Thursday, February 28, 2008

"No one is interested in that stuff"

While in OKC last week, one grumpy brother said to me, "No one is interested in that postmodernism stuff. People are interested any more in doctrines like baptism and instrumental music." This is not the first time he has told me that, but he seemed grumpy this time.

Preachers preach the gospel of Christ whether anyone is interested in it or not. Jesus felt that baptism and observing all that He commanded was important enough to mention as He gave the Great Commission. Jesus, my Lord, was interested in those things. Why shouldn't I be?

God works in baptism to give me rebirth and cleansing and forgiveness by the blood and grace of Christ. He is working on me in baptism. It is worthwhile--no, it is imperative--to help people see what God is doing for them to give them newness of life. That is what preachers do. When people say we don't need baptism to be saved, they are actually interfering with God's gracious work in our lives (Tit. 3:3-7).

Postmodern thinking is man's way of dismissing God. If I love God, I cannot dismiss Him; and I will not stop speaking about Him and His words.

Have you ever considered how Jesus treasures His words? People who talk against "doctrine" are actually speaking against what He teaches, His Words.
  • Heeding his words distinguishes the wise from the foolish (Mt. 7:21-27)
  • His words impart the truth that sets us free. True disciples abide in His word (Jn. 8:31-32)
  • If we are ashamed of Him or His words, He will be ashamed of us (Mk 8:38; Lk. 9:26)
  • His words are eternal life (Jn. 6:63)
  • We will be judged by His words (Jn. 12:48)
  • We become His mother and brothers by hearing and doing His word (Mk. 3:35; Lk 8:21)
  • Heaven and earth will pass away but not Jesus' words (Mt. 24:35)
  • Whoever is of God hears the words of God (Jn. 8:47)
  • Whoever does not love Jesus does not keep his words (Jn. 14:23-24)
  • Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” (Jn. 8:51)
  • Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth (Jn 17:17)
The words, teaching, or doctrine of Christ is not some small matter to be swept aside. When postmodernists seek to set aside the teaching for self-made religion, they begin building on sand. Can I sit silent and not warn them? (Ezek 3:18-21)

What is not interesting to people is often very much the interest of God (Matt. 16:21-23). Our task is to quit thinking how we can accommodate people and begin focusing on pleasing God. We cannot say to God, "hush." God will have His say, if not today then one day. When He speaks then, we will wish we had listened.

think, think, think,


Sunday, February 24, 2008

My version of the fellowship of the unashamed

I do not know who originally said this about the fellowship of the unashamed but, I have revised and adapted it to my own desire. I first presented this at White Rock church of Christ in Dallas and this week at Oklahoma City. Here is my version of this saying:

The Fellowship of the Unashamed Revised:
I am part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed. I am strengthened in the Lord and the power of His might. The pattern has been fixed. I have made the decision to call Jesus Lord. I am a disciple and a soldier of Jesus Christ. I am His, body and soul, mind and spirit.

I won’t look up, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. There is a world lost in sin, and only the one true gospel can make a difference.

I’m not all I ought to be, what I want to be, or what I am going to be; but, thank God that by His grace, I am not what I used to be. I have no desire to return.

I am finished with low living, sight walking, blind eyes, smooth knees, lazy preaching, deaf ears, compromised beliefs, politically correct talking, and dwarfed goals.

I am finished with giving in to human religion rather than embracing New Testament Christianity. I am weary of scoffers who believe they have something better than God’s way or God’s will.

I am finished with the notion that the Lord’s church has to change its doctrine or it can’t grow. I have seen with my eyes that the Gospel still works, the blood still cleanses, God still answers prayers, and the promises of God hold true.

I am finished with foolish ways. I will do more than listen to the Lord; I will carefully obey Him. I will do more than speak for what is right; I will speak against what is wrong. I will do more than hold private beliefs; I will preach the truth without fear to anyone and everyone.

I am finished with doubting. I will believe every word of every sentence of every verse of every chapter of every book is inspired--God breathed--and utterly, utterly, utterly trustworthy. And I believe this without apology.

I am finished being wise in my own eyes, I know I do not have a better way. I will not lean on my understanding but will trust God, who knows what I do not know and can see what I cannot see.

I will stand against the compromising of doctrine, the tolerating of human traditions, the offering of false hope, and flirting with popular religion.

I know there is no way to heaven but the narrow way. I am unwilling to endorse any church but the Lord’s church, any way the Lord’s way, any gospel but the Lord’s gospel, any baptism but the Lord’s baptism, or any teaching but the Lord’s teaching.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I have the love of Christ, the grace of God, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my guide reliable, and my mission clear.

I must not be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed. There are too many souls at stake, and my Lord deserves better.

I will not flinch in the face of heresy, hesitate in the presence of error, negotiate at the table of the enemy, pander to the popular, or meander in the maze of the muddy.
I won’t give up, back up, let up, or shut up until I have preached up, prayed up, stored up, and stayed up the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until Heaven returns, serve until I drop, preach until everyone knows, and work until He comes. And when He comes to get His own, I pray He’ll say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
May God be with us,

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Are we to continue in ignorance?

Romans 6:1-2 says: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

There are some who are suggesting that ignorance allows people to continue in sin. They suggest that since the grace of God covers the ignorant that perhaps as long as I don't know any better, I can continue to enjoy the grace of God and continue in error.

Now I have said that I believe the naive will not be judged as strictly as teachers. This is true (James 3:1). But the Scriptures rebuke those who remain immature, when they should have grown to maturity. They ought to been teachers by some point (Heb. 5:12-14). Being perpetually a babe is not the will of God. The mature "
because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil." This is a possible and desired state for Christians. Christians are to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.

We might well say: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in immaturity and ignorance so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in ignorance?

Now, frankly, all of this discussion is not so much about ignorance as it is about toleration. The postmodern mindset is one of toleration, and for them there is no such thing as heresy or false doctrine. So if we can excuse willful ignorance by an appeal to God's grace, we can continue in our error. They subtly argue, "If I don't know it's wrong, then it's not wrong. If I don't think it's wrong, then it's not wrong." They think the grace of God gives them a pass from being responsible and having to know anything. If you are postmodern in thinking, you are not sure you can know anything for certain, so any belief is as good as any other. Pluralism gone to seed.

Some of that pluralism is blamed on the personal moving of the Holy Spirit. Oh my! It seems any error today can be blamed on what God or the Holy Spirit has moved one to believe and practice. The Holy Spirit does not move people today to act contrary to the revealed will of God found in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit only speaks what He has heard from the Father (John 16:12-13). The Holy Spirit is not in the "follow culture" business. He reaches out with the same message He gave in the first century, when He gave the apostles "all the truth." To say that He moves men today to adopt self-made religion and worship with innovations is presumptuous.

The only sins in the mind of postmodernism are intolerance, judgmentalism, and exclusivity. It does not occur to the postmodernist that he is guilty of the things he condemns. He is intolerant of intolerance; he is judgmental of judgmentalism; and he is exclusive of people he labels as exclusivist. To believe in one Lord, one faith, one gospel, or one body is arrogant, judgmental, and intolerant to the postmodernist. I plead guilty to the belief is the exclusivity of Jesus' way, for that is what the Lord teaches. His view of me is all that matters.

Jesus Christ wills that disciples be taught to "observe all things that I commanded you." We are not to remain babes, Christian agnostics, or willfully ignorant. This belief that we must have uncertainty about everything is plainly disbelief in Jesus (John 8:31-32). Jesus said unless we believe that he is the Christ, we will die in our sins (8:24). What we believe still matters to Jesus, regardless of what postmodernists think.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Affirming the Faith Seminar Saturday

The North MacArthur congregation in Oklahoma City has invited me to teach two classes at their Affirming the Faith Seminar this Saturday, Feb. 23. I am elated at the invitation and am especially honored to get to visit with many of my dearest friends who will also be there.

I am especially looking forward to a visit with Harold Redd, my roommate at OCC in the early 70s. Harold preaches in Memphis and is doing a great work for the Lord. I am also looking greatly forward to visiting with Howard Norton, Mack Lyon, Jeff Jenkins, and Stafford North.

This is an important seminar, and I urge anyone within driving distance to be there. I will bring copies of books for sale. I will also have a display for Think Magazine and Focus Press.

On Sunday morning and evening, I'll preach for Cherokee Hills, who are sponsoring me in this Seminar. Cherokee Hills is where Jackie and I were married nearly 34 years ago.

My classes are entitled: "Erasing the Distinctives" (1 & 2) I will be talking about the changes taking place in the church due to postmodern influences. Postmoderns do not like distinctives, do not like any judgments, and do not like boundaries. There is, however, only one Lord, one church, one gospel, and one faith. Jesus is the only way to heaven. There is a time to be dogmatic about our faith. Christianity is not the same as Islam, Judaism, or Buddhism.
There are not many roads to the same place.

The postmodern mindset has set us adrift on a sea of uncertainty--we need to come back to the only foundation--Jesus Christ and serve him faithfully.

Hope to see you there,

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Young and non-religious voters are being heard

If you wish to know something about who is voting in the primaries and who will elect your next President, you take a look at the Pew Research website. It is shocking how many voters have no religious affiliation.



Saturday, February 09, 2008

"Preachers Can't Be Elders" and misspeaking

On Friday I spoke during a Contemporary Concerns Lecture at Freed-Hardeman Lecture, My topic was "Are Women Limited As Leaders." For 35 minutes I dealt with a variety of points dealing with this issue.

One of my final points is that all Christians are limited in the roles. I wanted to emphasize that anyone could be tempted to feel cheated if they desired a role for which they were unqualified. What needs to happen rather than letting the devil convince us we are cheated is to be satisfied with the roles we have.

Women cannot be preachers or elders, but neither can single men be elders or deacons. I noted that even an elder is subject to the eldership, and all elders are subject to the Chief Shepherd and the Word. In the midst of this I said, "and preachers can't be elders." I did not at all mean that a qualified preacher who is appointed by the congregation cannot serve also as an elder. What I meant was that a preacher who did not qualify or was not so appointed could not serve in that role. He too should be content.

I was given an opportunity to clarify the statement, for which I am thankful. Many folks knew what I meant, but others got confused. When you have understanding, you do not have misunderstanding. I was thankful for the opportunity to clarify my statement immediately.

How often words come out misunderstood, misinterpreted, misspoken, and regretted. Speakers, even experienced ones, sometimes misspeak. I did.

Rather than accuse the speaker, please do as kind people did to me, and FIRST ask questions. Did I understand you correctly? Is that what you mean? I appreciated those who came to me and told me what I said.

I plan to listen more closely and ask questions FIRST.

P.S. If you would like my notes, send me an email: