Monthly Archives: February 2010

Famine in the Land

We already have a famine of the Word of God.

For the past year I am observing in different churches-VCF-Alabang,Word for the World-Makati,Bread of Life, GCF, Union Church of Manila. Most would start with a text-4 churches would continue with it-but only 2 will only really do expository preaching and end with an application that is derived from the text. Most will go on topical preaching and hop from one text to another to finish their message. Their application does not tally with the text.

And these are the big churches. Is there something wrong with our seminaries that taught these pastors? or are these pastors following a different model?

Pastors/Elders -please be faithful preachers of the Word-and we must show faithful and relevant preaching-or this generation and the coming one is lost. We must look into how we teach our children regarding their biblical education. We must show to them that His message is exciting and yet have great depth and breadth. And we must make sure that they read the Word-on their own. They must be conversant and intimate with the biblical text. They must be able understand it within their context and canonical position.

Advertisements

Robert Coleman’s -The Master Plan of Evangelism

Due to my forays into the G12 cultic methods-I want to start first positively-that is I want to discuss a discipleship method taught at the seminary I attended for two years-Asian Theological Seminary.

Robert Emerson Coleman

Here is how the book was ordered:

1. Selection

2. Association

3. Consecration

4.Impartation

5. Demonstration

6.Delegation

7. Supervision

8. Reproduction

A good excerpt from page 18 is “One can not transfrom a world excerpt as individuals in the world are transfromed, and individuals cannot be changed except as they are molded in the hands of the Master. The necessity is apparent not only to select a few laymen, but to keep the group small enouh to be able to work effectively with them.”

More later.

What is the characteristic of the Second Group? (1 John 1:1-10)

1      That which was from the beginning,

                                     which we have heard,

                                    which we have seen with our eyes,

                                    which we looked upon and

                                                      have touched with our hands,

       concerning the word of life—

 2      the life was made manifest, and

                                     we have seen it, and

                                                     testify to it and

                                                     proclaim to you the eternal life,

       which was with the Father and

                  was made manifest to us—

 3      that

                                     which we have seen and

                                                                  heard

                                                 we proclaim also to you,

       so that you too may have fellowship with us;

                                                            and indeed our fellowship is

           with the Father and with his Son Jesus    Christ.

 4      And                        we are writing these things

                                                                 so that our joy may be complete.

 5      This is the message

                                    we have heard from him and

                                                     proclaim to you,

       that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

+6   If we say we have fellowship with him

–     while we walk in darkness,

–     we lie and do not practice the truth.

+7   But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,

+    we have fellowship with one another,

+    and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

+8   If we say we have no sin,

–     we deceive ourselves,

–     and the truth is not in us.

+9   If we confess our sins,

+    he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins

+    and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

+10  If we say we have not sinned,

–     we make him a liar,

–     and his word is not in us.

Comments:

 1. All in bold refers to Jesus (from the beginning, Word of Life, life which was manifest, with the Father

2. We (Apostle John and 1st Century Christians) experienced something common-they heard,seen,looked,touch,testify and proclaim. The enemy group is teaching a different Jesus- which cannot be heard,seen,touch, witnessed and proclaimed (publicly acknowledged). A Spirit Jesus, a ghost Jesus. A Jesus of the whispers.

3. God is light-there is no darkness in him

4. The next 5 conditional statements follows a +–,+++,+–,+++,+– pattern. Something you don’t expect from a fisherman like John. But it shows that through the Holy Spirit he can make this sophisticated literary device to convey parellism.

5. Significant is the parellism of verses 7 and 9. “The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us” is parallel to “to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”

6. All the negatives in verses 6,8, and 10 is about untruth in the third group of people-who are called proto-Gnostic (Greek gnosis-knowledge) who believes in “salvation by secret knowledge” and believes that the body is evil-while the spirit is good. And the spirit and body has no effect in each other. To them, “one can walk in darkness-and yet remain “in fellowship” with their Spirit Jesus. This proto-Gnostics are liars.

Applicatory Question:

 What does “walk” means in verses 6 & 7? Is it merely “living” and without regard to the “thinking”? Or is it both?

 My take: Usually ‘walk’ is taken as a way of life or a lifestyle. One can be patient, kind and loving. However, one can be an atheist and live a moral life-does not attend worship services, read the bible, pray, or give to missionary endeavors. So –if walk is merely regarding the lifestyle-then  it is highly restrictive. If you check the word ‘fellowship’ at verse 6 and look for other verses with ‘fellowship’ at chapter 1-verses 3 & 7 will refer you to the fellowship with the ‘Father and the Son’ as well as ‘one another’ and the ‘blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin’. Clearly living and believing/thinking is taken together in the meaning of ‘walk’

 The Gnostics will always separate what God puts together- flesh and blood and then –living and believing. Let us follow Apostle John’s witness to what God ultimately requires of us-that we ‘walk in the light, as he is in the light’.

Who is Reformed?

 

This is my reply to a post by Rev Noli Malibuyo at : http://www.twoagespilgrims.com/doctrine/?p=28

My problem with our Reformed brethren is that they want to restrict more what is already restrictive term. What is its goal? faithfulness? John Macarthur is leading many evangelicals and baptist into an understanding of salvation that glorifies the grace of God in Christ. What more do we like him to do? Make sure that others baptized their infant children? -when we in the Reformed paedobaptist camp does not know how to rear our children so that they will trust the Lord Jesus as their Savior and Lord when they grow up?

The LBCF Reformed baptists is as old as the WCF-at least same generation. Some of original Anabaptist were predestinarian in theology and yet we hounded them like pigs and drown them as one.

Do we now glory in the fact that Calvin relentlessly and without impunity hounded Servetus with incriminating evidence to the Catholic authorities just because Servetus mentioned in the side of a book of Calvin that “anyone who believes in baptizing infants has a demon” . I know we defended Calvin that he only did this things because he is a man of the times-and therefore we should not be proud of it-and instead be sorrowful and repentant about it. Do we now use this to demarginalize our Reformed Baptist brethren again?

Or so that all of us will have a restrictive view of RPW? Or that we will be all amilllenialist in a Dutch ghetto-where we are fearful of the betrayals and unfaithfulness of those around us?
Or we glory in the law for our sanctification instead in the grace of God? Or should we glory in our confessions when we use it to obscure the glory of Christ in the Word fo God? Or we hold to ahistorical covenant theology instead of the biblical covenants (plural)?

The fact that we are many last Jan 29-30, 2010 , with many differing eschatologies/ecclesiologies/sacramentologies and yet united in the gospel and grace of Jesus Christ should be cause for joy. We should be known for that-and be respectful of those who joins us away from a Semi-Pelagian Churchianity.

I am a confessional Reformed holding to the Three Forms of Unity since 1982. I know my Berkouwer,Kuyper,Bavinck,Turretin,Olevianus and others. I just felt sorry that instead of uniting within the banner of the Grace of God-we need other qualifications to be Reformed.

Me a Baptist? Maybe somewhat, sometime ago-not anymore

Baptist in history are heroes of the faith. They suffered so much misunderstanding,persecution, pain and death from Catholics, Reformed, Lutheran and Anglicans. They suffered because they believed in a regenerated congregation who believes in Jesus Christ with a living and informed faith. Many-within the Roman Catholic church- entered through the church by forced conversion or through their kings-mass conversion. It also means mass baptisms.

Baptism of Clovis in Reims: http://www.museehistoiredefrance.fr/index.php?option=com_oeuvre&view=detail&cid=205

I am only commenting with my experience here in the Philippines. Good Baptists usually used the term Evangelicals or Christians to describe themselves. Those who remain Baptist in name are almost always synonymous with “fundamentalist, separatist”. Other good Baptists want to prefaced their label with a descriptive “Reformed”.

I have some qualms with the term “Reformed” if it instantly refers to a covenant theology with a flatline view of the covenant-like that of the Reconstructionist or the Federal Visionist. That is why I am using the term “New Covenantal Reformed” to show that my view is historical-which means it begins with Noah and Abraham-and not with Adam. I see Adam as the first representative of man- but I am still weighing the term “federal head” since Augustine understanding of original sin does not necessitates a covenantal transaction. Not all Reformed theologians advocates the Westminster -type of covenant theology. But I am not dispensational (though I with some appreciation of their view of discontinuities about the land,people and temple-as well as the law) and neither I am not anti-covenantal. But I don’t want to be identified as a modern-day Baptist because of the following:

1. Creedless-There are some advantages of being without a confession or statement of faith -meaning you can easily follow the Scriptures -wherever you and your church decided that it is what Scripture teaches. However if a church does not have a statement of faith-who says if a teaching is an aberration or truth? If you will be conducting a discipleship or basic course on doctrines-which ones are important? If there will be questions within the church-who will tell if someone is in danger of falling away from the faith?

2. Singular Leadership- Presbyterian,Reformed and some Baptist and evangelical churches have plural elderships. This reflects the singular headship of Jesus Christ. This also reflects New Testament (especially Pauline) Christianity. This tendency for singular leadership tends to mimic, in a local church setting, -the papacy. He is the one who decided the direction, doctrine and discipline of members. Some churches were able to weather this situation because of the servant of its pastors  and/or the vigilance of its members or board of deacons.

3. Culture-bound-I am not a  member of a Protestant Reformed Church-so I am not against the doctrine of common grace/presence. But I believe in the doctrine of the antithesis. I see culture and the media through the lens of Reformed Theology of -creation,fall,redemption and consummation. It is the sieve that I use whether a thing,activity or idea maybe redeemed and used for His glory. I am also missional and believe in contextualization (based on the Lausanne Covenant) or incarnational-type of evangelism and missions. But seeker-friendly? I would not used that word since Romans 1-3 as well Ephesians 2 prevents me to see that depraved-unregenerated man will ever seek God on his own. So most of these churches will use these resources with minimum theological resources. It is only through the defensive stance of the Holy Spirit that they are not engulf inside this secular quicksand.

4. Unbiblical evangelism-not knowing about the total depravity of man and that unregenerate man will only resist the gospel-these churches will resort to gimmicks, manipulation, coercion and tickling the ears of their hearers. Though we are told by our Lord not to be a stumbling block to others coming to Him (meaning there are behaviors,attitudes and actions we must avoid doing or being) -He also told us to share the gospel in a way that will not reduced its demand on men to eb truly His disciples. Using manmade methods will surely result to man’s disicples -not Jesus’.

5. No exposition of God’s Word-not confident of the power of the Gospel and Word of God to change peoples’ lives-they resort to topical preaching -which is geared towards the shallow diagnosis of man’s needs. Result? there is almost a famine of God’s Word in these churches.And the problem is -they don’t know that-because their speakers-are great speakers-but their manna is not from heaven. It may inspire them for a while. It may alleviate them for a while. But it will not be the living water-nor the bread from heaven.

6. Unconcerned about children’s biblical education-since they think that their children will have an adult commitment around 12 to 18 years old-they neglect to catechize and teach the bible-using the bible itself-their own children. This is not true with reformed Baptists though-I have talked with Pastor  Noel Espinosa and he believes that we should not set the minimum age when a child may understand the gospel and trust the Lord Jesus for their salvation. But amongst baptists-they will treat their children with coloring sections and activities instead of delving into bible segments and doctrines. I thought they should be more aware and concerned of their children’s education-but they are not. So the Baptist I admired does not live in my neighborhood or immediate surroundings. Understanding the bible through a covenantal lens may correct this neglect.

7. Unaffiliation/ unaccountability- I do not believe in hierarchical or sacerdotal church government. Nor do I believe in one-man church leadership. I believe in multiple leadership in a local church-and the local church and its leaders accountable collegialy to a group of Christians for their doctrine,practices and finances. If I don’t believe in the Pope in ROme-much more for a pope inside a local church.

8. Barging in worship-I don’t believe in a wooden worship-meaning you already know what will exactly happen each week-nor I believe in totally unstructured public worship. We worship in Spirit and in Truth. And we worship in an order that glorifies God. Worship that lifts up men and their group is not good worship. Worship must points to the great themes of the Scripture-Creation, Fall, Redemption and the New Creation. Most evangelical churches just barges into the throne of Grace without even being led by the Word-nor we are made conscious of our unworthiness except for the work done by the Lord Jesus at Calvary. They just barge in.

So I rather be labeled with a long set of descriptors-Born Again Christian, Lausanne Covenant-Evangelical, New Covenantal and Missional Reformed (Kuyperian,Van Tillian, Vossian and Schaefferian).

Chaos and Tyranny

Many would like to think that God allowed man with complete freedon before intervening in his world. However, based on our theological tradition-we sometimes emphasized the other side-we see God as planning and foreordaining everything that will come to pass without any reference to man’s sin and freedom. So you either have the Pelagian or the determinist point of view.And sometimes you also got the supralapsarian variety.

My speculation is that since God’s thoughts is greater than ours and even our actions-from eternity-therefore He run all the available combinations or variations arising from the freedom He gave man-and factoring in the rebellion of Satan-He saw from eternity-in His mind-that men’s freedom will lead him to rebellion.His rebellion instead will lead to a state of utter chaos or utter tyranny. A Serbian/Iraqi civil war situation or a totalitarian state much like Hitler’s or Stalin’s. It will be hell on earth.

From that standpoint-He decided He will make earth-grant man’s freedom-but also decided that He will also actively intervene to save man-not all men-since He  must allow men in their freedom. But He will not allow his good creation to be wasted by a rebel. He is willing to have His Son pay the price of His justice so that He can save men righteously. Thus he both allow both evil to continue -but also actively directs history towards His righteous ends-in fact holy  end. In some sense -this view is infralapsarian-allowing man to fall-then saving him. But it is also supralapsarian-He means to upheld His glory first by rescuing man-who really needs saving.

Too Busy

Since January -I am too busy. Making my commitments to my family, church (San Pedro CRC) and to the office goals work. Around February I was assigned to be the OIC for my team at Service Standards-since our team leader-Engr Gavino is undergoing dialysis three times a week-and it leaves him tired in the morning always.

So I am not posting as many as before-and yet I have at least three bible studies every week-and I am teaching my 4 children once a week through a printed review of the Bible-starting at Genesis.

I am also undergoing online classes with Christian Leaders Institute (www.clionline.org) and a MBS at a Brethren website. I am not sure how I can juggle through it. I attended 2 Saturdays in January regarding Biblical preaching at Calamba CRC-then last January 29-30 , I also attended Michael Horton’s theology conference at Quezon City Evangelical Church. It was well-attended by 200+ pastors and church workers

I am teaching 1 John plus Reasons for not Believing during Sunday School-and then “Basics of a Christian Life” for the 10-18 construction workers attending the Saturday bible study. I am also starting this Friday “Basics of the Christian Faith and Salvation” for the office bible study class. I am hoping that I can study 1 John with my wife during Saturdays.

I have not finished my Hong Kong journal, nor transcribed the office bible study notes on Matthew (upto chapter 20), nor finished my recounting of my life.At least -upto the  end of January, 2010 I was able to finished my 1 year commitment as Upkeep Ministry coordinator of Powerhouse church before leaving for San Pedro CRC. I hope can catch up in the later days