About Andy Foster

Pastor of Penticton Free Presbyterian Church, Penticton, BC, Canada.
Website: http://www.pentictonfpc.org
Andy Foster has written 84 articles so far, you can find them below.

Election and its fruits, Part 1

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 1:4-10

Paul is continuing to give thanks to God for these believers. He begins that praise in v2. In the statement of Divine sovereign election to salvation Paul makes in v4, there is an important aspect of the praise of God in the Christian life. Christian joy and praise in large measure is the expression of thanks to God for His saving mercy and the works of His grace.

In v3 he references general evidences of grace in their lives that prompt him to praise God.

  1. Work of faith, v3. Faith to be thankful for is active/‘energetic’. Cp James 2:14-20. Paul gives prominence to the faith that originates in God here. See 2Pet 1:5-11.
  2. Labour of love, v3. The activity becomes more intensive. Labour > ‘to toil’. The ideas of beating and grief are here. Sorrowful, excruciating labour is in view. To have this associated with the expression of Christian love is striking indeed. To express Christian love often involves such difficulty and self-denial. Cp Eph 5:25, 1Cor 13:4, 7. Even against such a backdrop, true Christian love show itself. See Heb 6:9-10.
  3. Patience of hope, v3. The spirit of endurance marked their endeavours. Here is a key evidence of true conversion to Christ, Matt 13:20-21, Heb 10:38-39. It was fuelled by confidence in Christ. Cp Heb 6:18-20.
  4. In the sight of God…, v3. An awareness of Divine oversight. The wicked are marked by an absence of any fear of God, Ps 10:4. Divine grace produces and instills such an awareness. Paul gives thanks in the sight of God; they had labored in the sight of God. Cp Heb 6:10.

The Land and the Book

The Land and the Book: God’s future dealings with Israel

A special series of messages by Dr. John Douglas

preached in Newtownabbey Free Presbyterian Church, N. Ireland, November 2013.

Subjects include:

  • The great tribulation, Jeremiah 30
  • God’s covenant with Israel, Jeremiah 31
  • The title deeds of the land, Jeremiah 32
  • The message in the old bones and two sticks, Ezekiel 37
  • The removal of the veil, Zechariah 12
  • Israel in the millennium, Isaiah 66

Click here to listen to/download the series of messages.

An overview of Islam

The religion of Islam has many millions of adherents throughout the world. Islam, the correct name for religion of Mohammed, is the infinitive of the Arabic verb “to submit”; while ‘Moslem’ the correct term for one who follows that religion is the present participle of the same verb. Within a century of the death of its founder, the Moslem empire stretched from the South of France through Spain, North Africa, Central Asia to China. Some decades ago it appeared that in many parts of the world Islam was a dying religion but of late there has been a tremendous revival of interest in what is really a religio-political system, as the laws of Islam are civil and religious. Today we still hear of ‘the world of Islam’. The place where this ‘world’ was born and developed was Arabia, often referred to as the “Cradle of Islam”. The religion of Islam centres around Mohammed, the “prophet of Arabia”.

Sixth century Arabia

Arabia—“the island of the Arabs”—is the world’s largest peninsula bounded by the Red Sea on one hand, the Persian Gulf and the Euphrates on the other; while the southern side protracted toward the Strait of Ormuz is washed by the Indian Ocean. Along the western side, a chain of lofty mountains follows the coastline at times, receding to form a broad margin of lowland called the Teharra. Between the sea and the crest of this range is the mountainous region of the Hejaz in which lies the two cities of Mecca and 280 miles north of it Medina. A large amount of trade passed through the peninsula and across the Steppes of Arabia. These trade routes were long and perilous, hence the necessity for caravans traveling at fixed periods and by determined routes. The Arabs themselves had little knowledge of or interest in anything beyond their own merchandise and their own deserts. The people lived in widely scattered tribes with no form of central government. The distinctive feature has ever been the independence of the tribe, the family, the individual. Personal hostilities and tribal wars occurred incessantly. Blood feuds were frequent; even when united by blood or interest they seemed ever ready on some insignificant thing to separate and abandon themselves to implacable hostility.

Rick Warren’s ‘ideal strategy for the church’

Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church and author of A purpose driven life, is a Southern Baptist minister. In many ways he personifies the rottenness and apostasy of that denomination. In recent days he has spoken publicly of praying for the selection of the new Pope. Other Southern Baptists have shown a remarkable inclination to laud Rome. Al Mohler signed the Manhattan Declaration and joined the world’s adulation of Pope Benedict on his retirement; Timothy George, an ordained SBC minister co-wrote the Manhattan Declaration. The words recorded below detail compromise that goes even further than friendly overtures towards Rome.

CT – What is the ideal strategy for the church?

RW – Working with moderate Muslims.

Below is an extract from an interview with Rick Warren and published by Christianity Today online on April 5th, 2013.

CT – There’s fresh debate among experts over the influence of religion on foreign policy. Some see religion as part of the problem. How do you see it?

RW – There’s a religious root to every single problem on the planet. Poverty has a religious root. Conflict has a religious root. Disease. All of these problems involve behavior, and behavior involves religion.

One of the problems we’ve had in American foreign policy is the unwillingness to actually name the ideology opposing us. During the cold war, there were clearly two ideologies: communism and capitalism. Today there is a radical wing of Islam that is a clear ideological enemy of America, and nobody wants to say it. So they talk about a “war on terror.” You can’t win a war on terror, because terrorism is a tool, a method. We don’t have a war on a method. We have a war on an ideology that wants to destroy either Israel or America or Western culture.

What these radical Islamists believe is not the same thing as the typical Muslim. The radical Islamist views no more represent all of Islam than the KKK represents Christianity.

CT – What is the ideal strategy for the church?

RW – Working with moderate Muslims. This is the whole idea of the Peace Plan: Promoting reconciliation [means] to find a man of peace. I have found men of peace who do not at all hold to what I believe about Scripture and certainly aren’t Christians, but we can work together.

Rick Warren’s observations about working for peace in co-operation with “moderate Muslims” are in the context of his scheme to reach the unreached of the world with the gospel. In the name of advancing the gospel in obedience to Christ’s great commission, he is prepared to work for reconciliation with Islam. In fact this is his ideal! In other words, this is the best possible scenario. In practical terms this entails finding common cause with Islam – just as he and many other evangelicals in the SBC and elsewhere have already done with Rome. This is the religious influence he sees as being an “ideal strategy for the church”.

In Biblical terms, this is simply apostasy at work. To reconcile with the enemies of God in the name of advancing the gospel is a betrayal of the gospel itself. It is a denial of the truth of Christ and all that the gospel means. In stark contrast to Rick Warren’s philosophy the Scripture plainly teaches that there is no common ground between truth and idolatrous error like Islam!

“And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:15-18 AV)

 The increasing boldness of those advocating disobedience of God within evangelicalism must stir God’s people to recognize these wolves in sheep’s clothing and separate themselves from them and from those who support or fellowship with them.

Is the Church of Rome Christian?

Is the Church of Rome a Christian Church? Acts 11:19-26, 26:22-29

Many today do not give any consideration to this question they merely assume it to be so. The child of God should never make assumptions about spiritual matters, I John 4:1. This being the case the question is a valid one and one which should be carefully considered by every Christian. For the answer we have only one objective standard to make reference to — the word of God. The answer must not be a matter of personal/denominational prejudice; we must get to the truth of the matter by getting the mind of God. The opinions of men are utterly irrelevant, it is the verdict of Holy Writ that we must find. What saith the Scriptures? Having determined what the Bible teaches then we are to act accordingly or else be guilty of willful disobedience. To find the answer to this question we must consider:

I A Biblical picture of a Christian Church.

  1. One of the senses in which the word ‘church’ is used in the Bible refers to the visible, public assembly of the saints of God on the earth — either generally on locally. Does the Church of Rome belong to this category? When its congregations meet together is it an assembly of God’s people? To answer this we must discover what it is that makes a church Christian. The answers to this all important question may be deduced in this portion. Here is an assembly referred to as a Church, an assembly composed of Christians, v26.

  2. The term Christian is one which God bestows, v26. The language indicates that that the use of this term to describe those who met at Antioch was by direct Divine revelation. Cp Luke 2:26, Acts 10:22. The name Christian is one which God revealed and required these people to use. The significance of this fact is that the term is one which must only be used where God’s criteria are met — i.e. it lines up with the teaching of Scripture.

  3. The term Christian describes an assembly where the word of God is preached and believed. Cp v19. The message that was preached from the word is also clear, v20. The Lord as He is revealed in the Scriptures is the focus of this Christian Church, v21, 23, 24. Cp 26:22-23. When Paul taught at Antioch this is what he taught — always only all of the Bible. The use of the words believed, v21; disciples,v26, indicates their attitude to the word. It was one of believing loyalty and devotion. They learned from the book and followed the Lord as their Master and this is what qualified them for the Divine description as Christians.

II How does the Church of Rome compare with this Biblical model of a Christian Church?

As an organization the Church of Rome is to be seen in stark contrast to this model. The following statements are taken from the Roman Catholic catechism and each statement is linked back to the page on which it appears online on the Vatican website.

Rome’s attitude to the Bible itself.

The written word of God has long been hated by the Church of Rome. In 1229 the Bible was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books — a list still maintained today in a modified form. This Authorized Version of the Scriptures is still officially banned; the text of the original languages is banned; every translation or commentary that is not officially sanctioned by the Church of Rome is a banned book. History proves Rome’s hatred of the Bible especially the Bible in the vernacular. J Wycliffe (132?-1384) produced the first English translation. His Bible was condemned and his followers burned as heretics. Tyndale (1500s) was hounded in England and on the continent. Every Tyndale New Testament (pub. 1525) Popish authorities could find was burned and eventually Tyndale was martyred (1536). The Bible may be found in and used by the Church of Rome in a limited sense yet its contents are still locked up by the Church.

Rome’s attitude to the teachings of the Bible.

  • The Church of Rome takes to itself the role of sole infallible interpreter of the Bible. Catechism #100 states: “The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him”.

  • Her traditions are placed on an equal footing with the word of God. Catechism #82: “As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, “does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.”

  • In reality Rome’s traditions are given more prominence and authority. Catechism #113: Read the Scripture within “the living Tradition of the whole Church”. According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church’s heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God’s Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture (“. . . according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church”. No private individual therefore has the right to read and discern the meaning of Scripture for themselves.

Rome’s system of doctrine perverts the central doctrine of Scripture. In contrast to those believing disciples God called Christians in Antioch, The Church of Rome has introduced her own methods of salvation. The sufficiency of Christ’s work of atonement is the single theme of God’s word, 26:22-23. Rome’s teachings all pervert the once for all finished work of atonement that Christ did on the Cross

Rome’s teaching on Baptism

  1. Catechism #405:  Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin – an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence”. Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.

  2. Catechism #1262: The different effects of Baptism are signified by the perceptible elements of the sacramental rite. Immersion in water symbolizes not only death and purification, but also regeneration and renewal. Thus the two principal effects are purification from sins and new birth in the Holy Spirit.

  3. Catechism #1263: By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God.

  4. Catechism #1265: Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte “a new creature,” an adopted son of God, who has become a “partaker of the divine nature”, member of Christ and coheir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit.

All of the above destroys the Bible’s teaching on regeneration as a work of the Holy Ghost quite apart from visible signs and symbols. Sin is removed by the atoning work of Christ and is experienced by the regenerate sinner as he acts in faith and repentance.

Rome’s teaching on the Mass

A. As a sacrifice:

  1. Catechism # 1330: The memorial of the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection. The Holy Sacrifice, because it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior and includes the Church’s offering. the terms holy sacrifice of the Mass, “sacrifice of praise,” spiritual sacrifice, pure and holy sacrifice are also used, since it completes and surpasses all the sacrifices of the Old Covenant.
  2. Catechism #1350: The presentation of the offerings (the Offertory). Then, sometimes in procession, the bread and wine are brought to the altar; they will be offered by the priest in the name of Christ in the Eucharistic sacrifice in which they will become his body and blood. It is the very action of Christ at the Last Supper – “taking the bread and a cup.” “The Church alone offers this pure oblation to the Creator, when she offers what comes forth from his creation with thanksgiving.” The presentation of the offerings at the altar takes up the gesture of Melchizedek and commits the Creator’s gifts into the hands of Christ who, in his sacrifice, brings to perfection all human attempts to offer sacrifices.
  3. Catechism #1414: As sacrifice, the Eucharist is also offered in reparation for the sins of the living and the dead and to obtain spiritual or temporal benefits from God.

B. As the body and blood of Christ

  1. Catechism #1333: At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ’s Body and Blood. Faithful to the Lord’s command the Church continues to do, in his memory and until his glorious return, what he did on the eve of his Passion: “He took bread….” “He took the cup filled with wine….” the signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ; they continue also to signify the goodness of creation. Thus in the Offertory we give thanks to the Creator for bread and wine, fruit of the “work of human hands,” but above all as “fruit of the earth” and “of the vine” – gifts of the Creator. the Church sees in the gesture of the king-priest Melchizedek, who “brought out bread and wine,” a prefiguring of her own offering.

  2. Catechism #1374: The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.” In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.” “This presence is called ‘real’ – by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.”

  3. Catechism #1376: The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: “Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation.”

  4. Catechism #1378: Worship of the Eucharist. In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord. “The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession.”

This is in defiance of the clear doctrine of Scripture. “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God…For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:10-12, 14.

Rome’s doctrines of Confession, Penance, Indulgences, Justification by works; Mary and the Saints and every other Romish perversion destroy the teachings of God’s word.

III What should the attitude of every Christian be toward a false church?

  1. Recognize that where an individual or organization does not adhere to the word of God as the only rule of faith and practice, that person or organization has no right to use the name Christian.

  2. Separate! No Christian can engage in fellowship with a false church. It is possible to have friends and acquaintances who are Roman Catholic or who belong to one or other of the many unchristian religions today but it is not possible to have fellowship in spiritual matters.

  3. Speak out against Rome’s errors. The modern way seems to be to speak of Rome in such a way as to avoid direct criticism and seek out ‘common ground’.

  4. Every true Christian is to pity those who are carried away with the false doctrines of Popery and every other false religious system. Our duty does not end in recognizing the error and separating from it in protest. Our duty includes every possible means endorsed by Scripture to recover sinners ensnared in error by exposing error and teaching the truth.

Rick Warren prays for new Pope

Rick Warren tweet for new PopeWhen men like Warren come out and side with Rome it always makes it so much easier for the Bible believer to cut through the religious jargon they use to bamboozle the unwary among God’s people, and see what they really are at heart. Roman Catholicism is antichristianity and apostasy personified in our age. When claimed evangelicals like Warren, Al Mohler and Russel Moore (respectively President and Dean of Theology at SBC seminary) side publicly with Papal antichristianity then God’s people should hear alarm bells and get away from them as far as possible!

By tweeting what he did, Warren indicates that he believes – and wants the world to know he does – that he desires God’s blessing to rest on the Church of Rome; that the Pope who emerges will be God’s man; that he can join with the Cardinals in spiritual fellowship and seek God together with them in prayer. He is serious enough in these convictions to pray with fasting! This is the ecumenical movement at work – back to Rome!

Rick Warren spoke at John Piper’s Desiring God conference in 2010.

See: Is the Church of Rome a Christian Church?

The cruelty of compromise

Compromise in the Christian life and in the Christian church is simply departure from the clearly revealed demands of God’s word. The demands of God’s word for holiness, separation from the world, separation on a corporate and ecclesiastical level from apostasy and disobedient brethren, etc. are set aside by compromise. Sadly, this process of setting aside is often made-over as a spirit of loving concern to reach out to others. That which is evil and deadly is therefore often masqueraded as good and desirable.

Yet there is a savage cruelty about compromise. Departure from the standards of God’s word causes division (Romans 16:17); tears apart close friendships and causes untold suffering to the individual believer or the organisation that desires to be true to the call of Christ.

The implications of the Saviour’s words
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27 AV)

These are words that are very pertinent to this issue. The Saviour speaks of taking up the cross and following Him. As in His case, so in the disciple’s case, bearing the cross will indicate a voluntary desire to please God at any price. However, we must never forget that the cross was also imposed upon the Saviour by the opposition of His enemies. The pain and anguish of body and soul that He suffered on the cross was in one sense caused directly by the refusal of men to obey God’s revealed word. Those who desire to follow Him faithfully will discover that they are opposed in that desire by friends and family as detailed in this passage. The consequence of determining to be faithful to Christ will mean that those friendships have to be broken and the pain of that is symbolized in the cross that has to be carried. The anguish of heart and soul that severing such friendships involves, is directly caused by the opposition of those people to a faithful pursuit of Christ.

Close relationships and dear friendships are torn apart by compromise. The Saviour speaks of father, mother, wife and children being involved. Of course He also includes the working of the disobedient desires of the flesh within which also has to be crucified. These relations are not put second to obeying Christ without deep anguish of soul on the part of the disciple who desires to follow Christ faithfully. Resisting the pressure to compromise on obeying the clearly revealed commands of Christ involves the pain of crucifixion. In a remarkable sense, those whose agenda is one of compromise and disobedience, actually occasion this pain to the faithful disciple.

Compromise introduces the destructive influences of Satan and sin among God’s people.
Often under the guise of godliness and Christian love, compromise opens a door to the ruinous effects of sin. We can see this in various Biblical pictures associated with the work of false teachers in the church.

The wolf in sheep’s clothing is perhaps the most familiar. The blood-thirsty, cunning cruelty of the wolf lies beneath the masquerade of a servant of Christ. In the name of serving the Saviour disobedience and a sinful agenda is adopted and promoted. But all this leads to the destruction of the flock of God as certainly as the wolf destroys sheep. The Saviour describes the work of such men in the church as thieves and robbers (John 10:8). Elsewhere in the Scriptures the work of such men are described in similar terms. Cp Ezekiel 13:18, 20, Micah 3:1-3, Zephaniah 3:3. Compromise with sin opens the door to such blood-thirsty predators of the sheep.

God’s servants are called to serve as watchmen in the Church of Christ and warn against sin and the encroachments of the enemies of God. When they fail in this duty they become complicit to some degree in the advance of the enemy’s attempts to destroy the work of God. This is compromise at work! The horrors of a city being overrun and plundered result from the failure of the watchman. This ought to alarm every true servant of God to vigilance and to blow the trumpet of alarm in the ears of God’s people.

The Bible gives multiple pictures of Satan’s destructive nature and his agenda for the people of God. He is the savage lion prowling to devour (1 Peter 5:8); he is the biting serpent that lurks unseen by the unwary; he is the blood-stained dragon waiting to devour (Revelation 12:3-4). Allowing his entrance to any degree into the Church is fatal to its safety and health.

Yet, like Peter (Matthew 16:23) many a servant of God is persuaded that there is a better, easier course to follow and so end up doing the work of Satan – the ‘adversary’ of the Church. Peter’s folly on this occasion was to propose a kinder alternative to the cross. His words to Christ literally were “Be kind to thyself”. The proposal of a less rigourous path of Christian service adopts the same spirit. A diminution of the Biblical standards because they are deemed too severe, too harsh is to follow in Peter’s steps and to warrant the same rebuke from Christ. Unwittingly Peter had introduced the cruel work of the devil among the sheep by his proposal.

To ignore the savage implications of departure from God’s word and the accommodation of compromise, is to  act in the cruelest and most hard-hearted fashion. There are many who adopt the attitude of the ostrich about these matters and hide their heads in the sand. The ostrich “… leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust, And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them. She is hardened against her young ones, as though [they were] not hers: her labour is in vain without fear;” (Job 39:14-16 AV)

Matthew 18 and the public rebuke of sin

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear [thee, then] take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell [it] unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” (Matthew 18:15-17 AV)

Very often the first response to any public witness against sin, or the public censure of a Christian who has sinned publicly, is an accusation that to make such a public denunciation is contrary to the Saviour’s teaching in this passage. Usually it is asserted that there cannot be a public censure of sin until private overtures have been made to the offender. This has the effect of diverting attention from the original error and focuses attention on the one trying to protest against it. But what does this passage teach? Is it addressing the matter of public sin at all?

There is a number of important observations to be made about this text:

  1. This is an instance of a private offense. A brother has sinned against a fellow-believer. There is sin involved but it is seen to be of the nature of a private offense or hurt. In the area of personal interaction wrong has been done. Though an individual may feel offended by a fellow Christian’s defiance of God in the public arena, and be stirred to speak out against it, this is far from being merely a matter of private offence. Offence is taken for the Lord’s sake, for the sake of His cause, for His truth’s sake.
  2. The two individuals in view are under the same oversight in a local congregation. The church here is a reference – according the synagogue model – to the local eldership/oversight of the congregation. Both the offender and the offended party are under the same disciplinary structure. It is part of proper order and procedure in the Church to work within the established governmental structures in such cases.
  3. In such a case private overtures by the offended party to the offender must precede any public action. The various levels of private response detailed in v15-16 must be followed before their is an elevation of this matter to official church involvement. To by-pass this initial private response to private sin is to disobey God.
  4. Clearly, this passage does not address the procedure to be followed in a case of departure from God’s word in the public realm. The rebuke of a Christian who has acted unScripturally in a public way is not in view here at all! When a man has sinned before all, that sin warrants a rebuke before all. This is especially necessary where a public example of disobedience is being set and is in danger of being followed by others in the Church.
  5. It may be that in certain instances of public sin private overtures may be helpful initially. Yet it is patently not true to say that they are required by God in advance of any public rebuke of sin.

It is also clear from God’s word that public defiance of God’s word by a professing Christian merits a public rebuke without the necessity of first following this ‘private approach’ protocol. “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” (1Timothy 5:20 AV) Here Paul is addressing the sin of elders in the Church.

Several examples of this public rebuke of sin may be cited:

  • Matthew 16:23 – The Saviour denounced Peter immediately and publicly for his foolish words. It was important for the other disciples to see immediately that what Peter was suggesting was of the devil! The Saviour acted quickly and publicly because of the serious danger that lay in the attitude that had spoken these words.
  • 1 Corinthians 5:3 – Paul denounced the notorious offending believer in Corinth, even instructing the elders of that congregation to hand the man over to the devil for the destruction of the flesh. This was a very high level and public censure by the Church. Yet Paul was not even present when he wrote these words. There was no private approach followed by Paul nor did he instruct the elders to take such an approach. Public sin required immediate public action.
  • Galatians 2:14ff – Paul denounced Peter publicly and immediately for his hypocrisy and folly. Barnabas and others were caught up in this foolishness that was instigated by those who came as the emissaries of the Apostle James. These were ‘high powered’ offenders! Two Apostles were directly or indirectly involved in this sin. Yet although all were within the same Presbytery structure and although Paul recognized the purview of the court of the Apostles and elders (Acts 15:2) in deciding such questions, he immediately and publicly rebukes Peter. Clearly, he does so to prevent the spread of this erroneous practice which was a threat to the very basis of the gospel – though Peter obviously did not see it that way initially. 
  • 2 Chronicles 19:2 – Jehu the prophet sternly and bluntly addresses King Jehoshaphat in a public rebuke of his sinful alliance and fellowship with the wicked King Ahab. There is no private approach, no sparing the feelings and sensibilities of the godly Jehoshaphat. He had done wrong publicly and because he was an influential leader of the people of God, in danger now of leading them deeper into fellowship with apostasy, he must be rebuked openly by God’s man.

It is not wrong to rebuke the public sin of a Christian without recourse to the private approach first protocol. When there is public defiance of God’s order by an elder, a minister, etc then public rebuke is in order and necessary for the sake of defending the cause of God from harmful influence.

Beware of false prophets

Christ’s warning against false prophets

Text: Matthew 7:15-20

In these verses there is a practical example of the discernment that the disciple of Christ is to have and exercise. Here is a kind of judgement (7:1) that is not only not forbidden but is positively commanded. The last days are such that false prophets proliferate. Cp 1Tim 4:1-5. This is an important aspect of the perilous or ‘fierce’ times at the end.

It is no coincidence that the Saviour speaks of the false prophet and his ministry at this juncture. He has just spoken of the character of the road to heaven and the easy alternative in the broad road that is often proposed. Men like to widen what God has made narrow to make it more accommodating for their sinful desires. It is precisely at this point that the false prophet is most likely to make his voice heard. He proposes a different way to God. It is ever the character of the false prophet’s ministry that he preaches ease, liberty and broadness.

I THE DANGER POSED BY THE FALSE PROPHET.

1. This is a danger that arises even in the most blessed circumstances. The false prophet is one who makes his evil presence known in the most sublime environments. The Son of God is preaching and yet must warn of these liars. The question might arise, When Christ Himself is to be heard, who would listen to the devil’s men? Cp 2 Pet 1:21-2:1. The situation envisaged is also one of the most blessed — a man right at the gate of life! The narrow gate and the narrow way to Heaven are targeted by these false prophets.

2. This danger is of the most serious kind. This danger is of such a nature that the Saviour Himself issues a warning against it. The context makes it clear that this is a deadly danger. Cp v13 – the eternal consequences of being influenced to make the wrong choice, destruction; v15 – the analogy of the ravening wolf among sheep; v19 – the fire that destroys all that do not bear the fruits of grace. It is clear that the false prophets make no such demands either of themselves or of their hearers!

3. The danger could well be overlooked. The false prophet does not immediately appear to be so. In v15 even though he is a ‘wolf’ at heart he has donned sheep’s clothing. On the exterior he looks like a sheep. In this he demonstrates the subtilty of Satan, 2 Cor 11:13-15. Some short-sighted Christians are ready to decry the warnings against the wolf.

4. The false prophet is aggressively dangerous. The false prophet is one who makes the approach to the sheep, v15 – come unto you. Cp Jude 4. The disciple can expect to be the target of the false teacher, just as the wolf targets sheep. Cp Ezekiel 13:18.

II THE FALSE PROPHET IS TO BE DETECTED AND REJECTED AS AN EVIL THREAT TO THE SOULS OF MEN.

1. It is of the utmost importance for the well-being of men’s souls that the wolf in sheep’s clothing is detected and action taken to preserve the sheep from the wolf. He must be exposed! A cry of alarm must be raised. This church takes a stand against the lying false prophets of today because we have a desire to see the sheep spared from wolves in sheep’s clothing who will only bring them to ruin.

a. The disciple can only detect the false prophet by the diligent and careful application of the principles of Christ’s teaching. There is no other means of identifying these men. We must measure every preacher against the standard of God’s word and determine him to be true of false according to how he compares with that standard.

b. There is to be a testing that goes beyond the superficial. Cp v15, 1 John 4:1 — his words to be tested, v2, 5-6. It is essential that what a man is inwardly is known. It is true that man cannot look on the heart yet the nature of a man’s heart is seen in his life. Christ’s teaching is to be known and applied to the life.

c. The Saviour gives an infallible rule, v16-20. The fruits of a man’s life indicate his real nature and whether or not he is on the narrow way. The false prophet is known by evil fruit which demonstrates the corruption of his nature. Cp Deut 13:1-4, Is 8:20, Ezek 13:6, 22, II Pet 2:13-15, 18-19. This rule is one which may be applied specifically to determine a false prophet but it also applies in every case, v17-18, I John 3:7. It is a rule the Lord Himself applied, 12:33-34. Cp Matt 3:8-10.

d. Such testing may take more or less time according to the case. In the example of the fruit bearing tree this point is clear. Some time may elapse before the fruit can be really examined. Cp Matthew 13:26. Sooner or later the difference will be seen and it will be seen in the critical matter of bearing fruit.

2. When that which is false and fruitless is detected it is to be rejected.

a. This applies to the false prophet. He is dangerous! Having determined that the man produces thorns we are not to go searching for grapes there etc, v16. Even common sense tells us as much. Such action will only lead to wounding and hurt! The Lord uses the thorn/thistle as if to highlight these are fallen and depraved men by nature and the absolute lack of benefit to the hungry souls of men. The analogy of the wolf indicates just how urgent it is that we discern and flee from false teaching.

b. This also applies to the false professor. Where there is no fruit of grace in your own life then you must recognize that there is something radically wrong. A fruitless profession of faith is dead, James 2:20 — faith without works is dead.

 In these days, God’s people seem to lack this discernment. False prophets creep in unawares and have brought ruin to many souls. A militant, vigorous exposure of these men is necessary to the continued existence and health of God’s people.

Be a nuisance!

We admire a man who was firm in the faith, say four hundred years ago . . . but such a man today is a nuisance, and must be put down. Call him a narrow-minded bigot, or give him a worse name if you can think of one. Yet imagine that in those ages past, Luther, Zwingle, Calvin, and their compeers had said, ‘The world is out of order; but if we try to set it right we shall only make a great row, and get ourselves into disgrace. Let us go to our chambers, put on our night-caps, and sleep over the bad times, and perhaps when we wake up things will have grown better.’ Such conduct on their part would have entailed upon us a heritage of error. Age after age would have gone down into the infernal deeps, and the pestiferous bogs of error would have swallowed all. These men loved the faith and the name of Jesus too well to see them trampled on….”

“It is today as it was in the Reformers’ days. Decision is needed. Here is the day for the man, where is the man for the day? We who have had the gospel passed to us by martyr hands dare not trifle with it, nor sit by and hear it denied by traitors, who pretend to love it, but inwardly abhor every line of it . . . Look you, sirs, there are ages yet to come. If the Lord does not speedily appear, there will come another generation, and another, and all these generations will be tainted and injured if we are not faithful to God and to His truth today. We have come to a turning-point in the road. If we turn to the right, mayhap our children and our children’s children will go that way; but if we turn to the left, generations yet unborn will curse our names for having been unfaithful to God and to His Word.”

– (C. H. S., Sermons, 1888, 83-84; cited in Iain Murray, The Forgotten Spurgeon, 192).

Some objections to Biblical separation answered

A brief overview of what the Scripture teaches.

God’s people are to separate from apostasy and the uncleanness of the world. This is the standard of personal holiness that Scripture demands. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” (2Corinthians 6:17 AV)

Those who refuse to separate from apostacy and worldliness become spiritually unclean. They become contaminate with the apostasy they refuse to separate from and are held guilty of the same sins in those they associate with. “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (2John 1:10-11 AV)

The brother who will not separate from apostasy and error must himself be separated from and be treated as an heathen man and a publican, Matthew 18:17.

Some objections that may be raised to this view

#1: If I practice this kind of separation then I will be obliged to separate from men such as A, B, or C. Surely this cannot be right since these are good men.

It is important to remember that no such personal considerations are to interfere with an objective application of the commands of God. This is best illustrated in the words of the Lord Jesus as He outlined what faithful following of Him meant. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26 AV) Many have wrongly argued that separation to Christ that demands such a price cannot be right!

It is also important to think carefully about the description of a man as good, or godly. These terms are relative. No man is without sin! Good men are capable of great sin and their past record of service for God cannot be used as a reason to ignore present sin. The man who is a useful preacher of God’s word is to be separated from if he acts in a way that supports apostasy and error. Nathan may well have argued that David’s previous service record meant that he could avoid denouncing his sin with Bathsheb, 2Samuel 12:7, but did not. Paul could have argued in a similar fashion concerning Peter and Barnabas in Galatians 2:11ff, but did not.

The vital thing here is to establish what Scripture teaches and act in simple obedience no matter who it means aving to leave – even father or mother – in order to be faithful to Christ.

#2: Separation causes division and Christ has called His people to be united.

Certainly separation brings division to the surface and makes it visible. Yet the Biblical reality is that it is the entrance of error that causes the division – not the faithful, obedient response of separating from it. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” (Romans 16:17 AV) It was the false teacher who initiated the division.

Undoubtedly Christ has called His people to unity. Yet the basis of that unity must ever be the truth itself. The Lord Jesus does not command unity for unity’s sake. The application of the doctrine of separation is a vital part of this. “Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.” (Hebrews 13:13 AV) Christ is the focus of all true unity. The advance of that unity requires separation from the camp. In this instance as the Apostle wrote to the Hebrews, the camp represented those who insisted on an erroneous methodology in the worship of God – i.e. those who insisted on the continuing relevance of Levitical practice.

#3: All of us are disobedient in some degree. To be consistent if I separate from a disobedient brother I am required also to separate from myself which is clearly illogical.

Certainly, no Christian is without sin. Yet each of us has a duty to strive after perfection in this life. We have a duty to obey God. Even knowing that our obedience will always be imperfect in this life does not negate the duty. “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12 AV) This rather foolish objection would destroy the basis of all Church discipline. It would destroy the basis of all preaching and denounciation of sin – since such a thing should only be done by the perfect.

This objection ignores a crucial fact. Denunciation of sin, and the required action against it, proceeds on the objective authority of God’s truth which is perfect and not on the basis of personal holiness. When a Christian speaks against sin and their life does not support such censuring of another that person is a hypocrite and they undermine any criticism they make of sin in another because they lack moral authority. Yet, such failure on the part of the critic of sin does not undo the legitimacy of the condemnation if the criticism is valid in the light of Scripture.

The Christian has a duty to apply the teaching of Christ in Matthew 7:3-5 – “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” The duty is seen to be two-fold:

a. first cast out the beam out of thine own eye if it exists, then;

b. cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Every Christian must approach the matter of denouncing sin with the spirit of humility, grace and a real consciousness of personal liability to sin. This is evident in Paul’s words in Galatians 6:1-2. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” In the context (Gal 2:11ff) he has recorded how he denounced Peter’s folly and error. No doubt this is how Paul had dealt with that matter in Peter’s life as he had withstood him to his face.

Biblical Separation and “Platform fellowship”

“Platform fellowship’ is a phrase coined to describe the artificial distinction some see in the relationship, or fellowship, experienced among participants in a conference situation. Sometimes this conference scenario primarily involves preaching, while in others it is primarily academic in nature. However, when a conference is theological or involves handling the truth of God in any form, it cannot simply be regarded as academic, whether it involves preachers or seminarians.

The concept of ‘platform fellowship’, as defined by many conservative evangelicals, allows them to justify in their own minds the freedom to associate with, worship with, preach with and lecture with those that, on a strictly Biblical basis, they should distance themselves from. It is in many ways an attempt to find a way for men to bring together what God has put asunder!

Often this ‘platform fellowship’ involves participating in an event with those who are in the apostasy or professing Christians who are disobediently compromised with apostasy. While association on a platform does not necessarily mean a personal agreement with every speaker in every non-fundamental issue of the faith, it must at a minimum, entail the recognition of any differences as being within the pale of Biblical orthodoxy and that nothing prohibiting a joint exercise in worship exists.

An act of worship

It has to be stated that it is not possible to deal with any aspect of Biblical truth, in any scenario, without an act of worship taking place, at least on the part of the one faithfully presenting the truth of God. Does a presentation of truth not involve an exhortation to submit to and worship the God who is its source? Biblical truth can never simply be an academic matter, nor can the truth of God be reduced to spiritually-neutral academic jargon. The faithful servant of God will want the help of the Holy Ghost to glorify Christ in presenting the truth of God’s word regardless of the type of conference in view. To preach at a conference, to read a paper at an academic gathering or a theological society, and deal with some aspect of the word of God cannot fail to involve worship and service of God – both as a speaker and a hearer. Every time I handle the truth of God in any context I must do it with reverence and with godly fear, which the essence of acceptable worship. To do otherwise is, for the moment at least, to handle Scripture as the Pharisees and Sadducees did – they made the commandment of God of none effect, Matthew 15:6.

The speaking participant in a conference must actually be seen as a leader in the activity of that conference. He is there to lead the thoughts of his hearers in a certain direction. He is therefore a leader in any worship activity that is inherent in the handling of Divine truth. Far from being an insignificant thing, this is a position of prominence and leadership with reference to all in attendance. Yet, by engaging with others involved in that conference, he becomes a joint-leader of worship with them, yoked together in common purpose for that time. So often there is an instance of the forbidden unequal yoke because his fellow conference speakers are such as to be separated from, rather than joined with in a leadership role in joint worship activity.

Every act of worship must be regulated by Scripture. It is never left to the individual to define what is acceptable or not in terms of the worship of God. Aaron learned that God will not be worshipped by altered means when he made the golden calf but retained the use of the name of Jehovah, Exodus 32:5; Nadab and Abihu his sons learned this to their destruction, Leviticus 10:3. To engage in that worship with those who are directly involved with apostasy or those who support it by compromised associations with it, is sin. It is a pollution that destroys worship that must be in spirit and sincerely according to truth if it is to be accepted by God.

Is the concept of platform fellowship Biblical?

Is it possible for a servant of God to participate on equal terms in a conference with an apostate, a modernist, a Bible-denier, a preacher with compromised associations? Is he obeying God by doing so? The fact is that Scripture does not justify such fellowship but emphatically forbids it.

The practice of the Christian in every area of life is to be regulated by the word of God. Especially in the area of worship, there must be a clear Biblical precedent or command to justify such fellowship. The fact is that there is no such command or precedent to justify fellowship in a conference setting with those ordinarily prohibited from joint-worship activity. There is no command in Scripture that warrants the relaxation of the Biblical standards of separation that are to govern the life and worship of the Christian simply because of a conference situation. There are no exemptions to the Biblical rules on separation of life and worship for the Christian given to conference preachers, seminarians, or academics.

The ministry of the Lord Jesus affords numerous examples of how He dealt with religious ‘academics’ with whom He had a great deal in common. “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” (Matthew 23:1-3 AV) The Saviour and these scribes had the entire body of Moses’ revelation in common but the perversions of the Law introduced by the scribes, and especially their practice of the Law, was such that the Saviour rarely lost an opportunity to preach against them. He certainly never engaged in ‘platform fellowship’ to address spiritual matters.

The Apostles also practiced separation of this kind. Paul, when he met with the philosophers in Athens, did not fellowship with them – though a brilliant academic himself – but preached against their devilish superstitions and empty worship. His attitude to fellow-believers who erred and fell into sin is also striking. The incident of Galatians 2:11ff is a case in point. Peter allowed himself to be influenced by some who came from James in the church at Jerusalem – an apostolic delegation who were advocating wrong Christian practice. Barnabas and others were caught up in the hypocrisy. Yet Paul stood against their error in an open, forthright, public fashion. He did not and could not continue to preach with Peter, though both were Apostles; or Barnabas, though he had preached with him many times previously; while this error remained. Peter at this point was acting contrary to Paul, building up what they through the gospel had sought to tear down, v18. Fellowship between them was ruptured for a time till this matter was dealt with.

An earlier incident is also recorded in Galatians 2:5 when false brethren had come into the church in Antioch. At least initially they had appeared as brethren but their doctrine had quickly proved this to be a false claim. Paul did not tolerate their doctrine which was a perversion of the gospel – no, not for an hour. It is interesting that he specifically says that he did not give them place by subjection. In other words he did not sit in the attitude of a listener being taught by them. Yet many conservative evangelicals sit in this very subjection at conferences listening to that which is presented by a perverter of the precept and practice of God’s truth.

Biblical separation

The doctrine of Scripture on this subject is remarkably simple. It is a doctrine that is seen everywhere in Scripture. In the Old Testament, Levitical regulation emphasized the necessity of maintaining a vigilant state of separated purity unto the Lord. It is against the background of these regulations that Paul writes as he does in 2 Corinthians 6:17. Touch not is one of the summary statements of the Levitical legislation used in Col 2:21. The spiritual application of the Levitical laws of cleanness and purity is made to Gentile believers in Corinth.

1. Touch not the unclean thing. There is no agreement between Christ and Belial; no spiritual harmony or joint-activity between light and darkness and the Christian by his behaviour is not to give the impression that there is! The Corinthians were guilty of doing so by their attendance at the heathen temple on social grounds.

By using the words touch not Paul indicates that there is to be a care taken to avoid the least contact with that which is defiling. This Divine ordinance rules out joint conference activity between a believer and one involved in apostasy. It is not possible for a servant of God to appear on the same conference bill as a priest of Rome, for example, and do so in obedience to God. The command of God to touch not the unclean thing does not provide for exception to embrace such at a conference.

2. Those who touch the unclean thing become unclean. Those believers who disobey God’s injunction to separate from the unclean make themselves unclean by contact with them. That which is holy is always defiled by contact with the unclean, rather than the reverse. Cp Haggai 2:11-13. Evangelicals who endorse Rome as Christian such as those who signed the Manhattan Declaration or the Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) documents, make themselves as unclean as Rome! The unforeseen implication of the activity Paul was rebuking in Corinth was that those believers were in fact drinking the cup of devils – there was an unavoidable spiritual/sacramental link to devilish apostasy, even though they sought to distinguish themselves from it by claiming liberty to act as they did. Their distinctions were artificial and utterly wrong no matter how loudly they may have been insisted upon! By engaging in this behaviour they ruled themselves out from drinking the Lord’s cup in a worthy fashion. That is, they lost fellowship with God.

A measure of the contracted uncleanness is seen in that Scripture teaches very clearly that the persistently disobedient believer is in fact to be treated as an unbeliever – an heathen man and a publican in the words of Matthew 18:17. While acknowledging that they are not in fact an unbeliever or an enemy (2Thess 3:15), they are dealt with as if they were because of their sin. This is simply because by refusing to separate from, and by maintaining fellowship with the wicked, they are held to be guilty of the sin of that wicked associate. “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (2John 1:10-11 AV)

The Christian who enters fellowship with the spiritually unclean has become a willing accessory to, and proponent of their wickedness. Those who are contaminated by apostasy contaminate all who associate with them in spiritual activity. The conference floor or platform does not sanitize this pollution, render a man immune to the transfer of this uncleanness, or prevent its spread.

3. A brother who has made himself unclean is to be separated from. God says: Withdraw from him. There is no exception clause given in the case of a conference! The servant of God who participates in a conference with a brother who maintains compromised associations is disobeying the clear command of God to withdraw from such a disorderly brother. By doing so he is only encouraging defiance of God and refusing God’s command to discipline sin. This has the additional effect of also making him complicit in the original offence. By preaching with, lecturing with, a brother who is worthy of discipline by the command of God, he supports that brother’s sin. There is no getting away from this.

The supposed meaningless nature or negligible effect of platform fellowship is often used as an argument to avoid bearing the cross which is involved in separating from error and all who support it. It is a specious distinction without Biblical basis. God’s laws on the separation of His people apply in every context.

Southern Baptists pay tribute to the Pope

“[Benedict XVI] has offered a brave and intelligent defense of truth against a relativist tide, and he has been a stalwart friend of life.”– R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“His legacy is one of speaking forcefully in defense of old truths.”  – Russell Moore, dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“[Benedict] has constantly spoken for those whose lives are seen as a burden to society: the baby with Down syndrome, the woman with advanced Alzheimer’s, the child starving in the desert, the prisoner being tortured. These lives aren’t things, he has said, but images of God, and for them we will give an account. When society wants to dehumanize with language: ‘embryo,’ ‘fetus,’ ‘anchor baby,’ ‘illegal alien,’ ‘collateral damage,’ and so on, Benedict has stood firmly to point to the human faces the world is seeking to wipe away.” – Russell Moore, dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Across the board, Benedict followed the tradition of Pope John Paul II, who held office from 1978 to 2005 and is known for holding to traditional, socially conservative policies within the Catholic Church, said Russell Moore, dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. That conservatism frustrated many who wanted to see the church move toward acceptance of same-sex marriage. “His legacy is one of speaking forcefully in defense of old truths,” Moore said. “In an era that defined progress as capitulation to the sexual revolution, Benedict stood firm for the permanent things of human dignity and life and marriage.”

Mohler the Reformer??

More than once I have had it pointed out to me by those who should know better, that Al Mohler is in fact a reformer who did wonderful things in turning the Southern Baptists, and especially their seminary, from liberalism. Usually this statement is made in response to criticism over his signing the Manhattan Declaration. Apparently his ‘reforms’ mean he should be beyond further criticism. Yet here he is again speaking well of Rome! In reforming the SBC seminary he seems merely to have exchanged one form of liberalism for a more dangerous form – one which masquerades as the truth. The man who can speak well of the Pope is betraying the Saviour. In this matter he is publicly assisted by the Dean of the Southern Baptist school of theology.

Reading these comments there is only a limited number of conclusions one can come to: Either these men do not know God’s word or they do not know Rome.

Historical view

Historically, Baptists have held much different views of the Pope that Drs. Mohler and Moore.

“…neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.”- The Philadelphia Confession of 1742

This is of course the common view of many other Biblical confessions of faith. The Pope is an antichrist, yet Drs. Mohler and Moore eulogize him as a defender of old truth. This is apostasy at work.

See also:

 

Separation

There can only be one response to such men – separate from them. They have allied themselves with apostasy and with spiritual darkness and the obedient believer must turn from them. Statements like the above make the issue of separation easy! Here is direct and palpable support of the Roman pontiff. Sadly, many conservative evangelicals will still see no such need and will still continue to preach with them, listen to them at conferences etc and so encourage the decline of the visible church into darkness and error.

Sources: Christianity Today article, Lifesitenews.com

Catholic, Protestant Churches Sign Historic Baptism Agreement

The Christian Post reported the following news story on its website.

Leaders representing the Roman Catholic Church and some American Protestant denominations have signed an agreement in Texas to recognize each other’s baptisms.

After about six years of dialogue, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Reformed Church in America, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Christian Reformed Church in North America, and the United Church of Christ signed a document recognizing each other’s liturgical rites of baptism.

The five denominations signed the “Common Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Baptism,” affirming the baptism agreement on Tuesday evening at a prayer service held at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Austin.

“Together we affirm that, by the sacrament of Baptism, a person is truly incorporated into the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13 and 27; Ephesians 1:22-23), the church. Baptism establishes the bond of unity existing among all who are part of Christ’s body and is therefore the sacramental basis for our efforts to move towards visible unity,” reads the document.

“We rejoice at the common faith we share and affirm in this document. We understand that the journey toward full, visible unity depends on openness to the grace of God and humility before the initiatives of God’s Spirit among us.”

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, director of media relations for USCCB, told The Christian Post about the lengthy background that the baptism agreement was part of.

“The Common Agreement, ratified by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Nov. 16, 2010, and publicly signed and celebrated January 29, 2013, was the result of six years of study and consultation by Catholic and Reformed scholars during the seventh round of the Catholic-Reformed Dialogue in the USA,” said Walsh.

“The dialogue has been co-sponsored since 1965 by the Bishops Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs along with the Christian Reformed Church in North America, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Reformed Church in America and the United Church of Christ.”

The Austin celebration and preceding dialogue were coordinated through The Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A., an organization formed in 2001 that focuses on interdenominational Christian unity, witness and fellowship.

The Rev. John Crossin, executive director for the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at USCCB, commented to CP that he hoped the baptism agreement “would be a model for other similar agreements.”

“One of the reasons to have this public celebration hosted by CCT was that all the member churches became aware of the baptism agreement,” said Crossin.

“Many more people are now aware of this. A copy of the agreement was handed out to the more than 35 member churches. The implication is that maybe some of them will say, ‘Maybe we’ll do this too.'”

Clergy involved in the agreement ceremony held in Austin told local media about their feelings regarding the baptism recognition.

Ruben Armendariz, a PC(USA) associate presbyter, told the Austin American-Statesman that “it’s a historic moment” and “we’re very much in concert with it.”

“This ecumenical effort, this mutual recognition of baptism, is part of our response to Jesus’ prayer that ‘we may all be one,'” said Bishop Joe Vásquez of the Catholic Diocese of Austin to the Statesman.

Departure, defeat, deliverance

Studies in the Book of Judges for young people

by Ann Foster

God gave Joshua and the armies of Israel many glorious victories over the nations who inhabited Canaan. The land was subdued before them, the tabernacle was set up, the priesthood was established and the land was divided by lot among the tribes of Israel. The nation enjoyed a period of prolonged rest and peace while Joshua was yet alive (Joshua 23:1). God had fully and faithfully kept the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to give the land of Canaan to the children of Israel. Joshua could boldly and without fear of contradiction declare to the people, ‘Not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof’ (Joshua 23:1). Before he died, Joshua fervently and repeatedly urged the people to love the LORD their God, to walk in all His ways and keep His commandments diligently. He exhorted them to cleave to the LORD and to serve Him only. If they did so, then the LORD would expel the rest of the nations of Canaan from the land. However, if they mingled with the heathen nations and made marriages with them, there would be no more victories. There could be no victory without God. It is only as we walk with God and keep His commandments that we can enjoy a victorious Christian life. (From the Introduction)