For it is by grace you have been saved...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Gun Control or Sin Control

The liberal wags didn’t take long to begin honking their gun control horn in response to the tragedy of last week. The typical party line is that if this maniac didn’t have access to a gun, none of this would have happened.

Along those lines, one could argue that if England had instituted stricter knife control legislation, Jack the Ripper would have been out of business. Or maybe if Rome had legislated more restrictions on lion usage, thousands of Christians wouldn’t have died in the Coliseum.

Of course those are ridiculous statements; just as ridiculous as those who want to blame this tragedy on the gun. Let’s face it: mankind is depraved. And because mankind is depraved, we will continue to find new and horrifying ways to exhibit that depravity.

Horrific crimes happen every day without the use of guns (and that’s not even taking into consideration the number of murders that happen each day in the legally protected medical sterility of our nation’s abortuaries). The choice of weapon is not the issue. The blackness of man’s heart is.

Our nation needs to once again wake up to the reality that our only hope is in Christ. Only Christ can make the heart new. Only Christ can remake us into people who would rather love than kill. Apart from grace in Christ, we are no better than the Cho’s of this world.

There, I said it. My wife told me not to, but it’s true. “There but for the grace of God go I” is not just a cliché. Without the grace of God at work in our hearts, each and every one of us is a slave to sin (Romans 6), and slaves to sin can be led to do any number of horrific things, including murder. It’s there in your heart whether you realize it or not. And only Christ can remove it.

Our nation isn’t in need of stricter gun laws; we need to remove the restrictions on the Gospel that have been slowly creeping into the national law books. We are in need of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Nothing else will change the black heart of sin.

So let’s get going Church. Push for more “sin control.” Preach the Word. Make Disciples. And to God be the Glory.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Phantastic Phinish at Phoenix!!


For those who don't know, after 15 years of trying Jeff Gordon finally won at one of the few tracks he's not won at during his stellar career; and tied the late, great Dale Earnhardt for career wins at the same time.

For those who don't care, I'll try to get back to normal programming soon.

GO 24!!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hope For Life in the Wake of Death

Following on the heels of the tragic loss of life in Virginia, the US Supreme Court made a welcome defense of life. In the case of Gonzales v. Carhart, the court voted 5-4 to uphold a ban on the dreadful procedure of Partial Birth Abortion. Though this ban affects only a small percentage of the over a million abortions/murders in this nation each year, it is a step very much in the right direction.

President Bush even made a statement following the vote to applaud what he calls a decision which "represents a commitment to building a culture of life in America." Even more exciting for those who value life is the concurring opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas. He says:

I write separately to reiterate my view that the Court’s abortion jurisprudence, including Casey and Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113 (1973), has no basis in the Constitution. (emphasis added)

Death and tragedy surround us, but this is a welcome ray of hope and light. Praise God for men like Justice Thomas.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

In Other's Words - Tragedy in Virginia

There are some things that are so mind boggling that someone like me can't even think of a coherent comment. Praise God, He has gifted others to overcome this and offer truly profound words even in the midst of something as horrific as the events at Virginia Tech.

Doug Phillips, of Vision Forum Ministries, is one who is gifted in this way. It is worth you time to consider his comments.

Like so many others, we are praying for the families most affected. May God in His Sovereignty bring glory to His name even in the midst of this tragedy.

The Rantings of A Heretic

I know some have thought it. A couple have even said it. But now it's been made official by none other than Jerry Falwell himself: I'm a heretic.

In case you've missed the myriads of blogs by those much more gifted than I, here's what Liberty's Chancellor had to say:

“We are not into particular love or limited atonement. As a matter of fact, we consider it heresy.”

As you may or may not know, the doctrine of limited atonement is one of the central elements of Reformed Theology and a foundation of the Doctrines of Grace (often called Calvinism) on which the Southern Baptist Convention was founded. I guess Dr. Falwell forgot to check out who it was he was joining when he moved his church to affiliate with the SBC a number of years ago. You would think he would have been more careful than to join up with a bunch of heretics.

Not that all SBC folks hold to these doctrines anymore. In fact, in the last 75 plus years we've had a great influx of the more Arminian leaning. Still, history proves this is where Southern Baptists have historically stood, standing in the doctrinal footsteps of great men like Jonathan Edwards, William Carey, George Whitefield, and of course my previously stated favorite: C. H. Spurgeon. In fact, Spurgeon once wrote regarding the doctrine of limited atonement:

Once again, if it was Christ's intention to save all men, how deplorably has He been disappointed, for we have His own testimony that there is a lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, and into that pit of woe have been cast some of the very persons who, according to the theory of universal redemption, were bought with His blood that seems to me a conception a thousand times more repulsive than any of those consequences which are said to be associated with the Calvinistic and Christian doctrine of special and particular redemption. To think that my Saviour died for men who were or are in hell, seems a supposition too horrible for me to entertain.

If I'm to be called a heretic, then I'll take my stand with men like Spurgeon and Edwards and SBC founders like J.L. Dagg and James Boyce any day. Thanks for putting me in such good company, Dr. Falwell.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Are Christians The Only Acceptable Targets?

Much has been made in the media recently about the horrendously offensive comments by radio personality Don Imus. Networks are dropping him, suspensions are coming, etc. And rightfully so. No excuse can be made for the racial trash that spewed from his mouth and I would never dream of defending him.

Yet, I can't help but wonder. Why is it that so much is made over these comments, and yet day in and day out the same kind of vile comments are made to and about Christians, and nothing is said. News agencies don't pick up the stories. No one is disciplined.

Years ago the much maligned Vice President Dan Quayle wrote that the only group it's legal to discriminate against is Conservative Christians. How right and how prophetic he was.

Today we are passing hate crime legislation that makes it a crime to preach against homosexuality. Yet homosexual advocates can ridicule Christians all they want.

We allow US Congressmen to take the oath of office on the Koran to keep from offending Muslims, yet when a New Jersey "mock emergency" used Conservative Christians as the supposed terrorists in their drill, that was ok.

Why is it that Christians are the only targets we can aim at?

The Christian principles upon which this nation was founded are what gave us the right of free speech; and yet ironically it seems that Christians are now the only ones who are denied that right. May God have mercy on this nation if we continue down this path of outlawing the truth of His Word being spoken by His people.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The State of Evangelism

The churches in our area recently hosted a community wide event designed to give groceries and other services free of charge to those who were in need. Also, a tent was set up to share the Gospel with those who came. So far, I’m a fan of the event.

Here’s where it went awry for me. In preparing the volunteers who would be sharing the Gospel message we were told to “make as brief as possible, even the ‘Four Spiritual Laws’ might be one too many.” Now I understand that this was said somewhat in jest (or at least I hope so). But the attitude was still very clear: let’s get ‘em in and get ‘em out as quick as possible and claim as many “salvations” as we can.

Is this genuine evangelism? Can the message of Christ’s birth, life, substitutionary atonement and resurrection, with all that this means, truly be reduced to an assembly line presentation in less than two minutes?

Will Metzger writes in Tell the Truth that: “For Paul, the only right method of evangelism was the teaching method. Therefore, scriptural evangelism has extensive – not minimal – instruction as its goal.”

Metzger also points out J.I. Packer’s comment that the gospel was a message of some complexity, needing to be learned before it could be lived by and understood before it could be applied. In other words, it needs to be taught.

Are we cheapening the message of the Gospel by reducing it to a couple of tidy points about how God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life? What about the truth of God’s holiness, the depravity of man, the need for atonement, that atonement’s provision in Christ and on and on?

Not that we need to make the Gospel look like the IRS code or something, but I wonder if we would be struggling so much with problems in the church due to so many unregenerate “members” if we had been a little more diligent on the front end of things.

Here’s to faithful proclamation of “the whole gospel to the whole man.”

In My CD Player

What I'm Reading

Setting The Tone

I guess I ought to begin this process by setting the tone for everything else I'll do and say. The Word of God is central in my life and thought and it is my humble aim that everything will come from the perspective of what God says first, and my opinions secondary. Along those lines, here is a favorite quote from my favorite preacher:

“The gospel is God’s word, not man’s, the voice of your Maker, your Lord; the voice of infallible Truth, of infinite Love, of sovereign authority, and therefore no common attention should be bestowed upon--it. Listen to it devoutly, summoning all your powers to adoring attention. Angels veil their faces in Jehovah’s presence, and shall man trifle before him? When God speaks do not regard it as the voice of a king merely, to whose message it might be treason to turn a deaf ear, but as the voice of your God, towards whom it is blasphemy to be inattentive. Hear him earnestly, with anxiety to know the meaning of what he says, drinking in his doctrine, receiving with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your soul, bowing your understanding to it, longing to comprehend it, desirous to be influenced by it.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon in a sermon delivered March 1st, 1874

Monday, April 9, 2007

A New Beginning

I've been feeling left out lately. It seems that everyone I know has their very own blog, and here I sit day after day sharing my opinions with only the four walls around me. I thought it only right that I should have my turn.

This new beginning will prove interesting in a variety of ways.

One, it will test my limits of productivity. With everything else going on in my life, how much time will I really give to this process?

Two, it will test my humility. How will I react when I learn that not another soul on the planet is interested in reading what I have to say?

Three, it will test my computer skills. Actually, there is no test. I have none. I will simply limp along and try to produce something, anything that will actually show up online at a future date.

More to come...I hope.