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Archive for the ‘Theology’ Category

I recently was pointed to the “Patriarchy Movement” by a person on another website. I found the information that I was able to find on it rather interesting. The question here is, is this Patriarchy harmful to Christian families, or to the church? Or is it beneficial?

Here is a link to a number of sermons that are against the “Patriarchy Movement.”

And here is a link to a lengthy article on Patriarchy. I’ll post some snippets here.

The Christian family, especially the role of the father, has been under relentless attack by the forces of secular humanism. Egalitarianism, though arising originally in a legitimate desire to allow all men, regardless of race, to enjoy the benefits of Christian civilization, eventually came to enthrone the will of the individual and to decry ANY differences-including biological ones. In the past fifty years women were “liberated” from the home and promised that they could “have it all” including family, career and autonomy if they adopted humanist values. However, humanism has largely destroyed the American family; birth rates plummeted to sub-zero replacement levels, divorce rates skyrocketed, and millions of children, the victims of broken homes, are now at risk of mutigenerational poverty, crime, and drug addiction; in effect becoming cultural parasites.

First, the name itself often leads some Christians to have a negative disposition before they have even considered the position. The word “patriarchy” conjures up images of stern, Old Testament figure (perhaps with a long white beard), ruling his family with an iron hand, squelching individual initiative, oppressing women and micromanaging every aspect of his children’s lives. Since most will reject that image, we then also reject the concept, without actually evaluating what a “patriarchy” might be and whether or not it is something of which God might approve.

Until the twentieth century, Americans almost universally held to this doctrine of representation in some form or the other. The reason why women were not allowed to vote had nothing to do with women being considered “inferior” or “too emotional” (these values arose during the Victorian era and were themselves theologically and socially deviant) but rather because the husband and father was ASSUMED to represent the family to the broader community. By definition, there could only be ONE representative of the family just as there could only be ONE representative of the Human Race to God!

In regards to a woman’s right to vote; if husband and wife are truly “one flesh” and the husband is doing his duty to represent the family to the wider community, then what PRACTICAL benefit does allowing women to vote provide? If husband and wife agree on an issue, then one has simply doubled the number of votes; but the result is the same. Women’s voting only makes a difference when the husband and wife disagree; a wife, who does not trust the judgment of her husband, can nullify his vote. Thus, the immediate consequence is to enshrine the will of the individual OVER the good of the family thus creating divisions WITHIN the family.

For example, biblical patriarchy never excuses, justifies or motivates godly men to devalue, denigrate or relegate godly women to “second-class” status in the home. Women are NOT inferior to men even if they are subordinate in their roles. Husband and wife are to be “one flesh;” which is more than a quaint euphemism for marital intimacy but rather a spiritual union of two individuals (1 Cor 6:16-17). Granted the wife is to respect her husband and submit to him (1 Ptr 3:1) but the husband is also required to treat her with grace, kindness and respect granting her honor as a joint-heir of the Kingdom, lest God refuse to hear his prayers (1 Ptr 3:7). In pagan patriarchy, the wife was often little more than a domestic servant and child-bearer (as in ancient Greece, the “cradle” of “democracy”) but in the biblical view, God praises the godly woman for her industriousness, creativity, aesthetics and business acumen (Pvbs 31:10ff). A wise man, understanding his duty as representative, will therefore lawfully utilize all the assets of the family, including his wife’s wisdom, gifts and concerns, for the common good of the family.

Now the question is, is this style of Patriarchy Biblical? Is it a Biblical model the family? Is it incorrect, and if it is, why?

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Music can be a bit of a touchy subject in Christian circles, especially in Fundamental Baptist circles. What constitutes good Christian Music? And especially, what constitutes good Christian music for church services? Now, I could be considered by some as too liberal in my music. As far as church music, I love hymns, country gospel, southern gospel, and some CCM. However, there’s very little CCM that I enjoy. And I can’t get too into some southern or country Gospel.
My personal music tastes as far as church music tends to reject music that is too loud, too rocky, or too repetitious. Much of CCM is theological fluff, and too repetitious, even if you reformat it just to be played on the piano or a guitar. And if there’s anything that I hate more than too much repetition in singing, it’s songs that are theological fluff. Allow me to post a video that explains this a bit more eloquently than I can.

Now, not all CCM is theological fluff. Some CCM songs contain great theological truths that put them on the same level as the great hymns of the faith. These songs contain great truths about who God is, what His attributes are, and how Holy He is. Much of CCM is man-centered however, it’s about what “God has done for me” and never gets beyond that, or it focuses on “what I do with God.” And I think in some cases, this reflects where somebody is in their spiritual walk. If somebody never moves past the songs that are spiritual pablum into music that has theological depth, can it really be said that they are maturing as Christians? Now, we must be careful not to judge someone’s spirituality based on what type of Christian music they are listening to in their car. It could be that they are going through a rough time, and God is using that song in their life. Christian music can play a great part in the life of the believer, and so we must be careful that we are not listening to theological tripe.

An example of theological tripe that has made it into CCM music. The following song is done by Brooks and Dunn, a country music duo. But this song is now being covered by Contemporary Christian Musicians. The song is theologically inaccurate, and nothing more than tripe. You can watch the video below(it has rather soft music in comparison to a lot of CCM songs if you’re not sure if you should listen to it or not). If you’d prefer not to watch the video, the lyrics can be found here.

In opposition to a song like the above, we have the song “In Christ Alone” which was written I believe by Keith Getty. This song is much more theological in nature. It’s lyrics contain great depth into who Christ is and what He did for us. Listen to it below, accompanied only by the piano, and read the lyrics here.

In Christ Alone stands in striking contrast to much of what is churned out by CCM musicians today. Of course, when many of the hymns were written, there were other songs put out during those times that were considered theological tripe and that did not stand the test of time. We do not today have the whole of the songs that were sung by Christians throughout the ages, but much of what we do have has stood the test of time and has proven itself to be an asset to the church. Of course, we do have some hymns that really need to be kicked out of the hymnal, since they are theological tripe. While perhaps having some value as folk songs, they don’t deserve to be in the hymnal. I’m sure you’ve heard the following song before. I don’t necessarily have a problem with the song for camp-meetings or what-not, but as a church song? What precisely is it’s value to the church that it gets included in a hymnal? Lyrics here.

In short, Christian Music should first and foremost be theologically correct. It should also contain theological depth, particularly when used for congregational singing. It probably shouldn’t be overly repetitious, as that’s just boring. I’ve watched people’s faces many times as we’ve sang a song that had 7 words sung 11 times, and they just look bored to tears. I know I am. I don’t want a congregational song that’s going to go on for seven and a half minutes because the song leader wants to keep going and going like the Energizer bunny. Use songs that are tried and true, and be wary of the newer music. Listen to it, and match it up to Scripture.

As a parting bonus, here’s one of my favorite hymns of all time. It’s sung by an English singer named Michael Ball here. This is a shorter version of the hymn, but nonetheless very beautiful.

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If pulpit committees and churches would look below the facade of scare-tactic accusations and warnings being rolled out like taffy at the Mississippi State Fair, they would discover something healthy and very desirable in the men and the message preached of those against whom they are warned. The twentieth-century slide into liberalism rode on the back of a growing indifference to the doctrines of grace, because the doctrines of grace are tied vitally to more biblical doctrines than just perseverance of the saints. The recovery of a fully salubrious evangelical preaching ministry depends largely on the degree to which the doctrines of grace are recovered and become the consciously propagated foundation of all gospel truth.

If a church, therefore, gets a Calvinist preacher, she will get a good thing. Several issues will be settled forever and the church will not have to wonder about the soundness of her preacher on these items of biblical truth and their soul-nurturing power. Calvinists have stood for more than just their distinguishing doctrines, but have held steadfastly to other doctrines that are essential for the health of Baptist churches in our day. Let’s look at a few of these.

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Some refer to the first point of Calvinism as “Total Depravity.” However, this phrase is a bit misleading. To most people, the phrase “total depravity” would mean that all persons are as completely and utterly as evil as they can possibly be. Which is why I prefer Radical Depravity/Total Inability. Radical depravity means that mankind is a sinful creature by nature and unable to come to God on their own.

The doctrine of Total Inability, which declares that men are dead in sin, does not mean that all men are equally bad, nor that any man is as bad as he could be, nor that anyone is entirely destitute of virtue, nor that human nature is evil in itself, nor that man’s spirit is inactive, and much less does it mean that the body is dead. What it does mean is that since the fall of man rests under the curse of sin, that he is actuated by wrong principles, and that he is wholly unable to love God or to do anything meriting salvation.-Lorraine Boetner-The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

Our nature is a result of the first sin. The sin of Adam resulted in sin being passed upon all men, so that all are sinners. Mankind is born with a sin nature, dead spiritually to the things of God. We are unable commit any righteous acts without the grace of God. The first sin produced original sin. That means that because of the sin of Adam and Eve, the entire human race fell. The doctrine of original sin teaches that our very nature is influenced by sin.

Rom 5:12-19 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (13) (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. (14) Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. (15) But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. (16) And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. (17) For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) (18 ) Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (19) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Gen 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Eph 2:1-9 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins (2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by (grace ye are saved; ) (6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (7) That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. ( 8 ) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.

On the above passage, James Montgomery Boice and Philip Graham Ryken made some interesting points in the book “The Doctrines of Grace-Rediscovering the Evangelical Doctrine.”

1. The sinner is dead in sins.
2. The sinner actively practices evil.
3. The sinner is enslaved.
4. The sinner is by nature an object of wrath.

Mankind is completely dead to God and the things of God, but is “alive” to sin. Scripture clearly teaches this. Not only is man spiritually dead, but he is unable or unwilling to come to God on his own.

Rom 3:10-12 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (11) There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. (12) They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

The above passage teaches us something too, first and foremost, that man’s moral nature is sinful(radically depraved). It also teaches us that man does not seek after God(inability). Mankind does not seek after God, and mankind does not seek to do the things of God.

If the above is true, that mankind is sinful and seeks not the things of God, then something has to change in order for man to come to God. Otherwise, no man could be saved.

Generally, there are three views on the “will of man” in regards to sin nature.
First, we will look at the view of Pelagius. His view is easily summed up in a few brief points.
1. Adam’s sin and guilt affected no one but himself.
2. Mankind is born not into a sinful state, but a morally neutral state.
3. Mankind is capable of living sinless if they choose to do so.
It’s easy to see how the above contradicts any biblical doctrine of sin.

The next view is one that states that mankind’s will is free, and that he is not totally dead to God and the things of God. It teaches that mankind, while born with a sin nature, is completely free to choose or reject God without being influenced by that nature wholly.

The third view, is that because mankind is a)dead in sins, and b)unwilling to come to God, then something must change for man to come to Christ. Jonathan Edwards wrote on this topic in his “The Freedom of the Will.” The first thing Edwards did was define the will. He defined it as being “that by which the mind makes choices.” That is to say, that the mind makes a decision based on what is the most desirable course of action. Second, Edwards looked at the question of why the mind makes the choices it does. Edwards stated that the mind has motives for choosing what it does. It is not neutral. The mind has certain things that it desires more than others. If the mind were confronted with two choices, one that it loved and the other that it hated, and it chose the hated, then it would be acting irrationally. And here we get to the crux of this point. Since mankind does not seek God, and hates the things of God, the mind will not choose God. Mankind’s nature is to seek sin. The mind, therefore, will choose the most desirable action because of it’s nature, even though it recognizes that sometimes these actions are morally wrong. A simple illustration would be the difference between carnivores(meat eaters) and herbivores(plant eaters). You could set a bucket of oats in front of a wolf. Physically, the wolf could eat the oats. However, it will not eat the oats because by it’s very nature it seeks after meat. Mankind could choose not to sin, in theory, but by our nature, we choose to sin even though we recognize that our actions may be morally wrong.

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Phil Johnson recently posted a blog entry on the Pyromaniacs blog. If you aren’t a fan of Team Pyro, you really should check them out. Visit their blog, and do a read through. Of course, if you aren’t a fan of reading that’s a little heavy, you may not like the blog. Team Pyro consists of four bloggers, who visit topics concerning Christianity, particularly from a Reformed perspective. I’m a bit of a fan of these guys. But right now, we’re talking about the church and politics, so let’s get back on topic. Phil made a post that you can read here. Allow me to pull a quote out, from the beginning paragraph.

“If you are known for your political agenda more than for your commitment to Christ, your values are upside down. If you make the gospel subservient to a political strategy or a partisan agenda, you’re probably doing more harm than good.”

Think about that for a minute. How often do you hear a preacher, particularly a tv preacher, speak more about politics than about the Gospel? Pat Robertson and John Hagee(both heretics by the way) immediately come to mind. While they both may engage in some good things, they do have some major problems. These men seem to be more in line with Dominionists.

I do think that Phil missed something though, in his series. Of course, it probably isn’t his fault, because I’ve not heard of this much myself. Around two years ago, I visited a church here in the Memphis area. This was right around the time that Israel and Syria were trading rockets back and forth. Naturally, this was immediately picked up by the prophecy nuts. When the pastor of this church got up to preach, he made a statement that concerned me so much that I didn’t walk away from that church after the sermon, I ran. I’ve never dropped back in, and I won’t. He stated “I spent eight hours watching the news about Israel and Syria in preparation for this sermon. And over the coming weeks, we’ll be doing the same thing as we discuss this event and the prophecy of Revelation.” Could you imagine such a thing being done in your church? Could you imagine your pastor standing up and stating that he had spent eight hours preparing for his sermon by watching TV? How does a pastor admit to such nonsense?

Sermons in our churches should be based on Scripture, not on the news. This is one of the dangers of preaching primarily in a topical manner. Now I’m not saying that topical preaching is bad. I think it can be very good. I think covering issues such as the Lord’s Supper, Baptism, and Church Discipline for a few examples in a topical manner is tremendous, and can probably be covered better topically than when preaching in an expository manner only.

But I think this is indicative of a deeper problem, mainly that some Christians get so involved in current events and political events, that they read into Scripture what isn’t there. They get so excited about prophecy, that every event in the Middle East is major news to them.

And the dangerous and scary part is that the people in the congregations sit and listen to such nonsense, and do nothing about it, because they see no wrong. They either don’t care, or don’t know enough about the Bible to realize that this is wrong.

If you’re a pastor, a leader, a Sunday School teacher, or anyone teaching others in churches, it would probably be wise to heed Phil Johnson’s advice in the blog message. Allow me to take some of his advice, and paraphrase it to match what I’ve said here. If what happens in the news alters your preaching, then you’ve got your heart and head in the wrong place. Preach the Gospel, and not the News. Christians don’t need sermons relevant to current events. They need sermons that are spiritual, and Biblically sound.

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What is Soul Liberty?

Soul Liberty is the concept that Christians have the ability to decide for themselves in matters of faith and life, so long as their sincerely held belief does not violate Scripture, and does not violate another individual’s soul liberty. Allow me to demonstrate Soul Liberty from Scripture.

Rom 14:1-23  Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.  (2)  For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.  (3)  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.  (4)  Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.  (5)  One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  (6)  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.  (7)  For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.  ( 8 )   For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.  (9)  For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.  (10)  But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at naught thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  (11)  For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.  (12)  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.  (13)  Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.  (14)  I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.  (15)  But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.  (16)  Let not then your good be evil spoken of:  (17)  For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  (18 )  For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.  (19)  Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.  (20)  For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offense.  (21)  It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.  (22)  Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.  (23)  And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

As can be seen in the above verses, we as believers have the right to choose where we stand on certain issues. For example, let us point to the issue of KJV-Onlyism. This is a doctrine not found in Scripture. One can, if he looks for it, find verses to support this doctrine. And if one wants to hold to the KJV-Only, that is certainly his right. However, he has no right to do so while attempting to force his view on others. We also have issues such as whether or not pants are okay for women to wear. This is a doubtful disputation(read verse 2 above), and those new to the faith should not be dragged into such discussions which are matters of preference as opposed to matters of Scripture.

Where should we take a stand, and where should we not? We should clearly take a stand on this issues that the Bible makes of importance. Such as having church meetings, the sufficiency of Scripture, the death, burial, and ressurrection of Christ, virgin birth, the sins of fornication, gluttony, and drunkeness. Issues such as those cannot be compromised on, and we cannot treat these issues lightly. However, issues such as what kind of music to use in worship, whether or not a man can wear a necklace, or voting for a conservative democrat over a liberal republican should not be issues that divide us, and should not be forced on one another. If somebody wants to use only hymns in their worship service, good for them. Let them do so. On the flip side, if somebody wants to use Contemporary Music over hymns, let them do so. He does not sin in doing so.

Fundamentalists have become quite adept at making non-issues into serious issues worth dividing over. And in doing so, they have committed the greater sin. They needlessly divide the body of Christ with their doubtful disputations. As at times, less conservative fundamentalists do, or conservative evangelicals, and neo-evangelicals. Non-issues are not worth dividing over, and should not be major issues within our churches. We have soul liberty. Liberty to choose what is right for us and for our families. Time will tell if we have chosen wisely. Let God be the judge in such areas.

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Republican Presidential Candidate Sen. John McCain has officially rejected the endorsement of controversial pastor John Hagee. John Hagee is a pastor who supports Israel heavily, and who frequently engages in anti-Catholic rhetoric. Hagee recently stepped away from comments he had made concerning the Catholic Church, including comments such as “the Catholic church is the Great Whore.”
Hagee, who has a large following among evangelical Christians, has become a source of contention among Christianity for his various heterodox beliefs. His recent comments stating that Christ did not come as Messiah, has been a cause for alarm for many conservative Christians.
Democrats have been searching for something controversial from the pastors who have declared support for McCain, in order to create a firestorm like that which has surrounded Obama and his “former pastor” Rev Wright. There is a difference however, Obama sat under Wright for nearly twenty years. Hagee has never been McCain’s pastor, so how is McCain supposed to know any of Hagee’s odd beliefs? Obama, if he is as smart as he wants us to believe, should have known of Wright’s controversial beliefs. The two are not comparable in this instance.
Nonetheless, McCain is right to distance himself from Hagee. Hagee has an assortment of odd beliefs that could possibly do damage to the McCain campaign if McCain were to retain his support. Hagee is hardly the poster boy for evangelical Christianity, or for Christianity in general.

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