glorify God with every fibre of his being and sheds many tears over unrepentant sinners.

I have had the great priveledge of meeting and talking with Paul Washer in person and I can say without hesitation that he is a humble and gracious man who has no interest in personal fame or recognition. His ministry "Heart Cry Missionary" is one of the best causes I have ever seen for financial support. They train indigenous missionary's in many third world countries for a tiny fraction of the cost of sending a western missionary.

Paul Washer returned to the USA to speak at a leadership conference after many years in a third world mission field. The sermon that follows "Modern American Christianity" literally rocked my world. Brother Paul drops bombs left, right, and centre on the unprepared audience telling them what he really thinks about the church culture in the USA (and other western countries for that matter). If you don't like it you'll have a hard time trying to biblically fault it . . .

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Why God's Law Must Thunder from the Pulpit (Part 3)

Continued from yesterday . . .

So preacher, I beg you, please don't destroy the biblical meaning of grand concepts such as grace, love, forgiveness and salvation by failing to preach law, wrath, sin and hell. Their very definition hinges on a correct biblical understanding of these truths. This is highlighted in the following account of an interaction between Jesus, a sinful woman, and a pharisee.

One of the Pharisees asked him (Jesus) to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and took his place at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner."

And Jesus answering said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he answered, "Say it, Teacher. A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?" Simon answered, "The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt." And he said to him, "You have judged rightly."

Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven--for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little."
(Luke 7:36-47)

If you really want to love God a lot like the woman who washed Jesus' feet then perhaps you need a deeper understanding of your own depravity and unworthiness. This in turn will serve to magnify Christ's redemptive work on the cross.

God's law serves four functions for those of us in the New Testament era:
1.It stops the sinner's mouth from justifying itself;
2.It helps the whole world realize that they are guilty;
3.It brings the knowledge of sin; and
4.It acts as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.
(Romans 3:19,20, Romans 7:7, and Galatians 3:24).

When preaching God's law it is important to remember that it is a mirror and not a stick. It shows us our utter inadequacy and inability to please God. It is designed to drive men to complete surrender rather than improved behavior. To bring us to the point where we are through with ourselves, where we seek a substitute, where we hunger and thirst for righteousness - it is then that God's grace becomes wondrous. It deepens our gratitude and sense of wonder at how amazing grace really is.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

Go Back To Part 2
Go Back To Part 1

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Why God's Law Must Thunder from the Pulpit (Part 2)

One of the reasons mentioned in Friday's post was that the law is necessary to bring the knowledge of sin. The Apostle Paul confirmed this point in his letter to the church in Rome "What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet.""(Romans 7:7).

It is popular to suggest that everybody knows that they are sinners. But do they really? Scripture teaches us that "every man is clean in his own eyes" and "proclaims his goodness". Sure most people will concede to doing a few wrong things but grace is never amazing to them because they've never contemplated the severe depth of their sin. A give away for this point is that these people often ask the question how can a loving God send people to hell and why is there evil?

I'll allow Voddie Baucham to answer this point.

Continued Tomorrow - Why God's Law Must Thunder from the Pulpit - Part 3

Go On To Part 3
Go Back To Part 1

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sacred Cow Saturday - Episode 2 - Spanking Part 2

Continued from last Saturday where we heard from John Piper on the issue of disciplining and spanking children and why he is willing to go to jail over this issue.

One of the great priveledges in my life has been to meet Kirk Cameron who is well known for the lead role in the "Left Behind" trilogy and playing Mike Seaver in the hit late 80's/early 90's sitcom "Growing Pains". But I was excited to meet Kirk because I have learnt so much from him about witnessing and preaching the Gospel through the "Way of the Master" TV series and the radio show. There is nothing nominal about Kirk's Christianity - he's the real deal. I think of him as a preacher who can act.

Another thing about Kirk and his wife is that they are outstanding godly parents to their six children. Why can't one of these trashy Hollywood magazines do a story about how someone has held down a marriage for 17 years and is raising 6 children in the fear of the Lord? Kirk is dedicated to learning and growing in Christ and in turn discipling his children. So many people spoke so positively about Kirk that I became concerned (pondering Jesus' warning about beware when men speak well of you) but then the atheists took care of that with all their hate mail after Kirk and Ray Comfort's televised debate with the atheists (see my first post on this blog).

So when Kirk recommended a resource for raising children in a way that honors God and is faithful to Scripture I was all ears. And there is nothing Kirk recommends stronger than Tedd Tripps book and teaching series "Shepherding a Child's Heart".

One of the outstanding things about Tedd Tripp is that he does such a great job of expounding biblically on the taboo subject of spanking children. Here is an interview with Tedd on Way of the Master Radio where he discusses the issue of biblical spanking/discipline with host Todd Friel. The interview starts about 20 minutes into the program. Click here to download it.

I think this sacred cow has now been totally carved up!

Pro 13:24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

Go On To Episode 3
Go Back To Episode 1

Friday, August 1, 2008

Why God's Law Must Thunder from the Pulpit (Part 1)

Recently I did a post called "Amusing Grace" where I discussed the futility of trying to preach about God's grace without unpacking the issue of sin. Grace by definition is unmerited favor and without explaining sin people will never grasp why God's favor is unmerited (ie they don't deserve it) and why they need God's grace. It is the knowledge of our depravity that goes a long way towards making grace truly amazing.

I John 3:4 gives us the biblical definition of sin "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law". So if sin is the breaking (or transgressing) of God's laws then it follows that you would need to explain God's law to at least some extent in order to bring home the reality of sin and how serious it really is. Also, if repentance is necessary in order to receive salvation then it is God's moral law that brings the realisation of exactly what we need to repent of.

The word "law" is a hot button among many evangelicals and is prone to produce knee jerk comments such as legalism, works righteousness, and old covenant. But are these labels reasonable or are they actually sweeping something crucial under the carpet.

To be continued Monday - Why God's Law Must Thunder from the Pulpit - Part 2

Go On To Part 2