Voddie Baucham on The Shack, Repentance, and Doctrine

Pastor Baucham speaks very well on the problems of the mindset being formed by imbibing in The Shack, Emergent theology, and the like.

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R. C. Sproul on Seeker-Sensitive Churches and Expository Preaching

R. C. Sproul and Albert Mohler discuss the fatal methodology of the seeker-sensitive movement and its attendant, purposeful diminishment of God’s preached Word and how it obscures the Gospel. This video will be 7 minutes of your time well spent. It is a good complement to the MacArthur post below from earlier this week, and is a good follow up to the Word emphasis interwoven into our Easter Sermon on Luke 24 at APC, along with our discovery of how Christ modeled expository preaching (Luke 24:25-27, 44-45; “expounded, exposited, explained,  or interpreted” in verse 27, depending on which Bible translation you use).

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Keith and Kristin Getty on Hymnody, Family, and Christianity

A wonderful video Valerie and I stumbled across just this morning. We sing numerous of the Getty’s songs at Anchor Point Church, so this may help you get to know them a little better. Enjoy!

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John MacArthur on the Seeker-Sensitive and Emergent Movements

John MacArthur released a new book this month, titled The Gospel According to Paul, and I received it in the mail two days ago. I just read the introduction tonight.
I have recently mentioned  the Seeker Sensitive Movement, and it’s more militant offspring the Emergent Church movement, at the conclusion of a sermon I preached on 1 Cor. 15:1-8. I studied both movements in seminary, especially the Emergent movement. In a recent blog post, I spoke of how Paul Young’s The Shack was old-line liberal theology repackaged as fiction (and as a funny side note, I could even say fiction repackaged as deeper fiction, but I am not very funny so that joke may seem obscure)—but I must also add The Shack is a work thoroughly standing in the Emergent stream carrying on the subversion by fiction instead of non-fiction (or should I say drifting in the Emergent stream? Standing may be too certain and clear a term). And Paul Young has recently repudiated the doctrine of substitutionary atonement in his runaway bestseller Lies We Believe About God, a work of non-fiction to follow up his fable of fiction The Shack.
At any rate, John MacArthur gives a good synthesis of all the above in his new book. He writes:
Sadly . . . a different kind of threat arose within the evangelical movement in the form of pragmatism. By the early 1990s several seeker-sensitive megachurches were aggressively advocating a philosophy of ministry that was almost devoid of any concern about sound doctrine and very thin on biblical content. The result was a shift away from anything that could legitimately be called preaching. The Bible was purposefully relegated to a footnote or an afterthought. Speakers focused instead on themes like success in life and business, relationship advice, and whatever topics were trending in popular culture. The gospel was often omitted altogether from these motivational-style talks. Mere attendance figures were generally deemed the main measure of success and influence. I wrote about that issue as well in a book titled Ashamed of the Gospel.
When the seeker-sensitive movement became common and familiar enough, the triteness and frivolity it nurtured became distasteful to many young people who had grown up in it. The backlash gave rise to the Emergent movement, a mostly liberal and highly postmodernized repudiation of virtually everything historically deemed distinctive to evangelical Christianity. Leading voices in that movement aggressively promoted unorthodox teachings, attacked the doctrine of the atonement, denigrated the authority of Scripture, and endeavored to redesign and redefine the gospel. Perhaps most ominously, Emergents seemed to despise the concept of substitutionary atonement and all other truths related to God’s wrath against sin. This . . . was like tearing the very heart out of the gospel message.
Reflecting on those controversies, what is most surprising is that in every case, the threat I was writing about had originated within the evangelical movement. When I was in seminary, I had prepared my mind and heart to answer assaults from the world against the authority of Scripture and the truth of the gospel. I did not anticipate that so much of my time and energy would be spent trying to defend the gospel against attacks from inside the visible church—including assaults on gospel truth from respected leaders in the evangelical movement.
Meanwhile, the truth is by no means being vanquished. Some of the most encouraging growth in the church today is happening among those who take the Word of God seriously. They understand the importance of guarding the gospel, and they love sound doctrine. . . . There is currently a resurgence of Reformation values among conservative evangelical churches. That has given rise to a corresponding emphasis on biblical preaching, a newfound interest in church history, and many young people who have repudiated the rank superficiality that their parents tolerated in the name of seeker-sensitivity.
John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Paul: Embracing the Good News at the Heart of Paul’s Teachings (Nashville: Nelson Books, 2017), xxiv-xxv, xxvi.
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An Easter Meditation on Being a Welcoming Church

An article by one Stephen Witmer, a pastor in MS writing in association with John Piper’s Desiring God Ministries.
This small exposition of Witmer’s easily dovetails into one of the keys to the early Church’s success in Acts 2: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul . . . Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common . . . So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:42-44, 46-47).”
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Two Easter Meditations on Christ’s Suffering

An excellent explanation of God’s wrath and Christ’s suffering—how our salvation was wrought and won by our magnificent Savior and Lord. Joel Beeke’s article.
A smaller, well written article on the same themes worth reading. Erik Raymond’s article on the cup of God’s wrath drank fully by Christ to secure our forgiveness, and also retain God being just in forgiving our sins.
When Keith and Kristin Getty write “See what a morning, gloriously bright with the dawning of hope in Jerusalem,” we understand that we have the morning dawn and the light of God’s countenance upon us because Christ faced supernatural darkness and the turning away of the Father’s countenance to pay the penalty our sins deserved.
“For it is God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6).”
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this (John 11:25-26)?'”
Have a blessed Easter week, may God increase your joy and peace (Rom. 15:13).


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“Has God Indeed Said?” Biblical Inspiration and Inerrancy

Pastor Daniel Lacaria

In our Men’s Bible study this morning, discussion found us examining theistic evolution and also briefly noting how in the earlier 1900s, numerous Protestant denominations denied the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture through the route of theological liberalism [e. g. denying the Virgin Birth, denying the Creation account, denying the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, denying the bodily resurrection, denying numerous miracles, denying objective meaning in Scripture]. We then discussed the individual’s responsibility for himself (cf. Heb. 9:27) and his family (cf. Josh. 24) before God and also the role of institutions, such as the Church (cf. 1 Tim. 3:15), as located in denominational structures. From the springboard of inspiration, inerrancy, and heretical doctrines, and how they impact us as individuals and institutions, let us examine certain things below.
There are many ways that both individuals, like Paul Young, author of The Shack, and many ways that institutions can and do lead people astray, like the grouping of certain Presbyterian churches which came to comprise the PCUSA denomination. Conversely, there are many ways individuals lead people aright, like Moses, Joseph, Paul, Peter, and Jesus Christ and in which institutions lead people aright, such as the EFCA, PCA, and SBC.
Something both the individual Young and the PCUSA institution share is leading people astray through a denial of the authority, inspiration, inerrancy, infallibility, and objective meaning of Scripture. This is why it is easy, for example, for Paul Young to deny the substitutionary atonement of Christ and for the PCUSA to ordain homosexual clergy. Doctrinal and moral decay always go hand in hand (cf. 2 Pet. and Jude). Young, being an individual who has written a book, has garnered trans-denominational influence across both theologically liberal and conservative churches. He has slickly repackaged much of liberal Protestant theology, circa late 1800s and early 1900s, then sprinkled in some new jazz, and then sold it to conservatives. The PCUSA in 2011, being an institution, sinned and also gained institutional boldness to sin from following examples of earlier departures from orthodoxy over the same issues by the Episcopalian Church from 2003-2009, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 2009 (ELCA). All together and simultaneously, they’ve led all of their individual members astray, because institutions are made up of individuals and families. And these doctrinal declensions and immoral morals would not have occurred without the denial of inspiration and authority of Scripture from the generations of their grandfathers and great-grandfathers circa the early 1900s. “Hath God indeed said?” was the question Satan posed to Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:1).
As to the individual example, The Shack has sold over 20 million copies, and the movie adaptation is now in theaters. But yet, in Paul Young’s newly released book, Lies We Believe About God, he says of the classical, received doctrine of the blood atonement of Christ made as a substitutionary sacrifice on a cross unto God for us:

Who originated the Cross? If God did, then we worship a cosmic abuser, who in Divine Wisdom created a means to torture human beings in the most painful and abhorrent manner. Frankly, it is often this very cruel and monstrous god that the atheist refuses to acknowledge or grant credibility in any sense. And rightly so. Better no god at all, than this one. . . . And how would we religious people interpret this sacrifice? We would declare that it was God who killed Jesus, slaughtering Him as a necessary appeasement for His bloodthirsty need for justice.  (see larger article here)

Contrary to the Holy Scripture in Acts 2:22-24 (which we spoke of in our Phil. 1:12-18 sermon on the portion about Divine Concurrence) and numerous other places in the Bible, Young denies the very reason for Christ’s coming into the world to die for our sins as a substitute, in our place, by the predetermined plan of God. He tells you, quite frankly, this is not his God. In fact, he goes further by purposefully writing “god” in the lower-case. And not only is he plainly telling you the Bible’s God is not his God, but that he’d rather be an atheist and have no god at all than the Biblical God. Simply put, the god of The Shack is not Yahweh, the Triune God of Israel, despite all of the Bibley language Young employs. Satan knew Scripture, and knew how to twist it (cf. Matt. 4:1-11).
As to the institutional example, the PCUSA openly and notoriously changed the language of their centuries old doctrinal statement, and ignored the millennia old Word of God, by restructuring through majority vote to allow homosexual ordination:
The new provision reaffirms the long-held right and responsibility of ordaining bodies (local church sessions for deacons and elders or presbyteries for ministers) to determine the suitability of each candidate for ordination. The effect of the new language also opens up the possibility that persons in same-gender relationships can be considered for ordination. (see larger article from the denomination’s website here)
According to the same article linked to, this is what the PCUSA means to be a valid application of submitting “ joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life.” And just in case we missed it, they restated it: “persons in a same-gender relationship may be considered for ordination and/or installation as deacons, elders, and ministers of the Word and Sacrament within the PC(USA).”
Presbyterian J. Gresham Machen spoke like a megaphone in 1923 to fight liberal theology in his denomination and his seminary, Princeton. The book, well worth reading, is titled Christianity and Liberalism. And in this he means theological liberalism, not political liberalism per se. He said that the problem with men like Young and institutions like the PCUSA is that they use Biblical language but purposefully confuse and equivocate the meaning of words, and then redefine the meaning of doctrine and morals in the Christian faith as they play fast and loose with language (cf. 1 Tim. 6:3-5). Ultimately, Machen rightly said that what they practice is not Christianity, but in fact it is a different religion altogether that merely redefines and appropriates traditional Christian language. Apologist Francis Schaeffer, also a conservative Presbyterian, followed up on this truth about the destruction of language and meaning for the purposes of doctrinal and moral manipulation, and also social manipulation, in his How Should We Then Live
This is serious stuff; the soul-destroying, God-blaspheming kind of heresy Paul warned about arising from within the Church, and he warned the Ephesian church of this, especially the elders in charge of the care of souls: “Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears (Acts 20:31).” Why did he warn them? Quite naturally, for the sake of the elect, the true Christians and ones chosen by God to become Christians under the apostolic ministry, for which Paul suffered and endured hardship that he may nourish them (2 Tim. 2:8-10). But even more primarily and foremost, because God is worthy of this kind of clear-minded, doctrine embracing, doctrine defending kind of love: “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28).”And why? Because to love the Lord and Savior in sincerity and truth cannot be separated from receiving and obeying His doctrine: “If you love Me, keep My commandments (John 14:15; cf. Deut. 11:13; 1 John 3:24; 5:1-5).” To say one loves God but hates doctrine betrays something much deeper than one realizes, for to be born again naturally leads to loving God for Himself in His Triune splendor, and keeping God’s doctrine, and a deep love for God’s Word (Psa. 119).
And not only the elders, but the laity, all the non-elders, have a sacred responsibility to “see that you do not refuse Him who speaks,” for you shall surely not escape if you turn away from the sound words of Him who speaks from heaven (Heb. 12:25). If you ignore the received revelation from God in Scripture to go after a privatized God as an idol and attempt to reshape theology as a private matter (cf. 2 Tim. 2:2 “among many witnesses,” there is no private Christian doctrine), or if you go after another’s idol worked up in some woodsy Shack, or you embrace doctrinal and moral heresy in the name of love and tolerance a la’ the PCUSA—you place yourself at variance with the God Who has spoken (cf. Heb. 12:25-29). To be more tolerant of sin than God is, and to be more loving and large-hearted than God, leaves one a madman or, as Young said above, one who will eventually think “better no god at all, than this [Biblical] god.” Remember, as to Young, there was no Bible in The Shack that Mackenzie walked to, only destructive doctrines from “loving” lips and spiritual entities masquerading as the Trinity, cooked up in one man’s mind to communicate formal liberal theology through the medium of informal fiction. Remember, as to the PCUSA, God will not sanction sexual immorality which He forbid in Scripture, and He does not accept the redefinition of healthy love. The Word has been long written down, and He has clearly spoken. God has indeed said.
Remember, dear ones, the beloved Peter who was crucified for his Lord spoke that “we did not follow cunningly devised fables,” because “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation [or origin], . . . but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:16, 20-21).” Remember, holy ones unto the Lord, the embattled Paul who was beheaded for his Lord, who spoke to Timothy in his last letter, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they [professing Christians among the laity and false teachers arising from within] will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers, and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables (2 Tim. 4:2-4).”
Remember that each man, woman, and child must face the Lord one day and has individual responsibility before the face of God. Remember Joshua, who firmly charged Israel’s families to turn from its false gods: “Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD (Josh. 24:14)!” Remember the received doctrine of the true Church, that pillar and foundation of truth (1 Tim. 3:15), that institution that faithfully preserves and passes on apostolic doctrine (Acts 2:42-47; 2 Tim. 2:2) which was received from God Himself (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Remember this Gospel, and all its parts, was received from the mouth of God and ministered by apostolic men chosen of God (Gal. 1:1-2) to establish the Church on the foundation of the prophets and apostles, with the Chief Cornerstone being Christ (Eph. 2:20). Remember, the apostle Paul: “But if even we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed (Gal. 1:8-9).”
When it comes to New York Times bestselling author Paul Young’s cunningly devised fable The Shack, then “reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness (1 Tim. 4:7).” With his new best-selling package of theological garbage Lies We Believe About God, we must “shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness (2 Tim. 2:16).” Paul sums up this redefinition of words, denial of inspiration, equivocations on the meaning of words, and attacks on objective knowledge and meaning by both individuals and institutions:

“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourselves (1 Tim. 6:3-5).”

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