What would you say to Mark Sanford?

…. If you had the opportunity to witness to him?

Would you say, “Ah, he’s just a carnal Christian, I don’t need to witness to him” , or something like, “He is just a backslider, that is no reason to question his salvation”.

The article on Wikipedia related to Sanford states that the affair lasted over a year and his wife knew for around 5 months. Sanford was caught “in the act” so to speak, and in his press conference, he admitted that he was wrong for cheating on his wife.

This raises some interesting questions, many the same as I raised about Ted Haggard awhile back. Sanford was caught red handed in the act of cheating on his wife- do you think the affair would have continued if no one knew? Sanford also said that he knew it was wrong to cheat on his wife, yet he continued to do it. Why would someone willfully do something over and over if they believe that action to be wrong?

Mark Sanford

Mark Sanford

The affair was also definitely premeditated. What does that say about you if you plan out your sin, and have no problem with executing it? Sanford was definitely sorry about the affair, but was he sorry he sinned against his God and his wife, or just sorry he got caught? It sounds like he was sorry AFTER it came out in the media. That is not Christian repentance.

I am not Mark Sanford’s judge, and I cannot say where he will go when he dies, but I can tell you what the Bible says about situations like this. The scriptures tell us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Prov 23:7). It also tells us that you will know a person by their fruit  (Matthew 7:16). What I CAN say is that something is wrong. I am concerned. Christians should depart from sin, not plan it out and run to it.

I can also tell you that true repentance is reflected in our war with sin, our hatred of it. Christians still stumble, but thats the point, they STUMBLE, and what it looks like Sanford was doing was diving.

Would you even question Mark Sanford’s confession of faith? What would you say if you had the change to talk face to face with him?


Published in: on June 26, 2009 at 7:54 am  Comments (4)  

Do you know what decisional generation is?

In my last post, I included a video that highlighted a major problem with modern Christianity. In the video, a woman instructed children to “make a decision” to become a Christian and then led them through a prayer so that Jesus would be their best friend.  This is called “decisional regeneration” and is very popular… and very dangerous.

If a person decides that they want to become a Christian, most pastors will lead that person in a short prayer and then will pronouce them saved. I have heard pastors say things like, “everyone that asks Jesus into their heart will be saved”, but there-in lies the problem. Salvation is not yours to bestow on yourself.  The Bible clearly states that salvation belongs to God alone.  I think the problem is that WE like to be in control.  When the decision is OURS to make, why do we need to have faith in God?

When someone repents and puts their life in Jesus’ hands, trusting that what God promised, He is able to do– THAT is faith.  Remember that Jesus said that many would call Him Lord, Lord, but He will cast them into Hell on the day of judgement.  I believe that too many are trusting in the decsion they made instead of looking at their lives to see if they are bearing godly fruit.

The video embeded below is kinda long, 9 mins, but watch the first couple of minutes and see why simply making a decision to become a Christian does not save you.

No man comes to Jesus unless the Father draws him. (John 6:44)


Published in: on January 12, 2009 at 10:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Children are SOOO easy to get decisions from!

Whew! I have had a busy Christmas, and it has been awhile since I have posted. I think this post is perfect for opening up the new year.

Did you happen to read the article I wrote on Children and Salvation? Well, I was looking around the Wretched Radio site and found this video that is posted below.

Next I want to post on a critical issue that was brought up in this video that is called “Decisional Regeneration” and the implications of this popular theology.  I want you think about something before my next post, does salvation belong to God, or do men have the power to save themselves?


Published in: on January 3, 2009 at 12:18 am  Comments (1)  

Beth Moore- no wrath in witnessing

Beth Moore has a 2 minute audio ministry and on her Dec 9th spot, she talked about God’s wrath, and I applaud her for that topic.  I think that needs to be a regular subject in our pulpits.

What concerns me is that she does not think that our best approach to non-believers is to talk about God’s wrath, but his love. She tells us that God’s love is a huge draw and she justifies the “love only” approach with Romans 2:4, saying that God’s kindness leads us to repentance. This is a serious error in interpretation and we need to be clear on what scripture actually says.

Mrs Moore clearly interprets Romans 2:4 as, telling people about God’s kindness leads them to repentance, but that is not what the verse says. The verse tells us that the fact that we are able to repent is evidence that God is kind. If Paul was telling us to tell people only about God’s love, then he violated his own teaching in Acts 24:25 when he spoke of the need for righteousness and the judgment to come.

John the baptist said, “who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” And Jesus spoke often about the fires of Hell and commanded that people repent or perish. The Bible says that godly sorrow works repentance, not the knowledge that he is kind. James 4:9 tell us to “mourn and weep, letting our laughter be turned to sorrow and our joy to heaviness”.  How does telling people that God loves them produce sorrow and heaviness without a personal conviction of sin and its consequences?

Even the cross is evidence of God’s terrible wrath. Isaiah 53:10 said that it pleased God to CRUSH HIM. The fact is, that Christ centered witnessing needs God’s wrath to allow His love make sense.

“[Satan] stirs up daily, new sects, and last of all, which of all other I should never have foreseen or once suspected, he has raised up a sect as such as teach… that men should not be terrified by the Law, but gently exhorted by the preaching of the grace of Christ.” –Martin Luther


Rick Warren’s 60 day Jesus challenge

rickwarren2Rick Warren was on Hannity and Colmes last week (Dec 4th) where he was promoting his new book, The Purpose of Christmas. I think the interview was very interesting and disappointing.  I also think that understanding why this was a HORRIBLE gospel presentation can help us in presenting the gospel the correct way and give people a real reason to turn to Jesus this season.  Here’s the video, watch it and lets reason this out together.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Right off the bat, I see a problem. Salvation is mentioned, but what are people being saved from? They need to be saved from the wrath of God that is going to be poured out on those who do not know God. Pastor Warren does nothing to tell people WHY they need a savior. The cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. Most men will proclaim their own goodness. Pastor Warren basically says that we need a savior because God said so. That is extremely inadequate.

Secondly, just “unrapping” the gift is not enough. People are stuck on accepting Christ, but that is so lukewarm and trivial, it has none of the weight that the Bible attaches to salvation… dieing to yourself, picking up your cross daily, forsaking sin, total surrender of one’s self as a living sacrifice to God. There is no repentance in Pastor Warren’s message.  No brokenness.  When James said to weep and mourn over your sins, letting your laughter be sorrow and your joy to heaviness, I don’t think that was code for “accept Jesus into your heart”.

Pastor Warren was asked a specific question about what happens to people who do not “accept” Jesus. The answer was typical for someone who does not build a foundation on the Law of God. There was no judgment, no wrath, no Hell in Pastor Warren’s message (and no cross for that matter). How can a god who loves me be angry at me? Colmes did not seem to think he needed a savior.

And the last point, and the biggest gripe I have, is… TRY JESUS? What is He, a used car? A pair of jeans that you try on just see if they are a right fit for you?  Pastor Warren challenges people to put their trust in Jesus for 60 days like He is some life improvement infomercial. Jesus did not suffer and die so you could try Him out and see if He makes your life better. In fact, the only things promised for a Christian in this life are trials, tribulation, and persecution. Can we receive blessings like a better marriage, or emotional healing from our walk with Christ? Yes, but if you come to Christ because you want something, no matter how bad your situation, then you come with a wrong motive.  If you d0 not come to Christ because you are a guilty criminal in need of a savior, then God will not save you.

Jesus Christ is the sovereign God of the universe, and we are supposed to give Him a shot at being Lord of our lives? Like He is going to say, “oh goody, I get to be Lord today!” He IS Lord, whether you live in rebellion to that fact or not. The only thing Pastor Warren’s message will serve to do is water down Christianity and create false converts.


The Prodigal Son is not about backsliding

A Sunday School class I was helping out with went through the parable of the Prodigal Son but the interpretation that the teacher gave to the students troubled me and I would like to tell you what concerned me and why. I also found out that the interpretation that the teacher gave seems to be a pretty popular one.

I have been told that the first rule to interpreting scripture is that if you have a different understanding of the text than the original hears would have had, then your interpretation is wrong. This parable is a perfect example of how the meaning can get twisted based on the current culture and viewpoints of people today. So what is the view of today’s Christianity and how does it shape the meaning of the Prodigal Son?

Today’s Christianity says that you can be a child of God and “backslide” for a period of time, and not have to question the sincerity of your salvation. You can go off and live in a lifestyle of sin and say, “I backslid for a few years, but I was saved the whole time”. Ted Haggard was an example of this mindset, when he was exposed for having a homosexual affair with a prostitute and taking meth-amphetamines for three years and lying about it, many said, “Don’t question his salvation!” Even though it is likely that he would have continued in that lifestyle for as long as he could.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do not believe that anyone can “lose” their salvation by falling into sin, but when you knowingly live in a lifestyle of unrepentant sin, then you need to question your salvation. Ray Boltz, who says he is still a Christian after admitting he is living openly as a homosexual, is another example.

So, FINALLY, here is the interpretation the teacher gave- The father represents God and the two sons represent Christians. The one child ran away from God and live apart from him for awhile, but came running back to open arms. He was still a child of God but he had to realize that God knew what was best for him. And we need to realize that if we run from God, he is always there ready to take us back.

The Prodigal Son Returns

The Prodigal Son Returns

The first problem was, that Jesus was talking to a crowd of Jewish leaders. They were self righteous Jews who thought that just because they were born as children of Abraham, and were “faithful” Jews, they were children of God already. They would not have understood this “backsliding” concept. They would have believed that the rebellion of the second son was worthy of death.

The second was that the second son, the prodigal, HATED his father. Wanting his inheritance immediately was paramount to saying, “Dad, I wish you were dead so I could get what belongs to me now”. Does that sound like something a true Christian would say, or does that sound like a rebel who shakes their fist at God? The fact that Jesus called him a child does not mean that he was in a right relationship with the father. God created us, so in that sense, he is our father, but this parable shows us that it is not about our heritage, but about our relationship.

The fact that Jesus started the story off where he did tells us a lot too. Jesus did not start off by giving us a son who honored his father and fell away, he started the story off with a son that rebelled against his father.

The third problem I had was that the son went off to live in a lifestyle of open, unrepentant sin. Jesus told us that the son wasted his livelihood on prostitutes and riotous living. There is a saying that goes something like, “you cannot call yourself a Christian and live like the Devil”. If you live in a manner that betrays what you say you believe, then you are a hypocrite, a pretender, you are a false Christian.

One other thing to notice about this story is the first son, the “faithful” son. If you carefully read the story, you can tell that by his attitude, he was not in a right relationship with the father either.

This parable is not about what to do if you backslide, but about true repentance and God’s willingness to forgive.

If you want to dive deeper into this parable, I suggest John McArthur’s book, “A Tale of Two Sons“. The book goes through the culture of the time and the audience that would have heard this story for the first time. It also takes a look at the two parables leading up to the Prodigal Son.


He who continues in sin…

… is of the devil (1Jn 3:8).

Lets say that you went up to a stranger and asked him what was going on in his life, knowing nothing else about him, and his answer was something like this- “Well, I was caught having a homosexual affair on my wife… again. It would have continued if I had not been caught. I have been lying to everyone, trying to hide it so I would not get in trouble.” What would you say about that man? Do you think it is possible that he is right with God? What if he said to you, “Oh, I am a Christian”, would your attitude toward him change?

I have seen situations like this where people have said, “Oh he is still a Christian, he is just a backslider.” One such incident was concerning the Ted Haggard scandal. Bloggers were defending Pastor Haggard’s salvation while others were saying that it was not possible that he was a Christian at all.

This begs the question, at what point can we say that a person is really a false Christian? Some would say that we cannot make that judgment at all. Or are these people, who are living in a lifestyle of sin, just backsliders who need a little TLC? Do we need to dust them off and prop them back up in the pew, or should we witness to them as we would someone who never claimed to be Christian in the first place?

What if I told you that I am a Christian, but every two weeks I go out and rape a woman and then murder her because I am ashamed of my actions? Don’t all Christians still sin? This may be an extreme case, but I have had people try and justify their actions. Here is the answer I give them.

The answer is YES, Christians do still sin. I am sure I sin every single day, but understand that there is a distinction between falling into sin and diving into it. The unregenerate heart runs to sin. It drinks it like water, it is unrepentant. It is a slave to sin, it can’t help it. People with unregenerate hearts live in a lifestyle of sin, they may know that what they are doing is wrong, but it doesn’t stop them from fulfilling their lusts.

But the heart that has been crucified with Christ is made anew, with new thoughts and new desires. That heart HATES sin. Those people are marked by a thirst for holiness and repentance. They read God’s word, they reach out to the lost, they spend time in prayer and the look to grow in Christ and die more and more to themselves. They are broken by their sin, not empowered by it. If they sin, it is against their will. They FALL rather than DIVE.

The problem is, we are so quick to pronounce someone saved that we forget that true salvation shows itself in our actions not in our profession of faith. I know people who go to church on Sunday and raise their hands in praise to God and then sin to their hearts content until it is time to go back to church.

The apostle John wrote that if you say that you have a relationship with God, but you walk in darkness, then you are a liar and the truth is not in you. And for those of us who know people who are living in persistent sin, we need the courage to reach out to these people and let them know we are concerned for their salvation.


Published in: on November 10, 2008 at 8:50 am  Leave a Comment