Replacement Theology

November 7, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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All it takes is a quick glance around to see that we’re not in Kansas anymore Toto. In the matter of a few decades, the American landscape has changed to the point that it’s almost unrecognizable. The shift in morality and political agendas that has taken place makes it clear that something is definitely wrong with the nation. The degradation of society is blaringly obvious. Worldviews that directly oppose the statues of God are violently attacking the truths and followers of Jesus Christ. We see this and we complain, grieve, and moan. We can’t understand what’s going on. Tragedies are growing in number and magnitude causing the deaths of more and more people in more grotesque and horrifying ways and we’re left asking why. Church membership continues to decline for the major denominations in the U.S. and we seem flummoxed by what could be causing it. Meanwhile, liberal denominations and false religions are growing in number, as is the number of unchurched who just don’t care. All of these things just befuddle us, when we even think about them…Most of the time, we’re too busy participating in church events and “ministries” to notice. So what is the real problem? Continue Reading Replacement Theology…

Sermon Sunday – J.C. Ryle – Freedom

July 3, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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Freedom
by
J. C. Ryle
(1816-1900)

___________________________________________________________________

© Copyright 2001 by Tony Capoccia. This updated file may be freely copied, printed out, and distributed as
long as copyright and source statements remain intact, and that it is not sold. All rights reserved.

Verses quoted, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION © 1978
by the New York Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

A copy of this sermon, Preached by Tony Capoccia, is available
on Audio Tape Cassette or Audio CD at www.gospelgems.com
___________________________________________________________________

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”–John 8:36

The subject before us today deserves our attention. It should ring in the ears of every person like the voice of a trumpet. We live in a land which is the very cradle of freedom. But are we ourselves free?

The question is one which demands special attention during the present state of public opinion. The minds of many are absorbed in politics. Yet there is a freedom, within the reach of all of us, which few, I am afraid, ever think of–a freedom independent of all political changes–a freedom which neither the prevailing government, nor the cleverest politician can bestow. This is the freedom about which I speak today. Do we know anything of it? Are we free? Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – J.C. Ryle – Freedom…

Badges

March 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I write this not knowing exactly where it’s going to go or how it’s going to sound, so if I sound a little harsh or it rambles on a little bit, please forgive me. Lately, I’ve been thinking about something and it was sparked by some of the things that I’ve seen and heard over the past week or so. There have been instances where I’ve seen Christians talking about something that is dear to them and when someone disagrees with them, they are instantly defensive. Or, if things aren’t like they think they should be, those that are not lining up with their view aren’t saved, or at the very least are seen as lesser because they don’t agree. It’s kind of sad really. It did get me thinking however.

I’ve been a Christian for about 10 years now. In that 10 years, I’ve seen and done a lot of things. Some of those things I wish I could take back. I was a part of the Word of Faith “movement” for awhile. Ignorance isn’t pretty sometimes. By the grace of God, I’ve been drawn out of that and have become sounder in my understanding of scripture. I’ve also been a part of Precept Ministries for about 6 years. When I say “a part”, I don’t work there. What I mean is that I see (and others seem to feel this way too) that those who are involved with Precept on any level are one big family. I know of two or three people that I bug almost constantly with questions and they never seem to mind.

All of this comes to my point very randomly. It seems that it is very easy for Christians to wear everything they believe like a badge. They do this with just about anything really. They do it with their denomination, which version of the Westminster confession (or other confessions) they hold to, they do it with the teachers they follow, and it can even get down to music style or type of service they have. This past week I stopped and began to look at this. From what I see in scripture, there isn’t supposed to be this kind of divisive attitude:

Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one would say you were baptized in my name. Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. (1 Corinthians 1:10-17)

Here, Paul says that there shouldn’t be divisions, but there are. I’ve heard snide remarks concerning all kinds of different Christians beliefs and ideas. I’ve even seen the kind of separation that Paul talks about here. I’ve seen people argue over whether or not you’re a Calvinist and those that aren’t (or haven’t thought about it, or didn’t know, or don’t really concern themselves with it) are looked down upon. It’s like their saying “I’m of Calvin” and those who aren’t are somehow not as pious. I’ve seen the same thing happen with popular teachers of today’s time (or even of times past). People like John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Paul Washer, Mark Dever, Phil Johnson, and others have had their names brought up in arguments like they are the leader of a completely different sect of Christianity. I doubt that any of them would approve.

I’ve seen arguments where someone will ask a question or point something out to think about and another will respond with a link to what John MacArthur says on the subject. Or they will talk about what R.C. Sproul says about it. Or Calvin, or Luther, or Dever, or any one of a number of other great men and women. My question about this is, should it matter? I am glad to read what any of these men and women say because they are all much, much smarter than I am, but at what point do we stop and look at the scriptures ourselves? When do we become in danger of putting these men/women and their teachings above scripture itself? Do I agree with everything that John MacArthur teaches? Nope. (Some of you may have just started praying for my salvation and that’s ok….I appreciate the thought) Does that mean that I think that everything he teaches is wrong? Nope. I just disagree with him on some things. The same thing goes for the other men listed. None of them got it/get it completely right! Gasp! I know, I have said things that would rile up many people, but these are things that the men above already know. They know that they don’t have everything right. If they did, they would be God, and last time I checked they’re not.

This doesn’t keep people that listen to their teachings from wearing the names of these men like a badge. John Calvin would be appalled at the use of his name in the way it is today because he was a humble man who didn’t want the attention for himself. He didn’t even have his grave marked so that no one would attribute anything to him that he didn’t deserve. Luther was the same way. And, from what I understand of many of today’s great teachers, they would be in agreement with this. So, if that is the view of those men, why isn’t it our own? Why do we continue to wear someone’s name or ideas like a badge? Why are we quicker to throw out something they wrote than what the scriptures say? It doesn’t make sense to me.

While I cannot say the exact reason for every instance of this happening, I can think of a few that might be the case. One reason may be that the people posting the other stuff haven’t studied the scriptures themselves. It is much easier to find ready-made bits of theological argument to toss out instead of doing the work yourself. Another reason may be that they agree with what the other person said. That’s all well and good, and I find myself in this place often enough. But I have tried not to just become another mouthpiece for any man, regardless of how good or respected a teacher they are. I would rather take what they say and compare it to scripture (like the Bereans) in order to make sure that it’s right. I’ve been burned often enough for taking something someone else wrote at face value only to find out later that it is completely wrong.

Instead of wearing someone else’s name as a badge of honor (“I’m in so-and-so’s camp”), shouldn’t we be wearing Christ? Isn’t that what Paul’s main concern was? The people of Corinth were so focused on the divisive nature of the cliques that they completely neglected (or worse negated) the truth of Christ’s gospel that they were supposed to be preaching. They were not preaching the gospel like they should have been. Instead, it was all about who’s group they were in and it was causing divisions. I don’t see how this helps grow, edify, or equip the saints for the work of service. I do see how this can cause people to not come to Christ.

Before someone gets confused or misunderstands me, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t talk about different things. We can even debate some stuff. This is good and it sharpens us. I have debated for years and can be blunt and even harsh sometimes. But, when we debate, we must remember who we’re debating. If we are debating Christians, we must remember that they are our brethren – we aren’t supposed to doggedly attack them because they disagree with us on some things that aren’t foundational. If we are debating non-Christians, then it should be handled with grace so that they might be saved. If we are debating heretics, then we can be a little more forceful, but we must still be careful. If someone is following a heretic out of ignorance, then we must treat them like any other non-Christian and season our speech with grace so that they might be saved from the heresy. If, on the other hand, the person is someone who has heard the truth and has spent much energy denying that truth (especially to the point of teaching others that truth), then we shouldn’t hold back. We should let them know the truth and make it clear that they are heretics. Even this should be done with grace though, and that’s something that I’ve seen missing in much of the ongoing “debates” lately. Again though, I have to say, we have to make sure we understand just who we’re debating with!

In the end, it is the gospel that matters most. It is not wearing other people as a badge or absolutely condemning everyone that disagrees with you even on the smallest points. If we can’t even discuss things among ourselves without having everything meltdown or explode into a flurry of unfair and graceless comments, why do we think that those outside the church are going to be turned from their sins or lead to Christ? They won’t if we’re not presenting Him to them in every way.

I have been guilty of wearing others as a badge and I have gotten better about not doing it. Personally, I couldn’t care less about names. I tend not to like labels very much. It is way to easy to attack others on one point of what they believe instead of their beliefs as a whole. I just want to follow what scripture says, and allow it to change me to be more like Christ. I want that for others too. If I end up wearing someone else as a badge, please forgive me. If I get passionate about some things and forget who I’m talking to, forgive me for that as well. And I’ll try to do the same for my fellow Christians….

Peace on Earth

January 8, 2011 at 2:11 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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The Christmas season is winding down (for me it really isn’t over til after the new year) and, in an effort to keep from completely ruining your Christmas joy, I’ve held onto this until after the holiday was over. I also wanted to see what everyone said during the week leading up to Christmas. I have been thinking more (wait! don’t go yet…) and there have been a few loose threads that I’ve been following. Oddly enough, when I began to think about the threads, they all seem to be interconnected. I’m going to go through them and would love to hear your thoughts on these different topics.

One of the things that I’ve been thinking about comes from the songs that I’ve heard played over the Christmas holiday season. Things that talk about goodwill, peace on earth, and kindness. One that I heard very often throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas was the song Do They Know It’s Christmas Time At All. In case you haven’t heard it (although there are a number of remakes on Youtube), here is the original:

Continue Reading Peace on Earth…

Why do you go to church?

December 15, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I have been thinking about something and anyone who reads this blog knows that it means trouble….

Over the past year, I’ve been looking for a church. I have been to a few churches and they’ve been full of nice people, and yet, I’ve not been able to find a church that has what I am looking for in a church. Let me state again, the churches that I’ve been to are full of very nice people, but it’s not enough. My search is especially frustrating because I live in the “Bible belt” of the United States. Here, there is a church on every street corner (this is almost literal). Here, going to church is a regular part of life. But, as I’ve studied scripture, I’ve noticed that the reason we go is very important. Even more important is what goes on there. Continue Reading Why do you go to church?…

Influence

May 24, 2010 at 5:26 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Whether we realize it or not, we are influenced by many things. We see an advertisement for the newest car, the latest way to lose weight, or the fastest way to make money and we have the opportunity to be influenced. The more we see the ad, the more likely we are to be influenced to purchase the product. It happens for cars, houses, grocery items, toys (think about all the ads you see at Christmas), and movies.  We see people happy with the new product or service and we can’t help but think that it may be the same way for us. We see the newest TV shows with the hottest stars and our interest is piqued. We see the latest summer blockbuster with the most amazing special effects and we have to see it. The chart topping hits play on our favorite radio station, we can’t get the song out of our head, and the next thing we know, we’re buying the CD or iTunes download.

The influence of music, movies, advertising, and other media forms has become so pervasive that we hardly even notice it anymore. We have become desensitized to it. We hardly realize that we are not making the choices anymore. Add to this the “herd mentality” where friends and family are acting on this influence and it becomes even stronger. We seem to be in full control of our decisions, and fail to recognize the influence that the environment around us – the things we see, hear, smell, taste and feel – has such a profound influence on what we say and do. Continue Reading Influence…

Newslinks 03/28/10

March 28, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Catholic hospitals endorse Obamacare
A group representing Catholic hospitals Saturday rallied behind President Barack Obama’s health care bill ahead of a House vote in which pro-life lawmakers could play a decisive role.

Ohio upholds law, protects children from porn
The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld part of a state law designed to protect children from obscenity on the Internet.

Indiana student sues to stop prayer
The top-ranked senior at a suburban Indianapolis high school is asking a federal judge to stop a graduation prayer that the class voted to approve.

Iowa rep fights for personhood
A move to add a personhood amendment to the state constitution is under way in Iowa.

Poll: Abortion Support Falling among Young Adults
Over the last 20 years, support for legal abortion has continued to drop among young adults, a new Gallup poll shows. Continue Reading Newslinks 03/28/10…

This is the year!

January 4, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Well, it’s about that time. The Christmas season is over and the ball has dropped to signify another year has begun. Aside from the annual commercials selling every type of weight loss machine, drink, and diet plan imaginable, there is one more thing that should be happening right about now. This time of year should also bring the beginning of all of the “prophetic words” from the numerous “pastors” and “preachers” that talk about how this is the year for ________ (insert the new, popular word/term for financial prosperity here…). This is the year of blessing, wealth, prosperity, health, overflow, abundance, and/or fullness. This is the year when that peace/love/hope/power/healing/miracle/joy you’ve been waiting for is going to happen! If you will send these men and women your seed/offering/gift in faith and believe that what they are telling you is true, oops sorry, I mean believe in faith, then you will know greater power/glory/honor/fame/money/prestige/happiness/joy/love/peace/prosperity/your best life now. All that for your best “faith seed”! Seems like a pretty good deal doesn’t it?

If it wasn’t so heretical, it would actually be kind of fun. Like biblical Mad Libs… Continue Reading This is the year!…

The name of God

August 27, 2007 at 4:25 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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What is God’s name? Those who claim to follow Him seem to be forgetting what His name is. A retiring 71 year old Roman Catholic bishop, who has raised other issues that go against his church’s mainstream ideas, has said that Dutch Christians (and others) should be fine calling the God of the Bible Allah. He has suggested that this is whom Christians are actually praying to.

There are some major problems with this, but all of them seem to be ignored by the retiring bishop. The bishop says that “Allah is a beautiful word for God” and that “God doesn’t really care what we call Him”. Oh really? The God of the Bible doesn’t care what we call Him?  God makes very clear throughout the Bible what those who follow Him are to call Him. Not only that, but God made sure that people not only knew His name but He let them know (and us too) who He was to them. He is called Elohim (used over 2300 times to refer to the Lord), El Olam (The Everlasting One, Gen. 21:33),  El Roi (The God who sees me, Gen 16:7),  and Adonai (The Lord). When Moses asked God what His name was at the burning bush, God replied, “I AM”. This is Yahweh in Hebrew (where we get Jehovah from). God also used this name to remind His people who He was. To Israel (and Christians) He is Yahweh Yireh (The Lord who provides, Gen 22:2), Yahweh Nissi (The Lord our banner, Ex 17:8-15), Yahweh Rapha (The Lord who heals you, Ex 15:26), Yahweh Shalom (The Lord our peace, Jdg 6:1-22), Yahweh Tsabbaoth (The Lord of Hosts, many references), and Yahweh Tsidkenu (The Lord our righteousness, Jer 23:5-6). Amazingly, not one of these names(and there are many others) sounds anything like Allah…. Continue Reading The name of God…


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