Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Shall He find faith?

This is an excerpt from the 'Gospel Standard' magazine, from 2004....

 2003 has been a year of anniversaries; but one that has been claimed is the 50th anniversary of television. In what sense, we do not exactly know – unless it be that 1953 was the year when its influence became prevalent in British homes. The claim is now made that 65% of children in this country have a television set in their bedrooms. 
Yet during the year (April 7th) the Daily Telegraph published a long and interesting article. A family made the experiment of doing without television completely for five weeks. The results were amazing. Never had the children done better at school and, despite initial protests, never had the family been so happy. “Friends are incredulous,” the author wrote, “when I tell them that the children don’t seem to miss television.” One of the teachers commented on one of the children: “To say his reading and concentration have improved times one-hundred would not be overstating the truth.” All this in a worldly family, and written by a radio script writer. Another newspaper article (again secular) was entitled “The Death of Wisdom.” The summary was: “Never have we had so much expertise in our daily lives. But do we really know how to stay happily married, raise our children well or face death?” The answer given was No. 
We have so much learning, technology, scientific advance – but “we have a divorce rate approaching 50%, our courts are crammed with criminal and maladjusted youngsters, and our obsession with health fads indicates our growing belief that death can be infinitely postponed.” “When it comes to the basic wisdom that should be the very basis of our society, we have become intellectual paupers compared to our ancestors.” But all this is just as Scripture promised: “Lo, they have rejected the Word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?” (Jer. 8. 9). 
So increasingly we have foolish, God-dishonouring laws, and good laws are abolished. But what can we say of professed religion? “The priests said not, Where is the Lord? and they that handle the law knew Me not: the pastors also transgressed against Me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit” (Jer. 2. 8). 
Perhaps the most scandalous thing of all that has happened in our lifetime has been the consecration of an actively homosexual man in the NEW YEAR ADDRESS 3 Episcopal church (the American form of the Church of England) on November 2nd. Some things in holy Scripture may appear debatable, but nothing can be clearer than the condemnation of sodomy (as the Word of God describes it) as an abomination in the Lord’s sight. Can this be the Church of Toplady and Newton? Those who have objected are accused of lack of Christian love. Does the love of Christ lead to immorality? Many, who should know better, have agreed. Many have been silent. Those who have opposed have often done so on false ground – simply that this will cause schism in the Church. Disgracefully, the police have even questioned the Bishop of Chester because he suggested that homosexuals could be converted to heterosexuality.
 It was left to the Archbishop of Abuga (Nigeria) to be the most forthright in his condemnation of the appointment in America. “We totally reject and renounce this obnoxious attitude and behaviour .... It is devilish and satanic. It comes directly from the pit of hell. It is an idea sponsored by Satan himself and being executed by his followers and adherents who have infiltrated the Church .... A clear choice has been made for a Church that exists primarily in allegiance to the unbiblical departures and waywardness of our generation; a Church that enthrones the will of man over and above the authority of God and His revealed and written Word.” from the Gospel Standard

It seems today the voices that cry out are few in number. Where are the Apostles Peter and Paul in our day? Where are the men of God who stand firm on His truth, crying out and calling sinners to repentance? The 'celebrity' preachers are too busy making the conference circuit selling their 'wares'- books, cds, study bibles, etc. What a disgrace! Christ overturned the money changers tables in the temple, yet we have the same thing happening in our day. Hitler rightly stated this in his day, "I promise you", he boasted in his inner circle, "that if I wish to I could destroy the church in just a few years. It is hollow, it is rotten, and false through and through. One push and the whole structure would collapse. We should trap the preachers by their notorious greed and self-indulgence. We shall thus be able to settle everything with them in perfect peace and harmony. I shall give them a few years reprieve, why should we quarrel? They will swallow anything in order to keep their material advantage. The parsons will be made to dig their own graves, they will betray their God for us. They will betray anything for the sake of their miserable jobs and incomes." Adolf Hitler - from

Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Born Again?

There are entirely too many people that profess to know Christ and yet have no clue as to the meaning of "born again" much less it's absolute necessity for salvation to be real and eternal. People will say 'only believe' and if you do then you are saved; but the devils in hell believe. Today's definition of 'belief' is nothing more than a mental assent to a person called Jesus. Even this 'mental assent' is that of a person unlike the One written about in Scripture. This new Jesus makes offers, with no demands; he makes promises based on someone other than himself (the person to whom to 'promise' is made); he gives a false peace and assurance of something that is desired (salvation) but that never happened. This new Jesus can only 'stand at the door' of a person's heart and hope that he/she will give a favorable response to his generous offer, but if they don't then he is just out of luck. This new Jesus says that salvation can be had simply by saying the right words: "I believe in Jesus", "I believe that Jesus died for my sins", "I repent of my sins", and so on and so forth. But all of these statements are worthless, unless and until one is born from above. People instruct others to 'make a decision' for Jesus, another empty, worthless mockery of the Salvation bought for His elect only. They will speak against pride as the great deterrent that keeps men from God, not knowing that such a statement is born from and filled with pride---as if a man can dictate the terms of 'his surrender' to the Only Holy God just like Cain did. Does a man choose the time, place, and circumstances when he will allow God to save him? This is what the vast majority have been taught and what they will defend to the bitter end in order to maintain their superiority over their Creator (or so they think).

How many has our Gracious Lord delivered from this doctrine of demons? Probably all whom He has saved. But how did He do it? By manipulating their minds and emotions; by 'making an offer that they could not refuse'; by waiting till the person was in the right mood? If all that sounds like nonsense, good, because it is. The Lord saves every person that He has chosen to save the same way: they are born again, and that by the Spirit of God, exclusively. "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."*********"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'you must be born again.'" John 3:3 and 3:5-7. Here, there is no mention of 'belief' or 'repentance', or a 'decision' being made to incur the favor of God; only the mandatory need of a man to be born again by the Spirit of God. This is a great mystery to those who teach a decisional, man-centered belief system that excludes being born again by the Spirit of God. They teach that belief (faith), repentance, confession, and the all important 'decision' must precede the working of the Spirit in order to show one's self as worthy of God's salvation. Many have gone down this (Roman) road and have convinced themselves that all is well with their soul because of what they did when nothing could be further from the truth. There are no such 'requirements' to be found in Scripture. The salvation claimed by these folks is based upon what they did, what they believed, what they confessed with their mouth, and holding God to a promise that He never made, that if these carefully laid out conditions are properly and sincerely met, then they are free to declare themselves to be "saved." But it's all a lie. The salvation purchased by the Lord Jesus is never based on the works of a man on any level. The salvation purchased by the Lord Jesus is based solely upon Himself, His choice as to who receives Christ and who will not and is done at a time and manner of His choosing, not that of the recipient. The faith to believe, the repentance to forsake our sins, the words of gratitude and praise that come from our mouth are a result of being born again and NEVER the cause of it. Such is the big delusion inflicted upon man today, that he must be pleasing to God before he will find favor with Him. Thank God this is not so. Thank God for being born again. Thank God that we are new creatures in Christ.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

If by love they mean....

I do and am constantly maintaining both privately and publicly as far as ever the Lord has enabled me the wonders, the glories, the beauties and the preciousness of love. And yet I must be branded as being a man that is an enemy to love.
But if by love, these people who brand me as an enemy of love mean that I ought to unite with Arians and Socinians who deny the deity of my Lord and Saviour whom I proved again in my very soul that he is the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace.
If by love they mean that I ought to meet and unite occasionally with people that can testify and say without a blush that election is a damnable doctrine and they hate it with their hearts, that imputed righteousness is imputed nonsense and a doctrine that ought to be abhorred and spurned by all which is the very garment and covering that hides all my shame, the very robe that adorns my naked soul and so very many times has been the joy and rejoicing of my heart and which I have found to be so many times the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
If they mean by love that I ought to unite with people that can say and testify that we may be a child of God one day and a child of the devil another, that Christ died and atoned for the sins of Esau, as well as of Jacob, for Cain as well as Abel, for Judas as well as for Peter, and that there are thousands in hell for whom Christ died.
If they mean by love that I ought to unite and call these brethren who profess to believe in the doctrine of grace and call themselves Calvinists, but can declare at times that those blessed doctrines which are so precious and glorious to my soul are nonessential things. That is, if I understand their meaning right, they view them as useless things and that it is of no consequence whatsoever whether we receive or believe these doctrines or not provided we do but unite with all sorts and pray for all and be candid and mild and esteem all as partakers of grace, — I confess from my heart if all this be love I am destitute of it. And instead of being grieved for my want of it, I glory in it.
I do not indeed feel the least ill-will against any of their persons, as the creatures of God, nor do I desire to do them the least injury, but those principles that debase free and sovereign grace, and exalt the creature, I hate and abhor.
For how can two walk together except they be agreed?
My soul has bought truth too dearly to part with it for such empty baubles as the praises and smiles of men; and those professors that love the smiles of men more than the truth of God, they are heartily welcome to them. I do not begrudge them. But notwithstanding all that ever these reporters could report, God stood by me, a poor worm, and gave such testimony to the word of grace, that neither men nor devils could overthrow it. I believe they tried with all their might to do so; but God hath said it, and I know it will stand, for I have proved it again and again: — “My word shall go forth; it shall prosper in the thing whereunto I have sent it; it shall not return unto me void.” (Isaiah 55:11)
John Warburton, HT -

Christ, The Impeccable Son of God

Webster's parses the word 'impeccable' into two parts; 'not' and 'to sin'. While most who profess Christ as their Savior will readily state that Jesus Christ did not sin, it seems a small and growing number claim that it was possible for Him to have sinned while on earth. They conjure up any number of reasons for this but the root of all their words is an ignorance of the Character of Christ (both human and Divine) and a willingness to find fault rather than an occasion for praise to the One they claim to love and serve. Such a suggestion that Christ "could" have sinned originates from the same spirit who said: "Yea, hath God said" Gen. 3:1.

A year or so after the Lord saved me I was in a "Precept" class studying Romans. The teacher began one class with his 'off topic' statement (not found in the study guide) that it was possible for Jesus Christ to have committed sin while on earth. It felt like my heart was going to come up through my throat as I heard him speak. One of the first words out of my mouth was 'heresy' as I could not stand to hear his nonsense anymore. At the time I did not know the Scriptures that would totally dismantle this heretical doctrine so I asked the pastor whose only answer was John 10:30, "I and My Father are one." A good place to start, but hardly the only verse that addresses this lie. The Lord began to show me other verses over the months and years after this as to prepare me to be able to give at least an adequate answer should it ever come up again. It did. This same man, now chairman of the deacons of this SBC "church", was going to teach a class that I attended so I asked him if he still believed and taught that 'it was possible for Jesus to have sinned while on earth.' His response: "I NEVER taught that", which was a bald-faced lie. What ensued after this lead to my departure from that "church" on less than amicable terms (I was told to either "shut up", "leave", "or be forcibly removed" by a group of six 'leaders' of this 'church' as they were shy their "senior pastor" who had left under not so good circumstances forced on him by the 'old guard' of that 'church.' [As for the "Precept" courses and their author, Kay Arthur, stay as far away from all of that as you can. The courses are shallow at the very best, rife with false doctrine that stems from the 'free will' heresy, and caters to the flesh offering only cursory, fake, 'praise' to the Lord Jesus. KA is highly ecumenical.]

The following verses are far from an exhaustive treatise of this matter but are offered as a starting point with the encouragement to further study. As stated previously, to say that Jesus Christ did not sin is no doubt true, but leaving the door open for the "possibility" that He "could have sinned" is a class of heresy all to itself. It has taken root in too many places and is one of those 'stealth' false doctrines that gets limited, if any, 'air time' having become one of the unwritten and unspoken tenets of evil men. But some are bold in their assertion that Jesus could have sinned and have acquired a large following. Don't be afraid to ask your pastor or favorite teacher what their stance is on this matter.

Beginning in James 1:13-16: "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone." The last phrase 'nor does He Himself tempt anyone' implies "with sin, or evil." Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Son of Man, both 'personalities' living in the same physical body, at the same time, collectively and individually impervious to sin. Some may object and ask "what about the 'man' side of Jesus?" Fair question. Luke 1:26-35 tells of the birth of Christ was without a human father, via the Virgin Mary. With no human father, the sin of Adam was not, could not, have been imputed to Christ as it is with every other man, Rom. 5:14-21. There was no human sin nature in the Man Christ Jesus. Pure human, pure God, no sin nature, and therefore impossible for Him to be "tempted" or drawn to sin with the intent or end result to commit any sin. John 14:30 weighs in with this: "...for the prince of this world is coming and has nothing in Me." There was nothing in the Lord Jesus to give even a 'foothold' to the wicked one to make Him sin. "Ah, but Heb. 4:15 says that Jesus was tempted in all points as we are, what about that?" He no doubt was, and just as surely more so than we as seen in Matt. 4:1-11 and "yet without sin." Note His answers were always direct quotes from the Word of God. The 'testing' of the Lord Jesus resulted in two things: proof that He did not sin, no matter what was placed in front of Him, and proof that there was nothing in Him that would draw Him to disobey His Father, there was no sin nature to overcome and therefore no propensity for sin. James 1:14 shows the cause of human sin "...each one is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed." Since there is no such "lust" in Christ Jesus, there is nothing by which to 'entice' Him into sin---no sin nature. The key here is to understand and know that the Lord Jesus had no sin nature as is common to men, but a human nature not plagued with sin, or lust, or anything other than a heart set on doing the will of His Father.

This is a dangerous game of "what if" that some men play, not considering the outcome of any supposed "sin" that "may" have had the "possibility" of being committed by the Lord Jesus. Consider John 8:28 & 29. "...I do nothing of Myself..." So by whom does the Lord Jesus act? The Father? The Holy Spirit? Both. Continuing in John 8; "...but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him." In order to say that it was "possible" for the Lord Jesus to sin, that statement must include as complicit partners the Father and the Holy Spirit. If Jesus and His Father are one (John10:30), then it follows that if Jesus "could have sinned" this must include the Father as well. As I said, a dangerous game. Would the Holy Spirit be excluded from this never ending web of deceit? Hardly, hence the danger grows to include blaspheme against the Holy Spirit---the only unpardonable sin. IF there were sin it would be multiplied by the fact that John 8: 28 & 29 now turn into a lie---another sin, and the dominoes just keep crashing down. Unrighteousness would be found in the Trinity, negating John 7:18. It becomes a never ending ploy to cast doubt in the mind of anyone who seeks the truth---one of the most used tools of the wicked one. Further, Heb. 1:3 says that Christ "is the express image of His [the Father's] person." Would these purveyors of deceit further claim that it would be possible for the Father to sin? That is exactly what they are saying, even if they do not realize it. Heb. 13:8 says: "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, forever." If it be true that He 'could have sinned' while on earth why not for all eternity? He never changes---except in the evil imaginations of wicked men. How could He offer Himself as the Spotless Lamb if a possibility of sin lingers at the door? He would no longer be spotless, but covered in question marks. It could not be said of Him, or His Father, or the Holy Spirit that they are incorruptible (Rom.1:23) if sin were even a possibility. No longer could we say "Far be it from God to do wickedness" Job 34:10. We could no longer shout with the Psalmist "To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him." Psa. 92;15

In order for anyone to sin there must be something within his character that makes it possible. Humans are locked in to sin, even their "free will" cannot extract them from the ravages of the sequence of sin: "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed. Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren." According to these words sin MUST have a place of conception, a willingness to do evil. Somehow, they perceive that such was the case with the Lord Jesus Christ. They have concluded that He is just like they are in regard to sin, an easy mark. They have no clue as to the Character of the Lord Jesus, human or Divine. The 'possibility' of Christ sinning serves no purpose other than that of His enemy, the devil, using this lie to cast doubt in the minds of many thereby stunting their growth in Christ until the lie is exposed to them.

Luke 24: 32 & 45

The hand of our God

For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him." — Ezr_8:22
A convoy on many accounts would have been desirable for the pilgrim band, but a holy shame-facedness would not allow Ezra to seek one. He feared lest the heathen king should think his professions of faith in God to be mere hypocrisy, or imagine that the God of Israel was not able to preserve his own worshippers. He could not bring his mind to lean on an arm of flesh in a matter so evidently of the Lord, and therefore the caravan set out with no visible protection, guarded by him who is the sword and shield of his people. It is to be feared that few believers feel this holy jealousy for God; even those who in a measure walk by faith, occasionally mar the lustre of their life by craving aid from man. It is a most blessed thing to have no props and no buttresses, but to stand upright on the Rock of Ages, upheld by the Lord alone. Would any believers seek state endowments for their Church, if they remembered that the Lord is dishonoured by their asking Caesar's aid? as if the Lord could not supply the needs of his own cause! Should we run so hastily to friends and relations for assistance, if we remembered that the Lord is magnified by our implicit reliance upon his solitary arm? My soul, wait thou only upon God. "But," says one, "are not means to be used?" Assuredly they are; but our fault seldom lies in their neglect: far more frequently it springs out of foolishly believing in them instead of believing in God. Few run too far in neglecting the creature's arm; but very many sin greatly in making too much of it. Learn, dear reader, to glorify the Lord by leaving means untried, if by using them thou wouldst dishonour the name of the Lord.

C.H. Spurgeon

Friday, September 22, 2017

Death Along the Roman Road

The "Roman Road" has been around for decades and was at one time the favorite tools of 'evangelists' and 'preachers' who taught the heresy of salvation by the will of man. It begins with Rom. 3:10 "There is none righteous, no, not one"; then Rom. 3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Next is Rom. 5:12 "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, thus death spread to all men, because all sinned" and then jump to Rom. 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." The RR ends with  Rom. 10:8-10 &13. Disputing the truth of these verses is not the intent of this article, disputing the misuse of these verses to get a desired result from a "seeker" by those who teach a 'salvation' by the will of man will be shown. [As an aside, I was treated to this Road not once, not twice, but three times in my youth. It seemed that salvation "didn't take", hence the need for more RR journeys. It was as if I was a living example of Matt. 12:43-45---actually, I was---as sin had greater and greater dominion over me.]

The end game of the RR is to manipulate emotions in favor of the desired response. The use of scare tactics is not uncommon as threats of eternal damnation are employed to get the subject to repent to the satisfaction of the preacher. Yet Scripture teaches the opposite: it is the Goodness of God that leads a man to repentance, not the fear of hell (Rom. 2:4). Those who have been born again by the Spirit of God know this beyond doubt. The view of our own sin and the Mercy, Forgiveness, Grace and Salvation provided by the Lord Jesus is instantaneous and virtually simultaneous as well. The RR teaches no such thing. It paints the man as a sinner in need of salvation and then offers him cyanide instead of life. "If you are sorry for your sins; if you are sincere enough (how much 'sincerity' is enough?); if you believe with all your heart; if you 'confess' the Lord Jesus with your mouth", etc., etc. "then you will be saved." What a neat little formula; what a deadly lie, all based on the 'proper response' to questions and edicts from the so-called counselor. Since when is it the 'preacher's/evangelist's authority to pronounce anyone "saved?" Sounds like a little pope. If the RR is such an iron clad formula to God and salvation why do the vast majority (all?) have doubts (justifiable doubts) some time down the road? Why this need to "rededicate" one's life to God again, and again, and again? Who are such people trying to convince, their peers or themselves? As with everything that springs from the will of man, the ego must be fed, often.

The deceit of this Roman Road is further exacerbate by what is left out. Beginning in Rom. 3:10 and jumping to v.23 leaves out a world of very vital information that is key to the salvation of man as well as the knowledge of the Character of God Himself. [To leave out verses 10-18 lays the ground work for salvation by the will of man to become plausible, doable, and even the only route available.]If the very next verse were read it would destroy the rest of the RR and that is precisely why v.11 is excluded: "There is none who understands; THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS AFTER GOD." Read this and the house of cards comes down---hard. The entire premise of the RR is that man can seek, find, and manipulate God to his way of thinking (just like Cain tried to do). To find any modern day (hireling) preacher to speak on verses 10-18 of Rom. is pretty much impossible. Yet it is a perfect description of lost humanity; a perfect description of the Laodicean church in today's world. "There is no fear of God before their eyes."

So what is the remedy? Trash the Roman Road. Tell people that there is One God (Eph. 4:6), who is Holy and He demands holiness from His creatures (Rev. 4:8 & Heb. 12:14). He is Righteous and requires the same of His creatures (1 John 2:1 & Rom. 5:17-19). God commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30). And whatever else seems appropriate, remembering it is the exclusive task of the Holy Spirit to bring to the Lord those whom He has chosen. He will do His job with perfection. Ours is only to preach the Word.

The Deception of Free Will Salvation

The current battle climate for the Truth, the Faith, and the souls of men is basically the same as it was 500 years ago when Luther boldly opposed the heresies of Rome; when some fifty million were murdered by Rome for not capitulating to the edicts of the devil during the Crusades; and even as far back as when Cain murdered his brother Abel because he could not manipulate God into accepting his unacceptable offering. Our necks may not be on the line---yet---but character assassination is very much alive and well when one dares to defend the faith once for all delivered to the saints, Jude 3. But what else can the genuine believer do, resort to silence in the face of the mockery directed toward his Savior? May it never be so!

Matt. 13:24-30 gives a most accurate depiction of today's (and yesterday's) condition of Christendom: false 'brethren' planted by the enemy of Christ in an attempt to stunt the growth of the redeemed by sucking all the nutrients from the ground as the fake grows along side the real. The fake not only grow but multiply and surround the genuine hoping to choke the life out of him, first by silencing his voice with the end game being some sort of public humiliation where he is expected to slink off into obscurity with his tail tucked between his legs like a defeated dog. That is the mind set of those who oppose the Lord and His doctrines of grace, opting rather for a 'salvation' on their own terms ('free will choice'). There are many references to false brethren in the NT. Beginning with Acts 20:27-31 we find Paul warning those in Ephesus that "tares" or false (unsaved) brethren would arise from their own ranks---first century 'church members'---"speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after themselves." I have yet to hear or read a free will proponent seek to glorify the Lord Jesus for the salvation they supposedly possess but will always, without fail or exception, glorify themselves and the "choice" they made by their own "free" will. Idolatry is just about as perverse as one can get, surpassed only by the requisite blasphemy that must accompany the lie of 'salvation' via the choice of man which usurps the Sovereignty of God and replaces it with the fantasy of "free will."

Another reference is found in Gal. 2:1-10 where Paul speaks of "false brethren secretly brought in..." whose aim was to subjugate the brethren back under the law and circumcision which would negate the sufficiency of the Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus by adding to it. The same thing is happening today with the Arminian crowd who flatly state that the Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus only opens the door for a man to be able to choose salvation (or not) by an act of his will. This they boldly claim despite the dozens (hundreds) of verse that state the precise opposite (Acts 13:48; John 15:16 and 1:13 for starters). Further in Gal. 2:4 Paul says that these false brethren "came in privily" unnoticed for what they are (at first) as they spread their poison that only seeks to diminish the Glory due to the Lord Jesus by whatever heresy is convenient for that day. Peter describes these types as speaking with "great swelling words of vanity" (2 Peter 2:18) and today we find those who speak fluent "Christianese" and are able to recite many a verse that they mutilate in favor of their pet false doctrine, specifically the "free will" of men. For some, whose audience is just as ignorant of Scripture as is their teacher, tenure as the resident false prophet will continue unabated. The few that are exposed for the frauds that they are will unleash a barrage of false accusations, further deceptions and out right lies concerning their detractor. They did it to the Lord Jesus; they will do it to us. As they deem themselves unworthy of eternal life (Acts 13:46) by their constant rebellion, there comes a time when we should simply walk away and 'let them stew in their own juices.' Matt. 15: 1-14 gives us great insight into the mindset of false brethren. They were offended by what Jesus said about them and they will be offended by the Word of God we speak today. Taking any offence to the Word of God is a sure sign of lack of regeneration. He specifically tells His disciples (and us) to "Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind..." v.14.

The current crop of Jesuit inspired Arminian liars have zero fear of God on any level; this is reflected in their constant attacks upon His Word and even His Integrity as with no shame or guilt whatsoever they will call the Lord Jesus a liar, negate and redact His Word from the minds of those who listen to them and say whatever is necessary to win a new convert to their perverted ways. And yet, they claim to be "Christian"---another lie to their credit. Instead of reading Rom. 9:13 with fear they brazenly call the Lord God a liar by saying that God loves all of mankind and demands that those who dare speak the truth about the salvation purchased for His elect only are "unloving" "mean-spirited", blah, blah, blah. They further demand their version of "unity" no matter the cost inflicted to the Truth of the Word of God. They expect us to succumb to the same demons that have attached themselves to these false brethren and make an alliance with them to dethrone Almighty God from His rightful place as Sovereign of all (2 Cor. 6:14-18).

"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME." Every time anyone declares that they have gained "salvation" by an act of their "free will" they have broken this First of the Ten Commandments. It's bad enough to call the Lord Jesus a liar when He said "You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you" (John 15:16) when one says that he was saved because he chose to be via his free will; it is much worse to elevate one's self onto the Throne of God and declare one's self to be "saved" by your own choice thereby totally negating the necessity of Grace in order to be born again. It is interesting that the "free-willies" (as Lyn would say) never speak of being "born again", nor do they mention 'by the Spirit of God', they only claim "salvation" as acquired by an act of their will in complete opposition to John 1:13 and other verses.

Heresy must be stacked upon heresy in order for this lie of free will to "work" in the minds of those that believe it and preach it. Every good Arminian will tell you that salvation can be lost at any point due to some unnamed sin. Some are even more bold to say that a man can "opt out of salvation", choosing to spend eternity in hell rather than heaven [you can't make this stuff up, this is no joke]. What ever the cause of "lost salvation" may be it is yet another lie in the growing list. Eph. 1:13 &14 speak in direct opposition to this nonsense: "In whom you also trusted, after you heard the Word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, YOU WERE SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of the glory of His grace." Would a man be so bold as to blaspheme the Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit by saying that a mere pile of dust can break the seal set on the redeemed by a simple thought? That is EXACTLY what they so impudently declare. Notice the last phrase in V.14; does it say 'to the praise of the glory of man's free will?' Not hardly! " the praise of the glory of His GRACE" It takes a huge and demented ego to think that a thought conjured up in the mind of a man can sway the predestined choice of God in his favor. It is the very epitome of arrogance, self-love, and idolatry. If a man thinks himself capable of approaching God, choosing God, and acquiring salvation by his own thought, then that man has no need of Grace; and if he has no need of Grace, he IS NOT saved, he IS NOT born again, he IS NOT regenerate as Scripture plainly declares.

Another fantasy of the Jesuit/Arminian/free will crowd is universalism where, when all is said and done, every man who ever lived for all time will end up in heaven. Again, they insolently and with zero fear of God call the Lord Jesus a lair. Although there are many verses that speak to this, Matt. 7:13-23 is sufficient to prove beyond shadow of doubt the fallacy of universalism. The wide gate leading to 'destruction' speaks in terms of eternity, not temporal; the narrow gate speaks of life in eternal terms as well. Interestingly, v. 15-20 speaks of false prophets, who hawk their wares without fear or regard for the truth. Verses 21-23 declare the end state of those that promote, teach, and demand adherence to their false doctrine of salvation by the will of man: banishment from the presence of the Lord, eternal, permanent, and without appeal. A heavy price to pay for idol worship. It is the same price exacted from their father, the devil, who was a murderer from the beginning and a liar and the father of it.

May the Word of the Lord burn within our hearts and words of praise for Him not be in short supply.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

John Wesley, hero or heretic?

This is an example of the 'fruit' of the free will gospel, which is accursed...

In a letter to his brother Charles in June 1766, the Arminian evangelist John Wesley, now in his sixties, confesses that he does not and never did love God, believe or have the direct witness of divine sonship or even of things invisible or eternal. Read for yourself.
"In one of my last [letters] I was saying that I do not feel the wrath of God abiding on me; nor can I believe it does. And yet (this is the mystery), I do not love God. I never did. Therefore I never believed, in the Christian sense of the word. Therefore I am only an honest heathen…

And yet, to be so employed of God! And so hedged in that I can neither get forward nor backward! Surely there was never such an instance before, from the beginning of the world! If I ever have had that faith, it would not be so strange. But I never had any other evidence of the eternal or invisible world than I have now; and that is none at all, unless such as faintly shines from reason’s glimmering ray. I have no direct witness (I do not say, that I am a child of God, but) of anything invisible or eternal."

"And yet I dare not preach otherwise than I do, either concerning faith, or love, or justification, or perfection. And yet I find rather an increase than a decrease of zeal for the whole work of God and every part of it. I am borne along, I know not how, that I can’t stand still. I want all the world to come to what I do not know."

"Wesley’s ecumenical approach toward Romanism is also overlooked and can best be appreciated by Wesley’s own correspondence to a Roman Catholic, 'Let the points wherein we differ stand aside; here are enough wherein we agree, enough to be the ground of every Christian temper, and of every Christian action. O brethren, let us not still fall out by the way.'"

Concerning women preachers, Wesley wrote  the Manchester Conference in 1787 that we should 'give the right hand of fellowship to Sarah Mallet, and have no objection of her being a Preacher in our connexion…'


Sunday, September 17, 2017

The path of the scissors

(Lewis Bayly, "The Practice of Piety" 1611)

"For who makes you to differ from another? And what do you have, that you did not receive?" 1 Corinthians 4:7

We are all . . .
  fashioned from the same mold,
  hewed out of the same rock,
  made as it were, of the same cloth--the path of the scissors making the only difference between one person an another. It is therefore only the sovereign love and grace of God, which makes all the difference between us.

No believer should ever insolently demean the unsaved, who, like miserable drudges, allow their corrupt nature to carry them to any villainy, lust, or lewd course; and who damn themselves in the devil's slavery!

Alas! our hearts should bleed within us at beholding so many around us imbruing their cruel hands in the blood of their own souls--by their ignorance, worldliness, drunkenness, lust, unbelief and scoffing at true religion.

What heart, except it be hewed out of the hardest rock, or has sucked the bosom of merciless tigers; but would yearn and weep to see a man made of the same mold with himself, willfully, as it were, against a thousand warnings, and God's many compassionate invitations--cast himself, body and soul, into the endless, easeless, and remediless miseries of Hell? We should the rather pity and pray for such a one who follows the bent of his own evil heart--to his own everlasting perdition!

It is only the sovereign mercy, goodness, and grace of God which has made the difference between them and us. If God should give us over to the unbridled current of our corrupt nature--we might be worse than them, and run riot in this world of wickedness. If the same God visits them in mercy--they may become every way as godly, or better than us!

"By the grace of God I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10
   ~  ~  ~  ~

Take heed

“Take heed what you hear” and read! More than forty years ago the saintly Adolph Saphir wrote, “I think the fewer books we read—the better. It is like times of cholera, when we should only drink filtered water.” What would he say if he were on earth today and glanced over the deadly poison sent forth by the heterodox, and the lifeless rubbish put out by the orthodox? Christian reader, if you value the health of your soul, cease hearing and quit reading all that is lifeless, unctionless, powerless, no matter what prominent or popular name be attached thereto. Life is too short to waste valuable time on that which does not profit. Ninety-nine out of every hundred of the religious books, booklets, and magazines now being published, are not worth the paper on which they are printed!

To turn away from the lifeless preachers and publishers of the day—may involve a real cross. Your motives will be misconstrued, your words perverted, and your actions misinterpreted. The sharp arrows of false report will be directed against you. You will be called proud and self-righteous, because you refuse to fellowship empty professors. You will be termed censorious and bitter—if you condemn in plain speech—the subtle delusions of Satan. You will be dubbed narrow-minded and uncharitable, because you refuse to join in singing the praises of the “great” and “popular” men of the day. More and more, you will be made to painfully realize—that the path which leads unto eternal life is “narrow” and that FEW there are who find it. May the Lord be pleased to grant unto each of us—the hearing ear and obedient heart! “Take heed what you hear” and read!
– A.W. Pink (1886 ~ 1952) 

Mortifying the flesh

Romans 8:13- “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” 
Colossians 3:5- “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” 
Galatians 5:24- “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

1. There are those who see mortifying the flesh as a WORK of man by way of penance before God, or of somehow improving the flesh so as to sin less and less.

2. There are those who see mortifying the flesh as a COOPERATION between the sinner and the Spirit, as a work that the Spirit brings the sinner to do, as if the sinner is able somehow to perform surgery on themselves and rid themselves of this sin or that.
3. There are those who see mortifying the flesh as THE GRACE of God, by the Spirit of God teaching the sinner to put NO CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH (Philippians 3:3) and to look to the LORD Jesus Christ alone, the CRUCIFIED ONE (Hebrews 12:1,2) and not to attempt to take on the flesh ourselves. (Galatians 2:20).
   What is the proper understanding of the Scriptural command to mortify the flesh? The first two views are contrary to what the Scriptures teach and an affront to the finished WORK OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST at the cross. The GRACE of God alone, by the Spirit’s work in the child of God, causes them to look to the LORD Jesus Christ alone. He died, rose again, ascended on High, and is now seated as GREAT HIGH PRIEST and therefore regenerated sinners consider HIM and HIS FINISHED WORK ALONE, as their only HOPE (Hebrews 4:15, 16).
   This matter of mortifying the flesh is not the putting to death this sin or that sin, but rather the considering of all that pertains to the flesh as ALREADY crucified with Christ. The word mortification, ‘mort’ in French, means DEAD, not dying. It does not say to ‘kill’ the flesh, but rather it is considering (reckoning) anything to do with this flesh to be as dead already (resulting from Christ’s death), and therefore NOT to take it on at all. The Spirit NEVER draws the sinner to the flesh in ANY way, whether to fight it, or try to deal with it ourselves, or in cooperation with Him, as if it were some sort of joint work together. The Spirit causes the saved sinner to see himself as absolutely wretched in view of God's holiness and UNABLE, like a leopard, to change one spot. Therefore, mortification, is to look upon anything in your flesh as dead and deadly, wretched, and condemnable.That self-same Spirit of Grace, causes you to look outside yourself, to the LORD Jesus Christ and His finished work ALONE.
   To think that the sinner can change the flesh and make it ‘better’ in any way, outside of the completed work of Christ ALONE, is a deadly poison and error. When one presents this work of sanctification and mortification of the flesh as being their work in cooperation with the work of the Spirit, the outcome will always be more sin, death and condemnation.
   The Scriptures teach that sanctification is the LORD's work from beginning to end. (1 Thessalonians 5:23). To grow in Grace is to grow in my need of His Grace, as He continually shows us our sinfulness, and draws our hearts again and again to the LORD Jesus Christ, and gives us that cry as that needy sinner, “Be merciful to me a sinner”(Luke 18:13).                       Ken Wimer

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Recovering the Gospel

“A half truth masquerading as the whole truth becomes a complete untruth”
There is a desperate need to recover the Gospel!
The gospel of man’s natural inability to believe, God’s electing grace in Christ being the cause of salvation and, of Christ dying only for the elect, those whom He calls his sheep.
The Gospel of the Holy Spirit calling and regenerating those for whom Christ’s died and, those called will persevere until Christ calls them home to Himself.
The reason we need a recovering of the Gospel is because of the absolute falseness of “today’s gospel” that is being propagated by the majority of so-called preachers. They constantly appeal to men as if they had the ability to receive Christ at any time. They speak of His redeeming work as if He had done no more by dying than to make salvation possible for us to save ourselves by believing. God’s love is presented as no more then a general willingness to receive any that will turn and trust. The Father and the Son are preached, not as sovereignly active in bringing sinners to themselves, but waiting “impotently at the door of man hearts” for someone to let them in.
Why would someone preach such an impotent gospel and impotent god who cannot save without our willingness and co-operation?
I know why!
It is all they know.
O God give us a recovery of the Gospel of the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ. The Gospel that gives all the glory to the Godhead in the salvation of elect sinners.
By Donald Bell


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

what is ours

Until we come to heaven the world is ours, the good and evil of it, the bitter and the sweet of it, the comforts and the crosses of it, the gains and the losses of it, the love and the hate of it, the smiles and the frowns, the friends and the foes in it. All is designed for, and shall further promote our spiritual and eternal welfare. Life is ours. All the troubles, sickness pains, evil tidings, persecutions, disappointments, losses of relations, shame, reproach, or whatever attends this mortal life, shall be sanctified and blessed to us for our good. Yea, death is ours, that shall be our advantage, our gain, that shall put a full end and period to all our sin and suffering, and be a door of entrance for us into glory in our Father's house. Our things present, our present tears, sorrows, miseries, infirmities, shall be so ordered and over-ruled by the wisdom and love of our Father, that they shall all help us onward to Heaven. Things to come are ours, all that glory to be revealed, that saints' everlasting rest that is prepared for the people of God, that crown of righteousness, of glory, and of life. That kingdom of glory, that unspeakable, that inconceivable state of happiness and blessedness which Christ our lord hath purchased with his blood, all this is ours also. 


Sunday, September 10, 2017

The great Evangelical disaster

Francis A. Schaeffer

What Matters?
Time magazine recently published a special sixtieth anniversary edition with the title “The Most Amazing 60 Years.” In recalling the world into which Time was born, this special issue began with the words: “The atom was unsplit. So were most marriages.” Here two things occurring in our era are properly brought together — one, the scientific technological explosion; and two, a moral breakdown. It is not just by accident that these two things have happened simultaneously. There is something which lies behind both phenomena, and in recognizing this Time really has shown amazing comprehension.
The Quest for Autonomy
Something happened during the last sixty years—something which cut the moral foundation out from under our culture. Devastating things have come in every area of culture, whether it be law or government, whether it is in the schools, our local communities or in the family. And these have happened within the lifetime of many who are reading this book. Our culture has been squandered and lost, and largely thrown away. Indeed, to call it a moral breakdown puts it mildly. Morality itself has been turned on its head with every form of moral perversion being praised and glorified in the media and the world of entertainment.
How can we make sense of what has happened? In the main essay of this special edition Time offers an explanation. The essay, entitled “What really mattered?” suggests: “To determine what really mattered in this jumble [of events] seems to require a sense of something beyond the particulars.” We will need, Time says, to discover the “idea characterizing [our] age.”
Time is quite right in this. In order to make sense of these last sixty years, and equally in order to understand the present and how we as Christians are to live today, we will need to understand the idea of our age—or what we might call the spirit of the times which has transformed our culture so radically since the 1920s. This idea, this spirit, Time says, has been the idea of “freedom”—not just freedom as an abstract ideal, or in the sense of being free from injustice, but freedom in an absolute sense:
The fundamental idea that America represented corresponded to the values of the times. America was not merely free; it was freed, unshackled. The image was of something previously held in check, an explosive force of a country that moved about in random particles of energy yet at the same time gained power and prospered. To be free was to be modern; to be modern was to take chances. The American century was to be the century of unleashing, of breaking away, at first from the 19th century (as Freud, Proust, Einstein and others had done), and eventually from any constraints at all.
Further along in the same essay Time comments: “Behind most of these events lay the assumption, almost a moral imperative, that what was not free ought to be free, that limits were intrinsically evil,” and that science should go wherever it pleases in a spirit of “self-confident autonomy.”But, as Time concludes, “when people or ideas are unfettered, they are freed but not yet free.”
Form and Freedom
Here the problem of the 1920s to the 1980s is properly spelled out. It is the attempt to have absolute freedom—to be totally autonomous from any intrinsic limits. It is the attempt to throw off anything that would restrain one’s own personal autonomy. But it is especially a direct and deliberate rebellion against God and his law.
In this essay Time has given that which indeed is central, namely the problem of form and freedom. It is a problem which every culture from the beginning of history has had to confront. The problem is this: If there is not a proper balance between form and freedom, then the society will move into either of two extremes. Freedom, without a proper balance of form, will lead to chaos and to the total breakdown of society. Form, without a proper balance of freedom, will lead to authoritarianism, and to the destruction of individual and social freedom. But note further no society can exist in a state of chaos. And whenever chaos has reigned for even a short time, it has given birth to the imposition of arbitrary control.
In our own country we have enjoyed enormous human freedom. But at the same time this freedom has been founded upon forms of government, law, culture, and social morality which have given stability to individual and social life, and have kept our freedoms from leading to chaos. There is a balance here between form and freedom which we have come to take as natural in the world. But it is not natural. And we are utterly foolish if we do not recognize that this unique balance which we have inherited from the Reformation thought-forms is not automatic in a fallen world. This is clear when we look at the long span of history. But it is equally clear when we read the daily newspaper and see half the world locked in totalitarian oppression.
The Reformation not only brought forth a clear preaching of the gospel, it also gave shape to society as a whole — including government, how people viewed the world, and the full spectrum of culture. In Northern Europe, and in the countries such as the United States that are extensions of Northern Europe, the Reformation brought with it an enormous increase in knowledge of the Bible which spread through every level of society. This is not to say that the Reformation was ever a “golden age” or that everyone in the Reformation countries were true Christians. But it is clear that through the Reformation many were brought to Christ and that the absolutes of the Bible became widely disseminated in the culture as a whole. The freedoms which grew out of this were tremendous; and yet, with the forms grounded in a biblical consensus or ethos,6 the freedoms did not lead to chaos.
But something has happened in the last sixty years. The freedom that once was founded on a biblical consensus and a Christian ethos has now become autonomous freedom, cut loose from all constraints. Here we have the world spirit of our age—autonomous Man setting himself up as God, in defiance of the knowledge and the moral and spiritual truth which God has given. Here is the reason why we have a moral breakdown in every area of life. The titanic freedoms which we once enjoyed have been cut loose from their Christian restraints and are becoming a force of destruction leading to chaos. And when this happens, there really are very few alternatives. All morality becomes relative, law becomes arbitrary, and society moves toward disintegration. In personal and social life, compassion is swallowed up by self-interest. As I have pointed out in my earlier books, when the memory of the Christian consensus which gave us freedom within the biblical form is increasingly forgotten, a manipulating authoritarianism will tend to fill the vacuum. At this point the words “right” and “left” will make little difference. They are only two roads to the same end; the results are the same. An elite, an authoritarianism as such, will gradually force on society so that it will not go into chaos—and most people would accept it.

The terror of the Lord

by John H. Gerstner

Paul preached: “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord we persuade men. (2 Cor. 5:11) I am constantly impressed that we hear little or nothing of the terror of the Lord except in some fundamentalistic groups. By contrast, in Jonathan Edwards’ Northampton congregation (1726-1750), where there was little or no open or gross vice, the people heard of it, constantly being warned that all were in danger of hell unless they were born again. In one sermon preached in May 1741, for example, he said: “I don’t desire to go about to terrify you needlessly or represent your case worse than it is, but I do verily think that there are a number of people belonging to this congregation in imminent danger of being damned to all eternity.”
I have been reading in “Dear Abby,” as well as her sister and many other pop counselors, of the numerous reports of promiscuous sex in many college dormitories today. The parents who wrote protested the veritable brothel conditions not befitting disreputable hotels. That such behavior guaranteed eternal damnation is never reported by the counsellors. The “terror of the Lord” does not exist for our culture generally, in spite of the wide-spread profession of belief in God. Yet someone has written that if God does not judge us, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah
Very recently a Gallup poll listed the percentage of students who engaged in promiscuous sex: the percentage of Roman Catholics, the percentage of Protestants, and the percentage of evangelical students. Even approximately twenty percent of evangelicals think they can be evangelical and live in disobedience to Christ. The terror of the Lord doesn’t even frighten them. America’s best known business man, Donald Trump, alleges the corrupt maneuvering for personal gain of most of the very rich. Fear of the Lord seems to be nowhere evident in high finance.
In sophisticated religious journals, the terror of the Lord comes in only if it is the subject of some research (usually trying to downplay it). It is not surprising that one of my typists (a conservative Christian herself), doing work for me on Jonathan Edwards, found him “stuck in some kind of rut” on the hell theme. Once I preached a half-hour sermon on “The Love of Enemies” in which I made a one-sentence reference to hell. A parishioner on the way out said we ought to hear more sermons like that about hell!
Surely if Christianity be true, Christians everywhere will be trying to persuade their friends to avoid the terror of the Lord. If they are never doing so, is it conceivable that they are Christians themselves?
Knowing only Christ and Him crucified is the corollary of knowing the terror of the Lord and persuading men. The only thing that will save women and men from the terror of the Lord is the cross of the Lord. But it is usually the terror of the Lord that first brings them to consider the cross of the Lord. If men do not fear the terror of the Lord they must experience that terror. If you are not afraid of hell, you are almost certainly going there. You will then never doubt it again.
Is it conceivable that there are Christians who do not believe in hell? Some think they are Christians precisely because they reject hell! Their God could never send human beings to eternal torment, they say. Their God would be in eternal torment if He did that to one human wretch, or, as some say, to a dog. So it is hardly conceivable to them that men are Christians who do believe in hell. However, their God, who is incapable of inflicting such punishment, is not the God and Father of Jesus Christ who teaches hell as do His appointed apostles.
How do you persuade men? If you prove hell to sinful men, you persuade them to flee from it. Why, then, was John the Baptist cynical about the multitudes who fled the wrath of God?
Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid to the root of the trees: every tree therefore which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.
They apparently believed in hell. Why was John cynical? Because they thought that they were not sinful men and had no need to flee. Men usually think they are not sinful (“We have Abraham to our father”). They do what is right in their eyes, Judges 17:6. What they do is right. Why should the terror of the Lord terrify those who are righteous? Because, said John, you are not righteous as you think. How do you know, John, since they say that they are? Ought they not to know about themselves better than you? John: what they are claiming is righteousness stinks.
If there is no bad news there cannot be any good news. The good news is deliverance from the bad news. We are all born on the road to destruction. The good news is that we can be delivered from it. If you do not believe you are on the way to hell, how can you be interested in the good news of deliverance from it? Look at “salvation” today. It is freedom from life’s frustrations. We are saved from our narrowness and anxieties. We learn to live with doubts and fears. We take pills to relieve our pressures. That’s our gospel. Ann Landers is our savior and, if she can’t do her job, her sister will. Or if you have more educated sicknesses, get the local psychiatrist.
What a day! Take hell. Take heaven. Take sin. Take salvation. Children’s games. Most of what we think and do are diversions from a real hell to which all out of Christ are moving steadily and moving relentlessly. No doubt, horror books and movies are popular with many because they are fictional substitutes for their discarded real hell. In comparison with the real hell, Stephen King’s most frightening tales are amusing. Christ tells us most about hell. and He is the one we use to assure ourselves that there is no hell. The true Jesus warns us that if we do not repent we will surely perish, but He is made to say that God is our heavenly Father whether we repent or not, whether we are true Christians or not.
Many want little pagan children in public schools to say “Our Father who art in heaven . . .” while their father is in hell, and they are on their way to join their father unless they repent. Jesus said to the most orthodox religious leaders of His day: “you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell? (Matt.23:33) We let everyone, including irreligious, wicked persons (whose only use for Christ is to provide a profane vocabulary), escape the damnation of hell. Indeed, we assure them that there is no hell no matter how much they deserve it. All this and annihilation, too.
Christ tells us not to fear those who can destroy the body, but “fear Him who can destroy body and soul in hell. (Matt. 10:28) We fear the mafia, and even the boss who can only take our job and not our life, but God? Who is afraid of God?
The only one we should fear is the One we never do fear. God may not even be, but if He is, one thing is sure, He need never be feared. “God-fearing” is a bad word today. He could not send anyone to hell even if He wanted to. His mercy has His hands of holy wrath tied behind His back. Fear Him who can destroy the body (that’s the only hell there ever is), but never, never fear God who cannot destroy the soul, not to mention the body, not to think of “in hell.” All this is constantly being said in the name of Jesus Christ.
Christ warns men of the hell where “the worm dies not and the fire is not quenched,” (Mark 9:44,46). For contemporary Christians, Christ’s hell-preaching is not “Christian.” The church of Christ simply will not let Christ say such things; the fact that He does, notwithstanding.
Don’t act from fear of punishment or desire of reward, men say. Act morally, men say. Do not consider consequences, men say. Don’t be afraid of hell or desirous of heaven, men say. How unethical Christ is who teaches us to lay up treasure in heaven (Matt. 6:20), and, to make matters worse, asks: “what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? (Mark 8:36)
Rewards and punishments — the destruction of true morality, say the ethicists. The foundations of it, says Jesus Christ. If you do things to avoid punishment or gain praise, you are not doing things because they are right, but because of their consequences. You are not acting for virtue’s sake but for what you get out of virtue. Not for virtue but for virtue’s rewards, not for God but for what God gives you. If God gave you nothing, you would not love Him, and if the devil gave you rewards, you would worship him.
Strangely, Christ says the same thing. Those who claimed to have done “mighty works” in His name, He dismissed as not being “known” by Him (Matt.7:23). They had done these mighty works in His name for rewards in the Day of Judgment, but not for His sake. So they received no reward but only punishment. They had not laid up treasure in heaven but punishment in hell.
Christ had told them to work for reward and to avoid punishment and they had not done so. You say, that is just what they did do and Christ disowned them. He seems to have rejected His own ethic.
Not quite. Christ taught that what ever is done “in His name (Mark 9:41) has its rewards. So if a person is interested in reward, he will act in Christ’s name. He aims at Christ’s name (or glory), not at reward, and he receives both. He aims at reward and not Christ’s glory and he receives neither.
That is Christ’s ethic, but rarely today is it the “Christian” ethic, even among the sophisticates.
Jesus Christ was a “scare” theologian. He was not afraid of making people afraid. It was Paul’s knowing the terror of the Lord that led him to persuade people to seek the Lord. The Lord was not only a Scare Preacher, but He is the One of whom people should be afraid. He is an angry God and He has the whole world in His hands. So when Jonathan Edwards preached about “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” he was only echoing His Lord.
What is wrong with scare preaching? The reason people give for condemning scare preaching, in which their Lord engaged, is usually that frightened people will say or do whatever the threatener asks, regardless of their personal convictions. Scare preaching makes hypocrites of people, or cowards. If we are afraid of hell, we will do or say anything the threatener requires to escape going there. But what is wrong with doing what the divine Threatener requires? The Judge of heaven and earth cannot do or command anything evil. Whatever He requires is good and proper to do.
Human terrorists use their threats to make you say or do what is against conscience and ought not to be done. So you must resist their threats to the death. It is a sin to fear their threats, Matt. 10:28a, as it is a sin not to fear divine threats, Matt. 10:28b. However, even some human threateners do so in the name of God, Rom. 13:1, and have the same right so to do as God Himself, whom they represent. When the state threatens jail, or worse, for various crimes, it acts under God’s authority. Citizens are to obey it not only for the sword’s sake, but “for conscience’s sake, Rom. 13:5. Parents and other authorities have the same right under God to threaten and to punish.
What does the divine Threatener require to avoid hell, which, as sinners, we all deserve? He commands us to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved! In other words, the divine Threatener provides the damned with a way of salvation and “threatens” them with what is their due if they do not accept His grace which is not their due. Was there ever such a benign threat?
True, you say, but just the same, those who are terrified will say they believe in Christ just to escape hell. Anything to escape hell. Even profess to accept grace for no other reason than to escape hell. People are driven insane with such fear.
But saying you believe in Christ is not what God requires. Saying one believes in Christ never saved anyone from hell. In fact, merely saying one believes in Christ only to escape hell damns hypocrites to a yet hotter hell. So how can saying you believe merely to escape from hell ever help you escape hell? And if it doesn’t, then scare preaching does not produce a hypocritical, cowardly saying anything to escape the threat. As for terror driving people mad, it drives them to sanity. For sinners to eat, drink, and be merry while such living daily heats their hell the more is insane. Scare preaching awakens them to sanity and possible salvation.
What does scare preaching really produce? It produces an awesome, trembling awareness that you must have saving (not saying) faith in Christ. So the frightened ones will try sincerely to believe in Christ and be saved, which is what they ought to do for the glory of God, for the good of their own souls, and for the avoiding of deserved perdition.
When they try truly and soberly to believe in Christ, they discover, to their horror, it is not in them to do so. This is what Christ had been telling them all along. “This is the condemnation that light is come into the world and men loved the darkness rather than the light. (John 3:19) Christ is the Light of the world and these needy sinners hate all light, hate the Light especially, whom they must love (as they ought), if they would be saved! if they must believe to be saved and they do not have this faith, and cannot have it when their own hearts hate Christ, where in the world are they to get it? Nowhere in the world or in themselves. Where, then? Only from God Himself. Only from the Threatener Himself! Only by His — if He pleases to bestow it — sovereign mercy!
The evangelistic situation is this:
  1. The sinner is threatened with the horrible hell he so justly deserves unless he accepts Christ’s undeserved salvation.
  2. But he hates the Christ who alone can save him.
  3. That hatred can only be removed, and a believing heart bestowed in its place, by sovereign divine mercy.
  4. So the sinner must seek God’s mercy, which will come, if God pleases, only by divine regeneration.
The effect of biblical scare preaching is, therefore, to set a sinner seeking salvation, and not saying he has found it until he has. He will not lie to save himself, knowing that would only aggravate his damnation. As a sinner set in the ways of sin, he is very unlikely to seek God at all unless he is afraid not to. No one is ever scared into heaven, but very few have ever gone to heaven who have not first been afraid of going to hell. In a word, scare preaching is to produce: not salvation, but the seeking of salvation.
Granted that impenitent, mature sinners must be shown the terror of the Lord. What about children and church members? None of these should be threatened if there is reason to believe that they have been born again, for in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation, Rom.8:1-3, no hell.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.
But being a child, or being a church member, is no proof that one is born again. Knowing the terror of the Lord, we should try to persuade both to seek the Lord. In fact, no period of life is so hopeful as the first period. Children are much more likely to believe their parents, pastors, and friends than when they become older; except, perhaps, when they are on their death-bed (when it’s often too late to seek God).
Why, then, do so many vehemently oppose frightening children? They don’t. They scare children away from fire, from electric sockets, from poisonous drinks or pills, from snakes, from certain toys, from anything that threatens them.
Why, then, do almost all seem to oppose frightening children with hell? The answer is obvious: they wrongly fancy that children are not in danger of hell. Can you imagine that a mother who would give her own life to save her child’s wouldn’t do everything to save her child from hell if she knew there was any danger?
There are three imagined reasons for supposing that children are in no danger of hell. Some think children are innocent of sin and guilt. Some admit that they are not innocent, but are saved from sin by being born again in infant baptism. Some fancy that though little sinners, not regenerated in baptism, children are, nonetheless, safe in the covenant of grace.
Infants are not innocent, but born in guilt and sin. Paul says we were all born dead in trespasses and sins, Eph.2:1. In Adam, in whom children are born, all died, Rom. 5:12. Only “in Christ (in whom all need to be reborn), are all made alive. (1 Cor. 15:22) So until children are born again, they are in imminent peril of eternal damnation and should be made aware of it as soon as possible.
This is not to deny that some infants may have been born again even in the womb before they have been born into this world. That seems to be true of John the Baptist (Luke 1:41) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5). We only know that, however, from divine revelation. There is no such revelation for all children. We must assume that they have not been born again, since we do not know that they have been and we do know that they are conceived dead, Ps.51:5. In any and all cases, no infant was ever born innocent except the Virgin-born One.
I may relate here my experience with a church which asked me if I — in the absence of a resident pastor — would baptize a child of two of their members. I assured them I would be happy to do so. Then I was asked if I minded following the congregation’s practice of using a white carnation with which to apply the water. Rather than saying that I did mind, I asked the elder, “What is the meaning of the white carnation?” He explained that it is to “show the child’s innocence.” I then asked, “What is the meaning of the water?” He explained that it is to symbolize the washing away of the child’s sin — but he couldn’t finish the sentence, realizing the absurdity. How could one use a symbol of innocence to apply the symbol of guilt and cleansing? Children are not innocent, but guilty by nature as their parents before them. And the wages of sin is eternal death, Rom.6:23. Children must be warned as we lovingly teach them “their lost condition by nature.”
Infant baptism does not bring regeneration. Children’s guilt is not washed away by water as natural dirt is. Since the Protestant Church almost everywhere denies baptismal regeneration, I think it unnecessary to prove it here where space is at a premium.
Some Reformed people are, however, inclined to believe that the covenant of grace, made between God and believers, includes the election of the believer’s children. One Reformed theologian, however, who heard of Jonathan Edwards’ referring to his unconverted children (virtually all of whom, incidentally, were in youth wonderfully converted), as “little vipers,” reacted strongly saying, “They may be little vipers, but they are in ‘covenantal diapers.’” He did not explain, but apparently meant that though covenant children are born as little sinners, they are born in the covenant of grace.
I cannot here enter into a discussion of covenant theology in relation to infants of professed believers. Sufficient to say that descendancy from Christians does not guarantee the genes of faith. Ishmael and Isaac were both descended from Abraham. Both were circumcised, according to covenant. One later had faith. The other never did. Jacob and Esau were both descended from Isaac. Both were circumcised, according to covenant. One later had faith. The other never did. All children of a believer are “holy” (1 Cor. 7:14). All are baptized. Some later have faith. Others never do.
It is clear that all children are born dead in sin and must be assumed to continue such, facing the “terror of the Lord” until they are born again. Parents, pastors, and all Christians are obliged to seek salvation for and with them until they clearly believe or clearly refuse to believe. There is no single person, except the one who is clearly converted by God or damned forever by the unpardonable sin, who should not be persuaded of the terror of the Lord, as well as the possible mercy of the Lord.
The best-known and best-hated sermon in American history is “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” It was one of Edwards’ less terrifying sermons. There is no record of its awesome effects when it was first preached in Northampton, the home church; but only when repeated by the itinerating Edwards in Enfield, Connecticut, July 8, 1741.
Surely “The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners” was more frightening, and Edwards himself thought that God had honored it more in its effects. I find Matthew 25:46’s sermon, in which Edwards annihilated annihilation and goes into detail about what the Lord means when He says “These shall go away into everlasting punishment” more terrible, and the Romans 2:4 sermon dealing with the heaping up of wrath in this world for the judgment in the next the most terrible of all.
The great contemporary effort to introduce Edwards to the learned by the learned does not deny the minatory sermons, but hastily tries to show the cultured despisers of Calvinism that there was more to Edwards’ preaching than God the Holy Terror.
Edwards got heat in his own generation for his hell-fire preaching. He had to ask his generation, as we ours, don’t you warn people when their house is on fire to get out or be burned alive? Is that so unfriendly? Of course, that was the problem with some then and almost all now: they cannot believe that their spiritual house is on fire.
Edwards proved it to them then and, thanks to his “cultured despisers,” is trying to prove it to us today. The Yale University Press publication of his Works is getting some highly educated people to read the fiery Puritan who would not “waste their time” otherwise.
As a matter of fact, possibly Edwards was most frightening when he stopped preaching for a few minutes and addressed the doubters in his own congregation. He would say something like this: There are some among you who do not believe the Bible when it says these awful things about hell. Let me show you that reason teaches the same doctrine.” Then the finest philosopher-theologian in American history would prove it to their secular minds as they sat brazen or sank frozen into their hard pews.
Was Edwards a “scare preacher?” Of course. Was he hoping to scare people into the Kingdom of God? Of course not. Why, then, the scare preaching? Two reasons:
  1. God, in His Word, is a Scare Preacher;
  2. The fear of hell is the only thing most likely to get worldly people thinking about the Kingdom of God. No rational human being can be convinced that he is in imminent danger of everlasting torment and do nothing about it. But, you say, there are many now, and were even in Edwards’ day, who fear hell, or say they do, and yet don’t believe or seek the gift of faith. That is true, but, as we say, that only proves that they are no longer “rational human beings.”
Did Edwards’ scare theology get worldly people thinking about the Kingdom of God? More than that. It got them seeking the Kingdom of God.