Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Anti-calvinists

It is a humbling and awesome thing to believe that God is absolutely sovereign over everything in the universe including our salvation. It is like throwing yourself off a high cliff with no reason to think that anything will catch you except God ... and knowing ... KNOWING ... that He will. It is knowing that in yourself there is nothing but sin ... black and repulsive to the holy light of God .. that God sees when He looks at you ... and knowing that He loves you anyway. It is knowing that if you are going to be saved from God's wrath that He is going to have to be the one to save you ... that you cannot do it yourself.

But this is not a popular teaching today. People love to believe they are in charge of their own lives and that God has given them opportunities and possibilities to do things for themselves. Their Christianity is built around this idea that God cannot do anything to them unless they allow it because He is all about giving them chances to do it all for themselves. Consider the modern gospel. In it, Jesus died to remove the barriers between God and man and provide a way for man to save himself if he wants to choose to use it.

That is a popular idea today. But reformed theology ... Calvinism ... is not. Now, don't misunderstand me. There are many non-calvinists who don't buy into Calvinistic theology. Of course, that is why they are non-calvinists. But there are people who hate Calvinism. I mean ... hate it. There are people who will spit on you. They will hit you. They will attempt to cause all manner of unhappiness to you if they know you are a Calvinist. These are the anti-calvinists.

There is not much you can do with an anti-calvinist except to shake the dust off your feet and press on. Their hearts are far too filled with black hatred to be able to share Christian fellowship with. Beware these people. They will hurt you and hurt your Christianity. Paul asks "Can two walk together unless they be agreed?" There is no agreement with these people. Indeed, even other Arminians are troubled by them.

A Christian leader, among other Christians, is to edify the saints. His call is to show Christians a higher way on the narrow road to glory. We are called to be different from the world. Beware of those who would glory in seeing you crawling in the mud.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Lord - High and Holy

A friend of mine in Dubuque, Iowa will be on vacation in a couple of weeks and has asked me to preach at his church the Sunday he is gone. I am looking forward to it. About 2 weeks after that i will be in Springfield, Missouri preaching to a church that wanted to hear me. I am leaning towards telling both churches the same thing. I think my simple message is this ... that God is God and we are not God. And if we are wrong about who God is nothing else in our theology can or will be right.

So many people miss this today. I recall an article where teenagers in Christian high schools were asked how they pictured God. Overwhelmingly their response was that God was a kindly old man sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of an old style southern mansion, watching the world go by. Friend, this is not the God of the Bible. For many others, God is a lot like we are. He is a creature who has faults and learns from his mistakes. One theologian writes that we ought to consider God to be omnicompetent instead of omnipotent. He sees God as the most capable "manager" in the universe. Open theists posit a God who does not know the future and has to adjust to changing situations. One word/faith preacher believes God is just a little taller than he is based on God having a 9 inch span (the distance between the tip of your thumb and the tip of your little finger when your hand is fully spread apart). The common denominator is all this is that God is an awful lot like we are. One preacher quipped that God created man in his own image and then we returned the favor.

God is the high and holy Lord of creation. As vast as the universe is ... as vast as all the universes ever to be out there in space, God is bigger than all of them together. Yet, God is in the very room we are in and lives in the hearts of his people. He is exalted majesty. King above all kings. He is Perfect perfection. His holiness is such that sinners are blasted by the fire of His presence. He is the Absolute of absolutes. Everything He is He is in infinite quantity and quality. There is no darkness or shadow of turning in Him. He never changes or learns. He is one of a kind and no other creature in the universe is like Him. He forbids us to make images to represent Him because nothing we can picture in our minds will even begin to capture the essence of who He is. When everything we know about Him is added together there is a single word in our language to describe Him .... He is "God."

Beloved, until you get the Person of God right, none of the rest of your theology will be right. This is the first lesson of Christian theology. He is the Lord - High and Holy. He ought to be worshipped as such.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Black and White

More and more it seems like the god of our age is man himself. Human potential and human achievement and humans themselves are the object of worship. It seems to man that there is nothing man can't accomplish. The sky is the limit and like the early inhabitants of Babel, we seem to be trying to reach the heavens.

In the world we live in today there is one cardinal sin that stands out above all others. It is the sin of being dogmatic about something you believe. Just say something is absolutely true and you will hear the epitaphs of the masses ... bigot, intolerant, divisive, unloving ... these are a hew of the milder ones. And they are things no one wants to be in today's world. Tolerance, diversity, inclusiveness .. these are the modern watchwords. And above all, we dare not offend anyone by saying that one way is right above all others, or that others "ways" are wrong. The most heinous of the modern insults is that a "wrong religion or belief will send someone to hell."

However, the Bible does not leave us able to hold such "modern" positions. In fact, we are called to profess the "faith once and for all [time] delivered to the saints." There is a truth. It is 2000 years old and it is true for all people for all time in all places in all circumstances. God had a Son. One Son. His name is Jesus of Nazareth who is called the Christ. God came to the earth. The God-man, Jesus Christ. Jesus gave us God's truth and died as a substitute for sinners who will die and go to hell without personal faith in who Jesus is and what He has done for them personally. God did come as Mohammed. He did not come as Krishna. He did not come as Buddha. How do we know that? Because God cannot lie nor can He deny Himself. And the teachings of these other world religious leaders contradict what Jesus taught.

The Bible does not give us the luxury of believing that all pathways lead to heaven. We are told that there is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved. We are told that Jesus is the "way, the truth, and the life; and no one comes to the Father but by him [Jesus]."

The Bible tells us if two ways. There is black and white. Light and dark. Good and evil. Sheep and goats. The saved and the lost. Those on the narrow way and those on the wide way. Grace and works. Heaven and hell. Truth and error. Faithful doctrines and heretical doctrines. I could go on. And what we learn here is that there is no fence to straddle. "He who is not for us is against us." We are this or that. One or the other.

Friend, we live in a world of compromise, innuendo, half truths, sophistries and distortions. But God is the One True Judge. There is no fooling Him. He can see through all our excuses and eloquent speeches. He will know if we are His or not. Today is the day to think about it. What side of the fence are you standing on? If you say you are God's side, are you really living like you are standing on God's side? Remember, you are or you aren't. Test yourself, as the Apostle Paul says, to see whether you be in the faith or not. Now ask, what do I need to do in light of what I am seeing about truth and how I relate to it?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Been Off For A While ...

My computer caught a virus and ate itself. That is why I have been off for such a long time. But I am on a new computer now and will resume blogging within the next day or so. For those of you who read this blog, thank you for your patience. I'll talk to you again soon.