CARM Takes on Matthew Vines

CARMIf you are not familiar with Matthew Vines, he is a pro homosexual activist who spoke at College Hill United Methodist Church in Kansas. During that speech, Mr. Vines advocated that the Bible does not condemn same sex monogamous relationships. Mr. Vines went to great lengths to redefine the very meaning of scripture as he attempted to explain what God actually meant, by his own assessment, when He inspired the writers of the Bible to pen the words we read today. Unlike many who have taken Christians to task on this issue, Mr. Vines presents himself as a kind and polite person, one with whom you would like to sit down and have a conversation with. He does not attempt to make the vitriolic speech that many who have advocated “gay rights” have used. His demeanor makes his redefining of scripture more acceptable in the eyes of those who have not made the effort to understand what God has truly said on the matter of homosexuality. As a result, Mr. Vines, and the views he espouses, are more easily received, even by those to claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.

Last year I posted an article titled “Christians Are We Ready” where I referenced a series of audio messages prepared by Dr. James White addressing this very speech by Matthew Vines. I continue to heartily recommend those messages to every Christian as they directly dismantle the very arguments made by Mr. Vines. Now I would like to refer our readers to yet another resource that will further equip us. CARM has prepared a section on their apologetics site that continues to expound on this issue. Homosexuality is one of the defining arguments of our day. Christians must be prepared to answer the challenges presented by those who would promote their belief that sexual immorality is acceptable in the eyes of God. Therefore, I ask you to visit the following link at CARM and become equipped to answer when people ask you why you believe homosexuality is a sin. Let us be fully prepared, not so we can prove ourselves morally better, but so that we can graciously and compassionately warn those of the judgment to come for their sin, and that there is yet salvation in Jesus Christ.

http://carm.org/matthew-vines

Ergun Caner Cover-Up

Each time this comes up, I’m surprised by how many people haven’t heard about it. I don’t think it’s been discussed on Defending Contending, so I think it must be pointed out.

Ergun Caner has been exposed as having embellished his resume in years past, and there is ample, irrefutable evidence of these lies. Rather than just admitting the obvious and apologizing, Caner is attempting to hide the evidence.

A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. (Matt 7:18)

A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. (Matt 7:18)

We wouldn’t hesitate to point out the lies of a Muslim. We would expect Muslims to point out a prominent Muslim’s lies, and call for him to step down from his position. How can we, as Christians, do anything less than we would expect of Muslims? We should be all the more anxious to stand for the truth.

None of us want a prominent evangelical to be caught in immorality. But, if they’re unrepentant, we need to point out that they are in sin, and may not even be Christian. How can a true Christian be unrepentant for so many years? Caner needs to be removed from the evangelical talk show circuit, which has yet to happen.

To find more specific information, check out these items:

YouTube Joins in the Great Evangelical Cover Up

Dividing Line Episode from June 4, 2013

Do You Follow a Celebrity Pastor?

20130111-145456.jpgIn most cases, when you hear the phrase “celebrity pastor,” you tend to think of individuals like Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Steven Furtick or Ed Young, Jr. In each one of these cases, if you are one who believes that preachers should actually preach the Word of God, you probably get a very bad taste in your mouth. You immediately want to scream, “False teachers! Away with them!!” And quite honestly, that’s how I feel too. But there is another kind of celebrity preacher, one that many of us don’t realize is a celebrity. But yet, they are celebrities because folks like you and me have made them into celebrities. Yes, that’s right, I said we made them that way. Those of us who appreciate sound, biblical preaching, who detest the seeker friendly, rockstar image of those “other” pastors, we have celebrities of our own. And that can be a problem.

Many of us greatly appreciate the preaching of godly men like R. C. Sproul, John MacArthur, James White, David Platt and Voddie Baucham. We are blessed to hear these men rightly exposit the Word of God. We love how they take great time and care to preach the Word in context so that God is magnified and we rightly understand our need for His forgiveness through Jesus Christ. So much do we appreciate their godly work that we listen to countless sermons online (or on our iPods), we read the books they have written, we share copious quotes from them via Facebook and Twitter. We even will go to conferences, sometimes at great expense to our finances and time, so that we can hear them magnificently handle the Word of God. And, without even realizing it, we have created them in our minds as the “ideal” preacher, the kind that these rockstar pastors should really model themselves after. In other words, they have become a celebrity in our mind.

This is not to say that good godly preachers like these should not be esteemed. It is a rare treasure these days, it seems, to find a pastor who is willing to be in the public view that will unashamedly stand on the Word of God. We should give them due respect for their duty and devotion to Jesus Christ, for their unflinching stance for the preaching of the true gospel. What I am talking about is that we actually may create an unhealthy, or at least unbalanced, image of these men when compared to the local church. Think through this with me for a moment, how many times have you shared or tweeted quotes from your pastor? You know, the man who has faithfully preached in the same pulpit for five, ten, or even twenty years. Do you follow him on Facebook or Twitter? Do you wish he would at least get with the times to get on Facebook or Twitter like the other guys do? Have you ever stopped and told your pastor about the great sermon that R. C. Sproul preached, or recommended that he read the latest book by David Platt? Have you spent an inordinate amount of time talking to people in your congregation about the conference you just came back from where John MacArthur was the keynote speaker, or complained that you couldn’t go to it at all?

Imagine yourself in the place of your pastor. He’s not famous. Maybe he only has a congregation of a couple hundred people, maybe it’s only fifty. He spends all week preparing a sermon meant for you and those you attend church with. He loses several hours of sleep each week when he is called out to the hospital to minister to a dying parishioner, to counsel a loved one who is severely depressed, to comfort family who lost a child in an accident. He’s never written a book, he doesn’t have a podcast, his budget barely even allows for a computer to keep records on, much less the high tech equipment and talent to set up a nice website. Yet, each week, he dutifully climbs up to that podium and faithfully preaches the word of God to a body of believers. He is just as important as the big names mentioned above, yet he’ll never see the notoriety they do.

Now see yourself through his eyes. You love your pastor dearly and you listen and grow form his devotion to the Word each week. Yet, during the rest of the week, you are downloading sermons from Sproul, MacArthur or Platt. You pour over their books and study notes. When you have a theological question, you pull out their study bibles. You go to their conferences and you come back far more excited than you ever do at the home bible study he heads up. All of this creates an enormous amount of pressure for your pastor. He cannot hope to ever hold the position these godly men do, yet he somehow has to keep the attention of his congregation so he can keep preaching the Word to them. Does he then sacrifice his time to minister to his flock so he can begin writing that book? Should he mimic their teaching styles, or preach the things they preach about? What about those conferences? He could never host one himself, so should he join with other churches to put one on? If so, how selective should he be about who to partner with? You see the dilemma he is faced with? In the eyes of the local pastor, his congregation is enamored with the “big time” preachers. There is a lot of pressure to measure up.

Now please understand, I am not saying that Christians should only ever listen to just the teachings of their local pastor. We can benefit greatly from the godly teachings of pastors, great and small. It is certainly worth our time to read and learn from many great learned scholars, for it will help in our growth and understanding of scripture. We have the liberty to even attend the conferences where these men preach, and can be greatly edified by it. But there must be a proper balance. God put us in a certain place, at a certain local church, for a reason. Scripture teaches us that all Christians are bestowed gifts by the Holy Spirit for the edification of the body of Christ. And where you are planted is where you are to employ those gifts! If you spend most of your time following the “big guys” then your local body is being starved of the gifts you were given for their benefit. When you take time and money to attend that big conference while your local church struggles with its annual budget, you may well be misappropriating the finances God gave you for that body’s benefit. When you share the podcasts and videos of the other pastors, folks may flock to their godly teaching and benefit from it. However, if you took your internet savvy, could you not create a site for your church? You could then share those weekly sermons so that other may benefit from the teaching you have grown under.

The point of this article is not to decry our love for great and godly preachers, but to draw our attention back to our local churches. Let us spend maybe less time, effort and money building up the big names, for God will maintain their ministries with or without us. But let us take just a bit more time, a bit more care and certainly more effort to build up our local congregations. As we build up and edify the local body, we can send out more laborers for the harvest into our local communities. And as more laborers go out, the gospel reaches more people and the local church grows. The more the church grows, the more great and godly preachers can go out into the world and accomplish the work that we are expecting the big name preachers to do. Let us be about the business of supporting our local churches brethren and let the “celebrity” preachers be an added benefit to where we are already being blessed

“Chuck Smith, Calvary Chapel, and their Ignorance Fest on Calvinism.”

As a follow-up to Brother Michael’s previous post on Chuck Smith (found here), I’m presenting an audio clip of a critique that James White did in response to an audio clip of Chuck Smith and other Calvary Chapel speakers in which they attacked the Doctrines of Grace, equated Calvinists to cultists, and even opposed God’s sovereignty.

The immaculate deception.

Immaculate Deception

The following is an article by James Swan refuting an attempted defense of Roman Catholicism’s great heresy: The Immaculate Conception. I found the timing of this to be highly apropos in light of a continued discussion that is taking place on this very subject on the comment thread from this post.

How To Prove The Immaculate Conception Without Biblical Proof

10/04/2009 – James Swan

The constant dilemma of the Roman Catholic apologist is to insert doctrines into the Bible that aren’t there to begin with. Their argumentation of meandering logic seeks to demonstrate: a) The Bible doesn’t contradict the doctrine being inserted; b)There are indirect Bible passages that if interpreted by first granting the validity of the extra-biblical doctrine, actually support the extra biblical doctrine. Catholic apologist John Martignoni’s most recent newsletter is a perfect example. He presents “Challenge/Response/Strategy” in defending Mary’s immaculate conception. This argumentation is for his upcoming book on basic Roman Catholic apologetics.

In Martignoni’s argumentation, the immaculate conception must first be brought to the biblical text. That is, by a plain reading of the Bible, one would not read from Genesis to Revelation and conclude Mary was born sinless and remained free of sin her entire life. Martignoni’s apologetic then is to prove the immaculate conception is not disproved by anything the Bible states, and that certain texts can be utilized as indirect proofs. I outlined Martignoni’s hypothetical challenges and his responses in the order he presented them. My counter responses are in red.

Argument 1: The Bible doesn’t use the words immaculate conception. Therefore it is an unbiblical concept.

Martignoni’s Response: The words Trinity and Incarnation are not found in the Bible either.

Swan’s Counter: I know of no serious Protestant apologist that actually uses such an argument. The question is not whether the phrase is found in the Bible, but are there specific direct passages that substantiate such a concept? To substantiate such a concept as a clear teaching of scripture one needs direct passages, not a few vague inference passages.

Argument 2: Trinity and Incarnation are concepts supported by the Bible, the immaculate conception has no such support.

Martignoni’s response: There is no passage in Scripture which directly states that Mary was not conceived without original sin, or that she was not immaculately conceived.

Swan’s counter: Aside from the fact this response doesn’t follow from the argument, this type of argument can [be] applied to many individuals within the Bible. The Bible doesn’t say Priscilla was conceived without original sin, or that she was not immaculately conceived, yet we don’t assume she was. A lack of evidence does not bolster or further an argument.

Argument 3: Romans 3:9-12 and 3:22-23 says all are under the power of sin and that all have sinned, therefore Mary sinned.

Martignoni’s response (four points):
A. Such an argument does not address Mary being immaculately conceived, it addresses whether or not she was sinless her entire life, which is a different question.

Swan’s Counter: Under the heading of “The Immaculate Conception,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long” (CCC 493), so it is not a different question.

B. There is no passage in Scripture which directly states that Mary was not conceived without original sin, or that she was not immaculately conceived.

Swan’s Counter: Luke 1:35 positively says Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. There is no such verse about Mary’s conception. There is no verse that states Mary must be sinless in order to bear the Son of God. Martignoni offers no similar positive evidence that would separate her from the rest of humanity described in Romans 3.

C. Some Protestants believe things not found in the Bible. Catholics likewise should be allowed to believe things not directly stated in the Bible. Example: The Bible nowhere says contraception is okay, yet most protestants believe it is.

Swan’s Counter: Martignoni’s argument would not work against Protestants who deny both the immaculate conception and contraception. To prove some Protestants may believe something not found in the Bible does nothing more than prove an inconsistency. To prove such offers no positive support for an extra-biblical belief in the immaculate conception.

D. Some Scripture passages indirectly support the Immaculate Conception, like Genesis 3:14-15. Mary is the woman described. Enmity exists between Satan and the woman. Martignoni says, “If you have sin in you, can you say that there is enmity between you and Satan?” Only a sinless being can be at enmity with Satan. Therefore Mary was not conceived in sin, and did not commit personal sin.

Swan’s counter: This is Martignoni’s only attempt to present positive argumentation. He candidly admits his Biblical proof is indirect. The argument has an unproven assumption: only a sinless person can be an enemy of Satan, at war with Satan. But, there has always been enmity between believers and Satan. One does not have to be sinless to be at war with Satan. Why would Paul exhort the Ephesians to put on the full armor of God “so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes“? Wouldn’t he first clarify that in order to put on the armor, one must be entirely sinless? Similarly, why would Peter exhort Christians to resist the Devil (1 Peter 5:8), or James to resist the devil (James 4:7)? Here we have direct proof that all Christians are enemies of Satan, at war with Satan. John warns us that “if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves.” Christians are sinners, and they are at war with Satan. Nothing could be clearer.

Martignoni states that he was limited with the amount of time he had to put into this argumentation. Then again, he states this argumentation is for a book (as if the world needs yet another book repeating arguments already put forth by other writers). If he’s going to continue with a similar line of reasoning, perhaps he should back up a bit and explain his proofs are not proofs, but inferences. He claims to be presenting “biblical, historical, and logical perspectives” as to the immaculate conception. His reasoning though amounts to inferences and leaps of logic read into the text.

HT: Isaiah

Debate: New Age Bible Versions – James White vs Gail Riplinger.

James white Gail Riplinger

In this audio debate James White takes on Gail Riplinger on the topic of King James Onlyism. This classic debate is under an hour long and I highly recommend it to those struggling with the opinion of whether or not any other English translation of the Bible can be trusted.

James White also exposes the errors in Riplinger’s book New Age Bible Versions in which she attempts to push the KJV as the only acceptable English translation of the Bible by using some shady means.

See also: Bible Translation Comparison Chart

Quotes (595)

James white I am Reformed because of one thing: Consistently, honestly, and thoroughly read, God’s Word, the Bible, teaches that God is sovereign over all things, that man is a fallen creature, and that God saves perfectly in Jesus Christ. It is the consistent application of sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) and tota Scriptura (all of Scripture) that leads inevitably to the doctrines of grace.

- James White