Saturday, April 28, 2007

The All-Sufficient Word

John MacArthur in his book, Thinking Biblically, argues:

In fact, to suggest that the Word of God alone is insufficient is to espouse the very opinion that lies at the heart of virtually every cult that pretends to be Christian. The one thing nearly all of them have in common is the belief that people need the Bible plus something else--the writings of some "enlightened" prophet or seer, the edicts of church tradition, or the conclusions of science and secular philosophy. So, to deny the sufficiency of Scripture is to espouse an age-old heresy. But Scripture consistently teaches the complete holiness of the believer is the work of the all-sufficient Word of God (cf. John 17:17). (25)
Those who argue that the silence of the Scripture is hardly prohibitive always seem to ignore the fact that the Scriptures are indeed all-sufficient, teaching Christians all they need to know spiritually for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3-4). If the whole truth (John 16:12, 13) and the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) was given to the apostles and provided for us when the faith was once for all time delivered to the saints (Jude 3), then the one faith and the one gospel is a closed system. Since there are clear prohibitives against editing the revealed Word or teaching of Christ by addition or subtraction, it seems clear that departure from the all-sufficient Word leads to heresy.

Now this is what makes the silence of the Scripture prohibitive in regard to many things. We do not teach purgatory, because it is a later innovation and cannot be found in the all-sufficient covenant God made with Christians. We may right urge a prohibitive for sprinkling and for infant baptism on the same basis. We do not celebrate Christmas or Easter as a religious holiday for the same reasons. We deny the papacy and denominationalism because it is innovation. We infer (rightly) from Scripture that innovation denies the all-sufficiency of the text.

When instrumental music comes along, one brother, not finding any evidence in the Scripture for it in Christian worship, relied upon some type of direct guidance from the Holy Spirit. In his mind the Holy Spirit led him to believe it was all right to innovate, even though Jesus spoke against self-made religion (Matt. 15:8-14). John 16:13 teaches that the Holy Spirit did not speak on his own initiative. If this is the case, how is that the Holy Spirit is revealing in this 21st century what He did not reveal to the apostles? Either the man is self-deceived, thinking the Holy Spirit has given permission for the innovation of instrumental music in Christian worship, or the self-deceived apostles failed to fulfill the instructions of the Holy Spirit in the first century by not using them.

When God gave the instructions about worship and many other things in the first century, He gave the whole truth (John 16:12-13). Nothing was omitted--this is why we can know when people are adding or subtracting from the Word. Once all the truth was given and God hushed, there is never authority or need or approval for any man to add more. God does not need an editor.

What makes silence prohibitive? The all-sufficiency of the Word.


Removing Emotional Pain

One of my most favorite people in this whole world in Ron Wilkins, who developed the SFT Awareness ministry, sponsored by the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Lavergne, TN. He trains people with the skills they need to process emotional pain and break free from destructive, escape behaviors (addictions).

If you would like to know more about this ministry, which I believe is so vital, you may want to get the book, Removing Emotional Pain, by Ron. Ron trains hurting people who get involved in addictive, destructive, escape behaviors how to deal with the pain that creates the cycle causing the behavior. He is a man of hope giving "good news." His colleague, Gary Washer, is a sharp young man who has been Ron's student and now a teacher. The two men are worth their weight in gold in helping struggling outsiders to find the Lord.

To learn more go to:

I am happy to recommend these two men who are doing a great job. They attend the Highland Heights congregation in Smyrna, which has grown from 600 to over 800 in the last few years. God bless them.

If you know of someone who needs help with an addictive behavior (anger, verbal abuse, internet pornography, sexual addictions, alcohol, drugs, etc), please contact Ron Wilkins, Gary Washer. They can help train you or your friend how to deal with the emotional pain, which is causing the problem.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Newness is no virtue, and oldness is no vice

John Piper's book, Don't Waste Your Life, has many fine things to say. I especially enjoyed this paragraph in the first chapter, where Piper shows the utterly futility of postmodern and existential thinking. He says of C. S. Lewis:

He has made me wary of chronological snobbery. That is, he
showed me that newness is no virtue and oldness is no vice. Truth
and beauty and goodness are not determined by when they exist.
Nothing is inferior for being old, and nothing is valuable for
being modern. This has freed me from the tyranny of novelty and
opened for me the wisdom of the ages. To this day I get most of
my soul-food from centuries ago. I thank God for Lewis’s compelling
demonstration of the obvious. (19)
So much of the postmodern quest for freedom smacks of this chronological snobbery. The elitists are smug in their self-satisfaction and so ready to see the faults of our restoration leaders who have gone before us; yet they remain blind to their own dilemmas. The very people who hate logic make arguments and reason. The very people who find the Scriptures errant still rely upon it for their arguments. They cite proof-texts against proof-texting. The very certainty on which some have grasped that there are no prohibitions in musical worship is the very certainty they also reject that one must not add or subtract from the instructions of God. With great swelling pride they infer and bind from Scripture that we should not infer and bind from Scripture. They settle for convenient truth. They manufacture it to suit their own agendas.

With Piper, we realize that absolute, objective Truth is outside of us. It is there whether people acknowledge it or not, whether people agree with it or not, and whether people like it or not. We can be sure of truth. Jesus promised that we could know it. The agnostic elitists who feel we must suspend judgment about our worship and our obedience to the gospel, because we cannot know the Truth or know enough of the Truth to have any confidence in the Message we preach are in the end disbelievers. It is easier to claim blindness than to make unpopular stands and so demonstrate faith.

The mature person does not shrink from discerning; the immature person does (Proverbs 22:3; 27:12; Hebrews 5:12-14). Those who hold fast to a cappella music are not the weaker brothers; they are the discerning brothers. And there is a difference. God has not been silent, and we must not fail to listen and heed. There is a virtue to rightly handling the word of Truth and to live pleasingly before God (2 Timothy 2:15; John 8:29). We should not think that God would expect us to handle rightly His Word and then make it so muddy that we must throw up our hands and suspend judgment about what the will of the Lord is (Eph. 5:15-17). It is not that God has failed to give us enough light on whether or not instrumental music is justified; it is just easier for some to claim blindness so they can do what they wish.

Phil Sanders

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Preachers are the happiest

According to this article by Barbara Rose in the Chicago Tribune:

"The most satisfying jobs are mostly professions, especially those involving caring for, teaching and protecting others and creative pursuits," said Tom W. Smith, director of NORC's General Social Survey, a poll supported by the National Science Foundation.

The worker satisfaction study, set for release Tuesday, is based on data collected since 1988 on more than 27,500 randomly selected people.

For the most satisfied workers, intrinsic rewards are key, the study suggests.

"They're doing work they're very proud of, helping people," Smith said.

Clergy ranked by far the most satisfied and the most generally happy of 198 occupations.

Eighty-seven percent of clergy said they were "very satisfied" with their work, compared with an average 47 percent for all workers. Sixty-seven percent reported being "very happy," compared with an average 33 percent for all workers.

Jackson Carroll, Williams professor emeritus of religion and society at Duke Divinity School, found similarly high satisfaction when he studied Protestant and Catholic clergy, despite relatively modest salaries and long hours.

"They look at their occupation as a calling," Carroll said. "A pastor does get called on to enter into some of the deepest moments of a person's life, celebrating a birth and sitting with people at times of illness or death. There's a lot of fulfillment."

Makes me glad I am a preacher!


Morning Line Program

Last Monday I appeared on Morning Line, a television program of, discussing the charges made against the church as it relates to the Winkler trial. If you would like to see an 11-minute clip of the program, you can see it at:

Go to Morning Line. You may have to download a flash player to view the clip.

The whole tragedy of this shooting has left no winners. Certainly there is much in this matter we all wish were different, but our hearts and prayers go out to Dan and Dianne and to those precious children. We can only pray for God's love and blessing for them.


Parents Faith Matters to Kids

This is a very interesting story on Foxnews about the effects of religion on children. For those of us who have noticed children for many years, however, it is not a surprise. Faith in Christ makes a difference.,2933,268081,00.html


Monday, April 16, 2007

Anonymous post to me

I received this anonymous post over the weekend:

Christ actually exists outside our little world of the Church of Christ. Do you believe that? We must make a decision as Christ Himself did that a sign on the door means nothing as it relates to our salvation.I would ask you to search your soul over this matter. The mere fact that in your "Interests" section of your bio you list "Church of Christ" is amazing to me. That is your interest? What about Christ, or the Church. But, to put your brand of church as your interest tells me that you desperately need to look outward.Please, let's prove Barna
wrong. Let's take actions that will ensure the Church of Christ will exist after the next 30 years. If we continue to be so inward focused, I too agree with Barna that the Church of Christ will be extinct after that time.

Anonymous comments are usually omitted; but this one needed a response.

I am a member of the "church of Christ," the church that belongs to Jesus and for which He shed His precious blood. I proudly note that it belongs to Him, since there are so many man-made churches and "designer" churches in our culture today. I do not regard the name "church of Christ" as denominational or a title. I regard it as descriptive of who we are as members of the body of Christ.

I do not find any Scriptural promise of blessing or salvation for those who are outside the body of Christ. They are strangers to the covenant (Eph. 2:11-12). The body of Christ as it appeared in the New Testament always manifested itself in discernible, organized, local congregations. The church Jesus built had one Lord, one gospel, one faith, and one baptism. It was pre-denominational and knew nothing of the human divisions created by denominationalism.

There is nothing outside the New Testament church, which holds any promise of salvation or the approval of God (Matt. 15:13).

As for Barna, I do not know what study you are citing where he predicts the extinction of the church of Christ. I, for one, don't buy his conclusion, if he indeed did say such a thing. The Lord's church is not going to be extinct, thank you very much.

As for what we are doing, please let me be a little foolish (as Paul was in 2 Corinthians). While there are struggles among us, I can point to numerous congregations of churches of Christ in several states that are faithful to the Lord and growing quite well. Programs such as World Bible School, Fishers of Men, Disaster Relief,, In Search of the Lord's Way (which is one of the top 3 religious programs on television in America), Focus Press, Apologetics Press, and many others, assure me that we aren't going to dry up and blow away (even though some wish we would).

As for me personally, I teach at Nashville School of preaching and at Regions University, because I believe in training preachers. I preach on television to a potential audience of 2.5. million twice weekly because I believe in evangelism. Our website at Concord Rd ( ) had over 1.4 million hits from nearly 100 countries in the last year. Many of them downloaded the Evangelism Handbook of New Testament Christianity and many other free materials available there. Each month I write for Think magazine ( a magazine professionally done and reaching out to members of the church and beyond. I enjoy the privilege of writing for the Spiritual Sword quite often.

Concord Rd., the congregation where I serve, supports several missionaries in Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. We are heavily involved in training preachers and students in three countries. It might interest folks to know that there are now as many churches of Christ in Sub-Sahara Africa as there are in the USA; and Rick Shur of WBS, who is a dear friend, tells me that India now has about as many churches of Christ as there are in the USA.

Just a month ago, I was with Augustine Tawiah and Gabriel Oppong in the Western Region of Ghana, where we visited several congregations of the Lord's church--most of which have not been in existence even ten years! We did not have time in three days to get around to all the churches. The congregations ranged in size from 30-120. Extinct? Nonsense!

Anyone who thinks I don't love the Lord Jesus doesn't know me. I love the church, because it is the bride of Christ, my Lord.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Besides the Point

I said on Monday, "There is not now, nor has there ever been in the last 2,000 years, one shred of evidence to support the use of instruments in the musical worship of the church." Apparently a brother has found exception to that in Revelation 15:2.

"And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands." (NASB)

This verse tells of a sea of glass mingled with fire, a beast with a number (666), and harps. Now this verse found in a highly figurative, apocalyptic context full of signs. We are supposed to ignore that context and suppose this is New Testament evidence that the early church worshiped with instruments of music.

To do this he must prove that the harps are literal not figurative.

To do this he must prove that what is done in heaven in worship should be a norm for church activity.

The argument about harps in heaven is both old and bad. We are supposed to believe the harps are literal and normative while the incense, the four beasts, the Lamb with seven horns and seven eyes, and the sea of glass mingled with fire are figurative.

If one were to make a serious argument justifying the instrument in the worship of the church, one would show a passage where the church was using it here on earth. One might also show a command or an inference that the church was actually to use it. He cannot point to it in Acts or one of the epistles. He must go to a figurative, apocalyptic text, which speaks of heaven and not what is happening in the church of that day. If one could have found the passage that approves the instrument in the worship of the church on earth, this issue would have been settled long ago. As it is, we are all still waiting. We have been for over a hundred years. All our brother can do is bring up old and bad arguments.

Now this brother has said there is not one shred of evidence in Scripture that the use of instruments of music in worship is sinful. This old, fallacious argument is merely a subterfuge. I am reminded of Jeremiah 7:31, which condemns some sinful acts of idolatry.
“They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, and it did not come into My mind."

Our brother seems to think that unless a specific prohibition is found, that we cannot discern whether something is right or wrong. It didn't come into God's mind that men would burn their sons and daughters in the fire.

The absence of a prohibition is not a license. The reason there was no prohibition is because God told us what He wanted specifically. He wanted us to sing and make melody in our hearts, teach and admonish, and to offer up the fruit of our lips that praise his name. We know that. We know nothing of instruments commanded or used in the church. There is still no evidence. Had God wanted instruments, He would have told us. After all, He told David and Israel that he wanted them in the old covenant. But God is silent in the New. It was not in His mind to use instruments in Christian worship. He did not command it. Just as they presumptuously burned their kids at the high places in the valley of Hinnom, so people presumptuously worship today, doing things which God never commanded.

The absence of a prohibition is the New Testament is to be expected, when you think about it. There is no prohibition, because it was not happening.

In the end our brother, like Atchley, can only give us his opinion. An opinion is a guess in the absence of evidence. They want us to trust their presumptuous guess over the clear testimony of hundreds of years of early church history.

Their retort that we are not to judge when something is wrong is likewise flimsy and inconsistent. There is no specific prohibition of sprinkling, infant baptism, papal primacy, holy water, incense, gambling, or polygamy either. We judge these things wrong by taking heed of what God has positively told us. Mature Christians discern right from wrong from the study of the Word (Heb. 5:12-14); naive folks swallow anything (Prov. 14:15; 22:3; 27:12).

I choose to build my house on the rock of what I know (singing) not on the sand of someone else's guess (instrumental music). Jesus told the outcome of the rock theology and sand theology. I plan to listen.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Scholars take it back on Jesus family tomb

An interesting article about the feeling of scholars now on the Cameron/Jacobovici documentary. Thanks to my friend, Paul Goddard, of Memphis for sharing this link!

The puddin didn't prove out.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Tampering with the Word of God

"But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God" (2 Cor. 4:2, ESV).

The word tamper (doloo) occurs only twice in the Greek New Testament (2 Cor. 4:2 and in 1 Cor. 5:6, ms D). BDAG says it generally means "to beguile by craft, then: to make false through deception or distortion, falsify, adulterate" (256). The goal of tampering is to leave the impression the Word says something that it does not actually say. The person who uses God's word cunningly to advance his agenda is in Paul's eyes disgraceful and underhanded. We must not be ignorant of the devices Satan uses (2 Cor. 2:11).

John MacArthur provides this wonderful insight into Satan's devices in his book, The Truth War (40). I have adapted this from him.

One of Satan's devices follows a common pattern. Satan, first, loves to ask questions that create doubt in the Word of God. “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Gen. 3:2) Satan knew what God had said; he didn't want information but wanted Adam and Eve to change. Doubt is always the first step to apostasy.

Satan, second, contradicts what God says. "You shall surely not die" (3:4). Satan always wants people to know how much he knows. He knows things others don't know. He has the inside tract to what is really true. The desire to know His secrets, to be one of the elite, to buy into his arrogance, has led many unfortunate souls down the path to perdition. He is a liar and the father of lies (Jn 8:44). He will tell you what he thinks you want to hear. Eve was deceived by this lie; Adam was not. Adam knew that eating the fruit was wrong.

Satan, third, produces an alternate version of "truth." He said, "God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (3:5) The devil's alternate always has a mix of truth in with the error. There is enough truth to sound persuasive, but his message is full of misrepresentations and distortions. MacArthur says, "Add it all up and the bottom line is a big lie." The father of lies was a murderer from the beginning, and he is costing souls today with his half-truths and alternatives.

Satan has always pretended to be what he is not (2 Cor. 11:13-15). He wants everyone to believe he has a better way, that God is trying to fool you, and that God is not your friend but is cheating you out of something really good. His strategy is to get people to rely upon him for real "progress."

There simply is nothing better "out there" than New Testament Christianity. The entertainment religions don't have anything better than congregational singing in worship. The church growth experts don't have a plan (from sociology) better than preaching the truth in love. You can't improve on God's way or God's will. The subterfuge will always ask questions to create doubt, contradict, and provide an alternative. Don't fall for it.


Monday, April 09, 2007

A Great Issue of Spiritual Sword

I hope you will read the April issue of the Spiritual Sword, entitled, "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing." It contains a devastating rebuke and refutation of the current movement to get instruments of music into the worship of the church. Alan Highers has masterfully refuted most of the current arguments that appear to permit the use of instruments.

I hope every elder of the Richland Hills church will read this issue. They said that they spent years studying the issue of the instrument. By the course of action they have taken, I would suggest they studied poorly. The case made by their senior minister is full of fallacies and contradictions. His arguments are weak, and only the naive are fooled by them.

I hope and pray elders and preachers all over the brotherhood will read this issue and cease arguing over the matter. There is not now, nor has there ever been in the last 2,000 years, one shred of evidence to support the use of instruments in the musical worship of the church.

If Biblical truth has any importance to those who profess New Testament Christianity and if brotherly love is to continue, then let the advocates of this innovation and self-made religion cease from reviving this terrible division. It is the human practice that caused the division a century ago, and it is the insistence on having this innovation that is causing the division today. To suggest that we ought to be together again and overlook humanly devised worship is merely to defect to error from truth.

Those who claim to be ambassadors for unity are in reality recruiters for compromise. Before there can be unity, there must first be repentance of error. We plead with our instrumental brethren, if you are so bent on unity, to give up the instrument and self-made religion and to come back to a cappella worship--where we were before you demanded change. Only then can there be unity.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Humble ambiguity and arrogant certainty!

I am reading John MacArthur's new book, The Truth War, wherein he tells of the need to fulfill the instructions of Jude 3 to contend earnestly for the faith. I recommend this book to all, understanding that it is written from and evangelical and Calvinist perspective. He makes many good points about the need for a militant Christianity rather than a sensuous accommodation to the culture of our time.

God's Word is eternally true, eternally binding, and eternally clear.

This book does a good job of describing the postmodern, Emerging Church movement. I found this criticism of the Emerging church quite revealing:

Christ's headship in the church is likewise being challenged by those in the Emerging Church movement who have suggested that Scripture is simply not clear enough to allow us to preach its truth with any degree of clarity, certainty, or conviction. Most would never come right out and deny that the Bible is the Word of God, but they accomplish exactly the same thing when they insist that no one has any right to say for sure what the Bible means. (155)
MacArthur notes that postmodernism has transformed doubt, uncertainty, and qualms about practically every teaching of Scripture into high virtue. Strong convictions plainly stated are invariably labeled "arrogance" by those who favor postmodern dialogue.

Postmodernism casts us on a sea of uncertainty and glorifies agnosticism as supposedly a virtuous "humility." Frankly, such humility is realistically simple faithlessness. No, I'm not suggesting that we ought to be "know-it-alls." But at the same time, can we not have the saving knowledge that sets us free? Is the promise of Jesus found in John 8:31-32 true? Not if you believe the postmodern, religiously-correct crowd.

We don't have to have perfect, infinite knowledge to know some things. As for our Christianity, we know God is right when He speaks. We believe Him. He, after all, does know it all and is perfect in knowledge. If He says so, then who are we to correct Him? He doesn't need our elite help. We need His. Proverbs 3:5 is true about life and true about "doctrine."

The call of our time is not to compromise but to faith in God's word. Believe it.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Can We Know Enough?

Rick Atchley and Bob Russell in their book, Together Again, argue for their unity on the basis of what we don't know. They place the instrument in the area of "disputable matters" (65), arguing that since Christians differ on the matter and Bible-believing brethren come to different conclusions, we should not divide over such matters (64).

If you think this argument through, Atchley and Russell are making an argument from ignorance or an argument from agnosticism. They say that in the light of the fact there is no specific prohibition of the instrument, we should not divide over the matter. We don't know enough from Scripture, since it is silent on the instrument, to make a ruling one way or the other--so let's accept both views as equally correct.

So, in the absence of what we know, we will discuss but make no judgments.

Are we really so ignorant? We know that:
  • God wants us to sing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 13:15)
  • Christ wants His true disciples to abide in His Word (Jn 8:31-32; Mt. 7:21-27)
  • Neither Christ nor the Holy Spirit ever acted on their own initiative with regard to the Word of God (Jn 12:48-50; 14:31; 16:12-13).
  • Adding to the word of God is condemned (Mt 15:7-9; Gal. 1:6-9; 2 John 9-11)
  • The unity for which Jesus prayed was first sanctified by truth (John 17:17-23)

We can know that it is wrong to act on a guess. Nadab and Abihu acted without authority; David and Uzzah acted without authority; Saul acted without authority at Gilgal; Ahaz acted without authority in adding an altar; and the Judaizers acted without authority in adding the Law to the Gospel. These examples are in the Scriptures for a reason, and they are for our learning (Rom. 15:4) so that we might have hope and not make the same mistakes. Are the Scriptures of the Old Testament never to reprove or correct us (2 Tim. 3:16-17)?

To say "we don't know enough about what God desires about music in worship, so we feel free to do as we wish" is bad business. It presumes the right to act on a guess. It is sand theology. I might just as well ignore all the positive things the Bible says about marriage and feel free to enter into a polygamous union (since there is no specific, New Testament prohibition of polygamy; by that I mean a specific "thou shalt not!" Interestingly, the same duo argue against drawing conclusions from inferences. Does God not imply and can we not infer a prohibition of polygamy from Romans 7:3 and 1 Corinthians 7:2?).

I would rather act on what I know than presume freedom in what I don't know. There really is a difference between building our houses on rock and on sand. Jesus wanted us to build on what we know, not build upon a guess.



Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"Religion Degenerating into Music"

W. K. Pendleton was twice son-in-law of Alexander Campbell, and coeditor
of the Millennial Harbinger. He also succeeded Mr. Campbell as editor of the
Harbinger and president of Bethany College. He had an article in the Millennial
1868, pages 36-42, "Religion Degenerating Into Music." W. K. Pendleton wrote this rather stinging piece about the introduction of the instrument into the worship of the church:

If the people will have an idol, music is perhaps as respectable a one as the
religious development of the nineteenth century can invent. We are not arguing
the relative merit of human inventions. We are denying that the Christian religion is, in any part--jot or tittle--a human invention at all. "Development" has nothing to do with it. It came from its divine Author perfect and complete, and the great work of the church is to hold the people to it; to protest, to remonstrate, to anathematize against anything that sets itself up beside it, till every imagination of man is crushed under its feet and withered by the breath of its nostrils. "Pure religion and undefiled"--sublimated into music! The sweet charities, that fall like heavenly dew upon the arid places of human woe--expired in screaming ecstasies of sound! 'Tis too impious. Better for the people, that some stern iconoclast should rise in the holy indignation of the old prophets, and break to pieces all the senseless organs and scatter all the godless choirs that desecrate our fashionable cathedrals, than that this fatal tendency to substitute a musical sentimentalism for a living Christianity should be allowed to go unrebuked until it has fixed itself, with the power of a fatal delusion, upon the habits and the credulity of the age. (Page 40.)

Time article on the Bible,9171,1601845-1,00.html
The above link to a Time Magazine article on using the Bible in school is well worth reading.


Key stats

Some really valuable insights and statistics can be found at the site above.

No impact

A March 2007 Gallup poll reported:

Our Easter research did not stop there. We werealso aware of the recent and controversial documentary by James Cameron, “The Lost Tomb of Jesus.”This documentary, recently aired on the DiscoveryChannel, investigated the supposed ossuary containing the skeletal remains of Jesus. While the Bible is very clear that Jesus died, was buried, and came back to life, we wanted to see how this documentary may affect the general public’s belief in the resurrection.

The research showed that 57 percent of the population either read about, heardabout, or watched this documentary. Familiarity with the documentary had no impact on the public view of the resurrection, as about 75 percent of both those with and without knowledge of the documentary believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ. It appears that belief in theresurrection neither drew them to watch the documentary nor influenced their belief.

Well the proof is in the pudding, and Cameron's pudding is nothing to worry about.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Such is our folly..

In his excellent book, John Price quotes John Calvin, who is lamenting the natural progression to more and more departure once a departure from the truth has started:

Such is our folly, that when we are left at liberty, all we are able to do
is go astray. And then when once we have turned aside from the right path, there is no end to our wanderings, until we get buried under a multitude of superstition. (Necessity of Reforming the Church, 17)

Some seem all too blind to slippery slopes. They think little of the consequences of so slight an adjustment in policy. They think that just "bumping the boat" will have little affect on the direction. What's the harm in a little fun while we worship? What's the harm in a Saturday night rather than a Sunday morning? What's the harm in a little music?

I suppose the folks in Matthew 6 felt that way. What's the harm in a little paint on my face? What's the harm in praying before others? What's the harm in letting others know I give?

I can just imagine someone saying some of these things:

"If we can play the instrument, why can't we serve roast lamb on
the Lord's Table? If we can play the instrument, let us also burn incense, offer grain offerings, and dance before the Lord. Why not just become Jews? Jesus was a Jew. The apostles were Jews. What difference does it make whether we bring in God's approved worship under the Old Covenant? Perhaps we should build an altar like Ahaz and put it up front for our offerings?"

Open the door to more and more digression and departure from the simple teaching of the New Testament and we will come to be a church after our own imagination. How easily people justify their departures... How easily they justify their desires...