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Today's Predestination Paranoia is Unwarranted

Manipulated 'Decisions' Lead To Gospel-Hardening

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Am I Guilty of Reformed Popery and should Christians Go To Church? A response to Lee.

New Health Concerns for Jim

False Doctrine Worse Than Division

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"They're Aware of Their Sin, Why Beat Them Up?"

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We All Know We Sin
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   Home  |   About  |    |  Calvinism

"The failure to distinguish between a crowd and a church is . . .
to misunderstand everything about preaching,
everything about ministry, everything about our task.
If we think our business is to build a crowd, frankly
any of us can do that. ...Let us never mistake a crowd for a church
or think our business is to draw a crowd." --Al Mohler

Blog: OldTruth.com :Today's Predestination Paranoia is Unwarranted


14 May, 2008   comments: (0) Today's Pragmatism  

Confessions of a "Not Being Fed" Pastor

It's a topic that we've talked about before, relating to churches that change over to the trendy, pragmatic, give the audience what they want, style that dominates today's church scene. When a pastor makes the decision to do this switch, one of the first complaints they begin to hear from their flock is "I'm not getting fed here". When this complaint is made, the usual tactic is to turn it around and make it YOUR fault; you are not reading your bible enough, not getting involved in small groups enough, etc. Rarely do these types of pastors consider that there might be some legitimacy in such a complaint, and that the problem is due to their wimpy preaching (as James White called it) . But here's an account of one such pastor who had a change of heart, and seems to have accepted his responsibility in many of those "I'm not getting fed complaints". ... [Read More!]


28 April, 2008   comments: (0) Today's Pragmatism  

Do Today's Churches Give God a Subordinate Role?   John MacArthur

Many in the church today believe that the only way to reach the world is to give the unchurched multitudes what they want. . . Subtly the overriding goal is church attendance and worldly acceptability rather than a transformed life. Preaching the Word and boldly confronting sin are seen as archaic, ineffectual means of winning the world. After all, those things actually drive most people away. Why not entice people into the fold by offering what they want, creating a friendly, comfortable environment, and catering to the very desires that constitute their strongest urges? As if we might get them to accept Jesus by somehow making Him more likable or making His message less offensive. That kind of thinking badly skews the mission of the church. ... [Read More!]


14 April, 2008   Today's Pragmatism  

   Link

On April 8th of last week, I posted on one of the reasons why John MacArthur said that he could never be a part of a Seeker Sensitive church. By that I assume that you know what I mean; I'm not talking about the kind of 'sensitivity' that we should all have toward visiting unbelievers. That's certainly an aim of my church, though Old Truth's critics are fond of painting us to the contrary. I suppose the better term for what we ought to take issue with is "Seeker-CENTERED". But here's the kind of thing that MacArthur was talking about: up until recently Rick Warren's Saddleback church had a Q&A on their website saying that they would baptize unwed couples who are living together. The T4G blog pointed out the problem with baptizing someone who has confessed a lifestyle of unrepentant sin. And with the sizable gap they've created between church membership and baptism, you can get a sense of the complexity that MacArthur was talking about on the issue of Church Discipline. Simply asked, if your church mostly consists of 'seekers' who are assumed to be "trying out Christianity" (for as long as two years in one case I heard of), then how can pastors perform their duties related to Church Discipline? This link has the exact wording from Saddleback's website. After having been online for many months, I've noticed that it recently disappeared however, with no public retraction from Saddleback. Does this mean that they are trying to keep their policy hush-hush, or have they changed their policy to a more biblical one? I don't know, but if you do, and can point me to a page on their site that contains the correction, I'll post an update here. As for Willow Creek (the church I mentioned last time)- I have no idea what their policy is for baptism, nor do I know whether the 'frisky' couple that was sitting in front of my family was baptized or married (though neither was wearing a wedding band). While I love to see unbelievers visit corporate worship by believers, I wonder if the whole "non-church" look-and-feel of these structures lends itself to a loss of reverence toward God in our time, and for this couple at least - made it seem more like a date-night movie theater than a place of worship. On the other hand, God and worship are not about buildings or locations, and I'm not suggesting a return back to medieval stain glass and "smells and bells" or Old Testament temples. I'm just thinking out-loud and asking whether architecture can go too far, and perhaps play a role in the way our Lord is reverenced (or not). ... [Read Link]


8 April, 2008   Today's Pragmatism  

   Link

I remember years ago, willingly coming out of the Seeker Sensitive Movement, and not so willing easing out of the Pentecostal Movement, right at about the same time. I happened to see John MacArthur on CrossTV.com, delighted to hear his views on the prior topic, but I had never really liked what he had to say about the latter. As I began to understand Sola Scriptura better however, I eventually began seeing eye-to-eye with him on both topics however. I remember him in that video saying that one of the reasons he knew right off the bat that he could never be a part of the Seeker Movement was that system's corresponding break-down in biblical Church Discipline. I mean, think about it, if most of the people showing up at your church are in various stages of kicking the tires of Christianity, and this could go on for months or even years, how do you eventually bring someone like that under Church Discipline for conduct detrimental to themselves as well as the church? I've mentioned before about the first Sunday I ever brought my family to visit Bill Hybels' Willow Creek church, and there was an unmarried couple in front of us with their hands in each other's back (jean) pockets. I'm not trying to be self-righteous nor am I denying that Jesus ate with tax collectors, but - this was church folks! I know nothing about this couple, but let's suppose for a moment that they were living together. MacArthur's point was that, in this kind of church, where the vast majority are considered perpetual "guests", how do the leaders obey the scriptural directives to carry out Church Discipline? In this WSJ article posted by Tom Ascol of Founders, the question gets brought up - what exactly is Church Discipline anyway, and why is it even important? NOTE: See UPDATE on 13 April, 2008 in this section.


10 March, 2008   comments: (0) Today's Pragmatism  

Gross and Outrageous Youthgroup Activities

Do you know if your child has ever played "Bedpan" Relay? Or been asked to lick peanut butter out of someone's armpit? Or been dared to drink what someone has chewed up and spit out? Has your daughter been introduced to a game of "Christian Strip" or a game of "feeling" the legs of five guys when blindfolded to see if she can identify which legs belong to whom? Even though these objectionable games are out of character for Christians, they are being used by some undiscerning youth group leaders with teens. ... [Read More!]


17 January, 2008   comments: (0) Today's Pragmatism  

Responses to 'Finding God in Pop-Culture'

Earlier this week I posted an excerpt from Tim Stevens' soon to be released book entitled , which I found to be a troubling mandate to go looking for God in today's popular movies, TV shows, magazines, and music. The post I wrote was centered around Tim Steven's blog entry that he entitled "I Re-Wrote Part of the Bible", which paraphrased a section of Romans with Tim's trendy pop-culture views being eisegeted into a textual makeover. My post generated a lot of, if I may borrow a term from Tim's marketing genre, a lot buzz, on his blog and here on Old Truth. Here are some of the highlights, or lowlights, depending upon your point of view. ... [Read More!]


10 January, 2008   comments: (0) Today's Pragmatism  

'Body Count Churches': MIA Members, No Cohesion   James White

Mega churches--they are the fastest growing churches in America. If you want to be on the cover of Time, visit with Larry King, and have the spotlight, you need members, baptisms, and a sanctuary the size of a shopping mall. These are the keys to being truly "successful" in the ministry, are they not? That is what we are told, for surely, size means God is blessing! ... [Read More!]


17 December, 2007   Today's Pragmatism  

  

It's been a while since I checked in on MMI - the Monday morning clearing house for all things pragmatic. This week Todd Rhoades blogs "Get a Bible, For Crying Out Loud" in response to people who say they are "not getting fed" at their church. Actually, he's linking to a pastor's article, but Todd's own one-sided view comes through in his post title and closing question for pastors: "How have you combatted the 'Im not being fed' cry at your church?". As I've noted before, there are some large-church pastors that don't necessarily see this as a 'cry' that needs to be 'combatted'. I would argue that if churches take Christian education nearly as seriously as the example of Philip Ryken's church, there will never be a need to brainstorm ways for pastors to manipulate their flock into not complaining about not being fed. Of course, some of the pragmatists' complaint holds water in that - church people are at fault for not feeding themselves more (myself included), but where is the other side of the coin Todd? How about discussing pastors who are so fixated on making church into a quasi Billy Graham crusade / rock concert experienceTM, that they've become negligent in bible teaching beyond John 3:16 and a handful of other verses? It's wrong to neglect the other side of the coin, and that's something that we discussed in this two part series, earlier in the year. I'll post it again, just in case Todd might want to swing by and pick up the link. As an ironic side note, we hear MMI refer to some who follow MacArthur with an almost "cult status", yet MMI apparently gets their own free pass from that same criticism relating to their fascination with Perry Noble; he's quoted AGAIN in today's MMI post, albeit with reference to the article being linked. Interestingly, just yesterday I read similar MacArthur criticism on an Emerging Church site that has their own virtual Rob Bell shrine errected. Now in Todd's case, and if he's really faithful to his pragmatism, he would be compelled to listen to the findings of this very revealing survey which clearly shows that MacArthur 'works' better than Perry on the internet, and make adjustments to his website. A little Tuesday morning levity there, thanks to the ever-nifty Google Fight utility:-) And in case you were wondering: Rob Bell versus the Puritans? NO CONTEST! ... [Read More!]


29 November, 2007   Today's Pragmatism  

   Link

Long-time readers of Old Truth are aware of the many exchanges that we've had with Michael Lukaszewski from Oak Leaf church. Through the years, we've covered Michael's interest in pragmatic trends, and Michael has usually responded back with "you Pharisees" posts on his site as well as comments posted here. A few months ago he announced that there would be no further Pharisee comments allowed on his blog. There's a lot more to the story than that, but perhaps we are seeing some changes in Michael; the kind that some of us have been praying for. It was brought to my attention that in his latest blog post, Michael mentions that he has been listening to some seminary teachings from RTS (Reformed Theological Seminary) which, if listened to long enough, will prove to be entirely contrary to the system of pragmatism which reigns in the modern church. On a humorous note, these may be the only MP3s that both Michael and I have in common on our iPods. Michael is also asking for anyone from Old Truth who can be nice (which is all of us, of course :-) to drop by his post and give him some feedback. So, with that, I had to come out of my blogging break and let you know. Since Michael is asking whether the Acts church was seeker sensitive, someone might want to bring up the point made on this page about Ananias and Sapphira. I believe Michael is being sincere, so - do pray about your demeanor before you post a comment there. I know that those of us who had been caught in seeker sensitive churches like Oak Leaf tend to look back with some angst at all of the deception that is inherent in that system; but let's give Michael some slack as a brother in the Lord on this specific request of his. I don't think I've ever encouraged you to do this before, but I'm suggesting that you should go post a comment there, if you have any biblical points to make. ... [Read Link]


21 November, 2007   comments: (0) Today's Pragmatism  

Sheep Feeding: How Your Church Should Feed You   Philip Ryken

The disciple's transformation starts with the development of a thoroughly Christian mind. As the Scripture says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2a). Mind renewal is the work of God's Holy Spirit, who accomplishes this transforming work as we read, study, and meditate on God's holy Word. We are living in a mindless age, in which people are unwilling and unable to think reflectively about very much of anything, let alone how to really live. Sociologists call this "the dumbing down of America". ... [Read More!]


20 November, 2007   comments: (0) Today's Pragmatism  

Sheep Feeding: 'That Church Did Not Feed Me'

How often do you hear that from people who left a particular church? There are at least two ways of explaining what's going on when that happens. It could be that the teaching at their church was so watered-down that it really was impossible for someone who has been a Christian for more than six months to get anything out of it. Hence, they have outgrown their church. We often see the comments of former megachurch attendees who say "there's only so many sermons on careers, relationships, and money management that I can benefit from". But if you ask the pastors of such churches about these complaints, in an irritated way they will almost always cast the blame on the sheep instead, implying that they are lazy and refuse to feed themselves. So who's right, and what responsibility does a church have to feed it's flock with solid spiritual food? ... [Read More!]


7 November, 2007   comments: (0) Today's Pragmatism  

Trading Good Ethics For Bad Church Marketing

A few weeks ago I posted on the willingness of seeker-driven churches to be evangelistically offensive, whenever it helps them to achieve their pragmatic aims. Recently a city newspaper published a protest about another church that we are familiar with, and who was willing to put aside advertising ethics in order to "get results". It's a set of billboards designed to bait people into attending a series of parenting sermons, but once again - the church's advertising methods don't seem to be very well thought-out. In fact, the author of the newspaper article referred to the billboards as offensive. As we've seen before however, this is not the biblical "offense of the cross" that the Apostle Paul talked about, it's just the offense of another bad marketing campaign. ... [Read More!]


29 October, 2007   comments: (0) Today's Pragmatism  

Mailbag: Transgender Pastors, Beatles 'Church'

I've had some interesting emails lately, and thought I'd let you in on some of them. Topics include: The megachurch pastor who encourages his church to post comments on blogs that he disagrees with, and then removes comments that disagree with him on his own blog. Someone sent me the lyrics to the Beatles music being used at that same pastor's Let It Be Christmas series. I'll ask for your help in answering an email of a reader who wonders whether to leave a church that is in approval of "transgender" pastors. Lastly, someone emailed me a link to a free downloadable audio book that you don't want to miss. I have some Old Truth scheduling news as well. ... [Read More!]


26 October, 2007   comments: (0) Today's Pragmatism  

Synthetic Church Growth is Like Cancer   John MacArthur

The church's strategy has never been to appeal to the world on the world's terms. Churches aren't supposed to compete for the consumer on the same level as Miller Lite or MTV. We can't stimulate genuine growth by clever persuasion or inventive techniques. It is the Lord who adds to the church (Acts 2:47). Human methodologies cannot accelerate or supersede the divine process. Any additional growth they produce is a barren imitation. Artificial or unnatural growth in the biological realm can cause disfigurement - or worse, cancer. Synthetic growth in the spiritual realm is every bit as unhealthy. ... [Read More!]


 

 

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