Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Friday, September 30, 2011

180 Movie

"We're talking about a holocaust in America."

"Finish this sentence for me: 'It's OK to kill a baby in the womb when...'"

"Please never, ever give your vote to a politician who advocates the murder of a child in the womb."


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Michele Bachmann's Response to a Question About "Gay Marriage" on Jay Leno

Last week Michele Bachmann appeared on the Jay Leno Show. One question Leno asked was about "gay marriage;" you can see the question and Bachmann's response below:

I think Bachmann gave an adequate statement of her conservative position on the issue, especially considering the brief time involved in this exchange. So this is no criticism of Bachmann's answer, but it occurred to me that her answer was basically, 'We've done it this way for a long time, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it.' It seems that Jay was basically saying, 'Well, many of my friends think the traditional understanding of marriage IS broke.'

I don't think that I would be able to (nor would I necessarily want to) address the issue of "gay marriage" without citing the words of the Lord Jesus on this issue from Matthew 19. It seems to me that without an authoritative standard on what the word "marriage" means, that the conversation devolves into a matter of opinion (with opinion in America currently trending toward Leno's, rather than Bachmann's, view).


Monday, September 19, 2011

Times When a Christian MUST Drink Alcohol (3)

[In this series, I am exploring the idea that there are times when a Christian MUST drink alcohol, not just merely as a choice, but as a positive moral necessity. (It is NOT my argument that these are the ONLY times in which a Christian MAY drink alcohol.) In my last post from this series, I explored the idea that there are times in which medical wisdom may make alcohol use a necessity; the idea of that post came from Paul's command to Timothy to stop drinking only water and to "use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments" (1 Tim 5:23 ESV). Since the apostle actually commanded the use of wine for a medicinal purpose, it seems a valid application of the text that people today may find themselves in medical situations in which the use of alcohol is necessary: total abstinence from alcohol in such situations would be foolish and therefore would be a bad witness to the world.]

The second situation in which a Christian MUST drink alcohol is when wine is used in communion.

Many evangelical congregations substitute grape juice for wine. I believe that this is an acceptable practice, due to the identification of "wine" with the "fruit of the vine" (Mark 14:25), and grapes themselves are near enough to wine to be included in proscribed foods/beverages for Nazarites (Numbers 6:3b-4). But notice that I did write "substitute grape juice for wine." It is clear that actual wine was used in the original Lord's Supper, and so a church cannot be faulted if they use actual wine in the ordinance today. (I would argue that, as the alcohol content of wine today seems to be higher than in Jesus' day, churches using actual wine in communion should consider diluting their wine with water.)

When fellowshiping with a congregation that uses wine in communion, a Christian has no right to abstain from the wine of the ordinance. We are under the command of the Lord to "do this in remembrance of Me" and therefore we cannot, in good conscience, excommunicate ourselves from the body of Christ. If a Christian has made a previous commitment to abstain from all alcohol, he or she should still partake of the Lord's Supper in obedience to Christ's command and be willing to explain this decision to anyone who asks. [For example, someone in a position of authority at a seminary or mission board may need to be informed if a Christian has signed a commitment to total abstinence from alcohol with such an agency.]

In the course of life, a Christian may find him- or herself in the position of participating in a church service in which it is unclear whether the congregation even believes the gospel: while in such a church service, the Christian may be invited to participate in a communion service. In such a situation, a Christian teetotaler must do his or her best to determine whether the congregation is even a "church" (according to the biblical definition) at all. If not, the Christian is under no obligation to drink wine.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sermon Notes from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Sermon by Jim Scott Orrick.

[The following notes were taken by Abby during the 10:45AM service this morning at Kosmosdale Baptist Church.]

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

I. Eschatology: the study of last things; what happens to people when they die, and what happens at the end of the world.
A. There is room for considerable disagreement concerning matters of eschatology within orthodox Christianity.
B. We must interpret the difficult in light of the simple; if you learn the simple things (for example, first grade math), you will eventually understand the more complex things (fourth grade math).

II. Comfort
A. There is no lasting comfort apart from God's Word.
B. What happens to Christians when they die?
1. We will continue to be conscious (as seen with Lazarus and the rich man).
2. We will be with Christ ('absent from the body... present with the Lord').
3. We will not be able to communicate with the 'awake' world (like 'sleepers').
4. What happened to Jesus (in being raised from the dead) will also happen to those united to Christ who die (we will be raised to be with him).

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Sampling of Scriptures Directly Violated by Pat Robertson's Advice re: Divorcing a Spouse With Alzheimer's

On Wednesday on the 700 Club, Pat Robertson said that it would be permissible for a person to divorce a spouse who had Alzheimer's because Alzheimer's is a "kind of death" [view Robertson's statement HERE]. In his answer, Robertson directly contradicted a number of biblical passages. The three main groups of passages Robertson contradicted are: (1) verses against divorce, (2) verses against lying (these are relevant due to marriage vows typically containing the words, "in sickness and in health," and, "'til death do us part"), and (3) verses regarding the faithfulness of the LORD, as to be pictured in marriage. The following are a sampling from each of these groups of Bible verses [all verses are taken from the New American Standard Bible].

I. Verses Against Divorce
A. "I hate divorce," says the LORD, the God of Israel, (Malachi 2:16a)
B. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery. (Matthew 19:6,9)
C. But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:10-11)

II. Verses Against Lying
[The verses against lying-- either directly or by implication-- are truly too numerous to list, and so the following are picked almost at random; all of the prohibitions against lying are based upon the character of the LORD, as Scripture says God cannot lie (Titus 1:2) and Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6).]
A. You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another. (Leviticus 19:11)
B. Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal faithfully are His delight. (Proverbs 12:22)
C. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, (Colossians 3:9)
D. all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8b)

III. Verses re: The Faithfulness of the LORD, as to be Pictured in Marriage
A. [God] Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)
B. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the Church. (Ephesians 5:25,31-32)
C. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:2-4)

[See more on this subject HERE and HERE.]

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sermon Notes from 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12. Sermon by Jim Scott Orrick.

[From the 10:45 AM service this past Lord's Day at Kosmosdale Baptist Church.]

Introduction: God is not unable to be pleased; Christians are able to please God in our sanctification.

2 ways in which we may please God: fleeing from sexual immorality and growing in brotherly love.

3 reasons to flee sexual immorality: consideration for who we are, consideration for our brothers in Christ, and consideration for the Lord.

3 ways to grow in brotherly love: seek to live a quiet life, mind your own affairs, and work diligently.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11: A Prayer

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,

O Sovereign Lord: today we pray for those with whom 9/11 is much more than an annual remembrance; we pray for those who lost friends and family during the tragic events that transpired on that Tuesday ten years ago. We pray that the Holy Spirit would bring true comfort into the lives of those most directly effected by the terrorist attacks on 9/11; we pray that You would show yourself a parent to those who lost parents and a friend to those who lost friends.

We pray for our soldiers today: especially for those directly involved in fighting terrorist groups, or fighting against those who would protect terrorists; we pray that you would bring our loved ones who are deployed with the Armed Forces home safely.

We pray too for our enemies. We thank You that You saw fit to bring Osama bin Laden to justice: that You, to some degree, removed the direct threat to our nation that he personally represented (we pray for Your continued protection upon our nation, thanking You that no act of terrorism approaching the level of 9/11/01 has happened again on our soil during these ten years). And we pray for Your mercy upon our enemies; O Redeemer, we pray that even as You saw fit to work in the heart of Saul-- who participated in violence and who planned terroristic acts against the early Church-- transforming him into the Apostle Paul, we pray that you would bring al-Qaeda members out of their spiritual darkness and into the light of Christ so that You would once again receive glory as the One for whom nothing is impossible.

Finally, we pray for those who filled this nation's churches in the days and weeks after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. O Redeemer: I believe that you used the events of 9/11 to shake people out of a narrow-minded focus on immediate pleasures and to point people to Christ. But many called out to You, or made a commitment to You, on 9/11 and then quickly fell away, back into their old lifestyles. Others stayed with the Church for years, having their lives drastically changed and seeming to live for You, but today their lives look much more like they did on 9/10/01 than on 9/12/01. I pray that You would continue to strengthen those who came to faith in Christ on 9/11 and that You would restore those who have slid back into their old way of life as if 9/11 had never occurred.

I pray these things in the precious and powerful name of Your only begotten Son, Jesus: who was crucified, buried, raised, and now lives forever as the Conqueror of sin, death, and Hell,


Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Importance of a Title

This past Monday, I published a blogpost titled, "Beer: one glass a sin? (an open letter to Phil Johnson)." In some responses I've received to that post (including Mr. Johnson's initial response on this blog), it seems that people thought, since I was reacting to Mr. Johnson's statement, "I don't think it's a sin to drink a beer," that my position is that it IS a sin to drink a beer. To clarify: I DON'T think-- and didn't think when I wrote that post-- that it is either technically or necessarily a sin to drink a beer. I DID-- and still do-- think that there may be [many] times in which drinking a beer is a sin, especially due to particular circumstances in American culture, and THAT is what I was trying to argue.

But I think that I framed the argument wrong at the outset. In the initial part of my title-- "Beer: one glass a sin?"-- it seemed as if I were posing a simple yes/no question [with me as a "no"], when my whole position is that the issue has become too complex to give a simple yes/no answer. I should have just skipped that part of the title and gone straight to the "an open letter..." part.


Friday, September 09, 2011

Re: "ALL"

In conversations/debates between Christians who believe a "Calvinistic" interpretation of Bible passages regarding salvation is essentially correct and those who hold to a more "Arminian" understanding, one group of Bible passages that regularly receives mention are the "all" passages (to give just one example: 1 Timothy 2:6).

Yesterday on the Pyromaniacs blog Phil Johnson re-posted an excellent discussion on the subject of "all," which he originally posted on December 16, 2008. Mr. Johnson's "all" post can be found HERE.

Readers may also be interested in a post I wrote regarding this subject for Strange BaptistFire, posted on August 2, 2006 (I mention the date just to demonstrate that I did not plagiarize from Mr. Johnson). My "all" post can be found HERE.

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Times When a Christian MUST Drink Alcohol (2)

[See introduction HERE.]

A Christian MUST drink alcohol when medical wisdom dictates alcohol should be ingested to prevent/cure certain ailments.

No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments (1 Tim 5:23 ESV)
Apparently Timothy had been refraining from drinking wine. Paul commands Timothy to stop this total abstinence policy in regards to wine because the wine would help his upset stomach and other [related] ailments. (One likely reason that wine would help Timothy's ailments is because the fermentation process helped to purify the drink, as I noted that Dr. Mohler mentioned in his talk about alcohol at Southern Seminary.) It seems that Timothy's decision to refrain from drinking wine in itself received no rebuke from Paul: it seems that Timothy was free to abstain. However, refraining from wine was no absolute necessity for Timothy, and when medical wisdom dictated that he should drink wine to prevent/cure his specific sickness, then it would have been foolish for him to practice total abstinence.

Christians in general should have no issue of conscience over taking medicine with an alcohol content when it is needed. (This seems obvious, but one occasionally hears snide remarks about NyQuil, etc., in fundamentalist circles.) In most cases involving stomach troubles or other ailments, we now have better medicines available that preclude the need for drinking wine or other beverage alcohol, but on the mission field (for example) a Christian may find him-/herself with alcoholic drink as the best medical option. The Christian MUST drink alcohol in this case, but he or she must do so neither getting drunk nor using medical necessity as an excuse for foolish or worldly behavior.


Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Times When a Christian MUST Drink Alcohol (1)

Recently, I've outlined Southern Seminary's argument for why Christian communities may, in certain circumstances, adopt a total abstinence policy in regards to alcohol.

I've also sought to argue that the statement, "I don't think it's a sin to drink a beer," may be profoundly unhelpful in the context of current American society.

Tomorrow, I will seek to demonstrate somewhat the other side of this discussion. In particular, I will argue that there are at least three instances in which a Christian may find him-/herself in which he or she MUST drink alcohol, not merely as an option, but as a positive moral necessity. These instances will be examined in order of most easily discerned, yet least important to least easily discerned, yet most important. A Christian MUST drink alcohol when: 1. medical wisdom dictates alcohol should be ingested to prevent/cure certain ailments; 2. wine is used in communion; 3. an abstinence-only position regarding alcohol threatens to displace the gospel truth of justification by faith alone.


Monday, September 05, 2011

Beer: one glass a sin? (an open letter to Phil Johnson)

Dear Mr. Johnson,

It is a sad fact of our fallen world that we more easily tend to focus on disagreements rather than agreements and that “open letters” like this one are seldom prompted by thoughts of unequivocal appreciation. In this case, however, I do not feel too bad about sending you [in particular] an open letter with the intention of hopefully persuading you [and others] to re-think a certain issue regarding beverage alcohol, as I have, as far as I can remember, always spoken well of your writings (on your blog and in other Internet essays), and have recommended them to others; also, I do think that the issue addressed in this letter is becoming increasingly important as many evangelicals have been casting off some traditional mores.

This letter is occasioned by a statement that I heard you make on the 8/18/11 episode of Wretched radio:

"I don't think it's a sin to drink a beer."

When I heard you speak these words, I realized that you were trying to distance yourself from any trace of legalism, but I also realized that I cannot agree with your statement, at least not without a good deal of clarification. I would argue that in many instances, drinking a beer at least may be a sin, and therefore I would urge you against making unqualified statements like the one quoted above, which may provide encouragement for people to indulge in sin. Drinking a beer is a sin if: drinking that beer involves breaking one’s word, drinking that beer makes one drunk, and/or drinking that beer makes one a “friend of the world” (James 4:4).

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve heard (second-hand) that Grace Community Church’s bylaw requiring elders to be “not given to wine” is interpreted by the elder board as a requirement for elders to refrain from any beverage alcohol; if this is correct, then it is somewhat ironic that you would say, “I don’t think it’s a sin to drink a beer,” because for you drinking a beer is a sin, since by drinking a beer you would be breaking your word. Even if it turns out that this is not true in your particular case, there are certainly many people who heard your statement who have made a commitment (through their terms of enrollment to a Southern Baptist seminary, through their church covenant, etc.) to refrain from beverage alcohol, and so drinking a beer for them would be a sin: the sin of lying.

Very clearly, you affirm that drunkenness is a sin. But what is “drunkenness”? It seems rather hard to define. If we take the common U.S. legal definition, then it is certainly unlikely that drinking one beer will raise a person’s blood alcohol level to 0.08%. But is 0.08% BAC the best definition for us to take within the Church? What about the idea that “buzzed driving is drunk driving”? Under certain conditions, a person can definitely become buzzed by a single beer; I’ve seen it with my own eyes. After work one night at UPS, I went with a friend to Applebee’s, and he ordered a beer; this friend was not a Christian and he was used to getting drunk, and so he should have had a pretty high tolerance to alcohol. Yet before he finished his glass (the food had not arrived) his face was red and his attitude/speech had changed; he was clearly somewhat buzzed. Now, was his feeling of euphoria, brought about (in this case) by a single beer, a substitute in his life for the peace and joy that he should have sought from the Holy Spirit a la Ephesians 5:18? Does ‘buzzed’ equal ‘drunk’? I’m not answering ‘yes’ to these questions dogmatically, but I do think that these are valid questions, and that they should give us pause before saying, “I don’t think it’s a sin to drink a beer.”

In the recent talk giving the rationale for Southern Seminary’s policy of total abstinence toward alcohol, Dr. Russell Moore framed his consideration of the Southern Baptist Convention’s stance toward alcohol in terms of social justice. Unlike with the winemakers of Jesus’ day, alcohol today is being produced, advertised, and sold by multi-national corporations who have a vested interest in getting/keeping consumers addicted to their product. Also, as obvious by their advertisements, these corporations sell not only a drink, but a worldview/lifestyle. Is it possible that by having a ‘Bud’ or celebrating ‘Miller-time’ a person is actually investing in or voting for the kind of ungodliness we see in beer commercials? Again, this is a tricky question: in this fallen world association with worldliness is hard or impossible to avoid. But I think that the question must be raised.

In conclusion, I would ask you: if you were to see a fellow church member or one of your children out at a restaurant drinking a beer, would your [internal] reaction be the exact same as if he/she were drinking a glass of water? If not, why not? Is it possible that, at some level, you would have concerns similar to those expressed above? And, if so, is it really wise to say, “I don’t think it’s a sin to drink a beer”?

Sincerely, in Christ,

-Andrew Lindsey

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Sunday, September 04, 2011

Sermon Notes from Romans 8:18-30. Sermon by Jim Scott Orrick.

[From the 10:45 AM service this morning at Kosmosdale Baptist Church.]

Romans 8:18-30.

I. Three groanings in this passage:

A. The creation groans.
B. Christians groan.
C. The Holy Spirit groans.

II. The groaning of Christians is due to:
A. the Holy Spirit; Christians:
1. follow the Spirit.
2. are filled with the Spirit.
3. cry out to the Father by the Spirit.
B. our longing for the completion of our adoption process in the resurrection.

[On this last point, Dr. Orrick had some especially interesting comments; he noted that people, before coming to Christ, are often terrified by the thought of physical pain in Hell, but, upon coming to Christ, we become hyper-spiritual and no longer think about the physical. He also mentioned that we do not long for heaven as we ought: that many of us would be content-- barring illness, etc.-- to live forever here on earth just as things are.]

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Saturday, September 03, 2011

Proverbs 24:11-12 Notes

11 Deliver those who are being taken away to death,
And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back.
12 If you say, “See, we did not know this,”
Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts?
And does He not know it who keeps your soul?
And will He not render to man according to his work?

(Prov 24:11-12 NASB)

I. Deliver those in danger: when we see people being unjustly sentenced to death, forced into being slaughtered through no fault of their own, we are commanded to do whatever we have in our power to set them free. We must seek to overthrow false arguments on behalf of life. We are under the command of God to help deliver the innocent– even if we don’t personally know the parties involved– out of a zeal for justice.

Hold them back: we may picture a person being chased to a cliff, about to go over the edge, and being restrained at the last possible moment. This speaks to the fact that we must be energetic, passionate for the cause of life.

II. Do not deny that you see those in need: we cannot make excuses if we fail to “deliver those in danger.” Ignorance is no excuse. We have plenty of resources at our fingertips to investigate the facts of the case. It is no excuse if we allow some kind of political philosophy about ‘rights’ or ‘privacy’ to keep us from truly loving our neighbors– all our neighbors– as ourselves. God knows our hearts; He knows when we are making decisions based on selfish desires. God knows our souls; He knows every time when our conscience is stirred and we choose to ignore it, hardening our conscience, rather than heeding His voice.

III. Deal with the consequences: God is the Holy Lawgiver and Judge over His creation. This truth is a great comfort to those who are being oppressed; we can all be sure that those who are slaughtered unjustly will be vindicated before the throne of God. That God renders to each person according to His work is also a great warning, for we all know that our works have fallen short of God’s glory. It is a common saying that ‘nobody’s perfect.’ We have all done things that we know are wrong; we have all lied when we know we should tell the truth, we have all been selfish when we know we should be selfless and loving, we have all been envious of others or disobeyed parents, etc. If God repays us according to our works– as this, and many other passages, makes clear that He does– then there is no reason for us to expect that He will welcome us into kingdom, to live forever with Him, where all blessings are; instead, we will be kept on the outside, away from Him and His goodness, in the outer darkness of pain called Hell. The good news is that God has come, in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and has Himself performed the good works that we could not perform. Jesus was like us in all respects, yet without sin. He lived a perfect life, but then He was crucified– tortured to death on a Cross– experiencing the wrath of God against sin and dying the death that we deserved. Jesus was buried in the ground for three days– truly dead– in fulfillment of prophecy. Then He rose from the dead: showing Himself to be victorious over sin, death, and Hell. It is Jesus who truly delivers those who are being taken away to death; even now, He is holding us back from the destruction we deserve, and He offers eternal life to all who turn and believe in Him.