What about Kanye’s Conversion?

What about Kanye’s conversion?
November 24Pastor’s Roundtable

Pastor Dave Chambers
Pastor Dave Ryerson
Pastor Tom Schierkolk
Pastor Dave Sexton

Happy Thanksgiving

Every year America sets aside the fourth Thursday of November as a day to give thanks to God. On that day many gather together with friends and family to express their thankfulness for the many blessings recieved during the previous year.

The pattern of Thanksgiving in the United States was set by the pilgrim fathers. They endured great hardship, suffered much loss of life and faced many difficulties. Yet they did not fail to pour out thanks to God for His provision. They model obedience to the command, “Giving thanks always for all things.” (Ephesians 5:20)

Christians today are still required by God to give thanks in the midst of difficult and sorrowful times. Many may consider their lives right now and say, “What do I have to give thanks for?” Some may look at the challenges facing the nation and wonder what cause America has for thanksgiving. With a little thought it soon becomes apparent that we have many things for which to be thankful. We have more than the daily provision of all needs and an of abundance physical blessings. (Philippians 4:19; James 1:17) We live in relative peace. Grocery stores overflow with an extravagant assortment of food. We have homes and warmth. We have our choice of clothing. We have a vehicle to quickly transport us long distances, often more than one. Many have a wide variety of toys and entertainment. We have the ability to read, count and think. We have the freedom to speak, assemble, pray, worship, protest and give thanks however we desire. We have much for which to be thankful.

Christians have the ultimate cause for thanksgiving. Every sin has been forgiven. Guilt and condemnation under the wrath of God has been removed. Our iniquities have been taken away by Christ and we are made righteous in Him. No matter how bad your life is, if you are a Christian, your rotten life is temporary, is still far better than the eternal suffering of hell you deserve and it will be replaced with eternal joy. Give thanks for your salvation!

The wonderful salvation of the Christian is abundant cause for rejoicing, but it is not the only reason to give thanks. Christians can give thanks because of the great promise that the abundant grace of God will be continually at work them. His grace abounds far more than sin (Romans 5:20) but also far more than need. (Ephesians 3:20) The grace of God is sufficient for all times and seasons. The grace of God is always working to do far beyond what we ask or even imagine. We can give thanks because God’s abundant grace is still overflowing.

The Bible also reveals a vast array of blessings and promises from God which are the Christian’s daily benefits. (Psalm 103:2) Your bank account may be empty and your future health may be doubtful, but God’s abundance is not diminished. For that we should always give thanks. Give thanks to God because He gives you many physical benefits and He gives you an infinite treatsure of spiritual blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Should Ministers Deny Communion to Congregants?

A few weeks ago former vice-president Joe Biden was denied communion at a Catholic church in South Carolina. The priest’s decision immediately made the headlines, prompting the usual range of reactions. Communion is a familiar ceremony repeated thousands of times a week in churches all across the world. Anyone who has regularly attended church has probably observed or particpated in communion.

Protestants and Catholics are not in agreement about the nature and purpose of communion. The Catholic church teaches communion is a necessary part of being saved and during the communion service the bread and wine are transformed to become the physical body and blood of Jesus. Protestant churches teach that communion is an important part of Christian obedience. The elements do not undergo a physical transformation, but spiritually a great transaction takes place during the Lord’s Supper. Despite these significant differences in teachings about communion, most Christian denominations treat the Lord’s Supper as a serious event which makes significant demands on the individual.

Because communion is a sober memorial of the suffering of Jesus many pastors take a few minutes before administering the elements to warn the church of seriousness of what is happening. Careful pastors exhort Christians to be serious and holy in their observance of the Lord’s Supper. Most protestant pastors do not refuse to serve the communion elements to any individual, but they do ask Christian’s to voluntarily not participate if they are living in sin.

The reason for these warnings is found in the warnings given in 1 Corinthians 11. The apostle Paul rebuked the church in Corinth for their abuse of the Lord’s Supper. Some people, before taking part in communion, were selfishly stuffing their faces causing the truly needy to do without. Some in the church were fighting with one another over which preacher was best. Some in the church were openly supporting immorality. Some in the church were treating the church gathering as a show time for their own self-aggrandizement. Some in the church were participating in idol worship during the week and participating in the worship of God on the weekend. The Bible commanded these believers to repent of their various sins before participating in communion.

The Bible does more than command repentance. In 1 Corinthians 11:29-30 It warns, “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” Communion is the memorial of the death of God the Son for the salvation of the world. A failure to treat the ritual with the respect and reverence it deserves brings the chastening of God. In Corinth people were sick and some had died because of their sinful participation in the Lord’s Supper.

Joe Biden was refused communion because of his open, willful and continued advocation of murder. None should be surprised a Catholic church, which teaches that every unborn child is a living human being, would withhold communion from one who supports killing babies. What should surprise people is the church doesn’t do this more often.

Warning people away from communion or denying them the elements is not a judgmental act of hypocritical meanness. It is the response of a compassionate minister who understands the gravity of the Lord’s Supper and is concerned for the spiritual well-being of his parishioners.

We Are All Going to Die

In May the pastor’s roundtable began to discuss the book of Ecclesiastes. We will be recording a total of six conversations about this book. The roundtable discussion airs the last Sunday of the month on WRUP 92.7 FM. As part of the discussion of Ecclesiastes, Pastor Chambers’ sermon on the same part of Ecclesiastes will air the following Sunday. You can listen to both broadcasts below.

October 27 Pastor’s Roundtable

Pastor Dave Chambers
Pastor Joe Herr
Pastor Tom Schierkolk
Pastor Dave Sexton

November 3 Radio Show
We are All Going to Die

Pastor Dave Chambers

Should Christian’s Support Kanye?

Kanye West has won 21 Grammy awards, 29 BET awards, 10 Billboard awards, 16 MTV awards and 140 other awards for his work in the music industry. He has sold over 21 million albums. Seven of his nine studio albums have gone platinum. Kanye is a hugely successful hip-hop artist. Recently he underwent a dramatic conversion to Christianity. The new message of Kanye is far different from the message that filled his music a few years ago. His latest album is entitled “Jesus is King.” He now sings of Jesus to thousands of people as he tours America hosting his Sunday Services.

Whenever a well known figure has a dramatic and public conversion many people, Christian and non-Christian, struggle to understand and respond. Some have accused Kanye of engaging in a huge publicity stunt. Others have said Kanye is using his Sunday Services to fuel album sales. Some Christians are concerned that Kanye’s conversion is not real and others wonder if church leaders should be promoting him so soon after his conversion.

Conversion happens in a moment. A person who calls upon Jesus for salvation is immediately taken out of the kingdom of darkness and brought into the kingdom of Jesus. Salvation is immediate, but the evidence of salvation is not. Some new believers find their life is dramatically transformed. They turn aside from all the things of their former life and make a clean break with the sins of their past. Most believers find the transformation of life is slow and gradual. We should not necessarily expect Kanye to show immediate victory over sins that have been a major part of his life for many years. What we should expect to see is a diligent effort to put away sin in his life.

The best evidence of salvation is long term continuance in the faith. In the parable of the soils, Jesus points out that some false professors spring up quickly and give early signs of growth before shriveling under the assaults from sin. Those who remain and bear fruit show they were truly saved. Only time and eternity will tell if Kanye’s profession is genuine. However, Kanye is not beyond redemption. No one should doubt Kanye’s salvation because of any terrible thing he has done in the past. The grace of God is far greater than any of Kanye’s sin. The blood of Jesus cleanses from all sin, even sins we may find particuarly offensive. If Kanye believes Jesus is God who died and rose again for his salvation, and if Kanye called out to Jesus for forgiveness of sin, then Kanye is saved.

The question that must asked and answered by Christians is if Kanye should be given the pulpit and platform of Christian churches so soon after his conversion. Kanye has his own platfrom from which he has long proclaimed his message, but should the church give him their’s. Kanye has clearly taken a leadership role in American Christianity. James 3:1 says that any one who is given the authority to teach the church is held to a greater accountability. Is it wise for any church to put a newborn Christian in a position where he will be accountable for what he teaches to thousands of Christians? Instead of giving him the pulpit, the church should be giving Kanye time and training to grow in doctrine, in faith and in Christlikeness.

The monthly pastor’s roundtable will be discussing further the question of Kanye on November 24. Tune in to 92.7 FM at 9:30 AM to hear the answers they give to this timely question.

Why did King David take the Ark of the Covenant away from the Tabernacle?

In the days of the judges the nation of Israel abandoned the worship of God to worship idols. When they did worship God they mixed in many idolatrous practices. Finally, the Israelites decided the ark of the covenant was a talisman that would give them victory over the Philistines. This did not work out very well for the Israelites. The army of Israel was defeated and the ark of the covenant captured. Capturing the ark did not work out well for the Philistines. God began to make a mockery of the Philistine god Dagon and to afflict the Philistines with plagues. After 7 months in the cities of the Philistines the ark was returned to Israel and stayed in Gibeon for over 70 years.

After King David secured his kingdom against the Philistines he determined to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. Under the leadership of David, the Levites brought the ark into the city and placed it in a tent near David’s palace. However, the tabernacle, the altars and all the other furnishings for the tabernacle were left in Gibeon.

The ark of the covenant played an important role in the worship of God. When the tabernacle was completed the visible presence of God came to reside on the mercy seat that covered the ark of the covenant. With the ark separated from the tabernacle the presence of God was obviously removed from the place of sacrifice. Without the ark at the tabernacle the priests could not obey God’s commands regarding the most important sacrifice of the year- the day of atonement. Why would King David keep the ark and the tabernacle separate?

Various practical reasons have been offered to explain the King’s actions. The tabernacle was old. Though portions of it had been rebuilt over the 500 years since it was first built, the long neglect of Divine worship during the time of the judges and the kingship of Saul may have left the tabernacle in such a dilapidated state that it could not be moved without severe damage. Also, it appears that while David was hiding from Saul in the wilderness, the duties of the high priest were divided. When David took the throne two men may have been serving as high priests in Israel. David may have chosen to have two places of worship rather than remove one man from the being the high priest.

Though these reasons may be valid, they do not go far enough. Psalm 78:60-68 teaches that God allowed the ark to be captured by the Philistines and then stored in Jerusalem, distant from the tabernacle and altar of burnt offering, as an act of judgment against Israel. God removed His presence from the tabernacle and the Israelites. Their continued idolatry made it impossible for them to worship in His presence. Just like today, sin will hinder the ability of God’s people to come into His presence.

God also chose to make Jerusalem the center of His worship. He determined the temple would be built in Jerusalem. We do not know when God revealed this to David, but God was at work in David’s actions to accomplish His purposes. God’s judgment of the nation prepared the way for His grace. God was working through King David to restore the true worship of Himself in Israel and to return His glorious presence in the midst of His people. Though God had distanced Himself from Israel for a time, He did not completely rejected them. God in His grace was working to bring His people to repentance and restore them to fellowship with Him.

Wisdom is Better

In May the pastor’s roundtable began to discuss the book of Ecclesiastes. We will be recording a total of six conversations about this book. The roundtable discussion airs the last Sunday of the month on WRUP 92.7 FM. As part of the discussion of Ecclesiastes, Pastor Chambers’ sermon on the same part of Ecclesiastes will air the following Sunday. You can listen to both broadcasts below.

September 22 Pastor’s Roundtable

Pastor Dave Chambers
Pastor Joe Herr
Pastor Tom Schierkolk
Pastor Dave Sexton

September 29 Radio Show
Keep Life in Perspective

Pastor Dave Chambers

Can a Christian lose his salvation?

Once received, can salvation be lost? This question has been asked and discussed by many Christians and is understandably one of great importance. The security of salvation impacts how a believer lives the Christian life. The reasons for believing salvation can or can not be lost come from the believer’s understanding of key salvation doctrines.

Most Christians accept one of three possible answers to this question. The least commonly held view is that salvation is lost every time a Christian sins. Those who hold this position believe that to keep their salvation Christian’s must ask for forgiveness every time they sin.

The more common view is held by many who believe Lutheran or Arminian doctrines. This second group includes Wesleyans, Methodists, Charismatics and some Baptists. This belief contends that salvation is not lost by committing sin, but a person who lives in sin or turns from the faith loses his salvation. This position finds support in passages like Hebrews 2:1, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip”; Hebrews 6:4-6 “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance, seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame”; and Galatians 5:4, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” The warnings in these passages against falling from grace or letting truth slip seem to indicate that a Christian can lose his salvation.

The third view is held by many Baptists and those who believe Calvinistic doctrines. The third view is called eternal security and it denies that those who are truly saved can ever lose their salvation. A minority of those who hold this view believe anyone who prays a prayer for salvation is saved forever, no matter if they continue to live in sin or later deny Jesus. The majority who hold this third view believe those who are saved are secure in their salvation and genuine salvation is accompanied by a changed life. Because of James 2:17 they insist a prayer or confession of faith not accompanied by a transformed life is not truly saving faith. Scriptures upholding the doctrine of eternal security include John 10:28-29, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

Despite the presence of passages that would seem to teach otherwise, the New Testament is clear and consistent in its teaching about salvation. The saved are saved forever. Salvation can never be lost. The Christian is secure in salvation because no part of it is accomplished by the person. Jesus has done everything necessary to save those who believe. The book of Hebrews is often cited as proof that salvation can be lost, but it is not. Hebrews is an awesome explanation of the supremacy of Jesus. He is greater than angels, Moses, the priests, the law and the sacrifices. Because Jesus is infinitely better, the salvation He gives is sufficient and eternally secure for all who will believe. “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14)

Are there contradictions in the Bible?

The Bible claims to be free from all error. Psalm 19:7 says, “The law of the Lord is perfect.” Psalm 12:6 says, “The words of the Lord are pure words.” Proverbs 30:5 says, “Every word of God is pure.” Since the Bible claims to be perfect, the reader has a right to expect Scripture to be correct in every matter it addresses and to be consistent with its own teachings. If the Bible contradicts itself, then it is not what it claims to be.

The reader’s presuppositions about the Bible play a major role in evaluating the apparent contradictions in Scripture. Those who accept the claims of the Bible as true or plausible will examine apparent discrepancies with a willingness to accept reasonable answers. Those who absolutely refuse to accept the Bible’s claim will be quick to find contradictions where there are none and deny the validity of plausible answers.

The answers to many of the apparent contradictions are not intended to be undeniable proofs. They are plausible explanations that show passages which appear to contradict each other can be reasonably understood in a way that is not contradictory.

Many of the apparent contradictions are differences of detail or differences in the author’s perspective. In the gospel of Mark Jesus mentions a rooster crowing twice, but the other gospels only speak of the rooster crowing. The specific number in Mark does not contradict the more general accounts. Jesus did not say the rooster would crow only once. The specific does not necessarily contradict the general, nor does a greater number exclude a lesser. Did Jesus heal two blind men in Jericho or just one? Though Matthew says two, the other gospels only mention one. Any child knows that if Jesus healed two blind men, he must have also healed one blind man. (Matthew 20:30; Mark 10:46)

Some apparent contradictions are actually two different but similar events. The Beatitudes of Luke 6 and Matthew 5 are described as being given “in the plain” (Luke 6:17) and on “a mountain.” (Matthew 5:1) This is no contradiction. Luke 6 describes a later event than Matthew 5 in which Jesus repeated a portion of the message he had preached in the Sermon on the Mount.

Some differences are explained by differences of the particulars being discussed. When David bought the threshing floor from Ornan, 2 Samuel says he paid 50 shekels and 1 Chronicles says he paid 600. Further reading in these passages reveals 2 Samuel specifies that David paid 50 shekels for the oxen and threshing floor, while 1 Chronicles says David paid 600 shekels for “the place.” 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles are describing the transaction differently. 2 Samuel tells of his purchase of the oxen and threshing floor and 1 Chronicles includes his purchase of the land surrounding the threshing floor.

Some differences are explainable by a different truth being taught. One of the most confusing apparent contradictions in the Bible is that between the books of Romans and James. The apostle Paul says justification is given “to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him.” but James says, “By works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” These two statements seem to be unreconcilable. Yet, reading the statements in their context it becomes evident the apostles are talking about two different things. Paul is describing the means by which a man receives justification. James is discussing the evidence of justification. The statements are not contradictory but complimentary.

A few contradictions can be traced to scribal error. The scribes who copied the text of Scripture took great pains to avoid any mistakes. The manuscript evidence shows they were incredibly accurate copyists, but some errors did creep in. For example, 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles record different numbers for Solomon’s horses. Though one passage says 4,000 and the other 40,000, the difference between the words for these numbers in Hebrew is very small, similar to the difference between four thousand and forty thousand in English. A scribe could easily misread the number, or a flaw in the manuscript could obscure the number.

A detailed analysis of every apparent contradiction in the Bible is not possible in this post. Excellent discussions of Bible contradictions are available online and in Christian books. A thoughtful reading of Scripture will readily provide reasonable answers to the supposed contradictions in the text. The Christian can have confidence the Bible is accurate in all it teaches. “Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.” (Psalm 119:140)

Should a Christian be baptized a second time?

Every so often a Christian asks this Baptist pastor about being rebaptized. At times the desire for a second baptism is in response to a time of backsliding. A believer may have repented after a period of living in sin and desires to be baptized as a show of their renewed commitment to the Lord. The desire to show their return to the Lord is praiseworthy, but this kind of baptism misunderstands the purpose of baptism.

Jesus gave two ordinances to the church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The command to observe the Lord’s Supper included the need to do so “often.” “For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till He come.” (1 Corinthians 11:26) The record of Acts and 1 Corinthians indicates the church observed the Lord’s Supper as part of their Sunday gatherings. (1 Corinthians 11:21-26) The Lord’s Supper was repeatedly observed by all Christians.

Jesus commanded the twelve disciples to baptize every one who believes. “Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 28:19) The book of Acts shows how the apostles obeyed this command. Those who believed the gospel of Jesus were baptized and added to the church. The New Testament church treated baptism as the initial sign of faith in Christ. Baptism was the way new believers told the church and their neighbors that they were followers of Jesus. Because salvation is received once and baptism is a testimony of salvation received, baptism was not repeated over and over again. There is “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Ephesians 4:5)

However, some situations require the rebaptism of a believer. Because baptism is the public testimony which proclaims a new believers salvation, any baptism that took place before conversion is not Christian baptism. A person baptized as an infant is unable to believe Jesus, receive His salvation or confess Him as Lord. Those baptized as infants should be baptized after salvation. A person who professes salvation, is baptized, but later becomes convinced his earlier profession of faith was not genuine should be baptized again. Anyone baptized before salvation should be baptized again following his conversion.

One danger of multiple baptisms is they may encourage the beliefs that baptism provides some special grace, washes away sin or gives the person a spiritual power boost. Baptism does none of those things. Baptism is the loving response of the Christian to his Savior. No act of obedience, however important, gains for the Christian a special measure of grace or additional spiritual power. The only grace in obedience is the grace of God which enables the believer to obey. A Christian who has made a public profession of faith through baptism gains no benefit from a second baptism. A sinning believer who desires to show the genuineness of his change can do so by a public confession of sin and acknowledgment of repentance. No other baptism is needed.