Apr 302014

now-that-im-a-christian-what-it-means-to-follow-jesusLong time readers here will know that a few years back my birthday present was an opportunity to speak with Dr. J.I. Packer.

It took only a few minutes to understand his passion…and the passion that he wanted to transfer to anyone he spoke to…was to “catechize” the church.

He wanted all believers to be grounded in the fundamental truths of Scripture and to be able to understand and think clearly about those truths.


I believe he would be very pleased with what C. Michael Patton has contributed to the cause with Now That I’m a Christian: What It Means to Follow Jesus.

The book is written as a primer for new believers, but would also be very valuable for those who have been in the church for a long time, but have not been provided with a solid foundation in basic Christian doctrine and practice.

Patton divides the book into two categories;

Orthodoxy, with chapters on the Bible, Man, God, Christ, and Faith.

Orthopraxy, with chapters on Prayer, Study, Church, Suffering, and Mission.

Patton does an excellent job of laying these foundations with concision and clarity and in a fashion that anyone can understand.

He does so without dumbing down the material and with the wisdom that comes from years of teaching.

Maybe the most significant thing the author accomplished was that he was able to write such a volume without writing from a specific denominational point of view and thus has made this resource one that the whole Body of Christ can profit from.

Whether you’re Calvinist or Calvary Chapel or somewhere in between, you can learn from this book with great profit.

We needed this book…and I think every church should have a few on hand for both new converts and those in the assembly who need a refresher course on basic Christian doctrine.

When they are done with this one, give them “Knowing God” by the aforementioned Packer and you will have prepared a person for a life of discipleship and learning.

I recommend this book highly and wholeheartedly…I wish I had a bunch to give away.

Apr 302014

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aOn Wednesdays we remember that a brother languishes in a foreign prison.

We do more than just remember, however…we stand with him by using our social media to advocate for his release.

We ask that you change your Facebook profile picture to his and that you “like”  the “Free Saeed” Facebook page and participate in some of the activities that promote his cause.

We need to gear up for another social media blitz…would you participate when we do?

Apr 292014

links_image1The good, bad, and in between about Steven Furtick…

The United Church of Christ sues for same sex marriage…

Tribulation is already happening for millions…

How child predators exploit “Gospel” terms…

The “Christian Books of the Year”…none of which I own or intend to…

Does it matter what you wear to church?

J. Dwight Pentecost dies…

Why some teachers are banning laptops from class…

Five problems with grace…

A really weird article on online dating…

Piper and Keller on gay marriage…

An interesting take on Hebrews 4:12…

Against the argument culture…

A reverse Ehrman…

Wenatchee the Hatchet is watching Mars Hill purge it’s media…

Moral failure or slave of lust?

Jars of Clay backlash…

Why Mormons aren’t Christians…

Homosexuality in the New Testament…

Kerry under fire for Israel comments…

A compilation of the evidence against Ergun Caner…

Finally…I get “prophecies” like these three or four times a week.

Apr 282014

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. Matthew Paul Turner wrote an article for the Daily Beast garroting evangelicals who hold to traditional Christian positions on marriage and homosexuality. According to Turner, those who believe in those positions “cause division, push people away from churches, promote the gospels of arrogance and callousness, and castrates the body of Christ, rendering us useless but for punch lines.”

Oh, the irony.

Turner feels free to eviscerate those who hold to two thousand years of church tradition and Scriptural exegesis, but we are the ones who are hateful and divisive.

You are evidently free to be as hateful as hell in the “progressive” camp as long as you hate the same people they do.

It’s not as Turner claims, “about who we will embrace, who we will love, who we will welcome.” It’s about whether or not you agree wholeheartedly with this groups deconstruction of the historic faith and the Scriptures in many areas…and if you don’t, they won’t love, embrace, or welcome you.

They will rip you to shreds in the Daily Beast and wherever else they can get a voice.

They are “inclusive” on the same basis as any other group that hates a different group.

If you hate them too, you’re in.

If not…

So much for the “progressive” Gospel…

Here’s a free ebook on “God and the Gay Christian”.

2. I found Jesus’s response to the attempted formation of the first discernment ministry….someone should write a book unpacking this verse.“ John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me.For the one who is not against us is for us.”(Mark 9:38–40 ESV)

3. The real issue under all the current attempts at biblical deconstruction is the elimination of the doctrine of sin. That’s the real story and the rest of the controversies are just ways to accomplish that.

4. Sad day for Oregonians…the greatest Blazer, Dr. Jack Ramsey, passed away this morning.

5. The great thing about the internet is that it gives everyone a voice. The not so great thing is that it provides disproportionate amplification to all those voices. Ask the mainlines how well that “progressive Gospel” is working for them…

6. Someday, I suspect that they will trace the decline of our society to the shortening of our attention spans…

7. Have you noticed how little you’ve heard about the Bob Coy scandal in recent days? Here’s why… the confession of sin by the church and the ensuing discipline freed the church to move forward. Those biblical principles work… and the inverse is true as well. I suspect Mark Driscoll will continue to make all the wrong headlines.

8. One of the proofs of total depravity is that no one wants to read about decent people doing good things…

9. Help me write my book. Define “church abuse”.

10. If the Rapture is our “blessed hope” why do we treat the signs of it as doom?


Apr 272014

thumbnail.aspxWe regularly say: “We proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

In our primitiveness, we do not doubt your coming, soon, powerfully, decisively.

In our settledness, your coming is not too urgent or real, because we are venously entitled, privileged, protected, gated.

In our rationality, the “until” of your coming makes little sense to us, so we mumble and hope no one notices.


In these last days, In these latter days, In these final days, In these very late days, We draw closer to your promised “until.”

We draw closer in fear, in hope, in gladness, in dread.

So we do proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes,

until he comes in peace against all our violence;

until he comes in generosity midst all our parsimony;

until he comes in food midst all our hunger;

until he comes in community midst all our alienation.

We are your faithful hopers,

distracted by despair, but hoping,

distracted by affluence, but hoping,

distracted by sophistication, but hoping.

Come soon, come Lord Jesus, come soon while we face afresh your death, until you come soon and again …again and soon.

Walter Brueggemann. Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: The Prayers of Walter Brueggemann (p. 169). Kindle Edition.

Apr 252014

155547_468929542642_7884233_nFirst, thank you folks who use the Amazon links to make your purchases.

A small percent comes back to me and it helps out a lot.

You can purchase ad space on the blog from Beacon…inexpensive space on a highly rated blog.

You can also make direct donations via PayPal.

We covet your continued support and your prayers for what we do here.

I can always be reached at phoenixpreacher@gmail.com with your questions or concerns.

Thank you!

Apr 252014

funeral-cake-ingredients-in-bowl“But if God knows what things we have need of, before we ask him, where lies the advantage of prayer?

If he is ready, of his own free will, to assist us, what purpose does it serve to employ our prayers, which interrupt the spontaneous course of his providence?

The very design of prayer furnishes an easy answer.

Believers do not pray, with the view of informing God about things unknown to him, or of exciting him to do his duty, or of urging him as though he were reluctant.

On the contrary, they pray, in order that they may arouse themselves to seek him, that they may exercise their faith in meditating on his promises, that they may relieve themselves from their anxieties by pouring them into his bosom; in a word, that they may declare that from Him alone they hope and expect, both for themselves and for others, all good things.

God himself, on the other hand, has purposed freely, and without being asked, to bestow blessings upon us; but he promises that he will grant them to our prayers.

We must, therefore, maintain both of these truths, that He freely anticipates our wishes, and yet that we obtain by prayer what we ask.”

John Calvin

I read that little devotional last night before bed, seeking the encouragement to describe to God one more time the desperation of too many situations.

It didn’t work.

I crawled into bed seeking to be unconscious, not seeking God.

I’d spent another day waiting for hope filled words…”you’re hired’…”the medication is working”….”things are fine”.

The words that came, the only ones that came at all…were hopeless.

I have to assume that God heard them too.

After too many days of waiting, I’m too tired to talk about it anymore.

I believe, help my unbelief, and turn up the electric blanket.

Have I lost my faith?


God always works in a process…and hack preachers like myself like to use the cake baking analogy to describe what the process sometimes looks like.

When you put raw eggs, sugar, and flour in a bowl it doesn’t look like a cake.

It looks like a mess.

You take the mess in the bowl and you beat it…then you bake it until it transforms.

It’s only when the process is completed that you have a delightful product.

Therefore, in our analogy, if you are beaten and baking, you’re close to the end of this process.

It’s just a matter of time.

Make your own application…

Apr 242014

imagesOn Christmas day 800 Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor of the west.

The Holy Roman Empire was born.

The holy anointed the profane and established the church again as both a political and spiritual power.


When conquering a people the emperor forced baptisms at the end of a sword…and that political marriage of the sacred and secular would continue for hundreds of years.

The ramifications of that marriage would be both the best and worst things that happened to the church.

You can’t understand church history in general, (and the Reformation in particular) without a grasp of those consequences.


The theological debates in this century began with a debate on a variation of the doctrine of adoptionism.

This centered around the two natures of Christ…and making a distinction between the sonship of his human and divine natures.

They evidently had a lot of time on their hands in those days…

The filioque controversy continued to rage and widen the split between the East and West.

Photios led this challenge to the West and indeed, challenged Rome’s claim to authority over the whole of Christendom.


A monk named Radbertus wrote a treatise called “On The Body and Blood of the Lord” that declared when the elements of the Lord’s Supper are properly consecrated they are transformed into the body and blood of the Lord.

While it would take until 1215 for Rome to make this the official doctrine of the church, this was the beginning of that process.


Gottschalk, upon studying Augustine,believed he found the doctrine of double predestination in those writings.

Condemned by one church council and affirmed by another, Gottschalk was eventually condemned as a heretic and died in prison.

His work was foundational to later Reformed thought on the matter, though he was superseded by his source, Augustine.

His main contribution today is as proof that the doctrine was not an invention of the 16th century Reformers.

Names you should know…

John Scotus Erigena: Philosopher and theologian.

Nicholas I: Pope and reformer of church morals.

Apr 232014

Josh-3.jpg.pagespeed.ce.GTdorcctdYI’d like to thank Jared Moore for including us on his list of “The Top 250 Christian Blogs”.

After almost 11 years online we are, (according to the Alexa rankings) the #23,868 ranked website overall in the United States and # 156,651 in the world.

That, and $3.00 means that you’ll still have to borrow $.50 to get a coffee at Starbucks. 🙂


The greater thanks goes to all of you who read here and have supported us through some real thick and real thin times.

My concern now is to make it better, more worth your time to read it and mine to write it.

What can we do better?

What issues or topics would you like to see us address as a community?

Numbers are good, real ministry is better.

It’s been an interesting ride to say the least…when did you get on?

It’s fascinating to me how much closure was accomplished so quickly when Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale spoke to the details of Bob Coy’s moral failure.

There is a positive, healing power in confession…The Roman Catholics and Orthodox may be on to something.

Hopefully, Driscoll is taking notes…

In between  crisis management I’m trying to read our friend Michael Patton’s  book for new believers and Matt Chandlers’s new book also showed up yesterday.

Hopefully we’ll have reviews up soon.

What are you reading that the rest of us should?

We’re still working the church history series…for Protestants, the Middle Ages aren’t real compelling…

New post from Sarah…

I’ll be in and out all day…thanks again for being here.



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