Archives For January 2007

Housekeeping

January 30, 2007 — 5 Comments

First of all, I am officially back in action. I know I was here and there, but I plan on keeping up with things as much as humanly possible. Some exciting things should begin happening around here in the next few months.

Secondly, the comments are finally working again. Thanks to Alex King for fixing that issue. I hope we get the conversation started back up again, because I certainly missed it.

Lastly, I wanted to point you all to a news article that I had heard very little about in the mainstream media. Well, I have heard nothing actually.

A U.S. senator is demanding to know why anti-war protesters were allowed to vandalize the Capitol building on Saturday. And the leader of the Family Research Council wants to know who actually gave the order to officers to “stand down” while the vandalism took place.

And yes, that’s the U.S. Capitol building. Read the rest of the story.

The Only Absolute

January 27, 2007 — 5 Comments

In a long weekend, I understand that you need to read something short, yet powerful. In a big way, I have the same problem: I need to write something short yet “powerful.” But I certainly can’t do it quite like Francis Schaeffer.

“In passing, we should note this curious mark of our own age: the only absolute allowed is the absolute insistence that there is no absolute”

–Francis Schaeffer

The Day It Vanishes

January 26, 2007 — 1 Comment

“The day in which an after-life vanishes from the earth, we will witness a terrific moral and spiritual decadence. There is no other lever capable of raising a people if once they have lost faith in the immortality of the soul.”

–Renan, Roman Cynic

The Greatest Tragedy

January 25, 2007 — 3 Comments

In our own small spheres of influence we know perhaps a hundred people. Some we know closely, and others we are just aquatinted to. If we really thought about it, most of us would be stunned at how many people we know whom we’re never given the gospel to. Personally, this thought of missing my opportunities struck me hard as I realized that I had not been doing my best. We must have a heart for the gospel, we must be compelled to preach the gospel, and we must be sharing this gospel that has been entrusted to us. The question is, are we doing that? The answer is simple: most of us are not. Yet there was one such man who was, and his name was Paul.

“I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart,” Paul cries out in Romans 9. “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel.”

Paul explains the reason for his passion for his fellow jewish brothers in 2 Corinthians 5 by teaching us about what must be compelling us to share the gospel.

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

I know that is a lot, but I want to go step by step through this passage and examine it closely. There is so much there, especially when we consider the overwhelming theme of these two passages: a heart for preaching the gospel. Paul understood the message of the gospel, and he also understood that the greatest tragedy would be for someone you know to receive eternal damnation because you did not warn them of their coming danger. This thought of seeing his brothers, Israel, die in their sins, overwhelmed Paul to the point where he wished that he could be cursed and cut off from Christ. In other words, he wished that he could be condemned that they might live. Obviously this was not possible for Paul, since he was not perfect as Christ was when he took our place and punishment, but Paul understood that he could give his life for the gospel.

What compelled Paul to preach the gospel to everyone was Christ’s love. Now, that may be taken in the wrong light, but hang with me here. The message of the cross was twofold. It was a message that God hated sin, and his wrath that was meant for you and I was laid upon Christ. This is absolutely stunning that God loved the whole world so much that he gave his only Son to die in order that his wrath and his justice would be satisfied. God hates sin, and while we were in sin, we were enemies of God. Yet God provided the propitiation for our sin, and allows for our redemption and reconciliation with him, so that we no longer are enemies of God. Instead, we now live for Christ as a new creation in him. “He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised again.” This love must compel us to preach the gospel to everyone.

We have now been committed with the message of the gospel. In Christ, we are now ambassadors of the gospel, almost as if God were making an appeal through us. Sadly, many do not speak. Instead, we are quiet, silent, apathetic. Yet I appeal to you with an overflowing heart like Paul: can you face that friend, that neighbor, that relative on the day of judgment? Can you look them in the eye when they ask you “Why didn’t you warn me?” So many faces come to my mind, and I wish I could go to them at this very moment, and pull them aside and beg them, warn them plead with them to be reconciled with God! It is a message that we must be preaching as those who have been trusted with a pearl of great price.

The tragedy of seeing someone go to hell is worse than any 9/11 or any Katrina. We must have a heart for the gospel, we must be compelled to preach the gospel, and we must be sharing this gospel that has been entrusted to us. The action cannot stop at the heart. It cannot stop at the place where you spirit is compelled. We must take the action of sharing this gospel, this message of reconciliation, of a God who has given life to those who deserve death. We must go into all the world, showing them their failure to keep the law of God, allowing God to convict them of their sin, and then we must share the glorious cross that we do not deserve, yet has been given to us. We must not allow the greatest tragedy to strike our lives.

I couldn’t believe it. Here I was, in the room so many can only dream of setting foot in. Within these walls had stood great men of the past who had shaped and molded our nation into what it is today. And I happened to join the ranks of the lucky few who stood in the chambers of the President of the United States. I was there with a small group of citizen writers, from all different backgrounds. We all were dressed professionally, pens and paper in hand, ready to meet the commander-in-chief.

The doors opened and two secret service agents entered, joining the other four already in the room. Behind them walked the President of the United States of America. I still could not believe where I was. I didn’t even care that this man was a democrat. It was incredible.

Soon, the conference began. The very first question stunned each and every one of us.

“What the *** were you thinking when you told the ******* ambassador that you were willing to open talks with that **** country?!? What are you? A ****** idiot?”

Silence.

Then the daydream, or rather, nightmare, ended. How could anyone do something like that? How could anyone, whether in agreement or not, use foul language to address the president of the United States? It just isn’t feasible unless the person is extremely rude. Yet in today’s society, we find profanity and cursing everywhere. All of us hear it on the street corner, at our jobs, or in the mall. Cursing has become a part of the normal Americans vocabulary, even when they are not expressing anger.

Incredibly, this also applies to many Christians who still believe that profanity is a normal part of our language. These Christians also believe that those of us who believe profanity is wrong are “legalists.” I maintain the position that we certainly are not.

About two years ago I penned a post on profanity that stirred up a small controversy among a few bloggers and readers. I wasn’t fully prepared to defend my position with stunning words and arguments, yet even then I did a very good job defending my point clearly, at least on my own blog. The situation was this: I had stumbled upon a homeschooling mom’s blog, and found that she was a Christian who was promoting the use of profanity, and claiming that Scripture supports it. Initially, I was appalled, and left a comment asking her if she could “refrain from cussing.” Her response was simple and to the point: “Are you a legalist?” I guess at the time that was something I had been afraid of being called, so I decided to restate my stand on the issue.

“When I hear someone cuss,” I told her, “I do not think that person is being like Christ.” Yet I continued to say that I wasn’t going to be the “one to cast the first stone” and that I didn’t comment to say that “you’re not a Christian because you cuss!” All true, except when I read back over my comment, it appeared that I had said “I don’t care that you’re cussing, but my little personal opinion is that you stop.” Ultimately, on my blog, I stated that I didn’t believe that God wants Christians to blatantly promote profanity.

“And that’s not my opinion,” I boldly and truthfully announced. “It’s God’s Word.”

With hundreds of thousands of commands in the Bible, said this blogger, people were still “all over” her “***” from things that she claimed weren’t even commanded in the Bible. Perhaps she needed to reread a few passages in God’s Word.

“But now,” says Collossians 3:8 (Amplified Bible), “put away and rid yourself [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterance from your lips.”

The Message “translation” speaks of ridding yourself of “profanity, dirty talk.”

Concerning these verses (and the many, many others in the Bible: see bottom of post), it remains obvious to me, through God’s Word, that we are not to hold on to our earthly nature, but are to be people of clean lips. Sadly, this mother not only curses herself, but also teaches her children to swear as well.

“My daughter doesn’t blush or gasp when daddy says “Isaac’s kickin’ your ***.” Her support, and many others support for this, is that some words found in the Bible are not Holy, so why can’t we use them? The answer to that is quite simple: their purpose is first of all not to express disgust. That is not their meaning. Secondly, in the context of their culture those words were not considered profanity. That is important to understand while dealing with the issue of language. Our language considers certain words to be “cussing” and obscene talk. Ultimately, they are not supposed to be your normal speech.

TheRebelution.com: Join The Modesty Survey

“In a world that has devised perverse usages of language to communicate sinful anger,” says one website dealing with this issue, “I think the Christian should avoid it. Further, as commonplace as cussing is in today’s uneducated and lazy society, the Christian should do his best to ‘rise above’ and not ‘conform to.’ ”

This mindset is one that must characterize each and every believer, especially the young believers of this world who are among this apathetic generation that has turned curse words into commonplace “spice.” Oddly enough, this idea of “spice” is being used as an argument for cursing by this blogger and many others like her who want to “add spice” to their “message.” I believe this could be a clear sign of an apathetic walk with God.

What is vile to one person is not vile to another one, said this blogger. It’s just “colorful.” Verses that point to the evils of “unwholesome talk” just speak about our “message” which is “what is helpful to the edification of others.” I realized that what is needed to win this argument is most likely a postmodern world-view, which denies the existence of pure, objective truth that can be obtained and described. You believe what you want to believe in your reality, I’ll believe what I want to believe in my reality. What lies at the end of that path or below that line is what Francis Schaeffer calls “the line of despair.” All that lies at the end is destruction and despair — and my heart goes out to those full of that despair. One holds the truth — and I would contend that the Bible is what holds The Truth. And that is why we must turn to the Bible, the truth, when understanding these issues.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace,” says Paul in Collosians 4:6, “seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Not “colorful,” but rather “seasoned with salt.”

Sorry, says the blogger, but I think I’m going to laugh at you because this whole **** thing is ridiculous. I rather think it is of the utmost importance. Words mean so much more than empty letters formed into sounds coming from our mouths. Profanity is wrong. I will take a strong stand on this. You can call me a “legalist.” You can cuss me out. Yet I will, and shall, stand by the Word of God and not by what I feel like doing or by what I want to do. There is no reason for profanity today, tomorrow, or in the future.

Note: I didn’t want to write a book and post in on the website so I decided to keep this post short. Still, some may wonder about making a point using profanity. A good many church leaders have done this, whether it be Mark Driscoll or more recently John Piper. Some wonderful resources in further investigating include the recent exchange between John Piper and Wayne Grudem. Wayne Grudem had a wonderful response to any who promote the use of profanity as a believer. Tim Challies included another wonderful article as well. I highly recommend that you read those articles.

From Wayne Grudem:

Speaking of these things and using different words for them is not contrary to any biblical command (and so it is different from taking the Lord’s name in vain, which is explicitly forbidden), but we are also commanded to maintain a reputation for cleanliness:

ESV Titus 2:10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

ESV Ephesians 5:4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

ESV Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

ESV Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

…Using the words commonly thought to be offensive in the culture seems to me to be sort of the verbal equivalent of not wearing deodorant and having body odor, or of going around with spilled food on our shirts all the time. Someone might argue that not wearing deodorant or wearing dirty clothes are not morally wrong things in themselves, but my response is that they do give needless offense and cause others to think of us as somewhat impure or unclean. So, I think, does using words commonly thought to be ‘obscene’ or ‘offensive’ or ‘vulgar’ in the culture generally. Plus it encourages others to act in the same way. So in that way it brings reproach on the church and the gospel.”

Goodbye Self

January 18, 2007 — Leave a comment

My lack of writing began with my lack of witnessing. I’m not sure when it began, but my burden for the lost “disappeared” as I decided that I should be studying more, or just “do good deeds” for people and other such nonsense that seems to creep into our lives each and every time we seem to be doing so well in our walk with the Lord. What really happened was that I allowed my fear of what others would think to win. Oddly enough, I then began lying to myself. I began to tell myself that I didn’t need to witness. I began to tell myself that passing out tracts, witnessing to strangers, and speaking to friends about eternal things was something that I could do when “I felt the Holy Spirit leading me.” That feeling never came.

The stupidity of my mistake led me quickly into spiritual apathy a few weeks before Christmas. Many factors played into this apathy. In contrast, many other factors changed my apathy as the Holy Spirit did not allow me to sleep knowing many of the sins upon my heart that were unconfessed. That was changed in an instant, and I immediately returned to the Word of God, a returned to digging deeper and growing in Christ. Yet still my witnessing did not improve, and I believe that is what did not allow me to “soar” over the top of that hill of apathy. I remained somewhat apathetic about witnessing.

A few days later I was at work, and a young lady from college, whom I knew to be a Christian, had returned home and was working for a few days over the Christmas break. She hadn’t been at work in months, yet in those few hours that she was there the entire staff was speaking about Christianity, the Bible, the gospel, and about Jesus Christ. I was awestruck. Why was I not doing those things? Why was my work or my church not being shaken by my boldness as I proclaimed my faith? What was different about this college student and myself?

In an instant, I understood where I was and where I needed to be. I saw my fear and I saw my apathy.

“Even though we resolve to live in the world by the convictions God has given us from His Word, and we openly identify ourselves with Christ,” says Jerry Bridges in his book The Pursuit of Holiness, “we still are often subjected to the pollution of unholy surroundings. The lewd pictures everywhere, the obscene jokes told in our presence, and the endless recounting and boasting of immoral activities by those who do them, all serve to drag our minds down into the filth of this world.”

This is so true for so many of us. We have resolved to live by God’s Word, and everyone knows that we are Christians. I remember and still know that most people do not use God’s name in vain around me because they know my belief’s, and they have on numerous occasions apologized for doing so. Yet over time, people seem to forget those things, or just don’t care, and I continue to live in a world full of obscenity and immorality. In our world, there is only one way to survive: the Word of God.

TheRebelution.com: Join The Modesty Survey

“How can a young man keep his way pure?” asks David in Psalm 119:9.”By living according to your word.” It is the Word of God that must and will cleanse our minds from the pollution that surrounds us, and that even permeates our minds day in and day out. Sadly, many Christians just allow this pollution and immorality to enter their minds, and do nothing to balance it or rather overcome it with God’s Word. Their mind is filled with refuse, instead of the pure thoughts of a regenerated believer. We must be living according to God’s Word, day in and day out, and the way we do that is by reading it.

Some wonderful Scripture to meditate on during those times we are forced to listen to impurity is Proverbs 27:20 and Ephesians 5:4. “Hell and destruction are never full,” says Proverbs, “so the eyes of man are never satisfied.” How terribly true. “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving,” says Paul.

Still, this is not the end-all. Our eyes must be transformed into looking at this immoral world as the mission field, full of those who are filling the depths of hell. If the Bible’s descriptions are any indication, you would not wish your worst enemy to spend a moment there. Unfortunately, so many of us have lied to ourselves, or have allowed fear to overcome us and are allowing this world to seep into our thinking, when we should be reading and preaching the Word of God. We must be witnesses, we must be reaching out to this world so desperate from salvation from the punishment that they deserve from a holy and righteous God. Why has our fire been lost? Why have our eyes not been transformed?

Perhaps you have sunk into spiritual apathy. I pray today that you will confess your sins, repent, and return to the Word of God, letting it penetrate you, soak you, envelop your life so that it overflows out of you. Allow God’s Word, his gospel, to be spread through you with no fear. Fear not, says the Lord. If God is for us, who can be against us? No one. For those who have been redeemed by the blood of the perfect Lamb, we must not sink into spiritual apathy, but must rise to holiness as regenerated believers.

The Simple (vs. Complex) Steps To Annihilating Apathy
1. Read God’s Word
2. Memorize and Meditate on God’s Word.
3. Share God’s Word with all those around you.

Urgent Prayer Request

January 5, 2007 — Leave a comment

Albert Mohler’s Blog

For anyone who hasn’t already heard this somewhat old news, Albert Mohler is back at home:

Dr. Mohler was discharged this morning from Louisville’s Baptist Hospital East. After a two week hospitalization that included extensive abdominal surgery and a four day stay in the Intensive Care Unit due to pulmonary emboli in the lungs, he and the family are overjoyed to be back home.

Dr. Mohler looks forward to resuming his presidential and ministerial duties, but his activities will be limited for some time as he continues his recuperation at home.

The Mohlers are deeply grateful for the many prayers offered and expressions of concern shown over the past couple of weeks.

For those who am wondering where Agent Tim Online is and are reading this right now, I’m still here. And I will return.

Dr. Mohler’s health has sustained a setback. Over the past 36 hours Dr. Mohler has suffered from unrelenting pain. This unusual degree of pain signaled concern for the attending physicians and prompted additional tests this afternoon. In the past hour these tests have revealed that Dr. Mohler is suffering from pulmonary emboli in both lungs. His condition is quite serious and he has been moved to the intensive care unit of Baptist East Hospital in Louisville, KY for immediate treatment.

Please make this a matter of urgent prayer. Thank you once again for your concern and support during these days.

Update from GirlTalk

An Encouraging Report

We are grateful to God for the following update on Dr. Mohler’s health from Russell Moore:

I just left from visiting Albert Mohler at the intensive care unit of Baptist East Hosptial here in Louisville. I am glad to report that he is doing much better than he was when I spoke to the radio audience of the program about this at 5:05 PM.

While his situation is still very serious, it seems that the doctors have his treatment well underway and he is recuperating well. Pulmonary emboli represent a serious concern under any circumstances but it seems that RAM is responding excellently to the treatment. We can all be grateful the doctors found this development so quickly.

The President is talking and in good spirits. Despite his incredible pain and having just lived through the scare of his life, he was actually able to discuss a book I brought to him the other day about, of all things, the life of Wendell Willkie.

Dr. Mohler still needs your prayers, as do Mary, Katie, and Christopher, so please don’t stop them. But I am happy to say that I think his treatment is going well and I expect that he will be back to his life as normal sooner rather than later.