Don’t Catch a Cold!

….at least if you’re a student at some New York City schools! Because if you’re not feeling well and need an aspirin, you’ll have to get a parent’s permission first.

Now, if you’re pregnant, that’s a better situation, as the NYC schools will give you a morning-after pill and your parent(s) never have to know or be contacted! Read about it here.

The motivation–from the sound of it–is that the NYC schools doesn’t want teen girls to get pregnant and then drop out of school. So their answer is to kill the baby and circumvent parental authority.

Those who express dismay in the article I linked to do so solely on the grounds of the potential medical harm it may cause the teen mother.

What a tragedy. Lord, open their eyes to their sin and their need for repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Relativisitic Parenting

There have been several “blockbuster” movies out lately, and I’ve been surprised at the number of Christians who not only are going to see these but who express (usually via Facebook) how “excellent” and “awesome” such were. So I’ve been mulling over this issue of what Christians consider good and excellent.

Then today there is an article at msnbc titled, “Babies at ‘Batman?’” relating the outrage some have expressed toward parents who bring young children to see “Batman Rises.”

Not surprisingly, the overall tone of the article seems supportive of parents who do so, finishing it off with this–

So when is a child ready to see a PG-13 movie? It really depends on how your particular kid is hardwired, making it one of those difficult, but deeply personal parenting choices.

Dr. Susan Samuels, a pediatrician and assistant professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, tells parents to look at how their children respond to day-to-day events or other potentially scary triggers that they encounter in their ordinary life to determine their ability to tolerate violent or alarming movies.

At the end of the day, this is just one of the decisions that only you can make for yourself, your child, and your family.

There you have it, parents. How should you train, rear, and bring up your children? It depends on your child! That, however, is completely opposite of what God says:

Train up a child in the way he should go (Prov 22:6)

Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4)

How can such entertainment accomplish the purposes God sets forth here?

Please note–Scripture does not say, “train up a child in the way he wants to go” or “bring them up according to the dictates of humanistic psychologists.” God says, “in the way he should go,” which God sets forth in his Word.

“It depends on how your kid is hardwired.” Well, every one of my kids is hardwired with depravity; training their minds and hearts by these things does not lead them to salvation in Jesus Christ (2 Tim 3:15)!

Why would I base my parenting on the level of violence and alarm a child can “tolerate?” How does that square with the kind of mind we should have (2 Cor 10:5; Phil 4:8)?

How does such “entertainment” not conform us to this world? How does it transform our minds so that we may be able to discern God’s will (Rom 12:2)?

In what way do the world’s amusements help believers in their pursue of that holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Heb 12:14), or aid in cleansing the defilement of the flesh and spirit and perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord (2 Cor 7:1)?

Christian parents should not be relativistic parents, and that applies for all Christians!

Good Reading

One of my professors when I was in seminary, Dr. Bill Combs, has been writing a series of posts on the KJV-only issue here. They’ve been very good, and I’d encourage you to read them.

I’ve had those of this persuasion tell me that the rise of newer translations divides and splits churches, but my experience has been quite the opposite I’m afraid. In fact, there’s a new church starting in our metropolis of Orwell (population 1,519) because we (Orwell Bible Church) are not KJV-only (and because we believe what the Bible says about election).

Another series of posts just beginning is by a pastor friend, Mike Harding of First Baptist Church of Troy, MI (one of our supporting churches when we came to Orwell). He is addressing the issue of Christians imbibing alcohol, particularly those of fundamentalist background and conviction.

Catching Up

Usually this time of year is uneventfully slow, often interrupted by plowing snow. The last month and a half, however, has been extremely and unusually busy for me, involving several “out of the ordinary” things that could neither be put off nor ignored. What this has meant, sadly, is scaling back on and/or postponing other things that were not “front burner” matters.

I’m thankful for the Lord’s help over this time, and it’s been good personally as well. It’s made me aware of some principles and goals that I’ve neglected and/or forgotten, as well as things that just required repentance!

I’ve been looking forward to this week as my opportunity to finally catch up with life. A major reason this is possible is Izaac VanderSchel and his family will be ministering at Orwell Bible Church this coming Sunday. They’re a great family that has been a blessing to my family at Peniel Bible Camp. We’re already praying for them at church as they work on raising prayer and financial support to be full-time at camp.

Soooo, without further ado, I’ve got to get going! :-)

Who Said Liberalism is Dead?

It’s been the opinion of some that theological liberalism is dead. Simplistically, theological liberalism describes those who call themselves Christians but deny many (if not most) of the doctrines that make Christianity Christianity. Some believe that liberalism’s sun has set and its dead and buried.

I don’t think so. Come to Orwell sometime, and I’ll show you. Or Grand Rapids, MI. Or Mentor, OH. But if you can’t make the visit, consider Martin Thielen…

Thielen is pastor of a United Methodist Church, and has also served as a Southern Baptist pastor. He served for four years as a national worship and preaching consultant and editor of Proclaim for the SBC.

He’s just published a book titled, “What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still be a Christian?” In it he lists ten things Christians do not need to believe to be a  Christian–

  1. God Causes Cancer, Car Wrecks, and Other Catastrophes
  2. Good Christians Don’t Doubt
  3. True Christians Can’t Believe in Evolution
  4. Women Can’t Be Preachers and Must Submit to Men
  5. God Cares about Saving Souls but Not about Saving Trees
  6. Bad People Will Be “Left Behind” and Then Fry in Hell
  7. Jews Won’t Make It to Heaven
  8. Everything in the Bible Should Be Taken Literally
  9. God Loves Straight People But Not Gay People
  10. It’s OK for Christians to be Judgmental and Obnoxious

You have to note the whimsical, almost sneering tone of this list. That kind of attitude is typical of theological liberalism, almost an ecclesiastical snobbery, looking down the nose at “those fundamentalists.”

It would take a significant post to comment on each of these. It almost makes me want to get the book and read it so I don’t misrepresent him. From the list, though, it appears that one can believe that–

  • Either God is not sovereign over all things or that there is no such thing as the effects of sin in the world  (#1)
  • Genuine faith does not require absolute submission of the mind, will, and emotions to God’s Word (#2)
  • The Bible should not be taken as an authoritative standard on the issues it speaks to (##3-4)
  • Salvation and ecology are on the same plane (#5)
  • The biblical account of divine judgment should not be taken literally (#6)
  • There is not an exclusiveness to salvation, despite what Jesus taught (John 3:18; 14:6; #7)
  • The Bible is not the written Word of God divinely authoritative in all it addresses (#8)
  • Homosexuality is not sinful (#9)
  • You can believe whatever you want to believe (#10)

Read some of the reviews of this book, and you’ll see that theological liberalism is not dead.

Thankfully, we’re not caught offguard by this sort of thing, nor are we left without hope–

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. I solemnly 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: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry (2 Tim 3:14-4:5).

Continue in the Word! Preach the Word! Faithfully serve Christ until He comes!

Idolatry

If there was any doubt about idolatry in the Roman Catholic Church, the following from this news release should clear the fog away–

A vial containing blood drawn from Pope John Paul II shortly before he died will be installed as a relic in a Polish church soon after his beatification later this year, an official said Monday.

Piotr Sionko, the spokesman for the John Paul II Center, said the vial will be encased in crystal and built into the altar of a church in the southern city of Krakow that is opening in May.

The exact date of the opening is not yet known, but it should be shortly after John Paul’s beatification at the Vatican on May 1.

Sionko said the idea came from Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the archbishop of Krakow and the longtime friend and secretary of the late Polish-born pontiff. The blood was drawn for medical tests at Rome’s Gemelli Polyclinic shortly before John Paul’s death on April 2, 2005, and is now in Dziwisz’s possession, he said.

“It was the cardinal’s proposal,” Sionko said. “He is of the opinion that this is the most precious relic of John Paul II and should be the focal point of the church.”

What blood should be the “focal point of the church”? The New Testament makes it abundantly clear, the blood of Christ!

A Social Mandate?

What role should the Christian church have in helping the poor and downtrodden?

This pastor says that it is a “biblical mandate” to spend our lives helping the poor, regardless of their response, for these reasons:

  • The OT clearly expects it, Deut 15:7-8
  • “The sin of Sodom was their lack of concern for the unrighteous poor, and the result of this sin was God’s judgment on both the rich and poor alike”, Ezek 16:49
  • Jesus expects His followers to serve “even the least of these,” Matt 25:40
  • Doing so is the best way of reminding yourself of the gospel

Thus, helping the unrighteous poor is something that should be done for its own sake, not even with the pretext of establishing a “bridge” for evangelism. This is what many evangelical churches, schools, leaders, books, websites, and radio stations hold to and promote.

However, I believe that there is no “social mandate” as described above, for the following reasons:

  • Social action for “pre-evangelism” is unbiblical for it ignores the depravity of the human heart and denigrates the power of the gospel
  • Appeals to the OT for explicit commands to social action ignore the dispensational differences between Israel, the Church, and the Kingdom of God
  • The Bible never commands the church to be involved in social issues
  • The Bible only commands the church to be involved in “social action” toward fellow believers

Go to Mark Perry’s article here for more detailed discussion on this matter.

This is yet one more reason why ministry fellowship with “conservative evangelicals” should not be pursued. I’m not calling their salvation, commitment to moral purity, devotion to missions, or anything like that into question (so don’t start that, please). I am saying, “how can we have working fellowship with those with whom we have fundamental disagreements over essential beliefs of Christian life and ministry?”