Why your pastor does care about your giving

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WHAT!?!?! I knew it!!!! “All pastors care about is how much money the church has!” Most of us have probably heard this charge a time or two. Unfortunately there are ‘ministers’ out there who seem to care more about the quantity of your tithe than the quality of your heart in tithing. TBN seems to give time and space to men and women who advertise the more you give, the more blessed you are. But this post is not about false teachers. This post is about why faithful, men of God, trustworthy, honorable, and called to shepherd your soul care about your tithing — to be referenced as giving from this point on.

First, the Bible mentions giving is an act of worship. Matthew 6:2-4 Jesus says that when we give, we need to give secretly and to the Lord. “Your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” In context of chapter 5:21-7 Jesus is talking about righteous actions done for God’s glory. These are sacrificial acts of worship done by believers to honor the Lord. If giving finances to the Lord is worship, then would you want your pastor concerned with your giving? It would seem rather silly to want a pastor to care about your worship but say giving is off limits to the pastor’s concern. Continue reading

Why Eschatology Matters

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Eschatology, the study of end times, may be one of the most debated issues in theology. I have heard some people say, “It really doesn’t matter”; “It’s too complicated, why study?”; and “Too many people fight over it, I don’t want to fight”.

Those objections may have a glimmer of truth to them. First, people can have differing views of eschatology (on some level) and still have the gospel right. People disagree over whether or not Israel will be restored and a seven year tribulation, but both groups still place their faith in Jesus Christ and have been atoned for and will stand next to each other in heaven. Continue reading

Listen to the pastor “among you”

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God calls elders and pastors to “shepherd the flock of God among you” (1 Peter 5:2). This small statement has huge implications. First, the key word here is “among”. This word supports three truths regarding the pastor and his flock.

First, it supports the local church because the flock is defined. It is popular, especially in my city, to think the church is universal and as long as you gather with other believers, it is okay because there is a universal church. But 1 Peter 5:1-5 supports a local church led by leaders. In fact, the church here is defined as a specific set of people. “Shepherd the flock of God among you” and elders are not to rule “as lording it over those allotted to your charge but proving to be examples to the flock.” The bold language here supports a local context. Shepherds are called to watch over the church, those specifically allotted to your charge. The church at large mentality does not fit here. Who is called to shepherd the church at large? Who are the elders? Believers are called to be in one local church.[1] Continue reading

Why following God’s design for marriage is wise

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Most people who have read the Bible know Ephesians 5:22-33 lists responsibilities to the husband and wife. These responsibilities are commonly called roles. Both the husband and wife are called to operate in the marriage with different functions. Having different roles does not make one person more valuable than the other. It is like a team. Each person on the team has responsibilities and when they are faithful to the role, working with the other members of the team, the team can produce success or its intended goal. Just like a functioning team, marriage is designed for both people to come together and be one body, with one goal, for a purpose but with different roles. We are commanded to follow the roles. In fact, to not follow the roles makes us unwise. Continue reading

Covenantal understanding of believer’s righteousness

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This post continues a series on Covenant Theology. The criticism offered below falls within the context of the previous posts (beginning here). Please feel free to offer criticism, comments, and observations but failure to read the other posts could enfeeble one’s own remarks.

Flowing from CT’s faulty understanding of mankind’s relationship to Adam’s sin is its faulty understanding of the righteousness of Christ imputed to believers. CT’s understanding of salvation is based on the covenant of grace. In the same way that Adam stood as the covenant head of the covenant of works, so Christ stands as the covenant head of the covenant of grace. As was discussed above, CT views the demands of the covenant of works as binding upon all men of all times. As such, it was not enough for Christ to simply die in the place of sinners as a substitute and bear the wrath of God on their behalf. If that were all that happened then man would be no better than being placed back in a probationary state like Adam. Men would still need to merit their own righteousness by works in order to be rewarded with eternal life. In this scheme salvation by grace alone has a weird twist to it. Sproul’s sentiments are typical of proponents of CT, Continue reading

Faulty Understanding of Man’s relationship to Adam’s Sin

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This post continues a series on Covenant Theology. The criticism offered below falls within the context of the previous posts (beginning here). Please feel free to offer criticism, comments, and observations but failure to read the other posts could enfeeble one’s own remarks.

As mentioned earlier, CT teaches that the first sin of Adam was imputed (according to the stipulations of the covenant of works) to all of his progeny. When it comes to the discussion of the imputation of Adam’s sin there are two views, “immediate” and “mediate” imputation. Immediate imputation may also be called the “federal theory.” “This view holds that Adam is both the natural and the federal head of the human race. The federal or representative headship is the specific ground of the imputation of Adam’s sin. When Adam sinned….God imputed the guilt of the first sin to….the entire human race.”[1] Mediate imputation holds that a corrupt nature is inherited through natural generation from Adam and that this is what then becomes the ground for God imputing the guilt of Adam to his posterity. The imputation is mediated through inherited corruption which is the consequence, not punishment, of Adam’s sin.[2]
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why give grace?

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On my best days I know the grace of God poured out on me is beyond measure. Paul says “His grace which He lavished on us.” I love the word lavish. I wish my plate was lavished with bacon. My heart and arteries are glad my plate isn’t lavished with bacon.

God, He lavishes grace.

This is good. When I’m having a bad moment, deceived by my own heart and its idols I sin. I rebel, get angry, worry about the results of a situation, or grow jealous. Continue reading

Logic vs Revelation

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This is a continuation of last week’s series on Covenant Theology. Today’s post evaluates logic verses revelation.

CT teaches that there was a covenant between God and Adam before the Fall whereby he was appointed the representative head of mankind under the stipulations of that covenant. Also, according to the dictates of this covenant he was to stand for an undefined period of time in a probationary status, rendering perfect obedience to God (presumably obeying the law written on his heart). According to the dictates of this covenant, Adam’s federal headship and probation created a situation such that, if he succeeded he would merit by his own works, for himself and all his posterity (and God would owe him, and all his posterity, according to strict justice) freedom to eat from the tree of life. This would secure for him, and his progeny, eternal life and inability to sin thereafter. Continue reading

Critique of CT Hermeneutics

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The first three blogs in this series have focused on defining Covenantal Theology, its hermeneutics, how it reached formulated. Now the series will focus on criticisms and problems with Covenant Theology.

Kline claims that there is old and new orders revealed in the Old and New Testaments and that, “According to the divine design the old is provisional and preparatory for the new, and by divine predisclosure the new is prophetically anticipated in the old.”[1] He then explains how this was done, “External event and institution in the old order were divinely fashioned to form a systematic representation of the realities of the coming new order, so producing a type-antitype correlativity between the two covenants in which their unity is instructively articulated.”[2] LaRondelle’s hermeneutical method (which is also decidedly typological), though he is a Seventh Day Adventist, has received a warm welcome in CT circles.[3] LaRondelle takes matters a step further than Kline. He makes the bold claim that, “Valid hermeneutical rules of Scripture must be ‘inspired principles’ which are legitimately and systematically derived from the Scriptures themselves.”[4] This is an astounding claim, and actually rather self-serving. How does one get at the inspired principles in the first place? What hermeneutic based on uninspired principles must be employed to draw out of the text the inspired principles in order to then build one’s (presumably) inspired hermeneutic? This is a vicious circle. One will find the inspired principles one is looking for and then be in possession of nothing more than one’s presuppositions dressed as inspired principles. Continue reading