Tuesday, October 30, 2007
This is how he begins the article. It doesn't get much better than this:
If there is one thing I love in life, it is the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. This is the biblical truth that liberates me from the crushing burden of ever having to stand before God on my own merit, but covers me instead with the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.He also quotes John Wesley briefly:
If we take the phrase of imputing Christ’s righteousness, for the bestowing (as it were) the righteousness of Christ, including his obedience, as well passive as active, in the return of it, that is, in the privileges, blessings, and benefits purchased it; so a believer may be said to be justified by the righteousness of Christ imputed. The meaning is, God justifies the believer for the sake of Christ’s righteousness, and not for any righteousness of his own.
I recommend it for you reading.
Monday, October 29, 2007
October 29, 2007
In his book, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church, Dr. D. A. Carson writes giving clarity to the movement (well, as much clarity as there can be with a movement where proponents have so much trouble agreeing with each other) and the movement’s implications on reformation theology, or, evangelical orthodoxy.
Spencer Burke, Brian McLaren and others are into this new idea of “trying new ideas and putting a postmodern spin on (even) the message!” Listen to what Mike Yaconelli writes in his book, Stories of Emergence: Moving from Absolute to Authentic:
“Challenge an accepted belief or confess doubt and you’re the equivalent of a car-carrying communist. Brows furrow. Eyes narrow. Lips purse. Want to earn a place on the Colorado Springs… er, I mean, Hollywood black list? Admit your uncertainty about homosexuality as a biblically condemned sin. Want to be branded as a traitor in your own church? Admit your ambivalence about a denomination-defining symbol such as baptism” (p.30, emphasis added).
This is sad, disheartening and evil. To say that we must admit uncertainty – when the Bible is crystal clear about issues like homosexuality, baptism, salvation, the clear gospel – is to deny the authority and clarity (perspicuity) of Scripture. This is exactly what Yaconelli, McLaren and Burke are doing as the headmasters of this Emergent Church movement.
Note this: in a 2004 Q & A session with the Emergent Convention, McLaren was asked his judgment on the matter of homosexuality. Well, biblically speaking we know what he ought to have said (cf. 1 Cor 6; Rom 1; 1 Tim 1, etc – it’s sinful, wrong and the homosexual needs to repent!). Rather, McLaren said that he did not want to answer directly to the issue. Here is what he did answer: 1) It is not entirely clear that what the Bible means when it speaks of homosexuality is exactly what we mean today when we speak of homosexuality and 2) He wants to stress the crucial importance of treating homosexuals as people, like other human beings in need of grace.
McLaren also noted in his leading work, A Generous Orthodoxy:
“And although the debate has been agonizing, liberals have blazed the trail in seeking to treat homosexual and transgender persons with compassion. Conservatives may follow in their footsteps in this issue just as they have in others, several decades down the road, once the pioneers have cleared the way” (p.138).
Frankly, McLaren (as well as other Emerging Church advocates) give me very very little evidence that they are fairly described as being a “biblical” and “orthodox” and “reformed” Christian.
Steve Chalke is another proponent of the movement and writes about it in his book, The Lost Message of Jesus. Well, with a title like this one has to come with some skepticism – for we have no lost message of Jesus. The Scriptures clearly portray the real message of Jesus.
The whole thrust of this book by Chalke is the emphasis on the truth, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8) and he notes that Christians are to “love the loveless, embrace the untouchable, feed the hungry, forgive the unforgivable, heal the sick and welcome the marginalized.” What he does not cover is phrases in the Scriptures like:
Psalm 7:11 11 God is a righteous judge, And a God who has indignation every day.
Romans 9:22 22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?
Exodus 34:7 yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished,
Revelation 14:10 10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God
Romans 1:18 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
And on and on and on…
Furthermore, Chalke now defines God in terms of his one controlling attribute, love. “The Bible,” Chalke says, “never defines him as anything other than love…but more than that, it NEVER makes assertions about his anger, power or judgment independently of his love” (p.63 of his work). I am not sure what Bible Chalke is reading. Yes God is a God of love. But the God that I read about in the Bible is also angry with the sinner and will be glorified in vessels of wrath prepared for destruction (i.e. “hell”). Chalke failed to mention this in his work.
D.A. Carson notes that Brian McLaren and Steve Chalke have largely abandoned what we may call, the biblical gospel. This means that we need to warn our people about these men because they are false teachers. We must pray for them and earnestly seek God that He may bring these men to Himself. We need to recover the biblical gospel that these individuals and the Emerging Church movement has lost.
We need to proclaim boldly that all mankind is under God’s wrath and sin until a person repents of his sin (John 3:36). This is the most fundamental principle of the orthodox gospel that the Emergents are neglecting to recognize.
Let us take a stand for the gospel and be those men and women who are sold-out committed to the full and unadulterated biblical gospel. Soli Deo Gloria.
Your Pastor and Friend,
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
This morning as I was reading these verses I was encouraged to see that these have a common theme, that Godly living is inseparable from the Word of God. In fact, this is a theme interwoven throughout the Scriptures (esp. the Pastorals). In any case, I want to break down these verses with a brief comment so as to better understand the author’s point in this first stanza of the 119th Psalm:
1 How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the LORD.
He begins by noting how blessed (Lit. “the multitude of happinesses”) that those have whose way is blameless. The idea with “blameless” is to be whole, complete, restored and sound. He gives a parallel statement by noting that this is also the one who walks (present activity assumed) in the Law of the LORD. This is the one who walks (“lives his life”) in the Law of the Lord. In a word, this is the man who is blessed and happy who finds himself walking in accordance with what the Word of the Lord says (cf. Eph 4:1-2).
2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart.
Here the author begins again with the same phrase, “how many are the multitudes of happinesses that come upon a human being” who observes (Lit. “keeps” or “guards”) God’s testimonies (i.e. “His Word). The one who is happy and the one who is keeping God’s testimonies is also the one who is seeking God’s testimonies with all his heart. One note worthy of mention is the phrase “with all his heart” is fronted in this phrase clearly for emphasis. Literally it could read, “with all his heart he is seeking it (the testimonies).” Could this be said of you?
3 They also do no unrighteousness; They walk in His ways.
Those who are blessed, happy and righteous are those who “do no unrighteousness.” The idea here is “one who is not doing wickedness. It has the emphasis on the action verb. One interesting note is that the LXX (Septuagint) translates this phrase using the verb ergazomai which means “to train so intensely as a businessman would to make a successful trade.” This is the man who does not practice unrighteousness. Rather, in God’s way (path, direction, Law) he is walking.
4 Thou hast ordained Thy precepts, That we should keep them diligently.
This has an emphatic personal pronoun fronted which could be translated, “You, You (O God) have ordained your precepts (statutes) in order that they may be kept diligently. Are we working so hard as to keep God’s word? Do we obey God’s Word so rigorously (not to be legalistic) that we could be reputed as one who “keeps God’s Word diligently”?
5 Oh that my ways may be established To keep Thy statutes!
Could it be said that it is our heart’s desire (and plea!) that our ways might be firmly established so as to keep God’s statutes? Do we really think of it in this light that we make it our heart’s ambition to establish our ways (i.e. our path, lifestyle, conduct, way of life) for the purpose of keeping God’s statutes?
6 Then I shall not be ashamed When I look upon all Thy commandments.
It is the believer in God and the one who lives out God’s Word who can say with full confidence that he will not be ashamed no matter what may come in life – good or bad. This can be confidently asserted because this man has looked (fixed his eyes upon) all of God’s commandments. Do we ever find ourselves ashamed of God and His Word? Is it because we are unwilling to accept all of God’s Word – even the hard doctrines to swallow – predestination, election, retribution, the Sovereignty of God? May we look upon all of God’s commandments and delight and act upon them.
7 I shall give thanks to Thee with uprightness of heart, When I learn Thy righteous judgments.
The psalmist here can say that he will give thanks (same word for “praise”) God with uprightness (straightness, rightness, a sense of proper morality) of heart. Is it our desire to be those men and women who give thanks to God when we learn of God’s righteous judgments? Let us bear in mind that we must never merely listen and learn of God’s righteous judgments but we must also act and do what we hear and learn (cf. James 1:21-22).
8 I shall keep Thy statutes; Do not forsake me utterly!
Here the word order is significant. The writer exclaims: “Your statutes… I shall keep!” He says in a shout of exclamation, O God, I will keep your statutes. It is your Word that I desire to live by. I determine and resolve to anchor my life by what your Word says and how it tells me to live. Then he concludes by recognizing, I will keep your Word of God, yet…I know I’m not perfect, so please don’t reject me utterly when I fail. May we press on with as much diligence and haste as the psalmist did to keep God’s statutes.
Your pastor and friend,
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
We do not obey in order to enhance our assurance of God’s favor. We obey
because we have already received the ultimate, definitive verdict, pronounced in
the cross and resurrection, that we are perfectly, irrevocably righteous in
God’s sight and entitled to enter heaven on the basis of the perfect
righteousness and merit of Christ. The gavel has come down, the sentence has
rung out throughout the universe: You are mine! No one can snatch you out
of my hand! You are my blood-bought servant, a brand snatched from the burning!
No angel, no demon, no sin can take you out of the favor of being accepted in
Blessings to you this Lord's day.
Friday, October 19, 2007
This gospel of “submission,” “commitment,” “decision,” and “having a personal relationship with God” fails to realize, first of all, that everyone
has a personal relationship with God already: either as a condemned criminal
standing before a righteous judge or as a justified co-heir with Christ and
adopted child of the Father. “How can I be right with God?” is no longer a
question when my happiness rather than God’s holiness is the main issue. My
concern is that Joel Osteen is simply the latest in a long line of self-help
evangelists who appeal to the native American obsession with pulling ourselves
up by our own bootstraps. Salvation is not a matter of divine rescue from the
judgment that is coming on the world, but a matter of self-improvement in order
to have your best life now.
Blessings to you. Let's stand on the truth of the biblical Gospel with the Word of God as our sure and secure foundation.
By Dr. Steven Lawson
While at the Expositor’s Conference in Mobile, I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Dr. Lawson preach numerous times and put into action what he trained us to do. He gave us a seventeen page handout on the “how-to’s” of expository preaching and I want to share it with you to store in your toolbox:
The preacher must sanctify his life and prepare his heart and life to full and utter devotion and commitment to God. In this step we need to select the book of the Bible that we will study and what our goals are in studying this book.
In this step we need to survey the whole book and it’s place in the canon at large. It is here we observe who the author is, the original recipients, the historical background, the key theme, the book outline, theological themes and interpretive challenges. Then we need to scope out the context of our specific passage in the book as a whole and observe everything, literally.
It is here that we must take all the information we gathered in the observation stage and secure the meaning of the text. We must stick with the historical-grammatical interpretation of the Scriptures to ensure that we obtain the intended meaning of the original author for his intended audience. The we must scan the resources, the commentaries, the word study books, the theologies, the dictionaries, etc.
Here we compile the information and set the headings. This is the outline for the text. We must also be able to state the meaning of the text in one clean, crisp, clear sentence. This is a necessity in the sermon preparation stage. Furthermore, we must support our assimilation (outline) with other scriptures – cross-referencing.
We must see the principles in the text that are timeless truths and have practical relevance for our hearers today. We know that God’s Word is timeless and thus the truths that were relevant thousands of years ago are still applicable to today’s culture.
It is here that we can use biblical illustrations, illustrations from church history, current events, personal experience, etc. Almost anything can be used as an illustration. However, perhaps the best illustrations are those that are from the Bible – even the Old Testament stories!
This is so important in the process. We need to create the interest in the hearer. We MUST show them why the need to hear our message. We must capture their attention in the first minute so they can be drawn into our message. They need to feel the “need” to sit and listen to me preach for 45 minutes. We can do this by talking about current events, historical story, a striking quote, ask questions, tell a story, etc. We must then reveal the big picture of the sermon. We must give them the “roadmap” and tell them where we are going.
We must appeal to believers here and tell them to 1) know something; to 2) feel something; and 3) to do something. We are to appeal to the mind, emotions and the will as we apply God’s Word.
This is where the preacher pores over his notes. He scrutinizes them and reviews the length, the balance, the quality and makes sure he understands the main point and keeps that main point the main point in all of his sermon. This is also for the preacher to saturate his own heart with the truths that he will be sharing with his hearers.
It is here that the preacher delivers his message. He must preach with dependency upon the Holy Spirit, with utter boldness, with balance and with passionate earnestness. He is calling them to respond. He is calling them to change. He is speaking with gravitos.
May we as preachers of God’s Word take these truths to heart and always preach for the glory of God.
Ezra 7:10 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.
Your pastor and friend,
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Thursday, October 18, 2007
True greatness is not found in being qualified but rather in being a servant. This is what Jesus said to His disciples:
Mark 9:35 35 And sitting down, He called the twelve and said toOne of the sermons in our preaching lab today was on this text in Mark nine on true greatness. What a fitting reminder for us seminary guys studying to understand and know God’s Word. It was brought to our attention that Christ does not condemn the desire to be great. Rather, he redirects and redefines the proper desire that we as believers must have to be someone great.
them, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of
The desire to have the biggest church, to have the most degrees, to have a well-behaved family and a host of other desires are all some of which we face. Yet the desire for these is not bad in and of themselves. Yet, Jesus takes the desire to be great and redefines it, not in terms of numbers or success or prosperity, but he redefines it with humility and service.
Jesus says that true greatness is being last of all and servant of all. It is noteworthy to mention that in the Greek text, the “of all” is found before the nouns. This is for emphasis. It could be rendered, “if anyone desires to be first, he shall be of everyone, last of all, and, of everyone, servant of all.
May this be true of each of us as we all have the desire to be someone great. May we be known by our humility and servant’s heart as we endeavor to be models for Christ’s body just as Paul was to the church in Corinth (1 Cor 11:1).
Your pastor and friend,
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
This is Osteen’s second book, and the follow-up to his bestselling Your Best
Life Now. Like the previous title, this one features a picture of the smiling
pastor on the front cover and offers seven steps to a better life. Like Your
Best Life Now much of the book follows this format: “The way to ______ is not to
______. Instead, you need to ______. You might say, ‘But Joel, I can’t do ______
and ______.’ I know it’s hard. Rise to the challenge. Don’t let yourself get
beat up or knocked down. God has so much more for you.” And like his previous
book, this one is maddeningly repetitive. It is a handful of his sermonettes for
Christianettes expanded into 380 pages of mind-numbing repetition.
Titus 1:9-13 9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. 10 For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach, for the sake of sordid gain. 12 One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." 13 This testimony is true. For this cause reprove them severely that they may be sound in the faith,
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
When we speak of scholarship from a Christian perspective, we speak of more than scholarship done by Christians. Rather, we speak of a passion for learning based on the supposition that all truth is God's truth. Thus, as Christian scholars related together in a learning community, we are to seek to take every thought captive to Christ.May it be that we all seek to grow closer to God and His Word. Read his blog here.
There is much talk today in the Charismatic, Neo-Pentecostal and Pentecostal circles that the sign gifts are still functioning. Furthermore, they would argue, special revelation is still being given by God. The “Thus saith the LORD” formula we find over 2,000 times in the Old Testament can be (and is!) still given today by God through His people. I disagree with this because I believe the Scriptures teach otherwise.
I was reading a recent article entitled, Does God Still Give Revelation? And the answer was a resounding “no.” Here’s why:
1. Christians in the early church applied similar tests to prove which NT books were authentic and which were not. A key test, therefore, was apostolic authorship. Every NT book had to be written by an apostle or a close associate of the apostles.
2. Content was an important test. For example, Acts 2:42 says that, for the first time, the church met and gave themselves to prayer, fellowship, breaking of bread and the apostles’ teaching. Later on, they all asked, “Does it agree with apostolic doctrine?” This test was very important because of all the heretics that tried to worm their way into the church (Marcion, Arius, Montanus, etc).
3. The response of the (early) churches must have been present. In other words, if God’s people accepted it, used it for worship, and made it part of their lives, and if Christians were universally being taught and blessed by the book, that was another important stamp of approval. Therefore, the early church had to be unanimous that this was an authoritative letter which should be incorporated into the canon.
Let it be known that from the time of the last apostle (John) until the present, the true church has always believed that the Bible is complete. God has given His revelation, and now Scripture is finished. God has spoken. What we have is complete, efficacious, sufficient, inerrant, infallible and authoritative. Attempts to add to the Bible, and claims of further revelation from God have always been characteristic of heretics and cultists, not the true people of God.
How important it is, therefore, that we treasure God’s Word as God’s true Word given to us. There is nothing that can be added (Rev 22:18-19). May we rest assured recognizing that we have the exact Word of God which He intends for us to have for “life and godliness” (2 Pet 1:3-4). May we rest assured in the absolute sufficiency of the Bible.
SOURCE: John MacArthur, “Does God Still Give Revelation,” TMSJ 14.2 (Fall 2003): 217-34.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
As you wait for it to download... read these verses:
Matthew 5:10-11 10 "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.
2 Timothy 3:12 12 And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
Revelation 6:9-10 9 And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Ephesians 5:25-27 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as
Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; 26 that He might
sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that
He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or
wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.
Monday, October 8, 2007
Pastor John Rainey's sermons have become virtually unintelligible as he
constantly references Greek and Hebrew definitions, say parishioners at Oak
Creek Presbyterian. On a recent Sunday, only 20 percent of Rainey's sermon was
"We were scratching our heads the whole time," says one member. "I thought I understood the passage before, but when he got done explaining it, I was lost." During the sermon, Rainey read a passage from Obadiah and said, "The word used for 'provision' is the Greek 'kupkos', or 'chabed' in the Hebrew, meaning 'oikenatilus' or literally 'havet am rabed alshallai.' The original tells us, 'Kepkus oikenate dunamis rikesa,' a fascinating word construction, meaning not just once but continually, or, 'Akinitus kre dormitaron,' which corresponds to, 'Shevet ahim gamyahad.' If I may put it this way, 'Gelli toheron basmat evit yarna, khom harde dir shalom ette ramen novar chemyon.' Amen?" Rainey, who holds multiple seminary degrees, may feel pressure to put his knowledge to use, say befuddled church-goers. They have petitioned him to stick to English. Rainey bridled at the suggestion, saying he is "connecting people to the source material." Instead he plans to offer real-time English translations of his sermons on the church's overhead projectors "for those not sophisticated enough to understand what the Bible is saying in its original language."
Ezra 7:10 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Friday, October 5, 2007
I believe that as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ we are to herald the Word of God boldly with all authority. This is what Paul tells young Pastor Timothy and Titus to do:
1 Timothy 4:13 13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.
I believe that a minister of the Gospel is to be one whose basis for everything that is said is sourced from the Word of God. This, however is not in unison with what many contemporary evangelicals are advocating today. Listen to what John MacArthur writes in The Truth War:
“To be an effective warrior in the battle for truth today, several
old-fashioned, Christlike virtues are absolutely essential: biblical
discernment, wisdom, fortitude, determination, endurance, skill in handling the
Scripture, strong convictions, the ability to speak candidly without waffling,
and a willingness to enter into conflict” (146).
This is not what we see in many contemporary movements rising up in the mega-churches and on Christian T.V. In contrast to our basis coming from the Bible alone, listen to what John Armstrong, who is a key proponent in the Emerging Church, said:
“Theology must be a humble attempt to ‘hear him’ [God] – never about rationalIt is sad to say but this is the pervading thought among the average American Churchgoer in today’s culture. Along the same lines, Art Azurdia hits the nail on the head when he notes regarding the sad state of preaching in today’s evangelical church:
approaches to texts.”
“I am convinced that preaching is held in such low esteem today because a greatIt is true that Mr. Charles Spurgeon as he would mount the fifteen steps leading up to his pulpit at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London he would mutter to himself on each step, “I believe in the Holy Ghost… I believe in the Holy Ghost…I believe in the Holy Ghost.” This is where the power comes when the Word of God is preached by the minister of God. We are not to give cleverly devised fables. We are not to give our human subjective existential opinions. Rather, we are to declare “Thus saith the LORD” for we, as ministers of the Gospel, are the mouthpiece for God Himself to His people. They don’t need to hear a few stories to make them feel good. That will damn their soul. They need to hear the truth of God’s Word that can convict a soul of their deadness in sin and subsequently reveal the hope and forgiveness in Jesus Christ and His cleansing blood atoned at Calvary some two thousand years ago.
many preachers are so utterly inept at the task.” (Spirit Empowered Preaching,
May this be our message as ministers of the Gospel.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
What is the phrase “she shall be preserved” mean? It is the Greek word sozo which has the predominant usage of eternal and spiritual salvation in most of the NT. There are times, however when this does refer to physical deliverance or healing, etc. But, I argue that sozo here refers to spiritual, eternal salvation which the believer receives at the point of salvation.
What does the preposition “through” mean? If we aren’t careful, we could come away with saying that a woman will be spiritually and eternally saved through childbearing. This, of course, is not in sync with the multitude of Scriptures which say that humans are saved by grace alone though faith alone in Christ alone. Surely no woman can be spiritually and eternally saved by merely giving birth to a child.
What does the phrase “the bearing of children” refer to? In Greek, this is one word with the definite article. Thus it is better translated, she shall be saved through “The Childbirth.” Now, I take this to refer to the Ultimate Childbirth, namely, Jesus Christ born from a woman (cf. Gen 3:15).
Regardless of the view that people adhere to, there are problems with each. I recognize this. However, I think that this view does justice to the text, the words and especially to the context (cf. 2:3-5 – speaking of God desiring all humans to be [spiritually] saved and come to the knowledge of truth).