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Standing Against The Ecumenical Monoculture

Standing Against The Ecumenical Monoculture

Standing Against The Ecumenical Monoculture

Standing Against The Ecumenical Monoculture

God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines Of never failing skill He treasures up his bright designs, And works his sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints fresh courage take, The clouds ye so much dread Are big with mercy, and shall break In blessings on your head.

Judge not the LORD by feeble sense, But trust him for his grace; Behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast, Unfolding every hour; The bud may have a bitter taste, But sweet will be the flow’r.

Blind unbelief is sure to err, And scan his work in vain; GOD is his own interpreter, And he will make it plain.

--William Cowper

Monday, February 27, 2006


Church Growth and church Growth

Something that particularly disturbs me and causes much confusion within modern Christianity is the difference between Church growth and church growth. Church growth always results in church growth but church growth does not always mean Church growth. What am I talking about?

Organism vs. Organization

The problem is that we have institutionalized the body of Christ. It is the difference between the Organism and the Organization. The Church is a living organism; it is the body of Christ, the worldwide body of believers. The church is an institution, a localized organization existing within a given space, in its most fundamental form it is an earthly association existing within and around a building or location. Before continuing, it is important to note several distinctions between the Church and the church.
  • The Church is eternal and global while the church is temporary and localized. The Church is the global body of Christ and being such exists eternally. The church is a local entity and is temporary, there is one church in eternity, and that is the Church.
  • The local Church is different from the local church. The local Church is the body of believers within a given location, which may exist within many churches. The local church is an entity, where members of the local Church may congregate.
  • Church membership is active while church membership static. Membership within the Church denotes the bearing of fruit; it means taking initiative and action. There are no nominal members of the Church; everyone is active. Membership within the church is an association that can be inactive and does not necessarily denote the bearing of fruit. You can be a member of the church and have no real connection to it, other than your name being present on a list. There are active members in the church but sadly, activity does not necessarily determine membership.

Alive and Well

I hope that the following passages of Scripture on suffering and the body of Christ will exemplify what I mean by the Church. The Church is the body of Christ and it is a living Organism, it moves, it grows, it talks, and it suffers. That is exactly what Paul means when he says, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Colossians 1:24). He was not saying that the death of Christ was insufficient but that we are Christ’s body and the world must see Him suffer, through our suffering. That is the cry of Hebrews 13:12-13 “So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.” If you are persecuted ultimately Christ is persecuted and you are blessed enough to bear His reproach. That is why Christ asked “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”

The Method to This Madness

I am not trying to undermine the importance of membership in the local church. My point is this: the prominent evangelism model in evangelical Christianity is a “come and hear” model rather than a “go and tell model.” We focus so much of our time persuading individuals to come to our church that we neglect to confront them with what really maters, membership in the Church. I am privileged and blessed to have an awesome pastor who takes time to disciple me and expounds the Word of God every time he steps into the pulpit. There are also several other pastors whose churches, if you lived near them, I would beg you to attend. However, we must always set Church growth as a higher priority than church growth. With that in mind there are certainly churches that I would plead with you not to attend and in many places there may only be one church worth attending, if that. Our priority must not be inviting individuals to the church so that they can hear the Gospel; our priority as Christians must be going and telling the Gospel and, if necessary, encouraging individuals to come and hear our pastor. Honestly, if they truly are members of the Church then they will want to go to a church and hear God’s word. The Church is not an institution, it is not an organization, and it is not centered around a building; the Church is a living organism centered around the living God all the while bearing out the sufferings of Christ for the whole world to see.

Friday, February 24, 2006


The Reality of the Monoculture: Jude 1:3-4

“3Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

v.3 Jude desires to write about their common salvation but is unable; John MacArthur uses the illustration of when you start writing and then wad your letter up and throw it away repeatedly. That is what Jude is doing and what was intended to be an encouraging letter about their common salvation turns into a call to arms. He exhorts them to contend and agonize, to preserve the faith.

v.4 He cannot write about their common salvation because false teachers who, by an act of God’s sovereign choice, were destined for damnation have secretly began perverting God’s grace and denying His sovereign rule.

In the four passages that I have gone through under the heading, “The Reality of the Monoculture” it is important to notice the progression of events throughout these passages. Matthew 7:15-23 issues a warning to be on your guard against false teachers. II Timothy 4:3 warns of a coming time when sinful man will surround himself with false teachers. II Peter 2:1-3 again warns that just as false prophets arose in Israel that false teachers will arise among the church. Jude 1:3-4 no longer issues a warning of coming false teachers; but rather it issues a call to defend the faith that is under attack by false teachers.

Jude was the brother of Jesus so this letter was not written long after Christ’s resurrection and in that short time false teachers have perverted the Gospel to the point that salvation in no longer common. The situation is just as serious today; we live in a veritable cornucopia of heresy.

Catholicism teaches that individuals are saved based on their own merit. They also view the Pope as the supreme and universal master over the church. Universalism believes that every individual is saved through Christ regardless of his or her belief or acknowledgement of Him. Arminianism denies the lordship Christ by limiting Gods sovereignty. Open Theism denies God’s omniscience thus limiting His sovereignty. Still others believe you can loose your salvation or that you can be saved without acknowledging the lordship of Christ. Not to mention those who would add works, such as baptism, onto salvation. These things are not small matters; many of these are salvific issues. We should not ignore these issues for the sake of ecumenism and unity. Far too often Christians are unifying themselves with error for the sake of peace. We must stop being politically correct and start being intolerant of error in whatever way it may manifest itself. We must contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Dueling Book Reviews

My past three posts have been exposition on texts dealing with false teaching and since it appears that, no one is reading them I am going to mix things up with a book review. For those of you who did not notice while my past three posts had the same title they dealt with different passages of Scripture, I am sure everyone is scrolling down to read them now. In my reviews I simply write reviews; I try not to draw points out of books because you would be better off reading the book and hearing it from the author. I simply want to point out the strengths and weaknesses of books that I enjoyed reading.

Be Intolerant Because Some Things Are Just Stupid

I was walking by the church library and saw this book and new I would love it, while secretly wishing I had written a book with that title. The back cover says it all “Our generation is being destroyed by manic tolerance.” Written by Ryan Dobson, who enjoys surfing and skateboarding, means that the book is loaded with language geared toward reaching today’s youth culture. However, I think this is a great book for everyone for several reasons. First, it teaches simple apologetic arguments suitable for anyone to learn and use to defend the Faith. Second, it presents solid arguments that will be useful in examining your own worldview. Third, the author unashamedly and vividly confronts the most popular worldview today, relativism (manic tolerance). Fourth, the title is truthful and frank, which I very much enjoy. In short, the book is straightforward, easy to read, and an excellent tool for defending the Faith and standing against the ecumenical monoculture.

Nine Marks Of A Healthy Church (Booklet)

Like the first book review I ever did, this is only a booklet review. However, if someone would like to purchase the full-blown book I would love to read and review it for you. The best part about the book review is the book is available for free download, in PDF format, here (it can also be purchased via this link). Written by Mark Dever, of Capital Hill Baptist Church and IX Marks Ministries, it is sure to be a great read. Mark begins by stating that, “These are not the only attributes of a healthy church. . . . The nine attributes discussed here are marks that may set a church apart, that may distinguish a sound, healthy, biblical church from many of its more sickly sisters. The nine marks discussed here are found too rarely today, and are therefore in special need of being brought to our attention and cultivated in our churches.” The nine attributes laid forth within this booklet are indeed rare and a necessity for a healthy church. I would obviously recommend this book to pastors; however, a Biblical understanding of what attributes distinguish healthy congregation are vital not only to pastors but their congregations as well. I recommend this book to everyone; whether leading a church, looking for a church, or actively involved in a church. The end of each chapter features several “Questions for Reflection” that will surely be of benefit to everyone who reads this booklet.

The only area where I felt there was room for improvement was the final chapter on a “Biblical Understanding of Leadership.” Rather than lying forth, what a Biblical leadership structure looks like the author presents an argument distinguishing the Baptist and Presbyterian views of eldership. While I agree with his definition of Biblical eldership, the reader would be better served by defining a Biblical leadership structure that encompasses the major leadership roles described in Scripture.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


The Reality of the Monoculture: II Peter 2:1-3

“1But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

My previous two posts have been on the lengthy side so I am only going to highlight a few key points in this passage.

v.1 Peter assures the recipients of this letter that just as assuredly as false teachers emerged to deceive Israel false teachers would arise to deceive them as well. This remains a sure reality to this day; that false teachers will arise to deceive God’s people. By “secretly,” Peter is not talking about individuals who are covert but prominent teachers who covertly disguise damning lies as Truth. The Greek word (despoten) Master is the word from which we derive the English word “despot.” These false teachers deny, by both their teaching and their lifestyle, the absolute sovereign nature of God.

v.2 Many, who appear to be of God’s chosen people, will follow their evil desires and embrace false teaching. Because of these nominal Christians, the True Gospel is blasphemed. This is exactly what Paul describes in Romans 2:23-24 where the hypocrisy of the Jews led the Gentiles to blaspheme God.

v.3 Driven by covetousness false teachers will try to take advantage of you with their lies. After what seems to be a discouraging promise that false teachers will arise to deceive nominal Christians; Peter encourages us with God’s sovereignty. God, in an exercise of His sovereign choice (Romans 9), prepared these false teachers for destruction, a destruction that is not idle but is actively storing up wrath for the day when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed (Romans 2:5). False teachers do not exist outside of God’s control, they may reject His rule and His authority but He remains sovereign over them (Romans 9:14-23).

Friday, February 17, 2006


The Reality of the Monoculture: II Timothy 4:3-4

“3For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

Throughout First and Second Timothy false teachers and false teaching is a constantly reoccurring issue. Paul urged Timothy to Ephesus to command certain men not to teach false doctrines (I Timothy 1:3) men who desired to teach the law but lacked understanding (I Timothy 1:7). Paul warns Timothy of Hymenaeus and Alexander whom Paul handed over to Satan (I Timothy 1:19-20). Similar to the passage above Paul warns, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared” (I Timothy 4:1-2). False teachers know nothing (I Timothy 6:3-5). Paul exhorts, “O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called "knowledge," for by professing it some have swerved from the faith” (I Timothy 6:20-21). False teachings spread quickly like gangrene and cancer (II Timothy 2:17). Paul warns of Hymenaeus and Philetus who have abandoned the Truth (II Timothy 2:17-18). False teachers perform the will of Satan (II Timothy 2:26). Paul warns that in the last days false teachers will arise and oppose the truth (II Timothy 3:1-9). False teachers and teachings will only increase and become worse over time (II Timothy 3:13). This all builds into Paul’s final exhortation of Timothy and this passage records Paul’s final warning of false teachers and teachings.

v.3 Paul does not specifically say that these false teachers arose within the church, however, speaking of a coming time “when people will not endure” means that at one point they did endure sound teaching, which means Paul is speaking of apostate church members. These individuals represent the seed, which landed on the rocky places and sprang up quickly but eventually died (Matthew 13:1-23). Paul is warning Timothy of a coming time when people will not endure, or tolerate, sound teaching. Because of this, “they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” This bears a striking resemblance to Hosea 4:8-9 where the priests are like the people and they are all insatiably seeking sin. They are just like the Athenians who waste all of their time hearing and teaching new things (Acts 17:21). Men are surrounding themselves with, and surrounding, false teachers who teach new and increasingly sensual teachings that promote their sinful desires.

v.4 They have willingly abandoned the truth, which causes them to turn aside to lies. This is the exact same sequence of events spoken of in Romans 1:18-25. When you abandon the truth the only thing left to hold is a lie; that is what Paul is describing by their actively choosing to abandon truth and their passively being turned aside to lies.

Here are two very simple ways to easily recognize false teaching. First, if it is new then it is false, Paul commanded Timothy saying, “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (II timothy 2:2). There has and continues to be a long line of faithful men who have contended for the Truth and entrusted it to other faithful men. Second, if it suits man’s desires then it is false, man loves evil and not the Truth (John 3:19). Biblical teaching should stand in direct conflict with everything sinful man desires. False teaching is spreading like cancer throughout the modern church and nominal Christians are embracing these lies as Truth as they accumulate false teachers to promote their evil lusts. Those outside the church have never tolerated the Truth and the church itself is becoming increasingly intolerant of the Truth.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


The Reality of the Monoculture: Matthew 7:15-23

“15Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' 23And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

I really wanted to run quickly through these four passages and go directly to the present reality of the monoculture however I feel it will be more beneficial to take a detailed look at these four passages before looking at the current world situation (please read “A Biblical Response to the Ecumenical Monoculture” for more information).

v.15 Christ warns the multitude to be alert, on their guard, always looking for those who would falsely claim to speak for God. By sheep’s clothing Christ is not speaking of one who sneaks into the flock dressed as a sheep; He is speaking of a false shepherd. Shepherds often wore wool clothing made from their sheep’s wool. This is also consistent with His calling them false prophets; prophets were not mere members of the Church, they are leaders who spoke for God. Christ is warning the multitudes of being led astray by false leadership who would seek to destroy them as a ravenous wolves would tear a sheep, which strayed from the flock, to pieces.

v.16 We can know who the false teachers are; this is so important that in verse 20 He reminds/encourages the multitudes that they can know who the false teachers are. Proponents of ecumenism would quote Matthew 7:1 saying, “We cannot call others out as false prophets because we are forbidden to judge” this; however, is an incorrect interpretation, Matthew 7:1 only forbids hypocritical judgment. We can know who false teachers are and we will know them by their fruits, the practical effects of their teachings and doctrines.

v.17-18 The previous verse dealt specifically with the fruits of ones teachings and doctrines these verses deal more specifically with the tree, which is the teachings and doctrines themselves. In the same way that good trees produce good fruit and bad trees produce bad fruit; the teaching of sound doctrine produces lives that are lived according to Scripture. It is important to note the Christ is concerned with both the teaching and its result. Supporters of the seeker and emergent church movements justify teaching unbiblical doctrines because of the results of their ministry; however, the tree must be good if it is to yield good fruit. This is precisely why Paul tells Timothy, “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (I Timothy 4:16).

v.19 This verse is self-explanatory; the mark of a real Christian is good fruit and failure to produce fruit results in damnation.

v.21-23 This is a continuation of the thought in verse 19 and focuses on the result of false prophets and their own self-deception. Teaching, prophesying, and casting out demons in God’s name are not qualifiers to enter the kingdom of heaven. This reemphasizes the false prophets of verse 15 who outwardly appear to be true prophets. The one who enters the kingdom of heaven is the one who does God’s will. Those who promote ecumenism and use their own cleverness and ingenuity to build the church are in rebellion against God. God has set fourth in His Word specific methodologies and doctrines that must be followed if Christ is to build His church through what is taught (I Corinthians 3:7). Scripture alone must be the foundation for everything you do a foundation of anything else is outside of God’s will and subsequently false. Pastors, teachers, prophets, etcetera who’s methodologies and doctrines are not founded upon Scripture are false; regardless of what element of truth there may be in their teaching. The church must defend itself against these false shepherds, wherever they are found.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


The Presuppositionality of All Things Part 2

In my previous post, I established that God and His word must be the root source of everything we as Christians do. Even actions as mundane and commonplace as eating and drinking should be done to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31).

For quite some time I have been annoyed with the large amounts of reverends, bishops, priests, and Christians who still write our local newspaper and claim that Intelligent Design promotes a religious belief while evolution is a religiously autonomous truth. There are no religiously autonomous truths; its root source is either God and His Word or it is something else.

Evolution presupposes the scientific process as both preceding and validating all truth. This is a religious claim because it presupposes something other than God as ultimate. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36). All truth is from God; truth cannot exist apart from God. God created every truth. To presuppose something other than God as the root source for anything is idolatrous and evolution is just that.

Monday, February 06, 2006


The Presuppositionality of All Things Part 1

I promise that this post is far more useful than its title. I have spent the past several days reading Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey, which I hope to do a book review on soon, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts on recent happenings as I filter them through my thoughts from this book.

One of the points that she raises is, “If you press any set of ideas back far enough, eventually you reach some starting point. Something has to be taken as self-existent—the ultimate reality and source of everything else. There’s not reason for it to exist; it just ‘is.’” This self-existent ultimate reality is the presupposition from which everything else derives its meaning. Take evolution, for example; the presupposition of evolution is the scientific process; it both precedes and validates all truth.

As a Christians God is our presupposition for all things (Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 1:7, 9:10, 15:33, Romans 11:36); God simply is (Exodus 3:14). To illustrate this I want to look at Psalm 138:2.

“I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.”

God has exalted His Word and His Name above everything. This is seen through the fact that apart from the name of Christ no one can be saved (Acts 4:12) and apart from God’s Word no one can be saved (Romans 10:17). Some translations translate this verse as saying, “for you have exalted your Word above your name.” Which is also valid in that apart from the Word of God His name has no meaning; we can only know God through His word. God and His word should presuppose everything the Christian does; everything should flow out of and tested by God through His Word. In order to properly assess our motives and our actions we must determine their ultimate cause, which is either God and His Word or something else.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Ecumenism at Work

I just heard this story today and was so disgusted and appalled by the ludicrous actions of the Judge Edward Cashman, of Vermont, that I had to inform you of this story. Cashman sentenced Mark Huelett to 60 days in jail for molesting a girl for a period of four years beginning when she was six. I cannot even express how absurdly ludicrous this is. How can 60 days in prison be a proportionate punishment for four years of child molestation?

“During the sentencing, Cashman said the best way to ensure public safety was to get Hulett out of prison so he could receive sex offender treatment.” How in the world can letting a self-confessing child molester loose be in the best interest of public safety? This is most assuredly a result of postmodern thought and ecumenism.

For more information you can read the whole story here Vermont asks judge to rethink sex offender's 60-day sentence. Thankfully, the judge has been under extreme criticism after this ridiculous mockery of justice and last Thursday he increased the prison sentence to three to ten years. Even at that, this is absurd and should hardly be considered as justice. The story covering the sentence increase can be read here Judge, under fire, increases sentence for sex offender.