Friday, May 29, 2009

"When Sorrow gives way to Joy"

It is 12:37 on a Friday morning here and my Grandmother has just gone home to be with the Lord. My Grandmother was a victim of the cruel diease of ALS for which she fought for about a year, maybe a little longer. My Grandmother was a wonderful lady with lots of spirit that will greatly be missed. At this moment my heart is filled with grief. Not grief for my Grandmother, but grief for us; grief for my precious Dad who has now lost both of his parents. Grief for my children who thought the world of Grandma and she thought the world of them. Even though you know that this is coming (she was so sick this last week), the heart is never truly prepared for the news. I just got off the phone with my Dad with the news.

But while my heart is filled with sorrow, I know that it is a selfish sorrow. But we would never want Grandma back here in the condition that she was in. I have been praying very hard the last couple of days that the Lord would take Grandma on home to be with Him. And He has, once again, been faithful to answer. I am reminded of the words of a song that I heard and have sang in Church, I will just give you the first verse and the chorus:

Our prayers have all been answered, I've finally arrived.
The healing that had been delayed has now been realized.
No ones in a hurry, there's no schedule to keep,
We're all just praising Jesus, sitting at His feet.

If you could see me now, I'm walking streets of gold,
If you could see me now, I'm standing tall and whole.
If you could see me now, you'd know I've seen His face,
If you could see me now, you'd know the pains erased.
You would'nt want to ever leave this perfect place,
If you could only see me now.

In this time the words of the Apostle Paul take on new meaning.

In 2 Corinthians 5:8, "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."

For Christians, our sorrow can turn to joy to know that our saved loved one that has departed this life is not lost, is not floating, or is not asleep, but is in the presence of Christ. My Grandma, at this very hour, is in the presence of Christ, reunited with her husband, in great joy. Never again to suffer the pains of ALS or the loss of dignity that sickness can bring, but is with Christ waiting for me some day. The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:23 that it is better to depart this life and be with Christ. Grandma now knows the joy of which Paul spoke.

So while we say "good-bye" for now, and we will travel to Charlottle next week I'm sure to lay Grandma's shell next to the shell of her husband, it is not, by the Grace of Almighty God, good-bye forever. It is only for a short while. I told my oldest child just yesterday, that if we live 60 more years here on earth, what is that in light of eternity.

"Father in Heaven, thank you for the life of Grandma. And thank you for extending your Grace to her so that she could face death with victory and not sting and so that we have the hope of her eternal healing and once again sharing her presence. Thank you for Salvation found only in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that Grandma knew you as her Lord and Savior." AMEN

I love you Grandma. Good-bye for now. See you in a little while.

Monday, May 18, 2009

"What are we Teaching our Children"

I believe that the Word is not only interpretational, but I believe that it is also applicational. By that I mean that the Scriptures have a meaning, they have one meaning and as a Pastor it is my job to find out that singular meaning. I do not buy into the notion of what is being taught today as the "Hermenutics of Humility". That basically says that "I am far to humble to think that I could ever really know the truth of God's Word." To the person buying into that; they believe that it is pride and arrogance to say that I know what the Bible says. To get up and say that I have the meaning of the Scripture is the height of arrogance.

But isn't that the job of a Pastor? Anyone who gets up in the pulpit and preaches anything but the truth, is preaching their opinion. And there opinions are like noses; everybody has one. But opinion does not necessarily mean truth. It is the Pastor's responsibility before God and his congregation to study, to find and know the truth.

With that being said, I believe that John 7:5 is a very sad verse. It speaks about the brothers of Jesus "not believing on Him (Jesus)." I spoke on this passage in last nights service at my Church. I spoke on Divine Timetables. Even Christ, in His humanity, humbled Himself to the Divine timetable of the Father. All people, to the most holy to the most diobolical, are under the restraint of the Sovereign timetable of God.

But as I was studying verse 1-13, I came across verse 5; I stopped for a moment and thought. We do not know a lot about the life of Joseph. We know nothing about him after the incident at the temple when Christ was twelve.

Now, understand me please, I am not making any accusations about the way that Joseph raised his children and I am not saying that this is the proper interpretational view of this verse; however, I do believe that looking at this verse, at least for me, brought about a reminder. What could have happened in the home of Jospeh that caused his four sons not to believe on Christ as the Messiah until so late in life. Accoprding to Acts 1, it wasn't until the resurrection that they did believe. In fact, in John 7, they were the four that were trying to push Christ to go, prematurely, to Jerusalem to show His power and they did this with the word "if". As if they were questioning whether or not He was genuine.

Listen, Joseph may have taught his sons about the Messiah and that their half-brother was the anoited one of God and they reacted like Joseph's brothers did in the book of Genesis. However, we do not know that to be the fact. The fact that they did finally believe in Acts 1, may indicate that all that their father taught them finally produced fruit, we just do not know for sure.

But all of this is a reminder to us that it is possible that from the brothers original reaction, Jospeh MAY NOT have done his job in teaching his children. This is a challenge to us to make sure that our children are taught about the Lord and then, and this is just as vital, that we live before them the message that we teach. That we are faithful to God in our personal service, speaks volumes more than what we say. If we are not faithful in our service (Bible study, Church Attendance, etc.), then our message is just hypocrisy to our Children. What are you teaching your Children; both in your words and in your actions. If everything comes before Church attendance in your life, then do not be suprised when it is the same way with your Children. If we allow sports and other activites to come before Church or other services to God, your children's devotion to the holy things will be worse. Your children will always fall below your standards, so set your standards ultra-high to protect their future.

"Truth Wars! Your Best Life Now!"

Dr. John MacArthur examines Joel Osteen's book, "Your Best Life Now".

Friday, May 15, 2009

"The Gospel According to Jesus"

The following is an portion of a sermon that I preached on Lordship Salvation.

We live in a day where the Gospel has been prostituted by would-be ministers of the Gospel, but who are really wolves in sheeps clothing. Your typical Gospel presentation urges the sinner to say a pray or as some preachers put it, "make a decision for Christ".

The Gospel is not about us "making a decision for Christ" it is not about us "receiving Jesus" it is about asking Christ to accept us. It is not about making Christ "Lord", He is Lord. The Gospel is not about health or wealth prosperity. Jesus said in Luke 9 that if "....anyone wishes to come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." When the people heard Jesus say these things about taking up their cross, they understood one thing, death. The cross had one imagery for those people, death. But that is not the typical gospel that you hear today. Robert Schuller has said that the problem with the Gospel is that it is more God-centered and not man-centered. He said that when a person hears that they are an unworthy sinner, it is doubtful that they will ever be able to receive the grace that is found in Christ.

Now, why some "evangelicals" may would not go that far, the Gospel is diluted. I have even heard the Gospel diluted in fundamental Baptist Churches (how sad). There is such a drive for numbers that the gospel gets cut to pieces.

The Gospel gets reduced to "receiving Jesus as Savior" or "accept Jesus" or "make a decision for Christ". There is rarely a mention about the Lordship of Christ (oops, I am in trouble now). Jesus is either Lord or He is not Savior. Romans 10:13, (In the original Greek) reads, "Whoever accepts Jesus as Lord...".

When I speak to people about the Gospel, the first place I go to is the price. Not the price that Christ paid, but the price that we must pay. That is another phrase I hear alot, "Salvation is absolutely free", not quite. It cost Christ and it costs those that repent as well. You say, "What do you mean?" Well. Jesus spoke in Luke 14 that if any person comes to Him and does not hate father, mother, brothers or sister or even his own life, he is not worthy of Christ. He further says that if you are not willing to forsake all, then you cannot be my disciple. Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all that he has and give to the poor. In essence what does it cost us, potentially everything. If a person is not willing to loose everything to gain Christ, Jesus said, don't even bother coming to me, you are not serious nor worthy.

"Well", you say,"Who would want to accept that?" Simply, those are truly being drawn by the Holy Spirit would gladly give up everything for the sake of knowing Christ. Listen, this is not a new Gospel, it is the true Gospel. People have a hard time hearing it because they have heard the watered down gospel for so long. May we return to the truth of Lordship Salvation.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"What Do You Call your Pastors?"

I want to say from the outset that this is not a particulary theological post, but it is something that I think probably needs to be addressed. It has been a busy posting day, but this will probably be my last for the day.

As I look in the NT, I see the Pastors of the different local Churches addressed as "Pastor" or "Elder". When I was first saved, my Pastor was insistent that we call him "Pastor", not "Jeff", but "Pastor". He would tell us, "It is not for prides sake, but it reminds me of my position in your life".

Probably one of the most "gut-wrenching" things I here from a Church member is to call their Pastors by their first names. Listen, They may be Steve or they may be Michael by birth, but that is not who they are in the lives of the members of Emmanuel Baptist Church, they are "Pastor". And, just as my Pastor said, it is not for prides sake, it reminds us of our position in your lives. I have seen new people come into the Church calling the Pastors, "Pastor", but as time goes on they hear other members calling them by their first names, so they begin to do the same thing.

Some Churches are not as blessed to have two Pastors, as other Churches. Both, according to 1 Timothy 5 are worthy of double-honor and I believe that part of that honor is by calling them "Pastor"; again, that is what they are to you that are members. I still call my home Pastor, Pastor. So, if you just have a Senior Pastor, call him "Pastor", that is what he is in your life; but if you have a Senior Pastor and an Associate Pastor, call them "Pastor", for that is what THEY are in your life.

My Favorite Southern Gospel Group

This blog is usually very serious, but I wanted to add a bit of blessing from my favorite Southern Gospel Group, Greater Vision. Enjoy!!!
This is a duplicate copy of the one on my facebook site, but I wanted to post it here as well. Unfortunately, there are those wolves that call themselves shepherds of the flock. Clips like this are why I preach so hard for Lordship Salvation; Lordship Salvation is the only Salvation.

John MacArthur and Charles Spurgeon on Worldly Preaching

Charles Spurgeon spent his life defending the truth; as well does Dr. John F. MacArthur and I am proud to be associated with both of these brothers.

"How Do we Know when to confront and when to quietly forgive and forget"?

That’s a good question because most people seem to err on one side or the other. Some people think it is best to overlook every offense and take pride in their tolerance. However, Paul confronted the Corinthians for tolerating sin in the church and rebuked them for failing to deal with a man living in sin (1 Cor. 5).
On the other side of the issue are people who confront over any slight infraction and make themselves intolerable.

Are there any biblical principles to help us make the right choice? Yes! Here are six guidelines to help you know whether to quietly forgive or to lovingly confront.

1. Whenever possible, especially if the offense is petty or unintentional, it is best to forgive unilaterally. This is the very essence of a gracious spirit. It is the Christlike attitude called for in Ephesians 4:1-3. We are called to maintain a gracious tolerance (”forbearance”) of others’ faults. Believers should have a sort of mutual immunity to petty offenses. Love “is not easily angered” (1 Cor. 13:5). If every fault required formal confrontation, the whole of our church life would be spent confronting and resolving conflicts over petty annoyances. So for the sake of peace, to preserve the unity of the Spirit, we are to show tolerance whenever possible (see 1 Pet. 2:21-25; Mat. 5:39-40).

2. If you are the only injured party, even if the offense was public and flagrant, you may choose to forgive unilaterally. Examples of this abound in Scripture. Joseph (Genesis 37-50), David (2 Sam. 16:5-8), and Stephen (Acts 7:60) each demonstrated the unilateral forgiveness of Christ (Luke 23:34).

3. If you observe a serious offense that is a sin against someone other than you, confront the offender. Justice never permits a Christian to cover a sin against someone else. While we are entitled, and even encouraged, to overlook wrongs committed against us, Scripture everywhere forbids us to overlook wrongs committed against another (see Ex. 23:6; Deut. 16:20; Isa. 1:17; Isa. 59:15-16; Jer. 22:3; Lam. 3:35-36).

4. When ignoring an offense might hurt the offender, confront the guilty party. Sometimes choosing to overlook an offense might actually injure the offender (by allowing him to continue unwarned down a wrong path). In such cases it is our duty to confront in love (Gal. 6:1-2).

5. When a sin is scandalous or otherwise potentially damaging to the body of Christ, the guilty party should be confronted. Some sins have the potential to defile many people, and Scripture gives ample warning of such dangers (see Heb. 12:15; 3:13; 1 Cor. 5:1-5). In fact, Scripture calls for the church to discipline individuals who refuse to repent of open sin in the body, so that the purity of the body might be preserved (Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5).

6. Lastly, any time an offense results in a broken relationship, confrontation of the sinner should occur. Any offense that causes a breach in relationships simply cannot be overlooked. Both the offense and the breach must be confronted, and reconciliation must be sought. And both the offended party and the offender have a responsibility to seek reconciliation (Luke 17:3; Matt. 5:23-24). There is never any excuse for a Christian on either side of a broken relationship to refuse to pursue reconciliation.

The only instance where such a conflict should remain unresolved is if all the steps of discipline in Matthew 18 have been exhausted and the guilty party still refuses to repent.

Monday, May 11, 2009

"The Necessity of the Local Church"

The New Testament repeatedly emphasizes the importance of local assemblies. In fact, it was the pattern of Paul’s ministry to establish local congregations in the cities where he preached the gospel. Hebrews 10:24-25 commands every believer to be a part of such a local body and reveals why this is necessary.

It is only in the local body to which one is committed that there can be the level of intimacy that is required for carefully stimulating fellow-believers “to love and good deeds.” And it is only in this setting that we can encourage one another.

The New Testament also teaches that every believer is to be under the protection and nurture of the leadership of the local church. These godly men can shepherd the believer by encouraging, admonishing, and teaching. Hebrews 13:7 and 17 help us to understand that God has graciously granted accountability to us through godly leadership.

Furthermore, when Paul gave Timothy special instructions about the public meetings, he said “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13). Part of the emphasis in public worship includes these three things: hearing the Word, being called to obedience and action through exhortation, and teaching. It is only in the context of the local assembly that these things can most effectively take place.

Acts 2:42 shows us what the early church did when they met together: “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” They learned God’s Word and the implications of it in their lives; they joined to carry out acts of love and service to one another; they commemorated the Lord’s death and resurrection through the breaking of bread; and they prayed. Of course, we can do these things individually, but God has called us into His body-the church is the local representation of that worldwide-body-and we should gladly minister and be ministered to among God’s people.

Active local church membership is imperative to living a life without compromise. It is only through the ministry of the local church that a believer can receive the kind of teaching, accountability, and encouragement that is necessary for him to stand firm in his convictions. God has ordained that the church provide the kind of environment where an uncompromising life can thrive.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

White House says no to Jesus, yes to Allah, on the National Day of Prayer"

Breaking tradition with President George W. Bush, the Obama administration declined to host an event celebrating the National Day of Prayer this year. This adds another snub to the pro-faith community, since President Obama continues to push his recent nomination of the anti-Christian, anti-Life Judge David Hamilton, the same judge who issued controversial rulings banning public prayers offered "in Jesus name," and hastening the abortion of unborn children.

If confirmed by the Senate, Hamilton will soon be promoted to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the same court that overruled his aggressive, activist, liberal decisions for years.Obama's Judge Hamilton ruled in 2005 to ban the practice of opening the Indiana legislature with prayers mentioning Jesus Christ or using terms such as "Savior." He said that amounted to state endorsement of a religion. (But he ruled prayers to "Allah" were perfectly lawful.)


Judge Hamilton wrote: "The injunction orders the Speaker...that the prayers should not use Christ's name or title or any other denominational appeal...If those offering prayers in the Indiana House of Representatives choose to use the Arabic 'Allah'...the court sees little risk that the choice of language would advance a particular religion or disparage others."In other words, Judge Hamilton ruled the words "Jesus" or "Christ" are illegal words, prohibited for public speech, banned by the First Amendment, which somehow forbids freedom of religious expression, and makes Christian prayers ILLEGAL in a public forum. (What crazy version of the First Amendment is he reading?)

While I believe in honoring the ordained power (as indicated by my last post), I also believe in "just the facts Ma'Am". While during his campaign Mr. Obama could not speak loud enough about how he was a Christian, having attented a "Christian" Church for 30+ years, (Although, I would hardly consider Jereimah Wright, his Church or his theology Christian). All this being an attempt to down play the fact the he was raised by two Militant Muslim Fathers, attended Muslim Schools and the fact that His first name "Barrack" is after the donkey that Mohammad rode out of Mecca. As my Grandmother use to say, "the proof is in the pudding". We are, once again, seeing his true self; anti-Christ, anti-life and really anti-American. God's people must pray hard for the salvation of this power.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"What is at Stake?"

2 Corinthians 3:2, “Ye are our Epistles, written in our Hearts, known and read of all men.”

The Apostle Paul, writing these words to a very fleshly group of Christians, emphasizes the importance of purity and faithfulness to God. Paul considered their lives as very important and what was at stake was how others perceived them. I have had the misfortune for, supposing, people of God to tell me, “I don’t care what people think of me, I only answer to God”; (I usually hear that from very fleshly people). Although it is true that we answer only to God and that public opinion or political correctness should not keep us from doing right, the fact remains, according to our text, we most certainly are responsible to others to live our lives pure and faithful to God, no matter what.

From the text, there are two things at stake that I want to bring out just briefly. First, the text, “…. Ye are OUR epistles, written in OUR hearts….” The pronoun “our” refers to more than one person, by the plural form of the pronoun; but it also refers to Paul, the founding Pastor. Are you a burden or are you a helper to your Pastors. When your Pastors think of you, do they think of you with great joy or do you bring them grief because you have let the Devil get the victory in your life? Paul, no doubt, thought on these believers with great grief because they had allowed Satan to get the victory. And, although, your life may not seem as sinful as Corinth, any victory given to Satan will cause any caring Pastor grief.

Then the text, “….known and read of all men.” The second important area that is a stake is what your life does to the lives of your friends, co-workers, children, etc. The fact is that you are an epistle; the question is what kind. What do they read in you? Do they read an epistle of faithfulness and godliness or do they read an epistle of ground and victories given to Satan?

You must remember that your life is a direct reflection on the Lord Jesus Christ in the eyes of other people; your friends, your co-workers and your children. What is your epistle?

"Living Soli Deo Gloria under Barrack Obama"

As a conservative Baptist Pastor, I am not ashamed in the fact that I did not vote for Barrack Obama. Neither am I ashamed that it had nothing to do with race. I did not vote for Barrack Obama, not because he is black, but because he is anti-Christ, anti-life, and really anti-American. He stands for everything that as a conservative Baptist Pastor I find abhorrent. I entered the voting booth with the Holy Spirit of God being my conscience.

However, he is the President and being as such, I have certain obligations to him. Romans 13:1,

“1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

2Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

Also, as a Pastor that believes in the absolute Sovereignty of God, I do not believe that God stepped aside and watched as Barrack Obama walked away with the Presidency. I believe that God ordained for him to be our President. Paul could not be clearer with his words, “the powers that be are ordained of God….” God put Barrack Obama in office. Why? I do not know the answer to that question, for I do not know the mind of God.

There are a lot of Christians that are openly in opposition to the President. I have even heard Christians speak about a militia. I wonder how many of those people actually pray for the salvation of Mr. Obama. Do they spend most of their time putting him down or praying that God will give him wisdom and that salvation will come to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Paul could not be clearer; to resist the ordained authority of God is to resist God. You say, “Well, we have a President who is anti-Christian”. Well, wait a minute, Paul wrote this letter to the Romans who, themselves, were under persecution from an anti-Christian ruler. Yet he says, “do not resist that authority, if you do, you are resisting the authority of God."

To think for one minute that we, somehow, have the right to rise up against the President because he is anti-Christian, is unbiblical and wrong. We are to support him, pray for him and honor him, until what time we are faced with the decision to obey God or man; then you obey God.

How do we live for the Glory of God Alone (Soli Deo Gloria) under Barrack Obama? Honor the Lord by honoring His ordained power.

"True Lips Wait?"

This will come as no news to most younger evangelicals, but The Tennessean [Nashville] has just taken notice of the fact that a sizable number of younger evangelical couples are saving their first kiss for their wedding ceremony.

As the paper reports, "In a culture where casual sex is the norm, some Tennesseans have taken the purity pledge to a whole new level, through a practice that some teens refer to as the 'Virgin Lips Movement.'"

Reporter Claudia Pinto began her article with the fact that Katy Kruger, who was married on December 13 of last year, experienced her first kiss at the moment her new husband kissed his bride. "The 22-year-old woman, who was married at Harpeth Hills Church of Christ in Brentwood, admits to being nervous and a bit self-conscious about having her first kiss in front of 200 people," Pinto reported. "I wasn't sure what to do," said the bride, "I thought I would mess up."

The Virgin Lips Movement will sound absolutely nuts to a culture that has openly embraced the sexual revolution. Sexual virginity is controversial enough, with authors like Jessica Valenti arguing that the expectation of virginity until marriage is unfair to girls and young women. In The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women, Valenti presses her case, suggesting that when young women aim for virginity and fail, they suffer a loss of self-esteem. Valenti's argument is all the evidence any sane person should need to see that the world has gone crazy when it comes to sex.

Over the past thirty years Western civilization has undergone a near total transformation in sexual morality. Sex education programs assume that teenagers (and increasingly pre-teens as well) simply will be involved in sexual activity. Sexual purity, abstinence, and sexual denial are written off as unrealistic, unfair, and repressive.

Even so, the Virgin Lips Movement will come as a shock to some older evangelicals. For older Christians, the expectation was, as the Bible makes clear, for sex to wait until marriage. As for kissing, that was considered to be another matter altogether. To some of these older Christians, the Virgin Lips Movement sounds like overkill and over-reaction.
Listen to Katy Kruger, as reported in The Tennessean: "It was so important to me because I felt a kiss was something very intimate, and something I wanted to give only to one man, to my husband," said Kruger. "He thought it was so special, and he was so proud to be able to be the only man I will ever kiss."

While sexual abstinence until monogamous marriage is the biblical standard, these young Christians see virginity as requiring more than reserving sexual intercourse for marriage. They see kissing as an act of physical intimacy -- a gateway drug to greater physical intimacy and involvement.

As any minister who works with youth and young adults knows, the "how far is too far question" is a constant. The Virgin Lips Movement represents a determination to stop that train before it leaves the station, so to speak.
Consider this: In the space of little more than a single generation, we have seen the breaking down of virtually every social and cultural support for sexual abstinence. Arousal and intimacy come with the romantic longing that marks the deepening relationship between a man and a woman. Young couples no longer court on the porch swing with the girl's parents sitting inside and very close at hand. Now, most young couples face the temptation of romantic contexts in which intimacy--and this means sexual intimacy--is a likely outcome.

The Virgin Lips Movement represents a serious effort to push back against this expectation and to create boundaries that will protect virtue and honor marriage.
Alec Cort, Minister to Students at Tulip Grove Baptist Church in Nashville, told the paper that a significant percentage of the young couples in his ministry have taken the "no kiss until marriage" pledge. "I have always encouraged those people," he said. "It sets the ultimate bar."

Well, perhaps not an ultimate bar, but a recognizably significant bar.
There is no explicit biblical ban on premarital kissing, but any honest person knows that there are kisses that can only be considered sexual, naturally leading to the sex act itself. These young
Christians are not afraid of their bodies, they are afraid of sinning against God and losing something precious to themselves as well.

In a world that has made monogamy an embarrassment, these young Christians want to offer their future spouse the gift of monogamous lips. In an age of instant sexual gratification, these young believers believe that true lips wait. This is what a counter-revolution looks like.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Did the BIble Misquote Jesus?

Tom Krattenmaker, an opinion columnist for USA Today, wrote an article entitled “Fightin’ Words”, in which he regards the inconsistency of the Scriptures. He brings in Dr. Bart Erhman from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (and, yes, I cheered for them in the NCAA Tournament). He quotes Erhamn:

If the Bible is the literal word of God how could it be inconsistent on so many details large and small? Let's start with an example appropriate to the just-concluded Easter season marking the Savior's death and resurrection: As Jesus was dying on the cross, was he in agony, questioning why God had forsaken him? Or was he serene, praying for his executioners? It depends, Ehrman points out, on whether you're reading the Gospel of Mark or Luke. Regarding Jesus' birthplace of Bethlehem, had his parents traveled there for a census (Luke's version) or is it where they happened to live (Matthew's version)? Did Jesus speak of himself as God? (Yes, in John; no, in Matthew.)

What always amazes me about anti-Christ people, like Ehrman and Krattenmaker, is that they never allow for the same rules of consistency in their own world that they put on the Scripture. For example, if these two men were involved in a conversation with a large group of people, and then later had to recount the conversation to another party, they would allow for different perspectives; as long as the perspective do not contradict each other. They would allow for some to see the conversation from a different perspective and; therefore, focus on different areas in the re-telling of that conversation.

The same is the case with the Word of God. John’s purpose of writing was to emphasize the deity of Christ; Matthew’s purpose was to emphasize the humanity of Christ. Obviously, they will tell things a little bit different because their focus was on different things. However, they do not contradict each other. Anyone who would take the time to study the history of the Gospel’s would understand this fact. I call Mr. Bart Erhman and Mr. Tom Krattenmaker to allow for the same rules for consistency, not change the rules in an attempt to discredit what you already choose not to believe.

What is Your Authority

We affirm the four main Sola’s, (Latin for “Alone”); Sola Gratia (Grace Alone), Sola Fide (Faith Alone), Sola Deo Gloria (to God Alone be the Glory), and Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone). That is the emphasis of this article, Sola Scriptura.

Christians separate from Roman Catholics in this area (among other areas). We do not believe that anything else is needed, other than the Word of God, to stand as our final authority in matters of faith and practice. To hold up anything else to the same degree as the Scriptures, is to be guilty of idolatry. Scripture alone is the source of our faith. We do not need the words of a priest as our only understanding of God; we have the Scripture. It was Martin Luther who said, “That a simply laymen armed with Scripture is greater than the mightiest Pope without it”.

One of the classic verses on this is 2 Ti 3:16
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

“Inspiration” is the Greek word “θεόπνευστος” comes from two Greek words, “Theos” (God) and “pneo” (blow or breathe); literally “prompted by God”. The Scriptures were not some invention of the minds of mortal men, they were prompted by God. You say, “What do you mean, prompted”? 2 Pe 1:21
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

I like the word moved. It is the Greek word “φέρω” and it literally means “to bear or to carry”. What does Peter say is clearly happening in the giving of the Scriptures? That these men were carried along. Notice the prepositional phrase that modifies “moved”, “by the Holy Spirit”. The Greek verb “φέρω” is also in the passive voice, which means that the subject is receiving the action. The subject is “aνθρωπος” (men). These holy men received the action of being moved or carried along by the Holy Spirit to write down what He, by divine inspiration, gave them.

B.B. Warfield said, “….every word indited under the analogous influence of inspiration was at one and the same time the consciously self-chosen word of the writer and the divinely-inspired word of the Spirit.

This, then, is what we understand by the church doctrine:—a doctrine which claims that by a special, supernatural, extraordinary influence of the Holy Ghost, the sacred writers have been guided in their writing in such a way, as while their humanity was not superseded, it was yet so dominated that their words became at the same time the words of God, and thus, in every case and all alike, absolutely infallible.

Charles H. Spurgeon said, “This singular personality of the Word to each one of a thousand generations of believers is one of its greatest charms and one of the surest proofs of its divine inspiration. We treat our Bibles not as old almanacs but as books for the present: new, fresh, adapted for the hour. Abiding sweetness dwells in undiminished freshness in the ancient words upon which our fathers fed in their day. Glory be to God, we are feasting on them still. If not, we ought to be. We can only blame ourselves if we do not!”

Christians believe in a verbum Dei (voice of God) in the Scriptures, we need to other source, no other man to speak for God. The Scriptures and the Scriptures alone, speak the word of the Living God to us.