8 Important Series to read on Narrow is the Way!


A few of you here are new. You’ll notice I sometimes use an odd structuring of English when I speak. Kind of a throwback to growing up in New England, and also a throwback to growing up speaking Yiddish. Mostly that. A Little.

Anyway, many of you who are new aren’t familiar with some of my earlier articles. I thought I’d give a list to the ones I thought were the most important.

  1. Evolution. My series on Evolution was the liveliest one I ever did. Atheists flocked to it, and we actually had some good exchanges. One thing I found in this series was many Atheists don’t like being called atheists, they prefer agnostic. I told them over and over again their definition of their beliefs was not agnostic, and they’d get upset. But it was a surprisingly respectful conversation with many of them. A couple of really insulting and aggressive ones popped in, but for the most part, really good responses. I was proud of this series, because I really hammered Evolution in many ways, including ways most other people have never brought up. I don’t think anyone else really ever dealt with the Warm Little Pond theory before I did, and I destroyed that one. I actually visited a link back someone placed on an article in this series, and it was an atheist telling others to go read my description of Hell “if they could take it”, so they could know what Christians really believe. To know my less than vivid descriptions of Hell were having an effect on Atheists means a lot – I pray the Lord some of these smart and yes, sometimes very funny men get saved. Atomic Mutant, still praying for ya, buddy!

  2. Jehovah’s Witnesses
    . This one I was REALLY proud of. I love how it turned out. I had a few nasty comments, including some from a Christadelphian who was incensed that I called Russell a Seventh Day Adventist. I wish I’d had Evernote back then, because I found an official SDA webpage where they’d admitted they consider Charles T Russell to be a Seventh Day Adventist, which was why I put the comment up. Once my article hit the web, suddenly that SDA page was edited to remove the admission. But on the whole, I dealt with every aspect of their theology and debunked it. For over two years, someone was coming back every day and re-reading the articles. Then suddenly three or four a day. I only hope I  meet just one person, just one in Heaven, who says “I left the Watchtower Society because of your blog.” Everything will be worth it to hear that.
  3. Roman Catholicism. This one produced a lot of hate. Funny how I’m Catholic bashing, but they’re not Baptist Bashing. And one of them responded in anger how offended he was that I claimed to be Jewish. So I answered him with some Yiddish, and he was perplexed. I guess his assumption was that if he was a catholic, he was a Jew. Mine is the only series I’ve ever seen where anyone dealt with the Magisterium first. A Catholic apologist once left a comment on my web site he wanted to see someone answer Rome without using the “same old defeated arguments”. I reposted the entire series and he said not a word. One that gave me the most trouble was so nice – but to no avail. He simply would not listen to reason, and I cut the whole exchange off.
  4. Word Faith/Charismatic. Surprisingly, this still remains one of the top draw items to my blog – not the entire series, just article #10, where I present a timeline people can download. Despite EVERYTHING I wrote in this series, a Charismatic came on to the blog and proceeded to tell me I was studying the Bible too much, and needed to let go, let this be my moment of desperation, my moment of expectation, and I would begin speaking in tongues… needless to say, after a couple of exchanges, she left, and I still don’t speak in tongues.
  5. Church Planting. I sincerely hope that since bloggers consider this kind of in depth series an “evergreen” article, that someone out there uses it to start a church plant. I got right into naming the church, starting it, materials, church covenant, statement of faith and by-laws, etc. If you feel called to the ministry, here you go – I’ve done EVERYTHING for you!
  6. Messianic Judaism – the series that started a thousand angry responses… on other websites. To my knowledge, I’m one of the only blogs ever to take on Messianic Judaism. There’s another I’ve seen, but as far as I know.. That’s it. Everyone else is just content to sit back and let them lead people astray with nary a comment. Read this, borrow the principles I’m using, and write your own articles on why Messianic Judaism is heresy. Most of the responses I got was people on their own websites challenging me to debates, resorting to straw man arguments, then knocking those down. In reality, my arguments were on my website, and.. They never addressed the points I raised, merely repeating their own flawed and overly circular reasoning. This one I may end up re-doing!
  7. Textual Criticism series. Good series. I made a number of people angry with this one, though, and it eventually led to my decision to stop allowing comments.
  8. Seventh Day Adventist series. Also very good. I was happy with this one, but got nary a comment except from an Adventist over 18 months later, who wouldn’t admit he was an Adventist – which of course a quick internet search revealed the fact that not only was he SDA, but his family heralded back to those who knew Ellen G. White. His technique was the tried and true method of repeat yourself until we both get annoyed and you leave. I put the entire comment exchange online.

One series I wasn’t happy with was the Mormonism series. It was correctly deduced by one Mormon that I had never read the book of Mormon. However, I just don’t have the time to engage in a lengthy study of the BoM, PGP and D&C to refute them – so this series never really lived up to its potential (I should mention that it was enthusiastically received by other Mormon apologetic sites at the time). It will have to wait until I retire to fully deal with this series.

Advertisements

Church Planting Book


For anyone interested in church planting, a highly recommended book is the David Cloud book “The New Testament Church.”

It will address common errors about it, and discusses sound doctrine. Who may lead it, who may not, church polity, church ordinances, and has a sample statement of faith, church constitution, and believer’s covenant in it that you can adopt or modify.

Here’s a quote from the book:

“Nowhere in the N.T. are deacons referred to as rulers in the church, and nowhere are they seen ruling over the pastors. Deacons are not rulers!”

Bad news for the SBC. I can remember a Deacon discussing the pastor with me, and he said, “I haven’t seen any problems with him that we needed to address with him.” In my usual blunt way, I answered him… “The Pastor is over the deacons, and not vice versa. There is no Biblical authority for a Pastor having to answer to deacons.”

My version of “how to influence people and win enemies.” If by win, you mean make people angry, yes.

This book is essential to any would-be pastor, and indeed, for anyone that is considering being a deacon.

The Deacon is roughly analagous to a SHammash in a synagogue. The Rabbi is the teacher and spiritual oversight in the synagogue, the shammash is the one who takes care of the synagogue, and the Cantor is the one who leads the prayers. These conform to that of pastor, deacon, and music leader. I specifically say “music leader” because a big misapprehension in Christianity today is that “worship” involves a massive production number designed to evoke emotional responses. I’ll have to deal with that in greater detail later on, but the way the word worship is used today is limited. To sit and learn doctrine is to submit, to prostrate ourselves before God. Literally, to listen to a sermon and follow in your Bible is to worship.

I think that church members, to get a better understanding of a church and their role in it, should also get this book. Available at way of life.org

New Skills – Passage / Verse lists


It’s time to learn some new skills. I’m guessing August is pastor’s Month, because everything I’m writing lately seems to be for pastors and pastors in training. If I’m going to change Christianity, I’ve got to start from the top. No sense changing the pew and then letting a pastor put it right back!

Can you do everything I’ve been writing about with just books? Yes. But it’s going to cost you a fortune and take many, many hours. If you’ve got that kind of time to spare, go ahead.

Let’s talk about some of the tools in Logos, Wordsearch, and Accordance. The first two I’ll talk aboit are not available for Quickverse, Bible Analyzer, Swordsearcher or eSword.

When you first enter the ministry, you should spend the three months its going to take to write a statement of faith. Make sure its strong and secure.

Here’s the next step.

Verse lists. When you first get your primary Bible software, I’d spend some time getting your essential tools in there. Verse lists in Wordsearch and Passage Lists in Logos to me are a big tool. I first discovered them in Wordsearch, and made quite a few fr myself, listing all the passages that support major doctrines. I originally envisioned it for being able to quickly look at my answers when some comment on my blog challenged Biblical doctrine. I’ve actually only used them a few times for that.

Most of the time, I’m using them for sermons. They serve a big function in allowing me to see at a glance other verses that support Biblical doctrine. I’d really recommend making a bunch right away. Ten commandments, Deity of Christ, salvation, eternal life, the Rapture, local church… these to me are a huge resource. Whenever you’re looking to write a sermon, make sure you consult yours.

This next read through of the Bible, make about 20 verse lists (passage lists in logos) and title them as various doctrine. End times, Rapture, Prophecy, Deity of Christ, Theophany, Christ in Old Testament, Types and Shadows, The Trinity, Prophecies of Jesus Christ… sky’s the limit. I have one I did just for one sermon, and probably should delete since its only got a few verses on it.

These are invaluable when it comes to sermon writing. if you’re an apologist and have a blog like mine, then by all means, these will save you a lot of time and trouble.

As you do this last readthrough from September to December, add verses to your lists. You need to keep all of them open so you can do this. Spending three months going through the Bible and doing this is huge.It will have major advantages later on.

If you’ve spent a lot of time working in one Bible software, and your emigrating over to another, you want to make it a priority to copying over passage/verse lists (they’re also called Reference lists in Accordance).

It’s best to think of every verse list you might want to have, and make a lot of them. You may decide by November you need a couple of extra ones on other topics, but guess what? You’ve already missed most of the Old Testament on this topic.

Assignment:

  • two weeks before the next readthrough of the Bible, get Logos, Accordance or Wordsearch. Make as many passage/reference/verse lists as you can think of prior to the read through.
  • Begin your readthrough. Everything you spot that fits into the category of that passage list/reference list/ verse list, highlight and add it

This takes the four month read through. Trust me, this is HUGE to have this tool. You’ll be glad you did this.

Church Planting – Planning


I’m reading through a completely Evangelical church planting primer. The first thing it suggests you do is select 23 prayer partners to help you get your church planting project approved by God.

Well, if God doesn’t build the house, the laborers labor in vain!

Let me put this a different way – it’s a good thing to have people pray. But choosing a large number of people to pray to persuade God reflects the “numbers equals holiness” mentality. If God has not commanded you to plant a church….uhhhh… don’t. You could hae ten THOUSAND people praying for you, and if God has not told you to, um… stop.

NEXT point!

The book raises the question of, “Why does this church exist?”

I’m afraid in this day and age your answer is liable to be… “because all the other churches in this area are compromising and apostating!”

But put some thought into that. Describe your church, as if you were sitting next to someone at a pastor’s convention (if it’s an IFB pastor’s convention, I’d probably wear body armor) and they said, “tell me about your church.”

Me, I think the answer of, “Uhhh…. it’s a church. We sing hymns, pray, preach the Bible, pray, altar call, see you tonight….” us probably the best one. But you might have a different one in mind!

You’re welcome to copy my answer. It’s a good one.

Do the thought exercises anyway. It might help to focus your thinking.

Church Planting – Ordination


Last one in this series.

First, let me tell you how Baptists traditionally view ordination.

The standard view is that one is licensed to preach by their seminary or convention. After that, when hired by a church, the Pastor is then ordained by that body. The ordination lasts until the pastor separates from that congregation.

Now let’s look at the Bible.

There’s no Biblical example anywhere of a pastor being ordained a second time. Since the pastorate replaces the priesthood and the Rabbi’s, it falls under the same category. So, in the Bible, a Levite was ordained once he was old enough to officiate – and that was it. It was for life. They were ordained by laying on of hands, an unbroken line of ordination from Moses. This ordination line failed when the first temple was burnt.

A Rabbi recieved S’mikhtah, ordination, by laying on of hands. The Pharisees boasted that they were in an unbroken line of ordination from Ezra to the day of the second temple. And literally, my old Rabbi was still in that unbroken line, if the pharisee boast was based upon truth.

Ordaining a pastor is done by laying on of hands.

If all three are done in the same manner, by the same means, for the same line of work, the service of God, then they are all to be done in the same way, for the same length of time,

If a Rabbi leaves a synagogue and goes to another one, he is not ordained again. If a levite were to leave Jerusalem but officiate in the other manners of the Levite elsewhere in Israel, there was no second ordination.

The same illogic used for ordination could ALSO be applied to Baptism, and you could find that every pastor insisted you be re-baptized every new church you went to.

It’s unbiblical to issue a “license to preach.” Nothing in the bible about it.

Now for the second part – since we’re now aware that a license to preach is unBiblical, let’s look at ordination. Who does it? Baptists say the church body.

That’s not Scriptural. Acts 1:6, the Apostles ordained the deacons. Titus was to ordain in Crete. Timothy was ordained by the presbytery, the elders. Pastors.

There is NO Biblical example I can find of a church body ordaining a pastor.

So, who should ordain you?

another Pastor.

5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: Titus 1:5 (KJV)

14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 1 Timothy 4:14 (KJV)

Ouch. One major Baptist doctrine drops right in the trash can.

Biblically, your Pastor should lay hands on you and ordain you. And that lasts for… life.

If your pastor refuses to ordain you, but agrees that there is a call on your life, then he is literally refusing to obey God. That’s something he may have to answer for.

I know of one pastor who never went to SEminary. He just is one of those rare people who reads his Bible, listens to a lot of teachings, and found himself putting together a church because he couldn’t find a proper church teaching apostolic doctrine. So, he eventually found himself needing to do a wedding. But he wasn’t ordained. So, he called two other pastors (famous ones in the IFB Ruckmanite movement) and asked them if they were willing to ordain him.

They flew up on the next flight and ordained him.

no kidding.

If your pastor won’t ordain you because “That’s not how Baptists do it”, then take it to God. He will find the people to ordain you.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some praying to do. See you tomorrow.

Church Planting – Finding a pulpit 2


You know, really… I think if I had a two week vacation, I could spend one week and write a year’s worth of articles, and then the next week to relax and just rest.

Anyway, let’s look at who may be a pastor. All the would be preacher boys, consider this your prayer list.

Pastoral Duties

1. To administer the ordinances Matt. 28:19-20

2. To be a man of prayer1 Tim. 2:1

3. To warn his flock1 Tim. 4:1, 6

4. To study the Word2 Tim. 2:15

5. To preach the Word2 Tim. 4:2; Acts 6:2-4

6. To exhort and rebuke1 Thess. 5:12; Titus 2:15

7. To watch over souls, his own and those of othersActs 20:28-31; Col. 4:17; 1 Tim. 4:6; 6:11; Heb. 13:17

8. To feed and lead his flockActs 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2

9. To be an example to all1 Cor. 11:1; 4:16; Phil. 3:17; 2 Thess. 3:9; 1 Tim. 4:12; Heb. 13:7; 1 Pet. 5:3

H. L. Willmington, The Complete Book of Bible Lists, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1987), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 230.

Number 10. You must be a man, married to no more than one wife. In America, the assumption is this means you may not be divorced. David Cloud met a pastor in Nepal who the entire Christian community supported – who had two wives. Literally. Married to both of them at the same time. So Mr. Cloud in his usual style told him he couldn’t be a pastor. The man was broken hearted, the entire Christian community was angry with David, etc.

This kind of thing upsets the applecart, as it causes you to evaluate your stand on Scripture immediately. Does it mean you can’t be divorced? Or no?

C’mon, easy answer… easy answer…

DING! Divorce is addressed elsewhere. Bruce Lackey had written the best response, so good that David Cloud simply put Lackey’s article in his Way Of Life Encyclopedia.

God’s plan for the church age is no divorce. If a divorce does take place, He certainly does not permit remarriage. The only possibilities, if a divorce occurs, are indicated in v. 11: either remain unmarried, or be reconciled. That may seem to be very difficult, even harsh, for God to make such a demand, but there are many passages of Scripture which teach that if we follow the Saviour, we are going to have to make some sacrifices.

Reading the entire article is recommended. Lackey deals with this subject tenderly and prayerfully, and points out the hypothetical situation of someone getting divorced and remarried before they were saved – and he carefully compared Scripture with Scripture on this issue. And gives the answer. What is it? Look, as a IFB Pastor, if you don’t have the Way Of Life Encyclopedia, you’re just asking for trouble. Really. I’ve already said I personally think EVERY christian should own this.

Going on with the rest of the qualifications,

Number 11, they must be not given to wine. If you drink, then you need to put that away. Once you are ordained, that’s it. Never again. This is what the Bible says. Don’t like it? Take it up with God. Moving right along.

Number 12 , not a brawler. Got a temper? pray about that. Once you are ordained, you can slug someone only in self defense. No more fighting Grizzly Bears and alligators!

Number 13, not given to filthy lucre. That means – you can’t be greedy. In other articles, I’ve talked about having someone else deal with the money. That’s a bottom line.

Number 14, not arrogant. If you’re following along in Titus 1:7, you’ll notice Selfwilled. αὐθάδης, Authadays. It means Arrogant. So… pray for humility! TRust me the Lord will take you down a peg or three as a Pastor. If you’re arrogant, he’ll fix you quick.

Lotta stuff, huh?

How do you know when you’re called to the ministry? number one, you can’t stop thinking about it. Number two, you can’t stop thinking about it. Number three, you can’t stop thinking about it. When you’re looking at Bible software and you obsess about having all of them, that’s what we call a clue. If you go to the Wordsearch website and see Bible outline books for $80 and it makes your heart ache, good sign. If your church recognizes the call on your life, final sign. See the Way of Life Encyclopedia for a VERY good article on this, including “what if my church DOESN’T recognize my calling?” He does address that! Here’s an excerpt.

God’s standards for pastors.

  1. (1) He must be a man (1 Ti. 2:12; 3:1).
  2. (2) He must have a divine call (1 Ti. 3:1).
  3. (3) He must be proven (1 Ti. 3:10).
  4. (4) He must be blameless in the areas listed in 1 Ti. 3:2-5 and Tit. 1:6-8—in relationship with his wife (1 Ti. 3:2), in relationship with his children (1 Ti. 3:4; Tit. 1:6), in his personal life (1 Ti. 3:2-3; Tit: 1:8).
  5. (5) He must be able to teach (1 Ti. 3:2).
  6. (6) He must hold fast to apostolic doctrine (Tit. 1:9).
  7. (7) He must be able to deal with false teaching (Tit. 1:9-11).
  8. (8) He must not be a novice (1 Ti. 3:6).
  9. (9) He must have a good reputation in the community (1 Ti. 3:7).
  10. (10) His wife must be spiritual (1 Ti. 3:11).

The time to start is now. Immeidately.Study to shew thyself approved. Begin thinking about it. You’re needed, because the casting out is already begun, where churches are driving the Fundamentalists out.

Church Planting – Finding a pulpit


For the preacher boys!

All right guys, it’s like this. The first rule of Pastoring is this – do not fear your congregation. There’s a lot of pressure behind the pulpit. You look at all these faces, and you know what they want to hear vs. what the Bible says.

Preach what the Bible says. Even if it’s going to cost you your job. This is your bottom line. And tell the congregation when someone complains, “You may or may not have to account for how well you’ve lived as a Christian. But I will have to account for the day by day decisions I make as a Pastor.”

You’re going to get one of two responses.

“You’re fired.”

or

“Praise God.”

If they fire you, then Praise God. Stop at McDonalds and pick up an application. And start looking for Pulpit number two. At least you know you shunned not to preach the whole counsel of God.

Now, let’s talk about the issues of making sure you’re ready to preach. You should have studied to shew thyself approved. I personally believe that every Pastor should complete SEminary. I remember talking with a Pastor new to a pulpit in a nearby Freewill Baptist church, and asking him what was his least favorite year of SEminary, his favorite class, and his least favorite class. His answer was, “Well, I never completed Seminary. I had about a year and a half, but I have a degree in business.”

I told myself not to be judgmental, to let it go. My immediate thought was that he was a false teacher,a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and disaster was about to hit the church. But let’s not be hasty, and perhaps this is a gifted person who the Lord has led to this pulpit, a massive church with a Bible college and a day school.

Nope. I was right the first time. They took the name “Baptist” out of their name, and redid the sign to look more like the Monster energy drink logo. And they cut off the founding pastor from that church.

If you’re not willing to stick it out, and complete four years when it starts bogging down, then hey… you need to try McDonalds. Professional sports. Advertising. Something else.

THe first thing that popped in my mind was a movie I saw years ago, when I first got saved, written by Jerry Jenkins. I can’t remember the name of it, but it centered around a senior pastor telling the associate pastor to take the youth group out Christmas Caroling to the member of the congregation, and to give away CD’s of some teaching or other to the shut-ins. The youth pastor balked, and the senior pastor told him, “If you can’t do the less fun aspects of being a pastor, then you don’t deserve to be a pastor.”

Read that line again. It’s not all fun and giggles being a Pastor. When I was finishing my 4th year of SEminary, my last chance to bring my grades up from an A- to an A, my Senior pastor needed surgury. He was supposed to be out for a month.

He was out for four months.

At the same time that this happened the associate pastor’s wife gave birth to twins, prematurely. The other Seminary student and I were suddenly it. We’d started Seminary about the same time, were finishing up at the same time.

We both ended up finishing Seminary about six months late. We were it. We were all they had to preach, to teach. That’s the expression “Where the rubber meets the road.” And no, I never was able to bring my GPA up. Too busy. I was writing sermons left and right. It was a “you’ve got three days” kind of thing.

This kind of thing can and will happen to you. It’s God’s way of showing you if you’re ready or not. Literally, what you learn in Seminary is not enough. Now you’re dealing in real lives. One wrong word, and someone leaves that church. A joke from the pulpit costs you people, every time.

So, let’s take some time, now that I’ve prepped you, on how to make sure you’re ready for the pulpit. We should be able to finish this tomorrow.