Friday, December 21, 2012

The Truth About Rick Warren

Finally, a movie that tells the truth about Rick Warren and hasn't been altered by his spin doctors. This is an important movie for those of us grazing on the modern evangelical landscape. Please check it out . . . good job guys! Also, under the video you will find links to more articles critiquing Rick Warren.



The John Piper - Rick Warren Interview

Rick Warren's Sermon at Desiring God 2010

Does Rick Warren Worship Allah?

The Undertones of Rick Warren's Inauguration Prayer for Barack Obama

Monday, December 10, 2012

Genius The Movie - See It Here

Ray Comfort has just released an exciting new movie about John Lennon on the 50th Anniversary of the birth of the Beatles. Please check it out and promote it because of its evangelistic content. Check it out here!

 

Friday, December 7, 2012

John Macarthur On Expository Leadership

This video explains a lot about the privilege of attending The Master's Seminary in California. All Christians should watch this because whether you are in the pulpit or the pew, you need to know how to distinguish between biblical Christian leadership and self indulgent empire building. Please sit back and listen to 43 years of wisdom as one of the truly great expositors of the 20th and 21st centuries brings outstanding clarity on this subject . . . and he also takes a shot at who he thinks is the most egotistical individual among the current parade of "TV preachers". Great viewing!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What I Hate Most About Socialism



Karl Marx famously stated that "religion is the opiate of the masses." I'm not sure if Marx ever realized how upside down his famous statement was. It is actually when many of his socialist ideals get put into practice, for an extended time, that you get to see a general populace that is both sedated and pacified. This is strongly evident in my former home of Denmark where the state has taken on the role of a gigantic national nanny (does that sound familiar my Obamanation friends?). Never in my life have I encountered so many passive and indifferent men who have been sedated under the narcotic of a massive welfare system. What is breathtaking about this video is that the young man is not even embarrassed or ashamed of his conduct. He actually seems to think the whole interrogation is going well. When it comes to the opiate of socialized welfare, this young man definitely inhaled!

During my five years in Denmark, I discovered that work is an option that someone may take should he find the place of employment that meets his specific requirements. And why be entrepreneurial and visionary when the state circles your profitability like a vulture with its ravenous claws of taxation. Mediocrity is the happy middle road winding its way through this socialist landscape.

Options abound for those who get their fix from the state. You can take a job and work at your own pace. No worries, the union will make sure that you cannot get fired . . . that is unless you want to take a two year holiday courtesy of your employment insurance. Why have initiative, why be industrious, why care for your neighbor - when the government can do it all for you.

Marx never understood that it is actually a biblical worldview flowing out of a genuine Christian conversion that generates a sense of drive and destiny in the individual. A willingness to risk one's life for the sake of a transcendent and worthy cause. Indeed it was Paul who said:

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith — that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us (Phillipians 3:7-17).


Paul even admonished the Christians at Thessalonica that if a man does not work then he should not be fed (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Christians are a people so enraptured with the ultimate sacrifice of their Savior that they joyously enter in to a life of self sacrifice and labor that they may be salt and light in an evil generation.

But the worst thing about socialism is an issue that slides under the radar of most professing Christians. And that is the fact that socialism is an ideology that directly attacks the biblical doctrine of man. Whereas socialism teaches us that we have rights and entitlements, Christianity preaches the glorious Gospel of God's grace - and what is grace? Grace is unmerited favor! In other words, grace is favor bestowed on an individual that he does not deserve. This raises the question as to why we don't deserve God's favor? It is because all men are desperately wicked sinners - the biblical doctrine of man!

Scripture teaches mans depravity on many occasions - here are some examples:

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5)

As it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips." "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes." Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it - the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:10-23)

Ok, so maybe Paul could say something so brutal to our fragile self esteem, but surely not Jesus . . . then check the verses that immediately follow John 3:16:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. (John 3:17-20)

Does the natural man know he is a sinner (as Joel Osteen suggests) therefore nullifying our need to preach on sin and define it. Absolutely not. Mr Osteen clearly hasn't visited any prisons recently because if he did he would have found a building full of self professed wrongly convicted people. Indeed the Scripture teaches that "every man proclaims his own goodness" (Proverbs 20:6) and is "clean in his own eyes" (Proverbs 16:2). That he "suppresses the truth in unrighteousness" (Romans 1:18) and has a heart that is "deceitfully wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9).

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)

If we are to teach that Christ died for our sins then we must define what sin is:

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4)

And how do we come to a knowledge of our sin:

if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." (Romans 7:7b)

A faithful proclamation of the Gospel, therefore, must present men as sinners and bring this knowledge by the use of God's law.

So the law functions first of all to kill me, to end my self creation - all attempts to write my own life movie and reinvent my character. The gospel inserts me into a new script: "alive in Christ" (Michael Horton - Christless Christianity p129).

My greatest concern with the current rising tide of socialism in America is not primarily fiscal (although socialism is certainly a safe path to economic ruin). My primary fear with the socialistic indoctrination that produces people like the young man in the video is that it robs them of a reference point to the Gospel. How can anyone ever see his need for a Savior to die for his sins when he is unable to see his own guilt in the first place. And as the video so ably demonstrates, that is what an entitlement mentality so ably does!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Relationship Between Infallibility And Authority


When Christians talk about the Bible being “infallible”, we mean that the Bible is incapable of making mistakes or being wrong. As discussed previously, the Bible is “inspired” and, ultimately, authored by the Almighty Sovereign God Who is incapable of making mistakes or being wrong.

So here we have an infallible God delivering to man an infallible written revelation. Since the infallible God has ultimate authority over all things, then it follows that His infallible Word also speaks with ultimate authority on all things. There can be no doubt that Jesus Christ subscribed to this view as He said “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4).

Peter said that Scripture is “more sure” than hearing God speaking audibly to us from heaven (2 Peter 1:19) – which is something Peter experienced on the mount of transfiguration (Matthew 17:5). The Psalmist states that God has exalted His word above all things (Psalm 138:2). When Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness under severe temptation from Satan, He responded to each accusation with the initial words “it is written” (Matthew 4:1-11). Here we see God incarnate making His appeal to the authority Holy Scripture. The fact of the matter is that the Bible is authoritative, and this is the obvious consequence of its infallibility.

The False Religion Of Guy Sebastian

The recent sad article on the faith of Australian pop star Guy Sebastian has served to bring back the pathetic memories I have of Australian churches (especially charismatic ones) desperately trying to gain some sort of "street cred" through "christianizing" someone famous. If some rock star or famous sportsman gives the slightest hint of any sort of spirituality there is a bandwagon of church leaders ready to claim him as their own. I know this is not exclusive to Australia, but as an Aussie I can readily recount the continuous stream of embarrassing outcomes that have occurred because of this. I am just one of many bearing the scars of this practice when, as a young and impressionable Christian, went through the trauma of seeing some of these "christian celebrities" living in blatant unrepentant sin without having a shred of Christian testimony.

If you think I am trying to take some high moral ground here, think again! I take my issue here not with those popular and famous people who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and deny Him by their lifestyle (Matthew 25:31-46, 1 John 3:4-10), but with those pastors and church leaders who seem to think that the test of someone's Christianity is whether they call themselves a Christian. Worse than that, it has now descended to the point where talking about God or some "higher power"is enough to enter through the narrow gate.

I have seen the cavalcade of stars welcomed into the fold and thrust into the limelight as role models for under-achieving Christians and pagans who think we are not as cool as they are. Australian names like Tommy Emmanuel, Rebecca Gibney, Rick Price, Jason Stevens, Darren Beadman, and now Guy Sebastian readily spring to mind though there are many others. Globally, I have been told of the "strong Christianity" of Bono, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Mariah Carey etc. etc.

Am I suggesting that all celebrities who claim to be Christians are false? Absolutely not! In fact, I have a good personal friend who happens to be a celebrity and has also shown himself over many years to bear the authentic fruit of genuine Christianity. But what I am suggesting is that biblical pastoral responsibilities demand that church leaders soberly shepherd, protect, and inspect the fruit of those who have a high public profile and identify with the Lord Jesus Christ. The tragedy of failing to do this is three fold:

First, if a celebrity walks the aisle, signs the card, and repeats the prayer; it does not mean that they need to deliver next weeks sermon. Give them space and obscurity to meditate on God's Word, grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and demonstrate the authenticity of their faith within the setting of the local church. I cannot describe the anguish of sitting through wildly promoted Christian events with a major celebrity drawcard only to see him arrive on stage, receive the adulation of the masses, give some sort of motivational speech, never mention Jesus Christ, exit the stage, collect his check, and then jump in his car and drive home hours before the event even finishes. This is just straight-up shameful on the part of those who arrange and organize these events.

Secondly, this practice sets up impressionable church goers for disappointment and diverts their attention away from the sole Hero of the universe.

 , and appear at major Christian events (to draw a crowd)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Bible Is Inspired - What Does This Mean?

When evangelical Christians speak of the Bible as “inspired” they are referring to the unique nature of authorship for all 66 books of the Bible. The key verse referring to this reality is found in Peter’s second Epistle where he describes the production of Holy Scripture as something never “produced by the will of man”, but rather came into written form as “men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21) .

This is the phenomenon the Apostle Paul is referring to when he says that “all Scripture is breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16). This uniqueness is often described as “dual authorship”. In one sense, all Scripture is written by God. It is also true that each biblical book is authored by the human writer ascribed to it. For example, the Apostle Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Wayne Grudem describes the concurrent truths of dual authorship when he says:

God’s providential oversight and direction of the life of each author was such that their personalities, their backgrounds and training, their abilities to evaluate events in the world around them, their access to historical data, their judgment with regard to the accuracy of information, and their individual circumstances when they wrote, were all exactly what God wanted them to be, so that when they actually came to the point of putting pen to paper, the words were fully their own words but also fully the words that God wanted them to write, words that God would claim as his own (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology p81). 

The Bible stands alone as unique among all literature because it is ultimately and entirely authored by Almighty God and this is what is meant when Christians refer to all Scripture as “inspired”.

Friday, October 5, 2012

When We Make Enemies With Our Mission Field

I recently discussed the Gay agenda's intolerance of traditional marriage as displayed in the venting of their wrath over Dan Cathy's, president of Chick Fil A, public support of traditional marriage. While gay activists and liberal mayors boycotted and banned Chick Fil A stores in their area, an even greater number of Christians turned out in droves to support Chick Fil A by purchasing and eating their delicious chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. It was great to see the "silent majority" turn out in support of biblical truth and God honoring businessmen. I was only too happy to take part in the "buycott" especially considering my fondness for their "spicy chicken deluxe". As Christians take part in this honorable activity it is always helpful to take a deep breath, step back, and consider our part in the bigger story of God's redemptive plan. The ditch we need to be wary of in this climate of boycotts and "buycotts" is that we do not turn our mission field into the enemy!

If our zeal for biblical morality trumps our evangelistic zeal then we are in big trouble. In the Old Testament God continually reminded the Israelites that they should remember that they were once strangers in Egypt. We Christians should humble ourselves in the memory that we were once strangers from God and that our redemption had nothing to do with our own merit (because we have none) but by God's grace so that we could never boast in anything but the cross of our risen Saviour. Paul reminds us of this truth in his letter to the Ephesians:

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience; among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ; by grace you have been saved; and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:1-9 emphasis mine)

Even darker clouds are gathering all over the world right now as the cup of God’s wrath fills up against a wicked generation. Most of these people have been busy pursuing pleasure and material gain never realizing that God continually delays His wrath, giving them time to repent. Well, God’s cup of wrath is filling up further every day and it is only a matter of time before it overflows with His righteous judgment on a world bound for Hell. Next time you munch on a Chick Fil A sandwich and gaze out the window at those deluded protestors outside in their overtly sinful lifestyle - remember such were we before God redeemed us by His own blood. As the clock counts down to Armageddon are you going to continue watching? Are you going to believe the evil lie of modern preachers who say “preach the Gospel, if necessary use words” (which is like saying “wash always, if necessary use water”)? Or are you going to use that voice that God gave you?

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)

Stop for a moment and listen. Can you hear it? Do you hear it? It is the sound of thousands of church goers saying absolutely nothing about the glorious and once for all delivered Gospel. Please don't let your zeal for righteousness transform your mission field into a battlefield. There are only two times we should proclaim the Gospel to lost sinners - in season and out of season! Is not our wonderful Savior worthy to receive more glory by saving wicked sinners other than yourself?

Whatever you do, don’t do nothing. Talk to people, be friendly regardless of how they speak to us, always remembering that we too were once slaves in Egypt. We need to ask ourselves the question as to whether our evangelism is informed by culture or Scripture? We, as Christians, are all meant to be a part of a culture, but it isn’t American or Republican. As the author of Hebrews made clear we are meant to be strangers in a strange land longing for a city who’s builder and maker is God.

For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:14-16)

And here is the exciting part! Our heavenly homeland will surpass and vastly exceed the temporal glory of our local Chick Fil A franchise. Should we not inform strangers and aliens of this fact along the way? And guess what, it can even be done while holding a chicken sandwich!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Only Bad Catholics Can Go To Heaven


With the impending retirement of the current Pope, Roman Catholicism has been prominently brought into the global spotlight. One of the sad realities of this high profile is that many unbelievers in the world look to the Pope as the worldwide representative of Christianity. But the differences between biblical Christianity and Roman Catholicism remain as stark as they ever have. So what are the vital differences? There are many, but for the sake of space I will point out some of the major ones.

One of my classmates recently said to me that "all roads lead to Rome... except for the one that goes to heaven." This statement rings so true in the light of church history. A true study of history will reveal, however, that the Church of Rome grew out of a continual slide into apostasy over many centuries (I recommend the book "The Church of Rome at the Bar of History"). The Reformation of the 1500s was a necessary recovery of the Gospel of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. And nothing has really changed in this 500 year old  stand off with regards to the doctrine of Justification by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Neither has the central issue over Christ (and not the Pope) being the Head of His Church!

Before I continue I must state two disclaimers. First, when I use the word "Catholic" I am referring to the Roman Catholic religion, not to be confused with "catholic" when used in it's universal sense such as "catholic church" when it means universal church. Secondly, this article does not suggest that every person attending a Catholic congregation is not a Christian. I believe there are true Christians attending Catholic churches - but this is in spite of, not by virtue of, true Catholic doctrine. Hence the title "Only Bad Catholics can go to Heaven" because, as you will see, the only way someone could find true salvation in a Roman Catholic church is by seriously violating their own belief system. (I must thank Matt Slick at CARM [Christian Apologetics Resource Ministry] for much of this information).

For by grace you have been saved athrough faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Roman Catholic doctrine denies justification by faith alone and says:

If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema (Council of Trent, Canons on Justification, Canon 9).

Anathema, according to Catholic theology, means excommunication, the exclusion of a sinner from the society of the faithful. Roman Catholic theology therefore pronounces a curse of excommunication, of being outside the camp of Christ, if you believe that you are saved by grace through faith alone in Jesus.

When the Roman Catholic church negates justification by faith alone, it necessarily implies that we must do something for justification, for if it is not by faith alone, then it must be by faith and something.

Catholicism teaches that certain things must be done by people in order to be justified and to keep that justification. Of these acts, baptism is the first requirement. Consider these quotes:

Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us with Christ, who died for our sins and rose for our justification, so that we too might walk in newness of life (Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 977).

Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It is granted to us through Baptism. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who justifies us. It has for its goal the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life. It is the most excellent work of God's mercy (CCC, par. 2020).

According to Roman Catholicism, baptism is only the first sacrament of forgiveness. Good works, according to Roman Catholicism, are also required and are rewarded with going to heaven:

We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will. In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere to the end and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God' eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ (CCC, par. 1821).

The above quote clearly states that heaven is the eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ. Catholic theology asserts that works are a predecessor to justification in direct contradiction to God's Word which states that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law (Rom. 3:28).

In the CCC, par. 2010, it says:

Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification.

How does anyone merit for himself the undeserved kindness of God's grace? Grace is by definition unmerited favor. This is an utterly false teaching. So how does the Catholic church get around this apparent dilemma that grace is unmerited but it is obtained through our merits? It states:

Sanctifying grace is the gratuitous gift of his life that God makes to us; it is infused by the Holy Spirit into the soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify (CCC, par. 2023).

This is the crux of the problem. Roman Catholic theology asserts that God's grace is granted through baptism and infused into a person by the Holy Spirit. This then enables him or her to do good works which then are rewarded with heaven. Basically, this is no different from the theology of the cults which maintain that justification is by grace through faith and your works, whether it be baptism, going to the true church, keeping certain laws, receiving the sacraments, or anything else you are required to do.

Maintaining Your Justification

Because the Catholic view of justification is a cooperative effort between God and man, this justification can be lost by man's failure to maintain sufficient grace through meritorious works. Roman Catholicism teaches that works are necessary for attainment of justification. According to Catholic theology, penance is a sacrament where a person, through a Catholic priest (CCC, par. 987), receives forgiveness of the sins committed after baptism. The penitent person must confess his sins to a priest. The priest pronounces absolution and imposes acts of penance to be performed.

Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as the second plank (of salvation) after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace (CCC, par. 1446).

Acts of penance vary, but some of them are prayer, saying the rosary, reading the Scripture, saying a number of Our Father or Hail Mary prayers, doing good works, fasting, and other such things. Is it by doing these acts of penance that the Catholic is able to regain his justified state before God? In essence it is earning one's salvation. Think about it. If you do not have it and you get it by saying prayers, fasting, and/or doing good works, then you are guilty of works righteousness salvation, which is condemned by the Bible.

What is even more frightening is that this post only scratches the surface of this wicked works righteous system. We could also discuss the Catholic denial of Jesus as our only mediator between God and man (contrary to 1 Timothy 2:5) by teaching people to pray to Mary as their mediator. Then there is also the issue of the blasphemous Catholic teaching that during every mass the priest has the power to call Jesus Christ down to die on the cross again (contrary to Hebrews 7:27). On and on it goes. Only bad Catholics can go to heaven because the only way for a Catholic to find true salvation is by completely ignoring the teaching of a religious system that has no saving power and trusting the Bible instead.

Friday, September 21, 2012

REFORMATION RESURRECTION 2013 - Voddie Baucham Coming To Denmark



The Tilbage Til Bibelen (Back to Scripture) network of Denmark is pleased to present Reformation Resurrection 2013 with keynote speaker Dr Voddie Baucham - an outstanding reformed preacher and cultural apologist (bio below). Reformation Resurrection 2013 is a four day conference in the Danish countryside devoted to the furtherance of the Gospel in Europe and around the world. There is a lot of talk today about "new reformations" with new solutions to new problems. But we face the same problem today that we did 500 years ago - the pulpits of Europe have abandoned the Gospel.



Reformation Resurrection 2013 is a rallying cry to the same solution that the reformers risked their lives to proclaim. That sinful men can be justified before a Holy God by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. And that this truth is faithfully proclaimed in God's Word alone, and to God's glory alone. The reformation isn't over - it just needs new life breathed into old truth. Men and women who are not ashamed of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, the power of God unto salvation. Will you forsake the silence to join with us and be a voice in resurrecting the Reformation?

WHEN:
Tuesday July 23rd to Friday July 26th 2013.

WHERE:
Skroedstrup Boarding School
Skroedstrupvej 26
9550 Mariager
Denmark

Here is an online map of the conference site:


View Larger Map

PRICE:
To be announced.

THEMES
Dr. Voddie Baucham's main subject will be "Preaching Christ from all of Scripture". Dr. Baucham's teaching on this subject has been so powerful and compelling that we could not go past it for our 2013 theme. There will also be extensive question and answer sessions where you will be welcome to throw your toughest questions at the keynote speaker. Evening meetings will be open to the general public.

TRANSLATION
The meetings will have Danish translation. The question and answer sessions will be in English only.

CHILDREN
Because Reformation Resurrection 2013 is a family camp, there will be teaching and activities for the children.

CONTACT:
For further information and travel advice please e-mail:
Carsten Jorgensen - carstenstampe@yahoo.com

KEYNOTE SPEAKER:
Europe has an amazing heritage of godly men who thunderously and fearlessly preached the Gospel. Thus it is entirely appropriate that this years guest speaker is a man cut from the same die (those of you who have not had the chance to sit under the teaching of Dr. Baucham will be able to do so by viewing the sermon video we have posted below). Voddie Baucham (www.voddiebaucham.org) wears many hats. He is a husband, father, pastor, author, professor, conference speaker and church planter. He currently serves as Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, TX. He has served as an adjunct professor at the College of Biblical Studies in Houston, TX, and Union University in Jackson, TN. He has also lectured at Southern Seminary.

Voddie’s area of emphasis is Cultural Apologetics. Whether teaching on classical apologetic issues like the validity and historicity of the Bible, or the resurrection of Christ; or teaching on biblical manhood/ womanhood, marriage and family, he helps ordinary people understand the significance of thinking and living biblically in every area of life.

Voddie Baucham holds degrees from Houston Baptist University (BA in Christianity/BA in Sociology), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (D.Min.), an honorary degree from Southern California Seminary (D.D.), and additional post-graduate study at the University of Oxford, England (Regent’s Park College).

Voddie and his wife, Bridget have been married since 1989. They have seven children, Jasmine, Trey (Voddie, III), Elijah, Asher, Judah, Micah and Safya. They are committed home educators.

Voddie Baucham has written numerous books including The Ever Loving Truth, Family Driven Faith, The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World, What He Must Be, and Family Shepherds.

For those of you who like to feast on great preaching here is an entire sermon preached at a pastors conference where Voddie Baucham took it upon himself to respond to the man centered and moralistic preaching by the previous speaker. This is a sermon that every church goer in Denmark needs to watch. It will also give you a great feel for the privilege we are in for at our next conference:

Saturday, September 15, 2012

RC Sproul And Michael Horton Talk Christless Christianity

I make no secret of the fact that Christless Christianity, by Michael Horton, is one of the most influential books I have read over the last five years. What I love about this book is that Horton reveals the works righteous gospel as something that runs far deeper than I ever realized. It is a plague that is evident in liberalism, fundamentalism, and many in between. Horton calls it the religion of "moralistic therapeutic deism" and there is a decent chance that you might be a subscriber to this religion.

The following discussion between Horton and RC Sproul is well worth watching to hear two great modern Christian thinkers discuss this issue of eternal consequence:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Communion On The Moon



I was born on July 3rd 1969. It was a monumental year in human history, something for which my birth had no connection. Nonetheless I can recall a childhood where my mother liked to tell people that the day I returned from the hospital was the day that Neil Armstrong first set foot on the surface of the moon. Any human with access to a television had his eyes fixed on that television on that day, oblivious to the fact that yours truly took up residence in a little house in the small Australian town of Chinchilla at the very same time.



The recent death of Neil Armstrong has been a sobering reminder that the mightiest of men are still but dust. Time waits for no man and Neil Armstrong was no exception . . . and neither am I.

Several years ago I was asked to name the five people I would most want to meet. Neil Armstrong was on that list. Not only because of his fame, but also because of his subsequent obscurity. As one reporter said back in 2009:

He could have raked in millions through endorsements and personal appearances. Courted by kings, praised by politicians, he could have signed book and film deals telling of his amazing story.

Instead, he became a virtual recluse who uses a fake name to receive his mail and refuses to talk about his incredible life.

This is Neil Armstrong, who first walked on the Moon and uttered one of the world's best-known phrases: "That's one small step for  man; one giant leap for mankind."

Armstrong returned 40 years ago this month from his Apollo 11 mission to a hero's welcome and offers to cash in on his fame.

But today, even among locals in the small town of Indian Hill, Ohio, few know him as the man who made history by taking the first steps on another world.


The 78-year-old leads a fiercely secretive existence.

Local hairdresser Marx Sizemore claimed he was warned not to bother Armstrong with questions when he became a customer.

"He's a very withdrawn individual. I cut his hair for five years and he never even mentioned that he was Neil Armstrong," he said.

"I knew who he was, though, because the salon owner had told me. I was warned that he doesn't like to talk about it.

The only time we ever spoke about the Moon landing was when I asked him about it once. I had to initiate the conversation. I was born a week after he walked on the Moon so I told him that to see if he would start talking.

But he barely reacted and just looked down."


"He was more interested in talking about golf. I think he's a private person who can't stand to be the centre of attention." 

Neil Armstrong has now left this earth for the final time as somewhat of an enigma. I remain intrigued as to how his unique experiences affected him. I sometimes wonder if Paul's words to the church in Rome were echoed as he travelled into the surrounding cosmos:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20)

I do not know how Neil Armstrong reacted to an encounter with God's glorious creation on a far more profound level than most men ever will. But I am greatly encouraged by a little known fact concerning the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969 that may surprise you . . .

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Racism That Is Righteous

Racism is an ugly scourge in all societies that goes all the way back to the tower of Babel. Governments are foolish enough to believe that they can legislate it out of society while people remain in their sin. One of the most prominent ways that sin manifests itself is in our selfishness. And selfish people don't like people who are different. Is it really any surprise that racism exists?

Yet, at the core of all of this lies two shocking truths that escape almost everybody. Firstly, that God is a racist and secondly that there is only one race - the human race. We all descend from Adam and that is why we are all sinners.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. (Romans 5:12)

All sinners are alienated from God and excluded from His Kingdom - the ultimate form of racial segregation! Furthermore, God's segregation is right and just! He is holy and we are not. He would be a corrupt judge if he were to ignore the sinful deeds of every member of Adamic race! God's justice demands that He must separate, segregate, and reprobate every member of the Adamic race! Unless . . . certain members of the Adamic race were to be reconciled to this Holy God via the wrath bearing work  of a sinless substitute in their place! The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only solution to deal with all forms of racism - God's alienation from man and man's alienation from each other.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

John Macarthur And Steve Lawson Preaching To Preachers

Last week, John Macarthur and Steve Lawson poured themselves into the lives of the 80 new students at The Master's Seminary. It is not well advertised or well known that these videos are now available on Youtube. I have already posted the first session with Dr. John Macarthur and it was so good - especially when he talks about "big boy church" - that today I am posting the rest of the sessions (many thanks to Joshua Crooch for uploading these and making them available).

Fundamentals of Expository Preaching: Lecture 2 with Dr. John Macarthur



Fundamentals of Expository Preaching: Lecture 3 with Dr. John Macarthur



Fundamentals of Expository Preaching: Lecture 4 with Dr. Steve Lawson



Fundamentals of Expository Preaching: Lecture 5 with Dr. Steve Lawson



Fundamentals of Expository Preaching: Lecture 6 with Dr. Steve Lawson



Fundamentals of Expository Preaching: Lecture 7 with Dr. Steve Lawson

Friday, August 31, 2012

Sneak Peak Inside The Master's Seminary

For those of you who wonder what it's like to sit in class at the Master's Seminary, you are going to enjoy this! This is Dr. John Macarthur's opening address to the newest intake of biblical expositors. What would John Macarthur say to the preachers of the future? No need to wonder any more . . .

 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Phil Johnson And James White Locked In A Room Without Elephants - ER Saga (Part 11)

I've been itching for this video to come out since June! What do you get when Mike Abendroth locks Phil Johnson, James White, and Carl Trueman in a room? You get what the Elephant Room fantasizes about being. Buckle up for some refreshing, frank, and no holds barred insights on what is really going on out there in the bizarre world of modern evangelicalism . . .

No Co Ever: Episode 1 from No Compromise Radio on Vimeo.

Go Back To Part 10
Go Back To Part 1

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

When A Failure To Confront Is A Failure To Love

One disturbing evangelical trend of the last century finds little or no basis in historic Christianity. There are a lot of Christian teachers, who are excellent in their handling of God’s Word, people from whom I have learnt so much from, and yet err on the side of civility when it comes to responding to false teaching that happens in their own backyard. I cannot get over how many times I have seen or experienced this.

Of course, we can easily maintain our favorite punching bags without becoming controversial. Criticizing Barack Obama, renouncing those responsible for mass shootings, and protesting against those who protest against Chick Fil A, certainly are actions that lend credence to our card carrying membership of conservative evangelicalism. But what about the more pressing biblical mandate to confront professing Christians when they are in sin (Proverbs 27:6, Matthew 18:15-16), practice church discipline (Matthew 18:17-20, 1 Corinthians 5), and mark false teachers as enemies of the Christian Gospel (Romans 16:17, Galatians 1:8-9). Our reluctance to confront is often done out of “love” for these people, all the while being the most unloving thing we could do to them and the body of Christ.

I am currently reading Paul Tripp’s book “Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands” and he had some fascinating comments about how the practice of confrontation is deeply rooted in Jesus’ two great Commands to love God and love our neighbor (pages 200-202). Tripp says that:

Confrontation is rooted in a submission to the First Great Command. This command calls us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). Twice the Leviticus passage says, “I am the Lord.” God intends confrontation to be an expression of our submission to Him in our relationships with others. From God’s perspective, the only reason we confront one another is that we love the Lord and want to obey him. Our failure to confront one another biblically must be seen for what it is: something rooted in our tendency to run after god –replacements. We confront unbiblically (or not at all) because we love something else more than God. Perhaps we love our relationship with this person so much that we don’t want to risk it. Perhaps we prefer to avoid the personal sacrifice and complications that confrontation may involve. Perhaps we love peace, respect, and appreciation more than we should. Here is the principle: To the degree that we give the love of our hearts to someone or something else, to that degree we lose our primary motive to confront. But if we love God above all else, confrontation is an extension and expression of that love.

Tripp then continues on discussing the relationship between biblical confrontation and Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as ourselves:

Confrontation is rooted in the Second Great Command, which calls us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). Isn’t it interesting that the Old Testament call to love your neighbor as yourself is tied to this call to frank rebuke? A rebuke free of unrighteous anger is a clear sign of biblical love, but I am afraid we have replaced love in our relationship with being “nice”. Being nice and acting out love are not the same thing. Our culture puts a high premium on being tolerant and polite. We seek to avoid uncomfortable moments, so we see, but do not speak. We go so far as to convince ourselves that we are not speaking because we love the other person, when in reality we fail to speak because we lack love.

Please don’t misunderstand. True love is not offensively intrusive or rude. But the Bible repudiates covering sin with a fa├žade of silence. It teaches that those who love will speak, even if it creates tense, upsetting moments. If we love people and want God’s best for them, how can we stand by as they wander away? How can we let them deceive themselves with excuses, blame, and rationalizations? How can we watch them get more and more enslaved by the fleeting pleasures of sin? How can we let a sufferer add to his suffering by the way he responds to his own experience? True love is neither idle nor timid. It is other centered and active.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Biblical Response To The "Homosexual / Gay Agenda"

I was asked to teach one session at the recent Reformation Resurrection conference in Denmark. I strongly sensed the need for a presentation that applies the biblical worldview to the many facets of the rampant homosexual agenda that is on the warpath everywhere we look. Based on what we see around us among churches that claim to represent Christ - this is a desperately needed presentation that addresses the many various issues raised by the gay propoganda/homosexual agenda that is running wild in every western country right now.

In this sermon I will address the need to:
1. Be Gospel centered in reaching out to the homosexual culture.
2. Remember the desperately sinful lives that we lived prior to conversion.
3. Rightly portray God's character in this debate.
4. Recognize the current forcefulness of the "gay agenda" as an outpouring of God's wrath, rather than a cause of God's wrath.
5. Learn from an honest assessment of history.
6. Respond biblically to all different sins rather than singling out this particular sin.
7. Recognize that false teachers who deny what the Bible says on this subject are the true enemy of the Christian.
8. Recognize that those trapped in this lifestyle of sin are not our enemies but are our mission field.
9. The need to practice church discipline in accordance with the clear biblical commands that are given.
10. To interpret the biblical texts faithfully to what God has clearly spoken.

Whether you are a Christian, a homosexual, or just plain confused on the whole subject; I ask that you would please take the time to watch this video and at least consider the points that are raised . . .

(the following sermon is in English with Danish translation)



If you would like a copy of all my notes that includes citation of sources, a bibliography of recommended books, and a comprehensive Scripture index on the subject of homosexuality; then please email me with this request at buettel69@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Shocking Secrets Hidden By The Pro Homosexual Lobby

As Christians, our primary argument against the homosexual lifestyle must be God's clear repudiation of homosexuality in Scripture (Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Deuteronomy 23:17, Matthew 19:4-6, Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 1:8-11, Jude 1:7). In 2 Corinthians chapter 2 we see that we, as Christians, are the aroma of Christ. To those who are being saved this is the smell of life. But to those who remain dead in their sin the aroma of Christ is the stench of death. We cannot remove everything offensive from the Gospel and expect there to be anything left. The cross of Christ is offensive precisely because the horrific price that our Lord paid points to the horrific depth of sin we have committed. Removing homosexuality from that list of crimes against God is not only a lie to those who are in bondage to this lifestyle. It also steals from them the reason why they would need such a wonderful Savior to suffer God's wrath in their place.

CJ Mahaney says: "You will never see the cross as something done for you unless you first see it as something done by you."It's why the famous song asks the question: Were you there when they crucified my Lord? It's why Luther said that we all walk around with His nails in our pockets. And it's why rejecting the imputation of Adam's sin to us also is a rejection of our sins being imputed to Christ. Seeing our own sin makes us love our Savior and makes it easy to love homosexuals trapped in their own sin. And if we really love homosexuals then we must do all we can to help them see their own sin that they too may love our glorious Savior.

Having said this, during some recent research on this subject for a presentation I was delivering, I was shocked to discover some highly concealed statistics regarding those who indulge in the homosexual lifestyle.

Life Expectancy:
Practicing homosexuals, on average, have a vastly reduced lifespan. Thomas Norup of Statistics Denmark provided data for the years 1990 through 2002. On average, ever-married men outlived the ever-homosexually-partnered by 23 years in Denmark (74 years v. 51 years) (Presented by Dr. Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute at the March 2007 Eastern Psychological Assn Convention, in Philadelphia).

Likelihood of Contracting HIV/AIDS:
The US Center for Disease Control said, in 2009, that a homosexual male is 44 times more likely to get HIV/AIDS than a heterosexual male.

Connections with Pedophilia:
Although homosexuals account for less than two percent of the population, they constitute about a third of child molesters. (K. Freund and R.I. Watson, "The Proportions of Heterosexual and Homosexual Pedophiles Among Sex Offenders Against Children: An Exploratory Study," Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 18 (Spring 1992): 3443, cited in "The Problem of Pedophilia," op. cit. Also, K. Freund and R.I. Watson, "Pedophilia and Heterosexuality vs. Homosexuality," Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 10 (Fall 1984): 197, cited in NARTH Fact Sheet.)

Further, as noted by the National Association for research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), "since homosexual pedophiles victimize far more children than do heterosexual pedophiles, it is estimated that approximately 80 percent or pedophile victims are boys who have been molested by adult males. (7. Thomas Schmidt, Straight and Narrow? Compassion and Clarity in the Homosexuality Debate (Downers Grove, IU.: Intervarsity Press), p. 114, cited in "The Problem of Pedophilia, op. cit., p. 2. )

If the secular authorities are so dedicated to the education of our children about this "lifestyle" why are they not mentioning these statistical realities? What follows is John Macarthur giving a lengthy presentation on thinking biblically about homosexuality:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I Married Above My Pay Grade

It is a tragic fact that too many popular questions are built on too many wrong premises. I can clearly remember RC Sproul being asked “why do bad things happen to good people?” Sproul responded immediately, profoundly, and simply; “that only happened once and he volunteered!” Our preoccupation with the quest for fairness often buries the fact that God is not fair. Furthermore, the good news of God’s unfairness is a truth lost on too many who profess to know Him. If God was preoccupied with fairness then He would have crucified me.

I have to confess that this reality has become all too easily forgotten by myself, a man with whom the Creator has dealt so graciously. It is a reality that should inform my approach to marriage. It is one thing for God to grant me a wife who is way beyond my pay grade. It is another to fail so abysmally in my duty to love her as Christ loved His Church.

I was once asked if the Bible had much to say about being a husband. The answer to that question is that it doesn’t and it does. Before anyone hurls the nasty accusation of postmodernism my way, please let me clarify. In one sense the only instruction the Bible gives husbands is to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. But this single instruction then unpacks into the infinite depths of exploring Christ’s love for His Church.

I am currently on a plane over the Atlantic as I write this. The twelve hours since I kissed my beautiful wife goodbye now seems like twelve days. This solitude has left me wounded with the deep conviction of my failings as a husband. Why would God bless me with such a beautiful and godly wife? How could I take His immense kindness so much for granted? Where is my devotion to the pursuit of loving my wife as Christ first loved me?

All this points to my constant need for the Gospel. To be found in the Savior. To have His righteousness imputed to my account. To get on the phone as soon as possible!

I’m already counting the days until I see you again Majbrit. Thank you for the honor of being your husband. May God, by His Spirit, conform me more to Christ!

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Gay Agenda's Intolerance Of Traditional Marriage

Even though I am outside the USA right now it the outbreak of a second Civil War in America seems to be global news. Chick Fil A President Dan Cathy decided to spew forth vicious hate speech against all homosexuals by stating his support for the biblical understanding of marriage! Don't you just feel the hate?

I make no secret of the fact that I love Chick Fil A and have always taken the principled stand to support them through regular visits to my local Santa Clarita store in southern California. Quite simply, it is a matter of mathematics:

Christian Values + Mouth Watering Spicy Chicken Deluxe Sandwich = A Principled Stand

But what exactly were the hate filled words of Dan Cathy? Here is the explosive portion of his interview with Baptist Press that unleashed the firestorm of outrage:

Some have opposed the company's support of the traditional family. "Well, guilty as charged," said Cathy when asked about the company's position.

"We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.

"We operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that," Cathy emphasized.

"We intend to stay the course," he said. "We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."



The roar of protest was immediate. Picketers were deployed to stand outside their local franchise and "spread their message of tolerance". The mayor's of Chicago and Boston pledged their commitment to shut Chick Fil A out of their cities because of it's intolerance. Great way to display your commitment to tolerance guys! Roseanne Barr launched an expletive riddled diatribe against the company (she has a way with words that is never worth repeating) declaring that anyone who eats (Expletive) Fil A deserves to get cancer.



Even the Jim Henson company, who brought us Kermit the Frog and the Muppets, has severed all ties with Chick Fil A over their hate filled intolerance and will no longer be supplying toys for their "kids meals". To add insult to injury, the Swedish Chef has now removed chicken from his menu, Animal the drummer no longer does his "bite the head off a chicken routine", and Kermit is now on the lookout for a new diversionary food for all lovers of frog legs. Even Miss Piggy is encouraging food lovers to boycott Chick Fil A and eat bacon instead!

But there has also been a backlash to the backlash with hordes of chicken lovers descending on franchises all over the country to send a clear message of their support. Chick Fil A reported their biggest day of sales ever. Clearly, the chicken sandwich has found itself in the center of the culture war on Christian liberty. Al Mohler commented in his blog just two days ago that:

The threats made against Chick-fil-A betray the principle of religious liberty that is enshrined within the U.S. Constitution. Civic officials in some of the nation’s largest and most powerful cities have openly threatened to oppose Chick-fil-A for the singular reason that its president openly spoke of his Christian convictions concerning marriage.

When Quinn, one of the most powerful officials in New York, announces, “I do not want establishments in my city that hold such discriminatory views,” is she also threatening the Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Jewish synagogues and Islamic mosques?

They, along with evangelical Christian denominations, openly oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage. Cathy’s statements are completely consistent with his own denomination’s statement of faith and official declarations. He was speaking as a Christian and as a Southern Baptist, and he was speaking as a man who does his best to live and speak as he believes.

When Emanuel and Moreno tell Chick-fil-A to stay out of Chicago, are they audacious enough to deliver that same message to the churches, mosques and synagogues of their city that also oppose same-sex marriage? What do they do with the fact that their own state does not allow same-sex marriages?

This country is deeply divided over the issue of same-sex marriage, and the controversy over Chick-fil-A is an ominous sign that many of the proponents of same-sex marriage are quite willing to violate religious liberty and to use any and all means to silence and punish any individual or organization that holds the contrary view – a view sustained by the voters in 29 states by constitutional amendments.


It warms my heart greatly to see so many people coming out in support of a Christian man who runs a good business on Christian principles. I am concerned however, that this could spill over into a fast food franchise at the epicenter of a moralistic us against them contest. It is a gross Christian error to go to war against our mission field. And I'll say more about that later . . .

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Rob Bell? Rob Who?

It is now well over a year since Rob Bell overplayed his wolf like hand with his book "Love Wins". Bell's universalism did not surprise those of us who knew it years ago when he wrote Velvet Elvis. But it seems that the majority of evangelical commentators were reluctant to cry wolf until Rob fully disrobed from his sheep suit.

Bell had been getting away with teaching outrageously unbiblical things for years and this may have bred overconfidence to the point where he was willing to "out" himself. The controversy that erupted over Love Wins certainly granted Rob Bell his fifteen minutes of fame. But it also paved the way for us to be blessed with his absence over the last year. It did not take long before Bell resigned as "pastor" of his "church" and left the pulpit for the far loftier heights of producing a television series about himself (I guess that is one way of channeling your immense humility). We all thought he had disappeared until this video recently surfaced displaying the winning kind of love that Rob has for those who voiced legitimate biblical concerns about his teaching:



Could you feel the love? Rob Bell seems to forget that child like faith includes trusting what God has clearly taught in His word and rejecting anything that contradicts it. That is - having right doctrine! This video does serve as a timely reminder of what we have been missing since Bell went underground. I just feel like the recipient of a bad trade when Rob Bell resurfaces so soon after Phil Johnson's departure from cyberspace. Fortunately Phil lives on in reruns and here's a great one of him reviewing Bell's book "Love Wins". Let's just say he takes no prisoners:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Scandinavian Psychiatric Stupidity

The western world is reeling in horror once again as the reality of the recent Denver shooting sinks in. Lot's of questions are being asked and lots of outrage is being vented. As I am currently visiting the Scandinavian country of Denmark it has been intriguing to watch the angle taken on these events by the Danish media.

Comments of concern have been made regarding the way the American police and justice system have been treating the perpetrator of the crime. They seem to have great concern for the fact that his feet are shackled and the fashion persecution of wearing a prison jumpsuit in court. All his friends seemed to think he was a nice guy. Is he getting the right medication? Is he getting the best psychiatric treatment to ascertain his illness? This is the retarded psychobabble of a culture that thinks it is "advanced"!

I am reminded of this story recounted by the late Chuck Colson after a visit to the country of Norway:


I can’t help but think of a visit I made to a maximum-security prison outside of Oslo back in the 1980s. I tell this story in my book How Now Shall We Live? I was greeted by the warden, who was a psychiatrist. She gave me a tour of the place, which seemed more like a laboratory than a prison. We met so many other psychiatrists that I asked the warden how many of the inmates here were mental cases.


She replied, “All of them, of course.”


I was stunned. Really? “Well,” she said, “anyone who commits a violent crime is obviously mentally unbalanced.” 


This was the ultimate expression of the therapeutic model. People, the reasoning goes, are basically good, so anyone who could do something so terrible as this must be mentally ill. And the solution is therapy. It is a tragically flawed and inaccurate view of human nature. And, as I learned just a few days later, a very dangerous one.


During that visit I preached the Gospel to the prisoners. They were completely numb to the message. But as I was leaving, a young correctional officer, a Christian, came up to me. She said she had prayed for someone to confront the prisoners with the message of sin and salvation. She was frustrated by the corrections system in Norway, where there was no concept of personal responsibility, and therefore no reason for prisoners to seek personal transformation. 


Only days later, I learned the tragic news: The young officer I had met was assigned to escort an inmate out to see a movie as part of his therapy. On the way back to prison, he murdered her.


Theology matters in all spheres of life. None more so than in the Bible's assessment of the human condition. All men have taken on Adam's sinful nature and have a continual propensity to evil. It is more surprising how rare these mass murders are than how often they take place. The irony that atheists enjoy the relative comforts of ordered western civilization is not lost on me. They benefit from this all the while ignorantly unthankful for the fact that God has blessed this fallen world with civil government (fallible though it is)  For all the shortcomings of western governments, they still generally enforce some sort of law and order that we might live peaceable lives. We should also be thankful for God's restraining grace that often limits the extent of evil that we could otherwise do.

But when the default shifts from all men being evil (biblical truth) to the unrealized goodness of all men through therapy (secular lie) this is what you get:





I will close with Al Mohler's insightful words on "Denver's Dark Night". It is a lengthy quote but it is too good to cut any shorter:

The same vexing but inescapable question comes every time a Columbine happens or an Anders Behring Breivik attempts to justify his mass homicide. How could such a thing happen? How could a human being do such a thing?


There is no easy answer to this question. The easy answers are never satisfying, and they are often based in the confused moral calculus of popular culture. We assume there must have been a political motivation, a psychiatric disturbance, a sociological pressure . . . anything that will offer a satisfying explanation that will assure us. Wave after wave of analysis is offered, and sometimes some horrifying clues emerge. But the moral madness of mass homicide can never be truly explained. Christians are driven by instinct to think in biblical and theological terms. But, how should that instinct be guided?


The Reality of Human Evil


First, Christians know that the human heart is capable of great evil. Human history includes a catalog of human horrors. The twentieth century, described by historian Eric Hobsbawm as the century of “megadeath,” included a list of names such as Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, and Charles Manson. But those murderers did their killing from a distance, at least usually. Those who carry out the murders themselves are even more haunting to us. The young man arrested in this case, 24-year-old James Holmes, looks disarmingly normal.


The Fall released human moral evil into the cosmos, and every single human being is a sinner, tempted by a full range of sinfulness. When someone does something as seemingly unthinkable as this, we often question how anyone could do such a thing. The prophet Jeremiah spoke to this when he lamented, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick, who can understand it?” [Jeremiah 17:9]


Human beings are capable of unspeakable moral evil. We are shocked by such atrocities, but only because we have some distance from the last one. We cannot afford to be shocked when humans commit grotesque moral evil. It tells us the truth about unbridled human sin.


The Grace of Moral Restraint


Second, we must be thankful for restraints on moral evil. Christians must not underestimate the potential of any human being — ourselves included — to commit moral horror. We know ourselves to be sinners, and we know ourselves to be capable of sins we do not actually commit. Why do we not commit them?


God restrains human sinfulness. If the fullness of human sin was set loose, humanity would destroy itself. God restrains human evil by several means. First, he has created us in his image, and at least part of this image is what we call conscience. The moral conscience is a powerful restraint on human evil, and for this we must be exceedingly thankful. At the same time, the human conscience is also warped by the Fall and no longer fully trustworthy. We have developed the capacity to ignore the conscience, torture the conscience, and even misdirect the conscience by moral rationalization. Nevertheless, the restraint of the conscience is fundamental, and for that we must be very thankful.


God has also established institutions and orders that restrain human evil. As the Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 13, God gave us the institution of government in order to restrain evil and to punish the evildoer. He has also given us the institution of marriage and the family and the larger order of society in order to restrain evil. We are surrounded by a complex of laws and statutes and social expectations and civic associations. All these function to restrain evil. At the foundation of these restraints is the fear of God, which, even in an increasingly secular society, still retains a more powerful force than is often acknowledged.


Evil Answered at the Cross


Third, we must admit that there will be no fully satisfying answer to these questions in this life. Christians know that God is sovereign, and that nothing is outside of his control. We also know that he allows evil to exist, and human beings to commit moral atrocities. We cannot allow the sovereignty of God to be denied and evil allowed its independent existence. Nor can we deny the reality of evil and the horror of its threat to be lessened. We are reminded that evil can be answered only by a cross.


Theologian Henri Blocher explains this truth vividly in these words:


“Evil is conquered as evil because God turns it back upon itself. He makes the supreme crime, the murder of the only righteous person, the very operation that abolishes sin. The maneuver is utterly unprecedented. No more complete victory could be imagined. God responds in the indirect way that is perfectly suited to the ambiguity of evil. He entraps the deceiver in his own wiles. Evil, like a judoist, takes advantage of the power of good, which it perverts; the Lord, like a supreme champion, replies by using the very grip of the opponent.”


We must grieve with those who grieve. We must pray for Gospel churches in the Denver area who will be called upon for urgent ministry. We must pray for our nation and communities. And we must pray that God will guard ourselves from evil — especially our own evil. And we must point to the cross. What other answer can we give?