Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Truth Matters Conference: Sept 1-4, 2011

Another announcement and update for those who may be interested...

Grace Community Church and Grace to You are collaborating on a new conference on September 1st - 4th: Truth Matters Bible Conference.

Ever desired a Shepherd's Conference for the rest of us? Well, this appears to be such an opportunity! It will feature sessions with John MacArthur, as well as Phil Johnson and Don Green.

Personal Note: Phil and Don were the Elders of the fellowship group, GraceLife, in which I was a member and served as a Bible study leader. They are both skilled workmen, who have made lasting imprints on my own life and ministry. Assuredly, if it were not for the long shadow of John MacArthur, they would be more widely-known and appreciated. So, I am grateful to see their participation in this conference. (Resources from their weekly ministry are available at The GraceLife Pulpit).

More details regarding cost, schedule, and registration for Truth Matters are here. It would not be wise to invest in every conference opportunity available, but it seems it may be equally unwise to not at least consider this one!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Reformation Heritage Book Sale

Speaking of good deals on good books, Reformation Heritage is having a $5 Book Sale, with some real gems that include:

Anyway, you get the idea. More titles for just $5 to peruse here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Christian Focus Book Giveaway

Go check-out the Free Book Giveaway by our friends at Christian Focus.

It includes volume 1 of Kelly's Systematic Theology...

And the recent reprint of Owen's The Priesthood of Christ!

Who knows, the next winner could be you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

You Must Belong to Proclaim

Having touched on these very matters in a recent sermon, Purifying the Holy Church, I greatly appreciated James White's wise counsel for apologists and evangelists (White is a skilled apologist with Alpha & Omega Ministries).

Bottom-line? If you do not belong within the church, you have zero credibility "out there" and, even more, you are sinning and putting yourself in grave spiritual danger. I agree with White that this is the missing component and weakness to numerous American apologetic and evangelistic groups, which greatly undermines their effectiveness.

(FYI, I tried to get the video to fit this blog, but it wouldn't work. Watch it full screen at YouTube here).

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This Just In... Bell "Unbiblical" and "Unreliable"

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 (Acts 20:30-31).

Paul know the wolves would come, but I doubt he would have expected them to be unmasked and "owned" on MSNBC. Breaking news... Rob Bell is unbiblical and historically unreliable! Yes, from MSNBC!

I wanted to stand and applaud for journalist Martin Bashir. What we have here is modern media shedding its usual bias and actually unmasking one of Satan's servants trying to disguise himself as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). Here is how Bashir winds-down the interview:
You’ve just indicated though one of the problems with this book, which is, in a sense you are creating a Christian message that’s warm, kind, and popular for contemporary culture, but it’s frankly – according to this critic – unbiblical and historically unreliable. That’s true isn’t it? What you’ve done is you’re amending the Gospel – the Christian message – so that it is palatable to contemporary people who find, for example, the idea of hell and heaven very difficult to stomach. So here comes Rob Bell, he’s made a Christian gospel for you! And it’s perfectly palatable and much easier to swallow. That’s what you’ve done isn’t it?
That, my friends, is what theologians call "getting schooled." Mr. Bashir, you get the TPC Award for Best Journalism from a Cable Network.

Watch the whole interview - best thing you'll see on cable tv all day. Read the transcript here.

For other round-ups of the Bell debacle, please see:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fight the Despising of the Lord's Day

If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot
From doing your own pleasure on My holy day,
And call the sabbath a delight,
The holy day of the LORD honorable,
And honor it, desisting from your own ways,
From seeking your own pleasure
And speaking your own word,
Then you will take delight in the
And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
For the mouth of the
LORD has spoken (Isa 58:13-14).

I find it universal amongst Christians - and to be clear, that includes myself - to struggle with honoring the Lord's Day. We often excuse it with seemingly reasonable explanations, such as "I've had a busy week" or "Corporate worship is early" or "The kids are slow in the morning," etc. This can create a tension within us, namely, why would the Lord give us something that seems so difficult?

For that reason, I found Al Martin's obvious explanation of the root of our excuses in "The Lord's Day Sabbath" so convicting and helpful:
When I get up on the Lord’s Day morning, I not only get up as a new creature in Christ, with a new heart, indwelt by the Spirit, the law of God written internally, so that I have an internal motivation to obey the Law in its external revelation. That Law that says “Remember the Sabbath" [Exod 20:8]. And there’s a part of me that says, "I delight in the law of God in my inward part" [Rom 7:22].

But, I have this other principle in me and I begin to have a mind that goes off in the directions of worldly concerns and feels an irritation as to why I have got to be present at Sunday School and Sunday morning and then to… what is that? It is the actings of your remaining sin that would lead you in the direction of ignoring in some degree, despising, disregarding, or even profaning, and carelessly observing the Sabbath.

And you need to recognize that indisposition and deal with it the same way you would if you woke up next Lord’s Day morning, saw your neighbor’s wife and a horrible though of lusting after her flashed across your mind. What would you do with it?! Would you entertain it? I hope not! You would cry-out, “Lord Jesus! Scour my heart of that horrible adulterous thought toward my neighbor’s wife!”

Or, if you suddenly felt an impulse to hop in your car and go to a shopping mall and engage in an half hour of shoplifting and violate the command, “You shall not steal” [Exod 20:15]. What would you do with those thoughts that rise up out of that horrible muck of your remaining sin? I hope you would resist it with all your power.

So, when you get up next Lord’s Day, and you feel an indisposition to honor the Lord on His day, recognize where it comes from and deal with it accordingly in the strength and in the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We struggle with the rest and worship given to us on the Lord's Day, not because it is a hard thing, but because we are hard people. Our excuses amount to manifestations of "the actings of your remaining sin."

It is our sin that would have us believe there are better gifts in the world than in obeying and honoring the Lord on His Day and with His people. It is rooted in the same lie that led Adam and Eve to obey the serpent, and their desires, believing that was better than obeying the Lord. They were wrong and so are we.

And I believe that is a clarification that is so helpful, because we have a great Savior who saves His people from their sin. We have the resources in the Lord to rebuke and fight by faith the lies of sin with the truth of God's Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.

In commanding a day of rest and worship the Lord is placing upon us an onerous burden, but offering a gift to us as His people. Or as the Puritans described it, "the market day of the soul"!

Related Posts:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Holding the Line for the Gospel

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6).

Providentially, related to our recent series (and one that should continue shortly) is the current firestorm over the yet-to-be-released book by hipster and so-called "pastor," Rob Bell, Love Wins. I was surprised over the controversy because it is not as if Bell's universalism has been well-hidden. I was present when Bell "preached" in Los Angeles a couple years ago and I would attest to any and all opponents that Rob Bell is a false teacher and a heretic.

If those titles still hold any meaning at all, Bell must be unequivocally anathematized by the entire Church. It seems that Paul's warnings of the "dogs" and "evil workers" (Phil 3:2) are aptly applied to Rob Bell personally, unless he repents.

In any case, this controversy was kicked-off by Justin Taylor, "Rob Bell: Universalist?" and was furthered by Kevin Deyoung, "To Hell with Hell" and "Two Thoughts on the Rob Bell Brouhaha." Both of these men have faced the ire of the Gospel-less segments of "evangelicalism" (note the oxymoron !). For that reason, I appreciated the call for intercession on their behalf by Prof. David Murray, "Pray for Justin and Kevin", specifically petitioning the Lord:
1. Have peace and assurance in the heat of the battle
2. Enjoy restful nightly sleep
3. Communicate wisdom and grace in all their responses
4. Avoid losing their tempers in public (and private)
5. Receive understanding and support in their congregations and workplaces
6. Be protected from overt and covert assaults on their ministries and characters
7. Experience the daily relief of happy relationships with their wives and children
8. Win souls to Christ as they have opportunity to speak the truth in love
9. Hold the line.
This seems most appropriate given Taylor's admitting in an interview with CNN (!), "To be honest, it was a pretty rough weekend.”

Praise God for Taylor's integrity, clarity, and courage in the "public arena." He continued in the same interview:
We’re talking about the big things here, things that have been historically defined as orthodox... I have a high degree of confidence in what God is saying and what we can understand.

...This isn’t a peripheral academic debate. What Rob Bell is talking about gets to the heart of Christianity.

... It is not preaching the gospel as found in the New Testament... The New Testament is pretty clear if someone preaches a false gospel… that we are to reject that and have nothing to do with them.
Again, praise the Lord and His Spirit's enabling Justin to speak with clarity and simplicity in a CNN interview. May his tribe increase!

Please pray for more strength to be given to leaders like Justin Taylor and Kevin DeYoung - not to mention all the other shepherds contending earnestly for the faith once for all given to the Church (Jude 3). May the true Gospel and the orthodox Church prevail against all opposing philosophies and experience the victory her Head has promised (Matt 16:18)! Let's continue to "hold the line."

NB - 30 years ago today, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, "The Doctor," went to be with His Savior and Master. (For more on MLJ's life and work, plus a rare video-interview, see Taylor's post "Martyn Lloyd-Jones"). It is with thanks to God that we recognize today Lloyd-Jones mantle of fidelity to the Gospel of Jesus Christ has not perished from the Church. Our Lord is a faithful Shepherd.