My Musings

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Beating of Obadiah Holmes – Tale of an Unsung Baptist Hero (Part 2)

We know that after Christ conquered death and rose from the grave he ascended into heaven where he sits at the right hand of God. Scripture is clear that he is not standing, but that his is sitting.

“…where Christ SITTETH on the right hand of God.” ~ Colossians 3:1

“…when he had by himself purged our sins, SAT down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” ~ Hebrews 1:3

However, there is one reference to Christ standing up at God’s right hand.

“But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus STANDING on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man STANDING on the right hand of God.” ~ Acts 7:55-56

As Stephen was being martyred, he looks up toward heaven and sees Christ, not sitting, but standing at the right hand of God. In one passage we see Christ sitting, and in another passage we see Christ standing. These scriptures are not in contradiction to one another. I believe that as Christ is sitting at God’s right hand he is looking down at us and watching us as a father would watch his children. When Christ sees one of his children doing something out of the ordinary (like willingly laying down his life for the sake of Christ) he stands up and begins to both cheer for him and to give him more grace.

When Stephen was being martyred for his faith in Christ, God began to use his death to create the momentum for a great Christian movement. In that crowd, witnessing the Spirit of God on this devoted martyr was a man named Saul who would eventually change his name to Paul, write nearly half of the New Testament, and start churches all over Europe and Asia.

Christ stood up, cheered for his devoted saint and decided to bless Stephen’s act of devotion beyond human measure! When this man, Obadiah Holmes, decided to suffer for Jesus, Christ must have looked down from heaven and decided to use him in much the same way as he used Stephen.

Here are some of the effects of the beating of Obadiah Holmes in Boston. John Spur, an on looker, gave testimony that being moved by the powerful faith of Holmes, he was born again during the beating of Obadiah Holmes! Amazing!

John Clarke, Holmes’ pastor, proficient in law, medicine, and theology, was moved by the beating of Holmes to write a book entitled, “Ill News From New England.” In this book, Clarke presented his philosophy of government and pushed for government not to interfere with man’s conscience relating to religious matters. These writing, in part, influenced the freedoms in America that were just around the corner.

On Feb. 10, 1702, Valentine Whiteman married Susanna Holmes, the grand-daughter of Obadiah Holmes and great-grand-daughter of Roger Williams who was called the apostle of freedom of conscience. In 1712, Whiteman moved to New York and started the first Baptist Church in New York City. Holmes had a godly offspring.

It is amazing how God used this man in early American history. Many of the early Baptist churches can trace themselves directly back to the influence of Obadiah Holmes and his godly posterity.

Whiteman won Wade Palmer who in turn won Schobel Stearns to Christ. Schobel Stearns probably deserves more credit than anyone else for the explosion of the gospel across the southern states. Schobel Stearns is credited by many as the father of the Bible belt. It is said that over 5,000 churches are direct descendants from Schobel Stearns.

That is a revival! Thousands of churches were started all across the south, transforming the entire political, social, and religious landscapes. Thousands and thousands were saved and baptized as a result.

I believe that Christ stood up that day as he looked down at Obadiah Holmes as he was stripped to the waist and beaten nearly to death. As that blood ran down and filled his shoes and pooled at his feet, I believe I can almost hear the savior shouting up in heaven, “I’m going to bless you, Obadiah! Don’t you give up! I’m going to bless you and your descendants beyond your wildest dreams! Obadiah, you won’t even know the extent that I’m going to bless you!”

I wonder if we would stand for the Lord Jesus Christ and just give our lives over to Him, how many lives we could influence for His glory! How many people would come into contact with us and their lives be so stirred because they saw somebody devoted and on fire for God!? How many of God’s blessings would he begin to pour over our lives and our nation for our sakes like he did for Obadiah?

Obadiah Holmes – An Unsung Baptist Hero

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Beating of Obadiah Holmes - Tale of an Unsung Baptist Hero (Part 1)

Obadiah Holmes was born in Reddish, England in the year 1606. The king at this time was King James I, the man responsible for the translation of the King James Version of the Bible. Obadiah grew up working on his father’s farm in an England that mostly practiced Puritanism under the reign of King James I.

In his teen years, Obadiah watched England return to rigid Anglicanism as Charles I took the crown. Charles I made many changes to the political and religious landscape of England, and it was at this time that major religious persecution began to take place. In 1633, the Church of England began burning all Baptists, Puritans, and dissenters. They began beating and imprisoning people by the dozens. It is amazing that Puritans were burned alongside their Baptist persecuted brethren, and then they came to America and began to persecute them as well! These activities resulted in many people sailing to America in search of religious freedom. These were mostly puritans and a small group of Baptists.

Holmes was married to Catherine Hyde in 1630. He was saved in 1638 and set sail for New England that same year. After reaching the colonies, Holmes began to resist the false teaching of the standing order of the Puritan Church. He was plagued with many questions about their church: Was Baptism legitimate for infants? What if you were baptized and not a believer?

His faith in God and his knowledge of the Bible began to grow very much at this time, but it also began to cause some major problems and conflicts with the Puritans around him. Obadiah Holmes was willing to stand up against the standing Church.

Finally, without any prior training, Obadiah started a separate Congregational Church. This act shook up the standing order and Holmes was entirely ostracized. Later in 1649, John Clarke came to town. Under Clarke’s preaching, Holmes received assurance of his salvation, realized that he was a Baptist and was baptized by Clarke. Obadiah Holmes and John Clarke were now marked men by the standing order.

The persecution here in the United States, although many do not know this, was just as vehement and cruel as it was in England against those who did not conform to the religious guides of the standing order church. Our religious freedoms today have been heavily influenced by the persecuted Baptists of yester-year.

In 1651, the Newport Baptist Church received a request from a man eighty miles away named William Witter for a pastoral visit. Newport Baptist Church was the only Baptist church on American soil at this time. Obadiah Holmes was a member in good standing under the pastoral leadership of Pastor John Clarke. Witter was up in years and blind and was unable to attend church as he would like so he requested a pastoral visit from the only Baptist Church in America.

So upon request, John Clarke, Obadiah Holmes and one other layman set out to visit Witter. These three men set out to make an eighty mile pastoral visit. After several days of travel, they arrived at Witter’s home. They spent the night with Witter and planned to have church services with him on the following day, the Lord’s day.

As soon as news reached Lynn, Massachusetts, a warrant for their arrest was issued and a constable was dispatched to the home. They began their service the next day after four or five visitors arrived but were soon interrupted as the constables came bursting into the room. The constables arrested the three men and hauled them back to town.

They were forced that day to attend a puritan church in the afternoon. Again, it’s amazing that those who were persecuted in England are now the ones doing the persecution to the Baptists in the American colonies.

Upon entering the meeting house, the three tipped their hats but did not remove them. It being the custom to remove your hat in a church, this act suggested contempt for their services. They were saying that this was not a church. The preacher was not a preacher. Their infant baptism was no baptism. Their gospel was not the gospel of the Word of God. They kept their hats on.

The constable was commanded to knock off their hats and did so. Clarke attempted to preach during the middle of the service but was silenced. They were taken to prison.

On Tuesday, July 2, 1651, Holmes, Clarke, and Crandle (The third man) were taken to Boston. After an animated trial the judge agreed with the prosecutor, John Cotton, that these men were worthy of great punishment. Remember, these men were being tried for worshipping God in a private home right here on American soil.

Clarke was fined 20 pounds or be “well whipped”. Holmes was fined 30 pounds or be “well whipped”. Crandle was fined 5 pounds or be “well-whipped”.

Money was raised to pay the fines. Crandle was released from the fine. Clarke and Holmes refused permission for their fines to be paid, not willing to admit quilt, knowing that the whipping post was their alternative.

As Clarke was led to the whipping post, a friend pressed the money into the hands of the executioner and Clarke was released. It is unclear whether Clarke was in favor of this action, but from the record of his other actions, we can probably assume that he wasn’t. Either way, he was released.

Holmes was led to the post and stripped to the waste. While being stripped and fastened to the whipping post, Holmes began to preach a sermon to the on looking crowd telling them to stay faithful to their beliefs. Holmes sentence was thirty lashes using a whip with three hard leather strands, the same as a rapist.

Many in the crowd cried out for mercy. At least thirteen people in the crowd were arrested for sympathizing with him. Each of the three strands tore skin away for a total of ninety gashes through the flesh. People screamed out in horror. History tells us that his blood ran down and filled his shoes.

The picture doesn’t do justice to the severe beating that this man endured because of his intense desire to love Christ supremely according to his conscience and the Word of God. Thank God for men who took a stand in years gone by so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have today!

“For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” ~I Peter 2:19

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

They Got What They Wanted But They Lost What They Had

When Satan came to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, he tempted them with a desire for something new. He began to sow the seeds of desire in their heart for something that they were not supposed to have. And, of course, as the Bible tells us, their curiosity and desire overcame their will to obey God's command.

"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." ~ Genesis 3:6

When Adam and Eve tasted of the fruit of the forbidden tree, they experienced something that they truly wanted...the fruit. However, when they got what they wanted, they lost what they had. They were evicted from their paradise in Eden, sentenced to die for their sins, and cursed in several hard ways. Their gain, a simple peice of fruit, in exchange for their massive losses was simply more than they expected to pay.

Sin will always take you farther than you want to go and cost you more than you want to pay!

The truth is that this principle is seen all throughout the Bible, men and woman outside of the Will of God who wanted something so badly that they were willing to sacrifice the good things that they already had in order to gain them. Samson was willing to sacrifice his strength, his sight, and eventually his life in order to pursue a whorish woman whom he desired to be with. David lost his first born son with Bathsheeba because his desire to be with a married woman was so strong that he was willing to kill in order to satisfy that desire. The Bible is filled with similar stories of this same sad fate applied to life after life. Friends, these people got what they wanted, but they lost what they had!

Every day, I seem to see people with wonderful families, great children, the blessings of God on their lives, making decisions that are going to ultimately cause them to lose many of those things. Instead of staying close to the God that "daily loadeth us with benefits," people are pursuing their own worldly ambitions and are then left to wonder why their lives are falling apart. Instead of making decisions to care for what God has given us, we take for granted the good things in our lives and pursue vanities.

Friends, if you try hard enough, you can achieve or gain just about anything you set your mind toward. How far, though, are you willing to go in order to acheive those pursuits? What are you willing to sacrifice to pursue you own vanities or sins? Perhaps your family is a suitable sacrifice? Perhaps your kids? Your health maybe?


Friday, November 24, 2006

Absolute Immutable Truth: Do All Roads Lead To Heaven?

Throughout the world there are literally thousands of systems of belief. The range of these beliefs varies more than the emotions of an ill-tempered woman. Consider a few of the belief systems: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Scientism, Atheism, Agnosticism, Judaism, Mormonism, Cults, Tribal Religions, etc. The list, of course, could be expanded to include thousands of other beliefs and denominations.

These various religions have created lines of division among people since the inception of time. These lines of division have been so strong at times that people have hated, murdered, and gone to war in the name of religion. The Catholic Church justified martyring millions of people throughout the dark ages. The Muslims justified raising armies, conquering cities, and slaughtering those who would not conform to their religious beliefs. At one time the Catholic Church and the Muslim nations raised armies and fought against one another in the crusades.

As modern theologians look at the divisions created by all of these beliefs, they begin to cry out for us to come together. Modern society seems to beg of us to lay aside our differences and fellowship with people regardless of what they believe or disbelieve. There are now fellowship circles in which people from Protestant churches, Catholic churches, and Islamic mosques are all invited to participate.

This logic seems commendable when compared to the violence created through religious divisions, but there is a major flaw with this modern trend. Some religious beliefs are simply mutually exclusive. An atheist cannot demand that there is no God and be accepted as right as long as a Christian demands that there is a God and he is also accepted as right…although men try to do it.

This, of course, is countered by the ecumenicalism which states that it does not matter what you believe in as long as you are sincere. They place faith at a higher level than the object of the faith. According to their teaching, a man who worships a frog should be respected for his beliefs as much as a man who worships the true and living God, Jehovah. As the old adage goes, “All roads lead to heaven!”

ALL ROADS DON’T LEAD TO HEAVEN!!! It simply doesn’t matter how sincere you may be in your misguided faith, unless it is placed in the Lord Jesus Christ, it will not amount to a hill of beans when you leave this earth. The object of my faith, the Redeemer of Mankind, is what enables me to enter into the realms of glory when I die, not the sincerity of my faith. My faith only has to be as strong as a tiny mustard see if it is in the right place. On the other hand, a man may have faith as large as the Titanic, but if it is placed outside of Christ then that man will soon find himself crashing into the iceberg of God’s eternal damnation.

God’s truth doesn’t change just because the sludge between people’s ears tries to make it change. It doesn’t matter what the mind of men may conger to put their faith in, it simply won’t change the truth. A man can launch himself from atop a large building and shout at the top of his lungs, “I don’t believe in gravity!” Gravity will not step aside to accommodate this mans misguided faith, no matter how strong that faith is. That man, trying to break the law of gravity, will simply break himself against the law of gravity. The same is true of God’s eternal immutable truths. We cannot change or break God’s truth, but we can break ourselves against it!

“For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar!” ~ Romans 3:3-4

Getting lost people to believe this should be the goal of every Christian. Getting them to understand that they must place their trust in Jesus Christ is our great commission. It also seems to be our greatest commission.

Getting saved people to believe this should bring about one of the greatest revivals in America. Could you just imagine if Christians would stop arguing with the preacher about every little thing, would get into the Word of God, and would believe and practice every word of it? How often do saved people doubt God and his Word?

“How happy would it be, if all people would regard this as a fixed principle, a matter not to be questioned in their hearts, or debated about, that God is true to his word! How much doubt and anxiety would it save professing Christians; and how much error would it save among sinners!” ~ Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible


Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Decline And Fall Of The American Empire

Alexis de Tocqueville, a French statesmen, came to America in the 1830's. His purpose in coming to America was to discover the reasons behind the rapid growth and development of this new, infant nation. After much traveling, studying, and interviewing, this was the conclusion of his research.

"I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors...; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.

Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.

America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."

~ Alexis De Tocqueville

Friends, if Alexis De Tocqueville was right (and I believe he was) that the greatness of America rested in the churches of America, then the decline of America can also be traced to the decline of America's churches.

The problem is that our churches are no longer filled with Christians and preachers who are filled with the Spirit of God and surrendered to the Will of God. In the early 1800's, Christianity was a lifestyle or a way of life. Everyday life was characterized by Christian principles from the classroom to the courtroom, from the butcher to the builder, from the smith to the soldier.

Consider, for example, this ruling from the United States Supreme Court in 1892:

"This is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation...These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation."

~ Supreme Court Of The United States - Church of the Holy Trinity v The United States

Today, however, Christianity is a fashion trend, but not a lifestyle. Christianity is a visit to church on Sunday, and a few dirty jokes with your friends on Monday. Christianity is a matter of convenience and not a matter of conviction.

Christianity has become so shallow and heartless in recent years that there is nowhere to place the blame of America's moral decline than at he doorstep of the church house. Just look at the condition of America. Violent crimes, sexual crimes, theft, and other forms of ungodliness are only getting worse and worse. Homosexuals are on a rampage for rights to aid in their vile sin. Rock music, drugs, prayer being kicked out of don't have to look far. America is in a sad condition!

Why? It's not because the wrong people were elected to political offices, although that may have a contributed to some degree. It’s not a result of the changing global economy. It's not a result of the actions of our soldiers.

Why? It's because America's pulpits are no longer aflame with righteousness. It's because Christians are no longer giving themselves whole-heartedly to the God who loves us and blesses us daily. The blame, I regret to say, is on your hands and mine!


Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Hope Of America

Without any reservation, I love America. I want so badly to see a revival of God's presence throughout our entire nation. It pains my heart to no end to see the vile sin and wickedness that pervades our land. Perversion is growing beyond measure in every aspect of the American society....Something Must Be Done!

With this in mind, I have written the following poem. It is an expression of my heart toward the saddening condition of my nation.

Through many years of war and strife our men have fought and died.
America has stood through time against the raging tide.
Men gave their lives to save a land that would have been destroyed.
They shed their blood for the freedom our citizens have enjoyed.
"The Land Of Opportunity" 'tis called by nations 'round the world.
And now our nation seems to crumble as Satan's darts at us are hurled.
Against all other countries our nation stood so firm;
Our problem now arises from within us like a germ.
Wars are not our greatest loss, as to us they had been.
Our greatest problem now is our own nation's sin.
In days of old our Christians rose and took a stand for right,
Against these sins our men of God would've quickly given a fight.
But now we scarce can find a man whose actions are so bold,
A man of God to take a stand like in those days of old.
And now we Christians sit and watch as our nation collapses from within.
We casually glance at our nation as it quickly fills with sin.
But maybe God would spare us if some men would take a stand,
To give their lives to Jesus and spread his Word throughout the land.
Who'll be the man to take a stand and fight for right this hour?
Will you enlist to fight for Christ through his own holy power?

By Nicholas Z. Cardot


Friday, November 10, 2006

Faint-Hearted God Followers

During the darkest hours of World War II, American fighting men fought with valor throughout the world. Some theatres of battle grew so intense that words could not describe the horror in the heart of a soldier. One such fear was found in the Pacific battles between the Americans and the Japanese. The Japanese government had spent years brainwashing their population in an all out effort to transform their nation into a full scale war machine. One avenue of this brainwashing included the transformation of their view of death. They convinced their men that if they died in a battle fighting for their emperor then their soul would ascend into a state of bliss. Those brave Japanese soldiers became known as Kamikaze warriors.

It was known throughout the forces of the Americans that the Japanese soldiers would simply not surrender. Often they would feign their surrender only to lure unsuspecting Americans closer to them before they would blow themselves up with a hand grenade. In aerial battles, a Japanese fighter would not eject and parachute to safety if his plane was damaged. Instead, he would direct his plane into whatever American craft he could at the cost of his own life. Often they would purposely crash into American destroyers and battleships.

These Japanese men were, without a doubt, brainwashed. They were, some may even say, completely crazy to follow their emperor to such extreme lengths. This one thing, however, was also true about them. They were extremely committed to follow through with that outrageous system of beliefs. They simply did not lack for devotion. They whole-heartedly followed and obeyed their orders even to their own demise.

In September of 2001, a tragedy took place that will burn in the minds of Americans for years to come. Eighteen men boarded four planes in New York City. They set in plan a motion that would end with their own deaths and the deaths of over two-thousand innocent Americans. They hijacked those planes and sacrificed the lives of everyone on them to accomplish their goal.

Some may say that these men were completely crazy…And they were! Some may say that they too, like the Kamikazes mentioned above, were brainwashed…And they were! These men were vile and evil. They epitomized the very essence of all that is bad in this world. Again, however, I am forced to realize that these men did have one good quality. They were willing to give their whole-hearted devotion to a cause that they believed in…even to their own deaths!

"And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart." ~ Deuteronomy 20:8

It is a shame that the Kamikaze soldiers were willing to devote their lives and their deaths to the cause of a mortal man and Christians are ashamed in any way to take a stand for our glorious, loving, eternal Savior. It is a shame that the extremist Muslims were willing to march to their deaths for the cause of a false god who exists nowhere except as an imagination in the minds of those who follow him and Christians are ashamed to let their coworkers know that they believe in the God who created the Universe and will someday judge us for our iniquities! It is a shame! It is a shame! IT IS A SHAME!

The Bible is clear in Deuteronomy 20:8 that God is not pleased in the slightest with those who cannot serve him with their whole heart. Simply put, God doesn't desire part of your heart...He desires all of it! If any man is a faint-hearted God follower, God will be pleased if you just go ahead and step off the battlefield. He has no use for you!

Friends, we don’t serve a god made from stone or metal, fashioned at the hands of men. We don’t serve sinful men claiming to be god. We serve the God who controls all things! We serve the Savior of the world! We serve the one who judges the wicked, rewards the righteous, blesses his children, and curses those who reject Him. Friend, we serve a living God who deserves our whole-hearted love and adoration!


Thursday, November 9, 2006

Revival: A Community Saturated With God

One of my favorite topics on which to read is that of revival. It fascinates me beyond no end to read of the great awakenings here in America and of the revivals of Wales. I pray for the outpouring of the Spirit of God to move across America in similar fashion to the ways He has in the past. I say this only to bring you to the topic of this post. The following is the story of the Hebrides (an island just off of Scotland) revival as told by Duncan Cambell. As you read, open your heart to the Spirit of God and compare yourself to the standard set in Psalm 24. God Bless You!

"Baffled and frustrated in Christian work and witness, I prayed on my face in my study at five o'clock in the morning. The past 17 years had been spent in a barren wilderness, but that morning I came to know the recovering power of the blood of Jesus Christ. As I prayed, I realized that God had made provision for clean hands and a pure heart.

"In some small measure the revival in Skye and later in Lewis must be related to the experience of that morning. But how did it begin? What was it that led me into a full realization of glorious deliverance in the Holy Ghost? I answer in one word, a baptism from God. It was preceded by a spiritual hunger, a longing for God to do something.

"That is how revival began in Lewis also. It did not begin by my going there. God was moving and moving mightily before ever I thought of visiting Lewis. A number of men and two elderly women on the island were made conscious of the desperate need of their parish. All human effort having failed, they sensed that their one resource was to fall back upon God. So they entered into a solemn covenant that they would not rest nor cease from prayer until God made "Jerusalem" a praise on the island.

"According to the report given me by the minister of the parish, you would have found men waiting through the night in confidence that God was about to manifest his power. You would have found two elderly sisters on their faces before the peat fire three nights a week, pleading one promise- say, one promise- "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground." They declared it was a promise made by a covenant keeping God who must ever be true to his covenant engagements.

"So they waited, and the months passed and nothing happened. Then one morning in 1949 a young man in the company read the familiar portion of Psalm 24: "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart . . . He shall receive the blessing from the Lord." Looking down at his praying companions and speaking in Gaelic, he said, "Brethren, it seems to me just so much sentimental humbug to be praying as we are praying, to be waiting as we are waiting here, if we ourselves are not rightly related to God."And then he prayed, "Are my hands clean, is my heart pure?"

"He got no further. At that moment there came to the men praying a realization of God, an awareness of his presence that lifted them from the sphere of the ordinary into the sphere of the extraordinary. Three of them fell prostrate on the floor. They knew at that moment that they were now moving, not in the realm of the natural, but on the plane of the supernatural. Revival had come and the power that was let loose in that barn shook the whole community of Lewis.

"These few men and the two elderly women discovered the profound truth that a God-sent revival must ever be related to holiness and to real New Testament separation. Yes, revival was coming; God was going to be honored; they were to see men so supernaturally altered that holiness would characterize every part of their being, body, soul and spirit. That was the truth that gripped them and that moved the people of Lewis and Harris. There was a hunger, a cry for pardon.

"Oh, for a baptism of honesty, for a gripping sincerity that will move us to cry with the men of Barvas, "Is my heart pure, are my hands clean?" This great blessing is a human necessity. Sanctification is Christ enthroned. If the secret of holiness is in the complete filling of the soul with the life of Christ; if the baptism with the Holy Spirit is, in its final analysis, the revelation of Jesus; if the beauty of Christian character comes from the incorporation of his personality in mine, surely the great need of the Christian church today is a clean heart.

"Revival is a community saturated with God. That is the difference between revival and successful evangelism. God is sovereign in his movings among men, and the need is not a new technique in the field of evangelism, not a new approach to truth, not better organization, but a baptism of cleansing, making us fit vessels that God can use. This glorious, mighty, and complete deliverance comes not from any effort of our own but by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. Nothing is plainer than the promise of God on this point."


Wednesday, November 8, 2006

The Marriage Of Christianity And Evolution: Oil Meets Water! (Part 2)

Standing on the platform, dressed in the finest suit money can buy the groom eagerly watches as his bride gracefully moves down the aisle. She walks down the aisle and up the stairs onto the platform, the train on her beautiful white dress flowing behind. She stops. They take one another's hands. The look into one another's eyes.

The preacher begins to speak as the mass looks on in awesome adoration. After a few moments and a song or two, the end or the ceremony is near. The preacher begins to close the service, "If any object to these two being joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace."

Without warning, I spring from my seat and shout at the top of my lungs, "I do!" I stand to my feet intending to speak my mind and so I do...

This post is part two in a series of posts regarding the incompatibility of Christianity and evolution. If you have not read the first article, The Marriage Of Christianity And Evolution: Oil Meets Water (Part 1), I highly recommend doing so before continuing.

As I continue my quest to debunk those who would have you believe that Christianity and evolution are two reconcilable systems of belief, I am brought to an issue of great importance...

The Theological Dilemma - Evolution forces a new, heretical outlook on several key doctrines in the Bible. In fact, the theological ramifications of Evolution are so dramatic that a thorough examination into them will reveal the shear ludicracy of trying to combine these two world views. Consider the following areas of philosophy:

The doctrine or philosophy about the nature of death - The Bible teaches that death came as a result of sin whereas evolution forces the presupposition that millions of years of death have resulted in our refined state of life. Evolution and the Bible give contradictory views about the origin and nature of both sin and death.

Consider the following quotes.

According to the Bible, death didn’t exist in the beginning. The book of Genesis says that God created a perfect, sinless world, unmarred by struggle or strife. When he finished creating, he pronounced his creation “very good” (Gen. 1:31)."

In the biblical account, death did not enter the world until the first human sin. According to Genesis, God made clear to Adam and Eve exactly what food they were to eat, and only one tree was prohibited: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17)."

Death, then, is clearly a consequence of disobedience."
~ Jamie Kiley

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin..."
~ Romans 5:12

"But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed."
~ James 1:14

Christianity is based on the idea that death is a result of sin, and that it is a drastic departure from the original plan that God had for mankind.

Evolution, on the other hand, demands that death and suffering had taken place long before the fall of Adam. In fact, it requires millions of years of death simply to evolve a species capable of choosing the sin that Adam chose. Hence, death is the doorway to life...or at least more advanced life, rather than a consequence for sin.

"The Utility of Death: Evolution could not take place without it, because the higher forms of life are so specialized that they cannot change much in a single lifetime." F. H. Pike

Again, we are able to conclude that Evolution and Christianity simply cannot be combined into one philisophically sound series of beliefs. The marked differences are simply too dramatic to reconcile. This marriage is off.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2006

The Marriage Of Christianity And Evolution: Oil Meets Water! (Part 1)

Since the popularization of the theory of evolution, its greatest opponent has been the truth's of the Word of God. In order to propel their theory past those who believed the Biblical account of intelligent design, supporters of evolution had to find a way to marry evolution to Christianity. They set about to find ways to integrate the theory of evolution into the Christian system of beliefs. And truth be told, on the public scene, they have been quite successful.

The fact is, however, that no matter how well they may be able to get the public to accept their blending of these two ideas, the marriage between Christianity and evolution is simply impossible. Simply put, these two ideas blend like oil and water for many reasons.

The Moral Dilemma - When either of these two systems of beliefs are applied to the social realm of life a major difference will be found. A belief in an intelligent creator demands some form of a moral standard or rule maker whereas a belief in evolution does not. Consider for example the following excerpt from an article by Bruce Malone.

Belief in evolution justified the excesses of the industrial revolution, the Nazi elimination of the Jews, and the rise of Marxism and Communism. It also serves as the justification for the disbelief in God. Although modern evolutionists try to distance themselves from the consequences of taking their theory into a social realm, these historical atrocities are the result of taking evolutionary philosophy to its logical conclusion. If we are a product of biological forces why not extend these forces into our own dealing with other humans? Animal groups do not lament wiping each other out in order to survive. Why shouldn't we do the same if we are just part of an evolutionary process that formed us? Creation is the event that ultimately gives us life value because it links every human's values to their Creator who loved him enough to die for him. ~ Bruce Malone

Christianity and evolution place different values on life forcing the two to be theologically incompatible. To the evolutionist, the death of one person simply means the survival of the stronger. This of course justifies abortion, genocide, euthanasia and many other atrocities. As mentioned in the excerpt above, this opens Pandora's box to the rationale of Hitler, Stalin and many other homicidal dictators. Their genocides were nothing more than a practical approach to the modern day philosophy of "Survival of the Fittest." Their end goal, a more refined evolutionary race of men, preempted any form of values that would stand in their way. As the cliche goes, "The end justified the means." And rightly so, to any astute believer in the evolutionary sciences.

Christianity, however, approaches the sanctity of life from the opposite corner of the philosophical ring. Having been created in the image and likeness of God, those believing in Christianity presume upon man an extremely high value of life. Christianity has always looked down on those who commit crimes against life itself (i.e. murder, rape, genocide, etc.) whereas evolution accepts them if it is deemed necessary to the successful continuation of the evolutionary process.

The moral consequences are simply too outrageous to link the two ideas in any form of compatible union. Hence we have what I call a great moral dilemma between any combination of the two beliefs.

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Monday, November 6, 2006

The Wild Fundamentalists!

After reading much debate on the subject of a certain Christian rap artist, I have decided to make known my opinions on the matter. It is not my goal throughout this post to clarify my position or the position of those who agree with me, but rather to clarify our disposition.

I have to say first that I have enjoyed the titles of some of the posts that I have read. Most notably is the following, "The People Clapped, He Sat Down, And The Fundamentalists Went Wild." If you read the post, you will find that the title was taken from a line in another post found here, "This Rap Dung Is Gettin' Way Outta Hand."

I would like to say first that I am one of those who would be considered a fundamentalist. Not only so, but I am also very proud to be categorized as one. I have always believed that the word fundamentalist refers to someone who adheres to the fundamentals or the original teachings of a particular religion or teaching. For example, we call extreme Muslims "fundamentalists" in reality because they follow the original teachings of Muhammad. Shortly after Muhammad founded the religion of Islam, he gathered a group of soldiers together and rode back into Mecca killing anyone who would not convert. Today we call violent Muslims fundamentalists because that is the practice that they adhere to. The same is true in Christianity. Those who adhere to the old-fashioned fundamental truths of the Word of God, are often scoffed and called fundamentalists. I am very proud to wear that banner.

Other than a few rude comments that I have found at the Sharper Iron forum (there was some outright name calling), I believe that most of the debate has been over the ideas involved concerning appropriate music and has not been a debate on any personal level. It is my intention in this post to do the same. There is no particular person that I am against or that I look down upon in any way. I watched most of the video clip of the "Voice" as he performed the much debated song. I am convinced that in every regard he was sincerely trying to please God and elevate His goodness. For this reason I am thankful. Anyone who is trying to elevate the Word of God and God's glory I want to support. An excellent post on this subject can be found here "A Pauline Response To Voice."

However, I have also become convinced that no matter how sincere a person's heart may be does not always determine how pleasing their actions are to God. For example, the Bible teaches that men will cry unto God to let them into His kingdom because they sincerely tried to serve God with their lives. But God will not allow them to enter into Heaven unless they have accepted Christ into their lives to be their savior...regardless how sincere they were.

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
~ Matthew 7:22-23

Again, this is an example of the truth that God does not always judge us solely on our sincerity, but that he rather has specific expectations of us. In this instance it was that accepting Christ is more important than a sincerity to religious activities.

"And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly."
~ Acts 18:24-26

Here is the story of a man sincerely serving God, just as the Voice, and yet they went in to him and "Expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly."

It has been my experience, as I have spent time in Fundamental Baptist Churches over the past few years that those who preach against certain types of music, against certain fashions of clothing, against anything that we may consider to be a sin or worldly , are accused of "Going wild," "Looking down at people," "Being holier than thou," etc. In reality, it is simply our intention to preach unto people "the way of God more perfectly." Often we find ourselves being judged by those telling us not to judge. It would be like reprimanding a kid by slapping him in the face and telling him not to hit. It just wouldn't make a lot of sense.

As I have been reading through the Bible this year, I have been reading through the book of Jeremiah this week. Throughout the book of Jeremiah you will find that people hated him. They threw him in prison and despised him. They said that Jeremiah wanted them to be destroyed . They said that Jeremiah didn't care about them at all. The truth was that Jeremiah cared about them more than they could ever understand, and he was simply trying to preach the truth of God to them the best way he knew how. Because they did not want to hear the truths of God, they hated him and pretended that he was not a prophet of God.

In conclusion, I have not written to attack any person or group. I have only hoped to entertain the idea that fundamentalists are not wild, maniacs, but rather they are men hoping only to show others the "Way of God more perfectly." Our intentions are not to attack your sincerity or you relationship with God. It is only to try to clarify positions and to elevate truth.

In the beginning, I had planned on outlining my position against a certain style of music, but in the end I decided it was more important to clarify the disposition of our positions. If you are wanting to read more about the debate itself I will leave a list of links that discuss the issue in more detail. Thank You and God Bless You!

Here is a link to a video of the song:

Here is a list of links opposing this particular style of worship:
Will The Real Pharisees Please Stand?

Here is a list of links supporting this particular style of worship:
Guest Blogger: Christian Hip-Hopper, Shai Linne
The Reformed Rapper Revisited


Sunday, November 5, 2006

The Forty Wrestlers

The following story is one of the best illustrations that I have ever read. Although I do not know if this story is entirely true, the beauty of the story is overwhelming. Living in America, I cannot begin to imagine the persecution that these men endured.

LONG ago in the days when the ruling passion of the Roman Emperor Nero was the extermination of the Christians, there lived and served him a band of soldiers known as the "Emperor's Wrestlers." Fine, stalwart men they were, picked from the best and the bravest of the land, recruited from the great athletes of the Roman amphitheater. In the great amphitheater they upheld the arms of the Emperor against all challengers. Before each contest they would stand before the Emperor's throne. Then through the courts of Rome would ring the cry : "We, the wrestlers, wrestling for thee, 0 Emperor, to win for thee the victory and from thee, the victor's crown !"

When the great Roman army was sent to fight in far away Gaul, no soldiers were braver or more loyal than this band of wrestlers led by their centurion Vespasian. But news reached Nero that the Christian faith, that seemed to know no bounds and which seemed to leap all barriers, had come among the wrestlers and many had accepted it.

To be a Christian meant death, even to those who served Nero best; so that this decree was straightway dispatched to the centurion Vespasian : "If there be any among the soldiers who cling to the faith of the Christian, they must die!"

The decree was received in the dead of winter. The soldiers were camped on the shore of a frozen inland lake. The winter had been hard, but the many hardships they had endured together had only served to unite them more closely. So it was with sinking heart that Vespasian, the centurion, read the Emperor's message. Yet to a soldier there is one word supreme - and that is "duty". Vespasian called the soldiers together and asked the question :- "Are there any among you who cling to the faith of the Christian ? If so, let him step forward!" Forty wrestlers instantly stepped forward two paces, respectfully saluted, and stood at attention. Vespasian paused. He had not expected so many. "The decree has come from your Emperor," he said, "that any who cling to the faith of the Christian must die ! For the sake of your country, your comrades, your loved ones, renounce this false faith ! "Not one of the forty moved. "Until sundown I shall await your answer," said Vespasian. Sundown came. Again the question was asked, "Are there any among you who cling to the faith of the Christian? If so, let him step forward!"

Again the forty wrestlers stepped forward, and stood to attention. Vespasian pleaded with them long and earnestly without prevailing upon a single man to deny his Lord. Finally he said :-"The decree of the Emperor must be obeyed, but I am not willing that your blood be on your comrades. I am going to order that you march out upon the lake of ice and I shall leave you there to the mercy of the elements. Fires, however, will be burning on the shore, and at the largest, I, your commander, will be waiting to welcome any willing to renounce this false faith."

The forty wrestlers were stripped and then without a word they wheeled, and falling into columns of four, marched out towards the lake of ice. As they marched they broke into chorus with the old chant of the Arena :"Forty wrestlers wrestling for Thee, 0 Christ, to win for Thee the victory and from Thee, the Victor's crown!"

All through the long hours of the night Vespasian, the centurion, stood by his camp fire and waited, and all through the long night came back to him fainter and fainter the wrestlers' song.

As it neared morning one figure, overcome by exposure, crept quietly towards the fire; in the extremity of his suffering he had renounced his Lord. Faintly, but clearly, from out the darkness came the song, "Thirty-nine wrestlers, wrestling for Thee, 0 Christ, to win for Thee the victory and from Thee, the Victor's crown !"

Vespasian looked at the figure drawing close to the fire - and then out into the darkness whence came the song of faith. Once again he looked - ah! who can say? Perhaps he saw the greater light shining there in the darkness ! Off came his helmet down went his shield and he sprang upon the ice, crying,- "Forty wrestlers wrestling for Thee, 0 Christ, to win for Thee the victory and from Thee, the Victor's crown !"


Friday, November 3, 2006

The Indestructible Word Of God

In A.D. 303, the Roman Emperor, Diocletian, decreed that every Bible should be destroyed. His fury was fueled by Satan himself as he set out to extinguish the very seeds of Christianity. He believed, and perhaps rightly so, that if the Bible could be destroyed so could the entirety of Christianity. "Christians are a people of the Book," was his belief. The only fault in his theory, and a big fault is was, was that the Bible cannot be destroyed.

After some time, Diocletian believed that he had accomplished his feat and began to celebrate. He raised a column with a Latin inscription "Extincto nomene Christianorum" (the name of Christian is extinct).

Just a few short years later in A.D. 312, Constantine came onto the scene as he succeeded the kingdom from Diocletian. When he did, he replaced all of the pagan symbols with the symbol of the cross. This remarkable war against the Bible was begun, fought, and lost in less than ten years.

Fourteen hundred years later, Voltaire, a French atheist and philosopher, predicted that the Bible would be eliminated shortly after his death.

"One hundred years from my day there will not be a Bible in the earth except one that is looked upon by an antiquarian curiosity seeker." ~ Voltaire

Twenty years after Voltaire died, the Geneva Bible Society purchased Voltaire's house and used it as a base of operations to print and distribute Bibles. Later it became the headquarters for the British and Foreign Bible Society.

"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever." ~ Isaiah 40:8

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Thursday, November 2, 2006

Three Zones Of Musical Communication

"Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;"
~ Ephesians 5:19

In a previous article, The Language Of Music, we established that music is a language. We established that music can speak to us or influence us. We established that music is a universal language, or that it speaks to people of all languages. We established that music influences us whether we want it to or not.

Because music is a channel of communication, it can speak to us across the three levels or three zones of communication. Let me explain.

1. Social Zone - Social statements that we would make in public would be considered the social zone. This type of communication would be characterized by individuals standing at least three or four feet away from one another speaking about topics with no regard for who else may hear them. For example, as you pass someone in church, you will shake their hand and say "Hello. How are you?" This public statement would be considered a part of the social zone of communication.

2. Personal Zone - Personal statements that we would make to a friend or a close acquaintance on a level in which we do not want others to hear would be considered the personal zone. This type of communication would be characterized by individuals standing between one and three feet away from one another. For example, you may pull your son aside from the crowd and say, "Son, How would you like to go out for ice cream after church today?" This personal statement is not intended for the entire group, but rather only for your son. This is a part of the personal zone of communication.

3. Intimate Zone - Intimate statements that we would make to a spouse or to one of our children in a manner in which we would not speak to others would be considered the intimate zone. This type of communication would be characterized by individuals standing so close that they are either touching or within a foot of the person being spoken to. For example, you may pull your son close to you, give him a hug and whisper, "I love you son. You behaved very good today." You would not hug just anyone or whisper your love to just anyone except the few people who are allowed into the intimate zone.

When we hear someone sing, they invite us into a social interaction. This social interaction will take place in one of the three zones of communication.

At church you will sing congregational songs where we all join in and sing together in the social zone. There are also, however, some songs that speak to you on a very personal basis. Songs that may invite you to make a personal commitment to or decision for Christ.

There is also the third zone of communication that the music of the world very often invites you into...this is the intimate zone. Most people, we will never have an intimate conversation with. This zone is almost entirely reserved for our family. However, there are singers who will take a microphone and act as if it is their lover. By doing this, they will invade into your intimate zone without you wanting it to happen. This style of singing is a violation of your intimate zone.

The world will step into the intimate zone intentially because they understand that by having their listeners experience that intimate or lover relationship they will sell their albums. There are even some gospel singers who, though singing the words of God, sing in such a way as to invite you into an intimate communication with them.This style of singing is wrong and has no business in church at all. If there is any right place for this kind of singing, it would be at home between and man and his wife. There is simply no way to justify this style of musical communication in any other setting...especially in church!

We need to keep the music in our churches in the social or personal zone, but we must never allow it to slip into the intimate zone. We must examine every bit of music that we allow into our lives and into our churches and be sure that it is pleasing to God. We must take the time to understand the difference between good music and bad music.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."
Col. 3:16-17

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