Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Emergent Monday - How To Hijack A Church

Chuck Smith
June 25, 1927 – October 3, 2013
Say what you will about Calvary Chapel, and I'm sure there's enough criticism for any institution that involves sinful mankind, but when have you ever seen a church adopt a preaching style that encopasses the bible cover to cover, chapter by chapter, verse by verse? It's a beautiful, God worshiping, Holy Spirit praising thing when a church admits that it's God that sets the agenda and not the pastor.

I personally believe that Calvary Chapel founder Chuck Smith put far too much emphasis on pretribulation but that's just me. I love his emphasis and his love for the principle of sola scriptura. Yes, Calvary Chapel depended heavily on contemporary music, but Chuck always made room for good ol' fashion, God worshiping hymns.

Calvary Chapel is near to my heart mostly because it's the church of choice for my wife who is nearer and dearer to my heart, and if we were not already involved in a wonderful God praising small church we would be attending a Calvary Chapel... that is until this whole thing started.

I think what caused it all was that Calvary Chapel got unfortunately huge... very huge. I say unfortunately because I believe that small churches are the best churches. Small churches attract small congregations and tend to stick by their beliefs. Meanwhile huge churches attract huge sums of money along with the people needed to carry it in the door, and that can be addictive. Big congregations need more staff, and big beautiful buildings, and before you know it you're hiring the cast of a broadway musical for your "worship" team.

Calvary Chapel got big - tv stations, radio stations, big beautiful buildings, and not to mention the intellectual property (i.e. books, sermon tapes, etc) which handled properly is a fantastic source of income. Not long after Chuck died of complications from cancer a power struggle broke out for leadership of Calvary Chapel. There were recriminations, accusations and lawsuits, and in the end Brian Brodersen, Chuck's son-in-law ended up at the top of the smoldering heap and all that money.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Random Bits

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
If designers can deny the right to serve someone because of that person's beliefs, why can't Christians?

I'm from Buffalo, and while winning isn't big in Buffalo, football is huge. What can I say? We love our Bills. We love our Broncos here in Denver too, and an early game here in the Mountain time zone means that kickoff occurs in the middle of an awfully good sermon. I just mention this to show you what happens in Dallas on a Sunday

Doing liturgical this year? Triablogue has a massive list of Christmas resources for 2016

The difference between Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism is the distance between heaven and hell.

An arsonist set fire to a pro-life ministry in Albuquerque

Tullian Tchividjian, the Rev. Billy Graham's grandson who lost his church and wife last summer to an adultery scandal with a new church and a new wife.

Bloomington IN renames Good Friday to "Spring Holiday" There's no truth to the rumor that they renamed Christmas to "Winter Holiday" or "That day with the Tree" but don't put it past them

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

WWUTT Wednesday - Studying Revelation

The Book of Revelation is actually the very first book of the bible I ever read. This was back in the days of the "Late Great Planet Earth" craze when it seemed like everyone was predicting the end of the earth by the year 1988. Exactly five years after the anticipated start date of the Apocalypse I had the honor of studying Genesis (and Ruth) under a Rabbi. 

The name of that class was "The Bible as Literature" because you can't teach "The Bible as God's Word" in a publicly funded University, but you can call it Literature and still teach it as God's word. Personally I suggest everyone take a good long hard study of Genesis (and Ruth) under a Rabbi because that will give you a foundation of Jewish law, and when you understand Jewish law a lot of things in the bible start to make a lot of sense.

For example - ever notice that whenever the ancient Israelites built an altar at a place they would prominently name it? that Adam's first job was to name the animals? that God's acts during creation included naming things like day, night, dark, etc? There is power in naming, it's practically (at the risk of sounding Emergent) Name It and Claim It. Once you understand that there's real power in naming, that white rock we receive in Revelation with our new name on it suddenly becomes a very Big Deal.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Random Bits

"I walk through this sinful world as a 
pilgrim in a foreign country" - CH Spurgeon
Church decline is a concern we see all the time, but at the same time some churches are growing. Rick Warren says that the way to fight church decline is to grow the church with more staff, more services, more facilities, more events - a "if you build it, they will come" kind of thing. To me this sounds kind of backwards, much like "Drive defensively - the best defence is a good offence" So a group actually studied churches in decline and compared them with churches that are growing and it turns out that all the bandages that Mr. Warren offers don't even make the list

A survey that was conducted which found that difference between growing and declining churches boils down to doctrine, and the biblical truth that Jesus builds the Church shines brightly here. The researchers found that growing the growing church believes the bible and reads the bible while declining churches show much less faith in the word of God. One finding truly disturbed me: 93% of clergy and 83% of worshippers from growing churches agreed with the statement “Jesus rose from the dead with a real flesh-and-blood body leaving behind an empty tomb”. This compared with 67% of worshippers and 56% of clergy from declining churches. How can a church not believe in the resurrection and still call themselves Christian?

Shawn "God Cares About Your Finances" Bolz, NAR False Prophet and friend of disgraceful Todd Bentley, has a book out designed to steer your children away from biblical Christianity and into the realms of mysticism and contemplative prayer.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Spurgeon Thursday - One For Pastor Paratus

WWUTT Wednesday - All About The Watchtower

I'm not going to say anything bad about the members of Jehovah's Witnesses, like all people I've met most of them are very nice, pleasant people with enough exceptions thrown in to the mix to make it interesting. What I do have is a big problem with is their beliefs. 

Many of the Beliefs if the Jehovah's Witnesses at best can be described as unbiblical. At the worst they are  utterly blasphemous. It's legalism gone wild. Not only are JW's forbidden to vote, salute the flag, play team sports serve on a jury, they're not allowed to buy Girl Scout cookies!Are JW's saved? Here's a list of just a few of their beliefs, compare them with what God says in your bible and you tell me:
  1. God is not a Trinity; the doctrine is inspired by the Devil
  2. Jesus Christ is a "created being," who at one time did not exist
  3. Jesus is not to be worshiped or prayed to because he is only an angel (a.k.a. Michael the archangel)
  4. The Holy Spirit is not a person but is "God's active force" i.e. gravity, electricity etc.
  5. Heaven is only for select Jehovah's Witnesses. The majority of Jehovah's Witnesses hope to live on "paradise earth"
  6. Heaven is limited only to 144,000 Jehovah's Witnesses. There are only 9,105 alive today (2006 figures)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Random Bits

"I walk through this sinful world as a 
pilgrim in a foreign country" - CH Spurgeon
If any of you have noticed, this week, live on national television, one of the largest travesties in American history was shown to the American public. It was insane! How could something like that happen? My faith in justice and honesty is shattered! How could something like that happen in the United States of America? Really - I want to move to Canada and forget it ever happened.

I'm talking of course about the Buffalo Bills - Seattle Seahawks game on Monday night. There we were, mere seconds left in the half and the Seahawk defender runs off sides and plows into the kicker, and instead of penalizing the Seahawks for roughing the kicker they end up penalizing the Bills for delay of game because the official wouldn't let them snap the ball? This isn't the America I grew up in!

No wait, it is, I've been a Bills fan since 1961 and this is exactly what happens in America: stuff happens. When stuff happens you deal with it, you praise the lord for giving you stuff to deal with, and you move on to what ever stuff God has in store for you next. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but either way God is always with you. You may notice that there are people who are having problems with stuff this week, notably the "Christian" Left. I guess there was some kind of election stuff and they're not happy about it... Check out Eternity Matters, they've got a good report on the Christian Left and how they're dealing with stuff, and if you want to go visit the Christian Left please remind them that if they want to call themselves Christian they need to obey God when He laid Romans 13:1-6 on us. You may want to copy and paste that into their facebook page often.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Spurgeon Thursday - The Prince of Preachers on Apostasy

In 1887, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the famous English Baptist minister, “the Prince of Preachers,” had a big problem. He was the leader of the largest single Baptist congregation in the world, the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, which could hold 6,000 people, but that didn’t solve his problem. He and his local church were part of the Baptist Union in Britain. 

This larger organization, which had many congregations affiliated with it, had been quietly infiltrated by religious liberals. Many pastors in it longer believed the Bible was fully infallible and inerrant in its original manuscripts. They were advocates of higher criticism and the theory of evolution. A number didn’t believe Jesus’ blood atonement was necessary for salvation. They denied that Adam and Eve’s sins lead to the downfall of the human race spiritually and cut off this present evil world civilization from God. Some believed in universal salvation. They even called justification by faith immoral. 

He decidedly to publicly challenge the religious liberals in his own church organization through articles in his church newspaper, The Sword and Trowel. Soon afterwards, and very reluctantly, he decided to leave his old larger church organization. This became known as the famous “Down-Grade” controversy, because it was one of the earliest big theological battles between religious liberals and conservative Christians.source  Here follows many of Spurgeon's quotes on apostasy; 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

WWUTT Wednesday - What To Look For In A New Church

Arrgh! Church "shopping" can be the worst, am I right? You find yourself looking for a church that fills your needs and desires and that takes a whole lot of time and effort. One of the worst parts for me was getting to know the people and having to say goodbye because you finally got to know the teachings and found them lacking in some manner. 

As the great falling away continues, folks who are in a church that suddenly veers in a downward direction will be looking for a new church. I know a few folks that currently are in the search for a new church home for purely biblical reasons.

What should we look for in a new church - should we look for one with the best music? Best children's programs? Monthly pot-luck vs Starbucks in the foyer? Mean congregational age? Assigned seating? Valet parking?

Luckily our friends at When We Understand The Text have come up with a checklist to keep our minds on point when searching for our new church home.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Tuesday is Election Day

He's in charge, you're voting for His subordinates
Last word on voting in this blog (for this election cycle). Tomorrow is election day, and we will be going to the voting booths to elect a new president, new senators, congressmen, governors, judges, mayors, etc. There is going to be a lot of ballot issues and referendums to vote on also. Here in Colorado there's several constitutional measures on the ballot, and for the life of me, I've never seen a state that is so bent on turning their constitution into a doodle pad full of random ideas.

The only advice I personally can give is "Don't vote stupid" (Notice that I did not say "Don't vote for stupid) I think Mike Rowe of "Dirty Jobs" fame said it best:
I can’t personally encourage everyone in the country to run out and vote. I wouldn’t do it, even if I thought it would benefit my personal choice. Because the truth is, the country doesn’t need voters who have to be cajoled, enticed, or persuaded to cast a ballot. We need voters who wish to participate in the process.
Mike asks his readers to educate yourself before you vote, get to know the candidates, the issues, and the entire process, from the constitution to the local ordinances to the history of the electoral process. We as Christians on the other hand need to know a bit more -  we need to know what God says and wants. Here's a few verses that struck me as helpful:

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Random Bits

"I walk through this sinful world as a 
pilgrim in a foreign country" - CH Spurgeon
In bible study a couple of evenings ago we were discussing John 5 and the discussion strayed into Jewish law and I mentioned how I felt pity for the Jews because they were trapped by the Jewish law and when Jesus came to unshackle them they didn't understand the freedom He was offering. Most of our group didn't understand this point, but three of us did, and all three of us consider ourselves "recovering Catholics". We understand being being bound by a set of laws not of Gods making and man crafted traditions. The rest of the guys in our group wouldn't understand things like having to fast before Eucharist (they equate it with communion but to Catholics it's much different) and the intersession of dead people. How crushing do these Romanish laws get? Glenn Chatfield has a great example of the opinions of men overruling the divine wisdom of God

UNESCO, the United Nations forum entrusted with preserving world heritage and culture, passed a resolution to erase the Jewish and Christian bonds to the Land of Israel, they claim that only Muslims have connection to the Promised Land. Here's how you can send them proof of their error

Countdown to 500!

As we head toward the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, let us not forget the pain that Luther caused a quarter century later

I read this, and I read it, and I re-read it, and I came away with a new appreciation for 1 Timothy 2:11-12

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Spurgeon Thursday - Church & Politics

Spurgeon believed that religion should be carried into politics:
 “We are now called upon to exercise one of the privileges and duties which go with liberty, let no man be neglectful in it. Every God fearing man should give his vote with as much devotion as he prays.” 
“I often hear it said ‘Do not bring religion into politics.’ This is precisely where it ought to be brought, and set there in the face of all men as on a candlestick.”
We owe our liberty to men of religion, to men of the stern Puritanical school - men who scorned to play the craven and yield their principles at the command of man. And if we ever are to maintain our liberty (as God grant we may) it shall be kept in England by religious liberty - by religion. This Bible is the Magna Charta of old Britain: its truths, its doctrines have snapped our fetters, and they never can be riveted on again, whilst men, with God's Spirit in their hearts, go forth to speak its truths.
 But politics should not intrude into religion:
“Ministers do well to give their votes and to express their opinions for the guidance of the people, but in proportion as the preaching becomes political and the pastor sinks the spiritual in the temporal, strength is lost and not gained.”
Outside the pulpit Spurgeon was vocal about his political beliefs. In 1880 he addressed voters:
 “Are we to go on slaughtering and invading in order to obtain a scientific frontier and feeble neighbours? ... Shall all great questions of reform and progress be utterly neglected for years? ... Shall the struggle for religious equality be protracted and embittered? ... Shall our National Debt be increased?”

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

WWUTT Wednesday - An Election in Which I'm Eager to Participate

At the risk of sounding redundant: have you ever been in a discussion with a member of the "Christian" left that holds Arminian beliefs? Occasionally those that hold a belief that social justice trumps God's word will get upset when you try to steer them back to the bible and throw out an expletive to the effect that Calvinism is evil and unbiblical and a conversation ender.

This is slightly humorous because their Arminianism is based on unbiblical standards: they believe in Partial Depravity - humanity is depraved but still able to seek God, when Romans 3:10-18 clearly states that this is not true. 

They believe in Conditional Election - God only “chooses” those whom He knows will choose to believe. No one is predetermined for either heaven or hell. This under-emphasizes God’s sovereignty (Romans 8:28-13)

They believe in Resistible grace , God’s call to be saved can be resisted and/or rejected should we decide we don't want to follow His call. This underestimates the power and determination of God. They also believe in  Conditional Salvation  - Christians can lose their salvation if they actively reject the Holy Spirit’s influence in their lives. Conditional salvation makes salvation a reward for work rather than a gift of grace (Ephesians 2:8–10).

What they don't like is the U in TULIP - Unconditional Election A.K.A. adoption by God, I've had more than one conversation suddenly veer off to Unconditional Election like it was an accusation of heresy! blasphemy! apostasy! and was used as an excuse to end the conversation. WWUTT has bad news for these Arminians - Election is totally biblical