Tuesday, March 28, 2006

heal thyself

this may be somewhat "unkind" to ask, but:

if oral roberts has the gift of healing, and benny hinn has the gift of healing, how come oral roberts had to have surgery to fix his broken hip from a recent fall at his southern california home?

i'm just wondering why benny didn't jump in his private jet, head over to oral's house and take care of his affliction. or does that kind of thing only happen at the mabee center in tulsa, during a previously scheduled "healing service?" it may be crass, but i don't think it's an ufair question.

Monday, March 20, 2006

preach the gospel

i came across the following comment via a link on the fide-o blog. the article was written by douglas baker of baptist press.

many Southern Baptist churches will not abide theologically thick preaching, because every effort has been made to make the church more seeker-friendly -- to modernize the message and soften the sharpness of doctrine so as to make room for people who have never heard of the apostles let alone the specific books of galatians and jude.

this problem is not relegated to southern baptist churches. i recently spoke with a pastor whose elders informed him that he should preach sermons that were more "relevant." they told him that "expository preaching is boring" and people just don't want to hear that kind of preaching. how sad. in an attempt to get people inside the church, at any cost, we've watered down the gospel and done away with any solid teaching of doctrines. a church elder once told me: "we don't discuss doctrine here-- it's too devisive." i no longer attend that church.

so what should we, be preaching? "christ and him crucified!" (1 cor 1:23). this is the gospel (cf. 1 cor 15:1-4). to many this is offensive or maybe too "churchy." we are told that we must meet the felt needs of church attenders. those who advocate such, fail to realize that the utmost need of any sinner is salvation, which is found only in Jesus Christ. failure to preach the "whole counsel of God" will do nothing but fill our pews with deluded believers--people that are simply hearers rather then doers.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

religious smackdown

it's been pretty hectic the past couple of weeks, but things are finally starting to settle down. it's a cold, rainy day-- perfect for being inside and catching up on some reading, blogging, and polishing off my lesson for Bible Study tomorrow morning.

we're wrapping up the first chapter of james. tomorrow we're focusing on verses 22-27, "prove yourselves to be doers of the word, and not mearly hearers who delude themselves..." it's not enough to just listen to a sermon or read a portion of Scripture. the proof of our faith is revealed in our response to the Word of God. simon kistemaker comments:

do what it says. the christian faith is always active and stands in sharp contrast to other religions that practice meditaion and general inactivity. [the apostle john wrtote] 'dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.' (1 john 3:18) -kistemaker nt commentary, pg 60

john macarthur, commenting on the same passage states:

...how we behave is proof of our salvation or of our lostness. in light of that truth, there is good reason to believe that there are countless men, women, and children who come to church regularly and make a strong profession of being a christian, but whose lives testify that they are not. -macarthur nt commetary, pg 81

shifting gears to the "i'm not making this up" department, the tulsa world reported today that a tulsa-based professional wrestling company, Tornado Professional Wrestling, entertained members and guests of [a local congregation] after church Sunday to raise money for church outreach. [a company spokesman] said the wrestlers go to churches four or five times a year. the pastor of the church, donned wrestling clothes and joined the professionals in the ring under the name "Pastor of Disaster." approximately 200 people attended the event.

i purposely didn't use the name of the church or the pastor. i actually know some people that attend the church. this is the kind of thing that just makes me [fill in strong emotion here]. the sad thing is that this kind of activity isn't considered "outlandish" by many. church has become more of an entertainment venue than a place where the Word of God is proclaimed. old truth's website has a great post along this same line.

Monday, March 06, 2006

a blessed week: 2006 shepherds' conference

(l to r: me, scott, and gabe)

well, the 2006 shepherds' conference is history. actually, it is a sweet memory (history sounds kinda 'dead.') there is NO WAY to describe the preaching, the worship, or the atmosphere of the shepherds' conference. i am tired, but excited to get back to teaching the Word. a challenging and uplifting week.

for me, the best sermon was delivered by dr. steven lawson of christ fellowship baptist church, mobile, alabama. dr. lawson preached from nehemiah 8:

And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the Lord had given to Israel. Then Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. He read from it before the square which was in front of the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand; and all the people were attentive to the book of the law. Ezra the scribe stood at a wooden podium which they had made for the purpose... Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. Then Ezra blessed the Lord the great God. And all the people answered, "Amen, Amen!" while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground...[and] the Levites explained the law to the people while the people remained in their place. They read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that [the people] understood the reading. (Neh. 8:2-8 )
dr. lawson pointed out that Biblical preaching requires:

  1. preparation. ezra had been digging into the Word for fourteen years. ezra 7:10 says: "...Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel."
  2. reading the Word. we must begin with the authoritative Word of God.
  3. a lengthy treatment. no 20-minute "positive talks" here.
  4. an authoritative posture. ezra didn't sit on a stool and "share." the Word of God was open, on the podium.
  5. a God exalting thrust. ezra blessed the Lord, and the people cried "amen!"
  6. a precise explanation. "the meaning of the text is the meaning of the text." (i think dr. macarthur made that comment.)

the consequences of Biblical preaching is that the people repented and they rejoiced.

this sermon (and other sessions) can be be ordered from the shepherds' conference website. dr. lawson's sermon is listed as "general session #6."