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Monday
Sep242018

When You Have a Big Name

I have rescinded most of my admiration for big name preachers because many of them get too comfortable with themselves as truth creators. That’s right, “truth creators,” these are people who like to insert some of their own creativity into the theology of the Bible. Let’s take the well-known son of Charles Stanley, Andy. WorldNet Daily did a short article on Andy Stanley - here is the opening headline:

Andy Stanley, pastor of the 34,000-member North Point Community Church in suburban Atlanta, who famously advised his flock to “unhitch” from the Old Testament in a sermon last spring, has now penned an article promoting his new book saying laws such as “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” and “Thou shalt not kill” are no longer relevant to Christians living in the New Covenant era.”

"Participants in the new covenant (that's Christians) are not required to obey any of the commandments found in the first part of their Bibles. Participants in the new covenant are expected to obey the single command Jesus issued as part of his new covenant: as I have loved you, so you must love one another."

What Andy seems to dismiss is that all promises made to Israel are not temporary, nor are they done away with just because we now are living under the new covenant. The scripture is quite clear that Jesus did not come to replace or remove the law He came to fulfill it. Fulfilling it doesn’t mean it is now done away with it is the end result. It is completed. Unfortunately many Christians feel they are privileged to be in Christ, by passing by all the issues of the law and they never have to learn about our spiritual heritage that is the Old Testament. 

The Ten Commandments have not been replaced; they are the moral backbone of the scriptures and they remind us of how we should treat God and each other as we live out our lives. 

The Ten Commandments are about idolatry and character, and as we all know, these two have not been done away with. Andy Stanley has been a prolific writer and speaker but that does not make him infallible. He is popular because he brings spiritual life down into practical bite-sized revelations that relate to everyday life. His leadership podcasts have been extremely popular by challenging existing and emerging leaders to a higher standard of excellence. I am not sure why it has become important for leaders who have become well known to insert themselves into issues that are not worth the time to argue about. 

John MacArthur is another famous preacher who has drifted into telling Charismatics and Pentecostals that the fascination with the gifts of the Spirit are no longer important nor are they necessary. These gifts for the most part have been replaced because we now have the Bible. 

So Andy Stanley feels that the Ten Commandments are no longer necessary, and John MacArthur feels that most gifts of the Spirit have been replaced. 

Of course no one would pay attention to them if they were not pastors who are well known. If these men were simple bi-vocational pastors, everyone would dismiss their theological missteps as simply a lack of education. Yet, I think this is not the end of the story. 

The Apostle Paul had some problems with well-known preachers in his day too. 

2 Corinthians 11:5

"I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles."

Question: "Who are the super-apostles Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians 11:5?"

Answer: The “super-apostles” were false teachers who appeared to be superior to Paul in their manner and authority. Paul calls them “super” in a facetious manner.
As Paul went throughout the Roman Empire preaching the gospel, others would come behind him and try to steal away the new converts. Often they would claim that the gospel that Paul preached was inadequate in some way and needed to be supplemented. In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul explains why his ministry does not seem very successful. First, there is a spiritual war, and unbelievers simply cannot understand the gospel that he preaches on their own (verses 1–6). Also, Paul lacks all signs of outward success and blessing. He is afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down (verses 8–9). But he explains that this is only his outward condition. Spiritually he is not crushed, driven to despair, forsaken, or destroyed
. -Got Questions

Even Paul had his well-known preachers and theologians to content with, all competing for recognition and the supremacy of spiritual maturity. Things haven’t changed much have they? It is amazing to me that the scriptures teach us that we are to be of one mind, one emphasis, and one spirit. 

Yet, we can’t seem to keep that oneness alive for too long. 

If you have a big name you are called upon to speak, to write and to make new paths for the faithful to follow. All of this makes you a prime candidate to make big mistakes that no one has the right to correct. After all, successful well-known preachers didn’t get there by chance, they got there because they are gifted and took chances others were not willing to take. Be thankful if you have great influence in this world, but remember that Jesus will judge influence as to how you used it and how you promoted it. If that influence has any shred of self- serving appeal, you will not be rewarded for your efforts. 

I do not want to be critical of another brother in Christ, but there comes a time in every generation that you need to correct those who are leading the flock. I hope Andy Stanley comes to realize how important Israel is to God. Andy may not feel the need to change his mind, but Israel and the Ten Commandments are very important to God. If they are important to God, then they should be important to us. That is my main point and I end on it today. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K 

Sunday
Sep232018

Be a Man

There have been some big changes in my lifetime, and that list would be horrendously long. But several changes that hang at the top of that list would be men. Men have changed. Men have always been the risk takers, the brawlers, the drinkers and the carousers. I am sure there is still many of those stereotypes still around, but what I see in the younger generation of men, especially in the metro areas, are men who are identity deficient.  

They have become feminized by society as a whole, and they have settled for living out safe lives and being dominated by feminine activists who want a man they can mold and control. Now I realize that doesn’t happen in every household, but there are plenty of younger men who are influenced by a more feminine lifestyle. One of the ways I gauge this is by how many women drive men around these days. Girls drive, boys ride. Someone told me once the reason for that is that the girls have jobs and can afford cars, boys are broke and unemployed. Not sure what to believe on that one. 

Anyway, indication that men are becoming femininized is how they dress. Man buns in their hair, earrings, clothing that is more blouse-like, and unisex skinny jeans. Sorry if I sound a little persnickety, but boys look more like girls now.  

Just remember what the Bible talks about how dress for men and women should not be inter-changeable.

Deut. 22:5

"A woman must not put on men's clothing, and a man must not wear women's clothing. Anyone who does this is detestable in the sight of the LORD your God.

There have been times where I have mistaken a man for a woman in the way he was dressed, and he was sporting a man bun on the top of his head. This may be a minor detail on the surface, but I think it goes deeper into why so many men are confused about their gender role, and about their own sexuality. 

My main reason for writing about this has to do with King David and his sinful life. He was called to be a man after God’s own heart, yet David had some huge flaws as a moral man and as a leader of Israel. Yet he faced his sin like a man and took responsibility for his actions. Men today will not admit they are confused and sinful and that they are influenced more by the culture of no gender differences than anything else. 

Based upon David’s Psalm 51, his repentance psalm, I think he demonstrates for us the nature of a real man

  1. A man is self-aware, verse 3:“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” 
  2. A man desires truth in his inner self,verse 6: Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being.”
  3. A man has an attitude of gratefulness, verse 8: Make me hear joy and gladness
  4. A man asks God for change, verse 10: Create in me a clean O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
  5. A man has a mission of influence, verse 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to you.”
  6. A man is humble and broken before God, verse 17:  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, O God You will not despise.”

This kind of man, who practices and prays in this fashion and pursues God for the fruit mentioned in Psalm 51, will be able to change his world. This kind of man will never be confused about his sexuality, his identity, or his mission in life. This kind of man loves God, and is fully masculine in doing so. This kind of man is a dangerous man to the world around him, because he will not be influenced to sin, to lie, to cheat, to abuse or to be feminized by the culture around him. He is a real man who is self-aware of his sin, his need for truth, his request for God to change him, and to be an influence in the world.

Our society has taken a sharp left turn mainly because most men have abdicated their role in leading and have allowed the many seducing spirits in our world to influence their worldview. These influences have one objective, and that is to destroy the masculine nature of a man.  

 

My challenge to you is to start with a self-awareness plan - how afraid are you to admit to your sin? How much of a priority is it for you to ask God to change your hair? Go down the list again of what a man is based upon Psalm 51.

 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

Wednesday
Sep192018

The Foolishness of High School

Only fools say in their hearts, "There is no God." They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; not one of them does good!”  -Psalm 14:1

 I just went to my 50th high school reunion and found out just how old I am by looking at my fellow classmates. We lost about 30 of them over the years, and by the looks of some of them there may be more to follow. I don’t want to be cruel or insensitive, but high school was a long time ago for me, and if we were going to judge my entire life by what I did in high school, I had better lay down and die. The insanity that is taking place in Washington over the Brett Kavanaugh allegation is as insane as anything Washington has come up with so far as a disqualifying factor in a confirmation hearing. Seriously, you are going to judge a man by his high school record, true or not, and then simply overlook 36 years of stellar legal work for an allegation that may not even have happened. I am ashamed of our political system that will stoop to such low standards to stop a nomination of a well qualified and thought of person as Brett Kavanaugh.

Everyone knows how bogus this argument is against him, and it is time Americans wake up. The Democratic Party is a seditious organization that will stop at nothing to fundamentally change America. It started with our past president and now they are determined to regain power at any cost. If you have to vilify a person from his high school days, then you might as well indict everyone in Washington. Let’s go through the yearbooks and find out who was at the parties, having sex, and taking drugs. The Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, so no one is qualified for any office in the land. These proceedings should be based upon the merits of this person’s judicial life, and his impartial voice of justice to the Supreme Court. I am ashamed of such tactics as trying to make up a story of impropriety from the high school years. 

These tactics show how sinful and evil people can become without God. It is what Paul describes in Romans 1:23 about exchanging the glory of God for the idols of government and power. 

"And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles."

Not only do these people opposing Brett Kavanaugh not like him - they hate him. Their idea of government does not have any conservative element to it, and it would be fine if all government were devoid of them. 

I was disheartened this week when a Christian leader told me that the liberals have already won the hearts of the people. They implied that there is a slow, methodical process where more and more conservatives will give up the fight to protect our liberties. The sad consequence of the liberal agenda is that there will be no pushback on ideas and policies anymore, the status quo is ‘government knows best’ for how to live in the 21stCentury. Individual benefits and privileges will be sacrificed to the god of the state. No incentives will be encouraged, we get a one-size-fits-all and there will be no other alternative. One of the more proactive movies that I saw in the last few years, is called “The Giver.” This movie has insights into what our world will look like without a dissenting voice. The movie is how everyone lives out a life that is sacrificed for the whole and nothing is more important that the survival of the whole. In short for me it was a depiction of what life would look like if the world became a global society of socialism. The individual is dead; long live the social state of government. 

I am not ready for that kind of world, but we are quickly becoming that world. We will lie and manipulate any system to get our way, and there is nothing you can do to stop us. That is the attitude of those who are fighting the Brett Kavanaugh nomination. We will lie and mislead in order to gain the power we had in the previous administration. 

Jesus told us that the days before His return would be dark and full of deception. They will become so bad that people will want to end their lives in order to escape. 

Matthew 24:21-22 

For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 

“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.”“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” 

Americans need to stand up and say “Enough!” to these politicians that spend our tax dollars with foolish and misappropriated concerns. Let’s bring some solutions to our country rather than getting stuck in special counsels and confirmation hearings that are getting more bizarre every day. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

 

Tuesday
Sep182018

When God Delays

James 5:7-8

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.”

God delays His return for one reason. Peter explains in 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

God’s delay in His return is for the purpose of salvation for the many who have not yet come to repentance. His concern is for the lost, He does not want any to perish. That idea of being patient in waiting for His return is a critical point. So many churches will not talk about His return, yet it was a major theme of the early church. 

Hebrews 9:28  

So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Revelation 22:12 

 

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.

Mark 13:32-33 

 

“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.

Matthew 24:44 

 

Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Acts 1:11 

 

And said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Titus 2:13  

Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 

There is a lot of emphasis on being prepared for this event, and yet we are not encouraging people with the truth that He could return at any moment. I remember as a young believer in the 70s that the church believed very strongly that Christ could come back at any moment. This emphasis kept believers on guard with the anticipation that the trumpet could sound and we would be gone. It also spurred on doing more evangelism getting people saved and ready for His return.  Now there is so much debate about when the timing of His return that we have lost the anticipation all together.

Some of the side benefits of anticipating a soon returning King are:

  1. It gives us a perspective that God will make things right when He returns
  2. It gives us hope that all things will be restored in His Kingdom
  3. It gives us cause to work for the gospel and do evangelism so no one is left behind
  4. It helps us to keep watchful and prayerful as we anticipate His return.

More could be said, but I think I made my case. His return is a major theme in scripture, so why are we not making it a major emphasis in today’s Church? 

Once you answer that question, please let me know, because I would like to know. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K 

Sunday
Sep162018

The Idol of Theology

This is a tough theme to write about because theology is the basis for our beliefs. Most evangelicals hold to a set of beliefs that guide their lives. Take any statement of faith that is posted on a church’s website and that is the theology of that church. 

Most evangelicals have the theology that salvation is in Christ alone, and that the Word of God is the final authority for belief and practice. I would have no argument with this thinking yet there is a danger of making specific ideas from scripture into a practice that borders on idolatry. 

For example, let’s use the prosperity gospel as one example. It is a foundational belief (theology) that God wants people to prosper and be well off in order to have resources that can be used for the gospel. A positive mindset on claiming the best for yourself and family is a major emphasis in worshiping God. This thinking is so strong in this movement that at times it replaces the real message of the gospel. 

That example is easy to refute, because to me it is so obvious that this message has an agenda. But what about theology that is more widely accepted as normal practice and belief?

For example, let’s take the belief that is widely held today that God chose people by election before the creation of the world. This belief says that God knew beforehand who would accept the gospel and who would not. Here is a brief overview:

Unconditional election (also known as unconditional grace) is a Reformed doctrine relating to Predestination that describes the actions and motives of God in eternity past, before He created the world, where he predestinated some people to receive salvation, the elect, and the rest he left to continue in their sins and receive the just punishment, eternal damnation, for their transgressions of God's law as outlined in the old and new Testaments of the Bible. God made these choices according to his own purposes apart from any conditions or qualities related to those persons.[1]

When it comes to what the Bible calls ‘election,’ the only people who were elected by God were the Jews, the natural descendants of Abraham. They were chosen to receive the law, the covenants of God, and they were the ones through which the Messiah would come. This theology of election is a speculation at best, and has influenced people to think that God has His plan to redeem humankind by His own preferences, at the expense of a person’s free will. This theology is so strong in many churches that it becomes a theological idol. 

There are many of these so-called theological idols, and there is often a fine line between the truthof a belief and the obsessionof a belief, which can replace the emphasis of scripture. 

Again, another example: God chose the Jews to be His covenant people, and it is this people group that has given us the written scriptures (Old and New Testaments), the law, all the covenants including the new covenant of Jesus, and the Jews are the focus of end time prophecy that brings the return of Jesus Christ. The Jews played an important role in the formation of early Christianity, and all Gentiles in Christ are grafted into the Jewish olive tree making Jews and Gentiles one new man. This short synopsis is the story of the Bible. Salvation comes from the Jews, it is supported by their literature (the Bible) and their covenant with God as being His chosen people has not changed from the time it was instituted by God. The Church did not change God’s covenants with Israel; they are a fulfillment of them. 

When theologians develop a theology (belief) that doesn’t support God’s chosen people, they develop a different gospel from what the Bible teaches. Theologians have developed theology that is idolized by the church that ignores the connection to Israel and their chosen status. When I was in Europe recently, I was awestruck by the beauty of their cathedrals. Yet in all the stories portrayed in their stained glass windows or represented in their artifacts throughout the building, there was never a mention of Israel and the Jews. That is true today when you read through our statements of faith, nothing is mentioned about Israel. It is as though we started Christianity from scratch with Jesus and the cross. We idolize theology around this event, yet the story of the cross didn’t start in Bethlehem with the birth of Jesus, it started with God’s covenant with Abraham. 

My concern with the idols of theology shows up in various beliefs today; from the controversy that surrounds the timing of His return, to the fixation of the Church on social justice message. Anything can be made into an idol, and that is my point. Theology was never meant to replace our faith or trust in Jesus. It was never to be Jesus + my theological point of view. It was meant to be Jesus and Him alone. Theology can help us define our goals and our perspective on doing His work here on earth, but it was never meant to compete with Him for our attention. My support for this is found in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. These churches are good examples of how easy it is to add to our faith in Jesus alone, and have our beliefs become the emphasis instead of Him. 

I am not suggesting beliefs are bad. Please don’t misunderstand my thoughts. They become bad when the doctrine of those beliefs become our message rather than the whole counsel of God found in Jesus Christ. 

Keeping it Honest and Truthful…K

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