Fer God, Honor the King | Jeremiah Johnson

from Grace to You blog:

Tomorrow is Election Day in America, and I don’t know anyone who is looking forward to it. In fact, most people I talk to are aghast that it has come down to these two execrable characters, and that one of them will soon ascend to power.

Christians in particular are dismayed and distraught by the choices in front of us. Even down-ballot issues seem to have morality and personal freedoms in the crosshairs.

So as the church in America sees what little cultural influence it has fading fast, what should believers do? How do we make sense of a world—and in particular, a government—that appears to be overtly aligned against us?

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The True Humility of Biblical Convictions | Cameron Buettel

humility

from Grace to You

At some point, whether in an argument or a debate, you’ve probably been shut down with the popular, dismissive response, “That’s just your opinion.”

That abrupt statement has become a handy tool in recent years, as postmodernity has gained a foothold in our regular discourse. It’s sometimes deployed as an exit ramp from confrontations and other uncomfortable conversations. And while it can be an effective way to deflect unnecessary conflict, it’s most often used as an offensive weapon, not a shield.

And while that argumentative tactic doesn’t work in every setting—criminals would be wise to avoid it with judges—it has a growing and problematic presence in the realm of theology.

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Together Against Extrabiblical Methods | Cameron Buettel & Jeremiah Johnson

from Grace to You

…(Charles) Finney’s fingerprints are all over modern seeker-sensitive strategies. Consider these words from Rick Warren, perhaps the world’s foremost purveyor of seeker-sensitive strategies: “It is my deep conviction that anybody can be won to Christ if you discover the key to his or her heart. . . . The most likely place to start is with the person’s felt needs.” [2]

Just like Finney, seeker-sensitive gurus are devoted to developing the latest and greatest formula for selling the gospel. Every aspect of the church experience, from the style of music and teaching to design aesthetics—even the kind of clothes the pastor wears—are carefully chosen to make the message as user-friendly and enticing as possible.

But marketing and manipulation don’t make the gospel any more plausible or potent. No scare tactics or sideshow techniques can secure salvation or transform the sinner’s heart. Even Finney acknowledged that the vast majority of his converts “would of course soon relapse into their former state.” [3]

The truth is that the gospel doesn’t need to be cleverly packaged—it simply needs to be preached.

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A Comparison of ‘The Purpose Drive Life’ and ‘Slave’-On Salvation | Jeremiah Johnson

from Grace to You:

In fact, he makes it clear that any gospel that skirts the lordship of Christ is no gospel at all.

Amazingly, in spite of the clear teaching of Scripture and the faithful witness of Protestant church history, most of the trends in contemporary evangelicalism actually attack the lordship of Christ over His church. Some of these attacks are blatant and theological, like the no-lordship position of the so-called Free Grace Movement. . . . The Free Grace view twists the gospel message, claiming that neither repentance from sin nor submission to Christ has any part in saving faith. By promoting a form of “easy believism,” Free Grace advocates openly deny the sinner’s need to repent of sin and to confess Jesus as Lord and Master in the biblical sense of total submission. In so doing, they teach a different gospel altogether, which is “really not another” but an obvious attempt “to distort the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:7). [7]

As believers, we’re not meant to merely fluff the soft pillow of God’s grace and invite sinners to find comfort and fulfillment in His open arms. We’ve not been set apart to soft-pedal the harsh and uncomfortable truths of the gospel, or lull people into casually accepting Christ as their Savior.

We’re called to wage war against satanic fortresses (2 Corinthians 10:4). And in that battle, the gospel of easy-believism is an utterly ineffective weapon.

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Does God answer the prayers of unbelievers? | Grace to You

from Grace to You

God is sovereign and can choose to answer any prayer He sees fit. But Scripture clearly indicates that God does not listen to or answer every prayer. In fact, Scripture gives at least fifteen reasons for unanswered prayer. God does not answer the prayer of those:

1) Who have personal and selfish motives.

You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures (James 4:3).

2) Who regard iniquity in their hearts.

If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear (Psalm 66:18).

3) Who remain in sin.

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear (Isaiah 59:2). Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him (John 9:31). Continue reading Does God answer the prayers of unbelievers? | Grace to You

The Elephant in the Elephant Room

Travis Allen, Director of Internet Ministry with Grace to You,offers great insight on The Elephant Room controversy, relating to the first session and the opening discussion involving Perry Noble, Mark Driscoll and moderator James McDonald. You must read the entire article.

That Elephant Room session was full of swagger and bravado, the epitome of hipster coolness. But the biggest elephant in the room on that day was the failure to fear God, the failure to speak with conviction when His Word is so clear.

While watching that video, I couldn’t help but remember the prophetic words of David Wells in God in the Wasteland, that “God now rests too inconsequentially upon the church.” Wells continues, saying, ”If God is at the center of worship, one has to wonder why there is so much surrounding the center that is superfluous to true worship—indeed, counterproductive to it.”

Whenever the clear voice of God in His Word is blunted or diminished, whether by ignorance or neglect, God will rest too inconsequentially upon the church. I fear we’re becoming a generation that’s doing church in a way that is counterproductive to true worship. And I’m concerned it’s because we don’t fear God as we should, and we’re becoming accustomed to doing what is right in our own eyes.

“To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn” (Is. 8:20).

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