Tag Archives: sermon

The “social gospel” vs. the real Gospel

False teachers must not read the Bible, or they are so jaded that they pretend that they can be Leopard Theologians and just pick the spots they like.  Those who preach a “social gospel” should know that by definition they are now accursed:

Galatians 1:8–10 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

That seems pretty clear.  Preaching a gospel of one’s choosing isn’t just a little different, it is the opposite and a profoundly bad thing.  People like Jim Wallis who say that “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” are mocking this passage.

Yes, the real Gospel will lead to all sorts of good deeds.  But the good deeds aren’t the Gospel.  If you tell people that they must be good to be saved, that’s the bad news, not the good news, because we will always fail.  Without Christ, our good deeds are like polluted garments to God (Isaiah 64:6).

The real Gospel is Jesus dying for our sins and rising from the dead.  If we focus on sharing that, then transformed lives and cultures will follow and you’ll get all sorts of authentically good deeds.

1 Corinthians 15:1–11 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

So if you really want to improve the world, share the real Gospel.

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Sins of the mind

bible.jpgJohn MacArthur had a great sermon series dealing with sins of the mind.  A key theme was that these are the most dangerous sins, for there is nothing to keep you accountable to them except your conscience, and visible sins are always preceded by sins of the mind.

As Jesus outlines here, we are accountable to God for what do and what we think.

Matthew 21-22 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”

 

Matthew 27-28 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

 

His advice on dealing with sins of the mind:

  • Confess and forsake them
  • Refuse to entertain the thoughts — Job 31:1 I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?
  • Replace the thoughts — Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
  • Feed on the word of God
  • Avoid evil attractions
  • Cultivate the love of God
I encourage everyone to consider their sins of the mind — greed, envy, lust, jealousy, anger, etc. — and apply those principles.

Tony Campolo & homosexuality

I appreciated this analysis about Adventures in Missing the Truth: Campolo and Homosexuality*.  Many years ago, our Sunday School class read a book by Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren (noted “emergent” type false teacher) called Adventures in Missing the Point: How the Culture-Controlled Church Neutered the Gospel.  Someone picked it as a book that, in theory, would have conservative and Liberal views on various hot topics.  The problem was that we didn’t realize Campolo wasn’t really conservative.  So the book ended up being a “debate” between a theological Liberal/moderate and a drunk-naked-running-down-the-streets theological Liberal, which meant it wasn’t a debate at all.  McLaren was presented as a Christian, even though his core views mock the cross.

Sadly, many in the class liked their views even though, as outlined in the link, the book was a train wreck of unsupported claims, bad logic worse theology.  Not one person asked, “So what does the Bible have to say about this?”

Run, don’t walk, from teachers like Campolo and McLaren.  Campolo is actually more dangerous because he poses as being orthodox.  He also is involved with the “red-letter Christian” movement that ignores a rather obvious point: Jesus is God, and He authored all of scripture.

* It is a 3-part series.  The link has them out of order, but you’ll be able to follow it.

If you are ever in Louisville . . .

. . . check out Sojourn Community Church.  My daughter worshiped at Sojourn during the two years she lived there and I always loved visiting.  It had consistently accurate verse-by-verse preaching, contemporary style music with sound lyrics, and just an overall good balance.  It was recommended to us by some missionaries who now live in the Ukraine, and we are very grateful to them.

(Just to be clear, this church has nothing to do with Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” WallisSojourners organization.)

They took baptism very seriously, and would tell you about the people being baptized.  Someone would read a ~1 page overview of how the person being baptized came to trust in Christ.  The stories were so varied — tales of horrible abuse, drug / alcohol additions, etc. but also some people who grew up in Christian homes, went to church camp and such, but never truly committed to Jesus.  I like how a full range of people felt welcomed there.

Another nice touch: For communion, they would offer two cups — one of wine and one of grape juice.  I’ve never seen that before.  I know people have preferences but it is definitely a “debate, don’t divide” issue for me.  On second thought, it isn’t even a “debate” issue with me.  Just approach communion with the right attitude and drink whatever you like.

They are welcoming to the “over-churched or the under-churched,” though a “churched” person like me could get a lot out of it as well.

They didn’t water down the Gospel a bit, weaving it in the messages every week.  They did a 2 year sermon series through the Bible, and ended with a sermon on the lake of fire from Revelation — even though it was Christmas week!

They opened a Sojourn Community Church in the Heights area of Houston recently.  I want to check it out sometime.  It would be too far of a drive for us to worship at regularly, but it might be a good place for ex-prisoners I know who will settle in halfway houses in the downtown area.

I’d love to see this model expand across the country.

Pollyanna

Yes, Pollyanna.  The movie.  I watched it.  (Short version of why: An agnostic employee said he’d start reading the Bible if I watched it.  Let’s just say that the list of things I’d do to get someone to read the Bible is pretty long.)

It had some interesting religious themes.  I’m not sure if it was what the producers intended or not, but they did a good job of showing the importance of balancing grace and truth.  Karl Malden, the town preacher, originally gave exclusively hellfire-and-brimstone sermons, with only a passing reference to being born again.  They weren’t necessarily untrue, just out of balance.  There is nothing wrong with preaching the bad news — in fact, it is necessary.  But you need to get to the Good News.  In the same way, you can’t just teach about God’s love without people failing to realize that they need his grace.

It also showed the importance of reading the whole Bible.  Just picking your favorite verses is a bad idea.

More importantly, it mocked those who don’t really believe that the Bible has the power to transform lives.  The pastor and Pollyanna’s Aunt, the town leader, agreed on the harsh sermons because that was the best way to scare people in behaving for at least a couple days before the sermon wore off.  That isn’t the theme of the Bible at all.  It shows a distinct lack of faith in the power of God to transform people through his word.

The term “Pollyanna” is typically used to describe someone with an irrational optimism, but I thought the behavior of the character (an orphan of missionaries) was biblically grounded.  She seemed to live out the meaning of turning the other cheek and of Philippians 4:12-13:

Philippians 4:12-13 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Another false teacher profile

Here are some lowlights from false teacher Chuck Currie’s latest sermon: Immigrant Rights Sunday: A Sermon On John 20:19-31.  The shortcut to this link is http://wp.me/p1wGU-2TH .

The “sermon” is a train wreck of bad theology and bad thinking, but it is illuminating in highlighting a false teacher.  As a public service I listened to it all (the FDA considers it a substitute for Syrup of Ipecac, so listen to it at your own risk).  Seriously, I urge people to know just how rampant fakes are in the church today.  While Chuck only led one small failed church, the United Church of Christ puts him out there as a mouthpiece for their denomination.  That speaks volumes.

Sometimes I feel sorry for those misled by false teachers like Chuck, but other times I think they get what they deserve.  This wolf in sheep’s clothing has taken off the sheep’s clothing and is pure wolf.  If they were real Christians they should have gotten up and left, or at least made sure he never took the pulpit in their church again.

Note that he picks one passage, explains why he thinks it doesn’t belong in the Bible, then switches to politics.  Some of the more egregious errors and issues:

  • Your first question might be, “What does the passage about Thomas seeing the evidence of Jesus’ resurrection have to do with the rights of illegal immigrants?”  The answer, of course, is “Nothing.  It is just a random scripture read to help pretend that what follows is somehow associated with historic Christianity.”
  • He claims that the Gospel of John was written 100 years after the resurrection.  Conservative scholarship places it at 50-70 A.D. (partly because no destruction of the temple is mentioned), but even Liberal scholars will put it at 90-100 A.D.  Claiming it was written in 130 A.D. isn’t just Liberal, it is crazy-making-this-up-as-I-go-along-Liberal.  This Gospel was quoted by church fathers, some of whom were John’s disciples, many times before 130 A.D.  (what a great author to be quoted before you wrote something!).  Chuck offers no support for his fantasy date.  But a late dating is crucial to his underlying theme that the writers were forgers and liars.  Such is the desperate position of anti-Christians.  They hate the eye-witness claims of John, so they must position the whole book as lies.  Hey Chuck, just because you are a serial, unrepentant liar doesn’t mean the early Christians were.
  • If the early Christians didn’t think the physical resurrection was true they wouldn’t lie about it.  They’d stop being Christians!  Why endure the persecution if you “knew” your religion was false?  They had access to 1 Corinthians 15 from within a couple decades of the resurrection, so they knew essential that doctrine was.  In the same way, if a false teacher like Chuck really believed what he taught he’d have his church send out reverse missionaries. After all, if there are other ways to salvation besides Jesus, as Chuck claims, then the loving thing to do would be to encourage everyone to adhere to their local religion and avoid any conflict or persecution.
  • He brags about preaching for “marriage equality” (not in the Bible) and support for gun control (not in the Bible).  But even his prior Liberal (and failed) church didn’t like his illegal immigration views.  I suppose he thinks they were all racists.
  • If Chuck thinks the Gospel of John is inauthentic, why does he bother to preach from it?
  • He references global climate change as if it is a real issue for the church to deal with.
  • He claims that John was made up, but quotes it when it serves his purpose.  The passage is a classic one to demonstrate the reality of the physical resurrection, but Chuck thinks it is a lie.
  • Chuck thinks Jesus’ mission is to give unlimited rights to illegal aliens.  Of course Chuck just calls them “immigrants.”
  • He forgot to mention Romans 13 and the role of government and how Christians should obey laws.
  • It never occurs to him to share the real Gospel with illegal immigrants — or anyone else, for that matter.
  • He talks about loving our neighbors but is wildly pro-abortion, even advocating taxpayer-funded abortions.
  • He plays the race card about those questioning Obama’s birth certificate.  What a joke.  People don’t like Obama because he is a bad President with bad ideas.  He thinks it is racism because no other President was asked to provide a birth certificate, ignoring the fact that it has never been a question in the past.  Don’t you think Clinton would have loved to have been asked for his BC?  It would have drawn attention away from the serial adultery and credible rape allegations against him.  BTW, race-baiting is nothing new for Chuck (click the link for a funny episode).  And remember, he supports taxpayer-funded abortions, which will increase the ratio of abortions in the black community to beyond the current ratio of 3x to that of whites.  That’s real racism.
  • Another sermon with no cross and no Gospel — just droning on with politics disguised as religion.  He advocates for the “Dream Act.”

Warning: Be sure to save your comments if you post at Chuck’s site.  He has a history of deleting comments, only to then lie about what the comments really said.  Should we be surprised that a false teacher would do such a thing?

Some other considerations about this false teacher:

For starters, he never demonstrated why we should listen to him.  Let’s look at some facts about Chuck’s leadership and executive experience:

  • Very Liberal “reverend”
  • Very Liberal denomination
  • Very Liberal city and state
  • Failed church

Hmmmm . . . see anything wrong with that?  How can orthodox pastors like Mark Driscoll preach long, “boring” (in the traditional, secular sense) verse-by-verse sermons in Liberal places like Seattle and grow their church attendance dramatically, while people like Chuck have every demographic in their favor yet produce an epic FAIL?  Must be those UCC ejector seats!  What is it that qualifies Chuck as an expert here on religion or politics, especially when it is proven that Liberals fail at basic economics?

Some more of Chuck’s views:

  • Jesus is not the only way to salvation
  • Jesus is pro-abortion, including partial-birth abortion and taxpayer-funded abortion
  • the Holy Spirit told him and the other Liberals in the UCC that God has changed his stance on marriage, parenting and homosexual behavior (now that’s blasphemy!)
  • you should take first grade girls to gay pride parades (something about millstones comes to mind) .  You’d think that even his atheist wife (he’s apparently not much of an evangelist) would prevent that abuse of their children.
  • the book of John doesn’t belong in the Bible
  • gets more excited worshiping Charles Darwin more than he does Jesus
  • the Gospel of Thomas does belong in the Bible
  • it is acceptable to lie and libel people on blogs as long as you think you won’t get caught
  • Christians  have as much to learn from other religions as they do from us (really?  I don’t remember Jesus saying that . . . what does Islam have to teach about Jesus that the Bible doesn’t?)
  • and so much more!
You’ve been warned.  Run, don’t walk, from Chuck and the UCC.

Did false teacher change his mind on the Gospel of John?

False teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie is “preaching” on a passage from the Gospel of John this week — see Moving Through Holy Week.  No big deal, right?

Actually, it is .  You see, this false teacher said from the pulpit that the book of John was not written until 130 AD (which means, of course, that John nor any other apostle couldn’t have written it).

Is John 14:16 (sic) the literal word of God or is it a human reflection that speaks to how the early Christian community understood their faith?

Biblical scholars in mainline seminaries agree that Jesus never spoke the words attributed to him in our reading from this morning.

Looks like someone went scholar-shopping and found just what he was looking for.  And don’t you love the patronizing bit about those deluded early Christians who gave their lives for the faith but were just imagining that Jesus really said those things?

The Gospel of John was written some 100 years after the death of Jesus and in no other writing is Jesus said to have made such exclusive claims about the faith.  So why after 100 many years have passed since the his death would someone remember things so differently – so starkly differently.

The Jesus Seminar, the “scholars” that false teacher like Chuck flock to, insists that only a couple verses of John are valid.  So why would Chuck preach on anything from this book?

More nonsense from this wolf:

Let us resolve as members of the Christian faith to be open to hearing God speak through other voices, and as we preach the Gospel message let our hearts welcome new insights about God from other faithful traditions.

What do these other religions have to teach us about Jesus that the Bible doesn’t?  Do they have things that belong in the Bible instead of the Gospel of John?

Some false teachers are smooth.  Chuck is so clumsy and bad that I have stopped feeling sorry for those he misleads.  I think they want to be mislead.