A 2.5/3 for the Royal Wedding Sermon (and yet a…)

A 2.5/3 for the Royal Wedding Sermon (and yet a…)
A number of people I spoke with commented on how “good” the Royal Wedding Sermon was that was preached by Bishop Michael Curry of the Episcopal Church of the USA. If you haven’t seen it you can watch it here:

*This brief analysis is not being offered under the old proud preacher’s adage, “it was a good sermon but I could have preached it better.” It also recognises that where the Word of God is faithfully preached, even if it is not entertaining, we are called to listen remembering the story of Balaam, “if God can speak through an ass…,” he can speak through a faithful preacher, no matter how dull or unpolished, so we must listen.

First point. His rhetoric was great. That he managed to raise a few royal eyebrows and break the homiletic mould of traditional nominal Anglican formality and dryness in a way that captured people’s attention was due to his African-American preaching rhetoric (which I confess I have always appreciated). In terms of public speaking at least, it drew people’s attention and engaged.

Second point. He used lots of Biblical examples and metaphors. He referenced many passages of scripture and unashamedly mentioned God, Jesus, love, the Bible, etc.

My half-point. He used a tablet and appeared “cool.”

Yet despite scoring a 2.5/3, his sermon ultimately receives an F. For all that it has been applauded for we must be discerning and see how it failed, and as such gave a false representation of Jesus, the Gospel and Christianity to millions of viewers, most of whom don’t know Jesus (what a millstone!).

Here are just three examples that should disturb you:

  1. Curry presented the mainline liberal “Gospel” of social initiative or love (works!). You can listen to a likewise disturbing presentation of such things on his website. He is able to arrive at such conclusions by being vague and subjective in all his approaches to the Bible, Christian terms and truth.
  2. Curry does not know what the Gospel is. He says on his website, “If it’s not about love, it’s not about God.” Yet, he neither knows God nor love. He spoke of following Jesus example of love. He spoke of the power of redemptive sacrificial love and that if we loved we could redeem ourselves, others and the world. Yet God, the Gospel and true love are not rooted in such things, but rather “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10). God’s love is displayed in rescuing sinners through the Cross; faith in the Gospel redeems us not human works or actions.
  3. He also quoted 1 John 4:7b (“whoever loves has been born of God and knows God”) to suggest that if you love in any way you are God’s child in a specific sense (universalism!). John’s context, however, is one of speaking to Christians and of love being a fruit of faith and repentance.

Jesus spoke of false teachers being wolves dressed up in sheep’s clothing. Bishop Curry is a wolf. His ecclesial position, Christian-like language, positivity, worldly popularity are all a guise to spread untruths and heresy. That he did not share any robust Gospel truth should come as no surprise to the discerning viewer because he is leader of one of the most liberal sects in the United States. Curry’s Episcopal Church is under sanction by the worldwide Anglican communion for unorthodox views on marriage and sexuality, something of which he proudly acknowledges he is an advocate for.

If you’d like to read a more in depth article on the sermon I would recommend you click here.

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris



The Miracle of Christmas

The Virgin Birth is a fundamental belief of the Christian faith. Like the Resurrection, if it is true the Gospel is true and ought to be believed. If it is not true then Christians are to be pitied (1 Cor 15:19).

The Apostle’s Creed summarises the clear New Testament teaching on the Christmas story:

I believe in Jesus Christ, [God’s] only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

“Hail the incarnate deity,” the carol Hark the Herald Angels says; fancy words to say that Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, was born of a virgin and conceived by the Holy Spirit and so both fully God and fully man, yet without sin. The Bible says “he tabernacled” [pitched His tent] or dwelt among us (John 1:14) enfleshing Himself, taking on human form to become one of us (Phil 2), so as to live the perfect life, die the perfect death, rise from the dead and bodily ascend into heaven, all to become the Saviour of those who’d call upon Him in faith for the forgiveness of their sins. The Incarnation was God’s rescue plan.

Most dismiss Jesus as simply a good moral teacher and not God’s Son and a saviour. As only ¼ of Brits[1] believe in the Virgin Birth[2] here are three answers to common objections and also three reasons to seriously consider the incarnation, Common objections include

  1. It’s unnatural (or biologically impossible)
    1. Objection: Because the virgin birth cannot occur according to the laws of nature it is impossible.
    2. Response: This naturalistic view is blind for it discounts that as part of creation there is a spiritual reality and also that Creation is a closed system unable to be interacted with by the Creator who is sovereign to engage with His creation. In fact it is deistic and thinks such a God could not engage with a world and laws He made, rather than seeing God as the personally involved and the sustainer of His creation (see my sermon on miracles in our Jonah series here from October 8, 2017).
  2. The simplistic view (the NT is simply a primitive religion)
    1. Objection: Primitive religions may have believed such things but they were naïve.
    2. Response (from C.S. Lewis): “A moment’s thought shows this to be foolish, with the story of the virgin birth as a particularly striking example. When Joseph discovered that his fiancée was going to have a baby, he not unnaturally decided to repudiate her. Why? Because he knew just as well as any modern gynecologist that in the ordinary course of nature women do not have babies unless they have lain with men.
    3. “No doubt the modern gynecologist knows several things about birth and begetting which Joseph did not know. But those things do not concern the main point—that a virgin birth is contrary to the course of nature. And Joseph obviously knew that” (Miracles, New York, Macmillan Pub. Co. Inc., p. 48).
  3. A personal God, come on!
    1. Objection: What kind of God, if there is a God, would stoop so low as to be born in a manger and die on a cross?
    2. Response: A personal God and God of love (again see Phil 2). Consider the evidence of the New Testament, the most trustworthy ancient document in the world!

The Virgin Birth is theologically necessary for a number of reasons (not limited to):

  1. It shows salvation is of God and not of man.
  2. It produced the full deity and humanity of Christ, necessary for Him to sympathise with us, relate to us, be an example to us of the perfect man, and live the perfect life we could never live. His deity was necessary that God the Son might die to save us (again so salvation would be of God), so Jesus would be the perfect sacrifice to atone for sin.
  3. It fulfilled Bible prophecies like the one to Abraham (i.e. “seed” or “offspring,” Gen 12), etc.

The Virgin birth is a mystery but a mystery need not be incoherent or illogical, it simply means we cannot know everything about it, but that does not make belief in it unreasonable. If we trust that God has spoken to us through the Bible we must believe in the Virgin Birth. In fact, belief in the Virgin Birth is a sort of test of belief (of orthodoxy), yet not the only one. Ultimately, have you bowed your knee in awe to the God-man Jesus Christ, recognizing Him for who He is, accepting Him as Saviour and submitting to Him as Lord?

We showed the following video, a modern parable on the Incarnation, at one of our Christmas carol services. It helps impress the key points of this blog post:

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

[1] It is not simply modern atheists and liberals who don’t believe in the Virgin Birth, many people throughout history have denied it including the Greeks and the Gnostics.

[2] In 2008 it was 1/3 and I presume this has dipped since this time.

From Baptism and Back Again

hobbitThere and back again is the subtitle to the children’s book The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (1937). It is the journey of a small hobbit named Biblo who travels from Hobbiton in the Shire to the Lonely Mountain on the other side of Middle Earth to help a host of dwarves recapture their treasure from a dragon.  I cannot tell you more than that in case you’ve never read it, but he makes it there and back again in the end.

There is another epic story that could bear a similar name, though we’d have to call it something like From Baptism and Back Again: A True Story of Biblical Baptism. It is a story of the loss and then the subsequent rediscovering of the practice Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19–20.

I am utterly convinced, as a man swayed by credible evidence, that what is often called believer’s baptism by immersion or credobaptism (clarifying the only proper subject, mode and imagery) is the only type of baptism and that all of the extra-Biblical evidence (first century history, early Jewish practices, the meaning of the word baptizo, biblical context and theology, archaeology, and early Christian history, liturgy and literature) is conclusive to this end.[1]

Allow me to recount how Christianity went away from true baptism and developed other human practices and traditions (wrongly called baptism) and then came back again through the rediscovery of credobaptism during the Reformation.

Essentially the story goes like this…

Early Christians (think Acts and beyond) clearly practiced credobaptism exclusively. However, as Christianity grew in numbers and acceptability (along with a growing fear for the souls of infants), many began to push to expand the envelop of who could be baptized. This process was accelerated with the legalisation of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire in c.312 AD and the beginning of Christendom (when Christianity became the official state religion in Europe). Hereafter these recent unbiblical developments increased at an unprecedented rate. Corresponding to the legalisation of Christianity came rampant nominalism (something those in this period of the Church lamented). If society had become Christian how could all be identified as such within society and find inclusion in it? The answer: baptize every individual, whether adult or child, believer or unbeliever. Baptism would be one’s passport in Christendom (btw- which is why groups like Anabaptists and Baptists were viewed with such suspicion by the state in the Reformation, they were rejecting their passports!). The origin of infant or paedo-baptism as a new phenomenon is well documented by Tertullian (150–225).[2] He provides the first literary evidence for the practice, not because he embraced it but because he opposed its introduction into the church and the rampant nominalism it helped to breed. Listen to what he said[3]:


Sadly, however, the tide of nominalism was against people like Tertullian until paedo-baptism became embraced by the Church almost universally. Though Biblical baptism was still practiced at various points, unbiblical forms of baptism remained the norm until the Reformation began in the 1500s and groups like the Anabaptists and Baptists began to reject all other forms of baptism but the historic and Biblical form as unscriptural, nominal and “popish.”

One of the earliest Baptist confessions of faith, the First London Baptist Confession of 1644, states:

No. 39

That Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, given by Christ, to be dispensed only upon persons professing faith, or that are Disciples, or taught, who upon a profession of faith, ought to be baptized. (Acts 2:37, 38; 8:36-38; 18:8).

No. 40

The way and manner of the(1) dispensing of this ordinance the Scripture holds out to be dipping or plunging the whole body under water: it being a sign, must answer the thing signified, which are these: first, the(2) washing the whole soul in the blood of Christ; secondly, that interest the saints have in(3) death, burial, and resurrection (of Christ) ; thirdly, together with a(4) confirmation of out faith, that as certainly as the body is buried under water, and rises again, so certainly shall the bodies of the saints by raised by the power of Christ, in the day of the resurrection, to reign with Christ.

1) Mat. 3:16; John 3:23; Acts 8:38 2) Rev. 1:5; 7:14; Heb. 10:22 3) Rom. 6:3-5 4) 1 Cor. 15:28, 29

These believers were violently persecuted at first by other nominal and authentic Christians alike. Since the Reformation credobaptists have come to represent the largest bodies of Protestants in the world: Baptists, Pentecostals, Community Churches, Free Evangelicals, etc. Ironically, many anti-credobaptists still will practice credobaptism with adult converts (my local Anglican church once asked to use our space at the Baptist church for this very purpose).

Thus, though baptism has endured great trials, it has journeyed away from its Biblical origin and then back again so that—thankfully—credobaptism stands once more as a beautiful sign of the Gospel.

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris


[1] While convinced, I count other brothers and sisters in Christ who differ on this important secondary point (so long as they do not believe baptism has any saving value) as full heirs in the Gospel, however, as disobedient to Jesus’ command in this regard. While not primary this important secondary matter has many consequences when overlooked or neglected.

[2] Tertullian was an elder in the church in Carthage (North Africa). He was a prolific writer in early Christianity and an apologist for the faith.

[3] The quote is taken from Everett Ferguson, Baptism in the Early Church: History, Theology, and Liturgy in the First Five Centuries. (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2009), 364.

Isaiah 66:2b in Review

“This is the one to whom I will look,’ declares the LORD, ‘he who is humble and contrite in spirit and who trembles at my word.”

2016 at the chapel was a delight for me. I thoroughly enjoyed our initiative under our theme verse of reading the Bible through chronologically while at the same time preaching through the grand story of salvation. We were able to preach on many familiar and unfamiliar passages and no doubt discover in our readings things we had never noticed before, even if we had read the whole Bible many times. I was very encouraged by the majority of our folks who took up this challenge (which was made easier than “going it alone” because of our constant group emphasis). A special congratulation to those for who this challenge marked the first time you read the whole Bible. I was also very encouraged by the other Christians outside the chapel who followed along with us. Now, whether you’ve completed this challenge or sense the need to get into God’s word more than you have in the past, don’t STOP reading. Rebekah and I will be doing the McCheyne reading plan in 2017 but there are others great and small. Please speak with me if you’d like any ideas. We will only find God’s favour as individuals and a chapel fellowship when we “tremble at God’s word.”

This involves a continual diet of heavenly nourishment:

“Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.’ Then I ate, and it was in my mouth sweet as honey.” (Jer 3:3)

When we eat spiritually healthy food we will be healthy and grow. So take your fill! As you feed on God’s word you “taste and see that the Lord is good” as “sweet as honey.”

Continually being in God’s word is not only important for your personal health but also to be discerning in this “wicked and twisted generation” to discern the true way of God from the false way of this world:

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Col 2:8)

How will we be able to discern the truth if we are not continually sharpening ourselves with Christ’s truth and a constant relationship with Him fed by His word?

May you continue to abide in His word and as you do so may you discover the riches that it is to know Christ, and grow in Him.

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings

Pastor Chris

No Surprise

It is no real surprise that those churches that believe the Bible is true tend to grow, whereas generally those that don’t are in a state of decline.

Such is a recent finding from a study conducted in my home province from Canada posted in this country through UK Christian Concern (sign up for their helpful newsletters and prayer list too). It is short and well worth a read.

The Bible itself urges us to not wander from the truth revealed to us by God in the Bible:

Jude 3b: “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”

2 John 1:9–10: “everyone who goes ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God.”

Eph 4:14: do not be “carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”

Prov 3:5–6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.”

C.H. Spurgeon said that, “the coals of orthodoxy [correct belief] are necessary to fan the flames or revival [kingdom growth].”

This is especially important at Christmas. Thankfully at Cromhall Chapel when we talk about:

  • Prophecies fulfilled in Christ foretold in ages past,
  • Angels and choirs of heaven,
  • Dreams,
  • A young teenager becoming pregnant through the Holy Spirit (the Virgin Birth),
  • God becoming man in the person of Jesus (the Incarnation),
  • And that He came to save us from our sins (SIN is real), and
  • That by believing who Jesus is and why He died you will be transformed into a new person and given eternal life [the ultimate personal testimony to the truth of the Bible’s message, the Gospel]…

we actually believe what the Bible says!

Happy Christmas—IT IS ALL TRUE!

Pastor Chris

Unfeeling like fat

In a recent reading in our Bible plan we came across a verse that may have made you chuckle but when you examine it more closely speaks great truth. Psalm 119:70 says,

Their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law.

“Their heart” is referring to the inner disposition of the wicked toward the LORD. Such people are “unfeeling like fat.” Fat by definition is “the naturally oily substance found in animal bodies.” It often protects vital organs and is also used to store unneeded energy for future occasions. If you have ever carved some meat or performed minor surgery you’ll sense the reality behind the saying “unfeeling like fat.” Fat jiggles but that is about it. There are no nerves in fat as there are in other bodily tissues and so fat is without ability to feel. It simply is. Fat is a picture of the heart without God, it is selfish and dead, without any positive spiritual inclination towards God. It is descriptive of every human without a personal knowledge of the LORD and it is a state that cannot be altered unless God graciously intervenes.

BUT! Enter one of the big buts of the Bible, “but I delight in your law.” The verse follows a similar pattern to Eph 2:1-9. Verses 1-3 recall being “unfeeling like fat” and verses 4-9 the gift of grace and faith that enables the dead to be brought to life through Christ so as to “delight in your law.”

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Once the Lord has worked grace in your heart we are enabled to feel, and what we feel is a delight towards the Lord, His word and His ways. One immediately sees the stark contrast between their old life and their new life. Deadness is replaced with life, pride with humility, ugliness with beauty, unfeelingness with delight.

Fat is uncomfortable and the unfeeling hearts of those I know who have not come to know Jesus grieves my heart. They are so cold to the things of the Lord, things that are beautiful, things that give life, things that cause me great personal delight. Chief among the means of grace the Lord has given to the Church is His word. It is a despised piece of dead literature (or at the very best simply a noteworthy piece of human literature to be examined) to those who are as unfeeling as fat, but to those who have been given the gift of faith, the Bible becomes the living word (Heb 4:12). By itself it is just a book but because the Spirit inspired its words He enables those who approach it with fear (Isa 66:2b) and prayer to meet God, know Him, be known, and guided in the way of righteousness. Because the Bible is the word of God, in ever growing degrees, Christians should feel an ardent attachment for all that it contains and represents. We should relish the opportunity to read from it, study it, and hear it proclaimed. It should be to us spiritually what bread is to us physically.

Just the other day as I sat down to read the Bible, and before I had even opened it, the Lord flooded my heart with a passionate delight for His law. I am eternally grateful that the Lord has inclined my heart towards His law, to delight in Him, and that He uses that to shape me to be more like Christ. That degree by degree I am not what I once was but more and more am what I should be.

May you come to delight in the law, and if that is a struggle for you I pray that the Holy Spirit would open your eyes, that you may behold the wondrous things out of His law. (Ps 119:18).

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

An Interesting Question from 1 Sam 14:18

I had a very interesting question this past week from a recent reading from 1 Samuel 14:18.

The question arose from someone noticing that this verse reads completely different depending upon the translation that one used (compare major English translations here). For instance, compare the New Living Translation with the English Standard Version:

The NLT reads:

Then Saul shouted to Ahijah, “Bring the ephod here!” For at that time Ahijah was wearing the ephod in front of the Israelites.

Whereas the ESV reads:

So Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God here.” For the ark of God went at that time with the people of Israel.

Why does one mentioned the Ephod and the other the Ark?

The reason appears to be a textual variant in the original manuscripts between the Masoretic Text on the one hand and the Septuagint on the other. The translations that follow the MT use “Ark,” whereas those that follow the SEPT use “Ephod.”   It is also evident that the majority of leading versions of older and current translations follow the MT of “bring the ark.” What is going on here?   If you examine Ex 25:22 and Num 7:89 along with Jud 20:27 you will find a similar occurrence where the LORD is enquired of before the Ark. And yet the Urim and Thummim (cf. Ex 28:30 for one instance) were also regularly used to inquire of the LORD. No one knows exactly how these worked but they were associated with the elaborate garment worn by the High Priest known as the Ephod.

I would suggest that as they wore the Ephod when inquiring before the Lord, and this was often done before the Ark, the two became synonymous in meaning. When the MT and SEPT appear to disagree really it is simply like two different accident reports of the same accident, both correct but each stressing one aspect.   As such the Contemporary English Version (a current thought for thought translation) captures the essence of what the verse is trying to say:   At that time, Ahijah was serving as priest for the army of Israel, and Saul told him, “Come over here! Let’s ask God what we should do.”

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

See also Biblegateway.com if you are interested in comparing various English translations.

Mary Jones Training Walk

Mary Jones Walk

On Saturday eight of us walked 13.2 miles in preparation for our coming chapel Mary Jones Mary Jones“pilgrimage” in Wales on April 1. As we live in South Gloucestershire (William Tyndale country) we took the opportunity to use two locations as natural bookends. We began at St. Adeline’s Church where Tyndale pastored from 1521-23 and closed our walk at the Tyndale monument which stands above the community in which he was born in 1494. The monument also commemorates his martyrdom on October 6, 1536, outside Brussels where he was burned alive so that the English plough boy might find salvation through the Word of God.

IMG_2827 (1)

Over the course of our walk we reflected upon these words from Psalm 19:

[7] The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
[8] the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
[9] the fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
[10] More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
[11] Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

Verse 10 helpfully captures how Tyndale and Mary Jones valued God’s word. They were both willing to go to great lengths to obtain something beyond value. Our physical perseverance helped focus our attention on that lesson.

Once at the monument we concluded with a short, albeit windy, service. We read Matthew 7:24-29 from Tyndale’s 1526 New Testament and concluded with this prayer:

Give to your people, O God, grace to hear and keep your word, that, after the example of your servant, William Tyndale, we may not only profess your gospel, but also be ready to suffer and die for it, to the honour of your name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN!


We had some other chapel folk join us for the end.

On our coming Mary Jones walk we will be reflecting upon Psalm 119.

Why is the Apocrypha not part of the Bible?

As we began our 2016 focus on the Bible this year, twice already, I have emphasized that we believe, or said that the Bible only consists of, 66 books.

Our FIEC statement of faith says: God has revealed himself in the Bible, which consists of the Old and New Testaments alone.

An older chapel confession of faith emphasised this same fact more explicitly. The Westminster Confession, Chapter 1.2 titled “The Holy Scriptures” states:

Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the Books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these:

[after naming the 66 books that make up the Old and New Testaments it ends by saying]

All which are given by inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.

Chapter1. 3 goes on to say:

 The Books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.

The apocrypha are books that appeared in history between the Old and New Testament. Discerning whether they are part of the canon of the Bible (that which the Church sees as from God and therefore beneficial and authoritative for His Church) is an important issue. For example the matter of purgatory can only be held by Roman Catholics because they appeal to one verse from the Apocrypha. Catholics endorsed the Apocrypha as canonical at the Council of Trent in 1546.

Evangelicals, however, while acknowledging the historical and literary values of these books (1 & 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Additions to Esther, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah, Song of the Three Holy Children, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, the Prayer of Manasseh, and 1 & 2 Maccabees), have rejected them as canonical for the following basic reasons:

  1. They were never quoted by Jesus or the Apostles;
  2. Most of the Church Fathers regarded them as uninspired;
  3. They were not part of the Ancient Hebrew canon; and
  4. The inferior quality of most of the writings compared with the canonical books, mark them as unworthy of a place in Scripture.

What is canon becomes very important when we ask, what is truth?, in our post-modern age. Is it to be found in the Bible, the apocrypha, gnostic Gospels, other holy books, books of human wisdom, all of the above?

Where does the Lord want us to look for truth and where can we confidently know where to turn to be instructed in how to know Him and walk in His ways. The 66 books of the Bible, that is where, no more and no less.

If issues of why we believe the Bible are of importance you may want to click here for an additional resource.

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

Don’t fall for the oldest lie in the book, rather believe the book!

It absolutely continues to befuzzle me (yes, that is a word) when I meet someone who claims to believe the Bible to be the Word of God and then states or does something that contradicts something that the Bible clearly says.

Just the other day in a conference I was present for Malachi 2 was the reading. I thought, “this is great, I love Malachi!” Then we read those challenging words from 2:8 to the priests, “But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the LORD of hosts.” These are challenging verses for pastors, who are not priests but do serve in a similar teaching role. All the conference leaders (and participants) were impressed by the reading, giving it a hearty “Amen” and delivering the façade that God’s Word was to be revered and obeyed. Then I could not believe my eyes as to what happened next, the speaker of the conference denied two critical areas of God’s Word, the one pertaining to a core doctrine and the other pertaining to a serious moral issue. The Bible said one thing, the conference and its speaker promoted something entirely different.

What is going on here? Well, probably too many things to summarize in one post, however, what we do find in this situation is people, professing Christians, falling for the oldest lie in the book. Where is that? Check out Genesis 3:1, which says, “Did God actually say…?”

Satan seeks to strike at the foundation by getting us to trust our own wisdom and cast doubt on God’s.

Jesus himself rebuked this way of thinking. When Jesus viewed Scripture He treated it like the very word of God.

In John Jesus often chastises the religious leaders for professing to know and follow the Law but not actually doing what it says. We find an instance of this in John 10:34-36. The Jews above all people should have recognized Jesus was the fulfilment of the prophets but they were too busy viewing the Law from their own perspective. Jesus rebuts them by saying, “Is it not written in your Law,” the Law you claim to adhere to. Should you, above all people, not recognize who I am! It was His Law too but he stresses “your” to imply that they profess to be people of the Word when the opposite is the case. Jesus rebukes them by saying, “Scripture cannot be set aside” (NIV). It still speaks the truth even if we ignore or deny it, speaking instead conviction and judgement.

Psalm 19:7 also tells us that “the law of the LORD is perfect,” that is complete, lacking in nothing or sufficient.

When He speaks we have only to trust and obey, to be hearers and then doers, and not hearers who do or believe what we like after hearing it. This only speaks to our folly and the hardness of our hearts.

If they Bible says something believe it. If it says to do or not do something then follow suit.

Let’s not be hypocrites. Let’s either say we believe the Bible and mean it or disagree, none of this “I believe the Bible” only to in reality lay it aside.

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris