Culture Matters

Worship Wars 17: Jesus Is the Only Way To Salvation, John 14:6

Posted on December 18, 2008. Filed under: Contemporary Religion, Culture Matters, Theological Issues, Worship Wars |

Thursday, December 18, 2008– In perusing my usual blogs, websites and news stories this morning, I went to Dr. Al Mohler’s site, as I usually do, and once again he finds something in our culture that is crucial and brings the full force of Scripture to bear on the issue. Today the issue is the Crucial Question: “Are there many paths to heaven or is Jesus the only way to salvation?” Here is the link to Dr. Mohler’s column:

This is an essential truth, a core doctrine of our faith, known as Solus Christus from the Reformation. We are saved by God’s Grace Alone, Sola Gratia, through Faith Alone, Sola Fide, in Christ Alone, Solus Christus. Any variance away from this core doctrine of the FAith would be heresy, it would be another gospel, a false gospel. We find this doctrine in verses like John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Or in Acts 4:11-12

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

This doctrine has been a core doctrine of the Church since its founding and has been one of the main reasons for our missionary imperative and the Great Commission.

Dr. Mohler refers to a recent USA Today story about a Pew Report that reveals something which some of us who have pastored for a while can readily back up:

“The report indicates that 52% of those belonging to churches and denominations that teach that Jesus is the only way of salvation reject that teaching.”

I pastored a small, elderly, traditional, neighborhood SBC church from 1992-2007, and the dominant age group was the GI generation from the Great Depression and WW2. The next dominant age group was from the Korean to early Viet Nam era. Then we had a big gap and the next generation was a few Boomers and then a few Gen Xers. In this small church I made every effort to preach expository sermons, doctrinal sermons, through various books of the Bible and through the great doctrines of the Church.

Despite years of Sunday School and sound, biblical, doctrinal teaching, we still had a doctrinally confused congregation. One dear woman who was dying of cancer, kept telling me, “I hope I have been good enough. I hope I have been good enough.” I would remind her that her salvation rested in Christ alone and she would say, “I know”. When one of the deacons of the church died of cancer, his widow said, on more than one occasion, “I know my husband is in heaven because he was a good Mason, a good church member and a good Christian”. She used to be a Sunday School teacher, as did her husband. One of the long term Sunday School teachers of the children, and her husband- another leader in the church, had a daughter who had married into mormonism and had raised their grandchildren as mormons. I would frequently contrast what the Bible taught with what other world religions and cults believed, and this family would get up and walk out during my sermon if I mentioned the mormons because they believed the mormons were, in their words, “just like Baptists”. I tried to talk with them, to reason with them, to present the evidence, all to no avail. The subject was closed.

Ultimately, the church sided with the family that thought mormonism was OK, and I was asked to leave the church. Although that was just one issue that led to my firing, it was a major contributing cause.

Although Dr. Mohler seems to emphasize in his column that the majority of the reason why heresy is found in evangelical churches is bad preaching, allow me to say that an equally important contributor is bad ecclesiology. At least in my experience, there is a pernicious view within a lot of churches that says, Relationships are more important than truth. The church I pastored would not exercise discipline for any sin or heresy. Adultery? Accepted. Heresy? Accepted. Theft from the church? Accepted. Cheating on church payroll taxes? Accepted. Racism? Accepted. Preaching sound doctrine? Fired! This church was rebellious at its founding, (I did talk with the founding pstor). No pastor stayed beyond 3-4 years in its 60 years except me. The pervasive view of the pastor by the church was that pastors are employees of the church and are to do the church’s bidding. Upon my being asked to resign, the church leader whose daughter was a mormon, said, “We can do better without a pastor, we have before.”

The last funeral I conducted in that church, in January of 2007, at the dinner for the family afterwards, I was engaged in a conversation with the older ladies who had cooked the meal. The topic was their favorite TV preachers. All of these ladies were lifelong Baptists who loved the old fashioned, revivalistic, evangelistic sermons of the evangelists who used to conduct 2 week revivals. They had opposed me the entire time as I preached verse by verse through books of the Bibles or preached on doctrinal themes. Their favorite TV preacher???????? Joel Osteen. The Baptist faithful, and they liked Osteen’s preaching. God save us!

At my new church, founded in 2005 with biblical principles, with Elders, a Pastor and staff, who love the Lord, the Word and sound doctrine, my teaching as Sunday School teacher and Care Group Leader is welcomed, accepted and approved. The adult SS class and the Care Group both are dominated by people a bit younger than my 50 years down to people in their 20’s. They enjoy and approve the teaching I offer, the same teaching that was disapproved in my former church by the older generation.

Due to a family relationship back home when I visit, I attend a Methodist church. In the past 23 years and with 4-5 pastors and one “revival” I have never heard a biblical, Gospel sermon in that church. It is a small church,in a  small town in Oklahoma, in a very conservative area. I have heard lots of good moral lessons, a lot of good psychology, but no doctrine, no gospel. I have another family relation that attends a church in the Charismatic tradition. When we went to church there we heard some motivational, inspirational talks, but no gospel, no doctrine.

Yes, the evangelical church is in crisis. Baptists are in crisis. We desperately need a return to biblical, expository, doctrinal preaching and we need to start churches that have a biblical ecclesiology, not this Americanized democratized “relationships over truth” hybrid that has wrecked the faith of millions. If half the Church in America believes Jesus is not the Only Way, the Only Truth and the Only Life, and that other religions, like Islam, worship the same God we do, there is no wonder why our culture is such a mess- it looks like the Church.

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The Christian’s Obligation to Know American History, Civics and Economics

Posted on November 22, 2008. Filed under: A Theology of Patriotism, American History, Culture Matters, News of the Day, Political Issues, The Christian Survivalist |

Saturday, November 22, 2008– I have long known that the subjects of history, civics/government and economics have not been well taught in our education system from grade school through the universities. The average Amerikan these days is unfortunately quite ignorant in these subjects. This would perhaps explain a portion of the results of this last election. I would go so far as to say that this ignorance has been deliberately imposed upon America by the Edukators, the Main Stream Media, Hollywood and our own government (the demoncrats). To an extent this has been brought about by our technological age that drives us to focus on getting a job and becoming prosperous, having lots of leisure time and mindless entertainment to spend our hard earned money on. The things of the spirit, the arts,  justice, logic, history, good literature- all these things get placed on the back burner.

Sadly, even in the Church, we Christians are not much better. There is room for hope, however, as the explosion of home schooling and private, Christian schools grows. In those curriculums there is a better balance, a better presentation of American history and even Western Civ. It is my conviction that the Church needs to know, understand, defend and promote American History, Western Civ, Civics/Government and Economics, Great Literature, Philosophy and the Arts along with Math and the Sciences. I believe that it is our Christian duty to be well informed citizens so that we can properly exercise our right to vote by voting intelligently, based upon sound principles and facts, not popularity and emotion. A well informed, intelligent citizenry is more likely to stay free.

When I say that the Church needs to defend and promote American History, Western Civ, Civics, Economics, etc. I am not saying we should cease preaching the gospel. That is clearly our mission from the Lord in the Great Commission. He did not say, “Go therefore and preach capitalism and democracy.” Our calling is always to confront our culture with the Word of God and to live our lives in obedience to the Word of God.

However, I believe that the Church needs to “understand the times” and be salt and light in our society. We must bring the Word of God into every area of our culture. I believe that capitalism and freedom are good things, instituted by God and are worth defending. If by the churches’ inaction our children become ignorant of the truths of sound economics and government, history and liberty, then we the church have sinned. We must acknowledge that the world is not teaching our children the truth, therefore, we must teach our children the truth. We must counter the lies and ignorance of our society.

There has been a survey release by ISI that reveals just how ignorant we Amerikans have become. (OKkk, what’s up with the “k” in American? Since we just elected a Marxist/Socialist for President I thought I would get in the spirit of things…) I took the survey and scored an embarrasing 93%. Shoulda got a hundred! Here are the links to the survey and the Cal Thomas column that got me going this morning. The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has long been on my blog roll so you can go there and click or use this link:,0,3182482.story;_ylt=AnsxHqjO1KumuKxr_.HDV2guQE4F

And you have to watch this video to see ignorance in action. It would be great if they did a similar poll for the Republicrats:

It is going to be my goal here at Mark12ministries, to continue bringing the truths of Scripture, sound doctrine, comments on the news and culture and trying to spark an interest in history, government, economics and good literature.

Equality 7-2521

Viva le Resistance!

PS from Tuesday 11-25-08–You’ve got to read this column by Victor Davis Hanson, one of my favorite authors:

He touches on several issues but the common thread is that we have lost our Western Civilization knowledge and values. This impacts every area of our culture from the arts to business to education and speech patterns. He nails it!

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Somali Pirates- Learning from History

Posted on November 19, 2008. Filed under: A Theology of Patriotism, American History, Culture Matters, Islam, News of the Day, Political Issues |

Wednesday, November 19, 2008– In recent years I have read numerous articles about the modern day pirates who are capturing ocean going vessels and holding the ships and crews for ransom. Years ago when I first started reading about this problem, it was the Strait of Malacca (between Malaysia and Sumatra) that had most of the problem; it was called the most dangerous shipping lane in the world. Today, that moniker has passed to the Horn of Africa.

In the last 2-3 years the Somalis (remember Blackhawk Down anyone?) have turned to piracy since their Gross Domestic Production is in the negative numbers and their only export is sand I think. They have no central government, preferring chaos and barbarism to civilization.

Here are some recent stories about the piracy problem:

Now the Saudis are asking for the “World” to do something about the pirates. Let me ask, “Why doesn’t the Saudi Navy do something?” Oh, I forgot, the Saudi’s don’t have a navy. One of the richest nations in the world and they don’t have a navy. One of the articles mentioned that several of the world’s navies have combat ships there, but there is no unified command, no standard operating procedures, no common rules of engagement. The US Navy cannot engage unless a pirate attack is underway—typical. And once hostages are taken the US Navy must back off–afraid of civilian casualties.

In the US Marine Corps Hymn you have the line, “From the Halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli”. Tripoli is a sea port on the North African coast in modern Libya and was a key site for the Barbary Pirates of the late 18th and early 19th century. These MUSLIM PIRATES preyed on commercial vessels in the Mediterranean Sea and the European countries generally paid them off for a safe voyage or to ransom their captive seamen. The US also paid them off to get our captured seamen and vessels until Pres. Jefferson sent a fleet and expedition there to do battle with them. This loose war with the Barbary Pirates continued into the next two administrations. The bottom line for victory however, was the use of the Navy and Marine Corps to force these muslim pirates to cease and desist. In essence, it was the US Navy and Marine Corps that liberated Europe from the scourge of these pirates 200 years ago.

That is the only solution today as well. However, I would suggest that we not do this pro bono. We ought to set up a fund and charge all these nations enough to fund the operation and then some. Furthermore, instead of playing mister nice, we ought to shoot first and ask questions later. If a few hostages die, sorry. We ought to at least bomb the Somali ports into smoldering rubble so that no modern vessel can leave port. Treat them like the savages they are. Find where the chief pirates live and target them with a few smart JDAMS that weigh in at about 2,000 lbs each and leave a rather nice crater. This is how to win.

If you want a serious long term solution, Somalia would have to be invaded, colonized, their leaders killed, and the population converted to Christianity. About a 60-80 year long endeavor.

A less expensive band aid for the situation is make sure that every merchant ship is equipped with sufficient security and arms to defend themselves. Yeah, right, like that’s going to happen.

See my page on the Barbary Pirates:

Equality 7-2521

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Obama’s Civilian National Security Force?

Posted on November 14, 2008. Filed under: Culture Matters, Political Issues, The Christian Survivalist |

Friday, November 14, 2008–Imagine Amerika’s youth being required by a draft to serve in a Civilian Defense Force upon graduation from High School where they are in what is essentially a basic training environment for about 3 months and then sent to work on various government projects around the country, or even overseas. In this CDF they receive some military-like training, but the primary instruction is political. The unstated goal would be to train up a force that would be edukated in the principles of “The New Economic Order” and the principles of “Progressive Democracy” (Marxist/Socialism). Their loyalty would be to Pres. BO.

Simultaneously with the rise of the CDF, the military budget would be cut by about 1/3. All major new weapons’ systems would be halted, our nuclear arsenal (already dangerously old) would be allowed to decay and not be replaced, the new missile defense systems will be scrapped (the Alaskan National Guard helps man one of those installations in Alaska, Sarah Palin is the Governor and thus, Commander of the Alaskan National Guard), and troop reductions would follow.

Because of the cuts in the Defense Budget and the elimination of the Patriot Act, the closing of GITMO and a new openness to “talks” with terrorist states, terrorism increases and the US begins to sustain increasing casualties at home and abroad. The Al Qaida does not respect Pres. BO.

With the tax cuts proposed by Pres. elect BO only about 25% of Americans will actually be paying taxes, the other 75% would be receiving money from the government, thus building up an electorate that is dependent upon Pres. BO. The borders will be opened and once again, millions of illegals will flood our cities, also beholden to BO. Those millions of illegals will be given the right to vote. The continued economic crisis will result in the nationalization of the Auto Industry, Banks, and the Pharmaceuticals. A war between Israel and Iran will result in another spike in oil prices and the government will move to nationalize the oil industry. No new drilling, no new nuclear power plants and no viable alternative sources of energy will be found anytime soon. Energy prices soar, so Pres BO the Beneficent bestows reduced cost oil for half the population, thus winning more converts.

Two months into his reign, Pres BO has appointed a new FCC chairman and the FAirness Doctrine is immediately imposed. Talk RAdio stations around the country are forced to bring in liberal speakers or shut down. Revenue slows to Talk RAdio stations so formats are chagned, stations begin to close. Meanwile, CBSNBCABCCNNMSNBCPBS do not have to make any changes, allow any conservatives. The advertisers on FOX news are all hit by boycotts.

By executive order all laws against abortion are overturned, homosexuals are allowed to marry, and assault rifles and high capacity magazines are banned.

Hearings in Congress begin immediately for the Bush/Cheney administration and these lead to a series of trials. Eventually former Pres. Bush and VP Cheney are turned over to the World Court for a war crimes trial. They are imprisoned after a two and a half year long trial.

Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity both mysteriously disappear and are never heard from again. After a brief investigation no foul play is discovered and rumors begin that they left to go into seclusion to Costa Rica. Hannity’s wife and children protestand private efforts to locate him are stymied by government interference. Rush Limbaugh’s estate is taken over by the State and used for research on sea turtles.

Homeschooling is outlawed by executive order. Religious families are persecuted for holding their children out of government schools. Private schools lose their tax exempt status. Churches taht refuse to hire homosexuals lose their tax exemt status. Preachers are charged with a “Hate Crime” for preaching against the sodomites. Polyamory groups win the right for group marriage.

See the following stories for the Civilian National Security Force.

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Tribute To Alexandre Solzhenitsyn 1918-2008

Posted on August 5, 2008. Filed under: Church History, Culture Matters, Political Issues |

Monday, August 25, 2008– Here is an article on Solzhenitsyn that takes a different tack, but I think he is not far from the truth in many ways.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008– One of my heroes of the twentieth century died Sunday, the great Russian author Alexandre Solzhenitsyn. I became acquainted with his work in college at OU when I took 3 history classes under Dr. Tobias in Russian/Soviet History and some political theory classes under professors Peters and Malitz. “One Day In the Life of Ivan Denisovich” I read while in college because it went along with some of the Ayn Rand books I was reading, and I read about half of the 3 volume “Gulag Archipelago” in the Army. I had heard of Solzhenitysn when I was in High School because that is when he won the Nobel prize.

Having grown up in the nuclear, post-sputnik age, remembering that the church where I got saved and baptized (FBC, Elk City, OK) had a fallout shelter, remembering the tornado and nuclear blast drills in school, I grew up knowing that the Russians were the bad guys. Wanting to be a soldier since I was little, I always thought I would end up fighting the Russians in central Europe. But reading authors like Ayn Rand ( a Russian immigrant), Pasternak (Dr. Zhivago) and Solzhenitsyn, and hearing of the bravery of Andrei Sakharov, gave me hope that there might eventually be an awakening in the Soviet Union and that our two countries could be friends instead of enemies.

Reading “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich”, Orwell’s “1984”, Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”, Rand’s “Fountainhead”, “Atlas Shrugged” and “Anthem”, Koestler’s “Darkness at Noon” and a few others really led me to be inoculated against communism, fascism, and statism of all varieties including American Liberalism. But Solzhenitsyn’s work stood out in my mind more than the others in some ways, I guess because he had experienced the Gulag personally. He was Ivan Denisovich. And the fact that Solzhenitsyn was an outspoken Christian also made me stand up and take notice. Here was a Christian whose works were not published by Zondervan, Bethany House or Crossway. You couldn’t even find his works in Christian stores. But his premises were Christian; he was writing from a Christian worldview to change the world. He had been to hell and lived to tell the story. He spoke truth to evil before it became a cute phrase used by pampered rich democrat statists protesting the Bush administration.

I remember when he was exiled to the West he came to America and the crowds cheered. But when he spoke of Christ and the moral failures of the West, the cheers went silent. The American media already corrupted by the mid 1970’s, could not tolerate a Christian Russian dissident. And the west, instead of listening to his prophetic voice, shrugged in apathy at the quaint Russian, much to our own impoverishment.

I acknowledge that we are living in a post literate age, people no longer read much. I am reasonably sure that Christians read more than non-Christians, but are we reading the great books? Along with our Bibles, and the works of people like RC Sproul, John MacArthur, John Piper, Francis Schaeffer, AW Tozer, Jonathon Edwards, etc. we ought to be reading folks like Solzhenitsyn, Rand, Koestler, Steinbeck, Hemingway, Dickens, Hawthorne, etc. I would strongly urger everyone to go out and purchase “One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich” and read it. It is a fast read and not a thick book.

Here is an outstanding article by Dinesh D’Souza about Solzhenitsyn. He spends a lot of time about the speech at Harvard in 1978 that turned off the press and other libtards.

Here are a couple of articles about Solzhenitsyn, written by those far more erudite than I.“one_word_of_truth_will_outweigh_the_whole_world”?page=1,0,4320735.story

And here are some places you can purchase his books:

Here is his famous Harvard Address, thank you to the ISI website:

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Golden Compass Lags at Box Office, Updated 1-2-08

Posted on December 19, 2007. Filed under: Culture Matters |

Wednesday, January 2, 2008– Here is the link to a good, brief review in World Magazine. He makes an excellent point about why the movie did not do as well as it could have, and how deceptive the movie maker’s goals were:, December 19th, 2007–In a previous couple of posts I discussed the Nicole Kidman movie, The Golden Compass; here is an article from Baptist Press about the disappointing sales at the Box Office. I rather suspected that it would not do nearly as well as the Chronicles of Narnia simply because I do not think the original books were anywhere nearly as widely read as Narnia. Despite the books winning some awards, I had never heard of them, and consider myself to be fairly well read. Plus, I know how awards are given out…just look at the recent Nobel Peace Prize given to Algore for his scientifically challenged film about global warming (which started about 14,000 years ago after the last ice age when our ancestors were not industrialized.) Awards are given by organizations to praise works that reflect their own morals and worldview. At any rate, it appears that The Golden Compass is not a blockbuster and will not break even until it hits the overseas market or maybe not til it goes to DVD. Here is the link:

And here is Dr. Al Mohler’s commentary on The Golden Compass:

This commentary by Dr. Mohler is absolutely right on target and should be read by any Christian prior to going to the movie. Note: as I said before, I am not opposed to Christians watching this movie as long as they educated themselves before hand and treat it as an opportunity to teach their children apologetics and theology. If you go just for entertainment, you are poisoning your mind and the minds of your children. Here is a link to Hollywoodjesus with a good review of the movie:

I have used hollywoodjesus a lot over the years to help me understand the movies. I will add this to my blogroll.

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Nicole Kidman’s Movie

Posted on December 3, 2007. Filed under: Culture Matters |

Monday, December 3, 2007- As I talked about in a prior post (previously named “The Golden Compass”, now under “The Kingdom of God”, I was afraid that Christians would made a fuss over this movie and it seems from this story that it is likely to be happening.

From everything I have read and heard about the movie I certainly could not recommend anyone going to see it unless they take the time to study it, find the lie, expose the evil, point to True North and give the artistry of the movie a fair shake, discuss it with your kids so that they can then discuss it intelligently with their friends from a scriptural viewpoint.

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