The Cup Which Christ Drank

10:05AM, Wednesday, February 20, 2008

To contrast with Bell’s teaching, I commend to you here true teaching about Christ’s prayer that night in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Thanks go to my friend Ben for sharing this video with me that I might share it with you.

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You, However

6:30AM, Sunday, January 13, 2008

On the counsel of a close friend and brother whom I love dearly and the counsel of scripture, I decided to edit my paper on Rob Bell slightly to reflect what I believe to be a more appropriate attitude. I do not believe I was as charitable as I should have been toward Rob Bell himself. I do not speak of my views regarding his teaching; they remain unchanged. The original post has been edited and the edited Word document re-uploaded.

I do not suppose to sit as judge over Rob Bell the man. Only God is in the position to rightfully condemn a man’s soul to hell or else to commend Him to heaven by grace through faith in Christ alone. But that does not mean I will not tell you to stay far, far away from Rob Bell and his teachings until further notice. I do not condemn the man, but I do condemn his teachings as false because I am wholly convinced by scripture that they are in grievous error, at the very best severely lacking or else ignorant.

If given the chance to have dinner with Rob Bell, I would welcome him with a firm handshake, a genuine smile, and an ice cold glass of sweet tea (Southern style, because Yankees don’t know how to make it, ha ha). I would welcome the opportunity for him to clarify and/or be changed in his mind regarding those teachings of his which my understanding of scripture leads me to believe are in error. But until and unless that happens and Rob Bell and I come into contact and relationship with one another, conscience dictates that I warn you against his teachings. If you are looking to learn and grow (as you ought to be), I recommend to you more sound teachers such as John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Ravi Zacharias, and also the men of old who were raised up to preach the Gospel and feed the flock of God: Charles Spurgeon, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, Matthew Henry, and others. Walk in the old paths not because they are old, but because they are good and will bring your soul rest.

As for me, I simply want to know the truth and for you to know it as well. To know the truth is to know the word of God. To intimately know the word of God brings knowledge of God. To know God is life. Brothers and sisters pray for me as I struggle to walk humbly before my God. Pray that God will cause me to be faithful to that which Paul called Timothy:

Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 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. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Peace be with you, friends.


Just What’s On My Mind

10:39PM, Friday, January 11, 2008

Redeemer:

I do not deserve the love of God. I do not deserve to be able to love God. And yet He graces me with both. God has given to me, a man once His enemy, forgiveness for even my most grievous sins, many though they be. How I long for the sweet embrace of death which would cause this mortal coil of flesh to once and for all cease its struggle against its Maker! In my soul I bear the exhilarating joy of salvation and the peace of a reconciled commune with God. But I also bear a grief of which words cannot speak over coming to grips with the depths of my own depraved and fallen nature. Recognizing that I deserve death, I cry out to God, broken: “Have mercy on me Lord! Save me!”

The Lord hears my cry. He comes to my deathbed and rescues me. Gentle hands has He. Yet mighty are His arms. He is my Eternal Father, strong to save. I find comfort in His arms. I find rest upon his shoulder. I find shelter beneath His wings. For this reason will I tell of His goodness. For this reason will I proclaim to all that He is merciful and mighty. I owe to Him everything I am, all I have, and then some.


Precious Words:

On my heart have been the serious considerations of seminary schooling. If provided the opportunity, I will go without hesitation. I desire to know God more intimately and to love His word more intensely. For me, education is the clearest and most direct route to this. I don’t yet know where I’d go. RTS is probably the most prominent in my thoughts at the moment, but I haven’t pursued it very far. Honestly, finances are the only thing I would say is holding me back from pursuing it.

A good number of people at my church have been extremely discouraging, even disparaging in their remarks about me. No one has really urged me to pursue ministry vocationally or otherwise, nor have I been encouraged to be formally educated. Is it odd that when I pursue what I know is right in the eyes of God (including making right the wrongs I have done) that I am met with strong opposition, even in the church?

I suppose if I had to put into a word what I am feeling right now after over 6 months of thought into these matters, I would use the word discouraged. I really could use some encouragement, and I’m not talking an attaboy. I don’t want someone to lavish vain compliments that would tempt me to puff up in pride. I want a couple brothers and sisters to spur me on to love and good deeds. I desire a best friend, a mentor, and perhaps a woman in whom I can confide. Something just feels. . . I don’t know. . . like it’s missing — like there’s one or two keys that will unlock this gate holding me back and start the engine of the vehicle which will take me down the road to where I’m supposed to be traveling. I can’t see the future, but I feel it there. My heart aches for action. My legs twitch in anticipation.

It’s your show God. If these things on my heart were put there by You, then Your timing and Your plan for bringing them to fruition are in my best interest and Your greater glory. I submit myself to Your good pleasure and loving, providential care. Glorify Yourself in my words, in my deeds, and in my relationships. So let it be.


How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds!

10:14AM, Thursday, January 3, 2008

I happened upon this hymn, and I am compelled to share it with you, my friends. Be reminded of who Jesus is. Be encouraged by these words from our sleeping brother, John Newton.

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.

It makes the wounded spirit whole,
And calms the troubled breast;
’Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary, rest.

Dear Name, the Rock on which I build,
My Shield and Hiding Place,
My never failing treasury, filled
With boundless stores of grace!

By Thee my prayers acceptance gain,
Although with sin defiled;
Satan accuses me in vain,
And I am owned a child.

Jesus! my Shepherd, Husband, Friend,
O Prophet, Priest and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
Accept the praise I bring.

Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought;
But when I see Thee as Thou art,
I’ll praise Thee as I ought.

Till then I would Thy love proclaim
With every fleeting breath,
And may the music of Thy Name
Refresh my soul in death!


Progress and Pain

11:02AM, Thursday, December 27, 2007

No, I haven’t forgotten about the Rob Bell tour review that I promised to write. I’ve got most of the critique written up, I just need to finish the last section and it will be ready for your analysis and feedback. My hope is that it generates meaningful discourse.

Life has been moving at a whirlwind’s pace this past month, though that’s not to say it’s been a terrible time. On the contrary, it’s been very exciting, and I consider myself undeservedly blessed. I started at a permanent job (Yay! No more contractor work!) working downtown in a NOC (network operations center for the ungeeked masses) just a few weeks ago. I’m enjoying the heck out of the work I do and the learning involved. It’s a great place to work, a great company to work for, and I have a boss who is an encouragement every time I see him. I’m working nights at the moment, which somewhat limits my ability to devote more significant periods of time to writing.

And certainly, there have been a few disappointments, the most significant of which are with a few brothers and sisters who have uttered lies and spoken ill of me to church leaders in at least two churches of which I know. Totally ignoring the commands of Christ concerning sins between believers (Matt 18), they have whispered not a word of this supposed grievance to me. Instead they have gone in secret to slander and gossip. I grieve for the loss of those who I might have once called friend to the hellish poisons of bitterness, unforgiveness, and unlove. I long to embrace them once again as brothers and sisters, but they are as unbelievers to me because they have hardened their hearts and have rejected my attempts to make peace with them.

Alas I am no chiseler of the cold and stony hearts of men. But I do know the master stonemason who reduced this man’s heart to rubble. I know the master physician who took that rubble and gave this man a heart of flesh. I am now able to love and forgive because of the great love and forgiveness shown to me. To this great mender of hearts do I commend them with tears and with hope. He is able to do what I am not. May it please Him to do this and bring us together once again around the dinner table to commune in harmony and love.


Do You Really Love Me? Do I Really Love You?

10:46PM, Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Were I walking down a path filled with pitfalls and snares, and at the end there lay a thick mist concealing a cliff with a drop sure to lead to death, and you did nothing to warn me, tell me friend, can you really say that you love me? If you did not make every effort to see that I did not go down this path, knowing where it led, can you speak honestly and say that you care for me as for your own brother?

On the contrary, true love would compel one to go even so far as to be a physical barrier between his brother and a path of destruction. Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but in truth. Love does not sit idly by while a brother walks the way which seems right unto a man but whose end is death. Love exhorts the brethren to holiness and righteousness.

And what is the path in which we should walk?

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
(Php 4:8-9)

And what ought we not to love?

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
(1Jn 2:15-17)


Savage Wolves Among the Flock

8:30PM, Monday, September 10, 2007

Paul addresses the brethren at Ephesus before journeying to Jerusalem:

And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
(Act 20:25-32)

Some criticize those who seek to discern truth from falsity as “troublemakers” or “dividers” or “unloving” toward the brethren. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is because of our deep love for the flock of God that we guard it jealously.

Paul addresses the Corinthians:

For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
(2Co 11:2-3)

There is but one husband for the church of Jesus Christ, and that is Jesus Christ himself. The husband of the church is not social activism. It is not supernatural experiences or feeling good about ourselves. Thus it is that we who fight jealously for the purity of Christ’s church against false teachers and the doctrines of demons are as those who are escorting a bride to her husband, striking down thugs who come up to her along the journey that they might have their way with her. I know this imagery may be strong, but it is accurate. Those who teach false doctrines and prophesy falsely are rapists of Christ’s bride. They are wolves among the flock of God, and if we do not make every effort to purge them from our midst the flock will be ravaged all the more.

May God grant us wisdom and discernment that we might purge the apostates from our midst. Here in North America it is either going to take another Reformation or else serious persecution of the church for us to more readily rid ourselves of these liars and false teachers. May God bring about whatever pleases Him that He might be glorified and that His church might be pure and undefiled.