Monday, 13 April 2015

Reformed Pentecostals

Taken from:

John Lea
June 18, 2008 @ 2:39 PM

I appreciate what you have said. But I am sure you understand how “forbid not the speaking in tongues” seems to the layman to fly in the face of what your tradition holds. You hold that God is able to do these things today but that He cannot because it would possibly add to cannon.

What if He is not bound to the apostolic age to perform miracles that we see throughout the history of Scripture, not just with the apostles? My fear for you is your extremely strong stance against the miraculous today without much Biblical foundation to back it up. Statements you made about being some place in a NY minute if the miraculous were to occur goes under scrutiny when your premise is that they DON’T happen and “Thus Saith the Lord.” I just don’t find your Biblical backing for this. The miraculous was the norm when the Spirit came upon the elect. And why should it not be today?

My experience is that I was raised Baptist and had an encounter with the Holy Spirit when I was eight years old where I spoke in tongues without any “coaching.” I didn’t know what had happened until I read it in the Bible later on. I actually had this encounter in Jerusalem on a trip my family took with their church. Was it emotionalism or demon possession? You have these answers already. But I will say that we had been the garden tomb and the Via Dolorsa that same day. And the reality of Christ overwhelmed me as a child in a prayer meeting that night. My teeth chattered uncontrollably and a language came out of my mouth I had never heard before. I cried for the longest time saying, “Why did they crucify Him? He loved them so much!”

I carried this fire to my high school years where I led a revival in my school where many of my friends came to Christ by His choosing.

This encounter led me to later become a preacher of which I have been for the last 15 yrs in full time ministry.

8 yrs ago, I picked up a book by Martin Luther called The Bondage of the Will. It absolutely turned me on my ear and confirmed my suspicions about the dangers of free-will, self-righteous, man centered salvation/sanctification etc. I then proceeded to go on a holy rampage against all Assembly of God, Pentecostals who taught such demonic doctrine. I broke the church I had pioneered apart out in Dallas, Texas. I watched 150 people walk out the door because of my stand for Reformed theology. With only about the same number left and many asking for me to leave, I gave the church to a friend of mine in the church and left.

Now I meet with my friends out in OC, California where I live and we have a small church of X Arminianists mostly from Pentecostal background.

My problem is that I have no reason to deny what occurred to me as a child just because you give me a “Thus saith the Lord” not found within the cannon on the absence of the supernatural apart from the eucharist, baptism and the Word.

To tell me that Luther did not change my life with an Isaiah 43 understanding of soteriology and that Christ’s presence wasn’t near to me in Jerusalem as a child is absurd.

Watch yourself sir. The sacraments, word, and giftings of Corinithians were not in competition in Paul’s time. Are we not to imitate him? And the moral imperative/accusation laid at my feet that these gifts today detract from the sacraments/word could very well be laid at the first century church’s feet as well. And yet these arguments are not Biblically founded at all.

You say that the gifts of your choosing have ceased because the cannon is closed. I say, do not forbid the speaking with tongues because the cannon is closed. You deny what cannon expressly forbids to deny and it is closed.

Such a harsh stance YOU take when the Bible seems to affirm these gifts in the church and ENCOURAGES them. Are you not forbidding what the Bible commands to be enforced for a reason? Go dig until you find that reason but don’t take an eraser to the majority of chapters on the subject because of some half verse that they shall cease etc when we shall know as we are known.

This type of argument, where half verses are used to wipe out chapters in the Bible is an Arminian’s/Mormon’s hermeneutic, where “not willing that any should perish” (I Peter 3:9) wipes out John 6 and Romans 9.

God forbid there be inward/outward manifestations of His Spirit within the earthen vessels of His saints as well as the sacraments as His points of contact.

Bless you man. But you’ve got to come along.

John Lea
June 18, 2008 @ 3:02 PM

Let me add one last thing. I see the real issue today with Pentecostals is that they are not God centered doctrinally but man centered. This is what I find Paul addressing in Corinth where many were boasting in themselves and not the Lord Who gave the increase. There is no doubt that your distaste for much of what is seen in the Pentecostal world today comes from a holy rage against self-righteous, self-exalting ceremony/behavior that points to “look at me” religion. I hear you loud and clear on people putting big words on ordinary events. But I do not hold to your reasoning entirely of “it’s the gifts fault.” I think instead, it is the church’s fault for not teaching reformed theology, not tradition, but theology on “what do you have that you have not been given?”…God centered. I blame free-will theology as the center of this problem. “Apart from Me you can do nothing” and end of Mark 16 “these signs shall follow,” if it be treated as cannon, should instead be taught hand in hand. This was Paul’s approach to my understanding in Corinth and it is the approach today.

Don’t target the gifts dude.

Target the motives of the heart based upon a blatant disregard or ignorance of Sola Deo Gloria doctrine. If this doctrine is taught, you won’t have to make out like God can’t do today etc…

I think you should loosen up on Charismatics coming into the Reformed faith. Charismatics think that cannon is yard stick which says don’t take away or add to what has been charged you by this book. In this way, we do not see word of knowledge, prophecy, tongues, healings as adding to cannon but instead fulfilling it as was spoken would happen at the day of Pentecost in generally when the Spirit would fall on the old and young.


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Great Quote RE: Postmodernism & Certainty

“When the prevailing philosophy claims that truth is relative or basically unknowable or strictly personal or largely irrelevant, in other words, when our only certainty is our uncertainty, there is nothing more irritating than someone coming along and smashing such nonconclusive conclusions. There is nothing more unsettling than someone who has settled things.” - Dale Ahlquist

Monday, 1 September 2014

Great Quote

“The saint needed by each culture is the one who contradicts it the most.”
 - G.K. Chesterton

10 Books You Must Read

Below I have listed the 10 most influential books upon my Christianity (besides the scriptures themselves). I have put them in order & I would say the top three stand out far above the rest - read them and you will be changed. Most are written by men out of this century, half of them prior to the 20th century & have stood the test of time. I will provide links for the online editions of these texts if available.

1. Desiring God by John Piper
A brief summary:  God is most glorified when when are most satisfied in Him. The pursuit of God as the foundation of happiness - how commanding the glory of God as our purpose results in our ultimate happiness if He alone is our treasure on earth.

2. All of Grace by C H Spurgeon
Hands down the best book I've read on grace. This unwittingly introduced me to the doctrines of grace & I haven't looked back.

3. Man the Dwelling Place of God by A W Tozer
Many small messages from a man who walked with God.
4. Humility by Andrew Murray
Humility - the root of all virtue.

5. A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life by William Law
This book is somewhat catholic in its works emphasis but it still challenges Christians to a more devout life. Take it with a grain of salt.  I would recommended it for mature Christians only who understand the gospel well.  There is much good to take from this book - but at points it may emphasize self-effort above God dependance.  Also at points he implies our works justify us (they don't).  Again, this ones for mature Christians only, but an inspiring read despite its flaws.

6. Confessions by Augustine
I recommend the use of the Pie-Coffin or Boulding translations (both modern English) - buy it cheap somewhere. The online versions are in old english and are hard to follow.

7. Bible Doctrine by Wayne Grudem
You'll have to buy this as well. I doubt you can legally find a version to read online. The best systematic theology I have read.
8. Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
Many people hate on Calvin for the infamous Calvinism named after him.  To be fair I would say most people think they hate Calvinism but what they are actually despising is hyper-Calvinism. Don't be fooled.   His systematic theology shows the fight he put up against the catholic church during the heated years of the reformation - it is gospel & God centered not predestination centered. That said he does not shy away from teaching election as it is taught in scripture when it is required. Being God centered - he does rightly infer the reality of divine election - God, not man being the author of a persons faith. That is for another post though. He is eloquent, thought provoking & saturates his text with scripture.  Highly recommended. If you hate Calvinism - I challenge you to read book 3 (his soteriology) & from scripture, find where he errs. Personally, I think he nails it.

9. The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun
The true story of brother Yun in China.  An amazing account of how Christ transformed his life and his community, despite severe persecution from the government.  God supernaturally intervening many times to save & preserve Yun.

10. A Prodigal God by Tim Keller
A rehashing of the story of the prodigal son - focusing on the elder brother, not the rebellious younger brother.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Only One Life - C T Studd

“Two little lines I heard one day, Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgment seat;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its days I must fulfill, living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say, “Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call, I know I’ll say “’twas worth it all”;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. ”

-C.T. Studd

Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Nihilists Rant

Something intangible permeates life. The hum in a mans heart, every pointless day, trying to make sense of things.  Trying to attach some purpose to the series of events that unfold in our ever so regular days.  Frequently, they meld into one blur.  The 9 to 5 grind.  It devours us.  Days come and go.  We work to live, and live to work and then die.

Purpose.  What purpose is there though besides survival?  This world pursues 3 things: sex, money and power.  All are appropriate if moderated, but if not, they are the causation of all pain and injustice in the universe.  The most dangerous word I mentioned though was 'pursue'.  Ambition.  Touted as the greatest virtue amongst almost all classes and creeds of men.  The ambition of man has destroyed so much.  Soaring to tantalizing heights on the backs of others.  Dog eat dog.  Welcome to life.

I am a disillusioned soul.  We live in an universal plutocracy .  The rich have and always will rule at the expense of the poor majority and there is nothing anyone can do to stop this. Forget politics.  Let them have their dose of power and wealth.  Give me shelter and food and I will be content.  "Whom have I in heaven but You?  And on earth there is nothing I desire besides You? My flesh and my heart may fail me, but you oh God are the strength of my heart and my portion forever!" - Psalm 73

The things of this world are meaningless and bland.  If I didn't know Christ I would have taken my leave from this worlds stage long ago.  Without God - life has no point, no meaning and is of no use.  Especially for common folk.  The herd.  Luckily this is not reality.  Reality is, God. Christ brought light to what it is to be human.  To love God with all we have and love our neighbour.  Life will end, but really, that is just the beginning.  Death is liberty from this life and body to be with Christ.  We must endure to the end though for the glory of God.  As Micah 6:8 states "He has shown you oh man what is good, and what does the Lord require of you but to do good, to love kindness and mercy; and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God".

Walk with God.  Sometimes life will seem pointless, sometimes you will feel like you have no influence or impact - live  life anyway, talk anyway. Your reward, as a Christian, is from God alone.  Work under His watchful eye, preach for the audience of one. "Why do you fear man who can only kill the body?" asked Christ.  "I tell you who you should fear, fear God who has the power to kill both body and soul in hell". Fear God not man. Life is a limited commodity.  Immortality belongs to those truly acquainted with Christ but not the majority that don't.  Preach the gospel by any means. That Christ died to save sinners.  This message alone is the reason we breath.  Nothing else matters while billions are en-route to an eternal hell.  No time invested in God is wasted.  In fact, only the time invested in God is worth any value at all. Peace.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

The Old Cross & The New - A.W. Tozer

Unannounced and mostly undetected there has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles. It is like the old cross, but different: the likenesses are superficial; the differences, fundamental.

From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy of the Christian life, and from that new philosophy has come a new evangelical technique-a new type of meeting and a new kind of preaching. This new evangelism employs the same language as the old, but its content is not the same and its emphasis not as before.

The old cross would have no truck with the world. For Adam's proud flesh it meant the end of the journey. It carried into effect the sentence imposed by the law of Sinai. The new cross is not opposed to the human race; rather, it is a friendly pal and, if understood aright, it is the source of oceans of good clean fun and innocent enjoyment. It lets Adam live without interference. His life motivation is unchanged; he still lives for his own pleasure, only now he takes delight in singing choruses and watching religious movies instead of singing bawdy songs and drinking hard liquor. The accent is still on enjoyment, though the fun is now on a higher plane morally if not intellectually.

The new cross encourages a new and entirely different evangelistic approach. The evangelist does not demand abnegation of the old life before a new life can be received. He preaches not contrasts but similarities. He seeks to key into public interest by showing that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands; rather, it offers the same thing the world does, only on a higher level. Whatever the sin-mad world happens to be clamoring after at the moment is cleverly shown to be the very thing the gospel offers, only the religious product is better.

The new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner anal jollier way of living and saves his self-respect. To the self-assertive it says, "Come and assert yourself for Christ." To the egotist it says, "Come and do your boasting in the Lord." To the thrillseeker it says, "Come and enjoy the thrill of Christian fellowship." The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public.

The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere but its sincerity does not save it from being false. It is false because it is blind. It misses completely the whole meaning of the cross.

The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said good-by to his friends. He was not coming back. He was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing; it slew all of the man, completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more.

The race of Adam is under death sentence. There is no commutation and no escape. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear or beautiful to the eyes of men. God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again to newness of life.

That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world, it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die.

We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.

God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It stands always on the far side of the cross. Whoever would possess it must pass under the rod. He must repudiate himself and concur in God's just sentence against him.

What does this mean to the individual, the condemned man who would find life in Christ Jesus? How can this theology be translated into life? Simply, he must repent and believe. He must forsake his sins and then go on to forsake himself. Let him cover nothing, defend nothing, excuse nothing. Let him not seek to make terms with God, but let him bow his head before the stroke of God's stern displeasure and acknowledge himself worthy to die.

Having done this let him gaze with simple trust upon the risen Saviour, and from Him will come life and rebirth and cleansing and power. The cross that ended the earthly life of Jesus now puts an end to the sinner; and the power that raised Christ from the dead now raises him to a new life along with Christ.

To any who may object to this or count it merely a narrow and private view of truth, let me say God has set His hallmark of approval upon this message from Paul's day to the present. Whether stated in these exact words or not, this has been the content of all preaching that has brought life and power to the world through the centuries. The mystics, the reformers, the revivalists have put their emphasis here, and signs and wonders and mighty operations of the Holy Ghost gave witness to God's approval.

Dare we, the heirs of such a legacy of power, tamper with the truth? Dare we with our stubby pencils erase the lines of the blueprint or alter the pattern shown us in the Mount? May God forbid. Let us preach the old cross and we will know the old power.

This was taken from "Man - the dwelling place of God" by A.W. Tozer - a man of God.