July 25, 2013


Most of us older folks can recite the nursery rhyme about Humpty Dumpty, which begins “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, and ends with “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again”. I feel sorry for the pessimists in today's world as well as the optimists. When either group looks at the condition of our nation and this world, they are very apt to draw flawed conclusions. A biblical Christian, on the other hand, is a realist in that he can observe and discuss the terrible plight we are in but at the same time can clearly see the answers that we need. Some individuals solve problems by simply ignoring them, and there are situations where this might be the best approach. In the case of a “clear and present danger”, however, ignoring the reality can be deadly.

Never in the history of this planet has there been such a worldwide destabilization as there is today. Anyone looking for a stable government, economy, or moral standard, or a peaceful setting, searches the world in vain. For the believer, this is no surprise; the Bible clearly tells us what to expect in the end time. The question is what should we do with this reality?

Never before in the history of this once-great country has there been such a drastic plunge into moral degradation, economic insanity, lawlessness, lack of leadership, and ever-present danger. This is the way of any unregenerate society because it has no moral base, having turned from the Sovereign Creator to the worship of man. The old Wild West was tame compared to the violence in our cities and now in the entire countryside. The question once again is - what should we do with this reality?

Never before in the history of the American church has there existed such disdain for the very Word of God, the Bible. Culture has become the rule of morals and methodology. While all the statements and creeds may still be in print, their contents are very seldom found in the pulpits or in the hearts of those who call themselves Christian. The church has become the favorite whipping boy of those who openly revile God. It has been marginalized to the point that biblical Christianity has next to no major impact on society at all. Society not only rejects the church; it openly mocks it. The question is…what should we do with this reality?

From a human point of view, we have a Humpty Dumpty nation and world; there is nothing on the horizon that can mend its broken condition. The judgment of God is apparent in the whole of society, and even creation echoes this. The optimist would disagree because he wants there to be an answer for his own comfort and safety, but his is a false hope. The liberal mind has no answer; it only creates problems and blames them on someone else. Denial and false hope actually keep us from coming up with an answer to this calamity.

Many Christian leaders have not only recommended false hope, but have provided a partial truth, and a half truth is dangerous. It is true that the answer for an individual is the gospel because once someone is saved, his world and future are changed forever. It is true that when a person is saved, the positive influence on his surroundings is an answer. From an eternal point of view, the gospel is the answer; and it has immediate influence on the culture.

For the biblical Christian, we begin with the gospel as described in I Corinthians 15:1-4. I say with respect that the gospel is not the whole counsel of God. A church that preaches only the gospel is only partially obedient. The believer who thinks that sharing the gospel is his sole responsibility will in the end be disobedient to the scripture. The whole Bible is the whole counsel of God. The whole must be believed, taught, and shared with the world around us. If you tell me that I am not to speak to the issues of life openly in society, you have asked me to be disobedient.

Silence is deadly, and the church is paying the price for its silence in our culture. That silence happens because some well-intentioned leader has told you to keep God’s Word to yourself or within the four walls of the building where the local church meets. Morality, abortion, sodomy, and dishonesty are not political issues; they are biblical issues first. If believers refuse to obey God and speak to these issues in public, only the lies of the devil's children will stand.

Silence is not an answer. Ignoring the reality of a tragic society is not the answer. The answer is in the hand of God and in His Word. It is of great comfort to know that the biblical Christian has read the last chapter. God wins, and we are winners because we are in Christ. Our struggles are temporary, and defeat is a fleeting thing. Dr. M. R. DeHaan used to say, “Victory may not always be possible, but faithfulness always is”. Those who have accepted the biblical teaching of the any-moment catching away of the church and the second coming of Christ just prior to the Millennium can rejoice in these answers clearly defined in the text of scripture. These are the final answers, and there can be no doubt about them.

We are still waiting for the sound of the trumpet and the “Blessed Hope”. This is the real world we live in. So, what is the answer to the dilemma of living in this “present evil world”? It begins with our willingness to ignore those who call for silence. We have a duty to speak truth openly in the home, in the church, and in society. It is the gospel that saves, but it is truth that leads one to the gospel. It is the Bible that contains the true gospel, but the Bible is also authoritative in any matter to which it speaks.

The answer is in our obligation to glorify God in all we do. Silence does not glorify Him. It is not our responsibility to change the culture - only God can do that - but it is our responsibility to share with the whole world the truth, all the truth contained in the book. Our world has had a great fall, and it is not our job to put it together again, but we can be obedient. This is no time to hide truth under a bushel.

Clay Nuttall, D.Min

The book The Weeping Church was first published in 1985. It has been in constant publication since then, and now Faithful Life Publishers has printed the third edition. It continues to be an effective tool for pastors and churches who are seeking to follow the clear teaching of Scripture as to the polity of the local church. Faithful Life Publishers.com, The Weeping Church, Clay Nuttall, D.Min ISBN 978-1-937129-80-4

A communication service of Shepherd's Basic Care, for those committed to the authority and sufficiency of the Bible. Shepherd's Basic Care is a ministry of information and encouragement to pastors, missionaries, and churches. Write for information using the e-mail address,Shepherdstaff2@juno.com

July 19, 2013

Inheriting the Kingdom of God

Rev. Jim Hollandsworth has published Inheriting the Kingdom of God at the Revival Focus blog.

The apostle Paul, in writing to the church at Thessalonica, speaks of the righteous judgment of God, and being counted worthy of the kingdom of God (2 Thess. 1:5). Why does he use such terminology? How can one be counted worthy of the kingdom of God? Is Paul teaching works-salvation? 
I believe these verses [1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-5] are typically misinterpreted. Those who lean toward Arminian theology say that Paul is warning believers they will lose their salvation if they persist in grievous sins, particularly sins like those listed. This view must be rejected on the preponderance of Scriptural evidence to the contrary. Believers are eternally secure. 
Another common misconception is held by Calvinist-leaning theologians, who claim those who persist in these sins demonstrate that they were never saved in the first place.
I invite and encourage you to visit Inheriting the Kingdom of God for Pastor Hollandsworth’s compelling polemic.

Kind regards,


July 15, 2013

The Most Important People

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is therefore good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

“Ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
(Matthew 5:13-16)

Dr. Rick Flanders
The multiplication of discouraging political and cultural events in recent months has discouraged many Christians in regard to our influence in the world.  Can Bible-believers have any effect on the spiraling decline of morals around them?  Are the followers of Jesus Christ destined to be an ever-weakening, ever-diminishing minority in an ever-worsening world?  The truth is that the followers of Christ, although always a minority, have never been incapable of influencing their world, even in dark times.  We are the Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World.

Of course, these are things Jesus said about His followers in His first sermon recorded at length in the Bible.  The Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5 through 7, was an address to a multitude of His disciples given by the Lord from the side of a mountain (Matthew 5:1-2).  It amounts to the foundational introduction to the teaching He gave His disciples over the years of His earthly ministry, as recorded in the book of Matthew.  Matthew centers on this teaching, and ends with Jesus commanding the apostles to teach others “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20).  In the book of Matthew we find the things He commanded His disciples to observe, and the basis of them all is in the Sermon on the Mount.

Near the beginning of the Sermon, Jesus taught His disciples (see who they were in Matthew 4:12 through 5:1) that they would be the most important people in the world (Matthew 5:13-16).  They would be different from the rest of the world, and would be persecuted by the world, but they would have more influence than any group of people on the earth!  And so the disciples of Jesus are today: we are the Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World.  Among other things, this concept tells us that our influence can retard the decay of human society (as the Salt) and overcome the deepening chaos of human thinking (as the Light).  We will not convert our culture into the Kingdom of God, except in the lives of individuals we are able to win to Christ, but disciples of Jesus, at their best, can always make a difference.  Remember that in the first century they were accused of having “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).  Our potential influence for good also means that a precipitous dive into evil in the culture of a once-Christian nation would to a large degree be the fault of the Christians who had failed to live up to New Testament discipleship.  Simply stated, the place Christ’s followers in the world can be understood in four sentences.

1.     Disciples of Jesus are the most important people in the world.
According to Matthew 5:13, disciples of Christ are the Salt of the Earth, holding back the natural decay of human society. If there is any preservative in society it is in the influence of dedicated Christians. According to Matthew 5:14-16, they are the Light of the World, representing the righteousness of their heavenly Father.  If there is any light in the world today, it emanates from the lives of true disciples of Christ.  Because we are the Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World, we must not lose our savor, nor hide our light.  We must forsake all and follow Jesus (Matthew 4:19-20; 10:37-38).  We must be willing to confess Him before men, regardless of the cost (Matthew 10:29-32).

2.     Their importance is in their difference from the world.
This is what Jesus was saying to would-be disciples in the Sermon on the Mount.  Read chapters 5 through 7 again, and see how He emphasized the importance of our difference.  We are to be characterized by
a.     Different values (5:2-16).  We regard much different things as “blessed.”  Our concept of the good life is almost opposite of the world’s.
b.     Different standards (5:17-48).  Our view of righteousness is much higher than that of even religious people in the world.  It is heart-righteousness.  It is mercy over justice.  It is God’s view of righteousness.
c.     Different service (6:1-18).  Our service to God will be sincere and real, rather than hypocritical and put-on.  Much of it will be “secret service.”
d.     Different focus (6:19-34).  We are to focus on heaven rather than earth.  We seek heavenly riches and trust our Father to meet our earthly needs.  Our eye is on the Kingdom of God.
e.     Different results (chapter 7).

To shun being different is to give up on being a disciple.  We will march to the beat of a different Drummer, and this is what makes us Salt and Light.

The savor of salt is what makes it different from its surroundings.  Light is valuable because of its contrast to the darkness.  Conformity to the world robs Christianity of its earthly value.  Without our “savour,” we Christians are “good for nothing” when it comes to our influence on the world.  “Good-for-nothing” is a pretty hard criticism to level at worldly Christians, but it is exactly what Jesus called them!

3.     Christians who conform will pay a price.
Let us notice again what Jesus said about professed followers who refuse to be different.

“…if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is henceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”

Christians who conform to the world (remember the warning of Romans 12:1-2) are basically worthless, according to these words, and good only to be cast out and trodden under foot.  The casting out and trampling in this sentence underscore the idea of worthlessness, but they may mean more.  The prophets used the image of being trodden under foot in connection with the earthly judgment of a sinful nation.
“…it shall be trodden down.”  (Isaiah 5:5)
“…a nation meted out and trodden under foot…”  (Isaiah 18:2 and 7)
“The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet.”  (Isaiah 28:3)
[Read these passages in Isaiah in their context, and also look up Jeremiah 12:10, Lamentations 1:15, Ezekiel 34:19, and Daniel 8:13]

Might Jesus have used this image as a warning to His followers that if we lose our savor and hide our light we will suffer ourselves in the judgment that comes on our nation for its sins?  When the disaster comes, will compromising Christians also “be trodden under foot of men” because they failed to stand for God and hold back the advancement of evil in their nation?  Certainly His language indicates warning as well as rebuke.  May Christians heed this warning!

In my country, the United States of America, the moral and cultural disintegration that occurred in the twentieth century and continues at an astonishing pace today clearly paralleled the trend in the churches to conform to the world.  First, the churches refused to purge themselves of the heretics who were bringing anti-Christian teachings to the pulpit.  Then most American churches embraced these teachings and teachers, and forsook the pure gospel of Christ.  Then the evangelicals who refused to embrace such ideas gave up their hard line against error and began accepting what was not Biblical as nevertheless Christian.  Then even doctrinally orthodox Christians and churches forsook their stand for holy living.  It wasn’t long before many if not most evangelical and even fundamentalist churches had embraced the world’s values, standards, methods of service, focus, and sadly began to reap the consequences of worldly living in the lives of their members.  In this time period, the churches lost their authority and their influence in a once-Christian nation where a century before the most powerful force in any community was the church of Jesus Christ.  Now self-styled conservatives among the professed disciples of Jesus are justifying nearly any compromise with the ways and sins of the world.  Is it not reasonable that those who have extracted the saltiness from the salt and hidden their light under a bushel can expect to suffer the trampling under foot that will destroy their nation for its sins?

It is not time for the followers of Christ to find ways to adjust to the new facts of life in the world by departing farther from the ways of God.   It is time to go back to New Testament Christianity, to following the beat of the Divine Drummer, to surrender to Christ in all-out discipleship and dedication.  The difference in us can still make a big difference in the world around us.

4.     Disciples of Jesus need help in fulfilling discipleship.
What we could call “the Gospel history” tells us a very important story and teaches us a vital lesson about Christian discipleship.  For three and a half years, twelve of the disciples of Jesus spent countless hours with Him learning the demands and commands of discipleship.   These specially-trained men became the apostles.  But after all this training in self-denial, faith, mercy, commitment, love, service, true doctrine, humility, and the Kingdom of God, how well did they do at living the discipleship they had learned?  What grade would we assign to them after this course of study?  Of course, they did very poorly.  The night of Christ’s arrest, they all forsook Him and fled.  It could be said that they all failed the final exam, some more grievously than others.  The fact is that training in discipleship, even by the Master Himself, was not adequate to make the disciples succeed.  They needed help, and so do we.

The story tells us that help came in the Person of the Holy Spirit!  The night before Jesus died He told His disciples that He was going away.  Receiving this news troubled them, but He comforted them by explaining that His departure would usher in the New Testament age, which would be that most wonderful era for the people of God in the history of the fallen world (read His words in John 13 through 17).  One of the great blessings of the New Testament age was the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.  Jesus had told them in the upper room,

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
(John 14:15-17)

God would replace the physical presence of the Lord Jesus in their daily lives with “another Comforter” Who would never go away.  He is the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit (note verse 26).  The word Comforter means Helper, and He came to help us fulfill the demands and commands of Christian discipleship.  We are to live the life and serve the Lord in conscious dependence on Him.  In the great revivals, the Christians learned this lesson, and lived in the power of the Spirit.  In the book of Acts, we see the disciples of Jesus, filled with the Spirit, witnessing with power and boldness and wisdom and faith, and seeing great results.  The key to true discipleship is the Holy Spirit.  We cannot be true disciples of Christ without relying on the Holy Spirit!

We can be the Salt and the Light the world needs today if we will commit ourselves to the high expectations of Christ Himself, and pray for the power of the Spirit to fulfill them.  The situation is desperate, and nobody can doubt it.  Men around us are lost in darkness and ruining their lives.  What’s worse is that they have little awareness of their plight.  The great need today is in the compromised, worldly, selfish, and powerless lives of those who say they are following Jesus.  But our need can be met if we will seek the Lord until we find Him, and look to Him for the ability to live up to our calling.  Our times call for Christians to be Christians, in every Biblical sense of the term!

Dr. Rick Flanders
Revival Ministries

July 10, 2013

The ACCC: Resolution on the Danger of Neo-fundamentalism

The American Council of Christian Churches (ACCC) has issued a resolution, a sober warning about the spread of a “neo-fundamentalism.” The resolution identifies Dr. Kevin Bauder and Bauder’s chapter in the Four Views of the Spectrum of Evangelicalism as a force behind the decline of biblical separatist fundamentalism.
The neo-fundamentalist call to the convergence of fundamentalists and evangelicals rang loud and clear from the Zondervan publication Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism, a book promoted by the managers of the Sharper Iron website. Sadly, the tone expressed by the book in its presentation of fundamentalism was reminiscent of Falwell’s production a generation ago. As in The Fundamentalist Phenomenon, the book used the term hyper-fundamentalist to highlight a long list of supposed ills within fundamentalism, including loyalty to fundamentalist leaders and organizations, the willingness to make associations a consideration relevant to separation, and anti-intellectualism.
The neo-fundamentalist tolerance for men who neglect or repudiate separatist convictions has spread to the campuses of former citadels of fundamentalism, like Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary in Lansdale, PA and Northland International University in Dunbar, WI. While it is true that fundamentalists are flawed servants of the Lord, the temptations of disloyalty, pragmatically overlooking associational compromise, and the pride of intellectualism are great dangers to the people of God in this evil day.
From IDOTG I have been warning readers of the dangers that lie ahead because of the revisionist history, blurring the lines of biblical distinction and formal cooperative efforts that Kevin Bauder (Dave Doran, Tim Jordan and Matt Olson) have been forging with non-separatist, compromising so-called conservative evangelicals. The pattern has been to tolerate, allow for, ignore and/or excuse doctrinal aberrations, cultural relativism (worldliness) and ecumenical compromise of the evangelicals. Instead, Kevin Bauder (Doran, Jordan, Olson) has eagerly heaped lavish praise upon them for the sake of fellowship and cooperative efforts with them. I welcome the ACCC’s resolute warning and encourage a wide reading of it.

For the ACCC’s complete resolution see, Resolution on the Danger of Neo-Fundamentalism


Related Reading:
Kevin Bauder: A Call for His Removal from the Platform of the 2009 FBFI Annual Fellowship

Lets Get CRYSTAL Clear on This: Responding to Kevin BauderCannonball Cogitations

Kevin Bauder, It Won't Fly With Those of Us Who Know...

Muddying the Clearwaters

Kevin Bauder: Discussing Al Mohler's Occasional Inconsistency?

A Critical Review of Kevin Bauders Open Letter to Lance Ketchum

Kevin Bauder: Show Us the Great Many Points Where You Challenged Their Views

July 7, 2013


The past few weeks have produced some serious frustration for me. I continue to be grieved over the number of younger men who have become prey to doctrinal error. In the main they appear to be enamored with the arrogance of scholarship and intellectualism. Much of this wind of doctrine has come from the misguided influence of the Reformed theology. The basic problem however is the hermeneutic they have adopted. While they would call it biblical it is nothing more than the old allegorical system that has done so much harm to foundational theology. The fa├žade for this farce is the use of the original languages. While language is first in the hermeneutical process it produces false conclusions when it ignores the whole of biblical interpretation that God has given to us.

Most of us would condemn the use of proof texting. This is what the average doctrinal error and cults are made of.
The intellectual however has turned proof texting into an art form.
Instead of using a single text or a few texts to prove a point, that does not exist in any of them, the pseudo-scholar uses page after page of proof texts before assigning a meaning that doesn’t exist in any of them. This process ignores the whole teaching on a subject and as a result produces error. It is built on bad habits of interpretation such as making an exception the rule and causing similarities to be equals. The product is philosophical theology rather than a theology that is biblical.


Several examples will suffice to illustrate the error of inserting human presuppositions into the text. The Body of Christ, the church is made up of those redeemed individuals from Pentecost to the Rapture. This is the bride of Christ it is not the same as the wife of God discussed by the prophets. Even the slightest attempt to weld national Israel with the church is subject to suspicion and will identify an errant hermeneutic. I am fully aware of the proof texts used to destroy the clear separation of the two. This includes the bifurcating the special ministry to the church, by the Holy Spirit that began at Pentecost.

The church, the body of Christ, is a whole it is a solid unit. Members are a part of this body but they are not the whole. The body of Christ, the heavenly church, is not complete; it has never met and will not meet until the catching away of the church prior to the tribulation period. Members in a local church may be part of the body of Christ but they are not equal to the whole. For that reason the local church, with its many unsaved members is not equal to the body of Christ.

When the heavenly church, the body of Christ is caught away the bridegroom will “present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27; Rev. 19:8). The teaching is elementary, unless one deliberately complicates it. At this point not one member of the body or the whole has any flaw or blemish in any way. Our salvation and everything that the bride inherently is, eternally, depends on the finished work of Christ. Our works or service has nothing to do with our eternal state or status. To reject this is to attack the veracity of the finished work of Christ.

When Christ returns at the Second Coming, prior to the Millennium, His bride, the body of Christ will return with Him. This complete body “shall reign on earth” (Rev. 5:10) “with” Him. This unity of the bride with the bridegroom is without exception. No member of this glorious church will be absent for any reason from this eternal relationship or status.   


One cannot assume that scholars are always right. Actually we can assume that they are often wrong. This is true of and old error proposed by some scholars. I speak here of what is called “The doctrine of eternal rewards.” At the heart of this error is the idea that some members of the body of Christ will not share in the millennial reign with Christ and that some will not share in the heavenly city, the eternal state. This state of limbo or purgatory is blamed on the unprofitable servant texts in Matthew and is simply a long list of proof texts that ignore the clear teaching of scripture on the body of Christ. This odd teaching arises from an errant hermeneutic sprinkled with the dust of proper use of the language.
It may not be as deliberate as it looks but is an effort to “complicate to confuse.”
Our task in bible interpretation is to “simply to clarify.” We also need to begin with the things that we most assuredly know. The clear teaching of the church as bride of Christ and as the one body of Christ in union makes such humanly devised presuppositions impossible. The bible was not written for scholars to toy with. It is written to us as the average believer. While we are grateful for honest and faithful grammarians and well qualified scholars but God has given the average believer a way to know when the experts are not telling the truth. That is what the one biblical hermeneutic is all about. If those who have divided the body into pieces, as to state and status, would have just asked questions of the text their answers would have stood the test of the whole. The reader always needs to ask these who, where, when, why questions before attempting to assign personal meaning to the text. If one does not know who the text in question was written too, how could you expect the bible to answer?

The one biblical hermeneutic is the correct system of interpretation. It is mathematical in that if we use the system of interpreting and the rules that apply to language everyone will come to the same answer every time. The variances in conclusions therefore rise from ignoring the system or violating the rules so that all errors actually rise from and errant system or a breaking of the rules of interpretation.


An additional problem in this area of theology is a faulty view of the Judgment Seat of Christ. The texts are very clear on this event. It is our human invention that creates the misunderstanding.
The Bema has nothing to do with salvation. We are at the Bema as a result of our salvation through the work of Christ. This judgment is about the service of sons.
All sons are equal at this point. The only question here is what rewards are given to whom. This is a positive time and the highlight of it all is that Christ not servants are honored in that all crowns are ultimately cast before the Lord (Rev. 4:10). The center of this scene is Christ and the main issue is the awarding of crowns.

Teaching on this subject is often overwhelmed with the negative. It is true that all service done in the flesh with be burned. It is true that some members of the body of Christ will not receive rewards. That would be sad but that is not the purpose of the Bema. The main purpose is positive, it is rewards. I do not mean to set aside disobedience or un-confessed sin but that is not the focus, it is a by-product. This is another reason why the whole hermeneutic must be used in viewing scripture.

In addition to the micro/macro context, the historical setting of the text always helps answer little questions. The Holy Spirit used the Bema seat because the actual historical event confirms the positive view. The Bema was a raised platform where the judge sat. One of these is still standing in the old city of Corinth. When a race or sporting event was over the Bema was used by the judge to honor the winner, often with a crown of olive leaves. That was the sole purpose of the judge. While it is true the non-winners were not mentioned the judge did not lecture, condemn or exile those who failed to win the event.

When the Judgment Seat of Christ is concluded every member of the bride will stand included and equal “In Christ.” That is because their state and status eternally was settled by the sacrifice of Christ not the works of the believers. This is all so simple and points out why bad doctrine leads ultimately to heresy.

Shepherd's Staff is prepared by Clay Nuttall, D. Min
A communication service of Shepherd's Basic Care, for those committed to the authority and sufficiency of the Bible.  Shepherd's Basic Care is a ministry of information and encouragement to pastors, missionaries, and churches.  Write for information using the e-mail address,

For related reading see, The Dangers of Reformed Theology by Ps. George Zeller