Monday, December 29, 2008

In Submission to Sovereignty: Greatest Hits

While still mired in blogging-burnout, I remembered what many popular musicians do when new material is slow in coming: they release a "greatest hits" album. So having complied a modest library of blogs (some of which some of you may have missed)I present to you: In Submission to Sovereignty: Greatest Hits!!!

This golden oldie is especially appropriate for the New Year . . .

Standing on the Verge of Gettin' it Wrong (Originally posted 12/28/06)

Well, here we are on the verge of the year of our Lord 2007 (2009). In just a few nights several would-be prophets will speak forth what saith their fertile imaginations for their itchy-eared fans. Charges to launch out into the deep, to lengthen our cords and strengthen our stakes; and promises of a breakthrough will be plentiful as masses of the deceived flood churches on New Years Eve for "Watchnight" service.

How quickly they seem to forget that they were promised the same things last year, and the year before that and the year before that. Of course, the failure of the previous prophecies will easily explained away by recognizing that it was not yet their "season". Doubtless, there have been individuals in probably every congregation who have realized a monetary windfall or some tremendous blessing from God; but I have never witnessed any of these wannabe Nostrodamuses (or is that Nostrodami?) identify the exact person or persons who would enjoy these blessings. They always send out some scatter-shot prophecy, general enough to find fulfillment with somebody. As the old saying goes, "if you throw enough mud against a wall, some of it has got to stick".

What all the blessing-hungry minions fail to realize is that what their local swami is doing is not prophecy; it's fortune-telling which was strickly forbidden by God in the Old Testament. And why is it that we never hear any "prophetic word" about bad things? The biblical prophets frequently predicted famine, exile and death. I bet you'll never hear any of these junior Jeane Dixons say anything like this: "2007(2009) is going to be a year of severe trial. Some of you will die, some will be imprisoned, some of you will even go broke." Talk about emptying a church. A fire alarm wouldn't do it as fast!

I'm no prophet, but the truth is some Christian will die this year. Some Christian will be severely tried, be imprisoned or go broke in 2007(2009). Wouldn't a little forewarning help prepare us? I guess that kind of forecast wouldn't scratch itchy ears. And It would definitely cut into the offering that night.

The letter to the Hebrews makes it pretty unmistakable: "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spokento us by His Son . . ."(Heb 1:1-2a). The canon of Scripture is closed. There is no "new revelation". Heck, most of us aren't obeying the old revelation! Whatever 2007(2009)holds, only becoming like Jesus is going to count for eternity.

Here's a prediction for you . . . God will continue to be Holy, faithful and in control of ALL things in 2007(2009).

". . .fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand". Isaiah 40:10

B. L. B. B.!
(Be Like the Bereans Baby!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


As part of my normal cyber-patrol, I have taken part in several forums on various "Christian" websites over the last few weeks. What I have confirmed (much to my chagrin) is that as the Apostle Paul predicted most of our trouble is coming from within the Church. I know that the LORD said that the tares must grow along with the wheat; but judging by what is passing for Christianity out there this wheat field needs some spiritual DDT! The locusts are afoot!

The willingness of many to argue to the death for nonsense is unfathomable. Here' a short list of what I have encountered within the last month:

1. The Bible has "thousands" of errors.
2. The Trinity is a false doctrine.
3. Jesus suffered a "spiritual death" on the cross.
4. The Bible doesn't teach eternal punishment.
5. The Holy Spirit is not a Person.
6. We shouldn't eat turkey for Thanksgiving because it is a "bird of prey".
7. The repentant thief did not go to paradise as Jesus promised him on the cross.
8. Those dead in Christ remain in the grave until Jesus' return.
9. Culture trumps Christianity.
10. God does not give people faith.

There is obviously an attack of lunacy infecting the Church!

After expending far too much time and energy debating these nut-jobs, yours truly is suffering from burnout. I simply have not been able to focus on any one subject long enough to come up with a decent post. So please bear with me; I'm going to clear my head for a little while. When the muse hits me again, you'll be the first to know!

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!

P.S. If you would like a first-hand look for yourself . . . pray hard, then visit The Black Church Page and Gospelpals

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What? You Mean It Was True!!! (Part III)

In our last episode Adam and Eve had just eaten the forbidden fruit . . . The Bible states that after consuming the fruit Adam and Eve's eyes were opened. This means that they now recognized that their nakedness was exposed and it also means that they understood that they had done something very wrong. This is evident in their hiding themselves from God when He entered the Garden for His evening stroll. When God asked Adam why they were hiding themselves, he answered that it was because they were naked. Adam then blamed Eve for their disobedience and Eve then blamed the serpent. God then pronounced curses on each of them for their role in this act of cosmic treason. Most interesting was the curse He pronounced on the serpent. Keep in mind that this was no garden-variety snake. This snake was under the influence of the Adversary, satan himself.

God said to satan that He would put enmity between satan and the woman; between satan's offspring (the wicked throughout the ages) and the woman's offspring (the faithful throughout the ages, epitomized by Jesus Christ). Enmity is defined as, "positive, active, and typically mutual hatred or ill will ". So basically this curse created an enduring hatred and warfare between those who would be the followers of satan (offspring) and ultimately the prominent child of Eve and His followers (Eve's faithful offspring). God goes on to say that satan will do harm to this ultimate offspring; but this offspring will utterly crush satan and triumph over him. This passage of Scripture has been dubbed the "proto-evangelion" or "first pronouncement of the Gospel". It is here that the redemption of the now fallen human race is promised.

So what does this all mean? What does it have to do with you and me today? Well, Adam and Eve's sin in the Garden affected all of us. Adam was declared, by God, to be mankind's perfect representative. Not perfect as in he was incapable of failing; but perfect in that all of mankind after him would be of equal character and capability. Therefore, we can never say that if we had been in Adam's place we would not have done the very same thing. It's easy to play Monday-morning quarterback and tell Adam what he should have done. The truth is, we would have fallen just as hard.

But here we have it, a fallen creation. What is God going to do? The more proper question is, what had God already done? The remainder of the Bible is God's revelation of His glorious plan of redemption for fallen mankind. To demonstrate His grace, glory and might, God chooses one man, Abraham, and his people to be the example of all these truths throughout human history. You might say, "why him"? The answer is simply because he was God's choice, period. From the introduction of Abraham, God's dealings with him and his people come to fruition with the entry of the Savior Jesus Christ some two thousand years later. Now, I would be posting forever, if I were to attempt to recap the whole Bible for you. No can do.

Man's fall radically altered his nature. Prior to that fall, man had perfect fellowship with his Creator and could stand before Him without a mediator. With his fall man did die just as God warned him. He died spiritually and volitionally, the instant he ate the fruit. Man's physical death was progressive with time. That spiritual and volitional death made man completely unresponsive to God. Man no longer wanted to be with God, nor obey God, nor love God. With the onset of spiritual and volitional death, men became haters of God and set out to be their own god. This all was to the absolute delight of the Adversary.

Now I ask you, if you were the Adversary how far would you go to prevent man from ever be reconciled to the God you hate more than anything in the universe? Would you influence man to worship himself or gods that didn't exist? Man is incurably religious. Yes, even the atheists. We will worship something or some one; it's built into us. Whether it's money, power, sex, self, science, allah, Oprah or Obama, we will worship something. The Adversary is very aware of this; so would it not be a useful tool in your tool belt to have as many false religions around as possible in order to keep men off the trail of the true God? Wouldn't it be amiable to your cause if you could keep people so distracted by economic issues and wars and racism and various supposed rights? Wouldn't you prop up false teachers who come performing signs and wonders that they claim come direct from heaven's throne-room? Wouldn't you promise prosperity, health and influence if it would keep people from reading the truth from Scripture? Speaking of Scripture wouldn't you do your best to discredit the Bible and make it seem unreliable and irrelevant? Wouldn't you promote killing more potential believers in Christ by killing them in the womb? Wouldn't you place innocent children in homosexual homes in order to completely obliterate their understanding of sexual roles?

How far would you go if you knew that there's no way in heaven you can strike directly at God Himself? How far would you go having already been kicked out of heaven and knowing that you ultimate home is hell and eternal torment? Would you drag as many as you could to go down with you? satan would and he's working on it while your sleeping.

Of course, all our modern knowledge will tell you that this is all mythology. That this is insecure man's way of dealing with the unknown. Science has proven that we all come from slime, hasn't it? Or could that be another of the Adversary's ploys to keep you with him where he's going? What say you?

So here it is. What has God done to make this date with the devil avoidable? Here is the ultimate question? How can a sinful man stand justified before a Holy God? There is only ONE way. Every single human being since Adam's fall in the garden stands condemned before God. Without some kind of intervention on his behalf every man will justly join the Adversary in hell for all eternity for both the infection of original sin AND the actual sins every man commits. God has only one penalty for sin, that penalty is death(Romans 6:23a, " For the wages of sin is death . . .). There's no community service, there's no paying a fine, there is only death. God is just and therefore He must punish sin, every man's sin. But God is also loving and He does not want to banish His entire creation to hell. So what was required was that someone would fulfill all (each and every one) of God's righteous laws and live a perfect life (in word, thought and deed). This perfect man would also have to pay the penalty due to those who had sinned against God and endure their punishment in their place. This is because God had decreed that without the shedding of blood there is NO forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22, "Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins."). It's God's rule, deal with it!

I submit to you that the man who accomplished this task was none other than Jesus Christ, the ultimate seed promised to Adam and Eve way back in Genesis. Jesus was the seed of the woman and He is also the Son of the living God, the triune God. This second person of the Godhead was given human flesh in the womb of the virgin Mary and was born into the world of sinful man. He lived 33 years without so much as a sinful dream, fulfilling the law and willfully laid down His sinless life on the cross of Calvary. His death and His death alone was sufficient to satisfy this just demands of Holy God for sin. And because Jesus was sinless death could not keep Him and God raised Him from the dead. This gracious act of God now paved the way for sinful man to be born again and reconciled to God. This miraculous act, planned before the world was ever created, enabled God to carry out His justice while at the same time extend mercy to repentant sinners. It is often said that in this transaction, mercy and justice kissed each other.

What is required now is that man confess and repent that he is a fallen, rebellious and sinful creature who is in need of a Savior; if he is to avoid the Adversary's fate. Man must place his trust in Jesus Christ ALONE for the forgiveness of his sin and rebellion. This being done, God has promised that that man shall in no way be condemned. His sins will be forgiven and the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to his account. This is indeed GOOD NEWS for sinners like me and you! The only catch is that you must accept this good news now, today. Because a day is coming when God is going to settle all accounts. We don't know when that day is; it could be one hundred years from now. It also could be tomorrow. And it would be the tragedy of tragedies to appear before the judgment seat of Almighty God and utter these bewildered words: "What? You mean it was true!"

I know there will be severe objections to what I have written here. If you were satan, wouldn't you have objections?

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!! (Acts 17:3)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What? You Mean It Was True!!! (Part II)

When last we left our Hero, He had given specific instructions to the first man and woman to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. An intruder, however, has come into the garden to tempt sweet innocent Eve . . .

As any good husband would, Adam warned his wife about God's instructions. However, Eve got the story a little twisted. The Adversary (disguised as a serpent) asked her: "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'"? You see, this was a very loaded question. First of all, God never said that Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat from "any tree in the garden". He only forbade the tree in the center of the garden; the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Second, the Adversary was subtly bringing doubt on the Word of God. To this very day, God is being charged with things that He has never said in His Word and He is being misrepresented by distortions of what He has said in His Word. As we are about to see, loose lips certainly do sink ships.

Oblivious to the Adversary's ploy, Eve volunteers a distortion of her own. She stated that God said, " We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Notice the subtle addition that she made, "neither shall you touch it". God never said that. You might say "big deal, if they didn't touch it; they certainly couldn't eat from it". This is true, however, it gave the serpent more to work with in inducing doubt into Eve about her Creator.

Now the serpent lowers the boom, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”. The Adversary audaciously impugns the character of God. By this statement he accuses the triune God of lying, jealousy and insecurity. Assailing God's character, casting doubt on the veracity of His Word(s) and portraying Him as an evil dictator has been the serpents tactic since the garden and he continues it to this very day. As I previously stated, the adversary is powerless before the triune God; so his only hope is to distort Him to us or destroy us in order to get at Him.

So what was Adam doing during this dialogue between his wife and the talking snake? Well Scripture makes it clear that he was right there with Eve, yet he said nothing. I can't begin to explain this. As you might have guessed Eve, drawn by the beauty of the tree's fruit, eats and also gets silent Adam to join in. If I may come to ol' Adam's defense for just a moment, when a beautiful naked woman asks you to have some fruit . . . you have some fruit!

With this act all creation is cast into utter bondage. This act of disobedience to the clear command of God introduces that thing which severs man from his creator and deprives man of spiritual, volitional, and ultimately physical life. That thing is SIN. You might say, "is it really that deep"? Yes, it is. Wrapped up in that little piece of fruit was mankind's whole future. Had they obeyed and not eaten the fruit Adam and Eve and thereby all of their descendants would have lived forever in perfection with their triune God. By eating the fruit, they committed treason on the grandest scale against their triune God and ushered in all of the evil, sickness, war, famine, pestilence and death that you see overrunning our world today.

You are probably saying that that is much too great a penalty for such a simple transgression. It was just a piece of fruit. Consider who was transgressed against in this event. This triune God is the more than the supreme example of holiness, goodness, truth, justice, love, mercy, faithfulness, power or any other superlative you can think of. HE is the being who gives these words their meaning . . . and then some!!! Adam and Eve by their disobedience sided with and trusted a snake. Need I say more. The question that now might be asked is, is the triune God petty and vindictive in banning the first couple from His garden and declaring their death? ABSOLUTELY NOT! As I said, He already knew what was going to happen and He already planned the outcome. This outcome would be the most glorious outcome "inconceivable" . . .

Is it all over for Adam and Eve? Has the Adversary overthrown God's creation? Is God wringing His hands in despair? Is Obama really a muslim? The answer to these questions and more, next time when: The Umpire Strikes Back!

Be Like the Berans, Baby!!! (Acts 17:11)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What? You Mean It Was True!!! (Part I)

What I have in mind for the next few posts isn't for you. "You" being my readers who are my brothers and sisters in Jesus the Christ. Of course I still want you to read it; but it's really for the unbelievers out there. What are the chances that there are actually unbelievers who read this blog? Well, being a Christian I don't believe in chance. And being a reformed Christian, I believe that if it is God's will, He will providentially lead that unbeliever whom He wants to read it directly to this blog . . . even if the unbeliever thinks it's an accident.

I have recently been thinking about how this blog and many of my buddy-bloggers (see my blogroll) have been battling a lot of in-house (?) problems. We are usually sounding the alarm against the false teachers out there and decrying the unbiblical trends that are developing in the church. I realized that as far as my blog is concerned, I had never extensively addressed the unbelievers. I guess that's because I didn't think many would ever read this blog. Charge it to a lapse in my reformed thinking. So, Mr. or Ms. unbeliever . . . this one is for you!

I realize that there are many different kinds of unbelievers out there. You have your Richard Dawkins/Michael Hitchens/Bill Maher-types who nothing short of a slap in the face by Jesus Himself will convince. You also have the "I believe in God, just not the God of Christianity"-types. And then there's the type I really want to engage: the "I'll listen to what you have to say and I'll give it some serious thought"-types. I pray that at least these last two groups will hear me out.

Humor me for the next few posts and assume that there exists an infinite, all-powerful, all-knowing, loving and just God. This God is the source of all goodness righteousness and justice. And as incomprehensible as it may be; this one God subsists in three distinct persons. I know I'm asking you to go quite far with me; but just hang in there. This God's goodness and glory is of such magnitude that it simply must be displayed. This unbounded goodness cannot be subdued. So in order to give full expression to this glory, this one God takes counsel among His persons. The outcome of this counsel is that this one God will create a universe upon which to display His infinite glory.

The pinnacle of this created universe was man. I say he was the pinnacle of God's creation because it was in man alone that the triune God decided to place His own image. Trust me, that's no small deal. As with all finite creatures mankind had to start with the first man; let's call him "Adam". The triune God (one God who subsists in three distinct persons)created a planet, Earth, and on that planet created a garden and gave it to Adam to live in. After an undetermined amount of time God observed that Adam needed a mate; so He removed one of Adam's ribs and created "Eve", the first woman. As was His prerogative, the triune God laid down some regulations for Adam and Eve. These were no mere suggestions; but the very grounds on which their continued existence in the garden were based. Little did Adam and Eve realize that God already knew that they would fail to obey the regulations. You see, God had plans that were much larger than just giving the first couple a nice place to live. As I said, this triune God's goodness and unbounded glory simply must be displayed. So God had already prepared a plan that would display that glory in the most significant way conceivable.

What were these regulations? Well, there were a few but the most important one had to do with the first couple's diet. Basically, they could eat anything the land produced except the fruit of one particular tree. This tree was in the center of the garden and God had enriched the fruit of this particular tree with the ability to give its eater the God-like knowledge of good and evil. God warned Adam that this tree was off limits. They could eat from any other tree; but eating of this tree was strictly forbidden. In fact, He made it clear to Adam that should he or Eve eat the fruit of this tree; they would surely die! This regulation served as a test of the first couple's trust and willingness to obey their Creator. Their decision in regard to this regulation would also have enduring consequences for their progeny; for the triune God had determined that Adam would represent all of mankind in this test. The blessings of his obedience would be imputed to all of his descendants. The curse of his disobedience would also be imputed to all of his descendants. The theological big-brains call this the Covenant of Works.

Among the triune God's other creations were the angels. No long lesson on angels here; let's just say they all didn't remain true to their Creator. One in particular got really full of himself and tried to lead a coup. Well, God laid the smackdown on him and he never got over it. We'll call this erstwhile angel, "the Adversary". This is a very apt name because he is stridently against anything the triune God is in favor of or is favorable toward. One thing that it is very important to understand about the Adversary is that he is a creature. He is not some evil doppelganger of the triune God. Although as a former angelic being he has much greater than human strengths and abilities; he is a mere flea before the might of the triune God. Nonetheless, he does come in handy to God in the ultimate display of His unbounded goodness and glory.

Meanwhile back in the garden . . . Adam and Eve are walking through when Eve's attention is attracted by a talking snake (go figure!). By means way to complicated to explain here, the Adversary is allowed to spiritually in habit a serpent. Somehow Eve is not startled by the discovery of this loquacious reptile. And as is his penchant, the Adversary begins to cast aspersions on the character of the triune God. He asked Eve whether God said that she could eat from the tree in the center of the garden (the one with the fruit that would make them know good and evil). . .

Will Eve hold a conversation with a snake? Or will she realize that the snake speaketh with a forked-tongue? Will Adam intervene and defend his wife? Or will they take the snake's bait? For the answer to these questions and more be sure to tune in next week for: The Fall of Man!

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!! (Acts 17:11)

Friday, August 29, 2008

You Can't Spell "Morality" Without G-O-D

I said that I wasn't going to do it; but I did. I watched Obama's speech last night and I must say that I wasn't disappointed. I wasn't disappointed because I expected him to give an eloquent and persuasive speech. I also expected him to give a speech totally void of a godly perspective. As I said, I wasn't disappointed.

Sure, he spoke of opportunities for education for all people. Sure, he spoke of re-establishing America as the beacon of hope for the world. Sure, he spoke of sacrifice and individual responsibility. He spoke of finding common ground between those who are pro-death and those who are pro-life. He spoke of finding common ground between those who want to protect the 2nd amendment and those who want complete gun control. He spoke of finding common ground between those who want to protect our borders and those who want to fling them open. All very fair proposals. However, Obama and his minions continue to overlook (perhaps ignore) one very simple, yet indispensible fact. A fact that he, as a professed Christian and as one who respects the "Great Teacher", should understand . . . the fact that morality apart from God is still SIN.

I have no doubt that Obama wants to achieve what he spoke of last night; but just as he accused his opponent "he just doesn't get it". As a Christian he should realize that mixing pagan/godless morality with the truth of God will not work. Has he not understood what caused Old Testament Israel to be sent into exile? The very same syncretic dabbling with paganism in which the church and our country is engaged today. Christians like Obama and our society in general compromise God's clear denunciation of abortion homosexuality, etc. under the guise of tolerance and inclusion. DO NOT BE DECEIVED; GOD IS NOT MOCKED (Gal 6:7)!!!

Doesn't anyone get it that the material ills this country is currently enduring are merely the symptoms of our true and more deadly affliction? We have abandoned God just like the Israelites. We simply cannot flout God's righteous will and expect to prosper.

You believe it's evil for wealth to be concentrated in the hands of so few? Blame the destruction of God's image in millions of womens' wombs every year. Not white people. You believe that the oil companies are evil for profiting so much at our expense and misery? Blame the abomination of homosexuality and homosexual "marriage". Not capitalism. You believe the war in Iraq is evil? Blame the fact that we have allowed God to be removed from the public square.You believe blacks don't have equal opportunities in this country? Blame the religious pluralism and relativism that has gained acceptance even within many of our churches. Blame SIN! You want it to stop? REPENT!

We have millions of professing Christians shouting the praises of God, claiming to love His Word and we don't really believe the prophet Jeremiah (ch.2:5-37):
"Thus says the Lord:
What wrong did your fathers find in me
that they went far from me,
and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?
They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord
who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
who led us in the wilderness,
in a land of deserts and pits,
in a land of drought and deep darkness,
in a land that none passes through,
where no man dwells?’
And I brought you into a plentiful land
to enjoy its fruits and its good things.
But when you came in, you defiled my land
and made my heritage an abomination.
The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’
Those who handle the law did not know me;
the shepherds [1] transgressed against me;
the prophets prophesied by Baal
and went after things that do not profit.

“Therefore I still contend with you,
declares the Lord,
and with your children's children I will contend.
For cross to the coasts of Cyprus and see,
or send to Kedar and examine with care;
see if there has been such a thing.
Has a nation changed its gods,
even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory
for that which does not profit.
Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the Lord,
for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.

“Is Israel a slave? Is he a homeborn servant?
Why then has he become a prey?
The lions have roared against him;
they have roared loudly.
They have made his land a waste;
his cities are in ruins, without inhabitant.
Moreover, the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes
have shaved [2] the crown of your head.
Have you not brought this upon yourself
by forsaking the Lord your God,
when he led you in the way?
And now what do you gain by going to Egypt
to drink the waters of the Nile?
Or what do you gain by going to Assyria
to drink the waters of the Euphrates?
Your evil will chastise you,
and your apostasy will reprove you.
Know and see that it is evil and bitter
for you to forsake the Lord your God;
the fear of me is not in you,
declares the Lord God of hosts.

“For long ago I broke your yoke
and burst your bonds;
but you said, ‘I will not serve.’
Yes, on every high hill
and under every green tree
you bowed down like a whore.
Yet I planted you a choice vine,
wholly of pure seed.
How then have you turned degenerate
and become a wild vine?
Though you wash yourself with lye
and use much soap,
the stain of your guilt is still before me,
declares the Lord God.
How can you say, ‘I am not unclean,
I have not gone after the Baals’?
Look at your way in the valley;
know what you have done—
a restless young camel running here and there,
a wild donkey used to the wilderness,
in her heat sniffing the wind!
Who can restrain her lust?
None who seek her need weary themselves;
in her month they will find her.
Keep your feet from going unshod
and your throat from thirst.
But you said, ‘It is hopeless,
for I have loved foreigners,
and after them I will go.’

“As a thief is shamed when caught,
so the house of Israel shall be shamed:
they, their kings, their officials,
their priests, and their prophets,
who say to a tree, ‘You are my father,’
and to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
For they have turned their back to me,
and not their face.
But in the time of their trouble they say,
‘Arise and save us!’
But where are your gods
that you made for yourself?
Let them arise, if they can save you,
in your time of trouble;
for as many as your cities
are your gods, O Judah.

“Why do you contend with me?
You have all transgressed against me,
declares the Lord.
In vain have I struck your children;
they took no correction;
your own sword devoured your prophets
like a ravening lion.
And you, O generation, behold the word of the Lord.
Have I been a wilderness to Israel,
or a land of thick darkness?
Why then do my people say, ‘We are free,
we will come no more to you’?
Can a virgin forget her ornaments,
or a bride her attire?
Yet my people have forgotten me
days without number.

"How well you direct your course
to seek love!
So that even to wicked women
you have taught your ways.
Also on your skirts is found
the lifeblood of the guiltless poor;
you did not find them breaking in.
Yet in spite of all these things
you say, ‘I am innocent;
surely his anger has turned from me.’
Behold, I will bring you to judgment
for saying, ‘I have not sinned.’
How much you go about,
changing your way!
You shall be put to shame by Egypt (Iran, Russia, China)
as you were put to shame by Assyria (Iraq).
From it too you will come away
with your hands on your head,
for the Lord has rejected those in whom you trust,
and you will not prosper by them".

It's deja vu, all over again. Those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it.

To our shame, far too many professing Christians are cut from the same cloth as Obama. Our Christianity does not pierce to the level of our lives and actions (or even our vote). Someone I know opined that maybe Obama doesn't realize that abortion is a sin. Maybe . . . but WE do! So how can we tolerate by our vote that which God hates? We continue to place culture above Christ; color above conviction. Perhaps color is our only conviction.

Please do not construe this as an endorsement of John McCain either. The republicans have held the white house for 8 years and the congress for 6 and no legislation protecting life or traditional marriage has been passed. They have miserably failed on their promise.

You like prophecy? Here's a little prophecy for you. If this country does not change course (and I'm not talking about that vacuous/godless nonsense Obama spouts) we will go the way of Old Testament Israel. WE will be defeated and we will learn the hard way what happens to those who forsake God. We will owe Jeremiah Wright an apology. God will "damn" America if we persist not in mistreating black people; but in mistreating Him and His revealed will. Take that to the bank.

Last night Obama promised a godless morality. He promised the good at the cost of the best. I believe he can deliver . . . and that scares the hell out of me.

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!! (Acts 17:11)

Friday, August 22, 2008

God's Inner Conflict?

At last someone has said something dumb enough to break my blogger's block!

In Monday's (8/18) USA Today op-ed page, a Mr. Thomas Dunham of Hillsdale, Illinois commented on the use of the phrase "Act of God", calling it a "misnomer". He stated that it is wrong to attribute floods and hurricanes, etc. to God; and that they should be attributed to satan. The statement he made that got my blogging juices flowing was: "God is love. He can do no other besides love".

Now, I never deny that we have a loving God. The Scriptures make that clear (I John 4:8); but far too many Christians trumpet God's love at the expense of His holiness and justice. God is love AND God is Just! Again, I find this to be another horrendous example of how people have created a god after their own image.

Has anyone read the oft neglected book of Nahum recently? Here's how God describes Himself . . .

"The Lord is a jealous and avenging God;
the Lord is avenging and wrathful;
the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries
and keeps wrath for his enemies" Nahum 1:2

"Who can stand before his indignation?
Who can endure the heat of his anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire,
and the rocks are broken into pieces by him.
The Lord is good,
a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refuge in him.
But with an overflowing flood
he will make a complete end of the adversaries,
and will pursue his enemies into darkness" Nahum 1:6-8

"Behold, I am against you,
declares the Lord of hosts,
and will lift up your skirts over your face;
and I will make nations look at your nakedness
and kingdoms at your shame.
I will throw filth at you
and treat you with contempt
and make you a spectacle" Nahum 3:5-6

Now, of course these words were directed to the cruel and godless Ninevites and I'm not saying this is the reason behind every flood or hurricane; but does God feel any different toward His enemies today? I think not, as He says in Malachi 3:6, "For I the Lord do not change . . ."

Maybe the reason there is so little awe of God (even in His church) is that in an attempt to be His "public relations men" we have not proclaimed ALL the attributes of God. Maybe by playing up God as doting grandfather and playing down God the Just Judge, we have led folks to believe that they can live however they please and even if they are wrong God will just "understand".

We should not be afraid of God (that is if you are His); but we should still reverence Him and tremble at His awesome might and holiness. And this trembling, paradoxically, should be the most reassuring and comforting thing in the world to us. For if this awesome, mighty and holy God tells us He loves us and that nothing can separate us from Him; we should be the most confident, assured and obedient people on the face of the earth.

On the other hand, the unbeliever should be afraid . . . VERY AFRAID. For he is an enemy of God:

"remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world" Eph 2:12.

God's love is NOT at war with His justice. God is to be glorified for every saints he brings into heaven; and God is to be glorified for every sinner He condemns to hell. The saint receives mercy instead of justice, the sinner receives justice instead of mercy; neither saint nor sinner receives injustice. God is Holy.

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!! (Acts 17:11)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I Got Nuthin'!!!

Hi folks! I know that I was supposed to be back with more riveting commentary for you after July 7th; but I presently have the world's worst case of blogger's block. I've scoured my brain, I've prayed and I've even considered borrowing other people's material! But still . . . I got nuthin'!

As has been my pledge, I refuse to throw meaningless filler out there. And I realize this can cost me some readership. I just hope that you'll bear with me and know that when something worthwhile hits me, you'll be the first to know!

To quote a famous actor-turned-governor, "I'll be back"!

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kickin' It With the Canucks

No, I haven't become extremely lazy. I'm across the northern border in Montreal, Canada doing more training for the job. So I won't be posting until after July 6. I'll miss you guys! See you when I get back!!!

Viva la reformation!!!

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The "Aha" Moment: Why It's Right to Be Reformed (Part III)

Another defining mark of Reformed theology is its view of the Church of Jesus Christ. With the recent debate over the statements made by the likes of
Jeremiah Wright and Father Michael Pfleger and the renewed interest in black liberation theology; it is of paramount importance that the biblical definition of the "church" be clearly understood. It is here, as with all of its distinctives, that Reformed theology is more scripturally attuned and intolerant of deviation than any other system of theology.

The first thing that must be made clear is that the church is Jesus' church. Therefore as a matter of biblical fact there is no Baptist church, no Methodist church, no Pentacostal church, no "my" church and no "your" church. There certainly is no "black" church or no "white" church. At best (or worst, depending on your perspective) these adjectives can only be justly applied to traditions; which ironically Jesus said make void the word of God and cause men to leave the commandment of God. The church is the exclusive possession of Jesus Christ, it is His standards which determine what a true church is and not ours. So what does He say, through Scripture, are the marks of a true church? What does reformed theology demand?

1. The preaching of the Gospel

2. The Biblical administration of the sacraments

3. The faithful exercise of Biblical discipline

There are longer lists but if these three are missing none of the rest matter. This is the viewpoint that was an integral part of the Protestant Reformation. The very event that Reformed theology is founded upon and (truth be told) in which each of the previously mentioned "traditions" and more are rooted.

"The protestant Reformation presented people with many serious issues . . . Both Rome and Protestants claimed to be the true church, each denouncing the other as a false church. Additionally, there were Anabaptists and other sects which condemned both Rome and Protestant congregations as false churches. Today, the problem is exacerbated by a myriad of religious assemblies, all claiming the title of Christ's church . . . In a most practical manner, these marks provide the believer with a measure by which to evaluate a local congregation before joining it. If the marks are conspicuous, we may join with a clear conscience, knowing it to be a genuine Christian congregation. If these three marks are not plainly manifest, we should look elsewhere; we are not obligated to join an assembly which does not exhibit the marks of a true church" (Kevin Reed, "The Marks of the Church").

What marks the "popular" church today? The preaching of the Gospel is inconspicuous by its abscence. Instead we have the prosperity gospel, which is no gospel at all. We have "seeker-sensitive churches" which cater to those who only can seek fleshy desires and not the Jesus of Scripture. For Scripture states clearly that "There is none who seeks after God" (Romans 3:11b). We have a plethora of female pastors, bishops and even apostles when the Bible clearly states: "Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor" (I Timothy 2:11-14). We have "church" leaders sitting down to meet with unrepentant homosexual "christians" in order to gain "understanding". The Bible, however, clearly commands that we are " . . . not to associate with sexually immoral people . . . I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one". We still have "churches" asking the spiritually dead to make a "decision" for Christ, when Scripture plainly teaches that: "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned" (I Corinthians 2:14). They expect the unregenerate to use his "free will" when the Scriptures proclaims, " . . . it depends NOT on human will or exertion, but on GOD, who has mercy" (Romans 9:16). "CEO's have replaced pastors, psychology has replaced theology and marketing has replaced evangelism" (Os Guiness, Prophetic Untimeliness)

Church discipline has all but gone out of the window in today's "church". Sheer size alone allows grievous sins to go unchecked. Couples living together outside of wedlock, unrepentant homosexuals and adulterers share in the Lord's Supper without fear of reprisal. While the "leadership" does little more than comically chide the guilty from the pulpit, they carry on searing their hearts against the truth.

In the Church that is Reformed, the sermon is not complete that does not end up at the cross of Jesus Christ. The person and work of Jesus Christ is the focus of all Reformed teaching. Man's sinfullness is never neglected or shoved under the rug. The reformed realize that it is only against the backdrop of man's utter guilt and rebellion against a just and Holy God that the glory of the Gospel burns brightest.
The "popular" church "finds the preaching of 'repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ'(Acts 20:21) too simple a remedy to be effective against the ills of the world, Christ insists that . . . such preaching will produce a result far out of proportion to the means employed" (Joel R. Beeke, How the Kingdom Comes, Tabletalk vol. 32, #6, p.39).

Reformed theology is by its very definition a return to the biblical foundation of the church. Its concern with sound doctrine and faithfulness to the apostolic teaching find it more consistent with these marks than any other theology. The knock against this throughout time has been that this insistence on theological precision has made reformed christians cold and unfeeling; "the Frozen Chosen". Certainly, there have been those who have given evidence for this stereotype. However, those who have allowed the lofty truths of the reformed perspective to "freeze" them have only themselves to blame. It has been my experience that the biblical understanding of the love displayed by a holy and just God whom I have brazenly offended and yet has planned my redemption before the world began; motivates me to joy beyond my ability to explain.

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!(Acts 17:11)

For greater depth on the marks of a true church please view this article from A Puritan's Mind: "Is Your Church a Biblical Church?"

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The "Aha" Moment: Why It's Right to Be Reformed (Part II)

Before I dive into Part II here I would like to clear up something from my last post. From my description of us believers as "wretches" and "worms", some might get the impression that Christians have to be miserable and haters of themselves in order to be pleasing to God. Nothing can be further from the truth. What we do have to realize and admit about ourselves is the condition we were in before God the Holy Spirit regenerated us from spiritual death. Let's face it before we are born again we may think that we are fine, upstanding and beautiful people. We think that if there is a "God" he sure ought to be impressed with us because, we're good enough, we're smart enough and gosh darn it people like us! The truth is; however, prior to rebirth we are vile creatures in God's eyes. We are covenant-breaking, God-hating, rebellious sinners. After being saved and honestly looking back at who we truly were should cause to understand that were worse than "wretches" and "worms". But God . . .

What we need is God's view of us. We, as his children, are now certainly precious in His sight. But we must acknowledge (and therefore tell the unbeliever) that prior to salvation we are abhorrent things and nothing short of the saving grace of God is able to change that. The truth is also; however, that we still have a bent toward that. Without the restraining power of the Holy Spirit, even in our regenerated condition we still sin. That capacity to still sin is still vile in God's sight. The Puritans put it this way:

"O Fountain of All Good,
Destroy in me every lofty thought,Break pride to pieces and scatter it to the winds,
Annihilate each clinging shred of self-righteousness,
Implant in me true lowliness of spirit,
Abase me to self-loathing and self-abhorrence,
Open in me a fount of penitential tears,
Break me, then bind me up;
Thus will my heart be a prepared dwelling for my God;
Then can the Father take up His abode in me,
Then can the blessed Jesus come with healing in His touch,
Then can the Holy Spirit descend in sanctifying grace . . ."
(The Valley of Vision, edited by Arthur Bennett, p.8)

This is the type of submitted contrition that comes from the Reformed perspective.

Now on with part deux . . .

Why is it right to be Reformed? Because of Reformed theology's relentless submission to the authority of Scripture. For the Reformed, the Holy Bible is without exception the final rule for his faith and practice. The reformed person bows his knees to Holy Writ no matter how much his personal situation may beg him to do otherwise. The reformed believer filters every suggestion, idea, impulse, teaching, action, thought, word, dream, etc. through a biblical grid. In other words the Reformed believer maintains a biblical worldview (for the easily offended: I realize that no one does this perfectly).

Here is an excellent distillation of the Reformed view of Holy Scripture from the Westminster Confession of Faith(chapter 1, section 1):

" Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His Church; and afterwards for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which makes the Holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God's revealing His will unto His people being now ceased"

Now it's not my intention here to go into the proofs for the veracity of Scripture or to define the proper method of biblical interpretation. What I want to submit for your consideration is one perspective on the Bible that I have found to be foundational to the Reformed perspective. And that is . . . the Bible is not about us. The Bible is God's book, God's HIStory, God's historic plan of redemption for His fallen creation.

As I alluded to in my last post, the normal conceptions of the Bible are inadequate. It is not just a "good book" of the "instruction manual for life". These perspectives necessarily place mankind in the spotlight of Scripture. No perspective could be more wrong. Jesus Christ and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is carefully crafted into every page of Scripture; and if you do not find Him . . . you ain't readin' it right!!! If there was movie poster for the Bible, top billing would be given to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Man would not be found until you read the scribble at the bottom of the poster!

Of course, this runs contrary to our "it's all about me", "gotta get my needs met" mentality. Well, we either get over that or we live far short of glorifying God. "Choose this day whom you will serve . . ." For the Reformed, to compromise Scripture is to violate God. Therefore the commitment to the study of Scripture and to rightly divide the Word of Truth is right up there with breathing. The Reformed believer is never embarrassed by the wrath of God nor over-reaching in the love of God because he allows Scripture to tell him who God is not modern psychology. He stands in awe of the God who deigns to reveal Himself in the words of Holy, infallible and inerrant Writ.

Many might say, this view of Scripture is held by all Christians. I'll close with one final statement. Have you watched TBN, lately?

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The "Aha" Moment: Why It's Right to Be Reformed (Part I)

Many great men of far far greater theological acumen than myself have attempted to explain Reformed Theology. In fact, I have absolutely nothing to add that can improve on what has already been done. My hope, however, is to exacerbate that faint notion that someone out there may be having that something just isn't right. That peace-robbing drip in the back of someone's brain that is saying there's something missing in their current walk with God. I'm hoping there is somebody out there who has experienced the fulfilling of the "prophecy", they have seen their debt miraculously removed and they've witnessed the healing from the deadly disease; but they still are not satisfied. I'm praying that these next few posts find their way into the hands of someone who has experienced great victories and yet still feels like something is missing. I'm asking the Lord to allow these weak little seeds to be the seeds of someone's "Aha" moment.

What do I mean by an "Aha" moment? I think the best description that I have heard of it comes from a new book by Rev. Richard D. Phillips entitled, "What's So Great About the Doctrines of Grace". In this passage he is addressing the doctrines of grace specifically; but I believe his words can be applied to Reformed theology as a whole . . .

"There are moments in life you never forget: the first time you kiss your spouse, the birth of your first child, your favorite baseball team finally winning the World Series. For many of us, the awakening of our minds to the sovereignty of God is one of these unforgettable moments. “It's like being born again, again,” many Christians remark after their faith is renewed by an understanding of the doctrines of grace. Everything changes. It is not that they begin to trust God—all believers must trust God—but that they see the truth about the God they trust" (pg.1).

In my conversations with friends who have received the Reformed faith, "Aha" moments are certainly more the norm than the exception. Over the next few posts, I would like to share with you my "Aha" moment and then from there attempt to explain why receiving the Reformed faith necessarily leads to such a response.

If you have been reading In Submission to Sovereignty for any length of time, you probably know that I am formerly a member of New Birth Miss. Baptist Church(1990-2001). The circumstances of my joining and my leaving New Birth are not truly germane to this topic so I won't venture down that trail for now. Suffice it to say, that a preponderance of events culminating in a farce of a fundraising ploy really let me know that it was time to go. But go where and to what? Everything I knew at that time would lead me back to a church cut from the same cloth.

By God's design, at this same time I had recently been hired (2000) by my current employer (Mesaba Airlines) as a pilot. I was based in Detroit, MI so my wife and I were considering a move north. After my first winter up there, I decided that there was no way on earth I was going to endure those winters so we resolved that we would continue to live in Georgia and that I would commute to work. Commuting to work in Detroit meant long waits in airports and frequent overnights away from home. It was during this ordeal that I discovered books. They were cheap, you didn't need special equipment to operate them and heck, time really flies when you read 'em!

I can't exactly recall how I decided to read it; but, the first book on reformed theology that I read was "Back to Basics: Rediscovering the Richness of the Reformed Faith" by Douglas J. Wilson, et al. That was followed by "Knowing God" by J. I. Packer. And the trifecta was completed by R. C. Sproul's "Grace Unknown" (now retitled-"What is Reformed Theology") What each of these three books consistently teach is the sovereignty of God in ALL things and His rightful place at the epicenter of the Christian faith. They also constantly drove me back to Scripture.

I know many would say that all Christians recognize the sovereignty of God and keep Him at the center of their faith. I would slightly adjust that to all true Christians do exactly that. What these books helped me to realize was that like many professing Christians, I had been primarily interested in the benefits of Jesus Christ rather than Jesus Christ Himself.

While obeying Paul's admonition to examine myself (II Corinthians 13:5), I found that like many professing Christians I had been paying lip-service to the notion than man is a fallen creature; therefore I, too, am fallen. I discovered that God's purpose in all things is primarily His glory; not my happiness. I learned that although the Bible is a "good book" and that it contains "the instructions"; it is God's self-revelation. The Bible is God's story, God's record of His historical plan for the redemption of a mass of fallen creatures all for the purpose of His glory.

Now, to my old way of thinking this information would cause me to recoil from God in horror and disgust. This was because it made God seem like some kind of narcissistic glory hog . . . like us. But what these books also made clear was that as the utterly holy, utterly good and utterly perfect being that he is; God is utterly worthy of all the glory the universe can muster and then some . . . unlike us. They made it clear that there can be no narcissism or glory hogging where God is concerned, because He is worthy. He is all that, the bag, the chips, the t-shirt, the way, the truth and the life! And the realization of this caused my knees to bend and to worship Him in spirit and truth as I never had before.

That was the "Aha"! That God is so so much much more more than guaranteed health, wealth and security. That His glory is the reason for my life. That my sin is no minor indiscretion, mistake or faux pas; it is cosmic treason and rebellion against a Holy God who by all rights demands my death. Yet in a glorious display of mercy, grace and love poured out His just wrath on His sinless Son INSTEAD OF ME! And now sees me as if I had never sinned! And He put a cherry on the top by making me, a guilty sinner, a co-heir with that same sinless Son!!! What kind of God is this?! How do I ever find myself not worshiping Him?

I have observed that our society in this country makes it very hard to admit these things of God. We put men on the moon, we have the Internet, we were personally offended when the USA Men's basketball team was defeated in the world games. Even the Christians among us; do we really believe the "wretch" part when we sing "Amazing Grace" or that "such a worm as I" stuff. Do we not in our heart of hearts ever say, "yeah, but as far as worms go I'm a pretty darn good worm"! What my "Aha" moment revealed to me is that judging by the things that go through my mind when even the most average of young ladies cross my path or the things I sometimes think about doing to my wife when she makes me angry; calling me a worm is an insult to worms.

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:4-10).

I leave you with these words by Terry L. Johnson from his great book, "When Grace Comes Home":

" . . . I hadn't really dealt with God except to treat Him as a personal asset. He was there for me. Of course, this is how so much of today's Bible teaching makes it seem. God is portrayed as the Ultimate Helper in dealing with self-image, anger, decision-making, fear, relationships, finances, etc. When I realized that He had saved me and that I was in His sovereign hand, it reordered my perspective. I came to realize both that He was far beyond the little boxes I had constructed for Him and that I was there for Him, not Him for me. It made me bow in adoration before the God who I was made to glorify" (pg.19-20).

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!! (Acts 17:11)

If you have had an "Aha" moment with Reformed theology, please feel free to share it with us in the comments section. I look forward to reading about them!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Justification by Slavery Alone

I argue with my mother a lot. Not in a way that I break the fifth commandment; but we do go at it. Most of our arguments are over (you guessed it): politics and religion. You see, Mom was raised in the south (Augusta, Georgia) came up through segregation and the civil rights era. Yes, she had to ride on the back of the bus and she had to drink from the "colored only" water fountain. She was called "nigger" and MacDonald's would only serve her if she went to the back door of the restaurant. So she feels that since I was spared all of these dehumanizing events I have no clue as to why we black folk can't just forgive and forget.

I know it doesn't compare in magnitude; but I have to remind her that I have had a taste of racism in my life also. I grew up in the Bronx during the 70's and 80's. My friends and I were physically attacked by white boys for riding our bikes through the Castle Hill area while being black. I've been called "nigger" while walking on the street minding my own business. I remember ambulances taking their sweet time to respond to calls from black neighborhoods (911 is a Joke! Thanks, Public Enemy). I remember Crown Heights and Bensonhurst. I can't claim the levels Mom has seen; but I'm not totally unstained by dehumanizing events.

My point here is not so much how my Mom still holds a grudge about these things. It's about how she and so many of her generation (and some of mine) have tricked themselves into believing that having experienced these events,the evils of slavery and racial discrimination are somehow salvific. It's this mindset that fuels the Jeremiah Wrights, Al Sharptons and James Cones of the world. And that is a source of great discomfort for me. Contrary to what my Mom sometimes states, I love my people a great deal. It would be tragic for vast numbers of us to experience the eternal weeping and gnashing of teeth only because we thought we had some sort of "get out of hell free" card because of slavery.

Oddly enough, Mom easily dismisses the facts that we too enslaved people in our history. She forgives the Africans who sold other Africans to the "white man" cheap for slave labor. I guess since all that happened so long ago that makes it okay. I guess it's like us calling each other "nigga". We can do it to each other; but it's off limits to you "white man"!

What Mom and many of us black folk fail to realize is that God is not particularly enamored with us. Yes, black is beautiful, but even "black" shows the stain of sin. You can try soaking it out, you can try scrubbing it out; but it won't come out until the blood of Jesus is applied.

My friend Alex Compere emailed me a very powerful video by Pastor Paul Washer. After viewing it, I watched more of Washer's videos and I thought these two, in particular, spoke to what I'm trying to convey here. The bottom line here is that all of us (black, white, yellow and chartreuse) are sinners from birth. The total depravity of man is a fact that has enabled all the atrocities of history . . . those blacks have committed also! The balancing factor and the only remedy for our sin is the love of God shown through the sacrifice of His son, Jesus. Being black and having survived slavery and racial discrimination may prove our endurance, tenacity and more likely God's grace; but it doesn't guarantee our salvation.

In his epic work "The Institutes of the Christian Religion" John Calvin stated that "without knowledge of self there is no knowledge of God". He also stated, "without knowledge of God there is no knowledge of self". Please watch the following videos . . . in some small way, I hope the first will be seed for a more Scriptural view of ourselves and the second for a more glorifying view of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!(Acts 17:11)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Same-Sex Anti-Marriage and Other Signs of the Apocalypse

Well, it is certainly good to be back! However, I now know how Moses felt. I go up to the mountains for a few weeks and when I come back all hell has broken loose! As I am sure you all know, our wacky neighbors on the "left coast" have decided that their state should recognize the homosexual's "right to choose" to become wedded (I can no longer bring myself to say "married" because that was God's invention and He did not design it for homosexuals). I guess I can't honestly blame everyone in Cali for this decision; after all it was just a bunch of "U.S. Constitutionally-challenged" justices who made the decision. Fret not, they will meet the Righteous Judge one day.

Again, politics is certainly not the warp and woof of this blog; however, a couple of items have come to my attention that simply must be shared. Short of a master stroke of "Bill-like" ingenuity on Hillary's part, the presumptive candidates for president this year will be: Barack Obama and John McCain. This places Christians on the proverbial horns of a dilema. Now, I would not dare attempt to use my blog to attempt to tell anyone who to vote for. I will, however, attempt to influence the reason for your vote.

My position is plain: Christians should not be beholden to ANY political party. As Christians we are to be informed about the candidates and support those whom we have determined (as best as we can) have taken a biblical stand for the issues that confront our country and communities.

I am very familiar with brothers and sisters in Christ who propose that we cannot disqualify a candidate because of his/her position on any one particular issue (it seems uncanny to me that that one issue is always abortion). Frankly, I think they are deceived. If the issue is "life", that is the one issue on which every other conceivable issue is founded upon. God evidently thinks that "life" is so important that He put a pretty strong fence around it . . .

"Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image"(Genesis 9:6).

Then of course comes the dishonest and ill-informed question: "duh, whose to say when 'life' actually begins?" As always, our gracious Father gives the definitive answer . . .

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb"
(Psalm 139:13).

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you . . . (Jeremiah 1:5a)".

Can you handle the truth? A candidate who can't get the "life" issue right can't, from a godly perspective, get any issue right. Then of course comes the defense: "duh, well, you're never gonna find a perfect candidate". How about this, I'll take an imperfect candidate whose imperfection does not include being on the wrong side of the "life" issue!

You might now be thinking, " hey, this is a back door endorsement of John McCain!" Well, you are wrong. I personally think John McCain is like Miller Lite. Call him "Democrat Lite": Same taste as a regular democrat, but with half the guts to actually say so.

The last deception that I want to address is the the deception that "we must support someone who can actually win". Here, again, is where the "American" and the pragmatism is showing up in our Christianity. Whatever happened to being faithful? Why is "winning" the end all be all? Please define "win". Does "win" mean that the guy we voted for got the office or does "win" mean that despite the actual outcome of the election we were true to our God and to our Christian convictions? Is God less apt to complete His agenda because the guy we should be supporting can't "win"? Should we not vote for the more Christ-like candidate regardless of who "wins"? If Satan, himself, "won" the presidency of the United States would not God still be in control? Or is "God is in control" just a cliche'?

It's obvious that God is getting a lot of props during this campaign. Every candidate has made a point of reassuring us of his/her faith in God. Interestingly enough, neither Hillary nor Obama can force themselves to say that a woman carries a living child in her womb from conception. Even when the Bible which they quote and claim to believe teaches that she does. Even when cold science demonstrates this fact. Obama has famously stated that he wouldn't want his daughter to be "punished" with a baby should she accidentally become pregnant. And ol' Johnny Mac once stated that if he learned that his daughter were pregnant and wanted to have an abortion to ease her burden; he would have a family meeting with her and hope she would make the right decision. As Alan Keyes(McCain's opponent during the 2000 primaries)astutely challenged him, "what would you do if your daughter told you she was thinking about killing off grandma to ease the burden on the family"? You see, someone who is authentically "pro-life" will resolutely renounce the taking of innocent life no matter who it is.

That brings me to the real "back door" reason for this blog. There is a candidate currently running for the presidency of the United States of America who is consistently and unabashedly Christian in his stance on all the issues (most importantly "life") facing this country. I invite you to listen to this recent statement that he made and decide for yourself: have you heard this type of absolute Christian conviction from any other candidate you have observed? If you haven't, then why aren't you supporting him also?

Keyes' remarks to supporters following Constitution Party Roll call

Can Alan Keyes actually "win" the presidency of the USA? I'll put it this way: on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 both Alan Keyes and myself will have zero electoral votes. I'm not even running and I will almost beat him. The better question is: should Alan Keyes "win" the votes of Christians? My answer is "yes", what is yours? I will be writing in the name Alan Keyes on November 4, 2008. God will take care of the mess everybody else makes of this place.

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!! (Acts 17:11)

Oh, by the way . . . Keyes is black too! Alan Keyes: America's Revival

Friday, April 18, 2008

Separating the Men from the Rabbits

In general, I would consider myself to be a fairly optimistic person. I believe I have very good reason to be optimistic because I know God wins every time. When it comes to converting false teachers in the church and awakening their ardent followers; however, I have to admit that the prospects of overwhelming success are quite minute. The deceived are content and the deceivers love having it so.

Confronted with this reality, I have often asked myself what would have to happen to change this situation. Today I was reminded of a story that was once emailed to me. It went something like this . . .

"One Sunday morning, Rev. Smith (not his real name)was about to begin his sermon at ____________(insert name)___________(insert denomination)Church. Just as he was about to speak, the doors to the sanctuary were thrown open. Ten masked men, dressed in black and brandishing semi-automatic weapons charged into the room. The leader of the intruders stepped forward and announced, "We are going to kill every Christian in this room. If you wish to live, deny your Christ and we will spare you and let you leave." The men went through the congregation of more than 100 people and demanded their denial of the Lord Jesus. When they were through all that remained were the ten masked men, Rev. Smith and 15 of the congregants. Among those who denied Jesus and fled were: 3 ushers, 6 deacons and the entire mass choir.

When all those who had made their denial were gone, those remaining were gripped with fear as they faced their last moments of life. Just then, the masked man who had issued the ultimatum removed his mask. It was Deacon Jones, a member of the church for over forty years. Deacon Jones smiled broadly and said: "Now that only true Christians are here, Rev. Smith, we can really have church!"

What's your point, Tolbert? My point is: the only thing that will bring out the real church, the invisible church is some good old fashioned persecution. Nothing like a little suffering for Jesus' sake to separate the men from the rabbits! Now, don't get me wrong, I hope it doesn't come to this. I can't even claim to know conclusively that I would pass this supreme test; but it sure would ease those church parking and traffic problems every Sunday morning!

Yes, persecution has that peculiar power to reveal our true character and to display our true allegiances. Undoubtedly, those who are only in this for the big house, the fancy car, and the six-figure income would fold up their tent and try their luck on "Jeopardy" rather than face the big "P". After all, it's hard to enjoy routinely eating at five-star restaurants when you have been disemboweled.

I know, I know, this isn't Nero's Rome. That sort of thing could never happen here . . . right? Well, what if the secular humanism that is gaining so much strength in our society becomes the norm? What if the philosophies of Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher held sway rather than those of our founding fathers (which have lost considerable influence already)? Would the prosperity gospel have the power to sustain its adherents in the face of the loss of home, fortune and freedom. In the face of death for confession of Christ? Would black liberation theology prove to be a mighty fortress against blacks who throw in their lot with anti-Christian forces? Just as in the story, I have a feeling that only those who love the Gospel and love the Jesus of the Gospel would be left if true persecution fell upon us.

I am currently studying the book of Judges and it's words seem very haunting to me. I see so much that the church (the visible church) has in common with the children of Israel. Consider this passage from Judges 2:11-15:

" And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger. They abandoned the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them for harm, as the Lord had warned, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress."

With few alterations, can this not be said of the church(the visible church)today? We have pastors who are not content with one jet, but must have two. We have pastors who are not satisfied with their church building them 10,000sq ft homes, but also must also have attached a 10 million dollar line of credit. We have pastors who have grown weary of their Bentleys and therefore have added Maybachs to their repertoire. All of this while influencing their followers to aspire to the very same things. Can it not be said that the church(the visible church)has fallen into idolatry just like the Israelites? Are we not also kindling the Lord's anger potentially to the point that, for our sake, He must give us over to "plunderers"? Do we not deserve to be "plundered" so that the church(the visible church)may be purged of all those who fake the faith?

I get the feeling that many of us are starting to feel like Deacon Jones in the story. We want to somehow slap the church(the visible church)around and make it come to its senses. Blogs like this give us the opportunity to vent; but we realize that more times than not we are preaching to the choir. Our comfort, however, comes from the secure knowledge that God has dealt with this kind of thing before. God surely will redeem His own.

For our part, we must pray earnestly and remain faithful. We must not delude ourselves into believing that God would not allow the church to be plundered. We must continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. For, " . . . God is not mocked,for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith". Any of this sound familiar?

Now, where did I put my ski mask and grenade-launcher?

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!

Feel like throwing up? Check out Richard Dawkins' website

Friday, April 11, 2008

Renouncing Their Pimp Card

Here's one for the readers. I often wonder, of all the "Pulpit Pimps" out there, who is the most likely to see the light? Which of them is most likely to recant their false teachings, forsake their vast fortunes and start preaching the Gospel?

I realize this is the height of wishful thinking; but let us not forget that God called a former persecutor of the church and made him the Apostle to the gentiles and author of two-thirds of the New Testament. The bottom-line is . . . no one is beyond the power of God to redeem. NOBODY.

So, if you were close to one of the "pimps" that we critique so often on this and like blogs and believe your ex-pimp will turn; tell us why. Perhaps you just have a hunch, who do you think would repent first and why? Dollar, Jakes, Osteen, Meyers? Who could possibly lead the way to a massive renouncing of "pimphood"?

Hey, it could happen.

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I have never waxed political on this blog. This has been my practice because although I have strong political opinions I want this blog to be centered on three topics only: The God of the Bible, The Jesus of the Bible and the Gospel of the Bible. This week's blog, however, is somewhat of an exception . . .

By this time most of you have at least heard about the controversy surrounding presidential candidate, Barack Obama, and his pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright. I don't intend to delve too deeply into what Wright said; but the reaction of some of his followers has truly saddened me.

For the record, I vehemently disagree with Wright's sentiments about the government's creation of HIV as a means of destroying the black race. I vehemently disagree that we brought 9/11 on ourselves. And I will never sing "God @#$% America"; because America is one of the few places left on Earth where Wright could say what he said and not find himself headless 24 hours later. Maybe if Wright took off the dashiki, turned his calendar to 2008 rather than 1968 and preached the Jesus of the Bible rather than the "Jesus" that James Cone told him about; he would understand that the "white man" is not our problem. Besides, there's a plane or a boat leaving America every 10 minutes. Anybody with that much against the country should be on one of them.

And is the government only out to get black folks when a republican is in the white house or also when a democrat is in there? If not, why didn't any of the democrat presidents expose the black-hating republican regimes and retain power forever?

Frankly, the government would be cutting its own throat by getting rid of us. Why would they want to kill us off when we are, almost singlehandedly, keeping the sport shoe, music, sports, designer clothing, child legal and abortion industries etc. afloat! We are the biggest consumers in the history of mankind and all these industries pay taxes to the government. The bottom line is that the government's favorite color is neither white nor black. It's GREEN! And whomever keeps it comin' for the government is it's darling. The government needs us!

The real shame is on the people of Trinity United Church of Christ. I watched the news in horror Monday evening as person after person expressed their support for this vulgar, gospel-free performer. Actually, I should not have been surprised; but this level of credulity was just incredible. One truly clueless member proudly proclaimed that "whatever Dr. Wright says I support him". I suppose that if Wright said this ignoramus' mother was a hamster, he'd support him in that too!

As I watched helplessly, I told my wife that anyone who was not sure and was watching this report would have to come away saying, "black people are stupid". They'd have to think we are mindless sheep and honestly, it hurts. It hurts not only because it's not true of all of us; it hurts because those of us who have half a brain will be condemned by the truly mindless ones. If any of those members of Trinity United Church of Christ were to stand up and say Wright was wrong, he'd be automatically branded as a traitor. He would be accused of hating his own race or being full of self-hatred. The truth simply does not matter to the people who would do this. Instead of standing on the infallible words of an invincible Creator. Instead of confronting the evils of racism and division the way He has commanded, they would rather play the victim. It hurts.

Al Sharpton, in his denouncing of the US' invading Iraq, said that Iraq didn't send those planes into the World Trade Center. He claimed that the perpetrators were in Afghanistan not Iraq. I ask my people: does the government have a 69% out of wedlock birth rate? We do. Does the government make up only 12.9% of the US population; but is responsible for 35.1% of the abortions in the US? We are. Does the government have an 11% high school dropout rate? We do. Perhaps it is us who are fighting the wrong enemy. Perhaps it is us who should pull out our troops from this truly unjust war.

Now, before you send all your comments about how much of a race traitor I am; and how much I sound like the "white man", etc. Let me say unreservedly that I am proud to be a black man. Wouldn't trade it for another race on the planet. But the truth is we have planks in our own eyes brethren and it is passed time that we deal with them forthrightly.

Can you handle the truth? Despite the various colors, shades and hues we come in there are really only two types of people on this Earth: the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). That is, those who are the redeemed children of God and those who are the reprobate children of Satan. The latter come in every color of the rainbow as do the former. With whom do you think our battle should be?

I know, I know . . . we have been so mistreated, so discriminated against. There’s no denying that. There’s no denying that racism is still rampant in our (yes, Our) country. But that does not excuse Wright’s venom. I can’t imagine that our Lord Jesus is in heaven saying to His children, ’’God bless the Pharisees and the Romans, No! God @$& the Pharisees and the Romans!!! They crucified Me! They beat me!" I seem to remember Him saying something like, "Father forgive them for they know not that which they do". Rev. Wright is supposed to be instructing his congregation on how to be like Jesus, how to be conformed to His image. Not to do what the heathen do, no to meet hate with hate. Oh, that’s right, he’s not familiar with the Jesus of Scripture. He’s only familiar with the "black" Jesus of liberation theology.

I coulda sworn Jesus was born Jewish!

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12

" My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
because you have rejected knowledge,
I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children." Hosea 4:6

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!
Acts 17:11

P.S. The silence from the ACLU has been deafening in the wake of Wright's political endorsements from the pulpit . . . hasn't it?

Friday, March 07, 2008

Take My Free Will . . . PLEASE!

It's good to be back in the much milder climes of good ol' Covington, Georgia. Snow is sure beautiful to look at, but I'd much prefer warm snow!

For some reason, while I was resting in my hotel room in Eagan, MN., my mind was drawn back to this biblically-alien concept of "free will". And as I pondered it, I came to the conclusion that "free will" can get you killed! As the age old adage goes . . . let the buyer beware.

First of all, we are very inconsistent with our application of this concept. We want to enshrine "free will" when it comes to expressing ourselves, the choices we make and of course that ultimate expression: our salvation. But then we turn around and want to limit it where it comes into contact with the "free will" of others. The thinking goes something like this, " you have 'free will' as long as it doesn't interfere with someone else's 'free will'". Well, the question then becomes, how "free" is my "free will"? "Freedom", in it's most popular sense, means completely unbounded. So what does the fact that one person's "free will" might interfere with another's have to do with anything? This seems to be the perfect opportunity to prove Darwin's "survival of the fittest". If my "free will" and your "free will" come into conflict, may the "freeest" "free will" win.

Why should we get upset with murderers and rapists? They are merely expressing their "free will". If their victims were bigger, stronger or more careful then the victims' "free will" would triumph. "But", you say, "that's why we have laws and police, etc." Absolutely, and since the politicians have used their "free wills" to enact laws and the police have used their "free wills" to enforce those laws it all works out. Viva la free will!

So what it boils down to is: who ever has the biggest stick has the "freeest" will. There is one small problem; however, we still inconsistently deprive the One with the biggest stick this prerogative. Somehow, where our salvation is concerned, we deny that God uses His "big stick" in our lives. Due to either, some divine act of civility or just wanting to play nice; our Arminian/Semi-Pelagian brethren believe that God has to sit on His hands until and if man decides to place his trust in Jesus for eternal life.

"God won't violate your 'free will'" is the Arminian/Semi-Pelagian cry. Consider this . . . there was once was a man named Abimelech who wanted to bed down a woman named Sarah. His "free will" was to "know" this Sarah in the biblical sense. But God gave him the first recorded case of erectile dysfunction in the Bible when God appeared to him in a dream and said," . . . it was I who kept you from sinning against Me . Therefore I did not let you touch her" (Genesis 20:1-7). Abimelech's "free will" came into conflict with God's "free will" and God's "free will" won.

There once was a man named Onan, his "free will" was not to impregnate his sister-in-law Tamar and to go on with his life. God's "free will" was for him to impregnate his sister-in-law (according to the customs of the times, you understand) or die. Scripture bears out that Onan's "free will" was severely violated as, the Lord " . . . put him to death . . ." (Genesis 38:8-10)

What is it that we pray for whenever we ask God to save our loved ones; but that He violate their current "free will" to be a sinner and turn them into a saint? As the cliche' goes: sinners are merrily on there way to hell, minding their own business when all of a sudden God just steps right in. He doesn't ask for permission, He doesn't leave a message and wait for them to call back.

OK, so maybe you'll stipulate to a "limited free will". I'm afraid that that just won't fly either. If "free will" is an oxymoron like "jumbo shrimp" and "conservative democrat"; then "limited free will" is a bioxymoron like "mini jumbo shrimp" or "conservative democrat"! This concept of "free will" is founded upon a perverse definition of "freedom". This definition of "freedom" (particularly popular in the good ol' USA) dilutes the idea to the wanton abandonment of all restraint and responsibility. That is diametrically opposed to the biblical definition of "freedom". Biblically speaking, you are not "free" until you are submitted to Jesus Christ. And no human being, Arminian, Semi-pelagian or Calvinst, submits to Jesus Christ of his own "free will". This is because God meant it when He warned Adam that in the day he ate of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" he would surely DIE. Unregenerate man's fallen state is one of death not just injury. He cannot choose to be saved, salvation must happen to him.

"Free will" is woefully overrated. I'm willing to wager that there is no one in hell singing, "(I Did It)My Way"! Marinate on this for a minute, "free will" will land your butt in hell!

Y'know what every roastee in hell is screaming right now? "Why, oh WHY didn't you violate my 'free will', Lord!!!

Take my "free will" . . . PLEASE!!!

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!