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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)

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.

Inter-church musical event in Penticton

Yesterday (Aug 1) I received a call from a Mr. D. S*****, representing a local Pentecostal Church, and inviting me to an inter-church musical event in a local park. He informed me that he had 21 or 22 local churches already signed up to participate in this event. My response was to refuse because I knew that to have so many churches from Penticton involved required many compromised organisations to be involved. A few sentences later in the conversation it became clear that top of the list of those involved were local Roman Catholic churches as well as the Anglican church.

I was asked if I wanted to state a reason for refusal to participate in such an event. I attempted to explain that it was wrong to engage in an act of worship or evangelistic activity while including those who denied the gospel. As the conversation proceeded it became clear that Mr. S***** had little idea of the issues involved in this matter. The conversation ended with him recommending me to the mercy of God and he hung up. It is because his tragic, hackneyed responses and the points he made to justify his inter-church event are commonly used today that I felt prompted to write this post. 

Jesus’ example. It is common to hear it stated that since the Lord Jesus went about dealing with sinners, it is proper to include those who do not accept the gospel in evangelistic efforts like this inter-church event. It is very clear that the Saviour did NOT include among His disciples those who openly and deliberately opposed His doctrine! He preached the truth to sinners but did NOT allow such to join with Him to lead others in worship, or to present His message with Him as an equal particpant. The distinction was always maintained between Himself/His true followers and all who rejected His word. If Mr. S*****’s logic were Scriptural would we not find joint services between Christ and the Pharisees, for example?? This did not happen! Rather the Saviour denounced those who opposed His teaching in the strongest terms.

The reality is that the Jesus cited by ecumenists is in fact a false Christ (2Cor 11:4) – one of their own imagination whom they can use to justify blatant disobedience of Scripture and avoid separating from sin and error.

No perfect Church or pastor. I was pointedly told that I must be without sin to denounce sin in others! This is a pet objection used by ecumenists. IF this was true then it would never have been possible for a prophet/preacher since the dawn of time to say anything!! Every Christian must certainly do their utmost to practice what they preach or else their witness has no credibility, but a lack of perfection is not to silence God’s people as they witness against sin. Rather, they deal with it first in their own lives and witness by word and practice to others. It is to be noted that this consideration of a lack of perfection never seems to stop the likes of Mr. S***** telling me that I am wrong! Perhaps he has found what has eluded me.

No judging!!! How wearying it is to hear the words of Matthew 7:1 used in this context – Judge not, that ye be not judged. The Saviour is not forbidding judgement but insisting that we will be judged by the same standard we judge others by. Clearly, in the context of this passage the Saviour requires us to make a judgement between what is righteous and what is wicked. As I told Mr. S*****, when I proclaim the condemnation of God on sin, I have the authority of God behind the words. My private judgement on any matter is no better or worse than any other private individual, but when any Christian states for example: “adultery is wrong and all who engage in it are sinning against God” they are in agreement with the teaching of Scripture, and they have authority to do so. This in not because of any personal merit but because of the authority of God’s book and His Law. Sadly, the reality is that it is because Mr. S***** and multitudes like him do NOT exercise judgement according to Scripture that they involve themselves with that which God has forbidden.

There is a sobering commentary on this matter of ‘not judging’ found in the words of Paul: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” (Romans 1:28 AV) The word reprobate is literally ‘void of judgement’. A lack of Biblical discernment/judgement is in fact the mark of the unregenerate! How strange that modern ‘christians’ have made what is an evidence of a sinner into an evidence of what they call a ‘christian’!!

 

A sinner might be saved.This statement was used to me to justify the event. ‘It will all be worthwhile if God uses it to save just one sinner’. This is very wrong! To justify activity that Scripture condemns on the grounds that a sinner may be converted is perverse disobedience. Salvation is of the Lord and it is true that He has saved sinners in extraordinary circumstances. However, Mr. S*****’s logic justifies the murder of the Lord Jesus by Jewish and Roman authorities, since He saved the dying thief as He was on the cross. Since Peter very clearly speaks of the wicked hands that crucified Christ, the fact that a sinner was saved does not justify doing what was wrong. The logic employed here is perilously close to that which Paul denounces: “And not [rather], (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.” (Romans 3:8 AV) To reason that potential good justfies behaviour that disobeys the commands of Scripture is – to use Paul’s terms – an evil, a slander upon the truth, and in fact is ‘damnable’ thinking. These are strong terms, but they indicate the mind of God in response to the reasoning employed by Mr. S*****!

In this context it is appropriate to ask, What will that potential convert be converted to? Mr. S***** cited the hymn Amazing grace and John 3:16, impressing me that it was entirely possible that a sinner could partake of the saving grace of God whether that hymn was sung by a Roman Catholic or not. He seemed oblivious the fact that the ‘Amazing grace’ a representative of the Church of Rome might sing gustily about is NOT the saving grace of God. Roman Catholicism defines grace as the favour of God as it is mediated and dispensed by the Church of Rome. In Rome’s eyes, the ‘grace’ of baptismal regeneration; the ‘grace’ of consuming Christ in the blasphemy of the Mass; or the ‘grace’ of having sin forgiven through confession to a priest and performing penance; is all amazing! A sinner may be converted to Rome’s view of Amazing grace and be more firmly on the road to Hell than ever before. Sadly, in such an event, Mr. S***** would be congratulating himself on the success of his inter-church venture.

It is not the message of a hymn that saves but the gospel of Jesus Christ as it is revealed in Scripture. It is wrong to promote a false gospel in the hope that it might be used to convert a sinner.

The Bible is clear.

“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.” (2Jo 1:10-11 AV) 

“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” (1Ti 6:3-5 AV)

The word of God is very clear on how God’s people are to withdraw/separate from everything that is a compromise of the gospel of Christ. The apostate Church of Rome and its Protestant counterpart in the Church of England, are touchstones of unbiblical error. Any event which involves them may be dismissed by the Bible believer as involving a disobedient association. These churches – and many like them – are not churches of Christ but as the Scripture puts it, synagogues of Satan. The doctrine taught in these churches is foreign to the Bible and while it may be a form of religion is decidedly not the doctrine and practice of the Bible.

By incorporating the false teachings of the Church of Rome and the modern Anglican church, as well as other unbiblical errors, into this inter-church event Mr. S***** and others like him are found by God to be partakers in their evil deeds and doctrine. As such, he brings the censure of God upon his own head.

 

Of ducks and new Calvinists

A Warning from Pastor Ralph Ovadal and Rev. Ivan Foster

June 25, 2012. 

There is an old saying, “If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it’s a duck.” Now, when it comes to at least some New Calvinists, that saying may need to be modified a bit. There are certain ministers whose ministries, when examined, look New Calvinist; and when it comes to the doctrine of separation, they walk like New Calvinists. But, as to their preaching, they do not often sound like New Calvinists. As a result, the undiscerning among the Lord’s people come under the harmful influence of such men. We write as two ministers with a great concern about the rapidly growing New Calvinist movement. Failure to practice what the Scriptures teach concerning separation from serious error, and certainly those involved in it, is a key distinctive of New Calvinism. With that in mind, by way of warning, we would also ask our brethren to then consider some basic facts concerning the ministry of Dr. Joel Beeke.

The first thing we would mention is that Dr. Beeke apparently sees no problem with joining together with New Calvinists and, sad to say, in at least one case, even outright apostates in ministry labors, as we will document.

Dr. Beeke joined with a number of New Calvinists, including John Piper, to preach at Piper’s 2011 Conference for Pastors (http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/by-conference/2011-pastors-conference).

Over the past few years, including 2011, Dr. Beeke has joined with New Calvinists to speak at the deeply compromised Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals conference (http://www.alliancenet.org/CC_Content_Page/0,,PTID307086_CHID811018_CIID,02011.html). He also joined with a number of New Calvinists, such as Dr. Al Mohler, to speak at the Ligonier (R.C. Sproul’s ministry) 2012 National Conference (http://www.ligonier.org/blog/audio-video-now-available-2012-national-conference/?aref=SS). Dr. Mohler, a Southern Baptist, has been an enthusiastic promoter of New Calvinism and is a signee of the Manhattan Declaration (http://manhattandeclaration.org/the-movement/leaders-list.aspx). We assume the reader is very familiar with that document which brazenly declares Roman Catholics and the Orthodox to be Christians and followers of Jesus Christ who believe and preach the same gospel of Christ as do evangelicals. It bears noting that Dr. Mohler is currently on the board of the deeply compromised Focus on the Family.

Dr. Beeke spoke at 2010 and 2011 conferences (http://www.ncfic.org/lovethechurch and http://www.ncfic.org/gcm-speakers) put on by the National Center for Family Integrated Churches, which includes charismatic and Pentecostal churches, such as the Unity Temple of Praise, Syracuse, New York, which describes its government as “pastors, apostles, prophets, evangelist[s] and teachers.” The NCFIC network (http://www.ncfic.org/church-network) also includes churches which use contemporary “Christian” music. There are other serious problems with the NCFIC as well. Currently, Dr. Beeke is also slated to preach at a 2012 NCFIC conference (http://www.ncfic.org/harvest-speakers).

In 2010, Dr. Beeke joined in preaching fellowship with Southern Baptist Timothy George to speak at a Refo500 event. George is the dean and professor of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School and theological advisor for Christianity Today; is on the editorial boards of First Things, Ecclesiology, and Books & Culture; and is currently the chair of the Doctrine and Christian Unity Commission of the Baptist World Alliance. It is an understatement to simply say, none of that is good! Timothy George, who likes to speak of Mary as the “Mother of God,” has also been very active in the International Baptist-Roman Catholic Dialogue and the Evangelicals and Catholics Together movement/documents. He also joined with the late Chuck Colson and Romanist Robert George to author the Manhattan Declaration. That document was made public at a news conference on November 20, 2009. Then, ten months later, Dr. Beeke joined with Timothy George, Albert Mohler, and some other speakers with whom we are not familiar, to speak at the Refo500 event (http://www.refo500.nl/content/files/Files/Refo500_Conference_Louisville.pdf).

But even more shocking is the Refo500 organization itself and Dr. Beeke’s entanglement with it. Reformation Heritage Books (Joel Beeke, editorial director) and Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (Joel Beeke, president) have entered into a partnership with Refo500, an ecumenical organization which seems intent on overturning the Reformation. Dr. Beeke even appears in a Refo500 promotional video during which (4:18-5:38) he speaks of that partnership we have just mentioned (http://youtu.be/LTnWXnmYgB8).

The Refo500 organization (http://www.refo500.nl/en/news/6) is made up of “Protestant and Catholic organizations, universities, seminaries, museums and so on.” One current project of Refo500 which is being carried out by a Roman Catholic university is “The Council of Trent – an interdisciplinary, interconfessional and international perspective” (see attachment 1). Other organizations listed as Refo500 partners and sponsors or members include such deeply corrupted, even apostate Protestant institutions as Fuller Theological Seminary and Beeson Divinity School as well as a number of Roman Catholic organizations and institutions such as the John XXIII Foundation for Religious Studies (see attachment 2). By the way, one of the presentations at the Refo500 event Dr. Beeke spoke at was titled “An Ecumenical Celebration? How to Work Together with Fruit and without Frustration” (see attachment 3).

We have already mentioned that apostate Protestant organizations are a part of Refo500. This includes the Remonstrant Church which denies any number of the essential doctrines of our faith (see attachment 4) and boasts of such accomplishments as these: “The Remonstrants were the first church in the world to open marriage for same-sex couples. It did so as early as 1986. The Remonstrants were one of the first churches in the Netherlands to ordain women as ministers. The Remonstrants are open for dialogue with members of other Christian denominations and of other religions. They were among the churches that established the World Council of Churches in 1948” (see attachment 5).

This year’s Puritan Reformed Conference (http://puritanseminary.org/invitation-to-prts-conference/speakers/), August 23-–25, 2012, put on by Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary of which Beeke is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics, is having Derek Thomas as one of the speakers. Thomas is the editorial director for the deeply compromised Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.

Currently, Dr. Beeke is also scheduled to speak at the January, 2013 G3 Conference (http://www.g3conference.com/). This event is hosted by a Southern Baptist Church, Pray’s Mill Baptist Church, Douglasville, Georgia (http://praysmill.com/). We would hope the reader has knowledge of how utterly corrupt the Southern Baptist Convention is (women pastors, charismatic churches, ecumenical, modern Bible translations, involvement in the orality movement, etc.: http://tinyurl.com/southernbaptistconvention). This particular church offers, among other services, adult sports, a car rally, and a married couples cruise. At the G3 Conference, Dr. Beeke will also be joining with certain New Calvinist speakers.

In recent years, Dr. Beeke has even co-authored books with such New Calvinists as Albert Mohler, John Piper, R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, and others (see attachment 6). Dr. Beeke has added his contributions to books also containing chapters by such men as C.J. Mahaney, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, Timothy George, John MacArthur, Albert Mohler, and R.C. Sproul.

With the context of New Calvinism in mind, another concern we would bring to our brethren’s attention has to do with Reformation Heritage Books (RHB, http://www.heritagebooks.org/). As already noted, Dr. Beeke is the editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books. It would seem obvious that as editorial director, Dr. Beeke would bear a great deal of responsibility with regard to the books offered by RHB. Here too, he has shown no inclination to separate himself from individuals teaching and practicing obvious error, so as not to endorse teachers and teachings which mislead and corrupt the Lord’s people. In what we are about to share concerning RHB, we do not believe we are being hypercritical or unrealistic concerning maintaining a biblical standard. We also wish to stress that what we are about to present is by no means the sum total of similar documentation available concerning RHB.

The stated mission of Reformation Heritage Books, we are told, “is to glorify God and strengthen His Church through the publication and distribution of Puritan and Reformed literature.” The title of a regular RHB publication featuring their books is Tolle Lege, “Pick up and read.” Yet we would ask the reader to consider just some of the authors whose works are sold by RHB—in some cases, even published by RHB—and consider whether the Lord’s people should be urged to “pick up and read” the teachings of such men and whether their books are such that “glorify God and strengthen His Church.”

Currently, RHB carries over two dozen books authored by John Piper, four more books which contain contributions by him, and a number of other books which carry endorsements by Piper. RHB book offerings include a number by New Calvinist charismatic ministers, such as Piper, C.J. Mahaney, Sam Storms, and the deeply ecumenical Josh Harris. Harris’s church was a sponsor of the 2011 Summer of Mercy pro-life event which included a Roman Catholic exorcism ritual. During the multi-day Summer of Mercy, a Roman Catholic priest spoke in Josh Harris’s church (http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=32121028377). This may seem hard to believe, but as is the case with everything we present in this letter, it is well documented. One of the two Harris books available from RHB contains an endorsement by Chuck Colson, leader of the ECT movement and one of the main authors of the Manhattan Declaration. In fact, currently RHB carries books actually authored by a great number of Manhattan Declaration signees.

In addition to those already named, there are a number of other New Calvinists whose books—in some cases, quite a number of books—and writings are available at RHB, such as, but not limited to, John MacArthur, Ligon Duncan, R.C. Sproul, J.I. Packer, Tim Keller (who is even a theistic evolutionist), Philip Ryken, Thabiti Anyabwile, and Mark Dever. Quite a number of books by Dr. Albert Mohler are also available at RHB. Another Southern Baptist, Timothy George, is a contributor to two books sold by RHB.

RHB sells the book The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World. That book is described as follows: “Six of today’s leading pastor-theologians—John Piper, Voddie Baucham, D.A. Carson, Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll, and David Wells—have joined together to offer Christians a practical, biblical vision of Christ’s supremacy, so they will be better prepared to present the undeniable truth to a searching society.” By the way, two other books offered by RHB carry endorsements by Mark Driscoll.

For the sake of book promotions, Reformation Heritage Books makes use of endorsements from the likes of Richard Mouw, George Marsden of the University of Notre Dame, Ravi Zacharias, Erwin Lutzer, Tony Evans, Bob Lepine, Dennis Rainey, John Piper, Mark Driscoll, C.J. Mahaney, Joshua Harris, Charles Colson, Joni Eareckson Tada, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Paul Washer, J.I. Packer, John MacArthur, Al Mohler, Timothy George, Tim Keller, R.C. Sproul, Thabiti Anyabwile, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, Philip Ryken, and Derek Thomas.

For example, Meet the Puritans, published by Reformation Heritage Books and authored by Joel R. Beeke and Randall J. Pederson, carries endorsements by J.I. Packer, R.C. Sproul, John Piper, and John MacArthur. Other RHB books edited by Dr. Beeke carry endorsements by various New Calvinists as well as men such as Richard Mouw, president of the apostate Fuller Theological Seminary. Mouw is a key signatory of the Manhattan Declaration and has been, and still is, deeply involved in a movement which aims to bring Mormons and Christians together. As part of the effort, in 2004, he spoke at a “worship” service in the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. His official bio tells us, Mouw “served for six years as co-chair of the official Reformed-Catholic Dialogue, and is a leader for interfaith theological conversations, particularly with Mormons and Jewish groups.”

RHB sells a number of books by Thabiti Anyabwile, a Gospel Coalition council member who is an enthusiastic champion of what he has called “holy hip hop” and “lyrical theology” performed by rappers such as Lecrae and other rap artists.

Christians can also order from RHB the book With Calvin in the Theater of God: The Glory of Christ and Everyday Life, which is described thus: “Stemming from the Desiring God 2009 National Conference, this volume includes chapters by Julius Kim, Douglas Wilson, Marvin Olasky, Mark Talbot, Sam Storms, and John Piper.” The reader has perhaps not heard of Douglas Wilson. Rev. Wilson is the pastor of Christ Church, Moscow, Idaho. He is a New Calvinist and a leader of the Federal Vision movement. He currently has a video posted at his YouTube site (http://www.youtube.com/user/CanonWired) in which he explains why many Roman Catholics are actually saved brethren. His YouTube site also includes videos in which he boasts of drinking beer and of his beer bottle collection. In fact, in one video, he tells Christians to thank the Lord for the beer brand they drink. Mr. Wilson, who considers himself a “paleo-Confederate,” co-authored with Steve Wilkins and published a small book defending slavery in the South.

Incredibly, Reformation Heritage Books also offers books by two professors from Roman Catholic Notre Dame University. Those two men are Randall C. Zachman and George Marsden. There are a number of books available from RHB which present such men as Blaise Pascal, Thomas a Kempis, Thomas Aquinas, and C.S. Lewis as Christians and which contain their writings. By way of examples, we offer these two from the RHB web site:

http://www.heritagebooks.org/products/Pages-From-Church-History.html

Pages From Church History (endorsed by Timothy George)

Introduces the entire sweep of church history through classics by Polycarp, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, a Kempis, Luther, Calvin, Bunyan, Edwards, the Wesleys, Carey, and Bonhoeffer.

http://www.heritagebooks.org/products/The-Trials-of-Theology.html

The Trials of Theology

Students of theology can find themselves strengthened and renewed while they study, but it can also be a time of trial. This reader shows how to navigate such trials as we study for and then engage in Christian ministry. It includes wisdom from voices past: Augustine; Martin Luther; C. H. Spurgeon; B. B. Warfield; Dietrich Bonhoeffer and C.S. Lewis. Several modern authors also show how to navigate various aspects of theological study successfully: D. A. Carson (Biblical Studies); Carl Trueman (Church History); Gerald Bray (Systematic Theology); Dennis Hollinger (Christian Ethics); and John Woodhouse (Seminary life). The book shows how we can move from being ‘lost among words’ as we study of theology, to being ‘lost for words’ in praise of God.

Currently, RHB sells a book authored by Colin Hansen, editor-at-large for Christianity Today. Not surprisingly, two John Stott books are also available through RHB.

We would especially urge our Christian brethren to consider that RHB also offers a number of books containing the writings of “Eighteenth-Century, British-Baptist, Woman Theologian” Anne Dutton. Certainly Dutton was just that—a woman theologian, in open disobedience to the Word of God. Consider, for instance, just this from RHB: “Volume 4 of Dutton’s writings includes her early work The New Birth (1734); her unique pseudonymous work Treatise on Justification (1778); her work on grace A Discourse concerning God’s Action of Adoption (1737); A Discourse on the Inheritance of the Adopted Sons of God (1748); and her theological letters on the marks of a child of God (1761) which offer advice in holiness from the end of her literary career.” Relevant also to RHB offering the teachings of Anne Dutton is the description of the compiler of those teachings: “Compiler Joann Ford Watson is the H.R. Gill Family Professor of Theology at Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio. She received her B.A. from DePauw University, her M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, USA, with rural-parish pastoral experience and inner-city experience. She has worked in Calcutta with Mother Theresa’s order, the Missionaries of Charity” (http://www.heritagebooks.org/selected-spiritual-writings-of-anne-dutton-theological-works-vol-4/).

A book by Joni Eareckson Tada is found at RHB as are a number which contain contributions by her. Tada, a woman teacher, is a dyed-in-the-wool New Evangelical and signee of the Manhattan Declaration. Books authored by Joanne J. Jung and edited by Nancy Guthrie are also available from RHB. Jung is associate professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Biola University; and Guthrie teaches at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee and speaks at conferences worldwide. At the present time, RHB sells eight books by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, a woman Bible teacher who is widely broadcast on Christian radio. Kathleen Nielson is another woman Bible teacher whose books—currently nine books, to be exact—are sold by RHB.

We believe that Reformation Heritage Books and Joel Beeke, its editorial director, are doing much to justify a wide range of badly compromised ministers and ministry leaders, and their error, in the eyes of many unwary and uninformed Christians. This grievous situation is quite contrary to the RHB-stated aim to “glorify God and strengthen His Church.” We also believe that Dr. Joel Beeke, by yoking with unfaithful ministers to preach to the Lord’s people at various conferences, is doing much to justify those men, and their error, in the eyes of many unwary and uninformed Christians. Furthermore, to our knowledge, Dr. Beeke has never admitted any wrongdoing or regret for doing so, even when personally confronted. As to Dr. Beeke’s partnership in Refo500, there he has brazenly yoked with grievous apostasy including Roman Catholicism. As a veteran minister and the president of a seminary named Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, he surely cannot be said to be ignorant of the terrible, damaging compromise and sinful nature of his actions.

Given what we have documented in this letter, we would suggest that it is hard to escape the conclusion that Dr. Beeke would seem to be New Calvinist himself. This is a serious conclusion, and we do not make it lightly, and certainly not gladly, but rather based on undeniable facts. We certainly have nothing personal against Dr. Beeke, nor do we have any “axe to grind.” Certainly all of the information we have shared is current, very public, and none of it of a personal nature. In fact, it is all information that Dr. Beeke is apparently very comfortable with, and a good deal of it even came from his ministry web sites or the RHB book catalogue, with the rest coming from organizations he has joined with in ministry fellowship. The one exception would be the documentation of several books which Dr. Beeke co-authored and which are sold on Amazon.com. We are not interested in “smearing” in any way Dr. Beeke. Our prayer is that he will repent and return to “the old paths, where is the good way.” Our great concern is for the glory and honor of Christ Jesus and His blood-bought church. It is that heartfelt concern and heartfelt conviction that prompted us to write this warning.

Ralph Ovadal is the pastor of Pilgrims Covenant Church, Monroe, Wisconsin. Ivan Foster is a retired minister of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster.

The high cost of compromise

The ancient and tragic history of the life of Jehoshaphat, King ofJudah, that is a lesson to every Christian in this modern age of ecumenical compromise. “…Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning” (Romans 15:4).

King Jehoshaphat came to the throne ofJudah in the fourth year of King Ahab’s reign in Israel. Ahab’s spiritual character is given in I Kings 16:30-33 —And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he…went and served Baal, and worshipped him….Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him. He was a promoter of false religion on a grand scale and oversaw the systematic destruction of the prophets of the Lord by Jezebel his wife (1 Kings 18:4 ).

Some things you should know about C. S. Lewis!

The writings of C.S. Lewis have again come into prominence with the release of the Hollywood version of The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe. Many evangelicals see this as a tremendous opportunity to present gospel truth. The claim is made that C.S. Lewis’ fictional writings are saturated with Biblical truth and even are a sort of parable-like repetition of Scriptural doctrine.

C. S. Lewis attempted to present Scriptural truth under a cloak of pagan mythology in order to give it popular appeal. Such an approach to Scripture is really just tampering with the word of God in an unacceptable fashion. The article below sets out some reasons why the Bible-believing Christian should have little to do with C.S. Lewis’ literature.

Biblical Christianity – No room for man made alternatives

…What concord hath Christ with Belial?…And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? (II Corinthians 6:15-16AV)

The prevailing climate in the professing Church of Christ today is one of accommodating everyone and their various beliefs. Important differences are set aside in order that unity of sorts may be had. Many go along with this idea because it is popular, easy and may at first seem advantageous. It may be argued that by being a little less strict on doctrinal positions and a little more tolerant of diverse opinions, the church will be more popular and so more people will come under its influence. The end therefore will justify the means. Such reasoning may be popular and pleasing to many, but IS IT RIGHT?

Is separation really necessary today?

This modem age is one of ecumenical activity and spiritual compromise. The old truths of the Word of God have been jettisoned in order to maintain a false and unscriptural unity in professing Christendom. Many who profess to belong to Christ are caught up in this wicked movement. Most are involved because they are ignorant of what the Bible has to say about such things.

What does the Bible say about ecclesiastical separation?

Manhattan Declaration response

The Free Presbyterian Church has through its history opposed ecumenism and apostacy and has vociferously stood for the historic Scriptural position of being separated unto the gospel of God, Romans 1:1. It is the God-given duty of every faithful gospel minister and of the Church of Christ to sound a note of alarm against every instance of departure from God and His word. I am happy to join our voice with those who take that stand against all that the Manhattan Declaration represents.

On November 20th, 2009 a number of individuals released a joint statement called the Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian conscience. What made this statement particularly noteworthy and positively alarming from a Biblical perspective, is that it is a document that had brought together as signatories, various individuals prominent in the evangelical, Anglican, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox communities.