January 14, 2018

Archival Series: What if You Are Wrong About Islam?

If you think all Muslims are terrorists, you are wrong.  There are some Muslims who would like to live in peace, who do not hate people, who are not part of Islam, and who would like some distance between themselves and the majority of Islam.  The problem is that the percentage of these peaceful people is very small compared to the whole.  We have been lied to, brain-washed, and fooled into believing that it is a religion of peace.  We are told that the percentage of violent Muslims is very small, but the truth is that their number is very large. 

Some of those who spread the lies about a peaceful Islam do it because of politics.  It isn’t popular in our culture to tell the truth.  Others are just ignorant and far too lazy to do their own research.  The violent Muslim crowd is thrilled with people who are so gullible.  The liberal crowd is happy to give them a pass because it is one more way for them to buy votes.  The saddest thing of all is that popular evangelicals and pseudo-intellectuals actually support the tragic idea that Islam is just another religion.  

The one goal of this article is to get every reader working to do his own study and to challenge the false ideas being passed around like ice cream at a church picnic. 

SO, WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

The first group is the active terrorists, including ISIS.  They are violent, inhumane, and eager to kill anyone who does not believe as they believe.  Compared to the whole, this category is not very large.  They represent the military aspect of Islam.  The second group would be those terrorist groups like Hezbollah and the Brotherhood.  They are not as active as the others, but are hateful and violent.  They hide under the radar and pretend to be peaceful.  Their violence, however, is practiced in the midst of peaceful people.  This category is not very large either. 

The majority of Islam would fall in the next level.  These are active Muslims who believe and practice hate, violence, and inhumane acts against anyone who is not a Muslim.  They refer to them as infidels.  It makes no difference whether they are Jews, Christians, or secular; they are infidels.  Active Muslims are free to create mayhem against infidels, depending on how much power they have.  In countries where Islam is in control, violence is a daily practice.  It is the law.  No one can name one country where Islam is a majority and where there is freedom or peace for infidels.  Their brutality rises as they gain power and control.  This can be seen clearly in some European countries at this very moment. 

In our nation, this majority group continues to claim respectability, while at the same time there are indications of the role they will play in the future.  The early signs of violence and radicalism are here, and we can see their true motive.  Note their “demands” that their ideas must be followed, including Sharia Law.  Anything that offends them must be removed from public view. The cry for Sharia law becomes louder by the day.  Even now they demand privileges that are not extended to others in this country. 

This group, with their potential for violence as required by their belief, has entered the halls of Congress and even the White House!  This category is far more dangerous than ISIS.  Lying is a practice that is expected, particularly if it is to an infidel.  In this huge part of Islam, women are viewed as property and animals, less than human.  Little girls are brutalized and treated as toys. 
Let me remind you that we will be told by ignorant peoples, and by those who lie, that these cruel things are far and few between, even when the opposite is true.  It is a way of life.   Those Muslims who desire a peaceful life and who might want to be good neighbors, or even to be honest with us, are few and far between.

IT IS THE LAW

I have before me a copy of the Quran.  I am not an expert in this subject but have learned in an extensive study of hermeneutics to be able to recognize true meaning in all languages by the normal use of language rules. 

This book clearly says that any Muslim who is friendly with a Jew, Christian, or other infidel is to be killed.  They might pretend to be friendly, but those people are obligated to kill the infidels when the time comes, or else they themselves are to be killed.  The lie about a peaceful religion will not stand, even if you are referring to those who are peaceful at the moment.  The Quran clearly identifies Islam as a religion of terror.  Do your own study, read it for yourself.  (3:151; 8:12; 8:60; 33:26; 59:2; 59:13) [Editor's note: See comment #1 in thread below for citation of these verses.]

Read what happens to someone who converts to another religion or someone who will not convert to Islam.  Converts are won, and they are kept - by fear, hate, violence and intimidation. Read about cruelty and torture.  Read about the abuse of women, dismemberment, beheading, and horrible treatment of infidels.  This is the majority of Islam, because that is the law.  If you can read this and still think it is a religion of peace, you deserve what is coming to this country.

COMPARE THIS

If I witness to you about your need for salvation in Christ and you refuse it, you go on your way to face God alone in judgment.  You need have no fear of me because of your rejection.  If, however, you are offered the choice of conversion to Islam and you refuse, no matter who you are, you are an infidel, and that person is commanded to kill you.  In Islam, the sons are sent out to commit suicide and kill as many people as they can.  In Biblical Christianity, God sent His Son to die on the cross so that many sons could live.

Those who claim peace for the majority of Islam must know very little about the history of this religion.  They must know very little about what Muslims are commanded to do.  They must not be reading about the brutal killing of Christians every day in this world by the Muslim majority.  I was told yesterday that hundreds of believers are killed every week by majority Muslims.  They must not know about the burning, beheading, drowning, beating, and death published in the news on a daily basis. 

To blaspheme, mock, or speak ill of the Quran will get you the death penalty.  On the other hand, Islam can reject and make fun of Christianity, and that is fine.  What if you are wrong about Islam?  I can tell you that you are wrong if you haven’t taken time to study why the majority of this religion is not peaceful.


Shepherds Staff was prepared by the late Clay Nuttall, D. Min.

A communication service of Shepherds Basic Care, for those committed to the authority and sufficiency of the Bible. Shepherds Basic care is a ministry of information and encouragement to pastors, missionaries and churches. Write for information using the email address shepherdstaff2@juno.com or Shepherd'sStaff

January 2, 2018

Archival Series: "Our Children Learn Not Only What We Teach Them, but by What We Tolerate."

In its history Northland International University (NIU), the former Northland Baptist Bible College, has not been in a situation requiring a strong call to separate. In the early days Northland was a refreshing voice because of it’s good conservative stands, refreshing Northwood’s feel, friendly campus, servant’s heart, with a love for revival and the Lord Jesus Christ. Students were being discipled with a demerits system in place and properly emphasized for correction and growth. There are many fine pastors and Christian workers serving the Lord today because of Northland’s ministry to them.

Our children learn not only what we teach them, but by what we tolerate.”

According to NIU alumni Dr. Les Ollila (former NIU Chancellor) said that over and over to the student body. With decisions made in recent weeks at Northland a new kind of teaching and tolerance has come to the campus.

In 2005, because of Rick Holland’s inclusion as a speaker, Dr. Ollila pulled out of the God-Focused conference. It is believed that NIU president Matt Olson insisted Ollila withdraw. Just five years later Dr. Ollila along with Matt Olson, Sam Horn and Doug McLachlan reach out to and travel across the country to meet with John MacArthur, Rick Holland and Phil Johnson. Then Ollila/Olson/NIU have this same man (Rick Holland) speak in chapel to impressionable young people.

What changed between 2005 and 2010? It wasn’t Rick Holland. He is today what he was in 2005: an advocate for Lordship Salvation1 and the founder of the Resolved Conference, which merges preaching with the world’s CCM/rock culture and extreme Charismatic style worship.2 NIU embracing MacArthur, Johnson and putting Rick Holland in its chapel pulpit confirms they are willing to teach Lordship Salvation, teach/tolerate a neutered form of biblical separatism, tolerate and allow for the worldly culture of events such as the Resolved Conference.

Regrettably, in just five years, Les Ollila has changed. NIU is being transformed by its president, Matt Olson, and administration decisions. With and because of their change the historical trajectory of NIU has been radically altered.

With the changes at NIU many share concerns over ministry, direction and leanings of NIU. There is a declining interest in maintaining fellowship by many former alums, good Christian leaders and lay workers. Many who have some relationship with NIU are contacting the administration to express their concerns. Others will quietly pull away and encourage their young people to look elsewhere for a Christian college. Now unfortunately, because NIU’s administration wants it both ways their friendship base will have to change just to maintain status quo not to mention growth.

Many alumni view what Northland is doing today as completely contrary to what was taught not very long ago. Students were told that they will become in the future based on two things: the friends you have and the books you read. Is it any wonder they have done what they have? If you live long enough, you will have to change your friends or change your doctrine. NIU is changing its friends for new ones in the so-call  “conservative” evangelicalism. Certain doctrines, separatism in particular, is not far from being compromised for the sake of their new friends.

Why do men who claim a heritage and commitment to separatist Fundamentalism take the initiative to reach out to evangelicals who openly repudiate biblical separation in principle and in application? Is it possible that these alleged fundamental separatists want to retain the label they are comfortable with, but have lost the will to contend, to wage the battle for fidelity to the God-given mandates? Is it possible they will redefine the principles and application of separation to accommodate the need to tolerate, allow for and excuse aberrant doctrine and ecumenism for the sake of fellowship with evangelicals?

Have self-described fundamental separatists decided to move toward a safe, non-confrontational middle ground at the expense of fidelity to the Word of God on separation to be accepted and respected by evangelicals?

The “conservative” evangelicals have not and show no inclination of moving toward a Fundamentalist’s commitment to authentic biblical separation. Someone is moving, someone is changing, and it isn’t the evangelicals.

With recent revelations we are learning a great deal about Northland’s new trajectory. NIU will try to placate alumni and donors while it moves further away from its historic stand. Matt Olson’s recent open letter to Friends in Ministry was just such an attempt that, in the opinion of many, was an abject failure. If Northland maintains this new direction and discussions among concerned persons are any indication of a national response, I fear Northland’s best days are behind it and the worst is yet to come.

Northland’s new trajectory has a historic parallel. The devastating effects of introducing Evangelicalism’s philosophy and practices into a biblical Fundamentalist setting are no more stark than the demise of Pillsbury Baptist Bible College.3


LM
First Published Nov. 29, 2010.

Publisher's Addendum: On April 30, 2015 NIU announced its closure.  See,
NIU Closes: A Continuation of the Pattern of Demise

For previous articles in this series see-

NIU’s Convergence With Evangelicalism: What Does It Mean for Impressionable Students?

NIU Presents Executive Pastor of Grace Community Church to It’s Student Body

1) An Example of Lordship Salvation’s Man-Centered Message

2) The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness, by Dr. Peter Masters

3) Discussion Over the Closing of Pillsbury Baptist Bible College
Although Pillsbury struggled for a number of years to recover itself from the devastating effects of hob-nobbing with Evangelicalism, it never really dealt with (in any real tangible way) its ruined reputation. Although it was repeatedly brought before them by many friends of the college, they never really did what was necessary to regain the trust of the pastors and parents who send students.”

December 29, 2017

And When Eight Days Were Accomplished...

And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the LORD, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.


Luke 2:21-40

December 26, 2017

John 3:16 for Christmas

Vocals - Adam Boone
Production & Arrangement - Steve Serkosky 
Musical & Engineering Assistant - Adam Boone
Engineer (Trod Nossel Studios) - Justin Watson
Music Video Design & Production - John Zeller
Producer - DJP I.F.

December 24, 2017

The Advent of Jesus Christ

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.


And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,


Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Luke 2:1-20

December 20, 2017

The Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:26-38


Mary Visits Elizabeth
And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord….

And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.
Luke 1:39-46, 56

December 14, 2017

The Promise of the Messiah


For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this,” (Isaiah 9:6-7).



But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting,” (Micah 5:2).


December 8, 2017

Archival Series: What is Lordship Salvation and Why Does it Matter?

There is an on-going debate over a certain segment of fundamentalists preaching and practicing a new paradigm shift for separation commonly known as “gospel-driven separation” or “gospel centric fellowship.” Today, the primary mantra has been “It’s all about the Gospel,” from which doctrinal aberrations and ecumenical compromise is tolerated or excused for the sake of fellowship around the gospel.  But, what sort of gospel message is the rallying point for this kind of compromised fellowship and cooperative ministry?

There is today a very subtle shift that, on the surface, is very persuasive…. Rather than base separatism on the Bible, the whole counsel of God, we should use as our test the Gospel. There is a plea that says the only doctrines for which we should contend are those doctrines that impinge directly upon the Gospel…. That [Gospel-Centric separatism] broadens our fellowship incredibly to include organizations and individuals who are patently disobedient to the plain teaching of Scripture and yet are somehow tolerated, vindicated and even honored in some of our circles.”1
In recent articles we have been considering why there should be no fellowship or cooperative efforts with the so-called “conservative” evangelicals. The reasons include aberrant theology such as non-cessationism, amillenialism, ecumenical compromise, embracing the world’s music in the form of RAP, Hip Hop and CCM for ministry. All of these are grounds for withdrawing from and having no fellowship with believers who teach and do these things. All of this, however, is being tolerated, allowed for, excused or ignored by certain men who minister in fundamental circles, men who are forging cooperative ministries with the evangelicals and influencing the next generation to follow them.  There is, however, one overarching concern that trumps all of these issues with the evangelicals combined. That is Lordship Salvation!
Defined briefly: Lordship Salvation is a position on the gospel in which “saving faith” is considered reliance upon the finished work of Jesus Christ. Lordship views “saving faith” as incomplete without an accompanying resolve to “forsake sin” and to “start obeying.” Lordship’s “sine qua non” (indispensable condition) that must be met to fully define “saving faith,” for salvation, is a commitment to deny self, take up the cross, and follow Christ in submissive obedience. (In Defense of the Gospel: Revised & Expanded Edition, p. 48.)
It is virtually impossible not to know that the evangelicals, almost to a man, believe, preach and defend Lordship Salvation (LS). When the T4G and Gospel Coalition conferences convene they gather around the LS interpretation of the Gospel. Certain men in fundamental circles, however, are drawn together in “gospel-centric” fellowship with evangelicals. They are gathering around a common acceptance of and bond in Calvinistic soteriology, primarily in the form of Lordship Salvation.    

Following are samples of Lordship’s corruption of the Gospel for justification.
Let me say again unequivocally that Jesus’ summons to deny self and follow him was an invitation to salvation, not . . . a second step of faith following salvation.” (Dr. John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus: What is Authentic Faith? pp. 219.) 
That is the kind of response the Lord Jesus called for: wholehearted commitment. A desire for him at any cost. Unconditional surrender. A full exchange of self for the Savior.” (MacArthur, Ibid, p. 150.) 
If you want to receive this gift [salvation] it will cost you the total commitment of all that you are to the Lord Jesus Christ.”  (Ps. Steven Lawson, The Cost of Discipleship: It Will Cost You Everything.) 
Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything.” (MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus, p. 78.) 
This is what Jesus meant when He spoke of taking up one’s own cross to follow Him. And that is why he demanded that we count the cost carefully. He was calling for an exchange of all that we are for all that He is. He was demanding implicit obedience--unconditional surrender to His lordship.” (MacArthur, Hard to Believe, p. 6.)
Based on clear, unambiguous statements from advocates of LS thousands in Fundamentalism reject LS as a corrupt and false interpretation of the gospel.  Dr. Kevin Bauder published a serious misrepresentation of a known fact when he wrote that Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, “believe, preach and defend the [same] gospel.”2  Kevin Bauder has never edited or retracted that statement.
When the Lordship advocate speaks of “following Christ,” he is speaking of the gospel. When John MacArthur refers to “The Cost of Following Christ,” he really means “The Cost to Receive Christ.” MacArthur believes there is a “Real Cost of Salvation,” or more accurately a “Real Cost for Salvation.” He believes that the gospel demands a commitment of one’s life, and a promise of surrender to the lordship of Christ in an up-front “exchange” for the reception of salvation. (In Defense of the Gospel: Revised & Expanded Edition, p. 82.)


Dr. Ernest Pickering recognized that LS, as MacArthur defined it, was a departure from the biblical plan of salvation. Following are two excerpts from Dr. Pickering’s review of the first edition (1988) of John MacArthur’s  The Gospel According to Jesus.

MacArthur laments, ‘Contemporary Christendom too often accepts a shallow repentance that bears no fruit’ (p. 96).  This theme recurs over and over again in the book.  The recommended cure for this malady is to require more of the seeking sinner than the Bible requires. Instead of ‘merely’ believing on the finished work of Christ the inquiring soul must also be willing to have Christ as Lord over every area of his life.  It seems evident upon an examination of this thesis that those who espouse it are adding something to the gospel that is not in the Scriptures.  Charles Ryrie was certainly on target when he wrote, ‘The message of faith only and the message of faith plus commitment of life cannot both be the gospel…’” (Balancing the Christian Life, p. 70.)

One of the chief objections to the notion of ‘lordship salvation’ is that it adds to the gospel of grace. It requires something of the sinner which the Scriptures do not require. The message of salvation by grace proclaims to sinner that they may receive eternal life by faith alone whereas the message of ‘lordship salvation’ tells sinners they must be willing to give up whatever is in their life that is displeasing to God.”

Several months after an April 2010 personal meeting with Dr. MacArthur NIU president Dr. Matt Olson announced that with MacArthur they “agree on the most substantive issues of life and ministry.”3 Then Olson hosted MacArthur’s executive pastor Rick Holland in the NIU chapel pulpit to address impressionable young people.4 NIU would not have had Rick Holland in its pulpit, or validated John MacArthur’s doctrine and ministry if the administration had any serious reservations over Lordship Salvation. With Olson’s statement on MacArthur and putting Holland in the chapel pulpit NIU stamped its approval on and endorsed a false gospel, namely “Lordship Salvation.”

Do Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, “believe, preach and defend the [same] gospel?”  Men in fundamental circles who are converging with the evangelical advocates of Lordship Salvation are either tolerating an egregious error or have themselves embraced Lordship Salvation and are rallying around it in gospel-centric fellowship with like-minded evangelicals. Have Dave Doran, Kevin Bauder, Matt Olson, Tim Jordan, et. al., been willing to state in unvarnished terms whether or not they believe LS as John MacArthur, John Piper, Steve Lawson, et. al., “believe, preach and defend” it is the one true Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Lordship Salvation is not the gospel!  LS clouds, confuses and complicates the Gospel. LS corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3) and frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21).  Above all other considerations (aberrant theology, ecumenism and worldliness) we cannot fellowship, promote or cooperate with evangelicals who “believe, preach and defend” Lordship Salvation.


LM (First Published Oct. 28, 2012)

Related Reading:.
For a clear, concise example of the egregious error that is Lordship Salvation please read, Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page.  This article is a reproduction of an appendix entry by the same name that appears on pp. 284-286 of In Defense of the Gospel: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation.  In it I examine a statement by John MacArthur that appears in all three editions of The Gospel According to Jesus.  You will find that there is no more clear example of Lordship Salvation’s corruption of the simplicity that is Christ (2 Cor. 11:3).

As an addendum please see, Lordship Salvation Requirements by Pastor George Zeller

What is the Fault Line for Fracture in Fundamentalism?
How can there be unity within a fellowship when two polar opposite interpretations of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ are accepted as legitimate?”

Footnotes:
1) Pastor Marc Monte, Preserving the Separatist Impulse

2) Do Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, “Believe, Preach and Defend the [Same] Gospel?”
“There is no universal ‘mutuality in the gospel’ among evangelicals and fundamentalists. ‘Evangelicals and fundamentalists are [NOT] united in their allegiance to the gospel,’ because there is a vast difference between what evangelicals and non-Calvinists in Fundamentalism believe to be the one true Gospel. It is irrefutable, and Kevin Bauder is well aware, that many men in Fundamentalism reject Calvinistic soteriology in the form of LS as a false, works based Gospel. It is, furthermore, indisputable that virtually every man in “conservative” evangelicalism is a passionate advocate for Lordship Salvation, which Dr. Bauder is also well aware of.”

3) Dr. Matt Olson, Open Letter To Friends in Ministry, November 23, 2010.

4) Northland Int’l University Presents Executive Pastor of Grace Community Church to It’s Student Body

November 24, 2017

I. F. B. BACKWARDS: An Explanation by Rick Flanders

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences, contrary to the doctrine which ye have received, and avoid them.  For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly: and by good words and fair speeches deceive the simple.”
(Romans 16:17-18)

Dr. Rick Flanders
Have you heard critical references by Christian people to the “I. F. B.”?  In recent years these initials have been used in a negative way to refer to the “Independent Fundamental Baptists.”  Some especially angry folks even call this religious movement “the I. F. B. cult.”  Of course something must be wrong with condemning these people as if they are a single entity when, by definition, each of their churches is “independent.”  Church-goers and would-be church-goers have been misled about the people and the churches classified in this way, and a reasonable explanation of who they are, what they represent,  is in order, and, for some, even overdue.  I am a member of one of these “I. F. B.” churches, and hope I can clear things up so that folks can make more reasonable decisions about us.  The best way to explain the “I. F. B.” churches is for me to look at the letters backwards, and explain them from my own experience.
 
BAPTIST
You might say that my introduction to Christianity began in the church where my parents were members when I was born.  I was christened into the denomination and taken to Sunday school and church year after year.  But that early experience with what I was told was the religion of Christ was a false experience since our denomination had long since departed from the faith of their founders.  I thought I was a Christian because I had been baptized as a baby and joined our church as an adolescent, but nobody becomes a real Christian that way.

Then I finally heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ presented to me in an understandable way, and was drawn by God to receive Jesus Christ personally as my Savior and Lord.  According to the Bible, and my own transformation, I was “born again” and entered into a new life and a real knowledge of the living God.  Then, as I studied my Bible, I began to grow.

A friend soon introduced me to a Baptist church, and I started attending it because I was certainly not going back to the theologically “liberal” church that had kept me in darkness for so long.  I had heard the Gospel through a radio ministry, and now was ready to start attending a Bible-teaching church.  So I thought I might try the Baptists.

I was also reading the Bible every day, and came to see in the book of Matthew that baptism was not the same as I had seen it in church growing up.  They baptized converts in the New Testament after and because they had repented and believed.  Babies haven’t repented and believed in Jesus Christ, and babies were not baptized in the New Testament accounts.  Also it was evident that those baptized in the Bible were not sprinkled with a little water.  They were taken down to the river to be baptized, and went into the water and came up.  It looked to me as if they had been dipped.  So I asked the Baptist preacher to answer some questions for me about baptism, and he came to my house and showed me clearly that those to be baptized are those who had turned to Christ, and that baptism was by immersion in water, representing the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  By being baptized a new believer was identifying himself with Christ, and confessing Him as Lord and Savior.  So I wanted to do it, and arrangements were made for me to be baptized the Bible way at the Baptist church.  I was the first person I ever saw baptized by dipping!  In this way I became a Baptist, and part of a Baptist church.

Historically, Baptists are Christians who seek to follow the Bible in every way.  The Baptist movement is based on this principle.  Really, every true believer in Jesus should be a Baptist, and every church of Jesus should operate according to what is regarded as the Baptist distinctives, because they are the Biblical practices.  I have no problem with being a Baptist.  The label “Baptist” is defined historically as referring to Christians who follow the practices of the churches in the New Testament.

Look at Matthew 3:1-17, Acts 2:41-47, and Acts 8:35-40, and Romans 6:3-4.

FUNDAMENTAL
The church that nurtured me as a new Christian, the people who baptized me and taught me my first lessons about living the new life, was affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.  I knew nothing about this organization, which was and is the largest non-Catholic denomination in the United States, and had no real opinions for or against it.  But after just a few years of serving in my church, I was disturbed about what was going on in our denomination’s affairs.  First of all, our church and my pastor had no problem with the pastor or the church from which I came.  My old church and denomination were “liberals” theologically, and did not insist that a Christian must believe in the deity of Jesus, His virgin birth, the necessity of the new birth, or even His resurrection as a literal bodily event.  They did not believe that the Bible is always accurate, nor in the miracles of the Bible, and yet my Baptist church regarded them as Christians and their church as preaching the Gospel.  Of course, I knew different.

The radio ministry that had led me to Christ identified itself as not only Christian but also as “Fundamentalist.” As a result I had plenty of Fundamentalist influence throughout my Christian experience, even though I did not really understand it at first.  The Fundamentalist movement began in the early twentieth century as a grass-roots reaction against the infiltration and influence of liberal theology and liberal ministers in the great evangelical (Gospel-preaching) denominations of America. Liberals and liberalism preached a “social gospel” and sought to redeem society rather than individuals, and allowed that some of the cherished doctrines of our Faith might not be true.  The name Fundamentalist conveys the fact that Fundamentalists insist that Christianity be defined by certain cardinal (and fundamental or essential) doctrines.  It doesn’t allow that a viewpoint represents true Christianity just because it reflects the “spirit of Jesus” or holds to the ethical teachings of Christ.  Christianity is based on the Gospel of Christ, the Fundamentalists say, and that Gospel does and always has taught certain great truths, which are fundamental to it: that the scripture is the written Word of God, infallible and without error; that Jesus is the Son of God and God the Son; that He died as an atonement for our sins; that He arose bodily from the dead; and that sinners are saved only by faith in Him.  There are many more truths in the Bible, but without believing the fundamentals of the Gospel, one is not truly a Christian.  Fundamentalism is the right way to look at Christianity, and forms the basis of the right way to deal with heretics in the church: expel them or separate from churches that won’t.  A series of experiences showed me that the Southern Baptist churches were not distinguishing the truth of the Gospel from false doctrine and false teachers.  I was not only a Baptist but also a Fundamentalist.  Gospel truth is not only to be believed and preached; it is to be cherished as the foundation of Christianity.  I must insist that only those who stood for the fundamentals are Christians.

Look at Romans 16:17-20, First Corinthians 15:1-4, Second Corinthians 11:1-15, Titus 3:9-11, and Jude 3.

INDEPENDENT
It didn’t take long for me to investigate and find that unbelieving liberals were employed by many of our Southern Baptist Convention agencies, and that my tithes and offerings were being used to support them.  So now the issue of affiliation with my beloved local church came to the fore.  I spoke with my pastor respectfully about these problems, and when he offered no solution, I began to look for a Fundamentalist church in our town that did not affiliate, support, or acknowledge as sound ministries, churches, and preachers who did not acknowledge the Bible as the Word of God.  Soon the Lord led me to such a congregation, and I joined it.  This church in North Carolina was the first of a series over the of Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches to which I have happily belonged.

Look at Second Corinthians 6:14-18, Ephesians 4:11-16, and Ephesians 5:8-11.

The letters “I. F. B.,” to anyone who knows what he is talking about, do not refer to a denomination, cult, or association.  They stand for important New Testament principles that should be followed by every child of God, and by every Biblical church.
 
Media coverage of certain scandals at particular fundamentalist churches spread the practice of broad-brushing conservative churches in general with the smell of corruption by the use of the term “I. F. B.”  Critics of fundamentalism picked up this practice and have slandered good people and some of the best churches by using the label with such invalid implications.  The fact of church scandals cannot be denied, in Baptist (both affiliated and independent) churches, as in Catholic institutions and other church organizations.  But it isn’t fair to say that the thousands of Independent Fundament Baptist churches across the nation are all, mostly, or largely corrupt.  Nor can the other charges against the “I. F. B.” that are widely disseminated on the internet or the grapevine be validated.  Some wrongdoing in some of the I. F. B. churches does not say that all of them are guilty.  Saying so is using the old “guilt by association” method of slander.
 
It is also charged by some that the I. F. B. churches have an authoritarian leadership style, for example, but this cannot truthfully be said either, across the board.  When the most authoritarian fundamental churches of the past taught others to adopt their policies, they were strongly rebuked and opposed by many other I. F. B. preachers and publications.  It is said that I. F. B. churches enforce unreasonable and unscriptural standards of life on their members.  Although this charge may be supported against some churches, the truth is that independent churches everywhere teach and support every imaginable level, high or low, of Christian living, both to their credit and to their shame, and it is impossible correctly to generalize about this.  Although some have and do rise up to influence and give leadership to preachers and churches in the absence of ecclesiastical hierarchy (this is natural), it cannot be proven or effectively argued that there is an “I. F. B. cult.”  Some unaffiliated churches and preachers over the years have been influenced by prominent preachers, churches, and institutions to which they have had no binding connection.  We are independent because that we believe Jesus to be Head of each local congregation, and because we refuse to be part of major denominations that have betrayed the Faith.  We are fundamental because we stand for the doctrines that make up the Faith.  We are Baptists because we try to follow Biblical practices as well as Bible doctrines.  We are not I. F. B. because we joined any cult or network.  The Lord and the Bible make us what we are in regard to these important issues.
 
Let every Christian man or woman, and every Christian family, give attention to sound doctrine, and avoid those who depart from it, and let us gather in churches that stand for the truth.  Let us not be influenced by the Enemy to do or say things that are wrong, based on bitterness over problems we faced in the past in a Bible-preaching church.  Let us follow our Lord into a new era of being witnesses to His Person and His Word as His Light in this dark and needy world.
 
 
Dr. Rick Flanders
Revival Ministries

October 10, 2017

ALL THINGS TO ALL MEN” by Dr. Rick Flanders

“To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”
Dr. Rick Flanders
(First Corinthians 9:22)
 
Pretty well the theme of most evangelical churches at the present time is “all things to all men.”  Many changes have been made to update the operation, the message, and the feel of these traditionally-conservative ministries so that they can be more “relevant” to the culture as it has turned out to be.  The hope is attracting and winning millennials to Christ.  While the motive is worthy in some ways, the adjusting of standards and practices is mostly misguided, due in significant measure to seriously-flawed interpretations of a Bible verse, First Corinthians 9:22.
 
That verse, it should be noted, is found in the section of the First Epistle to the Corinthians that deals with what’s wrong with eating meat that has been sacrificed to false gods.  To “abstain from pollutions of idols” was a controversial standard sent out from the Jerusalem church some years before to the new Gentile churches after a big council had been held to discuss legalism (read the whole story in the fifteenth chapter of Acts).  These “pollutions” were defined by the church as “meats offered to idols” (note Acts 15:19-29), which it was said that Christians should refrain from eating.  The standards set by the Jerusalem council were beneficial to the Gentile churches that heeded them (as we see in Acts 16:4-5), but they met with resistance from many who considered them too restrictive and offensive to the culture of the Roman world.  Consequently they had to be defended by leaders like the apostles Paul and John.  Paul’s divinely-inspired defense of the standard to abstain from dedicated meat is found in First Corinthians 8, 9, and 10.  John’s defense of the Jerusalem standards (actually the words of Jesus in their favor) is featured prominently in the second chapter of the book of Revelation.
 
The thrust of the teaching in First Corinthians on the subject is that Christians ought not to eat meat that had been sacrificed to the idols worshipped in the pagan temples.  The Gentile believers were no longer worshipping the idols, but they should abstain even from eating the meat sold in the restaurant of the temple or in the meat-markets as having been dedicated to the gods.  This was the standard for Gentile Christians formulated by the Jerusalem church.  This epistle argues for this standard based on three principles.
 
1.       Love (Chapter 8)
Although instructed Christians know that an idol is “nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one,” they need to have a concern for the idolaters and for the new converts who don’t have this fact totally figured out yet.  If somebody who thinks of an idol as a god sees a more knowledgeable believer sitting “at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols,” and might he not be caused to stumble?  Chapter 8 says that there is something that ought to come ahead of our exercising our liberty based on superior knowledge.  That something is “charity” or love.  Out of love, Christians should abstain from doing things that might trip up somebody who sees us doing them, such as eating meat sacrificed to idols.  First Corinthians is plain about that.
 
2.       Evangelism (Chapter 9)
The next chapter is about exercising restraint and practicing self-denial in order to make our efforts at evangelism more effective.  This principle of self-denial for a greater purpose was found also at the end of Chapter 8, where it is applied to our influence on new Christians.  In verse 13 we read, “If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth.”  Self-denial, don’t forget, is at the heart and the foundation of Christian life and service (Matthew 16:24-25).  The point made in Chapter 9 is that Paul and Barnabas refrained from doing many things they technically had a right to do so that their work of evangelism could be more effective.  They didn’t take wives around with them, although they were not forbidden to marry, and were permitted to travel with a wife.  They did secular work so that they didn’t have to look for others to give offerings to provide for them, although they certainly had a right to live on the tithes and offerings of God’s people, as the priests at the Temple did.  They might be expected to abstain from doing secular work, and would not have been blamed if they had, but they worked anyway, “lest we should hinder the gospel.”  All of these policies were based on the principle of Christian self-denial, and were followed in order to keep the doors for evangelizing pagan people open.  This is also why Paul would not eat the meat sacrificed to the idols.
 
3.       Faithfulness (Chapter 10)
In Chapter 10, Paul writes plainly that eating the meat devoted to an idol provokes God to jealousy.  Idolatry must be avoided and fled by faithful Christians because they must be loyal to their Lord.  Idolatry, we learn, is dangerous, and Christians must not even get close to it! So even eating the meat sacrificed down at the idol’s temple is dangerous.  The Lord’s Supper associates us with the Lord and His sacrifice.  Does not then the sacrifice offered at the pagan temple associate those involved in it with the worship of the idol?  Are not the gods of paganism actually devils? “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and the table of devils.”  To do so would be to be unfaithful to the Lord.  So believers in Jesus Christ must abstain from eating meat from pagan sacrifices, even though nearly everybody else partook of it. 
 
Clearly the point of First Corinthians 9:22 was not that Christians should adopt the practices of the pagan in order to evangelize them effectively.  Such an idea is opposed to the whole point of chapters 8, 9, and 10, and particularly of chapter 9.  It doesn’t teach us to lower the standards of Christian living; it tells us to raise them.  It doesn’t say that we should exercise our rights; it says that there are reasons we might give them up.  Critics of the standard argued that eating meat isn’t worship, the idol isn’t really a god at all, and that food is no big deal.  But Paul was saying that believers ought to abstain from dedicated meat in order to keep open the opportunity to win souls.  If Christians do what everybody else in the Roman culture did and ate meat from the temple, many would say that they are idol-worshippers, too.  So those who spread the gospel must refrain from the practice.  So Paul writes.
 
“For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more,” says the apostle in verse 19.  A life of winning men to Christ is not a life of more freedom, but less.  Rights are forfeited for the greater good of preaching the Gospel without hindrance.
 
Who might Paul win through surrendering some of his rights?  In the first place, Jews (verse 20).  Although he was an ethnic Jew, he was not required by the Gospel to keep the Law of Moses.  This was the point about legalism proclaimed by the Jerusalem council.  See in verses 1, 5, 10 and 11 of Acts 15 that legalism in its original form taught that men must become Jews (by circumcision) in order to qualify for salvation in Israel’s Christ, and that every believer in Christ must follow the Jewish Law as an observant Jew after coming to Jesus.  So Paul did not have to keep the specifically Jewish statutes of the Law, but sometimes he did, voluntarily.  Already in Acts 16, we find him circumcising Timothy before taking him as a co-worker in evangelism in order not to offend the Jews he would encounter everywhere he went.  “Unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law” (verse 20).  But it was a voluntary practice, based on self-denial and not on legalistic bondage.
 
Around Gentiles he did not parade his Jewishness as a barrier between them by observing the distinctively Jewish aspects of the Law of Moses.  See this is verse 21.  Whenever he did follow the Israelite ceremonial law, he did so voluntarily.  Around Gentiles he voluntarily did not keep Jewish observances.  But notice that Paul makes the point that he is definitely “not without law to God, but under the law to Christ.”  It was the abolished ceremonial law of Israel that he as a Jew could follow, but as a believer in Christ was not required to follow.  When it was helpful, he would take advantage of his Jewish privileges and observe the statutes (as in Acts 18:18), but usually not around Gentiles.  However his varying observance of these laws did not mean that he was lawless, or unprincipled.  He lived under Christ’s law (see John 13:34, Galatians 6:2 and James 2:8-12).  To teach or imply that Christians must bend their principles in order to conform to the culture is not to follow the spirit or the words of this chapter.  Paul makes sure that we don’t get this wrong impression from the idea of being “all things to all men.”
 
With Christians, sometimes we must defer to “the weak” (verse 22), as we see in Romans 14 and First Corinthians 8.  In other words (read those chapters again) we may bend to the right, to the unnecessary restrictions of weaker brothers in order not to cause them to stumble.  The motivation for adjusting life for others is to remove things in our lives that hinder our witness for Christ or influence on younger Christians.  In all of these cases, we are restraining ourselves and not exercising our rights in order to more good.  The idea in First Corinthians 9:22 is not that we should relax and do what everybody else does so that people won’t be bothered by our standards.  The whole chapter is about self-denial and restraint.  Actually, the word “temperate” in the comparison to athletics given in verses 23 through 27 means restraint or self-control, and describes what our attitude should be.  We restrict ourselves for evangelism, rather than tear down the restrictions.
 
To be “all things to all men” does not mean to ignore teachings of the Bible in order to avoid going against the grain of culture.  It means to put evangelism at such a high priority in our lives that we are ready to adjust our lives, our schedules, our budgets, our preferred ways of doing things, and our habits not mandated or implied by the Word of God, so that we can win more people (“that I might gain the more”) to Jesus Christ (“this I do for the gospel’s sake”).
 
 
Dr. Rick Flanders