Here are some dribs and drabs for you. Links, news, and thoughts.
Sermon Series: Alistair Begg: Seven Questions God Asks
Many of us are familiar with the questions that individuals regularly bring to God. Yet how many of us are aware of the questions that God brings to individuals? In this series, Alistair Begg examines seven conversations that begin with one of God’s disarming questions. From Adam and Eve in the Garden to the rich young ruler in Judea, the Lord engages these individuals with striking accuracy and exposes their mistaken notions about him.
These questions are as arresting to us today and are as able to penetrate our hearts as they were two-thousand years ago. In this study, we are invited to discover the truth of God’s nature and the reality of our condition as it is revealed in these surprising encounters.
Below is the entire series, click on the link above to get to all of them. Sermons range between 20-25 minutes. I listened to “Why Do You Call Me Good?” and “Where are You?” this morning and I loved them.
Where are You? Genesis 3:9
What is This You Have Done? Genesis 3:13
Why Do You Call Me Good? Mark 10:18
Who Do You Say I Am? Mark 8:29
Do You Think I Came to Bring Peace? Luke 12:51
What Will It Profit A Man …? Matthew 16:26
What is Your Life? James 4:14
Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry reminds us of what doctrine is and why it’s important, And no, it’s not complicated. If you say “I’m a sinner” you just stated the Doctrine of Sin. Doctrine:
The word “doctrine” comes from the Greek word “didaskolos,” and it basically means “teaching.” It is used many times in the New Testament. Doctrine is extremely important in Christianity. By it we know who God is, what He has done, what the Trinity is, the deity of Christ, His resurrection, salvation, justification, etc. Doctrine is what defines the who’s and what’s of Christianity. In fact, you can’t be saved without doctrine.
It is a doctrinal statement that you are a sinner (Rom. 3:23). It is also doctrinally true that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). In fact, the doctrine of salvation teaches us that Jesus bore our sin in His body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24) so that we could be justified by faith (Rom. 5:1) and escape the righteous wrath of God (John 3:36). Doctrine. It is important. It is vital to our relationship with God and our salvation. Good doctrine is like an anchor that prevents us from drifting into teachings that are false.
We’re losing Kirk Cameron…
You might be surprised to see a negative review of any of Kirk Cameron’s projects. Known as a child actor in the 1980s on secular television, and later as a Christian actor in the Kendrick Brothers’ Christian movies such as the excellent Fireproof, Cameron has been the Christian poster boy for atheist-turned-Christian boy done good.
However, there has been a noticeable slide in him over the last five years, with several indicators rising to the top and causing concern in the discerning people who notice these things. His movie Monumental was more secular than Christian, and further it was not biblically, theologically or even historically totally accurate. His partnerships with Mormon Glenn Beck, with a Catholic Priest Father Dwyer on the Busted Halo radio show, and now Cameron’s complete disaster of a movie “Saving Christmas,” have raised the alarm bells to strident proportions.
Just to show that even the secular people get it, here is a hilarious but on the nose review of Kirk’s movie Saving Christmas by AV Club
After having bravely made America safe for Christians, Kirk Cameron’s newest movie, Saving Christmas, similarly promises to rescue the Christian holiday for Christians, delivering it from the continued terrorist assault by euphemisms. “Do you ever feel like Christmas has been hijacked by all the commercialism, and those who want to replace ‘Merry Christmas’ with ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Seasons Greetings’—whatever that means?” Cameron says. He remains baffled by these crazy atheist codes for wishing you happy holy days and seasonal hellos without specifically invoking Jesus—all while decrying commercialism, in the opening line of a trailer advertising a Christmas movie he wants you to pay to see.
On a more serious note though, there are many people, including myself, who are very sad to see his theological drift and his unholy partnering with Mormons and Catholics, even going so far as to call them brothers in the faith.
A critical mass of sorts has been reached. Michael John Beasley wrote an Open Letter to Cameron two weeks ago,
At Christianity Today, Sunny Shell gracefully and biblically reviewed the Saving Christmas movie, Kirk Cameron’s ‘Saving Christmas’ Belittles Christians. Here is an excerpt:
On Friday, November 14, 2014 Kirk Cameron’s “Saving Christmas” will be opening in select theaters across the country for only two weeks.
This movie is all about making fun of any Christian who doesn’t think like or agree with Kirk Cameron and his company. According to Kirk and friends, one of the main purposes of “Saving Christmas” is to dispel the beliefs that most of our traditional Christmas practices e.g., decorating Christmas trees, feasting, mistletoe, gift exchanges, etc., are from pagan origins or fabricated myths about actual people who lived during the fourth-century—namely Saint Nicholas of Lycia, commonly known in the United States as Santa Claus.
Here is the part about belittling Christians. Mrs Shell wrote,
To ensure I was clear regarding one of the main purposes of this film, Darren Doane who not only plays the lead character, but also scripted, produced and directed the movie, tweeted this to me the other day, “but the film does make fun of Wannabe Berean [sic] unimaginative Christians who need to lighten up.”
By this we know that Doane and Cameron don’t take atheists to task, but take fellow Christians to task who are concerned about the excesses of Christmas consumerism and traditions, and bemoan the lost focus on Jesus, and they do so in a belittling, mocking way.
Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. (Colossians 2:16)
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (Romans 16:17)
Appropos of nothing except I liked the quote (becuase it used to apply to me before I was saved)…speaking to University Students recently, Alistair Begg said of the sin-drenched mind,
“Human reason and intellectual capacity forms the basis for their unbounded confidence. I said to them, I’m not sure they liked it, “Do you realize your intellect is not a citadel that unaffected by sin? Do you realize you can’t think properly?”
|Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church|
Yes I know the Mark Driscoll thing has been discussed to death. Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill as pastor, but the interesting thing to me was the circumstances of the resignation. His elders said he was not disqualified from ministry because he didn’t perform “heresy, immorality or criminal activity.” While the bible does list those as disqualifying events from ministry, those are not the ONLY disqualifying events. Sola Sisters explains at the following link.
As devastating as this is issue is to the Driscoll family, the Mars Hill congregants, to the faith and to God, the problem this indicates is much larger. It is my opinion that Western Christianity (and maybe all of Christianity) is undergoing a monumental collapse. The church has been inflated with so many tares that it has become bloated with false members. Like a helicopter trying to rise with too many hanging on, many are falling away (or sovereignly revealed to have been false all along).
[True Christianity will never be overcome. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18]
For example, Hillsong Pastor Brian Houston said this week that he will not take a biblical stand on Homosexuality issues. He said “it is an ongoing conversation” and “we’re on a journey with it”. NY Times reported,
|Brian and Bobbie Houston of Hillsong|
The pastor of one of the more influential global megachurches has declared that his church is in “an ongoing conversation” about same-sex marriage — saying that it is appropriate to consider the words of the Bible alongside the changing culture and the experience of people in the pews.
This blogger stated it more specifically- Hillsong grooming its members to embrace Queerstianity? (Part 2)
And you know what? So is the Vatican.
VATICAN CITY — The world’s Catholic bishops on Monday (Oct. 13) signaled a move toward greater tolerance of gays and lesbians, an about-face so unexpected that leaders of the church’s right wing called it a “betrayal.”
By no stretch of the imagination can Hillsong, Mars Hill or the Catholic Church be considered true churches. Not when the Mars Hill Pastor has failed the benchmarks for qualified ministry so repeatedly and so obviously. Not when the Mars Hill elders dispense with half the scriptures for pastoral qualifications- either demonstrating massive ignorance of scripture (in which case they themselves are disqualified from eldership) or by having willfully set them aside (again, an act which disqualifies them from eldership).
Not when Hillsong’s prosperity gospel infects the global church, and Hillsong conferences touting spiritual teaching and personal renewal include such rank heretics as TD Jakes, Kong Hee, Joel Osteen, Victoria Osteen, Judah Smith, Rick Warren, Jesus Culture, Steven Furtick, Louie Giglio, Christine Caine, Bethel Live, Bill Hybels, Louie Giglio, Joyce Meyer and Joseph Prince! Those names are poster children for heresy itself.
And of course the Catholic Church we already know is false.
Yet how large are just those three entities? Considered Christian by most of the world, their size and membership means their leaven is spoiling the entire loaf. The bread inflates with rank leaven.
A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (Galatians 5:9)
How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:11)
Catholic Church: 1.2 billion members worldwide. Vatican is the world’s sole absolute monarchy. One of the oldest hierarchical religious organizations in the world, and the longest successive monarchy.
“We must have no truce, no treaty with Rome.” Charles Spurgeon
Hillsong: 30,000 members in Australia; extension churches also in London, Cape Town, Paris, Kiev, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen and New York, there are 680,000 Twitter followers of Hillsong music and more than 4 million Facebook fans. President of LifeWay Research Ed Stetzer, says of the Houstons’ impact, “I’d guess that globally, they’d be in the top 10 influential evangelicals in the English-speaking world.”
And this is the “church” that will NOT take a stand on homosexuality…
Mars Hill: a multi-site church based in Seattle, Washington with 15 locations in 5 U.S. states, 260,000 sermon views online every week, from 2004-2012 Outreach Magazine ranked Mars Hill #4 in overall “Top Churches to Watch in America”. In 2011, Preaching magazine named the founding pastor Mark Driscoll ‘one of the 25 most influential [English-speaking] pastors of the past 25 years.’ 10 Million views on Youtube and almost half a million followers for Mark Driscoll and another 63,000 for Mars Hill Church.
And this is the church whose elders say that plagiarism, twisting scriptures, lying, and bullying are not disqualifying events for its pastor.
Never fear. No matter what seems to be happening to the church is only happening to the false church and only happening because God is allowing it. Jesus keeps His sheep unspoiled. He will take His true church out of the world to be living bread for His name forever.
Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:36-43)