"Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Matthew 7:14 (KJV)
Seminary graduate with a Ba. in Theology/Pastoral Studies, Happily married, Independent Baptist. I can't keep silent about what I see going on in Christianity any longer!
Apostasy reigns around us, churches are sliding into worldiness, a whitewashed Gospel is preached everywhere...
"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Jeremiah 6:16 (KJV)
So, I'm speaking out. ...Why aren't you???
It’s really funny. We read the injunction “do the things again which
thou didst at the first.”
And we rack our brains about how to keep our love from growing cold,
losing our first love.
The answer literally is right in front of you.
What did you do when you first got saved?
I read the Bible a lot. I read sermons a lot. I was restlessly
searching for a Seminary I could afford.
Everything was about being a Christian.
So, I tried something recently. I starting reading the Bible a lot.
Listened to a lot of sermons. Prayed.
And you know it’s not quite the absolute joy you have the first six
months you’re saved – the Lord protected you then, to allow you to
stand on your feet. Now He wants you to stand. And grow.
But it’s close.
Listening to sermons – the point of a sermon is to teach the Bible.
And i think I shocked my readers by ranting lately by admitting I’d
stopped listening to IFB sermons. The only ones I still listen to is
Marc Monte, Dan Botterbrodt and Vincent Sawyer. Non-IFB it’s John
I know that MacArthur is a Calvinist. I understand that. I know he
constantly goes on about “that verse was put in by a well meaning
scribe.” And he’s wrong.
This is the problem I was talking about. I’m not getting fed
doctrinally listening to sermons by many of the IFB pastors out there.
I hesitate to bring this up – but it’s got to be addressed.
There is no shame in breaking. The enemy fights against us constantly.
Sometimes things just get out of control. And sometimes people shatter
under the trauma of life. An exceptionally horrific video from World
War II shows an Okinawan toddler shaking from Shell Shock while a GI
tries to give her water to drink. A toddler. A very young child, just
past being a baby.
with shell shock.
I don’t know who she is, but that kind of trauma leaves emotional
scars she’ll never recover from.
For some reason, there’s a number of mentally ill people who gravitate
towards the IFB movement. I don’t know why.
I’ve attended a Ruckmanite church, and see the depression it causes
among women. Hard to sit there and hear the constant lashing out from
the pulpit about how they dress, but men are welcome to wear t-shirts
and shorts to the church picnic.
There are people dealing with trauma, and it shows itself in anger and
rage issues. It’s not uncommon to look at a congregation in an IFB
church and see faces contorted with anger as people listen to the
sermon. They’re not mad at the pastor, just at life.
And sometimes it’s just the symptom of emotional trauma so severe that
they can’t cope.
Some people hold to the most bizarre beliefs in IFB churches, like the
man who I heard teach that the 144,000 were virgin born.
Mental illness can cause you to derive things in Scripture that absolutely are not there. Why? You’re broken. Your reasoning sometimes skips tracks.
There’s no shame in admitting it if you’re one. Nobody will blame you.
I don’t blame you. Not your fault.
Sometimes people break. And the first step to wellness is admitting
Now you can begin to heal. Prayer helps. Bible study helps. Someone to
let you know when you’re going wrong again helps.
If you’re suffering from depression, understand that’s not just
something you can change by trying to be happy.
Prayer helps. Admitting you’ve got depression helps. And suicide is
never the answer.
Persevere. Seek help if you have to, and feel no shame for it.
A long illness sometimes causes depression. It’s not emotional, it’s
physical. Your brain begins re-uptaking the same seratonin instead of
creating new seratonin to carry impulses in the brain.
That’s a physical thing. Trying to cheer up won’t fix it.
I wanted to give everyone some advice. it used to be that if your
computer crashed. you lost a LOT. We used to make backups on floppy
disks. Then diskettes. Then CD roms. Then backup drives.
Now there’s cloud services. Rememer the days you’d print an article to
PDF so you could study it? Now you just use Evernote to clip it. And
if things go wrong, with your computer, just refresh, install
Evernote, and it will in a matter of minutes have all your research
Dropbox. I pay $80 a year for Dropbox. I can’t really afford it, but
my last computer crash taught me I need one. Should I ever upgrade my
computer (I usually get a laptop every 3-4 years, and it’s time –
except my Dell is doing so good I hate to replace it!), I just have to
download Evernote and Dropbox, and I’ve got everything.
Th olny thing that isn’t Cloud oriented on my computer is Thunderbird
Email. I’m praying they adopt a cloud storage solution – perhaps
within Dropbox – so that all my emails are still there.
Of course, I think 10% of them are Home Depot sales emails I keep
meaning to go through and delete. But it’s funny how often I’ll email
something to my wife and five years later I’m looking for that info –
and it’s in an email.
Use a cloud based Bible program. Twice now I’ve tried to rely on
Wordsearch’s cloud backups to restore – oh, no, it doesn’t work at
ALL. Fortunately, I also make a backup to Dropbox. I’m phasing
wordsearch out, but I’ve still got the first three years of research
for this blog all in Wordsearch and no time to move it to Logos. To
install Logos takes two minutes to install, then a full day of
painfully slow computer as gigabytes of data download and then the
long drawn out indexing of Logos. But then all my data is there! Yes!!!
So my reocmmendation is to get everything on your hard drive OFF your
hard drive. Research goes into Evernote. Files go into Dropbox. Bible
software should be cloud based.
The biggest change a person can make in their life is to get saved.
The Bible describes if as “out of the kingdom of darkness” “into the
kingdom of light.”
notice there’s a break there.
A great gulf fixed.
It has to be. Because saved Christians in Heaven would be so moved
with pity for those in Hell we’d brave the fire to go drag people out.
All the time mourning those we didn’t witness to.
There’s a period of about 3 to 6 months when you first get saved where
you’ve got the JOY of the Lord in you. That’s when you’re being
protected and nourished.
That goes away. alas.
The Bible enjoins us to “Stir up that within us” and “return to our
So – what steps should we take after we first get saved?
Get a good Bible. This is paramount. You’ll end up building a
library, but be careful. Perhaps I’m completely paranoid, but many
of the biggest names in Christianity today I find myself questioning
whether they’re truly Christian, or they advocate beliefs so
dangerous I recommend staying well away from. more on that later.
For now, get a good King James Study Bible – it’s going to be a
little expensive – and a bottle of whiteout. Any footnote that
questions the Bible gets whiteout. Any footnote that says “this
verse is not in the best manuscripts” or what have you – white out.
Remember not to close that page until the white out is dry. White
out tape may be best, but they always gum up badly.
Get good Bible software. Sooner or later, you’re going to
want to start studying stuff. E-Sword is the most popular free Bible
program, and it’s… so-so. Essentially, it’s the very best of
1990’s computer technology. I recommend Logos Basic. Free and
fantastic. You’ll be tempted to spend a lot of money on it – I
Associate with like minded believers. There’s a big move in
Christianity for Christians to “turn a blind eye to doctrinal
errors”, but this is actually the opposite of what the Bible says.
We are told to keep our doctrine without spot. Don’t associate with
someone who says they’re a Christian just because they say they’re a
Christian. Many believers have been led astray by bad associations.
Get into a good Bible Believing church. this one’s getting
harder and harder to do. There literally is no good Bible believing
churches in my town. David Cloud says you may have to compromise
slightly, but I think this is dangerous. There is no perfect church
– but a church that teaches error is a church that leads astray.
Pray without ceasing. Instead of cursing at slow drivers and
screaming at fast drivers, try praying. It benefits you. And keeps
your blood pressure down.
Read your Bible daily. Many Christians don’t read their
Bibles at all. I can remember the jaw dropping moment when I told a
Christian I knew someone with a sefer toldot, a Jewish geneology
book that traces their geneology back to Adam. No kidding. Her
response was, “The Bible says no Jew can trace their geneology and
I’ll believe the Bible.” Uh… blink blink… what? What verse is
that? Where’s that located? That one stumped me, because I read the
Bible through four times that year and never saw that verse before.
Nor since! Read your Bible and know it.
Separate from the world. One of the biggest things a
Christian can do to keep their way pure is to separate from the
world. Selling your TV might be a good first step. The more you
associate with the world, the more you’ll be drawn back into it!
These tips aren’t all there is to it – but certainly they’ll help a
new Christian stay right and grow strong in the Lord!
Logos 8 is out, and of course they’re hyping it madly right now.
Certainly I think they should drop hints, and say things like, “Logos
8 coming out in two months” to stir excitement. I actually just had
the money to upgrade and spent it on something else! So advance notice
is always a good thing.
Logos needs to hire some new writers to explain their new features. I
know that sometimes some of the features in Logos they hype I have
honestly no idea what they do. Supposedly, they’ve now got work flows.
No clue what that is.
They’ve got Canvas.
Not sure what that is.
I think it’s something akin to the sentence diagramming feature. I
didn’t know how to use that, so I use it in other ways to examine the
verse. It may be that Canvas is something I wrote to WordSearch
suggesting several times – an extra overlay you can make notes and
highlights on as needed. If so, that’s really cool.
Logos is saying that these features are fantastic, and revolutionary.
Anything logos calls revolutionary must be impressive, because their
program is revolutionary as it is.
Should you upgrade? I’ll say, yes. I love the changes Logos instituted
with 7, and the concept of “you buy the books and own them forever” is
a really good idea. Certainly, the concept of “you only own the
version you pay for during its lifespan” by Quickverse bankrupted that
company. You can find rant after rant from other Logos owners who
explained to the company that the money they paid was a one time
thing, and they’ll never be able to do that again.
Logos listened, Quickverse didn’t.
So now I own all the books I bought in Logos 6 and Seven. Logos 8 will
add to that.
You should get – if you get anything – the Logos Baptist upgrade.
Logos now is committed to making sure you’ve got “Visions of St. Elise
of Cyan” bundled in to the regular Logos. The Baptist one reallly has
them confused – they’re mostly theologically liberal New Calvinists –
so they’ve got titles in the Baptist Family that have titles of
“sovereign Grace”, “Calvin’s Institutes” and “Modern Ariminianism”.
You just can’t explain it to a New Calvinist that Baptists aren’t
Arminian or Calvinist. At all. They don’t get it. In their minds,
you’re either one or the other. The concept of a third doctrinal
stance simply makes no sense to them.
The biggest feature of Logos – I swear they read this blog – is that
you end up with a million note files after two years of regular Logos
use. They’ve now got ways to organize your note files, so you now can
find that fragment of a note file you started on Haggai.
It’s always a joy to me to upgrade Logos. I did enjoy buying
Swordsearcher last year – that was a great moment for me. But often,
adding something to Logos is amazing to me. I love it. You add a Greek
lexicon or a primer, and suddenly you’re getting a LOT more responses
when you search for things, or right click on a word.
Do you have Logos yet? Most people don’t. I’d get the Logos Basic 7
for now – Logos 8 Basic won’t come out until February or so.
you’re going to be amazed at how much information you get, very
quickly when you use it.
A crucial matter for preachers – especially IFB preachers – is to
learn how to preach. I mention specifically, because I’ve almost
despaired of finding any good IFB preachers who are worthy of the
$12,000 a year they’re getting paid.
But a far more crucial attitude is among the flock, who sits in
churches, nods at appropriate places in sermons, and leaves,
forgetting what they’ve heard.
The only thing it requires to learn from sermons, is to take notes. If
churches find the need to print weekly service programs (not a bad
idea), then provide a fill in the blank section for the pastor’s
The congregation now just has to circle a word, write one simple
phrase to explain what the sermon was about (Hint – the Pastor usually
tells you immediately after the words “In conclusion”), write down
what the three points are, and jot down any verses the Pastor uses.
This would be a HUGE benefit in your Christian life.
you’ll pay a lot of attention to sermons from here on out.