Saturday, 24 March 2012

Be Careful!

We must be very careful about making assumptions about a man and about what he believes that might well proved to be false.  I made the assumption that Dr Lloyd-Jones actually believed in 'limited atonement' in the early years of my ministry concerning Lloyd-Jones.  How wrong I was.  In fact, - and this is some confession for a Presbyterian – as a young minister, I rejected Calvin’s commentaries because they were not Calvinistic enough for me – as I then understood the term!  I am now wondering how many Presbyterians and other reformed men read Calvin’s commentaries and especially his sermons!  What a treat is in for you, and, my, what soul-delighting gems you’ll find in the great reformer’s sermons.  Also, we must only go as far as Scripture and no further; and stick to the plain meaning of the text.  This characterised DLMJ and his great mentor John Calvin.  Allow the Scripture to speak out its own message, and don’t try to improve on it by adding to what it teaches the thoughts of men, as reflected in their theological systems, however good. 

For further information on Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, please click here, and here.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Theological Compromise Robs Churches of God's Blessing

I have often thought about getting hold of the reports that senior churchmen in one of the Protestant denominations in Northern Ireland (who were given a year to go round the congregations, inter alia), gave when they finished their year, and read and study these reports to find out what the spiritual state of the churches really was - in their view. Having been and listened to about fourteen of these reports over the years, I would have to conclude that that church is in very good heart, is spiritually alive, has prayer meetings, good work being done, made up of good people, God’s work progressing steadily, and so on.   

Having listened to such reports, I could not reconcile what these church leaders were saying with what I and many other ministers were experiencing on the ground.  The annual meeting of that denomination was told very good news about life within and around that denomination, yet there were fundamental theological problems, such as, the acceptance of theological pluralism, the honouring of men and women ministers who held theologically liberal views and preached accordingly; there were all kinds of mix-ups with ecumenism, fraternising with Romanism on a frequent basis, the institutional cover-up of serious wrong-doing, and all emerging from a determined opposition to the Gospel and to Gospel preaching ministers in many places.  Yet, the annual reports spoke of how healthy the churches were spiritually speaking.  Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones gives such an attitude as the reason why revival has been withheld from many churches today.   

And, and here’s the irony, the churches that are furthest away from Scripture are the very churches that need the reviving power of God’s Holy Spirit more than the “purer” churches, whatever and wherever they are!  It is these very churches that claim how spiritual they are, how faithful they are to the Gospel, and how much work is being done for God's glory amongst them.  And these churches that make such unfounded claims are the churches that are being deprived of God's blessing - blessing that He is longing to pour out upon them.  They are also the most likely churches to be revived by God when His time comes to pour out His Spirit again.  DMLJ longed for this to happen in his day, but felt very disappointed that he had not experienced revival at the end of his ministry as he had done in Sandfields in the 1930s. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Churches are MUCH TOO HEALTHY

Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones  was greatly concerned about the state of the Christian Church, especially her very low spiritual temperature.  He was concerned about the lack of fire in the preaching, the absence of any real sense of the Holy Spirit in the services.  While on holiday and worshipping in churches on a Sunday, he would be quite unimpressed at what passed for worship and preaching.  He often wondered why, when so many were praying and pleading for revival, as he did throughout his ministry, that it did not come.  When asked what he considered the reason was for God’s denial of revival in his time, his answer was literally shocking. He said, “The reason why God has not sent revival to the churches today is because they are much too healthy.”  Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  ... I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”[1]   Too many churches today, the Doctor would argue, and say with the Laodicean church, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.”  But our Lord answered them directly, “[you] do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.”[2]  Does this not describe the churches in our land today?

[1]   Mt.9:12, 13.
[2]   Rev.3:17.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

No Revival!

Do you know the surest way to deprive God’s church of the blessings of a Holy Spirit revival?  It’s this: just go on believing that your church is the nearest thing to a truly Scriptural church that there is, and go on telling the people you meet this same message.  In this way you can guarantee no revival blessing for your church.  

But if this is your honest belief, then please do not pray for revival for your church, for it doesn’t need it; rather ask God to revive your very needy, impure, unfaithful, compromised neighbouring churches instead! 

Monday, 19 March 2012

The Centrality of the Cross

The "acid test" of our position is in whether or not the Cross is something we glory in (Gal.6:14) or are offended by (Gal.5:11).  It is what differentiates Christians from non-Christians.  To the non-Christian, or unbeliever, or the natural man, the Cross is offensive, something that is as true today as it was when Paul first penned these words.  It is only the true Christian who can and does "glory" in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Even congregations can find the preaching of the Cross offensive, thus explaining why so many ministers do not preach that God-glorifying, saving message.  It is a "foolish" message - God saving sinners by a carpenter from Nazareth who claimed to be the Son of God, the Messiah.  What foolishness!  Who in their right mind would expect educated 21st century people to believe that sort of thing?

Further, this message states that through trusting an innocent man who was put to death on the Cross and who was supposed to be bearing the individual's sins, that individual sinner can be saved. Or again, God, it is claimed, has taken our sins and placed them on Another and then punished our sins by putting to death that innocent Other.

21st century, cultured, educated people are expected to believe that kind of thing if ever they are to get into heaven.

The fact is that since they find this offensive they are demonstrating that they are not Christians.

May I invite you to visit this website and see there how John Calvin preached this God-glorifying and life-transforming message that centres around the Cross.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Presbyterian Politicians Support Gay Pride

It is so sad that politics in Northern Ireland is set to take yet another turn for the worse.  Whilst political decisions are purely and largely preferential, when it comes to moral issues these have the potential to plunge the country into utter moral meltdown.

The unionist party's leadership is refusing to answer my questions on the promotion of Sodomy by its potential leaders who will be elected to that role by the end of this month (March 2012).  What makes it even more inexplicable is that a very senior Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) member and minister in the executive, Danny Kennedy MLA, is an elder in Bessbrook Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) in South Armagh simply re-directed me to the two candidates for their comments.

Both of them are Presbyterians and like their church, they are both convinced liberals; in other words, anything goes.  John McCallister attended a recent Belfast Pride parade thus showing his unashamed support for moral perversion and Mike Nesbitt gave help with banners and flags to the same organisation in 1991.

Gay Pride is sodomy by another name.  These Presbyterians will in all likelihood find their church backing their stance.  One of them will be elected leader of the UUP thus promising policies that will promote sodomy in Northern Ireland.  This retrograde step will have incalculable consequences for the party and country, and will hasten the demise of that political entity.

One would have expected that these men would have been well taught in the Scriptures by the ministers in this church; maybe they were, but refused to listen.  However, the fact that their denomination has an extremely soft attitude to gay issues, some even supporting this perversion, might indicate otherwise. 

Parents' Greatest Love.

A very challenging question was out to parents at church today, and it was this: Ask your children what they thought it was that you loved most of all?  They were to think about your daily routine, see the things you gave most time to and showed greatest knowledge of and interest in.  If these are the things we love most of all, what would they say?

Was it a favourite football team?  Was it your work?  Was it your car or your home?

How many children would conclude after looking at the interests displayed by their parents that their parent loved Jesus most of all?  How many see their parents giving more time to the study of the Word than to watching the soaps?

God questions, eh?