Monday, May 30, 2011

Oh The Pain Rob Bell Feels

We can add this one to Foxe's Book Of Emergents With Hurt Feelings. Also, can you feel the love Rob Bell has for the people who point out his blatant heresies:

Here is a fairly accurate interpretation of what Rob Bell was really saying:

Dear Rob, if you want to call yourself a Christian minister, and then produce material that teaches heresy, and then sell it publicly at a good profit, and ridicule central Christian doctrines like the atonement, and slander the many faithful open air preachers out there, then you are fair game. The only surprise is that it took so long for you to exposed for what you are - an enemy of the cross of Jesus Christ.

Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame; who set their mind on earthly things. (Philippians 3:17-20)

Beloved, I would rather have a thousand devils out of the church, than have one in it. I do not care about all the adversaries outside; our greatest cause of fear is from the crafty "wolves in sheep's clothing," that devour the flock. It is against such that we would denounce in holy wrath the solemn sentence of divine indignation, and for such we would shed our bitterest tears of sorrow. They are "the enemies of the cross of Christ" - C.H. Spurgeon

I hope that Rob Bell repents and puts his trust in the One True Christ of Scripture (not the one of his imagination) and then disappears from the public spotlight.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Just Added - City Of God

Augustines classic work has just been added to the resource directory. Stuff was going on in the body of Christ prior to the reformation and this is an ancient classic worth adding to your reading diet.


Category: Heroes, Puritans, And Reformers
Click Here To Order
Augustine wrote this monumental treatise to explain Christianity's relationship with competing religions and philosophies, and to the Roman government with which it was increasingly intertwined. It was written soon after Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410. This event left Romans in a deep state of shock, and many saw it as punishment for abandoning traditional Roman religion for Christianity. It was in this atmosphere that Augustine set out to console Christians, writing that, even if the earthly rule of the empire was imperiled, it was the City of God that would ultimately triumph — Augustine's eyes were fixed on Heaven. The book presents human history as being a conflict between what Augustine calls the City of Man and the City of God. The City of God is marked by people who forgot earthly pleasure to dedicate themselves to the eternal truths of Christian faith. The City of Man, on the other hand, consists of people who have immersed themselves in the cares and pleasures of the present, passing world.

Friday, May 27, 2011

What Is Biblical Discipleship And Growth (Part 7)

Mark Dever, in his book "Nine Marks Of A Healthy Church", outlines the key factors in biblical discipleship and growth. Today, we examine the highly suppressed issue of church discipline.

7. Biblical Understanding of Church Discipline

What ever happened to church discipline? Once a normal part of church life (especially in Baptist and Presbyterian circles), biblical correction, admonition, rebuke, and excommunication have become all but extinct - dinosaurs on a contemporary horizon that is now more dominated by worship wars and polished programs than by biblical health and holiness. The flowering and fading of modernity has popularized a moral relativism and a mystic spiritual individualism that have combined to make "judgment" sound like the most recently coined four letter word. Jesus certainly wouldn't use such foul language…would He? He who said Do not judge, so that you will not be judged (Matt 7:1) also said Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement (John 7:24). And Paul queries the Corinthians Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. "Remove the wicked man from among yourselves" (1Cor 5:12-13). Evidently both Jesus and Paul really do want us to judge one another in some ways, even though they do not want us to judge one another in other ways. And with that, of course, we arrive at the matter of church discipline - Mark Dever

We will grow as disciples in a church that is willing to discipline members for sinful activity. What sin should qualify for church discipline – any sin unrepented of. Church discipline is meant to restore the true believer and remove the false. And unrepentance is the issue. We all sin and we always hope that if we have tender hearts then we will respond to correction in humility and gratitude. But unrepentant sin is a cancer that must be removed or it can kill the whole body. Jesus laid this out in Matthew 18:

"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." (Matthew 18:15-20)

It is interesting to note that verses 18 to 20 are verses that I have heard quoted so many times but never in the context of church discipline. Paul teaches that God deals with those outside the church but He gives church elders the authority on earth to deal with those within the fellowship.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people — not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler — not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you." (1 Corinthians 5:9-13)

The following two videos feature a thirteen minute interview Todd Friel did with Pastor Jeff Noblit on the very subject of church discipline - an issue Pastor Noblit deems important enough to devote a whole conference to the subject:

Part 8 will continue this series and cover the subject of a biblical understanding of church leadership. There are some high profile pastors out there who will need to duck for cover!

Go On To Part 8
Go Back To Part 6
Go Back To Part 1

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Barrier Of Language

Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech." So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. (Genesis 11:7-9a)

One of the great challenges of being a missionary from Australia in Denmark is the requirement to preach in the Danish language. Learning another language is hard enough, it's even harder when it's a language where people sound like they have two potatoes in their mouth.

I sit my Danish exam today as part of my visa requirements. Please pray for me! Learning another language is about the most difficult thing I've done as an adult (aside from listening to Rob Bell - of course!).

Monday, May 23, 2011

Happy 400th Birthday KJV

2011 is the four hundredth anniversary of the 1611 Authorized King James Bible. A publication that shaped history and cultures more than any other. It is a personal treasure of mine having been the first Bible I purchased after my conversion.

Following article courtesy of Dr Peter Hammond:

The 400th Anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible

The King James Version of the Bible/The Authorised Version stands like the Tower of London as a monument at the heart of the English speaking world. It is the best selling book of all time.

The KJV is the Bible that endured, having the greatest formative influence on the development of the English language worldwide. The KJV is actually one of the first British things to be made. It was made by the whole Island shortly after the inauguration of the United Kingdom of England and Scotland, when King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England.
For the 400th anniversary of the Authorised Version, Great Britain is hosting more than 70 different events, including a continuous reading of the whole Bible at Blackburn Cathedral, Symposiums at Cambridge and Aberdeen and St. Johns College in Cambridge are setting up a special exhibition. The British Royal Mail is issuing a special commemorative stamp. Even the British Broadcasting Corporation will show an hour long documentary. The Duke of Edinburgh launched the official celebrations in the banqueting house at Whitehall. Innumerable websites have been set up to celebrate the Authorised Version.

There is no doubt that the KJV Bible is the most beloved and respected Bible in all of history. It has an ageless magnificence, a beauty of phrase and poetical arrangement which is absolutely unique. It is not possible to comprehend the history of the English speaking peoples without understanding the great KJV translation. The KJV Bible has most certainly been far more influential than even Shakespeare in the development and spread of English worldwide.

The KJV attracts superlatives. It is: the most important book in the English language, religion and culture, the most celebrated book throughout the English speaking world, the most enduring embodiment of Scripture in the English language and the gold standard by which all other Bible translations are evaluated. “All other versions still exist, as it were, in its shadow. It has shaped, formed and moulded the language in which the others must speak.” The KJV is the most pre-eminent Bible translation of all time. Without any doubt, this is the greatest example of English literature ever produced. No book ever had such a great impact on the development of a language and culture as the KJV has had. Nor can any other Bible translation claim to have inspired so many Revivals and the launching of so many missionary movements as the KJV.

The KJV is the most influential version of the most influential book in the world, in what has become the most influential language in the world.

Linguistic Rallying Point
English linguist, Professor David Crystal of Oxford University, following a strict methodology, came up with at least 256 idioms from the Authorised Version which have entered into the English language. This has included terms such as: feet of clay, land of milk and honey, whited sepulchres, girded loins, salt of the earth, and much more.

Most Gideon Bibles in hotel rooms are KJV. Oxford University Press alone sells over 250,000 copies of the KJV every year, which it describes as “the most widely owned and used translation.”

Before the KJV
Pre-Reformation Bibles were mostly in Latin. This precluded ordinary people from hearing or understanding the Scriptures. King Alfred the Great did translate the Gospels into Anglo Saxon. The Lindesfarne Gospels included Anglo-Saxon interlinear script written between the lines of the Latin text. Professor John Wycliffe of Oxford University translated the Latin Vulgate into English, publishing handwritten copies of the New Testament in 1380 and the Old Testament in 1382. However these were all only handwritten, few in number and inaccessible to the common man.

The Printing Press
The invention of the Printing Press by Johannes Guttenberg and the printing of the first book, a Bible in Latin, on a mechanical movable type printing press, made possible a revival of learning and education and a circulation of literature on a scale never before seen. This invention laid the groundwork for the Reformation in the 16th century. The Printing Press was often referred to as “The Reformers Friend, the Tyrants Foe!”

The Greek New Testament
In 1516 the imminent scholar Erasmus published the Greek New Testament (the Textus Receptus). This Greek New Testament made available by Erasmus was used by William Tyndale to translate the New Testament into English.

William Tyndale
The first English New Testament to be translated from the original languages, and printed, was William Tyndale’s work, which was first smuggled into England in 1526. In 1536, the Bible translator, William Tyndale was burned at the stake for this crime.

Myles Coverdale
William Tyndale’s co-worker, Myles Coverdale produced the official Great Bible of 1539 which was authorised by King Henry VIII “for reading aloud in churches”. The Great Bible was mostly the work of William Tyndale.

The Geneva Bible
In 1557 the Geneva New Testament in English was published to be followed in 1560 by the complete Geneva Bible. The accession to the throne of England of the young Edward VI, a Protestant, gave unprecedented religious freedom and impetus to the translation of the Bible into English. The untimely death of King Edward and accession to the throne of Bloody Mary led to a reign of terror (1553 to 1558), in which hundreds of men, women and children were burned to death, including some of the most prominent Protestant Bible translators, teachers, preachers and theologians, even the Archbishop of Canterbury, and author of the Book of Common Prayer, Thomas Cramer. This led many church leaders to flee to Switzerland for sanctuary. It is for that reason that the next Bible translation into English was the Geneva Bible, published in 1560.

The Geneva Bible was a good scholarly work using original Roman type, smaller fonts, and the familiar verse formats of today’s Bibles and highlighting particular words to show where they had been added to the original for emphasis. The Geneva Bible was in general use for over 60 years and was the Bible quoted by playwrights such as William Shakespeare. The Geneva Bible was the first to bring out a “pocket book” edition of the Bible that people could carry around with them more easily than the traditional large formats produced for public reading in church services.

The Bible of the Puritans
The Geneva Bible was one of the most historically significant translations of the Bible into the English language, preceding the KJV by 51 years. It was the primary Bible of the 16th century Protestant movement and the Bible used by William Shakespeare, Oliver Cromwell, John Milton, John Knox and John Bunyan in Pilgrims Progress. The Geneva Bible was the primary Bible of the Pilgrims who founded America and used by the Ironsides soldiers of Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War.

The First Study Bible
The Geneva Bible was the first mechanically printed, mass produced Bible, made generally available, direct to the public, with a variety of Scriptural study guides and aids (including woodcut illustrations, maps, charts and indexes). Therefore the Geneva Bible was the world’s first Study Bible. Over 150 editions of the Geneva Bible were printed between 1560 and 1644. The very first Bible printed in Scotland was a Geneva Bible, in 1579. A Law was passed in Scotland that year requiring every household to purchase a copy. The study notes were Calvinist and Puritan in character and were particularly objected to by the bishops and royalty for being “seditious”.

The Bishops Bible
The official Bishops Bible was published in England in 1568. The Church of England issued the Bishops Bible, essentially a revision of the Great Bible, which was mostly based on William Tyndale’s work. The Bishops Bible remained in use in the churches until the King James Bible was published in 1611.

King James
When Queen Elizabeth I died on 24 March 1603, the crown of England passed to her cousin James I, who had already been King of Scotland for 37 years. During the royal procession of King James VI of Scotland to his coronation in London as King James I of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, a delegation of Puritans presented James the Millenary Petition, which had over 1,000 signatures representing 10% of the Clergy of England. This petition was the catalyst for the Hampton Court Conference.

The Puritans
The Puritans were loyal to the crown but they were Calvinists who insisted that England’s Reformation had not gone far enough.

The Presbyterians
The Presbyterians wanted to do away with the hierarchal structure of powerful bishops. They promoted instead a model of church administration under elders, or presbyters.

The Pilgrims
The Pilgrims were non-conformists, or separatists, who wanted the state out of church affairs altogether. Many of them would emigrate to North America.

Parliament was eager to expand its power and the Puritans retained a significant influence and representation in Parliament.

The Papists
The Papists were the Roman Catholics who wanted the English church to be returned under the authority of the Pope. They were excluded from the translation process and attempted to assassinate King James and blow up Parliament in the foiled Gunpowder Plot on 5 November. This is remembered annually in the Guy Fawkes fire works.

The Privileged
The privileged bishops had exceptional power and wealth. They had seats in the House of Lords and were determined to resist the Puritans, Presbyterians and Pilgrims.

The Hampton Court Conference
James took the Puritan petition seriously enough to call for a conference which took place in October 1603 at Hampton Court. This luxurious, one thousand roomed, estate just outside of London had originally been built by Cardinal Wolsey. Only four moderate representatives of the Puritan cause were invited to participate in the conference before the king at Hampton Court. The nine Bishops and Deans and the Privy Council were clearly prejudiced against the Puritans. King James delivered the opening address making clear that the doctrine and policy of the state church was not up for evaluation, or reconsideration. He made no effort to hide his frustration with the Presbyterian model he had endured in Scotland. Those who had hoped that he would be sympathetic to the Presbyterian or Puritan cause had obviously misunderstood his intransigence on this issue. However, the Puritans were not allowed to attend the first day of the conference and when, on the second day, the four Puritans were allowed to join the meeting they started on the wrong foot by suggesting: “Let’s broaden the decision making base. Why shouldn’t the bishops govern jointly with a presbytery of their brethren, the pastors and ministers of the church.”

No Bishop – No King!
The king exploded in reply: “If you aim at a Scots presbytery it agreeath as well with monarchy as God and the devil!” The word presbytery was apparently like a red flag to a bull. King James uttered his final word on the matter: “No bishop, no king!”

Conform or Else!
The king warned the Puritans: “If this be all your party has to say, I will make them conform themselves, or else I will harry them out of the land, or else do worse!”

A New Translation
At this point Dr. John Reynolds, the President of Corpus Christi College of Oxford, a leader of the Puritan side in the Church of England, and one of the greatest scholars of his day, proposed a new translation of the Bible into English. King James responded warmly to this suggestion because he despised the then popular Geneva Bible. The king was troubled by the often revolutionary margin notes of the Geneva Bible which spoke extensively against corrupt and immoral kings. King James ordered that a single translation that the whole nation could rely on “to be read in the whole church”, should be produced by 50 of the nations finest language scholars and he approved rules for carefully checking the results, including no marginal notes at all to be effected, but only for the explanation of the Hebrew or Greek words, and to draw attention to parallel passages.

The Translation Teams
Six panels of translators had their work divided up between them; the Old Testament was entrusted to three panels, the New Testament to two and the Apocrypha to one. Two of the panels met at Oxford, two at Cambridge, and two at Westminster. The most learned men in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge were to take the lead in the work which was to be reviewed by the bishops, presented to the Privy Council and lastly ratified by the Royal Authority.

The KJV must be the only work of literary genius to have been produced by a committee. The group of great scholars had unparalleled qualifications. Most of them had spent most of their lives in the pursuit of God and knowledge. One translator, Dr. Lancelot Andrews, mastered at least 15 languages and by the time he was 6 years old, had read the entire Bible in Hebrew. Some of the translators had written foreign language Dictionaries and Lexicons. They commonly debated in Greek, they translated and edited great works and they wrote their own. Not only did the translators know the Biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, but many also knew related languages that enabled them to study other documents and translations by the church Fathers in Persian, Coptic, Syrian, Chaldea, Latin, French, Italian, German and Dutch. Some of the translators prayed five hours a day. The translators were world class scholars, Christians who lived holy lives and were prominent as deans, professors and presidents of major colleges of Oxford and Cambridge.

After the final draft was completed by the 54 scholars, a concluding committee of 12 reviewed what the lower committees had prepared, and then Bishop Thomas Bilson and Dr. Miles Smith added the finishing touches. By 1609 the whole revision was ready and Miles Smith, the Canon of Hereford, later to become the Bishop of Gloucester, and Thomas Bilson, Bishop of Winchester, saw it through to the printing press and Miles Smith composed the Preface “The Translators to the Readers.”

Although King James contributed no money to its production and although no record of an official authorisation of the finished product survives, if such were ever issued, the Bible came to be known as the King James Version. It was certainly not the only, or the first, Authorised Version. The Coverdale, or Great, Bible was the truly Authorised Bible (under Henry VIII) in English, and the Bishops Bible was Authorised by Queen Elizabeth I.

Initial Opposition
Not everyone supported the King James Bible at its first publication. Distinguished scholar Dr. Hugh Boughton declared that it “Bred in me a sadness that will grieve me while I breathe… tell His Majesty that I had rather be wrent in pieces with wild horses, than any such translation by my consent should be urged upon the churches… the new edition crosseth me. I require it to be burned.” John Lightfoot objected to the Apocrypha being placed in the Bible.

An Enduring Work
The KJV went through 15 printings in the first 3 years with the translation committees being forced to make some minor revisions. The KJV most people use today is the result of a final revision brought about in 1769. The KJV is an incredible achievement. An enduring work which has had an enormous effect on hundreds of millions of lives, on the English language, culture and world history. It is the most important translation of the most important book in what has become the most important language in the world.

A Treasure
In the Preface to the 1611 edition, the translators of the Authorised Version stated that it was not their purpose “to make a new translation… but to make good ones better.” They recorded their debt to the earlier works of William Tyndale and other Reformers and Bible translators. The New King James Version seeks to be faithful to the original text and to retain the King James Version style and idiom, while keeping abreast of changes in English speech.

A Challenge
In this 400th anniversary of the publication of the KJV why don’t you read through the whole Bible? If you read just 4 chapters a day, it will get you through the whole Bible in a calendar year. To know the God of the Word we need to study the Word of God. We have the whole KJV Bible available on audio MP3 which is ideal to play while commuting by car. CLB will be giving this KJV audio MP3 as a gift to all who order in-house titles this month.

“So then Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Just Added - Institutes Of The Christian Religion

Calvin's monumental theological treatise has just been added to the resource directory! If you like to eat steak then you'll feed well on this.

John Calvin

Category: Heroes, Puritans, And Reformers
Click Here To Order
John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion is a monumental work that stands among the greatest works of Christian theology and Western literature. It ranks with works such as St. Augustine's Confessions and City of God in value, insight and significance. The Institutes have molded the church's understanding of Christian doctrine for generations and has had untold influence in the development of Western thought in both the religious and civil arenas. Calvin's Institutes represent his life work in teaching theology. They first appeared in 1536 and went through three significant revisions - each expanding and building upon the previous. This particular edition represents the final form and of which Calvin was very pleased.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Finding God's Sovereignty In The Arctic Tundra

As you read this I will be on a plane from Down Under back to the Arctic Tundra. Ok, so Denmark is not quite an Arctic region geographically, but it certainly qualifies as a polar ice cap of Christian endeavor. Even though Ray Comfort continually refers to New Zealand as down under, my down under reference is for Australia. I remember pointing this out to Kirk Cameron when I was speaking with him and Ray, and Kirk then asked "if Australia is down under then what is New Zealand?" Well, looking at both countries from a northern hemisphere perspective I would have to say that if Australia is "down under" then New Zealand must be "left over". Please don't take offense at that my Kiwi friends because I do mean it in the nicest possible way.

My body has now been defrosted and my fellowship appetite has been filled with great quality time with great quality friends. I have no idea when I will return to my homeland so it is difficult to say farewell to so many people who I love so much. In spite of my feelings it is of great comfort to know and trust in the Sovereignty of God in all things.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why Richard Dawkins Won't Debate William Lane Craig

While on the subject of Richard Dawkins, I thought I might take a look at the sad fact of his refusal to debate William Lane Craig who is Christianity's foremost debater on the subject of God's existence (even though all men already have the knowledge of God as stated in Romans 1). This is the reason Dawkins gives:

But I suspect that there are four real reasons why Dawkins refuses to get in the ring with Dr Craig.

Reason 1: The severe lack of evidence for the evolutionary views Dawkins advocates!

Reason 2: William Lane Craig would demolish every argument Dawkins brings forth.

Reason 3: Dawkins does not want to be the next cast member from Expelled to get publicly humiliated by Dr Craig.

and Reason 4: Though Dawkins "does not have the time" to debate William Lane Craig he prefers to use his limited time to try and pick on girls he thinks are an easy target.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Why I Don't Believe In Richard Dawkins!

Personally, I don't believe in Richard Dawkins. If there is a Richard Dawkins out there, why hasn't he shown himself to me?

Richard Dawkins, like all atheists, never come with any arguments for the nonexistence of God. What they always do come with is a list of reasons for why they hate the God they don't believe in. It is worth asking ourselves the question as to whether it is a worthwhile exercise investing time in dazzling the unbeliever with wizz bang apologetics concerning God's existence when the issue is not one of knowledge but of sin.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (Romans 1:18-20)

These verses from Romans 1 tell us "that which may be known of God is manifest" in the unbeliever "for God hath shown it unto them". They are holding "the truth in unrighteousness". And what is it that testifies God's existence to sinful men? Verse 20 tells us the answer. The "invisible" things of God are "clearly seen" in God's creation "even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse". Put simply, the creation compellingly testifies to the Creator God Himself. The atheist's problem is not a lack of proof concerning God's existence, but rather that he hates God and loves of sin . . . just like I did before being saved by the gracious God that Dawkins denies!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Just Added - The Bondage Of The Will

Luther's masterpiece on the true nature of man has now been added to the resource directory.

Martin Luther

Category: Heroes, Puritans, And Reformers
Click Here To Order
What is at the heart of Luther’s theology and of the doctrine of justification which struck his soul with a bolt of divine lightning? It is the original depravity and sinfulness in man – that which he knew well as an ascetic monk in the Augustinian order. No doubt this is a cornerstone work for the Reformation and for the truth. Luther thought that of everything he wrote, this was his best and most useful work. Every Christian should read this work. If we do not understand how our wills work, who we are before God, and how we ought to continually view our standing before Him as a result of Christ’s work, then we can never understand salvation.

Friday, May 13, 2011

What Is Biblical Discipleship And Growth (Part 6)

Mark Dever, in his book "Nine Marks Of A Healthy Church", outlines the key factors in biblical discipleship and growth. Today, continuing from part 5, we'll continue our examination of what a biblical understanding of church membership actually is.

6. Biblical Understanding of Church Membership (Continued)

In addressing this issue it is necessary to answer these three questions:

1. What is a true church?

2. Why should we join a church?

3. What things does church membership call us to do?

Having answered question one in my previous post we will now examine questions two and three.

2. Why should we join a church?

A - We join a church for assurance. It is only in community with our brothers and sisters in Christ that we have a true test as to the authenticity of our Christianity:

If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20)

B - We join a church to evangelize. who are we going to be accountable to for the purity of the Gospel we preach. We need to be extremely careful to get the Gospel right:

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9)

C - We join a church to expose false gospels. Experts in forgery of money spend most of their time studying real money. Because when you know the real thing – the false one is obvious. Joining together in community with other believers demonstrates real Christianity and shows the world the big difference between a real visible church and a false one.

D - We join a church to help build up that church – joining a church teaches us our need to work together as a body and exposes our selfishness.

E - We join a church to glorify God:

Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (1Peter 2:12)

And what good work that glorifies God did Jesus command :

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13:34)

3. How should we become members of a church?

A - We should become members through baptism – baptism is the first step in the Bible for a new convert. It is an outward public profession of the supernatural inner work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus warned against hiding our Christianity and baptism was a bold public statement – especially in cultures that persecute Christians. And no – I'm not saying to get baptized every time you join a new church, I'm saying to get baptized every time you become a new creature – ONCE!

B - Signing a doctrine statement and church covenant – This is very important and rarely done. Doctrine statements call us to a standard of holy living, they allow members to be disciplined in accordance with the doctrine statement they submit to, they hold preachers accountable to the members, and they give a clear boundary between the things worth fighting for and the things we can overlook. Please study our confession.

Shakespeare once said that ”something is rotten in the State of Denmark” and he was right. Denmark needs to see what a true visible church looks like. Our prayer is that Kristuskirken (our church plant) can be the solution to that problem.

Part 7 will continue this series and cover the subject of a biblical understanding of church discipline.

Go On To Part 7
Go Back To Part 5
Go Back To Part 1

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

John Macarthur Gives Rob Bell What He Needs Most - A Biblical Thrashing

Rob Bell in his usual cry-baby style is trying to paint himself as some kind of martyr. A victim worthy of a major chapter in "Foxe's Book Of Emergents With Hurt Feelings". Attacking core tenets of the historic orthodox Christian faith really isn't that big a deal as far as Bell is concerned and he professes great surprise at the firestorm he has generated. “I never set out to be controversial,” Bell told CNN. “I don’t think it’s a goal that God honors. I don’t think it’s a noble goal". Hey Rob, "Controversy" and "heresy" may both end in the letter "y" but that doesn't mean they have the same meaning.

Bell went on to say in his usual postmodern fog, “What’s interesting to me is what’s true. And what’s interesting to me is what’s inspiring. And what’s interesting to me is where’s the life? Where’s the inspiration? That’s what I’m interested in. If that happens to stir things up, that was never my intent, but I’ll accept that.”

I can't help but think that when this thing runs it's full course Bell will experience far more serious repercussions than "stirring things up". He might as well enjoy his fifteen minutes of fame because he is destined to become just another name in the long line of Church history's hall of heretics.

Whichever way you slice it, its safe to say that John Macarthur is not a postmodernist! And he is speaking with crystal clear clarity on an issue that demands it. Over at the blog on the Grace To You website Macarthur wrote several posts concerning Rob Bell and I thought it worthwhile to quote from one of them:

Just how serious is Rob Bell’s heresy? It is not merely that he rejects what Jesus taught about hell; Bell rejects the God of Scripture. He deplores the idea of divine vengeance against sin (Romans 12:9). He cannot stand the plain meaning of texts like Hebrews 12:29: “Our God is a consuming fire.” He has no place in his thinking for the biblical description of Christ’s fiery return with armies of angels: “dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8). Bell's whole message is a flat contradiction of Jesus' words in Luke 12:5: "But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!"

Bell will have none of that. He therefore tries to eliminate the authority and clarity of Scripture so that he can reinvent a god who is more to his liking. It is the sin of all sins; the sin of the serpent. Like Eve’s tempter, Bell is subtly but undeniably fomenting rebellion against the true God. He suggests that he is better—nicer, more kindly, more tolerant, more lenient—than the God who has revealed Himself in Scripture. He therefore sets aside God’s revealed Word and makes his own musings the inviolable standard.

In effect he wants to assume the role of God for himself. That is not a minor evil; it is epic. It is the original sin of Lucifer.

Rob Bell has been sowing doubt, confusion, and error in the church for years. His theological trajectory has been clear for at least a decade. The stance he takes in Love Wins is the predictable fruit of many other compromises and concessions to worldly opinion that were already well established in Bell’s teaching.

In fact, the most surprising thing about Love Wins is not the position Rob Bell takes, but the fact that so many people seem genuinely caught off guard and unaccountably confused by it. The record of Bell’s own words makes it clear that this latest book of his is little more than a distillation of things he has been saying all along. He abandoned Jesus’ teaching years ago in favor of a different religion—one more in keeping with his personal preferences. He is pointing people toward the broad way that leads to destruction.

The sad reality is that if Rob Bell does not confess the truth in this life, one day he will realize how wrong his understanding of hell really is. His view of hell will be painfully altered forever when he receives the more severe punishment reserved for those who with a Bible in their hands mock God and trample the blood of Christ underfoot (Hebrews 10:29; cf. 2 Peter 2:21).

My earnest prayer is for Rob Bell’s repentance. But I am even more deeply and urgently concerned for the many untaught and undiscerning people who are being led astray by his toxic teaching (Jude 22-23). It is time for faithful shepherds to speak up and warn the flock of the deadly peril posed by false teaching such as this.

It is also time for the people of God to proclaim the gospel more clearly and more carefully than ever, including the difficult parts of the message. For too long evangelicals have been prone to omit the full truth about sin, righteousness, and judgment—falling back instead on dumbed-down, dampened, defanged versions of the message. In all candor, that is one of the main reasons there is so much confusion over Rob Bell’s book among evangelicals today. We have a sacred duty to preach what Jesus preached in the manner He preached it—without toning it down or adjusting it to make it more suitable to secular culture.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Will Be Preaching One Last Time In Brisbane Next Sunday

Hi friends, as it turns out Christian Witness Ministries Fellowship have invited me back to preach one more time for their Sunday evening service - as it will be my last Sunday down under before my family heads back to Denmark.

Here are the details:

Christian Witness Ministries Fellowship
When: Sunday May 13 at 6pm
Message: "Contending For The Faith (Jude 1-4)"
Address: 2759 Logan Road (Entrance via Millers Road), Eight Mile Plains QLD 4113

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It was a true honor to preach there last Sunday as their pastor, Philip Powell, has a ministry that helped me enormously back in my days when I was trying to practice discernment in a local church full of man centered nonsense. Pastor Philip is a man who stood up and opposed the early emergence of what we would today call the Hillsongization of nearly every major denomination in Australia. He paid a heavy price for the stand he took - a price that, unfortunately, too few in Australia are willing to pay. Over recent years Philip became an online acquaintance and published one of my articles in his magazine. Philip, one of the truly great joys of this trip down under has been the opportunity to meet and befriend you in person. May God richly bless your tour to the UK!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Just Added - What's So Great About The Doctrines Of Grace?

Richard Phillips' excellent introduction to the "five points" of Calvinism has just been added to the resource directory.

Richard Phillips

Category: Theology
Click Here To Order
In What's So Great About the Doctrines of Grace?, the Rev. Richard D. "Rick" Phillips shows that "the doctrines of grace," those theological tenets more popularly known as "the five points of Calvinism," are comforting, faith-strengthening, and humbling teachings. In six short chapters, Rev. Phillips demonstrates conclusively from Scripture that this view of salvation exalts God and makes plain His great love for man, which drove Him to do all that was necessary to redeem a people for Himself. What's So Great About the Doctrines of Grace? is a compact, highly readable treasure chest of scriptural wisdom.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Osama Bin Laden - What He Teaches Us About The Gospel

I had been planning to blog about Chuck Norris today, who just returned from a brief vacation to Pakistan. But in the light of major breaking news, I thought it important to put all else on hold and discuss the recent death of Osama Bin Laden.

It is interesting to note how the word justice has been so readily thrown around (even by bleeding heart liberals) in the aftermath of the successful raid and execution of Osama Bin Laden in his hideout. It is a ready acknowledgement that time does not erase crimes and, also, that even the pagan world recognizes that there is a righteous aspect to the punishment of wrongdoers. I too draw some sense of satisfaction from Bin Laden finally receiving retribution for the atrocities he has instigated. But I also feel the danger of gazing too long in the direction of a world full of wickedness lest it obscures my own horrendous crimes against a Holy God.

I recently heard a sermon by CJ Mahaney where he said:

You will never see the cross as something done for you until you see it as something done by you.

It can be a dangerous and damning practice to spend more time gazing in the direction of a world full of sinners who far exceed your own "small and petty sins". Pause and consider the outrage you felt when Bin Laden's responsibility for the September 11 atrocities was revealed. Now go and multiply that outrage by infinity and load it into the cannon of God's wrath that is aimed straight at you (John 3:36) . . . unless you are clothed with the imputed righteousness of Christ. It is not just the magnitude and volume of our rebellion against a Holy God, but Who we have sinned against. If I lie to my daughter she can do nothing to me. If I lie to my wife I'll be sleeping on the sofa. If I lie to my boss he can fire me. And if I lie to the government they can throw me in jail. The higher the authority we sin against - the greater the consequences. What if God is an infinite authority??? Then His righteousness would deem our crimes against Him as infinite. A healthy grasp of this truth for the unbeliever will drive him to the Savior in desperate need of forgiveness for sin and the righteousness of Christ. For the believer it should grow and deepen our gratitude for Christ's wondrous redemptive work. The knowledge of our own wretchedness should also aid us in our willingness to love the pagans we witness to and instill a gracious humility into our tone of conversation. We can actually learn a lot about the Gospel in the death of a global terrorist . . .

But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God's truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?-as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips." "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes." Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:5-26)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cameron Buettel Preaching In Brisbane May 8, 2011

Hi friends, some of you have asked me about my preaching engagements for the remainder of my time here in Brisbane. So, if it takes your interest, here are the remaining 2 engagements, both of which will occur on this Sunday May the 8th. I hope to see some of my Queensland friends at either venue.

I will be preaching at:

Hope Christian Church
When: Sunday May 8 at 9:30am
Message: "The Days Of Noah"
Address: 121 Barbarella Drive, Springwood QLD 4127

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Christian Witness Ministries Fellowship
When: Sunday May 8 at 6pm
Message: "Contending For The Faith (Jude 1-4)"
Address: 2759 Logan Road (Entrance via Millers Road), Eight Mile Plains QLD 4113

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Monday, May 2, 2011

David Wilkerson: 19 May 1931 - 27 April 2011

Just two days ago my friend Nick Booth informed me of the tragic car accident that killed Pastor David Wilkerson and critically injured his wife Gwen.

By late Wednesday night, Times Square Church in New York City announced the death of its founding pastor in a statement from Senior Pastor Carter Conlon:

Pastor David Wilkerson’s was a life fully given for the glory of God and souls of men. He was greatly loved and he will be greatly missed. Our prayers are with the family and we as a church body are committed to standing with them at this time of sorrow.

The Wilkerson family issued a statement after midnight on the World Challenge web site:

We appreciate your prayers and our hearts are sorrowful, yet we rejoice at the joy of knowing David Wilkerson spent his life well. More information will be coming soon. Thank you for your prayers, the statement said.

Alongside founding and pastoring Times Square Church in New York City, Wilkerson also founded such influential ministries as Teen Challenge and World Challenge Ministries.

Though I wear different theological stripes to Wilkerson's charismatic heritage, and though I did shudder at some of his apocalyptic prophetic utterances in the past, David Wilkerson remains to this day as a man who I have deep respect and gratitude for. I am very grateful for some of his sermons that have inhabited my MP3 player in recent years and salute Pastor Wilkerson as an uncompromising voice for Gospel clarity in a wider charismatic movement that has begun to spiral into theological freefall. He was unyielding as an "old school bare knuckle pentecostal preacher" who was unrelenting in his scorching criticism of the entertainment circus that had engulfed the movement he was a part of. It was also David Wilkerson who gave Ray Comfort a platform to speak when he was largely unknown.

I am largely ignorant of the deeper machinations of Wilkerson's ministry, but to the best of my knowledge he remained a faithful preacher of the once for all delivered faith to the day of his departure. A stranger in a strange land who is now no longer in search of the city whose builder and maker is God. The death of David Wilkerson also reminds we strangers who remain, of the great blessing that audio recording is . . .