Thursday, May 26, 2011

Baptist Sacramentalism

From a Facebook post by my friend, Paul Wayne Foltz
by Paul Wayne Foltz on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 6:12pm
    In recent months I've become cautious to make sweeping statements about the times in which we now live in comparison to the “good old days”. I believe every generation of Christians has spiritual battles to fight when it comes to defending the truth given by God in His holy word. It's easy to point back to yesteryear because its possible they weren't fighting the same battle we are so their grass looks greener. With further study of history we find they were fighting battles themselves; just not on the area of lawn we examined. Regardless, we must fight for truth in our own generation where we see it attacked.
    Baptists have always denied that works contribute to the justification of man before God. Man's justification is only by grace through faith in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone, taught by the authority of Scripture alone. This radical belief in dependence upon Christ to be our propitiation and righteousness before God brought about a violent reaction from the Romish dictatorship. They taught that acceptance into the Roman “church” by adhering to a set of sacraments brought about a progressive justification.
    I posit that we Baptists have partially embraced this sacramental system that our forefathers worked so hard to destroy. We have invented works that produce a false assurance of salvation to many who biblically should have none. These works are proclaimed by many who sincerely believe in salvation by grace through faith alone! These works do nothing to inhibit God's elect from coming to faith but certainly do assure people of salvation either before they have it or although they never have it. It has filled the churches with unbelievers and therefore populated hell with church goers. We should desist from using these methods purely because they are not scriptural whether or not there is any “practical” reasons we can think of to persuade us to stop. I will address 3 observed works of the modern day that we have placed in the path of sinners who should only hear the pure gospel exhortation.

    “Ask Jesus into your heart.”
    This commonly used phrase is touted as gospel by many evangelists. This phrase is found nowhere in scripture. Not only is the phrase found nowhere, but nothing in concept is found like it in scripture in reference to the call of the gospel. It is a work! To tell someone that they can be saved by asking Jesus to come into their heart is allowing them to think that the action of asking Him to come in will make it happen. Scripture NEVER says this. A person can ask, beg and plead for Jesus to come into their heart and that will get them nowhere.

    “Praying a prayer”
    This is very similar to asking Jesus into your heart though it may not use that phrase at all. Many times the sinner is asked to repeat a prayer after someone leading them. Again, this is a work. The sinner is convinced that the action of repeating the prayer will save them; it won't. Many times the words of the prayer may even be correct. The one leading it may say the right things that if believed would mean true salvation, but the fact is the person repeating the prayer is placing confidence in the prayer to save them.

    “Walking down the Aisle”
    Many are told to walk down to the front during an invitation time to receive Christ. This, like the other two already discussed is a work. The sinner believes God will save them if they do what the pastor says and go down. This action will cause God to act on their behalf. No action causes God to save; salvation is by grace through faith alone. I am not saying that an invitation is always bad. It can be used to help those who want counsel. It can be useful for those who want to join the local church or need to be baptized. I'm saying it is not a biblical way to salvation and we must stop confusing people into thinking it has anything to do with whether they are saved by God's grace or not.

    All of these mentioned are works that give people false confidence in salvation. The scripture is clear that repentance and faith is the only way a person is to be saved. That means a person is saved when they place their trust and dependence on Christ alone to make them right with God. Christ lived the perfect life in obedience to God's holy law. He took our iniquities upon Himself and suffered under God's wrath. We deserved to be cursed and yet He was cursed in our place. When we realize our wickedness and see that we deserve to be under God's judgment we can only be saved by depending on Christ. He paid for sins and He lived a holy life. His righteousness is placed to our account and my sin was placed to His. We must believe, trust and depend on Him alone! It is not an invitation, prayer, or walk down an isle that can save me but only a desperate dependence on Christ alone that is evidenced by an open confession and repentance. Soli Deo Gloria.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Things remembered: Lessons on Gossip, Part II

    Now I realize this is from the Gospel of Matthew, but I think this transcends out dispensational boundaries, for it addresses the heart - something relevant at all places and times. This is what Jesus had to say in Matthew 12:
 34 "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."

    If we were to consider that every word were to be weighed at the Judgement Seat... maybe we would be a little more careful with them!
     We need to use good judgement when we speak, for that is the lesson of Proverbs 26 - 
  20 "Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
  21 As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle   strife.
  22 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly."
    Once again, the analogy is "fire"; do you want to be responsible for the destruction or delay of someone's spiritual growth? Of course not!
    And there is a further consequence: the destruction of friendships. Have you ever lost a close friend because of something that happened, even if it was something beyond your control? Didn't you feel awful about it? 
    Now, how about if it was something you could control? That is the lesson of Proverbs 16:
   27 "An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.
   28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends."
    So we see that it destroys friendships and identifies the speaker as "ungodly". Is that what you want to be known for? I certainly hope not!

    Lastly, there is a great sin in receiving gossip. If you don't receive it, it can't go any further through you, and you may even find a way to stop the "damage" right there and then. 
   Here's how it's done: when someone brings an accusation or rumor about another, stop them before they can tell you what it is, and tell that person, "Let's resolve this right now. We'll call (that person) right now, and set up a meeting so we can get this sorted out. That way, we'll get the whole story - both sides - and ensure that no one has any problems or hard feelings with the other".

    It won't be long before the gossips and talebearers (they do tend to "travel' in groups!) will learn to avoid you - and maybe learn a lesson along the way! 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Things remembered: Lessons on Gossip, Part I

    I was reminiscing with friends the other day, remembering some of the lessons that I learned... this one was on gossip. It was a young church, and the (young) pastor was determined to at least try to prevent something he saw as destructive in some of the churches he had attended or visited. This was how it was taught to the men of the church, as best I can recall...

    Gossip will tear a church apart. Nothing we do will disrupt the unity of the church more than gossip. The scriptures are clear on this - James 3:5-12 tells us this:
5Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things.  Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
 6And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
 7For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:
 8But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
 9Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
 10Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
 11Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
 12Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh."

    So we see the importance of keeping the tongue in check and under control. And as regards the church - and the "church family" - it becomes even more important, for the church is normally the center of the believer's spiritual growth and ministry. So we need to be careful how we treat the folks we deal with, for we all have a part in each other's spiritual growth and success. 
    Consider why you think you need to talk about someone else. Are you trying to help? Or are you trying to make yourself look better to the people around you? You know the Scripture says that is unwise
    - 2 Corinthians 10:12 - "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise."

There is no profit whatever in comparing ourselves with others. We do not all have the same circumstances, or the same spiritual calling, or the same exact walk with God. And even if we did, we would still be passing judgement on “another man’s servant” – Romans 14:4 –
 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.”

   That is a good thing to avoid!

    More to come…



Saturday, May 7, 2011

Pastor or Preacher?

    I came across this article by Marlin Dollar, saw the great truth within, and thought it would be appropriate to share. We are, beyond a shadow of doubt, living in perilous times, particularly where our SOULS are concerned! Enjoy!


Marlin Dollar

I know a lot of Preachers who are very good in their teaching and preaching. I mean when you sit and listen to their messages, you learn things and it helps you draw closer to God because they lead you in Scripture to a closer walk in the Spirit with God. ----BUT---- just because a Preacher knows how to preach and teach and bless your heart in the word, that does not automatically mean he will make a good Pastor. A good Pastor (Shepherd) will be able to lead the WHOLE FLOCK and not just the ones who cater to his wants and needs. A good Pastor (Shepherd) sometimes will have to leave the ninety and nine and go after that sheep who has lost his way and maybe got caught in the thorns and brush of Satan. A good Pastor will be able to manage the flock, feed the flock and lead them to rest beside the still waters. A good Pastor will go after that sheep who has fallen by the wayside and when he finds him he will put him on his shoulder and carry him back to the fold. At the same time he will nourish the weak until they are able to once again be active among the flock and won't wander off as easily as before. A good Pastor when he is tired will rest with one eye opened in order the watch over the flock while they sleep and fight the wolves when they come to destroy and kill. Preachers and Evangelists will come for a few messages and will bless the congregation and encourage them but when he leaves it is the Shepherd's (Pastor's) job to hold the flock together and see that they are fed, watered and cared for as God's word teaches. I love Preachers and I love Pastor's. There is a big difference between the two. I hope your Pastor is really a Pastor and not just a Preacher. I hope you Preachers are really a Preacher and not trying to be a Pastor.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Service, Pt.3

  As a son: doing for God, motivated by love for God. There is balance in this individual's life; they understand that we do not prosper spiritually when we are either ahead of, or lagging behind, the Spirit of God. They can accomplish God's purposes in HIS time, without the (artificial) sense of panic that accompanies their more "driven" counterparts; they live in the great security of their true adoption by the Father, and their standing is not in question. They do not punish themselves, or allow others to do so; this comes from having true fellowship with God, not "pride of of place"; therefore, true humility may be demonstrated. And the confidence they feel in God's provision for their souls can be seen by others. If they have a fear, it is a fear of disappointing the God they know so dearly loves and cares for them.  They have learned the truth of, "If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." (I Corinthians 11:31)
   And though we are warned not to use our "liberty" as a cloak for sin (Galatians 5:13), there is great  security in knowing that our truly adoptive Father will "...never leave thee nor forsake..." us (Hebrews 13:5).

Monday, January 10, 2011

Service... Pt.2

 There are three ways we see ourselves in service to God, and here we will look at one (and in my opinion, the least satisfying) way some are living the Christian life...
 1) As a slave: the primary motive is fear. The primary hope of such a believer is to escape punishment; as such, he never feels the loving embrace of his heavenly Father, only the danger of impending judgement if he fails to "perform".  These folks are more likely to fall prey to cults or "cult-like" churches. (I would note that those who come from families characterized as "dysfunctional" are more apt to fall into this; even as believers, they seek the approval denied to them by their earthly families. The world would say they suffer from low "self-esteem", a term I will not use, but rather the more proper term "self-image": seeing ourselves as "accepted in the beloved").  

Thursday, January 6, 2011


   Service - whether to God or man, has always been a "hallmark" of Christianity. Jesus, the Son of God and God the son, the savior we adore, and who is our example, lived his life in service to God the Father. We who are called by his name should not be surprised, then, by the words of Romans 12:1: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service".
   Indeed, there will be a judgement for those things, according to II Corinthians 5:10 - "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."    (Note: bear in mind that this judgement is for the reward of the believer, not for one's salvation; the judgement for sin was borne by Jesus for us.)   That this judgement speaks to reward alone is made manifest in I Corinthians 3:13-15:   "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.    If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.    If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."  
   By and large, Baptists have held to this position – “once saved, always saved”;  though as Pastor Danny Farley has been known to comment, “heavy on the ‘once saved’”!
   Next: the manner in which we serve.