Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Musings: Some consolidations of my beliefs

OK, I am just using this place to consolidate what I believe and what I tentatively hold to at this moment.

I am a Protestant, 'old-time' fundamentalist (of the 1920s sort), traditional evangelical and reformed Christian. Soteriologically, I hold to the 5 points of Calvinism and hence am a strict Calvinist. I have no stand on the infra/supralapsarianism issue at the moment but am more symphatatic with the supra- position. On the issue of creation/evolution, I am a YEC ('young-earth creationist'). On baptism, I tend to the paedobaptist side but am open to the opposing view. I tentatively hold to the Puritan version of postmillinianism at the moment, thanks to Iain H. Murray's book 'The Puritan Hope'. I guess that sums it all up.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Quotable quote...

This is from Dr. James R. White's latest blog article written on the 26th Feb 2006, which is somewhat related to the blog series (which I will continue when I have the time) and definitely relavant to the sad state of what poses as evangelicalism today.

"Do you [any Christian minister] pull back on those elements of God's truth that are the most offensive to the natural man because you do not wish to see that disdainful look, that annoyed shaking of the head? Do you really distrust the ministry of the Spirit to make the Word of Christ to come alive in the hearts and minds of Christ's sheep, so that you do not need to worry about those who find offense at His truth? Or have you embraced the spirit of the age which places man's fragile emotions upon the seat of prominence, and have bought into the idea that to be "loving" means to never give offense to anyone (well, except for God--it is fine to offend Him by thinking yourself so wise you can edit out what shouldn't be in the gospel in our day)?" (Bold added for relevant portion)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

On revival (a short video clip sermon)

I have just watched a video on the SermonIndex.net website. It is entitled The Revival Hymn, here.

Personally, I find the message on the video to be very appropriate as it exposes the man-centeredness inherent in modern-day 'evangelicalism' today. It is the main reason why the churches are weak in whatever they do. How can the Church of Jesus Christ be strong when we insist on doing things our way instead of following Christ the head of the Church? Sadly to say, with their doctrinal and practical Arminianism, most Christians cannot submit to Christ in ministry due to their anthropocentric 'theo'-logy. Even the 'purer' churches, those who subscribe to the Reformed creeds and having a Reformed soteriology (aka Calvinism), do not fare any better. It is the nature of fallen Man to control everything, and even us Reformed folks who ought to know better succumbed to the anthropocentric focus on ministry, although our Gospel presentation is supposed to be more theocentric.

It is my sincere contentation (together with that of the pastor preaching this sermon) that revival can come about only when Man are presented the full Gospel of Christ, the theocentric Gospel of Christ that the Apostles, the Reformers and the Great Evangelists up to those in the First Great Awakening preach. Also, the ministers of God must start following Christ instead of doing God's things our way. It is my further contention that for that to happen, the Church must once again embrace biblical soteriology aka Calvinism, and to embrace the Sovereignty of God in all its fullness, starting with soteriology as stated above, and then on to every aspect of theology which results in transformed lives.

I would like to end with some questions (which may be disturbing because it questions some sacred cows):

  • Being raised an Arminian and transformed by God's truth into a Calvinist, is the fact that our evangelism is so weak and revival non-existent due to the fact that there is something wrong with our evangelism message? Are they too anthropocentric and appeal to the sinful nature of Man instead of proclaiming God's holiness and His wrath against sin? I am not only talking about the 4 Spiritual Laws method, which is rather anthropocentric (I know I will get myself into trouble over this), but also even of the sermons by Reformed pastors who ought to know better. Are our sermons too concentrated on 'meeting people where they are at' instead of proclaiming God as the Sovereign King over the whole earth and Mankind as 'sinners in the hands of an angry God'?

  • Regarding ministry, the fact of the matter is that we often need to plan for events (and even the sermons are planned). Therefore, how are we to really live and minister such that God is the one in control? How can we know God's leading in our lives such that we minister in and through Him, not using our own strength? Unless you are some lunatic Charismatic like the Word Faith heretic Benny Hinn or believe in the 'New Apostolic Reformation/Deformation (NAR)' with their so-called 'new' apostles and prophets (which is unbiblical given that these offices have ceased), you would not believe in some esoteric searching of the voice of God in mystical places. Therefore, how can we know how to let God lead us? I know it is by prayer and fasting, but exactly how?

  • Your fellow bond-servant in Christ,
    Daniel Chew.

    Saturday, February 18, 2006

    Da Vinci Code resource

    Here is a link to the compilation of a series of blog posts debunking the Da Vinci Code, by Dr. James R. White of Alpha and Omega Ministries. Permission is granted to print, distribute and format it, to be used in the edification of the saints and for apologetics in evangelism to the non-believers.

    Thursday, February 16, 2006

    Article: The destructiveness of Feminism

    An interesting book review revealing the destructive effects of feminism on America, here.

    Friday, February 10, 2006

    Cartoon updates...

    Well, it seems that an Arab Egyptian newspaper has published some of the cartoons some time back, but there were no riots then. It really makes one wonder...

    Thursday, February 09, 2006

    Hypocrisy of the governments of the world

    With regards to the cartoon riots (See my pervious post here), I would just like to show the hypocrisy of the governments of the world. At the moment, the US state department has condemned the publications of the cartoons, saying it is inappropriate, to say the least. However, their hypocrisy is glaring. As Dr. James R. White has pointed out in his blog post, publications of materials blaspheming the Christian faith is exempt from such censure. As a Singaporen, I am sad to say that our goverment is similarly hypocritical. Where is the voice of the goverments of the world condemning Dan Brown and folks for attacking Christianity? Is it because these governments will only respect those who use force and violence to protest against the violation of their religious sensitivities, if any. The contrast is just striking between how those fundamentalist Islamofascists react and how Christian react when our faith is assaulted.

    I do not intend for this blog to be of a political nature, but when religion and politics meet, then comment is needed. Anyway, for all these governments, especially my own, if you are REALLY sincere in saying that we should respect other religions, then I would ask you to immediately ban the Da Vinci Code, both book and movie, from your country now, otherwise you stand condemned as a hypocrite.

    Wednesday, February 08, 2006

    Regarding the Mohammed Cartoon Riots

    I know I am a late-comer to the issue. Anyway, here is an article from answeringislam.org analyzing the Mohammed cartoon issue. It shows forth the hypocrisy from those fundamentalist Islamofascists.

    Note: I do not necessarily condone the publication of the cartoons, but I am against the disgusting, immature and violent reaction from the adherents of the religion of peace.

    Dateline's expose: Benny Hinn...

    Here is a link to a NBC Dateline investigation of Benny Hinn. You supply the concluson.

    Sunday, February 05, 2006

    The Reproach of the Solemn Assembly - Sermon Transcript

    I would like to share the transcript of a sermon which is very timely for all of us (here). The sermon was preached by Pastor David Wilkerson, a non-denominational 'old-time' Pentecostal preacher who is the founding pastor of Times Square Church in New York City and the founder also of World Challenge. He is one of the few Pentecostal pastors whom I deeply respect and is strong in the Word of God. Do enjoy the sermon.

    On speaking the truth in love (part 3)

    ... so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Eph. 4:14-16)

    In the last instalment, I have listed down a few points which could be seen from a cursory examination of Eph. 4:14-16, regarding the purpose of speaking the truth in love.

    Before I go on further, I would just like to state that this passage is dealing with issues within the community of believers. For non-believers, the purpose of speaking the truth in love to them is much simpler; to be a faultless witness to them (Titus 2:8) for Christ (Rom. 1:16).

    Back to the purpose of speaking the truth in love in the community of believers, in Eph. 4:14-16, we are told that the purpose of speaking the truth in love is to be:

  • Firm in the faith (v. 14)
  • Build up and grown up in Christ (v. 15)
  • Growing in the community of believers (v. 16a '...whole body, joined and held together...')
  • Equipped for service unto the Lord (v. 16b '...from which it is equipped...')
  • Serving our Lord properly (v. 16b '...each part is working properly...')
  • Grow in love for our Lord and for the communion of saints (v. 16ff '... it builds itself up in love.')
  • I would now like to further expound on the points listed above, starting with the first point.

    The first point, to be firm in the faith, carries with it the connnotation of being strong despite encountering adversity (Mt. 7:24-25). The concept expressed here is often used in the form of an injunction by the apostles in their epistles (1 Cor. 16:13, 2 Cor. 1:24, Gal. 5:1, Eph. 6:13, Phil. 4:1, 2 Thess. 2:15, 1 Peter 5:12) where Christians are commanded by the Lord to stand firm in the faith. Now, of course, what does this mean? What faith are we talking about here?

    The most obvious answer is that we are to stand firm on Christ and our faith in Christ. This is definitely supported by 1 Cor. 16:13, 2 Cor. 1:24, Phil. 4:1 and a surface reading of Eph. 6:13. While this is definitely true, the other passages in which we are asked to stand firm more explicitly focuses on the things which we are to stand firm on.

    Now, of course, I am saying this for the anti-intellectual, emotional crowd who name the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, which have its main adherents in the charismatic circles of modern evangelicalism. This is not to say that other denominations produced do not produce anti-intellectuals, but the ridiculous mind-manipulating methods and the spurious, unbiblical advice to "just follow the Spirit's guiding" (as if the Spirit works independently of the Word) propogated by such false prophets like Benny Hinn leads to multitudes being taken captive by such unbiblical nonsense. The nonsensical phrase "No creed but Christ" is one such anti-intellectual slogan, as if the word "Christ" means the same thing and refer to the same person to everyone alike, thus showing their utter naivety and foolishness.

    So what do we need to stand firm on? What does it mean to be firm in our faith? In 1 Peter 5:12, the Apostle Peter asks us to stand firm on the grace of God which he revealed in the entire epistle. In Eph. 6:13, the context is talking about putting on the armor of God, and therefore standing firm include both the putting on of the various facets of the armor (belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, readiness of the Gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God) and using it. Without going into an exposition of the Armor of God, which will be indeed very rich for our edification, suffice it is to say for the moment that concerning the topic at hand, this passage teaches us that certain things are essential for us to stand firm. Besides the sword of the Spirit, the other are experential aspects of the Christian life which are found and applied from ... the Word of God, which is also the sword of the Spirit.

    And this brings us to the focal point. What is it that we are asked to stand firm on? Answer: The Word of God! Everything taught in the Word of God! In the last passage which we haven't considered yet, 2 Thess. 2:15, we are asked to stand firm on the apostolic traditions which are handed down to us by means of the Word of God. In other words, every single thing which is taught in the Word of God is for us to stand firm on. We as Christians do not have the liberty to pick and choose what we want to believe and what we want to take a stand on. We are to stand firm on our faith in Christ, yes, but that faith and that Christ includes the totality of the entire system of biblical doctrines and teachings found in it.

    Since that is the case, as one of the purposes of speaking the truth in love is to be firm in the faith, the aim of speaking the truth in love is to produce believers taking a firm stand on what the Bible teaches, and this extends to all doctrines and teachings found in the Bible.

    [Continue in the next instalment]

    Wednesday, February 01, 2006

    Article: Debunking Dan Brown's "Fact Based Fiction"

    Dr. James R. White of Alpha and Omega Ministries has completed and compiled a series of blog posts debunking the Da Vinci Code nonsense. It is available here. Permission is granted by him to print, format and distribute the material written there.