19 May 2019

“...it is so just because it is there"





Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon


The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The MTP, volume 49, sermon number 2,862, "The way of wisdom." 


Image result for charles spurgeon

"I am not responsible for what is in the Book, I am only responsible for telling out what I find there, as it is taught to me by the Holy Spirit."

Let us never arraign God before our bar. It is a horrible thing for any man ever to say, “Well, if God acts like that, I do not see the justice of it.” How dare you even hint that the Judge of all the earth is not just?

He hath said, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion;” so do not you say, “It cannot be so.” Is it so written in God’s Word? Then it is so just because it is there. If God has said anything, it is not right for you to ask for an explantion of his reason for saying it, or to summon him to your judgment-seat.

What impertinence is this! He must always do right; he cannot do wrong. Some have staggered over the doctrine of eternal punishment, because they could not see how that could be consistent with God’s goodness. I have only one question to ask concerning that or any other doctrine,—Does God reveal it in the Scriptures? Then, I believe it, and leave to him the vindication of his own consistency.

I am sure that he will not inflict a pain upon any creature which that creature does not deserve, that he will never cause any sorrow or misery which is not absolutely necessary, and that he will glorify himself by doing the right, the loving, the kind thing, in the end.

If we do not see it to be so, it will be none the less so because we are blind. The finger on the lip is the right attitude for us in the presence of things revealed by God, or wrought by God, as David said, “I was dumb, I opened not my mouth because thou didst it.”

If thou didst it, O Lord, there is no question about the rightness of it, for thou art supreme, and thou oughtest to be supreme! There is none like thee for goodness, for love, for wisdom. Thy will ought to be—so let it be—done on earth, as it is heaven, let it be done everywhere, for what thou doest is ever best.

12 May 2019

Prophet, Priest and King

Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon


The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The MTP, volume 33, sermon number 1,978, "Trust." 
Image result for charles spurgeon

"A saving trust leads us to accept Christ in all his offices." 

He is to us not only Priest to put away our sin, but Prophet to remove our ignorance, and King to subdue our rebellions.

If as Priest he purges the conscience, as Prophet he must direct the intellect, and as King he must rule the life. We must yield our will to Christ’s will, that henceforth every thought may be brought into captivity to his holy sway.

There is no whole-hearted trust in Christ unless Christ is taken as a whole. You cannot have half a Christ and be saved, for half Christ is no Christ.

You must take him as he is revealed in Scripture, Jesus Christ the Son of God, the Saviour of men, very God of very God, the faithful and true Witness, your Guide, your Lord, your Husband, your everything.

Do you trust him so? If not, you have not trusted him at all. This is the trust which brings salvation with it—an entire reliance upon an entire Saviour so far as you know him.

06 May 2019

How to Build a Whitewashed Tomb

by Colin Eakin



Matt. 23:27: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness."

In 1942, Englishman C.S. Lewis published a book entitled The Screwtape Letters. In it, a senior devil named Screwtape details to his nephew and underling Wormwood methods for waylaying and ultimately damning his intended victim. The book is a clever and revealing look at how the actual devil, Satan, goes about perpetrating his odious work in the world. One overarching theme behind Screwtape's instruction to Wormwood is how the subtle provocation away from truth is usually more helpful in bringing souls to hell than blatant exposures to deplorable sins. Writes Screwtape to his young apprentice, "Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts . . . ."

One glance across the landscape of professing Christianity since the book's publication shows how Satan has capitalized mightily on Screwtape's insight, using incremental apostasy to poison the well of doctrinal truth and undermine the Church's message. Incremental nudges away from biblical fidelity are the hallmark of the false church, and the chief exponents Satan has employed for this task have been the contemporary equivalents of the "scribes and Pharisees" of Jesus' day, those tasked with overseeing Scriptural instruction. Christ's no-holds-barred denunciation of such false teachers was designed to expose these counterfeit religious leaders for who they really are—walking sepulchers housing spiritual cadavers.



Why "whitewashed"? Because Jesus knew what His Spirit would later inspire the Apostle Paul to write (2 Cor. 11:13-15): "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness." The "wolf in sheep's clothing" (cf. Matt. 7:13-14; Acts 20:28) has been Satan's chief ploy for deceiving the unsuspecting since the early days of the Church. Christ's diatribe in Matt. 23:27 is meant to warn of the spiritual leader housed in a sincere, winsome, wholesome-appearing, religiously adorned exterior, all the while concealing a spiritual corpse. And what was true then holds true today: nothing infuriates God more than a theologian or spiritual teacher whose noxious instruction is hidden by a veneer of respectability and charm, with just enough feints towards orthodoxy to beguile the naive. Moreover, knowing that students ultimately become like their masters (cf. Luke 6:40), Christ wanted all to know what was at stake given continued exposure to such impostors and their fetid deceit.

But despite the myriad of Scriptural warnings to be on guard against such impostors, the sad reality is that the Church has never been so awash in falsehood as it is today. It is as if Satan has hit upon the "whitewashed tomb" as the principal means for furthering his deception and is doubling down on their production. So if a new edition of The Screwtape Letters were to be published today, we might imagine it would contain an addendum entitled, "How to Build a Whitewashed Tomb." If artifice and apostasy is to continue infiltrating the Church, then Wormwood must be updated on the furtherance of this chief armament of Satan. With this in mind, let us imagine how Screwtape might write to Wormwood today:

My Dear Wormwood,

It being some time since our last correspondence, with developments both favorable and troubling, I feel compelled to write and bring you up to date on the latest directives from our Ruler. You will recall in prior posts I emphasized to you the value of incremental apostasy in undermining our Enemy's work. And no factor over the last two millennia has been more integral to this stratagem than the ongoing reproduction of (to use our Enemy's censorious term) "whitewashed tombs." As you know, these clandestine operatives appear to be working for Him, when in reality they are working for us.

That such a strategy has succeeded through the years, and even works today, is quite remarkable. For when our Enemy walked the earth, He plainly exposed our agents then for what they are—"whitewashed tombs"—and warned in great detail how they were to be identified (Matt. 7:13-14; 23:1-36; John 10:7-13). Not only that, His inspired scribes revealed us—the instigators and motivators behind these agents—in our true form, as "servants of righteousness" (2 Cor. 11:13-15). Such disclosures might have spelled disaster, as the impact of our counterfeit work lies in its spiritual camouflage, and here the Holy One of Israel was drawing back the curtain for all to see. Fortunately, time, vanity and spiritual lethargy have combined to dull the discernment of mankind to His warnings, to a degree that never before have our agents been so ubiquitous, and are finding greener pastures with every passing decade.
But we cannot become complacent. Remember how five centuries ago, the tide turned against us most dramatically and severely, and many souls were lost to the Enemy forever. It is uncertain we will ever fully recover from this calamity, as even now vestiges of that so-called "Reformation" continue to befuddle and undermine our labors. Therefore, you must understand our Ruler's prioritization of false teaching as our foremost task at hand, which in turn is predicated upon the replication of our prized "whitewashed tombs," that the unsuspecting might be permanently waylaid from the Truth. So without further ado, I pass along to you our Ruler's formula for how to build a "whitewashed tomb." If you can deceive the would-be teacher of the Word with these three simple measures, you will ensure their continued reproduction for the foreseeable future:

  1. The "whitewashed tomb" will downplay the biblical description of spiritual death.

    The first task in creating a whitewashed tomb is to obscure the biblical description of all mankind as being spiritually dead. As you know, the Enemy's Word is not ambiguous in declaring this as the true spiritual condition of all people prior to conversion. Fortunately, the world finds this doctrine especially scandalous, so we must naturally exploit their sense of insult. You will find your "tombs" will readily stray from teaching truth when it is offensive to their listeners. They will be loath to inform them that all humans are born into this world as spiritually deceased "children of wrath" (Eph. 2:1-3), that they live under the contemporaneous judgment of God (John 3:18; 36), and that—apart from salvation via repentance and faith—they are headed to eternal torment in hell (Matt. 25:41, 46). Let your would-be instructor teach that humans are broken, hurt, needful, insufficient, helpless, or any other distressed condition, but never spiritually deceased. If your tomb or his audience were to learn this truth of their condition (Ps. 51:5; Mt. 8:21-22; Luke 15:24; Eph. 2:1, 5), they would then be far likelier to yearn for the new life the Enemy offers through repentance and faith. Biblical terms and phrases we have sought to quash—such as "born again"—might reemerge and wreak havoc with our plans.

    Critical to this, of course, is that our Enemy's Word must remain unopened, or if opened, then ignored. Have your minions quote mystics and spiritual sages in lieu of the Truth. And when the Word must be quoted (as you will find at times is necessary to satisfy some), the text must serve the doctrinal presuppositions of our teachers, and not vice-versa. Your tombs should offer competing understandings of straightforward but culturally unpopular passages, and disdain polemical and apologetic use of the Word as illegitimate "proof-texting." Whenever possible, have your tombs offer solace to those who find it hard to spend time in the Word, as though such activity is incidental for the "Jesus-follower" (a nice substitute for "Christian"). Favor small groups simply gathering to share their lives and offer each other support over any formal "Bible study." Above all, our subjects must remain ignorant of the Enemy's clear tactic, which He openly declared in John 5:25: "Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live." We must do all we can to thwart such a development, and the key is to mislead the masses away our Enemy's Word and its unambiguous truth—that all humanity is spiritually dead until some hear His voice and become alive.

  2. The "whitewashed tomb" will invert the biblical order of spiritual regeneration
    Unfortunately, my dear Nephew, it is inevitable that the sinner's need for rebirth by our Enemy will surface. Sooner or later, the guilt and shame of sin will weigh on some, and they will long for spiritual regeneration which only our Enemy can provide. When that happens, it is imperative for you to invert the order of spiritual transformation. What do I mean? Simply this: humans must be encouraged to believe what they do for God makes them acceptable before God. They must be taught that one's performance for God determines their position with God, that they can belong to Him before they believe in Him.

    This is, of course, baldly refuted throughout Scripture. You know, dear Wormwood, that the prayers and other acts of service done by those who have not yet been redeemed by our Enemy through repentance and faith are an abomination to Him (Prov. 15:8; 28:9; Isa. 64:6). In fact, this is nothing other than legalism, that old tried and true tactic perfected by the Pharisees, yet still a compelling vice all these years later. This falsehood remains enticing because sinners warm to the idea that they might offer works to be approved by our Enemy, and recoil at being told they can do nothing to merit His acceptance. The endurance and flourishing of legalism explains how much of the professing Church today is bursting with spiritual activity and service rendered to our Enemy with absolutely no clue how to be truly reconciled to Him (2 Cor. 5:18-21).

    You might think the biblical evidence opposing this legalistic heresy is too overwhelming for our ploy to work, but think again. Just last month, a well-known megachurch pastor and popular author bemoaned to his congregation that, ". . . people are drawn to Buddhism rather than Christianity because they understand Buddhism to be a religion of practice, but Christianity to be a religion of beliefs. I don't know who defined Christianity that way, but it was not Jesus." (As you know, dear Wormwood, it certainly was. The Gospel of John is a veritable treasure trove of quotes by our Enemy refuting this teacher's statement and proving that salvation comes not from doing, but from believing; this is, again, why we must do everything possible to distract people from the Word). As you know, the world of religions that we have spawned and even now sustain are all based upon the pretense that human effort can win the Almighty's approval. As long as sinners can be deceived away from the truth that right belief must precede right practice, we will ensure their spiritual confusion and, ultimately, their damnation.

  3. The "whitewashed tomb" will ignore the biblical gospel of spiritual substitution
    Once your teacher ignores or, better yet, denies spiritual death as the default condition of all, then inverts the biblical order of spiritual regeneration by placing right practice ahead of right belief, your task is almost complete. The final nail in your whitewashed coffin is this: corruption of the true gospel through denial of penal substitutionary atonement. As you know, the Enemy has clearly stated that salvation comes from believing the gospel (cf. Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 15:2-3), and that the gospel basics—involving the death and resurrection of His Son—must be accepted according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:2-4). This means that those who would be saved through repentance and belief in the gospel (Mark 1:15) must understand that gospel as the Bible has described it: a gospel borne out of sacrifice by One Man to save the many through His satisfaction of His Father's just wrath against sin (Isa. 53:4-12; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 John 2:2; 4:10). By bearing the punishment of those who would ever believe, the Son has forever redeemed them from the penalty their sin deserved.

    Because faith in this reality is what permanently severs our link with the vulnerable soul, we must obscure with full exertion the truth spelled out above. Jesus' death must be presented in nebulous terms, as the ultimate example of self-sacrifice, or as some vague and complicated form of victory over evil. Once sinners realize every sin must be punished by death, either through their own suffering for eternity or by Christ upon the cross, then the floodgates to salvation will be plain for all to see and our cause will be doomed. Fortunately, our Ruler's rebranding of the gospel around "social justice" has been a most propitious development, as it reverses the sinner's orientation from abject petitioner for mercy from God into entitled protester for recompense from man. A large swath of professing believers is now so centered on earthly indemnification that they have complete ignorance of, and (even better) disinterest in, spiritual rebirth. May such a damning perspective checkmate indefinitely the Enemy's desire to bring sons and daughters to His glory (cf. Heb. 2:10).
There you have it, dear Nephew. Use this letter to redouble your efforts in perpetuating falsehood via the development of respectable crypts. Through denial of the sinner's default condition as spiritually dead, reversal of the manner of spiritual regeneration, and repudiation of the need for spiritual substitution, you will become a master craftsman in your bid to transform today's spiritual teachers in "whitewashed tombs."

Your affectionate uncle,

Screwtape

Dr. Colin L. Eakin
PyroManiac

Dr. Eakin is a sports medicine orthopædic surgeon in the Bay Area and part time teacher at Grace Bible Fellowship Church's Stanford campus ministry. He is the author of God's Glorious Story.

04 May 2019

Pastor: Stick to Praying and Preaching

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon



The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. This week's selection is from sermon 2189, "A Call to Prayer and Testimony," originally preached in February 1891, about a year before Spurgeon went to heaven.

t. Augustine desired to be always found aut precantem, aut predicantem; that is, either praying or preaching; either speaking to God for men in prayer, or speaking for God to men in his ministry. Ministers of Christ especially should give themselves, not to the serving of tables, but to the ministry of the word and to prayer. For us to give ourselves to getting up entertainments, to become competitors with theatres and music-halls, is a great degradation of our holy office. If I heard of a minister becoming a chimney-sweep to earn his living, I would honour him in both his callings; but for God's watchmen to become the world's showmen is a miserable business. God keep all of us who are ministers of Christ from entangling ourselves with the things of this life! The proverb says, "Stick to your last, cobbler"; and I would say—Stick to your pulpit, minister! Keep to your one work, and you will find quite enough for all the strength you have, and even more.

C. H. Spurgeon

03 May 2019

The Legalistic Pragmatism of Certain Social Justicians

by Hohn Cho



s someone who is not on Twitter but keeps abreast of it, let me point out that it has been a pretty crazy week for the Christian social justicians. For this blogpost, we'll be discussing a particular tirade by one Bradly Mason. Now, as someone who does his best to avoid responding to mere "someone is WRONG on the Internet" situations, since Mason appears to have relatively limited influence—just like me, I'd add, before anyone falsely accuses me of looking down on him—normally I'd be inclined to just let it pass. But given that portions of and references to his tweetstorm have been enthusiastically liked or retweeted with approval by many more prominent figures, including Thabiti Anyabwile, Anthony Bradley, Jemar Tisby, and Ekemini Uwan, and as of this writing has almost 200 retweets and over 1,300 likes, I think it's fair to say that he has struck a nerve.

That fact alone exposes the Proverbs 29:11 emotionalism and James 1:20 unrighteous anger which all too often drive so many of the social justicians' arguments, sadly. Certainly they don't appear to be driven by biblical or logical considerations, given that Mason cites zero Scripture despite 23 tweets, and quickly retreats from a slanderous bailey (naming many honorable men and groups[*] in response to the specific question, "Who is defending white supremacy using the Gospel?") to a still-indefensible motte (merely relegating those men and groups to a place of "making conservative evangelicalism a pretty safe place to harbor [white supremacist] views" and claiming they "defend White Supremacy") within the very same tweetstorm, incredibly. And during the course of his unsupported and unsupportable accusations (because none of the people or groups he names are "defending white supremacy" as they, in fact, overtly oppose white supremacy, and have said as much, and thus the claim is false), he also manages to airily dismiss many legitimate concerns raised by faithful saints, and set up and knock down over a dozen straw men, all while engaging in some of the most egregiously uncharitable heart-reading that I've seen in a long time.

Rather than get into a point-by-point rebuttal, I'm opting to highlight two overarching themes that I see in many social justicians' arguments. First, their claims and calls to action are often legalistic in nature, specifically the type of pharisaic legalism that elevates the heavy burden of man-made rules and lays them on people's shoulders per Matthew 23:4.

I find this to be an ironic phenomenon, given that social justicians often accuse their critics of being fundamentalists characterized by legalism, among other things, but the reality is that far too often, they themselves are the ones attempting to bootstrap generalized scriptural principles which do not speak to the time, place, or manner of how they ought to be applied, into extremely specific extra-biblical requirements. One example would be Anyabwile writing in the Washington Post last year about evangelicals' supposed "complicit silence" regarding President Trump (whom I did not support in 2016, by the way, but he is in fact the President, and thus for American Christians, Titus 3:1-2 applies), a terribly-reasoned piece which I previously critiqued here.

In that light, let's consider Mason's "motte" argument, specifically that the brothers and groups he accused are "making conservative evangelicalism a pretty safe place to harbor [white supremacist] views" and elsewhere that they "defend White Supremacy". This is a serious charge, and as is often the case with "social justice" rhetoric, its main support appears to be the author's opinion, specifically that the accused here too often dare to express concerns about the faulty or at times even non-existent Scriptural rationales of the social justicians, as well as the naturally dangerous fruit likely to result from such unbiblical trees.

In other words, if one disagrees with certain social justicians, or even declines to speak out on the specific topics they want with the specific frequency and strength they want, one is coddling white supremacists and defending white supremacy. Somehow. I guess. Even if some of the accused are not even white. Even if most (all?) of the accused have overtly preached and written against the evils of the sin of partiality pertaining to ethnicity and otherwise, and are supportive of things like interethnic marriage to such an extent that they are abhorred by the execrable kinists.

Look, that isn't "defending white supremacy" by any rational standard. The reality is that the accused attack white supremacy and are flatly opposed to it. Their "crime" is simply that they don't make opposing it the absolute center of their ministry, and are unwilling to just shut up and let the social justicians say whatever they want, unchallenged, as they unbiblically bind others' consciences with legalistic appeals, or even worse, confuse the Gospel with a Galatian addition of "wokeness" as a fundamentally required work. And in the exact same way, I believe all of the accused are pro-life and anti-abortion, but vehemently oppose anti-abortion extremists such as Abolish Human Abortion when they go overboard with their legalistic appeals and anti-biblical ecclesiology. Indeed, there are many similarities between the AHA zealots and the social justicians, and the comparison does not reflect well on either group.

Mason's argument is completely irrational and illogical, and again, it's absolutely legalistic. Because each of the accused, in his own stewardship, is ultimately accountable to the Lord—as well as his elders or fellow elders—for how he chooses to prioritize his public and private words and actions, and if Mason's (or Anyabwile's, or Bradley's, or Tisby's, or Uwan's, who all supported and aligned with Mason in some fashion) measuring stick for "woke" holiness is counting public comments opposed to or supportive of the social justicians' poor theology, well, they might as well break out their hemline-rulers and book bonfires.

At the end of the day, I'm aware of no biblical command to preach or speak out publicly (or tweet, for that matter) on any specific topic with any specific frequency, with the exception of course being the Gospel per 2 Timothy 4:2, 1 Corinthians 9:16, Acts 10:42, Matthew 28:19-20, Romans 1:16, as the accused have so often pointed out and emphasized in their ministries. This is true even for whatever major current event might be happening in any given week. Whether and to what extent a pastor decides to talk about 9/11, or an abortion bill, or a tragic mass shooting, or whoever the perpetrator of that mass shooting might be, is a matter for that pastor's own stewardship, and he will have a greater accountability for it per James 3:1. But when another person makes sweeping and censorious accusations about an entire swath of faithful men and ministries based sheerly on that person's perception of that stewardship and prioritization, well, James 2:13 gives me genuine concern for that person.

Meanwhile, for all of us as we decide if and when and how to speak, genuine care should be taken to avoid the real danger of virtue signaling to an outside secular world that is increasingly hostile to Christians...except of course those Christians eager to promote the latest worldly styles and fads, especially if they're willing to bash other groups of faithful Christians as they do. As Matthew 6:5 states, those virtue signalers already have their treasure, in the form of book deals, conference speaker gigs, Washington Post articles, and perhaps most commonly, the praise, admiration, and Twitter likes and retweets of countless social justicians, liberals, academics, celebrities, media figures, and cool hipsters whose only reactions to biblically faithful positions such as young earth creationism, traditional marriage, penal substitutionary atonement, and the exclusivity of Jesus Christ are the ridicule and revulsion reserved for uncouth, unwashed, unenlightened fundamentalists guilty of unspeakable thought crimes unfit for public discourse.

Before you call me an alarmist, this is already happening to Christian business owners, professors, and students. And it will continue happening, and will only get worse. And although it's unsurprising to see the faithful remnant besieged by torch- and pitchfork-carrying secularists, the saddest part to me is wondering who among my currently faithful professing brethren will end up offering them aid and comfort, or even joining their ranks.

This brings me to my second overarching theme, which is the pragmatic nature of so much of the social justician discourse. Again and again, I see concerns raised by people like Mason about the pragmatic ends of this or that action, rather than the biblical means on how to get to a particular end. I perceive over and over such a great concern for the temporal, that the spiritual is often neglected or treated as an afterthought. But as we know from 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, we do not wage war according to the flesh, and in fact there is great importance in casting down arguments and opinions that are raised against the knowledge of God. This passage would seem to emphasize the importance of making sure that our means are indeed in accordance with what God has revealed in His Word, before rushing off to try to achieve some end. I would think one way to do this would be having a civil discourse.

Instead, sadly, we have pieces like Mason's, and a general lack of interest in having a substantive discussion. Everyone I know on "my side" of the argument, including the accused, is eager to have a discussion about what the Bible says on this or that "social justice" topic, but the usual response I've seen from social justicians is crickets. And while I fully acknowledge the possibility of confirmation bias, based on my own personal experience in the church on this "social justice" issue, I believe I'm north of a dozen times recently when my attempts to engage in (highly civil) discussions have been met with silence, unfulfilled promises to respond later, in two cases a decisively dismissive attitude, and in only one case an actual conversation over lunch that turned out to be both profitable and enjoyable. And I've observed from afar a similar ratio in the tireless efforts of Neil Shenvi.[**]

When I compare this track record to some higher-profile spats in the secular world, rife with declarations that look like, "go educate yourself, I'm not going to do your homework for you" (a seemingly curious response, if one is truly interested in advancing one's preferred position within the marketplace of ideas), or "I'm sick and tired of repeating myself all the time" (a more understandable sentiment in the secular world, perhaps, but less so for Christians called not to weary of doing good in Galatians 6:9), I'm grieved by the similarity of the responses.



More and more, my impression is that many Christian social justicians are simply not interested in having a discussion (much less a debate) with the brothers and sisters who respectfully disagree with them. Instead, it seems as though the desire is simply to proselytize to build their coalition and then declare victory, with any opposition either ignored, or smashed down with a sledgehammer of presumptuously misappropriated moral authority. And when this happens, honest disagreement is often recast as hatred or slander, sadly, and people who earnestly hold differing biblical convictions are dismissed, or even worse, cast out, as adherents of a truncated or incomplete Gospel...or even as defenders of white supremacy. Because apparently, it is not good enough for many social justicians to simply separate and do ministry in different ways, as Paul and Barnabas did, but precisely because the social justicians are seeking pragmatic or even political goals, the movement must grow. And suddenly, personal convictions become "Gospel issues" and individual Christian liberty is turned into the legalistic requirements I described in my first theme, above.

Instead of such political pragmatism, what the church truly needs is more godly, Gospel-proclaiming Christians concerned for the individual souls of the lost, and not more armchair politicians. And this is true regardless of whether their arms might sit on the right or left armrest. Indeed, some of the social justicians go on and on (and on and on) wondering how any professing Christian could ever support certain policies supported by the Republican Party or even worse, President Trump, displaying an astonishing lack of self-awareness as they do so. Because the reality is that they're doing the exact same thing as the people they decry, merely from the opposing political viewpoint.



I'll leave it to each individual Christian to decide whether or not one party or the other is more supportive of his or her most important biblical principles and convictions. Speaking only for myself, however, I can't bring myself to vote for any party that would continue to maintain the horror of abortion as a fundamental right. This is my own personal bright line litmus test, my speaking up for the most voiceless and oppressed of all, as nearly a million babies a year are still being murdered in the US alone. It is every bit as shocking and immoral, if not more so, than the evils of hereditary slavery based on the color of one's skin with origins in man-stealing. Thankfully, that evil was abolished over 150 years ago...and yet our modern tragedy of abortion continues. The social justicians often speak about the importance of moral clarity on certain societal issues. I agree, and that's precisely why I personally believe all other societal issues—even some good ones, some important ones—pale in comparison to the very lives of countless unborn children.

Once again, however, the differences in temporal priorities that individual Christians might have are precisely why I and so many other like-minded brothers (like the accused) and sisters emphasize the importance of Gospel proclamation, over any other social or political matter. Because the eternal state of each individual unsaved man or woman is something we all ought to be able to unite on, and of far greater importance than any temporal issue, however dire. I'm glad to be confident in that stance from so many of the accused. Indeed, I know the majority of these men and leaders in three of the groups personally, and they abhor and clearly teach against the sin of partiality both generally as well as specifically pertaining to ethnicity. So just as Mason's "motte" charge is completely baseless legalism, his "bailey" charge is simply outrageous calumny. And he and the people cheering him on ought to repent of it and retract it.

Hohn's signature



* Mason specifically accuses the brethren Justin Peters, John MacArthur, James White, Phil Johnson, Doug Wilson, JD Hall, Josh Buice, Tom Ascol, R. Scott Clark, Darrell Harrison, Burk Parsons, and in a follow-up tweet Samuel Sey and Voddie Baucham, as well as the groups Sovereign Nations, Alpha & Omega Ministries, Grace To You, Pulpit & Pen, Reformation Charlotte, Aquila Report, American Vision, and Ligonier Ministries.

** If you're not familiar with Neil, you really ought to consider checking him out, and his research partner Pat Sawyer as well. Neil's website is chock-full of excellent, biblical takes on a wide variety of topics (including perhaps most notably, these days, critical theory), and his Twitter feed is the type of graciously edifying, Christ-honoring engagement that I would aspire to, were I ever to take the plunge onto that medium.

28 April 2019

Avoid whine


Image result for Charles spurgeon

Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The MTP, volume 53, sermon number 3021, "Landlord and tenant." 


"Yes, you were grumbling this morning: that was not rendering a worthy recompense for benefits received." 

Shall a living man complain? There are some who do little else but complain. They complain of the times, of the weather, of the government, of their families, of their trade; if, for once, they would
complain of themselves, they might have a more deserving subject for fault-finding.

The Lord is good, and doeth good, and let his name be blessed. Let us, as his people, avow that, though he slay us, yet will we trust in him; and if he make us groan under his heavy hand, we will even weep out his praises, and our expiring sigh shall be but a note of our life’s psalm, which we hope to exchange full soon for the song of the celestial host above.

Praising and blessing God in life, practically by obedience, and heartily with gratitude,—this is the rent which is due for the house in which we dwell.

22 April 2019

A Chosen Race, A Royal Priesthood, A Holy Nation

by Hohn Cho



n March 29-30, the organization Sparrow Women, which claims as its mission, "We want to pursue racial harmony by equipping women through Sparrow Resources, by partnering with churches and organizations in the training of leaders, by unifying women through Sparrow Conference, and by pursuing justice and mercy by partnering with like-minded non-profits," held its annual conference. A discussion at the conference with Ekemini Uwan, a "Nigerian-American public theologian," became the subject of controversy, particularly after Uwan made comments such as, "whiteness is wicked" and that people should "divest from whiteness." (An unofficial discussion transcript retweeted by Uwan can be found here.)

In response to some respectful pushback, which Uwan rejected as an attempt to "mansplain" her, Uwan proceeded to double down with her "whiteness is wickedness" claim. Putting aside the seeming bravado of her Twitter feed that included hiring an attorney (which I'm sure is different from the biblical criticism that James MacDonald rightly received for suing other believers in violation of 1 Corinthians 6 because oppression, or something), putting aside the factual and historical disagreements I have with her presentation, putting aside even the massive semantical confusion relating to the word "whiteness" in its common meaning (which would be assumed by most people) versus its sociological critical race theory meaning (which Uwan never even overtly or fully defines, although Neil Shenvi does a good job here, despite the grave risk of mansplainin'), two things stand out to me about Uwan's presentation.



First, I continue to be amazed when professing Bible-believing Christians forward the notion that worldly theories and terminology from humanistic realms such as sociology and critical race theory ought to be adopted by other Christians. If we truly believe 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that Scripture equips us for every good work, and 2 Peter 1:3 that we already have everything we need pertaining to life and godliness, and indeed, that the Scripture is sufficient, then we should be able to recognize readily that grafting a oppressor/oppressed lens onto everything is at best an unprofitable recipe leading to bitterness, discontentment, disunity, unforgiveness, and an overly temporal rather than eternal focus, and at worst the overt heterodoxies of liberation theology.

According to Scripture, it is not the worldly-wise sociology Ph.D.'s who have the truth, it is the worldly-foolish—yokels and bumpkins who cling to the divine power and wisdom of one Book, rather than the ever-expanding reading lists of secular books assigned by Uwan and her fellow travelers. This message is crystal clear in the classic passage on the topic, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, in addition to numerous other verses such as 1 Corinthians 2:6-8, 1 Corinthians 3:18-20, Colossians 2:8, James 4:4, and 1 John 2:15.

Far too often, sadly, contemporary Christian social justicians seem enamored of currying the world's favor, particularly its academies and professors and intellectuals and entertainers. After all, to take any other path would be to risk being branded as a racist or narrow-minded religious bigot, attacks which have become so routine and vicious that even many faithful Christians are hesitant to stand up for the self-evident truth (reflected in Article XIII of the Statement on Social Justice, -ay) that—with zero regard for the cultures' outward appearances—cultures which are either founded upon or closer to a biblical worldview are better than those cultures antagonistic to or further away from a biblical worldview.

Ultimately, in light of the woeful state of biblical literacy among typical professing Christians, I would submit that the time spent on Uwan's secular reading list would instead be far better spent reading the Bible, and solid systematic theologies, and even Christian biographies about martyrs and heroes and heroines of the faith. To be clear, by saying this, I am not advocating for Luddite paranoia, but rather a maintaining of wise priorities. Why spend so much time chasing after the wisdom of the world, when the perfect Scriptures that we have ready access to, with more solid biblical resources now than at any other time in human history, overtly warn in Colossians 2:8 against such empty and deceptive philosophies as the traditions of men and principles of the world?



To the extent we do opt to read such chaff, it should be with a testing and discerning eye, comparing every truth claim and assertion against the Word per Romans 12:2 and 1 John 4:1. My own experience has been that secular materials tend to be of greater benefit when they are based upon observable and repeatable science relating to God's natural revelation, hard data gathered and analyzed using proper and objective methodology, and universally understood truths about human nature that the Bible would affirm, and far less benefit when they start moving into the social sciences and humanities, particularly when viewed through the increasingly leftist lenses of today's academia. So hard neuroscientific studies based on brain scans could be far more compelling than soft psychological studies that increasingly can't even be replicated; but even those would likely have more value than the humanistic religion of critical race theory that Uwan appears to endorse so heartily.

Second, Uwan proposes that instead of "whiteness" people ought to focus on ethnic identity, even going so far as to claim, "It's like 'Oh, I'm just being a Christian' not knowing that their Christianity is also mediated through whiteness, and ours is mediated through our Blackness, through our ethnic identity, so we have to be careful about that." I suppose it's an interesting concept, but it's also a completely unbiblical one.

We have precisely one mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), and His name is Jesus Christ! And as Christians, our identity in Christ is our first and foremost and primary and increasing identity. John 3:30 aptly states, "He must increase, but I must decrease." Every other group identity pales in comparison to our Christian identity, and our unity in Christ is a reality and a command that must overwhelm any other tendency toward tribalism or factionalism, which we must actively resist. Think about it, Christ told us plainly in Luke 14:26 that our Christian calling could require us to leave behind even immediate family, how much more so must we leave behind ties of far less importance, such as ethnicity or class or tribe or political party? Consider verses such as these:

Romans 10:12-13, "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for 'WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.'"
1 Corinthians 12:13, "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."
2 Corinthians 5:16-17, "Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."
Galatians 3:28-29, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise."
Colossians 3:9-11, "Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him-a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all."
1 Peter 2:9-10, "But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY."

The theme of these verses could not be more clear: in Christ, all of us are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. We are unified in Christ right now, in the present, and all other temporal distinctions, all other recognitions of the flesh, are unimportant distinctions, so unimportant, in fact, that when compared to Christ, they are not even distinctions at all.

This truth is brought out even more clearly in Acts 6 and Galatians 2, two of the passages most often cited by social justicians in support of their position, ironically. In Acts 6, we saw a conflict in Jerusalem where the native ethnic majority Hebraic Jews were neglecting the distribution of charity to the widows of the ethnic minority Hellenistic Jews. Meanwhile, in Galatians 2, we saw a conflict in Galatia (near what is now central Turkey) where the ethnic minority Jews were arrogantly keeping themselves separate from the native ethnic majority Gentiles (many of whom were of Celtic background, interestingly).

In both of these conflicts, we see the clear call to crush down the importance of our ethnic culture, and to elevate our unity in Christ, which is what truly matters. This reality is true regardless of whether it's a majority group or a minority group acting wrongly! The answer is the same, repent and cut it out. (And by the way, nowhere in either conflict is there any evidence of reparations being made after the fact. The solutions were to be diligent in ensuring a fair distribution of charity, and to sit together in unity.)

Neither do the descriptive passages in Revelation (as opposed to the prescriptive passages I cite above) which state matter-of-factly that Heaven will have people from every nation, tribe, people, and tongue equal some kind of ethnocentric mandate. Indeed, when we look at a passage such as Revelation 7:9-10, we see that the focus of that passage is on worship of the Lamb and not at all the ethnic makeup of the worshippers. In fact, upon closer examination, the most noteworthy aspect of the worshippers is that they're all so astonishingly unified, even (gasp) uniform in many ways, standing in the same position before the throne, wearing the same white robes, waving the same palm branches, and saying the exact same thing, in unison. These descriptive passages are hardly a justification for elevating the importance of ethnicity. In fact, they speak far more to the elevation of our unity in Christ!

The dangers of emphasizing ethnicity in comparison to the vastly more important unity we share in Christ are manifold, and I think Pastor Todd Pruitt of the PCA put it extremely well when he said, "Tribalism and ethnocentrism are easy and enticing. Kinism and Black Liberation Theology wallow in this sinful mess. Reject them for the sake of Christ and his church".

It's a call I pray that the leaders of the faithful church universal, in particular, will heed, and heed soon. Sadly, with the steady drumbeat of the outside world demanding obeisance to its leftist secular values, and all too many church "leaders" either remaining silent or even enthusiastically agreeing with them in some cases, I have not been overly encouraged. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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14 April 2019

Taught that we may teach


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Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon


The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The MTP, volume 23, sermon number 1,344, "The student's prayer." 


"We may all venture to ask the Lord to instruct us and make us understand his ways, that so our conversation may be welcome to his people: and so he will."

There is not really any grave duty a man can be called on to discharge, no responsible office he may be elected to fill, nor even any plan or purpose he lays it on his heart to accomplish, which does not require diligent preparation on his own part to fit himself, to train his faculties, and to discipline his mind.

What you call unskilled labour may possibly be utilized by efficient officers, but unskilful labour is a sheer waste of power. How much more imperative the demand that we should be endowed with the
requisite faculties and qualified by suitable instruction if we have any work to do for God, or any office, however humble, in the service of the great King!

Zeal without knowledge would only betray us into reckless presumption. When called to talk of God’s wondrous works, we ought not to rush upon that exercise at once unfitted and unprepared, but we should wait upon the Lord, that the eyes of our understanding may be enlightened, that our stammering tongues may be unloosed, and that our lips may be attuned to tell the noble tale in grateful strains.

We must first obtain for ourselves an understanding of the way of the Lord’s precepts before we can make it plain to others. He who tries to teach, but has never been taught himself, will make a sorry mess of it. He who has no understanding, and yet wants to make others understand, must assuredly fail.

Some there are who cannot teach and will not learn, and it is because they will not learn that they cannot teach. I believe aptness for being taught is at the bottom of aptness to teach. The psalmist had both. He says, “Make me to understand the way of thy statutes.” There he would be taught. “Then,” saith he, “I shall talk of thy wondrous works.” There he would be teaching.

07 April 2019

Guilty until proven innocent


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Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon


The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The MTP, volume 53, sermon number 3,036, "Proving God." 

"Not only is it unjust to think ill of anyone until we can prove something against him, but it is extremely unwise to be always suspicious of our fellow-creatures." 

Though there is much folly in being over-credulous, I question if there is not far more in being over-suspicious. He who believes every man will soon be bitten, but he who suspects every man will not only be bitten, but devoured.

He who lives in perpetual distrust of his fellow-creatures cannot be happy; he has defrauded himself of peace and happiness, and assumed a position in which he cannot enjoy the sweets of friendship or affection.

I would rather be too credulous towards my fellow-creatures than too suspicious. I had rather they should impose upon me, by making me believe them better than they are, than that I should impose
upon them by thinking them worse then they are.

It is better to be ourselves cheated sometimes than that we should cheat others; and it is cheating others to suspect those on whose characters there resteth no suspicion.

31 March 2019

Would you like to influence three worlds?

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Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon


The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The MTP, volume 62, sermon number 3,543, "Speaking on God's behalf." 

"I would venture to press this upon any of you who are backward in avowing your faith. You cannot conceive what blessing it would bring you were you distinctly and persistently to speak for Jesus."

That timidity which now embarrasses you would speedily cease to check your zeal. After you had once openly professed Christ, gifts that now slumber unconsciously to yourself would be developed by exercise. Rich comfort the service of God would then bring you.

Were you ever to win a soul for Jesus, you would be happier than the merchantman when he found the goodly pearl. You would think that all the happiness you ever knew before was less than nothing compared with the joy of saving a soul from death, and rescuing a sinner from going down into the pit.

The bliss of speaking a word that should affect three worlds, making a change in heaven, and earth, and hell, as devils grind their teeth in wrath because one of their victims is snatched out of their jaws; as men on earth wonder and admire the change that grace has wrought; and as angels rejoice when they hear of sinners saved.

For the sake of him who bought your with his precious blood, seek out others who have been redeemed at the same inestimable price. For the sake of that blessed Spirit who brought you to Jesus, and who now moves in you that you may move others to come to Jesus, be up and doing, steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

You have yet to speak on God’s behalf, and these are the motives that ought to move you.

24 March 2019

How to meet the evils of the age

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The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from An All Round Ministry, page 105, Banner of Truth. 




"Landmarks are laughed at, and fixed teaching is despised. "Progress" is their watchword, and we hear it repeated ad nauseam." 


What are we to do to meet this superstition, and this unbelief, and this disintegration, and this growing worldliness and drunkenness? I have only one remedy to prescribe, and that is, that we do preach the gospel of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in all its length and breadth of doctrine, precept, spirit, example, and power.

To give but one remedy for many diseases of the body, is the part of an empiric; but it is not so in the affairs of the soul, for the gospel is so divinely compounded as to meet all the evils of humanity, however they may differ from one another.

We have only to preach the living gospel, and the whole of it, to meet the whole of the evils of the times. The gospel, if it were fully received through the whole earth, would purge away all slavery and all war, and put down all drunkenness and all social evils; in fact, you cannot conceive a moral curse which it would not remove; and even physical evils, since many of them arise incidentally from sin, would be greatly mitigated, and some of them for ever abolished.

The spirit of the gospel, causing attention to be given to all that concerns our neighbour’s welfare, would promote sanitary and social reforms, and so the leaves of the tree which are for the healing of the nations would work their beneficial purpose.

Keep to the gospel, brethren, and you will keep to the one universal, never-failing remedy. You have read of sieges, in which the poor inhabitants have been reduced to skeletons; and fevers and diseases,
scarcely known at other times, have abounded: when the city has at last surrendered, if you wished to give the people what would meet all their wants, you would begin by giving them food.

Hunger lies at the bottom of the fever, hunger has caused the other diseases, gaunt and grim; and when the constitution is again built up by food, it will throw off most of the other ills. Give the bread of life to the multitude, and the maladies and diseases of fallen humanity will be divinely removed; I am sure it is so.

17 March 2019

Who cares what you think?

Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon


The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The MTP, volume 12, sermon number 676, "Man's thoughts and God's thoughts." 

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"God's thinkings are declared by himself to be exceedingly above man's, and yet if ever man is to dwell with God, he must think as God thinks."

A more current idea still is, that God will put away the past and give men a new start, and that if they go on well for the future, then in their dying hour, when it comes to a wind-up, God will speak pardon. But soul, there is nothing of that kind in the Word of God.

That truthful book tells us solemnly that as far as the matter of keeping the law is concerned, and being saved by our good works, we have all of us but one opportunity, and the moment we commit one sin that opportunity is over; nay, before we began life our father Adam had spoiled that chance for us by his sin. The Word of God never speaks about giving us a second trial.

The law says, “Cursed is every man that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them.” It says nothing whatever of starting you in business again, in the hopes that you may at last make your spiritual fortune; nothing of the kind: and those of you who are trying your hands at reformation, and so hope that in a dying hour you will get peace to your souls, are spending your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which profiteth not, for if you never sinned in the future, what would that have to do with the past?

Will a man’s paying ready money in the future defray the debts, which he has already incurred? God has a right to the obedience of your whole life; do you suppose that giving him the obedience of a part of it will be accepted as a satisfaction for the whole?

Moreover, who art thou that thou shouldst be holy? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one. Thou wilt only repeat thy former life, thou wilt go back again like the dog to its vomit, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

As for peace in the hour of death, he who is not pardoned living is not likely to be pardoned dying. Nine out of ten, perhaps nine hundred and ninety-nine out of every thousand of professed death-bed salvations are a delusion.

We have good facts to prove that. A certain physician collected notes of several hundreds of cases of persons who professed conversion who were supposed to be dying. These persons did not die but lived, and in the case of all but one they lived just as they had lived before, though when they were thought to be dying they appeared as if they were truly converted.

Do not look forward to that, it is a mere snare of Satan. God save you from it; for in this case his thoughts are not your thoughts.

15 March 2019

The Difference Between Sexual Abuse and "Race" Offenses

by Hohn Cho



A    few days ago, an ordained PCA pastor from Washington, DC—Duke Kwon—said the following:



When people hear "reparations" many retort
"forgiveness is better"
which is also what some say to victims of abuse
"no, forgive"
but forgiveness and justice are not at odds
what I release as a cross-bearer
what I'm owed as an image-bearer
alas, racial oppression is abuse

Kwon is part of a developing cadre of Asian American social justicians that includes folks like Raymond Chang and perhaps the most extreme of the group, Timothy Isaiah Cho (#NotAllChos), the former Director of Operations of Michael Horton's White Horse Inn. I was busy last week at our church's annual Shepherds Conference, but I set aside the comment above for a reply, because the mentality behind it is one of my pet peeves, the false equivalence that flattens types of offense. (There's another big issue to discuss as well, specifically the increasingly popular idea of reparations, but I'll save that for another time.)

I've written previously about sexual (and physical) abuse, and although the exact extent of the problem in certain contexts and communities may be unclear, it is a problem which is common and substantial enough that reports ought to be taken very seriously. There are many reasons for this, not least of which is the fact that complementarians in particular have a Scriptural responsibility toward women, who are by far the more frequent recipients of sexual and physical abuse, as well as the fact that such types of abuse constitute actual crimes, which pursuant to Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-17 are under the jurisdiction of the governing authorities, who are to wield the sword for the protection of the good and the punishment of the wrongdoer.

It appalls me, then, when I see social justicians attempt to elevate matters such as microaggressions, or increased socioeconomic status in an already wealthy nation like the United States, or the unbiblical attempt to punish children and grandchildren for the sins of their ancestors, to the same level of importance as major, tangible, current sins and crimes, such as sexual and physical abuse. It is truly a false equivalence. And it is even more appalling when social justicians attempt to equate their pet issues to the holocaust of abortion, which kills nearly a million unborn children per year in the United States alone, a disproportionate number of which are from ethnic minorities. Some like to cite the importance of speaking up for the voiceless and destitute from Proverbs 31:8-9 as a call to "justice" work, but in our age of social media, who is more voiceless than a baby in the womb, and in our rich land where starvation is basically unheard of, who is more destitute than a precious little one who has no possessions or even rights at all?

Even in cases of "race" related sins and crimes, the actual numbers pale in comparison to cases of sexual and physical abuse, as well as abortion, by multiple orders of magnitude. I already mentioned the nearly million unborn children aborted each year, and in the United States in 2016, the most recent year with available data, rapes and sexual assaults actually reported (estimated at 23.2% of all rapes and sexual assaults) numbered 298,410, while domestic violence incidents numbered 1,068,120.

Compare and contrast these numbers with 7,175 hate crimes of all types and categories in the United States in 2017, of which 5,084 were crimes against persons (as opposed to property), and the great majority (79.2%) of those crimes against persons were classed as intimidation or simple assault, while 15 were murders (0.3%). Similarly, on the much-sensationalized issue of police shootings, as I stated in point E of a past article, more people die each year from constipation (189) than unarmed people of all ethnicities die at the hands of police.

If we are to be people of the Book, we need to care about equal weights and measures, because God cares about them, and considers unequal ones to be an abomination, as we see in Proverbs 11:1, 16:11, 20:10, 20:23. Similarly, there are matters of first importance in Scripture, a concept which clearly shows that it is not biblically appropriate to attempt to draw false equivalences between certain types of actions and offenses. Indeed, while any sin will send anyone without the saving grace of Jesus Christ to hell, all sins are not the same in type or degree, and in particular, while hating a brother might be as sinful before God as murder, and looking at a woman with lust might be as sinful before God as adultery, you'd better believe that the horizontal consequences of actual murder and actual adultery will far exceed their mere heart equivalents!

So too it is with Kwon's attempt to compare "victims of abuse" to "racial oppression"—and I would argue that before his comparison can have any weight, he would need to establish precisely what he means by "racial oppression" rather than just handwave it or otherwise assume facts not in evidence. Yes, on those rarer occasions when there are actual crimes being committed against people on the basis of their ethnicity, absolutely, the subjects of those crimes have every right to call the governing authorities and see appropriate consequences visited upon the perpetrators, including restitution wherever and whenever appropriate. And when we see restitution in the Bible, most commonly under the Old Testament civil laws of ancient Israel, it invariably takes the form of a definite and determinable sum levied against the actual wrongdoer. Even if there's no crime committed, but there is sin—such as actual, demonstrable racism within the church, as opposed to the epidemic of heart reading we see from many social justicians—it may be that an appropriate authority to enforce order is indeed the church, via the exercise of church discipline.

Based on what I've read and heard, everyone reputable agrees that actual incidents of racism are wrong and unacceptable, and indeed, the unanimously strong denouncement of racism by pretty much every sector of our society is both telling and encouraging, especially when we look back over the course of history when that has not always been the case. But most of the time, what social justicians today call "racial oppression" really amounts to marginal or even imagined personal slights, disputable statistical data that according to multivariate analyses have many different causes, and the admittedly bitter fruit resulting from the sins of our ancestors which were horrific but are simply not attributable to people today, as my pastor, John MacArthur, masterfully exposited from Ezekiel 18 and other passages in the sermon series starting here.

On a practical level, I perceive many of these false equivalency efforts to bootstrap certain types of ethnic discrimination into more dire problems to be a symptom of the current disease of identity politics and intersectionality, whereby activists regularly compete for finite attention spans and capacity for outrage. The thing is, when identity politics and intersectionalism work their way into practice, women often simply lose out, whether they're stacked against groups centered around ethnicity, national origin and immigration, Islam, or more recently transgenderism.

Much of this is due to the worldly philosophy of "allyship" in which identity groups work together out of political expedience rather than biblical righteousness. Allyship says, "You support my cause, I'll support yours, and hey, we'll just shut up about any annoying inconsistencies in the other's case... maybe we'll get to that after we finish sticking it to the man." On the level of political effectiveness, this philosophy might manage to score some points. On the level of biblical ethics, however, it leaves much to be desired. Better by far to speak the truth in love and put away falsehood per Ephesians 4:15, 25, and to walk blamelessly and do what is righteous per Psalm 15:2, and to have integrity per Proverbs 10:9, 11:3, 19:1, 20:7, 28:6, and to have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way per Hebrews 13:18, and to avoid worldly alliances and plans that are not of the Spirit per Isaiah 30:1-3.

I am glad to speak up and take action in my own Christian liberty and stewardship with respect to actual injustices, whether of the limited "social justice" variety or more broadly in the area of biblical justice, such as protecting the innocent and the weak from lawbreakers in Romans 13:3, or punishing the evildoer and the violent man from Romans 13:4, or understanding the truth from our Savior in Matthew 26:52 that he who lives by the sword will die by the sword, or submitting even to harsh and oppressive authority such as the mad Roman emperor Nero in 1 Peter 2:13, or valuing the importance of work in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 especially if you want to eat, or making it our ambition to live quietly and mind our own affairs in 1 Thessalonians 4:11, or to pray for those in authority so that we can live peaceful, quiet, godly, dignified lives per 1 Timothy 2:1-2, or even proclaiming biblical understandings relating to marriage, divorce, family, and gender.

And the reason I would do those things is because they're right, and not because certain "allies" expect me to. After all, if God is for us, who can be against us? Meanwhile, all of the allies in the world will avail me nothing if either the means or the end is ungodly, as is so often the case with the unequal weights and measures and myopic temporal focuses of many social justicians.

Hohn's signature

10 March 2019

Private deeds of love


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Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon


The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from We Endeavour, pages 96-97, Pilgrim Publications.


"Study carefully the story of the enthusiastic Christian woman who poured the alabaster box of very precious ointment upon the head of our blessed Lord and Saviour. Her first and last thoughts were for the Lord Jesus Himself."

Seek to do something for Jesus which shall even be above all a secret sacrifice of pure love to Jesus. Do special and private work towards your Lord. Between you and your Lord let there be secret love tokens. You will say to me, “What shall I do?” I decline to answer. I am not to be a judge for you; especially as to a private deed of love. 

The good woman did not say to Peter, “What shall I give?” nor to John, “What shall I do?” but her heart was inventive. I will only say, that we might offer more private prayer for the Lord Jesus. “Prayer also shall be made for Him continually.” Intercede for your neighbours; pray for yourselves; but could you not set apart a little time each day in which prayer should be all for Jesus? 

Could you not at such seasons cry with secret pleadings, “Hallowed be thy name! Thy kingdom come! Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”? Would it not be a sweet thing to feel at such a time—I shall now go up to my chamber, and give my Lord a few minutes of my heart’s warmest prayer, that He may see of the travail of His soul? That is one thing which all saints can attend to. 

Another holy offering is adoration—the adoring of Jesus. Do we not too often forget this adoration in our assemblies, or thrust it into a corner? The best part of all our public engagements is the worship—the direct worship; and in this the first place should be given to the worship of the Lord Jesus. 

We sing at times to edify one another with psalms and hymns, but we should also sing simply and only to glorify Jesus. We are to do this in company; but should we not do it alone also? Ought we not all, if we can, to find a season in which we shall spend the time, not in seeking the good of our fellow-men, not in seeking our own good, but in adoring Jesus, blessing Him, magnifying Him, praising Him, pouring forth our heart’s love towards Him and presenting our soul’s reverence and penitence. 

I suggest this to you. I cannot teach you how to do it. God’s Holy Spirit must show your hearts the way.

03 March 2019

Silly putty


Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon


The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 11, sermon number 651, "A sermon from a rush."

Image result for silly putty







"If you do not mean your godliness, do not profess it."

The hypocrite will yield to good influences if he be in good society. “Oh yes, certainly, certainly, sing, pray, anything you like.” With equal readiness he will yield to evil influences if he happens to be in connection with them. “Oh, yes, sing a song, talk wantonness, run into gay society, attend the theatre, take a turn with the dice; certainly, if you wish it; ‘When we are at Rome we do as Rome does.’”

Anything to oblige anybody is his motto. He is an omnivorous feeder, and like the swine can eat the vegetable of propriety, or the flesh of iniquity. One form of doctrine is preached to him,—very well, he would not wish to contend against it for a moment; it is contradicted by the next preacher he hears,—and really there is a great deal to be said on the other side; so he holds with hare and hounds too.

He is all for heat when the weather is hot, and quite as much for cold when it is the season; he can freeze, and melt, and boil, all in an hour, just as he finds it pay best to be solid or liquid. If it be most
respectable to call a thing black, well, then, it is black; if it will pay better to call it white, well then it is not so very black, in fact it is rather white, or white altogether if you like to call it so.

The gross example of the Vicar of Bray comes at once to one’s mind, who had been a papist under Henry VIII., then a protestant under a Protestant reign, then a papist under Mary, then again a Protestant under Elizabeth; and he declared he had always been consistent with his principle, for his principle was to continue the Vicar of Bray.

Some there are, who are evidently consistent in this particular, and in the idea that they will make things as easy for themselves as they can, and will get as much profit as they can, either by truth or error. Do you not know some such? They have not an atom of that stern stuff of which martyrs are made in the whole of their composition.

They love that modern goddess, charity. When Diana went down Charity went up; and she is as detestable a goddess as ever Diana was. Give me a man who will be all things to all men to win souls, if it be not a matter of principle; but give me the man who, when it comes to be a matter of right and wrong, will rather die than deny his faith; who could burn, but could not for a moment conceal his sentiments, much less lay them aside until a more convenient season.

True godliness, such as will save the soul, must not be the mere bark, but the heart, the sap, the essence of a man’s being—it must run right through and through, so that he cannot live without it. That religion is not worth picking up from a dunghill which you do not carry every day about with you, and which is not the dearest object for which you live. Beloved, we must be ready to die for Christ, or we shall have no joy in the fact that Christ died for us.