Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Phil Johnson on Cessationism and Greed Mongers in the Church

Phil Johnson #1 / "Why I Am a Ceasationist" / 2015 Bible Conference Globe, AZ

Phil Johnson #2 / Beware the Greed Mongers

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Church of Tares: What's wrong with seeker-sensitive services?

This is a repost from 2012 with an updated, embedded video:

What is wrong with building a "purpose-driven" church?  This two-hour video (while one-sided and in need of editing) documents the major problems with framing a church around the needs and wants of the lost world; it unveils a church of tares.  The expanded description from the YouTube page is below.  

I highly recommend the video:

This film is non-profit and FREE, not to be bought or sold, but you do have permission to make copies and distribute freely. To obtain a DVD, simply contact us for a free copy or make a donation with your request:

HBP is viewer-supported and your support is greatly appreciated. Resources are mailed as time permits. Your patience is appreciated. Please give extra time if this material is needed by a certain date.
Can the Church borrow the marketing tools of the world and apply them to the Church? What is the history of the Church Growth movement and its false premises? Who is involved in the new evangelicalism and second reformation? Why are these movements embracing contemplative mysticism? How does this movement play into the New World Order? These questions and more are answered in Church of Tares: Purpose Driven, Seeker-Sensitive, Church Growth & New World Order.

Church of Tares chronicles the man-centered pragmatism of these evangelical Christian movements in comparison to the Bible's instruction for building the Church of Jesus Christ. As a sequel to The Real Roots of the Emergent Church, Church of Tares documents the connections between the liberal Emergent Church movement and the Church Growth movement. Both movements' leadership were discipled by business management guru Peter Drucker, who was attracted to the megachurch movement as a social phenomenon that could bring about his "new society" and New World Order. Megacurch pastors Rick Warren and Bill Hybels as well as Leadership Network founder Bob Buford all acknowledge Drucker (who professed not to be a Christian) as their mentor and have built their organizations upon his secular business management philosophies rather than the foundation of Jesus Christ.

The fruit of these movements is great compromise of the Gospel and the Great Commission. Rick Warren claims to be ushering in a new spiritual awakening and second reformation with his P.E.A.C.E. Plan. But this reform appears to be a social reformation rather than a spiritual one by joining together in ministry with unbelievers to fight global giants. Such compromise has led to the affirming response letter to the Common Word document which declares Muhammad to be a prophet and the Bible and Qur'an to be of the "same Divine origin."

Written, edited, narrated and directed by Elliott Nesch. Original interviews with:

Paul Smith, leader in the Calvary Chapel movement founded by his brother Chuck Smith, who also wrote the foreword to Paul Smith's book New Evangelicalism: The New World Order.

Phil Johnson, executive Director of Grace to You, a Christian tape and radio ministry featuring the preaching ministry of John MacArthur.

Chris Rosebrough, Captain of Pirate Christian Radio and Host of the Fighting for the Faith radio program, holds a degree in Religious Studies and Biblical Languages from Concordia University.

Joe Schimmel, Senior Pastor of Blessed Hope Chapel in Simi Valley, California, head of Good Fight Ministries and producer of such films as The Submerging Church and They Sold Their Souls for Rock and Roll. &

Gary Gilley, Senior Pastor of Southern View Chapel in Springfield, Illinois, and author of several books including This Little Church Went to the Market: The Church in the Age of Entertainment.

Bob DeWaay, former Senior Pastor of Twin City Fellowship in Minneapolis, Minnesota, author of Redefining Christianity: Understanding the Purpose Driven Life Movement, The Emergent Church -- Undefining Christianity as well as over 90 articles on important theological issues through Critical Issues Commentary (

Ray Yungen, speaker, research analyst and author of A Time of Departing and For Many Shall Come in My Name.

James Sundquist, founder of Rock Salt Publishing and author of Who's Driving the Purpose Driven Church?

Eric Ludy, bestselling author of dozens of books on Christian thought and living, the President of Ellerslie Mission Society, teaching pastor at the Church at Ellerslie, the lead instructor in the Ellerslie Leadership Training.

Robert LeBus, Bible researcher, apologist and evangelist.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Quick review of this blog

Just dropping by for a quick eval.  After some 1250 posts or over 1,600 pages of material, here's a word cloud of what this blog's been talking about:

Top ten word occurrences:

  1. God
  2. Church
  3. Christ
  4. Christian
  5. Jesus
  6. Bible
  7. Gospel
  8. Word
  9. John
  10. Believe

Monday, June 13, 2016

Katie Souza and Selfish Repentance

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret,
whereas worldly grief produces death. 
- 2 Corinthians 7:10

When we as chaplains find copies of Katie Souza's The Key to Your Expected End floating around the jail, we kindly try to replace them with something better.  Anything.  And then we file them in our special file.

Not an actual copy of Key, but a good idea.
Why?  Perhaps the most damning aspect of this book is that, while it is aimed at inmates, it encourages a false, Word-Faith approach to their cases.  In short, Souza tells detainees to ignore legal counsel and simply believe God for victory.

That's more than a minor issue, and it's more than a minor point in the book.

For instance, chapter eight is called, "Just Say You're Sorry."  That's not a bad start, and Souza talks about the need to quit fooling around, admit one's crimes, and repent.  The problem starts to enter when she says that, when she repented, God "began to move" and "upheld" her "cause in court by taking seven years off" her sentence (54).

Okay.  God is gracious and, as she rightly points out, has shortened periods of chastisement for the repentant.

BUT, that isn't a promise that He will always do so, and Souza teaches that it is.  She writes, "Do yourself a favor - make Daniel's prayer [in Daniel 9] your own. ... Daniel's prayer of confession and repentance changed Israel's entire future. It can change yours too!" (56).

We could talk about the proper exegesis of the Babylonian Captivity and whether it correctly corresponds to incarceration for crimes.  Yet, consider the heart motivation here: confession and repentance can change your entire future with the justice system.

Properly stated, confession and repentance of sin against God are the marks of a soul now justified in Christ and regenerated to new life in the Spirit.  This soul would begin to bear fruit of repentance, leading to a completely different view and interaction with the world, including the justice system.  Even so, Souza closes her chapter on repentance by writing these words:
Spend some quiet time with the Lord.  Go before Him seeking His forgiveness for your crimes.  Ask Him for the grace to repent. Believe that once you do this, you will experience more of God, and His mighty hand will move on your behalf!
By shifting the focus from "sin" to "crimes," the reader thinks of this from a worldly perspective.  In other words, we can fully expect inmates to read this chapter, "Repent to get a shorter sentence."  That is the definition of worldly repentance, and those desperate enough to lessen their earthly punishment will buy it.

If we could only get that key...
Inmates first told me about this book, specifically chapter eight.  They told me, “This repentance stuff really works… she got seven years knocked off her sentence!”  They accepted Souza saying, “Attack in the Appeals Court and win! God wants you to understand the revelation” (143). They understood what she was saying: Pray for God’s forgiveness so you can get out of jail sooner, which is a prayer of worldly sorrow (cf. 2 Cor 7:10).   Anyone want to wager a guess as to how they fared once they applied this teaching and lost?

As I noted in my review of the full book, even though the book will be read by mostly unbelievers, she falls short of ever presenting a clear gospel message. She invests no significant ink volume to justification before the Judge of the earth, to substitution of Christ, or to salvation in Him by grace through faith. No chapter truly endeavors evangelistically. The repentance her book talks about, then, lacks a turning to Jesus Christ. 

"Just say you're sorry" is the first thing an unrepentant child learns to curtail punishment. Instead, we need to teach people about godly grief that leads to true repentance.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Bibliography on First Peter

Preaching requires work, and a good pastor will put in the hours.  Here's what I'm using for preaching through 1 Peter, in case you're interested.
  • Arichea, Daniel C. and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on the First Letter from Peter, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1980).
  • Abernathy, David. An Exegetical Summary of 1 Peter, 2nd ed. (Dallas, TX: SIL International, 2008).
  • Alford, Henry.  Alford’s Greek Testament: An Exegetical and Critical Commentary, Vol. 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Guardian Press, 1976).
  • Black, Allen and Mark C. Black, 1 & 2 Peter, The College Press NIV Commentary (Joplin, MO: College Press Pub., 1998).
  • Calvin, John and John Owen, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010).
  • Case, David A. and David W. Holdren, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude: A Commentary for Bible Students (Indianapolis, IN: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2006).
  • Clowney, Edmund.  The Message of 1 Peter. The Bible Speaks Today, (Downers Grove: IL, Inter-Varsity Press, 1989).
  • Dockery, David S. et al.  Holman Bible Handbook (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 1992).
  • Elwell, Walter A. Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, Vol. 3, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1995).
  • Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. The Messianic Jewish Epistles: Hebrews, James, First Peter, Second Peter, Jude, 1st ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2005).
  • Grudem, Wayne.  Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: InterVarsity Press, 1994).
  • Hart, J.H.A. “The First Epistle General of Peter,” in The Expositor’s Greek Testament: Commentary, vol. 5 (New York: George H. Doran Company, n.d.).
  • Hiebert, D. Edmond. 1 Peter, (Chicago: Moody Bible Institute, 1984).
  • Huther, Joh. Ed. Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the General Epistles of Peter and Jude, trans. D. B. Croom and Paton J. Gloag, Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1893).
  • Kelly, J. N. D. The Epistles of Peter and of Jude, Black’s New Testament Commentary (London: Continuum, 1969).
  • Lange, John Peter et al., A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: 1 Peter (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008).
  • Lenski, R. C. H. The Interpretation of the Epistles of St. Peter, St. John and St. Jude (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1966).
  • Lumby, J. Rawson. “The Epistle of St. Peter,” in The Expositor’s Bible: Ephesians to Revelation, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll, vol. 6, Expositor’s Bible (Hartford, CT: S.S. Scranton Co., 1903).
  • MacArthur, John. 1 Peter. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2004.
  • Mare, W. Harold. New Testament Background Commentary: A New Dictionary of Words, Phrases and Situations in Bible Order (Ross-shire, UK: Mentor, 2004), 394.
  • Marshall, I. Howard. 1 Peter, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1991),
  • Metzger, Bruce Manning. United Bible Societies, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition a Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (4th Rev. Ed.) (London; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994).
  • Michaels, J. Ramsey. 1 Peter. Word Biblical Commentary, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1988).
  • Radmacher, Earl D., Ronald Barclay Allen, and H. Wayne House, Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary (Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers, 1999).
  • Robertson, A.T. Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933).
  • Schreiner, Thomas R.  1, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 37, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003).
  • Simeon, Charles. Horae Homileticae: James to Jude, vol. 20 (London: Holdsworth and Ball, 1833).
  • Thomas, Robert L. Exegetical Digest of the Epistle of 1 Peter, (Robert L. Thomas, 1974).
  • Tuck, Robert.  I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude, Revelation, The Preacher’s Complete Homiletic Commentary (New York; London; Toronto: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892).
  • Vincent, Marvin Richardson. Word Studies in the New Testament, Vol. 1 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887).
  • Wuest, Kenneth S. Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997).
  • Zerwick, Max and Mary Grosvenor, A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1974).

Saturday, April 16, 2016

What About the Apocrypha?

 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Tm 3:14–17).

Sometimes people wonder about "full" Bibles, copies of Holy Scripture that contain the apocryphal or deuterocanonical books.  Should we revere as God's Word more than the sixty-six books we commonly read?

The 1689 London Baptist Confession speaks briefly and plainly to the matter:
1:3 The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon or rule of the Scripture, and, therefore, are of no authority to the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of than other human writings. (Luke 24:27, 44; Romans 3:2)
The term "deuterocanonical" means "second canon." In short, these books were never part of the original canon, being added later by the Catholic Church as part of the counter-reformation.  Looking back in the annuls of church history, we see every early canon excluding these books.  As there is no evidence of inspiration and Christians have rejected the Apocrypha throughout the ages, then there is no reason to view them as approved for faith or practice above any other work of man.
1:4. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God. (2 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 John 5:9)
Someone might object that if a Pope or Catholic council approved these books for Christian use, then they become as such.  However, no man has the ability to transform that which is human in origin into something divine.  God determines the canon by inspiring Scripture, and the church must bow her knee to truth of God.

As such, you won't find us preaching from the Apocrypha on Sunday mornings.  We want to know precisely what God written for our benefit, not confusing ourselves with the sinful, fallible ideas of people.

Monday, February 8, 2016

What is Dispensationalism?

I mentioned the word "dispensation" Sunday.  Whether you are a theology buff or not, it is an important term to understand in reference to end-times prophecy.

Dr. Michael Vlach has posted a helpful introduction to the history of the dispensational theology that is worth checking out.

If you want to dig deeper, Vlach recommends 40 resources for understanding dispensationalism better.