Examining the “10 needs we must understand and live after choosing to serve the Lord” Part 2

Joshua 24:15 - ESV - Bible verse of the day - DailyVerses.net

One of my posts on 28 April, was entitled COVID-19 Is a Slow-Motion 9/11 in it Pastor Sam Rohrer of the American Pastors Network set forth 10 definitive needs every “Christian” must understand and live by after choosing to serve the Lord. I thought I would look at each one individually over the next two weeks.


Yesterday we looked at why we should Fear God, today in Part 2 we will examine: 

2. Re-embrace the biblical authority of Scripture. (All Scripture is profitable for life and living—2 Timothy 3:16: Living it establishes a person’s path—Psalm 119:11)

 


What is the biblical authority of Scripture? 

Bernard Ramm called authority “that right or power to command action or compliance, or to determine belief or custom, expecting obedience from those under authority, and in turn giving responsible account for the claim to right or power.”¹

For today’s purpose I will break Biblical Authority down into 3 areas:

God declared it: “For there is no authority
except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Rom 13:1) Matt. 5:17–18; Luke 24:44; John 10:34–35)

It claims to be revealed by God: 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21, The Bible was given by means of direct revelation. Nearly four thousand times in the Bible we find words or expressions such as: And God said… or The Lord spoke to Moses, or The Word of the Lord came to Isaiah. You could look up the following references by way of example:

It claims to be true: 2 Cor 6:7, Eph 1:13, Col 1:5, 2 Tim 2:15, and James 1:18 

What does it mean to EMBRACE the biblical authority of Scripture? 

Maybe the “thing” that set off the revolution in embracing Biblical Authority was Martin Luther and his 95 Theses. Called to the carpet so to speak for his actions at the Diet of Worms in 1521, Luther was told to recant all or face the consequences. His response is classic: “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.”

Luther understood like the Apostles before him that he must obey God and not man (ACTS 5:29). Also like the brethren at Berea (Acts 17:11), Luther searched the bible to insure what was being said was true to God’s word. When he found the teachings of the Pope and his minions to be false Luther embraced the authentic and original scriptures.

Embracing the biblical authority of Scripture became a way of life. It means to live by the moral code of the Law of God found therein, to be accountable to God and His authority as laid out therein, and equally important to never add or subtract from it’s pages 1 Corinthians 4:6 I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. It means that we accept Sola scriptura, Scripture alone, as the lone authoritative for the faith and practice of being a Christian.

Why is it so important?

Many “religions” even some considered ‘christian’ (yes I intentionally used a small c) have multiple sources of authority. They include, the bible, tradition, non-deities, non-inspired books, etc.

Clearly these all can diminish God, they in fact put God and His Holy Word, down to the level of man. Why bother? Not why bother with the other stuff, why bother with God and the bible if you are going to downgrade His Authority?

Sola Scriptura means that the Bible Alone has supreme authority over the church and our Christian faith.  This does not mean that certain traditions (celebrating Christmas, Lord’s Supper, Etc.) cannot be observed but they must be done within the confines of Scripture.

Application:

Not everyone gets it! Scriptural clarity is a process that is one reason the church is equipped Eph. 4:11-12 to help folks along. That does no excuse anyone from doing their own due diligence and faithfully studying God’s word  Ephesians 4:14  so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 

God expects the believer to live a Holy Life 2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,  we cannot do this apart from God’s Holy Word. It is the knowledge of Him we have been granted and we need to embrace it in it’s pure, undefiled, original context. 

 


The List
  1. Develop a healthy fear of God. (Have no other god before Me—Exodus 20:1-6; Obey God, serve Him and fear Him—Deuteronomy 13:4; Rehearse history and teach of God’s power so your children learn to fear God—Deuteronomy 31:13; It is whole duty of mankind—Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
  2. Re-embrace the biblical authority of Scripture. (All Scripture is profitable for life and living—2 Timothy 3:16: Living it establishes a person’s path—Psalm 119:11)
  3. Know that the ‘Church’ is disobedient, lethargic and asleep. (Christ’s warnings to the seven churches and to Laodicea—Revelation 2-3; Revelation 3:14-22)
  4. Be aware that 70% of the pulpits in America are occupied by ‘hirelings.’ (Hirelings refuse to warn of spiritual danger and the wolvesJohn 10:12-13)
  5. Be bold to identify and call out the false prophets in the wolves among us. (Christ warned of the false prophets and wolves—Matthew 7:15, Matthew 10:16, Matthew 24:24; Jesus warned of mass deception in the last days—Matthew 24:4-5)
  6. Understand that national blessing or national judgment hinges on the actions of the remnant. (“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”—2 Chronicles 7:14)
  7. Accept the reality that persecution is coming and is normal for the believer and those still standing for truth. (All who live according to God commands will suffer persecution—2 Timothy 3:12; the enemies of truth will persecute you—Luke 21:12; John 15:20)
  8. Discover that the preparation for prayer and meeting God’s requirements for prayer is far more important than the act of praying. (God demands a broken spirit and obedience before sacrifice—Psalm 51:16-17; God demands we pray His way: No unconfessed sin—Psalm 66:18)
  9. Realize that the continuance of freedom is a result of God’s blessing, which hinges on obedience and conformity to God’s commands. (Don’t forget that all blessings came from God and if you forget and become ungrateful, God will replace blessings with bondage—Deuteronomy 8:1-20, 1:19-20; 30:1-20)
  10. Understand that the choice for president or other elected leaders, while critically important, is secondary to repentance toward God and the choice for God. (Obey, and I’ll make even your enemies to be at peace with you—Proverbs 16:7)

¹Bernard Ramm, The Pattern of Religious Authority (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959) 10 [emphasis in the original]

How Do Americans Feel About the Church Experience?

The “Church Experience” is the core issue here for me. We go to church because we are commanded to have fellowship with like minded believers  Heb 10:25. You can note be part of the Universal (greater or world wide church of God without being part of a smaller church of God; every New Testament letter is written to a church believers. Secondly We go to church to Worship God not for ourselves in any manner, it is always about him. We only “get out of it’ what God, interjects in to us that day. Thirdly it is about preaching and teaching the Word of God. Sola Scriptura, Scripture Alone is what we need to be listening to, not the latest trend in how to improve our lives. If you really what to EXPERIENCE CHURCH get back to basics and find a bible believing, bible preaching, no nonsense church and let God get all the Glory.

How Do Americans Feel About the Church Experience?

Going to church on Sunday morning with family has been part of the American culture for generations. But Sunday morning traditions are changing, along with attitudes and habits, as well as wants and needs, regarding church attendance.

For these reasons, the American Pastors Network (APN) is particularly interested in new Barna Research on Five Trends Defining Americans’ Relationship to Churches.” Some of the trends include “church hopping,” differing opinions on the value of church, expectations about the outcomes of going to church, the importance of church on younger generations and the perception of the Church’s relevance to the community.

APN President Sam Rohrer says the drastic changes in people’s connections to their churches dramatically impact pastors.

“Nearly every pastor in America will likely report that the nation’s ‘church culture’ has shifted significantly over the past 20 years,” Rohrer said. “No longer is a deep, family connection to a local church the norm. In a society where we experience on-demand technology and up-to-the-minute communication, the wants and needs of churchgoers have changed as well. This affects pastors, not only in how they lead and preach, but in how they work to engage people to spread the message of the Gospel.

“Because of these cultural shifts,” he added, “pastors experience challenges that are new and foreign to many of them. It can be a constant struggle to ‘figure out’ what people want when they attend church. What moves them to action and what causes them to stay and be engaged?”

For decades, Barna has conducted research specifically on churches and church leaders, uncovering what they and others believe about their role in the church, as well as shedding light on their concerns and aspirations for both the local church. The most recent study on trends is part of Barna’s State of the Church 2020 project, a year-long examination of the spiritual and religious trends that define American life.

The five uncovered trends include the following:

Continued at Source: 

 

I Was There…

I Was There...

A dear friend, Pastor Fred’s article shows that the “new” social justice movement may not be so new after all. He clearly points out that Scripture is not open to man’s individual interpretation for it is Scripture Alone that interprets (or explains) scripture not mankind’s emotions. – Mike

 | MARCH 29, 2019

I was there. I experienced liberal theology’s social gospel and social justice ideas more than 45 years ago. It was at the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (PCUS; Southern Presbyterians) Synod meeting in Charlotte, NC, in 1973. The speakers and attendees said things that sounded biblical at first, things like “the church is the body of Christ … we are the example of Christ to the world … Christ in us must be lived out in the world through social justice.” Many desired that the PCUS unite with the liberal UPCUSA, the Northern Presbyterians. They rightly argued for equal “civil rights” but also for backing liberation theology in El Salvador, the Black Panther Movement in America, and Angela Davis, etc. Little did I know at the time that the Northern Presbyterians already had funneled some defense funds to the Black Panthers’ and Angela Davis’ trials. Their idea of becoming a Christian was like Rudolf Bultmann’s “Christ” experience of enlightenment against all forms of prejudice and bigotry against others. To him, believing the facts of Christ’s death and resurrection were optional. To him, believing in Christ was to have a crisis of “enlightenment” or “awakening” over racial and cultural prejudices (the “Christ” experience) to emulate Christ to the world.

I had studied liberal theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (M. Div. ’74), but now these views had real faces on them. Some argued for women elders, gay marriage, and social justice reparations. I was quite taken aback that those who professed to hold to the Westminster Confession of Faith held these views. I asked myself: “How can we be united together with Christ if we have such views?” The PCA was just beginning to form at that time, and part of its reason for forming was a reaction to this liberal form of social justice. Now I am astonished to see some “conservative” Presbyterians adopting such views.

I saw another face of liberalism in 1977 when I returned to the Baptist fold. I met with the Alabama (SBC) official involved in recommending pastors to churches. He asked me why I went to RTS instead of an SBC seminary like Southern. I told him that I was an inerrantist and felt Southern Seminary was too liberal. He then said, “Then, there is no place in the SBC for you if you cannot fully support all the programs.” This was the covert liberalism of the SBC at that time which opposed biblical inerrantists. Of course, by God’s grace, Dr. Al Mohler was used of God to expose and remove liberal theology from SBTS in the 1990’s…for which I thank the Lord. It is no secret now that liberal theology had led to unbiblical social justice ideas at SBTS.

In 1988, I met another face of liberalism in a TCU doctoral seminar required for my PhD. This was a highly respected professor among liberals from the Disciples of Christ (Christian). He was a very nice man and cordial to me. After reviewing various hermeneutical approaches to the New Testament, however, he advocated “reader-response criticism.” His particular hermeneutical approach had elements of Rudolf Bultmann’s existential “Christ” experience and Karl Barth’s idea of finding “truth” in the Scriptures only when we “experience” God’s Word. To Barth, the Bible contained truth, but it only became true when the individual experienced something upon hearing the Bible. As one reads the text of the Bible, the reader has a response to its words, and that response is its meaning. This subjective experience with the Bible, then, becomes the actual “truth” to live by. Reader Response Criticism cares not for the historical biblical texts’ truthfulness. Truth is what you “feel” while reading the “story” in the text. What is “true” to me may not be “true” to you. But if you do not agree with my “truth” about social justice issues, then you are sinning. Starting to sound familiar?

So, you can imagine my horror when I discovered that some speakers and writers in the current Social Justice Movement have begun to sound like my past experiences with liberal, modernist and post-modernist views. My problem with today’s “conservative” social justice writers and speakers is that they exhibit the same faults in biblical hermeneutics and exegesis as did the liberals I encountered in the past.

For instance, they both use the Parable of the Good Samaritan to justify the churches’ responsibility to administer social justice to the poor and oppressed (Luke 10:25-37). The only problem is that the text explains that Jesus was defining “who is my neighbor” to an individual, a Jewish lawyer. Jesus’ answer was the picture of a Samaritan individual who providentially comes upon a robbed and beaten Jew (racial and religious taboos). A Jewish priest and a Levite already had passed him by. So, the Samaritan goes out of his way and uses his own money to take care of him at an inn … one person to one person. Our Lord concluded ironically that the Jew was the Samaritan’s neighbor; and he loved him as himself. He told the lawyer to go and do likewise. Surely this was offensive to the lawyer, giving him the example of a good Samaritan for him to emulate! This is certainly a call for individuals to keep the second great commandment to other needy individuals whose path they cross.

But, according to grammatical-historical-theological hermeneutics, does this parable teach that the local church as the body of Christ is called to organize its efforts to relieve the distressed and oppressed of society and the world? No, it does not. We must be careful of making historical narratives the foundation for sound doctrine. Christ spoke to a particular lawyer (an unbeliever, by the way) about how to gain eternal life by loving your neighbor and keeping the Law. The lawyer, seeking to justify himself, asked, “and who is my neighbor?” So, Jesus answered a particular man who was not yet a believer, and told him that this lawyer’s neighbor was anyone he providentially encountered in distress and oppression, even of another race and religion. Jesus was convicting him of his violation of God’s Law and need of repentance. This is about a real man who needed to know who was his neighbor to fulfill the commandment “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Since the lawyer was not a church being instructed by Jesus, the only thing we can rightly apply from this parable is that God holds all men accountable to His Law to love the people they encounter, especially those in trial and have the ability to help. It certainly has implications for the racial differences between the Jew and the Samaritan, but it is not a doctrine of Social Justice to the organized church to seek out the oppressed and to take care of them and to fulfill their physical and social needs. Nor did Jesus call the Jewish lawyer to make reparations to all Samaritans because he hated them as a class. There is no such command or example of the church doing so in the NT. The parable is a call for the Christian to help others in need as their neighbors whom God has providentially brought into their path, regardless of race or creed. We must love our neighbor as we would wish to be loved.

For proponents of Social Justice to use the Scriptures sloppily for their “reader-response” applications makes no headway with those whom they are either trying to reach or to criticize. A recent article was a travesty of biblical interpretation. It misused Zacchaeus’ benevolent giving to the poor and biblical restitutions to particular individuals whom he cheated, to bring guilt upon “white Baptists” as a class to provide reparations to the black community (black Baptists?). This article unbiblically calls “white Baptists” to view modern-day apostles and prophets of social justice at the same level of authority to the biblical prophets and apostles. That is staggering and absurd. Scripture alone is the Word of God for our conscience today. Scripture alone is the authority for any kind of “good works” we are called to do. Scripture alone defines what is the mission of the church for today, not “reader-response” feelings which are not based upon biblical hermeneutics and applications.

What may seem to be a “logical consequence” of the Scripture you read may be so affected by one’s own feelings and tradition that you have moved yourself, and desire to move others, beyond the authority and sufficiency of Scripture alone. This error reaches the level of an unfettered subjective allegorical interpretation of Scripture. If our Social Justice brothers sincerely wish to engage other Bible believers with their applications of Scripture, they need to remind themselves that the Reformation’s “formal principle” was Sola Scriptura, the Bible’s final authority and sufficiency for all matters of faith and practice, not new revelations of new “prophets” of the “reader-response” mind!

I was there. I saw the zeal. I saw the consequences you can see today in liberal Presbyterianism, Methodism, Episcopalianism, and some Baptists. Now, again I see biblical language behind “reader-response” ideas pre-conditioned around one’s experiences and environment, casting aside the evangelical and reformed hermeneutics that brought us out of Dark Ages and into the light of biblical authority and sufficiency. Every time in history that professing Christians have messed with the final and unique authority and sufficiency of Scripture alone over the conscience of man, they have been led down paths like universal salvation, justification by faith plus works, state churches, authoritative ecclesiastical pronouncements over the local church’s authority, racial and ethnic hatred, divisions, slanders, gossip, self-righteous condescension, and new divisive categories of who is “an enemy of the gospel.”

When will some of the “new” theologians of the Social Justice movement ask themselves: “Is this really what the Scripture says in the text? … Is my logical extension within the bounds of Scripture Alone?” And when will they answer those who challenge their conclusions with the biblical hermeneutic and exegesis which was the unifying power of the Reformation and the foundation of historical Baptists?

I hope to see you in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 14-16, as we seek to examine and sort out the heart of the gospel and the mission of the church in these new (but really old) challenges.

SOURCE

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