Is Our Unbelief > God at Work in Us? – Part 1


Recently, a so-called gospel preacher came through our sleepy little town and stirred up a local congregation with rousing oratory, keen insight and splash of redneck charm.  He’s a frequent guest to this church and I had been exposed to his teachings before via recorded messages.  This happened at a time when God had graciously granted me new eyes of discernment.  They were still adjusting to the light of truth in the aftermath of  prolonged confinement in the bowels of the Word-Faith and Charismatic movement.  I started making notes on elements of his message that didn’t appear to line up with scripture, but quickly abandoned the project.  At the time I felt I was being too critical, so I backed down.

Well, fast forward a few years later.  A close friend who attends the aforementioned church informed me that ‘Prosperity Pete’ was coming to town.  He let me know in no uncertain terms that he would not be attending those services.  When I asked why, he filled me in on some of his past teachings.  This jogged my memory and I agreed that his teachings should be avoided like the plague.  Neither of us attended his services.  Unfortunately, curiosity bested me one afternoon and I visited that church’s website.  They had posted Pete’s message online.

I made the tragic mistake of listening to it. Continue reading

When Sheep Attack!


False teachers are a reality of the Christian church.  Jesus Christ himself warned of their coming, as did the apostles throughout the New Testament epistles.  False teachers and prophets have plagued the church since its inception.  Scripture shows us that they will endure until the end of this present world system.  False teachers are not simply a New Testament phenomenon.  They plagued Israel  throughout her troubled history.

The fact remains, false teachers walk among us, very likely within our own congregations.  False professors, teachers and prophets will leach themselves to Christ’s visible church until the day he comes to gather his elect from every corner of the earth.  If this is incontrovertible truth why do so many Christians pretend all is well in Zion?  Why do we refuse to discern every message purporting to be gospel truth to determine if it is of God or not?  Why are we not acting as good Bereans, searching out the scriptures to discern if that charismatic guest teacher flying through town this week is injecting poison into our spirits?  Why do we not question his doctrine and theology before we ever grant him audience to our congregations?  No, he usually gets a free pass, because he’s so likable and popular. Next thing you know he grabs a thick wad of greenbacks he just collected for a sermon well preached and bails for the next church down the road gullible enough to swing open its gates to the sheepfold. Continue reading

Across Christendom – 5/20/10


Here’s another dish of tasty (but occasionally bitter) tidbits from around the Christian world.  Enjoy!

Is the emphasis on numerical church growth putting too much pressure on pastors?

Al Mohler takes a look at the schism rocking the Anglican Communion

Reserve your room for the coming Armageddon!

Powerful quote from AW Pink with added 21st century techno-flair.

Kristine over at Justified interacts with Tim Keller’s teachings from Counterfeit Gods about spiritual adultery.  Her prayer at the end of the article is worth printing out and tucking away in your bible for frequent reference in your prayer life.  I did.

I’m not certain if this whole piece from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is satire or if the ministers interviewed are for real.  I dearly hope it’s all a joke.

Benny Hinn is grooming his heir apparent – 19-yr-old Manasseh Jordon.  He’s got the anointing! Touch not God’s anointed!

Speaking of the Word-Faith movement – here’s an excellent visual demonstration of its theology in practice:

HT: Slaughter of the Sheep

I’m Not Good Enough, I’m Not Smart Enough and Dog-Gone-it God Just Doesn’t Like Me


My carefully constructed religious edifice came under fierce attack some five years ago and suffered irreparable damage.  The alarms of imminent collapse began reverberating through the dark corridors of my failing heart.  Wave upon wave of relentless missile attacks crumbled the once stalwart marble pillars of my faith.  The incoming warheads contained a volatile combination of sin and self-righteousness. Structural failure was inevitable.  My religion had failed me; no longer could it support my overwhelming sense of failure.  It could no longer assuage my feelings of guilt.  I attempted to prop up the sagging ceiling with support columns of modern evangelical platitudes and aphorisms.  They turned out to be hollow inside and buckled beneath the weight.  The brick and mortar I had so meticulously hand-crafted disintegrated all around me in a resounding crash.

Exposed to the harsh elements of the wilderness I couldn’t help but gaze at the majesty of the heavens and contemplate my plight.  Late one night in the midst of  an intense spiritual malaise I raised my eyes to the stars and cried out in desperation, “Father help me, I’ve lost my way.  I don’t measure up to your righteousness and I never will.  I don’t know what to believe anymore.  Please reveal to me the truth.”  If ever I’ve been convinced that God hears and answers my prayers, that night crystallized the reality of it once and for all.

Yes, God heard me.  I’m sure he had been waiting for this cry for deliverance for quite some time.  After all, God is in the deliverance business.  Salvation itself is defined as deliverance or rescue from danger.  I have no doubt that through his sovereign power he had brought me to this fiery trial, carried me through the flames and now was in the process of  treating all my grievous burns. Continue reading

Across Christendom


I’ve decided to introduce a new category here at A Peculiar Pilgrim on a whim, similar in vein to my ‘Random Ramblings’.  While RR is a stream of consciousness about various goings-on in the world and in my personal life,  ‘Across Christendom’ will simply be a collection of links to interesting and relevant articles, posts and quotes from across  the Christian sphere  that have captivated my ADD mind for more than the few milliseconds I usually spend on any given web page. Here are this week’s offerings:

Tim Challies invites you to take a quiz to determine if selected quotes come from Joel Osteen or a fortune cookie.  Me?  I scored 7 out of 12.  I actually thought Joel said them all at one time or another…

A great quote from Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones about the wisdom (or lack thereof) of the commonly used practice of altar calls.

From the same blog, Lorraine Boettner explains the Gospel.

My good friend and theological cohort over at Spice Mines of Kessel has published the Revised Common Version of the bible. As the title suggests, it is a revised edition of Noah Webster’s 1833 Common Version, with updated words and phrases for easy readability.  A free electronic version is available here. He’s worked hard on this project for the past couple of years, going through FIVE revisions!  Check it out.

Albert Mohler examines a recent column by Washington Post journalist Kathleen Parker and her obvious disdain of the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation.

I’ll try and do one of these late every week, but I know better than to make any promises.  I’m sure you wouldn’t believe me if I did anyway…

Until next time.

One Month to Live


Note: Don’t be alarmed.  The post title refers to a book, not my current state of health.

Last month I put out a post asking for book recommendations for a summer reading program one of our church deacons is starting up this summer to encourage reading in our congregation.  Of course, we visualize taking up sound biblical materials.  My leanings are towards theological works that have been well established – Christian classics.  I submitted a fine list of books that aren’t heavy, dry or technical, written by a wide variety of well respected (and theologically orthodox) writers. Well, in a nutshell, my picks were shot down before they could take flight.  My deacon friend doesn’t believe most  people (that is, believing Christians in the church) will be interested in theology!  This boggles my mind, frankly.  I consider myself an ordinary fellow of average intellect.  Yet, I have an unquenchable yearning for the knowledge of God.  This comes from God’s call upon me to become his own possession, a beloved child in his vast, ever-expanding family.  As such, I desire to know this God who has rescued me and washed me clean of all my sins. The doctrine of the bible is for the simple and unlearned as well as for the towering intellectual.  Theology is not at heart a purely academic pursuit.  It is the pursuit of God Almighty.   I have a hard time grasping the concept that true believers don’t desire the same things.  My yearning may be at a high level because of the calling on my life to teach eternal truths, but surely every believer wants to intimately know the God who saved them to some degree.  Every Christian most certainly needs this knowledge to grow in the grace whereby they are saved.

Of course, I know where the deacon’s line of thinking stems from.  It has flooded modern evangelicalism for decades now.  The church growth\seeker-sensitive movement thrives on a non-doctrinal paradigm of Christian pragmatism. Don’t give church-goers what they need, give them what they want – in liberal doses.  This pragmatic approach may attract multitudes of church-goers but does little to produce true disciples of Christ.  So the wants of a typical church filled with ‘seekers’ (those who haven’t made any kind of commitment to Christ but are interested) do not match those in the church who are truly Christians.  The focus of seeker-sensitive churches sits squarely upon the seeker and his carnal wants instead of the classic doctrines of the bible: teachings such as man’s sinfulness, God’s wrathful judgment against sin, the means of salvation and sanctification he has provided through Christ’s atoning work on the cross and the heart-changing ministry of the Holy Spirit.  I suppose congregants who have no zest for doctrine and theology are considered ‘babes in Christ’ who need to be nurtured in a pastel colored nursery by coochie-coochie-coo care-takers that speak condescendingly about moral platitudes from the life of King David. Unfortunately, seeker-sensitive churches often have no plans to move toddlers out of the nursery.  They keep them content with toys and entertainment. Continue reading

The Ugly Truth About Mirrors


This morning I was in prayer over the aversion some people have about attending church.  Church Dodger Doug hates the thought of coming to hear a sermon.  Strangely, he may be OK with an occasional visit to some churches in town, but not others. Why is this so?

An image immediately formed in my mind of Dodger Doug warily entering the front door, taking a seat in the very back pew.  He looks up to the pulpit and instead of gazing at a smiling preacher he sees a tall body-length mirror reflecting a high resolution image of himself.  The reflection clearly displays every facial blemish, skin splotch and protruding fat roll.  Dodger Doug is confronted with the ugly truth that he is not the person he thought he was in his imagination.  Appalled at the loathsome image Doug draws back and swears off the church, pointing to the other blemished congregants and their inherent hideousness as an excuse for not coming back.  But the hard truth is he couldn’t bear to look at himself as he truly is.

Church Dodger Doug may find refuge in another church where the mirrors resemble those you find in a carnival fun house.    The contorted images may entertain him but he never sees himself as he truly is.

Any place where the whole counsel of God is expounded from the pulpit, the preached word acts as a mirror that tears down all guises and shows us just how deeply the image of God in us has been damaged by the raging disease of sin.  Our original honor, dignity and glory has been ravaged by the boils and infected wounds of our own self-inflicted transgressions. Continue reading