Sunday, September 24, 2017

What's the Protest: NFL and NBA Athletes

When Martin Luther protested, he nailed 95 theses to the door of a Wittenberg church building.  He was very specific about his problems with Roman Catholicism. The Protestant Reformation came out of that protest.  Many people know the very beginning of the Declaration of Independence, a very small portion of the declaration, but very few, I would guess, could name one of the twenty seven grievances the colonies had with the British monarchy, written down by Thomas Jefferson.  Zoom forward to the monumental early 21st century protest of NBA and NFL game players.

Society regressed to where the opinion of people playing games became important.  The characters of the Roman circus became prominent before the downfall of Rome.  The combination of the internet and people's hunger for entertainment overinflates the role of actors and games and players, like the performers of the Roman coliseum.  This does not bode well for a culture, that people care what Lebron says about anything important.  What he says, however, brings web clicks, which sells advertising.

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I have for awhile heard Stephen Curry hold forth on whatever the media asks him.  I have found Curry to be very, very good at saying nothing -- genius level flurries of snow.  Even I must admit that he is a master at saying nothing about a great many different topics.  As NBA camp opened this week for this new season, he of the champion Golden State Warriors was asked about whether he would attend an invitation to the White House, and he enunciated his carefully thought-out reasons for not accepting something he had not yet been given.  What would he do? He chose to insult the president, still relying on some of his well tuned skill at saying nothing, so that it was difficult to comprehend the denigration:
That we don’t stand for basically what our president has done, the things that he’s said and the things that he hasn’t said in the right times, that we won’t stand for it.  And by acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye to. It’s not just the act of not going there. There are things you have to do on the back end to actually push that message into motion. . . . You can talk about all the athletes that have said things and done things – from Kaepernick to what happened with Michael Bennett to all sorts of examples of what has gone on in our country that has led to change. We’re all trying to do what we can using our platforms, using our opportunities to shed light on that, so that’s kind of where I stand on it. I don’t think us not going to the White House is going to miraculously make everything better, but this is my opportunity to voice that. . . . We have an opportunity to send a statement that hopefully encourages unity, encourages us to appreciate what it means to be American, and stand for something. So whatever your opinion is on either side, that’s what we wanna take advantage of this opportunity.
Curry, the now long time face of the Warriors still, even with Kevin Durant having joined him, would not say, "No comment."  He took his stand.  He nailed his abstractions to the proverbial backboard to a leftist media's delight.

I need some help trying to support what Curry said.  What is this 'message he wants to push into motion'?  What does he want to 'shed light on'?  In what way is anyone 'turning a blind eye to something'?  His lack of clarity produces a perfect opportunity for deniability.  You could tap into what he might have been saying if you were savvy enough, keeping up with what's politically correct.  You could read between his lines if you followed the media's talking points, what Trump calls "fake news."  However, it adds up to saying about nothing, zero -- a whole lot of verbiage, nothing of substance at all, which is what I find typical of protesting today.  You can't figure out what is bothering people that might motivate you to join them in their fight against oppression or injustice, or whatever it is.  I'd be glad to join Curry and the Warriors in their fight, but they are going to have to talk more plain to do that.

If the slightest intelligent person could engage Curry in a minimal amount of debate, he could tear through what Curry said in seconds.  The media doesn't hold game players accountable for their incoherent pronouncements.  They trade responsibility for availability, like when Kaepernick wore his Castro fanboy shirt in Miami when the 49ers played the Dolphins.  Rather than expect them to mount some sensible defense, they would rather take their few statements, play off their celebrity for the attention they receive, and blow them into larger proportions.

The image that comes to my mind for Kaepernick is the one of him kneeling with an afro the size of a beach ball, the one now that you'll see on people's t-shirts similar to the iconic deco art of Che Guevera, its immensity a great feat of engineering over which to pull a football helmet.  He could grow it even bigger if he wanted, but its size is suitable for making his point.  It says all over him -- I'm black -- his emphasis his race, his ethnicity.   Even though MLK yearned for a society that judged not by the color of the skin, Kaepernick delights in one that judges by the circumference of his afro.

I know the hair was part of the protest with Kaepernick, part of the messaging, but I still don't get the point, except to make note of his race.  He wants to end something.  What?  With his attitude, racism is bound to accelerate.  Some people are glad to be an American, the anthem represents their joy, and they know that no one has to live in this country if he wants to move somewhere else.  Because Kaepernick is free, he doesn't have to stay -- he can go find a better country -- but he chooses to stay where something is so, so wrong that he can't stand for the national anthem.

From what I had seen, Trump had never said anything bad about Stephen Curry, never attacked him, never hindered him from working or traveling (I see pictures of Curry all over the world every year) or from receiving what Forbes reports is 80 million dollars this year including his endorsements.  Trump still doesn't threaten any of that for him, despite what he and all these players have said. They wouldn't enjoy this same freedom in China or Cuba. In the current NBA climate, disrespecting Trump is about the easiest thing that Curry could do.  Coaches who criticize Trump can only help themselves in their locker rooms.  Their statements pander to their target audience.  Saying something nice about Trump would bring far more grief and opposition for Curry.  Anyone above a lobotomy knows that.

So Curry, the leader of his franchise, maligns President Trump in public.  He's not going to the White House.  Trump does bad things, says bad things, doesn't say enough good things.  Trump says, no invitation, and now Curry speaks his victimization:

I don't know why he feels the need to target certain individuals rather than others.  I have an idea of why, but, it's just kind of beneath, I think, a leader of a country to go that route. It's not what leaders do. 

Curry pulls the victim card.  He whines about being targeted and then he insinuates a sinister motive, allowing again for deniability.  Speak up.  Take your stand.  Produce your evidence. Curry says he doesn't want to go. Shouldn't he be happy that Trump pulled the invitation?  Why can't Trump reply to your criticism?  Leaders can't do that?  If Curry is a leader, as he purports to be, and he takes a stand against another individual, Trump, targeting him first, why would he not expect some opposition from the person he attacks?  When you take a stand, shouldn't you expect some opposition?  How hard was it, really, to hear that Trump wasn't inviting you to the White House after all?  Curry again doesn't make any sense at all and the media doesn't require it.  The people just want their bread and circuses.

For this "stand for something" (his words), Curry receives only 100% verbal support from NBA players and over 90% support from the media and Hollywood.  Fox News will give tiny pushback to that makes up single digit opposition.  Those who choose not to support him will be attacked by multitudes with as foul language as possible and their lives threatened.  They are the ones actually taking a stand.  In my understanding of a stand, Curry's isn't a stand.  It's moving right along with the current of present society, swimming downstream.  Curry is lockstep with popular culture.  It's not a stand at all to say what he says.  The worst persecution Curry actually receives comes from other players who are jealous of his popularity and his pigmentation.

Curry says he's a Christian and points to the sky, apparently to God, when he makes a basket.  He writes an innocuous verse on his shoe.  That's his stand for God that results in zero suffering.  How does Curry manifest a holy life though, the life of biblical obedience? How does he stand on the Bible?  Could he come out against fornication among NBA players, repudiated again and again?  That would be a stand.  Curry makes public shows of the causes he supports that aren't a stand at all.  Who isn't against malaria killing people in Africa?  Curry has had the opportunity to speak out against same-sex marriage and has capitulated.  I've never heard him say a strong, biblical statement for the truth of the Bible ever here in the Bay Area, and he has been asked many times.  Where he finally takes a "stand" is against Trump in a San Francisco Bay Area that voted against Trump about 9 to 1.  Curry stays silent on subjects where he might suffer the most for a Christian testimony.

Nevertheless, I really want to know what Curry and even Colin Kaepernick and the NFL players  are protesting, who kneel during our national anthem.  How are they suffering?  What's wrong?  What in particular is being done to them that they feel helpless to stop?  While the average salaries of NBA and NFL players has risen, the median income of Americans plummeted during the Obama presidency, lower when he left office than when he came in.  They were silent.  Since Trump entered, median income has risen 2%, that is, it has risen faster in the first six months of his presidency than all of Obama's combined.  While rich professional players got richer, the average citizen under Obama got poorer.  Black Americans suffered the most.  Poverty is also the greatest measure of lifespan, and the average lifespan of Americans decreased under Obama for the first time in American history.  If these players are going to have me join their protest and support them, they are going to have to do a better job of persuading me with facts and with truth as to what is so much worse under Trump, that would merit this kind of reaction from them.

How have the protests of professional athletes helped the lives of average Americans?  When things were getting worse for everyone else during the last eight years and so much better for themselves, what did they have to say about that?

Since I've lived in California, always under a Democrat majority, our church property has been robbed or vandalized over thirty times.  We're a church and church school.  I've been told by our sheriffs that they can't do anything to stop it.  They won't do anything, because they can't.  They can arrive after the crime to take a report -- that's the best they can do with far more serious crimes, like murder, taking their attention.  We've caught criminals ourselves three different occasions since I've been here, and nothing has ever been done to any of them.   At the worst, the criminals were inconvenienced by us for catching them in the act.  That's all.  We've never received any remuneration for anything that anyone has ever done to us or taken from us.  I know for a fact that many democrats in public office here would be happy if the violence against us would shut us down forever.

I already know that if someone came on our school campus to start shooting, that my only, I repeat, only recourse is to absorb the bullets to give the students a few extra moments to run and get away.  The state won't protect us or let us protect ourselves.  We ourselves can't have guns.  We and you know that criminals know this too.

The same government that won't protect us is also a threat to our belief and practice.  My daughter attends a state college, where the professors attack the Bible and Christianity.  They do it with freedom. They do it with gusto.  There is an intimidation on the campus not to say anything for the Bible and Jesus Christ.  These people are paid for out of taxpayer money, but students are threatened not to speak up against what they say.  This is all happening and I can go much further in describing it.  I wish Stephen Curry would say something about that.  Instead, he protests the position most difficult, while taking the one easiest and most politically correct.

As far as being an actual solution to the most serious problems of our society, I'm sure that as a whole professional athletes contribute more to the problem than the solution, more symbolism than substance.  Lenin referred to those Communism had successfully manipulated as "useful idiots."  That sums up the commentary and talk of most professional athletes and their coaches.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Frederick B. Meyer: Applications from his Keswick Apostasy, part 2 of 2

Believers must also exercise careful spiritual discernment about popular public speakers who are popular with the world and with broad Christiandom.  While God is certainly able to make a congregation large (cf. Acts 2:41), Christ also warned, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).  The size of a man’s congregation, or the worldly success associated with it, is by no means a reliable indicator of the presence of true and vital spirituality or Divine blessing.  Popularity does not indicate orthodoxy and orthopraxy.  F. B. Meyer had huge congregations and tremendous popularity in his day, although, as his many heresies validate, he did not have the blessing of God.  The prophets of Baal in Elijah’s day had far larger congregations and far greater popularity than Elijah, and the Antichrist will command a greater following in the Tribulation period than any truly godly preacher in church history.  What is more, the blessing of God and true faithfulness will not always lead to a large congregation—you can have Christ’s smile, keeping His Word and not denying His name, while yet having but “a little strength” (Revelation 3:8).  Do not allow the desire for numerical growth to lead you to downplay, compromise on, or abandon one tittle of the truth.  Far better to preserve the whole of the once-delivered and holy faith uncorrupted, yet be hated and rejected by the world, than to be a popular and accepted speaker but compromise it.  For what is the eternal reward of the life to come in comparison to the temporal and fleeting reward of the praise of men of dust?
            Beware of allowing error into your church, or into your own mind and heart, in the name of missions.  It is a clear Biblical imperative for congregations to send out church-planters worldwide (cf. Acts 13:1-4), and God’s people should be very desirous that God would call them, or their children, to such a blessed work.  The reading of the biographies of great missionaries of the past to quicken a passion for missions is most commendable.  However, false doctrine and practice must not be allowed in the name of missions.  Sending an F. B. Meyer out worldwide to blaze abroad Keswick and modernistic heresies, or sending out a George Grubb to assail Christ’s teaching on hell, fills the world with pseudo-Christian heresies rather than the pure gospel message and sows terrible worldwide confusion concerning the character of true Christianity and the faith Christ delivered to His churches.  Keswick errors, continuationist errors, and many other errors are spread through biographies, testimonials, and other narratives of events on mission fields, the people of God relaxing their guard against false teaching because of the sacrifice or suffering of those in foreign lands.  This must not be.  Highly esteem Biblical mission work while refusing to bypass God’s eternal truth in the name of foreign missions.
            You must also reject spiritualism in all its forms—even those which deny that they are spiritualism.  The devil is very unlikely to openly admit that he wishes you to reject God and follow him to utter ruin.  Rather, he will perpetrate a multiplicity of deceptions to make himself appear like an angel of light.  There are far more people who worship the devil while thinking that they are worshipping God than there are who intentionally and knowingly worship the devil.  Be careful—more careful than Meyer was—in recognizing all the workings of Satan in spiritism and avoiding them all.
            Reject theological modernism in all its forms—for, indeed, it is a form of the working of the devil.  Reject rationalism and begin all your thinking with the only truly consistent logical foundation—the Word of God.  Reject higher critical nonsense about the alleged evolutionary development of Biblical religion and the Hebrew Scriptures and accept the plain self-testimony of the Almighty to His own works in His Word.  Reject the fictional “Q” document and all higher critical ideas about the origin of the New Testament.  Reject evolutionary lower critical ideas that deny the preservation of God’s Word in the common Received Text and treat God’s Book like some secular document.  Indeed, reject evolution entirely and accept the truth of the creation of the world ex nihilo in six twenty-four hour days thousands, and not millions, of years ago.  Every jot and tittle of the Bible is God’s verbally, plenarily inspired Word, dictated by the Holy Ghost through holy men of old.  Recognize this fact and oppose every idea and teaching that conflicts with it.
            Baptists must by no means accept what someone teaches simply because he claims to be a Baptist.  Since all the first century churches were Baptist churches, Judas, along with the other eleven Apostles, was a Baptist.  Ananias and Sapphira were Baptists.  Diotrephes was a Baptist.  F. B. Meyer was, after a sort, a Baptist also—he was even the president of a Baptist Union for a time, albeit one that was rapidly slipping into utter apostasy and theological liberalism.  It is not enough that one claims that he is a Baptist—rather, his doctrine and practice must be tried by the Word of God.
            Learn also from Meyer the danger of Baptists forming Unions, Conventions, Associations, and other forms of “Baptist” hierarchicalism not found in Scripture.  The pernicious influence of Meyer’s modernism, and of many modernists like him, were able to corrupt many more churches because of their position in the Baptist Union.  The leaven in the Union spread throughout the organization, corrupting church after sound church, until all that did not separate was leavened.  Not a scrap of Scripture supports the existence of any denominational hierarchy—all that the Lord Jesus has authorized in the New Testament is the local, visible, independent and autonomous congregation.  All Conventions, Unions, and the like are certain to fall into false teaching, for the Lord Jesus has not promised to protect them, nor has He promised His special presence with them—such promises are only given to His church.  Nor can hundreds of assemblies with diverse views on all sorts of doctrine and practice unite in a Union, Association, or any other formal structure without setting aside some of what the Bible teaches, violating from the very beginning the requirements of Scripture to contend for all of the faith.  Within the church it is possible that “no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3) at all than the truth is advocated—in all forms of Baptist hierarchicalism such purity is impossible.  Churches of like precious faith can work together as they see fit, but once they form parachurch or suprachurch organizations the seed of compromise has already been sown.  Let the Lord’s churches learn from the destruction of the Baptist Union, and countless similar organizations—let them remain independent, unaffiliated, and truly autonomous, that they may be truly holy—as separation, both personal and ecclesiastical, is inherent in true holiness, so ecumenicalism of any kind is inherently unholy—so that they may be truly pleasing to their sole and sufficient Head and Husband, Jesus Christ.
            Learn from F. B. Meyer’s example the danger and damage unconverted church members can do—and how much the more danger there is in unconverted ministers.  How much evil came to the Baptist churches of England through a failure to guard their baptistries and membership roles!  How many more congregations would be faithfully practicing the truth today had previous generations rigidly allowed none to be baptized into the membership of their churches who could not clearly testify to personal conversion and possessed a life that bore the evident marks of supernatural regeneration?  Modernism and rationalism were able to spread like wildfire in late nineteenth century British nonconformity because many church members and ministers were already unconverted and were thus susceptible to the wanton embrace of any alluring heresy that came along.  How much better it would have been for F. B. Meyer personally—and for Baptists in his country generally—had he been forbidden to submit to God’s holy baptismal ordinance because of his lack of anything like a clear conversion?  How much the more evil was it to allow him to enter the Baptist ministry in the same state?  Let no one today deceive himself into thinking that results the less pernicious will result from a similar practice.  Only churches that carefully guard their membership role, doing all that is in their power to restrict their congregation to true saints both by great care in who they allow into the baptistry and by the consistent practice of church discipline, can expect to be preserved from apostasy in the long term.
            Unlike Meyer, you must cleave to and contend for a sound and robust Baptist polity.  Love the Lord Jesus Christ, and, like your Master, be dogmatic and defend all the truths of the written Word.  Defend, even unto death, believer’s immersion as a church ordinance and the door to membership in Christ’s congregation.  Reject all liturgy and embrace the Regulative Principle of worship.  Be jealous over the purity of Biblical worship, even as your God is jealous over it.  Reject open communion;  protect Christ’s precious Supper as Paul commanded in 1 Corinthians 11.  Preach the Word—all of it, from the verbal inspiration of Scripture, to the necessity of faith in the Triune God for salvation, to the fire and brimstone in the lake of fire, to the restriction of Spirit baptism to the book of Acts and the cessation of the sign gifts to the first century, to the historic Baptist doctrine of sanctification.

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            Are you a member of a Bible-believing and practicing historic Baptist church?  Marvel, and be filled with humble and aweful amazement, at your glorious privilege—you have not only been chosen to be part of God’s spiritual and invisible kingdom through the new birth, but have been added by baptism to Christ’s own body, temple, and bride!  What opportunities you have to walk closely with God!  You are a living stone in God’s holy temple.  Oh, how necessary it is for you to live like one!

See here for this entire study.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Is the Macedonian Call Normative for Missions Today?

During the first missionary journey of Paul, he traveled to Asia Minor, which moved him into territory he could reach on foot.  You could call that an obvious endeavor.  You don't get into a boat until you have first tried the folks in walking distance.  This relates to the concentric paradigm laid out in Acts 1:8:  Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, uttermost parts of the earth.

At the same time, sometimes the mission stops when people say 'you can't come here' or 'we don't want to hear it,'  If you read Luke 9:52 and following, you see Jesus come to a Samaritan city, that doesn't want to have Him, and He moves on to the next city.  That's what you do.  In a smaller way, you move on to the next door.

Did you notice that Jesus didn't pray that God's power would overcome the Samaritan city?  If anyone could pray for power to overcome people, Jesus could do it.  If anyone had irresistible grace, it would be Jesus, one might think, or at least have the greatest availability of it through the Holy Spirit, and yet He just moved to the next town. You don't have to talk to people who don't want to hear it.  It's not God's will to talk to people who don't want to hear it.

On the second missionary journey, Paul goes into the same territory in Acts 16 and there he meets up with Timothy, what one would call a wonderful find, a tremendous result that wasn't a direct connection to something Paul had done.  It was worth coming back there just to run into him.

In Acts 16:7, Paul and his companions were forbidden to preach in Asia.  As they moved ahead, they continued to get the thumbs down from the Holy Spirit.  In v. 9, Paul gets a vision from God from Macedonia.  The Lord called Paul and his cohorts to preach the gospel in Macedonia.

Someone today might study that passage and then decide that he should look for a call to a field like Paul got there.  Reader, Paul was an apostle.  That is a big deal, a huge, huge deal that he mentions at the start of most of his epistles.  He defends his apostleship in 2 Corinthians and Galatians, it's so big, so important.  Paul got direct revelation from God, because He was an apostle.  The era of the apostle is over, so God isn't speaking to us any more.

God today speaks through His Word, the Bible, which is completed revelation.  You may say, "Then how do we know where to go?"  I'd like to talk about that in the future, but as for right this moment, it isn't through direct revelation, a still small voice, a voice in the head, an intuition, an impression, a cloud formation, window shutters that move back and forth with the wind, the blowing of the Holy Spirit, or unusual circumstances.  There is no laying out of the fleece or anything like that.

As I write the above to you, reader, I know that I hear this from a majority of independent Baptists.  It is a common question for missionaries:  "Have you been called?"  I've never been asked that, but I know men who have.  What's the answer to that?  I would wonder what this call comes in the form of.  How do you know it's God talking?  What is the basis for believing it is God?

I'm saying this "call" is making the Macedonian call in Acts normative.  It isn't normative.  It was unique to Paul.  It was unique to that day and age before the completion of the Word of God.  I don't believe people who say they've gotten a call.  They think they got something, because they are expecting to get something.  They are supposed to get something, so they want it, very much like someone who wants to speak in tongues, and then he "does," because he expects it and wants it.  He really doesn't, but he says he does and others authenticate it.  People do the same thing with this call thing.  They just take it as true, and if you questioned it, you're unloving, like someone who questions tongues.

For many Baptists, this call thing is the most important thing for a missionary.  If he goes to the field, and he hasn't been called, then he may doubt that he should be there and then take off.  If he has been called, then he stays there until he gets another call.  It's very convenient to wait for a voice in your head, telling you that you need to go and do something.  It can't be questioned.  For these who see it with such great importance, this is what causes someone to serve with determination.  If you've been called, even if people don't want to hear, you've got to stay too, and that's what keeps you from "quitting."

I'm telling you that I never had a call like that to come to California.  I had principles, that I'll talk about perhaps in some future post, but I came because I wanted to.  I had the liberty to come to California.  If my church wants me to go, I can leave.  My church could send me somewhere else.  My church could also say, no.  A lot of men think this call supersedes a church, that is, if God tells one of these men to do something, the church should just listen.  The truth is opposite.  Men should listen to the church, which is to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit.

The Macedonian call to a mission field is not all that I hear from Baptists.  This is not why I'm writing this post, but I got something in an email, very close to another email I received about a week before, which was like another one a week before that.  I had already deleted it, and if I knew I was going to write this, I would have cut and pasted the contents.  The email came from someone who said that he knew that God had told us what to preach.  He was sure of that.  The Lord telling you what to preach is another way God speaks to men.  As you know, it even goes to the extent of the content of the sermon too, but telling you that this is what you are supposed to preach.  I've heard many sermons through the years from various ones to whom God gave the message, and it was not scriptural.  Not.  God couldn't have given it to a person, because it contradicted scripture.

I'm happy about the Macedonian call.  It sent the gospel further West.  I have it today partly because of that movement.  I'm glad.  It didn't make sense at that time, because not all of Asia Minor had been hit.  This was part of the movement that God wanted.  He told Paul.  Paul could get that call as an apostle.  We can't.  That doesn't mean God isn't speaking.  He is sufficiently speaking in the Word of God.  We should spend our time knowing what that is saying and then applying it, all of it.  Stop waiting for special extra-scriptural messages.  Dig into scripture.  Stay there.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Dumbing Unity Down and Excluding God

A couple of happenings prevailed for me to write something on the dumbing down of unity, biblical unity or actual unity.  One, I'm preaching through John for the second time, and I'm in John 17.  Two, I somehow was directed to Todd Friel on his Wretched radio program, where he said (between 1 and 2 minutes):
This is another example.  What you've got here is a Presbyterian and not a Presbyterian.  Ah, I'm not sure what John MacArthur calls himself, but he's not a Presbyterian.  In other words, he rightly baptizes believers.  He disagrees on this or that with R. C. Sproul, but listen to the relationship that they have.  This is a model.  We separate from false teachers.  We don't separate from those who disagree on secondary issues.  We love one another.
As an aside, if separation isn't love, then why would anyone separate from false teachers? Shouldn't we love them too?  If separation isn't love, and we love false teachers too, then we can't separate from them either.  Where does the Bible teach that separation applies only to "primary issues" and only to false teachers?

The biblical doctrines of unity and separation directly relate to one another.  You do not understand unity if you don't understand separation, and you don't understand separation if you don't understand unity.  Friel doesn't understand separation or unity.  The question is, what does the Bible teach about both?

One of the most amazing passages in the Bible, John 17 records the intercessory prayer of Jesus, closing out the upper room discourse.  Of the five things Jesus prays for others, one is unity, twice mentioned, first in verse 11 and then in verses 21 to 23.  God created man for unity, and once that was lost because of sin, He provided a way to have unity with Him.  Included for those in that unity with Him is also unity with others.

The prayer of Jesus in John 17 reveals the unity to be a practical unity and also one like the Son has with the Father.  The oneness between Father and Son in John is a unity in purpose and action in addition to a spiritual unity.  When Jesus said that He and the Father were one (John 10:30), He was saying that they had the same purpose and did the same work.  A major reason Jesus wanted unity was as a testimony to the world (John 17:21, 23).  The world would see that unity, so it couldn't have been just a spiritual unity.  The world had to see it and the world couldn't see a spiritual unity.

If you zoom forward to John's epistles, he starts 1 John talking about unity too, and how he talks in the first chapter mirrors Jesus' prayer in John 17.  He talks about fellowship with the Father that yields fellowship one with another.  That fellowship is described as walking in the light as He is in the light, which is also the basis of fellowship one with another.  Walking is practical.  The fellowship is dependent on the walk.  If someone says he fellowships with God and then walks in darkness, he is lying.  The walk is practical.

At what point is someone departing from the light of God?  It is anyway that he walks not in something, anything, that the Bible teaches -- that includes baptism.  Infant baptism isn't light.  R. C. Sproul doesn't walk in the light, so you can't have fellowship when he walks in darkness.

God doesn't fellowship with darkness at all.  When someone fellowships with, that is, unifies with someone who walks in darkness, he has unity with this person, but God doesn't.  God is excluded from fellowship with darkness.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not talking about salvation here.  If Sproul is saved, he's saved.  However, fellowship is based upon practical light.  That's how John reads.  That's the fellowship of the Father and the Son in John 17 and elsewhere.

The unity of the rest of the New Testament looks just like what Jesus prayed for and what the Apostle John recounts in his epistles.  This is not more clearly revealed than in 1 Corinthians 1:10.  Unity could be the theme of 1 Corinthians, except the opposite, the division of Corinth versus the unity God wanted and expected as described in 1:10.
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Every passage on unity in the New Testament reads the same way.

Why is unity taught and practiced then in a different way than what the Bible teaches?  I see really only two reasons, one doctrinal and the other pragmatic.

The doctrinal reason is a wrong view of the church -- if someone believes the true church or the body of Christ is made up of all believers. If MacArthur sees Sproul as a believer, then he won't separate from him, because he would see that as factious. God wants no divisions in His body.  If the the body is universal, then an evangelical can't separate from any Christian.  This is a doctrinal reason why evangelicals don't separate.

Friel said we are to separate only from false teachers.  It's true we are to separate from false teachers, but not only from them.  That's far from all of what scripture says about separation. It either shows great ignorance or rebellion against what the Bible teaches about separation and unity.

Friel says that MacArthur is a great model of not separating over secondary issues.  Baptism in this assessment, infant sprinkling, this false teaching, Friel is calling a secondary issue.  No infants are baptized in the Bible and no one is sprinkled.  Only believers are baptized and only by immersion. This isn't the only doctrinal perversion of infant sprinkling, but Friel says it is a secondary issue.  One could argue that infant sprinkling as a teaching has sent more people to hell than any other false doctrine in history.

If these men can't separate, then they have to redefine unity.  Unity is either only spiritual or it is only over the so-called important doctrines.  Scripture doesn't teach either of these.  These themselves are false doctrines and, therefore, false beliefs.  Unscriptural teaching isn't loving.  Unbiblical practices are not loving.  MacArthur isn't being a model of love by walking in darkness or tolerating a walk in darkness.

The pragmatic reason that these men don't separate and, therefore, don't practice biblical unity, is for the sake of their coalitions.  They have bigger crowds when they are more tolerant of more diverse doctrine and practice.  More people are accepted. That means bigger groups, more book sales, and greater popularity.  They see this success as significant of God's blessing or God's working through their lives.

The lack of separation and the dumbing down of unity will result in the propagation of more false teaching.  Darkness needs to be reproved (Eph 5:11). It needs to be separated from (2 Cor 6:14-7:1), including professing believers (2 Thess 3:6-11; 1 Cor 5).  God is love.  The only way to protect and practice biblical unity is by obeying also in biblical separation.  It isn't unity to get along with false doctrine and practice.  God doesn't.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Learn Greek, Archaeology, and Evangelism

Lord willing, we will be starting a new round of courses at our Bible Institute at Mukwonago Baptist Church in the (very) near future.  Some brethren at a distance that offer both local and distance classes of their own have asked me to teach for them, and, of course, there are the local saints in the church to teach. 

If you, or other of the saints of God, are interested in taking any of the following courses at a distance, please contact my church and contact me to let me know.

1.) First year New Testament / Koine Greek.  We will learn the fundamentals of Greek grammar for the purpose of progressing to higher levels of understanding of the language, teaching for the purpose of the student growing in grace and growing in his ability to understand, exegete, apply, preach, and teach the Word.

2.) Archaeology and the Bible.  An introductory course surveying the many supports from archaeology for the Old and New Testaments.  We should cover things that, in my opinion, every Christian ought to learn about and be able to discuss with those who deny the truthfulness of Scripture as part of the command to give reasons for the Christian hope (1 Peter 3:15).  This course is not intended to be comprehensive but to be an introductory level overview of this important subject.

3.) Evangelistic Bible Studies.  A course on how to do an evangelistic Bible study with a lost person or persons.  Lord willing, we will teach through the Bible studies here and teach people how to do such studies with the lost.

If you, or a group of people in your church, are interested in learning any of these subjects, that you might love God with your mind, affections, and all who you are in a greater way and obey Him more as a result, please contact us sooner rather than later so that we can plan properly.



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

How Biblical Change Looks When It Happens -- And the Opposite

Biblical change starts with conviction.  The Holy Spirit reproves the world of sin (Jn 16:8).  The Greek word is not about a feeling someone has, but someone convinced, as in being proven guilty. Romans 12:1 says true, perpetual worship of God is reasonable. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.

Every major change in my life started with scripture.  Every church problem I've ever seen relates to something unscriptural.  The solution to the problem is in the Bible, because God's Word is sufficient. Something needs to be changed to line up with the Bible.

When I think our church is doing something wrong, it started with scripture.  The Holy Spirit used scripture to convince me.  Whatever change we need to make is because our church is failing to believe and practice something in the Bible.  Before our church changes, I've changed.  If the church is going to change too, then I've got to teach on it.  I spend weeks on it and then open it to question and answer, until we're all on board.  God wants unity too (1 Cor 1:10, Eph 4:3).

Change starts with scripture.  If it's something we are not believing or not doing, I see it in the Bible first.  I wonder if it is historical too.  Is this something that Christians have believed and practiced as well.  If it's true, it won't be new.  That doesn't mean there will be a devastating historical argument, because we can't rely totally on history like we do the Bible, but we should expect that a true position would be found in history.

Scripture comes.  The Holy Spirit works.  Our souls are enlightened.  We submit to what God says. That's how change occurs.

Many new theological or religious positions have arisen through history and especially in the last one hundred years. If someone teaches you proxy baptism, baptism for dead people, and you haven't heard of that, what would you do?  You should ask where it's in the Bible.  Once you start to hear where that doctrine comes from, you might wonder why you haven't heard it before.  Is that what that scripture means?  If not, what is it talking about?

I've noticed that leftward changes don't start with the Bible.  They start with pragmatism or lust. They don't start with Bible reading, where something jumps out in scripture, and then it's found in history too.  No.  It starts with something that someone wants to do, and he goes to scripture second, and for the purpose of justifying or vindicating what he's going to do.  This is how the Bible gets twisted or wrested, the way Peter put it in 2 Peter 3.  Whole new doctrine proceeds from attempting to accommodate practices once forbidden.

When women started wearing pants, that didn't start with women studying the Bible.  It didn't start with Christian men thinking of how scripture applied to helping their wives and daughters.  Now when women adjust their skirts to above their knees, that isn't starting with a prayer meeting, and a time of careful exegesis.  Along with the change in practice, new teaching does arise.  I've seen it most prevalent in a new view of the grace of God.  Love changes in meaning.  These serve to justify a lot of varied behavior.

At a particular juncture in time, a religious leader says, "Things aren't working as they should, so let's try this, to see if it works."  It's tried and it seems to work.  People keep doing it.  Others try it because it works.  Change occurs.  This isn't biblical change.  It isn't someone being convinced by scripture.  It's someone being persuaded by his own lying eyes.

Godly men confront wrong changes.  They don't want the change. Those changing push back.  A battle ensues.  Godly men stop confronting change.  They capitulate.  The change becomes the new norm, until another leftward change starts the process again.

Over a longer period of time, leftward changes send people and their institutions away from God. They don't start with scripture.  We have a school and I teach in it.  A student might stop doing his homework.  That's a change. I confront it.  He still doesn't do the homework.  I stop confronting him. He discontinues homework.  Not doing homework is the new standard.

Children sit quietly in the classroom while an adult teaches.  A child talks to another child.  The teacher corrects it.  The child keeps talking.  The teacher stops correcting.  Talking is the new normal. It's a change.  Some might call it a gracious change.  The child wants to talk.  He gets to talk.  An adult gives the child what he wants.  Some call that love.

Men change.  Society changes.  Does God change?  He doesn't need to.  If we need to change, it's to be like God.  Instead men change, become less like God.  That's accepted.  Change to be like God is rejected.  Today there is far more ungodly change than godly change.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Should Christians Change?

Have you changed as a Christian since you became a Christian?  Should Christians change?  Change is characteristic of a Christian after he becomes a Christian at his justification by faith, the moment of His conversion. God changes him.  He changes.  This is sanctification.  This is Christian growth.

Scripture predicts the change of a Christian after his salvation by grace through faith. He conforms to the image of Jesus Christ.  He changes into the image of Christ in a practical way in sanctification to match the positional change that occurred at justification.

I have seen amazing changes in individuals after they were saved.  Their lives change.  They listen to the preaching of the Word of God and they conform to scripture.  They are sanctified by the truth, like Jesus prayed in John 17:17.  As newborn babes, they desire the sincere milk of the Word that they might grow thereby (1 Pet 2:2).

I have changed as a pastor.  I am still changing and growing.  Our church has changed.  I often tell people that there have been eight to ten major ways that I have changed in my life because of the Word of God.

Our church has changed.  When we see something from scripture, we adapt to it.  We start doing something we weren't doing.  We are ready to change, because the Bible is our sole authority for faith and practice.

What I've noticed in my adult lifetime is that most of the changes in churches are slides.  They are leftward changes away from scripture.  They become less sanctified.  The church becomes more lax.

When I look at the church as an institution, I see the church becoming more and more like the world.  The church is decreasing the number of times it meets.  It is adding entertainment.  It adds gimmicks.  It grows in its number of fads.  It is becoming more casual.  It is a more compromising church.  I've noticed those types of changes are in general more acceptable.

Do you think that a biblical change mainly is a church becoming more liberal?  Would you think that the change of the Word of God and the change authored by the Holy Spirit would be a liberal change, where something that was done is not done any more, where more and more former practices are being dropped?  Changes toward laxness are very often acceptable changes.  When a church becomes more conservative, why isn't that acceptable?  It's usually frowned upon.  Does that speak well?

My wife a few years ago had someone she was close to say that she, this other person, hadn't changed, but my wife had.  It's true that my wife has.  I have.  It's not true that the other person hasn't changed.  She has become more tolerant of sin and more tolerant of worldliness.  Her own lifestyle is more worldly.  My wife has gone the opposite direction, but has changed.

Change is necessary.  Change will occur with a true Christian.  In so many ways, it's good when a Christian stays the same, doesn't move, is very stable.  That's good, but it's also good if that Christian is changing, because he is growing, is conforming to Christ, living a more holy, more obedient life.

**************

After I wrote the above, I thought about it again during the day, and I want to add some things.  Why is it that the changes we see happening in the church today are leftward and progressive, not conservative?  Leftward changes relate to personal freedom and self-gratification.  Actual conversion is death to self.  It centers on God and not self.  Self is pride.  A church can't and won't change, that is, become what Christ wants it to be.  Instead, it turns more into what people want it to be, which centers on getting its own way.  Churches are more like they want to be and then justifying it by calling it liberty.  It isn't liberty.  It's lasciviousness.

When you challenge someone to change in order to conform to Christ, he can change because he has died to himself, like Paul describes in Romans 7 and Philippians 3.  The church today is a worldly church that changes to conform and adapt to the spirit of the age.  It won't and can't give up self, so it changes the meaning and application of scripture to conform to self.  It is thorny ground.  This is a gospel issue, related to something I wrote last week on the subject.

When you challenge someone with self on the throne, someone who is proud, he can't or won't change.  He protects self.  You can't even confront him to change, because that is intolerable.  Generally, he won't listen.  He can only hear about how good he is or that he is right.  Almost all correction is rejected.  When self is dead, which is what occurs with a true conversion, he is open to change to conform to the meaning and application of the Word of God.

Conservative changes are self-sacrificial.  They want to represent God and the entrance of the light brings those changes.  Liberal changes are self-aggrandizing. They start with what people want and how they feel.  Changes are made, but they are changes to adapt to what people want.  This is the direction of the church today.  It is becoming more progressive and liberal, not conservative.

Friday, September 08, 2017

The What is Truth? blog: How Has It Blessed You?

The What is Truth? blog is approaching 1,500,000 hits as I write this post (and possibly will be over that number when you are reading it.)  Praise the Lord for this impact for the glory of the Triune Jehovah and the spread of the truth of His Word!

Of course, What is Truth? is run by Pastor Kent Brandenburg, long-time faithful pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in El Sobrante, CA.  Bro Thomas Ross also posts on the blog on Fridays.  The posts on the blog seek to reflect the Biblical position of the church and pastor that run it--namely, obedience to everything in the Bible out of love for its Divine Author, who has redeemed the sinful men who write on it by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

How long have you been reading the posts at What is Truth?  What posts have been the greatest blessing to you spiritually?  Which ones have you shared with others?  Why do you like to read the posts on this blog?  How have they helped you in doing ministry for the glory of God?  Please feel free to explain in the comment section.

If the posts are a blessing to you, I would encourage you to share them with others, link to them, etc.  That will help even more people to hear the truth.

Also, in addition to posting your thoughts and the way What is Truth? has blessed those you seek to minister to and you individually, I would be interested to see if you can guess what posts have received the most hits.  Do you want to guess what the top three are or the top five?  I will plan to post the answer to that question if we get a decent number of guesses.

By the way, there are many people who this blog has impacted who do not comment on it and do not want anyone to know that they are reading it.  I praise God for the influence of the What is Truth? blog even on people like this--the blog is still spreading the salt of the Word around even in many places where those who are ashamed of unpopular truth do not want to acknowledge it.

If you guess what the top posts are correctly, THIS BLOG WILL GIVE YOU ...

and YOU WILL WIN ...


and if you CONTINUE READING, YOU WILL GET THE SPECIAL PRIZE of and BE THE SPECIAL WINNER OF ...



and if you PROMOTE THE BLOG TO YOUR FRIENDS, YOUR FRIENDS WILL GET THE SPECIAL PRIZE OF ...





... nothing in particular as a giveaway, since Bethel Baptist Church does not practice promotion and marketing techniques like the world does to attract people, but instead seeks to preach the gospel to every creature and let the Holy Spirit and the Word of God do what giving out toys, candy, and coffee cannot.  (You can pat yourself on the back, though, if you want to.)

You will get what truly is an exceedingly special prize, though.  You will know more of the truth (John 14:6; 17:17).  So will your friends if you share this blog with them.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Six Positions on Church Music, pt. 2

In part one, I list the six positions with one corollary to the sixth position added.

Can or does any objective standard exist for judging church music?  Is the choice of musical style completely arbitrary?  To what degree can someone judge musical style based upon scripture?  The answer to these questions factor the most to differentiate the six positions on church music.  Almost everyone in evangelicalism and many in fundamentalism treat musical style like it doesn't matter. To them, the worst thing you could do is judge it, the people who use it, or to be intolerant at all about it.

I want to talk about the development of the six positions, how they came about, why, and who I think takes them.  The music issue, as I call it, says a lot about how someone approaches any issue, significantly the so-called "cultural issues," terminology that seems mainly to function as a pejorative, functioning to classify those issues as lesser ones or more dubious in consideration.

The culture is changing everywhere.  At her college, my middle daughter looks to her left and sees a female with optic pink hair and to the right one with a spike sticking out of her neck.  What's weird to her is talking to and treating them as normal.  She treats them like they are made in God's image, when they look like something different than that.  I attribute the change in culture to the inability of this generation to know and apply truth.  People are more than ever uncertain about the truth and even less certain about applying it.

Like many other issues, evangelicals succumbed to non-judgment of musical style a long time ago. It's not that they didn't ever judge it.  They stopped applying scripture to the music issue and since have developed more reasons for doing so.  Fundamentalists now in droves are following in their footsteps.

The judgment of musical style corresponds well to the judgment of other issues.  You have to rely on biblical principles or as some have explained, a second premise, to apply most of scripture.  You won't obey scripture without applying a minor premise.  You can and must apply that premise to come to a biblical practice or conclusion.

Even though the Bible doesn't command, "Don't smoke crack pipes," the same characters who can't or won't apply scripture to musical style will still apply it to smoking of crack pipes.  I have noticed new applications of scripture beginning, that I had not seen in fundamentalism, especially as they apply to social issues, even as they have discontinued applying the Bible in cultural ones.  It seems the choice of application has become completely arbitrary.

The only two consistent positions of the six, as I see them, are the first and the last.  Musical style is either immoral, number one, or moral, number six.  If some musical style is immoral, then offering it to God as worship is false worship, in essence offering God something immoral as if He would receive it.  He won't, but saying that He will anyway, and without reason.

The people who take position number one know when something is wrong.  They know that Marilyn Monroe was wrong for singing Happy Birthday in a completely sensual manner to John F. Kennedy. They know that.  That know that is immoral.  The lyrics aren't a problem.  The style is all that's wrong with it.  However, they know that it is the only consistent position, so they take it.  Everyone knows there is "mood music" and within that general category, "sexy music," that is not appropriate for worship of God, but if music is amoral, then they have to accept that too.  They shouldn't, but if they don't, then, again, they know that they have to start judging music, and that opens pandora's box for them, thus reverting back to number one.

As I view it today, more churches practice number one than number six.  At one time, no one practiced number one, because everyone in the world, even the unsaved, knew that music was moral. Most of the list is pushing toward number one.  There are less of number six than ever and as time passes, I foresee more and more movement toward number one, even if people don't settle on it as their position, because they know it isn't true.

The big argument against number six is that you can't prove it.  You can't give evidence.  You can give evidence.  It's like evidence for the existence of God.  You could say, depending on how you define evidence, that there is no evidence for God.  You haven't seen Him, so He doesn't exist.  He doesn't do astronomical special signs that would indicate His existence, so He doesn't exist.  For music, you can't push a play button on the Bible that says what bad music is, so there isn't evidence of what it is.

The same people who say there isn't evidence for  permissible musical style by which someone can judge it, neither can say that there is evidence against string bikinis in scripture. It's against the law to scream "fire" in a crowded building.  As easy as that is to understand, there is also evidence against optic colored hair dye and Nazi symbolism.  Perhaps there is evidence against women running around stark naked, but is there evidence against drawings of women or men naked?  I don't have a verse. Can I judge that?  I'm saying, yes.

I said I would mention some examples of the various categories.  I listened to Mark Dever's interview of Keith Getty, and Dever asked him about musical style.  Dever point blank asked Getty at about 48 minutes whether there was a style of music that couldn't be used in church, and Getty said these words:
I don't believe at all in the idea that one style is holier than another.
Getty went on to say that it should be whatever style will bring your 72 year old grandfather and his ten year old grandson together in singing a song, which does fit number two in my list.  He's saying that is best.  He's not saying that any musical style is wrong.  I noticed that Getty will lead the singing at MacArthur's Shepherd's Conference again this year.

I don't think John MacArthur himself believes number one.  You can read that in his original commentary on Ephesians (5:19).  He says rock music is not acceptable for worship.  It is immoral in itself there, something that Getty contradicts and Dever doesn't correct in the interview.  In the pretty recent Strange Fire conference, MacArthur said all of the following quotes:
The contemporary evangelical church has very little interest in theology and doctrine, so you’re going to have a tough sell. It’s about style. And style is the Trojan Horse that lets Charismatics in the church. Because once you let the music in, the movement follows. It all of a sudden becomes common. We sound like the Charismatics, sing like they do, have the same emotional feelings that they have. It’s a small step from doing the same music to buying into the movement. So the tough thing is you’re going back to a church that is thinking like that. It’s hard to make sound doctrine the issue when style is much more the interest of the leaders of the church.
Later he said:
I don’t think it has to do with what the teachers are saying. I think it’s the music. It’s like getting drunk so you don’t have to think about the issues of life. If you shut down the music, turn on the lights, and have someone get up there and try to sell that with just words, it’s not going to work. You’ve got to have some way to manipulate their minds.
He followed that with this:
I would go so far as to say that evangelical noncharismatic churches are using music that is unacceptable to draw people in. They’re using the music of the world to suck people in as if somehow people would get saved through the music. The two have no connection. This is so close to what’s in a normal evangelical environment that it’s a very small step to getting sucked in, because the style is the same.
Lastly, he said this:
I’m convinced that the contemporary style of charismatic music is the entry point for Charismatic theology into churches. If you buy the music, the theology follows. Because all of a sudden you’re listening to the same songs/artists, experiencing the same emotions. The church may be non-Charismatic, but all the style is exactly the same. That’s the entry point. Show me a church that has a strong doctrinal statement, and I’ll show you a church reluctant to embrace even the music. Show me a church that loves great hymns and theology put to music, I’ll show you a church reluctant to embrace the charismatic movement. And because the music doesn’t come in, the theology doesn’t either. That’s the seductive entry point.
MacArthur does know.  So even though Getty won't judge musical style, what number is he?  He seems like number three. This allows for false worship, while saying there is musical style that is wrong.

I'll return to this next week perhaps.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Six Positions on Church Music, pt. 1

Evangelicalism and fundamentalism are all over the board on church music.  I've noticed at least six different positions from those who would not call themselves liberal.

  • Music itself is amoral.  You should judge church music only by the lyrics, whether they are scriptural or not.  All music is acceptable.  Only the words could be unacceptable.  All musical style is totally preferential.
  • Music might be amoral.  Christians can differ on that issue and they are not wrong to do so. Even if you cannot judge musical style, you don't want to use music that will cause disunity in the church.  Churches are right to choose only styles of music that will not cause disunity in the church, because some might offend certain people in the church.
  • Music is moral, but non-essential.  Churches shouldn't judge in non-essential issues.  Music might be able to be judged, but whatever someone wants to use in musical styles is non-essential.  As a non-essential, musical style is a non-separating issue.
  • Only certain musical style is acceptable for worship, since worship is regulated by scripture.  It must fit scriptural worship. However, individual listening of music is not regulated by scripture, so you can listen to any musical style outside of the church.  Only a certain style of music is acceptable for worship, but since it is also a non-essential, it isn't a separating issue, what kind of music a church will use for worship. 
  • Music is moral and essential for biblical worship, and it can be judged.  Musical style isn't a basis for separation, but it can affect cooperation.  Since the boundary of fellowship is the gospel, musical style can't affect fellowship, but it can affect how each individual church might cooperate with another church.
  • Music is moral.  Wrong musical styles are false worship.  Separation should occur over immoral music and false worship.  Immoral worship shouldn't be used for personal listening either.
Some churches and individuals would differ on what musical styles are acceptable to God.  I'm saying that two churches may both claim to be the sixth category above, but not agree on what musical styles are acceptable.  They believe some or many are not.  I've seen this too, but I'm not calling the two different positions.  That situation would affect fellowship between those two churches even though they might claim the same position.  One church, for instance is all in on Southern gospel music and even thinks that is the most sanctified music for a church, while the other is death on Southern gospel and says it is worldly and unacceptable to God.

I could assign various churches and individuals in evangelicalism and fundamentalism to these six positions. I've seen all six and could name representatives of each.  Our church believes and practices the last of these, the most conservative of these, because we believe it is consistent with all of scripture.

I'm going to post what I've written so far, but I may come back between Monday and Wednesday to write more in what will become a short series.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Frederick B. Meyer: Applications from his Keswick Apostasy, part 1 of 2


            Frederick. B. Meyer was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, not a Bible-believing, historic Baptist minister.  His writings should be rejected, and he should be warned against.  Why should God’s people read the writings of one who spread the standard errors of Keswick, who also gave no evidence of personal conversion, who accepted absurd eschatological fictions, who refused to contend for Baptist doctrine, who found liturgy and baptismal regeneration acceptable but rejected the Regulative Principle of worship, who was grossly ecumenical, who radically watered down the demands of the gospel and taught that heathen did not need to hear about and consciously believe in Jesus Christ to be saved, who rejected the truth that Christ propitiated God’s wrath on the cross, who blasphemed Jehovah by claiming that Old Testament Israel thought He was only the God of the hills, not of the valleys, who blasphemed the Holy Spirit by claiming that He was thought of as an atmosphere, not a Person, for most of the history of the world, who rejected the verbal, plenary inspiration of Scripture for modernistic apostasy, and who spread continuationism, contributed to the rise of Pentecostalism, and was open to forms of spiritualism?  Would not the writings of such a man have a better place in a fire than in the minds and hearts of the Triune Jehovah’s people?  Are they not filled with the stench of the fires of hell?  F. B. Meyer was a heretic, and the Lord’s precious faithful ones should beware of both his pernicious personal influence and his baneful and continuing influence on the doctrines and practices of others.  That such a man as he is hailed by the adherents of the Higher Life as Keswick’s leading international representative provides yet another reason why Keswick theology must be rejected by true churches and faithful Christians.
            While F. B. Meyer did not, you must treasure the power of the blessed gospel of Jesus Christ.  Natural theology will only condemn, never save (Romans 1:18-32), but “the gospel of Christ . . . is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).  There is no other name than that of Jesus Christ by which men must be saved (John 14:6; Acts 4:12), and no other way of salvation than by repentant faith in Him and His substitutionary death, as validated by His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  All who do not receive this gospel must necessarily perish eternally, but the Holy Spirit, through the Word, produces faith in countless of those who hear it (Romans 10:17; James 1:18), so that they are washed in Christ’s blood, adopted into the family of their infinitely loving, gracious, and tender heavenly Father, and are enabled to join the eternal song in grateful worship of their God and Lord, Jesus Christ:  “Thou art worthy . . . for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. . . . Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Revelation 5:9-12)!  Is not this gospel, this best of all Good News, worth proclaiming in all its purity to the ends of the earth, worth living in light of, and worth dying for?  Where is the Christian who will not cry out, with his heart and soul, “Yes, it is so—Amen, Amen!”  Then, dear reader, act upon this truth.  Be part of reconciling the world to Christ by proclaiming His sweet name to all men unto the very ends of the earth.  Furthermore, do not allow the truth of this gospel to be corrupted in the least part.  View with horror the damage F. B. Meyer sought to inflict upon the gospel, and inflicted in truth upon countless precious souls who followed him in his damnable errors.  Rather than rejecting, or being the slightest bit ashamed of the precious doctrines of propitiation and of penal substitution, let the penal substitution of Christ on the cross, and His appeasement of the Father’s wrath thereon, be your only hope and confidence for a blessed eternity, and your joy and glory on earth even now.  Treasure them in your heart.  Meditate upon them in your mind.  Speak of them everywhere, and be heartily thankful to God for them always.  They are at the heart of that only saving gospel that is the undiluted power of God unto salvation.
            Hate the abominable error of F. B. Meyer of preaching Keswick theology to unconverted heathen instead of preaching the gospel.  Only God knows the number who are in hell today because of this fearful error and deriliction of obvious duty by Mr. Meyer and those whom he influenced.  Meyer’s practice in this regard is a clear example of how God is dishonored and people come to be eternally damned when cultural pressure is surrendered to, rather than resisted by, the Lord’s church and people.  Telling people in India that their heathen ancestors were saved, not lost, was surely easier and much more culturally acceptable.  Surely there was great pressure to lie to them in this manner, as F. B. Meyer did, or at least downplay or equivocate on the truth, as many others did.  What was the result?  God’s truth was not glorified, the gospel was corrupted, apostasy was furthered, and precious souls were deluded and lost.  Reader, you must never under any circumstances surrender, be ashamed of, or water down anything taught in God’s holy Word because of cultural pressure.  “[F]ear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).  The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25).
            Christians must practice the methodology of gospel proclamation taught in Scripture. The book of Acts clearly teaches and models by example aggressive evangelism for every church member;  all should go “every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:4), with the goal of preaching to “every creature which is under heaven” (Ephesians 1:23; Mark 16:15), that is, giving clear presentations of the gospel to every single person on the face of the earth.  God’s Word presents house to house evangelism as an explicit pattern of Scripture (Acts 5:42; 20:20-21).  If Christians in the New Testament went out preaching “daily,” you can certainly go persistently.  If they sought to reach large groups at one time by preaching in the temple and other places “publickly,” then Christian men should follow their pattern by preaching on the streets, and all Christians should follow their pattern by distributing literature and proclaiming the gospel wherever sizeable groups of people can be found.  If they also went “house to house,” seeking to reach “every house,” then you also ought to specifically reach every single household in your area and send forth laborers from your church who will seek to do so likewise in communities that are further away, until “all men every where” have heard the gospel (Acts 21:28; 19:10; Mark 16:15).  Are you part of a church that is following the Biblical pattern and preaching publicly and house to house?  If not, it is time to either start obeying Scripture or time to leave that church for a faithful congregation.  If so, are you participating in this blessed and holy work, with zeal and love for Jesus Christ, and love for and holy boldness towards sinners?  If not, now is the time to repent—now is the time to beg God for a heart like His for the lost.
            Christian pastors and other spiritual leaders must by no means turn aside from the sufficient and God-glorifying Biblical methodology for gospel-proclamation to promotion and marketing techniques that violate Biblical principles.  F. B. Meyer learned from D. L. Moody, and others, a variety of how-to methods that could draw large crowds and build a big church—but without a pure gospel, and without pure methods of proclaiming that gospel, the glory goes to man, not to God, and truly beneficial long-term results will not follow.  A congregation may grow numerically as “an holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:21) filled with the blessings of Jehovah, or it may grow numerically utilizing unbiblical techniques and methodologies into a great mixed multitude of converted and unconverted people, filled with spiritual confusion and with the curse of the Lord.  The latter sort of “growth” is more easily accomplished—it is within the potency of human might and power, while the former is solely through the power of God’s Spirit—but the eternal consequences will be evident when each stands before the Judge of all the earth.

See here for this entire study.


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