Saturday, January 28, 2012

Heretics Not Welcome: Why We Need To Stay Away From False Teachers

"Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God.  He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.  If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds," 2John 9-11.
     Jesus taught us that a little leaven works through the whole loaf.  By a little, He meant an amount that is barely visible, yet, left unchecked, would work its way quickly through all the dough and expand it out to an unrecognizable shape if left to its own and with proper conditions.  The modern American evangelical church is a giant loaf of bread and it has expanded beyond recognition.
     This needs to be said in light of the debacle involving many pachyderms at a conference this week.  These over sized mammals invited a particularly obese elephant into their midst.  This fatyderm, a purveyor of all sorts of unbelievable lies, was proclaimed a truth sayer by all the other elephants in the room.  This was proclaimed after the fattest elephant made several blurry comments concerning truths which he had obfuscated before.  His current obfuscation was considered clear enough to anoint him as an obscurer no more and he was roundly applauded by all the elephants and their trumpet blasts could be heard all around.
     Now, all the elephants will go to their own preserves and the little elephants they teach will be introduced to the evil elephant, and they will believe his lies.  Those who do not know King Jesus, will be drawn into Hell and eternal torment.  Their sons and daughters will, more than likely, suffer the same fate.  Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.  Evil triumphs even more when self seeking elephants proclaim that it is good. 
     Brothers and sisters, nothing good can be gained when we openly cavort with false teachers and call them good.  Living in the world means we must fraternize with them but it must never be intimated that their evil doctrine is true.  When we glad hand a false teacher, we are sharing in his evil.  We must not allow this to happen.  False teachers are to be harshly rebuked and called to repentance for their evil words.  It will not take long for the false doctrine of TD Jakes and his friends at the Elephant Room to work its way through the already emaciated American Evangelical church.  We must call them out for their evil doctrine and not be seen among  and with them.
     We must, brothers and sisters, more now than ever, proclaim, live, love and learn the glorious gospel of our triune God!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Six Day Creation is Essential to the Gospel

"For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them and rested the seventh day.  Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it," Exodus 20:11.
     The creation account of the universe is the foundation of the Bible.  God, in His infinite wisdom, began the account of His word with a non fantastical, straight forward and poetically beautiful account of His great power, knowledge, grace and love proven through His creation of the universe and all that is in it.  Six thousand years later, many Christians sit in judgement of God's word and are embarrassed to cling to the biblical six day account of creation.  This dispute has great bearing on the gospel itself and is critical to a proper understanding of God's word.  I will lay out 3 views of creation briefly and answer them and their implications.
     1) Theistic Evolution: this view claims that God created the universe and its basic primordial matter and then Darwinistic evolution has carried the ball since then.  It is heretical and not compatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Since TE's believe in cavemen, they do not believe in God's direct creation of Adam and Eve which Jesus explicitly states happened in the gospels.  Because of this, it is heretical and calls out Jesus Christ as a liar.  Their are other implications also like Paul comparing Adam to Jesus and our inheritance of our sin nature through Adam.  Many TE's deny a literal Adam and Eve at all and others do hermeneutical gymnastics, like Tim Keller, to explain evolution, a literal Adam and Eve and the relationship of Adam to Jesus and our sin.  The main proponents of this heresy are C.S. Lewis and Tim Keller.
     2)  Old Earth Creationism:  There are many variants to this belief but OEC'ers trust in the presupposition of uniformitarianism.  They believe the universe is billions of years old and that things change gradually over time.  This view is seriously misguided, can have fatal effects for the gospel but is generally within the realm of orthodoxy.  OEC'ers put a lot of emphasis on the findings of modern science and often reinterpret much of the first 11 chapters of Genesis to be more secular friendly.  One of their major contrivances is to argue that the Hebrew word yom which, is used in Genesis 1, depicts large epochs of time and not twenty four hour days.  There is no justification for this, especially considering that Exodus 20:11, cited above, explicitly states that God created the world in 6 days as a pattern for us to follow.  This hermeneutic(method of interpretation) has great potential for destruction if consistently applied.  For instance, when Jesus was confronted about giving a sign, he did not say, "For as Jonah was in the belly of the beast for 3 billion days and 3 billion nights, so will the Son of Man be 3 billion days and 3 billion nights in the heart of the earth," Matthew 12:40.  If we consistently use this hermeneutic, it means we are still waiting on our Lord's resurrection!  Furthermore, if we interpret Genesis 1-11 guided primarily according to Ancient Near East customs and wisdom, as so many OEC'ers are apt to do, we can and often do, make a train wreck of the gospel itself.  This may be the prevalent view of evangelicals, especially pastors, in this modern age.  They often create a creation matrix so fantastical it would make a conspiracy theorist blush.  Most often, this view can be laboriously reconciled with orthodoxy.  Those associated with it are many.  B.B. Warfield was its first modern practitioner and John Piper, John Sailhammer are a couple of its proponents today.  It seems to be especially strong in reformed circles.
     3)Young Earth Creationism: This is the biblical view that interprets Genesis 1 most strictly to the historical/grammatical method espoused by evangelicals.  This view believes that what God said in Genesis 1 was both beautifully poetic and absolutely accurate and true.  YEC'ers understand that God's wisdom is foolishness to the world and are willing to look like morons in the eyes of the world.  YEC'ers get their name because they believe the world to be between 6 or 10 thousand years old.  YEC'ers do not have to do any interpretive gymnastics concerning the gospel and creation.  One of the most difficult(perceived) questions that this theory faces is why did God create everything with the appearance of age.  This question implies that God is deceptive for creating mountains and stars that are theoretically millions of years away.  This question presupposes man's superior wisdom and morality and ignores that God created Adam as a full grown adult, with no belly button.
     In a nutshell, and this is a very abbreviated description of these views, theistic evolution is heretical and impugns the gospel because it denies God's direct creation of Adam which causes all sorts of theological conundrums.  Old earth creationism is not heretical but silly and if it is carried out to its logical implications, deforms the gospel.  Young earth creationism upholds the innerancy of God's word and puts no impediments on the gospel whatsoever.  It is foundational that we have a correct view of God's word from verse one through Revelation.  Friends, lets learn, live and love the gospel of our glorious Savior.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

God's Injustice and The Scandal of His Grace

     "For it is by grace that we are saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast," Ephesians 2:8-9.
     Ted Bundy may well be in heaven and Mother Theresa and Gandhi are probably in Hell.  That, my friends, is a difficult truth to fathom.  Ted Bundy was a serial killer who murdered more than twenty women after falling deeper and deeper into the depths of pornography.  He was an evil man who got true justice at the hands of the state of Florida.  They put him to death for his evil.  Yet, it is claimed that he repented of his sins and trusted in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.  If this is true, and he truly repented, he is in heaven.  Mother Teresa and Gandhi are two of the best known modern day heroes for peace and justice.  They helped lepers, fought against injustice and have had legions of books written about them.  They did not ever embrace, as far as we know, the Biblical gospel however and that path leads directly to Hell.  This, my friends, is a scandal!  How can this be?
     All of us, scripture assures us, have sinned against a holy God.  We are dead, dead, dead, in our sin.  None of us can go before God and say, "Hey God, look at what I did!  Aren't I wonderful Lord.  I did this, that and the other thing.  You must be impressed with how wonderful I am and what I did."  This is the religion of every man on earth who has not embraced the gospel.  It is the faith of Muhammad, Maharishi Yogi, witches, pagans and even atheists.  It is the religion of the Roman Catholic Church and of Gandhi.  It is not the gospel and it defames our Savior. 
     The other day I was listening to a show that proclaimed that Ted Bundy may have trusted in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and it struck me as the most scandalous thing ever as I thought more and more about it.  How ridiculous it sounds to say that Ted Bundy is in heaven while scores of "good" people every day die in their sins without Christ and are condemned.  How can God save a man like Ted Bundy!  This is unjust and wicked.  No one knows for sure whether Mr. Bundy did repent and is in heaven but just the thought is repulsive to the fleshly mind.  How can I serve a God like this who petulantly sends "good" people to Hell and lets scum like Bundy into His paradise?  This is unjust, uncalled for and unprecedented! 
     Well, no it is not.  "As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house and haling men and women  committed them to prison," Acts 8:3.  Saul was a zealous, evil man who scattered the church and then hunted people down.  He was a major instrument in the martyr of Stephen and we have no reason to believe that he was not responsible for other peoples martyrdom.  He did not deserve to be saved and was evil on a par with Muhammad and Ted Bundy.  He was a despicable man.  But he was knocked off his donkey en route to Damascus and Jesus Christ, the crucified one, appeared to Saul and chose him to bring the gospel to the gentiles.  Paul was then born out of the remnants of Saul and he was used of God to bring the gospel farther than any other apostle.  Even more, he lamented his sinfulness and considered himself to be "the chief of sinners."  He did not consider himself worthy of Christ's riches and he partook deeply of Christ's amazing grace as well as enduring torture and persecution and bearing the marks of Christ in his body.  Paul did not deserve God's love.  He was an evil man.
     Friends, God is unjust and for that, we must say Hallelujah!  God is unjust and His grace is ridiculous, unmerited, shocking and just plain...scandalous.  We all deserve Hell, we have all sinned against God and spit in the face of Jesus Christ and on His sacrificial crucifiction for our sins and debt.  We deserve His wrath every bit as much as Ted Bundy.  "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us," Romans 5:8.  Romans 3 paints a truthful, painful and bleak picture of our hearts and confronts us with the reality of our depravity.  We are Ted Bundy, we are evil.  Mother Teresa and Gandhi were Ted Bundy too, unless they surrendered their hearts to Christ and repented of their evil.  Friends, we must always remember how evil we are apart from the love of Christ.  We must never assume anyone is righteous, let alone ourselves.  But we know One who is righteous and who unloads all His love on us if we respond to His generous, undeserved offer of salvation.  This should comfort our lives to no end and lead us to learn, live and love the glorious gospel of our awesome Savior.