Category Archives: Liberalism

Has America Turned it Back on God?

With less than 24 hours before one of the most important presidential elections in America’s history, Mike examines the question, ‘Has America snubbed it’s nose at God?’ Citing three important article, one by John MacArthur, another by Ray Baumann and one from David Wheaton, Mike comments on what he sees as the rapid and accepted slide of American culture to one of apathy and indifference, and what it will take to reclaim America, if it is possible at all. WARNING! This program is anything but light, fluffy and backrubbing.

 

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Terry Johnson-Piety of Programs

Terry Johnson is Senior Pastor of Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah, Georgia.

We live in the era of the “gimmick-driven church.” On a nearly weekly basis mailers cross the desks of ministers promising the silver bullet which will slay the dragons of non-growth and invigorate a season of super-growth. We can recall the yellow Sunday School bus ministry, “Here’s Life America,” hand-bell choirs, Evangelism Explosion, small group discipleship, telemarketing, the seeker-friendly church, the purpose-driven church, the church for the unchurched, each presented as a panacea that would cure what ails the church. Since the advent of the twenty-first century we’ve seen Promise Keepers, Wild at Heart, The Prayer of Jabez, WWJD, the Passion of Christ, and so on. Tomorrow another cure-all will be revealed, another “can’t miss” program that will tip the scales. 

The truth, however, is that exemplary piety on the part of those leading the church is the single most important factor determining whether a ministry will or will not be fruitful. Years ago my brother-in-law, an elder in the Presbyterian Church of America, served on his church’s search committee for an assistant minister. After interviewing half-a-dozen candidates he made an interesting comment. He noted that all of the candidates were young, sharp, and hip. He said they all displayed keen wit, winsome personalities, and social finesse. However, he went on to observe, none of them seemed to be particularly godly. He didn’t perceive much spiritual passion. Or disciplined devotion. Or ethical precision. Or a burden for souls. Or a controlling love for Christ. Or a zeal for the glory of God. They were well-educated, thoroughly trained for ministry, and competent program organizers. They were groomed for success. All the necessary ingredients were present. But they lacked spiritual gravitas, the seriousness and focus, the intensity and carefulness, that comes from knowing the God of the Bible.  

Deep piety, we would argue, is a necessary concomitant of supernatural religion. Spiritual worship requires spiritual leadership. The single most important factor in the leading of effective ministries is the spiritual maturity, the depth of devotion, the depth of piety of the ones leading these services. Put negatively, one cannot effectively lead in prayer publicly if one is not devoted to prayer in the closet; one cannot effectively lead in the study of God’s word through its reading and preaching in public if one is not disciplined in the study of God word in private; one cannot effectively lead the people of God into communion with Christ at the Table unless one pursues communion with Him as a habit of life.  

The professionalization of the pastorate coupled with a market-driven philosophy has been tragically misleading at this point. The impression has been made that “success” in ministry is almost entirely a matter of external factors. This may not have been said in so many words, but rather has been implied by where the marketers and church-growthers have placed their emphasis. The keys to success, one might have thought, are to be found in a style of dress (casual), a format (late-night talk show), a style of music (pop), a type of building (non-churchy), and kind of message (topical sermons addressing felt needs). Success for the church (it has been implied) is to be found in niche programs and services, advertising, marketing, top-of-the-line sound and light systems, therapeutic or “practical” messages, managerial skill and professional leadership. The godliness of those leading the church is almost entirely overlooked. This is nowhere more obvious than in the prevalence of young people, often teenagers, up front, leading worship services with instruments, music, and transitional comments, who, unlike the ministers of yesteryear, are untested, untrained, and spiritually unqualified for the task. Personality, it would seem, has been allowed to trump piety; format, faithfulness; style, substance; and technique, character. If John Angell James thought in 1847 that “An Earnest Ministry” was “the want of the times,” one can scarcely imagine his response to the state of the ministry at the beginning of the twenty-first century.1

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“Lost” Christians & Evangelicals?

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

Mike discusses two articles dealing again with definitions, scriptural definitions. Can or will a person truly converted “leave the faith”? Should not all Christians be evangelical? Do evangelicals have an image problem, or is all this a case of “nothing new under the sun”, and a matter that we should conform to the Word of God instead of the other way around?

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Apostasy of Jeremiah Wright continues

In this program, Mike dissects the most recent public statements of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, given at a National Press Club event. Mike examines the issues of Black Liberation Theology, Wright’s accusations that America commits terrorist acts, and his “non-support-support” of Louis Farrakhan.  Also, aside from the obvious differences, should there be any deliberate distinctions between the “black church” and the “white church” 

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Racism and The Church

Racism is totally contrary to the Gospel and on this program, Mike examines the outrageous, racist and heretical statements made by Pastor Jeremiah Wright. Mike also examines the true meaning behind such concepts as the “social gospel”, and attempts to define Afrocentrism and Black Liberation Theology and stresses that true believers will be Christocentric, regardless of their race. Also should a believer question comments or doctrines stated by ones pastor, and how?
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Mark Driscoll in Christianity Today

Christianity Today’s September issue features a story on the life and ministry of Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. Understandably so, Mark garners a lot of attention, whether he means to or not. Here are few quotes from the article by Colin Hansen. You can read the entire article here.

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Driscoll can’t stand in front of a crowd for long without stirring things up. That’s what you get from a pastor who learned how to preach by watching comedian Chris Rock. Before long, he has the audience going. “If you’re going to be a fundamentalist or moralist … pick things like bathing with your wife to be legalistic about,” Driscoll says in his distinct, gravelly voice. “Don’t pick something stupid like, ‘Don’t listen to rock music.’ I don’t know who’s choosing all the legalisms, but they picked the worst ones. Eat meat, bathe together, and nap—those would be my legalisms. Those are things I can do.”

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Indeed, according to Breshears, “he offends everybody.” “[Driscoll’s approach is,] ‘If Jesus says it, I’m gonna stick it in your face. Get used to it,'” Breshears says. “But that’s part of what people respond to. Here’s a guy who stands up, opens his Bible, and says, ‘Dude, this is it.’ When he says, ‘Dude,’ he turns off a whole lot of folks. And when he says, ‘this is it,’ he turns off a lot of folks.”

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Even among those who share his views on gender roles and his concern about the emerging church, Driscoll is scarcely less controversial. John Piper says no other speaker at his Desiring God conference has caused such a stir. Some Calvinists do not fully trust Driscoll because it took time for his Reformed theology to solidify. Preaching through Exodus early in his career, Driscoll was struck by God’s sovereignty over Pharaoh. He saw how God acted to deliver his people. The Book of Romans eliminated any remaining doubt about Reformed theology, which he summarizes this way: “People suck, and God saves us from ourselves.”

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Venerable Reformed expositor John MacArthur has complimented Driscoll’s soteriology. He is thankful that Driscoll stresses substitutionary atonement and justification by faith alone. But that doesn’t make up for his “infatuation with the vulgar aspects of contemporary society,” MacArthur wrote last December in Pulpit magazine. “[T]he lifestyle he models—especially his easygoing familiarity with all this world’s filthy fads—practically guarantees that [his disciples] will make little progress toward authentic sanctification.”

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“Fundamentalism is really losing the war, and I think it is in part responsible for the rise of what we know as the more liberal end of the emerging church,” Driscoll says. “Because a lot of what is fueling the left end of the emerging church is fatigue with hardcore fundamentalism that throws rocks at culture. But culture is the house that people live in, and it just seems really mean to keep throwing rocks at somebody’s house.” (Driscoll)

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John MacArthur on Larry King Live

Thank God for John MacArthur and his faithfulness. Here is a short excerpt from CNNs Larry King Live and an exchange between Dr. MacArthur and Barry Lynn of the organization Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. The program dealt with CNNs recent special God’s Warriors. You can read the entire Larry King Live transcript here… 

MACARTHUR: . . . the [political] power will never belong to me [or to] those who represent true biblical Christianity because the Kingdom advances one soul at a time through the belief in the Gospel in Jesus Christ. Anything [else] is a prostitution. Look, the New Testament says the powers that be are ordained of God. That was the word of God to people living under Roman government, under a Caesar. Don’t overthrow that power. That’s what God has put in place. We work within that to advance the Kingdom one person at a time.

KING: Barry?

[BARRY] LYNN: See, I would disagree with that. That is a literal belief. Many of us do not have a literal belief in the words of the — not God written and produced but man written and produced Holy Bible for Christians.

MACARTHUR: Well, there’s the huge divergence right there.

LYNN: That’s a huge difference. It is a huge divergence, but it’s one of the things that makes the Christian community and many of the other communities we’re talking about here very diverse and very different.

MACARTHUR: Barry, if you don’t believe the words of the Bible, then you can’t be legitimately called a Christian because that’s all the Christianity there is, [it] is what is revealed in the word of God, not the Christianity you can invent outside of the meaning of Scripture.

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White Horse Inn examines Finney & American Revivalism

On this weeks episode of The White Horse, who was Charles Finney and how did his ideas affect the formation of modern American Christianity? What did he teach about sin, grace, or even Christ’s death on the cross? The answers to these and other questions raised on this edition of the White Horse Inn may startle you! I will be saving this program and I hope you listen too. You can hear The White Horse Inn Saturdays at 6pm central on WQBC 1420AM, or online at www.wqbc.net. You can also listen and download the program at www.whitehorseinn.org.

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