A Little confused

I use a start page for the internet, where I have certain websites with news feeds linked. David Cloud hasn’t published to his RSS for about 3 years, because he’s doing much better with email anyway.

But I get the SermonAudio news on my start page, and every day I’m rolling my eyes, as it’s some article that is talking about both Christian persecution and “christian” persecution.

It’s rapidly a growing fact that God-fearing Christians are becoming the most persecuted peoples on earth. I read of horrifying things happening in other countries that love to boast of their religious tolerance. And other forms of persecution nowhere near as bad, but persecution nonetheless.

Then, there’s the stories where they talk about Christian persecution, but I read the article, and it’s talking about (usually) a Roman Catholic. And sometimes a Mormon.

These are not Christians.

Then recently, SermonAudio ran an article on an Evangelistic organization that was being questioned because they were –get this – partnering with Catholics.

Okay, let me get this straight – you’ve published many links to articles about Roman Catholics being persecuted and calling them Christians – but when someone else makes that same error, you’re calling them out on it?

I’m confused. Either you think Catholics are Christians, or they’re not. in case you haven’t figured it out yet, they believe in salvation by works and that’s a heresy. it’s also why Logos is constantly putting up little interviews on “we need to re-think the keeping of the law” – because there’s agenda’s there. But I digress, as usual.

If Catholics are Christians (which they’re not), then why does it matter if a Fundamentalist organization is getting swept up in the fervor of Ecumenism that is building the one world “church” that the Antichrist will use?

If Catholics are not Christians, then why have you listed so many articles that claim that they are?

Do most Christians even think anymore? I’m not the only one – I’ve got 300 readers who may not agree with me on everything, but surely must have grasped this essential point!

So I’m calling SermonAudio out on this. Think for a minute, decide what you believe. Is it the truth? Or Ecumenism and Evangelicalism? If it’s Ecumenism, then don’t call others to task for falling for the same lies you believe!

If it’s the truth, then clean the pew you sit in first!


Get Back To The Bible

Pretty much ending my series for now on revival and getting back to a Biblical Christianity, lets… get back to a Biblical Christianity.
It’s not hard.There’s nothing controversial about it.

We as Christians simply need to repent. If it’s a doctrine that can’t be found in a Bible, it needs to be tossed. Centering prayer, contemplative prayer, Joel Osteen visualizing, reincarnation, karma, universalism, evangelicalism, cooperating with the unsaved, accepting all religions as teaching the same truths, mantra chanting, reiki healing, chakras, auras, healing touch, blab it and grab it, salvation by baptism, salvation by predestination, these are all UNBIBLICAL and PAGAN.

We need to separate from these teachings. If you have books that advocate them, throw them away, donate them, or burn them (unless you are collecting them for apologetics purposes for research – it’s a little known fact David Cloud has a huge library of false Christian teachings which he uses to look up sources).

All that old, boring stuff that the older generations call Christianity – yup, that was Christianity, and we need to get back to it.

When I got saved, I turned to looking for, “what part of Christianity is known for sticking to the Bible?” I found it was the Baptists. So I searched for a Bible believing Baptist church. I’ve told that story before, but here’s my point – we need to toss anything out of the churches that is not Biblical.
Bottom line – let’s get back to God.

The State of Christianity


Photo by Jay Ruzesky on Unsplash

One key element of my blog has been to examine the state of Christianity.

Whenever I do this, I go into rants.

Today, it’s time to explode a little.

Dealing with Faithlife, the parent company for Logos has shown me that what I dislike about Faithlife is pretty much the tip of the iceberg of Christianity.

What do I mean?

The prevailing attitudes I see evidenced in Faithlife are pretty much representative in modern Christianity.

Roman Catholicism is not Christianity.
Roman Catholicism (by the time you’re really done analyzing it) is anti-Christianity! Christianity is salvation by faith through grace. Roman Catholicism is salvation by works.

Christianity is praying to God through Jesus Christ. Roman catholicism is about praying to saints, who will intercede on your behalf to Mary, who takes the prayers to God.

Christianity has the Bible for sole authority of faith and practice. Roman Catholicism has Church tradition and the magisterium.

By the time you really analyze it, Roman Catholicism is not Christianity, but rather a modified form of Hinduism!

Yet most Christians today consider Roman Catholics to be Christians! This is so great an error among Evangelical Christians today, that it really deserves its own rant!

Seventh Day Adventism is not Christianity
Just as you can buy the Verbum software for Roman Catholics, you can buy the Logos package for the SDA, with such great SDA teachers as…

Wait. Anyone see a problem with this? They believe Jesus Christ is the Archangel Michael. We rightly reject the Jehovah’s Witnesses as a cult for believing this, but we turn a blind eye to the SDA. We call the Jehovah’s witnesses a cult for believing in soul sleep, but we turn a blind eye to the SDA. We call the Jehovah’s witnesses a cult for rejecting a literal hell, but then we turn a blind eye to the SDA.

By the time we’re done with it, the only real difference between the JW’s and the SDA really is vegetarianism (SDA) and blood transfusions (JW’s).

But one is a cult, and the other a denomination. Listen, if the one is a cult then so is the other.

Church of Christ (Campbellite) is salvation by works
If we reject other cults for salvation by works, then we should reject all groups that preach salvation by works as well. It violates the Bible, and the Bible calls it a damnable heresy to teach you must work your way into heaven.

The only real issue with Campbellites is that they claim baptism saves us. Baptism is a work. It’s the first essential sign, the first essential work you perform to PROVE you’re saved.

They’re absolutely right when you say that if you refuse to be baptized you’re not saved. But it’s not the BAPTISM that saves – it’s faith in Jesus Christ as the atoning sacrifice!

By transferring the faith from Jesus Christ to a work you yourself perform… you have gone from faith to works.

Famous People
There’s a lot of famous people who claim to be Christians. One thing that astounds me is when Christians tell me Jane Fonda is a Christian. Her own remark after supposedly getting saved was, “I’m not one of those born again Christian types.” Then… you’re not a Christian!

There’s a football player who made millions selling his autobiography about how Christian he is. Technically, if he mentioned his conviction for animal cruelty in his book for dog fighting, he’s in violation of the law – you cannot legally make a profit writing about your crime. I’m not going to mention any names, but there’s ample evidence he’s an active gang member. I’m sorry, that’s not really evidence of a changed life.

Are you Christian?
The numbers I’m seeing in polls are shocking. Most Christians today evidence beliefs that 30 years ago mainstream Christianity would have decried as not being Christian!

Have you read your Bible all the way through, at least once?

If I were to drag you into court to prove you were a Christian, would the evidence of your life show you were a Christian? There has to be some kind of evidence!

Do you believe that there is only one way to heaven? Hint – John 14:4…
Do you believe the righteous of every faith will wake up in heaven, surprised and a little embarrassed about how wrong they were? Or do you believe that if you are not born again, there remains no other fate for you than eternal hellfire? (hint – the answer to this is far more revealing than you believe!)

Do you believe your Bible is inerrant, inspired, the preserved word of God? Or do you assume your Bible has errors, and only the Scholars can really decipher what the Bible really says? (this answer reveals a lot)

Most people who think they’re Christians are in for a horrible surprise. Guess what? Eternity is not going to be good.

Let’s see how you do…

  • Do you believe in salvation by grace through faith alone?
  • Do you believe in Jesus Christ as God in human flesh, eternally the Son of God, died on the Cross and rose again, one third of the trinity?
  • Do you believe Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven?
  • Do you believe the only propitiation for sin is the atoning blood of Jesus Christ?
  • Do you believe Jesus Christ is not just a man, and never was just a manDo you believe in a literal six day creation?
  • Do you believe in a literal flood that covered the entire earth?
  • Do you believe that no matter what, you cannot earn your salvation?
  • Do you believe your Bible is the preserved word of God without error?
  • Do you have one moment in your life you can point to where you came to Jesus for salvation, and that there was a change in your life after that?

“Yes” answers are good. There should have been no “No” answers in that list.

If you have one or more “No” answers… can you tell me why you think you’re a Christian? Because your definition of what a Christian is and what the Bible teaches one is apparently are two different things!

I’d keep going with this one, but I’m worn out after the work week I had!

Thinking About Last year

really, the enormity of it just hit me.

I wrote commentary on the Bible this year. And if all of you followed the instructions on how to set up your Bible software to take down commentary, you would have been able to copy and paste those sections you felt were an “aha!” moment.

Me. Grumpy ol’ Philip Dean.

You’re only as good as your Bible tools. So, there’s quite a few tools I place high priority on. It’s all a matter of finances, I guess.

I’ve taught, in the last 15 months, how to study the Bible, to preach, how to put together a Baptist church, how to pastor, how to research and study the Bible, and even how to start an apologetics blog.

If you’re interested in these topics, I urge you to go back into the archives anmd study them. I’m surprised that nobody has left a comment that “I’ve felt the call of God into the Ministry, and I found your blog… it’s been a help!”

Truly, over the last 4 years of this blog, I’ve written a lot of articles. There must be SOMETHING that will help you!

Church Revitalization

Originally published Dec. 2015

After this, I’m done with writing about churches for at least the rest of the year.


Anyway, this one is really where my heart is at- a church that needs refocus. Perhaps they’ve had an abusive pastor they’ve just let go, and need someone to come in and fix things.

Let’s say I was hired by (let’s make this tough!) a former Ruckmanite church. Their pastor steps down, for undisclosed reasons. I’m sure everyone’s going to want to tell me why, including a lot of gossip. Let’s not do that. If it’s something procedural, I’ll listen, so I don’t make the same mistake. But if it’s something personal, I don’t care. He’s stepped down, he needs forgiveness and prayer to restore him, and the church needs direction, forgiveness, prayer, healing…

….and they need it last Sunday.

Okay. Hit the ground running. (by the way, nobody knows where that phrase comes from. No, it wasn’t from airborne soldiers or hobos jumping off a train. If you have 12 weeks to spare, give either a try while pumping your legs like you’re running. And let me know, so I can sign both your casts!!!!)

That’s a sermon illustration you can use, by the way. It’s mine. Enjoy.

The first service I would undertake would depend on if I was the first Pastor they turned to after the crisis. You need to immediately get a prayer service. The church needs healing, and yesterday. forgiveness against any bitterness or hurt.

Where do you preach from? You’ve got a lot of possibilities. Forgiveness should be the first thing, and make sure you hit on the very real possibility that the church members may be the victims, Say this GENTLY and circumspectly. Don’t throw out, “Man, your old pastor was a jerk, huh?”

Instead, find a way to say it in the sermon like, “Sometimes in our best intentions, we often try the wrong thing. And we just can’t see our way out of it. How many times have your children done something dangerous, and you responded by shouting at them? In many ways, pastoring is like parenting. We sometimes hurt those we are entrusted to. As a Pastor, the first thing I should say is – i’m sorry. I know I will frequently do the wrong thing, just as you yourselves often do. I will sometimes respond wrongly. And I’m afraid, yes, I will indeed hurt your feelings, and very badly. And I’m sorry.”

Just the act of someone standing in the pulpit and apologizing may well heal the congregation right there.

Plan out a moment when you pray, with the congregation, that God heal the hurt among them.

AFTER THIS, I’d make a remark about “Those days have ended” and “That door is shut, to open a new one.”

Start emphasizing getting the church on track. Start talking about the Great Commission. Start talking about the church body coming together as one, putting their hands to the plow and not looking back, about the future of the church ahead.

I’d make the Sunday night service the Lord’s Supper, and emphasize about closed communion, that the Lord’s Supper is only for members of the church, and should be done on Sunday Nights from now on.

After this, it’s almsot like a church plant, except it’s got a lot more people there. Be prepared to delegate. There’s a lot of work to be done.

My second sunday, I’d tell everyone to bring all their Riplinger-Ruckman-Pearl books the next week. Preach about moderation, about sound doctrine, and explain some of the issues facing all of them. And encourage those willing to, to take all of those books, and place them in the nice trash can next to the pulpit.

There’s a way to be Godly, without all the other nonsense the Pearl’s write about. There’s a way to be Fundamentalist without UFO’s. CIA conspiracies, and Gap myths that Peter Ruckman teaches. There’s a way to be an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist and King James Only without believing in Scond Inspiration or any of the excesses of the “don’t use a strong’s concordance! He was a Methodist!!! EEEEEK!!!!” approach of Gail Riplinger.

Seriously, I think that following the teachings of all three in tandem can crush people’s self esteem, and drive people to emotional, if not mental, breakdowns. I mean, listening to teachers who taught excessive doctrines many years ago gave Harry Ironside a mental breakdown. Once he recovered, he did the right thing and turned into one of the great Christian writers and preachers of the 20th century.

Let the church know that, no… we are not getting rid of the hymns in favor of CCM. If your church has gone that route, you’re going to have a fight ahead of you. Basically, teach the worship leader about why CCM is wrong, and explain you’re going back to hymns only. When the church leadership balks, teach them. Ask them if they want revival or no? An essential Biblical truth is that you cannot get Church Revival without first letting go of the world. Church revival requires a sacrifice of anything worldy. Find me one revival in the Bible where the people were allowed to continue being worldly and idolatrous.

The attention of the church has got to be turned outward, and inward at the same time. “We’re going to go back over sound Biblical doctrine. I cannot heal and revitalize this church without addressing doctrine.” So your first year is almost dictated for you, taking everyone through a series on doctrine is essential.

Now, the Knox-Melton school of Ruckmanites like to preach expositionally. They love to drag the congregation slowly through the Old Testament, sometimes preaching on the same passage three weeks in a row.

Okay, that’s fine. But we’re a New Testament church. Any Expositional teaching PROBABLY should start in the new testament. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Sitting down with a Nave’s, A TSK and a Study Bible with lots of references in it, will give you the tools at your disposal to teach through the Old Testament at the same time you’re teaching through the New Testament.

These are some starter ideas. There’s more I could write on Revitalization, but it’ll probably have to wait until Next year.

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

Who is Israel?

This may seem to be the most basic of questions, but Christianity has been corrupted by a false doctrine that has held sway since Augustine – that of The Church replaces Israel.

It seems logical, and if you read the Bible from that perspective, it seems to hold together not too badly. If you begin to spiritualize certain passages, it most certainly seems to make more sense. And if you spiritualize all references to Israel being the Church, even into the land being divided by the sons of Jacob, it makes even more sense.

But stop there.

What does Spiritualize mean? I used to hear this when I was a Messianic a lot (really, that word should be Messy Antics, the Jewish nickname for the cultish group of Gentile Christians wearing yarmulke and tallis). I never stopped to analyze that word.


1. To refine the intellect; to purify from the feculences of the world; as, to spiritualize the soul.

2. In chemistry, to extract spirit from natural bodies.

3. To convert to a spiritual meaning.

Obviously, those people who believe The Church replaces Israel (and Messianics), the definition intended is not #1 or #2. If I give you a sermon illustration, and relate it to a text it has nothing to do with… that is spiritualizing.

So, how do you spiritualize something already spiritual?

Oh, you mean allegorize.


1. To form an allegory; to turn into allegory; as, to allegorize the history of a people.

2. To understand in an allegorical sense; as, when a passage in a writer may be understood literally or figuratively, he who gives it a figurative sense is said to allegorize it.

An allegory is very simply, taking something that means what it says and giving it a different meaning. For example, if you take the text “The stone rolled away” and proceed to give the various stones each a different meaning, and “What is the stone in your life?”

It’s effective, it pleases people – and it is a gross distortion of what the Biblical text is talking about.

So if we ALLEGORIZE The Church as Israel… then this doctrine, known as “Replacement Theology” makes perfect sense. But then again, you can allegorize any verse into any meaning. No kidding. I can take “Thou shalt not steal” and allegorize it into telling you that you should!

I mention this in connection with preaching to let the preacher know – if you decide to preach expositorally, you will sooner or later run into a passage you’re just going to throw up your hands and say, “I don’t know.” And the temptation to allegorize it will be very strong. Especially when you go to your Bible handbooks and commetaries and they always skip right over that verse.

Either pick the very next passage to preach, or present the verse with all its possible meanings to the congregation. I’ve done that, and as I was preaching it, the meaning suddenly was plain to me. It’s the semi -Inductive sermon method “who, what when, why where”.

Dealing with The Church equals Israel, let’s look at WHAT “The Church” and WHO Israel is.

That’s a really big hint right there. Israel is a “Who” and “The Church” is a “what”. Church is ἐκκλησίᾳ, from the lemma καλεω, to call. τέξεται δὲ υἱὸν καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν “thou shalt call his name JESUS” shows the word in action. To call, to identify, to summon, so to speak. Kaleo is one of those words often learned in the first month of Greek, for an obvious reason. It’s used a lot.

Ek is the prefix “Out of”. Ekklesia therefore is to be called out of. That’s a what, not a who.

Ἐξ Αἰγύπτου ἐκάλεσα τὸν υἱόν μου. Out of Egypt have I called my Son. It is almost the word Ekklesia there. It is Ekalesa.

Here’s how you understand it. “The Church” is a called out assembly. And originally, it applied to Jews. Who were called out of Israel.

Logic and Greek should prevail here. How can that which is called out of that something else be that something else at the same time?

“Well, we replace Israel.”

So then, who gets Raptured? “The Church”? Yes. The word Church and ChurchES (another big hint there) can be found 19 times in Revelation 1-3. It’s not seen again until the end of Revelation.

Another big hint.

The church goes somewhere, and suddenly the Bible starts talking about Israel. Saints are mentioned, but they are out of every tribe. And tribes such as Assher and Naphtali are mentioned.


If “THe Church” replaces Israel, why does the Bible start talking about Israel in Revelation chapter seven when up until then it has used the word Church many times? Church, churches…

If the Bible uses the word “churches” to refer to more than one church, we should too. “But what about the Universal church?”

THere isn’t one. The words “Called out assembly” are synonymous with Kehillat in Hebrew. Kehillat has always been translated assembly. an Ekklesia is an assembly.

So it’s a universal assembly!”

No. The Koine Greek does not use the word that way. If you SEE (hint) a group, and many of them assemble to start shouting about something (like Diana of the Ephesians) and want to do something (like say, stone Paul) – that’s an Ekklesia. “I will build my called out assembly.” It has to be a local, visible assembly – in one location. Think of it being related to our use of the word “Crowd”. “The Universal Crowd. Makes no sense.

Israel, on the other hand, is a people group, a family, a nation. I remember applying for a job, and they had “White, black, hispanic” checkboxes. I showed it to the employer and asked what do I check because I’m Jewish. He said, “THat’s a religion, not an ethnicity.”

Not from my point of view.

Here’s the big ugly monkey wrench that spoils the whole replacement theology issue – if the Church is always a local, visible assembly, and if we use the word churchES for multiple churches, then the reference church, singular, cannot mean Israel.

And the other monkey wrench in the machine is this…

How does it mess things up when people like myself, Michael brown and Ray Comfort convert to Christianity? Do we replace ourselves, being Jewish?

Why would the Bible use the word Church and churches many times in Revelation 1-3, begin using Israel for the rest of Revelation, and then switch back to using the word Church again, if they were the same thing?

Answers to all of it… There is no Universal Church (it’s a mis-applying of the wrong word), the church is not Israel. Israel is the Jewish people, and those grafted INTO it. Members of Israel may join the churches. THe Gentile people become grafted into the branch that is Israel. The churches do not replace anything. If I convert to Christianity, I do not suddenly become a Gentile that replaces myself. I remain a Jew. A fulfilled, completed Jew.

this was the reasoning done by John Darby as he read through the Bible over 140 years ago. It’s been the reasoning of many Christians over the centuries.

It has been branded “dispensationalism”. I call it Doctrine and Bible.

If the Bible makes a distinction between Jew and Gentile, so should we. If the Bible uses the word “Church” as a what and “Israel” as a who, so should we.

If this sounds like fuel for a good sermon, it is. Dispensationalism makes distinctions that the other viewpoints such as Calvinistic Covenant Theology completely fudges. This is where John MacArthur fights a difficult battle, trying to wean Calvinists from Covenant Theology, where historically they have been wedded. I think if MacArthur would just dump the Calvinism, he’d find suddenly Scripture open up to him in a whole new way. He’s having to battle 5point calvinism with dispensationalism, and making little headway.

Let’s summarize our points.

  • The church is always Biblcially a local, visible entity – a congregation.
  • Israel is the Jewish people
  • The church is a what, Israel is a who.
  • The churches are raptured, Israel remains
  • the Gentiles are grafted into Israel through faith
  • Jews like myself and Ray Comfort may find Jesus Christ and join churches, without replacing ourselves.

See, all you need is a sermon illustration and an altar call.