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Archive for November, 2007

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 A 14 year old boy just died due to rejecting a blood transfusion Read the article here. Why is biblical theology so critical? Well three reasons come to mind.

1. It keeps people out of hell

2. It keeps people from making dumb decisions.

3. It liberates us and allows us to “worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth”

This young man, as zealous as he was, is most likely in hell. My heart is heavy for this young man. His zealousness and sincerity no more saved him than a 100 ton block plunging to the bottom of a lake can save a man holding on to it. What is even more critical is that Jehovah Witnesses are doing a lot of their work in the inner city. They are more likely to be found in Urban areas versus rural ones. This should provoke us to spiritual jealousy. As this young man’s life and soul was lost due to bad theology, we often times sit back comfortable not wanting to engage dead man with the life giving truth of the Gospel.

Jehovah Witness aren’t a Christian sect but an anti-Christians sect. They are not just another denomination but an erroneous and devilish group (doctrinally, most are nice people) of individuals breathing, teaching and preaching a hell bound doctrine. This may sound harsh but I want you to understand the gravity of their error. Satan is described as coming as “an angel of light”. Their doctrine is like a deadly plague, it kills all who come in contact with it. They are Satan pawns not innocent victims of misinterpretation. Don’t be fooled by their sincerity.

So here are a few pointers.

1. If you have a loved one who is a professing Jehovah Witness, with love and much prayer, discuss the truth of the Gospel (but you have to understand it first and that comes by reading your bible and I recommend you pick up 20 Essential Doctrines or one of the books Tyris recommended to help)

2. If one comes to your house, don’t be rude, or arrogant, but carefully listen to what they say, ask important questions. Get to know the individual and attempt to share the Biblical Jesus with them.

3. Finally do a google search and find a book that will better explain why they are not Christians. I don’t want to do that here. Kingdom of the Cults would be a great place to start. But whatever you do, don’t be rude and arrogant. They are “dead in their trespasses and sins” just as you and I were. We are to correct with gentleness and with grace. We are to provide a “defense” for the hope that lies within but Peter gives us the methods we are to employ.

Remember there is still room at the cross for everyone who has not be born again. We are to love them and find ways to present the Gospel. Pray that the blinders be removed and they may see that it is only through the Blood of Christ that we can enter the kingdom. Never shy away from an opportunity to share with a Jehovah Witness, but be very careful not to engage in an argument (I didn’t say debate) with them. There are some techniques out there, but I say trust the Spirit and allow Him to do the work. You prepare yourself by understanding their doctrine, and the truth of the Gospel and allow the Holy Spirit to bring conviction and regeneration. God bless and I pray that they eyes of this young man’s loved ones are opened to the erroneous and heretical teachings of the Watch Tower Society.

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Southwest Christian Fellowship

My first recommendation hails from the Dirty South. ATL is the place. The Church is Southwest Christian Fellowship (click here)  and most of you may already know about this church. I have enjoyed listening to a couple of sermons (though I am going to ask Pastor Anthony to put them on Podcast or Sermon Audio so I can just sync them to my IPOD). My first sermon is called “Be Aware of False Prophets“. This will not usually be the type of sermons I recommend but I really enjoyed this one and am about to listen to it again. To find the sermons go to the Resources and select the SWCF media tab. There are numerous sermons on here,  so there is much to dine on. God bless.

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As I sat back studying the scriptures the other day. I realized that I as many other Black and Reformed Christians have a serious dilemma. We love the Lord and we are Black (or African American). Do to lack of Reformed preachers who are also black, typically that means we have to sit under predominately white ministries. Okay I am joking, ALL WHITE ministries. My friend Tyris and I get into this conversation at least once a week. We are excited to see Reformed Churches that are led by black staff. The problem is this is about as rare as Black Fortune 500 CEO’s. Of the black churches that are started I would believe that less than 1% are Reformed and I believe I am being a bit generous here. As you can tell by the name of the site we are theologically bent towards the Reformed Theological perspective and we also enjoy the culture birthed by Blacks here in America. So what are we to do?

 Tyris has chosen the option that many Reformed Blacks choose. That is, he goes to a predominately (around 98% if I am not mistaken) White house church. Though I have never met his pastor, I respect him and think it was the best decision that he could make “ceteris paribus”. I have chosen the path of least resistance as it stands for now. I belong to a predominately black church which is a Bible Church. We are sound theologically but some of the richness of the Reformed position are not preached as much as I would like. The thing is this. For most of us who happen to be college educated. We work with whites, we live in the suburb which tends to be predominately white, and our kids go to schools that are predominately white. Now none of this is bad in and of itself; however, sometimes I long for the fellowship of Christians that are from the Black Experience. The joys and struggles of the Black Experience in America has a rich history and sometimes you want to hear that from the pulpit, or some of our current struggles that we face here in America can be addressed from the pulpit, but are usually not in white churches. Pastor Anthony Carter does a great job in his book “On Being Black and Reformed” in addressing some of these issues and reconciling them with the Sovereignty of God. He takes the Black Experience and filters it through the Reformed Theological Perspective and it is beautifully penned.

  So some things become more difficult for black Christians versus white Christians. The number one is finding a church home. You see for a white American introduced to Reformed Theology his church hunt will be like fishing in an aquarium. For blacks it like fishing in the desert. There are over 10 Reformed Churches within a 25 mile radius of my home in Aubrey, Texas. The problem is they are all white. As I search through their websites not a black face pops up. This brings much anxiety and usually what happens blacks usually rob themselves and stay in churches they are more comfortable fellowshipping in. This is especially critical for those of us who know fellowship and accountability to be an essential ingredient in becoming conformed to the image of Christ. The other issue is that even if we do go to some churches in which are anxiety levels are off the chart, the staff and congregation doesn’t know how to communicate with us, so we usually leave feeling unwanted. I understand that this is also tough for white churches that have black visitors. There is always and do mean always a level of discomfort as you deal with people from other cultural backgrounds. And if I may be so bold, sometimes the Gospel isn’t the answer. 

 I believe the burden lies with both parties; however, I believe it more lies with the host church. Preaching and teaching from the pulpit should include racial reconciliation and also it should help educate people on diversity. We all understand that there “is no Jew nor Greek” within the body of Christ; however, there is Jew and Greek as it relates to culture. We live in America which is dominated by Anglo Saxon culture. Typically if you pronounce your words correctly, and use correct sentence structure (which I rarely do) then you talk like a “white man”. If you prefer Dockers and Cole Haans over baggy jeans and Nikes you dress like a “white man” and the list goes on. The problem is that this is true to some standard. If we want to play the Corporate America game you best learn Anglo culture and if you want to roll with the theological minds of today you best do the same.  I am rambling here.

 I say all of that to say this. There is something that can be done by these churches to ease the transition. Let me throw this in for kicks. I don’t believe a church should be all black either. I don’t think a “Black Church” is a biblical church and I don’t think a “White Church” is a biblical church. God has sovereignly placed us here in America together, with other cultures and He has done us a great service. We all bring something great to the table and we should all partake of what each of us have to offer the Body of Christ. I believe a church dominated by one particular race or the other does the body of Christ here in America a disservice. So what can these churches do? For a lot of the Reformed churches I recommend that they raise up black leaders within their congregation and that they purposely seek them out for Eldership candidacy. The first thing I do when looking for a church is look at the diversity of the Leadership. A diverse leadership always gives me warm and fuzzes.  The same for when I am looking for a job. The first thing I do is attempt to see where they stand on issues such as diversity and promotion rates for blacks. There are way too many churches without any black leadership and they are hurting their chances of wooing black congregants. This may not be important to this church but it is important to Christ.

 

In conclusion the dilemma will continue unless we do something about it. God did His part by tearing down the walls that divided us. There is no such thing as a race, we are all one in Christ, the problem is we retreat to what is comfortable. White churches cater to their white congregations and Blacks to their black congregations and at the end; we don’t reflect the New Jerusalem. John said he saw people “from every nation” in Revelation 7, but all I see is churches dominated by one nation or nationality. The local fellowships within a given nation should reflect the diversity of that nation. China is predominately Chinese so they have a valid reason. America is a melting pot and we have no excuse. I know a specific pastor (Pastor Eric “Gunny” Hartman of Providence Church in Garland) who is making strives to rectify this issue. We should do all we can to join in his struggle. This can be accomplished with a lot of prayer and a lot more dying to ourselves and our comfort. Paul beautifully coined this mindset in Philippians 2:1-4.

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 Every once and a while God throws us some nuggets outside of the scriptures. Sometimes those nuggets are in great preachers like the Great Awakening other times they are in great books. This book should (and I pray that it will) spark a revival amongst African American Christians (or maybe bring them to life). The face of the “black church” is a face of a fool!!!! We are best known for pretty hats, vibrant music, and having a good time in the name of the Lord. While we should be known for Glorifying the Lord Jesus, adhering to sound doctrine and transforming our communities through the Gospel. I have never in my life, not even once, heard someone white say “man this preacher is an awesome teacher”. Not even once! But what I do hear is “boy you guys sure know how to have church”. So the black church has been relegated to fun versus life transforming. Want to have a good time “come on down to the black church”, but if you want to hear the Gospel, if you want to understand the great Christian faith, or even if you want to hear solid preaching, then go you best not step foot in a “black church”. We are more concerned with someone hooping and hollering, versus proclaiming the glories of our Lord. We are more concerned with good choirs versus biblical preaching and we are more concerned with “playing church” versus being disciples of the Lord Jesus.

 I pray that this book will bring those who are in love with the Lord Jesus and not His goods together. I pray that Pastor T, would be the black face raised up to help “us” understand the wonderful message of the cross and the person who conquered death, the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that people would begin to walk out of their churches and refuse to be entertained at the expense of being educated. Most of all I pray that this book will bring the Lord Jesus the glory He deserves in this world. He took on the wrath stored up for us, so that we can live in harmony with the creator. God is awesome and He has given us another nugget in this book. I am ordering it today and will put my other books on the back burner because this is the most pressing issue facing the black community (the Gospel)!

 Pastor T’s blog is www.purechurch.blogspot.comor it is on the side of the blogroll

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Books for your Library.

Whose Money Is It Anyway?

These two books I feel is a must have for our time since the Word Of Faith Movement has infiltrated almost all avenues of Christianity as we know it.

1)The author McConnell attended of college name ORU(Oral Roberts University) in which he realized that the basis for his beliefs were faulty. The author does the best research on this topic to date regarding the history of this movement. I have to be honest and say it was not the best read but was potent with factual Biblical information and this was the book that kicked me out of my church. Of course we know it was the Sovereign work of Christ but this was a great tool for me. McConnell destroys this heretical teaching by getting to its beginning. READ IT!

2)The second is by our Armenian friend Hank H. I don’t agree with all he and who he endorses but this book is a work of art. I think his definition of Biblical Faith is the best I have read thus far. He does a great exegetical study on what is meant in Mark 11:22 on faith.

3) Charismatic Chaos, I love some John MacArthur and usually whatever you buy with his name on it, you can bet it is worth your time. I think he brings up some great points on the insidiousness we see in our present churches. The only thing in this book that might be debated is his strong cessationist view on the gifts. I agree with him on this but cannot totally limit the sovereignty of God based on his proof texts.

4) How many times do we hear about the legalism in tithing amongst other things in the church today. This books destroys the manipulation you see in churches using Malachi as proof texts. MacArthur gives a great view of the Biblical view of giving from a Christian perspective according to the scriptures.

5) Wasted Faith is not for the weak. This is the smallest book of all of the ones previously listed but it is very potent. This is my pastor’s book and I have read it multiple times. He does a lot of work talking about the book of 1 John and the fact that we are to regularly examine our-self to see if we are of Christ. Simply Wonderful book.

6) Walter Martin was a great apologist who is now deceased. He was defending the faith before I was a twinkle in my fathers eye. I enjoyed this book and it really gives a background of the various beliefs of past and in our day. What I enjoyed about this lenthy book is his great defense of the Trinity.

7) Black and Reformed by Carter was great book. It obviously gives a short history on reformed theology and TULIP. Great great read. I did not agree with all of the people Carter endorsed but aside from that I highly recommend this book.

8) Hank does great job in defending the Resurrection the single most important part of the Faith. Another wonderful read and great nuggets to help you defend the Faith the was once delivered to all the saints alike. 1 Peter 3:15.

9) Tulip was foundational for me. This book pretty much closed the deal with understanding the history of Calvinism and the History of it. Great short read.

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 I will not do this often but you have to check this guy out. Here is his website. I sometimes get a little too upset with this type of foolishness; however, my main concern is for those he dupes. Most people who get caught up in this stuff are not money hungry crumb snatchers. They most likely start off with a heart to change. They have been broken down by poverty or life. They may have ran to the body for help only to be scorned or ridiculed instead of encouraged and built up. So they shake their finger at the church while at the same time desiring to have fellowship with God. They turn on the television and whala! This guy is on there telling them they can fix all their problems, all of the pain, all of the poverty, all of the lack, and heal them physically. All under one condition, you sow a special seed (always money for those who are not up on the jargon) into their ministry. They talk about their anointing and how they can be partakers (Philippians 1) with them in the ministry. The question is why not? The church abandoned them, family abandoned them, drugs, sex and counseling didn’t work. This is my last hope. So you keep sowing in hopes to get “your deliverance”! They run game and say it has to do with your faith. So you pray harder and you fast and you give more. The end result is typically devastating or even worse you get small success and give more. Whatever the situation these guys who preach like this are no fools. They understand how to run game on folk. They are spiritual con-artist and Christ usually takes the blame for their antics.

 Paul talks about these teachers in 1 Timothy 6. I am not going to go into much detail or try to exegete the text. Just read it then go back and read both letters to Timothy. I pray that if you are one of the people caught up in this movement that you would contact Tyris or myself or the local First Baptist Church in your area (they 90% safe). If you are one of these types of teacher. I pray that you also will read these two letters with the book of Titus and if you really believe what you preach then submit yourself to the word of God, but if you are a con-artist I pray that you will repent and turn to God for salvation.  These guys are springing up everywhere. Please be careful.

 1 Timothy 6

Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

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Walking Among Trees…..

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I have decided to take a stroll through the Puritan Era. I pray that you would join me. Many of you may know much more about these authors, but for me it is all new. What I have come to realize through my recent readings is that most of the great authors today: Piper, MacArthur, Sproul and even some of the older ones such as Pink and Spurgeon, didn’t reinvent the wheel. They spent a lot of time in their bibles and a lot of time reading older authors. Some of those authors are great Puritans such as Owens, Watson, Brooks, Burroughs and a few other names I have never heard of. Well the Banner of Truth has a great deal. You can get 5 Puritan books for $25.50 which includes shipping (it says $34 but a 25% discount is taken upon checkout). I thought why not go back and read what these authors have to say since everyone quotes them anyway.

I said all of that to say this. Let’s read more. Let’s see what great man of faith have to say. Listen, if people took the time to republish these books after 300 plus years or so, I think it may be worth reading. There seems to be this mysterious wisdom you get from older writings. God used these men mightily, so lets see why they are still so influential in our day and age (Packer writes extensively about them in “A Quest for Godliness”).  My First book is “A Godly Man’s Picture” the picture is above.

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