Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I think it's pretty safe to say that by now most of us have heard about the horrific events that took place at Virginia Tech this past Monday. My prayers are with all the families of the victims as well as the family of the killer. More specifically, I have prayed that the God of All comfort would indeed comfort these sorely bereaved families in the wake of this senseless act. I also pray that those among these families who have saving faith in Jesus Christ as their LORD and Savior and rest in the assurance of dwelling eternally with that very same God, will so intimately know His comfort that they will in turn so shine and glorify God that the unsaved families will at last find hope and comfort. I have prayed that a "peace that surpasses all understanding" among these believers will stand out in such stark contrast to all the despair that the media is promoting that hearts related and unrelated to the victims and their families will be convicted and effectually called. I have prayed that, as is His modus operandi, God will take this heinous, vile act and turn it around for His own glory and the salvation of many.

I also pray that it will give those of us, who have been thus far spared of such a fate pause to consider,"why didn't God allow this to happen to us"? I realize that a question of this nature is counter-intuitive. We naturally ask the more common questions, "why did God allow this to happen" or "where was God when this happened"? Indeed, this event brings into focus, once again, "the problem of evil". Men who were and are of far greater preeminence than myself have tackled this problem with little ultimate success. What little I have to offer is this and it is in no wise original: the "problem" is not the existence of evil, the "problem" is the existence of any "good" in this fallen world.

The LORD Jesus gives us, in Luke 13:1-5, the perspective that we who have been spared tragedies such as Virginia Tech, Colombine or 9/11 should have. Jesus was, for all intents and purposes, asked: "where was God when Pilate mingled the blood of the Galileans with their sacrifices" and "why did God allow the tower in Siloam fall on and kill eighteen people"? Jesus didn't give a sermon on the "problem of evil" or provide a thesis regarding God's ultimate intentions for these events. Jesus responded with His own penetrating question: "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered this way . . . or those on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem"? He answered for them twice, "No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish".

Why didn't God allow this to happen to us? We are all guilty of sin (cosmic treason and rebellion) against a Holy God. A Holy God, who in order to be true to His own holy nature MUST punish sin. Who are we in His sight without Jesus? The Apostle Paul describes us: "They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.  Though they know the decree of God, that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them, but give approval to those who practice them" (Romans 1:29-32). Earlier Paul charges us with suppressing the truth of God in our unrighteousness. He exposes our guilt saying that we are without excuse because we do know that God exists from creation alone; yet although we know God we do not honor Him as God and rebelliously turn to worship idols of our own creation. I challenge you to study the first chapter of Romans again. Do it while sitting in front of a mirror . . . ouch!

Indeed, it is truly a testament to the mercy and grace of God that there aren't Virginia Techs, Colombines and 9/11's every hour. We deserve worse, BUT thanks be unto God for His Son Jesus Christ!!! Yes, these tragedies strike Christians and non-Christians alike, for all of us are citizens of a sin sick world. The difference, however, is that those who have received God's gift of saving faith in the LORD Jesus Christ live on eternally in the massacre-free, terrorist-free, sickness-free, death-free loving presence of the Almighty Invincible Holy Triune God of All comfort. With Him there will be no more death, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore (Rev 21:4).

There is another ending, however, for the unbeliever. Having rejected the mercy of God as displayed in Jesus, the unbeliever freely chooses to receive the justice of God. Without the atoning blood of Jesus to expiate the sin guilt of the unbeliever, a Holy and Just God must punish that sinner, if indeed He is holy and just. The one who faces death, either violently or in the peace of sleep, not having accepted God's gift will enter an eternity of unending conscious torment, a place the Bible calls, "Hell". The horrific experience of this place will dwarf the total combined suffering and evil of the entire existence of planet Earth.

What do these two outcomes have in common? In both, by displaying His mercy and grace or by displaying His justice and wrath, God is glorified! Amen!

That leaves us who have been spared, thus far, from tragedies like last Monday with a decision to make. "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed; and of this He has given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:30-31). I've made my choice, how about you?

(Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!)

P.S. I received an e-mail containing a video which seemed truly appropriate at a time such as this. I would like to share it with you for your consideration.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Yes Virginia, There are False Teachers

I know many believers who profess a a strong love and dependence on the Bible. In virtually any and every conversation with them reference is always made to some portion of the Scriptures. Many times the passages they refer to are taken out of context, but it at least indicates an understanding that our faith is based on God's revelation of Himself and His will in the Bible. It tells me that, at least, if we come to a topic that is clearly addressed by Scripture, the Bible's instruction on the point should be the authoritative answer that should settle all debate. But, then again, I used to sell Amway products.

One such topic that seems crystal clear to me is that there are, living and breathing today, false teachers. It seems equally clear to me that the Bible makes it clear that there would perpetually be false teachers throughout history. Jesus, Himself, instructed us to, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves" (Matthew 7:15 ESV) I looked up the word "beware" in the greek; you know what it said, it said "BEWARE"!!! The arguably clearest evidence that the would be false teachers throughout history comes from the Apostle Paul. In Acts 20:29-30 he states, "I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert . . ."(ESV). I asked my 7 year old son, Kyle, about these two passages and he answered my questions about them correctly. This is from a kid who still watches "Spongebob"!

So why do so many credulous Christians, year after year, swallow blatantly false teaching and support false teachers? Here's a shocker . . . I have a few ideas.

1) Pride. I have a sneaking suspicion that many believers do actually know that they have fallen prey to one of those "ravenous wolves" Jesus was talking about; but they are just too proud to admit that they were taken in so easily and for so long. So they are not really that involved where they attend church. They just go because, hey, the pastor puts on a really good show and since they have to go to church anyway they might as well have a good time.

Certainly, they can't let "heresy hunters" like myself prove them wrong. In their minds, they are just as good a judge of character as anybody else and there no way that they could have been duped. Theology is over-rated anyway, and theologians are just a bunch of unloving, divisive, old white men.They can read the Bible for themselves without any help from them, thank you very much! Besides, "them Morton boys sho' can sang"!!!

Being in a position of leadership in a false church also creates quite a hold on the pride victim.

2) Emotional Attachment. Some common traits among false teacher are: they are very charismatic, they tend to be very warm and loving, they are very philanthropic, they had great hardship and/or pain before entering the ministry. These traits tremendously endear them to their congregations. This figured largely in my own case.

When an emotional attachment is in force, a person confronted with the fact that his/her pastor is a false teacher will look for any and every possible loophole to exculpate that pastor. The intense loyalty begotten by these warm fuzzy teddy bear pastors makes all the controverting evidence from their own mouths completely inconsequential. The emotionally attached person while make statements like: "You are taking my pastor out of context,when he said 'men are little gods", "Just because the words 'Jesus was not God' came out of his mouth doesn't mean he believes that" and my personal favorite "he needs that Gulfstream V private jet to spread the gospel".

3) Pragmatism. When you question this person about their Bishop's heretical teachings on the Trinity, he might say, "I found my wife at this church", "My business has flourished since I joined this church", "Pastor said I was going to get a house and I did", "This church has wonderful programs for my kids".

4) Biblical Illiteracy. Yes, these folk read the Bible, but only through the grid that their friendly neighborhood false teacher provides for them. These folks find insights such as: God is a being standing about 6 foot 2 inches tall and weighs about 230lbs(Kenneth Copeland), or each member of the Trinity has His own body, soul and spirit; therefore there are nine of them (Benny Hinn)as absolute revelational gold!!!

For these people "Hermeneutics" might as well be the latest exercise craze from Sweden.

Of course, this doesn't even nearly exhaust the reasons people fail to obey Paul's admonition to avoid these false teachers (Romans 16:17). Instead when " . . . someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we (Paul and the Apostles)proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough" (II Corinthians 11:4).

Yes Virginia, there are false teachers even today. But they don't wear t-shirts that say, "Hi, I'm a false teacher"! Their warmth and charisma are the bait by which the capture the believer. "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds" (II Corinthians 11:13-15).

What does it matter whether it is intentional or not? Your reward in heaven, your witness as a Christian, perhaps your very relationship to the Eternal God of the universe hangs in the balance.

Wake up o sleeper! To the proud: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverb 16:18). "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin"(James 4:17).

To the emotionally attached: " . . .you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength"(Mark 12:30).

To the pragmatist: "'Consider your ways. You have sown much and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns his wages does so to put them into a bag with holes . . . Consider your ways . . . that I may be glorified', says the LORD. You looked for much and behold it came to little. And when you brought it home it blew away. Why, declares the LORD of Hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house"(Haggai 1:5;7-9).

To the biblically illiterate: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge . . ."(Hosea 4:6). " . . . no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit"(II Peter 1:20-21). "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth"(II Timothy 2:15).

Oh, one last thing. Here's a little something I learned while pledging my frat:


Excuses are the tools of the incompetent.
They build monuments to nothingness.
And he or she that uses them seldom excel at anything at all" Big Brother Sir, roof!

(Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!)