Sunday, June 28, 2015

Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, You Capitulated On Gender Design Distinction, So Is the Male Skirt a Church Discipline Issue?

I'm pretty sure that when evangelicals and fundamentalists started ignoring women in pants, they did not foresee the male skirt.  It's here now.   Society itself reacted against pants on women.  Even when society started accepting, Christians opposed.  Then Christians accepted, digging for some way to justify the activity.  Society reacted against the male skirt.  What's next?  I think you know, so let's just go there.  This isn't a slippery slope argument.  We're already there.

The arguments for pants on women are the arguments for skirts on men.  Pants were male dress. Skirts were female dress.  The man was the head of the home.  We're just eliminating all that for a totally egalitarian society.  Welcome to the world Gene Roddenberry envisioned.  We have totally evolved now to interchangeable uniforms.

I would guess that this male skirt fashion won't catch on as quickly as female pants did.  Why not?   The skirt is not a symbol of authority.  There is rebellion in the male skirt, but not the same type as pants on women.  Pants rebelled against role, design, and authority.  Today people think that kind of rebellion is good.  The churches don't want to say.  They don't want to get in trouble.  A male skirt is hardly even rebellious.  It's just cool.  It's telling every woman, I'm very fine with your being in charge.  It's the best strategy for getting a girl friend for some guys.

Right up front, I want to say, no one cares.  Most of my readers don't care.  You're ambivalent.  Just admit it.  Men are wearing skirts.  Oh well.  If you do care, I'd wonder about your reason, especially if your women wear pants.

Evangelicalism and fundamentalism both now have a solid reason behind the male skirt.   It won't take anything away from the gospel.  The gospel centered movement says that only the gospel is essential and male skirts are not the gospel.

Sometimes some issue works its way into an essential, like moving the pawn to start a chess match.  It's easy.  Let me give you a recent example.  Al Mohler says that racial superiority is a gospel issue, and he explains how that's the case:  racial superiority is uniquely a gospel issue because it attacks man made in God's image and that, um, reduces the power of substitutionary atonement (just read Mohler on it).  Voila, gospel issue.  It's easy to oppose racial superiority today, and it's easy to call it heresy. For anyone keeping track, that means to Mohler lowering the confederate flag but leaving the statues intact.  Flag down, statues up.  Flags are easy.  The guys on the statues, also with names on buildings, were heretics, but those will stay.  Got it?  These issues can keep moving in and out of essential and non-essential in evangelicalism, all dependent on whatever the world says is important at the time.

Women are welcome in most churches to wear pants.  Most of the time, that's what you'll see.  You don't see men in skirts, but at one time, you didn't see women in pants either.  It's not a gospel issue. I mean, we're made in the image of God, male and female created He us, but the world likes egalitarianism, so this isn't so much a gospel issue, so there we go -- nothing to do with substitutionary atonement this time.

Would the male skirt be a church discipline issue in an evangelical or fundamentalist church?  Would that man be confronted once one-on-one, second by two or three, and then brought before the church for excommunication?  Is the male skirt a gospel issue?

The number one argument for pants on women -- chuckle, chuckle, oh what a silly issue, so why am I even talking -- is both men and women wore robes.  So if men and women both wear skirts, nothing can be said, right?  They both wear pants, so nothing will be wrong if they both wear skirts.  Didn't think we'd get here, did you?  Back to the drawing board.  What will you say to the boy who wants to wear a skirt in your church?  What's wrong?

You can laugh now, but you also never envisioned gay marriage, I'm guessing.  Boys with skirts in your church, that's coming too.  What will you do?

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Lake of Fire: Eternal Torment or Annihilation / Soul-Sleep?

There are many passages of Scripture that are clear that annihilationism, as taught by the Watchtower Society, Seventh-Day Adventism, and other cults, is false.  The Bible clearly teaches the eternal torment of the wicked.  For a general overview of the Biblical teaching on this doctrine, please read Prepare for Judgment and examine the resources here.  In the study below the teaching of the last Word from God to mankind, the book of Revelation, will be examined.

Consider the following texts in the book of Revelation:
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. . . .
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

20:1   And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
11   And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. . . .

8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 14:10-11; 19:20-20:15; 21:8).
Revelation 19:20 indicates that the Antichrist and the False Prophet, the leaders of the one-world political and religious system in the future Tribulation period, will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone at the end of that seven year period when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to set up His kingdom.  They remain there for a thousand years while the rest of the unsaved dead remain in Hades (20:14-15).  Christ rules over the earth in His Millenial kingdom (20:4-6), and then at the end of that time the final rebellion takes place, Satan being loosed from the bottomless pit where he had been placed for that time (20:7-9) but certainly not annihilated.[1]  Satan and the wicked who join him lose the battle, and at that time “And the devil that deceived [the wicked] was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”  Note that the beast and the false prophet are still in the lake of fire after being put in there a thousand years earlier, and from that time forth they “shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”  The plural verb “shall be tormented” makes it impossible to restrict the reference of 20:10 to the devil alone—clearly, the human political and religious leaders of the one-world system of the Tribulation still exist after being in the lake of fire for a thousand years, and will continue to exist there “for ever and ever,” being “tormented day and night,” being “tormented with fire and brimstone” where “the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night” (14:10-11).

Scripture then asserts that the unsaved dead, those who missed the resurrection to life (20:4-5), will rise for their judgment out of Hades (20:13-14).  They will have their works reviewed and will all be condemned because they all sinned and fell far short of the sinless perfection demanded by God and given freely to all believers as they are justified through faith alone based on the blood and imputed righteousness of Christ (Romans 3:23-28; Matthew 5:48; Hebrews 10:14).  After their judgment they are cast into the same lake of fire where the Antichrist, false prophet, and devil are (20:14-15; 21:8), and all together the devil and the children of the devil, those who were never adopted into God’s family by faith in Christ (John 1:12; 8:44), “shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death . . . [and] shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night.”

The book of Revelation gives a very clear description of things to come.  Its prophecies will be fulfilled as literally as the prophecies of Christ’s first coming and other already fulfilled prophecies.  The book very clearly reveals that the unsaved dead will be tormented with fire and brimstone for ever and ever and have no rest day or night.  While annihilationist cults like to affirm that “for ever and ever” does not denote literal eternity, all sixty-two times the Greek phrase for “for ever” appears in the New Testament (eis + aion), literal eternity is in view (note the study here).  What is more, Revelation makes very clear that the lake of fire is not a place of annihilation, for those cast into it a thousand years earlier are still there at the end of that time, “and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”  Were annihilationism true, the passage above would not be a revelation of truth from God, but a deception from the father of lies, or at least something impossible to understand.  Scripture clearly teaches the sobering truth is that those who do not come to Christ will suffer the second death and be tormented for ever and ever in the lake of fire as the just punishment for their infinite crimes against God.  If you have never been born again, consider that God has given man His Word so that “ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).  Click here to find out how you can be sure of eternal life, saved from your sin, and come into fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, instead of being sure to suffer eternally in the lake of fire for your sins.

[1]              Scripture is clear that the bottomless pit is by no means a place where any created being is annihilated:
9:1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
9:2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
9:11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

20:3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Gospel Minimization: Is Paul Saying in 1 Corinthians 15 that the Gospel Is Merely the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ?

Evangelicals gain a larger coalition by first minimizing doctrine, often reducing to the gospel, and once there, second, by minimizing the gospel.  Many argue for unity around the gospel and then negotiate over the essentials of the gospel.  Very often, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 becomes a talking point, because there one can abridge the gospel to the formulaic, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Question, what is the gospel?  Answer, the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  That must be right because 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 says it is.

What is Paul saying about the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15?  It is a passage about the resurrection of the body.  The Greeks rejected bodily resurrection and the Corinthians sought some means to consolidate rejection of bodily resurrection with the gospel.  Paul says, "No, can't be done.  If you reject bodily resurrection, then you reject the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is part of the gospel."

The Corinthians then really did find themselves in a situation that evangelicals now find themselves. The world doesn't like aspects of the gospel and evangelicals today seek to adapt the gospel to the world's tastes or philosophies, much like the Corinthians attempted.  You were a Corinthian embarrassment believing in bodily resurrection, so Corinthians tried to reinvent a gospel without the offensive element.

Paul says that when I made known the gospel to you, I didn't leave out bodily resurrection -- I delivered not just death and burial, but also resurrection.  You can't leave out the offensive element and still have the gospel.

There is an irony to how 1 Corinthians 15 is used today related to the gospel.  Paul wrote it to stop minimization, and now his writing is used to promote it.  How many groups can agree on death, burial, and resurrection?  That formula excludes almost no Christian group from preaching a true gospel.  Almost everyone can agree on that.  You don't even have to believe the Trinity for inclusion in the death, burial, and resurrection coalition.

Before twitter ever began, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 already existed as a ready made gospel tweet for gospel minimalists.  Is Paul's point to reduce the gospel to a few words almost everyone could accept?  He was excluding bodily resurrection rejection, which in Corinth was a big group.  He was shrinking the coalition with bodily resurrection truth.

If you read 1 Corinthians in an honest and thinking fashion, you don't stop at verse four.  The punctuation itself says "keep reading."  Paul isn't minimizing.  As you keep reading, because that little two verse presentation isn't stand alone, you get to verse twenty-three and following:

 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

When Paul preached resurrection, he didn't reduce it to a tweetable nominal number of characters. The resurrected Jesus was the coming Jesus, Jesus the Judge, Jesus the King.  In a body, Jesus would deliver up the kingdom to God the Father, put down all rule and authority and power, reign until He puts all enemies under His feet.  All things will be subdued to Jesus.

Did Paul merely make known the few words of 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, and that was the gospel?  You can't say that.  You've got to keep reading and see that the Jesus they received was King.  That's why the New Testament authors, the apostles, quoted Psalm 110 more than any other Old Testament text. Their Jesus was the Messiah of the Old Testament, the King, the One Who possessed all authority, and Who would put all under His feet.

The Jesus Paul preached died for sins, but He rose from the dead too.  He raised from the dead to fulfill all the other aspects of salvation that should also be and were preached.  He saved not just from the penalty of sin, but also from the presence of sin.  This same Jesus justified but also would glorify. He would reconcile men through His death, but also through His resurrection, saving them at the moment of their justification, but continue saving them in their sanctification and their glorification.

A reason why so many professing Christians don't live the gospel is because they don't know the gospel.  They have their fire insurance, produced through a minimal presentation of Jesus that emphasizes Him as Savior.  They didn't get the other part, the offensive part, that would have resulted in their own exclusion and rejection.  Now they think they're saved, but they're not.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Our Church Website and Available Sermons

Our church website doesn't have a tremendous number of bells and whistles, but there's enough there for someone to decide whether we are a biblical church.  We are also preparing to have a very in depth church doctrinal statement there that is a work in progress.  Right now you can see the calendar for the church, a gospel presentation, the times of services, links to other locations tied to the church, and contact information.  Usually about every week, there is a short essay, different and shorter than anything here, that I write that can edify someone who reads.  In addition to that you can get free of charge over 400 sermons, that are usually expositional.  I know 20 more just went up today.  You can listen to them at the site or download them.

At this point you can listen to 37 different sermons from the book of Revelation, 82 from Luke, 70 in 1 Corinthians,  48 Sunday School lessons in 1 Kings and 46 in 2 Kings, and you might be interested in a couple of topical series I did a few years ago on issues and on eschatology.  Pastor David Sutton has series on our site with 47 sermons in the book of Exodus.

Monday, June 22, 2015

John 6: Church Growth Methods and Other Sins, pt. 2

Part One

When we're all done on earth, we will wish we would have paid more attention to what God's Word says, as in passages like John 6.  The Bible isn't a play thing to twist into what we want.  It is the basis for what we believe and do.

At the end of John 6, twenty-five thousand or so followers of Jesus defect from Him.  Leading up to that moment, we can see what caused it and glean from that what characterizes false professors or false disciples.  That teaching should change how followers of Jesus function.

John 6 is there.  It's in the Bible.  No one will be able to say or should say, "I didn't know that," or "Oh really?"  It's not there for entertainment value.  It's a long (71 verses), very informative chapter.  We're required to follow the teaching.  It's pivotal.  Missing it isn't an option.

Here's what really occurs though.  Churches do just the opposite of what John 6 teaches.  Churches and their leaders claim Jesus, and then contradict what He did.  In essence, they say, "He said and did that?  That means to me that I'm going to do the reverse!  I'm going to operate antithetical to Jesus, and yet say it's Jesus!"  Saying it is Jesus is good enough for it to be Jesus any more -- not to Jesus, but enough to get by on this side of eternity until John 6 is vindicated before all.

I want to pick up where I left off in part one to help you understand what I'm writing.  Jesus had pointed out to His followers that He was running away from them because they were following Him, not because of Who He was, but because they wanted more bread.

Today either churches or church leaders don't themselves know Jesus or they offer people reasons to follow Jesus other than Jesus Himself, in direct conflict to what Jesus said and did.  Some of them don't even care any more, because they have become so untethered to scripture.  They treat their ideas that will work above the Bible as their guidance for doing what they do.

Sure, people will attend church or "follow Jesus" for what they want.  Churches and church leaders now think to varying degrees that their responsibility is figuring out what will cause people to come to church and even like it.  What they're saying is, "I know they won't like Jesus, but I do know they like this, so let's do this, and maybe we can connect Jesus to that somehow."  It's the equivalent of wrapping medicine up in tasty dog food, so that the dog will take its medicine.  You know the dog won't like its medicine alone, so let's offer it as dog food.  The dog doesn't have to know it's getting medicine.

Jesus must be offered.  People must come to Jesus.  They must know what they're coming to.  They must value Jesus above these other things.  When we offer the other things, we are diminishing Jesus and elevating those other things above Him.  That doesn't help them.  It hurts them.  But this is what the largest churches in America are doing.  They are offering a version of Christianity to people, that they know people will accept, that isn't really Christianity.  If those people would ever get actual Christianity, which they rarely to never get, they wouldn't like it if they saw it.

Let's go back to what occurs in John 6.  Jesus won't give them another meal, but they are persistent. Churches today would view this as a good thing.  The staff, either hired or volunteering to concoct bad reasons to come to church, would think of themselves as ministers, operating in a heavenly pursuit.  Who can't figure out what will  motivate people?  Jesus knew.  They wanted bread and they tried to manipulate Jesus.

He said they shouldn't be chasing Him around for stuff that perishes, but for the eternal, which was Jesus Himself.  He was the "meat which endureth unto everlasting life," He was "the bread of life." They still thought Jesus was talking about something like a free meal and they wondered what work would be required to obtain that.  They were negotiating with Him.  This is what people do today when they shop for churches.  Which one has what "I want"?  And what "I want" is rock music, programs for the kids, casual dress, lots of humor, little judgment, and a lot of fun.  We're not even talking about bread, which is innocuous in comparison.  Bread was at least neutral, but it was a no-go for Jesus too.  Bread wouldn't get it done with today's fake Christianity, but more like a well made latte or cappuccino.

As you read this, you might think that this misses your church, but a violation of John 6 so characterizes churches today, that what Jesus taught against is what churches are in most cases today, and it is seen in more than the rock-and-roll churches.  You get it with the promotions for kids, the VBS, the slicky brochures with the happy pictures, the composition of the music, the self-help sermons and programs, the emphasis on building or campus, the dating, and the activities.

Jesus said the "work" that will get the eternal bread was to "believe" (vv. 28-29).  They didn't stop. If they wouldn't or couldn't do that "work," then maybe Jesus could do another one, perform a sign for them.  He had just fed 25,000 with a small lunch.  To goad Him into it, they compared Him to Moses. Moses gave them bread every day.  Jesus corrected them.  The Father gave them that bread, not Moses, which was a segue for Jesus to the Bread which comes down from Heaven -- Him.  That's the bread they needed.

You might agree that Jesus is what people need, but is it Jesus Who is offered?  Churches should be giving people Jesus.  Only Jesus.  When they give more than Jesus, they are not following the example of Jesus.  They are violating His example and today with total immunity.  They are rewarded for doing it.  They are the stars of the church today.  They should be ashamed.  They should be repudiated.  Woe is them!

It matters what you offer people.  Offering them something other than the biblical Jesus is against what Jesus did.  It runs the opposite of how Jesus operated.  When you do, you are hurting people.  Most churches are hurting people today.  The world is going down, not just because of the world, but because of the contribution of churches.  Churches are hurrying up the process with how they act.

To be continued.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Height of Postmodern or Two Truth Folly

You've probably read it, but they are talking about whether a white woman is black.  Why not?  In other words, like the man Bruce Jenner can be a woman, a white woman can be black.  White can be black and black can be white.  You do remember when they called Bill Clinton the first black president.  What does that mean?  People didn't refute it, so they believed it to the degree that it wasn't refuted.  You could already be black, when you were white.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar writes in Time, "Let Rachel Dolezal Be as Black as She Wants to Be."  You can be white and be black.  You can be a man and be a woman.  There are plenty of teenagers and twenty-somethings, who already wish they were black.  They're not black, but they want to act black. If anyone decided that someone talked black, we'd be in trouble, that is, unless someone did talk black, because he believed he was black.

Obviously, no one can talk black, because black is a color, but talking black is still a kind of talk, and everyone knows it, including blacks (read the writings of black author and linguist, James McWhorter).  I recently read about Tom Hanks's son, Chet, who believed that he should be able to "talk black," because he is a rapper.  On May 18 of this year, President Obama was giving a speech (which you can read here), and he said, "we can't then ask the police to be the ones to solve the problem."  I italicized "ask" because the president didn't say "ask" in the speech, but used the colloquial "axe" instead, or, "we can't then axe the police...."  Was this just a slip or was it purposeful?

The mainstream now is talking about whether Rachel Dolezal can call herself black.  She resigned from her post at the NAACP.  When you look at her picture, you see that she attempts to look black, I guess, by what she does with her hair.  Some blacks are straightening their hair, but she has turned her hair into an afro style in order to look black.  Like Abdul-Jabbar wrote in his article, you can't self-identify as "short," when you are seven foot four inches.  You aren't black, when you are white. However, this is where we're at in postmodern society.  You can be whatever you want to be.

The so-called scientific community knows we did not evolve.  Scientists know this.  Everyone knows this.  Naturalism must be true, so it is.  They create their own reality without design and without God's existence.  Your truth is your truth and your truth is someone else's error, but that doesn't make it error to you, only to them.  I want to be black, so I am.  I want to be a woman, so I am. Obviously this stops somewhere.  I can't just fly any passenger plane and I can't operate on someone's gall bladder.   We're headed the direction that everyone can make their reality whatever they want it to be.

As ridiculous as all of the above should seem, we've already arrived at this in churches.  In a sense, churches have trained the world in two truth folly.  I've sat in conferences where someone preached literal heresy and men "amen."  No error is pointed out.  Dispensational theology is true and covenant theology is true, even though that changes almost half the Bible.  You can be saved with or without repentance and both are true.  Lordship or not-lordship.  Both counted as true.

When the United States was changing in the nineteenth century, churches decided on two Bibles.  To grease this, to get it through the people in the pew, the mantra was quoted, "no major doctrine changed," or "no essential doctrine changed."  That isn't true.  There is doctrine that changes. Men invent non-essential.  That is a modern invention.  Depending on what Bible you use, you've got different dimensions for the temple in the millennial kingdom.  Wait a minute.  That's if there is a millennial kingdom, because you might be amillennial, and that's OK too for most Christians today.

The gospel centered or gospel core teaching revolves around what it is that we're willing to put up with.  So much is different that everything is reduced to the gospel.  We all know that this is just to admit that we don't know what the truth is.  Everyone just agrees to disagree.  You already know that you've got to agree to disagree on marriage.  Just bake the cake.  Why not?  We can't know anything anyway.

I hear some of the worst singing in the world, directed toward God, and half the crowd says, "What a blessing!" It might be the worst chicken scratching you can imagine, but no one says the obvious, that is horrible.  If you say it's bad, you're a rotten individual.  Hurting someone's feelings is worse than ugliness, sin, and false doctrine.  Third grade finger paintings are Da Vinci.  What I'm saying is that we already went there in churches.  Sentimentalism has replaced love.  If you think you can know, you're proud. If you don't know, you're humble.  Pride is humility and humility is pride.

Know this.  I'm not with any of this, but it is a very small group of people who are with me.  I don't know how few.  I would like you to tell me that you are with me on this.  I'll still keep believing in one truth, one goodness, and one beauty, but I'd like you to let me know.  I'm not talking hypothetically here, like some kind of thought experiment, like you're with me on paper and not in reality.  I'm asking if you do believe there is only one truth, one doctrine, one faith, one goodness, and one beauty.

Monday, June 15, 2015

John 6: Church Growth Methods and Other Sins

The Lord Jesus Christ came to save.  For someone to be saved, he must believe in Jesus Christ.  The book of John provides a sufficient basis for someone to believe in Him.  One portion of that basis for belief comes in John 6, where Jesus feeds the 5,000, walks on water, and teaches on the bread of life.

John could have included many other works and teachings of Jesus in his gospel, but he wrote the ones he did as a basis for saving faith in Christ.  Among a relative few, considering a three year long period, John 6 is included and it takes up a lot of space -- 71 verses.  It must be saying something vital and important, so what does it say that contributed to the purpose of John?  By the time you get to the end, you see that John 6 differentiates between the true believer and the false, and in so doing it helps define saving faith in Christ.  As a corollary, it reveals the method of the Lord Jesus and repudiates a wrong one.

We know from parallel gospels that Jesus fed 5,000 men and then women and children, so we could estimate 25,000 from the one little lunch of crackers and fish.  Verse 26 says they were all "filled," which means they were full, ate so much that they couldn't eat any more.  Jesus sent the disciples back to the other side of the sea and didn't go with them, because the crowd would follow, went into the mountain and then followed later by walking on water.  The next day the burgeoning crowd found and followed Jesus.

Jesus could have easily attracted the crowd with more bread, but He didn't.  There is nothing wrong with bread, but Jesus wouldn't use it to gain and keep a crowd, even for "further ministry."  We're not talking about a rock band or cowboy Sunday.  These were people who needed to eat and Jesus could give bread.  He didn't.  Why did Jesus run away from this crowd of people, rather than "take advantage" of their interest in Him? They were following Him for a wrong reason.  Jesus says this in verses 26-27.

Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.  Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. 

That was Jesus in answer in essence to why He was evading them.   They were following Him for the wrong reason, and it was bread.  Bread.

Do you understand that churches today have as their strategy to get people to church for the wrong reason?   They use big days, open houses, food, music, buildings, programs, fun, among other reasons.  A common excuse I hear is, the Bible doesn't say it's wrong.  Jesus didn't just not give them what they wanted, but He was avoiding them.  Today's churches often run to them with the wrong reasons:  "Please take advantage of this wrong reason!"

Bread isn't wrong, so that obliterates that common reason.  I also hear people say, "These people are hungry, which is why we give them a hamburger."  It didn't matter that these people in Capernaum were hungry. Jesus wasn't giving them anything.

Instead of offering the meat that perishes, churches should give alone the meat that endures unto everlasting life.  That meat, that bread, is Jesus.

To be continued

Friday, June 12, 2015

How To Save Money on Groceries

Man shall not live by bread alone (Matthew 4:4), but we still all need to eat to live.  How can a family or an individual save money on groceries?  Price matching is a valuable tool that, in a few minutes, can save a large amount of money.

Walmart has a price-match guarantee on advertisements from local competitors as well as matching prices with online competitors.  Purchases at can also be shipped to a local store for free, so, essentially, lower prices both at local and at online competitors will be matched by Walmart in the store.  Furthermore, by signing up for Ebates and Big Crumbs, you can receive cash back for all purchases made at, so that it is possible, not to price match alone, but to actually match the prices of competitors and receive cash back on top of the matched price.  Other stores, such as Target, have price-match and ship-to-store policies similar to that of Walmart; utilizing Ebates and Big Crumbs can enable you to both match prices and receive cash back on any store that has such price-match policies.

In our area, stores with grocery advertisements that Walmart (or other stores with comparable policies) will price-match  include Aldi, Cermak, El ReyDollar Tree, Dollar GeneralWalgreens, Pick n’ Save, Trader Joe’s, Woodman’s, Piggly WigglySendik’s, Sentry, TargetKmart, and Costco.  Many of these merchants also advertise with Ebates or Big Crumbs; therefore, one can also get a discount on gift cards at these stores by purchasing them through Ebates or Big Crumbs, or by purchasing discounted gift cards directly, to reduce the grocery bill.  One who lives in another part of the United States, or even in a number of other countries, can follow a similar model to reduce his family’s budget for groceries.

If you have a tight food budget, utilizing the tips above can help you to have the funds to eat healthfully.  You should be a good steward of your life and the lives of those in your family by eating a balanced and nutritious diet.  Furthermore, God designed the human race so that a balanced diet provides the nutrients most people need.  Consequently, it is not surprising that many large-scale scientific trials, involving hundreds of thousands of people, indicate that taking vitamin and mineral supplements does not improve the health or extend the life of the general population.  These facts explain why non-profit consumer protection organizations recognize that many supplements are a waste of money and some are even harmful.  Thus, unless you have a clear medical need or have been told by your doctor to do otherwise, you should spend your grocery money on healthful food instead of wasting it buying vitamin or mineral pills that you do not need or that might even be bad for you.  If you feel, without a doctor’s recommendation and in the absence of a scientific basis, that you should take vitamin or mineral supplements anyway, you can do so for less than $1 a month instead of buying expensive, unnecessary, but well-advertised alternatives, and you should obtain reliable scientific information about vitamins or minerals instead of listening to the propaganda and myths created by the multi-billion dollar vitamin industry.  Indeed, you can save a great deal of money by avoiding unconventional and quack “medicine” in general, as it is often associated with the ungodly New Age movement and it rejects the Biblically-based scientific method (Genesis 1:26-28).  Be a good steward of the finances God has given you by saving on groceries and using your grocery budget for nutritious food instead of worthless or possibly harmful pills.

This entire study can be accessed here.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

The Duggars: Christianity and Hypocrisy

People watch the Duggars.  Even by conservative Christian standards, they're odd.  The mean girls of the world call them creepy.  Many find interest in how they pull off having and raising that many kids.  As an outside observer, it looks like they're doing pretty well, better than about 90% of America.

The Duggars are a slice of life in the Bible belt, a large demographic from which to draw viewers.  In addition to their natural audience, the secular world watches like voyeurs, imagining how much smarter and superior they are and inventing new ways to diminish all Christians by criticizing the Duggars.

The Duggar family's association with and lack of rejection of Bill Gothard alone would prevent my fellowship with them.  Even though I identify with practices of theirs, I also wish they represented the Bible in a more biblical way.  The Bible isn't prominent.  Perhaps they self-edit to please the Learning Channel or scriptural reference is cut out as a part of their contract.  What appears is a superficial, popular type of cultural conservatism with a type of Jesus silently tagging along. Wholesomeness becomes their defining quality instead of the gospel.

Whatever you think of the Duggars, they still might be the most well-known evangelical Christians in America.   Even if you wish someone else represented Christians to the world, if you are really a Christian, you can't out-and-out reject them. They are on your side.  You are with them.

The Duggars also provide a barometer to gauge the opinions of popular media about the Christian worldview.  The window into the home of the Duggars becomes a window out to those who hate them.  For a plain demonstration of the insanity of this world, consider the comparative treatment of Bruce Jenner. It was fine to report the private testimony of the Duggar girls, but you're in trouble if you refer to Bruce with a masculine pronoun.

For those who already know about the recent reproach of Josh Duggar, I'll focus on a related topic -- hypocrisy.  Antagonists say both the Duggars and their son Josh are hypocrites and among other things.  I saw an article by Piers Morgan, whose most virulent judgment on them was "hypocrisy."

Does this incident expose the Duggars as hypocrites?  If so, does their hypocrisy cause a bad testimony to the cause of Christ or to the gospel message?  Are Christians themselves just a bunch of hypocrites?  Do the Duggars just reveal the obvious hypocrisy of Christians in general?  "They're all just a bunch of hypocrites!  And that's why I'll never be a Christian!"

By many people's definition, everyone in the world is a hypocrite.  Everybody breaks their own rules. Every parent does.  They break the very regulations they require of their children.

Many liberals hold their own set of scruples for others to keep and then violate themselves. Several entire volumes document the hypocrisy of liberalism (one, two), and a whole chapter could be written about Piers Morgan.  He's a hypocrite by his own standard even in saying he's disgusted with hypocrisy.

People like Morgan don't really hate hypocrisy.  They just don't like the Duggars's standards.  They use "hypocrisy" to ridicule and slander and posture.   Morgan isn't trying to stop hypocrisy.  He seeks to eliminate the standards he doesn't approve.

Pay attention to the irony.  I will admit it has become so normal that it can't be ironic, but stick with me.  Morgan can't allow for another standard but his own, which only tolerates or accepts his standard, one he doesn't even keep himself.  This is where liberals like him really are the true fascists.

When Is Someone a Hypocrite?

Is someone a hypocrite because he believes a standard, preaches a standard, and then doesn't keep the standard?  Being a hypocrite, at least based upon the biblical understanding, is more than violating one's own standard.  A biblical standard is good. Everyone should have one.  Nobody, however, can keep one.  That doesn't make it wrong to have and promote the Bible as a standard.  The Duggars are not hypocrites for having and promoting a biblical standard and then they themselves failing at that standard.  To avoid being a hypocrite based on this less than biblical definition, one must live a sinless life.

Very often the world misdefines hypocrite and then holds professing Christians like the Duggars to its wrong definition.  It's like calling peanut butter and jelly a T-bone steak.  The joke ultimately is on the ignorant folks swinging, missing, and laughing like they hit a home run.  It's like the impostor in the marathon, who ran into the Munich stadium in the 1972 Olympics, and the fans cheered, even though he joined the race toward the end and entered the stadium before anyone else.  He didn't get a medal.

The world also shows it doesn't understand Christianity, because Christianity isn't requiring sinless perfection.   Jesus lived the perfect life and that life is acquired for a Christian by faith.  You need Jesus because you're not perfect.

The concept of "hypocrite" in our culture comes from the Bible and Jesus applies it only to the Pharisees.  What made the Pharisees "hypocrites"?  In what way the Pharisees were said to be hypocritical is what it means to be hypocritical.

To grasp hypocrisy, you should understand two identifying marks to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. First, the Pharisees expected people to keep rules they didn't expect themselves to keep.  They didn't hold themselves to their own standard, and I'm not talking about sinless perfection, but just in general they weren't doing what they were telling others to do.  Then when they got caught doing what they weren't supposed to do, they didn't admit it.  They didn't confess it.  If you pointed it out, like Jesus did, they might kill you.   Second, the Pharisees were self-righteous. They depended on their own works, their own deeds or behavior, for their own salvation.  They had to be perfect and they weren't, and yet they posed like they were.  Expecting everyone to be perfect, when they weren't -- that was their hypocrisy.

Are these two above characteristics of the Pharisees' hypocrisy also characteristic of Christians?  I don't believe that hypocrisy characterizes biblical Christianity because Christianity isn't like the religion of the Pharisees.   A Christian can by a hypocrite, but true Christianity isn't by nature hypocritical, and I'll show the difference.

The world usually calls Christians hypocritical when they're in trouble for doing something wrong or they find out that some Christian was already in trouble for doing something.  When Christians sin, they don't have to tell the whole world they've sinned.  That's not a requirement of Christianity.  If no one else knows, they confess it to God.  Christianity attempts to keep it to the smallest number of people knowing.  Love covers a multitude of sins.  Heard that before?  However, the reason Christians are in trouble for sinning is because they are expected to keep the standard, the Bible.

True Christianity admits sin.  It says, "I don't keep the standard and I can't keep it.  I want to, but I can't."  It isn't self-righteous like the Pharisees. Christians admit they sin.  Christians try not to sin. They are looking not to sin, but they are not depending on their own perfection for salvation.  They depend on Jesus for salvation.  They depend on Jesus for salvation because they know they are sinners and they sin.

I watched the Duggar interview with Megyn Kelly, because the whole thing is online.  I wasn't surprised by the interview.  It's about how I thought things would go.  I believe the Duggars.  They looked genuine and sincere to me.  They weren't saying it wasn't bad.  They were just putting it all in perspective, something the world didn't do, because it hates the Duggars.  Hates them.

Josh Duggar broke the standard the Duggars hold for him and their family.  Josh Duggar obviously knew he had broken it, because he turned himself in.  The girls didn't turn him in. He admitted he was wrong.  That, my friend, is not being a hypocrite.  When you admit you were wrong, that's not being a hypocrite.  I'm guessing that the Duggars did not report every aspect of their punishment of Josh, but they did report that he was punished.  They did something about it.  They did not report him to the police right away.  If he wasn't punished, by turning himself in, the world wouldn't even be reporting on it right now.

As a brief aside, we should consider the idea of turning something into the police.  Are the police trustworthy?  Many liberals say, "No."  They use terms like "police state," and "racist cops."  Should anyone trust these police?  You can't have it both ways.  You can't say, "Don't trust the police," and then "turn yourself into the police."  What happens then?  They finally did trust the police and turned Josh in, but the man who listened to his confession, it turns out, liked looking at child pornography, and served prison time later for it.  The police reports, depended upon to expose the Duggars, come from these same police.  As you now know, the police chief violated the law in handing over this sealed, private information about a juvenile offender and his victims.  The selective outrage reeks of, yes, hypocrisy, and in the truest sense of the word.

You don't have to publish your sins to the world to avoid being a hypocrite.  You might not tell everyone about your worst behavior, because you are ashamed of it.  Christians are against what Josh Duggar did, which is why he didn't want everyone to know about it.  He's afraid that, if people find out, they'll think he's a hypocrite.  He believes the behavior is wrong, which is why he'd rather keep it private.  He confessed it to his parents, to church leaders, and finally to a state police officer.  He is not promoting his worst behavior, because he thinks it is wrong.  The Duggars think it is wrong.  That is not hypocrisy.  It is the opposite of hypocrisy.

That brings me to the next question I want to consider about hypocrisy.

Does Hypocrisy Ruin the Gospel Message?

Hypocrisy is one of a handful of the most common reasons unbelievers give for living out their lives for themselves.  They would be a Christian, ya know, if there weren't so many hypocrites.  As a result, they look for hypocrisy as another excuse for why they aren't Christians.  They want hypocrisy to exist, because without it, they wouldn't have one of their main reasons for not being a Christian. Why do they need any other reason for not being a Christian other than Christianity not being true?  If Christians are hypocrites, what are they betraying?  Are they betraying only a lie?

I'll talk more about this in part two.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Hannah and Robert Smith's Preaching the Higher Life's Erotic Baptism: part 17 of 21 in Hannah W. Smith: Keswick Founder, Higher Life Preacher, Quaker Quietist and Universalist Heretic

This entire 21-part study appears on the website in a study entitled “Hannah Whitall Smith: Higher Life Writer, Speaker on Sanctification, Developer of the Keswick Theology, Quaker Quietist and Universalist Heretic.” Click here to read the entire study.

Search for:

“The Methodist predator from whom Mrs. Smith made her most fundamental discovery of the spiritual life also believed in the doctrine, developed out of medieval and counter-Reformation Roman Catholic mysticism, that Spirit baptism brought physical sexual thrills.”

to read the section that was in the blog post below.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015


guest post by Bobby Mitchell, pastor of Mid-Coast Baptist Church, Brunswick, Maine

If you think "touch not; taste not; handle not" (Colossians 2:21) should be preached as "Don't mess around with the opposite sex, drink liquor, or steal stuff"... You might need to study more!

If you think "the old is better" in Luke 5:39 means "The old way of preachin', prayin', singin', and shoutin' is better" ... You might need to study more!

If you think "cannot discern between the right hand and the left hand" in Jonah 4:11 would be a good text to preach about Christians lacking discernment...You might need to study more!

If you think "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho" in Luke 10:30 means he went south...You might need to study more!

If you think "we fetched a compass" (Acts 28:13) means they got an instrument to point North...You might need to study more!

If you think that "abstain from all appearance of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:22) means "Don't do anything that could possibly look wrong"... You might need to study more!

If you think "do the work of an evangelist" (2 Timothy 4:5) means "travel around and preach revivals"...You might need to study more!

If you think "quit ye like men" (1 Corinthians 15:13) means, "don't quit until the job is done" or "man up, and quit 'yer smokin', drinkin', and cussin'" ... You might need to study more!

If you think "He taketh no pleasure in the legs of a man" (Psalm 147:10) means "men shouldn't wear shorts"...You might need to study more!

If you think "vision" in Proverbs 29:18 means "a big dream or idea"...You might need to study more!

If you think "my people which are called by my name" (2 Chronicles 7:14) refers to the United States of America...You might need to study more!

If you take a "catchy" phrase in the Bible and preach it with no regard for the context, you REALLY need to study more!

I have messed up some passages in a BIG way!  The first message I ever preached, at the age of fifteen, was, "You need to let Jesus into your heart" (using Revelation 3:20).  I DEFINITELY should have studied more!  Now, I'm forty-one and I ABSOLUTELY need to study more!

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God..." (2 Timothy 2:15).

Monday, June 01, 2015

An Honest Basic Assessment of Independent Baptists, pt. 6

Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. 5

If independent Baptist churches were more independent, I believe they would be better off.  I'm an independent Baptist by conviction and the independence allows for purity.  As a true independent, you can fellowship or even associate with churches only of like faith and practice.  Because independent Baptists are independent, whatever might be wrong with a majority of independent Baptist churches doesn't mean that it must be wrong too with your church.

When I started this series, giving an honest basic assessment of independent Baptists, I did it out of love.  I would want to be of help, if possible.   In my assessement, as a way to help, I have said I think a perverted gospel is the biggest problem.  I'm confident that is number one.  For that reason, I spun off into a corollary series on the gospel, and I'm not done with it.

From the problem of a perverted gospel, I could say, not necessarily in order, another problem is susceptibility toward a success syndrome.  I don't know that this is number two, but I see it as major. If those first two problems were corrected, maybe that would solve every other problem too. However, a third problem, as I see it is....


Because of either a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ, I don't believe it is either being obeyed or fulfilled by independent Baptist churches.  I see this as a root problem among independent Baptists.  Churches have also become complicated with human methods that don't result in obedience to the Great Commission.  Some relates to the perversions of the church growth movement.  Let me explain.

We are almost two thousand years since Jesus gave the Great Commission.  The first century Christians made excellent headway in fulfilling it.   They didn't get it done, but they were ahead of the curve, knowing now how much time would elapse since them.  For the few that they had, they went a long ways toward getting that command accomplished.  I've not heard from anybody that thinks we have finished that task that Jesus gave.  Have we not had enough time to get it done?

If the world is 6,000 years old, we've had a third of world history to finish what Jesus told us to do. Why isn't the Great Commission done?  I don't think that it is difficult to understand the Great Commission.  We are given some version of it in every gospel account.  We have some kind of elaboration on it in Acts and in the Epistles.  And then we are given examples to follow in Jesus, the disciples, and the Apostle Paul.  At the same time, I didn't understand the Great Commission as an independent Baptist until I became a pastor, and that is after six years of Christian school, four years of Christian college, and three years of seminary.

What am I talking about?

The Great Commission of Jesus is one command, and that is to make disciples.  The word "teach" is the only command in Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV, Go ye therefore, and "teach"), matheteusate (aorist imperative 2nd person plural).  To start, we have to understand that the Great Commission is to make disciples.  If you don't get a disciple or disciples, you don't fulfill the Great Commission.  The goal then is not to get professions of faith.  You want followers of Jesus Christ.

The Great Commission is for every person in an entire church, not just for the special forces in the church.  "Teach" is second person plural, so it is to the group, not just one person.  It isn't for the pastor alone.  Every Christian is to be making disciples.  You don't fulfill the Great Commission just by attending one or two services a week.  Churches have tolerated professing Christians who don't fulfill this command.  If you are perpetually disobedient to what God commanded, you couldn't be a Christian.  I wonder if most independent Baptists believe that.  What the churches tolerate is most often something short of obedience to this command.

Making a disciple is more than just preaching the gospel.  However, to go back to the first problem in this series, if churches are not preaching a true gospel, they won't be fulfilling the Great Commission. You won't get a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ without conversion.

From looking at the parallel passages to Matthew 28:19-20, we can see that making disciples requires preaching the gospel.  Churches have confused fulfilling the Great Commission with a church getting bigger.  They try to make their churches bigger instead of fulfilling the Great Commission.  The example we get in the New Testament from Christ and the Apostles is preaching the gospel everywhere and to everyone.

I've noticed that churches are not taking on the task of getting the gospel to everyone.  They are more interested in getting bigger and there isn't anything in scripture that tells us that is the goal.  In a desire to reach what isn't the goal, churches don't fulfill the goal God has set, so God's goal isn't being reached, still hasn't been after 2,000 years.  I would say that most people don't even know that is the first goal of the Great Commission.

Look at Jesus in His only three years of work.  He preached the gospel to everyone in Galilee, Samaria, Judea, Perea, and Caesaria-Philippi.  He did that in three years.  At that rate, shouldn't we have been able to finish what He started in the next 1,997 years?  There was nothing in there about having a big group.  It started with preaching the gospel to everyone.

I understand that not everyone wants to hear the gospel or will even allow it.  The same occurred with Jesus, but He also taught about that.  You don't have to preach to those who don't want to hear. You've fulfilled the Commission with them when you offer the gospel.  When I go out to preach, I recognize it is a free offer of the gospel, which is equal to preaching it, as long as I do preach it when they want to hear it.  Where I'm at, a low percentage even want to hear me preach it.  This is where we're at right now.

For the size of our church, I think we have done a good job at fulfilling our responsibility.  Even I alone have visited every house in Rodeo, Hercules, San Pablo, Pinole, and El Sobrante, and tell you that only to express what can be done.  Our church as a whole has also visited every house in Richmond, and Point Richmond, and Crockett.  We've preached it in addition in El Cerrito and all the way to Berkeley.  When I say that we've done a good job, that doesn't mean that we've really done a good job.  We've just done what, if every church did the same, would result in the job getting done.  We should be doing far more, so in that sense, we're doing a bad job and I'm doing a horrible job.

When we went up to Sacramento a few years ago, we visited most houses in Citrus Heights and many in Elk Grove.  Our church has revisited the towns closest to our church again and again.  While we are doing that, our circle of "going" has enlarged.  We get further out as we continue preaching where we are.  My next personal goal is to visit every house in Lamorinda, which is a valley where highway 24 travels through the towns of Orinda, Moraga, and Lafayette.  I would add to that Piedmont and Canyon.  I know that the gospel has not been preached to those people.

I've written a lot about this, but people have made their commission, "invite," instead of "go."  They think that the commission is inviting unsaved people to church.  It isn't.  It is going and preaching.  If you make the commission, "invite," you change the nature of the commission, and your church will change in nature too.

A part of the problem in fulfilling the Great Commission also relates to "church planting."  The Bible teaches evangelizing.  When you have a gathering of disciples, you get a church.  So-called mission has gotten this out of order.  They start with church planting.  Their goal is to launch a church.  You don't know if a church is there.  You evangelize and if a church starts, it starts.  Sometimes churches are started and the area still never is evangelized.  Never.  The church launchers reached their goal, which was to get a church.  What I'm saying is that they never reach the goal, fulfilling the command, in order to fulfill their goal, which sounds like a good goal, starting a church.  I would doubt in many cases if it is even New Testament church-like, because of this change in the nature of the goal.

A follower of Jesus Christ will produce a follower of Jesus Christ, so if you are not getting followers, you are not getting multiplication.  Exponential growth is faster than addition, so whenever someone believes in Jesus Christ, the commission isn't yet completed.  You must bring that person to a point where he can also make a disciple.  If someone reproduces himself every year and then those two disciples reproduce themselves the next year, that's how exponential growth occurs.  The plan of God is not addition but multiplication.

God is glorified through His methods.  They don't make sense to men.  They weren't supposed to. When they "work," God gets all the credit.  Men take the credit by tweaking the method God has given.  They've thought of something "better," and, meanwhile, what God actually said to do, it doesn't get done.  And some of you readers are a part of it.

I do think it is pathetic, disturbing, and maybe nauseating what superficial stuff passes as important to independent Baptist churches, while they are basically disobedient in getting done what they are supposed to do.  Their beloved programs are more important.  Getting the right name, ya know, Mercy Church, and the platform set-up and the band and the team and all of that.  Meanwhile people go their sweet way without getting preached to.  That is a point A to point B problem.  They are busy sitting at home all day reading theology and then not obeying it.  Come on!

If people who called themselves Christians were fulfilling the Great Commission, the gospel would have already been preached everywhere.  It hasn't, and things are getting worse.  In most cases, I believe it is because of a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the Great Commission.  Not only is the gospel being perverted by independent Baptists, but so is the Great Commission.