Change of Plans: Finally Home

I originally was moving over to WordPress.com to host my blog, but the issue came when many of my posts would not display due to security restrictions they have (i.e. we can not post pictures from http://www.photobucket.com because they do not allow javascript). All that to say, I finally am hosting it myself. My new home is: www.totellyouthetruth.net.

Come on over and check it out. The site is not fully designed yet, but it works. If you read my site via an RSS reader, the new RSS feed is: http://feeds.feedburner.com/thetruth/DOWo

And if you would like to continue receiving email updates, please check out the site and submit your email in the form on the top right- that way, I’m not giving you spam🙂

Published in: on November 2, 2007 at 2:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Home!

This is my new home!  Everything has been copied from my old site to this new one.  The old site will be no longer existing within 2 -3 weeks.  Please update your list and change http://totellyouthetruth.chumpmonkey.com to https://totellyouthetruth.wordpress.com.

Published in: on October 24, 2007 at 2:59 pm  Comments (1)  

The Gospel: Such GOOD News!

What makes Christianity different than Islam? Buddhism? Judaism? Mormonism? Scientology? Aren’t all religions the same? Aren’t all religions different paths which lead to the same destination? Are Christians, like Scientologists, seeking to convert people from their current beliefs to a different belief? Are we merely looking to win an argument?

The overwhelming answer to all of these questions, “NO!” Christianity is different than any other religion, in that, while there are things for us to do (and not do), the calling of Christianity is not to the doing but to the Person Who has finished what we are to do. The Gospel penetrates further into our very being than mere intellectual arguments will ever reach. The Gospel is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

The Gospel says, “you are more completely depraved, wicked, and sinful than you ever dared imagine, yet you are holistically loved and accepted by God than you ever dared dream.” It is because of Jesus Who died in our place, in that, through faith in Him, we are holistically loved and accepted by the Father.

Yes, Christianity demands that we do (and not do) things. However, the doing is done in the Gospel by the Spirit which is the Father’s will for our lives. This means that our doing is the result of the Gospel dispensing its life-giving, life-transforming, life-reconciling power in our lives. Those in whom the Gospel has begun to work, will be changed and will demonstrate Gospel-Change via good works.

Jared Wilson points out that “The full Gospel is not Christ atoning for us and then us doing good works; the full Gospel is Christ atoning for us and then reconciling us with each other.” Jared goes on to explain:

This may sound like a distinction without a difference, but it really is different. It is the difference between seeing the Sermon on the Mount as merely “stuff to do” and seeing it as “stuff to be.” The Sermon on the Mount is good news not so far as it is giving us a new law, but in so far as it announces that under this new law the poor in spirit are blessed, the meek will inherit the earth, those who hunger for righteousness will be satisfied, etc.

This is why the Gospel is news, not advice.

(HT: Transforming Sermons – Milton Stanley)

This is what sets Christianity apart from every other religion.

Published in: on October 15, 2007 at 4:32 pm  Comments (1)  

The Gospel and Eschatology

As of today, I have read well over 100 extensive articles/books relating to Eschatology, also referred to as the doctrine of last things, doctrine of the last days, or doctrine of end times. I have read through the three main views from various and sundry writers regarding Pre-Millennialism, A-Millennialism, and Post-Millennialism. As best I could, I pushed aside my preconceived notions about each major position in order to truly understand each position. I have striven to be balanced, to be biblically based, and to uncover true arguments for each position and against each position. I have narrowed my criteria down to 5 elements (in no particular order except for number 1):

1) Biblical Exegesis
2) Arguments presented by each author
3) Pros of each position
4) Cons of each position
5) Arguments against the other positions

My aim is not to reveal my final conclusions, but to address how each author addressed their topic and the arguments used against the other positions.

Conservatively speaking, sixty percent of the arguments from many of the authors I have read were straw men. In other words, the arguments were based upon perceived notions of another position and knocking it down rather than addressing the real argument that position holds. For instance, one of the straw man arguments against A-Millennialism is “those who hold to the A-Mil position allegorize and do not take Scripture literally or seriously,” or some variation thereof. To be honest, this straw man argumentation makes me want to reject the position(s) of those who were setting up the straw man arguments, however, sadly, I found at least one proponent of each position who engaged in straw man attacks.

Much of the time, proponents of each position showed outright disregard for his opponents in the eschatological discussion, even to the point that, if I did not know they were true believers, you would think they were decrying heretics of the most evil and dubious sort. As defenders of the Gospel and not necessarily of our brand of eschatology, there must be more Grace-Filled discussion. Each position of eschatology is not denying the Second Advent of our Lord but merely has varying details of His return. Further, proponents of each position are striving to be biblically based and trying to allow Scripture speak for itself rather than adding concepts that are not there.

But not all positions can be correct at the same time, right?

One Pre-Mil proponent was surprisingly refreshing when his whole argument was based on what the A-Mil position truly believes and addressed the argument itself without bashing those who hold to the A-Mil position. This was most pleasing in that he demonstrated Gospel-Grace in the heat of arguing for his position.

One drum that was continually beat by the Pre-Mil proponents was that the A-Mil position did not believe in a literal 1000 year reign of Christ. From my reading, this is a straw man argument. The A-Mil position does in fact believe in a 1000 year reign of Christ. However, through a lengthy and highly nuanced study, they believe the 1000 years is symbolic, or better stated, more representative of “fullness of time” or the “complete time God intends”. They further believe the millennial reign is concurrent with the Church Age, inaugurated by Christ’s First Advent and will be consummated at His Second Coming- the “here and not yet”.

Conversely, the Pre-Mil position claims there will indeed be a 1000 year earthly reign of Christ. They base this position, in part, on the fact that 1000 is mentioned six times in six verses (Revelation 20:1-6). This leads us to the point that based on your view of Revelation 20:1-6 determines into which eschatological camp you fall. But more importantly, your lack of truly understanding the other positions determines the degree to which you will use straw man arguments which are no arguments at all. And this is where the defense of the Gospel takes precedence.

The Gospel demands that we esteem others better than ourselves. The Gospel demands we speak (write) with words that are seasoned with salt, meaning we use the choicest of words in order to preserve biblical and Gospel unity rather than demeaning our brothers because they differ in a secondary (read: the details of the Second Coming) issues. Let me clarify by saying, the Second Coming is a Primary issue, but the details are secondary, and I will leave it at that.

This should remind us that our unity is around the Gospel; not the details of our understanding of Eschatology.

Let it be known that Christ’s Second Coming is imminent. He will return just as He was received up into the clouds before His disciples. He will come to judge the righteous and wicked. Death will be defeated and all of His enemies will be under His feet. This is our hope! This is our joy! This is the Gospel!

Published in: on October 12, 2007 at 2:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Jesus Christ: Enterprise

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When George Adams lost his job at an Ohio tile factory last October, the most practical thing he did, he thinks, was go to a new church, even though he had to move his wife and four preteen boys to Conroe, a suburb of Houston, to do it. Conroe, you see, is not far from Lakewood, the home church of megapastor and best-selling author Joel Osteen.

Inspired by the preacher’s insistence that one of God’s top priorities is to shower blessings on Christians in this lifetime–and by the corollary assumption that one of the worst things a person can do is to expect anything less–Adams marched into Gullo Ford in Conroe looking for work.

“God has showed me that he doesn’t want me to be a run-of-the-mill person, … You can’t sell a $40,000-to-$50,000 car with menial thoughts” … “It’s a new day God has given me! I’m on my way to a six-figure income!” The sales commission will help with this month’s rent, but Adams hates renting. Once that six-figure income has been rolling in for a while, he will buy his dream house: “Twenty-five acres,” he says. “And three bedrooms. We’re going to have a schoolhouse (his children are home schooled). We want horses and ponies for the boys, so a horse barn. And a pond. And maybe some cattle.”

“I’m dreaming big–because all of heaven is dreaming big,” Adams continues. “Jesus died for our sins. That was the best gift God could give us,” he says. “But we have something else. Because I want to follow Jesus and do what he ordained, God wants to support us. It’s Joel Osteen’s ministry that told me. Why would an awesome and mighty God want anything less for his children?”

The writer of this article contrasts Adams’ view by explaining,

“In three of the Gospels, Jesus warns that each of his disciples may have to “deny himself” and even “take up his Cross.” In support of this alarming prediction, he forcefully contrasts the fleeting pleasures of today with the promise of eternity: “For what profit is it to a man,” he asks, “if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” It is one of the New Testament’s hardest teachings, yet generations of churchgoers have understood that being Christian, on some level, means being ready to sacrifice–money, autonomy or even their lives.

But for a growing number of Christians … the question is better restated, “Why not gain the whole world plus my soul?” For several decades, a philosophy has been percolating in the 10 million–strong Pentecostal wing of Christianity that seems to turn the Gospels’ passage on its head: certainly, it allows, Christians should keep one eye on heaven. But the new good news is that God doesn’t want us to wait. Known (or vilified) under a variety of names–Word of Faith, Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It, Prosperity Theology–its emphasis is on God’s promised generosity in this life and the ability of believers to claim it for themselves. In a nutshell, it suggests that a God who loves you does not want you to be broke. Its signature verse could be John 10: 10: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” … if you give your money to God, God will bless you with more money.

“Prosperity” first blazed to public attention as the driveshaft in the moneymaking machine that was 1980s televangelism and faded from mainstream view with the Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart scandals. But now, after some key modifications (which have inspired some to redub it Prosperity Lite), it has not only recovered but is booming. Of the four biggest megachurches in the country, three–Osteen’s Lakewood in Houston; T.D. Jakes’ Potter’s House in south Dallas; and Creflo Dollar’s World Changers near Atlanta–are Prosperity or Prosperity Lite pulpits (although Jakes’ ministry has many more facets). While they don’t exclusively teach that God’s riches want to be in believers’ wallets, it is a key part of their doctrine. And propelled by Osteen’s 4 million–selling book, Your Best Life Now, the belief has swept beyond its Pentecostal base into more buttoned-down evangelical churches, and even into congregations in the more liberal Mainline. It is taught in hundreds of non-Pentecostal Bible studies. One Pennsylvania Lutheran pastor even made it the basis for a sermon series for Lent, when Christians usually meditate on why Jesus was having His Worst Life Then. Says the Rev. Chappell Temple, a Methodist minister with the dubious distinction of pastoring Houston’s other Lakewood Church (Lakewood United Methodist), an hour north of Osteen’s: “Prosperity Lite is everywhere in Christian culture. Go into any Christian bookstore, and see what they’re offering.”

Read the full article here.

(more…)

Published in: on September 28, 2007 at 3:04 pm  Comments (1)  

Page of Links: Sermons and Blogs

I love anything about the Gospel, particularly sermons and blogs! I have finally updated my list of ever growing sermons and blogs lists and have placed them on one page.

I’m not finished updating, but if you don’t see something listed that could be listed, please let me know!!

Published in: on September 26, 2007 at 4:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Gospel-Centered Obedience

What does it mean to be truly obedient to God? My good friend and fellow blogger, Rob Wilkerson explains here. He begins, “If we try to obey God and be like Jesus without the…..” You’ll have to read the two short paragraphs to find out what he says.

Published in: on September 21, 2007 at 8:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Cooperation Does Not Mean Lack of Conviction

In his article, Cooperation Does Not Mean a Lack of Conviction, Wade Burleson shares,
“David Rogers responds to Malcolm (Yarnell’s) views by brilliantly showing why Christians should never divide over “secondary matters” or “disputable matters.” David’s hypothetical illustration of the “Common Loaf Denomination” is one of the most precise and understandable Biblical rationales for cooperating with other non-Baptist Christians on the mission field and in kingdom work you will ever read.”

He ends with this illustration:

You need to read the whole thing for context.

Published in: on September 20, 2007 at 11:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Two Must-Listen Gospel Sermons

There is no other Gospel. Period. Our right standing before God has nothing to do with what and how we do anything. When we add anything to the Gospel of Christ, we cease proclaiming the Gospel. We begin preaching another Gospel which is no gospel at all. The Gospel frees us to freedom; freedom to serve one another by bearing one another’s burdens which is the outworking of the Gospel’s transforming power in our lives.

May these two sermons encourage you in the Gospel and exhort you to love and good works.

Preacher: Charlie Boyd
Church: Southside Fellowship – Greenville, SC
Series: How the Gospel Changes Everything
Sermon: No Other Gospel
Passage: Galations 1:6-12
* Listen OnlineDownload Here

Preacher Brad Baugham
Church: Emmanuel Bible Church – Simpsonville, SC
Series: One Anothering
Sermon: Welcome One Another (Part Two): Christ, the Strong Brother
Passage: Romans 15
* Listen OnlineDownload Here

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Published in: on September 19, 2007 at 9:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Living in the Gospel in an age of self-help

There is a big difference between the philosophy of self-help and living in the Gospel. Compare the following:

In her sermon, The Battle of Attitudes, Pastor Taffi L. Dollar explains, “Your attitude is a determining factor in achieving success in life. Releasing your faith and staying in a state of expectation before God are the keys to seeing God move on your behalf. The greatest desire of the Father is for His children to be blessed. Part of being blessed is understanding the role you play in receiving that blessing. You must maintain a positive attitude.”

Mark Lauterbach of Gospel-Driven Life explains in his article Living in the Gospel in an Age of Self-Help,

Any accommodation of the Gospel to self-help is a denial of the Gospel. The Gospel is humbling because it treats us as helpless and no one likes that (What do you think I am, an invalid? I can handle it without your help.’) And when I tell people I am teaching them Christianity and all I am doing is putting Jesus name on some self-help schemes, I am preaching another Gospel.

So, what about all the practical? You do have to DO something, don’t you?

Well, yes, but there is a world of difference between dependent, humble application of the Gospel to life and self-sufficient, self-exalting self-help. If people leave my preaching confident in the rules and principles I have given them, I have preached a false Gospel. If they leave the room confident in the faithful grace and power of the Savior to work in them as they seek to obey — I have preached the Gospel.

May the Gospel dwell in us richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Published in: on September 17, 2007 at 3:10 pm  Leave a Comment