Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Today I "officially" resigned my credentials as a certified minister.
This has come as a huge shock to the many friends and family that have been praying for me and checking in with me from time-to-time to see how things were going. Considering your care, concern and prayers, I wanted to provide you with an explanation. I realize that some may disagree with the decision and many may not even understand and I'm okay with that. I thank God for you and your prayers!!
My intention is to simply explain the events of what transpired and led up to the resignation of my credentials.
Please understand that it is with great disappointment that I write this and truly wish that the events had not transpired.
It is a hard and grievous matter.
No matter how difficult, however, I am ill-content with allowing the matter to be ushered into the dark corner of concealment for the sake of it being a hard and grievous matter.
The public proclamation of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is a serious matter that is not to be trifled with. The lifting up the name of Jesus Christ to this lost and dying world in order that men might be saved should consume us, even to the point of taking Phinehas-like action when we see the opposite occuring, especially within our ranks. We should be mortified at any attempt to redirect the glory of our God, even if that means doing things that seem unseemly.
On March 31, 2010, I posted a link to a blog by a local pastor that was publicly published to the "world".
If you don't want to take the time to read the blog first, here is what transpired in a nutshell. It essentially stated that a new church plant within my denomination was cancelling church service (his words, not mine) and was going to have an Easter Egg Hunt in place of Sunday service. Readers were assured that there would be "no sermons attached" at this event.
Obviously, I felt that my peer was way off base in this matter in his public proclamation of non-proclamation of the Gospel.
I posted a link to his blog on my Facebook page and stated, "Nothing like dropping the importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ for an Easter Egg Hunt. Seriously?? Is this the direction that we're headed??".
Many posts from both sides ensued and I did ask to speak with the pastor of the church in person if he'd like, with no response. There were no personal attacks made on the "Please don't cancel church and please preach the Gospel at your event" side and a lively Facebook discussion ensued.
80-something Facebook posts later, I received a call from the District Superintendent telling me that I was to cease and desist from making any further comments about this matter on my Facebook.
I later found out that the local pastor was also called and told not to continue the conversation. After the "buzz" that was created and after I had resigned my credentials, he was also told that he needed to make sure to preach the Gospel at his event...which I have been told that he did. Mind you, I wasn't made aware of this information until two weeks had passed.
The fact that I was a credentialed minister and that this was an "official" call came up several times in our phone conversation. In fact, it was obvious that my credentials were being used as a leveraging tool to silence the trumpet that was being sounded, by me and others, on behalf of the Gospel and God's glory.
After I hung up the phone I began to pray...and prayed some more! Finally, I made a decidedly strong "is there not a cause?" decision to resign my credentials rather than remain silent about the matter.
On Monday, April 5, 2010, I received a very gracious call from the Dean of KSOM. He told me that he had received my resignation and we briefly spoke of the situation. He asked that I would pray about it for an additional week before making my final decision "final". As a matter of wisdom and respect, I obliged.
After much prayer and consideration, I called the Dean of KSOM back on the morning of Tuesday, April 13, 2010 to let him know that my unfortunate decision would stand.
A few hours later, the District Superintendent called me back to make sure that I knew that he had no hard feelings towards me and it wasn't a personal matter. I informed him that I felt the same way about him, but was greatly confused by the whole matter because the proclamation of the Gospel is a personal matter to me. I was greatly concerned that God was not glorified on Resurrection Sunday and that He was not glorified in the events that transpired leading up to that Sunday. Unfortunately, the conversation did not go smoothly and the, already brief, discussion ended.
Again, I know many have been praying and asking me how things have been going along my journey. Know that your prayers and concern have not been in vain! Although there may be things that I do not fully understand, please know that my joy is in Christ!! My hope is in Christ!! My life is in Christ!! By His grace, I will continue to live my life to proclaim the Gospel to the lost and fulfill what you and I were made for...His glory!
"Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
Monday, February 15, 2010
Is this true?
I find this a bit perplexing. Here's why. I do not believe that a man can have a relationship with God or tell others how to have a relationship with God without being doctrinally sound. It's seemingly axiomatic.
Let me explain...
First, let's define the word "doctrine" by Merriam-Webster:
- teaching, instruction
- a) something that is taught b) a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief
"A codification of beliefs or "a body of teachings" or "instructions", taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system."
Let's take the simplest definition of "teaching, instruction".
Imagine you, as a Christian, come across an unbeliever and want to explain to them how they can have a RELATIONSHIP with God.
During the course of the conversation you may talk about such things as:
- What is the Bible?
- What is God like?
- What is the Trinity?
- What is Creation?
- What is Man?
- What is Sin?
- Who is Christ?
- What is the Law?
- What is the Atonement?
- What is the Resurrection?
- What does it mean to become a Christian?
- What is Death?
- What is the Church?
- What will happens when Christ returns?
- What is the Final Judgment?
- What is Heaven?
Hopefully, you use the Law of the Lord (10 Commandments) to bring the knowledge of sin to help them see their sinful condition before God, coming judgment and punishment in Hell. That they need to repent and put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. That they will be born again and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
In the above paragraph, guess what I just used to explain to someone how to have a relationship with Christ? You guessed it...DOCTRINE!!
Unfortunately, in my travels, I have found that people don't know sound doctrine and, thus, can't clearly communicate to others how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In addition, because of their lack of doctrine, they can't even Biblically explain why they believe what they believe...even the fundamentals.
- 1 Timothy 1:3 - "As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer"
- 1 Timothy 1:10 - "for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine"
- 1 Timothy 4:16 - "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers."
- 1 Timothy 6:3 - "If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching,
- 2 Timothy 4:3 -"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."
- Titus 1:9 - "He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it."
- Titus 2:1 - "You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine."
"For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. for Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men."
If we do not have a solid handle on Biblical "teaching and instruction", how can we preach a Biblical Gospel so that men may be saved by God?
Let us hold fast to sound doctrine that will, in turn, nurture our relationship with Jesus Christ. On the flip side, let us nurture our relationship with Jesus Christ so that we will desire to hold fast to sound doctrine!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
I followed him past multiple customers and an abundance of shelves filled with thousands of Christian texts. We arrived in the "Theology" section that already had a customer perusing the available books.
The clerk pulled the book I was looking for off of the shelf, made a positive comment about Grudem and then handed me the book. He then asked if there was anything else he could help me find. Seeing an opportunity for humor, with a dead-serious facial expression, I responded, "Oh, yeah. I'm also looking for that one book by Joel Osteen. I think it's called, "My"...um, or "Your Best Life Now".
The man literally stared it me for a moment; it seemed like eternity. With the most sincere and serious face, he retorted, "We don't carry any of Osteen's materials, sir." Still attempting to not bust out in laughter, I responded, "Well, why not?"
He glanced down at the book he had just handed me and then our eyes met, "I think you know why, sir."
[Do YOU know why?]
I could contain myself no longer, especially considering his reaction. I busted out in laughter and let him off the hook. He smiled, I thanked him for his help and he went on his way. I paid for the items and left the store...smiling the whole way home.
Friday, February 05, 2010
The movie is rated PG-13. Most Christian teens would have never blinked an eye at wanting to see a PG-13 movie because they knew that there must have been some unwelcomed content that would give it the "13" rating. The times, however, "they are a changin'"...
Well, tonight the movie hit the theaters, so I knew that good ole' http://www.pluggedin.com/ would have the movie review up. Of course, I went and checked it out. Here are some excerpts:
"And they do eventually have sex, too. As they undress each other we see his bare chest and her bra and panties. The camera zooms in on their torsos after the rest of her clothes come off. (Shadows and arms cover her breasts.)"
"A small handful of s-words. "Fricking" stands in for the f-word. God's name is abused two or three times. Once it's coupled with "d‑‑n." Jesus' name is misused about that same number of times. Other language includes a few uses each of "a‑‑," "b‑‑ch" and "h‑‑‑."
While as parents we don't always get it right, media choices seem to be the easiest and most obvious pitfall... not to fall into.
Biblically speaking, the use of foul language and, especially blasphemy, should not be condoned by the Believer. I've heard this line of rhetoric...um, justification...from various teens (and others) on the content of movies with foul language and blasphemy:
"Well, the content of the movie is good and it has a meaningful storyline. Everyone in public talks that way anyhow. I hear those words in school all the time. It's no big deal."
That line of thinking greatly frightens me. Here's why...
There is a HUGE difference in overhearing the language in a public environment and making the choice to sit down for two hours and pay $8.50 and condoning the content. Even worse, coming out of the movie and saying that it was the best movie you've ever seen and recommending it to others.
How can we, as Christians, sit idly by while our Savior's name is used as a cussword on multiple occasions?! I can see some Believers not even flinch as they pop in another bite of popcorn and sip at the straw of their soda as "GD" rolls off the lips of an actor on the screen. And why? All in the name of being "entertained".
This should not be. Watch what should be the reaction in a short clip from the movie "Time Changers":
Here's a typical conversation:
"If, in fact, the content of this movie is not THAT bad, would you be willing to show this movie on a Wednesday night or Sunday morning in church?"
"Of course not!"
"Obviously, because they are cussing and saying 'GD'. You can't show that in church! Plus, they would not think about it the way that I think about it."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, they might think about it in a worldly manner and they might be affected by it. I would not. I'm mature enough to handle the content."
I'm sure you can see where this conversation is going. Maybe you've heard the same line of reasoning from other people, or even maybe you used this line of reasoning with yourself as a form of justification. You wanted to talk yourself into going to see a certain movie and needed your conscience to be muffled.
If the content is not okay to show to the Body on Wednesday or Sunday, then why is it okay for you (part of the Body) to see it any other day of the week? Why have you established a different standard for yourself?
For those that would attempt to sweep this under the rug of "conviction", I challenge you to test the offense of using the Lord's name in vain (blasphemy) and foul language against the Scriptures. After studying it out, you will clearly see this is not a conviction, but rather a command.
I pray that you pray about what you watch before you watch it. Furthermore, I pray that you do not give "Dear John" $8.50 of your money or two hours of your time. Instead, let us stand up and say as the man in the clip above said:
"Stop the movie! You must stop this movie! The man on the screen just blasphemed the Name of the Lord! There must be some mistake! You must stop this movie! This is an abomination!"
Monday, January 25, 2010
Please understand that my concern is not with the amount of Scriptures that are read in one sitting or if you are "timing your time" in prayer. My concern is if you are possibly living in unrepentant sin.
How many times do you have to give that Bible reading plan to someone? How many times do you have to ask your child if they've read the Bible today? How many times do you have to ask your Christian "accountability partner" if they have prayed today and hear, "Nope."?
While we should stand along side each other and help each other in every manner. Eventually, each Christian must stand on their own and have their own "personal" relationship with Jesus Christ. No longer can you read the Bible for them. No longer can you be the mediator between them and Jesus.
I have often pondered, "If a man has been born again, regenerated, is a new creation...has been given the will and the desire of God, then why would that same man fail to read the Bible and commune with God in prayer?"
Examining my own life, I have come to the conclusion that it is sin. Sin keeps us from the Bible and fellowship with God. In the reverse, the Bible and fellowship with God keeps us from the sin of prayerlessness and becoming "unplugged" from the power source of fellowship with God.
This is where Holy Ghost-empowered discipline comes into the picture. I think of the word "disciple" (follower of Christ) and immediately think of the word "discipline".
Do we have a "disciplined" time that we set aside at some point in the day for meditating on God's Word to follow Him? For chewing on His precepts? For sitting in awe of the Author's amazing story of amazing grace?
Do we take some time to rest in His presence? To fellowship with Him? To have a time of prayer where we are not always talking, but rather listening to what the Spirit of God is saying to us?
I think there are two simple reasons for answering "no" to the above questions.
1) You are not disciplining yourself to set aside the time. Remember, the Holy Spirit is a gentleman and will not "force" you to read the Bible or pray. He desires fellowship with you and will give you the strength you do not have within yourself! You must understand the balance between His empowerment and your willingness. Yeah, I know "the flesh is weak!"
2) Gulp! You simply aren't saved. The lost do not desire God, nor his Word, nor His fellowship. They do not "thirst for righteousness". In fact, they don't want to have anything to do with Him according to Romans 3:11. Please examine yourself according to 2 Corinthians 13:5.
"Clarification Time" - Your salvation does not rest upon what you "do" according to Ephesians 2:8-9, but doesn't it make sense that if you are saved you will desire His Word and fellowship with Him?
God is faithful and just to forgive you. If this is you, be encouraged, repent and start afresh today with your loving Savior!!
Friday, November 27, 2009
After hearing all of the rave reviews and accolades that everyone, especially some of my Christian family and friends, were giving to the new movie, "The Blind Side", I had to go. Some were touting this as the next "Facing the Giants" or "Fireproof" Christian movie of the season. Considering all of the encouragement I was getting to see it, I figured I couldn't go wrong. Our family piled into the car and we headed to the local movie theater.
We arrived in plenty of time to drop the $34 for admission and get good seats. I was ready to see this "extraordinary" movie that was based on a true story.
The movie began and shortly into the movie I knew it was going to be all about a Christian message when I saw an inscription above the school entrance that said, “With men, this is possible. With God, all things are possible." YES!
Unfortunately, it didn't last...
I cringed and felt spiritually vomited on by terms and conversation such as, "And she’s disappointed that a couple of college recruiters took Michael to "t-tty bars." When the family drops Michael off at college, she warns him that if he gets a girl pregnant, she’ll, "Come back to cut his penis off. " In addition, the crude term "tap" (in reference to sex) is thrown around a couple of times.
I was thinking to myself, "Did I actually pay to sit down and be bombarded by this?"
I tried to shake it off, but the "hits" just kept on coming.
My family and I sat and listened to "a‑‑" a half-dozen times and "b‑‑ch". "T‑t" was said a couple of times. God’s name was misused a handful of times as well.
While the story-line was great, I couldn't help but be disappointed and perplexed. Disappointed because this movie was touted as a "Christian" film to me (by Christians) and perplexed because I couldn't figure out why someone would recommend that I support this film with my time, money and willingly expose my family to the content.
My family left the theater very disappointed.
Like "Blind Side" some of the above story never happened. Many people did urge me to go see the movie and told me it was a great movie...despite the content. However, I never took my family to the theater to see the movie. We never paid $34 to see the movie. Most importantly, we didn't willingly get bombarded by the offensive content for 2 hours.
You see, before I get "Blind Sided" by any movie, I have learned to wait for the movie to hit the theaters and then go check out the Christian movie reviews found at http://www.pluggedin.com. This site doesn't say that you should or should not go see the movie, but it does reveal the content contained in the movie in an unbiased manner. If you are a Christian that is concerned about what you spiritually "consume", it can sure save you some money!
Furthermore, I've learned to take "advice" on what to see, even from Christians, with a grain of salt. I've had to learn this lesson the hard way in the past by paying for a movie only to have to get up and walk out in the middle of it because they have used my Savior's name as a cuss word (blasphemy).
Think I'm being too "stringent"? Are you even tempted to call me "legalistic"? Before you wear yourself out by jumping to any conclusions, ask yourself a couple of questions:
1) Would you buy a ticket for your Pastor and take him to see this movie, knowing the content? If not...why not?
2) Would you have "Movie Night" at your church and show this movie? (Again, knowing the content.) **-If you say, "Well, um, I would never show that at our church because of the language and blasphemy, but I don't have a problem seeing it at the theater because it was a "good" movie." My response, "Why not? "
3) Would you buy a ticket for the Holy Spirit and take Him to see this movie? If you went and saw the movie...you already did.
Are we compromising Biblical precedents and "searing our conscience" for the sake of being entertained? Think about it...
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Well, I wouldn't suppose to speak on behalf of the Lord, BUT...we do have the Bible which is the Word of the Lord!
This is something to definitely discuss, but most stay FAR from. This is a matter that is very pervasive in our culture, has seeped into Christianity and many people struggle with. It's important! And...it's a matter we can look into without dividing.
My initial comments would be to say that I don't think that one can come to a "black and white" conclusion on the matter. *ALTHOUGH*, I could pull the, "God's Word says it in black and white and that settles the matter!" card. I personally don't think that Christians should be running around getting tattoos, but that's just my personal conviction and I find myself hard-pressed to point to definitive Scripture(s) that will allow me to stand on solid ground while defending my (anti) stance.
Of course, there's always Leviticus 19:28:
"Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD."
Seems pretty clear to me! Case closed!! End of blog.
If we follow that standard we might be in a wee bit 'o trouble. Grab your Bible and let's look at some of the text above and below Leviticus 19:28:
"When you enter the land and plant any kind of fruit tree, regard its fruit as forbidden. For three years you are to consider it forbidden; it must not be eaten. In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to the LORD. But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit. In this way your harvest will be increased. I am the LORD your God. Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it. Do not practice divination or sorcery. Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard. Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD. Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness. Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the LORD."
Wait five years before eating fruit from a tree you planted? Failed that one! Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it? The prime rib's pushin' it! Hopefully we're not practicing divination or sorcery. Wait, did someone say, "rebellion" (1 Samuel 15:23)? I think we're all in trouble on cutting the hair at the sides of our head or clipping off the edges of our beard. You're REALLY in trouble if you're a woman...clipping your beard and all! I've not cut myself for the the dead, BUT I did get three tattoos in my "B.C." days. YIKES!! (Wait, did John just say he had three tattoos?!) No problem in the "making your daughter a prostitute" here. "Observing Sabbaths and having reverence for my sanctuary"? Most Christians don't blink an eye these days to work on their "Sabbath" (whole other blog on that one!!) and "reverence in the sanctuary"? Gimme strength!!
So do we just throw out the book of Leviticus and all of it's seemingly strange rules and regulations? Of course not!! This is God's Word people!
As I read Leviticus, I glean that it was given for two main reasons:
- To provide "right" and "healthy" living.
- To set God's people apart from others. People would easily be distinguished as belonging to Jehovah God if they did or did not do something.
In today's society, it's become part of the normal culture to get a tattoo. As Christians, we have to ask ourselves a question, "If the Bible does speak to the matter and it's clearly something that's never been part of Christian history (but rather Pagan and sometimes used as a form of branding and even punishment), should I join the 'world' in running out and getting one?"
Some questions to ask yourself:
*Why do I want to get a tattoo?
*Is this just a fad or phase that I'm going through? (Hey, you'll be stuck with that "Tramp Stamp" for life!)
*Does it bring glory to God or just make me look like I'm conforming to the pattern of the world?
*Have I prayed about this and asked for the Holy Spirit's leading?
With all this in mind, I love what Paul says in Romans 14:1: "Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters."
Is this a potential "disputable matter"? I think so. We would do well to hold to and give a Biblical position and perspective if someone asks us, but ultimately we move into dangerous waters if we begin to judge who is saved and who is not based upon the matter of getting "inked".
My final thoughts are from Paul, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
While holding to an "anti-tattoo" stance, judgment on salvation belongs to God alone. As Christians, be encouraged not conform to the pattern of this world. Instead, offer your body, not as a canvas for tattoo artists, but as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—let this be your spiritual act of worship.
I welcome your comments at John@Heuglin.net!