April 23, 2012

Concerning Blog Posts: How to Get Back to Receiving a Full Reward

Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward,” (2 John 8).
Let us suppose that you have just signed a five year professional sports contract for 50 million dollars. Let’s also suppose that the team attached an incentive clause to the contract of an additional five million for each year that you batted over .290 as a hitter. At the end of three years you maintained a .300 average every year and so you were able to collect the additional five million each year. But now you are in your fourth year and you haven’t been hitting as well. You are getting lazy at practice, leaving early and not showing up at times. You haven’t been working on the fundamentals of baseball and you are not focused on the game. You eke out the rest of the season with a mediocre performance and just make a .250 batting average. As you go in to talk to your agent, he says, “I talked to the team and they said that because of your subpar performance this year, you will not receive the 5 million performance incentive.” What is your reaction to the news? I dare say that there are many Christians in this scenario spiritually because they have been letting things slip.
Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip,” ( Hebrews 2:1 ).
Their time spent in God’s Word each day and night is slipping which is affecting their faith in the promises of God. Their ebbing faith in the promises of God is causing them to pray less, thereby taking away the power of the prayer of faith. Their deficiency in prayer is producing less dependence upon the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit’s power is missing in the believer’s life because of sin that is unconfessed. Their attendance at church is slipping and certain services or Sunday school is treated as less important.

At the end of the day, the honest Christian must realize that he doesn’t deserve the full reward from the Lord Jesus Christ at the Judgment seat of Christ based on poor recent performance. Christ wants to give us that full reward for our daily faithfulness to him from the time we were saved to the moment we die. But if we get lazy or lose faith and fail to make disciples and to teach “them all things whatsoever I have commanded you,” then we have to realize we won’t receive the “full reward.”

We must admit that based on the promises in the Scriptures, the full reward from the hand of Christ will be worth it all. This full reward may be a greater position of service in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ (Matthew 25), a fuller joy with little to no regret in the first phase of heaven (1 Cor. 3:11-15), another crown to cast at Jesus feet (Rev 4:10) or another soul to rejoice with in heaven based on our personal witnessing. God gave us these warnings so that we would realize that we are running a race and fighting for the prize so that we could war a good warfare. We can war this warfare only by our obedience to the prophecies of the Bible.
This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare,” (1 Tim 1:18).
I have noticed that many self-proclaimed fundamentalist bloggers, including many Sharper Iron contributors, write whole articles on many diverse topics and fail to put in even one Scripture reference or even an allusion to Scripture when stating their point or their assessment of a book in a book review. There are, however, in those same articles, many references to a professor’s opinion or to other books written on the subject. Dr. Kevin Bauder always puts a classical Christian poem about Christ at the end of his blog posts. The poem has nothing to do with the subject matter that he just stated. Does a poem (not even about the subject) or a professor’s writing about the topic discussed give weight to any argument? I would argue no. Do applicable supporting Scripture references and Bible quotes give weight? Yes! If we want to be the iron that “sharpeneth” (Prov 27:17) then we need to have the weight of the iron of the Sword of the Spirit behind us. Otherwise we are dulling the Christian’s blade instead of sharpening it. Let’s use the professor’s opinion as it agrees with the Bible. Let’s use a Christian writing as it agrees with the Scriptures with the topic we are addressing.

Dr. Bauder recently posted an article on “The Heart of the Life of Prayer” in which he used 23 references to Scripture in one article. There are more Scripture references in that one article than he had in his entire 24 part Now, About Those Differences series (Footnote Lou Martuneac). Why can’t Dr. Bauder and others in the self-proclaimed fundamentalist fold use the same amount of Scriptures or even 1/8 of the 23 verses to support their statements concerning separation and their view of fundamentalism. I contend that it is because the Scriptures don’t support what they are saying. There was a dissection of Amos 3:3 on the Sharper Iron blog a little while back in the comments section.
Can two walk together, except they be agreed,” ( Amos 3:3).
The persons commenting on it were saying that it was not really talking about separation. They lamented how this often quoted verse did not apply to separation in their opinion. So they proceeded to try to comment on the verse with the verses following. They tried to prove that this was “just another verse that those old-fashioned fundamentalists and their forefathers pulled out of context.”

Let us examine the two verses leading up to it. Amos 3:1 Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, Amos 3:2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

How can the Lord walk together with us as His people in the Church Age Dispensation when we tolerate sin in our lives, our families and our churches? He was saying to the children of Israel that He could not walk together with them anymore because of their sin. They were a faithless, idolatrous people.

Let’s get back to believing fully in the Scriptures for what it says as Dr. Kevin Bauder stated in the article on prayer. He said, “This process of living with Jesus involves several elements: His words live in believers, who must keep His words (obey His commandments), and love Him.” Let us keep His words to the “jot and tittle” by continually stating them as we contend for the faith and build the work of God at the same time. That will be the antidote to the current widespread plague of doubt about God’s Word that is afflicting the Biblical fundamentalist community and fundamental Baptists in particular.

So why is there this continued pattern in many conservative evangelical/fundamentalist blogs to stick to just what man thinks about a certain topic? I think it is because they don’t have verses in the Scriptures to back up their certain contentious or challenging point of view that they are currently trying to press. As Christians, we are not bound to adopt someone’s point of view regarding any area of life if they do not have Scripture to support their position.
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue,” (2 Peter 1:3 ).
The Scriptures are the sole basis of spiritual knowledge of “all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” So why are we trying to answer life’s questions outside of God’s answers? Let us put the weight of our argument with God and not with ourselves. We will then study the Scriptures and be meditating in it “day and night.” Our prayer life will be revived and the Holy Spirit will be able fill us once again with power as we are fully surrendered to Him and the Word of God.

Jeremy Rice
Northfield Baptist Church

Site Publisher’s Commentary: Throughout Kevin Bauder’s 24 part Now, About Those Differences series it was widely noted that Scriptural principals or applications rarely appeared. I recall having surveyed the entire 24 articles counting every reference to Scripture, whether or not he expounded on a passage. I did not store that survey, but as I recall there were less than 20 references to Scripture of any kind throughout. Many had no reference to or appeal from Scripture whatsoever. IMO, the series was more like bloviating than a genuine attempt to identify relevant facts and discuss the obvious differences between separatist Fundamentalism and the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism along clear biblical lines. See, When Facts Give Way for the Sake of Agenda. And this vacuum, the parched ground from the then President of a Seminary? For additional reading on Sharper Iron refer to Sharper Iron: In the Iron Skillet


  1. Jeremy Rice is a pastor in Northfield, NJ. (B.A. Youth Ministries, Northland Baptist Bible College, WI (99-03) M.A. Biblical Studies, Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary, Lansdale PA/Bible Baptist Seminary, Cromwell CT (05-10) He trained as assistant pastor under his dad, Barry K. Rice (B.A. Pastoral, Pillsbury Baptist Bible College; M.Div. Central Seminary, MN) from 2003-2005 and then his dad passed suddenly with a heart attack in Jan 06 at only 56 years old and Jeremy was voted in as the senior pastor in March of 06. The church is growing in the Ocean City/Atlantic City tourist area of NJ as they seek to make disciples for Christ in this needy area.

  2. Thanks Lou and Jeremy for this article. Appreciate the emphasis on the Word of God for our faith and practice. Jeremy, I believe you have hit on a key aspect to this CE departure of some from fundamentalism; the inability of the Scriptures to support their particular view. There is another which you mentioned to which I wish to expand upon a bit. That is the use of men’s thoughts to bolster a particular position. I believe this comes via the strong influence of reformed theology. Here is a quote from, An Introduction to Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics, edited by Dr. Mal Couch, p. 97;
    To reiterate, allegorical interpretation creates meaning through the interpreter. Accordingly, an allegorist believes the average person may be reading and interpreting wrongly without the help of a scholar or, in the case of Scripture, a wise, well-trained theologian.
    Because of this allegorical approach to the Scriptures that many in the reformed camp advocate, they open themselves up to relying on what men say about the Scriptures rather than what God Himself has said. They also open themselves up to accepting the idea that there are several “views” which are credible because there are several “scholars, or in the case of Scripture, a wise, well-trained theologian” who hold to those different views so we must be accepting of all those views as being the possible truth and woe be to the lowly man who is not that well-trained theologian who raises his voice in objection to those views.
    A case in point, just look at the Counterpoint series of books that Zondervan has published of which Dr. Bauder has recently added his “view” to concerning “Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism.” Every book in this series discusses various numbers of “views” on that particular topic. How about, what does the Bible say on this topic? The Bible possesses only one “view” on every topic God has placed within His Word. Yes, men may have various “views” but God has only one and it is our responsibility as His children to read and to seek His understanding of what He has communicated to us in His Word.

  3. Brian:

    Thanks for adding to the theme of Jeremy's article. There is much I want to react to in your comment, but will have to wait until later today.

    Have to share by asking, "How many times have we heard/read the yf, ce wannabes defend the evangelicals with, "... but he writes such good books."


  4. True, Lou, but when I do read those books, most of the time I am left wanting that they are actually "good" books on the topic.

  5. Thanks for that needed clarification. Btw, when is the last time we've heard the guys who still circulate in fundamentalism give Piper cover with, "good books" mantra? Not anymore since Piper's embrace of Rick Warren. Ohh but when it was Mark Driscoll, the rapper in his church the angry yf's just bristled over legitimate criticism of Piper then. And of course rolled out the, "he writes such good books" tag line.
    Now, that Piper has essentially gone new evangelical we hear/read almost nothing from the Piper "good book" apologists.

    From Bauder, Doran and right down the list, they aren't going to deal with Piper's issues anywhere near the way they had been heaping lavish praise on him. They won't caution the blogosphere to avoid Piper and Desiring God. I read an article by Dave Doran in 9Marks (I believe it was, notes on home pc) in which at one point he gushed over Piper's sermon at the TGC conference he (Doran) attended. He wrote that Piper's sermon alone was worth the price of admission.

    Anyway, to stay on track, what is not, has not and will not be forthcoming from the likes of Sharper Iron, and almost everything from its evangelical blogroll are articles based on the eternal truths of God's Word when it comes to their new friends in evangelicalism.


  6. Yes, I agree with Brian that much of the "cloudiness" of Evangelicals biblical positions comes from their application of a Reformed/Allegorical hermeneutic. They don't want to sound narrow so they are open to a few different biblical interpretations. This is what Evangelicals have been teaching at their particular seminaries and Fundamental Baptist Seminaries have adopted this practice because they want to be viewed as scholarly. In the name of scholarship, error by false teaching has been infiltrating fundamental baptist seminaries that used to say "Thus saith the Lord" and state one position as the Biblical position.

  7. Jeremy:

    You wrote, "... their assessment of a book in a book review. There are, however, in those same articles, many references to a professor’s opinion or to other books written on the subject. Dr. Kevin Bauder always puts a classical Christian poem about Christ at the end of his blog posts. The poem has nothing to do with the subject matter that he just stated."

    I'm reminded of a time in the mid 90's while I was still with Baptist World Mission. We were at the annual spring meeting. An informal discussion was under way and a story was told of a conference where a QnA was conducted with keynote speakers. One question asked was, What books are you reading at present?

    Men named certain books in turn. When the question came to Dr. Monroe Parker his answer was, "The Book of Isaiah."

    And there men, is the difference between a fundamentalist like Dr. Monroe Parker and the new wave evangelicals among us today.


  8. Brian:

    From above you included this excerpt,

    They also open themselves up to accepting the idea that there are several “views” which are credible because there are several “scholars, or in the case of Scripture, a wise, well-trained theologian” who hold to those different views so we must be accepting of all those views as being the possible truth and woe be to the lowly man who is not that well-trained theologian who raises his voice in objection to those views.

    Isn’t that the truth of what we have been witnessing in fundamental circles these recent years?

    The convergence of a certain segment that does or once identified with fundamentalism with their counter-parts in evangelicalism has been initiated and driven by the men in our circles. The evangelicals have not been reaching out to us, it has been the opposite. To have their fellowship with non-separatist and compromising evangelicals like Mark Dever and Al Mohler our alleged “militant” separatists have had to redefine, reinvent, blunt and/or kick God’s Word on separatism to the curb. They have had to tolerate, allow for and excuse the obvious doctrinal aberrations, worldliness and ecumenicalism of their new friends in evangelicalism to have their fellowship and cooperative ministry with them.

    It is obvious and noteworthy that among the better known from both fundamentalism and evangelicalism it’s NOT the evangelicals who are accepting and changing.


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  10. The real tragedy, one we must warn of and resist, is the efforts of men like Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Matt Olson, Tim Jordan, et., al, to influence the current and next generation to accept and follow them in compromise for the sake of being accepted by the evangelicals.

    May God, through His Word and His Spirit, give our young men discernment to know what is a foot among us and to resist the urge to follow certain “scholars “and “well-trained theologians” into compromise.