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On being defined by what you are against…

For Christians, this is nothing new:

And when finally he was brought up, there was a great tumult on hearing that Polycarp had been arrested. Therefore, when he was brought before him, the proconsul asked him if he were Polycarp. And when he confessed that he was, he tried to persuade him to deny, saying, “Have respect to your age”—and other things that customarily follow this, such as, “Swear by the fortune of Caesar; change your mind; say, ‘Away with the atheists*!'”

The Martyrdom of Polycarp

*An atheist was one who rejected the state approved gods.

The Preacher’s Pride

Richard Baxter advises preachers to guard their hearts, else they run the risk of doing the work of the enemy without his so much as lifting a finger (emphasis mine).

One of our most heinous and palpable sins is PRIDE. This is a sin that hath too much interest in the best of us, but which is more hateful and inexcusable in us than in other men. Yet is it so prevalent in some of us, that it inditeth our discourses, it chooseth our company, it formeth our countenances, it putteth the accent and emphasis upon our words. It fills some men’s minds with aspiring desires, and designs: it possesseth them with envious and bitter thoughts against those who stand in their light, or who by any means eclipse their glory, or hinder the progress of their reputation. Oh what a constant companion, what a tyrannical commander, what a sly and subtle insinuating enemy, is this sin of pride! It goes with men to the draper, the mercer, the tailor: ‘it chooseth them their cloth, their trimming, and their fashion. Fewer ministers would ruffle it out in the fashion in hair and habit, if it were not for the command of this tyrannous vice. And I would that this were all, or the worst. But, alas! how frequently doth it go with us to our study, and there sit with us and do our work! How oft doth it choose our subject, and, more frequently still, our words and ornaments! God commandeth us to be as plain as we can, that we may inform the ignorant; and as convincing and serious as we are able, that we may melt and change their hardened hearts. But pride stands by and contradicteth all, and produceth its toys and trifles. It polluteth rather than polisheth; and, under pretense of laudable ornaments, dishonoreth our sermons with childish gauds: as if a prince were to be decked in the habit of a stage-player, or a painted fool. It persuadeth us to paint the window, that it may dim the light: and to speak to our people that which they cannot understand; to let them know that we are able to speak unprofitably. If we have a plain and cutting passage, it taketh off the edge, and dulls the life of our preaching, under pretense of filing off’ the roughness, unevenness, and superfluity. When God chargeth us to deal with men as for their lives, and to beseech them with all the earnestness that we are able, this cursed sin controlleth all, and condemneth the most holy commands of God, and saith to us, ‘What! will you make people think you are mad? will you make them say you rage or rave? Cannot you speak soberly and moderately? ’ And thus doth pride make many a man’s sermons; and what pride makes, the devil makes; and what sermons the devil will make and to what end, we may easily conjecture. Though the matter be of God, yet if the dress, and manner, and end be from Satan, we have no great reason to expect success.

The Reformed Pastor

The Preacher’s Power

How often have we heard an excuse for heresy made out of the desire to impress “thoughtful young men”! Young men, whether thoughtful or otherwise, are best impressed by the gospel, and it is folly to dream that any preaching which leaves out the truth is suitable to men, either old or young. We shall not quit the Word to please the young men, nor even the young women. This truckling to young men is a mere pretence; young men are no more fond of false doctrine than are the middle-aged; and if they are, there is so much the more necessity to teach them better. Young men are more impressed by the old gospel than by ephemeral speculations. If any of you wish to preach a gospel that will be pleasing to the times, preach it in the power of the devil, and I have no doubt that he will willingly do his best for you. It is not to such servants of men that I desire to speak just now. I trust that, if ever any of you should err from the faith, and take up with the new theology, you will be too honest to pray for power from God with which to preach that mischievous delusion if you should do so, you will be guilty of constructive blasphemy. No, brethren, it is not our object to please men, but our design is far nobler.

Charles H. Spurgeon

That one nagging question…

(Read this. Then read this. And, to really get into this issue, please listen to Dr. White’s Dividing Line on this subject.)

I have decided that the powerful rhetoric of Rachel Held Evans is simply too overwhelming – too persuasive to maintain my position that homosexuality is wrong. I have decided to beat my sword into a plowshare. I have my bowl in hand and my washcloth at the ready. I have laid down my arms and am ready for peace.

I realize that this may come as a shock to all of you, but there is no arguing the airtight logic of the article in which we are told that if we do not surrender our deepest held beliefs in the teachings of Scripture that we will be shunned and laughed at – scorned and shamed for our lack of sophistication and eloquent words of wisdom. It was compelling to me that the wisdom of the younger generation, simply by virtue of it being younger, has a wiser and more discerning perspective over where the allegiance of Christians should be.

Of course, we need to know that this is not any ordinary generation. This is not the generation of young Christians who daily hear of their friends decapitated, burned, shot, bombed, tortured, raped, and assaulted for their faith in Christ, like those over in Nigeria, Mogadishu, Kenya, Iran, China, and places where there is actual war. Those young Christians who might die today because of their faith in Christ have no idea what it really means to have true faith in Christ and to be part of the real generation of “young Christians” in the civilized world. Pity them, for all they can do is trust Christ and hold dearly to Him.

In various times, God spoke to the fathers and the prophets, but in these last days He speaks to us through young American and European Christians.

Mrs. Evans advises us to listen to the stories of people because “stories change everything”.

So, I have decided to open up dialogue with all the communities that might have had their feelings hurt when previously I considered them to be “dead in their trespasses and sins” and “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction”. And while the Scriptures are clear that “the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness and all unrighteousness” I could not help but be persuaded that simply by virtue of the fact that Mrs. Evans has offered the rhetorical equivalent of, “So what?” that I must instead call evil good and good evil. I must call black white and white black. After all, the fate of a generation hinges in the balance.

And, while Mrs. Evans has opened up her dialogue with the LGBT community and calls them Christians and loved of God (please – no one cite Scripture, such as Psalm 5:5 at this moment – it will totally kill my momentum here), I have decided to fully embrace *all* the communities of good and moral human beings that are out there.

I have decided to open up dialogue with the NAMBLA community and wash their feet and praise them for their courage in fighting against societal norms and those “old” Christians who still see truth as something that represents the character of God. After all, it is only important that one loves. Who one loves is irrelevant. Therefore, I think it is also time to welcome the bestiality community and then the robot love community that is just beginning in Japan (why wait when we can be progressive?).

I have also decided to welcome with open arms the RWB (rape and woman battery) community because of the great love they have shown their fellow man. I have included here the murderous community.

You see, I am a forward thinker, and I realize that it is only a matter of time that, since the Scriptures no longer govern this generation of “young Christians” then there is no limit to what they will accept. Abandoning all my convictions of the truth of the Gospel is the only way to save this generation from their sins. Forgiveness of sins is outdated. We need acceptance of sins in this enlightened age. Never mind that Christ will accept all who repent of their sins and believe in Him. Never mind that God commands all everywhere to repent. Our duty to this generation is to ignore those pleas and commands!

You know what? Since being retro is also in vogue, I think we need to make a token step toward accepting and loving the FPoB (False Prophets of Baal) community. Elijah certainly did not exemplify the washing of feet to them. Let’s also remember TPCTtFtStM (The Passing Children Through The Fire to Sacrifice to Molech) Community. Let us hear their stories. We can learn parenting tips from them.

It is also long passed time that we openly accept the MHHFW (Man Has His Father’s Wife) Community (1 Cor 5:1-2).

Our reason for this move is noble, of course. Mrs. Evans tells us that it is not worth it to take these stands and to teach the truths about God’s wrath, man’s sin, and man’s need to repent. It is not worth being salt and light to the world because it makes people feel bad.

After all, it seems that to Mrs. Evans Christ did not come to save us from our sins, but to save us from a poor self image. So, rather than make the church the “pillar and ground of truth”, it needs to become the Areopagus, where we “spend [our] time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.”

Of course, I am sure we can ignore those warnings of Paul who was direct and plain and sharp as a knife when he said,

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

No, we can ignore them because the I am sure that the church is not interested in the eternal state of the souls of men.

It is truly more noble and brave to embrace this and let Mrs. Evans lead the charge, for Mrs. Evans’ chief concern is that we could win a culture war but lose a generation. So, our goal should be to “exchange the truth for a lie” for the sake of winning an entire generation.

Only, before I fully embrace this new and wise way of thinking, Mrs. Evans, allow me to ask this one nagging question of my own:

What does it profit the church to gain a generation but lose their souls?

New York Tempts the Wrath of God

New York tempts the wrath of God

We live in a time of bold defiance against the King of Kings. Haughty men who set themselves as lawmakers, pretending to understand justice and equity, have declared boldly that the Law of God is unwise and unjust.

Nahum 1:3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty.

The Assyrians were an exceedingly cruel and violent society that craved its own sinfulness and were inventive in their cruelty. Their bloodthirstiness was legendary.

At the height of their power, God sent Nahum to declare to the Assyrians that He would rise up against them and destroy them. Undoubtedly, the Assyrians were used to such bold declarations and surely could line up the nations who claimed that their gods would bring about their destruction. Indeed, if they looked to their own history with Israel, they might have remembered their time with Hezekiah and Isaiah. Even if they remembered their previous repentance at the time of Jonah, this was not the Nineveh of Jonah’s time. Assyria was hardened and unmoved by the claim that Yahweh would destroy them.

In previous times, they had ready responses to claims of their impending destruction by other gods. “Your god sent us”, “your god agrees with us and is punishing you”, and “your god is nothing more than an idol.”

But, Assyria found out that the God they mocked as being little more than an idol, or as wicked as them was the Holy God and Judge of all the earth.

The Lord may be slow to anger. He may be patient. He may endure the wickedness of men for a time. But there should never be a mistake that His patience will run out and His great wrath will be known.

Just as the Assyrians challenged God with their continual wickedness, cruelty and defiance of Almighty God, so, now, the United States flaunts its own arrogance and takes pride in its sinfulness, declaring as law that which is shameful and abhorrent.

My warning to my countrymen is simple: Do not mistake the patience of God for peace with God. Bow the knee to Christ, the King.