Tuesday, February 27, 2007


The Jesus Tomb

Darrel Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary has an impressive article on the Jesus Tomb and Hollywood.

Today we have the battle of the hype: the Oscars versus the release of the family tomb of Jesus story. The tomb is an old story now being recycled in an effort to make far more of it than the evidence really requires. I was allowed to see a version of the story to air in March, but had to agree to a non-disclosure. I also wrote a summary report on it, some of the concepts I will now share on this blog, since I can now talk. There is no need to fear such discussions. The same evidence is there for all of us. We all want to discover the truth.
The key claims depend on numerous assumptions, cherry-picked evidence, if you wish.
First, there is a suggestion that this is a family tomb of Jesus, when Jesus was in Jerusalem as a pilgrim, not a Jerusalem resident. How did his family have the time in the aftermath of his death to by the tomb space, while also pulling off a stealing of the body and continue to preach that Jesus was raised BODILY, not merely spiritually.
The bodily part of this resurrection is key because in Judaism when there was a belief in resurrection it was a belief in a bodily resurrection a redemption that redeemed the full scope of what God had created. If one reads 2 Maccabees 7. one will see the martyrdom of the third son of seven executed who declares that they can mutilate his tongue and hands for defending the law, because God will give them back to him one day.
Here are the details:
As he faces death 2 Maccabees 7:10-11 presents this summary of the third brother’s death, “After him, the third was the victim of their sport. When it was demanded, he quickly put out his tongue and courageously stretched forth his hands, and said nobly, “I got these from Heaven, and because of his laws I disdain them, and from him I hope to get them back again.” After the sons perish, the mother declares her hope in 7:20-23, “The mother was especially admirable and worthy of honorable memory. Although she saw her seven sons perish within a single day, she bore it with good courage because of her hope in the Lord. She encouraged each of them in the language of their ancestors. Filled with a noble spirit, she reinforced her woman’s reasoning with a man’s courage, and said to them, ‘I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of humankind and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws.’” The point is important, because just as with the creation teaching, the difference between the alternative of only having the spirit live and having the entire person be renewed is part of what distinguished the two groups (Christians and Christian Gnostics). To lack a bodily resurrection teaching is to teach in distinction from what the earliest church had received as a key element of the hope that Jesus left his followers, a hope that itself was rooted in Jewish precedent. Paul, our earliest witness to testify to this in writings we possess, was a former Pharisee who held to a physical resurrection as 1 Corinthians 15 also makes clear. Paul matches the Maccabean picture noted above. He explicitly denies an approach that accepts only a spiritual resurrection.
Second, we have to believe that in a family tomb, some who were not in the family are included, that is, Matthew. How do we explain this? Does this inflate the statistical numbers in the show to include such “evidence?”
Third, we have to accept that as they scrambled to steal the body and yet preach an empty tomb and resurrection when they actually knew that Jesus was not raised. They had to SECRETLY buy the tomb space from someone, prepare an ossuary over a year’s period and then choose to adorn the ossuary of Jesus with graffiti-like script to name their dead hero. Surely if they had a year to prepare honoring Jesus, they would have adorned his ossuary with more than a mere graffiti like description. Not to mention that some of the family died for this belief, when they really knew Jesus had not left the tomb empty. This scenario seems quite implausible.
Fourth, there is the name Mariamne, a variation of Maria, one of the most common of names of the time. It is like saying every Susan married to a Richard can only be one family and that finding that Maria and Maria are related names is a surprise (a little like calling William, Bill)
Here are the details on names provided to me by Prof Richard Bauckham of St. Andrews and sourced in a famous catalogue of ossuary names that has been out since 2002 with the information known about this locale since c. 1980.:
“Out of a total number of 2625 males, these are the figures for the ten most popular male names among Palestinian Jews. The first figure is the total number of occurrences (from this number, with 2625 as the total for all names, you could calculate percentages), while the second is the number of occurrences specifically on ossuraries.
1 Simon/Simeon 243 592 Joseph 218 453 Eleazar 166 294 Judah 164 445 John/Yohanan 122 256 Jesus 99 227 Hananiah 82 188 Jonathan 71 149 Matthew 62 1710 Manaen/Menahem 42 4
For women, we have a total of 328 occurrences (women's names are much less often recorded than men's), and figures for the 4 most popular names are thus:
Mary/Mariamne 70 42Salome 58 41Shelamzion 24 19Martha 20 17
You can see at once that all the names you're interested were extremely popular. 21% of Jewish women were called Mariamne (Mary). The chances of the people in the ossuaries being the Jesus and Mary Magdalene of the New Testament must be very small indeed.”
Fifth, there is the DNA showing that Mariamne and Jesus DNA residue do not match. Now with how many women in Judea would Jesus’ DNA not match? Even women named Mary/Mariamne? This proves nothing. That a match would take place is a one in several thousand likelihood. This evidence does not prove she is a wife. The questions include which male in the tomb is she attached to?
Sixth, to get Mariamne to match Mary Magdalene and not a host of any other Mary’s, one has to appeal to an apocryphal Acts in a fourth century manuscript. Without that, there is not even a possibility of a connection, the Acts of Philip and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, old evidence that was already vetted in the DaVinci Code discussion. In other words, we do not know Mary/Mariamne is Mary Magdalene, a very key point that has to be true for this claim to work.
Seventh, if one pays close attention to the special one will see that when the subject of the connection is raised with the most well known of these experts, they all say the connection is NOT credible because the names are so common. These experts have known about this locale for decades. NONE of the most well known experts are actually cited as embracing the claim of the special. Surely they asked them this question about a specific connection, did they not? In other words, the silence on such a lack of endorsements for the figures brought in to corroborate certain details is deafening.
Eighth, the remark about “Mara.” Here are the words of Prof. Bauckham, “'Mara' in this context does not mean Master. It is an abbreviated form of Martha. probably the ossuary contained two women called Mary and Martha (Mariamne and Mara).”
Ninth, there are claims about an ossuary of Peter, even though there is a rich tradition that he died in Rome that has to be wrong for that claim to work.
Finally, there are the statistics. To get to the high numbers, all the assumptions about the identifications have to be put into the numbers pot, including Matthew, a name called “consistent with the family.” How? Where is the evidence for this?
So what we have is a special, making a claim about an old finding, cherry-picking the evidence to hype it as more compelling than it actually is. It ALL has to fit in place to work. The statistics for that, given just what I have raised above, would be fun to calculate.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Cesar Malan poems for funerals

No, no, it is not dying To go unto our God; This gloomy earth forsaking,
Our journey homeward taking Along the starry road.
No, no, it is not dying Heaven’s citizen to be; A crown immortal wearing,
And rest unbroken sharing, From care and conflict free.
No, no it is not dying To hear this gracious word, “Receive a Father’s blessing,
Forevermore possessing The favor of thy Lord.”
No, no it is not dying The Shepherd’s voice to know:His sheep He ever leadeth, His peaceful flock He feedeth, Where living pastures grow.
No, no it is not dying To wear a lordly crown;Among God’s people dwelling, The glorious triumph swelling Of Him Whose sway we own.

It is not death to die, To leave this weary road, And midst the brotherhood on high To be at home with God.
It is not death to close The eye long dimmed by tears, And wake, in glorious repose, To spend eternal years.
It is not death to bear The wrench that sets us free From dungeon chain, to breath the air Of boundless liberty.
It is not death to fling Aside this sinful dust And rise, on strong exulting wing To live among the just.
Jesus, Thou Prince of Life, Thy chosen cannot die: Like Thee, they conquer in the strife
To reign with Thee on high. Cesar Malan 1832


Col 2:16 False Religion

.wav file available by clicking on the link above.

Col 2:16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.
Col 2:17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
Col 2:18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,
Col 2:19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
Col 2:20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations--
Col 2:21 "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch"
Col 2:22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)--according to human precepts and teachings?
Col 2:23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

Biblical Archaeologist. glamorous job, and that I would unearth some exciting treasure like the Ark of the Covenant or something.. All across the globe, when archaeologists unearth a historical crypt or grave, they are often disappointed to learn grave robbers have long since looted many of the valuable artifacts. In my opinion, there is a tragedy occurring that is far worst than anything grave-robbers can do. It is the tragedy of grace-robbers: And grace is more valuable than gold or silver. Two thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul was in prison when he heard some false teachers were going around to the churches.
They were grace-robbers

Paul warns us not to allow anyone to beguile us out of our reward. The word "beguile" means, "to defraud or cheat." Our reward refers to what we attain at the judgement seat of Christ by following the path of true spirituality (1 Corinthians 3:14). Following false teachers will never lead to true spirituality.
False teachers beguile people by acting very humble, but are really putting on false humility. They claim superior knowledge and revelation from God that is not available to anyone else. They have seen a vision or heard a voice from God. In reality they have seen nothing, but are "puffed up by their fleshly mind." It is not spirituality, but carnality and pride. They impress the undiscerning with their claims of superior revelation from God.
We are warned to beware of the false prophets. False prophets appear to look like us, but in reality they are out to destroy the flock. Remember Satan can transform his ministers into angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). No one has any superior knowledge or revelation from God. God has given us one source of knowledge–the Bible. The only way God speaks today is through His word. We must search the scriptures.
False Teachers influence Others:
By Emphasizing a false humility "delighting in self abasement"
You are humble because of your discipline and your voluntary restrictions which you have imposed on yourself. Your humility is not based on what God says about you as a sinner, but rather on what you yourself have done or not done. This makes others feel guilty because they do not do what you do. They are not humble like you are - false humility based on asceticism.
By Exalting angels Drawing people's attention away from Jesus to angelic creatures (whether good or evil). The Gnostics tried to emphasize their humility by using God's angels as intercessors instead of coming directly to God in prayer.
By Exercising authority based on your experiences rather than on the Word of God.
"taking his stand on visions he has seen" This causes people to look to experiences rather than Christ, and thus rob themselves of the "prize" or reward of true growth in Christ.
By Elevating your importance in the eyes of others the true source here is "fleshly mind" the mind of his flesh - that which is controlled by your sinful flesh. You want people to look to you rather than to Christ!
They always Substitute for the authority of Christ "not holding last (not deriving strength) to the head"
They always Stop the growth process of the body
1. False Religion Promotes Unhelpful Legalism
Legalism (Colossians 2:16): Man made rules or religious duties than earn salvation or make us spiritual. This inflates our spiritual egos and makes us self-righteous. Legalistic people tend to be judgmental and have an attitude of superiority.
Legalism is always interested in the superficial
Specific Diet - "food or drink"
Dietary restrictions in the Old Testament were primarily established to make Israel a
peculiar and holy nation, separate from all the nations around them. cf. Lev. 11:44-47;
20:25-26 This verse does not tell us to avoid food and drink, but rather to not let anyone judge us in this matter. The separation between Jew and Gentile has been removed in the body of Christ!
Special Days - "festival (annual feasts)"
('new moon" (monthly worship) or "Sabbath Day" (weekly observance) These occasions were a part of Israel's uniqueness and separation from the nations. Here is a warning against trying to set up standards and regulations for believers today based upon O.T. practices for Israel.

Legalism always ignores the essential
The Shadow
is not the reality - it merely points to the reality Cf. Heb. 10:1
The Substance (body) to which the "shadow" points is Christ! Things that are good in themselves can often substitute for that which is the best and most important.
John Bayer is now a Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary in Panama. His calling to foreign missions began on a mission trip to Australia. During that trip he encountered an elderly Catholic woman. When the subject of prayer was discussed the woman said, "I have to pray to Mother Mary every day or my day just won't go right." Bayer shared the promise of Scripture that we can pray directly to Jesus. The woman replied, "But Mary is close to Jesus. She is His mother and she will take my prayer to Him." Bayer then felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to gently ask, "If you were sick and you had your choice of calling the doctor or the doctor's mother, who would you call?" She acknowledged that she had never thought about it that way. They then prayed together and that dear woman heard a prayer directed to Jesus for the very first time. When she opened her eyes, tears trickled down her cheeks as she said, "Thank you for coming." "Since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus...let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith..."
Hebrews 10:19 Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that He has inaugurated for us, through the curtain (that is, His flesh); 21 and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled [clean]from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.
The great British pastor Charles Spurgeon expressed it this way: “If there be one stitch in the celestial garment of our righteousness which we are to insert ourselves, then we are lost. But this is our confidence: the Lord who began will perfect. He has done it all, must do it all, and will do it all....To wash and dress a corpse is a far different thing from making it alive: Man can do the one, God alone can do the other.”
The shadow can get in the way of the substance.
So often our churchianity gets in the way of our Christianity.
Legalism always intrudes the ego.
Abusively these people Col 2:16 "judge you" Therefore don’t let anyone judge you in regard to food and drink or in the matter of a festival or a new moon or a sabbath day.
It becomes an anxiety attack over what may or may not offend them. You can’t read other people’s minds and try and anticipate whether you are pleasing these people or not. Why waste your time and energy.
J. Vernon McGee writes about a country boy down South years ago who wanted to join the church. In this church, the deacons examined everyone before they could join. They asked him, “How did you get saved?” His answer was, “God did his part, and I did my part.” They were at little concerned with this answer, so they asked him, “What was God’s part and what was your part?” His answer is classic. He said, “God’s part was the saving, and my part was the sinning. I done run from him as fast as my sinful heart and rebellious legs could take me. But God done took out after me till He run me down.” That’s the way all of us are saved. If it is by works, then it is not of grace–but if it is of grace, then none of it is by works!

2. False Religion Pursues Unprofitable Mysticism
Mysticism (Colossians 2:18): The teaching that we can get special messages from God through meditation, mediums, visions, voices from heaven, etc. It is based upon some personal, mysterious, or subjective experience.
In 1975 there was a popular song on radio and movies called “Feelings,” by Morris Albert. Every body seemed to be singing it. “Feelings, nothing more than feelings; / Trying to forget my feelings of love; / Feelings, whoa, whoa, whoa feelings…” Sadly, there are some people whose faith can be described by the first line, “Feelings, nothing more than feelings.” There ARE feelings in the Christian life, but there is “something more than feelings” and that something more is God’s amazing grace.
Mysticism will encourage spiritual elitism
The Bible speaks of people who “delight in false humility.” In the church at Colosse, there were people who had claimed to have special revelations or visions from God. They were called “Gnostics” from the word that meant “special knowledge.” They acted humble, but inwardly they were proud of their level of spirituality. When I was in college, I had some Christian friends who were claiming to experience a second blessing, which they called “the baptism in the Holy Spirit.” As someone laid hands on them they had an emotionally thrilling experience in which they began to speak in tongues. They kept after me to try it. They were disappointed I didn’t receive the baptism, because I hadn’t prayed in tongues. One of them suggested I needed to examine my life to see if there was unconfessed sin there. The danger addressed here is the subtle pride that can slip in when someone has had an experience you haven’t had. Although my college buddies acted humble, it was obvious they believed they were spiritually superior, because they had received what the called the baptism in the Holy Spirit–and I hadn’t. I believe and teach the absolute necessity of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 says, “Do not get drunk with wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” But the problem comes when people seek the feeling instead of the filling. God doesn’t fill us with His Spirit for our enjoyment but for His employment. It’s easy to allow pride to make you feel superior when you’ve experienced things others haven’t.
Mysticism will experience spiritual emaciation
“Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.” The Bible warns us about people in the church who claim to have special miracles and visions from God. They love to go into great detail about their dreams and visions. It’s easy for them to become puffed-up with weird ideas. Lest you misunderstand me, let me assure you I believe in miracles, signs and wonders. I believe God is still performing miracles today. But the danger exists when believers become so obsessed with seeking visions and experiencing miracles they neglect the Word of God. Seldom a week goes by that I don’t receive a letter from some self-proclaimed prophet who is telling me what to preach, and telling me what’s going to happen to me if I don’t say it.
In 1980 Oral Roberts was trying to build a 60-story hospital in Tulsa called the City of Faith. He had a vision he described to his supporters in these words: “When I opened my eyes, there He stood...some 900 feet tall, looking at me. He stood a full 300 feet taller than the 600-foot tall City of Faith. There I was face to face with Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. I have only seen Jesus once before, but there I was face to face with the King of Kings. He reached down, put his hands under the city of Faith, lifted it, and said to me, ‘See how easy it is for me to lift it.’” Mr. Roberts reported his eyes filled with tears and he promised Jesus he would share the message with his seed faith partners. In 1984 Oral went to his supporters and asked for $8 million in the next month to finish the project or God would take him home. His supporters responded by giving over $9 million in one month. The City of Faith hospital did open, but never had more than 294 beds. And in September of 1989, Oral closed the City of Faith hospital after eight years of operation. . If we aren’t careful it will make us believe we are sub-Christian because we haven’t had visions of a 900-foot tall Jesus. Some people need some kind of visible apparition to believe. Remember the lady in Florida who found an image of the Virgin Mary on a burnt grilled cheese sandwich and sold it to a casino for $28,000?
Recently, the owner of the Bongo Java coffee shop in Nashville looked at a pastry one morning and saw the image of Mother Teresa staring back at him. Word soon spread. It was called the “nun-bun,” the “immaculate confection,” and the “cin-a-nun roll.” Thousands of customers flocked in to see it. However one skeptic claimed it looked more Doc from Snow White and the Seven dwarfs. The point is, we shouldn’t be looking for anything except Jesus.
Feelings come and feelings go, feelings are deceiving,
My warrant is the Word of God, Naught else is worth believing!
Though all my heart should feel condemned For lack of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart Whose Word cannot be broken!
I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word Till soul and body sever;
For, though all things shall pass away, His Word shall stand forever! Martin Luther

False Religion Preaches Unnecessary Asceticism
Asceticism (Colossians 2:21): The belief that we can reach a higher spiritual state by self-discipline and self-denial. All of these appeal to the flesh. Let’s look at the difference between true and false spirituality.

Col 2:19 He doesn’t hold on to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and tendons, develops with growth from God.
The Bible says a person can be misled when they have lost connection with the Head, who is Jesus.
Spirituality is not found in the keeping of lists or rules, or by simply denying the flesh. Spirituality is a matter of a heart relationship with God through a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. It is a heart that seeks to love, worship, and obey God. However, God did give us some rules. Paul said all things are lawful, but not expedient (good, better, profitable, etc.). Paul also said everything does not edify. In 1 Corinthians 6:12 he said he would not be brought under the power of anything. Paul also tells us to consider our brothers/sisters by not flaunting our freedom if it will inflict spiritual harm to them. Paul gives us a threefold test in these verses. We must ask ourselves if it binds, builds, or is the best thing to do before we do anything.

Paul writes 18 “Let no one disqualify you” That’s a word used in athletics when a competitor commits a foul. They’re still on the team, they just lost any chance for a prize, a reward. Did you see on tv the other night the 20 Cheats and Liars show hosted by Bert Newton? He showed the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea. In the 100-meter dash, Canadian runner Ben Johnson beat Carl Lewis to win the gold medal with a new world record time of 9.69 seconds. The next day, it was discovered Johnson had traces of illegal anabolic steroids in his blood. Because he broke the rules, Johnson was disqualified and his gold medal taken away. Carl Lewis was given the gold. Johnson made a comeback a little while later, and did the same thing again.
One day, we will stand before Jesus and He’ll be handing out rewards to His servants. If you are a child of God, you’ll be there. How sad it will be for some of us to discover we missed out on some of the rewards, because we didn’t fully understand God’s grace in all its truth. Today many miss out on the riches of God’s grace. They are happy with a form of religion, but they miss the glory of it, the wonder of it, the grace of it. Grace robbers! God’s grace: Don’t ever let anyone rob you of its power!

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Malachi 1:6-14 Recover Authentic Worship

“I wish one of you would shut the temple doors, so you would no longer kindle a useless fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord of Hosts, “and I will accept no offering from your hands.
Wow imagine if the Lord said that to churches today. What if He said it to our church? Shut the doors! Put a for sale sign on the door. Let it be someone’s house. Or let it be someone’s museum or someone’s music shop. Shut the doors! Does that happen today? I’ve seen and you’ve seen it! Churches transformed into theatres, restaurants or even mosques.
Because perhaps their worship was sub standard! Worship is a hot potato today! It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know that the most contentious subject in any church today is the subject of worship.
As a matter of fact, many current book titles in the evangelical world suggest that what the church faces today is "worship wars." The very combination of the words "worship" and "war" should lead us to very sincere and sober biblical reflection. What is worship? And what does God desire that we should do in worship? It is true that worship has led to some warfare. In local congregations we see not only confusion, but also fighting, controversy and splitting. And what is the meaning of all of this? Jack Hayford, one of the nation's most eloquent proponents of "renewal worship," suggests that nothing less than a new reformation is taking place. The reformation of the sixteenth century was a reformation of doctrine. It was a necessary reformation as biblical truth was recovered. But he says we are experiencing in this generation a reformation in worship that is just as necessary and just as historic.
Whether you agree or not, something is going on with worship in Baptist churches and every other church today. I fear there has been a dumbing down about God in many churches because of some of the so-called reforms in worship. My concern is that the issue of worship will define not only our church services, but also our theology and our beliefs about God. There is no more important issue for the church of the Lord Jesus Christ than that we worship as God would have us to worship Him.
PROSKUNEO It is the Greek word for worship and the most common in our New Testament. For example the word is used ten times in John 4, the chapter with the well-known words of our Lord, "God is spirit, and His worshippers must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (verse 24). It means to stoop down to kiss reverently, as a subject may bow and kiss a monarch. Early Greek writers used it to speak of stooping to kiss the ground as a sign of thanksgiving for a safe journey. The ideas of reverence and awe, of stooping and thanksgiving, are all bound up in this word. In the New Testament such worship is reserved for the Lord.
LATREIA This Greek word doesn't appear many times in the New Testament, (but an example is found in Philippians 3:3 and Romans 12:1). The essential meaning is of service, and originally meant the labour, the service of slaves or hired servants. Years ago people said, 'I'm in service'. We know what they meant. They were in service to a master. For us the word means the worship that is the love of the heart towards a heavenly Father expressed in terms of service for the King. We're all 'in service' for the Lord.
WEORTHSCIPE This is the old Anglo-Saxon word meaning 'worthship', which means ascribing worthship to God. 'Thou art worthy…' --- and He is!
We know the history of worship through the ages. We know what took place in the Reformation. We know what transpired in the English reforms. We know what took place as features were stripped away that were considered to be unbiblical--and yet we see these same things returning. What is the condition of evangelical worship? It is not an exaggeration to suggest words such as pandemonium, confusion, and consternation. In the midst of the upheaval, there is a great deal of encouragement to be found from reading the late A. W. Tozer. This is what he said some decades ago: "We have the breezy, self-confident Christians with little affinity for Christ and His cross. We have the joy-bell boys that can bounce out there and look as much like a game show host as possible. Yet, they are doing it for Jesus' sake?! The hypocrites! They're not doing it for Jesus' sake at all; they are doing it in their own carnal flesh and are using the church as a theater because they haven't yet reached the place where the legitimate theater would take them.
Tozer takes his argument further: "It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend the meeting where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God's professed children are bored with Him for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments."
This has influenced the whole pattern of church life and even brought into being a new type of church architecture designed to house the golden calf. So we have the strange anomaly of orthodoxy in creed and heterodoxy in practice. The striped candy technique has so fully integrated into our present religious thinking that it is simply taken for granted. Its victims never dream that it is not a part of teachings of Christ and His apostles. Any objection to the carryings-on of our present gold calf Christianity is met with the triumphant reply, "But we are winning them." And winning them to what? To true discipleship? To cross-carrying? To self-denial? To separation from the world? To crucifixion of the flesh? To holy living? To nobility of character? To a despising of the world's treasures? To hard self-discipline? To love for God? To total commitment to Christ?
Of course, the answer to all of these questions is "no." As these words were written several decades ago, Tozer certainly saw the future. But there are contemporary witnesses as well. Kent Hughes, who is Senior Pastor of the College Church in Wheaton, Illinois, has written perceptively on this issue.
Hughes put it this way: "The unspoken but increasingly common assumption of today's Christendom is that worship is primarily for us--to meet our needs. Such worship services are entertainment focused, and the worshipers are uncommitted spectators who are silently grading the performance. From this perspective preaching becomes a homiletics of consensus--preaching to felt needs--man's conscious agenda instead of God's. Such preaching is always topical and never textual. Biblical information is minimized, and the sermons are short and full of stories. Anything and everything that is suspected of making the marginal attender uncomfortable is removed from the service….Taken to the nth degree, this philosophy instills a tragic selfcenteredness. That is, everything is judged by how it affects man. This terribly corrupts one's theology."
Hughes is right. Our confused worship corrupts our theology and our weak theology corrupts our worship. Are these voices alarmist? They do mean to sound an alarm. But there are others who are saying, "Don't worry--be happy--go worship." One recent church growth author has written, "Worship is like a car to get us from where we are to where God wants us to be. Transportation and communication are imperative; the mode or vehicle is not imperative. Some worship God in cathedrals with the rich traditional organ tomes of Bach and Faure from the classics of Europe. They travel in a Mercedes Benz. Some worship God in simple wooden churches with a steeple pointing heavenward. They sing the gospel songs of Charles Wesley or Fanny Cosby. They travel in a Ford or Chevy. Some worship God with the contemporary sounds of praise music with a gentle beat. They travel in a convertible sports coupe. Some worship God to the whine of a guitar and the amplifiers to the max. They travel on a motorcycle, without a muffler."
But surely there is more to worship than the spectrum of taste from a Mercedes Benz to a motorcycle. There must be something weightier here. "Worship is like a car to get us from where we are to where God wants us to be." Can that be said with a straight face as we listen to the Scripture speak of worship? We know from the onset that there are many different Christian opinions concerning worship. This does not come to us as news. But the real issue for us this morning is whether or not God Himself has an opinion on this issue. Does God care how He is worshiped? Or is He some kind of laissez-faire deity who cares not how His people worship Him, but is resting in the hopes that some people in some place will in some way worship him?
Scripture reveals that God does care. Leviticus 10:1-3 serves as a witness to this point. "Now Nadad and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, "It is what the Lord spoke, saying, 'By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored.'"
These were Aaron's sons. But they did what God had not commanded them to do in worship. They brought strange fire to the altar and they were consumed. Clearly, God does have an opinion about worship. He is the God whom we have come to know in Jesus Christ, the God who has revealed Himself in the Bible. He is a jealous God--a God who loves us and is calling out a people but a God who instructs and commands His people that we should worship Him rightly.
Malachi shows us this so clearly. God contends with the Jews about their worship. Malachi the preacher is his mouthpiece. Hear His words!
Malachi 1:6 “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. But if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is [your]• fear of Me? says the Lord of Hosts to you priests, who despise My name.” Yet you ask: “How have we despised Your name?” 7 “By presenting defiled food on My altar.” You ask: “How have we defiled You?” When you say: “The Lord’s table is contemptible.”
God Hates Hollow Worship
Where you mouth one thing, but live the other. Where you say “God is our Father” Where you say I am following Jesus as a disciple. But the reality is far far different.
How can someone sing the words Take my life and let me be consecrated Lord to Thee, how can someone say “Jesus is Lord”, but have absolutely no intention of reading His Word or seeking to live according to His commands?
How can someone sing the words “Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold, and have no concern to be a regular sacrificial giver to God’s work?
How can someone say that they will love the Lord with all their heart soul mind and strength, but they do not have the energy to speak up for Him when there is an opportunity?
God Hates Heartless Worship
Mal 1:12 But you are profaning it when you say: “The Lord’s table is defiled, and its product, its food, is contemptible.” 13 You also say: “Look, what a nuisance!” “And you scorn it,” says the Lord of Hosts. “You bring stolen, lame, or sick animals. You bring this as an offering! Am I to accept that from your hands?” asks the Lord.
Matt 22:36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important commandment.
I quote Tozer again: We have simplified until Christianity amounts to this: God is love; Jesus died for you; believe, accept, be jolly, have fun and tell others. And away we go--that is the Christianity of our day. I would not give a plug nickel for the whole business of it. Once in a while God has a poor bleeding sheep that manages to live on that kind of thing and we wonder how.
God Hates Hypocritical Worship
“The deceiver is cursed who has an acceptable male in his flock and makes a vow but sacrifices a defective [animal]to the Lord. For I am a great King,” says the Lord of Hosts, “and My name will be feared among the nations.
How can someone say they will love their neighbour as themselves, and all the while harbour the deliberate intention to not be loving to their father or mother, their son or daughter?
When we denigrate God’s name.
When we denigrate God’s day.
When we denigrate God’s gospel You believe what you want and I’ll believe what I want.. Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
When we denigrate God’s worth..
1992 saw Bill Clinto win the elections over George Bush with a simple slogan:
Its about the economy stupid. Bill Clinton
Worship: Its about God stupid.
True worship begins with a reverence for the God of the Bible--the true and living God.
Mal 1:11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. 14 . For I am a great King,” says the Lord of Hosts, “and My name will be feared among the nations.
John Calvin cautions that “The pious mind does not dream up for itself any god it pleases, but contemplates the one and only true God. And it does not attach to him whatever it pleases, but is content to hold him as he manifests himself; furthermore, the mind always exercises the utmost diligence and care not to wander astray, or rashly and boldly go beyond his will. It thus recognizes God because it knows that he governs all things; and trusts that he is its guide and protector, therefore giving itself over in complete trust in him. (Institutes 1.2.2)
Consider the Greatness of God!
Deut 32:3 For I proclaim the name of the LORD: Ascribe greatness to our God. 4 He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.
At the offering for the temple, when the people gave freely and generously:
1 Chron 29:10-17 Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, And You are exalted as head over all. 12 Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all. 13 "Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name. 14 But who am I, and who are my people, That we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, And of Your own we have given You. 15 For we are aliens and pilgrims before You, As were all our fathers; Our days on earth are as a shadow, And without hope. 16 "O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own. 17 I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness.
Ps 145:3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.
Ps 150:2 Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
Dan 4:34 And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. 35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, "What have You done?" 36 At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me.

Consider the call of God to fear.
Mal 1:14 For I am a great King,” says the Lord of Hosts, “and My name will be feared among the nations. Ps 19:9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
Ps 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.
Prov 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Prov 9:10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Prov 10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongs days, But the years of the wicked will be shortened.
Prov 14:27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.
Prov 16:6 In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil.
Prov 19: 23 The fear of the LORD leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction;
Prov 23:17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day;
18 For surely there is a hereafter, And your hope will not be cut off.
Acts 9:31 Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.
The people of Malachi’s day had conjured up a god that suited them. Have we?
"For worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of the conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose -and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin. Yes - worship in Spirit and truth is the way to the solution of perplexity and to the liberation from sin." William Temple.

Ignatius is a name you don’t find on many class rolls. Not many kids are called Ignatius today. There was an Ignatius who was the second Bishop of Antioch. He knew the apostle John. He died a martyr under Trajan in 107 AD AKA “God-bearer”
Trajan :”Dost thou bear the crucified one in thy heart?”
Ignatius “Even so, for it is written, I will dwell in them and walk in them and I will be their God and they shall be my people.” God bearer! Do you reverence God so much that your worship flows into your daily life?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007



Please let me recommend to you an amazing site published by Geoff Pound.
FW Boreham was the master of illustrations and simplicity in preaching.
Revi Zacharias highly recommends him.
You will never find more masterful use of illustrations than from Boreham. All who read him become addicted. I have read 30 of his books, which were published between 1910 and 1960 (?).
You will be richly blessed by checking out this site.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Saturday, February 17, 2007


IN CHRIST Col 2:11-15

All blessings are in Christ
No blessings are found outside of Christ (Col 2:9,10)
The key is our identification with Christ: that is, seeing ourselves as we are in him
Through baptism we identify with Christ
COL 2:9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
COL 2:13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
1. In Him We Experience Spiritual Transformation
A New Position of Forgiveness
In the ancient city of Venice there was a bridge called "The Bridge of Sighs." At one end of the bridge there was a courtroom; at the other end there was a dungeon. Above the door to the dungeon were the words, "Abandon hope all ye that enter herein." Try to picture a man who has been sentenced to spend his life in that dungeon. As he walks across the bridge he takes a last long look at the sun and bids a last farewell to his loved ones. He is going to spend the rest of his life without hope and without light. But while he is crossing the bridge, a court official stops him and presses a paper into his hand. When he looks at the paper he finds that it is a pardon. His eyes are soon dimmed by tears. He is free now; his sorrow has been turned to joy. He goes home to live a new life.
A New Condition of Freedom
There are two ordinances, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament, are pictures of salvation from us (Colossians 2:11-12)?
The one ordinance from the Old Testament is of circumcision. The one ordinance from the New Testament is baptism. Neither of these ceremonies had the power to cleanse someone from sin; they only dealt with the outward person. There were those who taught circumcision was necessary for salvation (Acts 15:1). Still today there are those who add baptism or some other work to faith in Christ for salvation. Paul said we are complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10). Salvation is a matter of the heart. Circumcision was a picture of the inner circumcision of the heart (Romans 2:29) that the Holy Spirit performed.
Baptism is a picture of our death and burial with Christ, and the fact that we have been raised with Him to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).

We have experienced the circumcision of Christ (2:11)
In OT days, circumcision was the cutting of the foreskin. It was a sign of the covenant (Gen 17:9ff).
The new circumcision is different. It applies to women as well as men.
It is not done by hands. It is, rather, the cutting away of the sinful nature (sarx).
All this is ‘in him’.
Victory over temptation and sin is ours.
2. In Him We Experience Personal Union
Buried and raised in baptism
In New Testament days, it was normal practice for new Christians to be baptised in water.
See Acts 2:38,39 Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’
Mode of baptismThe primary meaning of the word baptidzo is ‘immerse’At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. Mark 1:9,10
Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away Acts 8:38,39
From the earliest times, immersion was the accepted mode of baptism Up to the fifth century there are records of immersion-- ‘An old comedian of Curubis was cured at baptism not only of paralysis, but also of hernia, and, being delivered from both afflictions, came up out of the font of regeneration as if he had had nothing wrong with his body…’ Augustine, City of God, XXII, 8)
Baptism is an expression of our identification with Christ
We are ‘buried with him’ in baptism (Col 2:12) Verb = bury together as two bodies in the same grave
It is if when Jesus was buried, we were buried with him It means the end of the old life
12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God...

3. In Him We Experience Supernatural Resurrection
Baptism is an expression of our identification with Christ
We are raised with him in baptism (Col 2:12) Verb = raise together
It is as if when Jesus was raised we were raised with him
Coming out of the water depicts the beginning of a new life
12 having been… raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

4. In Him We Experience Legal Satisfaction
In the ancient world the Greek term here translated as "written code" (Col. 2:14), referred to a handwritten certificate of indebtedness that obligated the signer. This note stood between him and the person he owed until it was paid. This debt would often become a heavy burden which the debtor was unable to pay. Paul says here that Christ "took it away" and nailed it to the cross. My sins oh the bliss of this glorious thought, My sins not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more praise the Lord praise the Lord Oh My soul!
He Has Put Away our Debt
He Has Paid Our Debt

5. In Him We Experience Total Liberation
And so verse 15 - we move from the baptismal language, through the financial language, to the triumphal language: `And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.' Publicly, openly, finally, conclusively, supremely, Jesus Christ has defeated every power and authority, such that no power or authority anywhere in all Creation can possibly hold us to account. And it's the language of triumph, isn't it? It's the language of the profession of triumph. I wonder if you remember Gladiator. It's a wonderful film; it's a film that Hollywood does best: no plot - no, a plot, but it's really straightforward, isn't it? And very basic: the goodie is the goodie, the baddie is the baddie. From the first shot you know what's going to happen and you can go out and make yourself a pot of tea and come back - there's no problem because it's still going nicely according to plan. You can nod off for a few minutes because you had a late night the night before, and so long as you wake up ten minutes before the end you are right on track: with Russell Crowe, playing the hero, finally confronting the wicked Commodus. Crowe has fought the lions and the bears and he's taken on the other gladiators and wrestled the bull single-handedly to its death. He has trampled on the Roman chariots, and now finally he confronts the wicked enemy. And of course, he wins; and he stands triumphant in the arena, victorious.
And that is the picture of this verse 15. Actually it's of the Roman triumphal procession - a Vespasian returning from his conquering victories, with all the enemy just trailing along, bedraggled, in his train. And Paul is saying, not only has Jesus Christ brought you alive, not only has He paid the price, but He has triumphed publicly over every possible enemy that you might have. All you need is Jesus. If you are joined to Him you have been brought alive by Him. If you're joined to Him no debt stands against your name. If you're joined to Him He is your great hero: no enemy can stand against you.
He has Expelled the forces of evil
He has Exposed the forces of evil
He has Embarrassed the forces of evil
Baptism is an expression of our victory
Not just symbolism Not just automatic
By faith, baptism is a powerful, life-changing experience. ‘It is by faith in the working (energema) of God’ Colossians 2:12 The same power that raised Jesus from the dead! God’s power
Calvin’s three essentials--
God’s power When we believe in the Word proclaimed in the power of the Spirit, baptism is a powerful tool in God’s hands.
Mark 16:15 Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
1/Through baptism we declare our position in Christ
Too many Christians don’t know where they stand. Many live by superstition not faith!
‘Pleading the blood every day’ — victory by memory, not faith! ‘Binding demons’ before we go anywhere — ‘magic’, not faith! We need to believe in the saving, delivering, keeping power of Jesus Christ!
My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…On Christ the solid rock I stand All other ground is sinking sand Edward Mote
2/Through baptism we declare we are totally forgiven (13,14)
‘He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.’ (Col 2:13,14)
All condemnation and accusation has been done away with! Romans 8:1
All our sins, past, present and future, have been absolutely and everlastingly dealt with through the cross of Jesus What a wonderful redemption Never can a mortal knowHow my sins though red like crimson Can be whiter than the snow! Thoro Harris
3/Through baptism we declare Christ’s absolute victory over demonic powers
In a Roman Triumph, the conquered foes were stripped of all their wealth and weapons and put to open public shame
This is what Jesus did to Satan and his hordes
In the name of Jesus, In the name of Jesus. We have the victory; In the name of Jesus, In the name of Jesus, Demons will have to flee!When we stand on the name of Jesus, Tell me who can stand before? In the mighty name of Jesus,We have the victory. Anon
It is time to believe what God says about us in his Word!
If you have been baptised, will you believe in what your baptism declared?
Remember, the main teaching about baptism in the New Testament is to people who were already baptised (Romans 6:3,4; Col 2:11,12)
Consolidate your faith
If you wish to be baptised, will you believe in the transforming power of God?
Through baptism, you can consolidate your faith in Christ
Respond to the challenge
If you have not been baptised, why not decide to do so today?
And then trust God to make your baptism a life-changing, revolutionising, powerful experience!
You can rise up in newness of life
The power of baptism
When Philip baptised an Ethiopian Eunuch, ‘he went on his way rejoicing’ (Acts 8:39)
Story of the Anabaptists and Martin Sattler
An Anabaptist hymn
The sinner receives a harsh judgement To bring him to repentanceIf he does not refrain from sin God warns him with threats.His Word shows clearly That people must repent,Believe his Word and be baptised And follow his teachings…
The suffering is great and hard Which is happening to us;Help us to thank you for it And see it as joy. George Blaurock, former priest, burned at the stake in 1529.

An Anabaptist hymn
Eternal Father in heaven, I call to you from deep within.Do not let me turn from you; Hold me in your eternal truthUntil I reach my end You Lord God are my protection;
We lift ourselves up to you; So it is but a small painIf our lives are taken from us. You have prepared for us in eternitySo if here we suffer insults and blows it will be for nothing
Body, life, soul and limbs We have received from you;these we offer up to you To praise and glorify your name.It is nothing but dust and ashes We commend to you our spirit, O God,Take it into your hands. Amen.
Written by Michael Sattler
Sattler was born in Stauffen, Germany about 1490. Little is known about his early life or even his education. He entered the Benedictine Monestary of St. Peter's near Freiberg where he probably became its prior. In the 1520's he left the monastery probably due to theological differences and disgust over the unspiritual lives of the monks and priests. In May of 1525, a group of peasants from the Black Forest marched upon St. Peter's monastery to protest the high taxes levied upon them by the abbot. Sattler may have left the monastery as a result of this attack. Shortly after leaving the monastery Sattler married Margaretha, a former Beguine. Because of the program to eliminate heresy from the region by Ferdinand I of Austria, Sattler and his wife, who would join him in martyrdom, fled to Zurich in 1525 where he became an Anabaptist. He was present at the Third Disputation in Zurich on November 6,1525 and was expelled on the 18th.He eventually went to Strasbourg and stayed with Wolfgang Capito, a German humanist who became a leading reformer. During his stay with Capito, Sattler discussed theology with his host and Martin Bucer. They disagreed on several points including infant baptism. Sattler's experience with the reformers was different from that of the Swiss Anabaptists in that the disagreement over infant baptism did not cause animosity between Sattler and his friends. Sattler referred to them as his "beloved brothers in God" in a letter written after he left Stasbourg. After Sattler was executed, Capito and Bucer described him as a "dear friend of God."In February of 1527 a group of Anabaptists met in Schleitheim, north of Zurich near the German border. The result of their meeting was the drafting of the Schleitheim Articles, of which Michael Sattler was the principal author. In the month following the drafting of the Schleitheim Confession, Sattler and his wife were arrested, tried, and convicted of heresy. As a result of his conviction, on May 20, 1527, Sattler was taken to the town marketplace in Rottenburg and tortured. A piece was cut from his tongue, although not enough to keep him from speaking, and glowing tongs ripped pieces from his flesh. At the marketplace he prayed for his persecutors. He was then taken outside the city and tied to a ladder and a sack of gunpowder was tied around his neck. He prayed, "Almighty, eternal God, thou art the way and the truth; because I have not been shown to be in error, I will with thy help on this day testify to the truth and seel it with my blood." He was then pushed into a large fire. As the ropes around his hands were burned away, Sattler gave a signal to his group to show them he was confident about his fate and prayed, "Father, I commend my spirit into thy hands." Two days after his execution, Margaretha Sattler was executed by drowning, often called "the third baptism" by authorities

Baptism is the first expression of identification with Christ. When we are baptised we ‘put on Christ’ (Galatians 3:27). Let Christ be our uniform now and forever!
We have been fulfilled in Christ (9,10)
Pleroma (fullness) was the Gnostic name for the pantheon of all divine beings
All fullness is in Christ.
So what does this tell us about Christ?
We have come to fullness in Him. We are complete, made whole, fully satisfied.
We are not ‘God-chasers’, like heathen idolaters. He has found us and we are complete in him.

Now none but Christ can satisfy,No other name for me!There’s life and health and lasting joyLord Jesus, found in Thee.

Once it was the blessing; now it is the Lord. Once it was the feeling; now it is His Word. Once His gifts I wanted; now the Giver own. Once I sought for healing, now Himself alone. Once 'twas painful trying; now 'tis perfect trust. Once a half salvation; now the uttermost. Once 'twas ceaseless holding; now He holds me fast. Once 'twas constant drifting; now my anchor's cast. Once 'twas busy planning; now 'tis trustful prayer. Once 'twas anxious caring; now He has the care. Once 'twas what I wanted, now what Jesus says. Once 'twas constant asking; now 'tis ceaseless praise. Once I tried to use Him; now He uses me. Once it was my working; His it hense shall be. Once the power I wanted, now the Mighty One. Once for self I labored, now for Him alone. Once I hoped for Jesus; now I know He's mine. Once my lamps were dying; now they brightly shine. Once for death I waited; now His coming hail. And my hopes are anchored safe within the veil. --A.B. Simpson



Malachi... post-exilic, 50 years after Ezra rebuilt temple, (may have been Ezra, Malachi=preacher) complacency> spiritual degeneration, ... people become insensitive to God, indifferent to worship, insolent
Have you come across these silly questions?
IF WE GET OLIVE OIL FROM SQUEEZING OLIVES, WHERE DOES BABY OIL COME FROM?Why does a round pizza come in a square box?If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat?
If Wiley E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME junk, why didn't he just buy dinner?
IF A SMURF IS CHOKING, WHAT COLOR DOES IT TURN?Whose cruel idea was it to put an "S" in the word lisp?
There was the announcement of train guard.. delayed because we hit a cow.. "Was the cow on the tracks?" “No mam, we had to chase it all over the field to hit it!”

1. Notice the heart of the people he is addressing and I want you to consider YOUR HEART!
7 insolent questions in Malachi
Mal 1:2 I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you ask: “How have You loved us?” “Wasn’t Esau Jacob’s brother?” [This is]the Lord’s declaration. “Even so, I loved Jacob,
6 A son honors [his]father, and a servant his master. But if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is [your]• fear of Me? says the Lord of Hosts to you priests, who despise My name.” Yet you ask: “How have we despised Your name?”
7 “By presenting defiled food on My altar.” You ask: “How have we defiled You?” When you say: “The Lord’s table is contemptible.”[12]
2:17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you ask, “How have we wearied [Him]?” When you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the Lord’s sight, and He is pleased with them,” or “Where is the God of justice?”
3:7 “Since the days of your fathers, you have turned from My statutes; you have not kept [them]. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of Hosts. But you ask: “How can we return?”
3:8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me!” You ask: “How do we rob You?” “[By not making the payments]of 10 percent and the contributions.[10
3:13 “Your words against Me are harsh,” says the Lord. Yet you ask: “What have we spoken against You?”
G Campbell Morgan, the great preacher from Westminster chapel in London between the Wars years, the predecessor of Martyn Lloyd Jones, wrote “Thus we have this word, " Wherein," put by the prophet into the mouth of those people seven distinct times, with reference to seven distinct announcements. He comes to them first of all with the declaration: " I have loved you, saith the Lord," and they say, " Wherein hast Thou loved us?" Then he says, " Ye have despised the Lord," and they say, " Wherein have we despised Him ? " And He says: " Ye have polluted My altar," and they say, " Wherein have we polluted Thine altar ? " And then: " Ye have wearied Me," and they say, " Wherein have we wearied Thee ? " And then: "Return to Me," and they say, " Wherein shall we return ?" And then: " Ye have robbed Me," and they say, " Wherein have we robbed Thee ? " And lastly: " Ye have spoken against Me," and they say, " Wherein have we spoken against Thee ? "
This word shows us the condition of these people in a lurid light. The temple is rebuilt, the altar is set up, the sacrifices are offered, the feasts and fasts are alike observed, and to these people—with outward form and ritual, perfect to the very last and minutest detail—the prophecy comes, the Divine complaint is made.
And they look at the prophet with mingled astonishment and incredulity, and they say, " Wherein ? What do you mean ? You charge us with having despised God and polluted His altar, with having wearied Him, and with wandering from and refusing to return to Him, and accuse us of robbing and speaking against Him; we don't see that we have done these things, so why should we be subjected to these accusations ? You come and say we despise God's work. Look at our sacrifices and offerings ! You tell us that we have polluted the altar. We have brought our gifts ! You tell us that we have wearied Him. We don't see where or when! "We are not conscious of having done anything to displease Him! You tell us to return. We don't see where we are to return from; we don't see where we are to return to! You tell us we have robbed God. We want to know when ? You say we have spoken against God. We don't remember having spoken against Him; when was it ? "
What is the significance of this word " Wherein ? " These people are not in open rebellion against God, nor do they deny His right to offerings, but they are laboring under the delusion, that because they have brought offerings, they have been true to Him all along. Theirs is not the language of a people throwing off a yoke and saying, " We will not be loyal," but of a people established in the temple. It is not the language of a people who say, "Let us cease to sacrifice, and worship; and let us do as we please "; but it is the language of a people who say, " We are sacrificing and worshipping to please God," and yet He says, by the mouth of His servant, " Ye have wearied Me: ye have robbed and spoken against Me."
They have been most particular and strict in outward observances, but their hearts have been far away from their ceremonials. They have been boasting themselves in their knowledge of truth, responding to that knowledge mechanically, technically; but their hearts, their lives, their characters, the inwardness of their natures, have been a perpetual contradiction in the eye of Heaven, to the will of God; and, when the prophet tells them what God thinks of them, they, with astonishment and impertinence, look into his face and say,
" We don't see this at all!" To translate it into the language of the New Testament— " having the form of godliness, they deny the power."
These people are the most orthodox people, they go to church each week. They are model Baptist members. But something is wrong. The heart of the problem in Baptist churches is the problem of Baptist hearts. Now notice that:
The first charge the Lord brings against His people concerns His Love.
Mal 1: 2“I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you ask: “How have You loved us?” “Wasn’t Esau Jacob’s brother?” [This is]the Lord’s declaration. “Even so, I loved Jacob, 3 but I hated Esau. I turned his mountains into a wasteland, and [gave]his inheritance to the desert jackals.”
Let me ask a very direct question. Do you love the Lord or No?
Many years ago I came across a little couplet that has often spoken to my heart in a challenging way:
“Tis a thing I oft would know Do I love the Lord or no?”
It’s a simple question.
The Lord Jesus said something about this: Matt 22:35 And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test Him: 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important commandment.
Speaking to the church at Ephesus the risen glorified Lord Jesus said Rev 2:4 But I have this against you: you have abandoned the love [you had] at first.
Obviously it’s a pretty high priority!
But did you ever realise that your love for the Lord is a direct consequence of understanding His love for you.
If you are close to Him, He will reveal His love to you. John 14:21The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him.”
It is a spiritual apprehension of the Love of God that we are have.
Eph 3:16 I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. [I pray that] you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth [of God’s love], 19 and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
That love He has for us, revealed to us results in a deep love towards Him.
Rom 5:5 This hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us
1John 4:19 We love because He first loved us.
So when we begin to drift away from the Lord, it is that spiritual apprehension of God’s love for us that first declines.
And as we no longer see clearly the love of God for us, we soon drift from Him.
An awkward situation arises in our lives. We experience conflict with others. Someone does us an ill turn, and we begin to think, “If God really cared for me He wouldn’t have let this happen to me.”
There is a turn for the worst healthwise. “Has God forgotten to be gracious?” We cry.
There is a financial pressure, and we ask “Can’t God see?” And rather than depend upon Him, we russle our resources to find a way out. Because God isn’t interested in these little crises of ours. He has enough trouble running the world!”
Guilt for past sins gets poured into the mix! “Well its that past sin! I really can’t expect God to be on real good terms with me!” And we go looking for tangible signs that maybe all will be well one day. And all the time God is becoming more distant from us, and our religion is becoming more important to us.
Friends, You are drifting! And I believe God is calling us back to Himself! Today! Right now!
And the very first thing God wants to set right is this heart attitude in your heart that says “ I am not real sure whether God really loves me!”
You may have accepted this as a theological proposition : “Jesus loves all the children all the children of the world, red and yellow black and white they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves all the children of the world.”
And then we drift off into lala land with “Everything is beautiful, in its own way.”
Well it may be, but is there a real consciousness in your heart of the Love of God towards you?
2. Notice The Hope Of The People He Is Addressing And consider YOUR HOPE!
1. God Loves For You Is A Covenant Love
God had made a Covenant With Israel.
God has Made A Covenant With Christians
God’s Covenant With His People Is Unconditional.
The people of Israel did nothing to deserve that covenant.
Deut 7:7 “The Lord was devoted to you and chose you, not because you were more numerous than all peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 But because the Lord loved you and kept the oath He swore to your fathers, He brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from the place of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
But it was conditional upon their obedience.
Deut 7:9 Know that Yahweh your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands. 10 But He directly pays back and destroys those who hate Him. He will not hesitate to directly pay back the one who hates Him. 11 So keep the command—the statutes and ordinances—that I am giving you to follow today. 12 “If you listen to and are careful to keep these ordinances, the Lord your God will keep His covenant loyalty with you, as He swore to your fathers. 13 He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will bless your descendants, and the produce of your soil—your grain, new wine, and oil—the young of your herds, and the newborn of your flocks, in the land He swore to your fathers that He would give you.
You have done nothing to deserve your covenant with God And it is not conditioned upon your obedience.
God’s Covenant With You Is Sacrificial
God sacrificed to be the people of Israel’s God. He sacrificed that He likened Himself in Hosea to a faithful husband standing with an unfaithful wife. Know that Yahweh your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands.
God sacrificed to be in Covenant with you.
1 Cor 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: on the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, 24 gave thanks, broke it, and said, “This is My body, which isfor you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way [He]also [took]the cup, after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
God’s Covenant With You Is Eternal
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, 'For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:35-39).
O Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe, that in thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.
2. God’s Love For You is An Assuring Love
Whingeing and whining is just so inappropriate!
1 Thess 5:28 Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
Phil 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.
Col 3:16 Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God.
No wonder God objects so strongly to those who whinge and whine! They are denying the most basic Christian truth : God Loves You!
O Light that followest all my way, I yield my flickering torch to thee;
my heart restores its borrowed ray, that in they sunshine's blaze its day may brighter, fairer be.
3. God’s Love For You Is A Disciplining Love
Heb 12: And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly, or faint when you are reproved by Him; 6 for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and punishes every son whom He receives. 7 Endure it as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there whom a father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline—which all receive—then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had natural fathers discipline us, and we respected them. Shouldn’t we submit even more to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but He does it for our benefit, so that we can share His holiness. 11 No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but healed instead.
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee; I trace the rainbow thru the rain,
and feel the promise is not vain, that morn shall tearless be.
4. God’s Love For You Is A Softening Love
O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life's glory dead, and from the ground there blossoms red life that shall endless be.
Thomas Brooks is one of my favorite Puritan writers and he has blessed us with a powerful remembrance of what it means to "love the Lord Jesus Christ." "Look that ye love the Lord Jesus Christ with a superlative love, with an overtopping love. There are none have suffered so much for you as Christ; there are none that can suffer so much for you as Christ. The least measure of that wrath that Christ hath sustained for you, would have broke the hearts, necks, and backs of all created beings.O my friends! There is no love but a superlative love that is any ways suitable to the transcendent sufferings of dear Jesus. Oh, love him above your lusts, love him above your relations, love him above the world, love him above all your outward contentments and enjoyments, yea, love him above your very lives; for thus the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, saints, primitive Christians, and the martyrs of old, have loved our Lord Jesus Christ with an overtopping love: Rev. xii. 11, 'They loved not their lives unto the death;' that is, they slighted, contemned, yea, despised their lives, exposing them to hazard and loss, out of love to the Lamb, 'who had washed them in his blood.' I have read of one Kilian, a Dutch schoolmaster, who being asked whether he did not love his wife and children, answered, Were all the world a lump of gold, and in my hands to dispose of, I would leave it at my enemies' feet to live with them in a prison; but my soul and my Saviour are dearer to me than all. If my father, saith Jerome, should stand before me, and my mother hang upon, and my brethren should press about me, I would break through my brethren, throw down my father, and tread underfoot my mother, to cleave to Jesus Christ.Certainly the more Christ hath suffered for us, the more dear Christ should be unto us; the more bitter his sufferings have been for us, the more sweet his love should be to us, and the more eminent should be our love to him. Oh, let a suffering Christ lie nearest your hearts; let him be your manna, your tree of life, your morning star. It is better to part with all than with this pearl of price. Christ is that golden pipe through which the golden oil of salvation runs; and oh. how should this inflame our love to Christ! Oh that our hearts were more affected with the sufferings of Christ! Who can tread upon these hot coals, and his heart not burn in love to Christ, and cry out with Ignatius, Christ my love is crucified? Cant. viii. 7,8. If a friend should die for us, how would our hearts be affected with his kindness! and shall the God of glory lay down his life for us, and shall we not be affected with his goodness i John x. 17, 18. Shall Saul be affected with David's kindness in sparing his life, 1 Sam. xxiv. 16, and shall not we be affected with Christ's kindness, who, to save our life, lost his own? Oh, the infinite love of Christ, that he should leave his Father's bosom, John i. 18, and come down from heaven, that he might carry you up to heaven, John xiv. 1-4; that he that was a Son should take upon him the form of a servant, Phil. ii. 5-8; that you of slaves should be made sons, of enemies should be made friends, of heirs of wrath should be made heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, Rom. viii. 17; that to save us from everlasting ruin, Christ should stick at nothing, but be willing to be made flesh, to lie in a manger, to be tempted, deserted, persecuted, and to die upon a cross!Oh, when shall the sufferings of a dear and tender-hearted Saviour kindle such a flame of love in all our hearts, as shall still be a-breaking forth in our lips and lives, in our words and ways, to the praise and glory of free grace? Oh that the sufferings of a loving Jesus might at last make us all sick of love!

(Proverbs 4:23 GN) “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.”
(2 Timothy 4:3-4 LB) “There is going to come a time when people won’t listen to the truth but will go around looking for teachers who will tell them just what they want to hear. They won’t listen to what the Bible says but will blithely follow their own misguided ideas.” (John 8:32) “When you know the truth, the truth will set you free.”
Myths About God
Lie 1. God is unreasonable.
(Genesis 2:16-17) “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
(Genesis 3:1) “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The Truth: God is compassionate.
(Psalm 145:9) “The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.”
(Lamentations 3:22) “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.”
(Romans 8:32 LB) “Since he did not spare even his own Son for us…won’t God also surely give us everything else?”
Lie 2. God is unreliable.
(Genesis 3:3-5 LB) (Eve) “God says we must not eat it…or we’ll die.” (Satan) “That’s a lie! You’ll not die! God knows very well the instant you eat it you’ll become like him…”
The Truth: God is consistent.
(Romans 11:29 LB) “…God will never go back on his promises.”
(Psalm 59:10 LB) “My God is changeless in his love for me…”

Lie 3. God is unconcerned.
(Psalm 22:2) “O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.”

The Truth: God is caring.
(Matthew 10:29-31 NCV) “Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it…God even knows how many hairs are on your head. So don’t worry. You’re worth much more than many sparrows.”
(Matthew 6:31-33 NCV) “Don’t worry ‘What will we eat…or drink…or wear? People who don’t know God keep trying to get these things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them. The thing you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what God wants. Then all these other things you need will be given to you.”

Lie 4. God is unreachable.
(Psalm 10:1) “Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”
The Truth: God is close.
(Acts 17:26-27) “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”
(Psalm 34:18) “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

How is your heart? Do you need revival? Do you need to be touched again with the love of God?

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Baptist Creeds and Confessions

E.Y Mullins President of the SBC from 1921 - 1924.

"There has been much recent discussion of Baptists and their relation to creedal statements. We usually prefer the expression "confessions of faith" because in some denominations coercion has often been associated with the creeds of the past. But properly understood a creed with Baptists means simply what we believe.
Creed and confession of faith mean the same thing.
I invite attention first to some fallacies about creeds
Some Fallacies about Creeds
The first is the widely circulated statement that Baptists have no creeds.
As a matter of fact, Baptists have published a large number of articles of faith. Professor McGlothin's volume Baptist Confessions of Faith (Publication Society, 1919) has 368 pages. On these pages are printed a long list of Baptist creedal statements. These confessions were published under a great variety of circumstances. In each instance there was a good ground for the publication.
A second fallacy is that Baptist liberty prohibits creedal statements.
Our traditional championship of religious liberty and individualism is constantly cited against new declarations of faith. How exactly the opposite is true. The publication of confessions of faith has been a constant expression of our ideal of liberty. Repression at this point is exactly what Baptists do not want. Repression covers up, hides beliefs, and under the cover all kinds of errors breed and flourish.Baptists have always revolted against coercion by state or church in the matter of beliefs. This is the background of our traditional doctrine of liberty. But Baptists would sell their birthright very cheaply if, within the Baptist family itself, one group should muzzle another group to prevent a free expression of beliefs whenever the situation called for such expression. Openness and freedom of utterance are our true Baptist tradition. The coercion of a public opinion among us forbidding such free utterance would be a dire calamity -- the New Testament, of course, is our final standard and authority. Our confessions are simply our effort to state what the New Testament teaches. They are all to be tested and estimated according to the New Testament.
A third fallacy is that creedal statements are government by the "dead hand."
Here again the fact has been turned right about and made to face in the wrong direction. New creedal statements are put forth to prevent government by the "dead hand." That is why there are so many Baptist confessions of faith. No group of Baptists can bind another group by any such statement of beliefs. Creeds tend to become stereotyped in the course of time. New and vital statements are needed. To keep our faith alive we restate it from time to time.
A fourth fallacy is that creedal statements imply that we have ceased to think.
This is a palpably incorrect view. We are bound to think, discriminate, construct, when we give forth new statements of belief. I make bold to say that the greater part of the thinking in theology today is being done by those who are interested in restatement of beliefs. There are two groups who are thinking hard. First, the radicals who are trying to overthrow the evangelical faith. They are framing a new scheme of doctrine. Another group who are thinking are defending the evangelical faith. There is a third group who are not thinking much -- the neutrals who have no definite message and depreciate all efforts to restate the faith.

What is a Creed?
A creed is simply the statement of meaning of the facts of religion. ... Confessions of faith are our efforts to state what the great facts of our religion mean.

Reasons for Opposing Restatement of Beliefs
I mention the following reasons implied or expressed, consciously or unconsciously held, for opposing new statements of belief.
I name, first, the desire for license instead of liberty.
There are limits to religion of Christ beyond which men may not go and claim to be Christian, and there are corresponding Baptist limits. The refusal to define limits may and often does indicate a desire to abolish all limits.
Another reason is the absence of opinions.
Real thinking is hard work. The indolent mind is impatient with strenuous doctrinal thought. It does not enjoy the attendant headache. The "open mind" is the ideal of the indolent mind. I believe in the open mind, with a screen in it, like an open window. The screen lets in the air and keeps out the mosquitoes and gnats. The screen in the mind means discrimination, and discrimination means hard thinking and definite views.
Another reason for opposing creedal statements is unwillingness to declare one's views.
Some, indeed many, who are really thinking hold views they are unwilling to declare. They have arrived at conclusions but they are held as a sort of private possession to be exposed to view only in a select inner circle. It is inevitable that these should oppose creedal statements.
A fourth reason for such opposition is an incorrect conception of liberty.
This is perhaps the most widespread reason among Baptists. It is due to an exaggerated individualism. Liberty is interpreted as an individualistic affair entirely. This is erroneous. Liberty is also a social principle. It involves relations to others, obligations and duties. If you have in yourself all resources of material support, mental equipment and the inclination, you may be a free lance. But the moment you join any group other than a free lance club, you accept limitations. The Baptist denomination is not a free lance club as some would like to make it.The group has liberties as a group. Two men or two million men have the right to unite for common ends on a common doctrinal platform, whether that platform be economic, political or religious. This is an inalienable right of the group. Free and voluntary association on a common platform for common ends is what made America an independent nation. A political party without a platform is unthinkable. A denomination controlled by a group who have no declared platform is heading for the rocks. The Baptist denomination has never allowed creeds to be imposed upon it by others. It has never compelled anyone in the denomination to accept the Baptist confessions of faith. But Baptists have always insisted upon their own right to declare their beliefs in a definite, formal way, and to protect themselves by refusing to support men in important places as teachers and preachers who do not agree with them. This group right of self-protection is a sacred as any individual right. If a group of men known as Baptists consider themselves trustees of certain great truths, they have an inalienable right to conserve and propagate those truths unmolested by others in the denomination who oppose those truths. The latter have an equal right to unite with another group agreeing with them. But they have no right to attempt to make of the Baptist denomination a free lance club.

When Are New Statements of Belief Needed?
They are needed under various circumstances.
Sometimes they are needed to differentiate Baptists from other denominations, as in the Puritan era in England.
Sometimes to defend themselves against false charges, as in Romania and other European countries today.
Sometimes they are needed to help unify groups of Baptists scattered over the world, as was designed in the Fraternal Address of Southern Baptists two years ago. They are needed in times of doctrinal vagueness, confusion and unrest as at present.These confessions of faith do not in any way interfere with Baptist liberty. They are never given final form. They are never free from defects. They are never imposed by legal sanctions. Their influence is moral and spiritual. No two of them are ever identical in form, although most of them agree in substance. They are never doctrinal strait-jackets like Catholic creeds. But while they do not destroy liberty they do enable Baptist life to function effectively. They educate the young believer. They enable the average church member to get his bearings. They define certain great limits within which a man is entitled to call himself a Baptist. They have the immense practical value of indicating who can work together successfully in the enterprises of the kingdom of God.
The Limits of Cooperation
The last point is worthy of emphasis. Practical cooperation is, after all, a fine test of the limits of practical fellowship, and doctrinal fellowship is a fine test of the limits of practical cooperation. The exact limits of practical cooperation are, of course, hard to define. But there are certain great guiding principles. If a man holds consistently the Unitarian view of Christ's person, he cannot long cooperate with those who hold the deity of Christ. The two conceptions are antagonistic in themselves and in the great groups of beliefs which go with them. For the one group bad men evolve into good men in response to good influences. For the other group bad men become good men by being saved from their sins in response to the Gospel appeal. For one group education is the chief agency for changing men. For the other regeneration by the power of God's Spirit. It is true, as often asserted, that cooperation is largely a matter of spirit and attitude. Identity of doctrinal beliefs may not be necessary at all points in order to have cooperation among groups of Baptists. But if there are radical and fundamental differences, the "spirit" and "attitude" are certain to correspond. No man can with enthusiasm give his money or his assistance in propagating what he regards as fundamental error.Before closing I wish to add that I admit that there are dangers connected with new statements of belief. They may be misused. They may be abused in various ways. They may be put forth too frequently and absorb too much attention. But this does not affect that main point. They are a part of the vital process by which the life of a great people is expressed and promoted. As Baptists we must not permit ourselves to become silent on our fundamental beliefs in an age which calls for outspokenness in clear terms. We must not permit the formation of a public opinion among us which tends to repress and stifle.I have written the above because there are deadly tendencies at work -- deadly. I mean to our New Testament Christianity. The neutrals do not see these tendencies and make no protest. They are for peace and silence. The radicals see clearly. The defenders of the gospel also see clearly on their side. It is well that we clear the atmosphere and learn where we are drifting."

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