Sunday, August 26, 2007

Spiritual Terrorists Pose The Most Threat

“It is also quite clear form the biblical record that spiritual terrorists and saboteurs within the church pose a far more serious threat than manifestly hostile forces on the outside. From the very start of the church age, all the most spiritually deadly onslaughts against the gospel have come from people who pretend to be Christians – not from atheists and agnostics on the outside.”

(John MacArthur, “The Truth War”, pg. 82-83)

Friday, August 17, 2007

"Non-Essential" Doctrine Unimportant?

This CrossTV video clip explains the importance of doctrine, especially those doctrines that are unfortunately treated as unimportant or non-essential by contemporary evangelicalism.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Piper’s Response to Interview with Rabbi on the Bridge Collapse.

John Piper gives his response to an interview on public radio with Rabbi Kushner concerning the collapse of the 35 W bridge in Minneapolis. Apparently the Rabbi merely expressed his own opinions rather than anything based on Scripture, which included the notion that God is really not all-powerful. Unfortunately, many in the evangelical community are embracing this viewpoint as well. This is clearly in contrast to Scripture which teaches that God is indeed all-powerful in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

From the article:

"3. Less astonishing for our day, but more outrageous is the claim of the Rabbi that God is not “all-powerful.” Specifically, he does not “control the laws of nature.” On the contrary, both the Rabbi’s Bible and the New Testament teach that he is all-powerful and does control the laws of nature."

Piper points out the short-sighted approach by the Rabbi, who claimed that “People need consolation, not explanation.” From the perspective of the Rabbi, God really did not have any control over the circumstances of the bridge collapse, so it was merely a random occurrence that God could not control. This is out of step with what Scripture teaches. So the so-called counsel of the Rabbi is not helpful at all.

"4. Finally, the Rabbi is pastorally short-sighted in saying, “People need consolation, not explanation.” He does not mean, “Hug and cry first, give God-centered explanations later.” That would be wise counsel. He means, “All our attempts at answering ‘Why?’ will be wrong. So don’t try.” The reason for this is that God did not “intend” anything by the collapse of the bridge. You can’t intend something by what you have no power to control. So God did not exercise any wisdom or love in causing or permitting the bridge to collapse. It was strictly random. So one should only give consolation, not explanation. There is not explanation.

There are two reasons why this is pastorally short-sighted and unsatisfying. One is that it is built on a falsehood. God does not need to be “all-powerful” to keep people from being hurt in the collapse of a bridge. He doesn’t even need to be as powerful as a man. He only needs to show up and use a little bit of his power (say, on the level of Spiderman, or Jason Bourne)—he did create the universe, the Rabbi concedes—and (for example) cause some tremor a half-hour early to cause the workers to leave the bridge, and the traffic to be halted. This intervention would be something less spectacular than a world-wide flood, or a burning bush, or plague of frogs, or a divided Red Sea, or manna in the wilderness, or the walls of a city falling down—just a little tremor to get everybody off the bridge before it fell.

So the Rabbi is not pastorally helpful to build his counsel on the fact that God is not “all-powerful.” Bereaved wives know in their heart that this is a copout. A human could have cleared the bridge. If God is just a little bit powerful, he could have figured out a way to save her husband.

The other reason why the Rabbi’s pastoral approach is shortsighted is that sooner or later the anguished human heart does need some answers about the power, wisdom, and love of God. The Rabbi’s Bible (and my Bible)—the only authority he or I have for making any pronouncements about God at all—gives more comfort than the Rabbi is willing to offer."

Sadly, the viewpoint of Rabbi Kushner is not unlike many so-called evangelicals today. You can read the article in its entirety here at DesiringGod.

Friday, August 03, 2007

The War on Truth

This book is among the most important that you will read, especially given the climate of the evangelical church today. John MacArthur has written “The Truth War”, addressing the onslaught of postmodern thought that is streaming into the church. I am amazed that there are still pastors who think that the emerging church is simply another “style” of church. Many simply have not grasped the fact that the emerging church is introducing a mindset that is hostile to the truth of Scripture. I would strongly recommend reading this book. Here is a quote from the introduction that describes the mindset of far too many in our society today and it is rapidly spilling over into the church.

“The idea that the Christian message should be kept pliable and ambiguous seems especially attractive to young people who are in tune with the culture and in love with the spirit of the age and can’t stand to have authoritative biblical truth applied with precision as a corrective to worldly lifestyles, unholy minds, and ungodly behavior. And the poison of this perspective is being increasingly injected into the evangelical church body.

But that is not authentic Christianity. Not knowing what you believe (especially on a matter as essential to Christianity as the gospel) is by definition a kind of unbelief. Refusing to acknowledge and defend the revealed truth of God is a particularly stubborn and pernicious kind of unbelief. Advocating ambiguity, exalting uncertainty, or otherwise deliberately clouding the truth is a sinful way of nurturing unbelief.”

(John MacArthur, "The Truth War", Introduction pg. xi)

Having watched the influence of the postmodern approach creep into the church we just left, I can testify that it certainly has a very detrimental effect on the spiritual health of the church. Even though they would not readily admit to being identified with the emerging church, their philosophy of ministry was certainly beginning to be shaped by the so-called emerging “conversation”. This certainly became clearly evident by the books and material they were using; authors such as Rob Bell, Leonard Sweet, etc. The teaching was very basic and shallow, and precise handling of the text of Scripture was not highly valued there. In fact, if you were one of those who desired to teach with precision and accuracy, you were certainly treated as an outcast. Conversations with the leadership left me with the impression that they really did not have a solid grasp of Scripture and seemed to display a casual attitude toward biblical truth.

So, keep your eyes wide open. The influence of this post modernistic approach to ministry may very well be creeping into your church.