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Standing Firm

I was honored to be asked to write a “Pastor’s Perspective” article in the July, 2008, issue of TableTalk the devotional magazine of Ligonier Ministries. The entire issue deals with 8th Century and Christian controversies of that era. You can read my article by clicking HERE or you can read the entire issue on the 8th Century by clicking HERE.

If you want to read the most recent issue click HERE.

TableTalk is one of the finest resources for daily study and spiritual growth that I know of. It draws on the work of R.C. Sproul who was one of my professors in DMin study. Dr. Sproul is one of this generations premier theologians. I highly recommend subscribing to TableTalk. You can do so by clicking HERE.

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When Baptists Deny God’s Truth

I remember during the days of the “Conservative Resurgence” in the Southern Baptist Convention being told that there was no such thing as a “liberal” in the SBC.  Some were “moderate,” whatever that means, but no one denied the basic tenets of the Christian faith.  A group developed in protest and/or opposition to the conservatives and called themselves the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF).  They said that they were still committed to Baptist doctrine but didn’t like the new leadership of the SBC.  Many churches developed a dual alliance with both the SBC and the CBF, given a little to SBC causes and channeling most of their giving through the CBF.  It may be that the lines between the two are getting more clearly drawn.  And it may be a line, not between liberal and conservative, but a line between believer and nonbeliever in God’s truth.

The CBF meeting this year may give many people who do believe in Baptist doctrine, and the Bible for that matter, reason to give pause and rethink who the CBF really is.  One of the key speakers and workshop leaders was John Killinger.  In his seminar  on  “The Changing Shape of Our Salvation” Killinger made this statement:  “Now we are reevaluating and we’re approaching everything with a humbler perspective and seeing God’s hand working in Christ, but not necessarily as the incarnate God in our midst.”  For starters this denies the deity of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity.  Of course for him that is not problematic because he believes that “doctrine is a thing of the past now religiously.”  Killinger encouraged pastors in attendance to “follow this cultural shift by preaching about Jesus’ human side rather than insisting that He was God and that He always existed.”  I don’t have space here to refute these heretical statements, but suffice it to say this flies in the face of all that the Scriptures teach.

To be fair, the CBF’s General Assembly Guide says that “the opinions presented in the General Assembly ministry workshops are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of . . . the Fellowship or its members.”  But that begs the question, why would you invite someone who has beliefs that are in no way Biblical to come and teach, not one, but three, workshops at your meeting?  Killinger has been, and evidently continues to be, a darling of the CBF crowd.  He is a rebel, but a rebel with a cause – to deny all of God’s Word that he possibly can.

May God help us as we seek to remain faithful to God’s Word, not the “cultural shift” that some seem to think is a good thing.

Horatius Bonar on Truth

In my reading this week I ran across another “excerpt” that I want to share with you. It is a little lengthy and was written in 1868 so it can be a little more difficult to read than what we are used to today.  But it is well worth working your way through.  Horatius Bonar was a contemporary of Charles Spurgeon.  Spurgeon insisted that Bonar was one of those 17th century writers that must be read and on one occasion stated: Unlike many writers of the Evangelical school Dr. Bonar is not content with baling out milk for babes, but gives us real thought and teaching.”  

The excerpt that I want to share with you comes from the works of Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes, Vol. I, 1868.  It is keeping with the theme, truth, which we began last week with the prayer of Charles Spurgeon.  Hear Bonar – he will bless you and teach you.  He is one of those great Christian ministers who, though dead, still speaks.  Thanks be to God.

“O Lord, are not Your eyes upon the truth?” –Jeremiah 5:3

“The word “truth” in Scripture refers both to doctrine and practice. It points both to the “error” and the “lie.” It classes both together. It condemns both. False speaking, whether in reference to teaching or witness-bearing, is declared to be abominable to God. His eyes are upon the truth. They watch over it, to guard it and to maintain it.

The theory of many is that God’s eyes are not upon the truth, and that therefore a man may believe what he pleases, and say what he likes, without fearing God’s displeasure. It is only when the untrue thing which he thinks and says interferes with human rights, or social privileges that he is to be visited with punishment. Jehovah’s eyes, then, are upon the truth,–the truth as found on earth among the sons of men.

In this watchfulnesss, this discernment, this justice, there are some things specially to be observed.

1. There is but one standard of truth. God fixes the standard and acts on it, without caprice, or partiality, or compromise. Error is a thousandfold,–pliable, moveable, uncertain,–truth is ONE. On this God calls on us to act, on this he acts himself. So that man cannot excuse his error or his falsehood on the ground that there were more standards than one.

2. This one standard is definite. It is not vague or shadowy. It does not merely settle certain great principles, but smaller ones as well. It is so very definite and precise as to leave man without excuse. It lets man know explicitly God’s present estimate of truth and falsehood, as well as his future judgment on these. It is so distinct that no one with an open ear and eye can hesitate about it. In our day men call this narrowness, bigotry, littleness. But if we only insist on being of one mind with God, he that condemns us condemns God himself. Let us be as broad as he is, but no broader; that is enough, whatever the age may say.

3. That one standard is universal. It is for every age and time. It never becomes obsolete. It is like God himself,–unchangeable; like the Christ of God,–the same yesterday, today, and forever. It was given to our fathers, it is given to us. It suited the East, it suits the West. It suited the Jew, it suits the Gentile also; barbarian, Scythian, bond, or free. It suited the Asian, it suits the European. It suits the Briton, it suits the Indian, and the African. It suits the unlearned, it suits the learned too. One standard for all! One universal test or measurement of truth.

4. That one standard is the Bible. It is no secret standard that He judges us by, or by which He tests truth and error. The test which He gives to us He acts upon himself. The Bible is His book of truth as well as ours. That book contains what God calls truth,–truth definite, fixed, certain, not moveable, nor waxing obsolete, nor falling behind the age. The Bible is the one book of the age, nay, of the ages,–of all ages and all climes. Man’s present unbelief seeks to loosen its authority, to dilute its statements, to render indefinite its doctrines. But the word of the Lord endureth forever. God is not a man that he should lie. His word is sure, his truth is everlasting, his book is like the sun in the firmament; a light for all ages and lands.

Thus God’s eyes are on the truth. It is truth that he delights in, it is error that he abhors. It is truth that he is seeking for among the sons of men. What a condemnation to the laxity of thought in the present day! As if man were at liberty to think as he pleases, irrespective of God and his book! God watches over the truth; he marks each error, each deviation from his one standard.

O man, hast thou received the very truth, and the whole truth of God? He has given man a book for a standard, not that he may speculate, but that he may not speculate, but believe. What God, in and by that book, demands of men is not criticism, opinion, speculation, but BELIEF. God’s eyes are on the truth, to see if men believe it.

The day is at hand, the great day of the Lord, when TRUTH only shall be set on high, and error put to shame. O man, God’s eyes are on the truth, let yours be on it too. Be true to truth; be true to yourself; be true to God.”

Read . . . meditate . . . rejoice!!!