What is the greatest threat to the Church?

“The lies that capture us as Christians usually seem to fit well within the borders of our Christianity. Perhaps postmodernism and sexual immorality are not the greatest threats to the church of Christ in our day. Perhaps we are in more danger from the subtle lies that flow from subtle shifts in how we understand the gospel. We have not forsaken the faith, but we may have redefined it in ways that are fundamentally different from the gospel laid out in Scripture.” (How People Change by Timothy S. Lane, Paul David Tripp).

Dead Fish Religion – Spurgeon

This from a sermon preached by C.H. Spurgeon from Mark 12:28-32.
There are others, too, who delight to spend time in contemplation. They believe in Jesus, in the Father, in the Spirit, they believe that there is but one God, and that these three are one. It is their delight to turn over the pages of revelation, as well as the pages of history. They contemplate God; he is to them a matter of curious study; they like to meditate upon him; the doctrines of his Word they could hear all day long. And they are very sound in the faith, extremely orthodox and very knowing, they can fight about doctrines, they can dispute about the things of God with all their hearts; but alas! their religion is like a dead fish, cold and stiff, and when you take it into your hand you say there is no life in it; their souls were never stirred with it; their hearts were never through into it. They can contemplate, but they cannot love; they can meditate, but they cannot commune; they can think of God, but they can never throw up their souls to him, and clasp him in the arms of their affections. Ah, to you, cold blooded thinkers — to you, this text speaks. Oh! thou that canst contemplate, but cannot love, — ”Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.”

What do we fight for?

Phil Johnson just posted an article titled Socinianism in Lab Coats. I think it is a perfect example of the point of Kevin Bauder’s articles  regarding conservative evangelicals. Phil is taking people to task, with some fury,  because they deny the Bible; not simply because they disagree with him. This is the fighting spirit that a true fundamentalist needs to have. By way of contrast, as Bauder notes, the problem with the movement called fundamentalism  is that it is  too busy arguing over dress standards and the best Bible translations to worry about real doctrine. To quote Bauder exactly:

Frankly, conservative evangelicals do seem to take doctrine more seriously today than many Fundamentalists do. Not that the Fundamentalists are unwilling to discuss doctrine! Many of them are at this moment arguing for a “biblical” doctrine of the perfect preservation of the King James Version or of the Textus Receptus. Others have speculated that the work of redemption was not completed until Christ carried His material blood into the heavenly tabernacle, there to abide as a perpetual memorial before the presence of the Father. Still others have engaged in shrill campaigns of anti-Calvinism while defending theories of human nature that almost beg to be described as Pelagian. Such Fundamentalists are too numerous to be dismissed as aberrations—indeed, their tribe seems to be increasing.

Phil’s article is great but the point that it drives home is much greater. We need to fight when people deny the fundamentals. We will disagree and may limit fellowship over other things but that is a discussion not a war.

The Everlasting Righteousness by Horatius Bonar

“It is not by doubting but by believing that we are saved; it is not by doubting but by believing that we overcome. Faith leads us first of all to Abel’s “more excellent sacrifice” (Hebrews 11:4). By faith we quit Ur and Egypt and Babylon, setting our face to the eternal city (Hebrews 11:16). By faith we offer up our Isaacs, and worship “leaning on the top of our staffs,” and “give commandment concerning our bones.” By faith we choose affliction with the people of God, and despise Egypt’s treasures. By faith we keep our passover; pass through the Red Sea; overthrow Jerichos; subdue kingdoms; work righteousness; stop the mouth of lions; quench the violence of fire; turn to flight the armies of the aliens, and refuse deliverance in the day of trial, that we may obtain a better resurrection (Hebrews 11:35). It is “believing” from first to last. We begin, we go on, we end in faith. The faith that justifies is the faith that overcomes (1 John 5:4). By faith we obtain the “good report” both with God and man. By faith we receive forgiveness; by faith we live; by faith we work, and endure, and suffer; by faith we win the crown, a crown of righteousness, which shall be ours in the day of the appearing of Him who is OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS”

The Christian Ministry by Charles Bridges

I am reading an excellent book by Charles Bridges titled “The Christian ministry: with an inquiry into the causes of its inefficiency.” This is the best book that I have read in a good while. It is very practical but not in a church growth kind of way. I am only about a quarter of the way through the book, but it is one that I think deserves more than a single pass. Here is an excerpt:

And of all kinds of ignorance, learned ignorance is undoubtedly the most contemptible. Indeed nothing can be more foreboding to the church than the extensive influence of such a paralyzing and unevangelical system. The true glory and dignity of the pulpit would sink into a stage exhibition of self- display. ‘ The sword of the Spirit’ (to use a terse illustration of an old Divine) would be ‘put into a velvet scabbard, that it cannot prick and wound the heart.’

I am posting other excerpts directly from my Kindle onto my twitter account. If you are interested in the gems follow them there. The kindle version of this book is only 99-cents at Amazon. The paperback is $31.94. Even if you don’t own a Kindle you can use their free Kindle reader for PC or other mobile devices. This would not be a bad way of getting cheaper books if you don’t mind reading on your PC. It is also available from Google books for free and you can read it as PDF via Adobe Acrobat. Enjoy!!