Thursday, February 16, 2006

THOUGHTS ON RESPECTING ELDERS

So who are elders of a church? Should we respect them? What about respecting elders of churches that are not our own? Or what about respecting elders of churches that we believe, for all intents and purposes, are not shepherding the flock as they should be?

DO NOT TOUCH THE LORD'S ANOINTED

I think that something for us to consider as a good example is David and Saul. King Saul did not like David. He hated him. He was not a good king. He was, in fact, a wicked king. But when David found King Saul asleep in a cave, instead of taking his life, he spared his life.

"Dare I touch the Lord's anointed?", David realized. In other words, although Saul was a wicked king, he was still anointed by God and given the office of king, and that is to be respected.

Likewise, let's jump back in time when Bill Clinton was president. Probably none of my blog readers like Bill Clinton. But if he were president, and I were to meet him and talk to him, I would dress up in a tuxedo and call him "sir" and "Mr. President."

But what about respecting elders of churches that we are not members of, and that we may even be suspicious of? I think the following example will suffice: If I were to meet Presidente Fidel Castro of Communist Cuba, I would still dress up in a tuxedo and use respectful language with him. Although he is, indeed, a wicked man, his office of President is still to be respected, and, therefore, he is to be respected.

And I would say this: I think even more should we respect men who are elders. True, some elders may not be good elders; some may not be shepherding their flock as they should, keeping the flock pure and practicing church discipline; and some may not even be biblically qualified. Yet, God has still established them and anointed them by setting them apart as elders. In fact, God even warned Israel to not get a king, but they would not listen. Yet, David still called Saul the Lord's Anointed, and he would not dare touch him.

We need to respect elders, whether they be of our own local church, or others; whether we have concerns and/or problems with elders of other local churches, or not. The fact is, God has anointed them, so we need to speak to them with reverence and respect.

We dare not touch the Lord's Anointed.

Monday, February 06, 2006

HANK HANEGRAAFF AND CALVINISM

I was once again disappointed with Hank Hanegraaff's otherwise good program today (The Bible Answer Man). A caller inquired about Calvinism and Arminianism, wondering which one was correct. Hank answered in a long-winded, roundabout way (as usual), and then said some rather disturbing things.

Hank Hanegraaff admitted that he was raised in a Calvinist home, so he said he "appreciated" that tradition. But then he said the following (not verbatim, but basically), which I respond to below:

Hank H.: "I think it's important that we not make God the Author of evil."

RESPONSE: Calvinists do not say that God is the Author of evil. Read the Westminster Confession of Faith, III:1, and the London Baptist Confession of Faith, 3:1. This is surface theology here. Hank H. should know better, having been raised in a Calvinist home. His parents have probably discussed this with him several times, and I bet that they are probably a little disturbed by his misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the Reformed faith.

Hank H.: "I think it's also important that we don't say that God ordained the Fall of man into sin, or the sinful acts of men."

RESPONSE: Proverbs 16:4; Lamentations 3:37-38; Romans 9; compare 1 Chronicles 21 with 2 Samuel 24; Ezekiel 14:9; etc.

Hank H.: "God made us with free will. He didn't make us unable to respond to the gospel call."

RESPONSE: John 6:44ff; Ephesians 2:1-10; Romans 8:7-8; etc.

Hank H.: "God doesn't create men for destruction and guide them to that path."

RESPONSE: Romans 9:21-22; Proverbs 16:4; 1 Peter 2:8; etc.


WHAT FRUSTRATES ME

You see brothers and sisters, I think I can finally say that it is not your average, layperson American evangelical that frustrates me anymore. Why should I be upset with them? They've never been taught Scripture; in fact, most of them have never even heard a sermon with Scripture expounded in it, sad to say.

No--what frustrates me are those in teaching positions who teach against the truths of sovereign grace and God's eternal decree, or who ignore these truths because they think they're "not necessary" or "might offend" or are "too mysterious" or are "concerned that it doesn't make God look very nice."

Today, Hank Hanegraaff told millions of listeners in the United States and Canada the following:

*God does not ordain all things (Really? See above.);

*unbelievers can choose Christ with just a little help from the Holy Spirit (Really? See above.);

*God does not guide all things (Really? See above.); and

*the only way man can be held responsible is if God has not decreed it. (Where does the Bible teach that?)

Hank H. is in a teaching position, but Scripture warns us that we should not presume to be teachers, because we will be judged more harshly.

The Scripture is clear on these things. So the next time you hear someone speak against the sovereignty of God in salvation and providence, be a good Berean and search the Scriptures.

May "To the Law and to the Testimony" always be our guiding thought.