Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Poll

One of the first things I did when I started this blog two weeks ago was put up a poll question: "When you stand before God and He asks you 'What have you done that I should allow you into my kingdom?' what are you going to say?" The choices were 1. I trusted in Christ 2. I allowed Christ into my heart 3. I prayed the sinners prayer 4. Nothing, Christ did it all.

I would like to expound on this a bit. The first three answers are man-centered, not God-centered. In reality if you believe one of these three then you save yourself. If Christ did not die for the elect only, then the decisive factor is within you. If Christ died for everyone but only saves those who "accept" Him or "make a decision" for Him, then what ultimately saves is within the person. Think about it, if Christ died for everyone what separates you who are saved from the person next to you who is not. It is entirely within you.

One more question, if you do not believe Christ died only for the sins of the elect, is unbelief a sin? If it is a sin then why would not everyone be saved if Christ actually paid the price for everyone's sins?

So, I have not-so-subtly addressed Limited Atonement, one of the five points of the Reformed faith. What do you think? I hope to stimulate some conversation here and will have a new poll up soon

In Christ

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Be Back Soon

Lisa's surgery was a success, sort of, the ligament was non-existent so they had to use tissue from a cadaver. The recovery time is going to be longer than we had hoped and I have an appointment with a chiropractor tomorrow. I think I might have a slipped disk or some such thing. The pain is getting worse by the day and I am falling behind on my history homework. I hope to post something interesting before visiting the doctor.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Getting Some Rest

Lisa's surgery was a success. She should be almost new in about a week. I am having some pretty bad back pain to go along with a hip that just seems to be getting worse. I do have some history homework to do but hope to get a fairly in depth post about the Alpha course up soon. If you are a fan of this course you most definitely need to read this when I am done. That is as much of a tease as I am going to give. Until then.
In Christ

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I am playing with widgets

I am posting trying to play with widgets and needed a post to test something. This is the post to test something. Feel free to comment on this as well. I know this will spark some conversations.

In Honor of Two Mrs. Gielczyk's

This is going to be a strange week for me. School started today. I am taking two online history classes at a secular school—that will be interesting. I wait tables at Bennigan's. Business is picking up, so that means more money, but it also means more aches and pains. I am not 20 something anymore. But those are the minor things. I am going to put my heart on my sleeve here a bit. Saturday will be the one year anniversary of my mother, Susan's, death. She died from cancer August 25, 2006. I have not totally dealt with that, but have as much as I want to at this point. And Thursday, my wife is having surgery on a ligament in her foot and will be in bed for a week. I will be taking care of her, which I guess will take my mind off my mother. Guys, comment here, if you will; I am taking an informal poll. My wife and some other women she has talked to seem to think it is a pretty big deal that I will be emptying her commode. I think it is my job as her husband. What do you think?

I want to spend the rest of this post writing about my wife. Sunday will be our six-month anniversary and she, at least, will be spending it in bed. She jokes, "What a way to get your husband to make you breakfast in bed... and lunch, and dinner." I have to tell all three of you who read this blog what she has done so far for this thing. She designed the logo (now she wants to be a graphic designer). She edits all my posts, which is no small task. She helps me with all the technological stuff that make things like this go. She is an all around God-send, and not just for the stuff she does for this blog, either. I was praying for a wife for almost three years before I got married to her, and God gave me so much more than I ever thought to ask for. I wanted a wife who would be excited to be a pastor's wife, and just when I thought I would settle for someone who would tolerate being a pastor's wife, God brought Lisa Bronson into my life. I could not have asked for someone more excited about the future ministry we are going to have together. The gleam in Lisa's eyes almost makes me cry. I love this woman more than I ever thought I would love someone. I just want to take this opportunity to thank God for putting Lisa in my life, and I want to say to Lisa, thank you for everything you do, for who you are, and I love you so much, honey.

In Christ

Monday, August 20, 2007

I Told You I Was New to This

Ok, so I had the settings set to "only registered users can comment". I have now fixed this to "anyone can comment", so feel free. Sorry.

Moral Relativism and the Decline of Doctrine

During the riots following the OJ Simpson verdict in 1992, Rodney King made an appearance before news cameras and uttered “Can we all just get along.” And a new day dawned for moral relativism in America, ushering in an era where truth depends on your point of view. This relativistic thinking has now infiltrated the Christian arena and people are now saying things like “Can’t we just talk about Jesus?” The answer is an emphatic no!

Disregarding proper doctrine is not only foolish, it can be fatal. If you do not have a right understanding of the person and work of Christ, you will end up on the same road with the JW and LDS, who talk about Jesus also, but their Jesus is impotent, he cannot save anyone, and that road leads to hell.

Moral relativism makes claims along the lines of “True for you, but not for me.” “That’s just your interpretation.” And “There are no absolutes.” Moral relativists believe they are being tolerant, but nothing could be further from the truth. They say there are no absolutes while holding this statement as an absolute. So right from the start the system is contradictory. There are seven fatal flaws in relativism, they are:

  1. Relativists can’t accuse others of wrongdoing-If you believe morality is a matter of personal definition, then you surrender the possibility of making moral judgments about others’ actions.
  2. Relativists can’t complain about the problem of evil-Evil can’t be real if morals are relative to the subject.
  3. Relativists can’t place blame or accept praise-No external standard of measurement defines what should be applauded or condemned.
  4. Relativists can’t make charges of unfairness or injustice-Both concepts dictate that people receive equal treatment based on an external standard.
  5. Relativists can’t improve their morality-Moral reform implies an objective rule of conduct as the standard to which we ought to aspire.
  6. Relativists can’t hold meaningful moral discussions-A meaningful ethical dialogue can be held only when moral principles are seen as universal action guides.
  7. Relativists can’t promote the obligation of tolerance-If there are no moral rules there can be no rule that requires tolerance as a moral principle that applies equally to all.

Francis Beckwith and Greg Koukl summed it up in their book Relativism-Feet Firmly Planted in Mid Air by saying:

What kind of world would it be if relativism were true? It would be a world in which nothing is wrong—nothing is considered evil or good, nothing worthy of praise or blame. It would be a world in which justice and fairness are meaningless concepts, in which there would be no accountability, no possibility of moral improvement, no moral discourse. And it would be a world in which there is no tolerance.

Truth is that which corresponds to reality. And reality is objective. If someone says to you that reality is created by each person, he has already contradicted himself, for he assumes that his statement, at least, is universal and applies to everyone universally; therefore his statement is self refuting and cannot be true.

So moral relativism is self defeating and unlivable. This has not stopped it from being embraced by the Christian community however.

Modern church leaders seem obsessed with methodology, psychology, pragmatics, attendance figures, felt needs, popularity polls, and the like—all to the detriment of biblical doctrine. And when doctrinal understanding declines, real discernment becomes impossible.

Today it seems that anyone concerned with doctrine is looked upon as pharisaical. The biblical condemnation of pharisaical legalism is misread as a denunciation of doctrinal clarity.

Today Christians are content to gloss over the surface of biblical truth and not go any deeper. They justify their indifference as a refusal to be legalistic. They dismiss as pharisaical narrow-mindedness any attempt to declare truth authoritatively. Doctrine divides therefore any concern for doctrinal matters is seen as unchristian.

As doctrine has been deemphasized, the church has moved from preaching the Word to other activities: drama, music, entertainment—things designed to evoke an emotional response rather than enlighten the mind. Some movements have supplanted doctrine with experience. Psychology has elevated “felt” needs over real needs and behavioral theory over revealed truth. All this has accelerated the move away from doctrine and focused the pulpit message on everything but the objective truth of Scripture. Preachers have become comedians, storytellers, therapists, showmen, and entertainers rather than powerful envoys of divine truth.

The secular culture has pulled the Christian community into a mindset where feelings and senses have become our determiners of truth. But this too is a dangerous road. Who amongst us has not fallen in love only to have the relationship end and find out our feelings have been wrong? So we see our feelings can mislead us. Look at a piece of paper with a circle drawn on it, what do you see? A circle. Now hold the paper horizontally, what do you see? An oval, so our senses can deceive us as well. Where does that leave us? With reason. Our thinking is what we can rely on as long as we think critically. As long as we follow the rules of logic and critical thinking, we will discover the truth.

The Bible gives many examples of Christian reasoning; here are a couple:
Acts 17:2 says:

And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,

And Acts 18:9 says:

They came to Ephesus, and he left them there. Now he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.

So now we understand faulty thinking and how to arrive at the truth, what do we do now?

Scripture teaches us this as well. 1st Thes 5:21 says:

but test everything; hold fast what is good.

And Titus 1:9 says:

holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

Understanding doctrine will also lead to the truth, but not just doctrine, right doctrine. Scripture warns us that we will be lead astray, grabbing on to what sounds good to us. We cannot let this happen. No matter how good something sounds to you, you must test it in light of scripture and be sure it is true. 2 Tim 4:3 tells us what will happen:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires

So we have seen the flaws of the modern relativist thinking, how it has infiltrated the church, and how to refute it. Now I call you all to make sure you have the truth, and be prepared to dismantle error. Our job as Christians is to be so familiar with the truth, when error looms on the horizon we see it coming miles away.

1 Peter 3:15 says:

but  sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

Mr. Spock Theology

Ok, all humor aside, there is truth in this video. When your theology so closely resembles the philosophy of a fictional science fiction character, I think it's time to reevaluate your doctrine. When you think about it soberly it is heartbreaking.

Bonus video.


Ok, this was just too funny to pass up. I guess I will have to start a humor label.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Worshiping the god Self.

This video was created as a sermon helper by people who do not even realize how right they are. This is a subject that has been on my mind for awhile now. The worship songs being sung today are poor excuses for worship songs.

I have an even easier diagnostic test for songs than the one for sermons: are there more first-person personal pronouns than second or third? If so, you are not worshiping the sovereign creator.

Think about it. Telling the Lord what you are doing is a self-centered worship. Most of the contemporary worship songs are self-centered, and no wonder—most of today's musicians are not exactly theologians; in the past, most hymn writers were. Music has a huge influence in our society, and this is reflected in the contemporary Christian music scene as well. I believe this trend has had only a negative effect on the church, and I think we should stick to the old hymns for our worship.

I had to throw this one in as well. I don't think it needs much commentary.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Everyone knows they sin, let's just preach the positives.

I am still playing with this blog thing and wanted to try and embed some video in a post. I could not think of a better one than this. This is Mark Keilar, who is fantastic at explaining the reformed/ biblical doctrine. Enjoy.


I want to make a few points about the state of preaching today, because it is in sad shape. Now, I am not saying it is worse than it has ever been. I am sure that during the dark ages, some homileticians were probably as poor as those passing as preachers today. However, we are alive now, so I must address our current situation.

It amazes me that so many of our preachers today fail to get it. I sat through a homiletics class at an Arminian school where the professor made us make a preaching calendar for an entire year, and we had to have a topic for every sermon for 52 weeks. He was not impressed when I turned in a calendar with the same topic for each of the 52 weeks, "Christ and Him crucified". It's not rocket science guys. When Paul tells the Corinthians he determined to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified(1 Cor. 2:2), what makes us think we know better?

Another problem is pastors today trying to appeal to as many people as they can. In order to do this, they water down their messages and fail to deliver the bad news (Law), before they deliver the good news (Gospel). As the subtitle for this blog clearly states, the good news is not that good unless the bad news is that bad. In an effort to be less offensive, they offer a different gospel, one in which God loves everyone. I have news for you: unless the Holy Spirit regenerates you, you are an enemy of God, and to tell unregenerate people God loves them is to outright lie to them. I am sure the intentions of many of these preachers are good, but that does not change the fact that our pulpits are straying from the only power unto salvation—the preaching of the gospel. (Can you say, "Tie a millstone around their necks?)

I want to give you a short, three-part diagnostic to help you determine if you are listening to a good Christ-centered sermon. I am indebted to Pastor Todd Wilken and his radio show (Issues etc.) for this diagnostic.

Part 1:
Is Jesus mentioned? Don't laugh! You could listen to Joel Osteen for nigh on a month and never hear the name of Jesus.

If He is mentioned, how many times?

Part 2:
Is He the subject of the verbs?

Is He doing the action or is He being acted upon?

Part 3:
If He is mentioned and He is the subject of the verbs, what are those verbs?

Is He making you happy, healthy, wealthy?

Or is He living a righteous life that is imputed to us, suffering and dying on the cross where our sins are imputed to Him, and rising again on the third day assuring us of eternal life.

It's really very simple: if your pastor's sermons do not pass this test, find a church with a pastor whose sermons do.

Another excellent test is to ask yourself, "Could this sermon be preached in a synagogue or a mosque without offending anyone?" If so, it's time to find a new church.

Historical-redemptive preaching of Christ and Him crucified is the model we are given in scripture. The gospel is for sinners, saved and unsaved alike. If you think, "We all know the gospel, so we can move on to others things," you are sadly mistaken. We learn things by repetition, and we continue to sin. That's why we need the power of God's gospel every Sunday, from every preacher, in every pulpit.

In Christ,

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What is The Truth IN Context?

I guess I should explain the title of my blog. What concerns me most today is the woeful state of discernment exhibited by modern American Christians. There is a tendency to practice eisegesis—reading one's own ideas into the text—instead of exegesis—pulling out of the text what was meant by the original author. Eisegesis is much easier to accomplish if one rips texts out of context. But remember, pulling a text out of context makes for a pretext, which cloaks the real intention of the text.

We have to understand that Bible is one story, from start to finish. It is an historical-redemptive story. The focus is on God and Him reconciling His people after we rebelled. The Bible addresses many issues humanity has faced, is facing, and will face, but it is always in the context of what Christ has done.

So, having said that, I think I have laid the groundwork for the next few posts I will have about the state of preaching today, and also the current fad of new "worship" songs.

Until next time, please do not ever forget 2 Cor. 10:5.

In Christ,

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Since when do we get to plan God's miracles?

This is blasphemous. Where in scripture does it say to plan Holy Spirit miracle crusades? The pride and arrogance running rampant in the word-faith community is disturbing. I have to say that the leaders, at least, show much proof of their unbelief. From their utter inability to exegete scripture to their constant false prophesies, these men and, unfortunately, women show themselves to be wolves in sheep's clothing— although they usually dress in finer linen than wool.

What if I wrote a Blog, and nobody read it?

This is really going into uncharted waters for me. Putting something on the Internet is the type of thing only those technonerds do. But after months of listening to me lament the state of the church today and, in particular, the state of preaching, my wife said, "Why do you always complain about how bad everyone's theology is to me but you never do anything about it?"

When I asked her what she thought I should do about it, she said I should start a blog. So, here I sit, blogging away for the first time, with absolutely nothing to say.

Well, it's a start.