Archive for the ‘Ministry’ Category

Bad Leadership Lead to Judgment

February 10, 2015

Title: Bad Leadership Leads to Judgment
Text: Lamentations 2:14
Time: October 29th, 2014

 
As we look upon the landscape of our country and culture today with its sharp moral and spiritual decline we ask ourselves the question – how could this happen? How could our people fall so sharply morally and spiritually when there are churches that line the streets of our large cities, that dot the landscape in small towns and villages, and are even found often far out in the countryside. According to national polls nearly one-third of the population of the United States, or one hundred millions persons, claim to be born-again Christians; and an even larger amount claim Christianity in general. Yet at the same time when there are millions and millions of Christians and thousands and thousands of churches – some that have thousands or even tens of thousands of members – how can at the same time our nation decline so sharply morally and spiritually in the last decade or so? You’d think that with all the Christian churches and ministries and publishing houses and educational institutions and so-called para-church organizations, and so forth, you’d think that Christian moral and spiritual values would be flourishing. But it isn’t so. What can explain this lack of influence of Christianity? The best explanation is that the problem is due to lack of Christian leadership, or to put it more strongly, the problem is due to bad Christian leadership. We see the same problem in the Old Testament of the Bible among the ancient Jews during the time of the fall of Jerusalem and the exile of the people into Babylon. Jeremiah the prophet warned the Jews again and again to repent, to turn from their sins, to avoid the coming judgment of God. But they wouldn’t. Now after the fall of Jerusalem happened we read in Lamentations one of the main reasons why the nation fell and the people were exiled – because the prophets, the leaders, the teachers failed to warn the people of the coming judgment and failed to turn the people from their sins. Lamentations 2:14 says, “The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The oracles they gave you were false and misleading.” Now by analyzing this verse we can learn something today for ourselves. We can learn from the ancient Jewish mistake. We don’t have to face God’s wrath and judgment for our national sins. We still have time to turn away from sin and turn back to God in order to avoid destruction. Our nation is definitely headed towards some kind of destruction because of our grave sins – to mention only two obvious sins – the murder of legalized abortion that’s been around for decades and the new sin of so-called gay marriage that’s sweeping the nation. I could list others, but these two qualify us for God’s judgment in and of themselves. We could avoid that judgment if we would but turn away from these sins, and in order to do that we need Christian leaders to start warning the people, because as of right now not many of them are warning people. If we can learn from the Old Testament example, if we can begin to do our duty, we just might be able to avoid God’s judgment upon the United States. Let’s look further at Lamentations 2:14 for answers. (more…)

Interpreting Scripture vs. Twisting Scripture

October 28, 2008

Title: Interpreting Scripture vs. Twisting Scripture

Text: 2 Peter 3:14-16

Time: September 30, 2008

For nearly 2000 years of Christian church history there have always been slight variations in the interpretation of scripture; and in some cases, as in the case of classic differences between Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant understanding, for example, large differences. But never, ever has there been such a wide diversity of biblical interpretations as we see today flooding the church from every direction. It is a legitimate question to ask, “Is there such a thing as an evangelical Christian any more?” I believe the problem all comes down to a sloppy and careless approach to interpreting the Bible. Today it seems that anybody can come to the Bible from any angle whatsoever and pull anything, any kind of interpretation of any passage out of the Bible and claim to have a new interpretation. And the sad fact is that most of evangelicalism has nothing to say accept, “Well, if that’s what he sees the passage saying, who are we to question his understanding of it?” It’s as if anybody at any time can come up with any kind of bizarre interpretation of any passage in the Bible and nothing can be said to object, because after all, doesn’t everyone have the right to read and understand the Bible any way they want? Isn’t anyone’s interpretation of the Bible as good as anybody else’s? Well, the answer to that question is clearly, “No.” It has never been the case in the history of the church, from the earliest times to modern times, that anybody’s and everybody’s understanding is to be given equal weight in Christianity. For example, in the first century of Christianity, the Apostle Peter writes to Christians and comments on the writings of the Apostle Paul. In his comments, Peter clearly distinguishes between correct interpretation of scripture and incorrect. 2 Peter 3:14-16, “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” In this brief comment, we see the Apostle Peter making the distinction between true and false interpretation of scripture. He makes the distinction between an accurate and clear understanding of inspired writings, and distortions and lies produced by ignorant and unstable people. In contrast with today’s evangelical world, Peter doesn’t grant everyone the privilege and respect of having their own personal interpretation of every scripture passage. Clearly, there is accurate interpretation of scripture and there are distortions. So with that as an introduction, let me make a few points on some key principles of scriptural interpretation, so that some of the confusion we see generating in the evangelical world today might perhaps be corrected. I’ll use 1 Timothy 2:11-14 as an example of scripture twisting today and its correction using sound principles of biblical interpretation. (more…)

Women in Church Ministry

October 28, 2008

Title: Women in Church Ministry

Text: 1 Timothy 2:11-14

Time: September 25th, 2008

There are two major issues today that tempt both Christian men and women to depart from following the biblical teachings; the first is the issue of submission by wives to their husbands, and the second is that woman are not permitted to teach or hold a position of authority over men in the church. Although starting from the early church, taught clearly in the Bible, and carried out for nearly two thousand years of Christian church history, these truths mentioned above have become established; yet today, they are being questioned and also rejected by a growing number of Christians. Why? Is it because new discoveries have been made concerning the accuracy of the biblical text? No. Is it because new archaeological findings show that there is evidence for early Christian activity that contradicts the established biblical teaching? No. Why then are these seemingly established biblical teachings, teachings that the Christian faithful of all ages and all places have overwhelmingly embraced, why are these teachings now questioned? Why are they now being rejected in many leading churches and Christian educational institutions, such as college and seminaries? Why are denominations and church leaders, pastors and even ordinary Christians now questioning something that seemingly the Bible is so clear about and church history for two thousands years is apparently so unanimous on? One word – feminism. Around the late 60s and early 70s there arose a social movement in the U.S. that basically rejected virtually all traditional moral values or absolute truths. Absolute moral authority was seen as incompatible with personal freedom, and so during the 60s and 70s these values were rejected in favor of relativism. Relativism was championed as more compatible with the highest personal freedom. Anything that limited personal freedom was seen as bad; anything that promoted personal free was seen as good. Today, feminism is no longer an active social movement but its influence has been established, its dominance has now been largely conceded. The dominant social thinking today in society is feminist, even if it doesn’t go by that label. Christians too are influenced by feminism, whether they know it or not. Hardly anyone calls himself or herself a feminist any more — they don’t have to, because almost everyone is a feminist in some sense by virtue of holding to the basic beliefs and practices of feminism. That’s how dominant this social philosophy is today. Ok, now where do Christianity, the Christian church, and individual Christians stand in respect to the feminist movement? Answer – for the most part Christianity, the Christian church and Christians are caught up in feminism just like all of society. That doesn’t mean that all churches and all Christians are committed to feminism to the same degree, but almost everyone holds to at least some form of feminist philosophy. It’s almost impossible not to, being brought up and living in the modern feminist social setting, which is America today. Now the problem for the church and for Christians is that many or most of the basic tenets of feminist belief contradict the Bible and Christian historical teachings. If you don’t believe it, let’s examine together an example of the Bible’s teaching concerning guidelines and regulations for women in church ministry. 1 Timothy 2:11-14 (read). Let’s look at three things. (more…)