Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Who Nailed Christ To The Cross?

One of the popular worship songs in the past 20 years called "Our God Reigns" states the following in the third verse.

It was our sin and guilt that bruised and wounded Him
It was our sin that brought Him down
When we like sheep had gone astray our Shepherd came
And on His shoulders bore our shame


According to the doctrine of Limited Atonement, Christ died only for the elect and only their sins were paid for on the cross. If that is the case would it not make sense that those who will go to hell are not guilty of Christ's death since their sins were not laid upon His shoulders? They cannot be held liable for His death since it was only the sins of the elect He bore? Does that make sense?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What About Israel?

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

Thus says the Lord,
Who gives the sun for a light
by day,
The ordinances of the moon
and the stars for a light by night,
Who disturbs the sea,
And its waves roar
(The Lord of hosts is His name):

If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the Lord, Then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever.”

If heaven above can be measured,
and the foundation of the
earth searched out beneath,
I will also cast off all the seed
of Israel
for all that they have done,
says the Lord.

Jeremiah 31:33-37

These verses were given to Israel by the prophet Jeremiah shortly before the Chaldean's overthrew Jerusalem, capturing king Zedekiah and his sons, and utterly pillaging the city.

Scripture makes it abundantly clear that God has not forsaken His people Israel forever, but through all their judgment and scattering, they would still one day be brought back to their land.

Many Christian theologians over the past centuries have tried to teach a doctrine whereby God was finished with Israel forever and had instead replaced them with the Church. In doing so they have tried to make the prophecies towards Israel fit with the Kingdom of heaven and the Church age of today. No doubt this has been responsible for much of Christendom's anti-semitic attitude. Jews have been labeled Christ killers, and slurred with other horrific epithets.

God is saving for Himself a remnant of national Israel who will one day be fully restored to Him and thereby fulfill the prophecies of Jeremiah and others who have spoken of Israel's future to come. How then should we as Christians respond to the Jewish race? I believe they are in as much need of a Saviour today as we the gentiles are and therefore we must be willing to pray for them and preach the gospel of Christ to them. In the kingdom of heaven there is only one category of constituent; those who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ and are walking in the robes of Christ's righteousness.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Authority of Theologians

When it comes to the matter of authority, there are as many opinions as there are people. In fact in the world we live in, absolute authority is often despised and scorned. We have been led to believe that as the general public we have the ability to choose our leaders and decide what laws we will make and adhere to. But when we begin to discuss Biblical authority and the role of leadership in the Church we soon realize that God has given specific instructions on how we are to relate to Him and and His Body, the Church.

First of all let me emphasize clearly that when we use the word Church we are primarily referring to the spiritual union of God with His called out ones, who have been washed and cleansed by the blood of Jesus, and are now indwelt by the Spirit of Christ. All persons that have been born again by the living and abiding word of God are members of the body of Christ which is His bride. The basis for this membership is a spiritual union with Christ. That being said, there is obviously a physical and earthly aspect to the Church. When God's people gather together to worship, pray, and fellowship, we define this as the Church getting together. We do not “go to church”, “meet at a church”, or “join a church”. Rather we meet with the Church and as the Church. Our corporate gatherings are the gatherings of the Church.

What The Church Is Not

Contrary to much of our popular terminology today, the Church is not a building. Neither is it a denomination, nor an institutionalized collection of localities or assemblies. Christ has one body, and members worldwide belong to that one body, His Church. In this aspect the word catholic (universal) is accurate. The expression of Christ's body is that of the local Church, or local assembly of God's people.

Now the question I want to ask you is this. How does the Church today determine who has authority to define doctrine, practice, and teaching? Is there a basis for hierarchal authority in the Church outside of a locality? What are the limits of the elders authority?


The answer seems fairly clear from scripture. Elders (pastors and teachers) have the charge over their local assembly and beyond that do not carry much authority. As an apostle Paul wrote to many churches with authority, but few in the Church today would admit to any apostolic ministry or office still in existence.

So how do we decide what a Church will belief, teach, and practice. From what I have seen many Christians choose to follow their favorite theologians over the elders and pastors of their local church. Do these theologians really have any grounds for the authority they presume? Of course many of them have been pastors and teachers in their respective churches and from those ministries have brought forth many writings that edify, encourage, and exhort the larger body of Christ. Still, do these theologians at large have the right to dictate doctrine for us today?

"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you". Heb 13:17

From this verse we see the importance of understanding who it is we must submit to. Who is it that has the rule over us in the Church? I submit to you that there is no authority in the Church above the local rule of the elders, and this only in accordance with the truth of God's Word and the Spirit of God.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Similar but Not?

I have been asked to do a post on "how Catholics are the same as Protestants". While I agree there are similarities when you take the generic meaning of protestant into account, my premise is that the differences between the true child of God and Catholicism are so large as to mitigate any attempts at unity or cohesion.

Anyways here are some of the similarities I see between Protestants and Catholics.

- Both groups rely heavily on extra Biblical authority and interpretation.
- Both groups have persecuted opposers.
- Both groups have created un-Biblical levels of hierarchy and authority.
- Both groups have made heads of state the leaders of their institutions.
- Both groups deny the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice for sins on the cross.

Ok, those are just a few. What are your thoughts? Now don't be shy, but please remember to be civil.

Cultural Reformation

It seems one of the big thoughts amongst the Christian community today is that of affecting change in society. Everything from recycling and environmentalism to combating human traffickers and drug pushers has taken center stage.

But truth be told, America's efforts at creating a brave new world in other countries has left its own nation in social shambles. If one is honest, they will have to admit that rather that making progress against the evils of society, the church has consistently lost ground and influence for more than four decades now.

Rather than acknowledging this fact, churches and para-church organizations have doubled their efforts to appear hip, cool, and ultra relevant. They have made environmentalism, climate change, gay rights, and many other social issues the mandate of their ministry. No where is this more evident than in the mainline liberal denominations. All these endeavors are done in the name of love and for the unity and peace of civilization. But at what cost?

The sacrifice of truth is a huge price to pay in order to remain influential. This is precisely what has happened in much of today's Christianity. The humanistic notions of "tolerance", "diversity", and "relativism" have replaced the Biblical truths of inerrancy, justice, and divine authority. And rather than getting the change they have envisioned, we are seeing the opposite; eroding family values, lack of respect for authority, massive public immorality, decreased protection of the innocent by immoral laws, decreased fear of God and judgment, and many other similar things.

What is the remedy? Is it theology? Is it more education? Is it greater governmental regulations and control?

No!

The answers lies between the dusty covers of the Bible most Americans own. The truth of God's word is as relevant and effective in today's culture as the day it was penned under the inspiration of a divine and omniscient God. The gospel is the answer to our questions and problems today!

Nothing more and nothing less. To the degree we preach the truth and hold high the banner of Christ, to that degree we will see actual change; both temporal and eternal.

What are you compromising today for the sake of “unity” and “peace”? Is there something you need to repent of and come back to the Word of God as your sole authority and guide?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Are You in The Word?

The more I read in the blogosphere the more I am convinced that we as God's people are neglecting a profoundly simple practice. Let me explain.

I have come to realize that all of us are guided in our lives by something called presuppositions. We understand things to be a certain way and therefore act accordingly. What is more striking however is that many of our presuppositions have little to do with the Word of God directly and are more often than not filtered through either the writings or teachings of a pastor, theologian, or doctrinal statement.

It seems we are not placing ample weight on the pure word of God alone. Why do I say that?

Well first of all, many times our responses to a theological question contain philosophical tones that do not align with Biblical texts. We like to juxtapose Biblical clich├ęs with our notions and the lines become blurred.

I have found that many have not arrived at their conclusions solely based on scriptural study but have been "guided" to their answers from the influence of mentors and peers. This is probably most unavoidable as Bobby Grow likes to reiterate.

That being the case, are we willing to re-evaluate our positions when confronted with substantial Biblical proof that we may be incomplete in our answer? Are we open to correction? Do we have a teachable spirit?

I appreciate Daniel's posts over at Doulogos because he is a man that demonstrates this principle often and most humbly. Further, he is faithful to give detailed explanations of his views with excellent scriptural support allowing me to see how he arrived at his conclusions. While I have not always agreed with him 100%, his method of analysis allows me to understand why he believes what he does and causes me to better evaluate my own positions.

How much time do you spend in God's word seeking not only answers to your questions, but more importantly the person of Christ. I will confess that I fall short in this area.



Thursday, March 06, 2008

A New Addition

Two weeks ago my wife and I welcomed a new son into our family. His name is Bradley Daniel and he was a nice weight of 8lbs. 6ozs.

So as you can guess this makes us quite busy now. I am still hoping to keep this blog alive and kicking. It seems I am becoming more controversial in my comments and posts lately. Am I really that far from mainstream in my thinking? What do you guys think?

What topics should I engage in future posts?

If you would like to see a picture of the feller drop me a comment and I will send you an email.