Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Culture Wars

Sex After Christianity

Here is an excellent article on what will come next following the American culture adopting same-sex “marriage” as normal.  The Church is facing a time when we need to cry out to God for revival and to be faithful in preaching the gospel (Acts 1:8).  This alone can transform our nation.

You can find the article here.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/12/2013 at 9:39 AM

Losing The Desire To Be Dogmatic

There is no doubt that postmodernism is taking hold of our society.  From the issue of same-sex “marriage” to drugs to almost anything, the cry of the age is to allow for people to have personal freedoms and for no one to say that another person’s personal freedoms are wrong so long as those “freedoms” are viewed as what the culture likes.  Romans 1:32 fulfills this view:

Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

What culture views as appropriate is what is being championed today.  The majority wins.

And this is effecting the Church as well.  From the heretical emergent movement (that is thankfully dying) to the seeker church to the evangelical church, we see a move toward postmodern thinking taking hold of the Church.  One way that I see clearly is the loss of desire from Bible teachers to be dogmatic over theological issues.  I have a buddy who is open to Catholics being saved even if they hold to Catholic teachings faithfully.  Perhaps there are Catholics out there who are truly born again of the Spirit (John 3:3-7) but I have witnessed to many Catholics and have never encountered such a person.  When I begin to discuss salvation through faith alone in Christ alone, every Catholic I have evangelized did not understand the gospel.  They always had a works-righteousness view where Jesus is part of their salvation but He and His work are not the finality of their salvation.  Yet my friend believes that simply because a person has confessed Jesus Christ, they perhaps should be viewed as saved.  He believes the society just will not tolerate the dogmatic teachings that a person must hold to the fundamentals of the faith to be rightly called a Christian.

Postmodernism has caused people to ask the question, “Is justification enough?”  Can we make the gospel issue really about the nature of justification by grace through faith in Christ alone (Romans 5:1) or should be broaden our views so that we include Catholics, Oneness Pentecostals, etc.?  Why be dogmatic about doctrine?  Let us unite around our common experience in Christ (or whoever if you are an emergent) but not around doctrine.

The fact is that doctrine does two things.  Doctrine affirms that we are in the faith and allows the Church to pursue the same goal of exalting the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:10).  In Acts 2:42 we read that the early Church devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.  This is our New Testament.  The early Church devoted themselves to hearing and obeying the Apostles who in turn, through the Spirit of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17), gave us the New Testament.  Our duty today is to be devout in studying the New Testament and applying it to our lives.  Paul told Timothy to watch his life and doctrine closely (1 Timothy 4:16 NIV).  That should be our passion as well, to remain faithful to God in teaching His truths (Titus 2:1).  Doctrine does matter both now and for eternity (Galatians 1:6-9).

Secondly, doctrine divides in a good way.  Doctrine allows us to see who are the genuine children of God and who are not.  1 Corinthians 11:18-19 says:

18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.

Notice that Paul the Apostles states that these divisions are good because they force the Church to know the truth.  Doctrinal controversies have been a part of the Church since her beginning.  Yet when we ponder the great doctrines that came out of controversies, we realize that not all doctrinal debates are bad.  Nearly all of the New Testament letters were written over doctrinal issues.  And in all the New Testament letters, Paul spends time at the beginning of them discussing theological issues.  The book of Romans, for example, spends 11 chapters before beginning in chapter 12 with “practical living.”  Yet the modern church today spends 3/4 of her time with “practical living” and very little on doctrine.

We see this affecting the Church in many ways.  False conversions.  Shallow understanding of the gospel.  Lack of passion for God in prayer.  Lack of desire for evangelism.  A careless attitude toward theology, toward holiness, and toward the Bible.  We see people waffling on cultural issues such as same-sex “marriage” because they don’t know what the Bible says.  We see a plethora of topical preachers because they are careless in their handling of God’s Word.  We see theologians rejecting the inerrancy of Scripture because it just doesn’t fit into our modern times.  This lazy attitude toward doctrine and toward holy living has in turn produced a very world, very cultural driven church.

I urge you faithful brethren in Christ to stand firm for the gospel.  Defend the gospel.  Die for the gospel if necessary.  Let Jesus Christ be your passion and your God.  I pray that those who love the truth of God would preach His truth in every city across our nation and around the world.  Our world doesn’t need a compromising church.  Our world needs the truth of God preached through tears and exhortation to repentance.  I pray that every true disciple of Jesus would obey Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20) and be faithful to make disciples and to teach them His Word (John 15:1-11).

May God be exalted.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/11/2013 at 11:56 AM

Culture Debates and the Clash of World Views

When it comes to cultural debates, we disciples of Christ must not forget that we are dealing with more than just a difference in opinion over an issue but with an entirely different world view.  The disciple’s world view comes directly from the Bible.  It is a biblical worldview.  Our view of all of life flows from our relationship with the one true and living God.  We obey Him because we acknowledge His absolute Lordship over all things (1 John 2:3-6).  No matter what the issue may be, we view it from the perspective of the Bible.  It doesn’t matter what the issue may be, we always begin with what does Scripture say about this issue or what guidelines do the Scriptures give us about this issue.  Our primary focus is on the glory of God in all things (1 Corinthians 10:31).  Our focus is on pleasing God and giving Him glory and honor in all things.

Paul the Apostle argued this way with the Corinthians.  In 1 Corinthians Paul dealt with many various sins.  Divisions.  Sexual immorality.  Lawsuits among brethren.  Division over spiritual gifts and improper uses.  The role of women in the fellowship.  The abuse of the Lord’s Supper.  Yet he seemed to always point back to the glory of God.  What God said was what mattered.  For instance, in 1 Corinthians 6 Paul deals with the issues involving sexual immorality (we humans are still the same are we not?).  In 1 Corinthians 6:12 he quotes the Corinthians and then turns the quotes of the Corinthians around to show that our focus is not on self-pleasure but upon the Lord Jesus Christ and how we can please Him.  He ends 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 by telling the Corinthians that disciples are temples of the Holy Spirit and he ends by telling us to glorify God in our bodies which are temples of God.  The focus of Paul was clear: glorify God who alone is worthy of worship.

Cultural debates are difficult for the true disciple because we begin where unbelievers don’t and that is with the glory of God.  We begin with this and not with self-pleasure, license for sinning, or the focus on what we desire or want.  We begin with pleasing God and we remain committed to that principle throughout a civil debate.  In all things the disciple of Christ begins the question with, “Does this glorify God or not?”  and move from there.  What has God said in His Word about this?  What does our position do for the glory of Christ?

It is almost a given then that the disciple of Jesus must first deal with the non-Christian worldview that the unbeliever is expressing but don’t allow them to borrow from our worldview to prove their point.  For instance, the whole idea of fairness or equality must be based on a biblical worldview.  The unbeliever borrows from a Christian worldview to prove or disprove their point.  We should not allow them to borrow our foundations while denying the Word of God on a given issue.  The disciple should consistently question their foundation.  On what right do you have to borrow from the Christian worldview while denying the Lordship of Christ over all things in your life?  This frames the debate in a much different fashion.  It points to the lostness of the unbeliever, that they are dead in their sins apart from the life of Christ (Ephesians 2:1-3) and it shows their ignorance of what Christ has said in His Word about cultural issues or at least principles of holiness.

Never get caught up in a debate where you are put on the defensive while the unbeliever borrows from your worldview.  You can presume two things about all unbelievers.  First, they know that God exists and that He is real but they want to suppress that knowledge because of their sin (Romans 1:18).  Secondly, the unbeliever begins with a worldview that pleases self above God (Titus 1:15-16).  The disciple begins with an opposite view with the glory of God reigning supreme and a worldview that seeks to glorify God completely.

I urge you to listen to the following mp3 from Gary DeMar.  You can find the teaching here.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/28/2013 at 10:00 AM

My Prediction for the Church and the Culture Wars

I am no prophet nor do I claim to be a son of a prophet.  I am simply looking at what I see in the Church landscape and where our culture is heading here in the United States.  I want to offer four predictions I believe you will see from the Church here in the US over the next few years.  What got me thinking about this was the issue with the Boys Scouts of America (BSA) and the issue of homosexuality.  SBC Voices has a piece today by Alan Cross on the issue and he makes some great points about the Boy Scouts and the issue of what it means to be morally straight.  His piece is well worth reading and you can find it here.  Dr. Mohler’s insights are good as well.

I believe the Church of Jesus Christ must stand for truth no matter what may come.  We must resist the urge to preach a watered down message that avoids confronting people about their sins.  Sadly, I see this narcissistic message already at work and the Church is losing her will to fight nor even to preach sound doctrine.  Entertainment now dominates the Church.  Happiness now is the focus.  Rather than having an eternal, kingdom focus, the Church is focused on the “here and now.”  The seeker church continues to wrap its tentacles around the Church as methodology now is the focal point above theology.  I believe this is going to have wretched consequences as the Church will raise up a new breed of converts who embrace the culture with all its sins.  There will be no repentance preached other than to repent of your bad feelings toward yourself.  God will be viewed much as He now is by the liberals, a God who always loves and always forgives without any wrath toward sin nor even a focus upon His glory.  The Lord Jesus Christ will become the champion of civil rights as He will be created (yet again) in our own images with our own culture in mind.

So here are my four predictions based on where I see the culture heading.

1.  The Liberal Church.

The liberal church will actually see some growth.  They have been losing numbers over the past 100 years as their purpose was gone after they abandoned historic Christian doctrines and embraced a social gospel that had no power from God.  Their inability to see people truly saved led to their own demise.  Yet I believe the liberal church will gain a new crowd as people in the evangelical church will leave to find new homes where sins such as homosexuality are embraced openly.  Further, the liberals will fight for the civil rights of all no matter the issue.  The social gospel will play right into the culture and the mindset of many people here in the West.

2.  The Evangelical Church Will Largely Embrace the Culture.

I look for many evangelicals to embrace the culture.  As I stated above, the seeker church has led to a low view of doctrine where few people even know what they believe nor how to defend their faith in Christ (1 Peter 3:15-16).  The seeker church has led to low view of holiness where sin is not only not preached against  but in some cases embraced as a normal way of life.  The seeker church has made preaching focused on “us” instead of God.  Rather than exalting the glory of God, preaching the doctrines about God, focusing everyone upon God, making God the One who is worthy of all praise, etc. the seeker model is all about us, mankind, humans, our glory, our ability, our passions, our goals, our lives.  This means that seeker “Christians” are very shallow, know little to no doctrines of the Bible, have little discipline, and their view of sharing their faith is to invite people to their hip churches.  They will not be able to resist the culture and the entire seeker church will embrace the culture.  Without the Word of God, they cannot fight (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12-13).  They will become Nicolatians (Revelation 2:14-15).

3.  The Fundamentalist Churches Will Continue The Same Path.

The Fundamentalist movement grew out of the early 20th century and the battle with modernity.  Their reaction was to retreat and be among themselves.  This separation ideal has continued among the fundamentalist to this day.  I would regard myself very much a fundamentalist if you mean doctrine but not in their view of separation.  Many of them have now gone to various levels of separation.  For example, Brother Smith will not worship with Brother Tanner because Brother Tanner once had a guy in his church named Brother Daniels who once preached at a conference where another speaker there was friends with a Roman Catholic.  Do you see how deep that separation goes?

I believe the IFB churches will just continue as they are.  They will continue to preach against sin and against the culture.  The problem with many of their preachings on sin is that their ideas of sin are such things as the length of a man’s hair, whether you have tattoos or not, whether a woman should wear a dress or work outside of the home, all music but Southern gospel music is a sin, etc.  We must be careful to preach sin as God has revealed it in Scripture and not based on our views of separation from the world.  Sin is a violation of God’s Law (1 John 3:4).  Many times in the IFB churches, sin is what they deem as sin and not so much what God says is sin.  They violate Romans 14 in this regard.  Some IFB churches I know are very legalistic.  I know of one IFB man who makes the issue of the King James Version an issue of salvation since he holds that Revelation 22:18-19 applies to Bible translations and only, in his view, the KJV preserves the words of God.  While this view is not true of all IFB churches, it does reflect many in their thinking and they will simply avoid the culture altogether.

4.  The Biblical Response from the Church.

I pray that many will be here though I fear most will be with #2.  The Church must stand for the truth of God as I stated at the outset.  This means we must A) know what we believe in regard to orthodox faith (1 Timothy 4:16; Titus 2:1) and B) we must remain faithful to Christ despite the culture around us embracing sin (John 8:31-38; 15:1-11).  The Church must continue to focus upon the glory of God and preach the utter sinfulness of mankind.  We will be persecuted for our stand against the culture (Matthew 5:10-12) but our response should not be anger but loving our enemies and doing good to those who seek to hurt us (Matthew 5:13-16, 38-48; Romans 12:19-21).  Paul tells us how to respond to a pagan culture in Titus 3:1-7.  We must remember that the world is full of the devil and these are his children (Ephesians 2:1-3).  Our duty is to live for Christ among the pagans and to preach Christ among the pagans (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15).  The Spirit of God will set people free and He will open their eyes to their sins and He will regenerate people for the glory of God (John 3:1-7; 6:44-45).  Our focus both now and forevermore should be upon the glory of Christ and His kingdom to come (Matthew 6:9-10).  We must remain faithful to the Word of God (Luke 11:28; Acts 14:22-23).  The culture will mock us but we must stand firm (Romans 1:29-32).  We must be like Lot (2 Peter 2:6-10).  We must be a holy people (1 Peter 1:15-16).  We must be an evangelistic people who preach Christ without fear.

Conclusion

I would add that I wanted to add another point and that being the cults.  Most of the cults will see a growth as they will take parts of the culture and parts of Christianity and try to unite them.  Some cults will grow, however, because they will be like the IFB above and seek to go outside of culture to live their faiths.  We must resist running away from culture while preaching the gospel to the culture and not embracing it.  The world needs the gospel as the gospel alone will set sinners free from sin and the grasp of the devil (Romans 1:16; Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8).  The gospel can transform our culture (2 Corinthians 5:17) like nothing else for the gospel alone is the truth of God (John 14:6; 17:17).

May we preach Christ and exalt Him!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

01/31/2013 at 10:16 AM

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