Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All Hallows Eve

My wife and I have a fairly new tradition that we began one year ago today. It was last year on October 31st that I was thinking about what my family would do on Halloween. When I grew up, we didn’t go Trick-or-Treating but we turned off all of the lights viewable from outside, went into our basement, and played games or had a family movie night.

Now that I have a family of my own, I was not sure about what we should do, but I am pretty convinced that I do not want my children (when they are old enough) participating in the American Halloween experience. So, I was perplexed. I didn’t want to have a meaningless tradition; I wanted it to be significant. I thought that it would be fun to play games or watch a movie, but I didn’t know what games or movies would be beneficial or relevant to Halloween.

I came across a movie that was both historically relevant to October 31st as well as being spiritually focused. I was introduced to the 2003 production "Luther" when hearing audio sound bites from the diet of Worms taken from this film (you can read about my thoughts from the day after in my article, "A quick thought about the Word of God"). It was Luther’s passionate and pointed response to the pointed question looking for a recant on his writings and teachings that made me want to understand more about this time in history, the man, and his declaration of faith. The quote, a dramatic portrayal of what Luther is reported to have said at the diet of Worms, that moved me was this:

“Since Your Majesty and Your Lordships desire a simple reply... I will answer. Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain reason... and not by Popes and councils who have so often contradicted themselves... my conscience is captive to the word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe.

I cannot... and I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.”

On this day in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door to the Wittenberg church. I visited this church in the summer 1998 while in Europe on our “Reformation” College Choir tour with my college choir. I only wish that I had a fuller appreciation of the work that was done and the courage that it took to do this act and back it up when I was there. It would have been a much more moving experience.

Soli Deo Gloria

If you click on the picture of the choir, you'll see a larger version that is "active" and will show you the names of the individual that your mouse is pointing at. Also, if you click on the “Reformation” College Choir tour link, you will be able to listen to a few of the songs...if you're so inclined.

Jedi or no Jedi

Martin Luther - Thelogian. Reformer. Author. Preacher. Jedi?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Faith Alone - a Truly Biblical Doctrine

I have always maintained that people are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. It is true that I did not make this explicitly clear in a recent comment on another blog, and for that I do apologize. However, if you look at my comments on posts on this blog (or any other for that matter), you will see that I affirm the truth that man is saved by grace through faith (apart from works) in Christ whole-heartedly.

An objection to the doctrine of sola fide and sola scriptura was raised in this way, “Show me one verse in the Bible that says we are saved by "Faith alone" or that the "Bible Alone" is the sole rule of faith.”1 I answered it (or began to, anyway), in a comment that preceded his when I said, “While the exact phrase ‘faith alone’ appears only in James regarding false faith….”2 But in case this was missed, I will try again.

The exact phrase “faith alone” occurs only once, and it's in the book of James, and he says that faith without works is useless. And as for a verse that uses “Bible alone”, well the word Bible is not in the Bible so that is an easy one. But we do not get our vocabulary from just the Bible, nor do we, necessarily, get our doctrine out of “word for word” phrases in the Bible We (I) look at the whole of Scripture to see what it says about any one subject, and then we try as best as we can to articulate that as stated in a doctrine. Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura are two such articulations of doctrine. You also know that I affirm that salvation is in Christ alone, but the phrase “Christ alone” is not found anywhere in the Bible (except in the NLT which is less than a word for word translation). But you would not disagree (I hope) that salvation is, in fact, in Jesus Christ alone. It is not reckless, wrong, or ridiculous to use the statements that came out of the reformation to articulate the true gospel message.

In further dealing with the “trump card” of James 2:20 that seems to be played with no care of how recklessly it is wielded, we must go back and first understand (as Christ taught) that you can sum up the law and the prophets into two commandments:

  1. Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

  2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Therefore we know that there is no work that can be considered to be “good” that doesn’t fall into either of these two categories. Any deed, whether it is circumcision, baptism, walking an aisle, signing a card, or any other action, does not save us. It does not bring us into a relationship with Christ nor does that action reconcile us to the Father. Therefore, when we are exhorted that we are saved apart from works of the law (Romans 3:20, 27-28; Galatians 2:16), apart from works (Ephesians 2:8,9; 2 Timothy 1:9), not of deeds done in righteousness (Titus 3:5) but we are saved by faith (Romans 3:22-31;4:5-16; 5:1,2; 9:30-33 Galatians 3:8-14, 22-26; Ephesians 2:8,9; 2 Timothy 3:15), it is by faith to the exclusion of anything else that our new relationship (being born again or born from above and being Justified) with God begins.

Obedience to the commands of God (good works) comes as a result of faith (Romans 1:5; Galatians 5:6, 22-23; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Timothy 1:4-5; Hebrews 11) and being evident, they (the fruit of good works), validate our claim of faith (James 2). True faith brings other things with it and produces love and good works (1 Corinthians 13:2; 2 Corinthians 10:15). Therefore, for whatever reason God decided to do this, faith (by the grace of God) is the instrument that God has chosen to use to connect sinful man with the righteousness of Christ.

The statement “works are not a prerequisite to justification but a natural consequence of it.”3 was made by Jeff S (an Episcopalian in transition to Catholicism), and Danny (my Catholic theology student friend) agreed with Jeff S’s summary of the Catholic understanding of faith and works by saying, “And Jeff S. has summed it up splendidly!”1

That statement affirms what I believe. All good works – every single one – are the out flowing of someone who has been Justified by God. This is the truth that I have been articulating all along. The grace of God works through men to produce faith in Christ – and that man is saved. This saved man will now go about performing good deeds, but all deeds done are the result of salvation, the do not assist with the attaining or the maintaining of it.

Baptism is not some ritual that makes us born from above or cleanses us from original sin and brings us into fellowship with God. It cannot since “works are not a prerequisite to justification but a natural consequence of it.”5

But if you still believe that baptism (water baptism as performed by sprinkling, dunking, etc) is either (a) a prerequisite of justification, or (b) the first step in someone’s spiritual life (forgive me, I do not know the correct Catholic ‘lingo’ to for baptismal regeneration) then we – most definitely – do not agree on how man is saved. And if Jeff S. or Danny believes that baptism fits either of these two above criteria, then they disagree with themselves.

Baptism is, at least, a deed done in righteousness whether it is understood to be the beginning of one’s spiritual life or one of the first acts of obedience by that person who has been saved. But baptism cannot play a role in our actual salvation, because it is a deed. We all should be baptized, I totally affirm and agree that all Christians should be baptized, but as seen by the thief on the cross; water baptism is not a prerequisite for salvation.

I trust that opponents to this affirmation of faith will take the time to read the texts that I cited which begin, at least, to articulate this doctrine. The only thing more compelling than the shear number of the texts that articulate or refer to the truth that man is saved by grace alone through faith alone (“alone” meaning that faith is apart from any works) are the texts themselves in how powerfully clear they are.

1 Comment by Danny Garland Jr. 10.28.06 - 10:07 pm

2 Comment by EJ 10.28.06 - 3:31 pm

3 Comment by Jeff S. 10.28.06 - 10:33 pm

4 Comment by Danny Garland Jr. 10.28.06 - 11:09 pm

5 Comment by Jeff S. 10.28.06 - 10:33 pm

Friday, October 27, 2006

Will the real Emir Caner please stand up

Which picture is Emir?

One of these pictures is of Emir Caner, and the other one is of Stephen Root (an actor). Sometimes Leno, Letterman, O'Brien, or others put the faces of famous people next to others for comic value. The most notable instance (that I can remember) is when Conan O'Brien put his own picture next to a female political candidate in Norway (I think). Aparently this generated such a huge fan base in Norway. Also, it didn't hurt his publicity when they ran political commercials for the candidate and based the only reason for voting for her on her facial likeness to Conan. It was a pretty funny bit.

Anyway, there is no real deep or meaningful purpose to this particular post (if you can't tell already), but when I was tracking the non-debate (Caner + Caner vs. White + Ascol) and I saw the picture of Emir Caner I just couldn't stop seeing Stephen Root and specifically his character as "Jimmy James" from the comedy "News Radio". So, in my mind I was imagining the debate with Stephen Root sitting in next to Ergun Caner in Emir’s place...and it made it all very, very humorous.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

the funniest thing that I have seen in a while...

Watch this - it is priceless.

Seriously, though. It is only once we realize the fact that we are horribly bad people that we can then understand and appreciate the sacrifice of Christ.

edifying discussion

I recently came upon a blog discussion between evangelicals over Particular Redemption (i.e. Limited Atonement). It is a good "iron sharpening iron" discussion.

The World From Our Window: The Atonement Question: For Calvinists And Arminians, It All Comes Down To This

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

all analogies falter, but..

Humor me while I present an analogy in the form of a story, two stories really, relating to salvation that I came up with.

There are two brothers who have recently lost their father. Their father was a very successful business man, and his skill at making money was only surpassed by his joy and energy in giving that money away to others. When he died, he gave most of his fortune to general charities so as to make his money do a common good for many people. However, in his will, he left two sums of money to his sons.

There was a stipulation (of sorts) to the inheritance that he left for them, though. You see, he left the funds in the care of his financial investment company and in order for his sons to get the inheritance; they had to meet with their father’s personal investment consultant and discuss any possible investment options. Well, both sons came together to the meeting with the investment consultant and were told that the sum of money left to each of them was $100,000.

In the course of the meeting, the sons were told that they could go downstairs to the accounts payable department and have that money transferred into their own private bank account and that would end the relationship between them and this investment organization. But they were also told that this same consultant would be willing to invest their money and watch it even more diligently than he would his own money out of respect for their late father. He told these boys of a brand new product on the market that their father had just invented prior to his death that he (their father) was sure everyone in the world would want and need.

He offered to invest the entire sum (for it was an all or nothing proposition) into this new product and, if the father was right, the $100,000 would be so small an amount compared to the dividends and earnings that would come. However, initially, they would not have the $100,000 to make use of, and the dividends might take a while to start or to even be of much value at all….

Well, needless to say, both of these boys were not foolish enough to make this kind of a decision on the spur of the moment, and so they asked if they could think about this proposition for a week. They were allowed to do so, and after the week was complete, they found themselves back in the same office with the investment consultant.

The older brother thanked him for the offer, but he had decided to take the $100,000 and use it as he saw fit. The consultant again told the older brother that if he did that, which was his right, he would no longer be able to do business with this firm – nor would he legally be able to access any of the profits or benefits of his father’s product. He listened again, understood the stipulations, thanked the consultant, and then asked him to inform accounts payable that he was on his way down to retrieve his inheritance.

After his brother left, the younger brother was still sitting in his chair. He looked up at the consultant and said that he could really use the $100,000 now, but he believed in his father and loved his father so he would trust his money and invest it in this way. The investment consultant was so thrilled and he brought out the paperwork to complete the authorization. After this, the younger brother left.

The older brother had taken his money and paid off his debts and used the rest to purchase a home. He was not living an excessive life of luxury, but he was living comfortably. The younger brother still had his debts and hardships, but hoped that all would be well in the end.

It had been many more years still when finally the younger brother began receiving dividend checks. The first one was not much to speak of, but after that the amount grew exponentially! Within a few years, he had become almost as wealthy as his father was.

Upon learning of the financial gain of his younger brother, the older then went to look up the investment consultant and company that now owned and controlled all aspects of this new profitable product. He asked if he could invest all of the money that he had available so that he too could enjoy the benefits that his younger brother had. The consultant looked at him and said no. Then he showed the older brother the paperwork that he had signed when he took the $100,000 where he knew and understood that he could no longer use this firm to invest money.

When the two brothers come together and discuss their fortunes, what is the single different thing that changed their fates so utterly and completely? The younger brother chose to trust in the investment offer and the older one did not.

Many people would see this analogy (as far as it goes) as a good metaphor for how one comes to salvation. The problem arises in the fact that the younger boy can (and most of us would) boast of his good decision. Even though he would acknowledge the fact that he was given the money, the advice, the vehicle, and the opportunity to make the lucrative investment but – the difference between he and his brother is the fact that he decided to make the investment. Therefore, he has some claim to his good fortune, right?

Let’s go back to the time just after their father had died. The two boys were called into separate meetings with the investment consultant. The older brother was given the exact same speech and came with the exact same conclusion as he did above. The younger boy came in, not knowing of his brothers fortune or decision, was told that his father had left him an inheritance, but he had specified that this amount for this brother was to be invested in such and such a way.

The rest of the story plays out as it did before, but now when the two brothers compare their fortunes, the older only has himself to blame for not investing his money wisely, and the younger has only his father to thank for his exceedingly great inheritance that he eventually received.

He has nothing to boast about – not his decision. Nothing. He only can say that he was blessed by his father with the gift that was greater than anything that he would have ever chosen on his own.

That is the story of salvation. We cannot boast in anything we do in relation to salvation! It is only God who gets all of the glory. For if, as the story first showed, it is my decision that tips the scale and causes the blessings to fall on me (for without that affirmative decision, my fate would be no different from those who don’t believe), then I do have something to boast about in my salvation, no matter if I try to make it sound all pious and holy, the fact is that I would be able to boast in my decision in that it was better than my brother.

It is God who chooses those who will believe and saves them on His own behalf so that we cannot boast. The gospel is glorious. The way that you know if you have been chosen by God is in the way that you react to the gospel. If you reject the gospel – don’t repent of your sins and believe in Christ – you will show by your actions that you are a child of the devil. If, you are able to repent of your sins and place your faith in Christ, you have the proof that God chose you before time began to be saved.

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, October 23, 2006

the Emblem

In light of recent discussions with various people (Catholics, Mormons, secular humanists, and others) I have been so thankful for the all-sufficient word of God. All other religions have their arguments for this or that relating to how they view the world, but true biblical Christianity is the only system (if you can call it that) by definition, implication, and commandment that is devoid of human works making any contribution to salvation.

In light of those thoughts, I created an emblem to try and capture what are the driving forces in my life.

The center of the emblem is, by design, a cross. I chose the cross of nails because I have always been more quickly drawn to the suffering and death of Christ (and therefore drawn to the reasons that brought that about - God's wrath at my sin). It is the center of the emblem, and it is my continuing goal to make the reality of what He accomplished on the cross to be the center of my reality, my life, my ministry, and last of all - my blog.

Shaping or framing the emblem are the statements of the reformation:

  • Soli Deo Gloria - "To God alone be the glory" - self explanitory

  • Solus Christus - "Christ alone" - There is no other way! (John 14:6)

  • Sola Fide - "Faith alone" - Faith is the vehicle that God has ordained to use to effect the salvation of His people. Romans 3-6, Ephesians 2, and Hebrews 11 (among other passages) make that so clear. The right view of works is that they testify to the validity of our faith, but the do get one saved (baptism), they do not keep one saved (good works), nor can you lose your salvation (mortal sin). Someone who is truly born from above (or born again) will live like it. And when they sin - when their actions do not testify of having been washed in the blood of Christ and declared righteous before God and able to call Him "Father", they will, as Paul did, cry out to God and declare their sin for the wretched filth that it is.

  • Sola Gratia - "Grace alone" - If salvation is not the result or merit of anything that I can claim for myself, then it is based solely on the grace of God that He planned any method of salvation for sinful humanity.

  • Sola Scriptura - "Scripture alone" - God's word is sufficient for all things pertaining to salvation and the gospel. No other source of revelation - not future revelation, past revelation, or present experience or revelation - match the Bible for its authority. It is the single and final authority for all things.

Tere are also 4 pictures that are inside of this emblem, and all of these men bear a special place in my heart for their defense of the gospel throughout the ages.
  • Athanasius - located in the bottom left hand corner - The main reason why he is displayed here is for his ardent defense of the Trinity against the Arian heresy of his day. It was the council at Nicea that was able to articulate the doctrine of the Trinity in such a clear way in the first of many different defenses of this important doctrine. Later at the council of Chalcedon, which was defending the biblical teaching of the Trinity, it was further defended and articulated. I have a passion for defending the Triune nature of God against all detractors who are "inside" Christianity. The Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Oneness-Pentecostals (to name a few) believe in and preach a non-Triune God and deny the eternal Person of Jesus Christ the Son of God, and therefore are condemned. "Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also." (1 John 2:23)

  • Augustine of Hippo - located in the bottom right corner - Of the many things that he did, the main reason why I have him on this emblem is his defense of the doctrine of original sin against Palgius and his followers. I have a passion for proclaiming the truth about man's condition as completely and totally dead in sin. In a very true sense, it is upon this basis that the true message of the gospel rests. For if we are dead in sin, we can truly and utterly do nothing for our salvation. "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)

  • Martin Luther - located in the upper left hand corner - It was upon his personal discovery of the doctrine of Justification by faith alone that eventually sparked the reformation. He made a defense of his claims on scripture with the following saying (or close to it), "Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain reason, I cannot and I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other." "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;" (2 Timothy 3:16)

  • Charles Haddon Spurgeon - located in the upper right hand side - He was a baptist preacher, probably the greatest Baptist preacher that has yet lived. He was such a powerful and unabashed preacher of the gospel in his day, and I truly hope and pray that men, in this generation and for generations to come, will be raised up by God to boldly proclaim the gospel in all of its glory! "How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent?" (Romans 10:14-15)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bullhorn Guys
the battle over how to evangelize

Recently (mid September), there was video that was uploaded to the Internet that was critical of street preaching. The specific targets were men who stand in a public area, grab a bullhorn, and preach about the coming of judgment. The video was aptly called “Bullhorn Guy”. Rob Bell, an emergent-style pastor, is the individual who is on screen to make his case as to why he doesn’t think that Jesus approves of bullhorn guys and their message of God judging people and sending them to hell. He then starts talking about how he thinks that evangelism should be done.

Well, not long after this video was posted on the Internet, another ministry made a response video (in pseudo-parody fashion) to give another idea, or to defend bullhorn guys. After setting up the video (so that there is no mistaking what the motivation for it was), the individual on screen in this video is Todd Friel, a classic fundamentalist preacher/apologist and host of Way of the Master Radio, who mocks the idea of “lifestyle” evangelism (i.e. that someone off the street will come up to you and ask, “Please tell me about the hope that lies within you!” when you have been saying or doing nothing explicitly to draw attention to yourself or your message) and then argues that true love is shown by telling people the whole message of the gospel. The bad, then the good.

Watch them both, and see who clearly gets the gospel across to people and by doing so, who is more loving. Regardless of the reception of the hearer (whether they receive Christ, reject Him, or are ambivalent), which makes the gospel clear?

Click here to watch Rob Bells’ Nooma video “Bullhorn Guy”

Click here to watch Todd Friel and the Way of the Master response to Bullhorn Guy

Thursday, October 19, 2006

“all people everywhere should repent” (Acts 17:30)

It is undeniable that the Bible speaks clearly about the issue of repentance. Other than a correct understanding of what that is or what it means, the burning question in many people’s hearts is a simple, “Why should I repent?” Consequently the answer to this question comes easily when someone understands the full message of the gospel.

Before I even get into this discussion, I must try to articulate the friction that is present when Christians talk about repentance. If you put the wrong emphasis on it, repentance then becomes a means of salvation by works which is unbiblical. If you put no emphasis on repentance with the desire to avoid the incorrect emphasis we just saw, the message is that the life of a believer is no indicator of the validity of the claim of being saved (i.e. I can live like the devil because I am saved by grace). Both of these sides miss the correct understanding of what the New Testament is saying.

Repentance and faith are two responses to the grace of God in salvation that go hand in hand. I do not believe that one can truly occur without the other. To really get the point of why someone should repent, I need to paint the picture a bit first so that the actions will have their proper context.

The Bible is clear that all men, if judged by their own actions and merits, are wicked and evil in the sight of God and “even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.” (Genesis 8:21) And no good deed that we do is even reckoned as a good deed in God’s eyes, “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” (Isaiah 64:6). Also, not only are we unrighteous and evil, but Paul emphasizes this by quoting the Psalms when he wrote, “as it is written, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;” (Romans 3:10,11).

God sees every thought, word, and deed that we have as being wretched and, in the language of Isaiah 64:6, only as pure and clean as a used menstrual cloth. This is not even dealing with what we, as men and women, would consider less than righteous or bad things that we do. J.C. Ryle, the first Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, provided this illustration on humanities perspective on our own sinfulness:

“We, on the other hand—poor blind creatures, here today and gone tomorrow, born in sin, surrounded by sinners, living in a constant atmosphere of weakness, infirmity and imperfection—can form none but the most inadequate conceptions of the hideousness of evil. We have no line to fathom it and no measure by which to gauge it. The blind man can see no difference between a masterpiece of Titian or Raphael and the queen’s head on a village signboard. The deaf man cannot distinguish between a penny whistle and a cathedral organ. The very animals whose smell is most offensive to us have no idea that they are offensive and are not offensive to one another. Fallen men and women, I believe, can have no just idea what a vile thing sin is in the sight of that God whose handiwork is absolutely perfect—perfect whether we look through telescope or microscope;”1

Establishing the fact that all humanity is wicked, and that includes every individual from the lowest to the highest, is the first and hardest truth for anyone to see and accept. It is not much easier (if it is in fact easier at all) for a person to see and accept that our status as unrighteous sinners is so offensive a holy God that He, also being totally just and totally righteous, should punish all humanity in an eternal hell where, in the words of Jesus Himself, it is described as “unquenchable fire” (Mark 9:43) and a place “where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.” (v. 48)

That was both the bad news and the truth. The good news is that Jesus Christ, God Himself, came to earth as one of us (John 1:1,14) where He lived a perfect life but He was crucified, died because of the sinfulness of mankind, and was resurrected to life again. God made Jesus Christ, the perfect and sinless God-Man, to suffer the just penalty of God’s wrath on behalf of all of those who would truly believe in Him. This was done so that these same undeserving, unrighteous, and wretched sinners would be given the righteousness that is Christ’s in order to be acceptable before God and inherit eternal life (see 2 Corinthians 5:21).

The bible makes it explicitly clear that men are saved by God’s grace alone. We are not saved, justified, or born again by any action or pious religious ceremony. Salvation must be received in this way (by grace alone) because we are like dead men in sin (Ephesians 2:1,5; Colossians 2:13), and dead men can’t do anything. In His divine providence, God has shown that our only acceptable human response to this gracious offer is to have faith (Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5) that is shown by repentance (Matthew 7:16; John 15:5,6; James 3:8-12; ). This means that our thoughts, words, and deeds are now (by the grace of God) are no longer sinful by design or apathy, but are formed with the goal of honoring God.2

Why repent? Because no expressed faith has any validity before men or God if it is not proven by the actions of that same person (see James 2) If you live like the devil, no matter what you know in your head about God, then your actions and intentions of your heart testify to where your love and devotion truly are, and it is not with God. Furthermore, not only is repentance a biblical mandate and it must be present in a truly saved person, but it makes complete and total sense.

Imagine that you are married to a faithful and loving wife. However, you have been a cheating on her and now your brother has confronted you and has shown you how awful that is, and he has persuaded you to make it right with her. You then go up to her and say, “I’ve been cheating on you, and I’m sorry about that. Please forgive me.” She is gracious; she is more gracious than any other wife would ever be, and she says that she will forgive you and love you. However, within the next day or two you go back to the same woman that you were committing adultery with and continue that sordid affair. If this is the case, how truthful was your apology? Not truthful at all! You have shown that you are not sorrowful over the sins against your wife by your willingness to continue doing them.

It is the same way with God. If we say with our mouths that we are sinners and are in need of forgiveness and request the blood of Christ to be applied to our sins but yet we are unwilling to forsake the very things that so alienated us from God in the first place and required the death of God on the cross to pay their penalty, then we do not value the forgiveness of Christ and have shown that we did not, in fact, ever receive it.

Why repent? Because if you truly understand the penalty that you justly deserve, and you then look at the selfless and self sacrificial offering of Christ so that if you truly place your faith in him you wouldn’t have to suffer that eternal punishment, then your response is an overwhelming sense of gratitude and indebtedness. You can then say, with Paul, that you are a slave of Christ because you were bought by such a great price. Then, your only desire is to please your master who has redeemed you.

Place your faith in Christ and repent of your sins, otherwise you will incur the just punishment of a holy God forever and ever.

1Holiness: It's Nature, Hinderance, Difficulties, & Roots by J.C. Ryle p. 7

2 I cannot stress enough that the works are not the means or the reason why a person receives the righteousness of Christ, but it is only the result of – the fruit of – having already received forgiveness of Christ and being made new (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10)or born again (John 3:8). Being baptized, taking communion, being a pastor, a deacon, or going to church are not actions that contribute in any way to the attaining or maintaining of your salvation.

the Doctrines of Christ

"My doctrines! I maintain no doctrines of my own; what I preach are the doctrines of Christ, and for those I will forfeit my blood, and even think myself happy to suffer for the sake of my Redeemer." - Dominicus (a martyr during the reign of Pope Adrian IV [1154-1159])1

1 Foxes Book of Martyrs, Chapter VI

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Papal Persecutions

"Thus far our history of persecution has been confined principally to the pagan world. We come now to a period when persecution, under the guise of Christianity, committed more enormities than ever disgraced the annals of paganism. Disregarding the maxims and the spirit of the Gospel, the papal Church, arming herself with the power of the sword, vexed the Church of God and wasted it for several centuries, a period most appropriately termed in history, the "dark ages." The kings of the earth, gave their power to the "Beast," and submitted to be trodden on by the miserable vermin that often filled the papal chair, as in the case of Henry, emperor of Germany."1

1 Fox's Book of Martyrs, Introduction to Ch. 4

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Non-Debate

There was to be a debate between 4 prominent Baptist leaders regarding the issue of Calvinism. The debate was set up to be James White and Thomas Ascol (affirming Calvinism) debating Ergun and Emir Caner (denying Calvinism, and I believe all 5 points). Well, to make a long story short, the debate didn't happen.

You can get the story from Dr. White's perspective here, or you can get Dr. Caner's perspective here. It seems (for whatever motivation) that one side was dragging its feet in getting everything setup not to mention just being upfront and honest. In some of the correspondence between these parties (you can find the links the e-mail correspondences here) Dr. White repeatedly asked if the Caners considered him a brother in Christ. Dr. White had referred to them as brethren in his e-mails but noticed that the sentiment was not be reciprocated. He asked numerous times and received no response. How sad.

Anyway, the real reason behind this post was that I found a video called "The Unofficial Caner/White/Ascol Debate Video" that I found very enjoyable. The bed music is...heavier than some enjoy, but I have to tell you - I loved it. The montage of pictures and the syncing them up with the music is done pretty well too.

Well, I hope you enjoy it. I sure did.

Monday, October 16, 2006


I was perusing some blogs recently, and I found a blog called Fide-0 (I think that it is pronounced like the dog's name - fido). Now, where I don't agree with everything that is on this site, it seems to be a great place for information and a covenantal (as opposed to dispensational) perspective on some issues.

Anyway, I have been thinking a lot about corporate worship in the church, specifically dealing with the musical portion of corporate worship. At the church that I attend we sing mostly hymns and praise chorus music with piano and other various orchestra instruments for accompaniment. Once in a while, the conversation comes up with different people regarding our music style. I don't want to get into the positives and negatives of any specific type of worship music style, but I do need to say one thing: Worship and worship music is not about us. That seems like such an elementary truth that I feel silly writing it down, but many times people miss that.

I used to attend a church that was famous around the area for the really good (almost concert-like) worship (music) service. It was very entertaining and very "moving" - music is powerful, and it can and will be moving. I thought then (and I know it for sure now) that many people at that church only came for the "high" that was connected with the emotional reaction to the music. It is not uncommon to hear people speak about how they did or did not "get something" out of the worship service, and almost every time that the person is referring to the music, they are speaking of this emotional "high" that music can cause. One of the dangers in this is to attribute this feeling to God when we must be careful because I can find you myriads of people who get the same sort of high from godless music and entertainment. Do we want to attribute the emotional high that someone will get from listening to Metalica, the Beatles, Kid Rock, Garth Brooks, or (insert your secular musician of choice here) to God as well? If not (and I hope not), then we had better be very wary about our interpretation of the feelings that we get when we sing songs in church.

Basically, my overall point is that I think that we are misplacing our priorities when we look to a worship service to “get something” out of it and we are disappointed when we do not. Christians should be sold out to put everything into the public worship of God regardless if you prefer a different style of music than what is being used to facilitate corporate praise to God.

I know of people from as far back as I can remember who made decisions on where to attend or where not to attend church based primarily on the peripheral issues like the style of worship.

Now, the “Fide-O guys put up a post called “10 Things to Consider For Corporate Worship” that is, at least, a good starting point for us to all think about how we worship and what we do or don’t do.

I offer no definitive answers on what type of music is or is not good, and where the line should be drawn regarding different styles of music. I simply want us all to think about God and remember that our worship service is for Him, and we should not look to our worship service as something to get an emotional high from.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Perseverance of the Saints
(a.k.a. Once Saved Always Saved)

In recent days, weeks, and months I have been confronted with a very visceral opposition to the theology that Christians are secure in the salvation that Christ offers. This doctrine is sometimes referred to, both by proponents and opponents, with the phrase, “Once saved, always saved.” While this statement is accurate, if it is taken alone it is ambiguous enough to enable people to mischaracterize what I and many others, as biblical protestants, believe.

Some supporters of a warped view, biblically and historically speaking, try to affirm that Christians can and will be able to continue living in sin after they prayed a prayer and received Christ as Savior without losing their salvation. This camp of theology is sometimes called “easy believism” by me and other opponents of that theology. Similarly, some people who oppose the idea of eternal security who have used this phrase and idea to mock what I would confess as the Truth of Scripture (namely Roman Catholics on this and other blogs) by mocking the idea that someone can just say one thing at one time while “really meaning” it and then live the rest of their lives in miserable and detestable sin while not losing their salvation.

I want to be clear about what the Bible says regarding our salvation. Let me start off by saying this: If it were possible that a genuine Christian (born again by the Spirit of God, made a new creature) could continue in unrepentant and flagrant sin, then nothing that the Christian does can cause him to lose his salvation because it was nothing that he did in order to gain it. However, I don’t want anyone, for one second, to think that I affirm an “easy believism” or “cheap grace” gospel message. I don’t believe that because it doesn’t seem to be the testimony of scripture that a Christian can or will continue to live in unrepentant and flagrant sin.

"All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.” (John 6:37-39)

These verses and the surrounding text say many things regarding the gospel and the doctrine of salvation, but I only want to focus attention on how emphatic Christ is when He said that “the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” but He will “raise it up on the last day“. Later in the gospel of John, Jesus says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.” (John 10:27-29)

These two sets of verses are explicit in their communication of the same fact – believers are secure in Christ. Those whom He saves, He keeps. The question or discussion should not be centered around whether or not one can lose the salvation that has been granted to them by grace from God Himself, it needs to be centered on what constitutes being saved. The bible is explicitly clear that men are justified by faith apart from works (Eph 2:8,9; Titus 3:5). But we also see that those who are truly saved have the continuing evidence of their salvation by engaging in good works (Eph 2:10; Titus 2; 3:1,9; James 2:20) otherwise they show that the claim of salvation is without merit.

A person who is truly saved will continue in godliness and good works. Will he sin? Yes. But it will not be a casual occurrence, nor will it be these sinful things that characterize his life to those around him. There is a reason why I like referring to this idea as the “perseverance of the saints”. Because, it says that once you’re saved – truly saved – you will never be lost or taken out of the saving hand of Christ. But, it also implies that our current testimony goes a long way to verify whether or not we are truly saved.

I believe that someone who genuinely thinks, believes, and lives in a way that has a disregard for the commands of Christ to obey and live righteously is not truly saved. The book of 1st John goes into great detail about the differences between the saved and the lost. The whole purpose of that epistle is to show that you and I can know that we’re saved (1 John 5:13) and he shows how we can know where we stand by going through various ways to test ourselves.

Do not misapply the doctrine of eternal security to those who live as utter reprobates but may have “asked Jesus into their hearts” when they were children. True faith will continue on and will be evidenced by works of love. When it does, we can have full security and assurance. If you believe in Christ and have made a profession of faith, but your life is not being lived in such a way that follows in the works that God laid out for you, and you have no assurance of salvation.

Once a person is saved, they can never become “unsaved”. What a great God and Savior that we have who will save sinners, make them new, and give them the assurance that they have been saved and will inherit eternal life.

Monday, October 09, 2006

"Is Roman Catholicism Biblical?"

The short answer is no.

I encourage you to read the following article by John MacArthur. It is called "Is Roman Catholicism Biblical?" and you can find it by clicking here. It briefly engages the problem that Roman Catholicism has with the Bible and what it says about Justification.

He also wrote another article called "Jesus' Perspective on Sola Fide" that likewise is very good. I encourage you to read this one as well. You can find it by clcking here.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

All have sinned...

When the Bible says that all people have sinned (Romans 3:23), it is referring to all people. There is only one exception in all of humanity's history. Christ, and Christ alone, is the only sinless member of mankind. To say that someone else, other than Christ Himself, was sinless or even ceased from sinning at a certain point (except for death) is a horrible heresy that needs to be combated.

There are those in modern churches who claim that no matter what they do after they have been saved, it is not sin. Basically they would affirm that they do things that should be considered sin if done by an "unbeliever" but because they have been saved (so they claim), it is not a sin for them. Similarly, there are also those who say that once they were born again, they actually stopped sinning. They don't do anything that is sinful. Saying that anyone - anyone - other than Christ either stopped sinning after they were saved, or saying that they never sinned is heresy, and it misses the point of sin in relation to salvation. So, whether I say that I have stopped sinning or that Mary (Joseph's husband, the mother of Jesus) never sinned or ceased from sinning is contrary to the testimony of the entire Bible.

Please look at these verses and consider the weight of the Biblical text to combat and destroy your objections (whatever they are) or to show you in the fact that yes, in fact, all people have sinned, and are naturally condemned because of our sin in Adam and our own personal sin.

Genesis 6:5
"Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."

Genesis 8:21
"The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done."

1 Kings 8:46
"When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin) and You are angry with them and deliver them to an enemy, so that they take them away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near;"

Psalms 14:1-3
"The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one."

Psalms 130:3,4
"If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared."

Psalms 143:2
"And do not enter into judgment with Your servant, For in Your sight no man living is righteous. "

Proverbs 20:9
"Who can say, "I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin"?"

Ecclesiastes 7:20
"Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who {continually} does good and who never sins."

Romans 3:23
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"

1 John 11:8-10
"If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us."
Do not be deceived. Neither you nor I nor Mary will be sinless in this life, but only when we are glorified in the presence of our Lord.

Friday, October 06, 2006

a great song because of great lyrics

I have thought for a while that it would be great to go through some great songs and deal with the powerful theologically packed statements in them, and that if Christians today knew and understood half of what the hymns mean, our churches might be on a deeper and more wholesome level in our relationship with Christ. But, before I pull out some of my favorites and list the lyrics and add my commentary to the great truths that are shown in them, I thought I’d start out simple, but yet wonderful.

Jesus loves me is a great song that most of us have sung or have had it sung to us. The one (main) verse never was super complete in my mind, so when I heard another popular one (verse three in my compilation) I became emboldened to create other verses that expounded on some of the truth of the scripture to this simple and lovely tune.

I compiled the verses in this order because it seemed to be the most natural flow (theologically) with the preeminence given to the main verse because it is the one that everyone knows.

Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak, but He is strong

Jesus loves us, one and all
He came to save us from the fall
He died and He rose on the third day
So that He could wash all of our sins away1

Jesus loves me, He who died
Heaven’s gates to open wide
He will wash away my sin
And let the Holy Spirit come in

Jesus loves me, there’s no doubt
‘cause the Spirit pours it out
Little ones to Him belong
We are weak, but He is strong2

Jesus loves you, yes He does
Because the Bible says He does
He came to earth so that you could go
Up to heaven and this I know3

Jesus loves me when I’m good
When I do the things I should
Jesus loves me when I’m bad
Though it makes him very sad4

1 I came up with this verse myself (if someone else wrote it earlier, I can’t say that I’d ever heard it before I was singing to my son when he was little).

2 John Piper came up with this one and shared it with his congregation in a sermon.

3 Similarly to the third verse, I came up with this one while singing to Micah.

4 I personally struggle whether or not to use sad here. I tend to want to say “mad” instead of “sad” because sin makes Him genuinely wrathful, even though, as believers, we will not feel the weight of that ourselves because Christ already bore it for us.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Teaching Doctrine to a Six-Year-Old

I was looking through the Desiring God website today and I came across an article called, "Teaching Doctrine to a Six-Year-Old" which was such a refreshing confirmation of the way in which my wife and I try to parent our children. I have 2 living children at this time and I hope to have more, if the Lord grants us that grace, but so far only my oldest (Micah) has experienced the trial and error method of our parental teaching. Don't get me wrong, Noah (who will be 10 months-old next Monday) is being taught also, but not in the sense of a formal, direct, or didactic system. He is being taught as you would teach any child his age - he is being taught about the love of his parents by being held, played with, and other similar things that are so important at such a young age.

Micah is 3 and we (my wife and I) have made it a point to try teach him the big issues at a level that he can understand, and not just have him learn the bible stories of David & Goliath, Noah and the Ark, Jonah and the Fish, Jesus being born, or others. When we began having to discipline him for disobedience, he knew that it was wrong because it was not ok to disobey mommy and daddy. A little later, when his communication skills were improving enough that he could ask questions about things that he didn’t understand, we started bringing the word sin into his vocabulary. The definition for a sin that we gave to him was very simple; any “no-no” is a sin, and all sins are “no-no’s”. He accepted this new word and we were able to move on. But still a little further down the road, but not too far, we began showing him that whenever he disobeyed us, he was also disobeying God – and that has been a constant emphasis ever since.

Once we had this foundation built, that disobedience is sin, and sins are against God (in addition to anyone else that might be involved), then we have been able to build upon that foundation to discuss man’s biggest problem. Whenever we talk about sin, we try to articulate how God feels about sin. We have said, and you can ask my son to verify, that God is angry at sin and that sin must be punished. We also talk about how everyone (mommy, daddy, etc.) sins, but God doesn’t do any sins, and that God does not allow any sins in heaven. Since we have established that all sins need to be punished1 and the fact that God doesn’t allow sins in heaven, we have a good picture that he understands (to the best of his 3 year old ability combined with our stumbling attempt at clarity and truth) as the basis to discuss Jesus and the cross.

It is really exciting to see the wheels turning in Micah’s head when we talk about the 10 commandments and how they relate to sin and use the same words to talk about his sin when he is doing it. For instance, when he took some markers from church, we used the word “stealing” to describe what he had done. We also showed him that one of God’s 10 Commandments (“God’s 10 rules”) says that we shouldn’t do that and if we do – it makes God very angry.

All of this, though, was built upon a foundation of “Bible-Time”. Since he was old enough to sit for a story, we would read Bible stories out of books to him, but even more than that, I would read a few minutes of the scriptures to him. I understand that his ability to comprehend the words and the arguments is not, and was not there, but it was to (a) put the truth out there, so that his little mind could soak up what it would, and (b) it was instilling in his little mind the primacy that we want the Word of God to play in our homes and in our lives.

All of this doctrinal teaching that we try to do with Micah started with two simple questions, the answers, and the necessary explanations and reinforcing statements. The questions and answers were these:

  1. Q: Who wrote the Bible?
    A: God wrote the Bible.
  2. Q: Who is Jesus?
    A: Jesus is God.
I pray that God will refine my teaching and strengthen my living as the example for my family so that my testimony will bring glory to His name, and that I might not be delinquent about making sure that my children understand the gospel, not just Bible stories.

1 One flaw in our presentation has been that “punishment” (in the sense of God’s wrath) and “discipline” (as shown in our correcting him and God’s correcting us) has been less clear than I would like. I don’t want to have him think that when we discipline him that we are doing it because we are angry (because it is out of love that we do it), or that when God punishes people in “the bad place” he is not doing it out of a love for them (because he is doing it out of his wrath at sin).

Monday, October 02, 2006

Deceived, not Saved

We just began a contest called “The AWANA Tract Races” in my church’s AWANA club. This contest is set up so that every kid (called a “clubber”) receives one gospel tract, and they have to give that out to someone who they are pretty sure is not a Christian. The children don’t have to get into a long conversation with the other person, they just need to politely ask if the other person would accept something from them, then give them the tract (if they’re willing to take it), say thank you, and walk away. If they do this and then want more tracts, they just come on back to the next meeting and get some more. In this way, the clubbers “get their feet wet” in evangelism and now we can talk about witnessing in a new and more real way because they have all tried it.

About one hour after I had given out these tracts and encouraged the 3rd – 6th graders that it is easy to share your faith, I was sitting in my livingroom talking with my three year-old son about his memory verses when there was a knock at the door. My wife and I walked to the front door and were greeted by two young gentlemen who were dressed in shirts and ties and wearing backpacks. Before any words left their mouths, I knew what was happening…I was going to be witnessed to by two Mormon missionaries.

I was tired, hungry, and I just wanted to relax, so before the Mormons could get into their presentation, I shut them down by saying something to the effect of this, “Hey guys, I’m a Christian, not a Mormon, and I really don’t want to get into a theological wrangle tonight.” I didn’t say it in that exact way (there were a few comments back and forth between us), but that was basically what was said. After that, they asked if they could do anything for us, I declined and I wished them saftey on their travels.

It had not been more than 2 minutes when I looked at my wife and the reality of what I just said and done had slammed into my conscience. Not more than 1 hour earlier I had encouraged children to witness to people, and now two people came to my door and wanted to engage me in a spiritual conversation! I felt so ashamed of my selfish and thoughtless actions. Why oh why did I send them away instead of giving them the good news? I said as much to my wife and she looked at me and she surprised me by saying, “Why don’t you go out and find them? They’re probably not that far down the street.” It surprised me, not because she was encouraging me to go witness (which I am so thankful that she did), but because it was such a “duh” resolution to the problem that I had created by my inaction.

I threw my shoes on, said goodnight to my son, and went out the door. I quickly saw the two Mormons one door down and across the street. As God would have it, they were just leaving the front step and making their way further, and so I called to them to see if I could speak with them.

I began our conversation by apologizing for not interacting with them before and I restated my desire not to get into a super deep theological wrangle, but I wanted to ask them one question. “Ok guys, let’s pretend that I have a knife in my back, I’m dying and I only have about 45 seconds to live. I come up to you, and I have no knowledge of Jesus or anything, and ask you ‘Help me, I’m dying. I don’t want to go to hell. What do I need to do?’” I expected to hear some half-sentences come out and then abruptly stop, or some stuttering and stammering, but that is not what happened. They both looked a little shocked, but then the shorter of the two (standing to my left) looked me in the eyes and said, “You can’t be saved in 45 seconds.” I knew that this is the truth of their doctrine, but to hear it so plainly, so simply from the mouths of these two young guys (late teens, early twenties) shocked me to the core. This statement made me even sadder because of the hopelessness of their works righteous system. Here is a representation of our interaction that followed:

EJ: You are saying that [you can’t be saved in 45 seconds] because you believe that I must be baptized, right?
Mormon: Yes.

EJ: The theif on the cross was not baptized, and Christ saved Him.
Mormon: (rhetorically) But that was Jesus who did that, right?

EJ: Yes, of course. And it is Jesus who saves us today. It doesn’t change because He isn’t here in the flesh.

EJ: Let me ask you a quesiton. (to both of them) Would you consider yourself to be a good person?
Mormon: I try to be.

EJ: Have you ever told a lie?
Mormon: Yes.

EJ: What would that make you?
Mormon: A Liar.

EJ: Have you ever stolen anything regardless of it’s value?
Mormon: Yes

EJ: What would that make you?
Mormon: A theif.

EJ: Have you ever taken the name of the Lord in vain?
Mormon: No.1

EJ: Have you ever looked at a girl with lust?
Mormon: Yes (restrained, nervous chuckling).

EJ: Have you ever been angry with or hated someone?
Mormon: Yes.

EJ: Then by your own admition, you’re lying theives, and adulterous murderors in your heart. And God will not be pleased by any good works that you do.

Before I could continue with this process of walking them through the law, they interupted and said that they agreed with that – that people are guilty before God and that is why they strive to be better people. I then told them that if the situation were reversed and they came up to me with 45 seconds to live that I would say, “If you’ve ever lied, stolen, or looked at someone with lust, God sees you as a lying adulterous theif. These things deserve the just punishment of eternal damnation. However, Jesus Christ, who is God Himself – not the brother of the devil2 – came to earth, suffered and died to pay for sins. All that He requires of you is to see yourself in light of His law (as a wretched sinner worthy of condemnation), and throw yourself at His feet to save you completely. And then, those good works that you’re trying to do will not be in an effort to make yourself more presentable toward God, but they will be the natural outflowing of the new life that He has given you. You will then see and hate sin, desire to not sin, and be able to resist sin.”

After I presented the biblical gospel, we began speaking of different things, but of all of the tangents that we briefly went down on (modern day prophets, the book of Mormon, the scroll of Abraham, etc), I kept on bringing us back to one simple point. If they are right, and the Mormon doctrine is true, then when we die, I will go to one of the three levels of heaven (Terrestrial, Cellestial, or Telestial) and so will they. If, however, I am right about Christ and His gospel and we die – I will be in heaven with Christ, and they will be in everlasting torment for their sins. I made these “if you’re right” and “if I’m right” statements not because I am wavering on the truth of the gospel in the Bible, but I did it in order to show them that we have very different gospels.

The only rabbit trail that we went on that I would like to briefly go into here is dealing with their Christology (doctrine of Christ). I have had a few encounters with Mormons as well as I have seen or heard various programs where current Mormons or former Mormons (now true, born-again believers) have discussed this very issue. Two things have been very clearly articulated in all of those encounters:

  1. Mormons believe that Jesus is a created being, the first natural child of “heavenly father”

  2. The statement “As man is, God once was; as God is, man can become” is an accurate way to communicate the transition that can occur from man to God.

Other than the initial statement that one couldn’t be saved in 45 seconds, I was very shocked to find out that these two Mormon missionaries had never heard the Mormon teaching that Christ is a created being. I don’t believe that they were lying to me about this, they truly seemed like they had never heard of this before. I told them that they needed to search their teachings, ask the elder (or whoever) who is over them and find out truly if the Mormon church teaches this. The taller of the two kept that Jesus is “from everlasting to everlasting” (which is a phrase used throughout the Old Testament in reference to God and His eternality) when refering to Chirst’s “age”. I tried to explain that the doctrine of the Mormons has not been what they were espousing. I asked that if they found out that thir church taught that, if they would run from that church. I received a pseudo-hesitational-non-commital answer that was something to the effect of, “If we find that it is not true.” I closed our conversation by saying, “When you find out that your church teaches that Christ is not eternal and that He was created, you run from that place. If you can think of nowhere else to turn for some Spiritual help (turning and pointing to my house) you can come right back here.”

I left them, shaking their hands, wishing them safety on their travels. I hope that one day there will either be a confused and convicted soon-to-be ex-mormon on my doorstep or a former Mormon who found His salvation in the Christ of the Bible, not the false Mormon Jesus and false gospel.

1 We went back and forth on this question for a while, but they both insisted that they had never (a) used God’s name in vain, or (b) said or done anything that caused God’s name to be cursed or brought down by others.

2 Mormon doctrine is that Jesus is the first spirit child of “heavenly father” and that Lucifer was another one. Consequently we are of the same lineage in that we are spirit children of “heavenly father”. This is totally contrary to the Christ of the Bible who is eternal, with no beginning or ending.

Copyright © 2005-2010 Eric Johnson