A New Law
Derek Webb wrote a song some time back and apparently some folks on YouTube have posted a video about it. It is the best expression of what I think good Pharisees are doing their best to accomplish with their ministry efforts. See it for yourself:
Blame Where It Belongs
I had a young man try to upbraid me for preaching on the need for women to dress modestly. He said that the real problem is not that women dress immodestly, but that men are prone to lust. He asked why I did not preach against the lust that burns within man rather than the dress of women who are the victims and objects of the lustful intentions of wicked men.
I told him that on many other occasions I preached about lust and that it wasn't the subject of that message to upbraid men. It was the purpose of that message to encourage our young women to dress modestly. However, I wish I had known about this video before I answered him. I would have directed him to this wonderful quote by Richard Baxter found in this video:
It's such a shame that we have left the spiritual depth of the 1950s and succumbed to the lures of the 2000's.
The New Christians?
Tony Jones, coordinator for that hotbed of apostasy, Emergent Village, has written a new book called The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier. Let me just say I have already “dispatched” this book. No, I have not read it , nor am I ever likely to. I was so put off by Jones’ blog and his contributions to the Emergent Village web sit that I can pretty much tell you what this blasphemous book is all about. But why take my word for it? Jones has created a series of videos about one of the characters in his book called “Trucker Frank.” I started watching it and about half way though, I was so put off by the vile gutter language I couldn’t bear to watch any more. See for yourself (but be warned, this gets EXTEMELY offensive toward the middle):
Clearly, Jones is unconcerned about living a life according to godly standards. His casual use of such crude language is evidence that he has no regard for holiness and least of all with respect to the work of God. For him and Trucker Frank to insinuate that the Bible, God’s Holy Word, contains the coarse language of the streets, is an offense to the host of Heaven and all who love the pure unadulterated Truth. I don’t care what Trucker Frank says the Greek word skubalon meant in the “original” language, he is obviously no Greek scholar. I will remain content with the King James word, “dung” instead of what they use.
Some will argue that the Bible is full of bad words like “damn” and “hell” and even “bastard.” And indeed it does contain these words. However, what these mindless critics don’t realize is that these so-called bad words were sanctified and holy language at the time God verbally inspired the King James Bible. It is only through the grossest misuse by worldlings that these holy words - still uttered from my pulpit, by the way, in a godly context - have become bad words. Friends, these word’s are God-ordained and holy words that have only become perverted by their misuse outside of a godly context. If people in the world were concerned about their souls and discussing the certain damnation that faced them in a Devil’s hell, as the bastard offspring, then I would have no trouble with them using this sanctified language. But no, they have even gone so far as to take the name of our Lord in vain and turn the name of our Blessed Savior Jesus Christ into an occasion of cursing.
Nor are these the only Bible words being misused and abused. There has been a recent surge in trying to convert a perfectly good King James Bible word to the same level of crudity as other gutter words. I praise the Lord that there are still Bible believing preachers willing to stand against this trend and stand up for God’s word. We need more voices from the pulpit proclaiming the Truth of God’s Word unashamedly and boldly like this fellow:
Ten CCM Commandments
A friend of mine put me on to this great site. I wasn't able to read all the way to the end, but found this most helpful for Christians wanting to practice musical discernment.
Seven Steps to Spiritual Unity
That great compromiser of the faith, Rick Warren, continues to corrupt the minds of godly ministers everywhere. In a recent Ministry Toolbox issue, he offered six things to do when disunity threatens to divide a church. Before I go any further, let me just point out that everyone knows that according to biblical numerology 6 is the number of man. Man was created on the sixth day and the mark of The Beast is an unholy trinity of 666. This is indication enough that Warren’s “wisdom” is man’s wisdom rather than God’s wisdom. Had it been godly wisdom, he would have had seven things since 7 is the number of God’s completeness.
With that in mind, I would like to offer SEVEN things you should do to promote genuine unity, rather than the feel-good, namby-pamby sort of compromising conciliatory concessions Warren offers to preserve pseudo-unity.
1. Create situations that lead to arguments. In the song “Onward Christian Soldiers” (which is pretty much absent from contemporary worship services) the verse instructs us that we are “one in hope and doctrine, one in purity.” Without a good argument every now and then, how do you know that everyone holds to the truth? Arguments are a good way to identify those possessed of a rebellious spirit so they can be publicly rebuked
2. Show troublemakers the door. Warren advocates convincing them to repent. The trouble is, how do you distinguish between sincere repentance and those who repent falsely so that they can later undermine your ministry from within? Simply put, you can’t. The best thing to do is to make sure troublemakers don’t stay. Even those who sincerely repent have a track record of causing trouble and there’s no guarantee that they won’t cause trouble about something else in the future. Best to be rid of them altogether.
3. Convince people not to be so sensitive. The Truth is offensive. The natural man does not receive the spirit of God. People who are offended by comments made for their spiritual edification need to learn to suck it up and take it in the spirit it is intended. After all, we are those who watch out for their souls, not their feelings.
4. Demand conformity and agreement. Amos asks, “how can two walk together except they be agreed?” People who don’t agree with us need to be brought around to our way of thinking through persuasion and church discipline, even if that means getting a little rough from time to time.
5. Rebuke without regard to the consequences. You are the pastor. It is your job to take a stand for the truth. Don’t let the opposition spot weakness or compromise or you will soon find you have no power at all over them.
6. Remove them at the first sign of trouble. Warren advocates a “two strikes, your out” sort of rule. A lot of damage can be caused during those “two strikes.” If we waited through two warnings before ejecting heretics, trouble causers, and malcontents, our churches would be full of these folks. The Bible says that, “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” (Ecclesiastes 8:11) We need to follow the biblical admonition to execute sentence speedily before we give them any warning.
7. Don’t listen to Rick Warren. His popular book, The Purpose Driven Church, is all about how to grow a big church by whatever means. It has nothing to do with pleasing God. Everyone knows that godly spiritual churches are small because men don’t love The Truth and The Truth is not popular. Warren’s popularity is proof that he is not teaching The Truth.
In a nutshell, the key to unity in God’s church is to make sure no one has the opportunity to dissent. And if someone tries to disrupt the unity of the Body, we are not to offer compromising solutions like Warren does, but to get tough, lay down the law, and never sacrifice Truth on the altar of unscriptural unity.
Why Schools Go Apostate
My heart breaks when I see the pernicious infective force of apostasy taking over our formerly fundamentalist Pharisaical institutions of higher learning. Everyone knows that Princeton, Harvard, and Yale all began as seminaries but were contaminated by the liberalizing forces of modernism and apostasy, until now they are blasphemers of the God they once used to proclaim. But what of more recent slides to apostasy? We have all seen how schools like Baylor and Wake Forest and Southern Methodist University have all embraced liberalism, but what of formerly staunch schools like Liberty, Cedarville, and Bob Jones University? Is there any hope for them? Thanks to Dr. Don Jasmin’s new book, Why Do Fundamental Schools Go Apostate, we now have an answer.
And it’s not good.
While Jasmin focus his attention on the Northfield-Mount Hermon school established by that great paragon or preachers Dwight L. Moody, the lessons are no less ominous for any school wanting to stand firm on its fundamentalist foundation. Despite the fact that Moody was a marvelous example of evangelizing zeal, his legacy suffered from the little compromises he allowed to creep into his ministry. Some of the flaws Jasmin cites in his book include:
- Moody ignored the emerging controversies of his day such as the new teaching of evolution and higher criticism.
- Moody refused to condemn the compromisers of his day.
- Moody preached only a positive message of God’s grace and love, neglecting the important negatives of God’s word.
- The school suffered a loss of spiritual discernment after Moody’s death and focused its attention on academic pursuits rather than spiritual ones.
- The school sought accreditation and academic respectability at the expense of its hold on The Truth.
The warnings for us are very clear. Fundamentalist schools of today should embark on a three step program I would like to outline here in order to prevent the slide into apostasy and to preserve their purity.
Stamp out the spirit of compromise with unrelenting vigor. Even if you find yourself standing alone for The Truth, it is essential that you take a stand. For example, in our city, as large as it is, we are the only church that stands for the whole Truth of God’s word. In fact, in our whole state, we are the last bastion fighting the rising tide of compromise, neo-evangelicalism, and caving in to worldly standards. Even though the prospects for the Pharisee denomination look grim with only a handful of churches in the whole country holding out for The Truth, we believe that God is faithful and will reward us for our unwillingness to bend even the slightest inch in compromising the word of God or permitting compromisers to remain members of our denomination.
Place an appropriate Biblical emphasis on the negatives. Joel Osteen and Rick Warren can build their huge megachurches on the power of positive preaching, never speaking out against sin or doctrinal error, but that is the surest way to apostasy. Some would say that Pharisee churches need a proper balance of positive and negative messages. It is my heartfelt conviction and understanding that preaching a message composed solely of godly, biblical negatives will result in strong positives. The emphasis on all the things we are against, whether it be doctrinal errors of even the slightest type or a willingness to allow worldly standards of dress or conduct to invade the lives of otherwise pious believers, guarantees that everything that is left is positive and will be incorporated into the spiritual lives of saints.
Shun the pursuit of academic excellence. Every single formerly fundamentalist school that has ever sought some form of respectability through accreditation has invariably compromised the faith to get it. They were willing to sell out the purity of The Truth for the favor of the world. We are living in a day and age where we are watching formerly fundamentalist schools like Cedarville University, Liberty University, and Bob Jones University sell out in order to curry favor with the academic community. I am convinced that academic rigor actually causes apostasy. It is better to pursue a thorough knowledge of God and His Truth than it is to pursue an understanding of the world in which we live. After all, this world is not our home, we are only passing through. Of what use is more thorough knowledge of a place that God is going to destroy in fiery judgments anyway?
In essence, the key to maintaining a fundamentalist Pharisee outlook on life is to remain ignorant. What some would call academic excellence or eduction is nothing more than worldly wisdom. It is only human pride that takes umbrage at being called ignorant and unlearned by the worldly-wise. Like the apostle Paul, we should count a worldly education as nothing but dung and make ourselves fools for Christ’s sake. This means we do not trust secularized, compromising institutions of higher learning to educate ourselves and our children. We only trust to our non-accredited Pharisee Bible Colleges and seminaries to do that for us. And if Jasmin’s warning holds true, not even all of them can be trusted.
The Dangers of Cell Phones
A friend of mine, pastor Alex Coppersmith at First Pharisee Church, sent me a link to a great article by David Cloud titled, “MySpace or Gods?” It was a wonderful piece that was full of good advice and sound Bible teaching. It warned Christian parents against the dangers of MySpace, a social networking site, often frequented by church teens. Even though Bro. Cloud has done a masterful job exposing the dangers of MySpace, he is apparently blind to an even more insidious danger in our midst - cell phones. Not one single teen in our church is on MySpace (I know because I checked just to make sure) but every single one of them has a cell phone. Following David Cloud’s outline, I would like to give voice to the enormous danger our children face by having unfettered access to cell phones.
WHAT IS A CELL PHONE?
In the year 2000, a youth pastor in Ohio told me that the worst problems he was having with young people in the church pertained to the internet. He was referring to chat rooms. And that was long before cell phones exploded onto the scene. Cell phones are nothing more than a MASSIVE, SUPERCHARGED, VISUALLY-ENHANCED CHAT ROOM. Never has strict separation from the world been more urgent for Christian homes and churches, and never has it been less practiced among those who claim to be Bible-believing people. We are in an awful, desperate battle for the souls of young people, and churches and families that do not get serious about this battle will surely regret it.
Cell phones are “social networking” tools. They provide a meeting place, a dating connection, a chat room, an instant message service, a place to talk or text message about your life and opinions, a place to download musical ringtones (it is a form of distribution for godless rock music), a place to share your personal information, photos, videos, and music clips, and a way to link to your friends’ cell phones through sharing of “contacts.” (I remember as a youngster attending Grace Pharisee Bible College that “contact” between fellow students was something to be discouraged, not encouraged.) It allows people to sign up for accounts wherein they create their own personal “desktops” and answering messages on their phones so they can associate with others. Cell phone users can post messages and pictures to one another’s phones. It’s vast online community. It’s a cyber youth hangout. It’s a virtual publishing house for private expression. And they’re super cool.
I need to say here that cell phones are used for more than a youth chat room and dating service. They are used for business purposes, for example, such as calling clients and for job seekers; but the part we are concerned about in this report is the social and moral aspect of cell phones.
WHO OWNS CELL PHONES?
Cell phones are powered by advertising and it is big business. As we know, Big Business and Madison Avenue are evil entities driven entirely by consumerist greed. Large companies like Verizon, Nextel, Cingular, and AT&T are the ones who profit from the exploitation of our nation’s youth.
THE SECRET ASPECT OF CELL PHONES
One reader wrote the following perceptive note:
“What cell phones allows people to do is become whatever they want or whoever they want. They create a personna that may be nothing like them (except in their fantasies). Most young people give up on those fantasies when they come to Christ, but by being given the opportunity to become something they are not, and it being in private, there are some devastating results and they are put into incredibly risky situations.”
Alex Coppershmith warns:
“The sweetest savor to a sinner’s mouth, are secret sins that won’t be found out. It used to be easier to catch your kids in sin. If you thought they had a problem with music, pornography, or language you could (as good parents should) look under the mattress, in the closet, in their car, or listen in on the other line or from the other room. (My parents probably did all these things and I am extremely grateful.) But in the late 90’s and even earlier this century, many parents got a wake up call as many teenagers turned to the internet to fulfill the lust of the flesh through porn, music, and chatting online. So the education began and many parents learned to check the computer’s ‘History’ and ‘Cookies.’ Good parents still found a way to track their teens. As the old adage goes, you can make a better mouse trap, but the world will always make a smarter mouse. Welcome to a parents worst nightmare: cell phones. It is possible to create a profile, add a vile ringtone, take digital photographs of yourself and share them with other cell phone users or even post them to the internet, and walk away from the phone without any evidence that you were ever there. Our kids now know about ‘history’ and ‘cookies.’ If you think they don’t, I now laugh at you and shake my head at your ignorance. Anything teens are able to keep from their parents will grow more and more out of control.”
TRASHY CONTENT AND SPIRITUAL DANGER
Even those who are not Bible believers see the moral danger of cell phones. Many articles have appeared in secular publications including this quote:
“I’ve covered murders, grisly accidents, airplanes falling out of the sky and, occasionally, dirty politics. But in nearly two decades of journalism, nothing has made my insides churn like seeing what my 13-year-old daughter and her friends are up to on their cell phones.”
Such a statement should make Bible-believing parents sit up and pay attention.
The author spoke of the shockingly open talk about immoral acts and the “coarse language and often profane messages that are plastered all over the text messages like graffiti on bathroom walls.”
Bro. Coppersmith further warns about the trashy music ringtones that is prevalent on cell phones: “From Screamo to Punk, from Dead Metal to Verbally Pornographic Rap. You can find it all on cell phones. Not to mention it is extremely easy to download music to your voice mail as a background so that whoever calls you will automatically be connected to the music if you don’t answer. With the background music setting you have about one second after you connect to the person’s voice mail to hit the mute button or be prepared to expose yourself to whatever they deem appropriate.”
One deeply concerned pastor wrote the following sad testimony:
“We had a business meeting to place three young men on church discipline because they refused to change their ringtones. They had built their own networks proclaiming themselves to be Christian but having rock and roll and even rap as background music for their voice mail. There were almost totally naked women pictured either as backgrounds or as ‘friends’ who had sent their photos, shot with their own cell phone cameras. There were four letter words of the foulest nature found in text messages. There were married men carrying on conversations with other women, some of whom were former girlfriends. Some of them even discussed meeting for lunches. Most of them carried on conversations with former backslidden members as well and hurt the name of the church as well as the cause of Christ. I cannot believe that those who claim the name of the Lord could not see or want to see the evil of cell phones. Sad to say, all three men who would not repent grew up in good godly homes and went to our church school. On a better side, three people have given up their cell phones. They have chosen the right path. AMEN!”
WHERE ARE THE PARENTS?
When you read about Christian young people getting wrapped up in their cell phones and other morally dangerous things, you wonder immediately, “Where are the parents?” Why aren’t they overseeing their children’s lives and protecting them from the devil? Being the parent of godly children, I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in other things and not to have a close enough handle on what your children are doing, how easy it is to let the flesh have its way in the home so that you are not the example you should be or have the spiritual power that you should have; but we must pay any price to save our children and grandchildren from Satan’s snare.
Many of those who replied to my request for feedback on cell phones made a point about parental oversight. Following are some examples:
“Personally I believe that too many parents are living in carnality so that they themselves don’t see the damage that cell phones do.”
“How stupid does a parent have to be to just let their kid have free reign on the cell phone?”
“I think this is the important point in all of this. Our nation is full of clueless parents -- even amongst Christian families. The cell phone itself may not be evil, but it is too easy to exploit for evil purposes. And too many parents choose to remain ignorant about how their kids are using them, or they are misusing cell phones themselves and their guilt prevents them from speaking up.”
“I keep asking myself if parents are blind. Are youth pastors and pastors so out of touch with the pop culture and the technological activities of their teenagers? How many parents are sanctioning these things and excusing this rebellion as a “phase” or typical teen behavior?”
AN ALTERNATIVE TO CELL PHONES
After Bro. Coppersmith determined that cell phones would have to go, he gave his daughter the following alternative - a cordless land line phone. In my estimation, this is not a good alternative because conventional phones have the same danger as cell phones and kids with access to conventional phones can still call kids who have cell phones. If they have access to e-mail, they can still send and receive text messages.
The best option, in my estimation, is to stay away from the “social networking” “chat room hang out” internet sites altogether. What is wrong with e-mail and SMS and instant messaging? They are generally a waste of time and allow access to evil in electronic form. In fact, young people don’t need to spend inordinate amounts of time with people their own age. A young person with other young people is simply the immature and inexperienced and unwise encouraging others of like caliber. Young people need to spend more time with adults than with young people.
To that end, I made sure that my children got rid of all their cell phones and I installed good old fashioned telegraph machines. My children are now learning Morse Code and are only able to contact other godly people who have telegraphs. From now on there will be no more ungodly rock music or video messaging in our house.