Thursday, December 13, 2007

Al Mohler Speaks Out Against "Christian Response" Letter

Thankfully, Dr. Mohler refused to sign the letter.

In this on-air question from Pastor Brian Fairchild, he explains why. While I wish Dr. Mohler had been a bit more direct, I agree with the substance of what he says.

Listen to Dr. Mohler's comments here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Standing on the Firm Foundation of God's Sovereign Grace

Steve Lawson (HT CRN) gives this tremendously comforting word on the wonderful ability to stand firm that comes with the preaching and belief in God's sovereign grace:

"Jesus Christ Himself is the
sole Builder of the church, as He promised: “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18b). Christ did not say, “You will build My church.” Neither did He say, “I will build your church.” Instead, Jesus claimed, “I will build My church.” Christ Himself is constructing His church, and like a wise master builder, He is establishing it on a solid bedrock—that of sound doctrine (Eph. 2:20)….The church that is built upon the doctrines of grace is built upon the impregnable rock of divine revelation. How firm a foundation has such a church! But sad to say, the church today seems intent upon withholding the doctrines of grace from her foundation. Instead, she prefers to build with wood, hay, and stubble upon shifting sand. Such a church may have an impressive outward appearance, and therefore attract many. But inwardly, she is unspiritual, unstable, and, worse, even largely unconverted. Such a church, built on such a flimsy foundation, has no hope of standing in days of trial. But church history records that when the church builds with the gold, silver, and precious stones of a God-centered message, she is internally fortified and can withstand the most difficult storms. Even the swirling winds of apostasy, persecutions, and the fiery flames of martyrdom cannot cause her to topple. In fact, whenever the church builds upon the sturdy rock of the sovereign grace of God, she stands immovable even amid the darkest hours of history."

Oh, how we need the preaching and teaching of the doctrines of grace in the Church today!

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Canonization of Uncertainty

Phil Johnson at Pyromaniacs puts his finger squarely on one of the major, if not the major problem with our neo-orthodox/postmodern friends like John Armstrong: they have established a new theology around the central premise that we really can't be certain about anything, and especially not anything we read in the Bible:

Uncertainty is the sole remaining cardinal virtue of postmodernism. The right to question anything and everything is likewise the only dogma postmodern orthodoxy accepts uncritically... In other words, Emerging religion has canonized doubt.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007 Enters the Fray on "A Christian Response"

Bob Burney of has just posted an article which will hopefully get this issue into the public debate on the blasphemous November 18, 2007 "Christian response" letter addressed to Muslim leaders.

more to come . . .

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Abandoning the Gospel for "World Peace" Part I

In this first of a series of posts, I will examine in depth the statements and claims in the recently released letter, "A Christian Response to 'A Common Word Between Us and You.'" I will refer to this as the "Christian Response" letter for simplicity.

In this letter, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, R0bert Schuller, Brian MacLaren, and numerous other "Christian leaders" attempt to achieve a "dialogue" based on what they claim is a "common ground" between Christianity and Islam.

Sounds great, right? Well, the problem is that in this letter, central Christian doctrines about the true nature of God, His wrath and His love, the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the truth of the Gospel are ignored, shortchanged, or obscured.

So where's the outrage?

One of the most troubling things about this letter is the fact that Dr. Duane Litfin signed it as President of Wheaton College. I wonder if Dr. Litfin, who is a member of College Church in Wheaton and has been for a number of years, was present in the congregation on Sunday, January 16, 2002 when Kent Hughes, Senior Pastor of College Church, preached the sermon entitled, "Set Apart to Save: Pluralism."

Here is a key excerpt from that sermon:

...while the followers of Mohammed may display various levels of human goodness, which they do, and human evil, which they do, their religion itself rejects the divinity of Christ and His substitutionary atonement, and thus bases its theology on a wicked blasphemy. Such a view rides on evil, and such a view will be judged by God.

No one could possibly have walked away from this sermon thinking that Christians and Muslims worship "the same God." Yet, the letter Dr. Litfin signed reads from beginning to end as if, in fact, they do. (more on this point later)

But my first question is, what part of Pastor Hughes' sermon did Dr. Litfin not understand? Did he disagree and walk out? Or has he just changed his mind recently?

Should he not be disciplined by the elders of College Church?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wheaton & Taylor Sell Out the Gospel for Sake of "World Peace"

In the category, "Who could've believed it?" we find Wheaton College and Taylor University, along with the purpose-driven pope Rick Warren, seeker-sensitive megachurcher Bill Hybels, emerging church guru/heretic Brian MacLaren, and numerous other liberal and neo-orthodox names, signing onto an unbelievable document that compromises the truth of the Gospel and fundamental doctrines about God and the deity of Jesus Christ, all for the sake of striving toward a "peace" with Islam that can never be:

"The Christian Post reported the following in a November 23rd article titled,

Christian Leaders Invite Muslims to Love God, Neighbors Together:

Christian leaders across denominational lines responded to the unprecedented open letter signed last month by 138 representative Muslim leaders with their own letter, calling on the two Abrahamic faiths to love God and neighbors together.

The key word here is 'together.'"

To read the complete text of the so-called "Christian response" to the Muslims letter, click here.

This "response" is so completely misguided and unscriptural that it practically begs for deconstruction -- which will follow in future posts.

For the time being, however, one must wonder, with regard to Wheaton College and its president, Dr. Duane Litfin, what were they thinking??? What was Taylor University thinking???

(HT: World Net Daily; Paul Proctor)

Making Stuff Up, In Spite of Your Confession

John Armstrong, thru his spokesman, claims that he really is orthodox; why, he even recites the Apostle's Creed!

Here is the short response to that notion:

"Men will always find a way to interpret confessional statements in accordance with their own preferred views and not those of the document in question. It should always be borne in mind that the affirmations of orthodoxy that a man makes will only be as good as the actual correspondence between his beliefs and the confessional statement he voluntarily subscribes to."

In other words, you can recite a creed, but still go right on making stuff up. How convenient. Maybe Dr. Armstrong recites the creed while saying to himself, "Words have no objective content...words have no objective content...words have no objective content..."

(HT: Against Heresies)

Monday, November 19, 2007

We Parents Need This Reminder from Pastor Spurgeon

Pastor Spurgeon reminds us that no Christian school teacher or Sunday School teacher can relieve the God-given responsibility laid upon us as parents to catechize our God-given children"

I trust you will never give up that excellent puritanical habit of catechising your children at home. Any father or mother who entirely gives up a child to the teaching of another has made a mistake. There is no teacher who wishes to absolve a parent from what he ought to do himself! He is an assistant, but he was never intended to be a substitute. Teach your children; bring up your old catechisms again, for they are after all blessed means of instruction, and the next generation shall outstrip those that have gone before it, for the reason why many of you are weak in the faith is this, you did not receive instruction in your youth in the great things of the gospel of Christ. If you had, you would have been so grounded, and settled, and firm in the faith, that nothing could by any means have moved you.

(HT Pyromaniacs)

Friday, November 16, 2007


...a perfect metaphor for modern "evangelicalism" -- the boundaries of the concept have now become so mushy and ambiguous the word has lost virtually all meaning.

But that doesn't stop all manner of people from throwing it around when they want to sound as if they are "Christian."

HT: Pulpit Magazine

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Is This Uncanny, or What???

Listen to Dr. Francis Schaeffer, warning us nearly forty years ago of the dangers of neoorthdoxy! Now neoorthodoxy's stepchild, the emerging church, is doing exactly what Dr. Schaeffer predicted:

"Neoorthodoxy...uses words that have strong connotations, as they are rooted in the memory of the race -- words like resurrection, crucifixion, Christ, Jesus. These words give an illusion of communication. The importance of these words to the new theologians lies in the illusion of communication, plus the highly motivated reaction men have on the basis of the connotation of the words. That is the advantage of the new theology over secular existentialism and the modern secular mysticisms. One hears the word Jesus, one acts upon it, but the word is never defined. The use of such words is always in the area of the irrational, the non-logical. Being separated from history and the cosmos, they are divorced from possible verification by reason downstairs, and there is no certainty that there is anything upstairs." [emphasis added]

Even more uncanny is the fact that Dr. Schaeffer warned us about men such as John Armstrong for whom words no longer have any fixed or inherent meaning so that only "experience" is left:

"The evangelical Christian needs to be careful because some evangelicals have recently been asserting that what matters is not setting out to prove propositions [from Scripture, ed.]; what matters is an encounter with Jesus. . . . [emphasis added]

The Truth:

"I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou has magnified thy word above all thy name." (Psalm 138:2)

(HT Herescope)

Why It is Impossible to Dialogue With Pomos Like John Armstrong

Phil Johnson at Pyromaniacs has a cogent and helpful explanation of why it is virtually useless to attempt to engage in "conversation" or to "dialogue" with people like John Armstrong who have abandoned truth in favor of endless speculations:

... it is well-nigh impossible to have an authentic, meaningful conversation with a devoted postmodernist and ever see anything genuinely resolved. The postmodernist by definition has no real hope or expectation of arriving at the truth of any matter. That's not the goal of the postmodernist exercise. It's not even a desirable objective. The only real point is to eliminate certitude altogether. This is done not by settling disputes, but by silencing or assimilating everyone who resists the unrestrained free flow of the postmodernist idea-exchange.

Hmm. Maybe that explains why John Armstrong has banned me from posting on his blog.

D'ya think?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Nailing Up Luther's 95 Theses: Happy Reformation Day!

Martin Luther's 95 Theses

Here is the document Martin Luther nailed on the church door at Wittenburg.

1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, "Repent" (Matthew 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

2. This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.

3. Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh.

4. The penalty of sin remains as long as the hatred of self (that is, true inner repentance), namely till our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

5. The pope neither desires nor is able to remit any penalties except those imposed by his own authority or that of the canons.

6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring and showing that it has been remitted by God; or, to be sure, by remitting guilt in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in these cases were disregarded, the guilt would certainly remain unforgiven.

7. God remits guilt to no one unless at the same time he humbles him in all things and makes him submissive to the vicar, the priest.

8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to the canons themselves, nothing should be imposed on the dying.

9. Therefore the Holy Spirit through the pope is kind to us insofar as the pope in his decrees always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.

10. Those priests act ignorantly and wickedly who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penalties for purgatory.

11. Those tares of changing the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory were evidently sown while the bishops slept (Matthew 13:25).

12. In former times canonical penalties were imposed, not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.

13. The dying are freed by death from all penalties, are already dead as far as the canon laws are concerned, and have a right to be released from them.

14. Imperfect piety or love on the part of the dying person necessarily brings with it great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater the fear.

15. This fear or horror is sufficient in itself, to say nothing of other things, to constitute the penalty of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair.

16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ the same as despair, fear, and assurance of salvation.

17. It seems as though for the souls in purgatory fear should necessarily decrease and love increase.

18. Furthermore, it does not seem proved, either by reason or by Scripture, that souls in purgatory are outside the state of merit, that is, unable to grow in love.

19. Nor does it seem proved that souls in purgatory, at least not all of them, are certain and assured of their own salvation, even if we ourselves may be entirely certain of it.

20. Therefore the pope, when he uses the words "plenary remission of all penalties," does not actually mean "all penalties," but only those imposed by himself.

21. Thus those indulgence preachers are in error who say that a man is absolved from every penalty and saved by papal indulgences.

22. As a matter of fact, the pope remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to canon law, they should have paid in this life.

23. If remission of all penalties whatsoever could be granted to anyone at all, certainly it would be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to very few.

24. For this reason most people are necessarily deceived by that indiscriminate and high-sounding promise of release from penalty.

25. That power which the pope has in general over purgatory corresponds to the power which any bishop or curate has in a particular way in his own diocese and parish.

26. The pope does very well when he grants remission to souls in purgatory, not by the power of the keys, which he does not have, but by way of intercession for them.

27. They preach only human doctrines who say that as soon as the money clinks into the money chest, the soul flies out of purgatory.

28. It is certain that when money clinks in the money chest, greed and avarice can be increased; but when the church intercedes, the result is in the hands of God alone.

29. Who knows whether all souls in purgatory wish to be redeemed, since we have exceptions in St. Severinus and St. Paschal, as related in a legend.

30. No one is sure of the integrity of his own contrition, much less of having received plenary remission.

31. The man who actually buys indulgences is as rare as he who is really penitent; indeed, he is exceedingly rare.

32. Those who believe that they can be certain of their salvation because they have indulgence letters will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.

33. Men must especially be on guard against those who say that the pope's pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to him.

34. For the graces of indulgences are concerned only with the penalties of sacramental satisfaction established by man.

35. They who teach that contrition is not necessary on the part of those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessional privileges preach unchristian doctrine.

36. Any truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without indulgence letters.

37. Any true Christian, whether living or dead, participates in all the blessings of Christ and the church; and this is granted him by God, even without indulgence letters.

38. Nevertheless, papal remission and blessing are by no means to be disregarded, for they are, as I have said (Thesis 6), the proclamation of the divine remission.

39. It is very difficult, even for the most learned theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the bounty of indulgences and the need of true contrition.

40. A Christian who is truly contrite seeks and loves to pay penalties for his sins; the bounty of indulgences, however, relaxes penalties and causes men to hate them -- at least it furnishes occasion for hating them.

41. Papal indulgences must be preached with caution, lest people erroneously think that they are preferable to other good works of love.

42. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend that the buying of indulgences should in any way be compared with works of mercy.

43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better deed than he who buys indulgences.

44. Because love grows by works of love, man thereby becomes better. Man does not, however, become better by means of indulgences but is merely freed from penalties.

45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a needy man and passes him by, yet gives his money for indulgences, does not buy papal indulgences but God's wrath.

46. Christians are to be taught that, unless they have more than they need, they must reserve enough for their family needs and by no means squander it on indulgences.

47. Christians are to be taught that they buying of indulgences is a matter of free choice, not commanded.

48. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting indulgences, needs and thus desires their devout prayer more than their money.

49. Christians are to be taught that papal indulgences are useful only if they do not put their trust in them, but very harmful if they lose their fear of God because of them.

50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the indulgence preachers, he would rather that the basilica of St. Peter were burned to ashes than built up with the skin, flesh, and bones of his sheep.

51. Christians are to be taught that the pope would and should wish to give of his own money, even though he had to sell the basilica of St. Peter, to many of those from whom certain hawkers of indulgences cajole money.

52. It is vain to trust in salvation by indulgence letters, even though the indulgence commissary, or even the pope, were to offer his soul as security.

53. They are the enemies of Christ and the pope who forbid altogether the preaching of the Word of God in some churches in order that indulgences may be preached in others.

54. Injury is done to the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or larger amount of time is devoted to indulgences than to the Word.

55. It is certainly the pope's sentiment that if indulgences, which are a very insignificant thing, are celebrated with one bell, one procession, and one ceremony, then the gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.

56. The true treasures of the church, out of which the pope distributes indulgences, are not sufficiently discussed or known among the people of Christ.

57. That indulgences are not temporal treasures is certainly clear, for many indulgence sellers do not distribute them freely but only gather them.

58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the saints, for, even without the pope, the latter always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outer man.

59. St. Lawrence said that the poor of the church were the treasures of the church, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time.

60. Without want of consideration we say that the keys of the church, given by the merits of Christ, are that treasure.

61. For it is clear that the pope's power is of itself sufficient for the remission of penalties and cases reserved by himself.

62. The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.

63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last (Matthew 20:16).

64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.

65. Therefore the treasures of the gospel are nets with which one formerly fished for men of wealth.

66. The treasures of indulgences are nets with which one now fishes for the wealth of men.

67. The indulgences which the demagogues acclaim as the greatest graces are actually understood to be such only insofar as they promote gain.

68. They are nevertheless in truth the most insignificant graces when compared with the grace of God and the piety of the cross.

69. Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of papal indulgences with all reverence.

70. But they are much more bound to strain their eyes and ears lest these men preach their own dreams instead of what the pope has commissioned.

71. Let him who speaks against the truth concerning papal indulgences be anathema and accursed.

72. But let him who guards against the lust and license of the indulgence preachers be blessed.

73. Just as the pope justly thunders against those who by any means whatever contrive harm to the sale of indulgences.

74. Much more does he intend to thunder against those who use indulgences as a pretext to contrive harm to holy love and truth.

75. To consider papal indulgences so great that they could absolve a man even if he had done the impossible and had violated the mother of God is madness.

76. We say on the contrary that papal indulgences cannot remove the very least of venial sins as far as guilt is concerned.

77. To say that even St. Peter if he were now pope, could not grant greater graces is blasphemy against St. Peter and the pope.

78. We say on the contrary that even the present pope, or any pope whatsoever, has greater graces at his disposal, that is, the gospel,spiritual powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written, 1 Corinthians 12:28).

79. To say that the cross emblazoned with the papal coat of arms, and set up by the indulgence preachers is equal in worth to the cross of Christ is blasphemy.

80. The bishops, curates, and theologians who permit such talk to be spread among the people will have to answer for this.

81. This unbridled preaching of indulgences makes it difficult even for learned men to rescue the reverence which is due the pope from slander or from the shrewd questions of the laity.

82. Such as: "Why does not the pope empty purgatory for the sake of holy love and the dire need of the souls that are there if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a church? The former reason would be most just; the latter is most trivial.

83. Again, "Why are funeral and anniversary masses for the dead continued and why does he not return or permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded for them, since it is wrong to pray for the redeemed?"

84. Again, "What is this new piety of God and the pope that for a consideration of money they permit a man who is impious and their enemy to buy out of purgatory the pious soul of a friend of God and do not rather, because of the need of that pious and beloved soul, free it for pure love's sake?"

85. Again, "Why are the penitential canons, long since abrogated and dead in actual fact and through disuse, now satisfied by the granting of indulgences as though they were still alive and in force?"

86. Again, "Why does not the pope, whose wealth is today greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build this one basilica of St. Peter with his own money rather than with the money of poor believers?"

87. Again, "What does the pope remit or grant to those who by perfect contrition already have a right to full remission and blessings?"

88. Again, "What greater blessing could come to the church than if the pope were to bestow these remissions and blessings on every believer a hundred times a day, as he now does but once?"

89. "Since the pope seeks the salvation of souls rather than money by his indulgences, why does he suspend the indulgences and pardons previously granted when they have equal efficacy?"

90. To repress these very sharp arguments of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies and to make Christians unhappy.

91. If, therefore, indulgences were preached according to the spirit and intention of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved. Indeed, they would not exist.

92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Peace, peace," and there is no peace! (Jeremiah 6:14)

93. Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Cross, cross," and there is no cross!

94. Christians should be exhorted to be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, death and hell.

95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven through many tribulations rather than through the false security of peace (Acts 14:22).

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Most Dangerous Thing in the World? False Teaching!

Pastor Brian Wolfmueller on Extreme Theology shows us what the most dangerous thing in the world is.

And no, Martha, it's not Osama:

"What does Jesus say is the most dangerous thing in the world?

First, Jesus tells us not to fear physical death. “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” [Matthew 10:28] Physical death is not the most dangerous thing. There is something worse: judgment and condemnation. This is to be feared.

This is why Jesus teaches us the most dangerous thing in all the world is false teaching. That's right: false doctrine. I'm sure that if I did a survey of a thousand people, asking them the question: What's the most dangerous thing in the world? that the answer 'false doctrine' would never show up; that is, unless we ask Jesus.

Just about every time Jesus (and in fact the entire New Testament) uses the word 'Beware' He is using it to warn against false teaching and false doctrine."

You can read the entire piece here.

Doug Pagitt: Just Making Stuff Up

Here is an amazing, appalling and frankly horrifying interview of John Armstrong's friend, emerging church leader Doug Pagitt, by Todd Friedl of Way of the Master Radio. Link to it here.

Doug Pagitt is just making stuff up about the Christian faith and trying to make it sound like Christianity. It isn't even close.

Since John Armstrong claims to be his friend, there is certainly a fair question whether John Armstrong thinks it is OK to just make stuff up, too.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Revolver in the Face of God -- The Ultimate Apostasy

Here is Pastor John MacArthur, and one of the professors at the Master's College, exposing the Big Lie of the "Pro Choice" movement and what it truly means for America:

As usual, Dr. MacArthur minces no words:

One of the professors at the Master’s College, Dr. John Pilky (sp.), very astute (teaches in our English Lit. Dept), wrote me a little memo. Listen to what it says,

The phrase "Pro Choice" (which is what the Pro abortionists use) strikes me as one of the most depraved, apocalyptically wicked, rhetorical facts in the history of western civilization in the Christian era. The phrase means "Pro Sin" or "Free to Chose Sin." The phrase would actually be less dreadful if it were "Pro Abortion" because that would confine it to the sphere of a particular moral problem, but by turning it to what seems a euphemism, the "Pro Choice" people have rung the final rhetorical "death knell" to the entire Democratic experiment.

The phrase "Pro Choice" means "without conscience, or without inhibition, or without restraint," and it parades itself under the Jeffersonian banner of liberty of conscience and separation of Church and State. As a rhetorical gesture, perfectly designed to function as a political banner, this phrase constitutes the last word: the official formulation of official apostate defiance against the God of Christianity. I am confident that God will answer it apocalyptically.

Yes, I believe that he is right. I believe abortion is the last official stand of the defiant apostate against God. It says, "God, you will not determine who lives or dies—I will!" The ultimate apostasy.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Devil Can Cite Scripture

Mark you this, Bassanio,
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath

Merchant of Venice, Act 1, Scene 3 (Antonio speaking to Bassanio regarding the villain, Shylock)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Postmodern= Emerging= Post-Saving

Here's a beaut of a quote from John Piper:

“We think the post-propositional, post-dogmatic, post-authoritative ‘conversation’ is post-relevant and post-saving.”


Friday, October 5, 2007

Confusion and Certainty

“There is enough light to enlighten the elect and enough obscurity to humiliate them.

There is enough obscurity to blind the reprobate and enough light to condemn them and deprive them of excuse”

Pascal, Pensées, A.J. Krailsheimer,
# 236.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

N.T. Wright: Just Another Liberal

Sounds like Bishop Wright has been tutored in the Rodney King school of politics:

"What I wish we could say to terrorists and others: Look, we take our religion seriously, too, and it leads us to different conclusions from you. We might be wrong; so might you; but in the name of whichever god you invoke, would it not be a better thing for us all to talk together about the issues at the heart of our respective faiths than to try to achieve dominance by violence?"

In other words, "Why can't we all just get along?"

Bishop Wright is just another liberal trying to tell us with slick academic doubletalk that no, you dear unsophisticated rabble, the Bible really does not mean what it says. There, now. Don't you feel better?

Martin Luther on Sola Fide

For those who doubt that Martin Luther "got it right" about salvation by faith alone (sola fide), let us hear what he has to say in his own words and search the Scriptures, like the noble Bereans, to see if these things are so:

"Whilst a man is persuaded that he has it in his power to contribute anything, be it ever so little, to his salvation, he remains in carnal self-confidence; he is not a self-despairer, and therefore is not duly humbled before God, he believes he may lend a helping hand in his salvation, but on the contrary, whoever is truly convinced that the whole work depends singly on the will of God, such a person renounces his own will and strength; he waits and prays for the operation of God, nor waits and prays in vain . . ."

Martin Luther did not believe that human works can in any way contribute anything to the salvation of the believer. N.T. Wright and the New Perspective crowd think Luther got Paul all wrong, but there is no doubt about where Luther stood on the subject.

Monday, September 24, 2007

More Questions for Dr. Armstrong

Dr. Armstrong,

Your friend Doug Pagitt, one of the leaders of the emerging church, recently said the following about John MacArthur:

"I'm not sure you'd be interested in this, but I have just finished a book somewhat on this topic. I think it might give you a more full understanding of the gospel than the one perverted by the likes of John MacArthur. I do not say "perverted" lightly, either. I really think what he communicates is so distant from the message of the Bible that it is dangerously harmful to people. If you heard the interview and his comments about a God who is "above us," I certainly hope you would see this."

I have two questions for you:

1. Do you agree with Doug Pagitt? and

2. Since Doug Pagitt admits his gospel is different from the one preached by John MacArthur, then according to Galatians 1:8-9 one of these two gospels is "a different gospel" and the one who preaches it is accursed.

In your opinion, which gospel deserves to be accursed?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Only Slightly Dead

After a thorough examination by Arminian church officials, Bob was found to be only "slightly dead" in trespasses and sins.

(HT -- Sacred Sandwich)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Just Enough of God's Truth to Deceive the Unwary

"It is because so many untaught men, unregenerate men, now occupy the pulpits that "another gospel" (Gal. 1:6) is being so widely and generally disseminated. Multitudes who have neither "tasted that the Lord is gracious" nor have "the fear of the Lord" in them have, from various motives and considerations, invaded the sacred calling of the ministry, and out of the abundance of their corrupt hearts they speak.

Being blind themselves, they lead the blind into the ditch. Having no love for the Shepherd they have none for the sheep, being but "hirelings." They are themselves "of the world" and therefore "the world heareth them" (1 John 4:5), for they preach that which is acceptable unto fallen human nature, and as like attracts like, they gather around themselves a company of admirers who flatter and support them. They will bring in just enough of God’s Truth to deceive the unwary and give the appearance of orthodoxy to their message, but not sufficient of the Truth, especially the searching portions thereof, to render their hearers uncomfortable by destroying their false peace. They will name Christ but not preach Him, mention the Gospel but not expound it".

AW Pink

Sound like anyone you know?

Friday, September 7, 2007

"I Believe in Jesus, Not Doctrine"

For Dr. Armstrong and all those who claim to believe in Jesus, but don't want to talk about doctrine:

You cannot separate what a man believes from what he is. For this reason doctrine is vitally important. Certain people say ignorantly, "I do not believe in doctrine; I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; I am saved, I am a Christian, and nothing else matters". To speak in that way is to court disaster, and for this reason, the New Testament itself warns us against this very danger. We are to guard ourselves against being "tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine", for if your doctrine goes astray your life will soon suffer as well.

-- Martyn Lloyd-Jones (HT Old

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Humpty Dumpty: The Perfect Mascot for PoMos

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, " it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master - that's all."

John Armstrong's "Last Word," and Mine

Since I have now apparently been banned from posting on John Armstrong's blog, I will post his "last word" and mine here. The remainder of our exchange is under his August 17, 2007 post titled, "'Propositional Truth,' 'Objective Truth' and the Debate Over What We Know and How We Know It."

Dr. Armstrong's "last word" appears first:


This will be my last response! You are determined to "pull me out of the thicket" as you put it. This assumes I am in danger of losing my soul and yet you do not even know me pesonally. The hubris of this theological conclusion is quite staggering really. Many readers will follow this and make up their own mind as they read. God will decide the truth of the matter and thus we will each stand or fall to our own Master. I am grateful for your obvious concern. I reject, however, your arguments and really have nothing much else to add. I am also profoundly grateful that God is my final judge and that his mercy is more gracious and reliable than your human judgments and logic. If a man who relies on Christ alone---his death, burial and resurrection---to save him from his own acknowledged and confessed sin is a Christian then I am one.

If I opposed Christ and his kingdom then your concluding comments might be appropriate. I suggest you rather spend your time trying to win people for our Lord who actually deny Christ and do not believe in saving faith which is granted by the Holy Spirit alone. That is my own calling as a minister of the gospel thus I have nothing else to add to this back and forth form of commenting on this blog spot.

Grace and peace to you my brother!

Here is my "last word:"

Dr. Armstrong:

Since you have given your "last word" on this subject, I will give mine.

First, you claim I am guilty of "hubris" because I do not know you. How do you know that we are not acquainted? Isn't it hubris to assume that we are not?

Second, the "human judgments and logic" you claim I rely upon are only human if you assume that Scripture is a merely human interpretation. That is why I asked (and you declined to answer) whether you affirm the doctrine of the verbal inspiration of Scripture. Scripture (i.e., the very words of God) is most emphatically not merely human and not mere logic -- it is "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes." (Romans 1:16) That is where your beliefs and orthodox Biblical Christianity diverge -- at least, you have given no reason for the reader to think otherwise in any of your responses to my questions.

Third, you appeal to God to "decide the matter" and to be your "final judge." How can you be so certain that He has not already decided? If God has spoken with truth and finality through His holy and inspired Word (and He has), then if your beliefs (or mine or anyone's) diverge from the truth set forth in His Word we are in error, and nothing remains to be determined.

Finally, every Christian should indeed try to win people for the Lord. Every Christian is also commanded: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1)

If the Christ you or I rely upon and proclaim is not the true Christ of Scripture, then we are in danger of losing our souls, and it does not matter whether you or I spend our time trying to win people to the Lord, what our calling is, what our epistemology is, or whatever else we may believe.

I will remain in prayer for your soul.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Willing to Believe Anything -- Except The Bible

The incomparable Charles Spurgeon (he of the dead white preachers) hits the nail squarely on the head in discussing the unbelief of our postmodern friends, as it was given expression in Spurgeon's day:

The [post]moderns are able to believe anything except their Bibles. They credulously receive any statement, so long as it is not in the Scriptures; but if it is founded on Scripture, they are, of course, prepared to doubt and quibble and cavil straight away.

Hmmm. Sounds familiar. Same old unbelief, just different words.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Where Are the Pastors With This Kind of Heart for God?

"I Am A Debtor"

When this passing world is done,
When has sunk yon glaring sun,
When we stand with Christ in glory,
Looking o’er life’s finished story,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know—
Not till then—how much I owe.

When I hear the wicked call,
On the rocks and hills to fall,
When I see them start and shrink
On the fiery deluge brink,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know—
Not till then—how much I owe.

When I stand before the throne,
Dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see Thee as Thou art,
Love Thee with unsinning heart,
Then Lord, shall I fully know—
Not till then—how much I owe.

When the praise of Heav’n I hear,
Loud as thunders to the ear,
Loud as many waters’ noise,
Sweet as harp’s melodious voice,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know—
Not till then—how much I owe.

Even on earth, as through a glass
Darkly, let Thy glory pass,
Make forgiveness feel so sweet,
Make Thy Spirit’s help so meet,
Even on earth, Lord, make me know
Something of how much I owe.

Chosen not for good in me,
Wakened up from wrath to flee,
Hidden in the Savior’s side,
By the Spirit sanctified,
Teach me, Lord, on earth to show,
By my love, how much I owe.

Oft I walk beneath the cloud,
Dark, as midnight’s gloomy shroud;
But, when fear is at the height,
Jesus comes, and all is light;
Blessed Jesus! bid me show
Doubting saints how much I owe.

When in flowery paths I tread,
Oft by sin I’m captive led;
Oft I fall—but still arise—
The Spirit comes—the tempter flies;
Blessed Spirit! bid me show
Weary sinners all I owe.

Oft the nights of sorrow reign—
Weeping, sickness, sighing, pain;
But a night Thine anger burns—
Morning comes and joy returns;
God of comforts! bid me show
To Thy poor, how much I owe

–Robert Murray M’Cheyne, 1837

Monday, August 20, 2007

O Lord, Look Down From Heaven, Behold

O Lord, Look Down from Heaven, Behold

O Lord, look down from heaven, behold
And let Thy pity waken:
How few are we within Thy Fold,
Thy saints by men forsaken!
True faith seems quenched on every hand,
Men suffer not Thy Word to stand;
Dark times have us o'ertaken.

With fraud which they themselves invent
Thy truth they have confounded;
Their hearts are not with one consent
On Thy pure doctrine grounded.
While they parade with outward show,
They lead the people to and fro,
In error's maze astounded.

May God root out all heresy
And of false teachers rid us
Who proudly say: Now, where is he
That shall our speech forbid us?
By right or might we shall prevail;
What we determine cannot fail;
We own no lord and master.

Therefore saith God, I must arise,
The poor My help are needing;
To Me ascend My people's cries,
And I have heard their pleading.
For them My saving Word shall fight
And fearlessly and sharply smite,
The poor with might defending.

As silver tried by fire is pure
From all adulteration,
So through God's Word shall men endure
Each trial and temptation.
Its light beams brighter through the cross,
And, purified from human dross,
It shines through every nation.

Thy truth defend, O God, and stay
This evil generation;
And from the error of their way
Keep Thine own congregation.
The wicked everywhere abound
And would Thy little flock confound;
But Thou art our Salvation.

-- Martin Luther (The Lutheran Hymnal, No. 262)

Amen, and amen!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Who is John Armstrong And What Does He Really Believe?

Hmmm. It appears my exchange with John Armstrong questioning his dislike for "propositional truth" hit a nerve.

See his post titled, "Propositional" Truth, "Objective Truth," and the Debate About What We Know and How We Know It" today (8/17/07) at

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fighting At the Point of the Enemy's Attack

A welcome reminder from Martin Luther that, unless we are fighting for truth at the very point it is being attacked, we are not fighting at all:

"If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Who is John Armstrong Part II

John Armstrong's position on "propositional truth" is skewed to say the very least.

As a point of departure in examining this very important issue, here is my post in response to Dr. Armstrong's 8/4/07 posting under his entry, "How Important is Propositional Truth?"

I wrote:

"The first paragraph of the last post deserves some further scrutiny.

First: I defy you to identify any meaningful distinction between sentence no. 1 ("I am not denying propositional truth") and sentence no. 2 ("ultimate truth cannot be reduced to propositions").

Certainly, we are talking about "ultimate truth" when we discuss propositions such as, "Jesus is the truth." How could it possibly be otherwise? Are you saying there is some type of truth that can be propositional in nature but that is somehow non-ultimate? And what is your basis for condescendingly referring to "reducing" ultimate truth to propositions?

Second: Your third sentence ("If Christ is the Truth then we cannot reduce truth to statements of logic or propositions") is patently false and unsupportable.

When you say, "If Christ is the Truth," are you denying that He is the Truth as John 14:6 clearly states?

Where is there any Scriptural support for your statement? Certainly any attempt to support this statement would have to, at a minimum, reckon with John 1:1 ("In the beginning was the Word"). This text gives no indication that the author is the least bit reluctant to "reduce" truth to propositional form, even matters of ultimate truth.

Further, any attempt to support your statement scripturally would also need to address passages such as Romans 8:32, Luke 11:13 and many, many others in which logic, propositions and arguments are made time and time again."

There is so very much more to be said in response to these statements and others by Dr. Armstrong . . .

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Emerging Church -- Al Qaeda's Natural Ally?

Frank Pastore's column here asks a very important question -- is the "emerging church" weakening the Christian faith in the United States to the point that our nation is open to conquest by radical Islam?

Says Pastore:

If the world is to be saved from Muslim conquest, it will be America who does it. And if America is to be saved, only conservatism can do it. And if conservatism is to be saved, it will be those Bible-believing patriots who do it–those conservative, evangelical Christians who are the bedrock of the American way of life...

A post-Christian, post-modern, secular-socialist America will be no match for a radical Islam fueled by petro-dollars and threatening the use of nuclear weapons.

But an America where the church is strong, resolute, and courageous? That’s a different thing altogether.

Which is why al Qaeda supports the emergent church.

If the "emergent church" is in fact weakening our moral and spiritual fiber, and our will to fight, is that effect intended, or unintended?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Who Is John Armstrong?

Lighthouse Trails Research blog has an excellent story on John Armstrong's latest flirtation with the emerging church. It reveals the agenda behind those whom Armstrong is now courting.

Here is my letter to Lighthouse Trails commending their story and sharing my own experience with Armstrong:

Thank you for publishing yesterday’s article on John Armstrong. Having sat under this man’s teaching several years ago, I can testify to how he has radically changed. The response given recently by a member of the board of directors of Armstrong’s organization to John MacArthur’s critique of him in MacArthur’s book The Truth Wars is one of many pieces of evidence for Armstrong’s departure from orthodoxy. The response was completely over the top. It heaped abuse on MacArthur but utterly failed to answer the charges against Armstrong in any substantive way.

For example, the writer attempted to mount a defense of Armstrong by claiming that Armstrong can recite the Apostle’s Creed without reservation. Reciting the Apostle’s Creed is hardly a test of orthodoxy; many outright heretics throughout the history of the Church have claimed to believe it. The real question is, what meaning does John Armstrong ascribe to the words of the Apostle’s Creed when he recites it? Does he believe those words have actual, concrete referents, or doesn’t he? We are no closer to an answer after reading the “response” given on Armstrong’s behalf.

The fact is that John Armstrong appears to believe it is not possible to know clearly what the Bible teaches as truth – in other words, he denies the doctrine of the clarity (perspicacity) of Scripture. He believes it is arrogant to say that the Bible teaches specific, understandable truths. He may claim he does not, but that is not only the letter but the spirit and practical effect of his latest writings. His recent switching of his ordination credentials to the Reformed Church in America – the denomination I grew up in – is simply part and parcel of his attempt to make it appear as though he is still “reformed” in his theology – after all, the name of his new denomination has the word “Reformed” in it. Of course, those who know that denomination realize the RCA, like so many others, has gone far off the track of Biblical orthodoxy in recent decades and his now openly embracing New Age false religion, mystical spirituality, and other heresies.

I find it especially painful and troublesome that Armstrong has somehow convinced the respected elder statesman of that denomination, I. John Hesselink, to put his stamp of approval on Armstrong. One can only believe that Dr. Hesselink, who is now well advanced in years, simply is no longer able to recognize the dangers posed to the Church by Armstrong and the like.

The same, however, cannot be said for Wheaton College. How Wheaton can have this man on its faculty teaching “spiritual formation” is simply beyond comprehension – unless Wheaton, too, is abandoning Biblical Christianity and opting instead for a cultured distaste of “the arrogance of certainty” and for the emerging church.

Please keep up your good work. The common person in the pew is simply no match for the verbal tap-dancing of men like John Armstrong. There is an appalling and almost a total lack of discernment in these matters.

The Church desperately needs to be warned of the false teachers that are everywhere – inside the Church, not outside. I am sad to say that I fear John Armstrong is among them. May God keep all of us in Him.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Does This Sounds Like Your Church?

This happened to us at a recent Easter Sunday service. In the sermon we heard (and listened for, but didn't hear) the following:

1. We did not hear a clear connection made of the events of the Resurrection to the events of Good Friday, and in particular our Lord’s substitutionary atonement on the cross. We heard no mention of sin. Without making these connections, is it not difficult, or impossible, for hearers to understand the Resurrection as much more than a nice thing that happened to a nice man? Put another way, calling unbelievers to “embrace” Christ makes little sense unless the unbeliever clearly hears, and feels experientially by the operation of the Holy Spirit, that he or she is a sinner in need of salvation from the wrath of a just and holy God.

2. Sadly, the message as a whole, and in particular the illustrations given, seemed to bear little connection to the text of the Scripture.

3. Probably because of issues no. 1 and 2, what we heard was, to put it as charitably as possible, a less than clear presentation of the Gospel call. This was perhaps the most distressing of all. Why the Gospel call would not be clearly presented on an Easter Sunday -- Resurrection Sunday -- of all days, is very difficult to understand. Needless to say there were many present who desperately needed to hear the Gospel. What they heard instead, we fear, was essentially a pep talk urging them to embrace Christ because, the impression was left, they would be missing out if they wait. But why should they, if in all probability (as was suggested), Jesus will embrace them eventually? Why should they not conclude, “That’s great, I’m covered, now let me get back to my basketball game?”

Ashamed of the Gospel at Virginia Tech

Frank Pastore's column on Townhall shows the denial of the faith that passes for "Christianity" today in the motivational speech at the Virginia Tech convocation:

We gather also to drink deeply of the religious streams which have refreshed parched peoples for many generations. We gather together, weeping. Yes, we weep with an agony too deep for words and sighs that are inexpressible. But also we gather affirming the sovereignty of life over death.

At a time such as this, the darkness of evil seems powerful indeed. . . And yet, we come to this place to testify that the light of love cannot be defeated.

Amid all our pain, we confess that the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. We cannot do everything, but we can do something. We cannot banish all darkness, but we can by joining together, push it back. We can not undue yesterday’s tragic events, but we can sit in patient silence with those who mourn as they seek for a way forward.

As we share light, one with another, we reclaim our campus, let us deny death’s power to rob us of all that we have loved about Virginia Tech, this our community. Let us cast our lot with hope in defiance of despair. I invite you to observe a moment of silence.

There is nothing of the gospel, nothing of Christ, nothing of sin, and nothing of salvation. In short, there is no hope. The listener is left without God and without hope in this world. There is only one oblique reference to scripture, but it is left unexplained -- who is "the light" that shines in the darkness, and why has the darkness never overcome it? What is "the darkness" anyway? All of this is left unexplained.

Sadly, this is all too often what we hear from the pulpits of our churches; the apostasy is only more easily visible in the ELCA.

How many listeners, I wonder, who believed themselves to be Christian, thought they were hearing a "Christian" message?