Wednesday, May 31, 2006

On Preaching - Packer

"If we do not preach about sin and God's judgment on it, we cannot present Christ as Saviour from sin and the wrath of God. And if we are silent about these things, and preach a Christ who saves only from self and the sorrows of this world, we are not preaching the Christ of the Bible . . . Such preaching may soothe some, but it will help nobody; for a Christ who is not seen and sought as a Saviour from sin will not be found to save from self or from anything else."

J.I. Packer, A Quest For Godliness , 164, 165.

Prayer and Preaching - Richard Baxter

"Our whole work must be carried on under a deep sense of our own insufficiency, and of our entire dependence on Christ . . . Prayer must carry on our work as well as preaching; he preacheth not heartily to his people, that prayeth not earnestly for them. If we prevail not with God to give them faith and repentance we shall never prevail with them to believe and repent."

Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor , 123.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

On Viewing Sin - Plummer

Sin digs every grave, and wrings out every sigh and wail from earth and hell. Sin is the worst of all evils. Nothing can compare with it. It is worse than the plague. Sin is unspeakably hateful. God calls it horrible and abominable. Godly men in every age lament it--lament it much in others, most in themselves.

A man's views of sin give a complexion to all his character. If he regards it as a trifle, he will laugh at it, when he should weep over it. He will make a mock of it. He will dally with it. He will take his fill of it. He will have low thoughts of God, and low estimates of salvation. He will despise Jesus Christ.

If, on the other hand, he considers sin as very dreadful and very hateful--he will hate every false way. He will long for holiness. He will hunger and thirst after righteousness. He will loathe and abhor himself on account of sin. He will have exalted thoughts of the being, perfections, word, and government of God. To him Christ will be most precious, the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely.

Job's sense of sin was vastly increased by the great discoveries he had of God's majesty and glory: "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes!" Increased views of God's glory had the same effect on Isaiah, and made him cry out, "Woe is me! for I am undone!" (Job 42:5-6; Isaiah 6:5).

God's presence is infinite; His power is infinite; His nature is infinite; His existence is infinite; and so to sin against Him must be an infinite insult and wrong. Sin is an infinite evil.Sin is that abominable thing which He hates. He hates sin with infinite loathing.

-William S. Plummer-

Back in the Saddle

I survived Spirit West Coast and enjoyed myself, even if I did sleep in a tent for three nights. My mind is still in vacation mode so I'll start thinking and blogging again soon.

Here is a great new album I picked up at Spirit West Coast.

It's worth a listen,

God Bless,


The Curse of God - Spurgeon

The curse of God is not easily taken away. In fact, there was but one method whereby it could be removed.

The lightnings were in God's hand; they must be launched-he said they must. The sword was unsheathed; it must be satisfied- God vowed it must.

How, then, was the sinner to be saved? The only answer was this--The Son of God appears; and he says,"Father! launch your thunderbolts at me! Here is my breast- plunge that sword in here! Here are my shoulders- let the lash of vengeance fall on them!

"And Christ, the Substitute, came forth and stood for us,"the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God."

-C.H. Spurgeon-

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Spirit West Coast - Del Mar

Hey everyone. Each year Trinity Law School. Sets up a booth at Spirit West Coast. So if you will be attending, be sure to stop by the Trinity booth and say hi. This also means that I will not have computer access until next week, so I will not be doing any posting.

Here are a few links I like if you can't live without your daily dose of Godward Thoughts (obviously that was a joke). :-)

One of my favorite articles is Preaching Through Adversity, by John Piper. It is on Charles Spurgeon.

Chris has more on Van Til

Dean McConnell has a great series on the Da Vinci Code. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

As well as Modern Day Magi. The Da Vinci Code - This post has an outstanding list of links at the end to answer some great questions.

T. A. Blankenship is doing a great study through Revelation.

You can never go wrong with Gordon Cloud at Heavenly Heartburn.

Bobby Grow at Devoted life is one I have been meaning to link to for a while (I'll get you added soon Bobby). He is a great Christian brother who will help you and challenge you as you study the word of God.

Don't forget to go Upward and All Around either.

Last, but certainly not least, be sure to visit Jada at Cheryl's Treehouse.

And here are a few of my favorite Godward Thoughts posts from a while back...

Let Your Sins Be Strong
The Benifits of Adversity
Voluntary Humility
Moral Absolutism 1, 2, 3, 4.

God Bless,


P.S. I know I missed some great blogs from friends who visit here, but I'll get you next time.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Our Vanquished Foes - C.H. Spurgeon

"The breaker is come up before them."- Mic_2:13

Inasmuch as Jesus has gone before us, things remain not as they would have been had he never passed that way. He has conquered every foe that obstructed the way. Cheer up now thou faint-hearted warrior. Not only has Christ travelled the road, but he has slain thine enemies. Dost thou dread sin? He has nailed it to his cross. Dost thou fear death? He has been the death of Death. Art thou afraid of hell? He has barred it against the advent of any of his children; they shall never see the gulf of perdition. Whatever foes may be before the Christian, they are all overcome. There are lions, but their teeth are broken; there are serpents, but their fangs are extracted; there are rivers, but they are bridged or fordable; there are flames, but we wear that matchless garment which renders us invulnerable to fire. The sword that has been forged against us is already blunted; the instruments of war which the enemy is preparing have already lost their point. God has taken away in the person of Christ all the power that anything can have to hurt us. Well then, the army may safely march on, and you may go joyously along your journey, for all your enemies are conquered beforehand. What shall you do but march on to take the prey? They are beaten, they are vanquished; all you have to do is to divide the spoil. You shall, it is true, often engage in combat; but your fight shall be with a vanquished foe. His head is broken; he may attempt to injure you, but his strength shall not be sufficient for his malicious design. Your victory shall be easy, and your treasure shall be beyond all count.

"Proclaim aloud the Saviour’s fame,
Who bears the Breaker’s wond’rous name;
Sweet name; and it becomes him well,
Who breaks down earth, sin, death, and hell."

-C.H. Spurgeon-

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Emergent Church

Emergent Truth:
The Postmodern View of Truth
And Its Destructive Effects On Orthodox Christianity

We live in a time when the enlightenment ideas that brought about modernism are being contested. The “we can do it” attitude is coming to an end. In the words of David F. Wells in the book, Above All Earthly Powers, he tells us that there are three fundamental beliefs of the enlightenment “The disappearance of God, the disappearance of human nature, and omnicompetence of the human being (33).” He goes on to tell us that the disappearance of God, was driven by the enlightenment thinkers “opposition to what they saw as superstition (33).” God was no longer needed and we could figure things out on our own was the attitude of the day. The disappearance of human nature was the result of the idea that we have no inherent nature, instead “we must make oneself what one can (52).” As far as the omnicompetence of the human being, Wells tells us “It is rather ironic that these first two themes—the disappearance of God and of human nature—should accompany the third, which is the bloated sense of human capacity (52).” But this is exactly what happened. We came to believe that we could do it all. We could usher in a better world, through the use of science, and know how (read philosophy).

But after a couple world wars, epidemics like AIDS, and many other problems we have been unable to solve, we have begun to loose our nerve. All of these things have begun to chip away at our hopes that modernism could solve our problems. So where do we go from here? Where do you go when you start to lose hope? Welcome to the new world, the postmodern world. It’s a world where we cannot figure out everything. In fact we realize now that we cannot figure out anything. People don’t want to hear about the one true truth. They have been let down by modernism which promised that it could be figured out. Now we just need to know what works.

How does this shift affect the church? Should the church embrace these new ideas and trends, or should it continue in its same old ways. There are many who argue that if the church does not break free from the grip of modernism it is destined to fail. This is the view of the emergent church, a new movement within church which desires to reach this postmodern culture. A movement that feels the church has bought into the modernist views and needs to correct itself. Leonard Sweet, a proponent of the emergent church, claims that his book Postmodern Pilgrims “aims to demodernize the Christian consciousness and reshape its way of life according to a more biblical vision of life that is dawning with the coming of the postmodern era (Sweet, XVII).” But is this what the Church needs to survive and be more “Biblical?”

The remainder of this paper will focus on explaining the Emergent views on such topics as foundationalism, language theory, and some other basic doctrines. It will then look at its destructive effects on Christian doctrine, theology, and evangelism. And will conclude by offering a proper view regarding these topics and offer some final thoughts.

Explaining Emergent Views

One of the main views expressed by postmoderns of the secular and theistic type is that there is no such thing as universal objective truth. Objective truth is truth that is true for all people in all places at all times. The reason they hold this is because they do not think it is possible to know any true thought since all thoughts are language based and all language is contingent. This will be addressed further, but the first attempt they make at discounting truth is by discounting foundationalism.


Foundationalism is the belief that there are two different types of beliefs, basic and non-basic. In the words of Ronald Nash, non-basic or “derivative beliefs are those that are grounded on or dependent in some way on more basic beliefs. Basic beliefs are those not derived from or dependent on other belief (Nash, 81).” Foundationalism is the idea that a person’s noetic structure is built from the bottom up. The basic beliefs are those that need no other support in order for a person to be rational and hold them. The non-basic beliefs cannot be held rationally unless something more basic supports them. An example of a basic belief would be that you exist. In order for you to believe that you exist, you do not need evidential proof. Nor do you need to attempt to prove it to someone else. This is a basic belief. A non-basic belief would be something like; God saves those who believe in His Son. This belief is supported by other more basic beliefs like, people exist and God exists.

There are two types of foundationalism. Narrow and broad foundationalism as described by Nash, or Cartesian and modest as described by J.P. Moreland in the book Reclaiming the Center. Narrow or Cartesian foundationalism is the belief that in order for a belief to be basic it must have 100% certainty. Nash explains that in order for a belief to be basic according to narrow foundationalism it must meet three criteria. Basic beliefs are “beliefs that are evident to the senses, self-evident, or incorrigible may be properly basic (Nash 81).” This simply means that no belief can be properly basic that is not experienced with the senses of human experience, self evident in the sense that they are seen as true or false simply by understanding them (82), and cannot be proven false. But as Nash quotes Alvin Plantinga when he says, “Many propositions fail the narrow foundationalist’s tests are properly basic for me. I believe, for example, that I had lunch this noon. I do not believe this proposition on the basis of other propositions; I take it as basic’ it is in the foundations of my noetic structure. Furthermore, I am entirely rational in so taking it, even though this proposition is neither self-evident nor evident to the senses nor incorrigible (86).” Broad or modest foundationalism makes room for these kinds of basic beliefs saying that 100% certainty is not needed in order to be a rational basic belief.

The postmodern epistemology rejects this type of thinking. They see no difference between basic and non-basic beliefs. First, they do not believe that there is any way possible to have 100% certainty on any belief, and if you cannot have certainty then it cannot be a true foundation. Second they believe that if a belief is not certain then it cannot be basic because it must be supported by some other beliefs. Nancy Murphy a proponent of the postmodern view says that with modest foundationalism we have “foundations hanging from a balcony (Erickson, 109).” What she means by this is that our theory and presuppositions will end up holding our foundations instead of our foundation holding up our theories. This means that our basic beliefs are contingent upon our theories which are non-basic making our basic beliefs non-basic also. The postmodern goes on to explain that since we cannot have any true basic beliefs, foundationalism must be a false system of epistemology.

Correspondence theory of truth

In all of this, they argue that if we cannot have any certain foundation upon which to build our noetic structure then we do not really have any access to the outside world to say that our belief system actually corresponds to reality. This is why they reject the correspondence theory of truth. This is the theory that the truths we hold actually correspond to the world as it really is. If someone was to say that the sun is hot, it is usually understood that what the person means is that in the world as it really is, the sun is hot. The postmodern’s second attack upon foundationalism comes in at this point. Besides simply arguing that there is no such thing as a basic belief, they go on to say that, all truth is linguistically constructed and all language is contingent upon many different factors such as community, experience, etc. Because of this our language cannot correspond to the world as it really is because our language is “in” the world. R. Scott Smith explains the views of Stanley Grenz and John Franke in this way, “What is it that stands between the ‘real’ world and us? It is language, such that, as Grenz and Franke say, “We do not inhabit the ‘world-in –itself’; instead, we live in a linguistic world of our own making (Erickson, 110).”

Richard Rorty, a major non-Christian postmodern philosopher puts it this way, “To say that truth is not out there is simply to say that where there are no sentences there is no truth, that sentences are elements of human language, and that human languages are human creations (Rorty, 5).” This is obviously stating that truth is a human creation. We do not have access to objective truth; instead we create our truth with our language. Again truth does not correspond to reality. Rorty goes on to say, “Truth cannot be out there—cannot exist independently of the human mind—because sentences cannot so exist, or be out there (5).” In other words, since there are no true sentences out there in order for our sentences to line up with, then our sentences cannot correspond to the real world.

Coherence Theory of Truth

So where does this leave us? If foundationalism is false and the correspondence theory of truth is false, how should we look at truth? The postmodern view is known as the Coherence theory of truth and it is also called Holism by those in the emergent church. Since there is no foundation that our “truth” can be tied to, the only way it can be supported is by itself. In other words the most important aspect of “truth” is that our system as a whole is consistent and non-contradictory. The postmodern view leans heavily upon W.V.O. Quine’s “web of belief”. Tony Jones in the book Postmodern Youth Ministry explains it this way, “The fabric, or “web of Belief,” is fashioned by human beings—there is no divinely inspired web (Jones, 138).” He later goes on to say, “Instead of being based upon on indubitable truth-doctrine, the web has truths-doctrine distributed throughout. Therefore, if one truth-doctrine gets adjusted or overthrown by a new discovery, the web repairs itself by adjusting or tweaking other doctrines (138).”

The argument can basically be boiled down to this, that a truth system, or “web” is not founded upon any foundation, instead it is an integrated system that supports itself. But this doesn’t really give us any answers as to what is actually true; it only tells us if our beliefs are coherent with each other. On top of this, if no truth statement can actually correspond to reality, where do we get our stability? How do we know our web is the right one?

Eschatological Realism

In order to maintain some objectivity they appeal to eschatological realism. This is the view that we are working toward a community that will eventually understand correctly. “This vantage point provides the world with its mains sense of objectivity (Erickson, 119).” But the question may still arise as to how these truthful eschatological communities are created if we cannot know anything with our fallible tradition invading them? The answer is that they are created by the working of the Holy Spirit. Smith goes on to explain the views of Grenz and Franke. “Even though each community will have its own nuances they will all have something in common. The Spirit will speak through the Biblical texts, and it will guide them to be a community of Christ (119).”

What is the point of all this? The Church should stop focusing on trying to prove all these independent truth claims as true and let the “web” of Christianity support the claims. Our focus should be to live out our beliefs in our Christian communities and let the Holy Spirit move us toward the eschatological community where we will be able to see what is really true. In doing this we will be boldly witnessing our faith by our lives. We will have a strong body of Christ because we will be less divided by independent doctrines, and we will grow as individuals as we are in this community of Christ and become more like Christ.

The Effects of These Views

The relief from always having to try and prove your Christian faith sounds like a welcome idea and the desire to grow into the likeness of Christ in a community that is modeled after him sure seems to be a wonderful aspiration. So, should we really be concerned with these postmodern Christians? Should we not join them, and do what Leonard Sweet told us at the beginning of this post? Should we shake free from these modern entrapments such as foundationalism and the correspondence theory of truth and get back to a more “Biblical” Christianity? After taking a closer look at the effects of these theories it will be evident that we should not join them.

The heart of their view is that we cannot have access to the real world. Everything we believe is true is really something we have created because of our theories which are contingent upon our communities, which themselves are contingent. Now if no proposition we believe actually corresponds to reality, than nothing we believe is actually true. Then what does this say about all of their theories? What becomes then of all their reasoning for replacing foundationalism, with holism? Doesn’t this just make their own theories constructs that they have linguistically created to make their truth? Are not their theories also contingent upon their presuppositions that they have no rational basis for holding? Their entire system then becomes self refuting. Why should we shift our created beliefs over to their created beliefs? This is the major flaw upon which the entire postmodern theory stands.

This forces postmoderns to look to pragmatic results of language instead of whether or not it is true. Pragmatism is the theory that we should do what works. If we cannot know if something is really true, then the best way to judge it is by whether it works or not. The Christian language, according to the emergent church, is the best possible language. Not because it is the one that most corresponds to reality but because it holds together tightly and it works. It works in producing good and not evil.

What then does this do to orthodox Christianity and its doctrines? To answer this I will follow the lead of R. Scott Smith and apply their views to a few core Christian Doctrines.

The Doctrine of Divine Revelation

Christians believe that God exists and that He can communicates truth about Himself to us. He does this as Luis Berkhof explains through two different revelations, general and special. “The general revelation of God is prior to His special revelation in point in time. It does not come to man in the form of verbal communications, but in the facts, the forces, and the laws of nature, in the constitution and operation of the human mind, and in the facts and experience and history (Berkhof, 13).” “In addition to the revelation of God in nature we have His special revelation which is now embodied in Scripture (14).” But if the post-conservative view is correct, then God cannot truthfully communicate to us because we cannot escape language. Any truth He tries to communicate to us either through general or special revelation, we end up creating ourselves with our specific language. Ultimately we cannot know anything objectively true about God. If we do not inhabit the world as it really is, instead we inhabit a linguistic world of our own making, then this leads to a major incoherence in the Christian “web” of belief, because idolatry is prohibited. Smith makes this revealing comment, "Therefore, no matter how God tries to reveal himself and objective truth, we cannot know such revelation in itself. Accordingly, we make the revelation what it is for us by how we talk about it. The same goes for God himself. We cannot know God as he is in himself, so we must make God by how we use our language. But that result is plainly idolatrous on the terms of conservative Christians’ own grammar, the Bible. If I am right, then that result alone ought to make us pause and give up these postconservative views. (Erickson, 127).” In the book Truth and The New Kind of Christian he says it like this "Quite simply, Christians cannot know God as He is if we are on the “inside” of the pervasive influences of language, as these Christian postmodernist believe. Just like any other aspect of our “reality,” Christians construct God by how they talk. We make God into what He is—for us. This conclusion, however, results in the absurd condition that Christians must be idolaters (Smith, 145)."

Now the objection to these quotes might be raised that postmoderns do believe that God can actually reveal Himself and is doing so. After all they believe that the Holy Spirit, through the narrative of the Scripture is leading them on to the true eschatological community. But the question still remains as to what the Holy Spirit is. Is He something that actually exists in the real world or is it simply the linguistic construct that Christians have created? Also, what is the eschatological community of Christ that we are working toward? Is this not the same, a created linguistic truth? Or is it something that actually corresponds to reality. Either way they answer this question leads them into trouble. If they say it is a created linguistic truth then it cannot be objectively true, and if they say it actually corresponds to reality then they have refuted their own system. Also, if this is the one truth that corresponds to reality then why can’t this be the foundation upon which we can build our doctrine?

We also have the problem of which eschatological community is the correct one. Rorty, the non-Christian, also believes we are moving toward a “liberal society” (Rorty, 60).” But the community he is moving toward is not the Christian one. So which future community is the right one, and how do they know this?

The Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Atonement

What do these theories do to the Doctrine of the crucifixion, resurrection, and the atonement? Christians believe that Christ was crucified, and rose for our justification, but these too would be constructions of our language. But do the truths we hold regarding these events actually correspond to reality? To say no is quite damaging to these doctrines because, the truth then is not found in the actual propositions but what they produce in you. So the question must then be asked, does this make all savior stories valid because they move us toward this eschatological community? And which theory of the atonement is really true, the moral influence, limited atonement, or universal atonement to name three? Does it really matter what theory we hold as long as it makes us good community participants?


Luther said that the doctrine of Justification is the article upon which the Church stands or falls. But what does the Emergent view of truth do to the doctrine of Justification? Christian’s believe that we are sinful and deserve the wrath of God, and it is only by faith that we can be justified. But if the postmodern view is correct, then justification becomes a truth that we create in our linguistic community, and we cannot know whether or not justification has actually taken place in the real world, or if we are really even sinners.

One of the main problem with the emergent view on this doctrine is that since we cannot say it is an objective reality, we must look at its pragmatic results. But if we turn the doctrine of justification into something that works, then we must ask, works to do what? It seems that the emergent answer is whether or not it works to make us better people in the community we find ourselves. This is why we see a strong bent toward the Roman doctrine that justification and sanctification are two sides of the same coin. Jones makes this statement, “We must end the false dichotomy between justification and sanctification (133).” Jones had been speaking about salvation and how justification is not a one time thing and how it is a process. The implication of this view is that the way you get justified, is by becoming just (not imputed righteousness). The way you are to do this according to the emergent view, is by getting involved in a Christian Community and learning the Christian language. As you do this you become more and more sanctified which is the same as becoming more justified. This leads to problems because it then makes justification based upon something we do, which clearly does not cohere in the Christian “web.”

Christian Theology

What effects do theses views of language and truth have upon Christian Theology? Besides the main problem that it makes knowledge of God and the study of Him ultimately impossible, because we cannot really know anything objectively true about God, it shifts the focus of theology away from God and places it upon the study of language theory. Much like most liberal schools, they end up talking more about the method of theology than actually doing it.


Finally what does this do to the main focus of evangelism through the Christian community which the emergent church so strongly endorses? After all this is one of the attractive aspects of the movement; the idea that we should stop trying to prove that what we believe is true and just live it. But this involves a major problem because it assumes that the actions of the Christian community can be understood outside of the Christian community and is self-refuting to their own claims (Erickson, 130). It is self-refuting because they believe that people outside of their community cannot understand their language unless they participate in it. Ultimately, true witnessing of Jesus becomes impossible in their view.

A Proper Understanding

So how should we look at all of this? Has foundationalism been destroyed? Should we look to Quine’s “web of belief” to understand truth? To look at this let us start by critiquing the coherence theory of truth.

Critique of the Coherence Theory of Truth

It must be stated that the coherence theory of truth, much like many of the ideas of Emergent Church, has some truth in it. Our noetic structure is an integrated “web” with many connections. The reason we believe some things is because of the logical connections to other beliefs. A good example of this is the doctrine of verbal inspiration of Scripture. The verbal inspiration of Scripture is the truth that the Bible is exactly word-for-word what God wanted to say. But to understand and believe this doctrine you must believe and understand other things about God. Gordon H. Clark makes this quote, “Verbal inspiration therefore must be understood in connection with the complete system of Christian doctrine. It many not be detached there from, and a fortiori it may not be framed in an alien view of God. Verbal inspiration is integral with the doctrines of providence and predestination. When the liberals surreptitiously deny predestination in picturing God as dictating to stenographers, they so misrepresent verbal inspiration that their objections do not apply to the God of the Bible (Clark, 44).”

So where is the problem with the coherence theory of truth? The problem lies in the fact that it is not grounded to anything other than pragmatism and the ideas of what works are also ideas in their web that are not grounded to anything. To put it another way, there are many free floating webs of belief out there and none of them are tethered to anything foundational. So what do we do with all these competing webs of truth? Is there anyway to get to any kind of neutral standpoint from which to judge? The resounding answer from the postmoderns is no. There is no way to see if one web is better than another, which ultimately leads to relativism. Even if they argue that the truest one is the one that is most coherent in itself. The only way to find out how coherent it is is to become part of every community, learn their language and see which is the most coherent. Since this can never be done, you can never know if your web is the most coherent.

Foundationalism Misrepresented

One of the main problems with the postmodern rejection of foundationalism is that it focuses only on a specific kind of foundationalism. The attacks that come upon foundationalism always focus on Cartesian foundationalism, which is the idea that you must have 100% certainty to be a basic belief. On top of this, most philosophers who promote this type of foundationalism are empiricists. The problem with this is that this is not the type of foundationalism that is held by many theologians or lay people in the church. What is held today is more of a modest foundationalism. 100% empiric certainty is not needed in order to have a real foundational belief. Not to mention the criteria for certainty is rarely discussed. It is simply assumed to be scientific proof (read empiric).

The Biblical View

If the Bible is true then there are things we know, and we know them certainly. For example Romans chapter 1 tells us that all men know that God exists, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” The problem is not with foundational knowledge, it is with our sinful nature which does everything it can to suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Scripture tells us on many occasions that we “may know” that the son of man has the power to forgive sins (Matt. 9:6; Mar. 2:10; Luke 5:24). The scriptural language seems to say that we can actually know this, and do not create it in our linguistic world.

What about Rorty’s claim that if truth is propositional and there are no propositions “out there” for our propositions to line up with, then they can’t really be true? How does the Christian worldview answer this? Scripture clearly tells us that God can communicate truth, and God does it propositionally in Scripture. This tells us something about the mind of God. It contains truth. This simply means that the propositions are out there for our propositions to line up to. Every time we think of a proposition that lines up with a proposition in the mind of God, it is a true proposition. In Nash’s book, The Word of God and the Mind of Man, he makes this point quite clearly when he says, “Few Christians have any difficulty affirming the following three propositions: (a) 1 plus 1 equals 2; (b) God knows that 1 plus 1 equals 2; and (c) when a human being knows that 1 plus 1 equals 2, his or her knowledge is identical with God’s knowledge of the same proposition (Nash, 100).”

The Wrong Solution

It seems by reading many of the Emergent Church books that much of what is driving them into postmodernism is the lack of humility that comes from some pulpits, legalism, and extreme fundamentalism. These are problems that should be addressed, but postmodernism is the wrong solution. There are many church leaders who hold to the correspondence theory of truth who are not arrogant with the truth, legalistic, or extreme in their fundamentalism. Foundationalism is not the cause of these attitudes; in fact these attitudes appear in the emergent church also. There are those who think they understand the way things should be, and if you’re not postmodern you are given a smug look and a roll of the eyes. Abandoning the idea of truth is not the answer to these problems. The emergent church with all of its motives that seem to be in line with Godly living, has thrown the baby out with the bathwater. For if truth is gone, then what is Godly living and all these motives and attitudes they promote, but constructs in their linguistic world. To put it into one of H. Richard Niebuhr’s categories, all we have is the “Christ of Culture (Neibuhr, 83).” The Christ each culture creates, and this is not the Christ of Scripture.

-Doug Eaton-

Works Cited

Berkhof, Louis, Summary of Christian Doctrine, (Eerdmans, 1938)

Clark, Gordon H., God’s Hammer, The Bible and Its Critics, (Trinity, 1982)

Erickson, Millard J., Reclaiming the Center, (Crossway, 2004)

Jones, Tony, Postmodern Youth Ministry, (Zondervan, 2001)

Nash, Ronald, Faith and Reason, (Zondervan, 1988)

Nash, Ronald, The Word of God and the Mind of Man, (P&R, 1982)

Niebuhr, H. Richard, Christ and Culture, (Harper, 1951)

Rorty, Richard, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, (Cambridge, 1989)

Smith, R. Scott, Truth and the New Kind of Christian, (Crossway, 2005)

Sweet, Leonard, Postmodern Pilgrims, (Broadman and Holman, 2000)

Wells, David F., Above all Earthly Powers; Christ in a Postmodern World, (Eerdmans, 2005)

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Grief and Pain - Walter C. Kaiser Jr.

“Suffering cannot adequately be dealt with by pretending that it does not exist. It will do no good to try to minimize it or to ‘talk’ it out of existence. It does exist and it does hurt. Nor will it do any good to search for a sudden cure for its pain as if one, by swallowing a miracle pill of modern pharmacology, could remove all at once the heavy weight it imposes.

The most comforting news Scripture has for the sufferer is that where pain, grief, and hurt are, there is God. Instead of a panacea, our Lord offers His presence. One of the greatest promises in the Bible, which speaks to all our fears, is bound up in the very name of our Lord—Immanuel: ‘God with us.’

Along with this assurance of the presence of our Lord comes perspective into the way pain and suffering can work to bring a better perception of our situation, times, and needs vis-à-vis the upward calling of God in our lives…

…Of course, there are alternatives to the biblically-sanctioned response, but will they accomplish the purposes of God? Should we have been hurt and suffered so much to emerge with merely a socially acceptable solution? Lamentations would have us emerge with more than the temporal healing; why not learn simultaneously that ‘the Lord is my portion’ (Lam. 3:24).”

Walter C. Kaiser Jr.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Problem of Sin and the Knowledge of God

I found this quote while reading through F.F. Bruce’s commentary on Hebrews. As short as it is I believe it says a lot.

“The intellect is not over-ready to entertain an idea that heart finds unpalatable.”

F.F. Bruce

When we as natural fallen people, love our sin, the news about God and His righteousness is not pleasant to our ears. We will spend the rest of our lives trying intellectually to suppress that truth in unrighteousness unless the Holy Spirit begins to work in our heart to change it.

God Bless,


Thursday, May 18, 2006

On Van Til

Here is a link to a great post on Van Til.

On Van Til's Theological Method

The article deals with some of the same idea's found in the emergent church. Can we know truth?

God Bless,


A Light in the Formation Fog.

Today was the second day in the Spiritual Formation Forum, and I must admit I was greatly refreshed by one of the workshops. Dr. Richard Averbeck did a lecture on the theology of Spiritual Formation. It was a wonderful light shining in the conference. He was not afraid to ground it in scripture. We studied the nature of man pre-fall and post-fall, and he made no mistake that this was the meta-narrative; the story of stories by which all stories must be judged. There was a lot he didn't cover like what he thinks about the Justification/Sanctification distinction, but what I heard was good. This was one lecture that showed the difference between some in the Spiritual Formation movement and the emergent church.

Praise God,


P.S. I will most likely be posting a post on the emergent church, but it is quite long.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Spiritual Formation and the Emergent Connection

I am all for spiritual formation, but it is some of the methods that concern me. Not to mention some of the underlying theology of some of those involved. Simon Chan who I quoted in the last post make makes a statement similar to Tony Jones regarding Justification and Sanctification being two sides of the same coin. As I already mentioned in a previous post, this has some serious consequences on the doctrine of justification.

Today was the first day of the Spiritual Formation Forum, and my suspicion was confirmed regarding the connection between the Emergent Church and spiritual formation. Though it may not be a direct link (meaning that not all emergents are into spiritual formation and not all into spiritual formation are emergent), there are a lot of similarities. To my surprise there was an afternoon meeting on spiritual formation and the emergent conversation. The conference involved six emergent leader the two most well known being Spencer Burke who runs the ooze, and Todd Proctor from Rock Harbor.

As the S.F. leader asked questions of the E.C. leaders, there seemed to be a lot upon which they agreed. One of the main questions that was asked was, "what is spiritual formation to the emergent church? The unanimous answer seemed to be that spiritual formation is growing to be more like Christ within your context. Spencer Burke had been saying that each community will set the rules as to how that will be accomplished and what it will look like. They had been comparing different "Christian" communities such as Evangelical, Mainline Protestant, and Roman Catholic. So I had to raise my hand and ask, “Who is Jesus, and what if some of the rules the community sets up are wrong?” The amazing answer was, "how will you know if they are wrong." My response was "the Word of God." They then asked me, "who is right, the Pentecostal or the Baptist." I responded, "Where they line up with the Word of God, they are right." Someone followed my lead and asked about the Jehovah's Witness community and if there rules where wrong. I was amazed when I heard that they are not going to focus on what aspects we are against their theology, but what aspects we agree, such as our agreement on helping people.

This is the main concern I have with the Spiritual Formation Forum. No one wants to make any substantial claim as to what we are to be formed into. They will all agree that we are to be formed into the image of Jesus, but since doctrine seems not to be favored, I'm having trouble getting any clear answer as to what that means, just like the emergent church.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Spiritual Formation?

“Spiritual theology seeks to understand spiritual growth form beginning to end, making use of biblical and experiential data. Thus many ancient spiritual writers trace the development of the spiritual life as stages of growth. Perhaps the best known is the “three ways” of purgation, illumination and union, a scheme that crops up repeatedly in spiritual writings throughout history. Thomas has three classes of Christians: beginners, proficients and perfect. Bernard sees growth as four degrees of love and as twelve steps of humility. Teresa of Avila speaks of seven grades of prayer. In traditional Protestant theology, the Christian life is understood as progressing according to a certain “order of salvation” (ordo salutis): justification, sanctification and glorification.”

Simon Chan- Spiritual Theology

I will be spending the next three days working a conference called the Spiritual Formation Forum in Long Beach. This conference features many of the biggest names when it comes to spiritual formation; Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, Larry Crabb and many others. At this Forum there are all kinds of workshops on meditations, Ignatius prayers, and all kinds of spiritual disciplines. I personally am not too sure about all of this. I have no doubt that these are great Christian people who desire to be closer to the Lord, but some of this stuff seems a bit misguided.

What are your thoughts on Spiritual Formation?


Monday, May 15, 2006

On The Wrath of God - Steven Charnock

When God takes vengeance upon the ungodly,
he will smite in such a manner as to make
them feel His almightiness in every stroke.

All His power shall be exercised in punishing, and none in pitying.

O, that every obstinate sinner would think of this,
and consider his foolishness in thinking himself
able to grapple with Omnipotence!

-Steven Charnock- "God's Vengeance Upon The Ungodly"

Sunday, May 14, 2006

10 Ways to Hinder Your Church

It has been said that there are no inactive members in any church. They are either actively building it up or actively hindering it. I’m not sure where this came from, but there is a lot of truth in that statement. With that in mind, here are 10 ways to work against your church.

1. Show up only when it is convenient.

2. When you do attend, show up late and leave as soon as possible.

3. Find something to grumble about (music, preaching, people).

4. Whenever your pastor or teacher makes a mistake in his theology make sure everyone realizes it, but be sure not to talk about it with him.

5. Never appear interested.

6. Refuse to accept any responsibility.

7. Do not spend time in prayer for your church and pastor.

8. Realize that you know more than the leaders in your church, but do not be willing to use that knowledge to teach others.

9. Be more concerned with position and privilege than the advancement of Christ’s kingdom.

10. Above all else, realize that Church is about you and what you get out of it.

May we all work diligently in our churches in whatever capacity we can.

God bless,


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Weeping For A Night - Spurgeon

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."- Psa_30:5

Christian! If thou art in a night of trial, think of the morrow; cheer up thy heart with the thought of the coming of thy Lord. Be patient, for

"Lo! He comes with clouds descending."

Be patient! The Husbandman waits until he reaps his harvest. Be patient; for you know who has said, "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be." If you are never so wretched now, remember

"A few more rolling suns, at most,
Will land thee on fair Canaan’s coast."

Thy head may be crowned with thorny troubles now, but it shall wear a starry crown ere long; thy hand may be filled with cares-it shall sweep the strings of the harp of heaven soon. Thy garments may be soiled with dust now; they shall be white by-and-by. Wait a little longer. Ah! how despicable our troubles and trials will seem when we look back upon them! Looking at them here in the prospect, they seem immense; but when we get to heaven we shall then

"With transporting joys recount,
The labours of our feet."

Our trials will then seem light and momentary afflictions. Let us go on boldly; if the night be never so dark, the morning cometh, which is more than they can say who are shut up in the darkness of hell. Do you know what it is thus to live on the future-to live on expectation-to antedate heaven? Happy believer, to have so sure, so comforting a hope. It may be all dark now, but it will soon be light; it may be all trial now, but it will soon be all happiness. What matters it though "weeping may endure for a night," when "joy cometh in the morning?"

-C.H. Spurgeon-

Thursday, May 11, 2006

On the Verbal Inspiration of Scripture

Verbal inspiration of Scripture is the truth that the Bible is exactly word-for-word what God wanted to say. This doctrine has been under attack by liberals and post-moderns. They argue that God did not put the writers of Scripture in a trance and use their bodies to write the Bible, nor did audibly dictate to them exactly what to write like a boss to a worker. And we agree with both of these statements. So how did God get word-for-word what He wanted out of the writers? Below is a great quote by Gordon Clark on this topic…

“Verbal inspiration therefore must be understood in connection with the complete system of Christian doctrine. It many not be detached there from, and a fortiori it may not be framed in an alien view of God. Verbal inspiration is integral with the doctrines of providence and predestination. When the liberals surreptitiously deny predestination in picturing God as dictating to stenographers, they so misrepresent verbal inspiration that their objections do not apply to the God of the Bible. The trouble is not as the liberals think, that the boss controls the stenographer too completely; on the contrary, the analogy misses the mark because the boss hardly controls the stenographer at all.

Put it this way: God, from all eternity, decreed to lead the Jews out of slavery by the hand of Moses. To this end he so controlled events that Moses was born at a given date, placed in the water to save him from an earthly death, found and adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter, given the best education possible, driven into the wilderness to learn patience, and in every way so prepared by heredity and environment that when the time came, Moses’ mentality and literary style were the instruments precisely fitted to speak God’s words.”

Gordon H. Clark – God’s Hammer, The Bible and Its Critics

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I'm not here, I'm over the wall!

The family and I are taking a two day vacation, so I will not be blogging again until Friday. But before I take my time off, here's a picture I took today at an old cemetary.

I hope when I go, my tombstone says something better than this. Though it is true on more than one level. :-)

God Bless,


Monday, May 08, 2006

Ephriam Repenting - William Cowper

Ephriam Repenting (Jeremiah, xxxi. 18-20)

My God, till I received Thy stroke,
How like a beast was I!
So unaccustom'd to the yoke,
So backward to comply.

With grief my just reproach I hear;
Shame fills me at the thought,
How frequent my rebellions were,
What wickedness I wrought.

Thy merciful restraint I scorn'd,
And left the pleasant road;
Yet turn me, and I shall be turn'd;
Thou art the Lord my God.

"Is Ephraim banish'd from my thoughts,
Or vile in my esteem?
No," saith the Lord, "with all his faults,
I still remember him.

"Is he a dear and pleasant child?
Yes, dear and pleasant still;
Though sin his foolish heart beguiled,
And he withstood my will.

"My sharp rebuke has laid him low,
He seeks my face again;
My pity kindles at his woe,
He shall not seek in vain."
-William Cowper-

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Postmodern Idolatry (The Emergent Church)

In the book Reclaiming the Center, R. Scott Smith explains the emergent view of truth that is held by some of its leaders such as Stanley Grenz, Brad Kallenberg, and Brian Mclaren. Smith explains how they do not believe objective truth is possible, because no truth statement we know or speak can actually correspond to reality. This is because language is a created barrier that keeps us from having access to the real world. Since all truth is formed in language, no truth can actually correspond to reality (i.e. we do not know things as they really are). Instead we create our truths, and make them what they are. One of their favorite things to say is, "we do not inhabit the world as it really is, instead we inhabit a linguistic world of our own making.

After explaining this Smith makes this revealing comment…

"Therefore, no matter how God tries to reveal himself and objective truth, we cannot know such revelation in itself. Accordingly, we make the revelation what it is for us by how we talk about it. The same goes for God himself. We cannot know God as he is in himself, so we must make God by how we use our language. But that result is plainly idolatrous on the terms of conservative Christians’ own grammar, the Bible. If I am right, then that result alone ought to make us pause and give up these postconservative views. (127).”

In the book Truth and The New Kind of Christian he says it like this…

"Quite simply, Christians cannot know God as He is if we are on the “inside” of the pervasive influences of language, as these Christian postmodernist believe. Just like any other aspect of our “reality,” Christians construct God by how they talk. We make God into what He is—for us. This conclusion, however, results in the absurd condition that Christians must be idolaters (145)."

May their eyes be opened,


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Postmodern Legalism (The Emergent Church)

Here is a quote I found while reading Tony Jones’ Postmodern Youth Ministry

“We must end the false dichotomy between justification and sanctification (133).”

Jones had been speaking about salvation and how justification is not a one time thing and how it is a process. The implication of this view is that the way you get justified, is by becoming just (not imputed righteousness). The way you are to do this according to the emergent view, is by getting involved in a Christian Community and learning the Christian language. As you do this you become more and more sanctified which is the same as becoming more justified.

May the Lord open their eyes,


P.S. I realize that this is not the view of everyone in the emergent church.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Christ's Active Righteousness (3) It's Necessity

At the end of the last post on this topic, we had come to an agreement that Jesus actively kept the Mosaic Law to be our savior. This is because if Jesus had sinned he could not have been our Savior. And at the time Christ was on the earth if he had broken the Mosaic Law He would have sinned. But does His active righteousness have anything to do with our salvation besides making Him fit to die for our sins?

One thing that is clear throughout scripture is that man is under a time of testing by God. In fact this is one of the main aspects of the dispensationalist’s seven (normally seven) dispensations and it is the main point of the covenant of works that is found in covenantal theology. Even in Adam and Eve’s time of innocence in the Garden they were under a test. As we know they failed this test when they ate of the tree, and because of it they died, but what if they had passed the test? It seems that because of the presence of the tree of life in the garden, that they would have been rewarded with eternal life if they had remained sinless for the length of the test. Genesis tells us…

Gen 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden,

Nothing has really changed, even in the New Testament age, we are under a test from God, and there are still two ways you can obtain a righteousness that will make you worthy of heaven. You can either obey God perfectly, or since no one other than Christ can do that, you can partake in His righteousness by faith. Since we all fail the first option the second is mandatory for salvation.

In either case obedience is required to be accepted by God. If you do not have obedience to God, you do not truly have righteousness. Now some may say that Christ paid for the wrath of our sins but did not give us His active righteousness. In other words our sins were imputed to Him but His righteousness was not imputed to us. If this were the case then we would only be innocent as Adam and Eve were in the Garden, but they were never declared righteous. Righteousness is more than guiltlessness.

Christ, by His active obedience, earned something that He did not need, in order to give it to His bride. To reject the necessity of Christ’s active obedience is to reject that God must be obeyed perfectly for man to be declared inherently righteous. Since this cannot be the case, because there is no way to explain how a man could disobey God and still be righteous, we need Christ’s perfect obedience to be imputed to us.

Now I realize that the main objection to this may be that the law cannot actually give us righteousness. And with this I will agree in one sense. I cannot give righteousness to someone who is a sinner, but to someone who has the power to keep it and not sin, it can. Paul tells us this.

Rom 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

What was it that the law failed to do? It failed to give us righteousness because we are sinful, but through Christ the righteousness of the LAW is fulfilled, and it is imputed to us.

And in a more clear statement of the perfect obedience earning eternal life, we see…

Luk 10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

Had the lawyer fulfilled this, he would have eternal life, but he had not done this that is why he went on to attempt to justify himself.

Perfect obedience is necessary for eternal life. You can do it yourself (hypothetically) or you can have Christ’s imputed to you.

-Doug Eaton-

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Righteousness Is More Than Guiltlessness

Suppose, for instance, I promise to my servants a reward for keeping my commands, and threaten punishment for breaking them. At the end of the appointed time, one of them has kept them, and receives the reward. A second one has broken them, and is chastised. Suppose this second should then arise and claim his reward also, on the ground that suffering the full penalty of the breach was an entire equivalent for perfect obedience. Common sense would pronounce it absurd…Since Christ steps into the sinner’s stead, to fulfill in his stead the whole Covenant of Works, He must, in order to procure to us full salvation, both purchase pardon for guilt, and a positive title to favor and life. The sinner needs both.

-R.L. Dabney- Lectures in Systematic Theology

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Preach the Word

We have in our midst some that are going to an eternal hell. But we preach about something trivial to them. Whisper in my ear that we are working against Satan. That he is worried about what we are doing, and that we are pulling down strongholds. We’re not pulling down strongholds, were building pretty little churches for people to sit around. If Jesus came back he wouldn’t cleanse the temple he’d cleanse the pulpit.

-Unknown Revival Preacher-

Ten Shekels (3) Utilitarian Christianity- Paris Reidhead

Let’s be done, once for all, with utilitarian Christianity that makes God a means, instead of the glorious end that He is. Let’s resign. Let’s tell Micah we’re through. We’re no longer going to be his priests serving for ten shekels and a shirt. Let’s tell the tribe of Dan we’re through. And let’s come and cast ourselves at the feet of the nail pierced Son of God and tell Him that we’re going to obey Him, and love Him, and serve Him, as long as we live, because HE IS WORTHY!

Two young Moravians heard of an island in the West Indies where an atheist British owner had 2000 to 3000 slaves. And the owner had said, "No preacher, no clergyman, will ever stay on this island. If he’s shipwrecked we’ll keep him in a separate house until he has to leave; but he’s never going to talk to any of us about God. I’m through with all that nonsense." Three thousand slaves from the jungles of Africa brought to an island in the Atlantic and there to live and die without hearing of Christ. Two young Moravians heard about it. They sold themselves to the British planter and used the money they received from their sale, for he paid no more than he would for any slave, to pay their passage out to his island for he wouldn’t even transport them. As the ship left it’s pier in the river at Hamburg and was going out into the North Sea, carried with the tide, the Moravians had come from Herrenhut to see these two lads off, in their early twenties. Never to return again, for this wasn’t a four year term; they sold themselves into life-time slavery. Simply that as slaves, they could be as Christians where these others were. The families were there weeping, for they knew they would never see them again. And they wondered why they were going and questioned the wisdom of it. As the gap widened and the housings had been cast off and were being curled up there on the pier, and the young boys saw the widening gap, one lad with his arm liked through the arm of his fellow, raised his hand and shouted across the gap the last words that were heard from them, they were these: "MAY THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN, RECEIVE THE REWARD OF HIS SUFFERING!" This became the call of Moravian missions. And this is the only reason for being, That the Lamb that was slain, may receive the reward of His suffering.

-Paris Reidhead- From Ten Shekels and a Shirt

P.S. The picture at the top is of a Moravian Missionary Church.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Ten Shekels and a Shirt (2) - Paris Reidhead

Now I ask you; What is the Philosophy of Missions? What is the Philosophy of Evangelism? What is the Philosophy of a Christian?

If you’ll ask me why I went to Africa, I’ll tell you I went primarily to improve on the justice of God. I didn’t think it was right for anybody to go to Hell without a chance to be saved. So I went to give poor sinners a chance to go to heaven. Now I haven’t put it in so many words, but if you’ll analyze what I just told you , do you know what it is? Humanism. That I was simply using the provisions of Jesus Christ as a means to improve upon human conditions of suffering and misery. And when I went to Africa, I discovered that they weren’t poor, ignorant, little heathen running around in the woods looking for someone to tell them how to go to heaven. That they were Monsters of Iniquity! They were living in utter and total defiance of far more knowledge of God than I ever dreamed they had! They deserved Hell! Because they utterly refused to walk in the light of their conscious, and the light of the law written upon their heart, and the testimony of nature, and the truth they knew! And when I found that out I assure you I was so angry with God that on one occasion in prayer I told Him it was a mighty little thing He’d done – sending me out there to reach these people that were waiting to be told how to go to heaven. When I got there I found out they knew about heaven, and didn’t want to go there, and that they loved their sin and wanted to stay in it.

(Brother Paris speaks with great passion in this paragraph) I went out there motivated by humanism. I’d seen pictures of lepers, I’d seen pictures of ulcers, I’d seen pictures of native funerals, and I didn’t want my fellow human beings to suffer in Hell eternally after such a miserable existence on earth. But it was there in Africa that God began to tear through the overlay of this humanism! And it was that day in my bedroom with the door locked that I wrestled with God. For here was I, coming to grips with the fact that the people I thought were ignorant and wanted to know how to go to heaven and were saying, "Someone come and teach us!", actually didn’t want to take time to talk with me or anybody else. They had no interest in the Bible and no interest in Christ, and they love their sin and wanted to continue in it. And I was to that place, at that time, where I felt the whole thing was a sham and a mockery, and I had been sold a bill of goods! And I wanted to come home.

There alone in my bedroom as I faced God honestly with what my heart felt, it seemed to me I heard Him say, "Yes, will not the Judge of all the earth do right? The heathen are lost, and they’re going to go to Hell, not because they haven’t heard the gospel. They’re going to go to Hell because they are sinners, who love their sin! And because they deserve Hell. But……I didn’t send you out there for them. I didn’t send you out there for their sakes." And I heard clearly as I’ve ever heard, though it wasn’t with physical voice but it was the echo of truth of the ages, finding it’s way into an open heart. I heard God say to my heart that day something like this, "I didn’t send you to Africa for the sake of the heathen, I sent you to Africa for My Sake….They deserved Hell! But I love them! And I endured the agonies of Hell for them!!!! I didn’t send you out there for them! I SENT YOU OUT THERE FOR ME… Do I not deserve the reward of my suffering? Don’t I deserve those for who I died?"

And it reversed it all!! And changed it all!! And righted it all!! And I wasn’t any longer working for Micah and ten shekels and a shirt! But I was serving a living God! I was not there for the sake of the heathen. I was there for the Savior that endured the agonies of Hell for me, who didn’t deserve it. But He deserved them, (the heathen). Because He died for them.

Do you see? Let me epitomize, let me summarize. Christianity says, "The end of all being is the glory of God." Humanism says, "The end of all being is the happiness of man." And one was born in Hell, the deification of man; and the other was born in heaven, the glorification of God! And one is a Levite serving Micah, and the other is a heart that’s unworthy serving the living God, because it’s the highest honor in the universe.

-Paris Reidhead-

If you have never heard this sermon preached by Pastor Riedhead, you can listen or download it for free here. It's quite powerful.


Ten Shekels and a Shirt - Paris Reidhead

Context: The following scripture deals with a levitical priest who sold himself out to Micah in order to help Micah worship his false gods instead of doing what he was supposed to do.

And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year, and a suit of apparel, and thy victuals. So the Levite went in. Jdg 17:10

"The question comes then to this, what is the standard of success and by what are we going to judge our lives and our ministry? And the question that you are going to ask yourself, "Is God an end or is He a means?" And you have to decide very early in your Christian life whether you’re viewing God as an end or a means. Our generation is prepared to honor with single honor anyone that’s successful regardless of whether they settled this problem or not. As long as they can get things done or get the job done, or, "It’s working, isn’t it?", then our generation is prepared to say, "Well, you’ve got to reckon with this."

"And so we’ve got to ask ourselves at the very outset of our ministry, and our pilgrimage, and our walk, "Are we going to be Levites who serve God for ten shekels and a shirt?" Serve men perhaps in the name of God, rather than God. For though he was a Levite and performed religious activities, he was looking for a place. A place which would give him recognition, a place which would give him acceptance, a place which would give him security, a place where he could shine in terms of those values which were important to him. His whole business was serving in religious activities so it had to be a religious job. He was very happy when he found that Micah had an opening. But he had decided that he was worth ten shekels and a shirt, and he was prepared to sell himself to anyone that would give that much. If somebody came along and gave more, he would sell himself to them. But he put a value upon himself and he figured his religious service and his activities were just a means to an end and by the same token God was a means to an end."

-Paris Reidhead