Sexual Confusion in the Presbyterian Church in America…

screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-5-33-07-pmAn article written by PCA Chaplain Chuck Williams recently surfaced. Chaplain Williams brought charges against Christ Presbyterian Church‘s Senior Pastor Scott Sauls in the Nashville Presbytery based upon the toxic teaching at CPC’s Same-Sex Attraction Forum (April 2015). The results of Williams’ quixotic mission are chronicled in his article. Pastor Sauls responded here with some bad Christology, flowery emoting, and antinomian hand-wringing.

Chaplain Williams posted a link to his article on a Facebook group comprised of 1600 PCA teaching elders and ruling elders. As you might suspect, he was promptly dragged through the mud by men who think there is nothing sinful about men desiring men and women desiring women. Williams handled himself well. A few of the men who opposed Williams on his FB post were those who argued in a similar manner for the formation of the study committee on women’s ordination on the floor of this year’s General Assembly (transcripts here). As you look at the history and trajectory of other denominations, the ordination of women and acceptance of homosexuality, effeminacy, and sexual perversion quickly follows. It is now conceivable that the PCA is attempting to outdo those denominations by simultaneously opening the offices of Christ’s Church to women and promoting the acceptance of homosexual perversion.

Last year when CPC’s SSA Forum was still fresh, a few volunteers made transcripts of all of the videos. After studying those transcripts, I teamed up with a few others to write some articles. You can find them here:

How should the church approach homosexuality (I): Christ Presbyterian Church, Nashville; a case study…

How should the church approach homosexuality (II): the removal of masks…

How should the church approach homosexuality (III): Homosexual desires are sin…

How should the church approach homosexuality (IV): what Scott Sauls gets right…

How should the church approach homosexuality (V): “Biblical friendship” as a Trojan horse?…

How should the church approach homosexuality (VI): Who is exempt from pursuing marriage?…

Here is one of my contributions to the series (part II of the previous links)… And please pray that God would use the division occurring in the PCA for the repentance of His people, the purity of the Church, and the revealing of those who are approved. Continue reading

…like a roaring lion…

Luke 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”

Luke 4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry. 3 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

Many of us erroneously assumed that when we came to faith, our trials would immediately cease. What we may not have understood is this: before we came to faith, the enemy of our souls, Satan, was perfectly content with us. He was our master and we were loyal subjects. When we came to faith, we got traded to a new team, so to speak, and became loyal to our Creator. Now the enemy of our souls, Satan, had to start training his guns on us. His rage, rather than his quiet rule, is now what we receive. Remember, Scripture says, “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). We are also exhorted, as Christians, to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11). You see, the devil is a schemer and his rage is particularly directed against those who know Jesus, his enemy.

Now, think a bit about the context of Luke 4… Continue reading

Drink better wine…

See what resolution this gives rise to in Paul: everything is loss and refuse to him (Phil. 3:8). Who would go out of his way to have his arms filled with loss and refuse? And how does Paul come to have such an estimation of the most desirable things in the world? It is because of the very high estimation he had of the excellency of Christ. As we see in verse 10 (Phil. 3:10), when the soul is engaged in communion with Christ, and walking with him, he drinks new wine, and cannot desire the old things of the world, for he says, ‘The new is better!’ He tastes every day how gracious the Lord is, and so does not pine for the sweetness of forbidden things, which really have none. He who makes it his business to eat daily of the tree of life will have no appetite for other fruit, even if the tree that bears them seems to stand in the midst of paradise.

-John Owen, Temptation

Kinda fighting a losing battle all alone…

Tomorrow evening the men of Trinity will be getting together for Triple B (Bible, Book, and BBQ). This time we’ll be discussing the topic of temptation with the help of a short “abridged and made easy to read” Puritan Paperback, Temptation: Resisted & Repulsed by John Owen.

It occurs to me as I’m reading through this work that every Christian prefers to face temptations alone. Though we know temptations are fierce, we think of ourselves as fiercer still. Actually, to explain our solitary confinement that way is to give ourselves too much credit, as if we recognized there was a battle raging around us. This is closer to the truth: Though we know temptations are fierce, we need no help giving ourselves over to them.

No army would send a solitary man into battle to take on an enemy force. Yet, so often, Christians face their temptations—temptations to get drunk, to steal from their employer, to get high, to commit adultery with the woman/man on the computer screen, to gossip, to think too highly of themselves, to hit their children or their spouse—as that solitary man. To involve others would be costly. We’ve kept up appearances; we’ve made other people think we aren’t tempted to commit, you know, those nasty kinds of sins. And everybody else in the church keeps up their end of the bargain by accepting my hypocrisy as their alternate reality. I mean, every once in a while we slip up and forget to do our daily devotions and spend time with the Lord…we’re all busy, right?

Scripture is much more realistic. God’s Word explains the life we actually live: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as in common to man…” (1 Cor. 10:13). The decision we make to mask all others from our sins is our way of sabotaging the battle against temptation. We purposefully enter into battle as solitary soldiers, so that we can quietly, quickly, peaceably, and anonymously raise the white flag. We are tempted alone, we sin in anonymity, we feel remorse for a few moments after we sin, and as part of the truce we’ve made, Satan trains us to keep it under wraps so he can deliver us back to that evil. The rest of the army knows you are out there “fighting,” but their signatures are already on the armistice agreement.

Very seldom have I ever gotten a call from a brother telling me he was tempted to commit a sin. Very seldom have I called a brother to tell him I was tempted to commit a sin. I have received more calls from those who desire to confess a committed sin than from those who are waging war against the flesh, the devil, and the world and need reinforcements. Should these calls be more frequent? Yes! Should the elders of the church, who are to be the spiritual men of the church (Gal. 6:1), be on the favorites list of many people’s phones? Yes! Would the timely prayers and counsel of a brother or sister be helpful armaments against temptation? Yes!

Will you call the next time you are tempted, before lust has conceived and given birth to sin (James 1:15)?

Owen on temptation…

“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation” (Matt. 26:41).

Every day we face temptations. Often we enter into those temptations. We allow them to gain a footing by giving them both attention and a voice. They reason with our minds and hearts, working to convince us that they are harmless, deserved, and delightful. When those arguments, usually lame, are convincing to our flesh, we sin: “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin” (James 1:14-15).

We do too little in recognizing, understanding, and fighting our temptations. There is a battle raging, bullets zinging everywhere, and we’ve exited the trench to have a leisurely smoke. Our self-examination gets about as deep as the coolness quotient of our profile picture. We don’t have time to examine ourselves because we have TV shows to watch. To that end, read old sermons from an age when the fear of God was not the doctrine your spoiled and narcissistic counselors were being paid to get you to hate.

Here, then, a few nuggets from a Banner of Truth Puritan Paperback, Temptation: Resisted & Repulsed by John Owen (originally published in 1658)…

…temptation may proceed either from Satan alone, from the world, from other men in the world, or from ourselves. Temptation may come from each of these individually, or they may join forces in various combinations (8).

Satan has in us an agreeable party within our own breasts, for most of his ends (James 1:14, 15) (9).

A temptation, then, in general is anything that, for any reason, exerts a force or influence to seduce and draw the mind and heart of man from the obedience which God requires of him to any kind of sin (10).

To clarify, I am considering temptation not just as the active force of seduction to sin, but also the thing itself by which we are tempted. Whatever it is, within us or without us, that hinders us from duty or provides an occasion for sin, this should be considered temptation. It could be business, employment,… Continue reading