Thursday, January 17, 2008

Will you fight for Jesus?

The tallest man in medical history for whom there is irrefutable evidence is Robert Pershing Wadlow. He was born at Alton, Illinois, USA, on February 22, 1918, and when he was last measured on June 27, 1940, was found to be 2.72 m (8 ft 11.1 in) tall.

I am reminded of the story of David and Goliath. It is thought that David was a boy still (in his teens) and he went up against Goliath who was over 9 feet tall. If you figure these girls are around 5 foot 4 inches, then you can get an idea of what David was up against.

How big are the battles you are facing?

Are you willing to go to war for Jesus? Will you fight for Him?

I would suspect that many people will say yes, when in fact, they should say no. Let me try to explain this in a way you can understand.

It is Sunday morning. Church begins at 10am. At 8am you wake up. You get the kids up and feed them breakfast. You then start to get them dressed and ready for Church. The phone rings, the dog has to go outdoors, you can't find your favorite pair of pants (why do they call it a "pair" when you only have one? I know you say it has two legs, okay, a shirt has two arms, you don't call it a pair of shirt) anyways, you need to iron your shirt but can't seem to get the wrinkles out so you look for another shirt. The kids are screaming and arguing with each other. You yell at them to stop. You look at the clock and realize it is only 10 minutes till church starts. You yell out for everyone to get in the car so you can make it to church on time, you get in the car and start it up and realize you forgot your pants, you run back inside and put on the first pair you can find, you run back out to the car, yelling and screaming at the kids to be quiet so you can drive. You drive as fast as you can to make it to church on time. You arrive about 8 minutes after the music has started. You tell the kids to behave and to go off to their classroom. You and your spouse grab your bibles and walk inside the church with a big smile on your face. You pat people on the back as you head for your "assigned and reserved" seats. You lay your bibles down (not to be opened during church service) and you sing the songs. You have a time of greeting people so you warmly shake the hands of all the people. You smile and say "God's blessings be upon you." You are then seated and stare blankly at the pastor as he tells his jokes and stories. After twenty minutes of a story on tithing and the need to build a new gymnasium, the service comes to a close. You smile and tell the pastor, "good job pastor, see you next week." The family all crams into the car and you head home. The kids begin to fight and you yell back at them, "shut up." You get home and tell the kids not to bother you so you can watch the football game on tv. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday all come and go with no bible reading, no prayer time, no evangelizing the lost. Sunday comes and the whole process begins again just like the previous week.

Does this sound familiar? What is wrong here? Do you think that anyone in this family is going to be ready to fight for the Lord if necessary?

Fight for the Lord? I say to you, they don't know the Lord! Why would they fight for someone they do not know?

They are professing Christians but they are not obedient Christians.
Jesus said: “If you love me, you will obey me.” This was not stated as an option or a likelihood, e.g. most will obey me or you’ll want to obey me. No, if you love me you will obey me. He continued, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.” Jesus continued, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.”

John defined love for God: “This is love for God: to obey his commands.” God’s commands are the teachings and commands of Jesus. If we love God we will obey his commands.

The clue of being obedient or not, has a lot to do with what happens throughout the rest of the week. It is not just going to church on Sunday that shows we are obedient to Him. No, it is what we do with that faith that truly shows our love for God. If you are not being obedient to God's commands, then you do not love God and if you do not love God, then you are not going to be willing to fight for His will.

Examine yourself today to see if you are in the faith. Truly in the faith. Your obedience is a sign of your love for God.

75 comments:

WayneDawg said...

Great post.......

You had me laughing at one point and then being soberly reminded about our calling at the end.

The thing is too that, for Christians our 'Goliath' if you will, can be anything that stands between us and being obedient to God. What may be one man's Goliath may be no more than a small speedbump to another man; and vice versa.

The key to taking out a Goliath was outlined in your post:"If you love Me, you will obey me."

Read the Scriptures, pray, witness and just be obedient.

pastorbrianculver said...

good comment, you are right, not everyone has the same problems to overcome. For some people it is drug addiction, others it is pornography, others it is homosexuality, and still others it is lying. Regardless of what it is, if we are obedient to God's Word, we can and will overcome it!

j razz said...

Do you think that Church can be a goliath in your obedience endeavor?

Let me explain: A woman has a God given responsibility to her husband and that is a way in which she is obedient to scripture. If she sees that responsibility as subservient to her service to the church, that is wrong. If she neglects her husband to the benefit of the church, that is disobedience just the same.

The woman that led me to the Lord left her husband to go start a church several states away as that is what she thought the Lord wanted of her. When in fact, that is what Satan wanted from her. He wanted her to dishonor her husband in the name of the Lord. She did and is leading a church to this day as far as I know.

j razz

pastorbrianculver said...

Wow, and again I say, wow!

Guess I have to ask a question here. Was her husband a Christian?

forget that, I don't think that really matters in this case!

I guess the obedience needs to be clarified...

There are many people who feel they are being obedient to God...
but in reality, they are not being obedient to God's Word. The two can not contradict each other!

Jeff Greathouse said...

I think that if we showed love (greatest commandment) that we would not have to "fight"

pastorbrianculver said...

If we love God and love our neighbors we will still have to "fight" for what is right. To fight for God's Word not being changed to suit particular interests. To fight to preserve the integrity of His Word so that people realize that God is a God of wrath and of love. If you love God and are obedient to Him, the world will hate you.

Now, here lies a problem. No one has kept the Ten Commandments. NO ONE! When you lie, you do not show love to your neighbor, same thing when you steal, look with lust, hate, covet, etc.

If you are being obedient to God's Word, then out of love for Him, you will fight for Him!

1Tim 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
2Tim 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith:
Hbr 10:32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;

Jeff Greathouse said...

I think that your exeesis of the scripture may be a little off and your definition of "fight" may be a little "off"; especially in the comparison with David and Goliath.

I also would say that if you (christian community - not you in particular) would truly love God and love one another and lived in community as the early church did; you would not have to "fight" as you think and presume.

I do not see instructions (please show me them, if they are there) where Jesus instructed us "to fight"

pastorbrianculver said...

Why did David go up against Goliath (in your point of view)?

Why did Paul say he had fought the good fight (in your point of view)?

I find it sad and troubling that you do not feel it is necessary to fight for your faith? Are you so compliant to the world that you don't want to engage it?

You need to realize that the world will HATE you if you follow Jesus. Why do I get the suspicion that the world does not hate you?? Maybe it's because you assume that loving someone is not telling them the Truth that they need to hear.

What would you tell a homosexual he needs to do to go to heaven?

what would you tell a liar he needs to do to go to heaven?

enquiring minds want to know!

WayneDawg said...

Jeff -

Pick up a copy of John MacArthur's book, "The Truth War" and see why Christians need to contend earnestly for the faith.

Jeff Greathouse said...

Wayne:

I have read the book; thanks for the suggestion.

He is an individual that does a great job at exegesis. HOWEVER, he does not put much study and background checking when he aims his arrows at individuals or movements.

He pais with a very broad brush and anytime you paint with a big brush, you can and will get yourself into trouble.


So, you think from suggesting the book that we need to be fighting against other Christians ?

Jeff Greathouse said...

Pastor Brian:

You asked a lot of questions in your comment but did not answer mine. However, I will look past that an answer the majority or all of your q's.

1. David went up against Goliath because his country was in war and no one else would fight Goliath; thus he went and fought him. However from that I do not see how that equates with us fighting non-christians.

2. Paul said that he fought the good fight because his life had almost come to an end and he was sharing that he had persevered. He had fulfilled his call to be obedient to God and Christ teaching.

3. I am sorry that you think it is sad. I am not sure why it is though. You had a question mark but that was not really a question.

4. I engage the world in my everyday life. I am not sure what you mean by being compliant. But, when I go out and serve the community each day; I am engaging them where they are at.

5. You may be right, the world that surrounds me does not hate me. The reason is simple: when you love them and are showing the fruits of the spirit ... why would they hate you when you are loving them and bring joy to their life ?

6 & 7 These questions are kinda related. I love the fact that you bring up homosexuals again. Do you really HATE them ? I will tell them what I tell everyone .. message does not change. God loved you so much that He sent His Son to take your place. Because He died for you / resurrected and seated at the right hand of God; His grace covers your sin.

pastorbrianculver said...

I am going to bed pretty soon but wanted to respond quickly to one point in particular.

I brought up the question of sins because I kind of figured what kind of answer I would get.

6 & 7 These questions are kinda related. I love the fact that you bring up homosexuals again. Do you really HATE them ? I will tell them what I tell everyone .. message does not change.

God loved you so much that He sent His Son to take your place. Because He died for you / resurrected and seated at the right hand of God; His grace covers your sin.

If what you tell people is the above statement, why did you not mention they NEED to repent of their sins?

Also, why do you feel that when someone brings up a sin, that the person must HATE them. I bring up certain sins because I know there are churches out there who shy away from telling people the Truth.

As for David and Goliath, you miss the main reason for David being the one to conquer Goliath.

Goliath, taunting Israel every morning and evening, offered himself as the champion of the Philistines. For 40 days he asked the Israelites to provide a worthy opponent, but no one dared face a warrior of such stature (1S.17:1-11, 16). All were afraid; all lacked faith.

At the time, David was too young to be in the army. He was left to tend his father’s sheep. His father sent him to the Valley of Elah, where Saul and Israel’s armies were gathered, to take roasted grain and bread to his three older brothers, and cheese to their commander.

When David arrived, he heard the taunts of Goliath. He was outraged and indignant. It was not the proud and boastful indignation of youth, but righteous indignation at the insult to God and at the reproach on Israel. David asked, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?" (1S.17:26).

David wasn’t a warrior, and he knew it. But David had a weapon Goliath didn’t have — faith in God. He was willing to face Goliath because he was unwilling to see the Philistine giant mock the living God. David knew that it wasn’t his fight, but God’s. He trusted in God for protection when he faced Goliath: "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied" (1S.17:45).

Goliath had a full strong battle armor... David went as a shepherd with his sling and 5 stones, he even refused the armor offered to him by King Saul.

David used all skills he had and mainly Faith in God!:
- Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." (1Sam.17:36,37).
- I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty... for the battle is the Lord 's (1S.17:45,47).

The Fight:

Then, unlike the men of Israel who had fled from Goliath (24), David ran toward the giant. He didn’t wait for Goliath to approach him, but ran forward, eager to take away the reproach from Israel. God was with David and with Israel, defeating the arrogant giant and routing the shocked Philistine army.

48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.
50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.
51 David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine's sword and drew it from the scabbard. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran.

pastorbrianculver said...

I never said anything about fighting other Christians. Mormons are not Christians. There are many people who sit in a church on Sundays who are not Christians.

Just because someone says they believe in Jesus, does not mean they are saved.

Jeff Greathouse said...

Pastor Brian:

I was not referring to Mormons. I was referring to the book that Wayne was referring to.

John in his book was not "going" after mormonism. I believe he as attacking (fighting) fellow Christians though. He would say, he was not and fighting against people who "think" they are Christians.

Your exegesis of David and Goliath was pretty good. However, once again, you made the jump from him (original post) to us as Christian needing to fight / battle and that was NOT the point of the stoy.

I did not realize that you wanted me to give you the ive point exercise + 1 for the salvation story; my bad ...

- Hear the Word
- Believe the Message
- Repent of you Sins
- Confess the Lord as your Savior
- Be Baptized
- Be Faithful till Death

However, as I look at scripture and see Jesus interact with individuals; can you show me where he said, "repent" ?

I think when a person begins to follow Him; they will be convicted and want to live the life that Christ has called them to live.

I never see where people need to change before they come to him. For that matter, I think it is impossible to do so.

stella said...

"God loved you so much that He sent His Son to take your place. Because He died for you / resurrected and seated at the right hand of God; His grace covers your sin."

Telling this to a homosexual (or any sinner) makes no sense. What sin? I was born this way. And if it does "make sense to them" it just gives them reason to continue in a sinful lifestyle. I don't have to worry, because God's grace covers my sin.

I should know. I came out of that lifestyle after I became a Christian. But it's funny, the people who "led me to the Lord." Never told me that I had to repent of my sins...just that "His grace covers my sin."

I was a "Christian" for a whole year before I heard someone tell me that I had to repent of my sins. I knew it because I read it in Scripture, but I thought it was the same thing as saying "the prayer." It's not. And it's not until I realized that my sinful lifestyle was sending me straight to hell (whether I confessed to be a Christian or not), that I repented and trusted Christ. And by the way, it is a fight...a spiritual fight...

So, before you comment that I hate homosexuals, think twice. You've no clue what homosexuals go through...and go through as Christians because I'm pretty sure you've not been down that road.

I tell you these things because Jesus is so precious to me. You don't know where I've been. You don't know what I did and how I worshipped satan for most of my life. I deserve hell, without a doubt, I deserve to be sent to hell. But Jesus, in His goodness and mercy, took my punishment, so that I may have eternal life with Him. And that, my friend, is very good news!!!

I'm not trying to start a theological debate with you. I'm just going to plead with you to start exposing sin for what it is. People's souls are on the line...Without recognition and understand that we've broken God's Law, Jesus is just "something to do" for many who claim to know Him.

michelle said...

amen to that last point! we need to tell people to repent of their sins, not just Jesus loves them... You can't just preach the nice things from the word, that is a huge disservice to folks who need to understand what salvation is and how to be saved...

pastorbrianculver said...

Amen Stella and Michelle,
It is so scary when "churches" will only tell good news for fear of offending people. When pastors and youth pastors try to be "cool" they are only conforming themselves to the world. Like I said before, if the world does not hate you then that really shows that you are absolutely NO THREAT to Satan. It is when we start sharing the whole gospel message of sin and the need to repent that Satan will start firing his arrows at us. I count THAT as joy because then I know I am on the Lord's side!

pastorbrianculver said...

all you have to do is read the first words out of Jesus mouth in his ministry.

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!!!

When speaking to the woman at the well who was an adulterer, he told her to go and sin no more.

One day a young ruler came to Jesus and fell on his knees before him. He said, "Good teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?" Jesus told him to keep the commandments. "Which ones?" the man asked. Jesus started quoting some of the 10 commandments; "Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother." "Love your neighbor as yourself." The young man said he had kept all these commands from the time he was a boy. He had lived a good life. The Bible says that Jesus looked at him and loved him, but Jesus looked into the man's heart and saw something that was keeping him from becoming a follower.
Jesus told him that he still lacked one thing; he must sell the things he owned and give the money to the poor. Then he would have treasure in heaven, and he could follow Jesus.
The young man's face fell and he sadly went away because he had great riches that he would not part with.
After the young man left, Jesus talked to his disciples about how hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. "It is easier", he said, "for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, but with God all things are possible."
Obviously the rich man was a liar and had not kept all of the commands since his youth.

While he does not say the word repent here, it is understood that unless this man change his ways, he will not enter heaven.

The Law acts as our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. It shows us our sins. Paul said he had not known what sin was but by the Law. The Law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul.

Jeff Greathouse said...

Stella:

You missed the point. My point is that the message does not change. It does not matter who you are talking to or what their "sin" is. I find it amuzing when churches want to be agreesive towards certain sins but not others.

Pastor:

Once again, if you are truly being the hands and feet of Christ - loving and serving them - they are not going to hate you for loving them and serving them.

You love reading into scripture to pull out your points that do not really exist.

Jeff Greathouse said...

Stella:

Complete misinterpretation of my beliefs and scripture:

Telling this to a homosexual (or any sinner) makes no sense. What sin? I was born this way. And if it does "make sense to them" it just gives them reason to continue in a sinful lifestyle. I don't have to worry, because God's grace covers my sin.

But, that is not a surprise

pastorbrianculver said...

yep! Jesus loved everyone and look where it put him!! your logic is not biblical.

Scripture plainly tells us the world will hate you.

Read John 15:1-27, specifically verse 18 -- If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.

v 19 -- If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

v 20 -- Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

v 21 -- But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.

see, you can love as we are commanded to do, I do not argue on this, I do say that if we love the way Jesus said we are to love, then the world will hate you. Scripture tells us so! you have deleted Scripture to meet your needs. Don't do that. The whole Bible is God's inerrant Word!

pastorbrianculver said...

Stella, you were right on Scripturally.

pastorbrianculver said...

I find it amazing that churches will ignore certain sins!!

stella said...

No misinterpretation on my part. I know. You don't want to offend anyone, therefore, "God loves you, Jesus loves you and He will forgive our sin." I used to give that "Gospel message." Where is the judgement...God will judge, make no mistake about that.

Here's the deal: The Gospel message applies to all men. How would you give the message to Donald Trump? If you present it the same way as you stated it here, he will laugh in your face and walk away. So, would you present it in the same manner?

I've sat in church and watched some very rich, influencial people laugh at the very same message. There is no understanding of sin nor the reality of hell.

What about homeless people? The single mother who has 3 kids, can't find a job, can't feed her kids..."God loves me? Whatever! If he loved me, then He wouldn't let my life be this way..."

Just take a look at your own church, after seeing people "accept Jesus into their hearts," (I'm almost positive that that's the next line in the message), how many people really become whole and complete in Christ. How many of the people in your congregation has breakdown after breakdown...and it just never ends...how many people are "backsliders?" Don't answer, just think about it. Or if you don't want to think about your church, think about others that you've been to...

I'd gather that it all began with giving grace first without understanding of sin.

I'm not attacking you. It's that message that has spread throughout America and is now reached other nations. It's unbiblical. That's not the way Jesus did it. We can't pick and choose what we want because it sounds good.

We (myself included when I did it) are deceiving a lot of people. There are many people that are going to hell because they never had a real conversion. I'm guilty of doing this and I wish that I could call up everyone I ever "led to the Lord" and tell them, but I can't.

So, peace, my brother, I'm going to preach to some buddhist kids...Oh, by the way, buddhists will tell you that their ancestors (their gods) love them too...they love them so much that they help them in this life...they give them everything that Jesus would give them. The one thing they can't offer is eternal life...but why can't they do that? Because they are not going to judge them in the end...God will.

pastorbrianculver said...

great point again Stella,
I might add to what you said, When I started out as a pastor, I gave everyone the God loves you message. No mention of sin and the need to repent of sins. It was all "feel good" messages. Unfortunately, that hurts people more than helps them. How do I know?

Just yesterday, I took my grandson (3 yr old) to Happy Joe's Pizza to play and get some pizza. As we were in line, a tall african american young man looked at me and said, "brian, how you doing?" I looked at him and for the life of me I did not know who he was. He gave me some clues that I used to coach him back when he was 11 and 12 yrs old. He is the same age as my son who is 24 now. Of course, the last time I saw this boy he was like 5 ft tall, now he is almost 6 ft 4 inches with a mustache. He had changed. As I tried to guess his name it took me quite a while. He said he even used to spend the night at our house and came to church when I started out preaching. I finally figured out who it was. I asked him what he had been up to and he said he had just gotten out of jail. He had been in on a murder charge (his friend murdered someone but he was with him when he did it). he got five years in prison and now he has to try to get his life back on track. It killed me to think that he came to my church and I gave him all the God loves you message. But I did not give him the Law of God and the need to repent. He did not have the fear of God in his heart. He believed in Jesus but even the devil believes and trembles. So this boy got into drugs, alcohol, sex and even murder. He had no relationship with Jesus, he had no reason to. God loved him and that was all that mattered. As I talked to him this time, I told him he needed to get his act together. He needed to get off the drugs and stop doing stupid things. I told him about God's Law and the need to repent and put his trust and faith in Jesus to save him. Did he make a decision yesterday for Christ. I don't know, but at least I know I gave him God's Word this time. Why did I tell him all of this? Was it because I hated him? No. it was out of love for this boy and not wanting to see him to go hell. That is why we fight for the faith. That is why we tell people the truth, in love, so they do not go to hell. You can be all friendly and loving to people you want, but if you don't tell people what they NEED to hear,then that is not love. That is hatred in the biggest sense of the word. That is recklessness in the truest form of the word. Just because we give people the Truth of God's Word and His Law, we always do it with love in our heart for them.

Jeff Greathouse said...

Pastor Brian:

It is interesting that you read into the text those things, maybe they are "suppose" to be .. but they are not there.

I look more at what Jesus actually did and said that was recorded. You mentioned two seperate instances, I believe. The woman at the well and the adulturer woman (stoning).

To me, Jesus always dealt with them in a grace-filled way.

To the woman at the well, He offered "living water" as a real solution to her broken life.

To the woman caught in adultury, he rescued her from a lynch mob and chased them away in a creative way.

i think I know why we differ so much. i will share that with you later tonight. I am going to a meeting on poverty now and will answer following.

pastorbrianculver said...

of course, Jesus spoke with grace. But don't forget that he told the woman in adultery to GO AND SIN NO MORE! Why would he say that? What would happen to her if she continued in her sin? You know the answer. She would go to hell. We must warn people of God's wrath. Sure He is a God of love. That is demonstrated on the cross. But He is also a God of wrath. I hope you understand this. If you are teaching your kids only the love side of Jesus without telling them that He will judge the unrighteous, then you are not helping those kids.

pastorbrianculver said...

just remember people...

Jesus ALWAYS used Law to the proud and grace to the humble!

if someone tries to deceive you, do not listen!

pastorbrianculver said...

there are those who say, I don't think tracts are a good way to evangelize, they feel that you should just love the people and build a relationship with them. the problem with that is this...
we don't know when any person is going to die. So, if you are going to build a relationship with someone, they might die before you ever get to the actual message they need to hear. It's time to be bold as lions people. It is time to stop fooling around with "feel good" messages that do absolutely nothing to bring souls to Christ. If nothing else, they keep people from truly coming to Him because they never hear WHY they need a Savior.

glenn said...

Brian ~

I understand where you are coming from as a pastor of twenty years who was trained at very conservative Bible college, yet I disagree with your perspective.

People think Christians are self righteous jerks because of our judgmental, un-Christlike spirit. It was a gigantic issue in Jesus' day and he railed against it, saving his harshest words for those who understood themselves to be the most holy.

Loving like Jesus is not being wimpy or ignoring Scripture, it is fulfilling it. You know that. When your heart is full of Christlike love for that homosexual or young man whose life has gotten off tract and when you realize that you are no better in God's sight than they are... then you might be ready to engage them.

Please don't drag the reputation of Jesus down with misguided attempts at playing the Holy Spirit and feeling that somehow it is your responsibility to point out everyone's sinful ways. It is your responsibility to love people as Jesus did and to deal with your own sin. That is the real fight!

pastorbrianculver said...

Glenn,
I love it when people throw the "I went to seminary" in your face. As if that means you are a person of authority. Show me a seminary in the Bible and I will agree, but for now, NO. First off, you don't know me and you obviously have not been reading the whole thread. I am not a person that thinks I am holier than Thou. I am also not a judgmental person, so for you to come on here accusing be of being such, is wrong. Next, I do acknowledge that I am a sinner just like everyone else. Now, for you to try to infer that I have an unChristlike spirit is also wrong.

saving his harshest words for those who understood themselves to be the most holy.

Now, when it comes to OBEDIENCE (I capitalize this because so many supposed pastors FAIL MISERABLY on this!!!! Paul preached the way Jesus did. Peter preached the way Jesus did. Timothy preached and evangelized the way Jesus did. There is a difference between the Pharisee's and the disciples of Christ! Or do you not understand that. I would almost be willing to venture that I could come to your church and ask the youth and the congregation some questions and they would not be able to answer them. My guess is that a couple out of a hundred maybe know all ten of the Ten Commandments. The rest would know maybe 4 or 5 of them. Why? Because they are not being taught from the pulpit. The pastors are spending too much time preaching God's Love and feel good messages, that people do not know what sin is. Paul said he had not known sin but by the Law. Jesus used the Law when he spoke to people, Paul used it, Peter used it as did the others. Why did they use the Law. Because if people do not know they are truly and exceedingly sinful in God's eyes, they will not repent of their sins. But if you keep giving them nothing but the love side of the story, you will get a lot of people leaving church feeling good about themselves and not feeling convicted of a need to repent. If they do not repent of their sins, they WILL GO TO HELL. It amazes me when pastors think that feelings are more important than the TRUTH of God's Word.

Loving like Jesus is not being wimpy or ignoring Scripture, it is fulfilling it. You know that

Duh! That is what I have been saying. When you are OBEDIENT to God's Word, you will be loving BUT you will ALSO be TRUTHFUL WITH THE PEOPLE. You have to give them the whole picture.

Let me ask you this...
DO YOU THINK GOD IS A GOD OF LOVE ONLY? OR DO YOU THINK HE IS ALSO A GOD OF WRATH?

When your heart is full of Christlike love for that homosexual or young man whose life has gotten off tract and when you realize that you are no better in God's sight than they are... then you might be ready to engage them.

I am sure you meant to say "life has gotten off track..."
look again at what you wrote.
...then you might be ready to engage them.
Now what does the Great Commission tell us?
GO INTO ALL THE WORLD PREACHING THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE.
We are to preach to EVERY person. No, we are not to try to buddy up with people and build relationships first. no, why? because they might get hit by a truck today and die. Their blood would be on your hands. I would rather tell them what they need to hear (and say it with God's love) and risk offending them, than to wait until you are such good friends that they will want to listen to you. That is COMPLETELY AGAINST SCRIPTURE. Jesus said you will not be accepted in your own town. Many times, it is easier to witness to strangers than it is to friends.

"Please don't drag the reputation of Jesus down with misguided attempts at playing the Holy Spirit and feeling that somehow it is your responsibility to point out everyone's sinful ways. It is your responsibility to love people as Jesus did and to deal with your own sin"

I'll tell you what...
as a pastor, I personally feel you are way off base with your comments. They are Satan-filled comments and I can recognize it as well as can all the other people reading this. I feel sorry for your congregation. You sound like one of the pastors in this town. 20 years in the ministry, seminary trained and the biggest waste of time behind the pulpit that there is. You need to read Ezekiel sir. Read about how the blood of those who you do not warn will be on your head when they die. READ IT!
Then you need to BELIEVE THE WHOLE WORD OF GOD. Stop making up your own god to suit yourself.

That is the real fight!
No, the real fight is against false teachers and false prophets, who would try to pervert God's Word like you are doing. That is the point of this blog is to get churches back to biblical standings.

If any other emergent wannabe's care to comment, then go ahead, I am anxiously awaiting your response.

Tim Brown said...

Why is it that if you stand for the Scriptures others who profess Christ insinuate you to be a pharisee?

The Pharisees were not condemned for their theology, but because they had added traditions to God's Law. They also would not associate with "sinful people".

Standing for the Word of God and proclaiming it to the lost is not Pharasitical.

On a personal level, I know that Brian doesn't stand aloof from the lost. And I also know he doesn't elevate traditions to a Biblical level.

Trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit? My friend, the Holy Spirit works through the Scriptures.

Seems to me the ones who leave the Scriptures out and try to use human marketing techniques and emotional appeals are taking the place of the scriptures.

Remember, Romans 10 says "Faith comes by..." what? Music? Having your felt needs met while you spiritually bleed to death? No. "...by hearing the Word of God".

Funny, I've seen Brian share the gospel many times and I've never seen anyone do anything but thank him. He shows genuine concern...and they know he cares.

If proclaiming the truth to the lost makes me a Pharisee, then I, like Brian, wear the term like a badge of honor.

pastorbrianculver said...

my sentiments exactly Tim! I can see where some of this is coming. They have a debate over at http://glennhager.wordpress.com/2008/01/22/your-turn/
about whether church is even necessary. And Jeff wants to have church be like Acts and yet he doesn't realize that the early church was a group of believers who were edified by hearing the Word and then they went out to reach the lost. They didn't hold a service and just hope people would come. They went to the people! Sure, we should be doing community service. We should be feeding the hungry and giving shelter to the homeless. But that is not all there is to love (biblical love). True biblical love is expressed when we witness to people about their need for a Savior!

Tim Brown said...

What wrinkles my pants is how these people always seem to think that if you clearly stand for the Scriptures, you must not be "a friend of sinners". Wow.

It isn't either/or...it is both/and.

The same Jesus Who offered Living Water in John 4 also drew out the truth about her sinfulness.

The same Jesus who fed the 5000 men is also the One Who, in John 6, turned many of them away for returning for more physical bread. Not being very seeker sensitive, was He?

Ooops. Guess he wasn't "Christlike"???

Tim Brown said...

"my sentiments exactly Tim! I can see where some of this is coming. They have a debate over at..."

That's ok. Let 'em. It's a rabbit chase.

Jeff Greathouse said...

Pastor:

I am asking you to please read the series as I am going through it.

You state the following:

Jeff wants to have church be like Acts and yet he doesn't realize that the early church was a group of believers who were edified by hearing the Word and then they went out to reach the lost.

This is not true. You will see this as I develop the thought and show the process.

Teaching is EXTREMELY important. Going out and REACHING the lost is VITAL.

Please do not take snipits and draw your conclusion.

I think that in the series 4-7 will spell out very clearly the importance of teaching, accountability and making sure we are held to biblical mandates.

It will show how we need to shine light into the dark areas of peoples heart.

pastorbrianculver said...

what wrinkles my pants...

funny!!

I agree again with you

Tim Brown said...

"Teaching is EXTREMELY important. Going out and REACHING the lost is VITAL."

Then it seems to me you agree with Brian...

Tim Brown said...

"what wrinkles my pants...

funny!!"

I say things like that when I've been drinking this tea I've got. I was born in the Ozarks (Springfield Missouri).

Actually, I'm surprised I didn't say "britches".

Jeff Greathouse said...

Tim:

And I agree with all most every single thing you said in the comment.

It is not either/or

I also agree with your assessment of Jesus. Where I disagree is that I believe Jesus did something for them before "preaching" to them.

He went to their homes, he fed them, he saved her from a lynching and so forth.

Even when He called the disciples, he invited them to come with him. He asked them to do an enormous task, drop everything but he did not give a list of requirements first.

I think the foundation that we base our ministries on our the difference. I don't think what we teach is that different.

Pastor:

I do not see the comment on the differences and foundations, did you receive it or which post did I put it into ?

I do go to the people and I do that so I can be the hands and feet of Jesus.

We may disagree on when/how/what time to share the Gospel message, but it is done.

Ohhhhh and I can not find your comment (not sure what post it was in) but you asked about homosexuals in our church or in my youth groups.

Yes, I have and I could share stories with how the conversations came about that they need to make wise choices in regards to biblical truths.

pastorbrianculver said...

what do you consider to be a "wise choice?"

Tim Brown said...

I think Jeff's main problem with this was the idea of a "fight" or "Warfare".

As follows:

"I do not see instructions (please show me them, if they are there) where Jesus instructed us "to fight"

Let's see. We're limited to just what Jesus said, as if Jude isn't inspired? You didn't say that, but I have to wonder if you are implying htat.

We are told by Jude to "earnestly contend for the faith". Jesus talked about not bringing peace but a sword. He also said he was sending us out as "sheep among wolves". And of course he said we'd be hated just as He was. No servant is greater than his master. Then we are also told about "fighting the good fight"...Paul, I believe.

This is supposed to be a cake walk? Look at Paul. Look at the other apostles. They were fighting a war.

I would ask Jeff, with all respect, to be very specific about how he shares the Gospel with the lost. In fact, maybe the better thing to ask is how he defines the Gospel?

Having read his comments, just viewing the landscape of what he has to say, he is trying to say there is a non-offensive gospel.

Do you believe in repentance as a necessary element of saving faith? If yes, do you tell people they need to repent? God commands all men everywhere to repent. I would assume, therefore, that this is Christlike...

If it's not a war, what's the need for the armor? Certainly the idea of warfare is there. And Satan uses people...

Jeff Greathouse said...

Tim:

I almost fully agree with Pastor as well. I just disagree a little on the method and timing from what I am reading.

Pastor:

In the situation where it was teenage girls (5) that were part of the group, we told them that we believed that their lifestyle choices were not healthy and that they did not line up with the lifestyle that God has called us to.

We, however, did emphasize that you are more than willing to contnue to vcome and be part of the ministry
( this is the welcoming not affirming). We will love you, welcome you but we will affirm or applaud your decisions.

But, we also confronted those teens who were having heterosexual relationships because we believe that type of intimacy is for husband/wife.

Now, when we talk about wise choices in general, we try to have them look at them trough three lenses:

- past experience
- present situation
= future goals

We (I) believe individuals can do "things" that are not sinful that some can not because it might lead them to the sin. If you want example / explanation, I will give it.

Tim Brown said...

Jeff:

While I appreciate what we agree on, I would argue that you are incorrect in saying Jesus "Invited" the disciples to follow him. "Follow Me" is pretty emphatic. Later, when Peter said "What about the others", the greek is very emphatic.

THis was a command, not an "invitation".

I think also, you are narrowing your "audience" by implying you must "do something for them first". Let's see, how many were saved on or around Pentecost? "Doing Something First" is not a Biblical prerequisite for proclaiming the Gospel. When Paul preached in Acts, he preached to those who worshipped an unknown god, but he didn't say "Wait a minute, I gotta do something for you first." He preached. Period.

The woman at the well. That exchange as written took how long? It doesn't take long to build a relationship with a person such that it can bear sharing the Gospel. It can take as little as five minutes.

I've already said we agree with helping people. We are told by James that doing this is just an outgrowth of saving faith. It isn't a profound point. It is very basic.

So, what then is your point? It takes more time??? You gotta be "buds" before you can share your faith?

You have one other question I'm waiting for an answer for. Here's another.

You see a person along the side of the road. They are bleeding to death through a major artery. But they are complaining of pain from a broken finger. You don't know how long this person will live. What do you give priority to? The finger or the artery?

You see a person whom you perceive to be unsaved. How long does that person have to live? Five years? Two? Three weeks? Days? Minutes?

And if you put it off, who pays the bill?

We plant seeds. Just like Jesus described in the parable of the sower. We don't try to cultivate, plant, water and harvest all at once. We scatter seeds, just like in the parable. We proclaim the message and leave the results to God. Someone has a need? Yes, but we share the Gospel too. And it doesn't take days or years. It takes minutes. "Paul planted, Apollos watered, but God produces the results". And we may not see the results. But God gets the Glory for just having the Gospel proclaimed. We don't put notches on our belts, we don't count bodies in a building. We don't even seek an increase. We just give the message.

I'll await your answer to my questions.

Tim Brown said...

'what do you consider to be a "wise choice?"'

I'll be waiting for this as well...

Jeff Greathouse said...

Tim:

I think it is on how you read scripture. You asked about war and the armor.

The armor of God is one of my favorite scripture. In it, I see we are to stand firm - not attack - we have one offense weapon (the Word of God). Everything else is defensive.

Why was it used. I think it was used because of the time the letter was written. There were fights in the stadiums and this is what they would wear. Also, most likely, Paul was seeing this "uniform" every day while he was writing his letters. Thus, he was connecting current culture to teaching of/about Jesus.

I would not go to the extent of a non-offensive lifestlye. Because if you come to Jesus and start living the life He has called you 9and you will if you are truly following) Him, then you are going to have to put aside alot of your oldself.

However, I do not believe that a person has to give up everything before they follow jesus. I believe that through the power of Jesus blood and the individual being connected with christians that the individual will become more Christ like.

that is where i see when Jesus calls out to his disciples to follow me. I mean even after 3 years, they were messing up but they were always trying to follow him.

pastorbrianculver said...

I was late putting one of Jeff's comments on here, so this response is to one a few back.

"In the situation where it was teenage girls (5) that were part of the group, we told them that we believed that their lifestyle choices were not healthy and that they did not line up with the lifestyle that God has called us to."

(I am assuming that these girls are homosexuals, right?)
Is that all you told them?? Their lifestyle "choices" did not line up with a lifestyle God called us to.
I would think their response is. OKAY. But they are still not changing, are they?

"We, however, did emphasize that you are more than willing to contnue to vcome and be part of the ministry
( this is the welcoming not affirming). We will love you, welcome you but we will affirm or applaud your decisions"

(again, I will assume you meant to say, we will NOT affirm or applaud your decisions.) the problem with the way this is stated (and it is really a huge problem) is this...
WE will love you and welcome you, but WE will not affirm or applaud your decisions.
Again, most likely their response is going to be, OKAY. They will not feel it is necessary to change.

"But, we also confronted those teens who were having heterosexual relationships because we believe that type of intimacy is for husband/wife."

again, it is WE believe and again, the natural response is going to be, OKAY. With no need to change.

"Now, when we talk about wise choices in general, we try to have them look at them trough three lenses:

- past experience
- present situation
= future goals"

Where is the Bible in the decision making? Where is God's HOLY WORD?
Where is HIS mandate on living a pure and righteous lifestyle. Where is mention that a person MUST, I REPEAT, A PERSON MUST REPENT OF THEIR SINS OR THEY WILL GO TO HELL?

"We (I) believe individuals can do "things" that are not sinful that some can not because it might lead them to the sin. If you want example / explanation, I will give it."

No thanks! Again it is WE believe. That is why I get so upset with pastors, youth pastors and many many churches in general. Because it is all about what WE think. The BIBLE is the WORD OF GOD. Has everyone forgotten that? There is absolutely nothing in what you told those lesbian girls that would tell me they are saved. I have my doubts as to whether the leaders are saved in that church either. When you throw repentance out the window and try to soften the gospel with things that make the listeners ears tingle, then you are no better than Joel Osteen, Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Tony Jones, Brian McLaren and many others. I know you wanted to have people from another blog (Glenn) come over and "help" you because you felt you were being ganged up on. You are not being ganged up on, it is just that Michelle, Stella and I are so tired of hearing the same old song...
Won't you come to my church now, doo dah, doo dah
won't you come to my church now, oh doo dah day.

Pastor's feel they have to entertain people from behind the pulpit. They feel they have to tell great jokes and awesome stories. They even feel they have to have little goatee's because that makes them cool.

I think I speak for many of the people who come to this site, Waynedawg, Timm, JRazz, Tim, Stella, Michelle, Tony, and many others when I say,
Jeff, we truly do care about you. We are all passionate about Jesus and we do not want to see people being mislead by reading books. We want people to be obedient to the Word of God. If you catch yourself saying, "I think God..." then you have just (most likely) created a god to suit yourself. You should be able to say, "God's Word says..." I know you have been reading a book that you feel is very good on community. Would you please take a listen to something for me? please go to: http://reformedgadfly.blogspot.com/2007/11/more-on-willow-creek-silliness.html and on the third line down is a link that says, "this analysis" click on it and listen to the broadcast. I think you will find it very interesting. After you listen to that, then please let me know what you think. Also,I would suggest you go to: http://www.wayofthemaster.com/learntoshare.shtml
click on Hells Best Kept Secret (watch the video) and also listen to True and False Converts. It will open your eyes as to why myself and so many other people desire to see God's Law preached. If you truly want to understand why we think the way we do, then please take some time to watch and listen to these links.

Jeff Greathouse said...

I had heard the video and have listened to his rebuttal.

I know that you will "turn" it however, I do want to say that the book that I am going through is the reason why WC brought him on staff.

They want to move their church from the program to people aspect. As mentioned, when you are doing biblical community - you are doing *cough* the Bible.

In my "talk" I used, we because you asked how we interacted with them. I did not know that you wanted me to bring the whole message with the scriptures and the exact talk.

Plus, you do not know what the responses were from the girls.

Oh, we are not Willow Creek followers by the way, I just wanted to mention it. I am thankful that they are switching their mindset. The shocking omission though was passed out to the churches.

pastorbrianculver said...

so now you are saying you used Scripture to show these girls their sinfulness and the need to repent of their sins?

""In the situation where it was teenage girls (5) that were part of the group, we told them that we believed that their lifestyle choices were not healthy and that they did not line up with the lifestyle that God has called us to.""

There is a huge difference in presenting Scripture compared with the way you said you presented it to them. You are right in that I do not know what the girls said, I said, "most likely" it would be OKAY. I say this because the "feel good" churches do a terrible job of warning people of the need to repent of their sins.

Jeff Greathouse said...

We use scripture for everything.

The toughest aspect for us was also when we had to remove one from the "band". The reason is because as you mentioned their un-wise choice and "sin" is something that was out front and with them up-front ... it could be a hindrance.

pastorbrianculver said...

Jeff,
I don't know you personally, but, would you say you're a good person?

Tim Brown said...

Well, apparently he (Jeff) isnt' going to answer my questions or deal with the material I provided regarding having to "serve before sharing" unless, of course, he is just away for a bit.

I, too, wonder how he would answer your question. Does he consider himself to be a good person?

Jeff Greathouse said...

Pastor:

You wrote and asked ....

Jeff,

I don't know you personally, but, would you say you're a good person?

Boy, now there is a good question that could be answered in numerous ways ....

Jeff Greathouse said...

Tim,

I will try to catch up with all your questions and comments:

You said:

Why is it that if you stand for the Scriptures others who profess Christ insinuate you to be a pharisee?

My response:

Because most of the time, you are acting like them in your actions / beliefs / responses. You are holding the Law too dearly to your heart.

You said:

The woman at the well. That exchange as written took how long? It doesn't take long to build a relationship with a person such that it can bear sharing the Gospel. It can take as little as five minutes.

Well then take 5 minutes and take the individual out for coffee and hear their story and then share with them and hand them a tract if that is helpful in your presentation. I think those few minutes and the presentation would help more than just placing it into their hand and having no words.

You said:

You see a person along the side of the road. They are bleeding to death through a major artery. But they are complaining of pain from a broken finger. You don't know how long this person will live. What do you give priority to? The finger or the artery?

You see a person whom you perceive to be unsaved. How long does that person have to live? Five years? Two? Three weeks? Days? Minutes?

And if you put it off, who pays the bill?

My response:

I will admit, I did laugh because we see things so differently in this manner.

How many people have you offended by caring for their salvation and not their being and have caused them to put up a wall so they will not allow Jesus in ??

But, I also think that this story negates the Holy Spirit and how the Spirit works in our lives and the individuals life that is hearing the message.

You said:

Well, apparently he (Jeff) isnt' going to answer my questions or deal with the material I provided regarding having to "serve before sharing" unless, of course, he is just away for a bit.

I, too, wonder how he would answer your question. Does he consider himself to be a good person?

My response:

I did have a few ministry tasks to take care of and we are in a little family "chaos" with a sick family member so my blog time is limited to a few areas.

The serve / sharing will be addressed in my series. You can be more than willing to read and respond and disagree. I am fine with disagreeing.

I think that Paul using your illustration on his preaching, very much interacted with the culture and his messages came out of the culture interaction.

pastorbrianculver said...

Are you a good person?

I am not wanting several possible answers, just give an honest answer, are you a good person?

Jeff Greathouse said...

Pastor:

I am not sure why you trmporarily deleted his post. He asked a question.

I am assumming because both of you are asking the probing questions from the way of the master to see if I am "truly" saved and so then you can ask me specific questions to see if I want to get saved.

Tim,if Pastor lets this in, can you clarify this:

Jeff, you believe someone is saved by "letting Jesus in"???

Pastor:

It, the question, is irrelevant.

pastorbrianculver said...

sadly Jeff, it seems as though you most likely are not saved. To say that the question of "Are you a good person?" is irrelevant, amazes me. From what I have seen from your responses, you seem to think people will be offended if we mention the need to repent of their sins. I wonder out loud, whether you yourself are offended by the word REPENT? Why is it so hard for you to say it? When talking to the teen homosexual girls, why is it so hard to tell them they NEED to REPENT of their sins? You talk about love but there is absolutely nothing loving in not telling them the truth of God's Word. You talk about joy but the Bible says that as a believer you WILL suffer persecution for His Name sake.

Tim said,
Why is it that if you stand for the Scriptures others who profess Christ insinuate you to be a pharisee?

Jeff response:

Because most of the time, you are acting like them in your actions / beliefs / responses. You are holding the Law too dearly to your heart.

My point:
The thing is, we hold the Law as crucial to a person seeing how exceedingly sinful they are and how much they NEED a Savior. And the Savior is Jesus Christ! The Pharisee's would not make that claim! So Jeff, you are wrong!

Jeff said,
How many people have you offended by caring for their salvation and not their being and have caused them to put up a wall so they will not allow Jesus in ??

My response:
ONE! Now that is out of talking to over 300 people last year. And the cool thing is...
if they died that day, THEY HEARD THE GOSPEL AND THE NEED TO REPENT! Had I tried to "love" them the way you suggest and they died without hearing these important things, then they would have gone to hell. Jeff, what kind of love is that? What kind of love would hide the truth from someone who needs to hear it?

Jeff said:
But, I also think that this story negates the Holy Spirit and how the Spirit works in our lives and the individuals life that is hearing the message.

my response:
what message? you are too busy being their friend! No reply on your part is needed here.

"it, the question, is irrelevant."
Really? So is the Bible irrelevant?
So when the man says, good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus replied, "why do you call me good? there is none that is good but God."

And you think that is irrelevant? If people go around thinking they are good when they are not and especially when the Bible says they are not, it is EXTREMELY RELEVANT!

So, for those five girls, you have deceived them into thinking they are good enough to get into heaven when the BIBLE clearly says they are not. The BIBLE is RELEVANT. God's Word is RELEVANT. Being OBEDIENT is RELEVANT.

IF YOU WANT TO CONTINUE TO DO A CHARLIE BROWN KIND OF OUTREACH, THEN WHAT YOU WILL GET IN RETURN IS A WISHY-WASHY FAITH.

I prefer to give people the truth of God's Word and His Law. All the while pointing the way to Jesus. If someone is dying and they need to hear the truth, I will give it to them. Why? Because I love them the way Jesus would. HE WOULD NOT IGNORE THEIR NEED FOR KNOWLEDGE.

If it makes you laugh at how you would respond to a dying person, I don't even want to know about it.

so, are you a good person?

Tim Brown said...

Brian:

"My response: ONE! "

...and even that one, although offended, has heard the gospel and might reconsider the truth he heard...

stella said...

I've shared with 116 people so far this year, and only offended one man. He was going to punch me in the face, too!

But then again, I'm in a culture where I shouldn't be talking to older men...and he was drunk at 3pm on a Sunday...

I should have seen that one coming...

And by the way, "There is none good but God." I'm not a good person, you're not a good person, Pastor Brian isn't a good person...

We are wretched horrible people who are in NEED of a Savior. And when we're born again, we still sin (but we should hate it when we do), therefore, we are still not good.

pastorbrianculver said...

Jeff posted a reply but he still has not answered the question of whether he is a good person or not. Until I hear an honest answer to that question, I will block his comments.

Tim Brown said...

Hi Brian:

I think that is wise. In a comment, he did say:

"You asked a lot of questions in your comment but did not answer mine. . ."

Ironic.

Tim Brown said...

Was just thinking; you have to wonder if he even believes there is a Hell to warn people about.

Jeff:

We have no idea whether you are a real Christian or not. Even Paul had to tell his readers that "The Lord knows who are His..." Hebrews talks about "Holding unswervingly to the hope which we PROFESS..." because it is true that we can PROFESS and not actually POSSESS.

Maybe you say "I'm a Christian because I..." prayed a prayer, signed a card, did this, did that. The Bible NEVER says to look to something you did in the past. It consistently says "look for fruit". EXAMINE YOURSELF (2 Corinthians). It isn't what you did in the past. It is a matter of bearing fruit. Hating sin, and obeying Jesus...The Biblical one, not the emergent or "seeker" version of Jesus.

In fact, if you say "I'm a Christian *because I*..." that is very dangerous. Salvation is all of God. The "Because I" (prayed a prayer, signed a card) is a work. Salvation is by grace through FAITH. Faith is a two-sided coin; the flip side being REPENTANCE (turning away from sin).

We aren't judging you. we are trying to give you a message. It's the saving message of the Gospel. You seemingly laugh at the message but it is at your own eternal peril.

If I had three minutes to live, would you give me the message I needed to hear, or offer to take me to coffee and listen to my story?

I don't expect an answer to this. You won't deal with this. you'll avoid it because the message hurts your PRIDE. Yet, God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.

You seem to have a problem dealing with what is said to you as it is said. At one point, I told you it takes only five minutes to develop a relationship to the point that it will bear sharing the gospel.

Your response? "Take them out for coffee and listen to their story..." Then you said "Don't just hand them a tract".

You didn't read what I said OR you didn't pay attention to what I said. I didn't say "just hand them a tract". In fact, I didn't mention tracts at all...did I?

True love is willing to tell people the TRUTH, regardless of the consequences. You seem to be more concerned with the consequences. You don't want rejection but acceptance. Yet "If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in Him". You cannot serve two masters. You can't have it both ways.

God says that "those who live Godly in Christ Jesus *will* suffer persecution". When is the last time *the world* gave you any trouble.

Never? That should scare you. Or is the Bible false?

That, my friend, is what you must decide.

Tim Brown said...

Brian and others,
Ken Silva has a timely article here...

pastorbrianculver said...

Thanks Stella,
you are so right on track here.

thanks Tim,
I went to Ken's site and found this line that looks appropriate...

"the Bible tells us the preaching of the Cross is foolishness to unbelievers."

So next time someone wants to think it is okay to ignore biblical truths in favor or friendship evangelism, maybe it will open their eyes to understand that preaching of the cross is vital and essential to what we as Christians do!

Tim Brown said...

The whole problem with trying to discuss these things with any clarity is that the whole premise of the emergent movement is that you are having a "conversation". The humility of it all is a lack of certitude.

To the emergent mind, our "sin" is that we want the conversation to have a destination...the arrival at the truth. The emergent mindset won't allow that because as soon as you say you know the truth, you are being prideful. So, it's all about groping around like the three blind mice and saying (like the atheist apologists do) "I think" or "I surmise" or "Maybe..."

So, meaningful discussion (which has arrival at certitude as its goal) is totally lost on an emergent. To say "This is true, period" is repugnant to them.

Which makes me wonder what they think of Jesus who claimed to BE the truth!

Jeff Greathouse said...

Tim:

I think that you may be painting the emergent with a very broad brush. I want you to know that is fine though; because there are numerous individuals who are coming under the umbrella of "emergent" and many claiming to be "emergent" because they think that it is the new-hip trend and they think that will lead to growth.

That was and is not the true premise of the emergent movement or the emergent churches.

The true desire is to get back to the 1st century church and strip "the church" of all the baggage that it is carry that is not biblical. They see the church drifiting from the initial purpose and want to bring the focus (especially at worship) back to Jesus.

I also understand your hesistancy on the term conversation. There seems to be a lot of conversation and a lot of talking. You mention specifically this statement:

So, it's all about groping around like the three blind mice and saying (like the atheist apologists do) "I think" or "I surmise" or "Maybe..."


The reason most use that language is because that they are not God. They were not one of the disciples or apostles that was there directly. Thus, there is some interpretation of scripture that occurs. Thus, to say, I know ... (to them) is a little prideful.

pastorbrianculver said...

I have to ask...

is quoting Scripture, taken completely in context, with the appropriate use of the Greek terms, is using Scripture like that, prideful?

Do you think we can KNOW what the Bible says on sin?

Jeff Greathouse said...

Brian:

I think that individuals can take scripture in context and use the greek or hebrew language and still miss the point of the passage.

I think that it can (notice I did not say it is) be prideful at times.

Yes, I believe that we can know from the Bible that sin seperates us from God.

pastorbrianculver said...

I would disagree and here is why...

when it is taken IN context, the understanding will be there. It is when it is taken OUT of context, that is where the misunderstanding comes in.

Jeff Greathouse said...

I fully agree with the "out" of context. My problem is that I believe that there are many individuals who stand firm on what they believe are on the "in-context" stance and they may not be "in" context.

pastorbrianculver said...

I wanted to say something else on this. Beware of churches that say they have to have a "new" way of reaching people. If a church truly wants to be like the church in Acts, then here is what needs to happen.

And before I give it, I want to clarify that it is not just the emergent churches that are guilty of this. The emergent churches had good intentions when saying they needed to find a way to reach people, especially the young people. Because it seemed like the churches were failing. I agree to a point. The emergent, the Christian Church as a whole, the post-modern and the Rick Warrens of the world, have all failed. Everyone thinks that it is a crime to offend anyone, so sin is not preached.

If you want people to come, don't entertain them. Don't pretend that the gospel message is only about love. (stay with me on this one...)
If we truly want a church from the days in Acts, then let's do this.

I admire your heart on wanting to be a pastor for youth and families. I know you have surrounded yourself with a bunch of fellow emergent people and it is possible I am the only non-emergent you are talking to. But I want to challenge you on something. If we are going to get our churches back to the days of Acts, then let's do this...

Use the Bible and only the Bible to preach from.
Preach God's Law and how we have all broken His Law and are destined to hell.
Go at least a month before you bring in Johm 3:16. Let them feel the wrath of God's judgment that will come down on them unless they repent. Will it scare them? Yes, and it should. The Devil believes and trembles. How come Christians say they believe but do not tremble? We have not been told WHY we should tremble. If our sin separates us from God, the PLACE of separation is HELL. The churches have spent so much time talking about God's Love that no one knows that He is also a God of WRATH. I know you will say it offends people, but Jeff, if they die BEFORE you get around to finally telling them about hell, they will get a first hand account of hell themselves. If we truly love people, we will preach the same message that Jesus preached, that Paul preached and that the other disciples preached. And it was ALWAYS - Law to the proud, and grace to the humble. The cross will only make sense if we present them with their total depravity as humans. When they see that, they will CRY OUT for a SAVIOR! At that point, they will want to be in His Word EVERY DAY! They will want to come to church and be edified by God's Word. They will want to go tell the world about Jesus and their need for a Savior too. The love will be revealed through the Cross! I really do wish you would sit back and pray about your direction as a pastor. Take a hiatus from the emergent influence (it is strong). Let the Holy Spirit direct your path. Law to the Proud and grace to the humble. let's preach ONLY the BIBLE. Put all other books aside and learn the ONE BOOK that saves lives. If people reject it, they are not rejecting you, it is Jesus they are rejecting. If the world hates you, it is not YOU that they hate, it is Jesus that they hate. I would rather have devoted people in church who love God and UNDERSTAND WHY THEY NEED A SAVIOR than to have a church full of people who think they can do whatever they want because they know that God loves them. I will say it over and over and over again...

The Bible says we are to REPENT of our sins, it does not say that it is a bad lifestyle choice that people have made, it is a wicked generation of people who are headed for hell who need a Savior. A Savior is one who is seen as a person who RESCUES others. He SAVES us! What is He saving us from? HELL!!!!!

If all churches would return to the church in Acts and preach God's Law FOLLOWED by His grace, then we would see a real revival in this land!

Seriously Jeff, consider all that I have told you here. It makes sense. Why? Because the Bible is True and the Bible is the Word of God.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.

Jesus is God. The Word as found in the OT, is the same Word as found in the NT. God hates sin. Sin is not a lifestyle choice that we don't THINK is wrong. Sin is transgression of God's Law. it is in the Bible! No "thinking" involved. The Bible says it. It must be TRUE!

Jeff, please pray over this. Please take and use your conscience that God gave you. You know right from wrong. How? Because God placed His Law on your heart. That is why the Law will shut the mouth of the self-righteous person, because he will KNOW that he has broken God's Commands and will be held accountable.

pastorbrianculver said...

as far as in context or out of context, it is really pretty easy to discern.

The Bible is consistent from the beginning of the book to the end of the book. There is so much cross referencing that can be done to show the consistency. If what is being said it not consistent with what is taught elsewhere in the Bible then it is out of context!

Tim Brown said...

Jeff:

I said:"The emergent mindset won't allow that because as soon as you say you know the truth, you are being prideful."

You said "The reason most use that language is because that they are not God. They were not one of the disciples or apostles that was there directly. Thus, there is some interpretation of scripture that occurs. Thus, to say, I know ... (to them) is a little prideful."

Thank you for agreeing with my point.

Jeff Greathouse said...

Tim:

I am just letting you know where it comes from. You can easily engage the conversation and have them hear you by changing a fe words and NOT changing your message.

Ex:

In scripture, it say _________ (your topic). I believe that Jesus said these words because .....

More later ... dinner time

pastorbrianculver said...

In scripture, it say murder is wrong (your topic). I believe that Jesus said these words because ..... God says it is wrong.

In scripture, it say adultery is wrong (your topic). I believe that Jesus said these words because ..... God's Word says it is wrong!

In scripture, it say homosexuality is wrong (your topic). I believe that Jesus said these words because ..... God is Holy and created a man to be with a woman (look in Genesis)

In scripture, it say you shall have no other god beside me (your topic). I believe that Jesus said these words because ..... HE IS GOD!

In scripture, it say Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (your topic). I believe that Jesus said these words because ..... it is TRUE! without repentance, a person will go to hell.

anytime we say "I think" or "I believe" we are in danger of breaking the Second of God's Commandments. We are in danger of creating a God to suit our needs and feelings. Going back to an earlier comment, where it said, "we believe your lifestyle choice is wrong..." you have denied God the power to save. You have denied His Word the chance to do its thing! To convict the sinner and to make them turn from their sins.