Personally, I cannot think of a more appropriate book to preach through in the beginning of a church planting effort than John’s Gospel. Its message verse by verse is the great foundational truths needed week in and week out in just such a setting. This is especially true when the planting effort is being done without the great benefit of a nucleus of believers which is how we began here in Lead. [BTW, Lead is pronounced with a long e sound.] This book amply enables the necessity of fervent evangelistic preaching without sacrificing the soundness and depth found only in expository preaching. Read the rest of this entry »
The articles in this series have been focused on discovering the Biblical truth about New Testament ministry amidst assertions by some men that NT ministry is always and only to be under the authority of a local church. The most recent articles in this series have been examining evidence for and against this claim in light of the Apostle Paul’s ministry. Having previously looked at the matter in regards to the authenticity, authority, and direction of his ministry, I now want to look at it concerning its material/financial support.
There has been an intertwining of financing with that of control in the mind of many people. The world’s philosophy is unmistakable. They believe that the ability to dispense funds is tantamount to possessing absolute control. This is aptly seen in this quote from Mayer Amschel Rothschild who said,
Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws.
That speaks for itself, but will the Bible likewise give credence to something akin to “He that controls the purse makes the rules” or perhaps its inverse “Those that are in authority are to control the purse”? First, we need to see if there is Biblical evidence that all of the Apostle Paul’s material/financial support came through the treasury of His supposed local church in Antioch as the under-the-church-only doctrine requires. Next, I want to examine if the issue of having his material/financial support directed through his “local church” was an essential element Paul considered in whether to receive or reject support from others.
There are a only few places in the Scriptures where Paul mentions things related to the material support of his ministry. According to those who hold to the doctrine of under-the-church-ministry-only, there should be some evidence that all material/financial support for Paul’s ministry was directed to him through his local church. Let us see exactly what the Bible reveals. In Philippians 2:25 and then latter in 4:14-18 we read: Read the rest of this entry »
Whom Else Is There?
Having previously noted the significance of King Hezekiah’s choice of words–“O Lord of host,” “God of Israel,” and “dwellest between the cherubims“–in this his prayer for deliverance from King Sennacherib of Assyria, the focus now turns to his words, “Thou art the God, even thou alone.”
O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth. Isaiah 37:16
In these words I want us to see that King Hezekiah is declaring three important things, 1) that God is a personal being; 2) that He really is God; and 3) that He stands alone. These truths fully considered will result in our being fully persuaded that prayer to God is not “my last resort,” but the only true help there is.
First, we note that King Hezekiah is personally addressing the One of Whom he desires aid. One speaks to persons, but not to matter nor to energy. Now there are some who are of the belief that a universal energy permeates the fabric of all things and allege that this energy can be directed by humans; however, they attempt to direct this energy by means of concentrated thought not mere personal address. King Hezekiah knows the One to Whom he speaks is a personal being completely capable of interaction with others, of comprehensive thought, and of independent action. How frustrated we feel in our technological age when our telephone call for help that use to be answered by a live person is now just an impersonal computer. Furthermore, I find it increasingly so that too many professing believers do not pray like there really is One Who hears. My friend, He is real. He is living. There is a dynamic difference between offering an aimless, pro-functionary prayer into the expanse and praying to the Person of God. One may make you feel better about your situation, but the other can accomplish something specific and concrete. Read the rest of this entry »
After several years of inactivity, it is now my intention to revive the FTM blog by adding a new post at least once a month. I will begin by continuing the series that have yet to be concluded and then branching into new areas.
At our church here, we have being going through the Gospel of John and the Psalms, and I believe that much of what we have seen would be of profit here as well.
Fundamentalism has its rifts and debates. It always has and always will. There are several concurrent debates within Fundamentalism. While some of these remain a constant, others are growing. Some of what occurs is ignorable as it is inconsequential. Other matters must not be ignored or downplayed as they represent bold challenges against the foundations of the movement.
One such growing rift is between what some have termed the “them” of cultural-Fundamentalism and the “us” of theological-Fundamentalism. The distinction between the two is in the realm of theological based stances to cultural issues. However, do not let the names fool you into which side accepts what. It is actually the theological-labeled element that is more accepting of current cultural norms in our churches.
There have already been several articles which have documented the serious shortcomings of the so-called ideal Fundamentalism which is touted as the Fundamentalism worth saving. (I personally believe that historic, Biblical Fundamentalism is still worth defending.) This widely proclaimed new Fundamentalism, which is not Fundamentalism at all but a re-packaged New Evangelicalism, attempts to chip away at all aspects of Biblical Fundamentalism. Sometimes it does so by casually changing previously accepted terms, meanings, and definitions. At other times it does so by openly advocating fresh perspectives to replace the old, worn out, static positions of the past. Examples of this are beginning to multiply especially in the area of Fundamentalism’s militancy and its ecclesiastical separation. However, Fundamentalism’s personal separation has not been immune from these current deft but deliberate shifts either. Though the spotlight has been on its militancy and its ecclesiastical separation, Biblical Fundamentalists need to rise to the occasion in defending the necessity of a personal separation for the believer in a time of increasing acceptance of worldly culture within our churches. Because the “theological” versus the “cultural” debate is the arena where the battles for and against Fundamentalism’s personal separation is occurring, it is a debate that must not be ignored.
There may not be any problem more common among men, even good men, than their being inconsistent. All men say one thing and then fail to always live by what they have professed. It is a problem of a different kind when men try for whatever reason to join together two things that are not compatible. While in this life inconsistency in itself is unavoidable, attempts to force a conjoining of incompatible properties or principles is not necessary.
In Fundamental circles there are two growing trends. The first trend is for a man to begin to espouse a Gospel message that curiously has the same tints and shadows cast from one of Dr. John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to . . . books. The second trend is Read the rest of this entry »
Man–the Deceitfulness of Sin
The worst thing about deception is that we usually do not see it happening to us until after its damage is done. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me” may be an old saying, but in reality people get fooled all the time and mostly by the same old things. Now most of us would have nothing more to do with any individual or organization that deceived us just once, but every day we believe sin’s sales pitch that if we practice its craft we can have pleasure, fulfillment, or success. Read the rest of this entry »
Man–Sin and Death
It is one of the undeniable facts of life–death. From our perspective we can rightly discern its universality though we rarely think about its eventual claim upon our own earthly existence. Scientists spend time and money on theories of man’s origins, but how many have any scientific theories about his end? Unlike science, God has not left us to face the inevitable in ignorance.
According to the Scriptures death operates in two realms–the physical and the spiritual. A man is physically dead when his spirit departs his body. James 2:26, “For as the body without the spirit is dead. . .” and Ecclesiastes 8:8, “There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of his death. . .”
A man is spiritually dead when he is separated from God because of his sin. Ephesians 2:1, “And you hath he quickened [made alive], who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Death, then, is a state of separation and not a state of annihilation; therefore, it is a beginning and not just an end. Read the rest of this entry »
Man–Why There Is Sin
Many people have often wondered or even verbalized the question as to why everything is so messed up if God really exists and created the world and mankind.
Genesis 1:31, “And God saw that everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. . .”
To understand why things are so different now from the way that God created them in the Beginning, we need to examine the matter of sin and how it entered into the world bringing with it fear, sorrow, destruction, and death.
Could God have created a world without the possibility of sin and thereby kept its consequences from wrecking havoc? Yes, He could have; however, without the possibility of evil there can exist no possibility for good either. God wanted good and its great blessings for His creation, but the blessing of obedience follows only a genuine not a pretense obedience. If the opportunity for disobedience does not exist, does obedience exist either? This principle is seen in Isaiah 45:7,
“I [God] form the light, and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” Read the rest of this entry »
Man-His Creation and Purpose
Origins are an oft-debated subject in scientific, educational, political, and even theological circles. While it is the “science” or “faith” of origins that gets all the press and the focus in the debates, the consequences of origins must not be overlooked. “And what are the consequences of origins?” one might ask. They are whether man has a purpose in his existence and whether he has any accountability concerning the way he lives. Read the rest of this entry »