Wednesday, January 30, 2008

This is Part 21 of a continuing series of articles examining the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. This statement of faith was adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting on June 14, 2000 “to set forth certain teachings which we believe.”

The Family

God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption. Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.

The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.

Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord.

Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.*

Mike Huckabee is a Neanderthal—a leading candidate for his party’s nomination for President of the United States, a former governor of Arkansas, highly educated, very articulate—but a Neanderthal. At least that is what some would conclude because as a former pastor and President of the Arkansas Baptists, he believes the Bible, especially this nonsense about a wife being submissive to her own husband. How could a civilized man hold such archaic thoughts?

Now, this is not an article endorsing Governor Huckabee or criticizing him. It is rather about what the Word of God has to say about the family. Ever since the Southern Baptist Convention adopted this statement of belief concerning the family, our denomination has been classified as a bunch of fundamentalist ayatollahs, members of the Flat Earth Society, knuckle-draggers, and the like, by liberals and egalitarians.

How dare we say what the Bible says? I ask, “How dare we not say it?” Just because something isn’t “politically correct” doesn’t make it wrong.

Family life is broken. Marriage as we know it has been decimated by the forces of hell masquerading as voices of reason, equality and enlightenment. Children are the broken pieces left in the rubble. Do not ask yourself if the above statement is popular; ask yourself is it biblical? If it is, then we ought to believe it, live it and teach it—unashamedly. This is God’s blueprint for the family. It will work! I still believe men and women are different—not one better than the other—just different. I still believe in the institution of marriage—not shacking up, not serial polygamy (divorce, remarriage, divorce, remarriage…), not homosexual love (whatever that is), the need to discipline children, and such ancient truths. Count me among the Neanderthals! Happy Valentine’s Day!

* Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7. (Baptist Faith and Message, 2000)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Joel Osteen--he's so...nice. Confused, but nice. Biblically illiterate, but nice. We could call it heresy with a smile. I'm not a heresy hunter by nature, but sometimes duty demands we speak out. Because of his popularity, wide audience, and influence in evangelicalism--likely even among some of our church members--it's important to look beyond the smile and listen to what he says. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Here's an article from Steve Camp:

By Steve Camp Posted: 12/31/2007
How Wide is the Narrow Road at Lakewood Church?...Pastor Osteen believes Mormons are Christians too
"[The Pastor] must hold firm to the trustworthy
word as taught, so that he may be able to
give instruction in sound doctrine
and also to refute those who contradict it."
-Titus 1:9

Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston, TX was on Chris Wallace's excellent news broadcast this morning: Fox New Sunday with Chris Wallace.
Once again, Joel speaks sentimentally about spiritual things, but shies away from speaking clearly and biblically about the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And more importantly, speaking against the unorthodox beliefs of those who represent a false gospel dressed in Christian rags - such as Mormonism.. This interview represents the tragedy of unbiblical compassion... resulting in a distortion of the truth, an acceptance of a different gospel, and an ecumenical accommodationalism that defects from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
This interview is disappointing on three levels:
1. Joel is a pastor and failed to speak biblically as a pastor on an essential of the faith: what is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and do Mormon beliefs pass the test of orthodoxy according to the standard of Scripture?
2. Because of Joel's large TV audience (especially among nonbelievers) many folks will surely come away from today's broadcast thinking that Mormons are truly Christian when in fact they are not at all.
3. Mitt Romney, though a fine politician, is now further confirmed in his unbelief and his heart a bit more calloused against the biblical gospel because of Joel's words.
This is serious beloved. What Joel affirmed is nothing short of a compromised gospel worthy only of
eternal damnation. Mormons believe a different gospel than the biblical gospel and cannot be considered as part of orthodox Christianity under any circumstance (here is an excellent apologetic site that has numerous detailed articles about Mormon beliefs and doctrines.)
In the wake of this unfortunate interview, my prayers today are twofold:
1. that Joel Osteen would daily study to show himself approved unto God as a workman unashamed by handling accurately the word of truth. Eight years is a long enough time beloved for any man in pastoral ministry (seminary educated or not) to be thoroughly acquainted with the essentials of the faith - especially the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to clearly represent its truth.And 2. that the Lord would bring truly saved men and women into the Romney household to proclaim to them the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; warning them to flee the wrath to come; compelling them to be reconciled to God; commanding them to repent of their sins; and calling them to deny themselves, take up their cross, and by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone... follow Him as their Lord and Savior.
Below you will find a section of the transcript of the broadcast. The video can be watched
here or read the entire transcript can be read here.
WALLACE: And what about Mitt Romney? And I've got to ask you the question, because it is a question whether it should be or not in this campaign, is a Mormon a true Christian?
OSTEEN: Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that's what I believe, so, you know, I'm not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are. (emphasis mine).And so, you know, Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me, and I don't think he would — anything would stop me from voting for him if that's what I felt like.
WALLACE: So, for instance, when people start talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, and the golden tablets in upstate New York, and God assumes the shape of a man, do you not get hung up in those theological issues?
OSTEEN: I probably don't get hung up in them because I haven't really studied them or thought about them. And you know, I just try to let God be the judge of that. I mean, I don't know.I certainly can't say that I agree with everything that I've heard about it, but from what I've heard from Mitt, when he says that Christ is his savior, to me that's a common bond.
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