Monday, August 15, 2011

For Those Who Ignore God's Word

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  Isa. 5:20

"But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea."  Mark 9:42

Be very careful how you try to sweep away what God plainly says. You will be held accountable. Be very careful how you handle God's word. You will be held accountable.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cafeteria Christianity

There is a movement in the SBC these days that seeks to divide the Bible into categories of belief. They say that we should agree on a few basic beliefs such as Jesus is the Son of God, the cross, the resurrection, the only way to be saved, but everything else in the Bible is tertiary (third in place, order, degree, or rank), subject to triage (sorting according to quality), or unnecessary. Brothers and sisters, this should not be so.

The Bible is very clear that everything God says is important. James 2:10 says, "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all." John 14:15 reads, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." The Bible never says one command is more important than another. Jesus said, "Keep My commandments (plural). He did not say "Believe in Me and everything else is up for grabs."

It's ironic that we spent 20 years battle for biblical integrity and now we have Southern Baptists who are attempting to  turn God's Word into a biblical cafeteria in which one must choose a main entree ( believe in Christ) but everything else is optional.

We must unashamedly stand for the truth of God's word. We must preach and teach all of God's Word. We must be faithful to the biblical text. All of God's Word is equally important. Do not be misled by those who would have you prioritize the word of God. They are deceivers who have crept in unnoticed. They must be opposed, exposed, and deposed.

Stand up for the truth of God's Word!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Bottom Line: Obey God's Word

There are a few topics that you can write about that you can be sure will generate a lot of discussion and readership in the blogs: tithing, women pastors, alcohol, and Calvinism. There are those who will try to persuade you that the Bible doesn't require you to tithe, that women pastors are acceptable to God, that it's okay to play with the dynamite of alcohol, and that you have no choice about your salvation. Don't believe them.

Anyone, and I mean anyone, who tells you that the Bible does not say what it plainly says, is a false prophet and is not to be believed. Do not be misled by those who teach you to disobey God's word. They are teachers who teach to itching ears, who will turn you away from the truth.

Here's the bottom line: obey God's Word.

"Evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 3:13-15

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Eliminating the Tithe: Jumping Through Hermeneutical Hoops to Dismiss Biblical Teaching

I received an email today from a member of my former church about tithing. My friend was surprised to learn of the debate about tithing and mentioned that he was studying the scriptures about it. I felt the need to explain my position on the matter so I wrote a response. The following is a copy of my response to my friend's question about tithing.

I appreciate your struggle with this issue of tithing. I have also spent some time working through this issue as well and have come to the conclusion that tithing is biblical and is still required by God.

I won't quote all of the scriptures in the Old Testament about tithing. There are many there to support tithing. The issue comes when look at in the New Testament. Some people seem to want to say that anything that is not commanded in the New Testament is no longer valid for the Christian. I don't think that is true. Jesus said, "If you love me, obey My commands" (John 14:15). Was He speaking only of the commands He gave while in the flesh or was He referring to the commands of God, of which He is God?

I do not agree that we should ignore the Old Testament and obey only New Testament commands. If so, then we would be throwing out more than half of the Bible! We would also be ignoring 2 Tim. 3:16-17 and Psalm 119:105 for the scriptures to which they attest are the Old Testament scriptures. The scriptures of which our Lord Jesus refers to in Matt. 5:18 are the Old Testament scriptures.

You said that John MacArthur says the New Testament never teaches tithing. That is not true. Jesus said, in Matt. 23:23, " Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters
of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone." Jesus did not tell them not to tithe. He said they should have done that (tithe), but not leave the others undone (justice, mercy, faith).

MacArthur and others, have taken out of context 2 Cor. 9:7. Paul was not speaking of the normal giving of a tithe each week. He was taking up a collection to help the church in Jerusalem, thus the context of verse 7 is in regard to a special offering, similar to our Lottie Moon or Annie Armstrong offering.

This idea of only adhering to the New Testament and ignoring the Old Testament is dangerous in my view. I believe, as do many others, that unless Old Testament commands were expressly addressed in the New Testament as no longer required, then they are still binding. Here are a few examples:

1. The dietary laws of the Old Testament are no longer valid. This issue
is pointedly addressed in a vision by Peter in Acts 10.
2. The ceremonial law was replaced by Jesus in John 4:23-24.
3. The sacrifical system was replaced by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross as explained in Hebrews 5-10.

The Old Testament commands of the moral law (10 commandments, commands dealing with sexual immorality, etc.) are still in effect as they are not expressly addressed in the New Testament. This also includes tithing. The only place that tithing is mentioned in the New Testament is in Matt. 23:23 and Jesus says "these you ought to have done." Why should the New Testament have to revisit and affirm every Old Testament command that was given? It would be unnescessary. The commands are still valid unless specifically replaced in the New Testament.

Those who say that unless the New Testament addresses a command, then it is no longer valid, are teaching dangerous practices. If that holds true, then we open ourselves up to all sorts of evil. Here are some examples.

1. Nowhere in the New Testament are we told not to make carved images. Does that mean it is now okay with God that we make images in opposition to the second of the Ten Commandments? (Exodus 20:4-6)

2. Nowhere in the New Testament are told not to take the Lord's name in vain. Does that mean it is now okay with God that we can take the Lord's name in vain in opposition to the third of the Ten Commandments? (Exodus 20:7)

3. Nowhere in the New Testament are we told that life is precious and should not be taken away through abortion or murder. Does that mean that abortion is okay with God? (Gen. 9:5-6; Psalm 139)

I pray that you can see the absurdity of ignoring the teachings of the Old Testament. A good interpretive principle is that we interpret the Old Testament through the light of the New Testament. That does not mean that unless the biblical principles of the Old Testament are repeated in the New Testament then they are no longer valid for the Christian.

As far as tithing is concerned, I believe that 10% is the minimum that one should give. Surely, we should give everything we have because it belongs to the Lord, but a minimum is a tithe (10%).

Have a great day!

Les Puryear
Pastor, Cornerstone Community Church

Monday, August 8, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011