The Sickness in Discernment Ministries

Reposted with permission from Randy White Ministries.

In the past few years, a new form of ministry has emerged called discernment ministry. Make no mistake, it has become a big business, providing the livelihood for many men and women who are making their living as the world’s theological police.

Discernment is sorely needed.

We are in an era in the church in which discernment is utterly lacking. The church has a generation or two of Christians who have had a steady diet of felt need sermons filled with life-application. These Christians have little to no understanding of the content of Scripture itself. Their “Bible studies” are really book studies, and their sermons are self-help pop-psychology that is not fundamentally different from what you find in the self-help section of any secular bookstore.

I can only think of a few things that the church needs more today than discernment. But I am completely convinced that discernment ministry is not the way the church is going to gain this discernment. Read more about The Sickness in Discernment Ministries

“Replacement Theology” - Is It Wrong to Use the Term? (Part 7)

Read the series so far.

Gary Burge: Replacement Theologian

The name of Gary Burge of Wheaton College is familiar to many Christians who teach eschatology that includes the restoration of the remnant of the nation of Israel, but not for positive reasons. His positions on Israel, fueled in large part by his associations with the anti-Israel group Kairos USA, Naim Ateek, Stephen Sizer, and Pro-Palestinianism in general, hardly encourage fuzzy feelings. On the theological front, Burge freely speaks of spiritualizing and reinterpreting Scripture. Not surprisingly, Burge is a convinced replacement theologian.

For as we shall see (and as commentators regularly show) while the land itself had a concrete application for most in Judaism, Jesus and his followers reinterpreted the promises that came to those in his kingdom. (Gary M. Burge, Jesus and the Land, 35)

Read more about “Replacement Theology” - Is It Wrong to Use the Term? (Part 7)

Five Ways to Beat Bitterness: #5 - Connect

Read the series.

“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen; nobody knows my sorrow.” We all know the song—or at least that much of it—and we all know the feeling.

Oh, it’s true that the losses, disappointments, failures, and wrongs that tend to lead to bitterness are “common to man” (1 Cor. 10:13), but at the same time, each person’s experience is unique. Our hearts tell us no one understands or can understand.

From there, it’s a small step downward to the attitude that no one cares. Sometimes it may even be true.

Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. (ESV, Psalm 142:4)

Read more about Five Ways to Beat Bitterness: #5 - Connect

Theology Thursday . . . on Friday: The Chicago Statement on Inerrancy (Part 3)

This is the last portion of the “Exposition” section from the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. It gets right to the heart of the issue about inerrancy. For some recent media resources about the inerrancy issue, see the 2015 Shepherd’s Conference and Ligonier’s 2015 Winter Conference.

Infallibility, Inerrancy, Interpretation

Holy Scripture, as the inspired Word of God witnessing authoritatively to Jesus Christ, may properly be called infallible and inerrant. These negative terms have a special value, for they explicitly safeguard crucial positive truths.

lnfallible signifies the quality of neither misleading nor being misled and so safeguards in categorical terms the truth that Holy Scripture is a sure, safe, and reliable rule and guide in all matters.

Similarly, inerrant signifies the quality of being free from all falsehood or mistake and so safeguards the truth that Holy Scripture is entirely true and trustworthy in all its assertions.

Read more about Theology Thursday . . . on Friday: The Chicago Statement on Inerrancy (Part 3)

“Free Grace” Theology & Matthew 7:21-23

From The Cripple Gate. Reposted by permission of the author.

“Free Grace” is the label commonly given to a theological system founded by the late Zane Hodges and currently promoted, among others, by Bob Wilkin and The Grace Evangelical Society. According to “Free-Grace” theology (hereafter FG), genuine conversion does not necessarily result in a spiritually transformed life, for FG advocates affirm that someone can believe in Christ and yet show forth absolutely no fruit whatsoever in terms of obedience to God or love for Christ. Put another way, they believe in a regeneration that may or may not result in progressive sanctification. Most times, they say, it does not.

Many FG teachers would go so far as to say that if someone were to believe in Christ for a fleeting moment and then immediately recant of that belief and live out the rest of his life as a Christ-rejecting atheist who never obeys the Lord, that individual is a true child of God and will some day be in heaven. In other words, rather than recognizing that such an individual did not truly believe in Christ to begin with (1 John 2:19), Free-Gracers would affirm that person’s faith and conversion as genuine, for regeneration is no guarantee that one will persevere in the faith. Read more about “Free Grace” Theology & Matthew 7:21-23

“Replacement Theology” - Is It Wrong to Use the Term? (Part 6)

Read the series so far.

I finished the last installment by stating that in viewing the Bible from a certain redemptive-historical perspective (a common one I might add), the only conclusion that one can come to is that the church has always existed, and that therefore elect Israel in the OT was the church of the OT to which now the Gentiles have been added in the NT era.

Remember these words from Sam Storms:

[Paul] clearly states that there is but one olive tree, rooted in the promises given to the patriarchs. In this one tree (i.e., in this one people of God) there are both believing Jews (natural branches) and believing Gentiles (unnatural branches). Together they constitute the one people of God, the one “new man,” the true Israel in and for whom the promises will be fulfilled. This one people, of course, is the Church. (Sam Storms, Kingdom Come, 195)

Read more about “Replacement Theology” - Is It Wrong to Use the Term? (Part 6)

Communicating Biblical Worldview to Millennials & iGens (Part 3)

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Conclusion: The Taste and See Apologetic

Psalm 34:8 invites the reader (or listener) to “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” In the context David recounts how God had delivered him from something he deeply feared, and he calls upon those who know God to exalt Him. The Psalm is a rich testimony of the faithfulness of God in the lives of those who depend on Him.

While it addresses “saints” (34:9), and is thus not inherently evangelistic, the theme, content, and delivery fits well Peter’s apologetic paradigm from 1 Peter 3:15. It certainly offers an account of the hope that was within the Psalmist. Again, even though David addresses saints in the near context, his invitation to “taste” in verse 8 implies that his intended audience in the immediate context had not yet tasted.

It is fitting, I think, to draw a secondary application of Psalm 34:8, suggesting that such an invitation would be fitting for an apologetic/evangelistic encounter – especially in engaging the common sentiments of Millennials and iGens. Read more about Communicating Biblical Worldview to Millennials & iGens (Part 3)

Why They Followed the Law (Part 1)

Getting the Law Wrong?

The entire book of Galatians is consumed with the problem of what to do with the Old Covenant law. What does “following the law” have to do with personal salvation through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ?

A large party of Jewish Christians, most of them likely from Jerusalem and former Pharisees, believed you had to follow the Old Covenant law and repent and believe in Christ (Acts 15:1-5). Luke, in a very understated fashion, observes “Paul and Barnabas had no small discussion and debate with them.” The Apostle has little time for this kind of terrible error. He calls this teaching “a different Gospel,” (Gal 1:6). He speaks of the Galatians “deserting Him who called you,” (Gal 1:5). He said this is a perversion of the Gospel of Christ (Gal 1:7).

Did these Pharisees actually understand the message of the Old Covenant scriptures? Why did God’s people follow the law, anyway? Read more about Why They Followed the Law (Part 1)