Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Are You Believing the Gospel or Assuming You Do? (WHI)

Assuming The Gospel. This is just 8 minutes of the whole Broadcast. But, the story at the end will leave you speechless.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tactics in Defending the Faith Part 11



Here is another Tactic in Defending the Faith. I have been participating in
the Truth Project and I can see how easy it is to get caught up in discussing the different views of Philosophy, and Science. If you get a chance to view the Truth Project Video series put on by Focus on The Family you'll be really blessed by it. It addresses many issues concerning Truth. At this point there have been a lot of issues discussed concerning Truth. Except one Truth that has yet to be mentioned. This Truth is not found in any of these disciplines (science, history, ethics and philosophy). The Truth I'm talking about is of course The Gospel. This is news that is outside of what man can see and can fathom through those disciplines. This is a message that can only come from God.

1 Corinthians 1:17-19 (New International Version)

17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Christ the Wisdom and Power of God
18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."[a]
Once you've gone through a wonderful study as the Truth Project and you come face to face with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then you can see how these Tactics by Greg Koukl can help you to share this Truth in the Gospel with gentleness and respect. Grace and Peace,
Chris
www.Reform-Shire.blogspot.com
Coram Deo!!!

Subject: Tactics in Defending the Faith

Stand to Reason

Stand to Reason

Tactics in Defending the Faith Part 11: Why the "Suicide" Tactic Works

Greg Koukl


The suicide tactic works because it trades on a fundamental rule of logic: the law of non-contradiction. The law of non-contradiction states that two contradictory statements cannot be true at the same time: "A" cannot be "non-A" at the same time in the same way. All suicidal views express or entail contradictions. They make two different claims that are at odds with each other. The contradictions "A is the case" and "A is not the case" may be explicit or implicit.


Explicit contradictions are usually obvious:


"I never, never, repeat a word. Never."
The contradiction: I don't repeat a word. I do repeat a word.

"There are no absolutes. Absolutely."
Contradiction: There are no absolutes. There are absolutes.

"This page intentionally left blank."
Contradiction: This page is blank. This page is not blank.

"I used to believe in reincarnation. But that was in a former life."
Contradiction: I don't believe in reincarnation. I do believe in reincarnation.

"I'll give you three good reasons you can't use logic to find truth."
Contradiction: You want to use logic to disprove logic.

Implicit contradictions often are hidden and require further reflection to see.
"My brother is an only child."
Contradiction: My brother has a sibling (me). My brother is an only child.

"I never tell the truth." (Now what?)
Contradiction: It's true that I never tell the truth.

"Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't go to yours." Yogi Berra

"Ask me about my vow of silence."

Sometimes suicide is a more subtle.


Radio caller: "You shouldn't be correcting Christian teachers on the radio."
(Then why is he calling this radio program to correct me?)

"You shouldn't force your morality on me."
(Why not? Are you telling me it's wrong to say that other people are wrong?)

The Suicide and Columbo tactics work well together. As you pay attention to a person's viewpoint and notice that his or her view commits suicide, point it out with a Columbo question.


In order to recognize a point that commits suicide first, identify the basic premise, conviction, or claim. It's not always obvious. Next, determine if the claim undermines itself. Does the statement satisfy its own requirements? Is there an internal contradiction? Can the idea be stated in the form "X is the case" and "X is not the case" at the same time? If so, it commits suicide.

Next time: Taking the Roof Off

For more extensive tactics training go to www.str.org and look for Tactics in Defending the Faith Mentoring Series or STRi DVD interactive training in our online store or call Stand to Reason at 1-800-2-REASON.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Manhattan Declaration - Alistair Begg


The release of The Manhattan Declaration (an ecumenical document addressing the issues of life, marriage, and religious liberty) has already generated significant discussion. Since I have been on the receiving end of many questions concerning it, I thought it best to address it directly. The declaration reads in part as follows:"We are Christians who have joined together across historical lines of ecclesial differences… …to speak and act in defense of these truths." 
 
I was present at the meetings in Manhattan in October when the draft of this document was presented.I listened carefully and was stirred by the ensuing discussions.I share the concerns expressed in the document. 
 
I also have respect for those who wrote the paper and also for many who have subsequently signed it.Why then have I chosen not to append my name as one of the initial signers? Because of my convictions about the nature of the Gospel, and the importance of Christian co-belligerency being grounded in it. The activity of the Christian as a citizen engaging in co-belligerency over civic and moral issues is not the same as the declaration of Christians mutually recognizing the reality of each other's faith. This is what I wrote to Chuck Colson:  
 
"Thank you for sending me the amended document. I care deeply about these issues, but I cannot in conscience sign on with those with whom I have fundamental disagreements on the nature of the Gospel. (I just re-read Calvin in the Institutes, Book IV, section 18.)"This particular section of Calvin's Institutes provides us with his response to the Roman Catholic doctrine of the mass.It was maintained at the meeting in New York that this document was not to be viewed as a product of ECT (Evangelicals and Catholics Together). However, in light of the evangelical leadership behind the declaration, it is hard not to take into consideration the most recent ECT paper on "The Blessed Virgin Mary in Christian Life and Faith". In examining the place of Mary, the writers "acknowledge the primary authority of Holy Scripture." This at least gives the impression of a concession to Roman Catholicism. Protestant theology affirms the sole authority of Scripture. Sadly contemporary evangelicalism seems little concerned with the solas of The Reformation and is therefore susceptible to initiatives, which make something other than the Gospel, the basis of unity and the focus of our declarations.I am reminded in this connection of the declaration of Jude.

"Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints."It is quite common for people to view The Reformation as simply a disagreement between two groups of men. The protestant martyrs and their monuments testify to the fact that they died, not on account of ecclesial differences, but because the issue was the way of salvation. (Interestingly, exactly the same was true of the Roman Catholic martyrs!)Are we wise to lay aside crucial historical differences of eternal significance so as to secure temporal advantages? George Smeaton, in his classic work on the atonement observes, "To convert one sinner from his way is an event of greater importance than the deliverance of a whole kingdom from temporal evil."I do not believe it is possible to embrace the premises of ecumenical strategy and still draw the conclusions of evangelical orthodoxy.

In accord with others who have chosen not to sign, my reservation is not with the issues themselves, or in standing with others who share the same concerns, but it is in signing a declaration along with a group of leading churchmen, when I happen to believe that the teaching of some of their churches is in effect a denial of the biblical gospel. I wonder whether it might not have been more advantageous for evangelicals to unite on this matter, rather than seeking cooperation with segments from Rome, Eastern Orthodoxy and the Latter Day Saints. The necessary co-belligerence, as far as I'm concerned, can never be rooted in a Gospel other than that which has been given to us.

Alistair Begg

(updated and expanded November 25, 2009)


 

Do Not Sign! 245,000 Signers! Manhattan Declaration from Focus on the Family

Please DO NOT SIGN THIS...
Give it a lot of thought first...
Listen to John MacArthur on this issue:

Chris
www.Reform-Shire.blogspot.com
Coram Deo!!!


Subject: Please Sign! 245,000 Signers! Manhattan Declaration from Focus on the Family

A historic development within the American church. Join over 245,000 signatures!
Kansas Family Policy Council stands with James Daly and Focus on the Family. Please read the statement below from Jim Daly, President and CEO of Focus on the Family and if you agree, please sign the declaration at http://www.manhattandeclaration.org/ or click on the large Manhattan Declaration at the top of the page. We encourage you to stand with KFPC and sign your beliefs!
As many of you already know, I, along with Dr. Dobson and more than 150 Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant clergy, academics and organizational leaders, recently signed a remarkable expression of collective Christian conscience and commitment. It's called the Manhattan Declaration, and it's intended to make clear a significant point: As Christian Americans who believe each person's life is a gift of infinite
worth, we have an urgent, ongoing responsibility to continue standing for biblical principles in the public square.
Given the magnitude of this document, though, I'd like to share with you now why I was so eager to sign it--and why I hope you will, too.
It is important, first off, to note that the Manhattan Declaration is not a partisan or political statement...Some have referred to these as "threshold issues," meaning they represent the foundation of our faith and the pivot point from which everything else flows. This is the bedrock. If we can't agree on these areas of doctrine, everything else will be of reduced value. These four areas are:
1. The sanctity of human life.

2. The sanctity of marriage.

3. The protection of religious liberty.

4. The rejection of unjust laws.

We have been committed to these baseline principles since Dr. Dobson founded Focus on the Family in 1977. Our conviction on these matters runs deep; motivating our movement has always been the heartfelt belief that these principles are not ours, but the Lord's, and that they promise to help and heal a broken world.
The document is a fresh and lively presentation, a renewed rallying cry to those who have been engaged in this historic
effort of spiritual and cultural conversion. This is not a manifesto for culture war; it is a prescription for cultural change. It is also a thoughtful invitation to those who might be sitting on the periphery, perhaps hesitant to join this effort, maybe because they've never been fully aware of the consequences of inaction.
As a unified body, we are acknowledging that our faith is strong and redemptive, but it's not necessarily a comfortable and easy pursuit. Standing up for our
beliefs can often come at great cost. But as Dr. George highlighted at last week's news conference, even the secularist philosopher Socrates once posed a relevant question Christians should easily answer today. "Is it better to suffer an injustice," he once asked, "than to commit it?" By affixing our signatures to the Manhattan Declaration, we are answering an unequivocal "yes."
Although many American Christians understandably feel under assault, the degree of faith-based domestic persecution cannot compare with the ghastly violence perpetuated against believers in other parts of the world. In the Sudan, for instance, hundreds of thousands of Christians have been slaughtered not because of what they're doing, but because of the One in whom they believe. It is a wise people who act to protect the freedoms they enjoy.
And so I ask you to join me and my friends and colleagues in embracing and standing up for these crucial biblical principles. How? You can start by reading the document, in its entirety, by clicking here. What I think you'll notice is that, in addressing the issues noted above, The Manhattan Declaration is an excellent example of achieving the balance of Truth and Grace required of us as followers of Jesus. This is a document
that exhorts us to champion Christian truths in a Christian manner. It stands for something.
Then, after you've read the declaration, consider adding
your name to the list of signers--and urge your friends and family to do the same. We are all imperfect. But if we honor God by promoting biblical principles, resisting our sometimes insatiable and admittedly prideful motivations, He will honor us.





Preaching the Book God Wrote, Part 1

Preaching the Book God Wrote, Part 1

Selected Scriptures
Code: A226



John MacArthur

Preaching the Book God Wrote, Part 1We believe in biblical inerrancy. So what? How does the truth of biblical inerrancy and the authority of God's written revelation affect what we preach and how we minister? There's little point in defending the inerrancy of Scripture if we're unwilling to bow to the authority of Scripture in our approach to ministry.

This article is adapted from a paper written by John MacArthur at the height of the inerrancy debate in the early 1980s.

The theological highlight of 20th Century had to be evangelicalism's intense focus on the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. [1] Much of what was written defending inerrancy in the 1970s and '80s represented the most acute theological reasoning our generation has produced.

Yet it seems our practical commitment to inerrancy is somewhat lacking. The modern evangelical's commitment to the authority and inerrancy of the Bible doesn't always flesh out in ministry. Shouldn't our preaching reflect our conviction that God's Word is infallibly authoritative? Too often, it doesn't. In fact, there is a discernable trend in contemporary evangelicalism away from biblical preaching, and a corresponding drift toward experience-centered, pragmatic, topical messages in the pulpit.

How can this be? Shouldn't our preaching reflect our conviction that the Bible is the verbally inspired, inerrant Word of God? If we believe that "all Scripture is inspired by God" and inerrant, shouldn't we be equally committed to the truth that it is "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work"? [2] Shouldn't that magnificent truth determine how we preach?

Clearly it should. Paul gave this mandate to Timothy: "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction." [3] Any form of preaching that ignores the intended purpose and design of God is seriously deficient.

J. I. Packer has eloquently captured the pursuit of preaching:

Preaching appears in the Bible as a relaying of what God has said about Himself and His doings, and about men in relation to Him, plus a pressing of His commands, promises, warnings, and assurances, with a view to winning the hearer or hearers...to a positive response. [4]

The only logical response then to inerrant Scripture is to preach it expositionally. By expositionally, I mean preaching in such a way that the meaning of the biblical text is presented entirely and exactly as it was intended by God. Expository preaching is the proclamation of the truth of God as mediated through the preacher. [5]

Some who are known as expositors don't even believe in biblical inerrancy. It might also be the case that most who affirm biblical inerrancy don't practice expository preaching. (Again, the most popular trend among evangelicals these days is decidedly in the opposite direction--toward preaching driven by "felt needs," and other topical approaches to the pulpit ministry.) These are baffling inconsistencies, because an inerrantist perspective demands expository preaching, and a non-inerrantist perspective makes expository preaching unnecessary.

Putting it another way, what does it matter that we have an inerrant text if we do not deal with the basic phenomena of communication, e.g. words, sentences, grammar, morphology, syntax, etc. And if we don't, why bother preaching it?
In his landmark work on exegetical theology, Walter Kaiser pointedly analyzed the anemic state of the church due to the inadequate feeding of the flock:

It is no secret that Christ's Church is not at all in good health in many places of the world. She has been languishing because she has been fed, as the current line has it, "junk food"; all kinds of artificial preservatives and all sorts of unnatural substitutes have been served up to her. As a result, theological and Biblical malnutrition has afflicted the very generation that has taken such giant steps to make sure its physical health is not damaged by using foods or products that are carcinogenic or otherwise harmful to their physical bodies. Simultaneously a worldwide spiritual famine resulting from the absence of any genuine publication of the Word of God (Amos 8:11) continues to run wild and almost unabated in most quarters of the Church. [6]

The obvious cure for evangelicalism's spiritual malnourishment is expository preaching.

The mandate is clear. Expository preaching is the declarative genre in which inerrancy finds its logical expression and the church its life and power. Stated simply, inerrancy demands exposition as the only method of preaching that preserves the purity of Scripture and accomplishes the purpose for which God gave us His Word.

Or, as R. B. Kuiper succinctly stated it: "The principle that Christian preaching is proclamation of the Word must obviously be determinative of the content of the sermon." [7]

---
Endnotes:

[1] The doctrine of biblical inerrancy is "the claim that when all facts are known, the Scriptures in their original autographs and properly interpreted will be shown to be without error in all that they affirm to the degree of precision intended, whether that affirmation relates to doctrine, history, science, geography, geology, etc." Paul D. Feinberg, "Infallibility and Inerrancy," Trinity Journal, VI:2 (Fall, 1977), 120.

[2] 2 Tim 3:16-17

[3] 2 Tim 4:1-2, emphasis added

[4] James I. Packer, "Preaching As Biblical Interpretation," Inerrancy And Common Sense, ed. Roger R. Nicole and J. Ramsey Michaels (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980), p. 189.

[5] D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971), p. 222.

[6] Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Toward An Exegetical Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1981), pp. 7-8.

[7] R. B. Kuiper, "Scriptural Preaching," The Infallible Word, 3rd rev. ed., ed. Paul Woolley (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1967), p. 217.

 
Chris
www.Reform-Shire.blogspot.com
Coram Deo!!!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Gospel Preaching at My Church!!! Praised God For Such a Blessing

Praise the Lord for the Gospel being Preached!!!!
I hope THIS is the direction our church is heading.


5 Rhetorical Questions &
5 Great Truths
11/29/09-Greg Hafer


Choose Type: Audio | Video

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tactics in Defending the Faith Part 8: The Power of Columbo

I pray that you all will have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and weekend.  Be careful shopping out there this weekend, if that is your thing. 

Remember every day is a day of Gratitude and Thanksgiving.

Grace and Peace,
 
Chris
www.Reform-Shire.blogspot.com
Coram Deo!!!

Subject: Tactics in Defending the Faith

Stand to Reason

Stand to Reason

Tactics in Defending the Faith Part 8: The Power of Columbo

Once you've learned the Columbo tactic, you'll be amazed at how deftly you can navigate through a discussion. Many people you talk to will struggle when you turn the tables and they're being asked to provide evidence for their views. They will try to change the subject or simply reassert their views, sometimes because they haven't thought much about the issue you're discussing. Dodging your question may be their only recourse. 


It is critical that you "narrate the debate" at this point. Take a moment to stop and describe what's going on in the conversation. This will help your friend (and others listening in) to see how she's gotten off course. You can say, "Hold on. First you made a fairly controversial statement, which I challenged you to clarify and defend.  So far, you haven't done that. You've just taken off in another direction. Before we move on to a new topic, can we finish this one?" 


Don't let your friend get off the hook by dodging the issues. This approach keeps the pressure on while keeping the conversation cordial. Encourage your opponent to clarify herself. Forcing her to face the music may be the first step toward a change of mind.


The Columbo tactic can also help keep you out of the "hot seat." Sometimes the fear of getting in over our heads is enough to keep us from saying anything at all. We especially dread the possibility of some aggressive critic blasting us with arguments, opinions, or information we are not equipped to handle.


The Columbo tactic questions help control the conversation when you fear being overmatched by the person opposing you. To buy yourself some thinking time, simply switch into fact-finding mode. Begin by slowing them down with, "Hold on a minute; this is new to me." Next say, "I want to understand your point, so can you carefully tell me what you believe and why you believe it?" (the first two Columbo questions)
Finish by saying, "Then let me think about it." Then work on the issue later at your leisure when the pressure is off.


Think for a moment how useful this approach is. Instead of trying to resist the force of another's attack, practice a little verbal Aikido just step aside and let him barge right in. Give him the floor and invite him to make his case. However, he must do it slowly and carefully so you'll have an opportunity to fully understand his point. 


When you are being overwhelmed, this move to fact-finding mode takes you completely out of the hot seat.  It deftly shifts control of the conversation back to you while shifting the spotlight and the pressure back on him. You are no longer under any obligation to answer, refute, or even respond because you've already said you need to give the issue more thought. 


This is easy. Essentially you're saying, "Oh, you want to beat me up? Fine with me. Just do it slowly and thoroughly." This is a move that even the most delicate, retiring, shy, bashful, skittish, timid, or reserved personality can employ with great effect. 


The advantage of the Columbo tactic is not having to assert something you want someone else to believe in.  You aren't taking the burden of proof on yourself. Instead, your question makes the point for you. This accomplishes your goal in an entirely different and much more powerful way.

Next time:  The art of asking questions

For more extensive tactics training go to www.str.org and look for Tactics in Defending the Faith Mentoring Series or STRi DVD interactive training in our online store or call Stand to Reason at 1-800-2-REASON.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In the INN: "The Preached Word"

Here is this week's broadcast of an interview with a United Methodist Bishop on preaching the Gospel.   I challenge you to listen to it.
Yes that's right a "United Methodist".  I grew up in that denomination and I had lost all hope for the United Methodists, until I found out about Bishop William Willimon.  I've also added a link to his blog, so go visit and say hello from the friends at Reform-Shire.  He can teach us evangelicals how we can avoid downgrade that his denomination has gone through.  There is a local United Methodist congregation who's slogan is "Not Your Ordinary Church."
I often thought their slogan should be "Not a Church at All." 

Thank you Lord for William Willimon, the Peculiar Prophet.

Grace and Peace,
 
Chris
www.Reform-Shire.blogspot.com
Coram Deo!!!


Subject: In the INN: "The Preached Word"
  Inn...
WEEK OF NOVEMBER 22, 2009
Join us for our 2009 series "Christ in a Post-Christian Culture"

The Preached Word

 

William Willimon author of Peculiar Speech: Preaching to the Baptized.


Listen Now: "The Preached Word"

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Read Kim Riddlebarger's Blog




The Centrality of Preaching the Gospel

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Rom 10:14-17).

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry (2 Tim 4:1-5).

(All passages from The English Standard Version)

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Tactics in Defending the Faith #7

Here is Tactic #7

Grace and Peace,
 
Chris
www.Reform-Shire.blogspot.com
Coram Deo!!!


Subject: Tactics in Defending the Faith

Stand to Reason

Stand to Reason

Tactics in Defending the Faith Part 7: Columbo Step 3 - Exposing a Weakness or Flaw

Greg Koukl


Knowing what a person believes and why he believes it things you learned from the first two steps of the Columbo tactic allows you to ask new questions that challenge that person's ideas. This is the final stage of Columbo.


The first two questions are somewhat passive, but the third Columbo question takes you on the offensive in an inoffensive way.


The conversation may alert you to some weakness, flaw, or contradiction in the person's argument that can be exposed and exploited. There is no special formula for making this discovery. You'll uncover it by listening carefully and then thinking about what was said.


The key to this step is paying close attention to the answer to the question, "How did you come to that conclusion?"

 Are there any blatant weaknesses in the view?
 Do the conclusions follow from the evidence?
 Can you question any underlying assumptions?
 Is there a misstep, a non-sequitur, a fallacy, or a failing of some sort?


Address any inconsistency you discover with a question, not a statement. 


This step takes more practice than the rest, but in time you will improve. It requires some insight an ability to see the flaws in the argument which is a demanding request. It is easy to "stall out" in the beginning, so don't be surprised or discouraged.


Once you learn the Colombo tactic, you'll realize how few people can answer for their views. It's easy, once you see this happen, to drift into pride and take pleasure in another's failings. Therefore, take care to show concern for the other person. Establish common ground whenever possible by affirming points of agreement. Encourage the other person to think further on the subject if he or she doesn't have a satisfactory answer. Assume the same best intentions you'd like others to assume about you when you're in the hot seat. 

Next time:  The Power of Columbo

For more extensive tactics training go to www.str.org and look for Tactics in Defending the Faith Mentoring Series or STRi DVD interactive training in our online store or call Stand to Reason at 1-800-2-REASON.

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Tactics in Defending the Faith # 6

Hello,
I have been quite busy at work and with church activities over the past couple of weekends so I have missed posting the latest tactics in defending the faith by Stand To Reason. I'll post 2 of them today.

Not long ago several people were surveyed at a Christian Broadcasters convention about when they defend their faith what tactic do they use. The question asked was, "Why is Christianity True"? they answered by their personal experience, life transformation, and testimony. These are the "tactics" they used to defend that Christianity is true. But, it is conceivable that Christianity is True, and no one believes it.
Then they were also asked: When passing on the faith to others, would you share Gospel doctrine or would you share your personal testimony. The answers were predominantly personal testimony except for one who pointed to Gospel doctrine. It was as if they were inclined to give more authority to themselves and their life story rather than giving authority to God's Word and Christ's testimony. There is a big difference between sharing the testimony of salvation from sin, than what being a Christian has meant in your personal life and moral standing. Below is Rev. Ken Jones' response to some of these answers presented on a White Horse Inn broadcast.
"If the primary message people are hearing is a message about them, then it makes sense that their apologetics is based on them, which also makes sense that the message they would deliver in evangelism is about them!" Reverend Ken Jones

There is a time and a place for our own stories and they can be compelling to us and maybe those around us. But, when sharing the Gospel message this personal story or the display of oneself should not be the basis of convincing someone that it is true and is not the basis or the reason for anyone to come to faith in Christ. But, often times our story is presented as the basis for convincing others to come to faith by saying "just look at my life lived out." "Just see that my life is so much better now." But, to an atheist or an agnostic, that is just so arrogant to say that we have the answers to live "Your Best Life Now". Then they see us blow it, and they see us have a major fall like Ted Haggard, and other outspoken and up front people who have had major crashes in front of the public and having it broadcast for all to see. If they had spent more time sharing the Gospel and pointing to Christ and to show how we are all beggars in need of a savior. Those whom we share the Gospel with need to see how we are all in need of salvation from the wrath of God. Only, then is our story part of His story as He has done everything and I am only a recipient of Grace. What distinguishes us and our faith in Christ from any other religion that has the burning in the bosom, or a better life now, or a purpose for life. If we are to be hated or persecuted, it should be for our love of Christ and for Christ alone and no other reason. Sometimes, people will need to hate God, before he can break through that heart of stone and show them they absolutely, and desperately need God to save them.

Grace and Peace,
Chris
www.Reform-Shire.blogspot.com
Coram Deo!!!


Subject: Tactics in Defending the Faith

Stand to Reason

Stand to Reason

Tactics in Defending the Faith Part 6: The Professor's Ploy

When executing the burden of proof tactic, beware of the "professor's ploy."


Some professors are fond of taking pot-shots at Christianity with remarks like, "The Bible is just a bunch of fables," even if the topic matter has nothing to do with religious issues.


Well-meaning believers sometimes take the challenge and attempt a head-to-head duel with the professor, but this approach is rarely successful.
One rule of engagement governs exchanges like these: The person with the microphone wins. Never attempt a frontal assault on a superior force. The professor always has the strategic advantage, and he knows it.


Don't get into a power play when you're out-gunned. There's a better way. Don't disengage; instead, use your tactics. Raise your hand and ask, "Professor, what do you mean by that?" Next ask, "How did you reach that conclusion?" Make him the teacher and the one making the claim shoulder the burden of proof.


This approach enables you to stay engaged while deftly sidestepping the power struggle. The "professor's ploy" comes into play when he attempts to make you shoulder the burden of proof. He may sense your maneuver and respond by saying, "You must be one of those Christians who thinks the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Okay, since I'm a fair man, why don't you prove that to the rest of the class?"


In one quick move, he's cleverly switched the burden of proof back on you, the student. Don't fall for this unfair move! You aren't the one making a claim; he is. He must defend his own claim. He's the teacher, after all.


You can respond to the professor's ploy with dignity and tact. When he shifts the burden of proof on you, calmly respond by saying, "Professor, first, I haven't revealed anything about my views. Second, my views don't really matter right now. You're the teacher and you've made a strong claim about the Bible. I'm just trying to learn your reasons for it."


If he gives an answer, thank him for it and either ask him another question or let it go. Recognize that the burden of proof tactic takes the pressure off you but still keeps you in the driver's seat. You don't have to be the expert on every subject.


If you keep the burden on the other side when they're making the claim, you don't have to have all the answers. In fact, you can be effective even when you know very little if you ask the right questions.

Next time: How to properly exploit a weakness in an argument

For more extensive tactics training go to www.str.org and look for Tactics in Defending the Faith Mentoring Series or STRi DVD interactive training in our online store or call Stand to Reason at 1-800-2-REASON.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

J. Gresham Machen - Confronts Protestant Liberalism

Below is a quote from J. Gresham Machen when challenging the liberal protestants around the 1920s.  It seems that the Evangelical Movement that once took the same position as Machen and championed the cause to make sure that the Gospel was at the center of the preaching and especially for evangelism.  However, it seems as if the Evangelicals of today need to hear Machen saying this to us all right now.




"Evangelism does not consist in the rehearsal of what has happened in the evangelist's own soul. Christian evangelism does not consist in a man's going about the world and saying "Look at me, what a wonderful experience I have, how happy I am, what wonderful Christian virtues I exhibit. You can all be as good and as happy as I am if you just make a complete surrender of your wills and obedience to what I say." That is what many religious workers seem to think that evangelism is. But they're wrong. Men are not saved by the exhibition of your glorious Christian virtues. They're not saved by the contagion of your experiences. We cannot be the instruments of God in saving them if we preach only ourselves. Nay, we must preach to them the Lord Jesus Christ, for it is only through the gospel that sets him forth that men can be saved."

-J. Gresham Machen
 
Chris
www.Reform-Shire.blogspot.com
Coram Deo!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The State of The Church - Christless Christianity

In the 1930s Yale Professor H. Richard Niebuhr offered a poignant description of liberal Protestantism’s message then, and I think the emergent church’s message now in his book,The Kingdom of God in America:

A God without wrath brought men without sin into a world without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I need a Hammer and a Nail

Martin Luther wrote his 95 Thesis in 1517 which ignited the Reformation.
It seems as if we need a Second Reformation, especially in America and anywhere American churches have influence around the world.

But, I don't know how or which door to nail a Thesis to, and I'm not saying that I'm the one smart enough to do it, but Luther also believed that a "plow-boy" with the Word of God in his language was more powerful than any Pope.

So, here is just a taste of what we are up against.

As I write this I am in turmoil over the things that I see going on in the church. I wonder how far from the Gospel the church will go and use marketing "schemes" and demographics to determine how to lure people into the church and move to a "seeker sensitive" worship service.

Many churches have a disdain for any kind of tradition, without even understanding why the tradition was brought about in the first place. A simple example is, the removal of the pulpit which has been replaced by a bar/ pub table.
Also, when ever they talk about evangelism and "sharing the Gospel" it has come to a whole new meaning. It is now sharing your "personal testimony" or "your story."

Ironically, The only person I see sharing their story in the Bible is Paul in Romans leading up to these words that sum up his testimony 7:24-25.

24Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from(AC) this body of death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

I'm not sure this is a testimony that most people have in mind. Usually, what people mean is they will tell their before and after story. But, you can have this same story from any religion, or even from a 12 step program, or from meeting a beautiful girl and end up getting married. You'll have a wonderful experience and a story, and it may very well be true to you. But, it does not tell of what Christ has done, it takes the focus off of Christ and puts it on the individual person.

If Satan can figure out a way to get us away from telling Christ's story especially in a subtle way, then he has accomplished his task.
I'll just get them to focus on themselves, that always works
And he has been doing this since the beginning.
This kind of direction, and focus by the church would be called worldliness.
If you want to see what kind of churches are doing this, here are a couple examples


NewSpring Church

Real Life Chruch


The messages are claimed to be "relevant" and "practical" and the emphasis is on how you can apply these things to your daily life. The doctrines and creeds, and confessions have been pushed aside.
The excuse or the reason of, "We need to be about deeds not creeds" as if we have over-done-it with the creeds and the head knowledge and now we need to do something.
However, it has always been the doctrines, and the creeds (oh no traditions, yuk!) that point to the foundation of our faith which is the person and works of Jesus Christ. The only true motivation there is for us in life is the motivation which comes from knowing what Jesus Christ has already done for us. If we are to be the evangelists presenting an evangelistic message, then why would we do everything else but share the Gospel? Here is the Gospel message as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 15


1 Corinthians 15 The Resurrection of Christ

1Now I would remind you, brothers,[a] of the gospel(A) I preached to you, which you received,(B) in which you stand, 2and by which(C) you are being saved, if you(D) hold fast to the word I preached to you—(E) unless you believed in vain.

3For(F) I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died(G) for our sins(H) in accordance with the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised(I) on the third day(J) in accordance with the Scriptures, 5and that(K) he appeared to Cephas, then(L) to the twelve. 6Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to(M) James, then(N) to all the apostles. 8Last of all, as to one untimely born,(O) he appeared also to me. 9For(P) I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because(Q) I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary,(R) I worked harder than any of them,(S) though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

The worship service is not a place for evangelism, it is for the delivering of God's word to edify the saints. It is God speaking through the message preached to remind us of what He has already done for us through His Son Jesus Christ. And it has become apparent we are being swayed and deceived by smooth talkers and flatterers. Lets see what Paul says about that and these tactics that distract us from the Gospel.

Romans 16:
Final Instructions and Greetings
17I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles(I) contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught;(J) avoid them. 18For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but(K) their own appetites,[f] and(L) by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. 19For(M) your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you(N) to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. 20(O) The God of peace(P) will soon crush Satan under your feet.(Q) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

In closing here is what Martin Luther said at his trial, as he had written against the smooth talk and flattery of a huge empire that answered to nobody but itself.

Martin Luther "(reply to the Diet of Worms) Since your majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns or teeth. Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain reason (I do not believe in the authority of either popes or councils by themselves, for it is plain that they have often erred and contradicted each other) in those Scriptures that I have presented, for my conscience is captive to the Word of God, I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen." Martin Luther

And here I stand... I also can do no other.
God help me.

I have removed the parts that may have been deemed offensive to those who have read them and I'm truly sorry for the harshness in my tone and manner. I do believe graciousness should always be the manner in which we challenge each other. Even if you know for certain you have the right view or position. We all have a lot to learn.

It is for the sake of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that these things must be dealt with and not sit silently by. These are not superficial, or secondary issues, or about preferences, traditions, or even about being relevant or about methods. It is about being faithful to Jesus Christ and His message. It is all about Him and anything outside of that ought not be done, at least not by the church.

The church will never die. Even if we never evangelized, the church would somehow continue to grow. Jesus said He will build His church, and that's exactly what will happen. But, we of course will go and evangelize because we are grateful for what Christ has done for us.

Grace and Peace,
Chris
www.Reform-Shire.blogspot.com
Coram Deo!!!