Monday, November 30, 2015

One Stop Shop for Recent Dabblings on Separation Among Evangelicals, and then a Fundamentalist

In my post last Tuesday, I wrote:

As has become the norm now, all conversations about separation come with long discussions about where to draw the line, what is worthy of separation.  I’m going to write more about this in my next post, but for now, you often hear that only certain doctrinal issues are worth separation.  This is not a biblical concept and at best it will throw a speed bump on the runaway ramp.  I’m saying that it is an embarrassing half measure at best. 

A new, very popular idea within evangelicalism and fundamentalism is essential or first order doctrine, that matches up with the older idea of the fundamentals of the faith, that provided a basis for the movement of fundamentalism.  The essentials, first order doctrines, and the fundamentals all relate to teaching about the practice of ecclesiastical separation (if you want a biblical understanding of the doctrine, get our book, A Pure Church, here or here).

If you read here regularly, you know I've written about the above a lot.  I'm writing on it again, because I've seen three different presentations on separation in the last few weeks to a month, and this has reared its ugly head again in three places that are at least on my radar.  I also want to make reference to a fourth place that says something significant and positive that seemed to avoid comment almost anywhere.  I explained in the previous article why I believe we suddenly see treatments of separation from unusual sources.  First, let me tell you what I saw and read and make brief comments on each of those.  Not necessarily in this order, first I saw a youtube video from James White's Dividing Line program, where he was defending his "catholicity" with Charismatic Michael Brown, a prominent defender of the Charismatic movement and continuationism.  In other words, while many conservative evangelicals are taking separation from the mothballs, James White doubles down against it.

As is so often the case with White, really normal for him, he does not defend his position from scripture.  He mocks his critics (appeal to ridicule) and uses multiple logical fallacies as a means of defense.  You will not get a biblical defense, only one based on his own authority, his own opinion (appeal to his own authority),  Another is argument by personal incredulity, where Jame White just can't imagine something to be true, so it must be false.  He concludes that whatever point disagrees with him can't work in the elevated world of apologetics in which he travels.  If a questionable person supports even one of his opponent's positions, he will present that like they are in this together, which is an association fallacy.  This and more is obviously good enough for most of his audience, which shows the sad state of affairs even in conservative evangelicalism.  He gives no biblical defense again, however, for the "small 'c' catholicity" he advocates.

The Grace to You blog at its website has been doing a series on separation, including Separation, Purity, and ThanksgivingFundamental Doctrines Cannot Be Denied, The Fundamentals Personified, Getting the Gospel Right Is Fundamental, The Ancient Fundamentalists, Is the Apostles' Creed All I Need to Believe?, The Decline of Fundamentalism, The Rise of Fundamentalism, Is Fundamentalism Really a Dirty Word?, Separation, Purity, and Halloween, Separation and Purity, and The Gospel in a Hostile World.  Grace to You went from zero to one hundred in a few seconds, going from saying about nothing on separation and then suddenly piling on.  Where was the doctrine before this?  Why does it suddenly appear?  It seems obvious that GTY is dusting off separation for usage, knowing that it might "need" it now.  It's always been in the Bible.  It didn't just appear this year, but GTY seems to know it must get up to speed or it will look like it is performing this biblical task willy-nilly without warning.

Number three linked at Sharper-Iron, but it was an article about separation, which linked to a now famous, 2005 go-to piece by Al Mohler, and a conversation ensued there on the subject.   You would find a lot to digest and very typical of the give and take on separation today among evangelicals and fundamentalists with few exceptions.

The last of these was very surprising.  It's something I've written on quite a few times, but I had not seen myself, and it came from Mark Minnick the last day of August this year.  No one would have known, I don't think, that it was on separation, by reading the title, which was "Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)" -- kind of innocuous.  However, Minnick is writing about separation.  Read it.  Minnick is arguing that churches, believers, are commanded to separate over a number of different issues, broader than just the fundamentals, and also for disobeying the command to separation.

As you read Minnick, who is enmeshed at BJU, how does one explain this (click on link)?

Enough for now.  I'll perhaps come back to write on some of these later.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Verbal, Plenary Inspiration and Preservation of Scripture: A Video

I have recently posted a video that covers, in a summary way, the Biblical teaching on the inspiration and preservation of Scripture on my website here.  It presents the Biblical case for verbal, plenary inspiration, verbal, plenary preservation, and the perfect providential preservation of the Hebrew Masoretic Text and Greek Textus Receptus that underlie the Authorized or King James Version.  I would encourage you to watch the video.  If you like it, please share it with others and link to it.  Also, please consider the comment section below a good place to share your thoughts on the content of the presentation.

Click here to view the video.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Doctrine Is Not the Biggest Challenge to the Gospel in the Church Today

Evangelicalism as a whole does not separate over beliefs and especially practices, which has been a historically differentiating factor between evangelicalism and fundamentalism.  As I have been keeping track, I have begun to hear the separation engine sputter to a start after sitting on blocks in the back yard.  It’s a dry, lifeless cough, but the mechanic is still tinkering.  Those mentioning it, as I follow along, are seeing that they need separation.  They need it as an escape craft as everything collapses around them.  They see the threat of something near total apostasy in the United States, and they are dusting off some kind of separation as a desperate move to stop that from happening.

Separation is a very awkward presentation and conversation for evangelicals, because separation is essentially mutually exclusive of evangelicalism.  It’s hard to pull it out with any kind of credibility after all these years of disuse.  It’s also become more awkward as fundamentalists have followed evangelicalism down its rabbit hole.

As has become the norm now, all conversations about separation come with long discussions about where to draw the line, what is worthy of separation.  I’m going to write more about this in my next post, but for now, you often hear that only certain doctrinal issues are worth separation.  This is not a biblical concept and at best it will throw a speed bump on the runaway ramp.  I’m saying that it is an embarrassing half measure at best.


The point of this post, however, is to say that evangelicals and even most fundamentalists see a doctrinal issue as either the reason or sometimes the most important reason to separate, but that I see this as entirely not true.   They have that wrong.  What is the biggest problem for evangelicalism and fundamentalism might be the destruction of the gospel, but it isn’t and it won’t be and it has not been primarily through a change in doctrinal statement.

The Bible doesn’t say that only doctrinal, or even practical, issues are what are important or all that are important or vital to a person or a church.  That is a lie of or at best the deceiving vanity of evangelicals, now being borrowed by fundamentalism, as I see it.  Doctrine and practice cannot be and will not be separated from the imaginations and affections of an individual, so if the imagination and affections are spoiled, the former will go along with those.  Those, doctrine and practice, actually are accessed through the imagination and are influenced by the affections.   What I’m talking about here is the same truth that Jonathan Edwards wrote about in his Treatise on the Religious Affections.


What I’m saying is that total apostasy is less likely by far to come through the destruction of spoiling of doctrine, but through idolatrous and covetous imaginations and inordinate or misplaced affections.   I believe both the Old and New Testaments bear this out.  Old Testament Israel knew the right things, but they were drawn away by their lusts, and then they just adjusted their worship to fit with they liked.  They were what and how they worshiped.  While harping about fundamental doctrines and essentials and really mocking those who don’t take that same position (never proving almost anything about what they mock — mockery is their proof like the apostates of 2 Peter 3), evangelicals (and I'm using a broad brush) have themselves contributed to the corruption of imaginations and perversion of affections.

Don’t get me wrong.  Fundamentalists are guilty too of what I’m talking about here, just less than evangelicals.  They thought something bad was happening even if they weren't good at explaining why they were against it.  At some point fundamentalists became guilty of the same things as evangelicals, just in a different way.  Much of America for much of its history had the instinct against what evangelicals offer as worship and thus promote far worse in the private life.  Even the most conservative evangelicals still are the apologists for the apostasy about which I speak.

Among separatists, keeping the imaginations and affections pure, by which someone gets his doctrine and practice, has been often called “personal separation.”  Sure, many fundamentalists have abused this and replaced a biblical type of personal separation with a placebo.  I have heard evangelicals blame their problems on these fundamentalists, who have replaced real personal separation with their false front city.  They have all the props of personal separation without really believing it and practicing it.

For years, I have pounced all over fundamentalists for what they have done and do.  However, evangelicals should take responsibility for their own problems that they have uniquely caused for themselves, instead of putting the blame on others.  This kind of whining is common in evangelicalism, also a part of an widespread effeminate quality to the movement.  Who might be just masculine posers totally misdiagnose the effeminacy they recognize.  I'm sure most of them don't even see it anymore.  Fundamentalists have their own problems, but they are not the reason for the problems in evangelicalism.

For sure, not knowing who Jesus was and not keeping His commandments were serious misunderstandings or violations as seen in the gospels.  You can't think that He's only a prophet and be right. If you believed He was merely a Galilean, who grew up in Nazareth, that wrong view would leave you without light and life.  You have missed the doctrine with that assessment.  That isn't often what Jesus targeted. He zeroed in on their love, as did Paul.  You really didn't know God, know Jesus, unless you loved Him, and you don't love Him like your boyfriend or girlfriend.  That's not how someone loves God.  But people get messed about what love is in evangelicalism, because they have turned it into sentimentalism with their methods and techniques and dogged defense of their freedom.


The Bible talks a lot about loving God, not just being right about Who He is and then laying out all His rules and doing them.  No doubt you've got to do them if you love Him, but love is what He requires.  And if you don't love Jesus, you don't love God.  This was how Jesus presented it.  A barrier to love includes love for other things, which are fueled by lust.  A non stop diet for lust that is pushed by evangelicalism diminishes God to people.  They use the fleshly lust as a lure, as if they can use it to get people into church, where they'll then love God.

The apostle Paul said at the end of 1 Corinthians that you're cursed if you don't love Jesus, and love was the problem for Corinth.  At the beginning of the epistle, you see it start with how they got people.  The Greeks wanted wisdom and the Jews wanted signs.  God alone wasn't good enough. Evangelicals with this incredible genius know what Americans want.  They want rock music, so they take sacred lyrics and put it to the lustful tunes and rhythms, and then call it worship.  They do other things like this too, but it has been going on for awhile.  They bridged the gap between the sacred and the profane.  What Christians wouldn't do for entertainment and recreation are now permissible --- all of these things --- and 1 Corinthians 1 is violated.  The problem, of course, is that the attraction becomes something other than Jesus.

Evangelicals say they are about Jesus, but Jesus is understood through the imagination.  He has to be the actual Jesus, not the one people want to be their Jesus, someone who Jesus knows isn't Him. They gladly take him, the impostor.  He fits a particular doctrinal profile, but he doesn't have the sacredness, the holiness.  He's common and profane in fitting with the taste of each postmodern individual.  And you can't judge that, because if you do, you're judging a non-essential.   Their Jesus is the Jesus compatible with their lust, with their desires, where He really is diminished below what they really love, which is idolatry.  They have convinced themselves now that this is Jesus being Lord.  It isn't.

Much more in the New Testament declares what I'm writing about here, what evangelicalism does, including the conservatives, to warp Jesus and belief in Him, to change the gospel.  They say this is all non-essential or non-scriptural, like there is very little meaning to anything.  They mock it.  They say personal separation is really all about wearing wire rimmed glasses and whether you've got or not got pleats in your pants, because they really have nothing to say.  Christianity is going down the drain with them.  They gave up on this long ago to keep their numbers to look like God was working.  As the world moved and got worse, they went with it.

Peter had the same concern back in the first century when he wrote his first epistle (1:14): "As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance."  He saw people who were being fashioned, conformed, or formed by their former lusts.  The point of the Christian life isn't handing a tidy doctrinal statement, but it is to be holy as He is holy.  If you understand biblical holiness, then you know that it is a transcendent life, not a mundane one that looks like everyone else.  Later on in the next chapter, Peter writes, "abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."  If you were a Christian, you had different interests than a worldly person.

The evangelicals have designed much of their program around giving people things of the world, of course with the idea that Jesus and doctrine will get in there too.  Those things don't mix.  A different assessment of Jesus will occur.  He will be seen through this worldly prism, so it's no wonder they don't live holy.

I could go on here, making many other points, including about a false spirituality that comes from feelings choreographed by the evangelical presentation, but I think you get what I'm saying.  Doctrine is serious, so is practice, but the affections and imaginations are where people are getting another Jesus to believe in, and then belief isn't belief, because it is absent the ordinate affection for Him.  What they say is either a disputable or non-biblical or non-essential is actually where the challenge to the gospel is most.  If they want things to change, they need to start with more than the doctrine and practice themselves, and then separate over those things too, the things that they mock others for teaching, practicing, upholding, and separating over.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Postmodernism Meets Islam Meets Danger and Destruction

The United States finds itself right now in great danger because it is unsure about absolute truth. What do I mean?  Let me start with the danger and destruction part.  An enemy wishes either the take-over or the annihilation of Western civilization, which includes the United States of America, and an insufficient number of its leaders will even acknowledge or admit it.  This opposition sees no problem with poisoning the water supply, exploding a nuclear device, or blowing up masses of civilians at a public event.  They want to do all of these things and more.  I could easily write a list of over a hundred of them.

A little over fourteen years ago, the enemy I'm talking about prepared and then executed the single greatest onslaught on American soil in the nation's history.  They hijacked four passenger planes and flew three of them into buildings, two of them two of the largest skyscrapers in the world, killing over three thousand.  For a short while, the country recognized the threat of bloodshed and dedicated itself to its own defense.  It seemed to understand the seriousness of the situation it was in -- now, not so much.  This foe has strengthened itself exponentially in the Middle East and the borders of the nation are porous.  The United States really is ripe for a gigantic massacre of unsurpassed proportions.

I haven't said the name of the enemy because that is part of the problem.  A big number, especially powerful ones, of the elected officers in the government of the United States, including the president himself, won't say that it is even radical Islam.  He or Hillary Clinton not only won't say it is any type of Islam, but they say that it is not Islam.  They outright say that Islam is not the problem.  Most Republicans will say "radical Islam," qualifying a particular type of Islam, but they won't say Islam -- no way.  Recently Donald Trump nibbled around it, but then backed off, then blaming it on the media. No elected official, that I know of, will say it's Islam.

What I've written about so far relates to something even more serious and far more fundamental than the unwillingness to say that the problem is Islam.  I'm talking about saying that something, anything, is a problem, judgment of problems.  I called it postmodernism, because that is the official name that is most often given to it.  I would say that it is something more sinister than the very philosophical sounding "postmodernism."  A lot of people, albeit a minority of Americans, will say that postmodernism is bad. Maybe a majority of professing evangelicals will say postmodernism is terrible.  Almost no one today, a very small minority, will admit to absolute truth. Even the most conservative people have diluted the truth down to a very few essential truths that qualify with the rest up for grabs.

People won't call the terrorism problem Islam, because they either (a) don't think they can judge, (b) don't think they know enough to judge, or (c) that they don't think they should judge because it would seem like they know enough to judge and no one should want to look like that they know that.  People are not sure about the truth any more.  If two people look at a piece of ugliness, it could only be a matter of opinion as to whether it is ugly, and no one should judge.  Maybe he could judge, but he shouldn't, because it's not worth to judge, even a problem to judge.

In John 8, Jesus said that He was the light of the world.  First, He was sure of it, which made it more of a problem for a big segment of His audience.  Second, He didn't say He was the shades of indistinguishable gray. He was the light.  Light.  Light dispels darkness.  God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.  People today have a problem with that.  Some darkness is required.

You may think I'm consigning this non-judgmentalism to just liberals in the country.  I'm not.  This has spread everywhere.  Most churches are this way.  Even among the people with whom I would most self-identify, independent Baptists, they allow false gospels to flourish in their midst rather than judge any of that and bring so-called disunity among them.  The most popular are coalition builders. So, when I say that someone won't say that Islam is the problem because they can't judge that, the root problem has spread everywhere.  Some of those independent Baptists would say Islam is the problem, but they have still been diseased by postmodernism.

Sometimes I sit with men and say the most obvious things, and they can't just agree with me.  If I said the sky was blue, and someone else thought it was green, they would try to see it both ways somewhat.  They remain silent.  They won't say anything, because they have friends who are involved.  They are hurting those "friends" by saying nothing, but they still have to play the "good cop" because they can't come across like they really know that it is wrong.  They are still not sure themselves, or at least have to act like they are unsure.

Islam is an enemy, not the enemy, but a major enemy socio-politically.  They are endangering this country and all of Western civilization, and people can't admit it.  This is a sure path toward future destruction.  Right this moment Islam could not militarily defeat the United States.  They however, could be, very soon, such a major threat that they paralyze the United States into giving up many of its freedoms.  This is coming soon.  I would call this a symptom of the real problem still though.

Doctors are telling us that there is a future pandemic coming.  This relates to overuse of antibiotics. Doctors have been prescribing antibiotics for years to many who didn't need them, and this over prescribing, most people know, has the world to a place where antibiotics will be useless, because the bacteria have adapted to them now.  This was understood and pretty simple, but now I'm using it as an illustration.  We could reach a place very soon where they will be of very little use and many people will die because they need antibiotics to work, and they won't.  Rather than tell people what they needed to hear, doctors just handed them out, because it was easier.

What I described above in doctors is how it has been in the church for decades.  Even the most conservative people in churches are clueless.  I'm reading James White and John MacArthur, and the most conservative men are still treating certain practices as non-essentials that are the biggest enemies in the church.  The biggest enemies in the church are not doctrinal. They like to mock you if you focus on almost anything short of the Trinity.  The doctrinal are important, yes.  Our church just did a whole conference about the gospel, because that is true.  However, they have turned all sorts of worldly practices into non-essentials, that really do have the greatest impact on degrading the church. The problem is not with doctrine, but with people's affections, something that Jonathan Edwards wrote about as early as the Great Awakening of the 18th century.

Many men will not have you judge anything but a few doctrines in order to maintain "catholicity." They are preserving the coalitions that pay the salaries and buy the books.  In a foundational way, this is part of postmodernism.  Somebody can say, "turn to God," and really not know who God is, and this is why things are slipping fast.  This is the reason.  James White, however, says that the problem is fundamentalism. He says, and I've heard Phil Johnson say this too, that fundamentalism itself is the reason for the postmodernism (these are Calvinists saying this, whose soteriology contradicts the very notion, so even Calvinism isn't absolute here).  In other words, they say the people that are the most sure about truth are the greatest enemy to the truth.  People gladly believe this so that they can keep living how they want to live.  These men become their unwitting apologists.

As I write this, I'm not saying that no matter is in dispute.  There are disputable matters and those are matters of liberty, non-scriptural matters.  The list of the disputable, however, is huge with even the conservatives today, and it allows the church to be like the world and yet say it believes in Jesus Christ. This is what will destroy Christianity.  People really do know this.  I'm not saying most know it now, but many that talk as they do, really do know I'm right in what I'm writing here.

Evangelicals can barely lay out any kind of coherent understanding of separation.  They usually start apologizing for it before they can start to get out what they mean by it.  It's so fuzzy that you can't expect anyone to practice it.  It comes with so many disclaimers that no one could ever figure it out.  Why?  They aren't sure about the truth.  They'll say they are, but no one can separate over anything if he isn't sure about what anything is.  He'll keep allowing the behavior without doing anything because he's not sure that anything is wrong.  This is where we're at today.  It's why we can't send illegal immigrants out of the country too.

We live in a country that won't admit that illegal immigration is illegal, so the country has a swiss cheese border that will allow something disastrous into it.  We can't destroy an enemy because we can't say that it is one.  It's even worse than that, but what is worse than that is what is causing that. The greater enemy of our president is the intolerance of, that is, the judgment of homosexuality as sin.  Instead of defeating an enemy, the problem is either not allowing homosexuals in the military or not allowing women to be Rangers in the infantry.  Our Secretary of the Army, just appointed, is homosexual.  An enemy exists that wants to kill millions, and yet the real enemy to postmodernism is the admission that God created man and woman.

The problem really does start with an unwillingness to admit absolute truth and then take that to its only and consistent end.  Islam can't be an enemy to postmodernists, only intolerance.  As a result, great danger and destruction is ahead for this country.  You might not even know it when it happens, because it was in the water or in the road or at an event you attended.  No one could judge, because no one could know, and you and-or your family will become the casualty.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Christian Internet Filtering, part 1 of 2

There are a number of solid options for people who want filtering and accountability for their Internet usage.  Note that one should not have filtering and accountability for his computer only, but also all phones or other electronic devices with Internet access.  One solid option for doing this is Covenant Eyes:


Covenant Eyes also offers Internet accountability and filtering. Detailed, easy to understand, and customizable records of Internet usage with age-based content ratings can be sent weekly to an unlimited number of accountability partners.  They also offer an Internet filter that is customizable for age-appropriate sites; attempts to bypass the filter are recorded on the accountability report.  The filter can even make the Internet entirely inaccessible at certain hours, or restrict users to specific websites.  It is highly customizable for appropriate levels of Internet access.  They are a for-profit company with a background in Christendom, but they are not specifically Christian.  They have a three-digit number of employees, and they affirm that their customer service and product quality reflects their dedicated team.

In addition to the software for one’s computer, Covenant Eyes offers protection for smartphones.  For Apple iPhone, iPad, and related devices you download a filtered browser app.  You can then also lock down Safari, the App Store, and whatever else offers unfiltered access to the Internet so that one cannot just avoid the filtered browser.   For Android devices, the default browser is monitored, and other browsers, Google Play, etc. can be locked to minimize unmonitored browsing.  You can compare the services Covenant Eyes offers for computers, Apple, and Android phones by clicking here.

Covenant Eyes has quality phone support as well as e-mail and forum support, both within and outside of the USA.  Covenant Eyes also offers a 30 day money-back guarantee.  Their prices cover all devices for that person or group (in other words, you do not pay once for your desktop, once for your laptop, and once for your smartphone).  Their prices are:

For one person: $11.49 for accountability & filtering. (One can get filtering on its own for $5.99/month or accountability on its own for $9.99/month, but the $11.49/month for both is definitely best).

For a family (mother and father) of any size with any number of children: $13.99 for accountability and filtering

A third attractive option for Covenant Eyes includes their option for group coverage.  The first person pays $11.49 for filtering and accountability, and each person after that, up to an unlimited number, pays $3.50.  A church, business, or other organization could sign up and have a greatly reduced cost for their organization.  For example, an organization with 10 users who have accountability & filtering pays only $42.99/month, or $4.30 per user.  An organization with 50 users pays $182.99/month or only $3.66 a person.  An organization with 100 users pays $357.99/month or a mere $3.58 per person.

Finally, missionaries get $4 off the price of either individual, family, or group pricing (i. e., $7.49/month for individual, $9.99/month for family, and $4.00 off whatever size of a group price).

To get more information about Covenant Eyes or sign up, click on the banner below:


Covenant Eyes also has books to help fight the temptation of pornography.  They have, for example, a free e-book for parents to help their children resist this evil, a book on what pornography does to your brain, a book to help wives who have husbands involved in the sin of pornography, and a book for single people. (Click on the banner above, and then on "books," to see these compositions.)  While there is valuable material in these books, I do not endorse them 100%.  They are kind of Christian-influenced, but are not specifically born-again, Biblical Christian books, much less separatist, independent Baptist books.  They have no statement of faith.  One representative of Covenant Eyes I spoke to stated that Jewish Rabbis, Roman Catholic priests, and Protestants all agree with the content of their books, and that they all (allegedly) teach the same thing on this subject.  Their two “Featured Speakers” on the subject of accountability and filtering are both Roman Catholics.  Learn more about Biblical sanctification, arising out of the new birth and genuine conversion, about how to put sin (including pornography) to death by the decree of the Father, through the power of the resurrected Christ, and applied by the Holy Spirit, and about how God can produce supernatural spiritual growth in your life, by clicking here.

Note: I have had Internet accountability and filtering for years and praise God for it.  I believe Covenant Eyes provides quality services and I have become an affiliate of the company. If you use the banners on this blotpost to sign up for Covenant Eyes, I will receive financial compensation for helping you to protect you spiritually and eternally from the powerful temptations of your flesh, this evil world, and the devil.  I can in good conscience say that there is nothing on this website that I would not have said were I not an affiliate of the companies, and I believe that it is appropriate that we both benefit from the information I have put together for your betterment (1 Timothy 5:18).  However, if you are bothered by the fact that I will be compensated if you use these banners to sign up, you can sign up on the webpage of either or both companies without clicking on these banners, and I will get nothing.  If you choose to use the buttons on this webpage, I offer you my sincere thanks.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Theology and Baptist History As It Dovetails with World History

Every bit of the audio and video is up for the 2015 Word of Truth Conference, including the Panel Discussion (audio pt 1, pt 2, video).  The audio is here and the video is here (just click and enjoy).


Today you have men who believe justification by faith, who say they believe the reformed doctrine of justification.  In other words, they say Roman Catholicism botched up justification for millennia and the reformation came along and corrected the doctrine of salvation.  These men believe, they say, a teaching altered by the reformation, which brought people back to the Bible.  I don't think that is an exactly true view of history, but I'm fine with their rejecting Roman Catholicism for true justification by faith, which actually saves.  I'm happy for them in that way.  What they brought along with it were various iterations of John Calvin, which some now also equate with the doctrine of salvation, because they can trace it to that juncture in history.  They read like, since it jumpstarted right there, it must be original.

So what do I believe really happened?  I don't believe justification is a reformed doctrine, just a biblical doctrine, and that there were always people who believed in justification by faith alone, because that view would not have totally apostatized.  The people in history who continued believing justification by faith alone were always separate from Roman Catholicism, but were not always, actually very seldom, either able to write about it or at least having their writings preserved so that we can see that those existed and that they believed this.  We can trace believers down through history from writings, but we can't track every single thing that they believed in those centuries.  What we do know is that there had been believers, separate from a Catholic state church, traceable through the centuries.  Even though there was a reformed doctrine of justification, justification was still winding its way through the annals of history on a trajectory separate from Roman Catholicism.

Yes, the faulty dogma of Roman Catholicism was edited after the invention of the printing press when people could see it for what it really was.  Theological white-out and then necessary insertions brought the doctrine of salvation up to biblical speed for reformers, but it was never lost to be found, just like the text of scripture wasn't lost to be found.  That viewpoint sets on unscriptural presuppositions.  It is actually a faulty method, the wrong approach to history.  No one should trace his lineage through Roman Catholicism.  When one does, he also gets infant sprinkling, allegorical hermeneutics, spiritualized ecclesiology, pagan liturgy, and wrong church government.

I see the reformed in this as a small child with a silly grin, having gotten his soteriology cleaned up, showing his coloring to his mom with just a tiny bit of scribble scrabbles.  This person hasn't arrived.  He has rolled a one or a two and is now moving his game piece onto the board.  At the most, he's in the game, but he acts like he's already won.  When you take a step back, while studying the instruction manual, God's Word, you see how far he's come.  It's important.  It is.  Just because you're mostly on track with your doctrine of salvation doesn't mean you're done or you've arrived.

After the printing press was invented, the Bible began to circulate in the language of the people, translations into a common tongue, and copies spread exponentially.  The dark ages stunted the fulfillment of God's cultural mandate.  His sovereign plan, as always, continues unimpeded, unabated.  Feudalism though trapped people in a tragic hopeless economic system.  Everyone acted out with obedience roles protected by the state church.  The Reformers did little to stop or change this.  Even in the colonial period of America, state church held sway, until masses of converted ones populated New Testament churches, Baptists, who rejected ratification of the United States Constitution without the promise of liberty.  That freedom fueled capitalism and acquisition of wealth.

What I'm writing here is that many in this audience should consider that their beliefs need further reform. They still embrace and nurture doctrine concocted by or traced to Roman Catholicism.  They reformed in soteriology but not ecclesiology and eschatology.  God is one and His truth is one.  You can't just believe different about salvation and then preserve the truth about salvation.  All the doctrine and not just the doctrine, the affections, must line up with those of God.  The trajectory must point to Jerusalem when Jesus gathered His assembly and taught His Words.  The church didn't start in Rome and the truth wasn't preserved there.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Word of Truth Conference 2015 -- Further Audio and Video

The Word of Truth Conference has 6 audio sessions up, and here is the page for the 2015 Conference.

Our conference also has video up for three sessions at our youtube station here.

Now read the newest post from Thomas Ross.

Damning Danger in Asking Christ into Your Heart: The Testimony of Baptist Pastor Ovid Need, part 1 of 4

Should Christians engaging in evangelism counsel the lost to ask Jesus Christ to come into their hearts, rather than employing Scriptural terms and Scriptural explanations for how the gospel is embraced, such as “repent,” “believe,” “come to Christ,” and so on?  The following testimony, by a man who was a Bible-believing Baptist pastor and zealous evangelist, but was unconverted because he had been led to embrace and propogate the unscriptural terminology and methodology of calling on the lost to ask Christ into their hearts, should both be enlightening and a warning both to those who employ this methodology and to those who heard it at the time of their professed conversion to evaluate their conversion and their evangelistic practice by Scripture.

The Other Jesus:
The Gospel Perverted
Pastor Ovid Need, Jr.

“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus…” 2 Corinthians 11:4. “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel… and would pervert the gospel of Christ,” Galatians 1:6. The warning from God is quite clear: false prophets abound who preach another Jesus, another gospel, a perverted gospel which is no gospel at all. [Mat 7:13, 14]

We greatly underestimate the enemy of our souls. We can fully expect him to have a false plan of salvation to present to Bible believers; it will be an exact duplicate of the real thing, yet miss the truth just enough to miss Biblical salvation. The enemy will not deny the blood atonement nor the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, yet he will not place the blood atonement in its proper place. Of course, his plan would have to be so close to the truth that it would look exactly like the truth, thereby avoiding detection by even the ‘best scholars.’ [From this preacher’s experience, only those who have been caught in the deception are readily able to understand the perverted gospel’s devastating closeness to the truth, yet the lost condition of those in it.]

Though the perverted gospel claims the blood atonement, it avoids it ever so slightly just enough to miss eternal life. Can we expect anything less from the best deceiver ever created, the father of lies?
In these next few pages, we will attempt to look past the apparent perfect message, which makes the perversion so appealing, so that we might see its underlying perversion.

Many who read this will say, “You are splitting hairs.” Certainly! The father of lies is an expert at splitting hairs and misusing words. Did he not try to misuse the words of Scripture with the Lord Jesus? We can be assured that he will do no less to those today who believe God’s Word; what better place to misuse words than in the plan of salvation? [Mat 4:6] One of the primary responsibilities of a teacher of God’s Word is to “divide asunder the soul and spirit, and… the joints and marrow” with the word of God. [Heb 4:12]

This perverted plan probably has come into wide acceptance since the ’40’s. [Undoubtedly, it is deeply rooted in the “Christian” Mystics of old who longed for some kind of a mystical experience with God.] It is centered around various basic instructions:

“You must ask Jesus into your heart to be saved – You must ask Jesus to save you – If you will pray and turn your life over to God, you will be saved – You must pray and trust the Lord to take you to heaven – You must pray and trust the Lord to come into your heart to save you – Receive God (Christ) into your heart, life, etc.”

There are abundant variations on this idea, none of which emphasize – most avoid completely – the absolute necessity of trusting in the substitutionary death and payment of Christ for our sins. As we will see, all of Scripture points to this “Ask Jesus into your heart” plan of salvation as being the perverted plan of the other Jesus of Paul’s warning [Gal 1:6-9; 2 Cor 11:1-4, 13-15]. (Try to fit the idea of “Ask Jesus into your heart” into the law of the atoning sacrifice in the Old Testament. Were the people commanded to ask the bullock to come into their hearts or to turn their lives over to the bullock? [Lev 1:4] The only thing that will work according to the Old Testament sacrificial law is trust in the Sinless Sacrifice to pay the sin debt in the place of the repentant sinner. All of the Lord’s statements, e.g., John 3, must be viewed in the light of the Old Testament sacrificial law.) “Implicit in this justification is the substitutionary sacrifice for sin sincerely offered as noted in Ps 51:16-19. The righteousness of God’s heirs of salvation is the righteousness of the Messiah attributed to them by God through faith in the redemptive work of Messiah in which God declares them righteous only because of the grace provided through that redemptive work.” TWOT, Moody Press, pg. 755. This could not be any clearer. Any other emphasis is the devil’s lie.

The perverted gospel seemingly has all of the right words, feelings and works. [2 Cor 4:3-6] Its counterfeit is so perfect that only a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit can separate it from the truth. The true plan of salvation was best described by C.H. Spurgeon:  “The gospel is that Jesus Christ suffered in the place of all sinners who trust Him as their Saviour; that He endured what they ought to have endured and made atonement to God for all the sins that they would ever commit; and if you thus trust Him, you are saved. The simple act of relying upon Jesus as your Substitute and Saviour puts away your guilt and sin forever.” He continues, “Pride must come down, self-righteousness must die, and the sinner must glorify the grace of God by knowing that he has no merit of his own, or he cannot be saved. … Say, ‘Lord, I deserve to die; I deserve to perish; I deserve to be destroyed. I will have no cavils with Thee about my sentence, for how can a worm dispute with the Almighty? Who am I that I should reply against my Maker?’

“When you have taken that position, rely upon the freeness of divine grace. Grasp, as with a death-clutch, this great fact and say, ‘Lord, Thou dost forgive sinners for Thine own name’s sake. Thou canst not find anything in us that is good, anything that can move Thee to pity! But, oh, by Thy mercy and Thy love, let men see what a gracious God thou art! For Thy great name’s sake have mercy upon us, and save us!’”

“You can plead that Jesus said, ‘Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.’ [Jn 6:37].
“Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God for He will abundantly pardon.”

“I cast aside all my former confidences, and all my boastings, and come as the worst sinner must come, for I feel that, in some respects, I am the worst sinner who ever came to thee. I come as an utterly lost, undone, bankrupt sinner, and I look to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus for all I need.” [Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 53, Sermon “Rule of Grace,” pp 500-502, Pilgrim Publications, Pasadena TX]

Observe: First, we must realize we are sinners without hope. Second, we must recognize that we can do nothing at all to avoid the wages of our sin. Third, we must understand that Christ paid all the penalty for our sin through His atoning sacrifice, enduring what we should endure. Fourth, the sinner must rely upon Jesus as his Substitute for his sins and as his Saviour. Fifth, this simple act puts away the guilt of sin forever. Anything less than this is not Biblical salvation. If these basic things are not made clear to the sinner before he makes a profession, then it is impossible for him to be saved. [Eph 1:12-14]

The sinner is saved because he has trusted in what Christ has already done; he has trusted in Christ to pay his debt for him, to pay what he should have paid: “To endure what he ought to have endured.” Then the Spirit of Christ comes to dwell in the heart of the believer. One is not saved because he asks the Spirit of Christ to come to dwell in him. If salvation were the result of the Spirit of Christ coming to dwell in a person, there would have been no need of the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

Notice the order in Ephesians 1:13, 14: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance…” It matters not how much the sinner wept, the degree of conviction, his sincerity or the intensity of the emotional experience involved, if the substitutionary payment of Christ’s atoning work was not made understandably clear. How could he trust in something he didn’t know about?

We fail to recognize the tenacity of our soul’s enemy. Luke 9 records a man who brought his son to Jesus for help, and right at the feet of Christ, the devil made a final effort for the boy. (As he was yet coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him, v. 42.) The Enemy has not changed! Many with the world’s best intentions have been offered something else by the devil as a last ditch effort to keep them from trusting in the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

We have heard pastors preach “Trust Christ as your Saviour,” yet we see their congregations go out and spread the “gospel” as “You must ask Jesus into your heart to be saved.” Where is the salvation in this? The simplicity that is in Christ is “You must trust Christ to pay the penalty of your sin.” The other Jesus is: “You must trust Jesus to come into your heart.” Look at the two completely different things for which Christ is being trusted: one, you are trusting Him to pay the penalty for your sin; the other, you are trusting Him to come into your heart. There is a clear distinction between the two.

The argument arises, “Brother Need, you are arguing over semantics. All the best scholars agree that the two mean the same.” Being without Scriptural foundation, their argument is heretical because there is not one contextual Scripture which will support salvation as a result of trusting Christ to come into one’s heart. A text without a context is a pretext. [2 Pe 3:16]

Obviously, the dividing line between the two plans is only a hair’s width, maybe only a word or two. But let us be reminded that our enemy specializes in splitting hairs and misusing words. His specialty is making a verse say something that it does not actually say.

See here for this entire study.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Word of Truth Conference 2015 Is Underway

Some have expressed interest in the Word of Truth Conference for this year.  We started tonight with a good meeting, beginning on our theme of The Gospel.  The first sermon came from Jerry Wilhite from Acts 17 and it is no uploaded at the conference website.

The Conference Website

The First Sermon by Jerry Wilhite from Acts 17

Sunday, November 08, 2015


November 11-15 – Wed-Sun
Bethel Baptist Church Auditorium
4905 Appian Way   El Sobrante, CA 94803
This Year’s Theme: The Gospel

All the sessions this year will deal with the Gospel.   The evening and Sunday morning sessions will be expositions of gospel passages of scripture.

Wednesday, 7pm — Jerry Wilhite
Thursday, 10:00am-Noon — Kent Brandenburg
Jesus Is the Christ
Thursday, 7pm — Dave Mallinak
Friday, 10:00am-12:30pm — Dave Mallinak, Bobby Mitchell, Jerry Wilhite, and Kent Brandenburg (30 min each)
The Perversion of the Gospel: How and Why?
Friday, 7pm — Bobby Mitchell
Saturday, 10:00am-Noon — Jerry Wilhite
Jesus the Savior
Sunday, 9:45am — Jerry Wilhite
Sunday, 11:00am — Bobby Mitchell
Sunday, 2:45pm—Panel Discussion on the Gospel 
(Kent Brandenburg, Bobby Mitchell, Dave Sutton, Jerry Wilhite)

Conference Website:

Friday, November 06, 2015

You Need Filtered and Accountable Electronic Devices, part 2 of 2

The Scriptural facts above validate the terrible power of Internet pornography to lead people into sin.  Statistics compiled on the Covenant Eyes and X3 Watch websites validate the true warnings of God’s Word:

Pornography makes up nearly 40% of the total content on the Internet

One in eight online searches is for pornography

c. 25% of smartphone users admit to having pornography on their phone

The majority of men who call themselves Christian (that is not to say that they are real, truly born-again Christians–find outhow to become a real Christian by clicking here) say they watch pornography at least once a month

c. 75% of pastors do not keep themselves accountable to anyone for their Internet use

90% of boys and 60% of girls are exposed to pornography before the age of 18.

Over 50% of boys and over 30% of girls first viewed pornography before their teenage years (12 or younger).

Over 70% of teens hide online behavior from their parents.

Nearly 30% of 16-17 year olds have been unintentionally exposed to pornography online.

Over 80% of boys and the majority of girls have seen group sex online.

Nearly 70% of boys and the majority of girls have seen homosexual acts online.

c. 65% of college men spend time online for Internet sex every week.

Nearly 70% of young adult men and c. 20% of young adult women view pornography at least once a week.

Nearly 70% of young men and half of young women say that viewing pornography is not sinful.

Politically liberal people are more likely to view pornography.

Happily married men are over 60% less likely to look at pornography.

Nearly 70% of divorce cases involve one party meeting a new lover over the Internet.

c. 55% of divorce cases involve one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.

Adulterers are 218% more likely to look at pornography than those who have not broken their holy marriage vows.

There is an incredible power in the lust of the flesh.  You underestimate its power to your ruin!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

When All Lives and Their Things Don't Matter

Someone will probably say that I don't really get what's going on.  I think I do.  I read enough to know I do.

I've been on the road this year more than any other year.  At this point in my life, I like staying home, but this year, I've had to go out more, and our church is better prepared than ever for that to occur. It's still a stress on our church and school when I leave, and especially when I go with my wife.  The lives at our church and school matter to me.  The lives of the people who live in our area matter to me.

We're on the road right now in Colorado Springs, CO, because my son is based in Fort Carson, and his window of return from deployment from the Middle East was from Oct 31 to Nov 3.  With these deployments, something I would not have known, you don't know when the folks are getting back, but within a week, they give you a window.  Your loved one can't tell you either.  I guessed and bought plane tickets, and then got the information for the window and it was when I got the tickets. Yesterday morning we heard an indefinite 10am meeting.  That changed in the afternoon to 6:30am.  I can say all this because it's already public now and security is always tight.

I'm setting the stage a little.  Sunday afternoon, while my wife and I were gone, we had a violin recital at our church building.  A few in our church played, including our daughter.  My daughters took care of making sure the auditorium was being set up for the recital.  One of our deacon's daughter also plays in the recital and during the recital, he got a call from work, so he walked out to take the call, and a gang was loitering in our parking lot, looking in the windows of the cars of the people at the recital.  He told them they needed to leave, move along.

These youngsters, teenagers, believed that their lives and their things mattered more than those at the recital, so after they left, and our deacon walked back in, they came back and broke the back window of my car, that my daughters took to the recital.  There was nothing of value inside, but they were either trying to get something quickly or they were just ticked-off that they weren't being allowed to continue to look in car windows.

Everyone in the recital afterwards walked out to our car and were saddened about what they did to our car.  The deacon helped my daughters vacuum the broken glass.  Later that night my daughters put the plastic over the hole in the car and parked it in our garage.  No one can use it until we get back.  Our lives didn't matter.  Our things didn't matter.  This is the message young people take from a movement that says only certain lives matter.  Since only their lives matter, they can do what they want with our lives and our things.

The above isn't new for us.  Since I've been in California, our church has been robbed or vandalized at least 25 times by people who don't think other lives matter.  There is a threat in the air more than I've ever seen.  In addition to your life and things not mattering, you can't have or at least carry a gun to protect it.  If you did protect it, these other lives would matter more to society as well.  It's not just the police that don't matter, but it's anyone who tells them what to do, any kind of authority.  If you say, put that cell phone away in class (not in our school, we don't have that problem), you are in trouble, because their lives matter more than yours.  It's a very bad precedent.

If lives really matter, we would stop abortion.  Most often, the people who say their lives matter more, don't care enough for the lives of the unborn, the most helpless in society.  The lives of the unborn matter less in a significant way.  The lives of youngsters killed in the streets don't seem to matter as much as the lives of those who have been inconvenienced by someone who says they have to stop looking in the windows of people's cars in the parking lot.  I'll get back from seeing my son from deployment tonight.  It's 4:08am right now in Colorado Springs.

Tomorrow morning, I'll have to take my car to replace a window.  It didn't matter to someone whose life mattered more than mine and whose things are more important than my things.  Does that matter to me?  It does.  I can say the value of my life isn't wrapped up in that window or anything else that I possess.  My net value doesn't change one bit, because it is found in Jesus, but Jesus knows the value of every life.  Every life matters to Him.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Unity Beyond a Church

If you read here, you know how dangerous I think universal church doctrine is.  It isn't taught in the Bible.  There isn't such a thing -- church isn't universal.  However, there are concepts that are universal, and I want to talk about those.  Those are good enough and should be good enough.  There is fellowship beyond a single church, but mainly because of other concepts.  They do, in a sense, draw everyone together without everyone being a church or in a church.

Could someone just follow the Bible and admit, "There's no universal church," or "There's nothing ecclesiastical that is universal"?  I'm writing here to say that the Bible teaches something universal, but it isn't a church.  Could people give in on the universal that isn't the church, and admit that it isn't a church?

Before I talk about what is universal, you will see that there are practical ramifications to eliminating the false doctrine of the universal church.  Unity is required in the church.  That unity is a very specific unity that is represented all over the New Testament, but stated very well in 1 Corinthians 1:10:

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Later (1 Cor 12:25), Paul writes, "That there should be no schism in the body."  The body is to have no schism.

If the church is all believers, the above teaching on unity can't be and won't be practiced.  It can be practiced in a church.  We have it in our church.  You can strive for this unity and attain it in a church.  God gave a church the tools to reach biblical unity:  water baptism, pastoral authority, church discipline, the Lord's Table, and the regular meeting and preaching.  All of these, if followed, allow for biblical unity, which is in individual churches.

Since a "universal church" can't get the unity the Bible describes, the advocates of this false idea force it in many different places.  They sacrificed the truth, the belief and practice of the Bible, for this idea.  They go for unity between all believers, never get it, but in the attempt at it, they give up the truth and actual unity.  Nothing is gained and all is lost.

If men would be willing just to believe the Bible and trust the Bible for what is universal, they could have the unity God calls for and protect the truth.  What is universal?


Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ, joins the family of God.  Everyone who receives Jesus Christ becomes a child of God.  Here are some examples:

John 1:12, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." 
Romans 8:14, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." 
Romans 8:16, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." 
Hebrews 2:10-12, "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee." 
1 John 3:10, "In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God,, neither he that loveth not his brother."

You find this teaching all over the New Testament.  The family of God is soteriological.  You join it through receiving Jesus Christ.  Everyone, wherever he is, is part of the family, if he believes in Jesus Christ.  Everyone who is saved has this in common.  Being a part of the family of God has no practical function in and of itself.  All believers do have something in common, because they are all saved.  Practical ramifications can result and should result between family members, which will be seen in a church and even outside of a church.

Recognize that the family of God is a universal concept, which someone joins when he is saved.  God knows who is a part of His family.  Outside of a church, it will be very difficult for people to know who is a part of the family of God.  However, it is universal, and if you believe in the family of God, you do believe in something that is universal.  This is taught in the Bible.


The terminology "kingdom of God" is found in 69 times in the King James Version of the Bible. You will see "kingdom of Christ" in Ephesians 5:5.  The kingdom of God in one sense has yet to come, but there is an aspect of the kingdom of God that is for today.  Everyone who is born again is part of the kingdom of God.  Luke 17:20-21 will help understand the kingdom of God now:

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Also consider Matthew 12:28:  "But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you."

Many kingdom blessings can be experienced today, but many are also reserved for the consummation and the coming of Jesus.  The fulfillment of the kingdom is here, yet without the consummation of the kingdom.  God is King over the internal personal Kingdom which includes everyone He has recreated. God reigns in the present over those who receive Jesus as King.  Jesus Christ is Lord and King over His spiritual Kingdom and His external universal rule is direct through those.

In the present, the church is used to build up the bigger entity, the kingdom.  We build the kingdom through evangelism.  Certainly in the short term, those who receive Jesus Christ will also join His church, because the kingdom shows up in churches.   Through evangelism, the kingdom is built up.  They are not the same, however.

Both family of God and kingdom of God are soteriological and universal.  I understand that I belong in the family of God and the kingdom of God with people all over the world.  I'm happy about that. You should be too.  You should accept that the family and the kingdom are the two universal entities, and not the church.