Monday, December 31, 2007

Are Mormons Christians, Joel Osteen thinks so

When I hear people either equivocate or simply get it wrong when asked about other religious beliefs it can be troublesome. When this comes from a professing Christian pastor it is down right disturbing. Recently on Fox News Sunday (12/23/07) in an interview with Joel Osteen he was asked whether he thought Mormons were true Christians. Here is his answer and you can read the entire transcript here:

WALLACE: And what about Mitt Romney? And I've got to ask you the question, because it is a question whether it should be or not in this campaign, is a Mormon a true Christian?

OSTEEN: Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that's what I believe, so, you know, I'm not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are.
And so, you know, Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me, and I don't think he would — anything would stop me from voting for him if that's what I felt like.

WALLACE: So, for instance, when people start talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, and the golden tablets in upstate New York, and God assumes the shape of a man, do you not get hung up in those theological issues?

OSTEEN: I probably don't get hung up in them because I haven't really studied them or thought about them. And you know, I just try to let God be the judge of that. I mean, I don't know.

I certainly can't say that I agree with everything that I've heard about it, but from what I've heard from Mitt, when he says that Christ is his savior, to me that's a common bond.

Now for the man on the street this is probably the answer I would suspect but for a professing Christian pastor to say such a thing is greatly troubling. Mr. Osteen as a Christian pastor with a voice in the public arena needs to be more careful with his words and if he does not know about Mormon beliefs he needs to not answer the question rather than simply make statements as he did. Does he not know how Mormons define who God and Jesus are? To make statements as he did may be damaging to those that hear him speak and then see no problem belonging to a Mormon church since he said they were OK. As teachers of God’s word one cannot take the responsibility lightly as is seen in James 3:1.

Why is it so hard to say that based on Mormon Doctrine they are not Christians? Not too many years ago Mormons would have not been so evasive and were not afraid to air the differences as they wanted people to join their “true church.” In our local Sunday paper (Orange County Register) was an interview with a Mormon where the interviewer did not ask the correct questions. The interviewer simply asked the basics and since Mormon’s use many of the same words as biblical Christianity the Mormon was made out to be no different than any other professing believer. Never did the author ask the Mormon to define his words such as who is God and who is Jesus and how do you define the trinity. In essence the Mormon Church got a free advertisement in the morning paper with web links and everything.

I am not sure if there is a concentrated effort to deceive by the Mormons or simply ignorance on the part of many Mormons, including their elders (an unbiblical term as they use it). I recently talked with a couple of nice Mormon guys a few month’s ago and in talking to them they were very elusive in there terms and it took close to two hours to get them to see that we did not use our words the same way and that we did not believe the same things. I again do not know if this is purposeful, probably was, or simply ignorance. The problem is that unless terms are defined conversation cannot start. It is not enough to simply say “Do you believe in Jesus as your savior” but one needs to define who Jesus is and the Jesus of Christianity is not the Jesus of Mormon doctrine.

If we are to share the Gospel with Mormons we need to make sure we know they need the Gospel, and they do. So in sharing the Gospel make sure you define your words carefully so that the message given is the one that we are to give.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Some Funny Videos

Here are some funny Tim Hawkins Video’s

This first is a take off of Carrie Underwood’s Jesus Take the Wheel and is called Cleatus Take the Wheel.

This second video on Church is funny as I have actually heard from a friend that they did hear a church pray that God would remove the calories from the donuts they were too eat.

You can see some other videos at his web site: Tim Hawkins

Monday, December 24, 2007

What Child is This?

This week we went through Hebrews 9:15 and it is amazing how much this particular text speaks to this time of season. While it does not speak to the actual birth narratives it does speak about the work that Christ came to do, the reason for His birth. As 9:15 is basically a sort of summarization of what has gone before, and in many ways what will follow, it lets us see the work our Saviour came to do.

In the text we see that Christ came to be a mediator just as the previous high priests had been mediators, between man and God. Christ came for a specific people, a people called to Him as we know from John 10:25-30. He also came to make eternal salvation available for those that were given to Him. Christ came to die; yes he came to die, so that redemption would be available since a substitute was required. Lastly, Christ came to take care of sin completely.

This is not the usual message of Christmas but maybe it should be as when we so focus on the singular aspect of His birth we may be detracting from the reason for His birth, that being His substitutionary death. A required death foreshadowed in the Old Covenant’s sacrificial system.

At this time of year let us truly focus on who Christ is. Let us do this in such a way that we do see Him for who He truly is, what He has done and what He is still doing as our eternal mediator between us and God.

If you would like to hear this week’s sermon you can do so here: What Child is This? Or through the Sovereign Grace Christian Fellowship’s web page here: Sermons.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The DVD Winner is...........

And the winner of The League of Grateful Sons DVD is: (Drum Roll)….. David Owens.

I have sent an e-mail to you so I can get shipping information.

Keep checking back as Vision Forum has said they would have other things such as special buys and the like in the future.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Redeemed to Serve (Hebrews 9:11-14)

As I was studying for this weeks sermon on Hebrews 9:11-14 I was struck by the end of V14. As Hebrews begins to expound more on the atonement we are told in V14 that Christ blood in the sacrifice of Himself would “purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”

Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t to simply bring us a better life now or prosperity in the cross but was so that we could serve the living God. How different this is from the usual Gospel that is proclaimed by many that is man centered rather than the biblical God centered Gospel. Let us keep the Gospel God centered instead of proclaiming a man centered Gospel.

Christ came as the Great High Priest to make it possible for a people to be worthy to serve the living God. It takes the blood of Christ, which represents all of Christ’s redemptive work, to redeem a people to serve God. When was the last time you heard a “Saved to Serve” message as what one usually hears is a “Saved from _______ (put your problem here)” sermon.

Hebrews makes it clear that the Old Covenant sacrificial system was a shadow (Heb 8:5) of the true High Priest and sacrifice to come in Christ. We see that the Old Covenant system could only clean the external but it is the blood of Christ that cleans the conscience, the internal, and truly redeems. To deny the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ is then to deny God’s design for redemption. To deny that the blood of Christ is required to make one worthy to serve and worship God is to deny God’s plan for people worshiping Him.

There is so much more that could be said but I would just encourage you to spend time in Hebrews. If you would like to hear this weeks sermon on Hebrews you can either download or listen here: Redeemed to Serve. You can also listen to other sermons on Hebrews on the sermon page of Sovereign Grace Christian Fellowship, here.

Around the Web and Blogosphere (12/16/07)

Here is the Vision Forum report on the North Carolina Uniting Church and Family Conference - Lasting Reformation: May God Make it So.

Steve Camp writes on Contextualization - Quote of the Day...Tozer on contextualization in his day. All too often today it does seem that it is more important how one says things than what is said. If a particular preacher seems to get some form of response from their audience they may be lauded no matter the content of their preaching. This runs the gamut from the simple shallow pabulum of much preaching to even effective articulators of what amount to heretical doctrines. The Gospel is the power of salvation (Romans 1:16) not our eloquence.

Richard Barcellos reviews a new book that deals with Biblical Theology: Book Review: A Better Way: Jesus and Old Testament Fulfillment, Simon Austen. I am definitely going to look into this book. Ever since being introduced to the area of Biblical Theology by reading Graeme Goldsworthy’s books I have found it, Biblical Theology, very beneficial as it helps, while studying scripture, to keep the big picture in mind.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway of a DVD on my last post here: The League of Grateful Sins (DVD) Giveaway. Entries end at 5PM (PST) on 12/20/07.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The League of Grateful Sons (DVD) Giveaway

This month I will be giving away a copy of The League of Grateful Sons (DVD), which Vision Forum is providing. All you have to do is leave a comment that you want to be entered in the contest and I will randomly choose someone on the evening of 12/20/07, so entries end at 5PM (PST) on the 20th. By the way entering more than once will not help. Once the person is chosen I will contact you, so make sure you leave your e-mail address, and you can give me your shipping information as I need to have the information to Vision Forum by 12/24/07.

You can check out the what Vision Forum has to offer here,Vision Forum, or by clicking on the banner below.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Around the Web and Blogosphere (12/08/08)

Scott Brown writes on the recent NCFIC Conference, here Conference Report Wake Forest NCFIC and here Our Objectives for the NCFIC Conference

Over at are has some quotes from Joel Beeke and his book Puritan Reformed Spirituality entitled: 5 Puritan Evangelism Lessons For Todays Churches

At Baptist Press there is a handy list of the differences between Christina and Mormonism: Christian, Mormon doctrinal differences

Over at 9Marks there is a good article by Michael Horton: Transforming Culture with a Messiah Complex. I think the point, which is a good one, is that it is the church that needs to disciple people so they transform culture and that it is not necessarily the churches place as an institution to do so. Near the end of the article, as an example, he speaks of the slave trade in England being stopped not by the church but by people such as Wilberforce who were “formed by the church’s ministry” that made the change.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Passion for His Glory to be Known

I was reading an article on the Banner of Truth site, where they always have a number of good articles, entitled John Paton and World Missions. The writer of the article, Al Baker, begins by telling of the hardships Paton and his family faced in being missionaries to the New Hebrides. The question he, Mr. Baker, poses is this: “what sustained John Paton in his missionary zeal?”

That is not just a question we need to ask of John Paton but we need to ask of ourselves. As Baker writes while Paton may have had compassion for the souls of the people he was a missionary to that is not enough to sustain the missionary zeal of Paton or for that matter of any Christian. This is not to say we are not to have compassion, we are, but as Baker shares, if we are truthful we will all find ourselves in times where we simply do not feel the compassion we ought to have and what do we do in those time?

Baker points to Psalm 67 ( Let the peoples praise Thee, O God; let all the peoples praise Thee. Psalm 67:3 ) and relates that our zeal for the spreading of the gospel should be grounded in a desire to see God worshipped as He deserves to be worshipped. We should have a desire to spread the Gospel that is driven not for the people but for God. Again this is not to say we are not to care for people, we are, but never above our devotion to God.

I think that for me, and probably for many, the desire to share the Gospel wanes often as we get so inundated by things that we simply do not have the compassion and care others souls we should have. But one thing that should never wane is our desire to see God worshipped as He desires and deserves to be worshipped. As Baker also shares, when we see others worship anything but the one true, triune, God we should burn with a desire to see that changed. Yes the person that repents of worshipping other than the true God will receive benefit from the change the main goal should be to see God worshipped.

This fits well with one of my favorite books by John Piper – The God is the Gospel. This book speaks so much about how we have turned the Gospel into a message about us instead of about God. Yes we are included in the Gospel message but we are not the focus, God is. We should share in God’s passion for His glory to be known and that all nations would worship Him (Psalm 2, 67, 96, 100 - as Baker shares). So, while our compassion and desires for others to know the glory of a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ may undulate we should never allow for our passion for His Glory to be known by all to do so. We have to move from a man center theology to what it is supposed to be, a God centered one.

I pray this article would bless you as it did me. Maybe as something new or, as it did for me, as a reminder of where my focus is to be.