GCR Articles and Sermons
Who is GOD using today?
Its was a very interesting 2016 with Brexit and other world events, shaking up the elitist status quo. Many people prayed for Brexit and many prayed against it. The same could be said of Germany and the UK during WW1 and WW2. Both sides had many wonderful men and women of conviction and submission to GOD. They prayed for their side to wide and to bring a swift end to the war.
Ultimately Germany lost, so how did that effect the faith of those in Germany? Did they loose the war and also their faith?
Well actually yes many did.
The same thing happened in the UK and across the globe with our Allies.
I think we need to learn the lessons from Israel that winning and loosing are totally dependant on GOD alone. We must follow his plans, seek his advice and direction. His will must, and will be done, regardless of our own agenda or preference, no matter how noble or democratic the opinion. There will be situations deliberate and through ignorance that you find yourself on the wrong side.
There is only one response, stand up and be counted and “come out of her my children”
The issue really is this!
Is the bible sufficient and inerrant to provide the answers, or are their omissions and irregularities.
You see many of these men made profound statements and clarified many misconceptions, but they also added to the confusion and ignorance by introducing new concepts. They denied other Biblically established doctrines thereby allowed the start of a continuing situation we see today: “what does GOD mean to you” and “does Hell really exist” these were just some of the questions they posed while providing their own new alternative answers. Up until this point in church history the Apostles established doctrine and practice in accordance with GODS word. If you were not a Bishop, or ordained minister etc, who would listen to you if your ideas were different, than that, maintained by generations.
In essence many of these Theologians simply quoted from other theologians and not GODS word, they argued about who got it right and the virtues of each thesis. They scrutinized the smallest word often playing semantics in establishing their view point. Don’t get me wrong they got many things right, but that only confirmed what we accepted about GOD and his word already.
Their new thinking and acceptance encouraged many other whacky and bizarre beliefs like the JW to present a plausible alternative to a world that was seeking answers, as it recovered from so much death and destruction.
This then spawned the proliferation of alternative translations we now see today. Some are good and many are not, but what you will find common about modern teachers who use them, is they jump from one translation to another to emphasise their point. There is no consistency, and it is becoming common for modern preachers to cut and paste sections of alternative verses together to make a coherent statement to emphasise their point.
Rick warren is the master of this, but many are learning his tricks. The Bereans would be very busy. Correct language and translation are vital to our growth and understanding.
Having the printed word in front of you is our safe guard. So many modern teachers exploit this by bouncing around the bible and from translation to translation. This simply causes the listener to stop following the bible as they cant keep up.
Instead they hear buzz words, blessing, promise, best life now, happiness and prosperity. So what did Barth say that helped promote this modern understanding of GOD and his word.
Barth said” No one can be saved - in virtue of what he can do. Everyone can be saved - in virtue of what God can
On examination this is almost true, however we know we are saved not on what GOD can do. We are saved because of what he did on the cross, and our acceptance of him as our saviour through his grace and our repentance. God being GOD is insufficient for salvation. Our belief in him is in itself insufficient. Our repentance is insufficient. It needed the price of sin to be paid for. GOD is Holy he can only associate with holy things. Jesus his son, GOD himself is the only sufficient means of clearing the slate clean. Having done so, our belief in him as the Son of GOD allows him to hear our genuine repentance and have a new life in HIM.
A small point perhaps, but actually its crucial.
You cant shorten the gospel, you cant edit what Jesus did into a punchy clever slogan. The issue is that so many people try to adopt a better linguistic and catchy phrase, rather than say what GOD has told them.
They do everything they can to avoid reading the bible, to use the words GOD used. They want their phrase, their presentation to be clever and memorable and thereby get fame and all that goes with it.
Believing in GOD, and his potential to do things for you. According to Barth, is sufficient for salvation. He does not mention repentance, or faith in this instance, but does discuss it in detail in other publications.
This statement was his argument against Calvinistic teaching regarding election. He did not take an outright Armenian perspective, instead he structured his own definition called double pre destination. So, Is his argument correct or is he proposing universalism? The reason I mention Barth as an example is that so many modern denominations that came from the time period, have selected certain aspects of the Gospel as their main focus, while denying others on the basis of this and other new prescribed wisdom. He essentially was the spark to the flame, with this new kudos of the wise sage the Theologian.
What many have done is to use their own understanding and reinforced this with teaching from Barth, Kierkegaard, Schleiermacher, Calvin, Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer or whoever impresses them most.
We have lost the blessing of consulting GOD, We are out of sync, and seek mans opinion about GOD and his word.
In short we stopped relying on the scripture for the answers to our questions.
I am not here to criticise Barth or anyone else. I am using him and others as an example of this modern development in our thinking and acceptance of alternative view points. It really is no different that the situation of Moses when he went up the mountain and came back down to find the Golden calf. People are fickle and want things they can see, feel and aspire to. Biblical consistency sadly does bore many people who want what the church across the street has. This really confirms who is with GOD and who is not.
Those that drift, still looking for that Je Ne Sais Quoi. Were they ever actually saved? This is the question that has stood the test of time & Barth and his double pre destination theory fails to answer the question without condemning the double pre destination idea to the recycle bin. The fact that we get some things wrong and others right should not exclude us from being used by GOD for his glory and also for his judgement, Many even in error, but with a genuine contrite heart are used by GOD to bring him Glory and bless his people. While others are used to bring judgement and GODS retribution, even when many don’t realise they are being judged and cast adrift by GOD. Being used by GOD for his Glory and purpose does not confirm salvation or even establish a better understanding of who GOD is. His famous doctrine on revelation regarding the “heavens declaring the Glory of GOD” Psalm 19. According to Barth should bring people to realise there is a GOD who created all this splendour, and that should be sufficient for people to then seek out and the answer and open the door for the Holy Spirit to do his work. Sadly it does not happen. For as many recognise there must be a creator, there are many who become Buddists, Catholic or any other religion, that fits their understanding and idealism.
The theory sounds great, and does have an established Biblical principle regarding people having no excuse regarding the realisation their must be a creator GOD```
There is a big leap from that to salvation, and recognising you are a sinner lost without Jesus. The simple fact is that if we ignore scripture Rom 10-17 “Faith comes by hearing” then no mater how intellectual our argument or proposal if it does not accord with scripture then it fails.
Barth did write many wonderful and correct things that do accord with scripture. The errors however are serious and can, and have lead many astray, as they focus on such a great man’s thinking while ignoring the Bible given by such a great GOD.
He clarified and addressed many issues of error. However he is just a man, like you and me he was not always right in the things he said, wrote and did. So does this bar him from fellowship, is he a heretic? I would suggest not. He is not doing it for personal gain, money or status. His quest was noble and genuine, albeit wrong in a few areas. He loves Jesus and shows great clarity and understanding of the scriptures. The simple fact is this.
No mater who you are, if you lean on your own understanding you will get it wrong and if you allow pride and vanity to creep in you are in serious trouble with GOD. So what is the difference with the so called false teachers of today and people like Barth or Louis Berkoff and others from the so called enlightenment?
I suggest its simply the heart. What were their intentions? was it for filthy lucre, status and control? I say no their title theologian is not even a church office, in the same way modern Christian apologists are not given any rank in the bible. However if you stand behind a pulpit, week after week even with a lovely smile and gentle voice and preach the word of GOD for gain.
Or preach your version of scripture or publish books that are leading people astray. Giving them false hope, and a stage show for entertainment while focusing on their weakness, whether their need is for physical healing or prosperity is condemned by GOD and is subject to judgement for heresy. Peter famously got things wrong even denying Jesus, but GOD new his heart and his mind and used him for his Glory. This is very different to manipulating people and Gods word.
To uphold false teaching of more recent ones like, Oral Roberts, Jesse Duplatis, or Brian Huston as inspired and co relevant to scripture is a dangerous leap. Sadly many do. Just like those who study Barth, you will find millions buy and read the publications of Brian Huston and Hillsong, Joyce Myer et al and quote them in church. They follow them on twitter and Facebook, and along with many others on the false teaching buffet set before us, they can choose their favourites, and have their ears tickled all for a direct debit payment of £19.99. People are deliberately doing this, they know the truth, they know who Jesus is and what he did and stands for. They simply choose their own version that accords with their own life style preference, just as we are told in 2 Peter 3-5 they are willingly Ignorant.
Please don’t miss understand there are many fine commentaries and books written by men of GOD that explain and help us understand GODs word and our walk with him. However they do not supplement, replace or become teaching in themselves. They are there to assist us and identify specific Biblical texts and principles that will encourage and teach us more about GOD and our walk with him.
Scripture is Holy, and men called by GOD to teach his word will do so at the pulpit, the High street and with published mater
ial for the sole purpose of feeding the sheep.
Not for personal gain or notoriety.
In modern Christian book shops you will find so many self help books. Books on Christians and debt, Psychology, counselling relationships, and so on, with every kind of Bible you could think of. The green Bible that focuses on environmental issues, the LGBT and homosexual Bibles, and every other translation you can imagine, all tailored to give you the bible that fits your religious outlook and lifestyle.
Why has this happened? I suggest its simply a business, there is money in it and the devil directs and exploits it. Seminaries and Bible schools have all become effected by this enlightenment and liberal teaching and don’t focus on sound exposition.
They worry about their bills and retirement plans for the Dean, a new annex building or the success of a rival college.
As a result they follow the model of rival colleges who they think are successful and have full fee paying classrooms.
Liberal and alternative teaching creeps in and before you know it, they are a business.
They are no different to any high street shop,who market them selves on best value and customer satisfaction.
Just type Bible college into Google, and you will find they entice you with discount plans, better room and board, guaranteed pass and future employment etc.
Modern teaching methods do not use exegesis. There is no teaching Gods word from the pulpit. Instead they have a chic backdrop with mood lighting, and move around the stage, joke occasionally, use anecdote and personal experience to get their attention.
There is no letting the bible speak for itself.
We now hear sound bite and fluffy encouraging words to lift people up, to keep them going until next week.
You will hear nice scriptures, mainly from the NT, you wont hear challenging teaching, NO “says the word of The Lord “
They don’t want to be accused of lecturing people. They want them to come back next week and bring their friends, and go to the social events, make them feel that they belong. They wont use words like sin, repentance, salvation, they don’t want to put people off.
Instead they say “how you all doing today, God has a plan and a purpose for you, You will receive a blessing today, can I get an Amen. I know im playing with the idea but we know so many churches and pastors like that.
Today’s church use so many other books and quotes from other so called experts and famous Christian teachers, in equal proportion to the Bible. You will get video presentation from some trendy teacher, who everyone loves and who God has blessed with a great wife and BMW for him and a Range Rover for her.
We are encouraged to follow them and their teaching, and hopefully we will get what they have, and then thank GOD for it!
While we buy their latest book.
Consistency is the hallmark of GODS teaching Hebrews 13.8 “I am the same yesterday and tomorrow” Malachi 3.6” I am the LORD I change not” come to mind.
We all have our flaws, personal and theological but if we are called by GOD he will use us, not because we have skill or ability, not because he needs us, not because we want to do it.
Simply because there is a need and GOD will be glorified in the process. Its not about you or me, its not about what we think we can or cant do, its all about him and his purpose.
The same could be said about many biblical heroes:
Abraham and his wife would doubt GOD by having a child through Hagar GEN 16-3.6 But GOD would use this to for his Glory in his people Israel.
Samson. The judge would later fall because of his sinfulness and lust towards Delilah (Judges 16:20-22), but ultimately God would bring His purposes to pass through Samson.
The Lord gives us ample scripture to live and teach this point:
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Recognise GOD in all things and situations give him the Glory let him be your guide.
1, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
This most wonderful of scriptures encourages us to renew our mind to GODS ways. This in turn will transform our lives and we will realise how perfect and amazing GODS ways are. We will see him even in the most bizarre and unusual circumstances.
In this we will learn to hear GODS voice among all the confusion, and rhetoric, the false teaching and the politics.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
If sheep don’t trust the Sheppard, if he is harsh, or they are influenced by other Sheppard’s, they become jittery and confused and anxious. They get lost and others in panic follow them.
Trust and believe in GODS plan, its laid out in front of you in his word.
See the reality that others don’t see, speak the reality that others don’t hear, live the reality that others should follow.
Matthew 13:16-17 (KJV)
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
Amos Farrell Genesis Christian Radio