Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2009

Freemasonry: A cult?

For a while now I have been trying to understand Freemasonry. It is perhaps the most convoluted group of teachings of any society I've seen. It is extremely hard to pinpoint what masons actually believe. Most of the stuff you find against freemasons is equally whacky. There are numerous conspiracy theories alleged, along with accusations concerning the worship of Satan.

However, here is what can be absolutely determined.
1) Freemasonry is syncretistic. In other words it brings together different religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Paganism, Buddhism, etc. To become a mason you simply must believe in a god. It seems especially taken with mysticism (Kabbala, Rosicrucianism, gnosticism).
2) Freemasonry is a secret society and a religion. Though they deny both of these, their practices and writing affirm both. It is a society that is secretive about its rites and rituals (hence secret society). To reach various degrees you must swear an oath of…

George Whitefield's Crypt - Old South Church, Newburyport, MA

One of the blessings of living in New England is that history is right in our back yard. The great evangelist/preacher of the Great Awakening George Whitefield's crypt is buried in a church he founded in Newburyport, MA. I can't believe I've lived here this long without having visited it. So, today I decided to drive the 2.7 miles over to Old South Church and visit.

While I was looking around at the outside of the church we met a guy on his way inside. I anxiously asked if there is a way to get a look inside. Just then the pastor of the church Rob John came to the door. Providentially he allowed us in for the '50 cent' tour. He said, next time, it is really helpful to call first...yeah, I was a little pushy, but hey it's George Whitefield's crypt! Thanks to Pastor Rob and his church member for being gracious to us. Take a look at some of the pictures below:
Though Whitefield never pastored at Old South, he was good friends with the first pastor the…

Peacemaking

Right now for our summer sunday school, we are going through a study by Peacemaker Ministries, that deals with conflict resolution. It is, to put it simply, OUTSTANDING. If you attend FBC, and you are able in any way to make it to the class, come. It is biblical, gospel-centered, practical, and profoundly helpful. I hope and pray that this class will lead to further small group and individual training on peacemaking. Follow the links and check it out:

Peacemaker ministries

Blurb on FBCs website

It is not too late, in fact you can borrow that previous material to catch up if you are interested.

Cliches

A few years ago I started a sermon with a compilation of funny and nonsensical cliches. It went like this:

Cliché Analogies

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. And if that horse is stubborn as a mule than there is no sense beating a dead horse.

It’s important to have all your ducks lined up in a row, because Birds of a feather flock together. Besides that a bird in the hand is worth two in the air, but that’s okay if you can Kill two birds with one stone so long as you don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Because you don’t know which came first the chicken or the egg
And at the end of the day, To make an omelette you have to break a few eggs

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. That’s too bad because Dog is man’s best friend even though it’s a Dog eat dog world. The last thing you want is to find yourself in the doghouse. Unless of course it’s Raining cats and dogs. In which case try to be a cool cat because their Bark is worse than their bite!
On…

Books to Read Before You Die

In my opinion, all these:











And at least one book by John Piper (preferably one of these):










The Shack versus The Bible

When there is enough buzz about a popular book impacting Christians, I try to read it to get a gist of it so I can comment knowledgably about it. The Shack is the newest thing down the pipe. At first, I resisted buying the book and spending the time it would take to read it. I heard a couple of guys I respect (Albert Mohler and Mark Driscoll) talk about all the theological problems with the book, and that was enough for me (see also Michael Youssef's condemnation). But as more and more buzz grew about the book, I realized I should read it myself. I just finished it Tuesday.

I once heard it said that poison is most dangerous when it looks like something edible, such as candy. When poison sits in an ominous bottle with a skull and crossbones on the label, few are tempted to drink it. However, if poison were sitting in a candy bowl on the coffee table and looked like M & Ms it is much more dangerous. The Shack, I think, has enough poison in it to kill but comes packaged like cand…

Justice and Mercy

I love this quote by Christmas Evans (1766-1838). He personifies the justice and mercy of God and how they must come together in the cross:

"An embassy of angels, commissioned from Heaven to some other world, paused at the sight; and Heaven forgave that pause. They saw Mercy standing by the gate, and they cried, ‘Mercy, canst thou not enter? Canst thou look upon that world and not pity? Canst thou pity and not relieve?’ And Mercy, in tears, replied, ‘I can see, and I can pity, but I cannot relieve.’ ‘Why dost thou not enter?’ inquired the heavenly host. ‘Oh,’ said Mercy, ‘Law has barred the gate against me, and I must not, and I cannot unbar it.’ And Law stood there watching the gate, and the angels asked of him, ‘Why wilt thou not suffer Mercy to enter?’ And he said, ‘No one can enter here and live;’ and the thunder of his voice outspoke the wailings within. Then again I heard Mercy cry, ‘Is there no entrance for me into this field of death? may I not visit these caverns of the …

The Gospel, defined

By God’s grace, I persevered through two years as a youth pastor when I began pastoral ministry. One of the great blessings of doing youth ministry was to recognize the need to be as simple and crystal clear as possible. Otherwise forget it, teenagers will eat your lunch. If I tried to skirt an issue, or beat around the bush, or was fuzzy in my own thinking, they would see it as naptime. Eventually, I learned to be direct. I would say to the teenagers, “If at the end of the day, after all is said and done, you do not know what the gospel is, I have failed you as a youth pastor. But if at the end of the day you do know what the gospel is, then I have succeeded. Yes, there is more to it than that, we are going to be learning how to love each other, and serve others, and build community together and learning how to understand the Bible, all of which are products of the gospel. But at the end of the day, the primary measure of my success as a youth pastor is whether or not you understand …

Grace Immediate (another poem)

'What is Grace? Is It absurd?
Can It be touched, can It be heard?
Where do we find It? Where is It known?
Can it be held? Can It be shown?
Is Grace of God? Or is Grace of man?
Is It transcendent? Can it grip our hand!'

The world is darkened in need of You
Broken and fettered, so we ask 'Who
Are you oh Grace? Speak or we die
Vanquish us now, or comfort our cry!'

Then spoke a man of humanly face,
'I hear you my son, I am true Grace.
I am transcendent yet I am here,
Enclothed in flesh, dying all stare
Suffering for you I carry the cross
I have known anguish; I have known loss'

Could it be Grace, come as a man?
Grace to be held, gripping our hand!
You are true Grace, whom my soul seeks
Grace that can hear, grace that speaks!'