10 Pastors I’m Concerned About

This is a helpful article for everyone to read as it provides insight even in choosing or leaving a particular church. It this article Scott mentions 10 types of pastors whom we should be concerned about and how such pastoral ministry affects the gospel and the growth of the church.

  1. I’m concerned about the pastor who is better at managing church programs than he is at making disciples of Jesus.
  2. I’m concerned about the pastor who attracts people with fancy self-help sermons instead of teaching people to be students of the Bible and theology.
  3. I’m concerned about the pastor who is a chief executive instead of a contemplative sage.
  4. I’m concerned about the pastor who uses the pulpit to milk members instead of minister to the saints.
  5. I’m concerned about the pastor who makes growing the church the goal instead of glorifying God the goal.
  6. I’m concerned about the pastor who builds his ministry with people instead of building people by his ministry.
  7. I’m concerned about the pastor who cultivates a culture of dependency on himself instead of cultivating a culture of community within the church.
  8. I’m concerned about the pastor who reads and teaches the Bible literally instead of literarily.
  9. I’m concerned about the pastor who contributes to the culture of consumerism instead of combating idolatry.
  10. I’m concerned about the pastor who sees the church as a stepping stone instead of seeing it as a custodian of Christ’s kingdom.

 

Read the full article here

 


Joy Meyer: The Much Expected Prosperity False Teacher

I’ve been asked several times in the last couple of months by some people as to whether I’ll be attending the Joyce Meyer conference. It amazes me to see that these people do not see anything wrong with this celebrity of a preacher and have taken the pleasure to consume everything she offers them. I wish I had time to write about her today, but I’ll definitely do so in a couple of weeks. Today, I’m posting this short clip by John MacArthur just to give people a foretaste of the kind of dangerous person Joyce Meyer is. It’s my hope that those who are faithful to the gospel will open their eyes and separate themselves from participating in this coming conference which is just another platform of spiritual exploitation which continues to affect our nation.

 

 


Christians and Same-Sex Attraction

B.M. Kasera:

‘Homosexuality is an inherently difficult topic for Christians to discuss and address. And it’s a thousand times harder to discuss in our culture, where sexuality is all messed up. Sam Allberry has written a short book that will help Christians navigate this topic with a biblical mindset: Is God Anti-Gay?’

Originally posted on The Reformed Reader:

Homosexuality is an inherently difficult topic for Christians to discuss and address.  And it’s a thousand times harder to discuss in our culture, where sexuality is all messed up.  Sam Allberry has written a short book that will help Christians navigate this topic with a biblical mindset: Is God Anti-Gay?  In just 85 small pages, Allberry does a lot of good (and brave!) work in the area of Christianity and homosexuality.  Here are three reasons why I highly recommend this book:

1) It is biblical.  Allberry walks the readers through the basics of God’s will for marriage and sexuality.  Even though he struggles with same-sex attraction, he knows that God’s Word teaches that marriage and sex are meant for man and woman.  He also knows that if a Christian does not marry a person of the opposite sex, the only other God-pleasing alternative is singleness in a sexually…

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Ken Wilson Down The Babylon Road

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I have never heard of Ken Wilson until recently through a Facebook discussion and I thought to respond to Ken’s view because of the theological claim he makes (Evangelical). I have read a number of liberal books and articles on similar issues but I understand those are Liberals and they are clear about their position of not seeing Scripture as authority. After having read through the article four times, I was not sure what to make of it and it’s been a while that I blogged – so I wrote. Let me apologise to you my readers that this is a long piece, for this occasion.

Before I set out to respond to Ken’s perspective, I’d like to clarify some points. First, we should not be homophobic as Evangelicals, instead we should reach out with the gospel and love to them. Secondly, homosexuals, lesbians and transgender people are made in the image of God and should therefore be treated with respect and not be objects of harassment and ridicule. Thirdly, homosexuals, lesbians and transgender people are sinners like any other and should not be given any special preferences just because of changing political-theories. Fourthly, I have a homosexual brother whom I love dearly.

I admire Ken’s sincerity and concern towards those in same-sex unions. However, everyone’s sincerity must be subjected to the authority of God’s word and not our feelings of sympathy. The idea of always reforming (semper reformanda) is a reformation towards good rather than a downgrade of our moral standards and biblical stand. The issue at hand isn’t that of semantics as Ken would have us believe but the spiritual direction in which he is pointing us – The Babylon Road, which is the road to Rome in the company of political correctness. This demonstrates that “We are in a crisis situation, a labyrinth language, at the crossroads of truth and interpretation” (Vanhoozer).

Wilson’s position in this crisis of postmodern language is one which seeks comfort with the masses which are opposed to the truth. Before coming to Romans 14, we need to understand that there is a Romans 1-3, which addresses man’s condition without God and when the human race is left to itself, it’ll seek to redefine God’s order of creation. There are deeper hermeneutical issues to be addressed before we can jump to a weak conclusion of unity without a firm grasp of what the foundation of such unity ought to be.

It should shock anyone who holds to the view of authority of Scripture for someone to think that the issue of same-sex unions falls in the category of grey matters. This is a deliberate distortion of reality. Isn’t it obvious that God’s order of creation is between a male and female and any other union is a deviation? To argue that because there is no explicit command against same-sex union, therefore, we should make it an exception, is a move in the direction of hermeneutical relativism. Ken’s perspective is an affirmation of the Judges’ Downward Spiral ‘embrace the interpreter within you’ (Vanhoozer) by doing what is right in our human eyes. I think Wilson has worn postmodern looking glasses for too long which has created a worldview which is comfortable for him and those that would not speak out against sin.

I guess we all come to certain conclusions by conviction, however, all convictions must be tested by Scripture. Having said that, I believe that for one to advocate for same-sex union couples to be acceptable members of the Christian community, you have to look for justification from sources outside Scripture. Ken’s article is evidently devoid of Scriptural justification except to plead for mercy that Romans 14 must be applied in order to have it settled. Ken’s hermeneutics does not inspire confidence, if we were to make use of all hermeneutical tools available to discuss this matter.

Same-sex union may be new but its roots are not new, it is a manifestation of human sin in a newer form that compels society to accept it. If same-sex unions become acceptable then all sorts of sins should simply be granted licenses – because legality seems to be the issue here. Ken should also acknowledge the reality of false salvation, that no person who encounters the true Jesus and get to love Him will settle to love his/her sinful ways and seek justification for it. I beg to differ because Ken is promoting salvation with no repentance.

I think it is unloving to lie to couples in same-sex unions that it is fine simply because they claim to love Jesus. If they love the Jesus whom we equate to a personal Santa Clause who rewards us at Christmas then, surely, same-sex union couples are allowed to continue in such relationships because such a Jesus does not place demands upon their lives, to hate sin, the world, take up their cross and follow him. The Jesus of Scripture will place uncomfortable demands upon our lives, demands that make us to turn against our old ways as he did with – Mary the prostitute, Zaccheus the thieving tax collector and the woman caught in adultery.

The truth which Ken won’t tell his homosexual and lesbian members is that, same-sex unions are unions of sin, they are not disputable matters but acts of rebellion towards God. Instead of telling them to relax, he should sound a warning call of repentance, because it is not alright to live in a same-sex union according to God’s standards of holiness. It is dangerous when preachers resort to issues of semantics, when the real issue of God’s judgment are not philosophical. It is not alright when we make sinners our guinea pigs of theological and philosophical experiments instead of sharing with them the gospel of salvation. It is not right to offer a sewing thread as means to rescue someone who is drowning in their sins, they need a rope to pull them out. It is not alright to offer the world a Jesus of their own making, for the Jesus of Scripture is the Jesus of God not man’s Jesus.

To adopt a new cultural and philosophical theory according to popular demands isn’t the route neither of truth nor of the gospel. If we hold to the view of objective truth and morality, then the world will not accept us. However, if we stand to promote a view of making everything grey even when they are clearly black and white, we will receive the approval of the world.

While I am not questioning Ken Wilson’s sincerity, I should point out that his spiritual direction is that which people want to hear. Paul writes to Timothy ‘For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths’ (2 Tim. 4:3-4). He is the teacher of the people when he concludes with ‘Turn back? Are you kidding? This is what floats my evangelical boat’. The Roman Road of Ken is the same Babylon Road many evangelicals before him took who today are not just allowing same-sex union but officiating them and others have given up their heterogeneous relationships for homosexual relationships.

The Bible is not just Romans 14, it is a collection of different stories. It is not only about love but also of God’s wrath. It’s not only about living at peace but also about the division which Jesus brings. It is not all about loving my neighbour but also of loving God. It is not all about acceptance but of also telling the truth in love. It is not about building a community which accepts people but the need to be accepted by God. It is not about including everyone regardless but including everyone who has taken a deliberate step of being excluded from the world in order to be accepted by God. It is not about how we feel, it is about what God thinks and feels.

The idea that there are many who would like to go the Roman Road over the same-sex unions, is a public begging for support. I wonder what the letter would be like if God himself were to write one to the modern evangelicals who can’t differentiate their right hand from the left hand. The idea that God is love indiscriminately simply because we claim to love Jesus and he will accept us just as we are, is but the very heresy of the church of Rome and now the good news of modern evangelicals. Wilson must call his church to repentance and he should study the Scriptures for what they are and not for what he would like to take from them. It is my prayer that the many who are deceived to continue living in same-sex unions will experience God’s grace that will free them from such deceit. That they will experience Christ and come to him to a high degree of hating their sinful pleasures. May homosexuals/lesbians hear the gospel and be transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts and become living testimonies that will oppose the false gospel of indiscriminate acceptance simply because of one’s claim of loving Jesus.


Joseph Prince: A Poison Capsule In The Pulpit

Joseph+PrinceIn 2012 I was confronted with the issue of having to respond to Joseph Prince’s book Unmerited Favor which has caused confusion in a number of local churches including evangelicals from churches that are given to faithful exposition of Scripture. Not to mention pockets of young people who have started walking around with Hebrew and Greek dictionaries and lexicons in order to drive people into believing that they had the biblical texts correct. Unfortunately, these youth can’t even recite the alphabets of these ancient languages. This article is a response to this confusion of radically misplaced concept of grace.

Prince is concerned that some Christians are too focused on sin and have not grasped the extent of God’s forgiveness of them made possible through the cross. I would agree that sometimes some Christians are unhelpfully focused on their guilt and do not grasp fully the forgiveness we have – for there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1).

However I feel that Prince goes too far in making his point.  I have a number of issues:

1. Prince insists that Christians should not confess their sin.  He bases this on the assumption that Paul does not write about confession of sins and that the only verse which does (in 1 John) is written to Christians.  There are a number of problems with this argument:

(a)    Jesus teaches us to pray “forgive us our sins” in the Lord’s Prayer – the model prayer that is intended to shape our daily prayers (consider the line – give us today our daily bread) – see Luke 11:4.

(b)   James calls us to “confess our sins to one another” (Js 5:16) – while a different form of confession may be in mind this verse certainly indicates that Christians are to be aware of their sin (and act accordingly).

(c)    Several times in the letters to the churches in Revelation Jesus points out the sin of these Christians and calls on them to repent (see, for example: Rev 2:5; 2:16; 3:3; etc.)

(d)   Prince makes the mistake of falsely assuming that because Paul does not use the word “confess” he does not say anything about the concept.  This is like arguing that because Paul does not use the word “trinity” therefore the concept is not biblical.

Paul talks frequently (and positively) about the concept of repentance for Christians – sometimes using the word “repentance” (see, for example, 2 Cor 7:9) and sometimes using other language such as “putting to death” or “putting off” sin (see, for example: Col 3:5-11).

2. Prince argues that 1 John 1 was written not for Christians but for Gnostics – this is by no means clear from the text itself (and in fact no major commentator that I looked at held this view).

(a)    The fact that 1 John does not begin with a traditional letter opening does not necessarily lead to this conclusion – see Heb 1:1.

(b)   Similarly, the use of “my dear children” need not indicate a change of address or audience (cf. 1 Peter 2:11; 4:12)

(c)    John’s use of “we” language throughout 1 John 1 suggests that he is writing to Christians.  He is saying that for himself if he claims to be without sin he deceives himself..but if he confesses his sin…

(d)   It is also difficult to work out how in writing to the Gnostics John hoped his message would get through to them.

3. Prince argues that to teach Christians that they have to confess their sins is to teach works.  This is not necessarily true (and in the case of what the Bible teaches is of course not true):

(a)    We are not saved by confessing our sin but by Jesus’ death.

(b)   In the same way that “believing” is not a work; neither is repenting.  Prince is very clear that we are to “believe” but he does not see this as a work – in the same way “repenting” is not a work.

(c)    It is worth reading Grudem on the effects of sin on the Christian.

4. The Bible calls us to repent and believe (see for example Mk 1:15).  Where the Bible does this the words “repent” and “believe” are present tense commands – in other words they have a continuous sense.  Just as we do not believe in the past and no longer believe; neither as Christians should we think that we have repented in the past and no longer need to repent.  There is of course a difference between the repentance of a non-Christian in turning to Christ for the first time and the repentance of a Christian who is saved and a child of God – but Christians are repentant people and repentant people repent.

In conclusion, I feel that Prince plays down the seriousness of sin in the life of the Christian.  He argues that we should not think about or focus on sin – but I suspect that the Apostle Paul would disagree.  See, the following passages: Romans 7; Gal 5:16-25; 6:1; Eph 4:25; Col 3:5-11; 1 Thess 5:14-15.  Sin is something that we need to take seriously; and if we are aware of our sin surely we will acknowledge to God that we are sorry for it (surely we will be sorry). From this perspective, Prince’s teaching on grace is “biblically wrong and can be hazardous to one’s spiritual health. He has just enough right knowledge mixed with wrong theology to be dangerous and hurt people as much as he intends to help them” (Let Us Reason Ministries).


Warning Against Spiritual Pride

edwardsJonathan Edwards wrote to young Christians that:

Those who are most zealous in the cause of God are the most likely to be targeted as being filled with pride.  When any person appears, in any respect, to be noticeably excelling others in his Christian walk, odds are ten to one that it will immediately awaken the jealousy of those about him.

They will suspect (whether they have good reason or not) that he is very proud of his goodness and that he probably thinks no one as good as he is, so that everything he says and does is observed with this prejudice.

Those who are themselves cold and dead, and especially those who have never had any experience of the power of godliness on their own hearts, will easily entertain such thoughts of the best Christians.  This arises from nothing less than a secret hostility against essential and fervent holiness.

But the zealous Christian should take heed that this does not prove a snare to him, and the devil take advantage of it to blind his eyes from beholding the true nature of his heart and to think that because he is charged with pride wrongfully and with an unkind spirit, that such charges are not sometimes valid.

Alas, how much pride the best have in their hearts!  It is the worst part of the body of sin and death; the first sin that ever entered into the universe and the last that is rooted out.  It is God’s most stubborn enemy!

Read full article here


Naming our problem

 

I recognise that the prosperity preachers are attempting to motivate people to help them to realise that they do not have to remain in poverty. Moreover, I also appreciate their positive stand that resists a defeatist attitude which has contributed to unnecessary poverty. Where these preachers have been able to contribute positively to people’s change of thinking and attitude we should applaud them for a job well done. If there are people whose way of living has improved as a result of prosperity preaching then we surely thank God and rejoice with them.

Where certain aspects of the prosperity gospel are rooted in Scripture we affirm them

Where certain aspects of the prosperity gospel are rooted in Scripture we affirm them. I do not want to imply that the prosperity gospel is all bad. I also recognise the painful and ugly social environment within which this teaching thrives. I recognise the need for hope for thousands of poor people within our communities. However, I would like to be clear that acknowledging some positive aspects does not compensate for the reality of the prosperity gospel’s obviously false and dangerous misrepresentation of the Christian message. We cannot ignore the unethical practices of the movement and its destructive effects upon thousands of Christians whose hope continue to be dashed because of their false and unbiblical promises. Moreover, as we think about ways of fighting poverty, we cannot ignore the reality of that this teaching contributes to the furthering of poverty amongst its members. “In such dimensions, it can be soberly described as a false gospel” (Wright C, Azumah J, Asamoah-Gyadu K (2008-2009). A statement on the prosperity gospel: “a statement on the prosperity gospel.” From the Lausanne Theology Working Group, Africa chapter at its consultations in Akropong, Ghana, 8-9 October, 2008 and 1-4 September 2009.)

 


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