Archive for the ‘Gospel’ Category

God Hater

January 1, 2008

It seems that some of the folks at Hot Air took umbrage with my use of the term God Hater in the Hukster post.  They even put the quote on their headlines page. 

The question they raise is this:  Can an atheist, who does not believe in God at all, be considered a ‘God Hater.’  I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ and while I understand the confusion, my definition in this spiritual matter must come from the Bible.  Philosophy may be the queen of all the sciences, but she still has a Lord.

If you have another God besides the Triune God of the Bible then God describes you as a God hater.

Ex 20:3-6

3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.

4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image — any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Jesus said that there are two classes of people, those who are His and those who are “of the world.”  This is the great antitheses of the bible.  Jesus said this about those who are not His (atheists would be in the group, no?):

John 15:18,19

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.  19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  

Then in verses 23- of John 15 the Lord said, 

 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also.  24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father.  25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’ 

Now, the atheist believes himself safe from judgement in all this, both from man and God, after all if they believe God does not exist how that that God hold him/her accountable.  But, let me just say that God knows their heart and He also knows that they are without excuse.

Rom 1:18-19

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.

Let me urge my atheist readers (are there any?) to repent of their sin and believe on Jesus Christ.  He is the way the truth and the life.  No one comes unto the Father but by him.

al sends

The Sub-dominate Gospel

July 28, 2007

I went to a new blog this weekend and stumbled across this post about Sean Hannity and Montgomery Gentry.  They are putting on Freedom Concerts, raising money to support the families of fallen soldiers.  A worthy cause to be sure… Boneman, the writer of this new found blog, noticed a glaring contradiction during the event though.

When we were walking to our seats we noticed that there were huge silhouetted woman decals decorating the stage.  We later learned this was part of the Montgomery-Gentry country music act.  Fair enough, but imagine the jarring disconnect of this backdrop while Michael W. Smith sang Gospel music.  I’m sorry, but it was too big to miss.  Add to that a bunch of ass-kicking “my town” song / talk, and you have yourself one heck of an interesting experience!  Go America! (?) 

The decals to which he refers are most often found on the mudflaps of our more risqué truckers.  Them ladies are nekkid you might say.  Anyway…

 I wrote the following in his comments section…

As the saying goes, Politics makes for strange bedfellows.   

In America we tend to compartmentalize much of our life.  The Lordship of Christ is put into a separate category of our being.  We are then taken aback when things don’t work out that way in reality.   

Many Christians think that they can keep their politics and their faith ontologically separate.  What happens in real life is a grafting in of the gospel into politics, making it a part of the whole.   This would be great if the gospel were dominate, but the fact is when we (Christians) enter politics we do everything we can to keep Christ separate… from actually taking over.

It happened to the liberals with their state as savior theology and it has happened to conservatives and their moral majority.

Not only is the gospel made part of the whole it is subdued and made to say things that are not true, neither of Christ and his glorious gospel nor the “kick-ass” politico/music act.  To subdue the gospel like this is to hand a cloak for vice to the masses who take in your music/polical speech.  And we are not to use our Gospel liberty that way.

 1 Peter 2:15-17
15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men —  16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice , but as bondservants of God.

al sends

Very God of Very God

June 18, 2007

I was going to put something up about the guy who won Britain’s Got Talent… but this just blew me away.

Let me start with a story from my Navy days … (Civilian equivalents placed in parentheses for Squid Talk)

I was in my rack (bed) onboard the USS Nimitz, having just returned from the head (bathroom) after my shower. Right before taps (the announcement that the work day is over, 10 PM) by tradition the chaplain (Navy preacher) provides the evening prayer.

On this occasion we had a visiting Roman Catholic Priest who was on his way to one of the small boys (Navy ships that escort the larger aircraft carriers) and he was given the opportunity to lead this evening’s prayer. So, he gets on the 1MC (ship’s intercom) and begins to intone, “Dear God, Yahweh , Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Mother Earth… You are known by many names…” I have no idea what he said since I practically hit the deck (floor) at those words coming out the mouth of a man with a cross on his sleeve (a Christian chaplain).

I had that same feeling when I read this story in the Seattle Times. Here is a quote but you should read the whole thing:

Shortly after noon on Fridays, the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding ties on a black headscarf, preparing to pray with her Muslim group on First Hill.
On Sunday mornings, Redding puts on the white collar of an Episcopal priest.
She does both, she says, because she’s Christian and Muslim.

Redding, who until recently was director of faith formation at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, has been a priest for more than 20 years. Now she’s ready to tell people that, for the last 15 months, she’s also been a Muslim — drawn to the faith after an introduction to Islamic prayers left her profoundly moved.

Her Bishop does not have a problem with it. Heck, he is down right pumped about the whole thing:

Redding’s bishop, the Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner, says he accepts Redding as an Episcopal priest and a Muslim, and that he finds the interfaith possibilities exciting. Her announcement, first made through a story in her diocese’s newspaper, hasn’t caused much controversy yet, he said.

Listen, If you do not believe that Jesus Christ is uniquely very God of very God, then rip the cross off your sleeve. If you do not think that John chapter one teaches that in the beginning Jesus was “the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” then you really should turn in your preaching robes, even the rainbow ones.

If Jesus Christ is not God then His promises are worse than lies. They are death and hell. His proclamation of forgiveness to the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears? The ravings of a mad man. His promise to send His Spirit? Merely spit in the eyes of His grieving friends. Jesus Christ not God? No resurrection with power, no ascension to the right had of the Father, no return in Glory and you are still in your sins.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.

Al sends

(HT Mark Steyn, Dave M.)

A Question Concerning Justification

June 12, 2007

After a conversation with a fellow pastor in my area, I’ve been contemplating a question. It’s one that I have ruminated on, discussed, and investigated for many years.

Can you have a defective theology of justification and still be justified?

Or to put it differently, Can you misapprehend the role of faith in justification, yet place your faith in Christ alone and thus be justified?

I’m interested in hearing your response and discussion before I post.

The Gospel in an Era of Information Overload

June 11, 2007

To begin my exhortation to worship this morning I want to announce to you these facts:

•    In April new home sales were up 16%.
•    Last year there were more than 6 trillion work-related emails that were sent among employees in America.
•    In the years 70-80 A.D. an estimated 292,000 cartloads of stone were used to build the Roman Colosseum.

These are three facts that I learned in the past couple of weeks. To the best of my knowledge they are true statements. But as I join you in assembling to worship the Living God, do these facts have any effect at all?

Consider these facts, however: In around the year 30 A.D. a Jewish rabbi named Joshua was crucified by Roman and Jewish authorities after being heralded by some as Messiah, and then he is reputed to have risen from the dead.
That is likewise a statement of fact, a true statement. But do these facts have any bearing at all on your joining together in this assembly to worship the Living God?

You receive facts and statements of truth in your experience almost constantly. You are inundated and overwhelmed by advertising every day. We live in an era of information overload. The media, the internet, abundant intellectual capital, and easy travel and communications make it so that we have ready access to information in never-before-imagined quantities. We hear stories and process facts and hear truth mixed with untruth and half-truth all day. In the midst of all of it, however, are there some facts that are most needful, that are without equal in importance, that have ultimate bearing on our gathering here in this assembly to worship the Living God?

“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

The gospel is the announcement of a series of essential facts. It is this gospel in which we stand and thus worship God, and by this gospel we are saved and thus constituted as God’s worshiping people. The gospel is good news of the highest order, the all-important series of facts that we cannot live without and without which we cannot worship.

We are gathered here today as the people of God in Christ Jesus, this crucified and risen Lord. We are made presentable before God because we have been washed in the blood He shed in 30 A.D., and we have life in Him because He rose from the dead for us three days later. Our sins are swallowed up and are no more because we are in Christ, and so we have every confidence that God is our Father in heaven who delights in our praise and receives our prayers.

Praise the Lord! Jesus Christ died for our sins and was buried and rose again. Let us worship God in Him by the power of the Spirit.

Gospel as Adjective (a continuation)

February 5, 2007

Rom 1:16-17

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Matt 4:23-24

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.

I got to thinking about this Friday, during my ride home from work. I then wondered aloud in a post if the gospel is ever used as an adjective in the Bible. Have you looked?

I came up with over 100 references to “gospel” or “good news.” Not a once do I find it used as an adjective. Some times it comes close. In Matt 4:23 it says that “…Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.” But it is not the “gospel kingdom” it is the gospel OF the kingdom.

Why is this important? Our culture would like nothing better than to make Jesus Christ’s gospel a veneer, some cheap add-on used to class up the rot of the world. By layering some niceties like forgiveness, joy, love, and a good beat we might attract folks to the latest fad in Americanism.

We end up with gospel mime dance, gospel awards shows, gospel diets, gospel comedy, and other silliness. When we use the gospel this way we are taking it out of its biblical context, turning it into a covering for a culture rather than building a new culture all together. No longer the power of God for salvation it has become instead the power to attract an audience; the power to cover the smell of worldly rot.

The kingdom is, at its core, the gospel. The gospel is subversive. David Bryant preached a wonderful sermon on what it means to submit to ruling authority on Sunday. His text was, of course, Romans 13:1-7. I highly recommend it.

Let us subvert the current culture by THE Gospel and not simply apply gospel attributes to the world as we find it. Perform kingdom work and let us not just cover the world in gospel niceties. Let us make the message of Christ’s death and resurrection the very core of our labors and then the gospel kingdom will work through the world like leaven in a ball of dough. Jettison Gospel as adjective and embrace the noun.

al sends