The Mailbag: Potpourri (“Good Luck”, Miscarriage Funeral, Art Azurdia, JMac NOT partnering with false teachers)

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Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question. I also like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar can be a helpful tool!


Why do you still have Art Azurdia on your “Recommended Bible Teachers” list?

Genuine thanks to those of you who reached out in concern about this. I appreciate your dedication to sound doctrine and to protecting me from my own absentmindedness.

As many of you may recall, Art was removed from ministry by his church over the summer for committing adultery. The day Trinity Church released their statement announcing this, I added an update to the article (the article was written in 2016 – two years prior to his removal) linking to it and explaining the situation. I have since tweaked that update for clarity. The update to my article reads:

On July 2, 2018, the elders of Trinity Church announced the removal of Art Azurdia as pastor due to sexually immorality. Art subsequently released his own statement of contrition and repentance and stepped down from all public ministry. While Art’s sin does not change the doctrinal soundness of his previous books and materials, you may wish to use this information as a factor in deciding whether or not to use or continue using his previously released sermons and materials. Should Art take it upon himself to return to ministry in the future, I will not recommend him as he has disqualified himself from the biblical requirements (1 Timothy 3/Titus 1) for ministry. The above information now applies only to Art’s sermons and materials predating July 2, 2018.

Art has dropped off the face of the earth for all intents and purposes. With regard to public ministry, it is as if he died on July 2. His adultery does not magically change the content of his previously released sermons and materials from doctrinally sound to doctrinally unsound. Therefore, I am making the judgment call to leave the information in the article with the update and let people follow their consciences and decide for themselves whether or not to use his old materials.


Did you know John MacArthur is partnering with false teachers at a conference next year?

There is an ugly rumor going around that John MacArthur is partnering with Rick Warren (and other false teachers) at next year’s Proclaim 19, the annual National Religious Broadcasters International Christian Media Convention. He is not.

Dr. MacArthur has been asked to deliver a sermon at the convention in honor of his 50th year of broadcasting Grace to You as well as his 50th anniversary of pastoring Grace Community Church. His appearance at the convention has no connection to other speakers who are speaking at other times and at other events during the convention.

I believe part of the reason people are being deceived into believing that Dr. MacArthur is “partnering” or “sharing the stage” with false teachers at Proclaim 19 is that they do not understand the nature of this event. I attended a similar event a few years ago, the International Christian Retail Show, when my book, Jacob: Journaling the Journey first came out.

You need to understand that the NRB event, like the ICRS event I attended, is a products, services, and informational trade show for the people and ministries NRB serves, not a preaching and teaching Christian conference.

At a trade show, there’s a large arena with dozens or even hundreds of exhibitor booths. You walk around and look at what you’re interested in and what pertains to your ministry. You network with people you meet who are in your particular field. That’s it. That’s what you’re there for – a products and services fair – not to be taught the Bible. Some trade shows offer various tangential events, dinners, or lectures for attendees who might be interested in a particular niche topic. If you’re interested in the topic and/or speaker, you attend. If not, you don’t. It is at one of these “a la carte” types of events that Dr. MacArthur is speaking. As of today, the only other person appearing at that event is Joni Eareckson Tada, who will be singing some hymns.

Another thing to keep in mind about this event is that it is taking place over the course of four full days, and it’s a “come and go” type of thing. Thousands of people will attend at various times during the four days. At an event this large and fluid, it is very likely Dr. MacArthur won’t even lay eyes on Rick Warren or any of the other problematic personalities who will be attending, especially if, as could be the case with his busy schedule, Dr. MacArthur is only at the convention for a brief amount of time. I’m not sure how you can be “partnering with” or “sharing a stage with” someone you have no contact with and isn’t present at the event you’re speaking at.

The deceptive information that Dr. MacArthur is “partnering” or “yoking” with false teachers is being spread mainly by a YouTube personality called “Servus Christi” . Friends, intentionally or unintentionally, this man is a deceiver and a slanderer, and he is causing division in the Body.

In the same way that you can’t trust every pastor or teacher to be doctrinally sound, you also can’t trust that every self-proclaimed “discernment” ministry is biblical, and Servus Christi most certainly is not. He routinely goes after “big name” doctrinally sound pastors and teachers with ridiculous and spurious claims in order to make a name for himself. (For example, he has falsely accused Paul Washer twice this year- once for “partnering” with Hillsong, and once for “partnering” with an associate of the Pope.)

Please don’t be deceived by this man, and don’t spread his deceptions by sharing them around on social media. Here’s the truthful information about Dr. MacArthur’s appearance at Proclaim 19 (the screenshotted statement is from Phil Johnson, head of Grace to You) and about Servus Christi:

 

If you’re considering commenting on this article to:

• defend Servus Christi, Jacob Prasch, or any other “discernment” ministry that slanders doctrinally sound teachers,
or to
• accuse John MacArthur (or any other doctrinally sound teacher) of heresy for appearing at this convention or for any other reason,

please save yourself some time and effort. Your comment will not be published.


This question was asked publicly on Twitter:

Is it philosophically inconsistent not to have some sort of funeral or burial of a miscarried fetus if you believe that fetus to be a human being with equal value and rights from conception? Asking for my wife and [me].

Great question. And if this isn’t a hypothetical question, I’m so sorry for your loss.

I think people grieve and honor lost loved ones in different ways and that, biblically, this is a matter of conscience. If you and your wife would like to have a full-scale funeral and burial for your baby, then go ahead and do that. If you’d like to do something more akin to a memorial service, that’s something to consider as well. You could also do something on a smaller scale such as a prayer gathering of your closest family and friends in someone’s home. Or, you could choose to follow whatever the hospital’s policy is for taking care of the baby’s remains. My thought is that as long as the remains are treated respectfully, as with any other death in the family, this is really a decision between you, your wife, and the Lord. Again, my condolences.

Thank you for your response, condolences, advice, and encouragement. I think God has provided an option for us that both honors our baby and satisfies our consciences. Thank you again.

Friends, would you please take a moment to pray that God will comfort this gentleman and his wife during this sad time?


Help me to respond to Christians that say “Good luck!” “Wish me good luck!” “We were lucky!” etc., etc., etc.! For the life of me I don’t understand.

Well…here’s how I would respond:

Her: “Good luck!”
Me: “Thanks! I covet your prayers.”

Her: “Wish me luck!”
Me: (In a lighthearted, sweet manner) “I’ll do you one better, I’ll pray for you!” (and then do it)

Her: “We were lucky!”
Me: “Wow, God really blessed you!” or… “I’m so thankful God protected you!” Or something like that.

I would not make a big deal out of this, especially if you know the person is saved and generally doctrinally sound. Most people just say these things out of habit and culture. It doesn’t mean they’re into New Age spirituality or anything like that. I mean, I eat Lucky Charms for breakfast sometimes, and I’m not into any of that. :0) It might make an interesting topic for Sunday School or Bible study class, though, just to help everybody become more aware of the things we say and why we say them.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

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A Few Good Men, Again! ~ Again

 

Last week was the first half of the latest installment in the A Few Good Men series. Today, I’m finishing up that article with five more godly men – pastors, speakers, authors, bloggers, and podcasters – to edify you and encourage your walk with the Lord. I hope you’ll find

A Few Good Men, Again!: 10 Doctrinally Sound Male Teachers

to be helpful and beneficial.

Check out all the men in the series as well as Biblically Sound Blogs and Podcasts by Christian Women at the Recommended Bible Teachers tab at the top of this page.

Throwback Thursday ~ Top 10 Ways to Appreciate Your Pastors During Pastor Appreciation Month

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Originally published October 13, 2017

I’m so glad somebody thought up the idea of Pastor Appreciation Month and made it a thing. If you’ve never been a pastor (or been married to one), it’s difficult to adequately convey just how simultaneously challenging, joyful, devastating, frustrating, and fulfilling it can be. If you have a good pastor, who rightly divides God’s Word and is a man of godly character, you are very blessed. And that goes for your minister of music, associate pastor, youth pastor, etc., too. Be sure you show all of them (there’s nothing worse than being left out while everybody else is being appreciated) your appreciation for their hard work, and your encouragement, support, and love not just during Pastor Appreciation Month, but all year through. Here are ten ways you can do just that.

1. Pray for your pastors.
Time and again, when pastors are surveyed about what their church members can do to bless them the most, the number one answer is, “Pray for me.” Your pastors need you to pray for them personally, in their work, for their marriages and families, and for the health of your church. Pastor Appreciation Month is a perfect time to make a commitment to pray for your pastors on a regular basis. (And don’t forget to periodically tell them you’re praying for them!) Need some suggestions on how to pray? Check out my article Top 10 Ways to Pray for Your Pastor.

2. Words of encouragement
Pastors get a lot of complaints, criticism, and words of discouragement. Brighten your pastor’s day by telling him something specific you learned during the sermon. Tell your minister of music you really enjoyed the choir anthem this morning. Repeat to your youth pastor something positive your child has said about him or the youth group. Drop your pastor a note, e-mail, or social media message of support. Make a point of looking for ways – all year long – that you can offer “a word fitly spoken.”

3. Babysit
If your pastor and his wife have young children, offer to babysit so they can have a date night or go Christmas shopping for the kids. 

4. Gift cards
Perhaps along with the offer to babysit, you could give your pastor and his wife a gift card to a local restaurant. Gift cards to his favorite specialty store (outdoorsman stores, music stores, etc.), a Christian retailer, or one of his favorite online stores (or a more general site like Amazon if you’re not sure of his preferences) make great tokens of appreciation, too.

5. Honorary offerings
Is there a certain missionary or mission project that’s near and dear to your pastor’s heart? A crisis pregnancy center? A church plant he’d like to support? What about donating Gideon Bibles? Put out the word to the congregation, take up a special offering (or simply give as an individual), and make a donation in your pastor’s name.

6. Make sure his needs are met.
Your pastors shouldn’t be living like televangelists, but they shouldn’t be struggling to survive, either. Surprisingly, many people have unbiblical opinions about pastors’ salaries, from the notion that anyone in any kind of ministry should be doing it for free, to the downright evil concept of keeping the pastor near the poverty level to make sure he stays humble (yes, really). The Bible says pastors have a right to make their living from preaching the gospel, and that a workman is worthy of his hire. Check with your church’s finance and/or personnel committee. Is your pastor making an appropriate salary? Are his housing and insurance needs being met? Is he receiving adequate vacation and sick days? If not, see what you can do to help rectify the situation.

7. Conferences
There are lots of fantabulous Christian conferences out there that your pastor would probably love to attend, but it’s not in the church budget and he can’t afford it, personally. Find out his favorite or choose a great one (make sure you vet the speakers first to make sure they’re doctrinally sound), take up a special offering, and send him there, all expenses paid (conference admission and fees, travel, meals, lodging, and some extra “walking around money” for purchasing books, gifts, souvenirs, etc.).

8. Volunteer
One of the things that can be stressful for pastors is empty positions that need godly people to fill them. Volunteer to teach that Sunday School class, play the piano at the nursing home, help chaperone the youth trip, work in the nursery, get trained and run the sound board. Find out where you’re needed at your church and jump in and serve.

9. Help out around the house.
Pastors have those “fix it” needs around the house just like everybody else does. Are you good at repairing cars, fixing roofs, mowing grass, maintaining air conditioning units, cooking meals, or another special skill? Save your pastor some time, money, and effort by putting your experience to work for him at his home. 

10. Set the example of a healthy church member.
What could be more encouraging to a pastor than biblically healthy church members? Study your Bible. Be faithful in your church attendance. Pray for your pastor and the church. Serve where you’re needed. Don’t complain or criticize your pastor and others over petty matters. Avoid controversies and personality conflicts, and be a peacemaker. Walk in humility and selflessness, and give glory to God. Show appreciation for your pastors by setting a godly example for other church members and encouraging them to do the same. 

💥Bonus!  💥 Get on social media, e-mail, or the phone and share this article around so your pastors don’t have to!

What are some other good ways we can show appreciation for,
and encourage, our pastors?

Imperishable Beauty ~ Catch Up Week

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Normally, my studies are designed for individual, “take it at your own pace” use, but with the launch of our new Facebook Discussion GroupImperishable Beauty has become a bit more of a group study.

We’ve had several newcomers who started the study late, and everybody has busy schedules, which means a lot of us have fallen behind on the lessons. So, the ladies in the discussion group asked if I would build some “catch up weeks” into the study.

There is no new lesson today, so use this week to “ketchup” on any lessons you haven’t finished yet, review anything from previous lessons you’d like to give more attention to, work on those memory verses, or join the discussion group at the link above and chime in on some of the discussion questions.

If you’re already caught up on your lessons, here are a few “bonus” resources you might find helpful and interesting:

Genesis and Biblical Womanhood at Answers in Genesis

Biblical Womanhood Doesn’t Begin and End in Proverbs 31 by Jasmine Holmes

The Proverbs 31 Woman by John MacArthur

Vlogs, Volume 4

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In case you’ve missed them, here are my latest vlogs.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you might have already caught all but the first one, which is new. If you’d like to subscribe to my YouTube channel, you’ll find it here. Or click here to view older vlogs I’ve previously posted on the blog. Enjoy!

 

 

 

The Mailbag: Potpourri (A rabbi, Rosaria, and a boy mom walk into a blog…)

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Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question. I also like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar can be a helpful tool!


Do you have any recommendations for mothers raising Godly men? I became a believer after I was married and my husband is not a believer yet.

As a mom to five boys myself, the best advice I can offer you is this: If you want to raise godly men, be a godly woman. Model godliness for your boys. Study your Bible, and teach them to study their Bibles. Pray, and teach them to pray. Be faithful to your church, find a way to serve there, and teach them to do the same. Obey God’s Word, and teach them to be obedient. When you sin, use it as an opportunity to teach them about repentance and forgiveness. Ask God for wisdom, strength, guidance, and patience. Pray for your boys’ salvation. Submit to your husband. Pray for him and for his salvation.

Some other resources you may find helpful:

Your pastor – Set up an appointment with your pastor to get some counsel. This is part of his job in shepherding you. It would also be very helpful to find an older, doctrinally sound sister in Christ at your church (preferably one who has raised boys) and ask her to mentor/disciple you.

Imperishable Beauty: A Study of Biblical Womanhood – If you’d like to learn more about being a godly woman, join our current Bible study here on the blog.

Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson – Although I wouldn’t endorse everything from Dobson, I found this book to be helpful years ago when my sons were young. (I have an older edition of the book, so I can’t vouch for any revisions in this newer edition.)

Six Ways to Raise a Godly Man

Parenting Articles


Are you preaching to men here? Are you instructing them?

This has been my frustration with this whole issue. I read the Bible a lot and can see so very much deception here in the West but feel like I am not allowed to say anything to the males who are deceived. And there are many, many false teachers who are male.

I’m not preaching to men or instructing them in that article. As I stated in the conclusion:

…in the end, this article is not meant to be a castigation of pastors or other Christian men, but an impassioned plea from a church lady who wants to see her sisters make it out alive. Help us. Please.

But even if that article had been instructive to men, that’s not a violation of Scripture. What the Bible prohibits is women preaching to men, instructing men in the Bible, and holding authority over men in the gathered body of Believers – the church setting. A blog is not the church. I think these articles may help as you study through this issue:

Rock Your Role: Jill in the Pulpit
Rock Your Role FAQs
Are Female Bloggers Violating Scripture by “Teaching” Men?
The Mailbag: Is it OK for Christian men to read Christian women’s blogs?

The Bible also does not prohibit you from having a conversation with a male friend or relative to scripturally discourage him from following a false teacher or being a false teacher. (Obviously, you should use biblical wisdom about appearances and temptation when meeting with someone of the opposite sex, though.) That’s essentially what Priscilla and Aquila did when they corrected Apollos – they took him aside privately and explained the gospel more accurately to him.

I would just encourage you to think about your relationship with the man you’re considering talking to. Are you the best person for the job? Not because you’re a woman, but perhaps there’s someone he’s closer to or looks up to as a mentor whose correction might make more of an impact. What about you and your husband (if you’re married and he’s biblically able) approaching this man together as Priscilla and Aquila did? Just some things to consider.


Could you recommend your most trusted watchdog or heresy sites? I’m trying to find info on [a certain rabbi] as my mom has asked me to watch his teachings.

Well…if he’s a rabbi, he is – by definition – not a Christian, so you should not believe anything he says about God, Jesus, the Bible, church, theology, etc. If any Christian discernment sites have anything on him it will probably be Berean Research, Pirate Christian’s Blogs, or Fighting for the Faith. These are the sites I most often use for researching false teachers. I’ve listed a few other helpful discernment sites here (see #6).


In a recent article you said, “I’ve often cited the false teaching that prayer is a ‘two-way conversation’ (you talk to God and then He talks back to you).”

Are you saying that God never “talks” to us in reply to our prayers/talking to Him? Or are you saying that the idea of God talking to us as we talk to each other is wrong? (Thanks so much, in advance, for taking time to answer. I really think assuming things makes us vulnerable to misunderstanding…. May God bless you!)

May God bless you too, and thanks for your question.

The answer to both of your questions is “yes”. God does not “talk” to us, and the idea that He talks to us is biblically incorrect. God has already spoken to us, and even went so far as to have His words written down for us – it’s called the Bible. I’ve explained more about this in my article Basic Training: The Bible is Sufficient.


“You made a bunch of allegations in this article but didn’t back them up with any evidence.”

“You mentioned [a particular word, phrase, or concept] in your article. I don’t understand what that is. Can you please explain?”

Hyperlinks, y’all. They’re called hyperlinks. And you need to click on them to find the information you’re looking for.

If you’re reading one of my articles and you see a word in red that’s underlined when you hover over it (other sites might use other colors), clicking on it will take you to another article or resource that will provide you with more information. It’s a little bit like a footnote in a book.

If I stopped to explain every concept I thought people might not understand, gave the full details of every incident I allude to, or wrote out every Scripture that supports the point I’m making, my articles would be tediously long (even more so than usual!). Hyperlinks are a convenient way to provide you with the details, information, or Scriptures you need without adding unbearable length to the article.

All you have to do is click on them.


Our church recently did a book study on “The Gospel Comes with a House Key” by Rosaria Butterfield. The book’s theme is “radical hospitality”. She and her husband invite non-believing people into their home for meals etc. They place no boundaries on this, many are strangers to them.

Concerns my husband and I had were the lack of safety for their family, and the spiritual danger of being yoked together with unbelievers. When we expressed our concerns, no one else spoke up in agreement with us. We have no problem inviting non-believers into our home, we just want to have some idea of who they are. What is your opinion of this book?

I haven’t read the book, but I have listened to two or three interviews with Rosaria in which she talked about the book and the way she and her husband practice hospitality, so I’ve heard her explain how they open their home to those in their neighborhood whom they may not necessarily know. (For those who aren’t familiar with Rosaria – I do not follow her closely, but from what I know of her, and the people who endorse her, she is doctrinally sound.)

The Butterfields’ Method The Bible tells us to practice hospitality, but it doesn’t specify precisely how we are to do that. That’s because the Bible has to be applicable to all people across all cultures, contexts, and time. Hospitality will look different even between two families in the same church who are next-door neighbors.

You and your husband are not the Butterfields. You do not live in their town or neighborhood. Your family is different from theirs. And all of that is perfectly fine. God does not call or expect Christians to be carbon copies of each others. That means the way you practice hospitality may not look exactly like the way the Butterfields practice hospitality. And that’s perfectly fine, and biblical, too.

I don’t think the purpose of Rosaria’s book was to say, “This is the definition of hospitality and this is how every Christian has to practice it.”. I think the purpose was to explore the topic of hospitality and stress its importance. Her description of the specific way her family practices hospitality serves as an example of one way to practice it if that would be a fit for your family.

The Butterfields’ Safety I can understand why, in this day and age, you would be concerned about their safety and the security of their home. They have chosen to accept this risk and practice hospitality this way.

There are two “no-no’s” that go along with your concern and their decision. Your concern does not mean they have to change their decision (not saying you think that, but a surprising number of Christians do), and their decision does not get to dictate the way your family practices hospitality. That we practice hospitality is a biblical command. The way we practice hospitality is a matter of Christian liberty and wisdom for each individual family.

Yoking with Unbelievers The mere act of inviting unbelievers to your home for a meal or social event is not a violation of Scripture, especially when the end game is to share the gospel with them. This is the kind of hospitality Jesus practiced with unbelievers, except He didn’t have a home to invite them to. He went to their homes.

The only danger of yoking with unbelievers that could come with practicing this kind of hospitality is getting too intimate with unbelieving friends you’ve made and allowing them to pull you away from Christ and into disobedience. For Christians who are mature enough to stand firm in the faith and keep a wise amount of distance with unbelieving friends, the Butterfields’ method of hospitality should not present a problem in this respect. If your family is more spiritually vulnerable, it would probably be wise to consider other ways of practicing hospitality.

 

It’s wonderful that you’re considering ways to practice hospitality. I would suggest you and your husband pray for wisdom and guidance. Brainstorm some ways you could tweak what the Butterfields do so it’s a fit for your family, or come up with your own unique way of practicing hospitality.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

A Few Good Men, Again!: 10 Doctrinally Sound Male Teachers

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Sometimes we ladies fall for the mindset that if we’re going to pick up a Bible study book, read a blog, or listen to Bible teaching, it has to be from a female author or teacher. Not so! There are a lot of fantastic, doctrinally sound, male Bible teachers, pastors, and writers out there – far more males than females, actually – and you’ll really be missing out if you limit yourself to women teachers and writers.

In A Few Good Men, and A Few MORE Good Men, I recommended some of my favorite male pastors, writers, and podcasters. Here are ten more; and these lists are by no means exhaustive!

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Don’t take my (or anyone else’s) word for it that any ministry, podcast, book, or blog is biblical in its doctrine. You MUST do the work of comparing with Scripture everything you read and hear. If it doesn’t match up with God’s word (in context), chuck it.


1. A.W. Pink – “Biographer Iain Murray observes of Pink, ‘the widespread circulation of his writings after his death made him one of the most influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century.’ His writing sparked a revival of expository preaching and focused readers’ hearts on biblical living.”¹ Pink pastored churches in Britain, Australia, and across the United States. During that time (1922-1953), Pink published a monthly magazine, Studies in the Scriptures. Each edition contained several articles expositing Scripture. He also authored scads of pamphlets and books on a number of theological topics. Perhaps two of his best known books are The Attributes of God and The Sovereignty of God. You can read these and many others of Pink’s works online for free at CCEL and Chapel Library or buy a bound or Kindle copy at Amazon.  Facebook 

2. Tom Ascol – Tom has served as pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida for over thirty years and has taught theology courses at several seminaries. He is one of the founders, and current executive director of Founders Ministries, and a popular author, conference speaker, podcaster, journal contributor, and blogger. Check out Tom’s books Traditional Theology & the SBC and From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist Convention: What Hath Geneva to Do with Nashville?read one of his excellent articles, listen to his sermons, or subscribe to The Sword and the Trowel podcast, which Tom co-hosts with his associate pastor, Jared Longshore.  Facebook  Twitter

3. Allen Nelson – Better known as “Cuatro” to his friends (because he’s Allen Nelson IV), Allen pastors Perryville Second Baptist Church in Perryville, Arkansas. You can hear Allen’s heart for the life and health of the rural church on the podcast he hosts with fellow rural church pastor, Eddie Ragsdale, The Rural Church Podcast (also on iTunes), and you don’t have to be a pastor or member of a rural church to benefit from listening in. You might recall reading a review here on the blog of Allen’s recently published first book From Death to Life: How Salvation Works (ordering info. included). It’s a helpful treatment of the ordo salutis in plain English for plain Bible Belt “Christians,” a discouraging proportion of whom do not understand the biblical gospel. Allen is also contributing writer and roundtable member of the Things Above Us blog and podcast, and don’t forget to check out his sermons, too!  Facebook  Twitter

4. James White – An expert in apologetics, textual criticism, and theology, “James White is the director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, a Christian apologetics organization based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a professor, having taught Greek, Systematic Theology, and various topics in the field of apologetics. He has authored or contributed to more than twenty-four books…is an accomplished debater, having engaged in more than one-hundred sixty moderated, public debates around the world with leading proponents of Roman Catholicism, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Mormonism, as well as critics such as Bart Ehrman, John Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg, and John Shelby Spong. [Dr. White] is an elder of the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church.” Check out Dr. White’s many books and debates, his blog, and The Dividing Line webcast (also on iTunes).  Facebook  Twitter 

(A word of caution: Dr. White maintains a personal friendship and occasional ministerial partnership with Dr. Michael Brown, who, although doctrinally sound in many areas of his theology, has become a safe haven for the worst of the worst New Apostolic Reformation heretics. To my knowledge, Dr. White does not endorse this behavior of Dr. Brown, and certainly does not endorse NAR heresy. I strongly discourage you from following Dr. Brown.)

5. Tim Challies – Founder of one of the most widely read conservative Christian blogs on the web, Tim Challies has been writing on a variety of theological and “Christian Living” topics for over fifteen years. An avid book reviewer, Tim is also an author in his own right. Two fun features of Tim’s blog are his daily “A la Carte” column, a curation of articles and other resources from around the web, and Free Stuff Fridays, a weekly giveaway of books, conference tickets, software, music, and all kinds of other awesome Christian resources and materials. Catch Tim at a speaking engagement or on his YouTube channel, listen to his sermons, and take a look at his terrific products over at Visual Theology, and Tim’s publishing company, Cruciform Press.  Facebook  Twitter

6. Kevin DeYoung – Kevin is the senior pastor of Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina, serves as board chairman for The Gospel Coalition, and holds the position of assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. Kevin is the author of several books, including Crazy Busy and The Biggest Story, the story arc of redemption for children. Read Kevin’s articles at his blog, DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed, check out his books, tune in to his sermons and videos, or catch him at an upcoming conference like Faithful.  Facebook  Twitter

7. Darrell Harrison – “An expository Bible teacher with a passion for helping Christians understand what they believe and why they believe it,” Darrell’s love for God’s Word and God’s people is evident no matter which ministry “hat” he wears. Darrell is a faithful member of Rockdale Community Church in Conyers, Georgia, and is training to become an ACBC certified biblical counselor. But Darrell is probably best known for blogging and podcasting. At Just Thinking…For Myself, Darrell writes eloquently on a variety of theological topics and current events. “The Just Thinking podcast is an extension of the Just Thinking blog and is hosted weekly by Darrell Harrison and Virgil Walker. The mission of the podcast mirrors the mission of the blog: applying biblical truth to social, cultural, political, and theological issues in our world.”  Facebook  Twitter

8. Tom Buck – Tom’s no nonsense quips and keen insight into the current affairs of Southern Baptist life have made him something of a legend on Twitter, but Tom is first and foremost a pastor. “Tom has a strong passion for the local church and a desire to lead the church to be Word-centered in everything it does. He is committed to the expositional preaching and teaching of God’s Word” as senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lindale, Texas. Listen to Tom’s sermons online or on iTunes. You can read some of Tom’s compelling articles at The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel (which Tom contributed to), Delivered by Grace, and Reformation 21.  Facebook Twitter

9. Costi Hinn – Costi is “the Executive Pastor of Mission Bible Church in Orange County, CA. He is passionate about equipping Christians to live boldly for Jesus Christ. Due to his background and expertise, he educates people around the world on strategies for dealing with the prosperity gospel.” Though not one to capitalize on the family name, much of Costi’s background and expertise that uniquely qualify him to address the blight of the prosperity gospel and New Apostolic Reformation, stem from his personal experiences as nephew and ministry assistant of NAR faith healer Benny Hinn. I highly recommend Costi’s excellent book on the NAR, Defining Deception: Freeing the Church from the Mystical-Miracle Movement (co-authored with MBC’s pastor, Anthony Wood) as well as his Truth & Transformation video series with Justin Peters. Check out all of Costi’s sermons, videos, and podcast appearances, and be sure to subscribe to his blog at For the Gospel.  Facebook  Twitter

10. Jerry Bridges – Jerry Bridges spent most of his professional career in parachurch ministry, serving in a variety of positions and capacities with The Navigators. He is remembered for his clear and easy to grasp writing style which has endeared to the hearts of millions his books The Pursuit of Holiness, The Practice of Godliness, Trusting God, and over twenty others dealing with topics in theology and discipleship. Get a list (with links) of all of Jerry’s books, listen to his sermons, talks, and interviews here and here, and watch his videos on YouTube.  Twitter


Also check out:
A Few Good Men: 10 Doctrinally Sound Male Teachers
A Few MORE Good Men:10 Doctrinally Sound Male Teachers

Throwback Thursday ~ Hillsong’s Theology of Music and Worship

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Originally published October 25, 2016c3banner1_fftf

Does your church use Hillsong music? Do you buy their songs or listen to them on the radio? Ever really sat down and compared the words you’re singing or hearing to Scripture?

If not, this episode of Fighting for the Faith will be eye-opening. Listen in as Chris Rosebrough, Steve Kozar, and Amy Spreeman examine the lyrics of several popular Hillsong anthems for biblical theology. They’ll also give you a behind the scenes look at what goes into planning a Hillsong-esque worship set. And you’ll hear from Geoff Bullock, one of the “founding fathers” of Hillsong music, about why he left Hillsong and his regrets about the songs he wrote while there. Hear more of Geoff’s story here and below:

 

Click below to listen to this fascinating episode of Fighting for the Faith:

Heresy Hiding in Plain Sight

Imperishable Beauty: Lesson 4

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Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3

Read These Selected Scriptures

Questions to Consider

1. What is the overall theme of this selection of Scriptures?

2. Who created women? (Genesis 1:26, Psalm 139:13) What does it mean for a woman to be made in the imago dei or “image of God”? What are some of the attributes and characteristics of God that we reflect? What are some attitudes of our hearts and things we do that do not reflect the image of God well?

3. What is the significance of the words “us” and “our” in Genesis 1:26 with relationship to a) God’s nature and b) to the creation of mankind? Consider the nature and attributes of each member of the Trinity. How would people be different if we were created only in God the Father’s image? Only in the Son’s or Spirit’s image?

4. How does God characterize His creation of humans? (Genesis 1:31) How did the Holy Spirit inspire David to characterize the creation of humans? (Psalm 139:14-15) How do the Genesis 1 and Psalm 139 passages describe God’s intentionality and precision in creating people? Has God ever made a mistake in the way He created a person? How would you counsel a friend struggling with a congenital disability, anorexia or body dysmorphia, homosexuality (“I was born this way.”) or transgenderism (“I was born with the wrong genitalia.”) with the Genesis 1 and Psalm 139 passages?

5. Examine Psalm 100:3 and Romans 9:20-21, and explain God’s sovereign right to ownership of and rule over His Creation (people). How is our sin a rebellion against God’s right to rule over us?

6. Put Psalm 103:14 and 78:39 into your own words. What is the main idea of these verses? Does God’s understanding of, and compassion for, our human frailty excuse our sin? Why or why not? Explain how God’s awareness of our feebleness is woven into both the law and the gospel. (ex: Did God create laws that were too lofty or difficult for frail humans to obey? Can people save themselves by their own strength?)

7. Compare and contrast the “new creation” of being born again in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 4:24, 2:10) to the bodily creation of humans (Genesis 1:26-31, Psalm 139:13-16). How does the bodily creation point ahead to the spiritual creation? What purpose does God give us in each creation? What are some similarities and differences between the two creations?

8. Why is it an important component of the spiritual life of Christian women to understand that:

• God made us.

• Because God made us, He has a right to own and rule us.

• God made us with intentionality and for specific purposes.

• God made us to reflect His image.

• Our imperfections and issues with the way we were created are not God’s fault, but the result of sin.

How do these concepts help us understand that we were created at God’s good pleasure for His glory?


If you’d like to discuss this lesson with other women who are participating in the study, join our  Imperishable Beauty Bible Study Discussion Group on Facebook.


Homework

God is a Trinity: one God in three persons – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Since God is triune, and we are made in His image, does that mean we are also trichotomous beings (body, soul, and spirit)? Or are we dichotomous beings (body and soul/spirit)? Which Scriptures support your position? Is this a question we can definitively and unequivocally know the answer to while we’re on earth? Does it matter? If not, why would Christians study this question?


Suggested Memory Verse

Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Psalm 100:3

Favorite Finds ~ October 2, 2018

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Here are a few of my favorite recent online finds…

This is the first article I’ve read at Natasha Crain’s blog, so I’m not very familiar with her, but if 10 Signs the Christian Authors You’re Following are (Subtly) Teaching Unbiblical Ideas is indicative of her theology, she’s a keeper. Most of what Natasha writes is on parenting, but this is a helpful discernment article. “Be vigilant. Test everything. And hold fast to what is good and true.”

 

In my article Churchmanship 101: Training Your Child to Behave in Church, I suggest several ways you can teach small (and older) children to “take notes” in church. Recently, I came across these awesome sermon notes pages that incorporate some of those ideas. They are free to download and print out. Maybe your church would even like to make them available on Sundays! Sermon Notes for Younger Kids and Sermon Notes for Older Kids.

 

Before I became a stay at home mom, I was a professional in the field of Deaf Education. It really taught me to be more aware of barriers we can place in the way of someone with a disability. I thought these articles, 3 Barriers Keeping the Disabled from Church, and 10 Things You Should Know about Discipling People with Special Needs, were helpful reminders to be aware of the needs of our brothers and sisters in our church families and the ways we can be a help to them rather than a hindrance.

 

Here’s a great little app! “Looking for a simple way to pray for persecuted Christians in need around the world? Pray for the Persecuted Church will send you regular, specific prayer requests submitted by Christian leaders, field staff and partners living out their faith in the world’s most difficult places. This app allows you to quickly scroll through the prayer request from one screen and then click ‘I prayed’ to let persecuted Christians know that you’re standing with them in prayer.”

 

“’If the claimed revelation/vision is not taken as authoritative or infallible, but just meant for encouragement, then what harm is there in that?’ While it is true that most cautious continuationists (e.g. Wayne Grudem) would agree that the claims of prophecy today are not authoritative or infallible in the way biblical revelation is, there is still harm in having this type of practice in churches.” Check out Clint Archer’s excellent article over at The Cripplegate entitled Are claims of supernatural experience really that harmful?