Our Identity (EDIFY 2016)

Here is where you can find my 3 part series on Identity.

Encouragment Today

I made an error recently which resulted in $70 in overdraft fees in my ministry account. I felt really bad about this and that the stupid mistake I made had cost so much money. I want to be a good steward in all my affairs, but I feel especially obligated to be watchful with money donated for God’s work.

This morning I called Bank of America and just threw myself on the mercy of the person who answered the phone, Ben, and I asked him if he would reverse the fees as a courtesy to me.

And he did! I was so thankful! That would have been enough to make it a great morning.

But then he started asking about the ministry, and we ended up talking about the Lord Jesus Christ for several minutes, too; it was very encouraging. He was glad to hear of our preaching ministry and wasn’t ashamed to talk about the gospel! Praise the Lord!

Giveaway: Is Genesis History?

“Is Genesis History” is a film by Del Tackett. It had a short exhibition in theaters, and was released for viewing online or by Blue ray or DVD at the film’s site: Click here to buy the film.

Lots of Layers

My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed this movie! From the start to the finish we were impressed with the artwork and beautiful scenes which were presented. The movie follow Del Tackett around the United States as he asks experts in different areas of science about the likelihood of Genesis being actual history, in contradiction to theories such as the Big Bang and macro-evolution.

There is no doubt from the onset of the film that the goal is to present the Genesis account of creation and early history as factual. Very little sympathy, if any, is offered to adherents to ideas contrary to the Bible’s clear teaching about creation.

There is one extra feature where Del and a theologian/author named Douglas Kelly discuss the history of the church’s compromise in this area. The church’s errors in this area are spoken of as mistakes, and never was an excuse made for those mistakes.

But I thought they could have been harder on people who have compromised in this area than they were. I wish that was just my personality, but the fact of the matter is this, false doctrine kills people. It damns souls to hell and it pulls even Christians away from the joy of the Lord. False doctrines always lead to more false doctrines. And there may be no bad doctrine which is as damaging or insipid as doctrines which undermine the authority, inerrancy or sufficiency of the Bible.

Exploring the Text

To the film’s credit, they made me want to learn more. There was even a challenge given during a special feature where the viewer is encouraged to ‘dig deeper.’ The scientists admitted that in order to make a film short enough for people to watch they couldn’t possibly include everything they might know or believe about a topic discussed. As well, they were taking facts and distilling those facts into the best possibly layman’s terms they could in order to give people tastes of the truths they hold dear.

It’d be like having a brain surgeon or rocket scientist explain what he does in a matter of minutes. It wouldn’t truly convey the complexity that is beneath that discussion. So my challenge for creation skeptics would be to watch this film, and then, when you are not convinced, to do the homework to learn the science behind what is being presented and analyze it for yourself.

Fish Whisperer

I do not believe this film would convince a harsh critic or skeptic of creation. In my opinion, this movie will be an EXCELLENT resource for the church. But the question has to be asked – was yet another resource proving that Christians ought to believe Genesis is literal history necessary? Will a film of this type be watched by “those who need to watch it?” That I doubt sincerely. I also doubt my unbelieving neighbor will go to the website and buy the movie and watch it, neither out of personal interest nor by my prodding.

I think the Christian’s only hope would be to buy a stack of these movies (after watching it him or herself), and have them ready to be given as gifts to people, or to host a showing of the movie, maybe for discussion. I’d love to see an effort made to create events at colleges where people can come see this movie.

My final comment is that I am never going to be pleased with a movie which purports to be Christian but never actually clearly states the Christian gospel. The gospel is mentioned. Jesus is referred to. But the minds of folks will never be opened to the truth of Christ without His gospel, and this movie had multiple very logical places where a brief presentation would have fit.

I don’t propose to know the hearts of all those involved, but it seemed odd to really come out with a bold stance concerning Genesis, and then basically miss the point of why we defend Genesis¸ which is because it is the foundation upon which the sin of man and the forgiveness found in Christ stands.

I wholeheartedly recommend this movie. I believe it will be a help to anyone who watches it. And, despite the few areas where I’d have done something differently, I think it can be a valuable resource for people to use to being a gospel conversation with a neighbor, coworker or friend.

Click here to buy the film.

Would you like a DVD of the film for FREE? If so, leave a comment on this post and I will select a winner at random on or about May 1st. No special rules, just leave me a comment so I know you want the DVD.

Preaching to the Choir?

Dear reader, the question this article proposes to answer is, “Why would I go to a Christian worship event to preach?”

Do I just want to start trouble?

Is this literally a form of preaching to the choir?

Do I believe only that only I and 14 other Calvinists on the internet are the “true church?”

Please join me along with my friend Brandon Hines as we lay out a case for why Christian street preaching and evangelism is not only acceptable outside a Christian worship event, but why in fact, it is necessary outside many events designated as Christian worship events.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Watch Your Mouth!

Michelle Lesley has graciously let me post at her blog again. I hope you’ll read it and comment.

Here is the post:
Mackerels, Schmoley, and the Spirit of God

Divine Revelation? Wisdom? Intuition?

The good folks at The Domain for Truth have let me post on their blog again.

This post actually got some comments for discussion.

Receiving divine revelation has become so blasé that people who normally would affirm sola scriptura don’t even bat an eye when someone proposes to be hearing from God. Now I know a lot of people use various forms of language when describing their feelings or senses or intuitions, often ascribing revelatory meaning behind them unintentionally, but there are still many Christians today who believe God does, in fact, divinely reveal things to some folks apart from the Holy Scripture.

The following two anecdotes are opposite sides of the same coin which I hope will demonstrate the danger and seriousness of this kind of thinking and speaking, and show the irrationality of at least some instances of people who claim spiritual gifts such as prophecy.

Here is a link to read the entire post. Don’t forget to add to the comments and see the interaction. It is edifying.

Ultimately, ministering alongside anyone can be fraught with difficulty for a variety of reasons such as immaturity, or if someone has an anger problem, for example. But to minister alongside someone who is open to the sign gifts requires an extra level of prudence and comes with inherent difficulties due to the nature of denying sola scriptura either in word in in practice.

2017 Arnold Report – 5 (Final)

This is part 5 of a series.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Finally, I want to leave you with some thoughts of where I failed, my repentance, and God’s encouragement to me.

Even Christians who can rightfully be called *seasoned* evangelists and leaders are fallible men and will err. Allow me to describe the circumstance to you that we faced Saturday.

The cult called the Seventh Day Adventists (herein called SDA) has been noticeable for over a year now when I evangelize. The purpose of this post is not to prove they are heretical, but that fact is assumed. If you disagree, let me know and I’ll telly you why.

We encountered an SDA fellow Saturday. It took me a moment to recognize him but I remembered him from another outreach where he had tried to convince Kurtis and Nick that hell wasn’t eternal, and of some of their other errant doctrines with which they yoke people and try to seal the condemnation of others.

Matthew 23:4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.

Dave actually chuckled about how quickly I exited the conversation with this man. He is divisive, and I see him as sent by demonic forces to obstruct our mission.

Titus 3:10-11 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

But the SDA folks immediately engaged our young people. A part of me wanted to stop it, but it was toward the end of the day so we weren’t really being diverted from the mission, because it had settled down by then. And, “Maybe our young people would engage the SDA folks and win them to Christ,” I thought.

From a team leadership perspective, I want to keep my team on task. So there are times I break up what may seem like enjoyable fellowship, to remind the team we are there for a reason, to reach the lost that we encounter. I also will try to keep people from being tied up with one person if it seems warranted.

But at the same time, I see the debate that ensues with an SDA as a chance for a young person’s faith to be tested. They are forced to consider their own hermeneutic as the SDA person references Scripture after Scripture to defend his or her cause. I was pleased to see this, and that our youth grew stronger in the faith once for all delivered to the saints!

But, alas, in our kindness and friendliness toward even those who are enemies of Christ, I believe I made quite an error at the end of our outreach. Before we walked to the car, we all gathered around to worship the Lord in song. I have a dozen waterproof hymnbooks I produced with about 54 hymns in them. As we were starting to gather two polite SDA ladies approached us and a couple of our members invited them to sing. I had an urge to tell them no they could not sing with us; that we did not worship the same God. But I desired to avoid that conflict and thought that it wouldn’t hurt if a person simply wanted to sing a song while we sang.

And had they simply joined on their own accord or been standing at a distance singing along, that would have been OK. But these ladies sang with us as if they were with us. And it made me very uncomfortable. Then, I noticed while we were singing, one of the women was passing out her heretical gospel-less tracts! What a failure on my part to stand up for what was righteous and good and separate from the world. But Christ gives grace and I rely on His righteousness to sustain me.

So finally, as if it were simply meant as an act of encouragement to me, the Lord who directs my steps directed me to take my children to lunch Sunday after church where we met a kind waitress named Tammy. What we didn’t know is that Tammy needed encouragement. So I wrote Tammy a ‘gospel’ note on the back of our receipt for I had forgotten my tracts, and Tammy responded by emailing me that she is a new believer who needed encouragement!

Praise the Lord for His providential will in the life of this child of His!