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The state of the church and 3D pastors

Pastor Tony Morgan (right) next
to a holographic figure.

3D pastors. Who would’ve thought?

If the only job of a pastor was to preach, then perhaps this would be fine. However, a pastor must be a shepherd! That is the meaning of the word!

Holograms do not shepherd! In fact, technology is the death of the church! Why do I say this?

It has become way too easy for people to use only technology to make up their daily spiritual diet. Christians no longer come together as the people of God, because the over-use of technology has sent a message of total individualism to the church, making the local church a nuisance to our every day lives. Suddenly, we are more interested in what Tom, Dick and Harriet from across the big, blue pond have to say. Pastors have become irrelevant to modern Christians, because they can simply switch on the TV, or stream a video of a sermon via the internet, preached by a pastor that we will never get into contact with.

There is no longer a need to go to church. In fact, I was shocked speechless at a Biblical Worldview Seminar recently, when a married couple told me that they felt so good about themselves and their “freedom” in Christ since they decided to no longer attend church. They get all their spiritual “nutrition” via technology! I suppose that is why they are more concerned about fluoride in water and toothpastes, and aspartame in fizzy drinks than the people of God.

A church where shepherding, mentoring, true discipling is not practiced, is a failing church. Christianity is not about a sermon, although true preaching is at the heart of the church getting together. No, Christianity is about the gospel of Christ, and how it has changed us, and made a bunch of pagans into the one true people of God! How can we even claim to be the people of God if we do not want to gather with the people of God to worship and hear the preaching of God’s word. A true Christian will love the people of God. We cannot say we love God and not want to get together with the people God elected in His divine love!

The problem with modern technology in the church, is that much of it becomes a distraction. It makes attending church more like attending a movie! It becomes important that the entertaining factor is high all the time. The church is literally entertaining itself to death!

Technology in itself is not bad or evil. However, its use can have effects that we do not always think about when something new comes onto the market. Much of it is faddish, and it doesn’t help the preaching of God’s Word at all. It can distract, and “wow,” to the extent that the message of the gospel is lost in the bright lights, flashing images and loud noise.

Do we trust our preaching of the gospel so little, that we need to “wow” people in order to draw them? This is truly foolish! The Bible does not tell us that if we lift up technology that Christ will draw all kinds of people to Himself. We have to preach Christ, for it is the message of the gospel that will draw people. What did Paul write?

“For we are not ashamed of our technology, for the clever use of technology is the power of God for salvation to everyone who sees and hears our very entertaining techno messages.”

I bet you know that that is not what Paul wrote. Rather, he wrote:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Rom 1:16)

We are to preach the gospel with clarity and not with distractions. For it is not entertainment that draws the ungodly, but God Himself! (Jn 6:44)

So, will holographic pastors add to the preaching of the gospel or distract from it? In the long run, what effects will this have on the church? What message do you preach subliminally when using your new technology?

In the end, it all hinges on how the technology affects the message of the gospel. Technology is not worth it, if it negatively affects the message of the gospel!

HT: Dan Phillips

The regression of the modern gospel in pictures


I know that the images above are usually used for another story, but when someone at work emailed them to me, it made me think of the state of the preaching of the gospel in the modern church.

It is amazing how the gospel has been emasculated from the truth of God’s wrath on sinners and the resultant death of Christ as a propitiation towards God for sinners to “God has a wonderful plan for your life!” or “You are not as bad as those fundamentalists say you are!” or “It doesn’t matter how you live or what you believe, as long as you are sincere!”

When the gospel is truncated here and there to make it easier for people to accept it as in the picture above, the day will come that those that believed they are in Christ will come to the end of their days and discover that the gospel they believed literally falls short of the true gospel of God in Christ. It is only the full gospel that brings salvation. Any other gospel brings damnation!

The gospel in essence is an offence to the world! It goes against everything that the world believes. By making the gospel palatable to the world with the “good” notion of getting them to believe, they will not be saved, but be condemned by the very “palatable” gospel to a life without God!

Benny Hinn teaching
his false doctrine

As Paul writes in Galatians 1:6-10:

“[E]ven if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.”

It is for this reason that we have to remain vigilant against all kinds of false teaching and heresy. We cannot allow false teachers to create a false confidence in people to believe that they are indeed saved. The whole gospel must be preached!

What we are saved by is what we are saved to! If I am “saved” by a false gospel, then I am damned to live by that false gospel. But, if I am saved by the true gospel, it will save me to serve the living God in Christ.

Let us rise and stand for the gospel of Christ.

Categories: False Teaching, Gospel

Evangelical gullibility fuels the flames of "fairy tales as truth"

It has happened to all of us. Some person with a so-called testimony akin to Paul’s Damascus experience visits your church and tells you his story. The story is extremely well told, interspersed with tear-jerking sad stories and side-splitting funny anecdotes, with a smattering of heroics.

The person seems to be so nice that we just can’t help ourselves liking and believing this person. If we don’t believe him, then our subjective ideas of salvation to Christianity will not be confirmed. So, we believe, because it is so great that a satanist or a Muslim had come to Christ and now have such an awesome testimony for Christ! Surely, this is the person God had been waiting for to get those amazing in-roads among satanists and Muslims!

The problem with evangelicalism is that it has lost its ability to discern between truth and lies. Stories are being told from the pulpit to such an extent that it is actually difficult to believe some of those stories on the face of it. How can so many preachers live such interesting lives all of the time? Have you ever thought of that? Or do you by default believe everything that is said from the pulpit?

The question is, in the latest “fairy tales as truth” saga involving Ergun Caner, dean of Liberty University’s theological seminary, how long will people keep on believing the blatant lies told by Caner, stories that have already been conclusively shown as lies?!

Phil Johnson wrote:

“However, the pathetic track record of evangelicals’ consistent failure in dealing with frauds and bunko artists in our midst leads me to be pessimistic about any real resolution in the Caner scandal. The Liberty investigation most definitely did not “exonerate” Caner, but he remains on the Liberty faculty. Caner himself is stonewalling while a handful of his most outspoken supporters are doing their best to demonize his critics. If Liberty continues officially to offer sanctuary to Caner, he will eventually be able to weather the controversy without ever actually admitting any specific wrongdoing. Evangelicals—who have no stomach for protracted controversies and a 40-year habit of offering unconditional restoration to fallen leaders whether they truly repent or not—will soon turn against Caner’s critics.”

The problem with evangelicals is that they too easily believe anything said by someone with the “Christian” label on their forehead. Why is that? It is very interesting that so many hoaxes floating around in cyberspace, have been given wings by evangelicals, especially if these hoaxes involve some dastardly plot against Christianity!

Now we have the dean of a theological seminary fabricating his life story wholesale, and the Christian university he is connected to refuses to call it a “moral issue!” “Thou shalt not lie!”

What troubles me is that evanjellycals so easily believe all kinds of fairy tales told by “reputable” preachers, and hoaxes, yet, they no longer believe and stand for the truth of the gospel!

Isn’t there something wrong with this picture?

“1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Tim 4:1-2, 16 ESV)

“1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8  Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. ” (2 Tim 3:1-9 ESV)

“1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. ” (2 Tim 4:1-5 ESV)

"Preach the gospel, when necessary use words." Odd isn’t it?

12 January 2010 1 comment

J.D. Greear: Gospel is announcement OF WORDS. “Preach Gospel; when necessary use words” like saying “Tell me your phone #; if necessary, use digits.”

HT: Justin Taylor

Categories: Gospel, Preaching

Purveyors of the "new" gospel shun the old gospel

27 November 2009 Leave a comment

kevindeyoung Many times when we listen to what is being preached in churches today, one wonders which Bible Lite they are reading. It just seems that they cut out so much from the Bible that they end up preaching very little of the gospel. They, in fact, preach the “new” gospel! They have emasculated the gospel so much simply to make it less offensive to a world that has gone bonkers with being offended! What is the net effect of this? They are filling their churches with pagans that think they are saved/Christians/going to heaven!

Kevin DeYoung wrote an interesting short analysis (The Gospel Old and New) of this “new” gospel. He spells out this new gospel:

  1. It starts with an apology;
  2. God is seen as only love, like a fictional Santa. Oh, yes! Santa is fictional!
  3. An invitation to join God on His earthly mission;
  4. Eternity simply does not seem all that important.

Kevin gives a couple reason why this “new”  half-baked gospel is so hot:

  1. It is partially true;
  2. It deals with straw men, e.g. street preachers, crusades;
  3. It leads people to believe wrong things;
  4. It is manageable;
  5. It is inspirational;
  6. It is inoffensive.

Read Kevin’s blog post to see the detail. It is a sad indictment of the modern church.

Categories: Church Commentary, Gospel

We must think and proclaim God’s truth

9 September 2009 3 comments

“God’s words are not simply true in the sense that they conform to some standard of truthfulness outside of God. Rather, they are truth itself; they are the final standard and definition of truth. So, Jesus can say to the Father, ‘Your word is truth‘ (John 17:17). What can be said about the truthfulness of God’s knowledge can also be said about God’s words, for they are based on his perfect knowledge and accurately reflect that knowledge: God’s words are ‘truth’ in the sense that they are the final standard by which truthfulness is to be judged: whatever conforms to God’s own words is true, and what fails top conform to his words is not true…

“In fact, as we begin to think true thoughts about God and creation, thoughts that we learn from Scripture and from allowing Scripture to guide us in our observation and interpretation of the natural world, we begin to think God’s own thoughts after him! We can exclaim with the psalmist, ‘How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!’ (Ps. 139:17)”
Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, IVP, Leicester, England, 1994, p196

When you think of God’s truth, what comes to mind? Is it something that you deem important, or is it something that you can set aside for the so-called “greater good?” Of course, you will have to ask yourself what the “greater good” is! If it is anything other than the glory of God, then the “greater good” is no good at all. If the “greater good” is anthropocentric, meaning that we have to make the church look good in the eyes of the world, then you see the “greater good” purely through uninformed human eyes!

The first question of the Westminister Shorter Catechism asks the question: “What is the chief end of man?” In plain modern English for those who don’t know what this question means: “What is the ultimate purpose of man?” The answer? “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”

The greater good must always be to glorify God. We must always see glorifying God as the ultimate good. How does this relate to believing and proclaiming the truth?

When we disregard the truth of the gospel, we disregard the glory of God! The glory of God is inherent to who He is. The fact is that truth is also inherent to God. The way we handle God’s truth says a lot about us.

Our faith and truth go hand in hand. If our faith is not based on truth, then we believe a lie and our faith is not based on the one true God! We can claim all kinds of relationships and warm fuzzy feelings, but it remains a lie!

God’s truth is not something to be fudged to make it more accommodating to people. Where God’s truth speaks of His love, we shouldn’t make it look other than it is. On the other hand, where God’s truth speaks of His wrath, we shouldn’t make it easier than it really is. Where the gospel brings offense, we must not lighten the offense. The gospel is an offense to the world as it is. When we work to remove the offense of the gospel, we no longer have the gospel. God’s truth diminished, is no truth at all!

As a result, we must hold to ALL God’s truth, not just what we prefer to believe.

For more on the importance of truth to God, I have written enough to show how we need to resist error in the church and how we need to stand for the WHOLE truth of God.

Categories: Gospel, Truth

The preaching of the gospel demands that we please God

26 May 2009 1 comment

(3) For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, (4) but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. (5) For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed–God is witness. (6) Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.
1Th 2:3-6

Christians have been entrusted with the gospel. Since the gospel is the gospel of God and not our own gospel, the preaching of the gospel demands that we please God, and not man.

The problem with many preachers is that they preach to fill seats and not to save souls. This leads to all kinds of preaching that is not gospel driven, but rather aimed at flattering people. What so many preachers have forgotten is that a filled seat does not translate automatically to a saved heart.

If our preaching of the gospel is not the preaching of the true gospel of God, we simply will not see the salvation of people but rather the alteration of people. This is accomplished by all kinds of programmes. People are altered, like suits are altered, all the time. Programmes like Alcoholics Anonymous, and even other religions do this all the time! We do not preach a self-help programme!

However, only the true preaching of the gospel can truly bring the message of salvation to people. People driven preaching brings more people, but it saves no one! It usually means that the natural offensiveness of the gospel is watered down to make the message palatable to the world, ending up with a gospel that does not save, but rather strokes the ego of men.

We do not preach the gospel to make people feel better, i.e. pleasing them, but we preach the gospel so that mankind can understand their “lostness” without Christ, and how they fall short of the holy standards of God. We tell people they deserve hell, however, in Christ there is a Saviour, One that has paid the penalty of sin, One that made propitiation by His blood before a holy God. We tell them that without Christ they are lost, and they will not see the face of God after death.

We do not pander to the philosophies of this life, nor the psychological drivel sold to us daily in magazines and newspapers. Neither do we follow the latest church-growth fad to fill our pews.

No, we preach the gospel to please God, and God alone!