Monday, November 29, 2010

When Paul Washer Came To Denmark - My Life In Denmark (Part 11)

Yes, pinch me, I couldn't believe it either. The seeds of this visit were planted in the summer of 2008 when three guys and myself crammed into my 97 Corolla and drove 10 hours to Holland (on the one day of the year when you need air conditioning . . . and we didn't have it). The reason for our long trip (in the football locker room atmosphere that my Corolla generates) was that we had heard that Paul Washer would be preaching at one of the summer conferences in the land of canals and windmills. We arrived in time for the first sermon. It was kind of odd because while we had bled the internet dry of every Washer sermon we could find, this Dutch crowd seemed oblivious to how blessed they were to hear from this fine preacher who is the most downloaded on youtube.

At the end of the meeting the dutch all stampeded for the door to relieve their caffeine cravings, leaving us four Danes alone with brother Washer. We thanked him for his ministry and asked a few questions at which point he grew animated. He spoke with great fervor and passion of his heart for frontier mission and his desire to help our labor in Denmark. He told us he would come, and true to his word, he arrived with Charles Leiter (more about him later) just 12 months later in the summer of 2009. For someone in so much demand we are truly humbled for his willingness to come and his continued support on this Scandinavian frontier.

There has been some conjecture over the internet concerning Paul Washer's theology regarding whether he preaches faith alone, and whether he advocates sinless perfection. Both these accusations are utter nonsense propagated by people with faulty soteriology and I have previously dealt with them on an earlier post which is also happens to be the most popular in this blog.

Paul Washer was shocked and deeply grieved over the rampant apostasy that gets passed of as mainstream Christianity in Denmark. He commended us for our evangelism ministry but fervently urged us with the need to plant biblical churches - without which our evangelism ministry would be of little consequence. This was a major shift in our focus and priorities and Kristuskirken became a vision in the minds and hearts of several hungry Danes.

The major highlight of Paul Washer's visit was a public meeting we promoted through Facebook. We had no idea who or how many would show up. But lo and behold, people started streaming through the doors half an hour before the start and we were a packed house once brother washer mounted the pulpit. What a beautiful historic moment to see the Gospel faithfully preached before such a gathering. Here is the video which also includes Mikael Thomsen doing Danish translation . . .

Paul Washer taler i Randers 2009

Rene Vester | Myspace Video

Go On To Part 12
Go Back To Part 10
Go Back To Part 1

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Just Added - The One True God

This outstanding study/workbook on the doctrine of God and His attributes has just been added to my resource directory!

Paul Washer

Category: Theology
Click Here To Order
The One True God is a unique kind of workbook, intending not just to teach truth but to lead to an encounter with the living God. Beneath that goal the book aims to ground believers in orthodox Christian theology and the actual contents of the Bible. Students are encouraged to thoughtfully draw conclusions from the Scriptures rather than to merely absorb the principles, inferences, and illustrations set before them by the author. For this reason the book does not include such material and instead focuses on digesting the Scriptures directly. Through God's own words and under various systematic headings the book unfolds the nature of God. In this way the reader is set on a firm foundation and will readily perceive the centrality and high authority of biblical doctrine within the Christian life. It is the author s conviction that the study of doctrine is both an intellectual and devotional discipline. Therefore students are guided throughout the study to think through and apply the truths they learn, meditating on the demands of Scripture for their heart and mind. The book puts us squarely in the middle of the material, and demands we give searching thought to how we will live before such a God. This workbook is especially suited for doctrinal training for new converts, college or adult Bible studies, private study, home school curriculum, and Sunday school material.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Voddie Baucham Coming To Denmark

I am very pleased to announce that Voddie Baucham will be coming to Denmark next July as the keynote speaker at Reformation Resurrection 2011.

Tuesday July 26th through to Friday July 29th 2011.

Hedemølle Boarding School
Hedemøllevej 31
8850 Bjerringbro

Keep watching for further announcements on this website as well as the following websites:

For further information please email: (English) (Danish)

For those of you unfamiliar with Voddie Baucham's outstanding preaching and apologetics ministry, here is a bite sized sample:

Stay tuned for more announcements as Reformation Resurrection 2011 approaches . . .

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Reds Under The Beds - My Life In Denmark (Part 10)

The Danish workplace is a very new experience to the uninitiated. More than a century of socialist leaning (some might say falling over) politics has left Denmark with a heavily entrenched and muscular unionism in almost every workplace. When the conservative political party is called "Venstre" - directly translated as "left" in english - you know that the political spectrum runs all the way from socialism to . . . well what is to the left of socialism?

Anyway, in a difficult employment environment, God has graciously blessed me with a new job at a pump factory. It didn't take long, first day on the job in fact, until I was approached by the local union representative. He looked like he had been hiding under a bed since the McCarthy era. He had the standard issue protestor ponytail along with the Malcolm X glasses. He gladly informed me, in no uncertain terms, that he was very RED and very proud of it! He then proceeded to make me aware of the "fact" that the USA has 43 million people living on less than $2 per day and that is because they don't have unions. Therefore unions are a great thing and I should join one - specifically his.

In fairness to the guy, he was friendly and didn't try to threaten me like the powerful waterfront union did in my previous job. I was also able to show him that his doomsday statistic of less than $2 per day in the USA was actually referring to the "poverty line" which is more like $80 per day for a family of five. He willingly conceded this point, only to launch into another anti-american tirade. It seems that the only publicly approved racism left these days is anti-Americanism and this guy was willing to take relentless aim! I then informed him that I was more concerned with the real persecution and poverty experienced by suffering Christians in places like North Korea, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia and that these people groups are almost totally ignored by the UN. Furthermore, it is America that leads the way in providing financial aid, labor, and missionaries to these people groups. The downward spiral continued as he then mocked this generosity as something driven by sinister empirical motives.

I have often theorized that it would make a fascinating experiment to take a sampling of union representatives and power brokers and give them everything they want. This would have to push their complaining capability to the limit. It would be intriguing to hear what grievances they could concoct in an environment where they always got what they wanted.

My union friend, and I do like to chat with him, always asks me how I'm doing, and I always asking him how the revolution is coming along. Just last week he told me that he was fighting for justice which was a green light for me. "Oh no, you don't want justice" I told him. Now I was really pushing his buttons and he asked why I said that. I told him that if everyone got justice then we would all be damned to hell. The problem with workers, bosses, corruption, cheating, greed, and selfishness, was not a problem of injustice but the problem of human sinfulness. The good news is that God is delaying His justice giving us time to repent. I then proceeded to share the Gospel with him. Pray for him, that God may open his eyes, save him, and call him to fight for something infinitely more important than workplace politics - the cause of Christ.

It reminded me of my last day at work in my previous job when I did something that really scared me . . .

Go On To Part 11
Go Back To Part 9
Go Back To Part 1

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Deadly Dangers Of Moralism

One of my favorite books is Christless Christianity by Michael Horton because it is such an outstanding expose of the seductive scam of moralistic preaching. Of pushing Christ crucified to the periphery (or out of the picture altogether) in order to teach a moralistic story from a biblical text on what to do and what not to do in order to enhance our lives. Many of us have been so dazed by years of this that we cannot even notice the continual absence of the Gospel from much modern preaching. Moralism is what has been a driving force behind many of the political thrusts that American Christians have made in an attempt to "restore Christian values" back to their rightful place as the moral framework for the American way of life. They have fought many legitimate battles, but the weak underbelly of this agenda has always been a neglect of the heart of the human problem - which is the problem of the human heart. By all means fight for the lives of the unborn (I am also very passionate about that) and the biblical definition of marriage. But it must only be done so with the Gospel at its epicenter. Otherwise, you end up using copious amounts of money, time, and energy, trying to persuade goats to act like sheep!

Macarthur goes on to list 16 dangers of cultural morality. This is a really worthwhile exercise and checklist to go through:

1. Cultural morality, first of all -- and I'm going to give you some of these dangers, so just kind of write them down as we go -- is not our commission. It's not our commission. We just read 2nd Corinthians 5:17 to 20, which is our commission. We could add Matthew 28:19 and 20 or any of the other passages on the great commission: Go into all the world and preach the gospel. It's not our commission. So right at the outset, we are doing something that we have not been mandated by God to do. This then becomes a diversionary activity. And who is it that wants to get us off track?

2. Secondly: It wastes immense amounts of precious resources, time, money, human energy. It wastes it. It doesn't matter whether you go to hell as a prostitute or a policeman. It only matters that you go to hell. All this effort to clean up America. Can the "leopard change his spots"? Can the "Ethiopian change his skin"? So says the prophet. Are you able to become something other than you are? It's just a waste of resources. Ephesians 5:16 says: "Make the most of your time, because the days are evil. And understand what the will of the Lord is" and don't be foolish. And I'll tell you: I know what the will of the Lord is, 'cause it's laid out. It's to preach the message of reconciliation. It's to preach the gospel. That's the will of the Lord. And to do something else is to be "foolish," to waste time. I'm not interested in making this country moral. I'm interested in bringing people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, so that He can recreate them so they will become moral.

3. Thirdly: This effort at cultural morality sets up inevitable failure. It sets up inevitable failure, because you can't do it. No one can be truly righteous and moral before God, apart from the transformation of his soul by the Holy Spirit through the gospel. The heart of man is "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked." And if you don't change the heart, all you do is redirect the sin. If some sins become illegal, then people will do other sins, or they'll do the ones they want to do in secret. Efforts at cultural morality are programmed for failure.

4. Fourthly: Cultural morality fails to understand the nature of the kingdom of God. It fails to understand the nature of the kingdom of God. Listen to what Jesus said, John 18:36: "My kingdom is not of this world." There's no connection. "If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting." That's interesting to me. If My kingdom was a part of this world, we'd be engaged in a battle here to prevent you from taking Me captive. Jesus says, "My servants would be fighting," and I might not be delivered up to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not of this realm. To spend all your time and energy and effort fighting for some element of human society -- this is the point -- fails to understand the nature of the kingdom. The kingdom is the realm of salvation where God rules over and blesses those who are in Christ. Do you want to bring blessing to this nation? Then preach the gospel. Because there is no connection between a national entity and the kingdom of God. Jesus said it as clearly as He could: "My kingdom is not of this world." They're two completely separate realities. Why is it that somehow we've gotten this idea that we have to posture America politically for the advancement of the kingdom of God? They have absolutely no connection. I've heard people say if America keeps going the way it's going -- if sin is more and more acceptable in our society, if it gets more and more corrupt -- it's going to cripple the impact of the gospel; it's going to cause evangelism to be hard to do, if not illegal. We have to fight for all these freedoms in order to have them to preach the gospel. There is nothing that can be done, has been done, would be done on the face of the earth by men, politically or socially, that has any impact whatsoever on the purposes of God in redemption.

5. Fifthly: This effort puts the responsibility on man rather than God; well-intentioned people trying to do the impossible. I'm a pretty realistic person, and I don't mind tackling a hard task if I can do it. But I really don't want to spend my life trying to do what I know I can't do, and what I know I can't do by my own ingenuity. I do not, in myself, folks, with my persuasive powers of speech, with my intensity, with my self-discipline or my work ethic, I do not have the ability or the capability to make people moral. I can't make this country moral. It's just a battle I can't win. Because those who are "accustomed to doing evil," Jeremiah 13:23 says, can't do good.

6. Number six: This effort at cultural morality creates morality without theology. I don't like anything without theology. I want theology in everything. I don't like anything without theology, because I cannot understand anything apart from God's revelation of it. My understanding of the world is completely subject to what scripture says. But in this cultural morality, this sort of growing religious right effort, there is a severe ignorance of theology, some ignorance of God, ignorance of His word, of His holy law. So that they're trying to accomplish something that doesn't have the theological underpinnings. It's just a matter of money, persuasive speech, media events, pressure groups, forcing people to do things. That is -- that is not how you get it done. There is such a severe ignorance of God's truth, such a severe ignorance of God's word.

There was one gentleman who's involved in this being interviewed, and asked some very penetrating questions. He replied well, I'm not a theologian, so I don't know about that. Well, he ought to be enough of a theologian to know about it. I'm very concerned about efforts at morality that are not undergirded with theology, because they don't have the right motive. You hear people say all the time well, we've got to protect our children. Well, that's a reasonable thing. That is not the highest motive for what we do. My goal in proclaiming the truth is not to protect my children. That's my responsibility before God. I'll do that. I'm not trying to create a national environment that's going to somehow incubate my kids. It sounds good. But my motive is the glory of God and the honor of God. And sometimes, I am so consumed with the honor of God that I feel very comfortable praying like David did: Kill all the bad people. God, kill them all because they're dishonoring Your name, and they're wicked and they're our enemies, and for Your own glory. It's like the people in the 6th chapter of Revelation under the altar: "How long, O Lord," how long are you going to let this go on before you bring a stop to it and be glorified? If you don't know theology, you really run amok. This is a movement that could use some pretty serious injections of sound theology.

7. Number seven: It fails to understand, this movement in cultural morality, fails to understand that salt and light as indicated in Matthew 5: We are the "salt of the earth, the light of the world."

That salt and light are not moral influence, but gospel witness and the power of holy living. They always say well, we have to be salt and light, we have to be salt and light, have to be salt and light. Well, the imagery of Jesus in the sermon on the mount with regard to salt and light is the image of the shining forth of truth. That's the light. And the preservative of godly living. We are light when we proclaim the light, and manifest our good works. That's what He says. And glorify our Father who is in heaven. And we are salt when we are a preservative, because of the virtue and the godliness of our lives.

Well, number eight, and I'm just kind of giving you just a quick look at these.

8. Number eight: Cultural morality is dangerous because it has no New Testament model to follow except the Pharisees. So if you're going to try to find a New Testament pattern for this effort, you're going to end up with the Pharisees. They were the moral ones. And you know what Jesus said about them? Matthew 23:15: He said when you are through making somebody a convert to your morality, you have made him "twice as much a son of hell as yourselves." Wow. Wow. So if you're looking for a New Testament model for cultural morality, you're going to end up with Pharisees. They were legalistic. I don't know about you; I don't think I would be rejoicing to live in a Pharisaic-dominated society; dominated by the mandates of self-righteous, cruel, merciless legalists, who laid heavy burdens on people, right, and gave them no help to bear them, Jesus said. Jesus said to them one day as they picked up stones to stone an adulterous woman: Whoever is "without sin... throw the first stone." And stones started dropping. I don't know that I'd want to live in that kind of environment. There is no New Testament model for political action. Jesus didn't try to overthrow slavery; neither did Paul; neither did any of the Old Testament. Both Jesus and Paul, however, did say if you're a slave, be a good one, be a faithful one, be an honest one. Serve your master well; make wise investments; do it under the Lord, and God will reward you. And if you're in a harsh, difficult situation, you'll know His grace.

9. Number nine: This cultural morality -- and this is a very important one -- creates unholy unions in which the unbelieving and enemies of the gospel are welcomed.

You can find a lot of non-Christians to agree that we ought to have a more moral country, right? You could get the Muslims in on that one. You could certainly get the Mormons in; there's a lot of that. Get the Roman Catholics involved; you can get Jewish people involved, those who are Orthodox, committed to the Old Testament. So now what you've got, you've got an alliance like ECT, Evangelicals and Catholics Together, for the purpose of creating cultural morality. You create these unholy unions. You do exactly what 2nd Corinthians 6 says not to do: "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship" has light with darkness; what agreement has Christ with Satan? "Come out from among them and be separated." But what happens? You're trying to achieve something through the legal system or through the court system or through lobbying or through media intimidation. And in order to get your power up to a level where you can make a dent in the society, you embrace people who agree on the issue. You get with other people who are anti-abortion, anti-homosexual, anti-euthanasia, who are against pornography. And you get all together and you're going to accomplish this with these co-belligerents. And something immediately happens, and that is this: The gospel is eclipsed. Because if you proclaim the gospel in that environment, you'd blow up your organization you spent so much time and money to bring together. The gospel then would become destructive.

10. So, that leads to number ten. This effort at cultural morality leads to acceptance of inclusivism. And what I mean by that is it starts to stretch the boundaries of the kingdom of God to embrace these people who are not in Christ. And we've been through that, haven't we, over the last couple of years? You have people saying oh, you know, I -- certainly there's going to be well-intentioned Jews in heaven, and there are going to be people in the Catholic church in heaven, and there are going to be Mormons in heaven. There are going to be some -- there's some people -- and I've read you quotes from everybody, Billy Graham down through the ranks who, you know, are saying sure, there are people who are going to experience the wider mercy. This is part of -- this is part of why I wrote the little book "Why One Way?" It is so important. But if you've spent all your time working on this cultural morality, and you've dumped all your money in, and you've pulled all these people together to get the money and the power to pull off your enterprise, you can't introduce the gospel, because the gospel will undo everything you've done. As soon as you say to those people by the way, you're on your way to hell -- by the way, we really need your money and we want your energy and we want your power and your political clout and we want this and we want that -- but we also want you to know that you're not in the kingdom of God. As soon as you say that, you've just blown your organization up. So, you don't say that. And eventually, what you do is you just get this inclusive idea. And that fits wonderfully well with post modernism, which says there's no such thing as absolute truth anyway. And if there is absolute truth, we can't know it. So your truth is your truth; my truth is my truth; create these moral alliances in which you embrace people who don't believe the gospel. And Paul says if you meet anybody who gives you any other gospel than the gospel that I gave you, "let him be cursed." And he said it twice in Galatians 1. You can't do that in that environment. You've got to walk a fine line or you'll blow up your whole organization. You can't preach the gospel. The gospel gets eclipsed.

Well, there's a few more things to think about. I have time for a couple more.

11. Number 11: This effort at cultural morality becomes selective as to the sins it attacks. It becomes very selective as to the sins it attacks. I don't notice that they're really hard against pride, do you? I haven't seen a great effort in the religious right against materialism. I haven't seen a great effort even against divorce. In fact, they rarely say anything about adultery. They're really against homosexuality; that's so bizarre and abnormal. They're really against pedophilia; that's sick and abnormal. They're against killing babies; that's safe. Who can imagine doing that? They're against filth and pornography. And there's a certain satisfaction in their morality about that. But there are a lot of other things they don't talk about. At one point in America, the greatest advocate for the religious right, the national spokesman, well-known politician was, while he was developing the contract on America, involved with a woman who wasn't his wife. It's a selective thing. And let me put it down where it really needs to be. It doesn't deal with the worst sin in the world, the worst sin in the world. You say do you know what the worst sin in the world is? Of course, so do you. You know what the worst sin in the world is. You don't think you do? Yes, you do. What's the greatest commandment? What is the greatest commandment? "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind" and strength. Therefore, what's the greatest sin? Break that commandment. How're you doing? You've committed the greatest sin. You want to talk about morality? Let's talk about that. You want to talk about sin? Let's not pick out five that we can easily assault because, you know, we don't do those five. Let's talk about the fact that you have broken the greatest commandment; therefore, you've committed the greatest sin that any human being can commit, and it is the sin that sends you to eternal hell. You have failed to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind" and strength.

And as R. C. Sproul one time said, and you know you haven't kept that commandment at any time in your life for five seconds. You can't keep that commandment. It's impossible. So let's talk about that. If you want to go after America's immorality, then let's indict the whole nation for not loving God. That is not only the first and great commandment, that is the sum of the commandments. And the second commandment is to: "Love your neighbor as yourself." And you can't keep that one for five seconds. So if we're going to get moral, then let's go where we need to go, because that, wrote the apostle Paul, is "the sum," and Jesus as well, "The sum of all the law." Why do we have to pick these selective ones? If we're going to call America to morality, then let's indict them where they need to be indicted, and let's indict our own hearts where we need to be indicted, and say we've broken the first and great commandment, and we've broken the second one, and we do it all the time. And therefore, we are all condemned to hell, in desperate need of grace and forgiveness and salvation. That's the message.

12. Well, number 12: This -- cultural morality fails to understand the true nature of spiritual warfare. It fails to understand the true nature of spiritual warfare. They talk about this as spiritual warfare; this is spiritual warfare. It's not spiritual warfare. It's not spiritual warfare to get engaged in human efforts politically to change laws. What is spiritual warfare? 2nd Corinthians 10: Spiritual warfare is smashing down all human ideologies with "the truth" of God. That's spiritual warfare. And bringing captives out and bringing them into obedience to Christ, submission to the truth of God, to the word of God. The real spiritual war is simply this: You have a whole world of people who think wrong. Their thinking is damning. They think wrong about themselves; they think wrong about God; they think wrong about Christ, if they think about Him at all. They need to think differently. They need to know the truth. They need to know the gospel. They need to know the truth about themselves, the truth about God, the truth about Christ, the truth about His work, the truth about salvation, grace, forgiveness. They need to know that truth. And it's when you bring that truth to the person and you engage in the war with their mind so that you can bring the truth to bear upon wrong thinking, that's the real spiritual war. It's an ideological battle. But the real war is bringing the truth of Christ to those in error.

So what is the church to be doing? To be preaching the glorious, extensive, complete and full message of redemption in Jesus Christ, and to take that great message to these people who are fortified in these ideological fortresses, in which literally they're going to die, unless somebody smashes the walls of those lying fortifications with the truth. That's the real spiritual war. It's not a political one. It's for the minds and eternal souls of people, and it's about the truth; delivering them from error to truth.

This is important, 13: I don't think I have too many sermons with this many points.

13. This cultural morality thing is dangerous because it makes those we are commanded to lovingly reach with the gospel into the enemy, rather than the mission field. Have you noticed that? The unbelievers, the immoral people -- the pornographers and the homosexuals and the abortionists and whoever else -- become vilified and hated. They become the enemies. They aren't the enemy, folks. They're the mission field. They're the mission field. I think again about Jonah. The Ninevites were wretched people; I mean they were really wretched. They were pagans. They slaughtered their enemies, and they piled their skulls in pyramids. They damned up rivers with dead bodies. They would cover pillars in buildings with the flayed skin of a conquered ruler. That's ugly stuff; wicked, haters of God, enemies of Israel. God tells Jonah: Jonah, go preach to them. Says, ha, no chance. And he heads 2,000 miles in the opposite direction. That is a repulsive thought. Preach forgiveness to a Ninevite? Eventually, after being swallowed and vomited -- frankly, any fish would have vomited up a bitter prophet like Jonah -- he went to Nineveh and he preached; 600,000 people probably, and the whole place repented. And then he was really mad. He was. He was miserable. He was so mad he wanted to die. That's the severe danger in moralism. He was -- he was sort of a racist, Jonah was. He was a legalist. He didn't want any of these wretched, wicked Gentiles that he had grown to hate horning in on forgiveness. I always want to make sure that the sinners in my world know that I love them enough to offer them forgiveness. I don't ever want them to think that I hate them. There is a holy hatred of sin and the sinner. But Jesus could even weep over them. And so must we.

Well, a couple more.

14. Number 14: Cultural morality brings persecution and hatred of Christians for the wrong reasons. Boy, could I talk about that a long time. Of course, I could talk about almost anything a long time. But in particular, this. You know, Christians are getting vilified today in the media. They are getting persecuted for the wrong reasons; not because we're preaching the gospel. I remember one time when Georgi Vins was in this pulpit. This was in the days when Russia was still closed to Christianity, and Georgi Vins was one of the leaders in the underground church in Russia, and he was out. And he came here to our church, and he came here and he spoke, and his daughter was his interpreter. And I asked him the question. And I said, Georgi, I said, are you persecuted in Russia? Are you persecuted by the Communist regime? And he was saying how they were persecuted and imprisoned, killed, and telling the whole story. And I said, you know, do you ever -- do you ever protest this kind of treatment? Do you do anything to bring this to the attention of the people? Do you use any means that typically in America we use to raise the consciousness of people of these injustices, et cetera? And I'll never forget what he said to me. He said, you know, he said, we have determined as a church that if we are ever to suffer, it will be always and only because we have proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ. And that's right. 1st Peter 4:14 says: "If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed." People who call themselves Christians today are getting vilified by the world for their political positions, and for their animosity and hostility toward the people who are the people we're supposed to reach.

Well, two more.

15. This cultural morality reverses the divine order. It reverses the divine order. That is, it makes morality the power for salvation. The idea is if we can get a more moral America, then more people are going to believe the gospel. If we can clean up the country, that will give greater opportunity for the gospel. That's really a reverse of the divine order. Morality is not the power for salvation. Salvation is the power for morality, right? So if we want to change the nation, what do we need to be working on? The gospel.

And lastly, and I'm not going to develop this at all because I've done it in the past.

16. This effort at cultural morality fails to understand the wrath of God. It fails to understand the wrath of God. In Romans 1 it tells us that when God is angry with a nation that has turned against Him: "When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God." Remember that? When God is angry at a nation that has had the truth and spurned the truth, it says three times: "He gave them up. He gave them up. He gave them up." That's a form of God's judgment. He gave them up to sexual immorality first. He gave them up to homosexuality second. Romans 1: "Then He gave them up to a" twisted, "reprobate," useless "mind." We look at our nation. We see sexual immorality rampant. We see homosexuality rampant. And we see the reprobate mind everywhere. This is evidence of the wrath of God. Can I, by my political effort, overturn the wrath of God? I don't know what God is doing in the world. But I know what my mandate is. My mandate has to do with the gospel and the gospel alone.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Just Added - Concerning Christian Liberty

This classic work by Martin Luther has just been added to my resource directory.

Martin Luther

Category: Apologetics
Click Here To Order
It is argued by many that this essay is one of Luther's most important theological treatises. It has sometimes been rendered into English as The Freedom of a Christian, or simply On Christian Liberty. The Christian life is marked by faith working through love. When a man applies himself with joy and love to his works he is satisfied in the fullness of his own faith. No Christian lives in himself, but in Christ and too his neighbor. It is not from works that we are set free by our faith in Christ, but our belief in Christ will justify us before God. One of Luther’s main aims in this piece was to condemn belief in works, and establish a right view of salvation by faith alone, in Christ alone. Christian freedom was being free from the idea that good works were a means to salvation, yet in Christian freedom one would exercise good works in light of the grace God had shown in salvation.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Frikirkenet's Opposition To The Gospel - My Life In Denmark (Part 9)

Our evangelism organization - Tilbage Til Bibelen (Back To Scripture in english) - has continuously encountered resistance to the biblical Gospel from church leaders in Denmark. This resistance was actually a kind of stealth hostility that brewed beneath the surface of Danish civility. But we were brought face to face with this antagonism towards the biblical Gospel when one of our evangelism videos got posted on Frikirkenet's danish website otherwise known as Domino. Frikirkenet is the Danish version of an "evangelical" alliance between most professing Christian denominations. This evangelism video was put on their website to proclaim the Gospel and teach others how to evangelize (for my english speaking friends there is an interactive transcript of this witnessing encounter if you double click on the video, which will take you to the youtube page, and then click on the transcript icon beneath the video).

If you look around the Domino website you will struggle to find anything about Christ crucified and the Gospel He delivered. You would think an evangelism video was just the right thing for this website - but NO! This video was removed within a day of being posted and it wasn't even stored in their archives. Yet the following bizarre and irreverent video of a man diving into a baptismal font was actually posted on the Domino website for months (you only need to watch the first few seconds):

Här dyker Jorge ner i dopgraven from Tidningen Dagen on Vimeo.

This series of my life in Denmark is going to culminate with the local church that we (some like minded believers) planted in Denmark (Kristuskirken) and why we needed to plant a church. Frikirkenet serves as an excellent illustration of why biblical churches are needed in Denmark. To join Frikirkenet you have to pay a fee and agree to their "doctrine". What is their doctrine? "Believe the message of the Bible and the old church creeds". That is about as foggy as the winter mornings in Denmark. Unity is easy when you agree on the message of the Bible without ever delving into what that message actually is. And you can forget altogether about anything that even remotely defines or explains their version of the gospel - all we know is that they don't like the real one.

Just recently, Frikirkent showed more of their true colors by inviting New Age philosopher, Steen Hildebrandt, to be the keynote speaker at their leadership conference. What's more, after exerted pressure to explain themselves, Frikirkenet finally responded to explain themselves. They didn't even deny Hildebrant's new age philosophy, they just thought they could learn from him (and throw 2 Corinthians 6 out the window at the same time). How can I sit in silence while many of my Danish friends are caught up in this farce! This is a disgraceful joke and it needs to be publicized so that those who love the truth would wake up to this con. Supporting Frikirkenet, either financially or through involvement, is actually participating in an organization that opposes the Christian Gospel. There may well be authentic believers and sound preachers within the Frikirkenet umbrella, but now is the time for those people to "man up" and start forcefully contending for the once for all delivered faith. If you are one of those people and you're not willing to contend then come out of it. Church goers of Denmark - wake up, rise up, and join or start a Christian church that actually preaches and teaches Christianity. If you love the Gospel then you will find a sanctuary at Kristuskirken where the Gospel actually does get preached - and we even define it! My conscience is clean of the idea that this is brazen self-promotion. All fear of that evaporated when I realized that the theological shortcomings within my local fellowship are incapable of plunging the depths of biblical incompetence on display with Frikirkenet.

For those readers in the english speaking world "Frikirkenet" is the Danish word for a network of church leaders united by their common ignorance of plain biblical teaching. More to come . . .

Go On To Part 10
Go Back To Part 8
Go Back To Part 1

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dying To Preach? - Wise Counsel For Preachers

On my recent trip to Texas, I made a stop at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth) to survey the campus and speak with faculty. I regularly entertain the desire to study at seminary level and Southwestern is definitely on my shortlist for many practical, as well as theological reasons. My friend Billy, who is a student there, guided me around the beautiful campus and was even able to introduce me to Dr. Steven Smith, who is the Dean of the College and Professor of Preaching. Not only was Dr. Smith a very friendly and accessible guy, but he was also someone who brought me great encouragement as a preacher. This was because Smith is a loud and vocal advocate on the evangelical landscape for a return to expository preaching. This is very much showcased in his recently released book, "Dying To Preach". The title has a double meaning referring both to the fact that preachers should have both a burning desire to preach coupled with a dying to self in order that Christ may be magnified.

In this book, Smith diagnoses and remedies one of the major plagues that has infected many modern evangelical churches - an abandonment of Scriptural foundations and a steady drift towards consumer driven philosophy. Smith sums up the disease in this brief, yet thorough statement:

When the context of preaching is more important than the content of preaching, then the context becomes the content itself (p51).

Think about that comment! We see this problem everywhere today from seeker sensitive Elvis impersonators, to second rate worship bands playing "cutting edge" 80's music, to the postmodern insanity of the emergent movement where propositional truth is despised. For the duration of the book, the reader is repeatedly bombarded with the solution - to preach messages that orbit around the biblical text. Smith's adherence to, and relentless advocacy of, expository preaching is to be commended. When something is of first importance then it usually needs to be repeatedly hammered into my skull until my mind starts to undergo renewal. There are many seeker sensitive mega church pastors that should ignore their pragmatic church growth manuals and get themselves a copy of Dying To preach. Smith goes on to say that:

It is necessary that the preacher not preach himself but Christ only. The unbeliever is in the dark; Christ turns the light on, and proclamation is used by God in the process of illumination. Therefore the damnable sin of the preacher is to put anything before people less than the message of Christ, the Word (p73).

These are sobering and convicting words. As a preacher who lives in the constant war zone between my spirit and my flesh, I have to be ever vigilant against my carnal cravings for recognition and applause. And this hazard is subtle because it can also manifest when we:

Decide that our desire not to have any attention drawn to us is more important than the people understanding the text. Therefore we never take any risk in the pulpit and defer to our covert pride that is masked as shyness (p75 emphasis mine).

Dying to Preach is also a strong apologetic against the prevailing evangelical wind of preaching moralizing stories, particularly from the Old Testament. Smith forcefully teaches the necessity of preaching Christ from ALL of Scripture:

Christ understood that the witness of the Old Testament was a revelation of Himself . . . therefore, there is not a text that one can preach that will not ultimately point to Christ. The point is not that every text is about Jesus as a person. Rather, the point is that every text fits somewhere in the history of salvation. And, the point of the history of salvation ultimately is to exalt Christ (p94).

It is also pleasing to see that a book that has so much precious insight into a biblical understanding of the who/what/how with preaching, also has fervent adherence to preaching the cross rightly with the transcendent emphasis on Penal Substitutionary Atonement:

At the risk of overstatement, I will go so far as to say that in certain contexts the statement "Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin" is not true. It is not that a core truth does not exist; rather, the problem is that in the statement's failure to carry the glorious meaning of the theological truth, it emasculates the statement to the point of falsehood . . . The indictment of contemporary preaching is not that it says wrong things but that it does not say right things clearly (p126 emphasis his).

Smith takes time to delve into the critical word "propitiation" and strongly advocates the traditional reformed understanding. I am hopeful that the author has an acute awareness of the sinister stealth attacks against this doctrine by several so called "respected evangelical theologians" - one of whom has the initials NT and always thinks he's Wright.

If you are dying to preach the Gospel, then get your hands on a copy of Dying To Preach.

Steven Smith

Category: Theology
Click Here To Order
Drawing inspiration from the seminal preacher, the apostle Paul, Steven W. Smith takes a fresh look not just at the how of preaching, but at the whys. In 2 Corinthians 4:12, Paul describes the philosophy of his ministry as “death in us, but life in you.” Building on this scriptural framework, Steve Smith illustrates the theology of preaching through the metaphor of vicarious suffering, dying so that others might live. As he elaborates the intersection of the cross and the pulpit, Smith shows why the preacher must die to self, die for others, and die in Christ so that congregations may live.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Justin Peters Calls Denmark To Discernment - My Life In Denmark (Part 8)

The previous post in this series highlighted the farcical state of professing Christianity in Denmark. When high profile Pentecostal leader, Lars Due Christensen, evicted me from a Christian conference - for sharing the Gospel with people - it was just one example of the dreadful biblical illiteracy that plagues church leadership throughout Denmark - whichever denominational stripe they may be. Not only that, it was a blatant demonstration of the overt hostility to the biblical Gospel by those who profess to be the shepherds.

The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.

"Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: As I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.

"For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. (Ezekiel 34:1-16)

True shepherds do two things; they feed sheep and they protect them from wolves - not feed sheep to wolves! With this in mind and the reality that many church goers in Denmark were entranced by the "kookiness and spookiness" of the Word Faith prosperity preachers (at least the remainder of those who were not either liberal, emergent, or purpose driven), I called upon my dear friend Justin Peters to see if he was traveling anywhere near Europe in the coming months. As providence would have it Justin was going to be doing seminars in England and had space in his schedule to fly over to us in the summer of 2008 and teach his "A Call For Discernment Seminar". Consistent with the cowardly practices of Danish church leaders it was apparent that there had been somewhat of a stealth campaign with "strong encouragement" for people not to attend Justin's seminar. As usual, it seems that an open discussion with Tilbage Til Bibelen (our evangelism ministry) was not an option. Nonetheless, Justin graciously came and ministered to us. If you haven't seen his seminar, it is jaw dropping! Justin is not a bitter individual, but he does offer an even handed, yet devastating, biblical critique of the preachers who seem to monopolize airtime in religious broadcasting. Here is an overview of Justin's seminar:

Thou shalt not criticize is not the eleventh commandment. It is a manipulative technique used by false teachers to protect them from scrutiny. God's Word has survived millennia of scrutiny, but these Word Faith charlatans cannot survive any!

Coming Friday - Frikirkenet (which is a Danish word that means "a network of church leaders united by their common ignorance of plain biblical teaching").

Go On To Part 9
Go Back To Part 7
Go Back To Part 1

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just Added - The Shepherd Leader

This manual on highly acclaimed manual on shepherding ministry has just been added to my resource directory!

Timothy Witmer

Category: Church
Click Here To Order
This is a book that strives to bring the importance of shepherding to the forefront of our thinking about what church leaders should do and, therefore, what they should be. Too many church leaders perceive of themselves as a board of directors when the Bible is clear that they are to know, feed, lead, and protect the flock entrusted to their care. The Shepherd Leader unpacks the four primary ministries of shepherds - knowing, feeding, leading, and protecting - on macro (church-wide) and micro (personal) levels, providing seven elements to be incorporated into an effective shepherding plan.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Getting Kicked Out Of A Pentecostal Camp For Evangelizing - My Life In Denmark (Part 7)

Today I am going to talk publicly for the first time about an awful personal experience that occured over two years ago at a Christian conference in Denmark. It was the day I incurred the wrath of the Pentecostal movement in Denmark for witnessing to some people at their annual conference. What triggered my decision to speak publicly was when I recently found out that the man who banned me from the 2008 Pentecostal conference in Denmark (Pinse Camp in Danish) - because I was sharing the Gospel - is the same man who has recently labelled one of my closest friends as a "modern day pharisee" (there is some conjecture that he actually gave that label to the whole evangelism ministry I am a part of). Well how about that! I was under the strange impression that one of the hallmarks of acting like a pharisee is sabotaging the preaching of the Gospel . . .

And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. . . So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. (Acts 4:1-3,18)

The man in question is Lars Due Christensen who is a high ranking Pentecostal pastor in Denmark and is also an influential voice in the wider Danish evangelical landscape. It would seem that playing the Pharisee card is a useful option for a church leader who needs to deal with a problematic church goer - especially the problem of those who dare to ask theological questions or preach the Gospel based on what Scripture says. Christensen's Pharisee comment (which he claimed was the general consensus of his peers) resulted in a close friend of mine being banished from the pulpit of his home fellowship. With ramifications like that, you would expect a pastor to provide some biblical basis for such a strong allegation. But no, the Pharisee card has diplomatic immunity. The Pharisee card demolishes all objections in it's path. The Pharisee card absolves the prosecutor of any responsibility to substantiate his claims. The Pharisee card is the emergency off ramp from the hermeneutical highway. The Pharisee card is the steadfast friend of the biblically incompetent pastor.

After almost four years of living amidst the catastrophe otherwise known as "Danish Christianity" I can no longer remain silent. What follows is my account of the day Lars Due Christensen had me evicted from the 2008 Pentecostal Conference in Denmark! It would seem that I committed the unpardonable sin of the annual Pentecostal summer conference - preaching the Gospel where it never gets preached - at the annual Pentecostal summer conference! I think it is time to set the record straight. When friends of mine cut all correspondence with me without ever giving a reason or even talking to me, when a fellow evangelist nearly has a speaking engagement cancelled because he is friends with me, and when I keep learning shocking truths about myself through third parties - then it is time for me to recount the events of July 14th 2008 as they actually happened.

Monday the 14th of July 2008, my family and I travelled to the small town of Mariager to visit some friends who live there. It just so happened that the annual Pentecostal summer conference was happening at the same time. We saw that there were meetings being held there during the evening and decided to go and hear the speaker who was from England (I always like to take the opportunity to listen to messages in English). The sermon was something along the lines of Foxes Book of Emergents With Hurt Feelings and ended with an "inverse altar call". What do I mean by "inverse altar call"? It is an altar call where, instead of people coming forward under conviction of sin in order to repent before God, hurting and victimized people were called forward to get a big cosmic hug. You can tell a lot about the gospel a man preaches by how he portrays mankind. Are we victims in need of therapy or sinners who need to repent. Undoubtedly, some people are victims, but unless the victim sees his personal guilt that is transcendent over his misfortune, he will never comprehend a cross meant for criminals that was substituted with a Savior. The whole experience was all so lame and pathetic that I went out into the pleasant night air of the Danish summer. What I witnessed outside, looking around the conference grounds, was a large smattering of teenagers and young adults enjoying the wide variety of entertainment being provided for them on site.

I stood in line to buy some candy and satisfy my sugar habit. I usually carry tracts and talk to strangers wherever I go and standing in line was no different. I had some optical illusion tracts in my pocket and offered one to the guy behind me. He showed it to his friends and they came to me wanting one of the tracts. More and more people started to gather around asking me for these tracts. I decided to tell them that they had to let me ask them 2 questions before I gave them each a tract. The first question was – if I wasn’t a Christian tell me why I should become one? By this point there was maybe 20 or more people gathered around me and none of them were able to give an answer to this question. It is important to remember that the day will come when we will answer to God for the things we say and the things we are silent about. If someone who professes Christ cannot give a good reason why someone should become a Christian it should raise a serious question as to whether that person understands the message of the Christian Gospel.

The second question I asked them was – if I had three minutes to live and I wanted to know how to get to heaven what would you say to me? Again no one could answer this question. At this point I was grieved in my spirit and longed to tell them about the Cross of Jesus Christ. These were not difficult questions about transubstantiation or ecclesiology. This was basic level Christianity and these youth were completely out of their depth. I longed to share the Gospel with them and I did. CJ Mahaney says that we should preach the Gospel to ourselves every day and I am a firm believer that you can never hear the story too many times. Furthermore, I told the people nothing outside of normal historical Pentecostal doctrine. Pretty much similar content to what was on the tract. By this point even more people had gathered around. I told them about the Holiness of God, and then about the sinfulness of mankind and how we have all broken God’s commandments, then I spoke about how the day is coming when everyone will be judged by God and that our greatest need will be righteousness on that day, then I spoke about what Jesus did for sinners by fulfilling the law that they had broken and then by taking the Father's wrath that they deserve as a substitute on the cross. That the good news of the Gospel is about how the wonderful Savior took the sins of the sinner upon Himself and imputed His perfect righteousness to the sinners account that we can have pardon from sin, and righteousness before God. I finally shared how God now calls all people everywhere to repent of their sinful ways and trust in Jesus Christ alone to save them from the wrath that they deserve.

I stopped speaking and stood there expecting everyone to leave. Some people applauded and others were weeping under conviction but no one left. Several of them asked me to continue - this was not planned and noone was being held against their will. With all the other entertainment going on around them they were free to leave but they were hungry to hear more. How dull and pathetic worldly entertainment is when compared to the thrilling doctrine of imputed righteousness - especially to a group of people, many of whom were beginning to grasp their own unrighteousness.

I pleaded with them to think about these things. I told them not to just believe what I was saying but to test it according to Scripture and read one of the four Gospel’s in the Bible. I was not after their money or trying to get them to join a church. I was concerned about them and their understanding of salvation knowing I may never speak with them again. That was certainly Lars Due Christensen's desire - that I would not speak with these people again. The following day, Lars Due Christensen, who was one of the main leaders and organizing pastors at the conference had people on the lookout for me. He duly tracked me down, demanded that I leave the conference site immediately or security would provide personal assistance in finding the exit. In fairness to Lars Due, he should have been concerned - I could have been a Mormon! But he was in no mood for conversation. I asked him to give a reason for the eviction and he wouldn't give me one. I showed him one of the tracts I had been handing out and asked him if he objected to any part of the message contained therein - again he wouldn't answer. I asked him what I had done wrong - you guessed it, no answer. Just prior to my hasty departure I was given the obscure remark that I had confused the people I talked to but no further explanation on what he meant by this.

Some of the readers may consider the possibility that I am only giving my skewed perspective of a tense situation. Well this is how I later recounted the events to Lars Due via e-mail, a version of events that he never even questioned (except for our farewell conversation - I have a recording of that instead). But in the days, weeks, and months that followed, I easily noticed that my popularity had declined to the level of a pork chop in a Synagogue. Nothing was said to me directly, but the silence was deafening. The saga will continue on Monday . . .

Go On To Part 8
Go Back To Part 6
Go Back To Part 1

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

God Is Not The Author Of Confusion - But NT Wright Is A Strong Contender

Brian McLaren is getting some stiff competition from NT Wright in the "Confusion of the Obvious" stakes. NT Wright denies the truth of Genesis and that Adam was a literal person, thus denying the fall and grounds for redemption in Christ. He just has a very long winded, mind numbingly boring, and Gospel illiterate way of doing it . . .

Such an attack on the authority of Scripture is worthy of total mockery. And someone has beaten me to the punch:

Tom Wright Reads Humpty Dumpty

"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall"

Clearly the writer is telling an Israel story, and here alludes to the Temple. This echoes other lines in early 2nd Nursery Literature, such as Mother Hubbard’s cupboard (the “storehouse” of the Temple) and the bone (resurrection life) which she sought for her dog (“Gentiles”). “But when she got there, the cupboard was bare and the poor little doggie had none.” The temple had nothing to offer the Gentiles, and they thus remained in their state of Adamic sin and decay.

So here, too, one should not be surprised to discover that the Temple and its “wall” are bankrupt. The next line, then, is not a shock, but an expectation:

"Humpty Dumpty had a great fall"

Again, this is patently a forecast of the Temple’s destruction (and contra Crossan and Borg, an entirely possible historical forecasting). Doubtless this claim is intended to lead the reader to ponder the eschatological recreation of the Temple. Since Humpty stands for the Temple, he seems to be sharing in the divine identity, functioning as the locus of God’s presence, not outside of, but within creation.

Of course, this fall is an exile of sorts, the loss of God’s presence. The tension is palpable: how will humpty’s story not turn out dumpty? In other words, this line presupposes what I have called elsewhere the great metanarrative of humpty, not least the promise of resurrection.

"But all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put humpty together again."

So the Temple will be built again, but not by human hands. Many have undertaken to suggest that this passage runs counter to a belief in resurrection. But this atomistic reading of the text lacks imagination. Of course, it is the king himself who will put humpty together again, and this great act will complete the metanarrative.

After all, Humpty is the place where the Creator God is resident with his creation. But the human inability to recreate Humpty does not negate all human effort for creation, which should be done in light of the proleptic nature of the king’s restoration of Humpty and all creation.

Written in Durham Cathedral, dedicated to Rowan Williams’s left eyebrow.

(Courtesy of Jason Hood at the Society For The Advancement of Ecclesial Theology)

Monday, November 8, 2010

I Haven't Forgotten The Rick Warren And John Piper Controversy

As Friday's post was derived from the Third Lausanne Congress, I was reminded of two things. First that John Piper was speaking at that Lausanne Congress, and secondly, that I will soon be critiquing Rick Warren's message at John Piper's Desiring God conference. As a preview to that upcoming series, I will state that the whole Rick Warren saga at Desiring God 2010 was shocking for three major reasons:

1. I am all for John Piper speaking with Rick Warren, but I am shocked that he would invite Warren as a keynote speaker to his conference.
2. The content of Warren's message was the usual one hour of "how to fix your life" and "hey everybody, look how humble I am". This surprised me because I thought Warren's chameleon like behavior would dictate that he would come to this setting with crowd pleasing reformed theology and dupe them into thinking that he's in our camp.
3. That those on the platform, when asked for feedback on Warren's presentation, either sat there with that glazed deer in the headlights look or dug deep to find some complimentary things to say about it. Needless to say this left me with a deep sense of betrayal since I strongly identify with John Piper as one of the heroes who lifted me out of the mire of man centered therapeutic moralism into the stratosphere of God's Sovereignty and Glory in redeeming evil sinners through Propitiation. Why was he dragging me back to taste this vomit once again, and why was he not taking this lame moralist to task for his crimes against the Gospel?

This will all be discussed in more detail in the not too distant future. But I am very pleased to say that I was thrilled to hear Piper's message at the Lausanne Congress because his message served as a stern correction to the evangelical drift towards alleviating human suffering without speaking of eternal suffering. This is the second part of Piper's address where he zeroes in on the neglected subject of God's wrath :

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Just Added - Reforming Our Families

Peter and Lenora Hammond's manual on defending our families from worldly infiltration and cultivating a biblical worldview for our children has now been added to my resource directory!

Peter Hammond

Category: Parenting
Click Here To Order
The family is the basic building block of society. The battle for the family is in the very frontline of the World War of Worldviews. This powerful new resource for families is packed with positive and practical insights and strategies that fathers and mothers can use to raise God-fearing children. Reforming Our Families is a compendium including contributions from 8 different authors from a wide variety of backgrounds. Contributors include two young home schooled teenagers, one from America and the other from Africa; and parents from both sides of the Atlantic. The primary author is Lenora Hammond (wife of Peter Hammond) who is a home schooling mother of two daughters and two sons coupled with a wealth of missionary and ministry experience.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Persecution Update From North Korea

I am delaying my next post in my current series on my Danish experiences due to the fact that I will be naming some names and sharing some little known facts about my eviction from the Danish Pentecostal conference in 2008. I am still awaiting some verification of some correspondence and as such will not be posting until next week (hopefully). In the meantime, I thought it would be inspiring to share an article on something way more important than my petty travails - the persecuted church! Dr. Peter Hammond just sent me this story concerning the testimony of a girl from North Korea. North Korea is covered in a media blanket and we rarely get a eyewitness account from inside Kim Jong-Il's maniacal communist regime. So this story caught my radar - hopefully yours too!

One of the most moving presentations at the Cape Town 2010 Congress on World Evangelisation was presented by an 18 year old North Korean girl, Gyeong Ju Son.

Gyeong Ju Son was born in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. Her father was a high ranking communist government leader, an assistant to the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il.

In 1998, when Gyeong Jun was only six years old, her father fell out of favour with the political leadership and the family fled to China. There her parents encountered the grace and love of God and were converted to Christ. A few months later her pregnant mother died of leukemia.

“It was in the midst of this family tragedy that my father joined a Bible Study led by missionaries from South Korea and America and after a time his strong desire was to become a missionary to North Korea.”

In 2001 her father was arrested by the Chinese police and deported to North Korea where he was imprisoned. Her father’s faith was only strengthened during his three year incarceration in North Korea. After Gyeong Ju Son was reunited with her father, he chose to return to North Korea. “Instead of enjoying a life of religious freedom in South Korea, he chose to return to North Korea to share Christ’s message of life and hope amongst the hopeless people of his homeland.”

In 2006 her father’s work was discovered by the North Korean communist government and once again he was imprisoned, and, as far as she knows, executed for refusing to renounce his faith in Christ.

In China, Gyeong Ju was adopted by a Christian family. Their love, compassion and protection of her made a deep impression. When they left for America she was given the opportunity to go to South Korea. While waiting at the South Korean Consulate in Beijing, Gyeong Ju’s life was dramatically changed when she encountered the Lord Jesus Christ in a dream. He said: “Walk with Me. Yes, you have lost your earthly father, but I am your Heavenly Father.”

She surrendered her heart, soul, mind and strength to the Lord Jesus Christ to do with as He will’s. She was flooded with a deep love for the lost people of North Korea and of the need to bring the message of Jesus to them. This became her life’s purpose. “I look back over my short life and I see God’s hand everywhere: 6 years in North Korea, 11 in China, and now in South Korea. Everything I suffered; all the sadness and grief, all that I have experienced and learned; I want to give it all to God and use my life for His Kingdom. In this way I also hope to bring honour to my father.”

Gyeong Ju Son is still a student and she intends to study political science and diplomacy at university and then to dedicate her life to working for the rights of the voiceless in North Korea.

“Brothers and Sisters here in this place, I humbly ask you to pray that the same light of God’s grace and mercy that reached my father and my mother and now me, will one day soon dawn upon the people of North Korea, my people.”

As one, the thousands of participants at the Cape Town 2010 Congress on World Evangelisation rose in a standing ovation with the most thunderous applause in praise to God, and in solidarity with this young Korean girl and her vision for reaching North Korea for Christ.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Starting To Take Action - My Life In Denmark (Part 6)

Pop Quiz - what did many Lutheran churches in Denmark do on October 31st?
A - Commemorate the Reformation
B - Celebrate Halloween
Clue - If you are a cynic then you will get the right answer!

Yes, that's right, on the 493rd anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, many Lutheran Priests in Denmark decided to celebrate halloween. After all, the Reformation was only the single most momentous event to ever happen in Europe. Unfortunately, irony is nothing new to the state sponsored Lutheran culture in Denmark. Luther never wanted a movement named after him but his conscience was captive to Holy Scripture. Today, in Denmark, we have a movement named after him that wants nothing to do with Holy Scripture. If you are a Lutheran Priest who fits this profile then do everyone a favor and stop masquerading as a spokesman for God (I refuse to even acknowledge female priests). If you are one of the conservative protestors of this madness then start actually making some noise as you protest. Being protestant does not mean hiding in a corner in a silent vigil of opposition!

Over the last few posts I have been lamenting/documenting the catastrophic collapse of biblical Christianity in Denmark. I say it not for the sake of complaining, but as a call of provocation! I have quickly learnt that courtesy and good manners have become a massive hindrance to people responding proactively. It's the old frog in the kettle syndrome! It has led to the point where many of the professing Christians here, actually comfort themselves in the knowledge that they attend a "church" that is less heretical than most of the others.

My discontent had become unbearable by early 2008. I drew up a battle plan taking much confidence from the fact that I was absolutely convinced of my inability to make the situation any worse. My starting point was that I knew the Gospel and as such, knew that it was not being preached anywhere (though I have since become aware of a few Lutherans who do proclaim the true biblical Gospel) in Denmark. Jehovah's Witnesses needed to beware that they were no longer going to be the only ones who witnessed to Danes. And we planned to testify about the real living Jehovah!

After extensive sniffing around and surveillance of Danish internet pages, I was able to gather a dozen people in my sunroom (a Danish oxymoron if ever there was one) and cast the vision for an evangelism network. Tilbage Til Bibelen was born that chilly night in April 2008. It was a plan to evangelize people via Gospel tracts and one-to-one witnessing, train willing Christians, and exert pressure on churches/ministries by challenging them to approve/repudiate an orthodox doctrine statement.

It was a start, but not a total solution. And I was about to find out that evangelism can be a very serious crime in the eyes of a Pentecostal pastor . . . serious enough to get me evicted from their conference site! More to come . . .

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Discerning/Defining True And False Gospels - My Life In Denmark (Part 5)

The "Christian landscape" in Denmark was a very bleak place to survey. What was I doing here? Amidst all the negatives (see part 4) I venture to see that God's providential hand in all of this was to sharpen my understanding of the Gospel, and my ability to discern between the true Gospel and the myriad of false ones (many of which thrive in modern evangelical churches).

At the core of this season of discovery was immersing myself in the wonderful doctrine of double imputation. John Macarthur says that this is the doctrine that clearly separates Christianity from all other works righteous religions. Avatar is boring. "Your Best Life Now" – yaaawwwwn! But becoming a Christian is a supernatural transforming work of the Holy Spirit. 2 Corinthians 5:21 is exhilarating! It is about double imputation – what is that I hear you ask? Imputing the sinners sin to Christ and imputing Christ’s righteousness to the sinner. It is about God treating the righteous as if he lived the sinners life so that He can treat the sinner as if he lived the life of the righteous one. That is unbelievable good news. As grace is favor that we don't deserve, so double imputation is a credit to our account earned by Christ and a debt laid upon Christ's account owed by us. It is a system where God gets all the glory and we should give all the praise.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

So I'll leave you the reader with an investigative assignment in your own local church to see how they measure up. 8 signs of a gospel without double imputation and 8 signs of a Gospel with double imputation at its core:

What Does a Gospel Without Double Imputation Look Like

1. A gospel without double imputation is a gospel where God forgives us because we tell Him we're sorry. God is bound by His character and nature - He cannot violate His demand for justice. All of mankind must suffer the just wrath of God for eternity in hell unless . . . a substitute stands in our stead!

2. A gospel without double imputation is a gospel where Jesus died to give us a second chance. A man who is unregenerated by the Holy Spirit is a man dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1-3). A second chance is no use to a corpse. He needs the Divine intervention of resurrection power!

3. A gospel without double imputation is a gospel with a god who loves us but requires no justice. If God were unjust He would not be loving.

4. A gospel without double imputation is a gospel where Jesus is an example but not a substitute. Passages such as Phillipians 2 certainly teach us that Jesus set an example how we should live. But it is His role as a penal substitute that only makes that possible. Jesus came to do something we are incapable of doing - fulfill the law without sinning. Jesus came to suffer what we cannot endure - take the punishment of God's wrath in the place of sinners. It is only possible to follow Him as your example after you have trusted Him (in repentant faith) as your penal substitute. Modern catch phrases like "live the gospel" and "you are the gospel" are ludicrous in the light of the fact that we should be proclaiming the One Who is completely unlike we are as fallen men.

5. A gospel without double imputation is a gospel where conversion requires a decision but not a transforming work of the Holy Spirit. Does your salvation hinge on the prayer you pray or on the finished work of the One you are praying to?

6. A gospel without double imputation is a gospel where people are victims but not guilty criminals. Therapy and self-esteem are hindrances to true repentance. It is only when we see ourselves in the true light of our wretched depravity that we can see the kindness of God demonstrated in sending Jesus to die for sinners. Sinners who need forgiveness more than social justice. Sinners who need imputed righteousness more than hedonistic happiness.

7. A gospel without double imputation is a gospel where repentance is an option but not a command. "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31)

8. A gospel without double imputation is a gospel that says plenty about "global warming" but is silent about "global burning". A gospel without double imputation is a gospel that frightens lost men with the ecological plight of this world but neglects to warn of their eternal plight in the world to come.

What Does a Gospel With Double Imputation Look Like

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17a).

1. A Gospel with double imputation is a Gospel where conversion is a miracle. You are not an upgraded model, but a new creature, regenerated by the Holy Spirit.

The old has passed away; (2 Corinthians 5:17b)

2. A Gospel with double imputation is a Gospel where, prior to conversion, we are described as dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1). And dead men need a lot more than a second chance - they need resurrection power. It doesn't mean that we stop sinning but it does mean that we have a new relationship with sin. The sin we once embraced we now despised. The peace that held sway between our spirit and our flesh has now given way to full scale war!

behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17c).

3. A Gospel with double imputation is a Gospel where God gives a new heart with new desires (Ezekiel 36:25-27) - a love for righteousness and a hatred for the sin we once loved.

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; (2 Corinthians 5:18)

4. A Gospel where conversion is totally a work of God and not of the human will. Any gospel based upon a human decision fails to understand Who does the converting and the miraculous nature of that conversion.

that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them (2 Corinthians 5:19a).

5. A Gospel with double imputation is a Gospel where Christ is infinitely more than an example but a propitiation (Romans 3:25). Paul Washer believes that Romans 3:25 is the greatest verse in the Bible because it talks about Christ as a propitiation. Propitiation describes a sacrifice that takes away sin and satisfies wrath. God has wrath and you can't solve the problem by denying this explicit truth (as many vainly try). Every time you break God's law by lying, stealing, sex outside of marriage, or even a lustful thought, or any other part of God's law - God cannot violate His demand for justice because He is good. Most people try to reassure themselves as they face eternity with the thought that God is good and loving. Yes God is good and loving - and that is exactly the problem. If God overlooks sin He stops being good and loving and becomes corrupt. So either we must burn in hell for all eternity to satisfy His wrath or a substitute must endure God's wrath in our place. Here is where we find God's love.

How often do you hear Jesus referred to as an example to follow. While there is truth to this idea (Phillipians 2:5-9), it is transcended by Christ's role as a penal substitute. We need the imputed righteousness of Christ before we can even be able to follow Him as an example. Furthermore, the major reason Jesus came, to bring salvation, was because He is not like anybody and nobody can really be like Him. No one could keep the law, and no one could suffer God’s wrath. There are some ways in which I try to follow Jesus’ example but I am a hundred times more greatful that He fulfilled the law that I had broken and suffered the punishment that I deserve. There is the real good news.

As a footnote commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:19 it is wothwhile responding to universalists (people who believe that everyone will be saved) who try to use this verse to support their heresy. When Paul says that God was "reconciling the world to Himself" he clearly does not mean that everyone is reconciled to God as Rob Bell teaches:

So this reality, this forgiveness, this reconciliation, is true for everybody. Paul insisted that when Jesus died on the cross he was reconciling ‘all things, in heaven and on earth, to God. This reality then isn’t something we make true about ourselves by doing something. It is already true. Our choice is to live in this new reality or cling to a reality of our own making. (Velvet Elvis p146, emphasis mine)

We need to remember that Scripture cannot contradict Scripture and other places clearly teach that God divides people into "sheep and goats" (Matthew 25), some will be saved and go to heaven, and others will be damned and go to hell. They are places God has made, not "realities of our own making". Another point is that if everyone is already reconciled then why are Christians given the "ministry of reconciliation" as seen in the prior verse. We also need to remember that Pauls context in 2 Corinthians 5:17 is "if anyone is in Christ" - he is clearly not teaching universalism. The meaning of "world" in 2 Corinthians 5:19 actually refers to:

the entire sphere of humanity (Titus 2:11, 3:4), the category of beings to whom God offers reconciliation - people from every ethnic group, without distinction. The intrinsic merit of Christ's reconciling death is infinite and the offer is unlimited. However, actual atonement was made only for those who believe (John10:11,15). (John Macarthur, commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:19)

and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19b).

6. A Gospel with double imputation is a Gospel where, because of what Christ has done for us, we are given the responsibility to preach that message to every person.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God (2 corinthians 5:20).

7. A Gospel with double imputation is a Gospel with the responsibility to tell it to others. What a priveledge. God does not need us but has blessed us with a part to play in His redemption plan. I know that Rick Warren says "preach the Gospel, if necessary use words". That's like saying "wash always, if necessary use water". Every time the word "preach" appears in the New Testament it means loudly spoken. It is a verbal message. Being salt and light backs up the message but it isn't the message. We cannot live out the Gospel because Christ came to do what we cannot do. We are called to speak about the One Who lived the life that we cannot live, and live a life that bears witness to the work of the Holy Spirit.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

8. A Gospel where, in the words of John Macarthur:

Christ was not a sinner, but was treated as if He were, so believers who have not yet been made righteous are treated as if they were righteous. Christ bore their sins so that they could bear His righteousness. God treated Him as if He committed believers’ sins, and treats believers as if they did only the righteous deeds of the sinless Son of God (John Macarthur, commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:21).

So have a good listen to the preaching in your local church through the filter of these 16 points I have laid out. Needless to say that hearing about double imputation in a Danish church is like an Elvis sighting . . . only more rare!

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