Archive for November, 2007

A Brief Commentary on the False gospel of Prosperity

November 27, 2007

Recently, someone implied that I, and others like me, that are opposed to what is known as the “prosperity gospel”, paint the Christian as someone that “should be broke, depressed and tore up”.  Of course, I did not intend any such thing. 

What my protestor missed is that the life of faith is not about whether one “should be broke, depressed and tore up”, but rather it is about contentmentregardless of riches or poverty. Contentment can not be bought. As the Apostle Paul said, “I have learned that whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

Let’s make no bones about it – the prosperity gospel crowd preaches a false gospel wherein money satisfies, not Christ. The Bible says “they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition”, and again “he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent”.

As John Piper says, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”. The ultimate goal of every true believer is to find our peace in Him, and not in things. We must name fasle prophets and denounce their lies. Men and women that preach prosperity instead of repentance from sin and faith toward Christ preach a false gospel.  We should be greatly concerned about the damage the lying prophets are doing to the name of Christ and to the souls of their followers.

Edited in on 27 NOV 07:  The dialog can be found here:  http://acnn.wordpress.com/2007/11/09/mega-church%e2%80%99s-wealth/

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A.W. Pink: How may I know I have understood the gospel and that I am elect?

November 10, 2007

From time to time I will be posting some of the great quotes from some of the great Bible teachers.  And the most quotable of quotable men is Arthur Walkington Pink.  Here he tells us some things about knowing and having assurance that one is “elect”.  This quote is a perfect capstone to my previous articles “How Does God Save People?” and How Can A Person Know If They Are Saved?“.

“How may I know I have understood the gospel and that I am elect? “First, by the Word of God having come in divine power to the soul so that my self-complacency is shattered and my self-righteousness is renounced. Second, by the Holy Spirit convicting me of my woeful, guilty, and lost condition. Third, by having had revealed to me the suitability and sufficiency of Christ to meet my desperate case and by a divinely given faith causing me to lay hold of and rest upon Him as my only hope. Fourth, by the marks of the new nature within me – a love for God; an appetite for spiritual things; a longing for holiness; a seeking after conformity to Christ. Fifth, by the resistance which the new nature makes to the old, causing me to hate sin and loathe myself for it. Sixth, by avoiding everything which is condemned by God’s Word and by sincerely repenting of and humbly confessing every transgression. Failure at this point will surely bring a dark cloud over our assurance causing the Spirit to withhold His witness. Seventh, by giving all diligence to cultivate the Christian graces and using all diligence to this end. Thus the knowledge of election is cumulative.” – A .W. Pink

John 1:2-5 Commentary

November 1, 2007

John 1:2  The same was in the beginning with God. 

John reiterates here, showing the importance of the doctrine of the Deity of Christ.  John already told us that the Word was “with God”, “in the beginning”, but it seems that John is ensuring that we understand without equivocation what he was expressing in the first verse.  The same – that is, the Logos, Christ, was in the beginning. 

And to this he adds:

John 1:3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Christ was and is the generative and constant sustaining power of God.  The writer of Hebrews concurs when he says that Christ upholds “all things by the word of his power”

Now let us not miss the significance of this truth!  Most people assume that God, as creator, just built the world like a carpenter might build a boat or an engineer might build a machine, and then set the machine in motion, and just let it go along its merry way, to drift wheresoever it may wonder.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  God is the active agent in all events.  The sun does not rise unless he “upholds it with the power of his word”.  The moon does not shine, the wind does not blow, the rain does not fall, a man does not take a breath nor blink an eye, but what God has ordered it, ordained it, predestined it, and caused it through the word of His power.

And the great truth that John reveals to us here is that Christ is the “generator”, having the divine generative powers of the Godhead.  Man flatters himself with the thought that he (man) has the ability to generate – to cause, to author, to design, to control – both his own destiny and the destiny of the world.  Yet the scripture tells us that God alone has these abilities.  Oh, don’t get me wrong – a human being might exercise certain creative abilities in designing and crafting a multitude of material inventions, but we must remember that nothing of the material world exists outside of God’s decree, purpose, and will.

Not only that, but mankind’s creative abilities cease at the material level, for, as we next discover:

 John 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

Here we have a definition of “life” – in this case, it is “the light of men.”  We shall see later that there is a light that “lighteth every man that cometh into the world”.  It is easy for us to see that this life cannot be the “eternal” life, which is gotten by believing in Christ, because it is obvious that not all of mankind believes in Him.  But what “light” does “every man” posses?  We can understand this “light” to be an attribute of man that renders him different from the beasts – an attribute that reflects that we are made in the God’s image.  That attribute is the possession of a rational mind and a moral conscience.  Every man, excepting only for the severely mentally handicapped, has the ability to think rationally and behave morally.  However, the problem arises in the fallen nature, where man’s darkened heart, in some cases, has warped rationality and morality into a monstrously deformed remnant of its former self.  This is why John tells us:

John 1:5  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

The word “comprehended” here means “perceived”.  Therefore, due to man’s spiritual darkening through sin, he can no longer perceive the light. (“their foolish hearts were darkened” Rom 1:21)

Some people presume that because all of mankind received this “light”, that man is naturally born into a state of righteousness before God.  Such was the error of the great heretick Pelagius.   But we shall discovered in short order that just the opposite is true – man is born under his father Adam’s condemnation and must be “born again” to see the kingdom of God.  We shall discuss this phenomenon with some more detail when we comment on verse 9.