Posted in JC Ryle, lifeway

Prata’s Potpourri: Taiwan quake, LifeWay jumps the shark (again), Jesus marveled at their unbelief; more

Here are a few items for you consideration.

On February 5, 2016 a deadly earthquake struck Taiwan. The 6.4 magnitude toppled many buildings and trapped hundreds of people, and killed at least 26, but that number is expected to rise as officials examine the rubble. Vast parts of the southern part of the country are without electricity and water. Al Jazeera has more.

My friend Pastor James Bell wrote,

As we pray for those who are suffering… it would be well for us to realize that in just a moment… life as we know it can suddenly change! Moreover, this would be a good time to meditate upon Luke 13:1-5. suppose that those in this city are greater sinners than we? Except we repent, we shall all likewise perish!

Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. “Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”


In reading Mark 6:6, I was struck by the fact that Jesus marveled at unbelief. After salvation everything seems so clear to us, and it’s a marvel that people can’t or won’t or don’t turn to Jesus who is the obvious solution for filling our spiritually deserted souls. Here is the introduction to JC Ryle’s essay on unbelief being a marvel to Jesus.

Unbelief a Marvel by J. C. Ryle
 First published by Drummond’s Tract Depot, Stirling, Scotland

“He marveled because of their unbelief.”–Mark 6:6

The text which heads this page is a very remarkable one. Of all the expressions in the four Gospels which show that the Lord Jesus Christ was very Man, none perhaps is more startling than this. That He who was born of the Virgin Mary, and had a body like our own, should hunger and thirst, and weep and rejoice, and be weary and suffer pain,—all this we can, in some degree, understand. But that He who was very God as well as very Man, He “in whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,” He in whom were, “hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” He who “knew what was in man,”—that He should “marvel” at anything here below, may well fill us with astonishment. But what saith the Scripture? There it is written in plain words, which no critical ingenuity can explain away,— “He marvelled because of their unbelief.”

LifeWay has jumped another shark.
B&H Publishing is an imprint publishing house from LifeWay Christian Resources. Authors Rollin G. Grams and S. Donald Fortson III have published a book through B&H titled Unchanging Witness: The Consistent Christian Teaching on Homosexuality in Scripture and Tradition, in which they look at the consistent historical Christian stance regarding homosexuality.
The authors wrote a synopsis of their book on the B&H blog, called B&H Academic, “a division of LifeWay Christian Resources, which is dedicated to providing resources for undergraduate and graduate theological education.
The authors stated that in researching texts to determine that Christianity has always condemned homosexuality, these texts included 

the Fathers, Reformers, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Roman Catholics, and Orthodox churches

They came to the conclusion that,

Homosexual practice has been affirmed nowhere in the history of Christianity. An overview of texts [examined in the book] reveals unequivocally that the Fathers, Reformers, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Roman Catholics, and Orthodox churches are unanimous in their condemnation of homoerotic behavior among those who profess Christ as Lord. 

How unfortunate that LifeWay supports authors who include Catholic and Orthodox as part of Christianity, when they are not. How much more unfortunate that this book is aimed at an audience of learners who will then become teachers of the faith.
Does your pastor seek to be popular? Or faithful?

Faithfulness Versus Popularity

Today concludes our series highlighting five compelling motivations to preach the Word. Previous posts in this series can be found here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Motivation 5: Preach the Word
Because of the Deceptiveness of the Sensual (2 Timothy 4:3–4)Having reminded Timothy of the ultimate accountability, Paul continued by warning him that faithful preaching will not necessarily be popular preaching. As the apostle explained, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths” (4:3–4).

John MacArthur is going through a series at Grace To You blog examining Christian Cliches. In this one, he looks at what it really means to “Love the sinner, hate the sin”. The essay helped me see things in a new light.
Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

To preach love apart from God’s holiness is to teach something other than God’s love. No awakening or revival of the church has ever occurred apart from strong preaching of God’s holiness and the corresponding call for believers to forsake sin and return to the Lord’s standards of purity and righteousness. No church that tolerates known sin in its membership will have spiritual growth or effective evangelism. In spite of that truth, however, such tolerance is standard in the church today-at all levels.

I made these yesterday. They are sooo good! Try ’em!

Baked Cheddar Broccoli Cups

Posted in beth moore, church, jesus, jesus calling, lifeway, prophecy

Then and now, compare Baptist publication list from 1870 and 2015

Baptist published book list from 1870

LifeWay is the Southern Baptist Convention’s Bookstore arm. To compare Baptist publications from 1870 to Baptist publications in 2015, here is a list of LifeWay’s 2015 best sellers. What a difference 145 years makes. Would a Baptist returning today from an extended Rip Van Winkle sleep even recognize his own denomination?

I listed the modern books in the order in which they appeared in the LifeWay list but also included a credible review of the book from a discerning person or organization next to it. Most of these books are complete nonsense. The one or two that aren’t are marginal (well, Chan’s is marginal, Platt’s is good).

LifeWay’s Best Selling NonFiction as of July 2015:

#1 Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (review of the book)

#2 Counter Culture by David Platt (review of the book)

#3 Jesus Calling Large Deluxe by Sarah Young (review of the devotional)

#4 The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst (review of TerKeurst and her overall ministry; review of the book)

#5 Before Amen by Max Lucado (review of Lucado’s overall fruit)

#6 The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman (review of the book)

#7 The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren, Daniel Amen, Mark Hyman (review of the book)

#8 Waiting on God by Charles Stanley (general review of Stanley himself)

#9 Portraits of Devotion by Beth Moore (review of Moore herself, her statements, and her other teachings)

#10 Agents of the Apocalypse by David Jeremiah (review of D. Jeremiah and his use of the novel Agents of the Apocalypse)

#11 The Mystery of the Shemitah by Jonathan Cahn (review of the book)

#12 You and Me Forever by Francis & Lisa Chan (I could not find a review of this book from an organization or person I am familiar with, but Challies gave Chan generally favorable reviews on Chan’s other books, such as Multiply, Crazy Love, Forgotten God)

Godlessness in the Last Days

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

I think the 2015 publication list demonstrates a wide-spread love of self, and LifeWay’s love of money.

Ever since the world was created, we have been going downhill. Even after the Flood when humanity was re-set in Genesis 9, by Genesis 11 there was the the first polygamist, first dictator, and the first ode to false religion. The LORD confused the languages at Babel and dispersed them. It has been downhill ever since.

However, in a Google Hangout yesterday with Dr John MacArthur, Dr Stephen Nichols and Nathan Bingham hosted by Ligonier, titled “Convictions and Cultural Change: A Google Hangout with John MacArthur” MacArthur said in his nearly 50 years of ministry that despite it all being downhill since the beginning, in his years he has not seen an acceleration of cultural decline this rapid. The general consensus among the three men was that we are near to mirroring the fist century church in terms of idolatry, lack of discernment, disarray, and paganism.

And yet the Lord always keeps a remnant. His people are true, righteous, and working for His name. As for the non-Christians doing these things like writing books filled with doctrines of demons and with all the blasphemies occurring in His name, how He must be storing up his anger.

But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS... (Romans 2:5-6).

And that is our comfort. When I read of a new heretical book coming out, my heart drops and I mourn the gullible and the lost who will be sucked into its world. But I temper that with the knowledge that Jesus is King. He will render to each person according to his deeds, and even reading that, never mind living it, makes my stomach cringe. He is in charge, He is All-Knowing, He is taking care.

If you love the sovereignty of God this will comfort you.

all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:35)

Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! (Psalm 34:3)

Posted in 90 minutes in heaven, heaven is for real, heaven tourism, lifeway

Good News: Baptist Press reports LifeWay pulls all heaven tourism books

Quote from Phil Johnson [Exec. Director of: & works with John MacArthur]:

“Only four authors in all the bible were blessed with visions of heaven and wrote about what they saw: the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel, and the apostles Paul and John. Two other biblical figures—Micaiah and Stephen—got glimpses of heaven, but what they saw is merely mentioned, not described (2 Chronicles 18:18; Acts 7:55).

As pastor John MacArthur points out, all of these were prophetic visions, not near-death experiences. Not one person raised from the dead in the old & new testaments ever recorded for us what he or she experienced in heaven. That includes Lazarus, who spent four days in the grave. Paul was caught up into heaven in an experience so vivid he said he didn’t know whether he went there bodily or not, but he saw things that are unlawful to utter, so he gave no details. He covered the whole incident in just three verses (2 Corinthians 12:2-4).

All three biblical writers who saw heaven and described their visions give comparatively sparse details, but they agree perfectly (Isaiah 6:1-4; Ezekiel 1 and 10; Revelation 4-6). They don’t agree with the Burpo-Malarkey vision of heaven. Both their intonation and the details they highlight are markedly different. The biblical authors are all fixated on God’s glory, which defines and illuminates everything there. They are overwhelmed, chagrined, petrified, and put to silence by the sheer majesty of God’s holiness. Notably missing from all the biblical accounts are the frivolous features and juvenile attractions that seem to dominate every account of heaven currently on the bestseller lists.”

Thankfully and gratefully and finally, Baptist Press reports today,

LifeWay pulls ‘heaven visitation resources’

LifeWay Christian Resources has stopped selling all “experiential testimonies about heaven” following consideration of a 2014 Southern Baptist Convention resolution on “the sufficiency of Scripture regarding the afterlife.”

Though LifeWay “was not mentioned in the SBC resolution affirming the sufficiency of biblical revelation and affirming the truth about heaven and hell,” King told BP in an interview, “the resolution was approved overwhelmingly and was considered during our process.”

The resolution, adopted by messengers to the SBC annual meeting in June, warned Christians not to allow “the numerous books and movies purporting to explain or describe the afterlife experience” to “become their source and basis for an understanding of the afterlife.”

The resolution did not list specific book or movie titles, but it seemed to describe works like “90 Minutes in Heaven,” “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven” by Kevin and Alex Malarkey and “Heaven Is for Real” by Todd Burpo along with its companion movie released last year by Sony Pictures.

The resolution affirmed “the sufficiency of biblical revelation over subjective experiential explanations to guide one’s understanding of the truth about heaven and hell.”

In January, LifeWay announced it would stop selling “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven” after coauthor Alex Malarkey admitted that he lied about having a vision of heaven as a 6-year-old. See related BP story. At the time, King said LifeWay was “committed to becoming even more proactive in the next few months in evaluating the resources we carry.”

end excerpts

Now if we can just get them to pull Beth Moore…


Further Reading

The Burpo-Malarkey Doctrine

Heaven is for Real, But are the Modern Day Claims of “There and Back Againers” in Line with the Bible?

Video, Justin Peters, Why The Heaven Tourist Reports Contradict Scripture (Part One)

Posted in bishop, discernment, gender roles, lifeway, ordained women, propel

First female Bishop; "Propelling" women beyond their roles, people with discernment called "disgruntled serial protesters"

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, (2 Timothy 4:3)

The ‘passions’ discussed today are the passions of usurping women and the men who let them.

Eve was originally created to be a helpmeet. Hers was the supportive role in helping the man. (Genesis 2:18, 20). It still is, despite cultural pressure and widespread disobedience. But because the man listened to the voice of the woman, (Genesis 3:17) who was rebelling against God and urging her mate to do so as well (Genesis 3:6) all mankind was cursed with bearing a sin nature. (Until the Redeemer came Genesis 3:15).

In addition, the woman was cursed with wanting to rule her husband. This is one of the “passions” we are to guard against, as mentioned so many times in scripture. Passions are also known as ungodly desires. (1 Timothy 1:10, Jude 1:18, etc). Women will want the man’s role.

Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16)

It is a tragedy when we see this played out in the home. When it is played out in the church it’s worse. And worst of all is institutionalizing the disobedience of male and female leaders within the church, as seen here in this article today from the LA Times.

Church of England consecrates Libby Lane as its first female bishop

More than 1,000 people attended the service inside York Minster, the cathedral in the northern city of York, but a lone male priest who interrupted proceedings to protest the appointment served as a reminder the move is not universally welcomed. … “No. Not in the Bible,” the Rev. Paul Williamson said when Archbishop of York John Sentamu asked the members of the congregation whether it was their will that she should be ordained. … The church later said it was prepared for the outburst because Williamson is a known “serial protester.” … “There will be a few people who will be disgruntled, but most people in the church will welcome this;”

According to the numbers given in the article, of the people present at Ms Libby Lane’s ordination ceremony, 999 people accepted it without protest, and 1 did not.

The bible is clear that leadership in the church is reserved for men. Not even all men are called to leadership positions, so this is not an issue of equality as the article presents it. It is about submission to the roles God has reserved for men, women, and children.

In 2 Timothy 2:17, Paul charges Timothy not to let his flock listen to Hymenaeus and Philetus’ worldly and godless chatter, lest their teaching spread like gangrene among them. I have always loved Paul’s vivid allusion here. It’s graphic and apt. Gangrene is a disease that spreads rapidly and if untreated, fatally. As Pulpit Commentary explains,

spread, like a gangrene, which gradually enlarges its area, corrupting the flesh that was sound before. So these heretical opinions spread in the body of the Church which is affected by them.

In case we don’t get the point, Gill’s Exposition is even more graphic,

The word “gangrene” is Greek (g), and is derived by some authors from the Paphlagonian “gangra”, a goat; it being the character of a goat to browse the grass all around without shifting. It is more correct, perhaps, to derive it from the Greek word “manduco”, “consumo”, I eat, I consume. The “gangrene” is a disease in the flesh of the part which it corrupts, consumes, and turns black, spreading and seizing itself of the adjoining parts, and is rarely cured without amputation. By the microscope, a gangrene has been discovered to contain an infinite number of little worms engendered in the morbid flesh; and which continually producing new broods, they swarm, and overrun the adjacent parts: if the gangrene proceed to an utter sphacelation (or mortification), and be seated in any of the limbs, or extreme parts, recourse must be had to the operation of amputation”

And so the errors and heresies of false teachers worm and spread, and feed upon the souls of men, and eat up the vitals of religion

How has the spread of the myth of female leadership roles spread like a cancer? Well, it was only 20 years ago, the LA Times article reports, that the Church of England allowed female priests. Unless repented of and rectified, it was a certainty that the gangrene would spread to the next level, the gangrene here being the heresy of women pastors.

Lest we think this is a problem far away across the ocean, let us look within our own ranks of “conservative” denominations to see where our own gangrene is eating away at the body. Beth Moore has been allowed to teach men, then to attain leadership prominence unrebuked alongside John Piper and Francis Chan on stage, and then as the sin of usurpation spread, to solely lead services on Sunday from the pulpit. Read the essay from Ken Fryer about The Strange Case of Brenda Maxwell to see how this particular rebellion heresy spread.

Joyce Meyer, who has for many years has had millions of followers, has not been firmly called out as a false teacher, and her example of being an ordained Minister has both excited and ignited the passions of many women, Christine Caine for example. Of course Caine is not going to gravitate to a woman who submits to the role ordained for her by God, like Nancy Guthrie, for example, because that does not suit her passion. Of course she is going to gravitate to a woman like Meyer who sails on a wide ocean of disobedience in leadership roles reserved for men. Caine calls Meyer her ‘spiritual mother.

This kind of pattern is outlined for us in Revelation 2, where we see just what happens to the spiritual mothers who practice heresy, their spiritual daughters, and the people to tolerated it.

But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. (Revelation 2:20-23)

Gangrene does not respect boundaries. It does not care that a particular person calls himself or herself Conservative, or Baptist, or evangelical. If it is tolerated for one moment, its leaven will spoil the whole lump. Up until recently, LifeWay was considered to have a good reputation. LifeWay Christian Resources is based in Nashville, Tennessee, and is one of the largest providers of religious and Christian resources in the world, according to its business blurb.

Yet LifeWay promotes the false doctrines held by false teacher Beth Moore and TD Jakes and Mark Driscoll and Sarah Young and Henry Blackaby and William P. Young (The Shack) and Mark Batterson. LifeWay engages in selling heaven tourism to the gullible, dismisses legitimate biblical concerns from pastors who question their business model as balanced against their doctrinal model, provides a platform for atheist contemporary music bands, and is now actually propelling women into leadership roles reserved for men.

It is sad that undiscerning women are propelling other undiscerning women beyond their scripturally ordained role as wifely helpmeet, teacher of younger women and children and submissive servant. I am sad about this, but I am not discouraged.

Nice alliteration, Propel People. How about this: Service, Submission, Silence.
1 Peter 3:3-6, 1 Timothy 2:11, 1 Corinthians 14:34

Sin left unchecked always spreads. The sins of Sodom spread to Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim. The sins of Hymenaeus and Philetus would spread unless Timothy confronted them. The next generation is always worse, (Matthew 23:15 and Revelation 2:20-23.)

For people fond of saying “God told me”, here is something God told us, a woman will desire her husband’s position and usurp. He said that in Genesis 3 and then caused it to be recorded for all succeeding generations to be warned about. Paul told Timothy that he does not allow a woman to teach OR exercise authority over a man. Teaching leads to other areas where women exercise authority (Greek meaning of the word, domineer, exercise authority over, have mastery over, just as Genesis 2:15 says).

Ruling over, such as being ordained a Bishop in the Church of England, where Reverend Bishop Libby Lane will rule over men in the leadership hierarchy, but it’s also where one lone man stood up for Jesus.

In another place and time, Germany, May 2014, Heidi Mund stood up in her Christian church specifically built to honor Martin Luther and opposed the singing of a Muslim Imam at the pulpit in an interfaith concert. She was seen as a disgruntled protester and hustled out by police.

When we stand for Christ, we will be called these names. Don’t fear them, these names like disgruntled, negative, critical, judgmental, or this new one to me, serial protester.

If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. (John 15:18)

As upsetting or uncomfortable as it is at the time, later we will be glad we had participated in Christ’s sufferings, even momentarily. We will be glad we glorified Him. We will be grateful we stood for truth and not the lies and schemes of the devil.

There are some things we can do to diminish, but never avoiding the charge, of being a serial protester.

–do not scream in all caps on Facebook at every outrage. The Holy Spirit has all things in hand, and each of us are burdened to address one or a few, not all wrong things. In other words we don’t have to do it all. Pick your battles.

–be prayerful about where and when to address things of concern, whether they are in church (submissively and carefully to your pastor) or online. Online comment sections are bastions of poor doctrine, with many honest and solid women, undiscerning but earnest women and others outright destroyers mixing truth with lies to confuse the young. Usually the solid women are drowned out and thus online blogs, comment sections and newspapers quickly go beyond the discernment level of many people. Be careful.

–be teachable. I’m not right about everything and other sisters are not right about everything, so if  you’re approaching a leader or pastor, be ready to learn.

–be encouraging sometimes. There is much that is right with the church. Let people know it.

–be repentant. Pray for forgiveness of all known and unknown sins. Sin left unaddressed will be easily matched by satan to lead you to a place of uncertain doctrine or even of falling prey to wolves for long periods, polluting your witness. For example, the doctrinal sin discussed today is one of women’s leadership beyond the scriptural boundary. This desire stems mainly from the sin of pride. These women who want to lead are prideful and arrogant. Many who fall prey to prosperity doctrines are greedy or jealous. The cleaner we are before Jesus the stronger our armor. (Ephesians 6:10-20)

Always stay in the word, pray, and congregate with brethren so we can stay sharp, clear, and submissive. Then when the time comes, as it did for Heidi Mund and the Rev. Paul Williamson, whether publicly or privately …

…in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, (1 Peter 3:15)

He deserves so much more, but this, this, is something we all can do.


Further Reading

Why the Malarkey/Tyndale/Lifeway Scandal Matters

Can a woman be a pastor or preacher?

And in a sad bit of irony, the Southern Baptist Convention (LifeWay’s functional boss) has a lengthy article describing the theological reasons why a woman is not biblically ordained the role of pastor or church leader and concludes: Women Pastors: What Does the Bible Say?

Therefore, based upon these texts and models, a woman’s spiritual service is to be in those roles assigned her by God. These do not include the role of pastor.