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Ready to Discriminate?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

First, listen to this 9-minute clip:

Launch Player  |  Download  |  Full Sermon

Here's the topic for today's discussion:

John MacArthur is advocating a special, particular kind of discrimination that needs to happen if the Christian church is to remain healthy and pure. It may not be culturally sensitive to say so, but it's right, and loving too.

Do you think John has made the case for this particular kind of discrimination in the Christian church? Why or why not?

If he has, what do you think of the standard he has proposed?


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#1  Posted by Gary Correll  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 3:39 AM

For a number of years we have confronted the growing lack of discernment in churches. We experienced theology of every ilk including "God is love so we just need to love each other; let's just have a conversation about our ideas; and all roads lead to God. We are attending a church that recently had to battle over the doctrine of the Trinity - with the elders! To God's glory, the pastor prevailed and the elders left. We thank God for the leaders who are willing to stand for the truth. Like Phil says, there are hills to die on.

#2  Posted by Carl Loar  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 3:53 AM

Dear Dr Mac and GTY,

The importance of preaching in this matter of discernment grows stronger as the growth of prosperity preaching is spreading through the airwaves and local churches in these bad economical times. Like a magic wand from God, many are being led to believe from the "name it and claim it" preachings they can have a get out of jail card for their financial problems instead of hearing the true gospel of Christ. I've observed that once a person starts to believe these false doctrines, it is harder for them to hear the truth than those who have never heard the Word. And once one of these believers of these false doctrines infiltrate a group of true believers, they can cause confusion and disruption among those looking for God's true message.

The enemy is rooted deep in today's world and I thank God that ministries like GTY continue to give us the tools we need to fight this problem and get the real gospel of Christ out to those so desperately needing to hear it. This race is being run for the eternal lives of many and we can't slow down now. It's a fight with many rounds. Praise God our coach Jesus Christ is the champion and His power is stronger than all others. If we just hold dear and stay steadfast in His Word we will hold our ground.

God bless you and your ministry.

#3  Posted by Alvie Perkins  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 5:01 AM

So very true, it is time for preachers to stand and preach the whole counsel of God. The enemy is not so much outside the walls of tha church as it is in the church. Many so called Christians do not want to face the fact that spiritual growth is more important than a brand new fellowship hall. When (we) preacher begin to stand and preach convicting messages based on God's Word, I believe that He will begin to bless His church. Thanks for the bring God's Word clear and sharp John.

Also what John said about many Christian don't know who are real Christians. So very true, as long as they said a pray, walked down front, or anyother event they say they must be saved.

#4  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 7:30 AM

Amen and Amen! (Logged in as John, but this is his wife) I was sharing the gospel with a woman who had always been against it, as she was dying in the hospital. (First we prayed that all the gospel messages we knew she had been given and all the verses would be brought to her mind by God) Praise the LORD she believed, repented and asked Jesus Christ for a new heart. It took her about 15 minutes to slowly say all she wanted-she was not given an 'easy believism' presentation of Gods Word! (she really couldn't talk before this, but God, in His Grace and Mercy allowed her to speak all she needed). When we went downstairs, my friend was so glad her mom finally believed in Jesus Christ and repented that when we ran into one of her moms friends she told her the good news. This woman responded with "Oh, honey, you needn't have worried, as a Christian I always knew your mom would be in heaven because she was a pretty good person". After what I had just witnessed upstairs I was pretty grieved to hear this outlandish comment. I said to her "Excuse me, but any Christian would know that being a 'pretty good person' in no way gets anyone into heaven. The bible tells us exactly how to get there - by Gods Grace through Faith and it never even once says you just have to be a good person." and I held up my Bible. This woman then said "Well, that's just some old book written by a bunch of old men and it doesn't mean anyhing." Now I am pretty exasperated and our conversation was long, but I'll just give the highlights. I said "This is Gods word to us and it is true." I was able to refute, biblically and to her stunned satisfaction, all the contradictions she had claimed were in it, which her pastor had told her! She just said "Well, you know more about that book than I do" to which I replied "That's the problem ma'am - you need to know this book, Gods word and you don't know a single word of it yet you still claim to be a good Christian. Tell me, what is the gospel you give?" I kid you not - this was her reply "My church teaches that god is love and he loves everybody no matter who they are, what they do or what they believe and all paths lead to God". After I gave her the Gospel according to Gods word, she still said "Well, that may be, but you can't trust that book and a loving God will accept everyone everywhere". My final comment to her was "You better get to know what God actually says instead of what some man tells you he means. Because with that message you espouse, you will have to stand before a Holy and Righteous Judge someday and explain why YOU helped people along the very path to eternal damnation." I know it sounds harsh but this woman was espousing basic Oprahanity and couldn't give me even one verse from the Bible and she claimed still to be a Christian (yet she did not believe the Gospel or in repentance or in obedience....nothing) so i could not allow her to walk around with that kind of misinformation. (Her church by the way was The Universal Unitarian Community Church and they claim to be Christians and their pastor espouses the new age gospel mixed with the 3 legged "stooge" gospel - but no Jesus. Without Christ we have NOTHING.) I hope the Word works in her heart because after my last comment she just became silent and stared. I pray it set her mind to thinking about the seriousness of her lost condition and false message.

I did tell her she was not a Christian, according to Gods Word. She was shocked that I would say that. Love is telling people the TRUTH, noy lying to them. I'm sure she thought I was a 'narrow-minded, bigoted person' but I can assure you - I loved that woman and her lost condition enough to tell her the truth. Anything else would have been a continuation of the lie she was living......which leads to eternal damnation. At the onset of our conversation she stubbornly claimed to be a Christian no matter what was shown her, but by the end, I do know she was in doubt about her condition. It may seem "good" to let people remain comfortable in the lie.........but that is not loving them. Hating a person lets them believe in a lie. Loving them exposes the truth. Yes, I know-the opposite of what fallen people believe.

#5  Posted by Bret Lee  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 7:54 AM

Pastor John always makes a good case in his reasoning with scripture. John has taught me many things that I hadn't heard or taught in church, like election, deliverance, and on topics like, when God abandons a nation, tongues, the narrow road, heresy in the Catholic church, and more! You can't find this teaching (John's) in many churches today, Why? Well, could it be the fulfillment of 2 Timothy being played out? 2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. The statistics show that the church is in agreement with the world on immoral subjects like, abortion, homosexuality, pornography, divorce, fornication, etc..Is this because the church is showing us the reality of what God warned us about in 2 Timothy 4? If we are not fulfilling this verse right now, we must be perilously close to it. Just recently, I listened to a message John preached and in it he described how God provided some horror to keep the tares out of the church using Acts 5, the story of Ananias and Sapphira, where God killed them for lying. Now that will keep the church on the straight and narrow road. But, only for a time and many will soon forget that lesson. I think the majority of church's believe these tares are better off in the church today. They believe that somehow they will regenerate them and besides they are just sinners like us anyway, they will say, and we are too love all who come to us! The ever present "Love" message that's being taught today, without any condemnation or judgment to balance it. Lastly, the evidence of those walking the narrow road and entering the narrow gate today is evident. I have been through the great awakening on facebook. With some 900 friends it has become evident that not all of us travel the same road. I have stopped referring to many, as my brothers or sisters in Christ. I have been fooled way too many times and felt ashamed that I had associated them with the same gospel that I believe, and John teaches. I have now limited the teaching I post on my wall. I have posted (in the past) what I thought were sound messages without checking their backgrounds first, only to find out they have associated themselves in the past with heretics or apostates. I know when I put up a message from John, it is solid whether I have listened to it first or not. So, for that, I am truly grateful for access to John's messages and I know others have thanked me for sharing it with them. I can't get enough of John's scripture sharing truth. Being unemployed at the moment I usually listen to about 3 messages a day. Some would call me a disciple of John's and I don't mind that. Of course, it is our love for our Lord Jesus Christ who takes center stage in all things. Thanks to John MacArthur, my mentor and brother in Jesus Christ! P.S. Just read the comments from John's Bryant's wife above. There are so many like her filling the pews in church today. In love you gave her the truth and she will understand that one day on the other side!
#6  Posted by Ed Rudd  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 8:22 AM

I have compatibility and connection problems probably related to my dial-up connection that won't allow me to listen to the recording. But, the mere asking of the question -to me - warrants a response.

I am a person who has been involved with "church" activities almost all my life. Mostly with "churches" involved in experiential religion. It's the way I was raised up. It's the way I raised my own kids- God forgive me! But, my point here is this. We are several generations removed from the "Downgrade" Spurgeon attempted to warn the church about. And many -like me- are products of that downgrade. I see a person like myself who God so graciously called out of religious traps like the one I was caught up in, as a modern day Nicodemus. People who God says too (in essence) ,"You MUST forget all that you know about what you believe it takes to enter into My Kingdom. YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN!!!" This is a difficult, yet, necessary thing to do. When the religious house came down in Matt 7, the Bible says, "..and great was the fall of it!" One must re-evaluate everything. In my case - my entire belief structure, all of my whole decision making processes, and my very salvation was brought into question. This is NOT an easy thing to do!! Believe me- GREAT was the fall of it- is really an understatement.

Many of the people who Jesus taught believed, yet the fear of the Jews, and the prospect of being kicked out of the synagogue kept them from following Jesus. The message of the Truth of the Gospel brings the same choice to people following "some other Jesus". But, Jesus confronted their beliefs and so should we. Their very salvation was at stake so Jesus didn't attempt to wade slowly through their varied belief structure, He confronted their beliefs. Or should I say- their unbelief. And we should too!!

But, just as in Jesus' time, we must know this message will not be well received. Today's hearers have to face the same truth that Nicodemus had to, just like I had too, and maybe just like you had too. No matter whether God calls someone out of the Kingdom Hall, or the Catholic church, or "charismania", or any other man-made religion. These are the fields we are called to proclaim the gospel into. Jesus said it wouldn't be easy. It's not easy facing friends or relatives with a Gospel so different than one they hold so dear. But, just as the Truth set me free, I know the Truth can set them free too.

So, ARM yourself, put on the armour like it says in Ephesians 6 and stand firmly on the Rock of God's Truth. Study to show yourself a soldier with nothing to be ashamed of. As I said in the other blog, we must #1- be motivated by LOVE, #2- stand on the Truth as defined by the Scriptures properly divided, and #3- go with the understanding that salvation is of the Lord. We are to preach or witness the Truth, it is God who calls and saves.

Thanks John and GTY ministries for proclaiming the Truth and helping equip soliders for the war at hand.

#7  Posted by Orlando Delgado  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 9:33 AM

As always, this is not a surprise to me of solid Christian Bible Teaching from John MacArthur.

On the prior blog “The Vulnerable Church,” There was this individual claiming how Roman Catholics had the same doctrinal views as Protestants. He is very clever in his views, as Satan, he can also recite scripture to prove his point. This person reads very articulate on his points and sounds convincing. He may come up on this blog as well using Scripture out of context or very simplistic to create a universal Christianity.

I consider those people with that kind of view dangerous, and I do not have the time or the interest to discuss issues as this with them. They tend to get lost in their own wisdom and cleverness of words that it becomes a matter of their belief and without proper study and analysis of their point (if they have one) attempt to convince people. What I mean by this is that, when they attempt to understand Christ, there is this dangerous urge or crave that they have to understand every single religious belief out there and find common ground.

Please be wise in the word, and be aware of those wolves dressed like sheep. Thanks GTY.

#8  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 9:54 AM

#4 - John Bryant's wife. I understand the seriousness of the issue, but I kind of laughed when I read "Oprahanity". It's sad eh?

I go through the same problems as everyone else when trying to bring some true light to some wrong views and understanding. Funny how people trust so easily in pastors and preachers. I have to remind myself that I was once like them as well, only by the grace of our Lord I am not like that anymore. I pray for a lot of people, beginning with my own family. I pray for their salvation. I pray for my husband's salvation (he grew up in a pentecostal church, knows very little about the Bible and believes in a lot of errors). It was very hard for me to tell him that he is not saved, he got really surprised actually. I told him why I was certain he wasn't a Christian (and I don't think he ever was), I showed him a lot of bible verses (1 John comes to my mind). He is certain that he's not going to hell - after all, it's up to him to make a decision --> pentecostals are mainly arminians (I say mainly, but aren't them all?). He thinks I am self-righteouss. I pray that I am not crossing that line.

God bless you all, and may He give you discernment and wisdom.

In Christ,

E.

#9  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 10:06 AM

Just adding to my reply. I listen to a lot of sermons daily, and one of the latest ones was How to Evangelize Religious People:

https://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/42-164

I quote:

"Anything but the truth is a damning deception that has the greatest power to destroy souls forever because it gives the illusion that all is well."

#10  Posted by Briget Beal  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 10:58 AM

I listened to the audio clip from Dr. MacArthur. I have a question. Both my husband and I are recently saved. Less than 2 months. We attend a very small church in our community. If we find that the people in our church are not true Christians, do we leave the church and find some other place to go or do we stay and tell them we believe they are not true Christians? It seems to be a difficult position to be in. Neither I nor my huband drive and it would be very difficult to go to a larger and further away church from the one we currently attend.

#11  Posted by Travis Allen  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 11:09 AM

Bridget:

If you and your husband are that recently saved (only two months), make it priority one to grow in the fundamentals of Christianity. Discernment is a by-product of sanctification, which takes time. You don't want to make an improper judgment based on incomplete knowledge.

We have a series available for free reading/listening/downloading on our website called Fundamentals of the Faith. I recommend you and your husband go through that series together; you shoud also order the corresponding workbook so you can work through the questions and have a record of your answers.

For the time being, make it your aim to be a joy to your current church leadership (Heb. 13:17), supporting them in every godly endeavor with your prayers and service. And learn all you can about the faith so you can grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. As you grow, the Holy Spirit will make issues plain to you, enabling you to see things you hadn't noticed before and giving you the wisdom from His Word to guide your decisions.

Travis Allen
Director of Internet Ministry

#12  Posted by Markus Seppälä  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 11:13 AM

First I want to thank you for this audioblog. It is strange how I have just been talking with one charismatic pastor and one Lutherian priest(revered) about the situation in christianity today and now I hear this. Thank you in the name and blood of Jesus Christ. Bless your heart.

We truly need to get the church back to the Gospel according the Bible and also the pastors to teach the word of God from the Bible in to the lives of people.

We have always had that same situation where the word of God have been fighting with the word of humans/ satan. That is what the reformation is about also and today we need those men who would do rather what God want than what people want. We need new Zwinglis, Calvins and Spurgeons.

We need the Bible reformation where we get back to the word of God. If we want results that will be count we have only one way to get them and that is through the Word of God.

I´m really happy that I´m not the only one who is thinking these issues... And specially when I get to know that someone over the seas are thinking the same even we do not know eachother then I know it is from the God:) Amen.

God bless you all in the name of Jesus Christ.

#13  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 11:28 AM

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#14  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 11:30 AM

I think what Dr. MacArthur is trying to get us to think about is what are the signs of a born again believer? Years ago when I was first introduced to the reformed faith by my cousin, he told me to examine myself by Scripture to see if I was in the faith. I thought to myself, “What on earth is he talking about?” I had no sooner stepped over the threshold of the sanctuary’s door for the very first time, and I was told to do, WHAT? I WAS a believer, and had never heard anything like this before. Then you open your Bible and read Scripture verses like this, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble (James 2:19).” Needless to say, I hit the books!!! I was so determined to know my own heart, and to make sure I was one of God’s elect, that even to this very day, I keep daily watch over my every thought, “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5).”

This, however, has turned out to be the most beneficial advice I could ever recommend to any person out there, who is earnestly seeking the Lord. When talking to other people about the Lord, you do not have to find yourself in the uncomfortable position of telling someone that they may not be a Christian, just ask them if they have examined their faith in Christ by Scripture. If they find this odd, superfluous or don’t say WHAT and HOW, then you have every right to question their sincerity.

It is incumbent upon each and every one of us, who claim the name of Christ to, “give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall (2 Peter 1:10).”

Here are some signs of Spiritual life. This list presupposes faith and repentance.

Do you love God/the Trinity?Do you show evidence of the fruit of the Spirit?

Do you obey God?

Do you love, cherish, and treasure God's holiness? Do you long to be holy as He is holy?Do you hate your sin, turn from it and repent of it?Do you love righteousness?Do you treasure Christ above all?Do you love God's Word?Do you love God's instruction/law?Do you love the brethren?

Do you have a longing desire to be with the Lord and to see “the face of God?” Do you deeply meditate on His holiness and other attributes?

Would anyone like to add anything?

#15  Posted by Charles Shanks  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 12:02 PM

John Thanks again

#16  Posted by James Power  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 12:09 PM

I think people are becoming so uneducated that they don't even know the meaning of discrimination and totally associate it with the politically correct idea of not discriminating against someone's race. If we don't discriminate, we will be blown off course by every wind... Thank you, Dr. MacArthur. E. Power

#17  Posted by Jason Jacobs  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 1:47 PM

Concerning post number 14: Mary,

Given the qualifiers for spiritual life you listed, it seems I am fortunate to attend a church in which the vast majority of people are true Christians. I think the few who are not are honest seekers of the Truth, who are attending our church to find Him. I know that many people are not blessed with easy access to a good Bible teaching church, but there are still some out there. Thank you for the wonderful post and reminders from 1 John.

#18  Posted by Douglas Mollett  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 1:50 PM

The more i listen to these blogs the more I realize just how absolutely unworthy I truly am to be eternally pardoned for my sins, which are many. One of the most frightening passages in all of scripture is this

Matthew 7:21-23, "Not everyone who says to ME, LORD, LORD, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'LORD, LORD, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, 'I NEVER KNEW YOU; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS!'' (emphasis mine)

That will be the most terrifying words ever spoken to many on that day, especially for those who think they are saved but aren't. For anyone out there who haven't come to Jesus Christ and Him alone, i implore you, we are not guaranteed tomorrow, come to Jesus in faith confessing your sins, repenting and trusting on Him who will judge the world, so you will instead hear these words on that day:

Matthew 25:23, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful in few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your LORD!'' (parable of the talents)

#19  Posted by Martha Kladitis  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 3:14 PM

I agree with this, very much. My question is: what does one do with the discernment of being able to distinguish a Christian from a non-Christian? Kick, those believed to be "non-Christians" out? Gear preaching towards them, so they will leave on their own? I'm not sure if I understand correctly, what to do with this discernment. Jesus surrounded Himself with sinners (prostitutes, tax collectors), they certainly weren't Christians, but there was a chance He could touch their hearts, so they could be moved to being Christians. I just don't understand the point of this preaching. I agree with it, however, there's a danger in a "church" becoming a Holy social club and not reaching out to the unsaved community. Someone split this hair with me. It would be fabulous if someone could give me a practical application on what to do with this wisdom. I'm walking away from this preaching going..."Now what?"

#20  Posted by Sharon Ulam  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 3:27 PM

I have been praying fervently for a true Christian revival and that a recent church would have an opening of eyes to the sin running rapant in the Church. Everytime my husband and I would stand on the Truth of the Word, in Bible Studies and Church social settings we were met with disdain and told that the church we were attending (A "Christian" Church) didn't want to offend anyone. Doctrine was changed to sooth the sensitive ego or sin lifestyles of the members of the church. My husband who was baptised in 2008 has gotten to the point where he only wants to listen to Pastor/Teachers John MacArthur and John Zimmer who we get on the internet. God has just led us to a church that we are checking out that appears to care about discernment and accountablitity and that is good. We were in sin ourselves I fear as we were too shy to come along side of our brothers and sisters in Christ and say "Sister/Brother, you are in sin, can we talk" I am so grateful that you are speaking out on this and I know that it isn't about a Popularity contest, it is rather about loving someone back to Heaven even though it annoys them to discover their sin is noticed. I don't know what else to do. Sincerely, Sharon Ulam

#21  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 5:45 PM

To Marhta # 19.

Hi Martha, this is Mary. :)

Please hear me out because this may be part of the answer you are looking for, but as to the broader picture, I just don’t have the whole thing figured out yet. I may never have it all figured out.

This same question came up years ago and I really had to think about it. Someone had asked the same question you are asking, and this is how it was phrased, “What about Christ, He went among sinners and wicked people, are we to be any different?” So I looked up the word AMONG and compared it to the word partake. I have a tendency to look up almost every word for some strange reason; we develop this habit as Christians.

Here is the definition for the word among, “in the midst of, so as to influence.” This is exactly what Jesus did; he went among sinners as to influence them for Himself and for His kingdom. Now look at the word partake, “to take or have a part in; share.”

God wants us to go AMONG sinners as to influence them for Christ, but He does not want us to PARTAKE (share in) their philosophies, questionable entertainments, false religions, or their lifestyles. We are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Cor 6:14), but at the same time we are to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature (Mar 16:15).” I believe we are to go among all the world (sinners), as fishers of men, and gather the sheep, and then bring them into the house of the Lord to train them in the things and ways of God.

Many people believe that church is for the saints. It is there for us to worship and praise God in Spirit and in truth, and for the saints to find nourishment and to edify one another in the faith. It is dangerous to have wolves among the sheep, because they will influence the sheep, and lead them astray. In 1 Corinthians, Paul says that the church had to rid itself of unrepentant sinners, because the sin would spread and affect the whole church. 1 Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? (ASV)

What say you?

Mary

#22  Posted by Rick White  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 5:52 PM

Martha,

I believe Matthew 13:1-30 shows how the gospel works within the church.Also Matthew 18:15-18 and 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 explains the type of situations where one should be asked to leave until they repent.

#23  Posted by Bryan Chasteen  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 6:11 PM

"Do you think John has made the case for this particular kind of discrimination in the Christian church? Why or why not?"

Yes. In my opinion I think that he has. Ever since I became a follower of Jesus and began to understand my own salvation and the difference He made in my life, I have been seeing problems with sin-inclusiveness in the church.

1Co 11:19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.

It started with my own church and as I left it to find a church that preached the gospel, I saw it in other churches that I attended. There is a shame that exists of mentioning holiness as a requirement for Christians. There is a fear that exists about offending people by talking of sin. Or there is this idea that we will just slobber them with love and then they will learn to do right and shape up. This love is not God's love.

Act 24:25 And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, "Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you." - same reaction that almost everyone has now when I start talking about the glories of holiness and the fruit that the Holy Spirit produces in a believer's life.

"If he has, what do you think of the standard he has proposed?" - I think, "That's exactly right."

#24  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 6:17 PM

To Jason # 17.

Hi Jason:

You are so right; many people do not have access to a Biblically sound church. I attend a reformed church, but in my area there is a Baptist church, which is not reformed, that teaches **pretty sound doctrine**, so if you have to compromise, then by all means do so. It is better to be in church then outside of it. Not all sermons of reformed teaching are about election, anyway.

#25  Posted by Roderick Brown  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 6:45 PM

Pastor MacArthur,

I would like to thank you for courage and integrity concerning God's Word. I have learned a great deal from your teaching. It has challanged me to go deeper into God's Word for myself, instead of trusting someone else to do it for me. I have discovered from going deeper in the word and from your teaching that alot of what I was taught was not trully God's Word. What I was being taught was a "Works Holy" way of trying to reach God. I understand now that I and others take this path because we don't trully understand what grace through faith means. Really, how could you understand that without the gift of the Holy Spirit. I thank God for you Pastor John!! I pray blessings and protection for you and your family. God Bless!!

#26  Posted by Dee Hendon  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 7:02 PM

J.M.'s non-discreminating point of view, with it's sharp edges and bluntness, pinpoint's the problem facing christians today. The biggest fear I have is how much corruption can "convienence christians" do to those who are new in the faith or those who mistakenly believe their "christianity" is the truth.

Dee

#27  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 7:46 PM

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#28  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 7:47 PM

#23 Bryan,

I also believe that John MacArthur has made the case for this kind of discrimination within the church. I also agree with him on the doctrine of deliverance. I have heard people say things from "There was no change in my life when I became a Christian because I was already a pretty good person" to "I don't have to repent or know I am a sinner to be a Christian and if you say I do then you are adding works to Grace"!

Like you, we also had to leave a church, which was largely sound doctrinally (apparently in word, not practice), but had a huge issue with, as you said, holiness. You mentioned 'sin-inclusiveness' and you've hit the nail on the head with that. We thought a Christian should be holy and discerning and so when we went to the board with a request that the elders please require their sons (in this case the boys in question were the sons of the elders) to wear their pants ABOVE their underwear (boxers) in church that there would be no problem with them ensuring they complied in the future, as we were particularly concerned with our own daughter viewing this nonsense and all the other young ladies at the church (we were rather shocked we even had to request it, but....). Scripture was supplied to them in defense of our request. I was saddened that the reply I got back a week later was that after talking with their kids they decided that since that was how everyone at their school dressed that their sons had the Christian Liberty to dress as they pleased (re:kids refused to listen to their parents about pulling their pants up and therefore the elders should be biblically disqualified from even being elders) and they felt we were being too "legalistic" (since when did being offended by boys wearing their pants below their butts in church become legalism??????) and requiring obedience was adding works to grace. Some think liberty means liberty to sin instead of liberty to obey! Needless to say, we found another church - one who understands the Gospel and worships Jesus Christ with the respect and honor He is so deserving of as the creator and sustainer of all things......we are obedient because we desire to be worthy of His sacrifice.

The church is for saved people following the LORD. And the Bible tells us exactly how to handle 'church matters'......the problem is too many churches stopped using the Bible long ago in favor of a sinful man centered feel good gushy gospel - which is no gospel at all! Those churches are NOT churches, rather social clubs masquerading as churches.

I believe the problem that plagues the churches here (USA) is that we have so much as a nation that people are deceived for lack of want. I mean seriously.... would any of this be an issue in say...the persecuted churches in China or the middle east? Nope. Because there, you die for your faith. Abundance can indeed cause apathy. How sad, to be blessed enough to be born here where the Gospel is freely available....yet be dead because we 'have it all' and are 'in need of nothing'. Im glad my citizenship is in heaven...because I tremble for my nation. We have an entire country chock full of laodiceans!

I will say this though......it may be a losing battle to straighten out 'the churches'. It is possible God has cast His judgement and that is what is taking place. Because, no doubt, true believers and the churches they are in are vastly outnumbered by the false churches and CINO's. It seems like a time of sifting is taking place - of sifting the wheat from the chaff. Believers need to be protected with the full armor of God.

Shauna Bryant

#29  Posted by Patrick Dunbar  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 7:50 PM

The Scottish Confession of Faith written by John Knox in 1560, chapter 18 entitled "The Notes by Which the True Kirk (church) Shall Be Determined From The False, and Who Shall Be Judge of Doctrine" declarired the same thing. Quoting from that chapter John Knox states; "Since Satan has labored from the beginning to adorn his pestilent synagogue with the title of the Kirk ofGod, and has incited cruel murderers to persecute, trouble, and molest the true Kirk and its members, as Cain did to Abel, Ishmael to Isaac, Esau to Jacob, and the whole priesthood of the Jews to Christ Jesus himself and his apostles after him. So it is essential that the true Kirk be distinguished from the filthy synagogues by clear and perfect notes lest we, being deceived, receive and embrace, to our own condemnation, the one for the other. End Quote".

I believe that Pastor John MacArthur is proclaiiming a needed clarion call for discernment for all who want to be pleasing to God and seeking to glorify God. It is not enough to simply say you are a christian. Apostle Paul rightly proclaimed that if anyone comes preaching another doctrine other than what you have received from me do not follow them (1 Tim. 6:3-4).

Even in Pastor John MacArthur's books he has stated clearly the departure from the Word of God. In one of Johns books that I felt was a tremendous help to many entitled "Reckless Faith", the main message is that of When the Church Loses Its Will to Discern. Quoting from that book on page 10 we read "The visible church in our generation has become astonishingly tolerant of aberrant teaching and outlandish ideas—and frighteningly intolerant of sound teaching. The popular evangelical conception of “truth” has become almost completely subjective. Truth is viewed as fluid, always relative, never absolute. To suggest that any objective criterion might be used to distinguish truth from error is to be egregiously out of step with the spirit of the age. In some circles, Scripture itself has been ruled out as a reliable test of truth. After all, the Bible can be interpreted in so many different ways—who can say which interpretation is right? And many believe there is truth beyond the Bible. End Quote".

Dear Pastor John, keep up the faith and please don't stop preaching His Truth, His Word!

MacArthur, John: Reckless Faith : When the Church Loses Its Will to Discern. Wheaton, Ill. : Crossway Books, 1994, S. 19
#30  Posted by Jennifer Johnson  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 8:46 PM

How do we minister to a family membr that does not know Christ and doesn't seem willing to know Christ?

#31  Posted by Michele Z Haynes  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 9:48 PM

What do you do when you find yourself in a church like John describes no discernment not even a will do want to try to discern? I am very sad and frustrated.

#32  Posted by Michele Z Haynes  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 10:24 PM

What CD studies does "The Vulnerable Church" and "Ready to Discriminate" come from?

#33  Posted by Mary Guthrie  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 11:22 PM

Would it be oversimplifying things to believe that, as we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit at conversion that we will of course produce the fruits of that Holy Spirit? What effort does a "real" grape seed have to put forth in order to grow grapevines with subsequent fruit and not thistles? However, knowing that there are also tares sown in among the wheat should drive each of us to examine ourselves daily to see "if we be in the faith."

#34  Posted by Carl Frederick  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2010at 11:24 PM

"Come as you are" people quote this like it is scripture! IT DRIVES ME NOTS!!! They use this as an excuse not to show reverence in the house God. This is the claim of acceptence not discrimination. I believ it is the duty of the elect of God to shed light on nonbelievers so that babes in Christ and prospective believers aren't detoured be the apostates.

#35  Posted by Aaron X  |  Wednesday, February 17, 2010at 12:14 AM

I believe the sermon that both are quoted from is:

https://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/80-221_Deliverance-The-Neglected-Doctrine

#36  Posted by Alex Soriano  |  Wednesday, February 17, 2010at 2:38 AM

Jennifer Johnson wrote: How do we minister to a family membr that does not know Christ and doesn't seem willing to know Christ?

My famiy members (brothers & sisters) are roman catholic. As normal as they are in that religion (which I abandoned 20 years ago) they are mostly defined by its rituals and traditions. It's too hard to accept that I have been ministering for other's salvation and spiritual growth and yet my own family is still in such deep deception of the raoman church. Well, what I've been doing in the 20 years is to pray and if there are opportunities I share my faith. I think God is not demanding that our family should be saved. Salvation had been decided even before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4,5) All we need to do is to take part in the great commision (Mat 28:18,20) through the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Salvation is an appointment and we must have that active obedience to be an instrument to bring that appointment with our family and friends.

As much as possible do all you can to stay as a witness of the gospel till such time they can 'discriminate' that your faith is true.

#37  Posted by Darla Wormuth  |  Wednesday, February 17, 2010at 3:44 AM

#10 &#11

Bridget,

This IS an excellent study. I have it and HIGHLY recommend it. Take your time going through the study and ask God in prayer for knowledge and understanding. I also recommend you learn the books of the Bible, this is in the first chapter. I used flash cards.

I am so excited for you and your husband. Read 1 Co 2:1-15

#38  Posted by Bryan Bergeron  |  Wednesday, February 17, 2010at 6:22 AM

Thank you for bringing the truth.You are right there are to many fake people claiming Christ and dont evan know him. So thank you again

#39  Posted by Patrick Dunbar  |  Wednesday, February 17, 2010at 8:19 AM

To: Jennifer Johnson

I too came from a family that does not know Christ. I came from a Mormon back ground having my grandmother who was one of Joseph Smiths grandchildren. Being connected in such a way I was always in a battle with the heads of the church. As I grew up and eventually by God's matchless grace came to Christ via our next door neightbors persistant proclomation of the true gospel.

Their persistance and passion for the Truth of His Gospel was generated both by the Holy Spirit within them as well as their individual obedience to His calling and their responsiblity to proclaim that truth they themselves have embraced.

As a believer in Christ we have specific responsilitites that we cannot forsake. About 15 years ago I wrote a sermon entitled "A Life of Principled Obedience" from James 1:19-27. In that sermon I cover these biblical points

1. True Believers receive the Word of God. v.19

2. Quick to Hear involves a Proper Attitude towards the Word of God. v.19

3. If you resent the Word of God you cannot grow in Righteousness. v.20

4. You can’t receive the Word of God and harbor sin at the same time. v.21

5. A Doer of the Word of God Obeys the Word of God. v.22

6. Always respond immediately to what you know to be God’s Will. v.23-24

7. God blesses you when you obey His Word. v.25

8. Your tongue reveals the condition of your heart. v.26

9. Sacrificial Love is the Hallmark of True Christianity. v.27

True believers have the responsilitity to respond positively to Scripture and to eagerly pursue every opportunity to know God’s Word and Will better (Ps. 119:9-16; Ps 119:26, 64, 108, 124, 135, 169-176; 2 Tim. 2:15).

Jennifer, don't worry about whether they respond or not for that is God's word in their hearts. But from our end we must simply be obedient to His calling and seek ways to reach the lost with His gospel. I hope this has been of some help and encouragement to you.

God Bless,

Patrick Dunbar

#40  Posted by Ed Rudd  |  Wednesday, February 17, 2010at 8:33 AM

#31 Michele......I remember being in the same situation. What you are dealing with is how to handle the truth. Looking back I can make some observations that may be helpful. As you continue to sit there in that church you will be seemingly bombarded with the truth. It won't come from the pulpit necessarily, it will come kind of back door- what I mean is -when you hear something not true, you will have to be forced to process that non-truth. The Truth within you - that is the Spirit of Truth that comes to all of us when we are saved- will automatically point out the untruthful as long as we are willing to listen. So what you are left with is the question you asked- what do I do now?

I'll step out on a limb here. Maybe you have been attending there for quite some time. Maybe you even attend with family that have attended there with you for many years. Now the Truth becomes even more difficult to deal with. But, where is the draw of your heart? Is Christ worth everything to you? Even it means leaving? I hope and pray it is. Now , I'm not saying to leave. What I am saying is that you may have to.

If you can stay - then stay. I'm sure you really desire that everyone in your church was moved by the Truth. But, you'll not be able to stay without cost. In Job 32:18-22 you will find a similar situation. The words Elihu had within him was like wine inside a wine sack with no vent- ready to explode. And unless you vent, either here on a blog or hopefully, to someone you can trust- you will explode- but, understand this---you will have difficulty holding it in. If you choose to hold it in -you have to deal with the pressure.

If I had it to do over again, I would have stayed longer. Not that I think I could make people believe the Truth, because I can't- no more than Jesus could. But, I wish I would have stayed longer for me. The reason I say that is because I've always had a draw to go back to proclaim the Truth to them. And I have gone back twice, both times with the same results- they aren't open to the Truth. They're still caught up in experiential religion believing the power of God must be seen or heard or felt. But, I still wonder what would have happened if I could have stayed until they ran me off.. I'm strong enough for that now- but I wasn't then.

I stayed until I exploded a couple of times. I was being fed more away from that church than I was by being there. I no longer felt free to invite someone there, in fact I would have felt guilty in doing so. Also, I had a job in the church. I helped lead the singing, had done that for years. I really felt I now was just the entertainment for the party- not really doing something for God any more. Maybe, what I feel now is just compassion for people trapped as I was, and that's OK. But, I still wish I'd stayed a little longer. However, if the leadership in the church wouldn't have changed their teachings and doctrinal foundation. I really don't think I could have stayed forever- eventually, I would have left.

The Truth inside me couldn't stand silently listening to a lie. And It can't in you either. Remember, Jesus had no trouble with sinners. It was the religious establishment He had no tolerance for. And if He would have kept His mouth shut, He wouldn't have ended up onm that cross. But, you or I -especially as a new believers as I was then, aren't equipped to handle beliefs so well entrenched. At the time I was saved I was ill-prepared to speak the Truth in a understandable way. I was still dealing with my own spiritual rebuilding. How was I to help someone else? It was my fault that I couldn't lean and depend on God more- but, I just couldn't as a crawling baby not yet even walking in my faith. I needed someplace to grow- not another argument. So I left and ended up at places that feed me the Truth. Places like GTY where I was confronted with the Truth and loved it.

So, lean on God for the Truth- He'll not disappoint. Don't despise His chastening- He loves those whom He chastens.

#41  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, February 17, 2010at 8:36 AM

To: Jennifer Johnson,

In addition to what Alex and Patrick have said, I would encourage you to live your life before them modeling Christ-likeness. As believers we must first and always proclaim Christ and the gospel through our words, but we must back it up with our lives. Jesus said, "they will know you are my disciples if you love one another."

If you are a living testimony of a life transormed by the power of Christ, then that should cause unbelievers to take notice. That doesn't mean we boast about our lives, but we can in subtle and not-so-subtle ways demonstrate love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, etc. in such a way that people are drawn to Jesus.

Speak truth lovingly to your family member, pray for your family member, and practice Christ-likeness with your family member. That is what we are all called to do for the unbelievers around us. In doing those things we spread the seed of the gospel, and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work.

Grace and peace.

#42  Posted by Jennifer Johnson  |  Wednesday, February 17, 2010at 1:50 PM

Thank you for the help. I am encouraged. I also have a husband that seems very zealous for God. I believe that sometimes he comes across as offensive, but I know he love God. I can't give the same kind of testimony that he does. I see people pulling away and my heart grieves. I believe there are a lot of people that can be blessed by his ministry. How zealous do we need to be to the things of God?

#43  Posted by Brett Clements  |  Wednesday, February 17, 2010at 7:15 PM

Martha,

You asked "what does one do with the discernment of being able to distinguish a Christian from a non-Christian?"

First step: a church concerned with a Biblical foundation should not accept one more member without visual fruit produced by True Salvation. Too many churches are accepting people just because they walk down and say they want to join the church. Sinners are welcome to visit, participate in Bible studies and prayer meetings, but we should not affirm them as members of the "Church". The "Church" belongs to God and is made up of God's People. The local church should reflect this truth.

Second. This is the hard but necessary step. It is time for churches to begin putting leaders in place with the fortitude to stand firm on truth and take disciplinary action against those who regularly display fruit unbecoming a Christian. If following the Biblical guidelines set forth in Matthew 18 does not bring reconciliation it must bring about separation. If the Church will not ask for the seperation of the sinner then I would seperate from that church.

When the Church is at its best per scripture it is the best evangelism a visiting sinner can witness. Many are afraid of Truth being practiced in front of watching eyes, but the Truth will set us free. People are hungry for truth.

If we are sure a person is lost we must warn them. I would rather lose a friend knowing I obeyed Christ than watch a friend slip into Hell knowing I did nothing.

Third; we must accept the fact not all will believe and repent. In God's soveriegnty He allows sinners to reject Christ, His salvation and His True Church. We want have to gear preaching toward running off non believers. After steady dosage of Truth they will leave own their own.

I hope this begins to answer your question and may God bless your desire to act appropriately as a believer.

#44  Posted by Kirk Bookmyer  |  Thursday, February 18, 2010at 8:39 AM

Comment deleted by user.
#45  Posted by Kirk Bookmyer  |  Thursday, February 18, 2010at 8:41 AM

Try going to the best church you can find. I mean the most doctrinally stable one in your area. Now, that will take some research. But after you find that church, visit it and start talking about purifying the church from false-converts. Then, you will see first hand just how big a problem this issue is - even in the best reformed evangelical churches. They won't like the idea of purification! Why not? Because too much light will expose the things that are enjoying darkness. This isssue is HUGE! Fight the good fight of faith. Pastors these days are more interested in maintaining an atmosphere of holiness than real holiness. Hold their feet to the fire. Don't let these so-called leaders of Christianity off the hook so easily. We must demand that they do things the way that the NT describes it.

#46  Posted by Erik Hoffman  |  Thursday, February 18, 2010at 10:10 PM

To Ed Rudd. In post #6 you said, "I have compatibility and connection problems probably related to my dial-up connection that won't allow me to listen to the recording."

Perhaps it's either because you can't use the embedded media player or because your connection is too slow for streaming. Try going to the mobile site and downloading the mp3 rather than trying to stream it. To do this, look at the url of this particular blog, which is https://www.gty.org/Blog/B100216 . Copy and paste it into a new browser window, then replace the "www" with "m". It would look like this: https://m.gty.org/Blog/B100216 . Then click on "Launch Player." There is a link there that says, "Click here for mp3 file." First, if the embedded media player tries to begin playing the clip, click the pause button so it doesn't hog your bandwidth. Then right-click on "Click here for mp3 file" and choose, "Save Target As" from the menu. Under "Save In", it is easiest to choose "desktop" so you can easily find the file. Once it is saved to your computer, you can listen to it without using your internet connection. Since you are on dial-up, this may be the best way for you to do it.

These instructions are for a pc. If you are on a Mac, it can still be done, but the instructions will be a bit different.

#47  Posted by Erik Hoffman  |  Thursday, February 18, 2010at 10:13 PM

Just to explain, the reason I sent you to the mobile site is because the regular site doesn't have an option to directly download the mp3. (hint hint to the webmaster)

#48  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Friday, February 19, 2010at 6:25 AM

Hi Erik, those are some useful info for people having problems, thank you for helping! I think we all forget that not everyone has easy access to high speed internet.

Another thing that would be useful (sorry Mr. Webmaster! =) ) would be to have a link to the original sermon, or at least the title of it, so we could listen to its entirely.

#49  Posted by Douglas Mollett  |  Friday, February 19, 2010at 9:59 AM

Oh how I love these blogs, for Jesus uses this to get me into His word, and it is becoming my daily bible study, thank you Grace to You, for being faithful in this ministry.

In John 12:32 Jesus said, "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself. This He said, signifying by what death He would die(verse 33).''

Jesus was crucified as we all well know, and he has promised to draw all peoples to Himself, this of course, doesn't mean universal salvation, but as Revelation declares in 5:8-10

"Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, ' YOU ARE WORTHY TO TAKE THE SCROLL, AND TO OPEN IT'S SEALS; fOR YOU WERE SLAIN, AND HAVE REDEEMED US TO GOD BY YOUR BLOOD OUT OF EVERY TRIBE AND TONGUE AND PEOPLE AND NATION, AND HAVE MADE US KINGS AND PRIESTS TO OUR GOD; AND WE SHALL REIGN ON THE EARTH.''

Jesus said if I be lifted up, I will draw all peoples to myself. How do we lift up Jesus today?

2 Timothy 4:2, "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching." We can magnify the name of the LORD by being true to His word. In Jesus name, Amen.

#50  Posted by Douglas Mollett  |  Friday, February 19, 2010at 11:39 AM

I kinda lost my train of thought there in my previous blog, so I'd like to further clarify what I'm trying to say. By preaching the word, the Lord Jesus Christ will draw people to Himself by drawing them into the local congregations. I believe if God's word takes precidence, people will come and souls will be saved. We can teach the pure milk of God's word, such as we are all sinners in need of salvation, what must one do to get to heaven, etc. for those in need of salvation. And we can provide solid meat of the word for those already saved. It is our duty as believers to take the gospel to the nations, as we are commanded to in the great commission. God's word is preach, the LORD then saves souls. Peace be with you all. Amen.

#51  Posted by Douglas Mollett  |  Friday, February 19, 2010at 12:25 PM

I don't know why but I'm fired up on this right now, The lORD has reminded me of Romans 10:14-17

"How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!'

'' But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has believed our report?' So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.''

Faith comes by hearing the word of God, and faith comes when we effectively preach and teach God's word. Amen.

#52  Posted by Erik Hoffman  |  Friday, February 19, 2010at 1:05 PM

Yay! Look at that. There is now a "Download" link and a "Full Sermon" link at the top of each blog. Thanks webmaster!

There you go, Ed. Try the download link at the top of this blog and you should be able to hear the clips.

#53  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Friday, February 19, 2010at 2:51 PM

thank you to the webmasters!

#54  Posted by Layne Swanagan  |  Saturday, February 20, 2010at 9:50 AM

Thank God for John MacArthur and GTY, each and every person involved in this ministry are a blessing to all of us who want to grow in our Christianity.

The lack of discernment in the world today is expanding, and it really can, at least partially, be laid at the feet of those responsible for the dumbing down of America. The schools no longer teach children how to think. Plus, the no child left behind system aids no one in facing their difficulties and actually desiring to overcome them. Add to these problems the false teachers that are leading so many people astray, and you have a world spiraling downward into a chaos of sin. I pray for my grandchildren and all the young people that there are enough real Christioans out there to aid them in whatever they do. After all, family can only do so much.

Thanks again to GTY for exposing the heretics that are preying on those still searching.

#55  Posted by Caroleen Devries  |  Saturday, February 20, 2010at 10:37 AM

This is a bit off the subject but I wasn't sure where to post this question. I have just become aware of Spiritual Directors and Spiritual Disiplines and Spiritual Formation. It all sounds pretty scary and is unfortuantely starting to seep into our church-which has been very conservative-not sure where our elders stand on this. But we did have Reggie O'Neil speak. Please comment on this.Thanks,Caroleen

#56  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Saturday, February 20, 2010at 12:12 PM

I would be very cautious. Ask your church for information on this Reggie O'Neil and then research. Every Spiritual Director/Formation etc....org I have ever heard of is a ecumenical front for ALL (literally all, except traditional Christianity of course) belief systems to bring "anotehr light" and show the "oneness of all". There is of course programs named Christian Spiritual Formation, etc........from what I've seen, none of it is biblical.

Be very careful Caroleen and it is good you are concerned! Stay discerning! Shauna Bryant

#57  Posted by Shane O'connor  |  Saturday, February 20, 2010at 5:05 PM

I have often haunted by the level of interaction that the church often times gets involved in when pastoral leaders meet with the confines of Ministers Fraternals. The idea behind this is to provide a united front to dealing with the ills that present itself within a particular context witht the view to dealing with them not just within the particular local but nation context. It has often bothered me not only because it involves pastors that are not of my Christian persuation but also, Catholic priests as well. I struggle with whether to attend or shun. I would love Dr. MacArthur to enlighten me and give me somewhat of a directive as to what to do. In essence, should I attend or shouldn't I? I ask this question because it works its way well into the idea of being descriminating.

#58  Posted by Ashika Dyson  |  Sunday, February 21, 2010at 7:38 PM

Good evening to everyone on this blog and thanks for sharing. I'm coming to realize that though not all, many are NOT victims to docrtrines of demons, whether it's Catholicism, Charasmatic teachings, or any other false doctrine. You know there was a time when everyone wasn't able to have the Word of God in their hand and in their language. Now, especially in America, a Bible can be found anywhere. A lot of people just simply fail to read the Word for themselves! Why? Because they glow in their ignorance, they don't want to know the truth, or they just willingly disobey! I know people, I believe to have the fruit of true Christianity in their lives, who go to a church where the pastor and co-pastor are women. Now that, along with many other truths of God's, is unmistakeably wrong. Yet, they continue to go rationalizing that fact all the while. They know the truth, they're just clearly and willingly being disobedient. They, like so many, are not victims. If they do take any time to read the Word, they twist scripture to their own liking. I used to listen to charasmitic preaching after having recently turned my life over to Christ at the time and began to show fruits of biblical repentance and true salvation. I used to hear preaching that in my gut didn't feel right. I dismissed it for a few months, but the more and more I read the Word, the Holy Spirit taught me and I realized that what they were saying was not entirely true! No one had to pull me to the side and tell me the truth. I understood by way of the Holy Spirit thru study of the Word. God gave me a desire for His Word and all truth. If I had failed to heed to what the Holy Spirit was revealing to me, that would have been evidence that I had no real desire for Truth!

So, now I point out error when given the opporunity thru conversation, and I pray. Trying to force people who willingly want to believe false doctrine is stressful and unproductive. I tried talking to a woman at work who was raised Catholic. I told her the truth about Jesus being the ONLY Savior and Mediator for the children of God, not Mary, Paul, Peter and whatever other saint they pray to. She said I was born a Catholic, raised a Catholic and I'll die a Catholic. So what else can you say? She loves the outward religion with no inward regeneration. She, like a lot of others, know the truth but will not seek Jesus Christ earnestly. So let's PRAY!!

My sincere gratitude goes to a faithful servant like John MacArthur and his entire staff to being dedicated to proclaiming the truth in a society that is, for the most part, content in hearing the lie.

With love in Christ!

#59  Posted by Briget Beal  |  Monday, February 22, 2010at 9:52 AM

Comment deleted by administrator.
#60  Posted by Bill Ziegler  |  Tuesday, February 23, 2010at 6:43 AM

The majority of the discussions on this blog deal with discernment in biblical interpretation and what is Christian living. This morning one of my studies is in 1 Cor 10:1-13 and the stories of how God's people actually lived their lives during the Exodus and Wilderness wanderings in Exodus and Numbers.

1 Cor 10:5 "Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well pleased; for there were laid low in the wilderness."

What is different between then and now and God's people? Today versus then. Today we have the Holy Spirit, God's written word readily available, and the church. Yesterday, God's people had the pillar of fire by night and a pillar of clouds by day signifying God's presence. As they neglected the presences of God do we today?

Is God not well pleased with us? Is the church in the wilderness today?

#61  Posted by Todd Domer  |  Friday, February 26, 2010at 9:44 AM

I agree "come as you are" has been tried before 1st in Genesis 4:3-5 Cain came as he was with the offering he wanted to give & God rejected it. 2nd in Amos chapter 5 God rejects Israels feast and celebrations because of where there heart was. 3rd is in Matt 15:5-9 They worship in vain again because of where their hearts were. Church discipline is nearly non-existent today because the churches for the most part don't want their numbers to dwindle. Whenever we come to worship "just as we are" with sin in our lives, fighting with other Christians, dragging our problems in to worship a holy God; has worship really taken place?